The Structure of True Religion

I have heard many who confess to follow Christ say that they are not in a religion but a relationship. In fact, I have said this in the past myself. However, as I have grown wiser and more knowledgeable through my relationship with GOD, I have come to a better understanding of the relationship between the two. Many of the negative ideas I originally held regarding the Christian religion came from its misappropriation by those being intentionally deceitful and those ignorantly following the blind which were leading them. Our heavenly Father never intended for Christian religion to operate separate from a relationship with Him. The influence of Satan, the great deceiver, is very evident in the many counterfeits being circulated today. Another example is the US has been accepted by many as a democracy however it falls short of the tenants of a pure democracy because many of the people born in the US have not been allowed to vote, and the electoral college dilutes the power of the vote represented by actual people. Tax paying people with black and brown skin, born in the US, are referred to as citizens however they have been historically denied the basic citizen right of equal protection under the law. So, this demographic has not actually been recognized as full citizens. Again, it is much like the many people condemning socialism and communism though we have never had a country on earth to operate in the pure ideals of them as expounded on by Marx and Engels. The names were misappropriated by countries like Russia and China though these countries have never employed all the key components.

These are just a few other current day examples of how people have been deceived and excepted counterfeits. Until you foster a love for truth which drives you to seek GOD’s face and study His word, Satan will continue to exploit your natural love for comfort and pleasure. The truth is disruptive to the false. Truth tears down the false to make way for a true and eternal foundation and structure to be built.

Religion is defined by Merriam Webster as a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices; a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith. We can take from this definition, in relation to Christianity, that Christian religion would be a system of attitudes, beliefs, and practices held with ardor and faith. So, by definition, there is no separation between the practices required in a religion and the relationship by faith which empowers them. The problem again is that we have seen Christianity misrepresented, resulting in misunderstandings, confusion, and denunciation.  As I mentioned earlier, the Father never intended for any actions to take place outside of a relationship with Him. When you read Christ reproving the pharisees and Sadducees, you see Him addressing religion without relationship.

“But woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgment and the love of God: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.” (Luke 11:42 KJV)

Christ is saying true religion is doing both. Look at this parable taught by Christ.

10 So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests. 11 And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: 12 And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. 13 Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness, there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 14 For many are called, but few are chosen.” (Matthew 22:10-14 KJV)

Again, both are required by Christ the King. This guest was clearly called a friend, however He failed to comply with the prescribed system or practice of preparation. We are also taught by the apostles James and Paul that it takes both to be complete. James says faith without works is dead, and a man isn’t justified by works alone or faith alone (see James chapter 2). Paul says without love, the essence of the relationship, he is nothing and none of his religious acts mean anything (See 1 Corinthians chapter 13).

At issue in the separation of faith and works is the practice of sacrifice on both sides. On the side of works oriented devotion, there is the sacrifice of effort and busyness being offered for justification and validation. On the side of faith only oriented devotion, there is the sacrificial love of GOD being used as justification without the reciprocal sacrificial love unto the laying down of personal will in obedience.

GOD is clear, He desires obedience over sacrifice. Christ did not give himself to become a common sacrifice for sins, like the old testament practice of yearly sacrificing bulls, rams, and doves. He gave Himself once to fulfill the requirements of the old testament law forever, which was ruled under the law of sin and death. He has now ushered in a new covenant which is ruled by the law of life and spirit. The resurrection life we inherit from Christ is the life of a dear and obedient son of GOD.

You man of faith, are you going before GOD reminding Him of the sins He has already remitted because you are not exercising true overcoming faith; the faith which David used to defeat Goliath, the faith Joshua used to take the promised land. Doesn’t your faith tell you that the very life of Christ is in you to do His works; to live righteously, to fill the hungry, to free the oppressed, to counsel the fatherless, to give shelter to the homeless, to please the Father. When did you go beyond yourself to demonstrate that you trusted Him? Just something to consider.

You who are busy in works, have you ever just sat with someone broken and not tried to fix them? Just sat with them and listened and only gave a solution if they asked for one, or do you feel pressed to say something or do something? Have you ever just sat and cried tears of joy because you knew in that moment, GOD’s love was perfect for you and you felt His arms around you? Have you ever sacrificed for someone and told nobody, but just praised GOD for allowing yourself to be used?

These are the manifestations of confidence in GOD’s love for you and belief in His promises. These examples are glimpses at the works of faith, the fruit of true religion.

Keep Your Heart from Turning to Stone

Guaed your heart

I saw this quote being circulated on Facebook. It is deception and just another form of fear mongering. Deception blocks you from seeing truth and fear hardens the heart and makes your love go cold.

Tytller

Genesis Chapter 3 describes the devil as cunning and subtile. These elusive characteristics were used to deceive our forebearers in the Garden of Eden. This quote slithers in the same way. This is the kind of fear mongering and deception which has led to a history of voter suppression in America. If you look closely at American democracy, you will see that it isn’t a true democracy. Historically, all American citizens have not been allowed to participate in the selection of its officers or the formation of its laws. In fact, many of you reading this, or at least your parents, were alive when the rights of Black people finally became protected under Federal Law in the United States. I am speaking of the Voter’s Rights act of 1965. This legislation made it illegal to block people of color from voting at the polls with the use of literacy test, grandfather clauses and poll taxes.  Even today, voter suppression is a reality in many southern states. Also, today the electoral college is unnecessary. The advancements of technology have long remedied the problem with communications across the country, which supposedly necessitated the electoral college.

The cited information above really doesn’t apply to the American experience, even though we currently have a leader resembling a fascist to many. America is missing the precedent stages which lead to fascism. America has no marked seasons for any of the following: Spiritual Faith, Great Courage, or Liberty. Instead of spiritual faith we have seen carnal ambition too build wealth. Instead of great courage we have seen policy after policy founded upon fear and xenophobia. Instead of liberty we have seen a continuation of oppressive practices whereby America remains among the top nations for inequality and human imprisonment. However, the cited information does support the elitist mentality which supports these immoral practices by reinforcing the idea that the masses aren’t worthy of certain civil rights. The real concern of the wealthy and powerful is that if power were held by the people then they may bring about true equality. A concern that systems will be established which will prevent the exploitation of those less fortunate. The type of exploitation which the wealth of America has been built upon.

If you broaden the definition of Fascism to include a class of people instead of a singular person, it could be argued that America has been fascist from its inception. Christians must stop being manipulated due to ignorance powered by complacency. I am speaking to those who confess faith in the gospel of Christ. Those who are supposed to be the lights of the word. Those He commissioned to fight for the oppressed, broken, and less fortunate. Guard your heart and mind from the venomous lies of the serpent which disrupts good sense.

“But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. 35 For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. 36 Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.” (Luke 21:34-36 NKJV)

It was penned in a famous American document that “All men are created equal.” If this is held as truth, then it would make sense to ensure that the opportunities and resources which produce the greatest of us were made accessible to the all of us. This practice could serve to make America great for the first time in her history.

Understanding the Hunger of the Soul

The hungary soul

It is a reality that we were made for GOD. YAHWEH created us to fill us with His love, so inherently we have an infinite capacity for Him, because He is an infinite being. What happens when we are not in relationship with Him and are incapable of receiving all the love He has for us? We end up with a hunger which seems insatiable. This displaced hunger is the root of all addiction and the strength of the bondage to sin. Men try in futility to satisfy their soul with things created instead of the Creator. Because creation is from GOD it brings some satisfaction, however it is not fulfilling because only the Creator can fulfill the soul. The devil exploits the condition of man’s disconnect from GOD to bind him to sin. The devil deceives man into thinking that sin can satisfy him, but it only leads to bondage. Men become slaves to sin because in order to maintain the fleeting satisfaction, they must continually indulge, or the dissatisfaction of their lives resurfaces. True freedom is not to need anything from this world system in order to have peace or joy. Of course we need the basics of creation to maintain healthy lives, however you can look at the extremes of materialism around you to see there is something deeper at work than a sober pursuit of a means to live healthy and securely.

Through ignorance and deception, men have taken the deep longing for GOD and aimed it at pleasures and symbols of validation to satisfy the soul, and it doesn’t work. It doesn’t work because the things of this world are temporal and fleeting. Look at the teaching of the Apostle Peter related to this matter,

13 Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 14 as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; 15 but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”

17 And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear; 18 knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. 20 He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you 21 who through Him believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God. (1st Peter 1:13-21 NKJV)

It is evident throughout history that the men before us sought the wealth of gold and silver more than the wealth of the knowledge and wisdom of GOD, and it resulted in their moral decay and destruction. There are numerous examples around us today of those wealthy in the things of this world yet with out true peace and joy. Unfortunately, even in the face of countless examples, many still are deceived into thinking the acceptance of people and the gathering of material things can heal the heart. We must learn to live in the revelation that our soul salvation is in GOD alone, for it is only then that you can be free. The powers of darkness will continually try to ensnare you with the “trappings” of this world.

But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.

10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

11 But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. (1st Timothy 6:9-11 KJV)

This is the line of thought behind popular Buddhist teachings, the concept of detachment from lust and desires in order to find peace and contentment, however it misses the mark of truth because the resting place of our soul is not any state of Nirvana but in the abundance of the life of GOD. The fire or suffering of the soul is not quenched through the delusion of “I don’t need anything,” the fire of the soul is quenched through the living waters given through YAHWEH the Messiah.

Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour.

There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink.

(For his disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat.)

Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.

10 Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.

11 The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water?

12 Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle?

13 Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again:

14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. (John 4:6-14 KJV)

The answer is not in overindulgence or complete denial, the answer lies in the fulfillment of the soul through the life that is in YESHUA the Messiah, which liberates us to live in enlightened moderation, righteously without dependence. The cross is where we detach from the slavery of insatiable carnal desires to reach our predestined state of fruitful branches, attached to the tree of life which supplies all we need for the soul to flourish, through the conduit of the Spirit.  This is the true salvation of the soul through YESHUA HAMASHIACH, Jesus the Savior.

 

 

The Cost of Living

busted (2)

It takes the same energy to run to life as it does to run from death. I say this because I have often heard people say, “It doesn’t take all of that,” in regards to living spiritually. On the other hand, I have seen the results of living carnally: baby mama drama, divorce, stress, poor health, financial duress, being bound to destructive cycles, and I have had the same thought…jeeez, it doesn’t take all of that! It is better to run to life without the stress of death snapping at your heels. The majority of people don’t develop a zeal for life until the reality of death cast a cloud on their horizon. Hardship is just a part of our sojourn here on earth. It can be hardships experienced in climbing against earth’s gravity toward new horizons or it can be hardships experienced in giving in to earth’s gravity and tumbling towards darkness. Living spiritually is the climb, while living carnally is the fall. Either way, it will involve some struggle and hardship. The rewards of climbing are eternal while the rewards giving in to the downward pull are temporal. In climbing, living spiritually, there is the tendency to lift others up as well. In falling, living carnally, there is the tendency to pull others down as well.

Thing is, the cost of living spiritually is a lot less than the cost of living carnally when you look at the total cost in the end. Carnal living is like the deception of a deferred payment plan where the high interest starts immediately on what you owe. When the bill arrives later, the debt is more than you can pay, then more debt is created by an act to cover the debt at hand and eventually every thing becomes due with no more extensions. Spiritual living is about paying the cost up front, as more of an investment in your life, with dividends that start showing up before you expect it and a great return in the end.

Through the light of Yeshua, I am sharing some principles of life that I hope will motivate you either to begin or to continue a struggle towards Life. The beauty of the journey to life is that Life actually loves you. Life calls to us through the person of Yeshua the Messiah who himself is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Yeshua has shortened the distance we need to travel because He ascended from Heaven to earth and brought Life within our reach. The distance we have remaining is the short distance to our knees where we surrender our efforts to sustain our own lives to the one who created life in the first place. Christ pays our debts and invites us to get rid of our struggles through exchanging our death for His life. That is a deal no one should pass up!