Religion vs Relationship

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It has taken me a long time to realize that the church is not the same as Jesus. Going to church is not the same as worship.

What I seek and what I want is a real relationship with God. This world can not provide me with all the answers and man-made leaders are not worthy. I seek to worship The King of Kings and Lord of Lords. I want more.

It’s all up to me to make it happen. It’s all up to you too.

A crisis of Faith

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I’m having a crisis of faith.

Not my faith in Jesus Christ, but my faith in organized religion. A consistent string of disappointments in church leadership, moral failings, combined with church politics have led me to the conclusion that a perfect church is not a reality in this world.

This strikes me as tragic considering how many denominations tout themselves as the one true church. The modern day church is deeply flawed by the interference of humanity who wants to impose their will and theology upon parishioners while behaving in a rather un-Christ-like manner.

I do not pretend to judge anyone but I do judge the church politic which has neglected to meet the mandates set out by Jesus to “Go Into The World” and preach. It is so disheartening. Power corrupts. Money corrupts. God is lost in the details of keeping the doors open.

My crisis is limited to the church but not to Jesus. My faith in Jesus Christ never wavers. It is the foundation of my soul and the one thing I am certain of in this worldly realm. Sadly, until Christ returns, I may be waiting on a home in which to worship.

The Red Doors – Lent 4

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I love a red church door.

In the more traditional religious denominations, a red church door was considered a symbol of entering into worship, into the presence of God, through the blood of Christ, the sacrificial lamb of God.

The church has historically been a place of refuge from the evils of the world both real and perceived. It remains so today.

I urge you to find your red doors. The church is not perfect but it is a place of peace and a refuge from the highs and lows of life. It is a place to share joy, peace and love. It is a place of reflection.

Most of all, through those red doors you will find God waiting to wrap you in love and spread His never-ending grace upon your weary soul.

Enter in…

Save the bees – save the world…

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My daughter is a bee keeper.

In truth, this is an accidental thing – she did not ask for them to take residence in her golden-rain tree but the Queen and her busy hive have established a home and destroyed the tree in the process. They are what is commonly called feral bees. For some reason, my daughter loves these unwelcome guests.

My daughter, who loves all creatures, has started a personal campaign she calls #savethebees in her quest to find someone to humanely relocate this feral colony from her yard. It is just too dangerous for bees to be around her small children.

These feral bees are active, threatening and highly protective of their home. They would attack if provoked. They can’t be trusted.

For some reason, these bees remind me of the turmoil exploding around the world. We have feral colonies attacking and hurting small babies and innocent people. There is no way to save these evil-doers. Nothing but God can fix this fight that has been going on in the name of religion for way too many years.

I wish we could #savetheworld. I wish people would acknowledge peace and allow people to live without fear. 

I wish Jesus would return and set the world to rights.

…I wish

 

But I said to you, “You will possess their land; I will give it to you as an inheritance, a land flowing with milk and honey.” I am the Lord your God, who has set you apart from the nations. Leviticus 20:24

Herding Black Sheep

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I think black sheep get a bad rap. Let’s be honest, we are all black sheep…there is not a spotless lamb among us. 

I become exasperated when I hear anyone say they don’t attend church because it is consumed by hypocrites, liars and thieves. That’s just an excuse. If anyone thinks the church is perfect and blameless then they are ignorant. Any church that claims to be so should be ashamed.

To be honest, the church isn’t the problem – I compare the modern church to a hospital for those who have the incurable illness we also call sin. This world won’t fix them – only God can do so. The church just puts a sturdy band-aid on the problem.

To dismiss organized religion under the excuse of avoiding sinners is the absolute height of hypocrisy. I don’t know about you…but the plank in my eye is so large and sin so great that I wouldn’t dare to condemn anyone else of wrong-doing. I’m working too hard on my own issues.

Church is exactly where sinners should be. A fellowship of believers who strive for “more” is a good thing. It’s where we belong. 

In this world, the church is a safe haven for sinners until we reach glory where we will be washed white as snow by the only One who remains blameless and free of sin.

The good Shepherd awaits.

We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. Isaiah 53:6

Think and Grow Rich?

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It makes me sad that modern day authors, speakers and motivational personalities like to preach a message of prosperity. It takes the concept of “think and grow rich” to a whole new level. It sells their books and helps them to line their own pockets .

Do I believe that God wants us to have a good life? Sure, I do. But, and here is the important part…I just don’t think you can “think and grow rich”. I don’t think there is an easy path to wealth. I don’t believe in focusing on your “abundance consciousness.”

More importantly, why would anyone think having great wealth is the primary goal and MOST important thing in life? When did wealth become more essential than loving the Lord with all your heart, your soul and your mind?

Be careful what you wish for. Money does NOT equal happiness and I have found over the years that people never think they have enough money regardless of their circumstances.

Think on Jesus. Ponder His words in your heart. Steep your soul in prayer. Then you will be wealthy beyond your wildest imaginations.