Sunday, February 26, 2017

Getting To Know God Better 16

"Religion as good as it is is also the hothouse for seeds of confusion. I would say that most confusion in the adult believer is brought on by their religious upbringing. Please don't start off feeling like I am bashing your church or the fact that many wonderful people taught you and raised you in a faith. Most of that time in life was uplifting and the rewards are a better life and a sense of devotion to religious ideals.

What I am saying is that in your denomination, along with the order and the programs and the fellowship there are usually the core beliefs of the denomination which make up the dogma/polity of the church. This dogma or polity is shared with those that are like minded and those chosen to represent the denomination in each congregation are trained in that dogma/polity.  That being said, you and I both know that most of the time these leaders are tireless in faithfully administering their duties to the congregation. In most cases the pastor subjects his/her entire family to more scrutiny than most people could handle. They faithfully observe their religious tenets of faith and faithfully serve the congregation.

Now that I have laid the foundation of the importance and the validity of these denominations and your congregation, I want to move on to the point of the issue. Most denominational preaching is designed to steer the believer into first accepting the doctrine of their faith, becoming and remaining a member of the church, abiding by its precepts and expecting you to offer yourself as a volunteer for any or all activities. This might not be you, but most people learn the basic tenets of faith of their denomination, learn important stories of the Bible, learn the importance of fellowship and learn the importance of devotion and personal commitment. Again all of this is good, very good.

Here is the distinction I want to make. There are some things that are taught that are not biblical or extra-biblical. They are taught for the reasons outlined above. I am going to mention a few of the things that are taught that are not true. You might feel that these things should never be said and you might feel insulted or disturbed that someone is questioning a belief that you have held for years or decades. Try to remember "to question the teachings of the church is not heresy."

Simply not true:
Your pastor or priest is the mediator between you and God.
Mary prays to God on your behalf.
The saints are those men and women chosen by the Catholic church after much deliberation.
Praying to the saints has some efficacy.
Not getting baptized is cause to not be saved.
You are saved at baptism.
You must receive a second blessing, speak in tongues or have some other visible
spiritual gift.
All paths lead to God.
There are sister religions to Christianity.
There is only one holy Catholic Church.
You can be saved by joining a church.
You can be saved and then lose that salvation.
You can be kept in a right relationship with God through taking the Eucharist.
You can never be fit for service to God if you have been divorced.
If you don't speak in tongues or have some other external sign to show others you might not be saved.
If you tithe or give to the church you will never have any financial problems.
God is mad at you.
You can never be forgiven for what you have done.
If you give money to a TV evangelist what he/she says will come to pass; that is ledgerdomain not prophesy.
Your denomination is correct in all its teachings.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Getting To Know God Better 15

"I already know that you are not going to like this post. Have you ever considered the value of getting to know God better through trouble, toils, pain, sickness and tragedy? I am not making light of these things and I do not want to paint a false picture of your reality somehow diminish your suffering in any way. Trouble, toils, pain, sickness and tragedy are real and in many cases there is nothing good that can be said about them. I am not trying to get you to make the best of it or divert your attention form your reality as if "if you had more faith you wouldn't be in this situation." I simply don't believe that. God did not bring on your sufferings. Jas_1:17 " Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning."

I will say that if you have been under the impression that God is responsible directly or indirectly for your trouble, toils, pain, sickness and tragedy, you are mistaken. That notion is a man-made religious misunderstanding of a perfect and wonderful God. If it is not true that God brings these troubles on, then it must be true that in God's economy, God allows these things to happen. Yes, God does allow these things to happen. We don't necessarily like that about God nor do we agree with the premise. But in the wonder of creation God instilled/embedded/ordained/designed free will for all mankind. It is in the free will of all mankind that we find  trouble, toils, pain, sickness and tragedy.

I have had the talk with God about this, probably much like the talk you had with God about this. Why can't things just be perfect? Why all the mystery? Why must bad things happen to good people? Before I go on let me reiterate my understanding of this and other like questions. The question we should be asking is not "Why does God allow bad things happen to good people?" The question for us in this free will world should be "What am I going to do with what God allowed to happen?"

There is also another thought, notion, misunderstanding about the way God designed us. 'God allowed this to happen so He could show Himself mighty through the trouble, toils, pain, sickness and tragedy.' God does not need trouble, toils, pain, sickness and tragedy to show Himself mighty. "Psa 19:1, The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Psa 19:2 Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge."

God does not need an event to show Himself helpful in time of need. God has always been there, always there and always will be there, through what we call the good times and the bad times, always providing the indwelling Holy Spirit in all situations. But God will not breach the right of free will of anyone. That brings me to the all-important issue of finding the truth, God's truth concerning your own personal situation. In order to fully understand the importance of the way God does things (God's economy), you must come to terms with a few things of weighty importance.
  • God knew it would happen
  • God allowed it to happen
  • God has carried you through it
  • God is carrying you now
  • There is an end to it 
When we reach this point of understanding, we are faced with the unanswerable question, Why? I can tell you that if you are searching for why, you have not come to terms with God's economy. Why? precedes understanding the five truths outline above. This is a hard truth, but important in the quest for understanding.

If you are bent on knowing why, here are the major factors of every event in life.
  • God created mankind with free will
  • 1/3 of the angels that were created fell from God thus creating (the downward or time oriented sliding away from its perfect state) and these angels with the devil as their leader are also free to roam and persuade man's free will within the bounds of creation (God's economy).
  • Mankind used his/her free will to separate themselves from God thus creating (the downward or time oriented sliding away from its perfect state).
  • Mankind uses his/her free will to continue to separate from God
The reason that we are trying to get to know God better is to repair/replace the separation from God with an internal inner man knowing of God, thus providing us with the knowledge that we need to work within the parameters of God's economy with understanding."


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Getting To Know God Better 14

"'About the struggle' I hope that in your quest to find what you think you need from God that you do not have:

  • False expectations
  • Extra-biblical understanding of God's economy
  • A skewed view of God
  • A religious only understanding of your relationship with Jesus
  • Or that you are relying on someone else to stand before God for you
These things are devils candy. I have found that most people tend to complicate their relationship with God by allowing one or more of these items above to interfere with the progress in getting to know God better. If you are interested that you are on the right path to a great relationship with God a quick review of the devil's candy would be in order.

False expectations - This is by far one of the most difficult fallacies to rectify. We all want to believe that God can do anything. The problem with that notion isn't that it is not true, it is that we have interpreted it without understanding God's full disclosure on the matter. In other words God can do anything, but is that statement congruent with God's economy; what God has put in order in all disciplines, from the beginning of time and up to and through today and tomorrow. One way you can tell if you have been eating the devil's candy is to ask yourself, "is it a struggle for me to get closer to God?" It is not supposed to be a struggle.

Here are a few reasons that people have false expectations:

  • They have seen others receive something (spiritual or physical) so they think they should have it.
  • They have spent the majority of their time convincing themselves that the way their church views God is correct that they have not spent any time investigating the truths in the bible on their own, thus adopting a religious view of God without personal Holy Spirit inspiration/unction/verification. 
  • They adopted a view early on in life about God and have not grown in spirit and truth, thus perpetuating a juvenile view of God.
  • They have bought into the idea that "All paths lead to God" and therefore they never become a child of God and now they allow just about any erroneous teaching to become part of their knowledge of truth.