Humble Dogs

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

Archive for the tag “Religion”

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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New Year Resolution Anyone?

Blessings for a Joyous New Year.

I have never made a New Year Resolution. I have always been guilty of some degree of procrastination. I once thought that I would resolve to change that but, ….             (old joke)

In order to make a resolution that has any promise of result, first one must belief that he/she has the power to change one’s situation. Most of the time our lives are much too complicated for follow through on our resolutions. Perhaps that should be everyone’s top resolution; to simplify our lives. Allow God time to show the way.

The historical meaning of ‘Resolution’ is; “the process of reducing things into simpler forms”.

Questions we must ask ourselves before making a resolution:
Why am I making a resolution?
For whom am I making this resolution? For myself? For my Family? For God?
Is my resolution realistic?
What are the realistic expectations for how my life will change upon adapting to my resolution?
What influences are preventing me from achieving the desired results?

Very often it is the way we conduct our lives that stands in the way of any significant improvement. We are creatures of habit, not habits of smoking, or drinking, or drugs, swearing etc. but those things we do that come between us and peace. The rush of mornings before we leave for work. We too often are so regimented, or try to be, that the little obstacles of life, like running out of toothpaste, Johnny can’t find matching socks, Annie needs a note for her teacher, these can disrupt our whole day, well at least the morning. So often our regimentation, our habitual routines, come between us and God. We fail to take time to hear his voice.

Here’s a short story.
A man would leave for work each morning and drive down the cul-de-sac where he lives, come to the intersection, slow down and look up the street before making a right turn onto the avenue. One day after making the turn, blink – blink, a police car was pulling him over.
“Did you not see the stop sign at the intersection you turned off at.” asked the cop.
“Yeah, I saw it.” The man replied.
‘Fraid I’m gonna have to write you a ticket for failing to stop at the intersection.”
“No way, I slowed right down and looked for traffic. That’s the same as stopping.”
“Next time come to a full stop. Here’s your ticket.” The policeman left.

The very next day the man drives down the cul-de-sac, slows down and looks up the street before making a right turn onto the avenue. Again, in the mirror, blink – blink, the same police car was pulling him over.
“So, you didn’t learn your lesson yesterday. I’m gonna have to write you another ticket.”
“O come on! I slowed right down and looked for traffic. That’s the same as stopping.”
The policeman hands the man a ticket and drives off.

Once more, the man drives down the cul-de-sac, slows down at the intersection, looks up the street before making his right turn. Again, in the mirror, blink – blink, the same police car, pulling him over for a third day in a row.
“What am I gonna have to do to get you to come to a complete stop at that intersection?” the cop asked.
“Look officer”, the man retorts with anger, “I slowed right down, I looked for traffic. That’s the same thing as stopping.”
With that the officer reaches in, grabs the man by his head and starts beating on him with his free fist.
“Now,” says the officer, “Do you want me to stop, or just slow down?”

So many Christians are like that driver. God needs to give them a right smack upside the head before they listen.

2 Corinthians 10:5 “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

With that, I wish you a peaceful, prosperous and joy filled 2013 – and may the peace of God, which goes beyond anything we can imagine, guard your thoughts and emotions through Christ Jesus. (from Philippians 4:7)

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