Monday, August 29, 2011

Ethics and Ethnics

 One of the subjects I remember when in college was christian ethics. It usually tends to lean toward what is right or wrong , simply put. We are also taught dispensation of grace and forgiveness among other subject matter. These ethical studies I find have been often missing by evangelical society. Everyone knows of God's amazing grace , he forgives even the undeserving as pointed out in book of Psalms and throughout scripture. We must also learn obedience in our walk.
 Ethnics is a subject often avoided - it speaks of our beginnings our background. Ethnicity can often become a permanent part of you, and sometimes we try to incorporate that into our walk. If you visit the town I was born in, there are Ukranian, Greek , Polish  and just about every ethnic church you can think of. Why is ethnicity brought into christian culture , often I ask myself that question. I prayed about this and we are not all the same , we are a multi- cultured people. There is no reason for us to all become German to be Lutheran, or Dutch to be Wesleyan. Imagine this if we spent all our energy trying to dispel the other christian due to their ethnicity- how would we reach the world with the gospel of peace.
 I accept any christian church of ethnicity or temperance as long as they have ethics. They teach the truth in that Jesus Christ came not to judge but save the world, in the teaching of Love , Hope and Forgiveness. My mother and I had a conversation about preaching, many of the young were falling away at her church - having children without getting married. Marriage seems to be on the chopping block in recent times. She said, her pastor was going to preach more about hell and put the fear of God back in the church. I was taken back by this and told her why not teach about inner peace and how important it is to keep this gift from Jesus Christ. Not only is salvation a gift  but Jesus said to his apostles my peace I leave unto you.
 There is always a big amen when souls are saved and go to the altar - many young , some fresh off the streets. What do you do after the dust settles, teach inner peace , teach the fruits of the Spirit of God. If the truth is told they will desire to be married under the bond of love for each other. The fear of God did little to sway the Egyptians , how many plagues did it take for the tribes of Israel to gain their freedom. The new testament of Christ teaches us to love the Lord with all our hearts and minds, let this mind be in you that was also in Christ Jesus. How can we steer the young folks with plaques or a promise of hell. I think with the rapid growth of the church and perhaps zeal of wanting to bring many into the fold , the teaching of obedience to God was left out of the equation.
 I find many evangelical churches are trying to increase their numbers at the expense of good teaching. They find themselves overwhelmed with too few leaders and stability becomes a problem. The church is becoming a social ground and not holy ground. Personally - I do not believe in mega churches, they have a history of being too impersonal ,  people tend to flock to them though. It is entertaining , they have big screens and make a lot of noise. When God is a still small voice that is drowned out, then how can we hear Gods voice to be obedient. We need to teach christian ethics as part of the body of Christ- Just a thought.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Holy Water for sale

 We see in movies this magical water called holy water when sprinkled on vampires makes them pour out smoke. I was curious about this special water with all respect to the religious of its power. Water  has always been an important elements of the Christian faith understanding this element would seem crucial to study. I also would note that holy water is used in the Catholic, some Lutheran, many christian churches in the Hindu and other religions. What makes water holy is that it is blessed by a priest. My wife is a catholic and we have a vial of this holy water purchased directly from the Vatican. I respect her beliefs and by the way I attend Lutheran services in which we do not use holy water , it may be an individual thing or maybe an attending catholic likes to use the baptismal fount out of practice. I say this because sometimes my wife comes to church with me and sometimes we go to catholic services.
  The power to create holy water is another religious practice that I will not judge as some are offended, I could not find a reference to holy water in the bible. Just because it is not in the bible does not mean it is wrong or right. We often have prayer shawls and other items we distribute to the members of the church that are sick to bring comfort. If this gives some comfort to sprinkle blessed water to deter evil then it may be a matter of personal faith. I will however oppose the sale of such things as to bring a profit to the church and also to sell this at $15.00 a bottle on seems odd. The various religious items of crosses, amulets, beads and such things for sale to me are an affront to Christ , I remember the Jesus that went into the temple and upturned the tables of such vendors. He said my house is to be a house of prayer, evil is defeated by prayer.  Why do we subject ourselves to fear and allow it to effect the inner peace?
 We can defeat fear and evil by understanding the origin - do these imps exists. Is holy water effective against these imps which I call them. Yes - maybe temporary effective but if you want to defeat them forever pray - your inner faith is more likely to work than the potion of a priest.
 Sometimes I will purchase a bottle of spring water not knowing its origin- the label may say it is from the cloister of brethren or mountain springs of France. Does this water have a healthier value than tap water -hmm. I always felt better to drink it and it seems special cause its expensive. Sure it may have been filtered by the tiny rocks and sand in the spring or would just a pure water filter work from home depot. All these things when put into perspective do not matter.
 I do know that we are told by Jesus " I am the living water by drinking the living water one can drink and never thirst again."and John 7:38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. So, what is more important faith as Jesus describes in living water or holy water. I will take the living water any day -amen.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Vision of Version

 In my studies of the bible , I tried many approaches. Also studied along with other groups of persons many well educated ,  and some just have a gift of discernment. Perhaps the most studied book in the world the holy bible has been re-written hundreds of times in various languages, versions , reference and study forms. Please do not let this confuse or discourage you as it often can lead to division amongst scholarly persons. We often go back to original hebrew or latin translation to get  deeper meaning. I can tell you this in all honesty the english is sufficient. I received the Holy Ghost and was able to find salvation reading the english version.
 I did have to study the latin, hebrew and greek to get  piece of paper toward a degree in theology. My vision of Gods word is not one of such great mystery or requiring mastery of an ancient language. The english is sufficient, do not get drawn into arguments of doctrine and theology. I have already gone down that road, it is more important  to know the nature of Christ and be able to apply that to our daily lives than the historical trek of the Jews and their customs. I do have volumes of books on those subjects world history and customs. Love, Hope and Forgiveness leading to Word , Thought and Deed are my only doctrine. These are all biblical and also the basis of many of the worlds religions.
 People of learning can sometimes  lose sight of the vision. The vision is to know the nature of Christ and apply that knowledge  in conquering fear , sickness - evil or whatever obstacle crosses your path. Keep in mind every parable has an application, a lot of prophecy has already been fulfilled. We live in the present do not get caught up in history or futuristic ideals. It is not just to live for the hope of someday making it to heaven. Live for today, enjoy your life - Jesus last words to the apostles were peace be unto you. Jesus wanted us to have personal peace of mind, he then breathed upon them the Holy Ghost. What I have found most about being in Christ is a peace that passes all understanding, I believe this was the peace Jesus was talking about.
 I do not want to share the gospel just for the purpose of the after life but in this life also. We have a joyful life to be shared now in the present. This is a gift apart from salvation the gift of peace. -Amen

Friday, August 5, 2011

Pain and Fear

 A relative of mine recently asked for prayer. She had numbness in her face and pain in her joints - along with that she had fear. I thought of this most diligently and my conclusion was to pray for her fear. Her pain may be old age or arthritis  but we all eventually get old, the fear is what concerned me. I thought of John 14 Let not your hearts be troubled , neither let it be afraid. Of course this is the beginning and the end of the verse. So eloquently Jesus explains why we are not to be afraid in the middle, in my Fathers house are many mansions, if it were not so I would not have told you.
 I also thought of the words of FDR as we were in a climatic moment during wartime, there is nothing to fear but fear itself.

 We all experience pain at one point or another , it is our body saying it needs attention either bones , muscle or tissue. Sometimes even an exposed nerve or even emotion can bring on pain. Emotional pain is as serious as physical pain and can lead to other complications. Jesus realized this saying "Let not your heart be troubled." This is not a band aid but a complete healing thought, if read  through neither let it be afraid. Fear comes in many forms as does pain. Fear of losing a relationship, Fear of losing your job or security. Fear of the unknown  is often the greatest fear of all, which is why Jesus goes on to explain what awaits the believer. To conquer death you must first conquer fear. I have held the hand of the dying in various time of my life. Once a relative whom I prayed with was dying - she went from a frown to a peaceful smile in the last moments. Not because of my prayer , maybe it offered some comfort but because they had a glimpse of the other side and that smile was the last impression on her face.

 It is not my intention to belittle anyones pain - certainly that needs to be dealt with either by prayer or  a physician. My experience has been the fear that follows pain is often worse than the pain itself, anxiety brought on by pain , even emotional can often lead to a heart attack. Jesus understood this and states ,"neither let it be afraid." Coping with fear or anxiety is something we can practice ahead of time. Think of a better time in your life , perhaps a favorite place or a word of inspiration. The worst thing you can do is let   fear grow. I know phobias are also real for some, fear of water, of heights,of being alone, of being in a crowd. Wow! thats a contrast some people actually afraid of crowds and others of being alone! Fear can muster itself in all kinds of disguises. The greatest is fear of the unknown , so here we have it  being afraid of things that are known and the unknown!

 It almost is sad, to think many spend their entire lives living in that fear of the unknown. That is why we need to establish our faith ahead of time. It is something like filling a canteen before crossing a desert or carrying a lantern into a cave. Why not fill your hearts with faith before crossing the divide between this world and the next. I always think of Psalms 23 , and it is often a favorite of the jewish faith - read at most jewish funerals and others.

 My only hope is my relative not be overwhelmed by fear. I think of a wound as pain and the bleeding as fear , we need to stop the bleeding before dealing with the pain. Calm your fears, then act on the pain. Jesus recognized these are both real issues we must confront and deal with.
-Pray for you Donna and all the millions of people going through Pain and Fear.