Doing Religion instead of Faith

In all things, we must attempt to do our best to consistently think by way of critical analytical objective logic, especially when it comes to the case for Faith. Thinking is like painting, we can all do it, but how well are we doing it, and how often?

It is very very easy for a human to be doing religion instead of faith.

– Religion: man-made ideas, practices and traditions.

– Faith: an individual personal intimate relationship with God that develops and       grows through speaking and listening both ways.

In the beginning believers in Christ were called followers of the Way [John 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me]. Also what can be lost in translation is that the grammar of “the way” is emphatic; as in “Thee Way” – the only Way!

In any instance, for the truth to be the fully true truth, is always true in all ways or it is not truly a full truth. Truth by its very definition is exclusive by unequivocal logic as to exclude what is not true. This is why we find that a Faith in the one and only Holy triune God: Father, Son and Spirit is set apart from ALL other worldviews.

But how?… What is about to follow is a little bit long but stick with me on it. Let’s look at the truth in the simplified foundations of world religions, and what they all below; have in common [not an exhaustive list as it would take too long].

1. Bible incorrect/ incomplete. Says they are the one true church/ religion despite contradiction.

2. Christ is not God, denies the eternal divinity and authority of Christ.

3. Angel of light comes as a messenger bringing a different gospel message to that decreed by God in the Holy Writ of the Bible.

4. Salvation is gained by works.

5. A governing body that hears from God directly with clearest and full truth by which to direct members. 6. Only they have special direct contact with God.

Jehovah’s witnesses – 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.

LDS – 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.

Islam – 1, 2, 3, 4.

Christadelphians – 1, 2, 3, 4.

Judaism – 1, 2, 4.

Buddhism – 1, 2, 4.

Hinduism – 1, 2, 4.

Sikhism – 1, 2, 4.

Jainism – 1, 2, 4.

Rastafarianism – 1, 2, 4.

Scientology – 1, 2, 4.

Baha’i – 1, 2, 4, 5.

Are we starting to see a pattern here?…….

It could be said that it looks very much like Lucifer and his fallen ilk have been visiting humanity throughout all our age, with nearly identical themed con stories that could lead us no closer to God than money could.

Doing religion instead of living faith is a very frivolous and dangerous situation to be caught up in.

Take care,

Barry.

It’s not Christmas, it’s Advent!

I think one of the most challenging parts of Christianity is the fact that I don’t have all the answers, yet. So it’s about praying for patience, patience being something I am not particularly good at. During this time of waiting and praying, which is what Advent is all about, perhaps its time to be patient with ourselves, not force advent to be over so we can celebrate Christmas.
Jesus came as a babe, the Word made Flesh, and experienced what we go through with all its joys and pain. This will as you ponder it will richly bless you if you take time to notice, to be aware of your surroundings and your mind. Give Advent a go, you might find those answers come to you during a regular practice of meditation on Advent.

Sam

Meditation and Contemplation?

I was asked what the difference is between meditation and contemplation. I pondered this for some time. I can see how people find it difficult to tell between the two. When the answer came to me, I realised that it is not that difficult at all. It’s really quite simple, as most fundamental truths are. Even Jesus said the gospel message is so simple even a child can understand it.

Meditation is how we let God in, and allow God to speak to our hearts to draw us in closer. Contemplation is to be with God for no other reason, but, to bask in the presence of God. Meditation is how the heart deepens in love for God. Contemplation enjoys that love from God’s perspective, not ours.

It is only by practising contemplation and meditation that we build on our relationship with God. Time spent doing either activity is going to produce fruit. You spend time easily with friends and family, yet some of you struggle to chat with God. A regular time spent talking with God is going to develop your wisdom and discernment. Contemplation or meditation are great tools for doing this.

Use them wisely.

Pax.

Sam.

Mindfulness and God.

It’s true. You do not have to hermit yourself away in order to experience the mystical. You can have treasured moments with God right now, whilst you are reading this or doing the dishes. Talk to God, build a conversation. Be mindful. If you do not know what that means it is easy to grasp. It means being totally aware of the moment you are in now. Listening with your heart and feeling with your mind. Just close your eyes for a moment. Now see what you can smell. Can you hear your heartbeat? Can you feel your heartbeat? Can you focus on a colour that is near you? What does the colour taste like? In your mind picture the taste. Can you become aware of your body standing or sitting where you are right now?

Focus in on your breathing. Is it a steady rate? Are you pausing with your breath? Do you have an equal exhale and inhale? The mystical, the secrets for you to experience are all around you in the very mundane. You do not need to go to a friary in order to learn how to *see*.

Ask God for wisdom and discernment. Get to know yourself deeply. Do you know of any pain in your body? What is its message?

If you get to see yourself deeply you will surely see others deeply as well. Above all when you are being mindful, remember to have that conversation with God. Where does God want you to focus? What area of your mind, body, soul needs working upon? needs healing?

The mystical is not always hidden in the unknown but is accessible in the ordinary and mundane.

Pax,

Sam.

Depression. A biblical answer.

I have Bipolar disorder and have often looked through scripture to find answers to my problems. Depression is something which I am old friends with. You have to make friends with it when you are Bipolar as the damn thing takes up residence so often. What does the bible say?

The Bible tells us that God will never allow temptations into our lives that are too much for us to handle (1 Corinthians 10:13). Depression is often viewed as a persistent feeling of sadness. Of course, it is okay to be sad. We live in a world of pain (Genesis 3:14–19; Romans 8:20–22), and Jesus wept over the death of Lazarus (John 11:35). There is no need to always put on a happy face and pretend that things are okay when they are not. Job, Noah, Joseph, David, Moses and others faced sadness. Most mature believers are susceptible to depression (Elijah, 1 Kings 19:1-4;  Peter, Matt. 26:69-75),

The Bible is clear that we should be marked by joy in the Lord, even in some of the most difficult circumstances (John 15:11; Acts 5:41; Gal. 5:22; Phil 4:4). Psalms 42 & 43 give us some solid counsel. David wrote, “Record my misery; list my tears on your scroll—are they not in your record?” (Psalm 56:8). David, a “man after [God’s] own heart” (Acts 13:22), did not gloss over his sadness; he expressed it to God. Remember, David’s depression was due to his sin. Both Moses (Numbers 11:15) and Elijah (1 Kings 19:3–5), two heroes of the faith, confessed to God that they preferred to die than live in their current reality. The Bible is not shy about admitting the realities of human emotion. Sadness is part of life, and it is not condemned. God has given us the resources to be overwhelming conquerors in even the most desperate situations, including torture and martyrdom (Rom. 8:35-37). God is sovereign even over the evil and sinful things going on in this world. God also stands by us when we are in the depths of despair. I know from experience that it feels like God is absent when we are low. That our prayers go unheard. Nothing can be further from the truth. God is there for us and is listening to us intently.

Joshua 1:9

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

 

Sam.