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SPIRITUAL – BUT NOT RELIGIOUS

By Terry Loving

What does it mean when one claims to be “spiritual – but not religious?”

I get thousands of hits on my web site, http://www.spiritual-side-of-domestic-violence.org, most likely from people searching for “spiritual” – not necessarily “religious” solutions to domestic violence and abuse. The problem with searching for “spirituality” alone, is the danger of embracing beliefs that border on the occult, mysticism, nature worship and the like. Of these things, God condemns – and warns of the penalties for participation in the forbidden.

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It is possible as well that many are not searching for “salvation” as it would seem – but a way to live life on earth in a harmonious manner, while embracing inner peace. People are searching for a relationship with a “Higher Power,” but not necessarily the “God” that Christendom serves. Numerous self-help programs offer the opportunity to acknowledge a “Higher Power” of your choosing, without confessing the one and only True God of Heaven – but as you have come to know Him.

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Given the climate of American churches today, it is understandable that there is a mass exodus from “mainstream religion.” In many cases, people should depart from religious bodies that promote false doctrine, spousal abuse, homosexuality and whatever is contrary to “sound doctrine.” However, too many people depart from God Himself; based on the actions of the “hypocrites” they perceive to be false worshippers of the Almighty, therefore, as the saying goes, they “Throw the baby out with the bath water.” Out go religion, God, Jesus, and anything that appears to be connected with those “crazy” people called “Christians.”

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The Bible speaks of those who are “spiritual” as well as those who are “religious” – or identifying with a “religion.” In our society, many reject the idea of “religion,” especially since it relates to “organized” religion, church attendance, and identifying with a particular group in order to fulfill their “spiritual” needs.

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Of this mindset, there are numerous people who have been hurt by a particular house of worship in some way – emotional or sexual abuse – and they disconnect. On the other hand, we have the spectators. They hear of a church controversy, or read about it in the news and often say, “You see – that’s why I don’t go to church!” No, that is not the reason – you had no interest in the first place, and you were looking for an excuse to fortify your rebellion against God. So there!

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Pulpit Pimps – false preachers of the Gospel are making it very difficult for people to find God. Their desire for greed and power outweighs the salvation of lost souls, and many people can see through the sham, except those that continue to throw money at their feet. This is a classic case of the “blind leading the blind,” and we know a “ditch” awaits them.

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Yet still, is it possible to be a “spiritual” person apart from the Spirit? Is the “Higher Power” as one “comes to know Him” the same as knowing the Creator of life and the world itself? Do the “spiritual – but not religious” have a Savior? A Redeemer – One to seek in times of trouble? Do they have “faith” – if so, in what? Is it dangerous to seek spirituality on your own, making it up as you go along? Are the “spiritual – but not religious” folk just revising the “Burger King” religion – “Have it your way?” Or, are they truly seeking a connection with God, but rejecting mainstream religion?

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“A group of social scientists studied 346 people representing a wide range of religious backgrounds in an attempt to clarify what is implied when individuals describe themselves as “spiritual, but not religious.” Religiousness, they found, was associated with higher levels of interest in church attendance and commitment to orthodox beliefs. Spirituality, in contrast, was associated with higher levels of interest in mysticism, experimentation with unorthodox beliefs and practices, and negative feelings toward both clergy and churches.” 1

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While I am working towards my own conclusions on the matter – which will be posted at a later date – I would be grateful for any feedback presently. Please weigh in, and let me hear from anyone with an opinion concerning, “spiritual – but not religious.”

Thank you!

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1 http://www.iloveulove.com/spirituality/spiritualnotreligious.htm

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“Are there dangers in being ‘spiritual but not religious’?”

http://www.spiritual-side-of-domestic-violence.org

No portion of this web site may be copied, edited, or used in any form without prior permission.

© Spiritual Side of Domestic Violence Org., 2009
All rights reserved.

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Posted by on January 3, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Are Women In Your Church Silently Suffering?

By Terry Loving

“Make a chain: for the land is full of bloody crimes,
and the city is full of violence.”
(Ezekiel 7:23)


Harpo beat on Sophia, and Sophia beat on Harpo. They took turns pounding on one another, trying to get what they desired, one from the other.  Harpo wanted a beat down submissive wife, and Sophia wanted a “man who knows how to treat a lady.”

In the midst of the violence, they made babies that would witness the turmoil, and learn the cruel ways of their parents. When Harpo and Sophia weren’t fighting, they were in love; they made love. Eventually,  Harpo became frustrated with Sophia’s perceived defiance; he complained to his stepmother, Ms. Celie. Now Harpo didn’t come right out and ask Ms. Celie if he should hit his wife to “make her mind.” But Ms. Celie’s response to his complaint that, “She won’t listen,” was just what he wanted to hear – “Beat her.” And he did, over and over again.

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Ms. Celie’s advice to Harpo was that of pure ignorance.  At the time, she may have thought that life was this way.  In order to keep a woman in line, “Beat her.”  It took many years of her own abuse, and the loss of her family through separation to realize that this was not how her life, or any woman’s life was meant to be. Ms. Celie was forced to marry a man that she didn’t love at the age of fourteen.  Sadly, he didn’t love her as well, for he really wanted to marry her younger sister Nettie.

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Her husband’s disappointment led to him beating, sexually, verbally and physically abusing Ms. Celie for many years. As if that weren’t enough, Albert disrespected his wife by allowing his mistress to live in their home. Through it all, Ms. Celie developed and maintained a deep faith in God. As she narrated the story of her life, she began each episode with, “Dear God.”

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Many women in our churches today are calling out to God for an end to their abuse. Perhaps you are one of them. You sit faithfully, anxiously waiting every Sunday for the Minister, song leaders, Deacons, ANYBODY – to speak out against domestic violence. But it never happens.

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One day, your Minister makes the statement that, “A two-hundred pound man beating on a 100-pound woman is shameful and should not be!” Your trembling hands grip the edge of the cushioned pew, and you silently think, “Thank God!” You hold your breath with anticipation, praying that today is your day for deliverance. You are thanking God in your heart that someone finally has the courage to speak out against Christian husbands who beat their wives, especially yours.

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Your heart is pounding wildly within your small frame. Beads of perspiration cover your forehead as you wait to hear the final verdict, “DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IS A SIN, AND IT WILL NOT BE TOLERATED IN THIS CHURCH!” The words go unspoken.  The minister is angry, but just for a moment. He changes the subject. You suspect that he wants badly to say more about domestic violence, but you conclude that he doesn’t know how.

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Suddenly, you feel sick inside, let down. You avoid eye contact with the perpetrator sitting next to you with his arm around your shoulder. He is sitting there as if all is well with his soul, your abuser, your tormentor; your Christian husband.  During church services, he is perceived as a devout Christian, a man who loves God and his family.  But you and your children know the real truth.

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He is your Harpo, trying to beat you into submission whenever he thinks that you are out of line.  After church service, you walk to your car praying,  “Dear God, let me die before I reach home.”  Your abuser is showing signs of anger as he squeezes your arm and asks you quietly, “Did you tell anyone?” His expression and tone suspects betrayal, even when you sadly reply, “No, I didn’t say a word.”

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Domestic violence in and out of the church should not be tolerated. As you read and understand more about domestic violence, you will begin to see it for the evil that it is. You will also realize that the abuse you suffer is not your fault. Being battered is not God’s will for your life. In fact, those who practice violence in the home know exactly what they are doing.  Most of all, you will know that violence is a choice, and it is solely about power and control.

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http://www.spiritual-side-of-domestic-violence.org

No portion of this web site may be copied, edited, or used in any form without prior permission.

© Spiritual Side of Domestic Violence Org., 2009
All rights reserved.


 
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Posted by on December 26, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

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HYPOCRISY IN THE CHURCH MUST END!

I found this article truthful, and worth sharing. It fits right in with the Eddie Long saga, and speaks volumes concerning the hypocrisy that is turning many lost souls away from God. What a shame.

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Do Good Quietly
by Max Lucado

“They love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men” (Matt. 6:5).

This is the working definition of hypocrisy: “to be seen by men.” The Greek word for hypocrite, hypokrites, originally meant “actor.” First-century actors wore masks. A hypocrite, then, is one who puts on a mask, a false face.

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Jesus did not say, “Do not do good works.” Nor did he instruct, “Do not let your works be seen.” We must do good works, and some works, such as benevolence or teaching, must be seen in order to have an impact. So let’s be clear. To do a good thing is a good thing. To do good to be seen is not. In fact, to do good to be seen is a serious offense. Here’s why.

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Hypocrisy turns people away from God. When God-hungry souls walk into a congregation of wannabe superstars, what happens? When God seekers see singers strut like Las Vegas entertainers . . . When they hear the preacher—a man of slick words, dress, and hair—play to the crowd and exclude God . . . When other attendees dress to be seen and make much to-do over their gifts and offerings . . . When people enter a church to see God yet can’t see God because of the church, don’t think for a second that God doesn’t react. “Be especially careful when you are trying to be good so that you don’t make a performance out of it. It might be good theater, but the God who made you won’t be applauding” (Matt. 6:1 MSG).

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Hypocrisy turns people against God. So God has a no-tolerance policy. Let the cold, lifeless bodies of the embezzling couple issue their intended warning. Let’s take hypocrisy as seriously as God does. How can we?

1. Expect no credit for good deeds. None. If no one notices, you aren’t disappointed. If someone does, you give the credit to God. Ask yourself this question: If no one knew of the good I do, would I still do it? If not, you’re doing it to be seen by people.

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2. Give financial gifts in secret. Money stirs the phony within us. We like to be seen earning it. And we like to be seen giving it. So “when you give to someone in need, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing” (Matt. 6:3 NLT).

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3. Don’t fake spirituality. When you go to church, don’t select a seat just to be seen or sing just to be heard. If you raise your hands in worship, raise holy ones, not showy ones. When you talk, don’t doctor your vocabulary with trendy religious terms. Nothing nauseates more than a fake “Praise the Lord” or a shallow “Hallelujah” or an insincere “Glory be to God.”

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Bottom line: don’t make a theater production out of your faith. “Watch me! Watch me!” is a call used on the playground, not in God’s kingdom. Silence the trumpets. Cancel the parade. Enough with the name-dropping. If accolades come, politely deflect them before you believe them. Slay the desire to be noticed. Stir the desire to serve God.

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Heed the counsel of Christ: “First wash the inside of the cup and the dish, and then the outside will become clean, too” (Matt. 23:26 NLT). Focus on the inside, and the outside will take care of itself. Lay your motives before God daily, hourly. “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life” (Ps. 139:23-24 NLT).

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Do good things. Just don’t do them to be noticed. You can be too good for your own good, you know.

But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. (Matthew 6:3-4 NIV)

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Lord, you make it plain in your Word that you hate hypocrisy, especially because it turns others away from you. So, Father, I pray that you would blunt my natural inclination to seek personal recognition for whatever good things you allow me to do. I don’t want to be a phony, but neither do I want to be a glory hound. Fill me with your Spirit, and teach me to follow his example in gladly giving all glory to your Son. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

From Outlive Your Life: You Were Made to Make a Difference
Copyright (Thomas Nelson, 2010) Max Lucado

http://www.maxlucado.net/_product_107242/Outlive_Your_Life_%28Hardback%29

NOTE: This is not an advertisement for his book. Just thought what he had to say was profound.

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TODAY’S ‘CHRISTIANITY’ – NOTHING MORE THAN FEELINGS
PART 2

http://www.newswithviews.com/PaulProctor/proctor221.htm

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“God is going to bring judgment to the house of the Lord; Scripture clearly pronounces that (read I Peter 4:17). When apostate churches lose their buildings, programs, and financial backing, what will they have left? They abandoned the Word of God long ago—they will have nothing! When it all comes down it will not be a pretty picture.”

“In actuality, huge numbers of people going to church have never even heard the Gospel! Yet, they sit week after week with a false sense of security that all is well.”

http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?cat=181

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http://www.spiritual-side-of-domestic-violence.org

No portion of this web site may be copied, edited, or used in any form without prior permission.

© Spiritual Side of Domestic Violence Org., 2009
All rights reserved.


 
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Posted by on December 12, 2010 in Home

 

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THE CHURCH -TOO DIVIDED TO HEAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

Domestic violence against woman.

Image via Wikipedia

By Terry Loving

Do you really want to know why preachers don’t preach against domestic violence? I will give you my educated guess, and state the obvious – division.

I don’t believe that all ministers of the Holy Gospel desire to ignore the abused. There are many that probably want to help victims of domestic violence – but they don’t know where to begin. I am not defending their position to do or say nothing at all, however, given the enormous task of eliminating violence in our homes – especially in our church houses – it is daunting endeavor for just one house of worship to tackle alone.

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Imagine if you will that all of the religious institutions in our society planned to unite and address domestic violence.  It is a good start, just the thought of pooling together powerful resources, and the not so powerful – but willing souls that desire to help in any way they can. At last, believers in God vow to stand together and teach the Gospel, minister to, assist, and reprove those who practice violence and abuse. It would be a beautiful idea, and would shake up the world if this uniting would ever happen. But as long as the religious world remains divisive, this endeavor will always be just a dream in the minds of those who are afraid to stand alone.

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Let’s just say it did happen – this dream. Rest assuredly division would hinder and possibly destroy the mission. After all, what Bible would be the standard? Whose church house would host this event – the White church – Black church – Asian church or the Latino church? Which minister would receive the praise for spearheading such an occasion? Whose God/god would set the standard for morality? If the smaller groups of worshippers have limited funds, who would finance this effort – the mega-church leadership? What would they expect in return? Who would be the Savior that the abusers would be directed to – Jesus – Buddah – Virgin Mary – who? Which body of Christ would build shelters – just in case? Do you see where I am going with this?

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Division never accomplishes anything. And it isn’t the Gospel that divides believers; it is the believers themselves that cause divisions. This is nothing new, as with the Corinthian church, “I am of Paul,” and “I of Apollos,” and “I of Cephas,” and “I of Christ,” (1 Corinthians 1:12). Today it sounds more like, “I am of Buddah,” “I am of Long,” “I am of Hinn,” “I am of Meyers,” and not many are really “of Christ.” If it were so, the same message Jesus left with His Apostles, the same message they preached, would be still be preached today. The believers would still be of “one mind,” having “all things in common.” (Acts 2:44; 4:32). The International Standard Version puts it this way, “All the believers were united and shared everything with one another.”

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Oh, and let us not forget that there are abusers in the pulpit; on the deacon boards, choirs, and sitting in the pew next to you every Sunday. Until there is an acknowledgement of wrongdoing and repentance in individual houses of worship – the universal gathering of addressing domestic violence and abuse will remain a dream. The abused will continue to lose hope and faith in God, because His ministers and followers are silent when they should be speaking out. Most religious bodies seem to possess as their base the welfare of all mankind. I wonder if that is really true anymore.

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There is a reason that 1 Peter 4:17 states, “For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?” The “righteous” are judged first.

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YOU ARE NOT ALONE!
FOCUS MINISTRIES – offer help for the abused, and training for ministers – and much more.
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National Online Resource Center on Violence Against Women
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There is another side to domestic violence – the spiritual side

http://www.spiritual-side-of-domestic-violence.org

No portion of this web site may be copied, edited, or used in any form without prior permission.

© Spiritual Side of Domestic Violence Org., 2009
All rights reserved.

 
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Posted by on October 14, 2010 in Home

 

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Quran-burning Pastor

By Terry Loving

(CNN) — “The pastor of a Florida church planning to burn Qurans told CNN Tuesday while the congregation plans to go through with the action to protest the September 11, 2001 attack on the United States by al Qaeda, the church is “weighing” its intentions.

Terry Jones, pastor of Dove World Outreach Church in Gainesville, Florida, who was interviewed on CNN’s “American Morning, said the congregation is taking seriously the warning from the U.S. military that the act could cause problems for American troops.”


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http://www.cnn.com/2010/US/09/07/florida.quran.burning/index.html?eref=ib_topstories

“And if the blind lead the blind – This was so self-evident a case that an apter parallel could not be found – if the blind lead the blind, both must fall into the ditch. Alas, for the blind teachers, who not only destroy their own souls, but those also of their flocks! Like priest, like people. If the minister be ignorant, he cannot teach what he does not know; and the people cannot become wise unto salvation under such a ministry – he is ignorant and wicked, and they are profligate. They who even wish such God speed; are partakers of their evil deeds. But shall not the poor deceived people escape? No: both shall fall into the pit of perdition together; for they should have searched the Scriptures, and not trusted to the ignorant sayings of corrupt men, no matter of what sect or party. He who has the Bible in his hand, or within his reach, and can read it, has no excuse.” 1

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If Pastor Terry Jones were speaking out against domestic violence and abuse, he would have my support. Sad to say though, as a Christian I am saddened by his lack of honor due our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. His actions and intentions are an embarrassment to the cause of Christ, and damage the credibility of God’s Holy Word. To his discredit, he thinks that he is serving God when actually he is serving his own personal agenda – hate. Pastor Jones is what the Bible refers to as, “the blind leading the blind.” Eventually, they will all “fall in a ditch.” (Matthew 15:14)

Where is the logic and rational in burning the Quran? Will the books that will be burned on 9/11, rid the world of the Muslim’s bible once and for all? Will it end their religious beliefs, and force them to give up their religious practices? Will his church folk enter every Muslim home here and abroad, every mosque, and seize all available Qurans to be burned? Ok, so how hard would it be for a million more Qurans to be printed? Then what?

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Just in case you haven’t read this far in the Bible Pastor, strife among Christians is forbidden, and those who cause it should be abandoned:

“I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them.” (Romans 16:17)

Titus 1:6 speaks of elders in the church as being, “blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly.” Have you watched the news lately Pastor? Your personal hate filled endeavor is causing riots in the streets in many places. I wonder if this is his idea of representing the “light,” and “salt” of the earth that Christians are called to be, (Matthew 5:13-14). If so, let me be the first to tell the Pastor that his light has grown dim, and his salt has definitely lost its flavor.

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Pastor Jones stated that his church was delivering a “message” and it is “very clear.” And what message was he trying to deliver, “an eye for an eye?” What was the “message of warning” that He spoke of? “Radical Islam – get out of America?” Or else? Where is the message of Christ? Where is the mind of Christ? Where is the message concerning domestic violence, abuse, child abuse, salvation, the Great Commission? Where is the message that it is deplorable for preachers to beat their wives? Did he and his flock miscalculate in thinking that they would have more support than they attracted? He should ask himself, “What would Jesus do?”

The supposed purpose of Pastor Jones’ organization – according to him – is to “stand up for righteousness and for the truth of the Bible.” Also, that “Christians must return to the truth and stop hiding.” If he really believed his own words, he would not be doing what he is proposing to do. “Return to the truth” – what truth – his truth? How about, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons of God,” (Matthew 5:9). Isn’t this the “truth” according to the Bible that he claims to defend?” “Stop hiding” – from what pray tell? American Christians aren’t hiding; they are showing exactly how they feel about the Word of God – they can take it or leave it. Of course, this doesn’t apply to every believer, however, Christianity as it was once known is on the decline in America 2

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This news article quotes his church website saying, “speak up against sin and call the people to repentance. Abortion is murder. Homosexuality is sin. We need to call these things what they are and bring the world the true message: that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life.”

As a Christian, yes I believe with all of my heart and soul that “Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life.” I confess Him as my Lord and Savior, and give all Praise and Honor to Jehovah, the only True God of Heaven. My personal convictions do not afford me the privilege of bashing others for what they believe. It is my duty to teach, and share the Gospel of Christ, in love. When I share God’s Word and it is not received, I do what I am told to do in Mark 6:11 “Shake the dust off my feet…” and keep stepping (my words). Neither God nor Jesus forced themselves on mankind. We were given free will to “choose ye this day” whom we would serve. (Joshua 24:15)

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In this world, good and evil will grow up together. Someday, when God ends this madness, there will be a final separation. The parable in Matthew 13:30 explain the wheat and the tares. Even Jesus Himself allows the believers and non-believers to grow up in this world together. The saved, lost, kind, evil, true, liar, loving, hateful, true worshipers, and false worshipers are growing together “until the harvest.” (Matthew 13:30)

Listen to God’s Word Pastor Jones:

“Allow both to grow together until the harvest; and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather up the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them up; but gather the wheat into my barn.” (Matthew 13:30)

“His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire”. (Matthew 3:12-NIV)

“False doctrines are against God – he alone is the judge and punisher of them – man has no right to interfere in this matter. They who burnt Vanini for atheism usurped the seat of judgment, and thus proved themselves to be not less a diabolical seed than the person they thus, without God’s leave, hurried into eternity.” 3

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And yes, Christians should “speak up against sin and call the people to repentance.” However, we should also make sure our own hands are clean, and we have repented first of our own sins. We should also share the eternal love of God who desires that every human being should be saved from eternal lost. So I ask you Pastor Jones, wouldn’t your time be best served winning souls for Christ? Think about the lost souls that know nothing about God. How do you think they will feel about Him seeing that His representatives are causing riots and discord?

There is so much more that can be said concerning this issue. Whether I believe the mosque should be built near Ground Zero is of no consequence. What concerns me the most is the potential for more disasters on our shores, and the welfare of Christians and Americans around the world. We must continue to pray for them and our military personnel. I pray that Pastor Jones will take a seat, and not let pride keep him from listening to reason. When it is all said and done, and the damage from his decisions will be severe, and all he will be able to say is, “I’m sorry.” And to me, that just isn’t good enough. May God judge his ignorance and false pride.

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In conclusion, Pastor Jones’ “website blog posts, Ten Reasons to Burn a Koran.”

Pastor Jones, I list Ten Reasons Why You Should Stand Down –

  • Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called sons of God. (Matthew 5:9)
  • Pride goeth before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall. (Proverbs 16:18)
  • Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost its savor, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out and trodden under foot of men. (Matthew 5:13)
  • Ye have heard that it was said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy: but I say unto you, love your enemies, and pray for them that persecute you; that ye may be sons of your Father who is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sendeth rain on the just and the unjust. For if ye love them that love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the Gentiles the same? Ye therefore shall be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Matthew 5:43-48)
  • A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. (John 13:34)
  • The only thing that matters is that you continue to live as good citizens in a manner worthy of the gospel of the Messiah. (Philippians 1:27-ISV)
  • This is how the LORD responds: “If you return to me, I will restore you so you can continue to serve me. If you speak good words rather than worthless ones, you will be my spokesman. You must influence them; do not let them influence you! (Jeremiah 15:19)
  • I did not send these prophets, yet they have run with their message; I did not speak to them, yet they have prophesied. (Jeremiah 23:21)
  • But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. (Romans 2:8)
  • He who plots evil will be known as a schemer. (Proverbs 24:8)

We shall all stand before a Righteous Judge and give an account of the things we have done in this life. (Romans 14:12)

“God often suffers one man to lead many to ruin. A rich and profligate man, an infidel, a man of learning, a politician, or a teacher, is allowed to sweep multitudes to ruin. This is not unjust, for those who are led are not compelled to follow such people. They are free in choosing such leaders, and they are answerable for being led to ruin.”4

1http://bible.cc/matthew/15-14.htm2 http://signsofthelastdays.com/archives/the-decline-of-christianity-in-america3http://bible.cc/matthew/13-30.htm4http://bible.cc/matthew/15-14.htm

http://spiritual-side-of-domestic-violence.org/

No portion of this web site may be copied, edited, or used in any form without prior permission.

© Spiritual Side of Domestic Violence Org., 2009
All rights reserved.






 
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Posted by on September 10, 2010 in Home

 

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THE PHARISEE SYNDROME

Jews of Salonika

Image via Wikipedia

By Terry Loving

The Holy Gospel of John: Chapter 9

The Pharisees were one of the principle religious sects of the Old Testament – during the time of Jesus. They were best known for religious ceremonial-ism, and their self-imposed piety. In other words, they thought they were better than common folk, and looked down their noses at anyone not of their religious party. They believed in immortality, and the resurrection of the body – but they didn’t accept Jesus as the Messiah. Christian husbands who beat their wives are akin to the Pharisees of old – they practice religion, yet lack a true relationship with Jesus Christ.

In John chapter 8, the scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery to Jesus. We can only imagine the terror in this woman’s heart – the penalty for adultery was death by stoning. And here she was placed, “in the center of the court,” absorbing the guilt of her actions, and those of the man with whom she was having illegal relations. Hhhhhmmmm, and where was the other guilty party?

Bringing this woman to Jesus was more of a test. The Pharisees wanted to see whose side He was really on – the Law, or speaking from His own heart. They didn’t understand that He spoke as His Father directed Him to do so, (John 14:10). Which by the way is the same God of Heaven that the Pharisees claimed to worship. The woman was more or less a pawn in their wicked game seeking to accuse Jesus of blasphemy. Our Lord said nothing at first, but kneeled and wrote in the sand. When they pressed Jesus for a reply, He said to the crowd:

“He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” (NASB)

I imagine as the saying goes, “You could hear a pin drop.” For verse 9 says: “When they heard it, they began to go out one by one, beginning with the older ones, and He was left alone, and the woman, where she was, in the center of the court.” Did you notice as the crowd dispersed, the “older ones,” left first? Could it be that since they had lived the longest, their list of un-repented sins was much more extensive? Jesus certainly knew how to prick the heart.

When a Christian husband tells his wife, “God is not pleased with you,” he is taking Pharisee-ism one-step further by standing in judgment over slight infractions, and sentencing his wife to punishment by means of violence and abuse. Nowhere in the Bible will you find scriptures that permit a husband to chastise his wife for any reason. You will find scriptures that admonish husbands to “love their wives,” and give themselves up for them, but never permission to batter and abuse. Please read Ephesians chapter 5.

“The Pharisees laid their chief stress on outward observances, neglecting the weightier matters of the moral law, and the spiritual meaning of their legal ceremonies. Others of them were detestable hypocrites, making their pretences to holiness a cloak for iniquity.” 1

IN VAIN DO THEY WORSHIP ME

Christian husbands who entrap their wives in violent homes demand “submission,” – while ignoring the umbrella of “submission” that applies to both husband and wife, (Ephesians 5:21). Quite like the Pharisees, abusive husbands poison their own religious principles through invalidation of the Word of God. How? By doing exactly as they please – making up their own rules. Matthew chapter 15 is a very good example.

In this chapter, Jesus was showing the Pharisees what “hypocrites” there were. They were being admonished for violating “the direct commands of God.” He reminded them of God’s fifth commandment to “Honor your father and mother; anyone who reviles his parents must die,” (The Living Bible). Now listen to what the Pharisees say about God’s commandment:

“But you say, ‘Even if your parents are in need, you may give their support money to the church instead.’”

The New American Standard Bible states it this way: “Whatever I have that would help you has been given to God, he is not to honor his father or his mother” (by supporting them). Instead, they gave the support money as an “offering,” or a “gift” to the church.

By not honoring their parents and taking care of them as commanded – if need be – Jesus said, “And by this you invalidated the word of God for the sake of your tradition.” “You hypocrites…”

The man who stands in the pulpit is just as guilty – perhaps more so as any Christian who abuses his spouse – or his household, period! How can the church show the world that Jesus is the Light of the world, the Savior of the world, when domestic violence and abuse are running rampant in the church house? Is it any wonder that the world frowns upon Christianity and wants nothing to do with Jesus Christ? The world will never get it right until the Christian church gets it right. There is no other way.

We as Christians can be hypocrites in many ways. However, once we realize our faults, repent and turn back to God, He will still be willing to love us, and use us for the greater good. Jesus would probably ask the husbands that practice domestic violence, and claim to love Him – “Are you without sin?” Is your worship in vain? Are you following the “precepts of men? Or, are you doing what is “right in your own eyes?” (Deuteronomy 12:8)

If so:

REPENT! FOR THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IS AT HAND”

Matthew 3:2

Forsake the Pharisee Syndrome and live.

“Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”

John 8:12

http://www.spiritual-side-of-domestic-violence.org

1 http://bible.cc/matthew/3-7.htm

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Posted by on March 27, 2010 in WOLVES IN SHEEPS CLOTHING

 

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