Humble Dogs

That they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts. Matthew 13:15b

Archive for the tag “man”

All Religion Is A Lie

My original title for this post was Death and Taxes.

John 17:3 “Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.”
Romans 1:18–21 “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. ..

As we surf through the myriad of websites and blogs on the internet, we can’t help but come across a host of differing opinions and explanations telling us how in methods and ways to reach the ultimate goal in life, that being discovering the final answer – who, what and where is god.

It has been said that there are only two things you can be sure of – Death and Taxes. That is basically true, for secular living. Both are part of the two most divisive topics – Religion and Politics. The two taboos for congeniality.

In politics the debate is: Resolved, We have a debt problem, who will pay?
In religion the debate is: Resolved, We have a debt problem, who will pay?

But, one might say, they’re both the same debate. That is absolutely true. On the human plain it’s called politics, on the spiritual plain it’s called religion. We cannot separate the two; Our politics will become our religion and vise versa, our religion will become our politics.

Both Political and Religious resolutions depend mostly on compromise, basically a halfway solution that only mitigates the immediate emergency, the present problem. “We will deal with it as best we can for now.” Although compromise is often a necessity to reaching political agreement, compromise is not truth, it is a cover up.

Compromise in religion comes from not knowing the truth. Let us make up some explanation, decorate it with what people want to hear and call it “XYZ”. People become so used to being told lies that they can no longer discern the truth. There is the manifestation of the problem – lies sooner or later can and all too often become believable, especially when they contain an element of truth. In reality, they are all a covering up for lack of truth.

Covering up is what people do best. They lie. Soon, knowing that compromise, or half truth, is always a way out, compromise becomes the norm, lying becomes the norm. I recall a sales seminar I once attended, the speaker stated; “When dealing with a prospective customer, stretch the facts but never say an outright lie.” Lying is the reason advertising sells. Not that all advertising or promotion are lies, it is that everyone is looking to resolve a situation or a problem. Everyone is looking for an easier way out and advertising promises a solution in the product it promotes, whether true or not.

Cover up, or lying is the number one blemish on the human character. Every one of us is guilty and is what gets nearly every person into hot water at some point in their lives. Lying can be causal to; the disgrace of politicians, the ruin of corporate profit, the demotion of rank or position, the blemish on reputation, the break up of marriage and family, the end of friendships, the down fall of church leaders.

After the lie comes the denial. The inability to come clean, admit the mistake, confess. Then comes the defense or excuse making. His fault, her fault, I was under pressure, the devil made me do it, etc. Lying to amend the lie can be endless.

Every religion comes to the same crucial point of dogmatic failure, the inability to get past personal debt, our sin, who will pay and how. Every religion has to come to a compromise of one mode or another to either allay the penalty of sin or deny the debt of sin altogether. Every religion needs a lie to be believable.

There are mystic religions that depend on contortions and meditations that will transform you to a whole new consciousness. “Everybody say Oohm”.
There are cosmic religions that promise the powers of universal goddesses who will transform your life to peace and serenity. “It’s all in your mind, think harder.”
There are reincarnate religions that promise rebirth in another form. “Can I be a tortoise next time around, they live longer.”
There are destiny religions that place your life on the shuffle of a deck of cards. “I don’t like your reading. I demand a re-shuffle.”
There are planetary religions that place your destiny in the cosmic alignment of the stars at birth. Or is that conception? “What sign was I born under? – It said Maternity on the door.”
There are prosperity religions that promise riches and great wealth as long as you pay in accordance of your desire. “You need more faith son, donate another hundred”.
There are penitence religions that require one to earn the reward of forgiveness. “Hey, Senor, how much for impure thoughts?”
There are ‘sign’ religions that ask you to develop a certain sign of faith. “Keep babbling, soon it will come.”
There are ceremonial religions than demand traditions and laws be obeyed. “Here is your path to heaven.”
All these religions are no better as a path to God and Righteousness than the agnostic, god is unknown and unknowable, or the atheist  the rejection of belief in the existence of deity.

What all these religions miss is the reality of God. God doesn’t want ceremony, he doesn’t rule in law, he is not one with or part of the universe, every star is a work of His hand. He is not a god of chance or luck, He doesn’t give out rewards for being good. His favor is not conditional on signs or practices of penitence. He doesn’t reveal Himself to any special class of believer or show favor one over the other.

God is a God of grace, it’s all free, and all He wants of you or me or anyone, anywhere, is be in honest relationship with Him. All of the guilt, all of the penalty, is paid in full, by Him, in the person of Christ Jesus, God who came to live with us, paid the ultimate price that we might have free and complete access to God as one with Christ, a part of the Family, the Holy Brotherhood, a kinship in and through His Spirit. As a bride is one with her husband, we, the church, as members of the body of Christ are one with God and in full inheritance of the Kingdom of God.

Through Christ Jesus, God has shown us His relationship between God and man, His promise, His covenant:
2 Corinthians 3:6 “He (God) has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant–not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.”

Christianity is a relationship not a religion. Christianity is a relationship between God and man, demonstrated man to man and has as the foundational fabric – love. Love of God, love for each other. An unconditional love, forgiving, comforting, forbearing, providing, as a bride is to her husband, husband is to his bride.

Matthew 22: 35-40;
“One of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And He said to him, “ ‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ “This is the great and foremost commandment. “The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ “On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”

John 13:35 quotes Jesus saying, “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
I Peter 4 says, “Love each other; share with and care for each other; serve each other.”

Tertullian, 3rd century Roman historian, reported that the Romans would exclaim about Christians, “See how they love one another!”

If you feel that I am off track with what I have said in this post, please, I want to hear from you.

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Sensuality – Part of Us All

A large part of sin as described biblically is a matter of works of the flesh. Paul in his epistles is very thorough in listing them all. Many translations include sensuality in this list. Most bible commentaries and sermons posted on the internet interpret scriptural use of the term sensuality as sexual deviance in one form or another.

I turned to the dictionary:
sensuality:
1. The quality or state of being sensual or lascivious.
2. Excessive devotion to sensual pleasure.
Noun 1. sensuality – desire for sensual pleasures
sensualism, sensualness
concupiscence, A strong desire, especially sexual desire; lust.
physical attraction, sexual desire, eros – a desire for sexual intimacy

These definitions describe sexual desire as mankind’s dominant sense?

“Colossians 3:5 NIV “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.”

Ephesians 4:19 NIV
“Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more.”

New American Standard Bible
“and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness.”

International Standard Version (©2012)
“Since they have lost all sense of shame, they have abandoned themselves to sensuality and practice every kind of sexual perversion without restraint.”

English Standard Version (©2001)
“They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity.”

Galatians 5:19-21 English Standard Version

“Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

Let us leave out sexual drive in describing what it means to be sensual.

What man, or woman, doesn’t find the feel of English leather appealing? Is that not sensual?

My wife enjoys a tub soak and uses aromatic oils in her bath. That is sensual.

I enjoy listening to jazz or classical music, it effects my senses and more than just my hearing. Most people find music of one genre or another appeals to their senses, – hips start swaying, toes start tapping.

The freshness of the air after a summer rain, even the feel of rain on the skin is sensual.

The aroma of fried onions at the fair. The taste and satisfaction of chocolate. Ice cream on the palate. Hand cream on dry skin. The feel of soft fur on boots and gloves. Stroking the cat, even having the dog or cat on your lap. The changing glow of a sunset. The delight of increasing warmth of sunrise when camping. The play of a fighting fish on light tackle. The warmth and glow of a campfire or fireplace. The emotions of having your lover close, the caress of a lover’s hands. These are all sensual. Surely God gave us these senses for our pleasure, and if so, then they are not sinful.

I find the feel of a well crafted tool, a hammer for instance, the balance, the form to the hand, that is appealing to me. Is that not sensual?

There is something suspicious in an item that is termed ‘Decanted’. I received an email today with an ad for ‘5 Decadently-Scented Body Products’. Obviously appealing to ones sensuality. Then again, ‘Decadent Chocolate Cookies’ are just plain and simple yummy.

Manufacturers employ design teams which will conduct surveys to incorporate sensuality into their product knowing that looks and feel are often more important to a customer than function. They call it ergonomics. They also realize that sex sells. Are we now bordering on the sinful side of sensuality?

Your cell phone has been designed to appeal to you. It’s shape, color and handling is meant for a specific grouping of users. Whether you are young, older, male or female, there is a cell phone tailored directly for you. The sensuality inherent in people translates to money for the savvy entrepreneur.

Fashion is the biggest manipulator of sensuality/sexuality. Why do women wear high heeled shoes? Certainly not for the comfort or practicality. It is for the way it makes a woman look and feel. Raising the heel adds shape to the calves and tightens the buttocks increasing the sensual appeal. Taller women are far more sexier, not that shorter women can’t be sexy, but it comes down to overall sensual appeal. Feeling sexier is more sensual, even if it is only to the ego.

Fashion is tailored for sex appeal for both women and men. Accentuate the bust and hips on women and narrow the waist or have the garment flow to the walk. For men, pants should slim the hip line and jackets give breadth to the shoulders. Clothes define a person, that defining can be attractive, sensual or sexy. To dress to be flirtatious or appeal to the sexual senses of the opposite sex can very well be sinful. Does this mean that the Christian must always be prudish, reserved?

What is the difference between fashion and style? I offer this from Divine Magazine for Women:

“Style requires self-awareness, self-knowledge, confidence, personality, inventiveness, and the courage to express one’s true self in an increasingly fast-paced world that renders individuality almost obsolete. ….. matters of style carry certain social implications. For one, as Psychology Today Editor-at-Large Hara Estroff Marano put it best, “Style presumes that you are a person of interest; that the world is a place of interest, that life is worth making the effort for.” The author also incisively points out that style implies a degree of moral responsibility. Once we limit ourselves to pieces reflective of our personal style, consumption no longer becomes something we blindly partake in to excess, or at the behest of marketers. And in that verve, we do our part, however small, to reduce the waste that currently engulfs our planet.”

Perhaps Ephesians 4:19 explains it best “Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more.” I believe Paul is inferring that we make sure we remain sensitive and restrained, not only to our own sensual pleasures but, the sensual drive of others that we may not cause them to lose themselves to lust.

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