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Friday, September 27, 2013

Does guilt empower Christianity?

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 “Sin with the multitude, and your responsibility and guilt are as great and as truly personal, as if you alone had done the wrong” ~ Tryon Edwards

It has been said that in order to convert people to Christianity the orthodox church of the 1500’s to 1800’s invented the concept of Devil worship, and then they used it to persecute those who disagreed with them. They enforced control of the populace, and by introducing witchcraft lowered the position of women in society.

That may be true, I don't really know since I wasn’t around at that time. If it is true it's sad and I hope people who run churches make sure not to do it now.  

What does concern me now, is the fact that so many people within the Christian church walk around with false guilt on their shoulders! This guilt then limits their ability to live for Jesus.

Another concern is that many non-Christians think that our loving church is all about imposing guilt where there should be none, and then using it to control the church members.

I don't know, but maybe those stories of abuse by people in the church (who I doubt are Christians, and if they are christians are very sick ones) is to blame. Thaose horrible abuses of women, children and others, get more media time than the millions of loving acts done each day by common Christian people. Loving acts by Christians who extend hope and help to others minute-by-minute, hour-by-hour, day-by-day, year-by-year!

My question is simply this what did Jesus send his disciples out to do? 

                  Did Jesus send his disciples out to preach guilt, shame and hellfire?

No!


I seem to recollect that in Luke 6:9 it says “So the Twelve left. They went from village to village. They preached the good news and healed people everywhere.

Jesus sent disciples to the  people who were under Roman rule and taxes. These people were straining each day to meet Pharisee’s demands on their life and at the same time straining to make a living. Does that sound a little familiar to us?

Jesus sent the disciples with a message of hope. It was a good message! Not only the message, but actions as well! They healed! He never told them to load people with more guilt! That's not the God I know. The God I know loves us so much he died for us before we even respected him, or wanted his help!

Guilt has two flavours. 
        
          It convicts or condemns!

Conviction is simply a sadness for our past that leads us to turn away from sin. 2 Corinthians 7:10 says “Godly sadness causes us to turn away from our sins and be saved. And we are certainly not sorry about that! But worldly sadness brings death.”

Sins are those selfish, ignorant and nasty things we do that are against God’s wishes for the best for us all.

This is very different from Satan’s torment of people when he reminds them of their past and despite them having taken their past selfish, ignorant and nasty things to Jesus for forgiveness, he causes this guilt to continue to flow, doing no good to the person who is tormented. This form of guilt is condemnation. It’s a bad guilt!

We need to very sure we are truly guilty with conviction before we allow guilt to take hold. Sometimes it’s a case of “false guilt” that only appears to be real! A case of condemnation!

Now for a different thought…

Think about it…guilt is often a symptom of unforgiveness with ourselves!

Let’s lighten up on ourselves!

Why do we punish ourselves unnecessarily?

God wants us to forgive others and ourselves!

Hebrews 12:15 Be sure that no one misses God’s grace. See to it that a bitter plant doesn’t grow up. If it does, it will cause trouble. And it will pollute many people.

We are not meant to be bitter and unforgiving…

   …. Not towards others

   …. Not towards OURSELVES!

Sometimes unforgiveness is held in our heart because we fail to forgive others. We even say some people deserve to be unforgiven.

Do we listen to and apply Luke 17:3-4 “So watch yourselves.
“If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them.”

If God told us to do that, would he not do the same and more?

If we fail to understand that everyone is capable of being forgiven and really believing it, then we can fail to believe we are forgiven.

That’s a problem isn’t it?

I have listed seven steps that can help us overcome guilt.

Step 1    Understand the nature of God's forgiveness towards us!

          Romans 5:8

Step 2   Repent

          Confess Selfish, Ignorant and Nasty(SIN) things done
          Ask God to show us other SIN we may not have considered

             Acts 2:38

Step 3   Know Forgiveness Comes to us from God via Jesus 

            1 John 1:9; Psalm 85:2;  Romans 8:1

Step 4   Forgive ourselves God already has! Stop self-flagellation

Step 5   Worship God Not our own inadequacies!

          John 4:24, Heb 10:1-14

Step 6   Accept Jesus’ Help!

          Matthew 11:28-30

Step 7   Rest In God’s peace!

          John 14:26-28

Lets’ apply them and understand we have freedom.


This freedom gives is the ability to LOVE

    FULLY

       FREELY

           IN TRUTH

                WITH POWER

                     SERVING OTHERS

                         AS JESUS SERVED US!

Have a fantastic guilt free day!
Fri, September 27, 2013 | link          Comments

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Most of the world lives in a democracy, but are controlled by a different power-Reganís comments
Official_Portrait_of_President_Reagan_1981.jpgWithout God, democracy will not and cannot endure ~ Ronald Regan

Today I simply quote portions of Ronald Regan this past President of America’s speech to a group of people at a breakfast in Texas. It speaks for itself”...

These past few weeks it seems that we've all been hearing a lot of talk about religion and its role in politics, religion and its place in the political life of the Nation. And I think it's appropriate today, at a prayer breakfast for 17,000 citizens in the State of Texas during a great political convention, that this issue be addressed.

I don't speak as a theologian or a scholar, only as one who's lived a little more than his threescore ten -- which has been a source of annoyance to some and as one who has been active in the political life of the Nation for roughly four decades and now who's served the past 3\1/2\ years in our highest office. I speak, I think I can say, as one who has seen much, who has loved his country, and who's seen it change in many ways.

I believe that faith and religion play a critical role in the political life of our nation -- and always has -- and that the church -- and by that I mean all churches, all denominations -- has had a strong influence on the state. And this has worked to our benefit as a nation.

Those who created our country -- the Founding Fathers and Mothers -- understood that there is a divine order which transcends the human order. They saw the state, in fact, as a form of moral order and felt that the bedrock of moral order is religion.

The Mayflower Compact began with the words, ``In the name of God, amen.'' The Declaration of Independence appeals to ``Nature's God'' and the ``Creator'' and ``the Supreme Judge of the world.'' Congress was given a chaplain, and the oaths of office are oaths before God.

James Madison in the Federalist Papers admitted that in the creation of our Republic he perceived the hand of the Almighty. John Jay, the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, warned that we must never forget the God from whom our blessings flowed.

George Washington referred to religion's profound and unsurpassed place in the heart of our nation quite directly in his Farewell Address in 1796. Seven years earlier, France had erected a government that was intended to be purely secular. This new government would be grounded on reason rather than the law of God. By 1796 the French Revolution had known the Reign of Terror.

And Washington voiced reservations about the idea that there could be a wise policy without a firm moral and religious foundation. He said, ``Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, Religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man call himself a patriot would labour to subvert these . . .

The mere Politician . . . the pious man ought to respect and to cherish religion and morality.'' let us with caution indulge the supposition, that morality can be maintained without religion.''

I believe that George Washington knew the City of Man cannot survive without the City of God, that the Visible City will perish without the Invisible City.

Religion played not only a strong role in our national life; it played a positive role. The abolitionist movement was at heart a moral and religious movement; so was the modern civil rights struggle. And throughout this time, the state was tolerant of religious belief, expression, and practice. Society, too, was tolerant.

But in the 1960's this began to change. We began to make great steps toward secularizing our nation and removing religion from its honored place.

In 1962 the Supreme Court in the New York prayer case banned the compulsory saying of prayers. In 1963 the Court banned the reading of the Bible in our public schools. From that point on, the courts pushed the meaning of the ruling ever outward, so that now our children are not allowed voluntary prayer. We even had to pass a law -- we passed a special law in the Congress just a few weeks ago to allow student prayer groups the same access to schoolrooms after classes that a young Marxist society, for example, would already enjoy with no opposition.

The 1962 decision opened the way to a flood of similar suits. Once religion had been made vulnerable, a series of assaults were made in one court after another, on one issue after another. Cases were started to argue against tax-exempt status for churches. Suits were brought to abolish the words ``under God'' from the Pledge of Allegiance and to remove ``In God We Trust'' from public documents and from our currency.

Today there are those who are fighting to make sure voluntary prayer is not returned to the classrooms. And the frustrating thing for the great majority of Americans who support and understand the special importance of religion in the national life -- the frustrating thing is that those who are attacking religion claim they are doing it in the name of tolerance, freedom, and openmindedness. Question: Isn't the real truth that they are intolerant of religion? They refuse to tolerate its importance in our lives.” ...

“When John Kennedy was running for President in 1960, he said that his church would not dictate his Presidency any more than he would speak for his church. Just so, and proper. But John Kennedy was speaking in an America in which the role of religion -- and by that I mean the role of all churches -- was secure. Abortion was not a political issue. Prayer was not a political issue. The right of church schools to operate was not a political issue. And it was broadly acknowledged that religious leaders had a right and a duty to speak out on the issues of the day. They held a place of respect, and a politician who spoke to or of them with a lack of respect would not long survive in the political arena.

It was acknowledged then that religion held a special place, occupied a special territory in the hearts of the citizenry. The climate has changed greatly since then. And since it has, it logically follows that religion needs defenders against those who care only for the interests of the state.

There are, these days, many questions on which religious leaders are obliged to offer their moral and theological guidance, and such guidance is a good and necessary thing. To know how a church and its members feel on a public issue expands the parameters of debate. It does not narrow the debate; it expands it.

The truth is, politics and morality are inseparable. And as morality's foundation is religion, religion and politics are necessarily related. We need religion as a guide. We need it because we are imperfect, and our government needs the church, because only those humble enough to admit they're sinners can bring to democracy the tolerance it requires in order to survive.

A state is nothing more than a reflection of its citizens; the more decent the citizens, the more decent the state. If you practice a religion, whether you're Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, or guided by some other faith, then your private life will be influenced by a sense of moral obligation, and so, too, will your public life. One affects the other. The churches of America do not exist by the grace of the state; the churches of America are not mere citizens of the state. The churches of America exist apart; they have their own vantage point, their own authority. Religion is its own realm; it makes its own claims.

We establish no religion in this country, nor will we ever. We command no worship. We mandate no belief. But we poison our society when we remove its theological underpinnings. We court corruption when we leave it bereft of belief. All are free to believe or not believe; all are free to practice a faith or not. But those who believe must be free to speak of and act on their belief, to apply moral teaching to public questions.

I submit to you that the tolerant society is open to and encouraging of all religions. And this does not weaken us; it strengthens us, it makes us strong. You know, if we look back through history to all those great civilizations, those great nations that rose up to even world dominance and then deteriorated, declined, and fell, we find they all had one thing in common. One of the significant forerunners of their fall was their turning away from their God or gods.

Without God, there is no virtue, because there's no prompting of the conscience. Without God, we're mired in the material, that flat world that tells us only what the senses perceive. Without God, there is a coarsening of the society. And without God, democracy will not and cannot long endure. If we ever forget that we're one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under.

If I could just make a personal statement of my own -- in these 3\1/2\ years I have understood and known better than ever before the words of Lincoln, when he said that he would be the greatest fool on this footstool called Earth if he ever thought that for one moment he could perform the duties of that office without help from One who is stronger than all.”

I think this man understood something about the threats facing us all, do you agree?
Thu, September 26, 2013 | link          Comments

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Tipping the time balance to a favourable position
CowboyhatMaybe.jpgBeware of saying, “I haven’t time to read the Bible, or to pray”; say rather, “I haven’t disciplined myself to do these things.”~ Oswald Chambers

“I’ve got to go now!”


“I’ve no time to do anything!”

“Can’t stop now, I have to...”

These are just some of the things we say in passing. These reflect on our inability to deal with the flow of circumstances that sweep into our life and push us back and forth each day.

Time, to us, is something that we never really get to control and so often it seems as if time controls us, pushing us past our peak capabilities into that place where we descend into morose depression and sad self-flagellation.

Why?

Is it because we cram so much into each day that there is no way that we can take the time to enjoy peace and to have joyful moments?

Quality living is not about doing more! Quality living is about doing things right and doing the right things!

James 4:14 says “You don’t even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? It is a mist that appears for a little while. Then it disappears”

Our planning needs to align with God’s if we are to have peace and a valuable life with enough time to accomplish what is needed.

Each person has a potential set by God. This potential is physical, emotional, volitional, mental and spiritual. It is there for each point in our life and varies somewhat over the course of our life.

Yet realizing this potential is what we do poorly, isn’t it?

Most of us know that any given point in time, we can do more than we are doing, right?

How many of us ask ourselves if God would have us do more?

Sometimes the answer to that question is “no”.

We need to take a minute-by-minute view to life. Each daily decision should be made under the influence of Holy Spirit in a carefully considered way. Time should be taken to kid around and laugh. Our God is not a serious God. Otherwise how could the duck billed platypus have ever come into being?


Sometimes life gives us a laugh, we should enjoy these times. We should actively look for ways to inject laughter, amusement and joy into the life of others.

One silly way I have had a little of this fun at no time cost to myself, has been to buy a black cowboy hat. I needed some head covering since my hair is thinning out on top, and the sun and rain cause minor distress.

So by putting on that cowboy hat as I go about my daily business, I bring smiles to the faces of many people I meet. It affords me opportunities to talk to strangers and get to know them. It’s helped me make more friends and opened up opportunities to tell others about Jesus.

Small things led by God make big differences in small ways!


I pray God helps you find the balance in your life today and injects some joy into your day. Maybe taking a  few minutes to talk to Him about it and read his word a little may help.

What do you think?
Wed, September 25, 2013 | link          Comments

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Simple thoughts

“Three Rules of Work: Out of clutter find simplicity; From discord find harmony; In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” ~ Albert Einstein



Simplicity puts things in perspective doesn’t it?


The complexity and haze of confusion suddenly resolves in into clean focused understanding.

Understanding then gives confidence, helps us grow and aligns our life effort.Maybe that is why the Christian message is so simple.
God loves us so much that he intervened on our behalf, allowing his son to die and in so doing take the blame for all the selfish, ignorant and nasty things we have done if we believe in him and live our lives the right way out of love for him.

Simplicity!

Beautiful, sad and glorious!

God did that for us, isn’t that amazing.

I pray you will have a wonderful focused day.

Tue, September 24, 2013 | link          Comments

Monday, September 23, 2013

Prayer for those facing Christian Persecution today...
 lawandreligion.JPGSuicide bombers attack Christians at church in northwest Pakistan, kill 78 people – Montreal Gazette Sept 22

Horror! Discrimination based on religious differences leads to the death of 78 people in a country where Christians are in the minority.

Christianity today is under attack in a more vicious manner than most of us from the rather apathetic first world of Christians would like to believe.

People are having to face death daily due to their beliefs!


Then, right in Quebec where this news article is printed the CANADIAN provincial government is trying to issue a discriminatory charter making it illegal to be religious at all.

I hope they see that they are no better than the Taliban!

Religious discrimination is horrific in all its guises!

Today, let’s pray for ourselves that we as Christians would get some backbone and stand up against religious intolerance in all its forms. While I do not support views of many religions, I will fight for their right to those views and for people to have the freedom of choice of religion.

It’s something worth dying for.

It is with great pain that I consider those being hurt in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, now also North America, and dare I say it, Europe that are persecuted for having different religious beliefs.

What gives people the right to say religion as a whole is bad?

Anyone saying that we need to support religion as a whole being bad is serious ill in the heart and head.

All the moral laws that govern society have a religious basis to them. I guess people who are against religion are basically anarchists when everything is distilled to the basic facts. That’s basically the same as saying they are anti-Christ’s.

So, people who support the Quebec charter, you are anti-Christ’s my friends and you are no better than the Taliban.

Taliban, you are anarchists who in support of you single religion by killing others have lost the basic’s of religious humanity.

Christians have love of everyone at the center of their religion.

It is sad others have less beautiful centers in their beliefs.

May God change them, and give their souls rest!

I pray the same for everyone who is against religion in any way.

To my Christians friends I plead...let’s take up the arms that God gives us...

10 Finally, let the Lord make you strong. Depend on his mighty power. 11 Put on all of God’s armor. Then you can stand firm against the devil’s evil plans. 12 Our fight is not against human beings. It is against the rulers, the authorities and the powers of this dark world. It is against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly world.13 So put on all of God’s armor. Evil days will come. But you will be able to stand up to anything. And after you have done everything you can, you will still be standing.14 So stand firm. Put the belt of truth around your waist. Put the armor of godliness on your chest. 15 Wear on your feet what will prepare you to tell the good news of peace. 16 Also, pick up the shield of faith. With it you can put out all of the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Put on the helmet of salvation. And take the sword of the Holy Spirit. The sword is God’s word.18 At all times, pray by the power of the Spirit. Pray all kinds of prayers. Be watchful, so that you can pray. Always keep on praying for all of God’s people.19 Pray also for me. Pray that when I open my mouth, the right words will be given to me. Then I can be bold as I tell the mystery of the good news. 20 Because of the good news, I am being held by chains as the Lord’s messenger. So pray that I will be bold as I preach the good news. That’s what I should do.
Mon, September 23, 2013 | link          Comments


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Rift in Evil

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 RiftInEvil.gifThe town of Zinaville is dropped into a spiral of evil causing a young man and a beautiful but abused woman to launch into an investigation that unveils an evil conspiracy.

A horrific mining accident results in Joshua Robyn's father being killed. Joshua struggles both with himself and his townsfolk as he tries to make sense of an incomprehensible situation. Is it an accident or a murder? Why is there a seeming link to evil? Why is his work environment suddenly threatening? What is the conspiracy about and what are they trying to do? As action moves dramatically from exotic African grasslands to the heart of North America's cities, the plot unfolds and the pace quickens. Will there be time? Why is a beautiful abused young woman in the center of this plot?

Evil tendrils tighten on their lives and the interplay between the visible and invisible world shows opposing forces at work.

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