Month: March 2017

Religion’s Fear Factor!

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Fear is a strong factor! It can keep us from doing many things! Fear of heights will keep us on the ground! Fear of needles can keep us from getting much-needed medical attention. Fear of being beaten can keep us from certain parts of town! Fear can control people. The question is, are you being controlled by fear in the religious realm?

 

I want us to grab a hold of how religious leaders from many different beliefs, use fear to control the people in them. I want us to see that it is not isolated religions that use this tactic, but that it is a common, widespread practice! Then, I also want us to make the contrast with what is written in the Word of God.

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People Acting as Christians?

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If we ever wonder what in the world is wrong with this world! – we quite possibly, need look no further than the church.

“HYPOCRITES!” the people cry out, when they see “Christians” today. Yes, that word “hypocrites” means actors, such as are in a theatre! Now, we know that when Jesus walked this Earth, there were those known as Pharisees. This people were a specific sect of the Jews. They were seen by other Jews, as the most righteous people on the planet! None could ever excel them! Yet, the non-Jew saw them very differently. They saw their hypocrisy, that they were just mere “actors”! Jesus also called them on it, saying, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.” (Matthew 23:27-28) Now, that is one scathing rebuke!

Now, Paul the apostle also has somewhat to aim at the actors of the Jewish teachers! Yet, the same could be said in respect to those in the church today. We read, “But if you call yourself a Jew…” Yes, we could just as well say, “But if you call yourself a Christian”! We continue, “…and rely on the law and boast in God and know his will and approve what is excellent, because you are instructed from the law; and if you are sure that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are living in darkness, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of children, having in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth – you then who teach others, do you not teach yourself? While you preach against stealing, do you steal? You who say that one must not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who boast in the law dishonor God by breaking the law. For, as it is written, The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.” It could just as well be said today, “The name of God is blasphemed among those who are not Christians because of you people acting in a theatre as Christians”!  (Romans 2:17-24)

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Have You Got JOY?

Christian LifeThe Gospel

 

 

If we don’t have a deep-seated joy that remains, even amidst dire circumstances, then it is our cue that something is not right. Just like the human body is made to perform and when symptoms like fatigue begin to cripple us, we need to see a doctor to find out what is wrong, so when joy is lacking, we need to find out why. Yet, not from a doctor. You see, if we are merely looking for happiness, it will be dependant on our circumstances. However, joy is different. For even the darkest times of life, cannot rob one of joy! If you don’t have this joy, we need to investigate, so that you also may have this joy too!

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Healing for the Broken

Christian LifeThe Gospel

 

 

Sometimes hidden behind nervous laughs or joking. Sometimes in outbursts of anger. Sometimes in uncontrollable weeping. Sometimes taken to isolation. Sometimes drowned in substances. Sometimes in self-abuse. In these and others, are broken hearts.

 

Is there any hope? Any ray of sunshine? Any light in the darkness? Absolutely! But where? Can it truly be found in another human? Maybe to an extent. In a religion? Not truly. In the fun things of the world? No. Where then? In one whose name is Jesus! Regrettably many people, even religious people, have tarnished His wonderful name, but that doesn’t change who He is! For, we read, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me [Jesus] because he has anointed me to…set at liberty those that are broken.” (~Luke 4:18) So, how does Jesus feel about the broken? We read, “Jesus wept.” (John 11:35) Let us then investigate further the life-changing hope found in Jesus!

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Just a Woman?

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The disciples had just made the dusty journey to go and buy some food and were on the way back to Jesus. It was midday, and the sun must have been causing streams of sweat to course their way down their faces! As they got nearer, their eyes squinting to see if they really saw right, was Jesus really talking with a woman, and a Samaritan woman at  that?! “Just then his disciples came back. They marveled that he was talking to a woman, but no one said, What do you seek? Or, Why are you talking with her?” (John 4:27)


On another occasion. “While…in the house of Simon the leper…a woman came with an alabaster flask of ointment of pure nard, very costly, and she broke the flask and poured it over his head. There were some who said to themselves indignantly, Why was the ointment wasted like that?” (Mark 14:3-4)

 

On yet another incident. “A Canaanite woman from the region came out and was crying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David…and the disciples came and begged him, saying, Send her away, for she is crying out after us.” (Matthew 15:22-23)

So, what about Jesus?

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Have I Done Enough?

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How good must I be to enter Heaven? How much good must I do? What if I disobey? What is the level of expectation God has for me? These can be very troubling questions. Yet, Jesus offers rest. He speaks of having passed from death to life. So then, is it possible that
there is a way that we can know that Heaven will be our home? Let us see what God has to tell us in His holy Word!

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