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- WHO WE ARE AND AREN'T
- EVENTS & SERVICES
- THAT'S NOT JESUS
- QUESTIONS? ANSWERS
- MENTAL HEALTH
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JESUS CHRIST. Allow me to explain. IF JESUS was a historical person that lived and walked among us. IF he said the things people claim, THEN you must deal with his claims of "being sent from the father (God), being "one with God" being the "way to God". Because either Jesus was real, he said what people claim, or he was not. IF Jesus was real and made those claims and did the things people claim he did--Then God is real because Jesus was. The question of God's existence is then proved by Jesus Christ and the works he did, as he was sent from God. An imaginary God cannot send a real person to do miracle. So, who is Jesus?
OK, sounds like a fair question at first. Let me ask you this. Have you ever used a phone? Have you ever gone online (you are right now) Have you ever ridden in a car? Sat in a chair? Taken medication? So, do you know how each of those things work and has someone proven to you that they are real? NO. BUT YOU PLACE YOUR FAITH IN THEM CONSTANTLY AND USE THEM WITHOUT DOUBT. YOU TRUST THEM, BUT NOT GOD. Has every detail been explained? You may say, "but we know they work we use them all the time." Well, silly is the same with faith. Each time Jesus performed a miracle he first required someone to do something or declare their faith. You didn't know the phone worked until you used it---you simply took someone else's word and believed it first. Then once you used it for yourself you knew it worked. That's faith. You may say "but we can see these things...you can't see God." I will say look around you at the stars and the earth---look at nature you see God. Look at the people who say "god says this....and God did that..." it's the same as someone telling you for the first time about a bike or car. Faith required Trust...trust requires trying something out.
You should NOT! At least you should not believe it is some magical book zapped down by God like a Harry Potter movie. That's Fantasy, and contrary to what some "Christians" say, the bible DOES NOT make those claims. Some "Christians" make the Bible into their golden calf or IDOL, and they worship the book over the author of the story, which is God. They will weaponize the bible chop it up and take a sentence or 2 of what they want while ignoring the context and the rest of what it says. It's the ultimate cut and paste job to prove their preset views or justify something. That is NOT WHAT GOD INTENDED.
God DID INSPIRE people to write different books to speak his truths and tell us of his plan for our lives and His love for us. His "word" is contained in it, but it's not a magic dictation of instructions. Some Christians are fond of calling the bible "God's word" The funny thing is, the Bible itself says "Jesus is the word" At times St Paul in the bible refers to oral truths he is teaching as "the word of God" as well. God's word is NOT just dictated and finalized in some book. Do you really think an ALL POWERFUL, ALL KNOWING GOD, WHO CREATED EVERYTHING AND IS OUTSIDE TIME AND SPACE WOULD JUST GIVE US A BOOK AND LEAVE IT AT THAT?
Let me give you an example. Ever meet an obsessed fan of Harry Potter, Star Wars etc....and they declare their hate of the author. They know better. It's funny, isn't it? But at least they are being honest in their arrogance and pride. See its easier to follow a written list of things and form your own interpretation and believe you alone hold some superior truth--then it is to listen to someone else, in this case God. I don't expect you to believe in a literal talking snake or giant Ark. I would say since we don't know consider it might have happened. Instead realize what the BIBILE IS.
Now the Bible is what we refer to as an anthology, which is a written collection of books and stories. It is not one book, it is an edited collection of books written over various times, by different people, in various places. More than that, it contains myths, history, poems, letters, stories, biographies, and predictions. At one point the church got together and said, "hey we need to standardize this people are getting confused." So the leaders gathered and put all the collections of stuff about God and Jesus together, prayed and under God's inspiration decided to put it all together in one book. There rule was "when in doubt, leave it out" So as not to have disagreement and be sure falsehoods were not included. Then the book was translated over time. Sure, there may be minor "errors." because of that. (All you have to do is read a few different translations and you will see different words and sentences that can conflict)
So, the bible CONTAINS GOD'S WORD AND REVELATION TO US, AND IS VERY USEFUL AS A GUIDE- WE SHOULD LOOK TO IT AND FOLLOW IT BUT NOT MAKE IT INTO AN IDOL. IT NEEDS TO BE READ ALONGSIDE PRAYER WITH AN UNDERSTANDING OF WHAT THE AUTHOR WAS WRITING, WHO HE HAS TALKING TO AT THE TIME, AND WHAT THE HISTORICAL CONTEXT WAS. For example is the author meaning for it to apply today? Let's take Jesus words some of his teachings he is teaching as a concept for everyone, at other times since its a biography Jesus, which is the story of Jesus, it is recounting specific instructions he gave to his followers at the time and telling a story. No one in their right mind believes for example, Jesus is telling each of us to go to Jerusalem and find a donkey. Likewise, the letter of St. Paul are in the New Testament. These are letter written to give the churches advice on how to live Godly lives and follow the faith. Sometimes they are instructions for us today, Paul even distinguishes in them saying sometimes "not I but God says" He is getting a revelation from God at the time for us today. Other times Paul says "I Paul" or "You should." That is Paul speaking. Much like an "EXPERT" TODAY. WE LISTEN AN TAKE THEIR OPINON SERIOUSLY DUE TO THEIR KNOWLEGE AND WE LOOK TO THEM FOR GUIDANCE- BUT WE DON'T BLINDLY ACCEPT EVERYTHING. Paul even says "don't follow me or ....follow Christ."
"Christians" make the mistake of taking everything in the letters (the rest of the New Testament apart from the stories of Jesus) and saying Jesus says.. I am fond of saying "Jesus never said that." Have you ever had someone "put words in your mouth for you" and have to have gone back and clarified I never said that....it was so and so....or that's not what I meant?
Bottom line- Proceed with caution. The bible contains God's truth and revelation to us. It is a collection of inspired thoughts on God. BUT it needs to be understood in its proper context, not weaponized or held up as an idol.
Well, unfortunately that is the truth a lot of times. BUT WHY ARE YOU LOOKING AT THEM AND ALLOWING SOMEONE ELSE TO RUIN YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD AND KEEP YOU FROM JESUS?
Do you stop buying soda, if you buy a terrible one? Do you not eat out if you go to a bad restaurant? Also, come on let's be real. Who is not a hypocrite? We are all hypocritical in some sense and we are all imperfect. DON'T LET PEOPLE OR CHURCHES BAD ACTIONS KEEP YOU FROM GOD--Jesus struggled against this always fighting with religious people of his day even telling them they were hypocrites keeping people from God. Lots of churchy religious folks are the same today...they keep people from Jesus.
Finally, MOST IMPORTANT. Just because someone calls themselves something does NOT make them it. I can call myself a duck---I am not a duck. People can label themselves as anything and Identify with it. That does not make them it. ANYONE CAN SAY THEY ARE A CHRISTAIN, OR SPEAK FOR GOD OR FOLLOW HIM--THAT DOES NOT MAKE IT TRUE. The bible says, "God is love" and the test is do they lives their lives as Jesus did. So, look at Jesus.
Read the gospels and see what he said and did. Don't let people keep you from him. I will tell you this, people spewing hate and condemnation are probably not speaking for God or follow Jesus. Just be careful you just aren't using that thought pattern to reject someone if you are doing something wrong and they tell you about it, because you don't want to hear it. We all know the difference though in our hearts...we just won't admit it.
You fill in the blanks. People have a VERY WARPED NARROW DEFINITION OF SIN AND USE IT TO JUDGE OTHERS. Yes, the bible says many things are sin. More than I can count. Did you know there are not just 10 commandments but hundreds? (that's a whole different topic as the OLD TESTAMENT LAWS do NOT apply any longer because Jesus brought about a new way of doing things and NEW relationship with God. He completed the law, he said "fulfilled")
So, what is sin? stealing? Murder? Sex? Being gay? Anger? The bible says sin is anything that displeases God. It says even "Whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it sins." Anger, greed, gossip, malice, so many things are wrong. Anything wrong is sinful. AND WE ALL DO WRONG! Jesus took this a step further and made it a matter of our hearts and our thoughts, even saying those things were "sin." The truth is no-one can go a single hour without sinning. It's just some of us chose to do it deliberately and continue while others just do it and either don't even realize it or are sorry. Some sins are obvious, others are not.
This is why the bible says, "all have sinned and fallen short of God's glory there is not one righteous." All sin is equally wrong before God and brings the same judgement. Separation from God when we chose to do our own thing and go our own way instead of living in His perfect will. Anything apart from the will of God is "Sin." The person who does not give to someone who asks or the person holding hate in their heart is just as much of a sinner as the murderer.
IT JUST THE BIBLE PROVIDES A BUNCH OF EXAMPLES AND LISTS OF SINS, AND AS HUMAN BEINGS WE LOVE TO CATEGORIZE THEM AND JUDGE OTHERS THINKING WE ARE BETTER THAN THEM, OR SMALL WRONGS ARE LESS WRONG THEN "BIG ONES" AND WORSE--WE MAKE OURSELVES THE JUDGES IN OUR LIMITED KNOWLEGE AND UNDERSTANDING OF WHAT IS "SIN" AND WHAT WRONGS DON'T MATTER AND ARE ACCEPTED AS COMMON PRACTICE. THAT IS NOT THE WAY GOD SEES THINGS.
For example, the women who leads bible study might gossip all the time, and no one cares or confronts her, but the teenage pregnant girl is kicked out of the church. God loves them each, Jesus died for each of them. They are each eligible to receive God's mercy and be reconciled with him. But the church lets the women continue to gossip while kicking out the pregnant girl and demands she "repent" of her sinful relationship. You see that's a human thing, not a God thing.
Jesus said "I have not come to judge the world but to save it" and "I have come to seek and save the lost." That is all of us.
BOTTEM LINE- DON'T WORRY ABOUT WHAT YOU DO OR DON'T DO OR THINK YOU ARE UNWORTHY OF GOD AND NOT COME TO JESUS BECAUSE YOU DO TOO MUCH WRONG. Peter initially told Jesus "go away from me for I am a sinful man." Jesus responded, "Come follow me"
SO JUST TURN TO GOD, WANT A RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD, STOP GOING YOUR OWN WAY AND FOLLOWING YOUR OWN WILL AN SEEK GOD- THEN TURN TO JESUS AND ACCEPT HIM AS YOUR LORD AND SAVIOR. JESUS WILL COME AND LIFE WITHIN YOU AND CHANGE YOU. AS YOU GET TO KNOW JESUS, JUST LIKE ANYONE YOU COME TO LOVE--YOU WILL CHANGE BECAUSE OF HIM. HE WILL CHANGE YOU AND YOU WILL SOON FIND YOU DO NOT WANT TO DO ANYTHING THAT DISPLEASES GOD--AND WHEN YOU FAIL YOU WILL FEEL SORRY AND GOD WILL FORGIVE YOU, HE WILL CONTINUE TO WORK IN YOUR LIFE AND CHANGE YOU MAKING YOU MORE PERFECT GETTING RID OF ALL THAT BAD STUFF AND WRONG DOING--UNTI THE DAY HE CALLS YOU HOME TO BE WITH HIM IN HEAVEN.
Good Question. Personally, I believe that all religions have SOME truth to them, and good and bad parts. Sometimes I notice they say the same things in different ways and argue about it. You could say something is a "mountain" I could say its "a hill" and we could be looking at the very same thing, which is real, but we see and interpret it differently, each one thinking we are right. THAT BEING SAID. I go by what Jesus taught and said because I trust Him. He said "I am the way the truth and the life NO-ONE gets to the father (God) except through me." He said "the work God requires of us is "to believe in the one he sent" (that would be him) So if you are Mad at that, then be Mad at Jesus, he said it not me. I trust him. Who or what do you put your trust in?
Let me give you a few examples. If go out into deep water, where you are not supposed to be and now you are drowning and face death if a lifeguard rushes in the save you, are you going to scream for the boss and say, "why can't I pick who you send to save me?" or question "aren't their other lifeguards available?" Darn sure you won't! If you go to sleep leaving something burning and your house is on fire with you being trapped and facing death and a fireman appears, cutting a hole in the wall to give you an exit and rescue you are you going to argue with him and say "why did you make the exit there?" "Why do I have to go out that way." "Why didn't you make several holes and give me a choice." I don't think so. You would allow the fireman to save you, taking you right through the hole he made to rescue you. So why not allow God to save you using Jesus? Argue if you want, you're the dying person. AND GETTED RESCUED IS ALWAYS A CHOICE.
Nice thought. Sounds good. Let me ask you this, ARE YOU PERFECT? HAVE YOU NEVER DONE ANYTHING WRONG? You see some things we just can't fix on our own, including our "sins" (that would be wrong thoughts, actions, failing to do the right thing, mistakes." You just can't take things back once they are done or fix everything can you. AND there are consequences for everything.
If someone puts a little bit of poison in a soda and says--but the rest of the soda is fine, are you going to drink it? If someone says, well look there was dog poop on this plate, but I fixed it and whipped it off will you eat off it? IF a holy perfect God exists and we are not perfect, the two cannot mix. Perfection demands perfection. We are not perfect, and we now live in an imperfect world. So no matter how hard we try to "be good" "do the right thing" we will fail. That is why God DID PROVIDE THE EXIT THE RESCUE---JESUS CHRIST. We can never be good enough; we don't need to. God sent Jesus. That's good news isn't it?
Now that's one of the hardest questions to explain. One of the big traps that people fall into, and this is how we get all these fake crazy beliefs and doctrines in "Christianity", his people seek to explain what they cannot understand, then they make assumptions and put them out there is truth. I do intensive forms of that trap. So let me first admit there are things we don't understand and can explain. BUT since you asked, I'll do the best I can to explain.
For one thing we live in what's called a "fallen world". You ever see a good sci-fi movie about the end of the world and people messed up the plan and it was due to global warming or some new Ice Age same concept. God created everything perfect, but he gave us free will and free choice. That's the difference between humans and other creations. We know right and wrong and we choose the wrong. Well, that has consequences, God didn't create evil nor is he responsible for all the evil in this world but creation and the world we live in is no longer perfect because people have messed it up with our actions. Have you ever made something or had something brand-new and then somebody else messes it up once they get their hands on it same concept?
Now this only goes so far, sometimes really terrible things happen, and we blame God. We don't understand why really terrible things happen. Here's what I have to say about that. Are we God? Did we make the heavens and the earth? Is it our plan? Is it our design? Are we timeless and eternal? Do we know everything? There's a guy in the Bible called Joe and it says in the beginning that he is a completely righteous man, yet God allows really terrible things happen to him is the story of the whole book. In the end, he asked God why, and instead of answering those questions. You see with God you're automatically if you accept him submitting an understanding that there is a being that has more power more control and more knowledge than you and you are submitting yourself to that authority believing they are better than you and they know best. That's why most people won't follow Jesus are believing God they want to go their own way and believe that they are the ultimate power and have ultimate control when it is, that does. So sometimes you just have to trust, God has a purpose and a reason for this he knows better than me. But always remember God has the end result in mind because he's outside of time and we only see what is right in front of us in our limited knowledge. It's not for us to know everything.
Finally, we think of death in people dying as a permanent thing. It is not. The whole concept of all this is that this physical life and body we are in is just one stop along the journey and we have an eternal life. We are merely at a hotel waiting to get to our final destination. In fact, early Christians refer to death as "falling asleep in Christ" knowing that death was not permanent. So if you view death as the ultimate evil then you ask questions why did so-and-so have to die why did that child die why did so many people die but if you understand things from an internal perspective outside of time, nobody is dying there just done with their particular stop in this destination and have moved on. If your parents send your brother or sister away to college, you will miss them but you wouldn't blame your parents feeling they took them from you. In addition, you would know that one day you would see them again.
Because forgiveness and being fair and right do not always agree with each other. Sometimes being merciful and forgiving may not be the right thing to do.
If you got caught for a small thing in school and the teacher told you, forget about it I forgive you, I bet you would think that teacher was so cool. Furthermore, if you did the same thing over and over again and the teacher kept overlooking it and forgiving you, you think they were great. You would also take advantage of them and continue to do it. Now let's say, you just got beat up by a school bully and you were really hurt, that same teacher told the bully "don't worry about it I forgive you" and there was no consequence. You would not think that teacher was so cool any longer.
Likewise, if you had a go before a judge for speeding ticket and he let you off the hook and said we'll just forget about it, you would think what a great merciful good judge that was. But if you stayed in the courtroom, and there was a child rapist behind you and the judge said they were guilty, but the judge forgave them and let them walk free, you would no longer think the judge was so great. Would you?
You see mercy and justice do not always go together. If God forgave everything we did and there was never a punishment are consequence everybody would just commit evil. Then we would be blaming God for what he doesn't punish evil people. But God is merciful he is also fair. So to forgive some people in the merciful yet protect others and allow justice and fairness he came up with the perfect solution.
God sent Jesus Christ, to pay the price for all our sins and wrongdoing he took the consequences upon himself having done no wrong himself. More than that, Jesus had a choice and did this willingly. We just need to accept him and then live our lives in submission to him
It is as if the judge came down pronounced us guilty, then walked off the bench, and said take me to jail and said let them go I love them that much. Now that's not a free pass to continue to do evil and wrongdoing, it's more like a second chance, and then, as the Bible said we are reconciled and made right with God through Jesus Christ.
Jesus said he was "sent from God" He also said he was the "son of God" He prayed to God and said he was the "way to God" He also said he could "Do nothing apart from the will of God" and that he will save "all those God has given him" as well as "all authority and power have been given to him by my father in heaven (God). "I am going to my father (God) in heaven" That seems to answer no. BUT...
Jesus also said "I and the father are one" and "if you have seen me you have seen God" In addition Jesus accepted worship from others that was only due to God. When Thomas said "my Lord and My God" and bowed before Jesus he accepted it. When the Jewish leaders said "only God can forgive sins" Jesus took that authority on himself. Later on, when the asked him if he was God, using the Jewish name "IAM" Jesus said "I AM" and at this point they had enough to say " we need no more evidence" Jesus had convicted himself and admitted to what was then a capital crime, claiming to be God.
Things get more confusing when Jesus said he will send us "the holy spirit" and live inside his followers. So how does this 3 in one Trinity work? Well, I don't have all the answers to that. I am not God.
Here is one way of looking at it. If I create a company and my friend is with me from the beginning he knows every detail, maybe even helps or give me advice and feedback as make it. I then make him the cofounder. He has all my power and authority. He knows everything I do. He is as much in charge of the company as me. The company is both me and him. Now I go away for a bit and I need to straighten things out in it. First I send people, and no one listens. Then I send my friend directly from me. He is the cofounder. His word is my word. We are one. So he comes and tell everyone how to fix things. They say we want to hear from the owner not you, he says "I am the owner." He might still call to ask me for things, but he for all intents and purposes is me to them. That's just one way of looking at it.
The truth is- God is eternal and not a physical form. He is outside space and time.. We don't know or understand everything, nor are we meant to right now. He gives us what we need to follow him and get back to the destination, which is living with God in heaven forever. Personally I want to do that.