Sunday, September 10, 2006

Superstitious minds...

...cannot fully embrace the Word of GOD as truth, nothing but the truth, the end; That the Word of GOD is final in matters; That the Word of GOD is stable, real, and will not fail. Everything needed to embrace Christ is explained in the Word of God.

It seems people are more willing to accept a superstition into their lives rather than the gospel of Jesus Christ. They are more willing to believe that money is going to come into their hands because their palms are itching. Or that someone is talking about them because their ear is ringing. Or that a message is coming their way because a magpie is sitting on a wall. Or that if you squash a bug, you could be squashing a relative who was brought back to this world in that form as punishment. (Perhaps part of that superstitious punishment is that they are to be squashed? Eh? Ever think of that? Hmmm.)

The gospel of Jesus Christ is a sure thing. It is founded. It is real. It is not created as a fable or as a way of calming the fears of those who do not want to face the torment of bad events or tormentors on earth (this physical plane), followed by eternal damnation in hell (the 1st death) & later cast into the lake of fire to be snuffed out of existence forever (the 2nd death). (Although, that is the consequence of not believing, let's be honest.)

By the way, isn't it just like the Lord GOD to have two deaths to compliment two births? The first birth is when we are born of our mother from her womb into this world. The second birth is when we are born of the Spirit into the kingdom of God. Nicodemus couldn't even fathom being born a second time. But we are born-again when we accept Jesus Christ as the Son of God. It is so simple that it baffles the educated & intellectual. (Two is the number of "witness".)

Have you stepped on any cracks? Did your mom break her back as you did? If you answered yes, then I tell you truthfully that the two events were not related. And I add: "That is very misfortunate for your mom, I wish her restored and in good health."

This part could just be read by those educated & intellectual types:
I searched the bible for the word "superstition" and found it in Acts 25:19. It reads,
But had certain questions against him of their own superstition, and of one Jesus, which was dead, whom Paul affirmed to be alive.

I discovered that the original Greek word used for superstition in this passage is deisidaimonia (dice-ee-dahee-mon-ee'-ah) meaning "religion: - superstition" & is from the word deisidaimonesteros (dice-ee-dahee-mon-es'-ter-os) meaning "more religious than others: - too superstitious." The word deisidaimonesteros is a compound of the words deilos (di-los') from deos (dread) which means "timid (implying faithless), fearful" and the word daimō n (dah'ee-mown) from daiō (to distribute fortunes) which means "a demon or super natural spirit (of a bad nature): - devil."

When we are timid, we cannot embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ. We will not be able to experience Hebrews 13:6,
"So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, & I will not fear what man shall do unto me."
Nor will we be able to experience Hebrews 4:16,
"Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, & find grace to help in time of need."
I don't know about you, but I need those things: grace, mercy, & help in time of need.
Yet, rather than accept the gospel of Jesus Christ, it seems people are willing to accept other belief systems that soon become their [false] religion. (I wonder if those who claim to be agnostic or atheist hold superstitions. If so, then they cannot be truly agnostic or atheist. Hmmm.)

And what does the bible say about religion? Well, there are five verses that mention "religion": Acts 26:5, Galatians 1:13-14, James 1:26-27.
In Acts & in James, the root word is thrēskeia (thrace-ki'-ah) & means "ceremonial observance". In Galatians, the root word is Ioudaismos (ee-oo-dah-is-mos') & means “judaism”. Essentially, we learn the most about "the practice" of religion from the book of James. We are told to bridle our tongue (curb our speech) so we do not deceive our own heart & to visit the fatherless & widows in their affliction, & to keep our self unspotted (unblemished, unsoiled, unstained, undefiled - physically & morally) from the world.

So that's biblical "religion". Well then, what is this thing we have with Jesus Christ? Isn't that a religion? No. It is not.

We are not to "ceremoniously" observe him. Do you know what it means to ceremoniously observe something? It means you perform a ritual or two. It's formal. There may be even pomp in the situation. Yes, we are to observe Christ - we are to make note of the spirit behind which he did and said things (the Spirit of the Lord) & refer to the Word & the Holy Spirit to further teach us so we too can be led of the Spirit (have ears to hear) to do the same things (obey) with a clear understanding.
Does the Holy Spirit need a ceremony everytime we are to learn from Him? Does the Word of God need a ceremony everytime it is to be spoken to teach, to correct, to edify, to reprove in righteousness? When did informal gatherings to share what Christ has done in our lives & to hear the Word become a ritualistic practice?

Please - I challenge you, dear reader: Show me in the Word where Jesus Christ ever sent out a message to all that He would be holding assemblies where He would teach GOD's word on certain days of the week at certain times when he walked on this earth.

The joy of calling others in Christ to come assemble together & worship the Lord together compels them to come from a willing heart. Those who do not come, making excuses, will be revealed. Those who are willing will overcome obstacles to make it because they joy to be in His presence with those who love & worship Him in spirit & in truth. We should be ready to assemble anytime, in season & out of season. Not when we're ready, but when GOD says "now is the time".
Do you think the Israelites were ready to cross the desert to get to their promised land after being freed from bondage in Egypt? Do you think Noah was ready to have it rain buckets on the world & be the only family remaining in existence? Do you think Abraham was ready to let go of Ishmael?
When GOD speaks, now is the time. And we don't go based on our feelings; we don't worship Him because we "feel like it". We obey Him, we worship Him because we LOVE Him, we ADORE Him, we REVERE Him, we cannot live without Him, & we know we are nothing without Him. Does that mean we are forced? No - we are compelled. Especially when, as we are changed from glory to glory, we look back & see the hunk of junk we once were & the miserable, sorry circumstances we lived in because we thought we could "do it on our own" without God. When we look back at our struggle without Him & remember His great love that removed us from that struggle - we cannot help but shout praises to Him with a thankful heart. We cannot help but dance before Him in such joy. We cannot help but sing & make up songs to Him & about Him to share the joy in our hearts.

If you try to worship Jesus Christ because of religion, then you're failing to grasp the relationship.

Mankind creates ways of "fitting in" somehow by putting labels on groups & forming memberships. The Lord GOD never commanded us to do this. He told us that we would know who were His by the spirit. He told us to test the spirit & to judge the fruit. Those are the methods that He uses. Instead, mankind forms groups of people and name them under an umbrella membership. My experience with memberships is that I have to pay to get in and at anytime I can choose to get out. But my experience with relationships is that I have to do some work to keep in touch & those relationships can prove to be invaluable networking connections later down the road.

Ever hear that phrase: It's not what you know, but WHO you know?

Mankind always tries to fit GOD into our lives rather than take care to fit into His abundant life.

And if mankind cannot determine whether GOD is real or not or in what form He takes, then mankind creates superstitious beliefs which become seeds of false religion.

Yes, there is a fear of the Lord to observe. But it is not the sort of fear that accompanies superstition (which is usually that of retribution). It is a reverent fear - an awed respect of His incredible awesomeness. It is a deep & profound awe of His holiness, of His character, of His great fame. To stand in the realization that this is the One who set the sun & the moon in the heavens to give light to the earth; who set His bow (rainbow) in the cloud as a token of a covenant between Him & the earth; who set the dominion of the ordinances of heaven in the earth. (Read Job chapter 38!!!! GOD IS AWESOME!!)

Jesus Christ is not a superstition. In the beginning was the Word, & the Word was with God, & the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; & without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; & the life was the light of men. And the light shines in darkness; & the darkness comprehends it not. ...That was the true Light, which lights every man that comes into the world. He was in the world, & the world was made by him, & the world knew him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word was made flesh, & dwelt among us, (& we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace & truth. ...For the law was given by Moses, but grace & truth came by Jesus Christ. No man has seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he has declared him.

If you want to embrace a superstition because "it's better to be safe than sorry"; then truthfully you are better off putting away the superstition and putting on Christ. However, do not come to Christ because of fears of retribution. Come to Christ because He is the giver of abundant life. Come to Christ because He knows your every care, your every need, & He desires to give you good things & to prosper you. Come to Christ because He forgives the worst of sinners & He wants to give love to those who have been without love; He wants to heal your heart from the deep wounds, the bitter hurts, the unforgiving actions that were performed on you by others whom you trusted (or not). Repent & let Him into your life. You too will stand in reverent awe of God's mercy & grace. His love causes us to look inward at our own heart rather than at others. And as we look at our own heart, we see how much cleaning was done & still needs to be done. We cannot then look at others and judge them, for He has forgiven us of much sin. His love compels us then to forgive & love others in that light. For none of us are able to cast the first stone.

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