Thursday, September 25, 2008
Monday, September 22, 2008
After:And we didn't even have to resort to shaving any heads. The key will be if Jesse lets me do it a second time. I must say that I feel pretty accomplished right now. For some weird reason, I've always wanted to be able to cut my husband's hair. It's one of those things that I felt should be one of my wifely duties. Don't ask me to explain. Anyway, thanks Jess, for helping me feel like a good wife!
Friday, September 19, 2008
Friday, September 5, 2008
I have to say I agree with my coworker more than he knows. I hate religion. I do not adhere to a particular religion. I go to church every week and if that is your definition of religious then so be it. Jesus Himself did not promote religion. The scribes and Pharisees were the religious people of Jesus' day and take a look at what Jesus had to say to them in Matthew 23. "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness...You blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel! Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness. So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness...You serpents, you brood of vipers, how will you escape the sentence of hell?" Wow! Harsh words. And that is just a small portion of what He had to say about them.
What I have is not religion. What I have is a relationship. I have a personal relationship with Jesus my Saviour. And that relationship is available to anyone regardless of what "religion" they may or may not claim. Religion is not something that is from God. Religion is man's way of trying to reach out to God whether it be through regularly attending church, tithing, doing good deeds, baptism or any number of things. Now, I'm not saying that any of those things are bad. They are all commanded by God, but not as a prerequisite for salvation. The truth of the matter is that Jesus has already done everything that needs to be done in order for us to have a relationship with Him. Through dying on the cross, He became the perfect sacrifice that was needed in order for us to be reconciled to God once again.
Salvation is really so simple but man's religion has clouded and confused it so much that mankind is constantly striving to attain this perfection that is impossible outside of Christ. If you will, it is as simple as ABC:
- Admit that you are a sinner; that you have done things in your life that have separated you from the perfection of God. Romans 3:23 says "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."
- Believe that Jesus came to be the perfect sacrifice for those sins and that, through His death on the cross and resurrection, He is the only way to salvation. Romans 5:8 says "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Jesus said in John 14:6, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me."
- Confess and repent of your sins to God and accept his free gift of salvation, and as a result, God has promised that you will be saved. Romans 10:9 says "if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved." And in one of my favorite verses, Ephesians 2:8-9, you see how generous God really is "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast."
That's it. That is God's way for us to have a relationship with Him. Religion is man's way and will never be enough. No matter how hard you try and to what extent your good deeds outweigh your bad deeds, you can never do enough. Religion says "Do this and do that", God says "It is already done." His Son was His gift to you; He doesn't expect you to work for it or else it wouldn't be considered a gift. God asks you to come to Him as you are. He doesn't say, "Get your life straight and then come to Me." God is the One who will make the necessary changes in your life, all He wants is you; all of you, flaws included. It is in those flaws that He is able to make His power known.
It is up to you; it is your own personal choice. No one can make this decision for you; not your church, your parents, your pastor, your bishop, etc. It is between God and you. God is reaching out to you through His Son, not through religion. "Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me." What is your choice? Are you going to open the door?
For those of you who have stuck with me to the end of this post, thank you. I know it was long. If you ever have any questions about what I have written please talk to me, send a comment, email, phone call, whatever. I have no problem discussing any of this with you, even if it's been years since we've seen one another. And to my coworker who brought on this post, I too "look forward to the day that religion no longer exists" and all that exists is Jesus.