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This world is full of religion. You can find a religion that will fit your needs and make you feel good. But what exactly are they offering you? Do they teach the Word of God? Is a change of heart a requirement for the promise of salvation? Is every level of hierarchy with in those religions built on honesty and truth?

From what I have seen of religion today offers nothing but a false hope, a half truth and hypocrisy. This practice in man made religion has been going on for years. In fact, Jesus preached about it. At that time it was the Scribes and Pharisees that were doing a disservice to those that wanted to seek God. In Matthew 23 Christ brings judgment to those that require acts from the people and not themselves. To those that are more concerned with the “law” than a heart change. To those that are busy about works that make them appear to be righteous but are not sincere in their hearts. He concludes this message with verse 23; “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.” The scribes and Pharisees in Bible times were more concerned with acting like a follower of Christ than being one from the heart, as many religious leaders are today. God requires us to pay more attention to the “weightier matters of the law” those that are most important, judgment, mercy and faith.

In my observation of religion I have seen that many have two of the three. Some have mercy and faith. They preach that God is love and will forgive anything as long as you believe. That you can’t live with out sin, but God is merciful just say “I Believe”. Others are full of judgment, have strict creeds that, and are stingy with mercy. There is any combination that can be made. But if you don’t have all three, you don’t have the complete truth that God has for you. The three principles, judgment, mercy and faith all work together and the result is beautiful.

In order to receive mercy through faith, one has to experience judgment. How can you ask for forgiveness if you have done nothing wrong? Romans 3:23 reads “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” Each and every one of us has committed sin. What is sin? Sin is a transgression against God’s law, something that we know is wrong but do it anyways (1 John 3:4) or something that we know we need to do, but we don’t do it. (James 4:17) The Bible tells us that we are all sinners and that God is not pleased with this. Romans 6:1 asks “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?” the answer in verse 2 is “God forbid.” His plan for us is that we live in communion with him. We cannot do this if sin remains in our life. So judgment comes through the acknowledgement of sin and the need to seek forgiveness or mercy for them. If we fail to do this and continue living in sin, we have a reward, and that is hell. (Psalms 9:16-17) But let’s not forget God’s perfect plan. He does offer mercy to those that seek his forgiveness for their sins. God sent his son, the ultimate sacrifice so that we could live with out sin. In Matthew 1:21 the Bible states that Jesus came to save his people FROM their sins, not to save them while they continue IN their sins. All we have to do to receive this mercy is to confess our sins. (1 John 1:9) It is hard to say that we are wrong and to say sorry, but God loves a humble heart and will draw them close. Once we have been forgiven it is up to us to choose to live sin free every day. Sin is a choice as we discussed earlier and it is with God’s mercy and grace that we are able to choose to follow him in righteousness. We have a responsibility to keep a tight hold on our salvation, 1 John 5:18 “We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not.” We are born into God’s family when we have sought forgiveness and received it; we then need to keep ourselves so that the enemy of our souls will have no power over us. Now where is faith in all of this? Ephesians 2:8-9 reads “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” We do need to have faith to believe that God can and will save us. That he will keep his promises. Through the power of salvation in us and his presence through the Holy Spirit, we can live each day in a manner pleasing to him. We will not make it to heaven just by doing good things, we cannot save ourselves. We need to accept the blood of Jesus as a payment for our sins and though God’s mercy continue our life with out sin. Our salvation is a work that only God can perform in our lives. It is only when we have acknowledged the judgment of sin and sought mercy through faith that we are able to live as God would have us to, holy, sin free, and in communion with him.

Through all of this we can see that we must have all three, judgment, mercy and faith to live according to God’s plan for his people. Be honest with your self and with God. Don’t be content with just a religious belief, search for a true relationship with God. Seek the truth where ever you go and God will be faithful to bring you to it. It is his desire that you find the truth.

I got this in an email today and thought I would share it. Do you have the that link that ties Man and God together.

 

An Atheist Professor of Philosophy was speaking to his Class on the Problem Science has with GOD, the ALMIGHTY. He asked one of his New Christian Students to stand and . . .

Professor : You are a Christian, aren’t you, son ?

Student : Yes, sir.

Professor : So, you Believe in GOD ?

Student : Absolutely, sir.

Professor : Is GOD Good ?

Student : Sure.

Professor : Is GOD ALL – POWERFUL ?

Student : Yes.

Professor : My Brother died of Cancer even though he Prayed to GOD to Heal him. Most of us would attempt to help others who are ill. But GOD didn’t. How is this GOD good then? Hmm?

(Student was silent )

Professor : You can’t answer, can you ? Let’s start again, Young Fella. Is GOD Good?

Student : Yes.

Professor : Is Satan good ?

Student : No.

Professor : Where does Satan come from ?

Student : From . . . GOD . .. . 

Professor : That’s right. Tell me son, is there evil in this World?

Student : Yes.

Professor : Evil is everywhere, isn’t it ? And GOD did make everything. Correct?

Student : Yes.

Professor : So who created evil ?

(Student did not answer)

Professor : Is there Sickness? Immorality? Hatred? Ugliness? All these terrible things exist in the World, don’t they?

Student : Yes, sir.

Professor : So, who Created them ?

(Student had no answer)

Professor : Science says you have 5 Senses you use to Identify and Observe the World around you.. Tell me, son . . . Have you ever Seen GOD?

Student : No, sir.

Professor : Tell us if you have ever Heard your GOD?

Student : No , sir.

Professor : Have you ever Felt your GOD, Tasted your GOD, Smelt your GOD? Have you ever had any Sensory Perception of GOD for that matter?

Student : No, sir. I’m afraid I haven’t.

Professor : Yet you still Believe in HIM?

Student : Yes.

Professor : According to Empirical, Testable, Demonstrable Protocol, Science says your GOD doesn’t exist. What do you say to that, son?

Student : Nothing.. I only have my Faith.

Professor : Yes,Faith. And that is the Problem Science has.

Student : Professor, is there such a thing as Heat?

Professor : Yes.

Student : And is there such a thing as Cold?

Professor : Yes.

Student : No, sir. There isn’t. 

(The Lecture Theatre became very quiet with this turn of events)

Student : Sir, you can have Lots of Heat, even More Heat, Superheat, Mega Heat, White Heat,  a Little Heat or No Heat. But we don’t have anything called Cold. We can hit 458 Degrees below Zero which is No Heat, but we can’t go any further after that. There is no such thing as Cold. Cold is only a Word we use to describe the Absence of Heat. We cannot Measure Cold. Heat is Energy. Cold is Not the Opposite of Heat, sir, just the Absence of it.

(There was Pin-Drop Silence in the Lecture Theatre )

Student : What about Darkness, Professor? Is there such a thing as Darkness?

Professor : Yes. What is Night if there isn’t Darkness?

Student : You’re wrong again, sir. Darkness is the Absence of Something . You can have Low Light, Normal Light, Bright Light, Flashing Light . . . But if you have No Light constantly, you have nothing and its called Darkness, isn’t it? In reality, Darkness isn’t. If it is, were you would be able to make Darkness Darker, wouldn’t you?

Professor : So what is the point you are making, Young Man ?

Student : Sir, my point is your Philosophical Premise is flawed.

Professor : Flawed ? Can you explain how?

Student : Sir, you are working on the Premise of Duality. You argue there is Life and then there is Death, a Good GOD and a Bad GOD. You are viewing the Concept of GOD as something finite, something we can measure. Sir, Science can’t even explain a Thought. It uses Electricity and Magnetism, but has never seen, much less fully understood either one. To view Death as the Opposite of Life is to be ignorant of the fact that Death cannot exist as a Substantive Thing. Death is Not the Opposite of Life: just the Absence of it. Now tell me, Professor, do you teach your Students that they evolved from a Monkey?

Professor : If you are referring to the Natural Evolutionary Process, yes, of course, I do.

Student : Have you ever observed Evolution with your own eyes, sir?

(The Professor shook his head with a Smile, beginning to realize where the Argument was going )

Student : Since no one has ever observed the Process of Evolution at work and Cannot even prove that this Process is an On-Going Endeavor, Are you not teaching your Opinion, sir? Are you not a Scientist but a Preacher?
(The Class was in Uproar )

Student : Is there anyone in the Class who has ever seen the Professor’s Brain?

(The Class broke out into Laughter)

Student : Is there anyone here who has ever heard the Professor’s Brain, Felt it, touched or Smelt it? . . . No one appears to have done so. So, according to the Established Rules of Empirical, Stable, Demonstrable Protocol, Science says that You have No Brain, sir. With all due respect, sir, how do we then Trust your Lectures, sir?

(The Room was Silent.. The Professor stared at the Student, his face unfathomable)

Professor : I guess you’ll have to take them on Faith, son.

Student : That is it sir . . . Exactly! The Link between Man & GOD is FAITH. That is all that Keeps Things Alive and Moving.

NB:

That student was Albert Einstein.

I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold;
I’d rather be His than have riches untold;
I’d rather have Jesus than houses or lands;
I’d rather be led by His nail-pierced hand

Refrain:
Than to be the king of a vast domain,
Or be held in sin’s dread sway;
I’d rather have Jesus than anything
This world affords today.

I’d rather have Jesus than men’s applause;
I’d rather be faithful to His dear cause;
I’d rather have Jesus than worldwide fame;
I’d rather be true to His holy name

He’s fairer than lilies of rarest bloom;
He’s sweeter than honey from out the comb;
He’s all that my hungering spirit needs;
I’d rather have Jesus and let Him lead

by Rhea F. Miller 1922

Is this your testimony? When you sing this song does it come from your heart in true devotion to Jesus or are they just words to another song? May we ever keep Jesus first in our lives that whether we have or we have not things of this world, we can have the peace that Jesus brings.

Romans 15:4  For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.

Clark’s commentary
That therefore we must go and do likewise: For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning. [1.] That which is written of Christ, concerning his self-denial and sufferings, is written for our learning; he hath left us an example. If Christ denied himself, surely we should deny ourselves, from a principle  of ingenuousness and of gratitude, and especially of conformity to his image. The example of Christ, in what he did and said, is recorded for our imitation. [2.] That which is written in the scriptures of the Old Testament in the general is written for our learning. What David had said in his own person Paul had just now applied to Christ. Now lest this should look like a straining of the scripture, he gives us this excellent rule in general, that all the scriptures of the Old Testament (much more those of the New) were written for our learning, and are not to be looked upon as of private interpretation. What happened to the Old Testament saint happened to them for ensample; and the scriptures of the Old Testament have many fulfillings. The scriptures are left for a standing rule to us: they are written, that they might remain for our use and benefit. First, For our learning. There are many things to be learned out of the scriptures; and that is the best learning which is drawn from these fountains. Those are the most learned that are most mighty in the scriptures. We must therefore labour, not only to understand the literal meaning of the scripture, but to learn out of it that which will do us good; and we have need of help therefore not only to roll away the stone, but to draw out the water, for in many places the well is deep. Practical observations are more necessary than critical expositions. Secondly, That we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. That hope which hath eternal life for its object is here proposed as the end of scripture-learning. The scripture was written that we might know what to hope for from God, and upon what grounds, and in what way. This should recommend the scripture to us that it is a special friend to Christian hope. Now the way of attaining this hope is through patience and comfort of the scripture. Patience and comfort suppose trouble and sorrow; such is the lot of the saints in this world; and, were it not so, we should have no occasion for patience and comfort. But both these befriend that hope which is the life of our souls. Patience works experience, and experience hope, which maketh not ashamed, Romans 5:3-5. The more patience we exercise under troubles the more hopefully we may look through our troubles; nothing more destructive to hope than impatience. And the comfort of the scriptures, that comfort which springs from the word of God (that is the surest and sweetest comfort) is likewise a great stay to hope, as it is an earnest in hand of the good hoped for. The Spirit, as a comforter, is the earnest of our inheritance.

Once again, it has been several weeks if not months since the third part was posted, but as they say, better late than never. I have one more scripture to study for this passage; 2 Peter 1:7 – And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.

The dictionary doesn’t have ‘brotherly kindness” but if we look at kindness and then add who we are to show this too, I believe that we can see what our mission is. Kindness is the state, quality or habit of being kind, a kind act or treatment, a kind feeling, affection or goodwill. If one is described as kind, they would be sympathetic, friendly, gentle, tender-hearted, generous and cordial. So being kind is a habit that we can form. As a habit, it is something to be practiced over and over. It is a state of being, one is kind. We all know people that are kind. But to truly show a Godly character, we need to have brotherly kindness. How is this different?

I want to digress just a little. In a healthy family, the members work together, support each other, are kind one to another, and maybe even bring judgment (with wisdom hopefully). They do their best to help the family continue to grow together. This kindness that the family members have one to another is the kindness we need to show to everyone, not just those that love us and are kind back. The love, affection, concern, that we show to our family, friends and loved ones is what we need to show to all those around us. We are to “Love our neighbor as ourself” Luke 10:27-37. This passage includes the story about the Good Samaritan. According to tradition, the Samaritan was the least likely person to show kindness to the Jew that was along side the road. We have to be willing to show brotherly kindness even when we might be scoffed at or questioned. In 2 Peter it says that we are to add brotherly kindness to godliness, the evidence of godliness is show through our actions of brotherly kindness.

On top of brotherly kindness we are to add charity. Charity is described as the love of God for man or man for his fellow man, an act of good will or affection, the feeling of goodwill, benevolence. Another word that is commonly used in place of charity is love.

1 Corinthians devotes the whole of chapter 13 to this subject, while I am not going to go over it specifically, I want to point out a few highlights that Biblically define charity. In this chapter we can find that anything we do that is not a result of love or is done in or because of love is done in vein. We can do great things for people but if we do not have love, there is no profit or gain. Verses 4 through 8 specifically describe what charity is: “Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.” We have seen several of these attributes already in this study. For us to completely pattern our lives after Christ, we must have charity. The last verse states “And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.”

Of everything listed here in 2 Peter 1, charity is of the utmost importance. If we have charity, we will have all the characteristics. It is with charity that we can take on faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, and brotherly kindness. Let us each be careful to show charity, and love to all those we come in contact with. Before we act out of emotion let us pause and show forth charity. This will set us apart as true Christians. Those that just profess to love Christ will not have the grace to show charity to not only their loved ones, but also to their enemies.

It was God’s love toward us that brought us his son Jesus, as his followers, it is this same love and mercy that we are to exhibit. May we take this challenge to allow God’s love to shine through us and touch the lives of those around us. As we work diligently to add each attribute into our lives, let us always do so in love, in doing so, we will become more like Christ. May we live our lives to draw souls to him.

Once again, let’s read 2 Peter 1:5-8 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

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