Saturday, September 5, 2015

An Awakening

This post is a culmination of an awakening in me as a direct result of my personal communion with God.  It seems much of it is in direct contrast to what I have been taught and even much of what I have always believed.  Despite part of me not wanting to accept some of this, I prayed relentlessly for answers and God was forthcoming with this knowledge.  Suffice it to say I struggled with some of it but no more.  I am truly at peace. Pray for your answers.  Open your heart and God will answer if you but listen.  Love Him as He loves you.

A spiritual growth is something that evolves.  It changes as we get closer to God and as He reveals to us what He wants us to know in order to follow His chosen path for us.  I have been a Christian for many years although I have often doubted my own worth to God.   One of my biggest problems in the past has been with a common message I have heard in virtually every church in which I have ever been.  Understand this.  I believe In God our Father.  I believe Jesus Christ is part of Him, His son, and was sent by Him to show us a path to Him.  I believe Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sake and that believing in this guarantees us a place in Heaven.  Why then was I so uncomfortable when preachers often screamed at their congregations that unless they believed this way, they would go to Hell, a horrible place of fire and eternal torment.  This did not  seem to jive with the loving God I had come to believe was guiding my life.  I could not begin to understand how loving and caring people I knew from all different religions could be so condemned.  One of the first churches I went to as an adult preached the message that even the Jews were condemned to Hell because they had rejected Jesus as the savior.  When you look at the history of Israel and God's hand at work there, you know this can not be.  Here is a good synopsis regarding Israel that everyone should watch. 
     Late one night some time back, I had taken all of this I could take.  In a quiet place, I fell to my knees and began to pray.  In desperation, I begged God to explain to me how He, a God of love and compassion, could condemn His children to such eternal torment.  I vaguely remember night turning to day and day turning once again to night.  When relief came to me,  I had my answer.
     I was given this insight and a way to present it.  If you are a parent, and one of your children committed a crime for which they showed no remorse, could you, as a parent, pass a judgement upon your child that would place him in total agony, torment, and pain for all of eternity?  I can only assume your answer would be a resounding NO.  Bearing in mind that God's love for us, His children, is 100 times greater than any love we can feel, how is it then that we seem to think He would do such a thing.  Whether we are atheists or staunch believers makes no difference in the fact that we are all indeed the children of God and created in His image.  If we believe our love for our children is too strong to allow us to commit such an act, how is it then we so readily accept that our God would do it so easily.  Many responses to this have been simply, "because the Bible tells me so".  I will get to that answer in a moment.  Suffice it to say at this point, I was lead by God to believe this whole concept of us going to Hell if we don't do the right thing is a fallacy, forced upon us by those who want to frighten us into believing their way.  In most early cases, it was done to bring us into the churches so we might fill the coffers of the church and bring wealth and power both to the churches and to those who ran them.  Now, it is done mostly from a sense of tradition and training, conditioning if you will, and a fear of changing what so many have been taught was the word of God.
    Then there is the question, " Is there a Hell?"  According to my understanding, for which I readily admit I have no real proof other than my own personal interaction with God, the answer is yes.  But that place known as Hell was not created in any way shape or form for the children of God.  It was created for Satan and the other angels who rose up against God and were defeated.  It is their home and not ever destined to be ours.  There is still a war raging between God and these angels and the spoils of that war is still us but not in the way we have been lead to believe.  

      In order to understand the next paragraph, one must understand Satan's intention.  Despite the fact that he represents pure evil, Satan has no issue with mankind other than we are begat by God.  God is his enemy, not mankind.  Remember that God created mankind because He was lonely.  Therefore, Satan's intent is to keep us away from God both in this world and the next.   Satan has no issue with our morals or even how we live our day to day life.  His issue again is with God.  With that in mind, I present you with this.
      If we have a pet or encounter any animal who is hurt or sick and suffering, we try to help that animal.  If it becomes obvious that we can not relieve that animals suffering, we, as an act of compassion, end that animals life.  This is how it was relayed to me that God deals with our souls.  For those of us who believe in Him or at the least believe in the concept of love for each other, there is a place for us in His kingdom.  For those who have chosen a path contrary to love, we simply cease to exist.  There is no eternal torment.  Likewise, there is no reason for us to seek out God in our lives because we are afraid.  It is much wiser to seek Him out for His love and because of our love for others in His name.  There is but one path to dwell in the house of the Lord forever and it is summed up in one word.  "LOVE"  I do believe, however, that God must be given the credit and acknowledgement of and for that love.  Similarly, it is never enough to tell someone something is wrong.  They must also understand why it is wrong.  Here again, God must be that reason and must never be omitted from the explanation.

     Because the Bible tells me so....The answer to this has labeled me a heretic by roughly 8 out of 10 people who have heard it.   Still , I must proceed because I do not believe in my heart it is wrong.  My message here is one of hope and one of love.  It is not meant to disparage anyone else or their beliefs.  I do believe that as we draw closer to God, He establishes a covenant of sorts with each and every one of us.  What is right for me may not be right for you and if you are completely comfortable with your current ideas and beliefs in you present relationship with God, then I would suggest you stop here and read no further.  That being said, what  follows,
I believe is truth and for that I make no apologies.

     Politics has played a major role in the entire history of mankind.  The selection and consolidation  of the books of the bible was no different.  Hundreds and hundreds of manuscripts were considered and hundreds were likewise rejected.  Let me explain an example. 
     The apostles Paul, Peter, James, and John all wrote of the end times, the apocalypse if you will.  Those text, written by apostles, were rejected with the explanation they did not fit the agenda of those who were making the decisions.  What was selected in their stead was a letter written to 7 churches of Rome by a disgruntled evangelical Christian/Jew named John, who was angry at the Romans for their annihilation of Israel.  No one even knows for sure who this man John was and while he was a follower of Jesus, he was not a Christian as we have come to know what a Christian is.  He believed gentiles could not be saved unless they first learned and accepted the Jewish teachings in the Torah.  He was not in agreement with the apostle Paul and his acceptance of gentiles rights to salvation.  He even referred to a gentile female church leader as a Jezebel simply because she was a woman.   The letters were an obvious attempt by this man to frighten the Romans as a way of punishing them for destroying Jerusalem.  One man, an extremely powerful cleric named Bishop Athanasius is the one who championed these letters to become part of the Bible.  His predecessor called the book unintelligible, irrational and false.  Other church leaders were opposed to Revelations becoming a part of the Bible but Athanasius used it as a political tool against those who spoke out against him.  It is hard to imagine the credibility of a book when intimidation was the main tool used in order to have it included.  It was added in 419 and was the very last book included in the Canonical Bible.  Several churches to this day do not recognize Revelation as part of the holy book and even scholars from many of those that do, openly admit it is the most difficult of all the books to understand as it seems to pose more questions than answers.

     Let's look at a few more examples....
Exodus 22:18   Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.
This verse alone was used as justification to murder thousands of innocent victims.  Why do I say innocent you ask?  Simply put, I don't believe in witches.
1 Timothy 2:11-14  Let the women learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.
There are too many examples such as these to go through them all.  Suffice it to say that women are considered lesser beings and little more than property in the old testament.  It just seems to me this was meant more as a way for men to control their wives than it was for them to love them.
The Bible truly has many wonderful truths and stories from which we can learn but it also has been the source of reasoning the deaths of thousands.  Is it that we only gleaned from it the wrong message or is the wrong message there intentionally?

     Please don't think I am discounting the entire Bible.  There are many beautiful stories and wonderful accounts of the true glory of God. This book is still the greatest book and teaching tool ever published on this earth.  What I am suggesting is you use not only your mind but also your heart when determining that which is best for you in this powerful book.   You must not believe anything simply because you have been told or because of what you have read.    Pray for guidance.  Pray for discernment.  Pray and you will receive the answers God has for you.  

     These are the things and more I have come to believe.  I worship a living God who is the master and leader of my daily life.  Despite what many claim as divine inspiration, He did not write The Bible.  If one needs spiritual help or spiritual guidance, the best way to get that is not going to be found in a book nor is it going to be revealed to you by someone else.  The best way to find it is in a conversation with the creator Himself.  If in your heart you truly believe in Him, I would suggest you get down on your knees and talk to Him.  He is your father.  He is your creator.  He is the answer to all your problems and all your questions.  He will provide for you and He will care for you.  Love Him for He surely loves you.