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Authentic Christian Believer
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    always searching for more knowledge

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  • Still have any Gods? If so, who or what?
    God. There is only one.

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  1. About 13 years ago, before I had any real understanding of God or any belief systems, I had this concept revealed to me. Although I had been unfamiliar with it, when I brought it up in a forum, I realized that it was commonly known. When discussing it with some atheists, one of them referred to it by a name, like "(something) razor". I am only familiar with Occam's Razor, which of coarse does not apply to this. Would anyone here know the name of the following concept? I understand the following may not be exactly correct. I am not trying to start a debate with this question. I am just trying to find the name of the concept. "Atheist's generally believe there is no afterlife. When we die, if the Atheist's were correct, then the Atheist will have gained nothing but to say that he/she was correct. Of course, no one will know, because they will be dead. In this scenario, Christian's will have lost nothing for believing. Christian's believe in an afterlife. When we die, if the Christian's were correct, they will have gained everything, with eternal glory in heaven. And the Atheist's will have lost everything, forever, and all will know it." [interestingly, the Atheist's I have conversed with in the past, tended to leave out the final conclusion of this concept. Hmmm, I wonder why?] -humble
  2. Jeff: I think you're correct that most Christians that venture into this Lion's Den think they'll "round up a bunch of wayward or lost Christians using their positive attitude and a few choice bible passages, and voila, brownie points in heaven and a good story to tell their local congregation." They think everyone needs or wants rescuing. Years ago in my naivete I thought the same thing. Although the heart may be in the right place, it is a self-centered and egotistical point of view. And it's one heckuva realization when you discover how wrong you are. rjn: I used to have the viewpoint that I would just do what I wanted, when I wanted. God or no God, it didn't matter to me. He didn't seem to be helping me at all in my life, so I didn't care. I had no need of any religions. I even had the mindset that at the end of my life, if I didn't please God enough to get into heaven (if it turned out there is one), then I was okay if God just "poofed" me out of existence. How would I know anyway, if I was gone? But I did think that I was a pretty decent person, as were most of the people I knew, and I suspected, as you seem to, that most people around the world are pretty decent. So if being a decent person is the ticket to "pass into heaven", then where is the cut-off line? How many "good" acts moves you forward? How many "bad" acts moves you back?. What's the ratio? What's the guideline for a "good" or "bad" act? How does a person know where the line is? Why doesn't any religion tell us? Where does my score currently stand? Well, there is an answer to this question. Christian "religion and culture" has been good at obfuscating it, and other religions just get it wrong. Storm: I don't think it wrong for the church to tell us to "stay in the Word", or "study the Bible", per se. It's just that we get little guidance in how to do it properly. Why? Perhaps because very few church leaders really have the answer. Sure, they have all the book-smarts. They were formally taught. Went to seminary. They love their churches and congregations. But they don't know how to lead people to God, because they have never truly built a real, personal relationship with God themselves. Just as I could never tell you how to build and grow a successful business effectively, if my own experience included simply reading a book and taking a class on it. I need experience, which may include failing first if I try on my own, or finding someone who has actually succeeded and learning from them. Go into any bookstore or look online today and you will find thousands of people who claim to know the right ways to build a successful business. How do you decide who has good, repeatable information? You can tell who has succeeded by the fruit of their efforts. One problem with studying the Bible is where to start? If we simply start at the OT beginning with Genesis and move book-by-book, very quickly we will get mired in confusion, mixed messages, and become offended. (See violetbutterfly's Deuteronomy 21:10-14 passage as a good example.) As I've mentioned in my earlier post, properly understanding context is critical. It can completely change the idea or meaning of a passage or statement. The focus of the OT was towards one small segment of the total population of that time. The Jewish people and their culture. Yet, today Christians commonly read the OT as if it is written as a direct message to us in today's culture. It is not! I personally know leaders in men's ministry who mis-interpret the frustration and anger of God at the Jewish people of ancient times, and assume that God's anger still exists and is directed at us today. This is not true, and it is not biblical. Over the course of history, God has made a number of covenants, starting exclusively with the Jewish people, and then, with Jesus' ministry and subsequent physical death on the cross, extending to all people. The OT was directed at the ancient Jewish people. The Gospels and NT are directed at all people since Jesus' birth. That is not to say the OT is a throw-away book. It is important. But after Genesis and Exodus, a believer should stay in the Gospels and NT writings until they have a very firm understanding of the covenant that believers now live under. Most Christians (about 98% based on one study) believe that the endgame of their faith is all about being saved. Making it to heaven. Obviously, this would be important to a believer, but what the Christian "culture or religion" have hidden from people, is that salvation is just the starting point of what God has given us. After they accept salvation, they sit firmly resting on their hands, and wonder why things aren't getting better. Is this it? Is this all there is to believing in God? What's the point? The problem is, they never knew to explore further, or how to do it. It's like saving all year to take your family to Disney World. Building up the excitement level and all. You finally get there, buy your tickets, pass through the gate. There is lush, beautiful flowers, plants, and greenery everywhere. A park bench sits to one side. You look around, don't see much else, and take a seat on the bench, thinking to yourself "I made it!" A few hours later, with nothing new or interesting going on, you become bored. You start to wonder "Why did I come here? What's so great about this?" And either you sit there in your boredom on the bench, or you start to wander back out of the park. What was missed in the "travel brochure" among the clutter of advertisements for local restaurants, theaters, and nightclubs, was the page that showed "You Are Here-->". "Follow this small, nondescript trail to the Magic Kingdom." Sound like a child's fairy tale? I choose my words intentionally. I know that my words will be mocked and criticized, and I'll be slandered. I've mocked others for similar ideas. Interestingly, it comes from non-believers and believers alike. Perhaps I enjoy having hatred aimed at me. Don't most people? The problem for me is that God showed me that nondescript path, in essentially a 2-step process in my case. He started in the midst of me getting "hammered" by 4 atheists in a forum such as this one, but for Christian believers. And I've been following it and exploring it for the past 4 years, and it has been quite amazing. ----------------------------------------- And to anyone else, believe what you will. I don't care. I'm not here to sell any of you on anything. I am only required to be a witness to things I have personally seen or experienced. There is nothing you can take from me or change my mind, so don't bother trying. I had a very direct experience with God, and my troubled family relationships have been completely restored and are flourishing.
  3. Interesting! A number of your responses to my my post proves my point. rjn: I italicized the words "intentionally chosen" because that is specifically what I meant. The relatively few people on this planet that are not aware of Jesus's death on the cross as payment for our sins will gain entrance to heaven. A person jeopardizes salvation when they intentionally choose to turn away from, or disbelieve in God. Does that mean that once turned away, a person can never return to God and be saved? Not at all. A person has the ability to turn to God up until the death of their natural body. TABA: Not really sure where you're trying to go with the Prodigal Son parable. That parable contains a really simple concept. [son grows to adult age, grabs all his stuff, flips his family off, and says something like "screw you, I don't need you, what'd you ever do for me? I'm outta here!"] (some ex-christians would be considered to be at this stage.) [son eventually blows his cash and is tired of bad relationships and an address at the corner bar. With nowhere else to go, he decides to return home, expecting to be criticized for his bad choices and behavior.] Many people at this point, if they are still willing to believe in God, may feel that they could never be forgiven for turning away, or for whatever bad behavior they may have indulged. This misconception may keep them from even trying to turn back to God. [The parable ends with the father surprising the son not with criticism, but with open arms, complete forgiveness and love for his son. The father throws a party and welcomes him back into the family. Total forgiveness. No bad feelings, no guilt, no shame. The son is restored to his original place as an heir.] And that's what is offered and available to every person, whether currently a believer or non-believer. ------------------------ It's really disappointing that so many (maybe the majority?) of responses of non-believers are simply childish name-calling and labeling. If you have nothing intelligent or constructive to add, perhaps it might be better if you just kept silent. You do yourself and your fellow non-believers no favors by exposing your arrogance and ignorance. Besides, I'm not going to directly respond to you. I know, you'll say that this statement shows my arrogance. But anyone that knows me personally would tell you otherwise. Slander posts just muddies the thread. ------------------------ violetbutterfly: Again, it is so important to understand the context correctly. There are 2 important points to make here. 1) The passage you quote (Deuteronomy 21:10-14) at face value is a pretty harsh statement about what seems to be the allowable treatment of women in those ancient times. In today's societies, in nations that are run by democracies, this would be considered despicable treatment of a woman, would not be tolerated, and I wholeheartedly agree that it should never have been tolerated. But even today, in most countries that are dictatorships, monarchies, theocracies, etc, women continue to have few rights. Stoning to death is still an acceptable punishment if a woman is found committing adultery in some countries (of course, men do not suffer that same punishment, which in itself is an outrage), particularly in the Middle East. These punishments are dictated by that country's primary religious belief (non-Christian). A despicable policy to be sure, but fact non the less. 2) Deuteronomy was originally written somewhere around 3500 years ago. I don't know the details of what would have been done with prisoners captured in a war or battle back then, but from what I have read, I presume they would normally have been killed or enslaved. I believe that arranged marriages were the norm in that time. The directive of God allowing the captive woman to be taken in marriage likely would have spared her life or kept her from slavery. Perhaps not in our democratic society of today, but in their society the forced marriage may have been considered the best option available to a captive. I'm not really sure. I didn't live then, and there simply is not enough available information to offer us those details of their society. Extrapolating our own cultural ideas, values, and morals is just not a workable solution in comparing our culture today to the cultures of old testament scripture. Consider also that at that time in history, right or wrong, women might have been commonly considered property. I'm not sure why you think that "sexual performance" would necessarily be the issue that the husband would not be pleased with his wife. What if she simply acted nasty or cold and silent to him all the time. Perhaps that would have been a good method for a captive wife to be turned free. He would not be allowed to sell her as a slave. God dictated that he would have to allow her to leave. And just a quick fact about the status of women in the Christian Holy Bible: in the first book Genesis, regarding the creation of Adam and Eve, although Adam was created first, Eve was created as an equal human, but actually God's crowning achievement of all creation! Eve was the culmination of His perfect creation! This was the status of women in the world. This is what God intended. ------------------------ A couple of your responses indicated that there are former believers here that may have been deeply involved with your faith, or church, or studying the bible, but have now turned away. I get that. Perfectly understandable. The teaching in many of today's churches is poison. What Christianity has commonly become today, was warned against by the Apostle Paul. In one book, he warned against "divisions in the church". That's exactly what exists today. So many different Christian denominations or faiths: Catholic, Lutheran, Pentecostal, etc, with sub-groups within those faiths. Each one thinking that they have the right answer, and all the others have it wrong in some way. None of the current Christian denominations even existed through Jesus' time on earth. His teaching, which at that time was aimed at transforming the convoluted faith of the Jewish people, commonly became known as "The Way". This was not a new faith or belief. It was a correction of the Jewish faith. At that time some people embraced the refreshing truth that Jesus brought, and others such as existing church leaders and elders refused to give up their power, prestige, and control over the Jewish people. Jesus' core teachings have survived to this day as the faith known as Christianity. (I do know that most of you are aware of this, whether you actually believe in it or not.) But, there is a significant difference between true Christianity, and "Christian Culture". In today's society, people most often experience Christian Culture. Sunday masses, weekly bible studies, boring hymns, organ music, stand-up/sit down/kneel over and over again, reciting dry scripture verses, and the list goes on. Monotonous, boring, and rarely ever helping you to connect with God. This is the Religion of Christianity. It's filled with rituals and rules, and it's precisely what Jesus came to correct in the Jewish faith 2000 years ago. As many of you already know, the Christian Religion of today does not lead you to God. What it frequently does is try to control you. It sows guilt and shame, uncertainty, doubt, anger, frustration, and perhaps worst of all, apathy. Think of all the hypocritical and fallen church leaders and elders. Why does this happen? For believers, we're told in church that all the solutions to life's troubles can be found in the Bible. "Stay in The Word", do bible studies, be more involved at church, memorize bible passages, join the choir. "Going deeper in your faith" means intensely studying the bible, book-by-book, verse-by-verse. Really trying to figure it out and understand it. Join a men's or women's ministry. Go on retreats. Build that relationship with Jesus! Hallelujah, praise the Lord! I'm guessing most of us have heard versions of this, if not experienced it firsthand. We're sold this barrel of snake oil as the way to salvation. To connect with God. To live a good life. What a crock! Has doing this stuff actually helped anyone? I seriously doubt it. Aren't pastors and priests and church elders the ones that recommend doing this stuff? How is all this religion working out for them? It isn't. And we all know it, because some of it makes media headlines, and it's laid bare and exposed for the world to see. We continue to have problems in our own lives, or we see it in other's lives and families. My own experiences include loss of a business, being estranged from my daughters, considering a divorce, and on the edge of financial ruin, just to name a few. So where does one go from here? It's hard to trust the church when nothing they recommend seems to work. I could have chucked it all and become a staunch atheist like my ex-business partner, but his roller-coaster attitude between being angry and depressed just didn't appeal to me. Yes, he claimed to be happy, but we had been best friends for 8 years, and I knew him better than that. Then I ran across a quote somewhere that made me think a bit deeper: "There is always a truth, whether you want to believe it or not." Interesting. This really is an unbiased statement. It doesn't lead someone to a pre-conceived outcome. It only begs that you search for the absolute truth. Not what you want it to be. Not what you hope it is. If you have integrity and can be honest with yourself, you continue searching until you have definitive proof no matter the outcome, and no matter what answer you are after. It took several years but I did get an answer to the absolute truth. No doubts, no questions. No room for error or my own opinion coloring the outcome. It was a gift given to me first-hand. Very directly. ------------------ It's getting late now. If there are any questions or responses that are actually worthwhile, I'll respond within the next couple of days. No matter your malice towards me, I do hope that all of you have a good and safe Friday and weekend. -humble
  4. For all unbelievers the christian Holy Bible is like a simplified map that is missing topography, a legend, any compass points, and all of the detail. All you see on the map are dots and lines representing cities and roads. This would represent books, chapters, and verses in the bible. You can read it over and over, even memorize it, but it never offers you any greater clarity, understanding, or meaning. It is, quite honestly, foolish and useless to an unbeliever, and a complete waste of their time. For all true believers, the christian Holy Bible starts out similar to the unbeliever's map, with little detail. But as the believer turns his/her heart towards God, our maps start to fill in with the necessary components to read the map correctly. The Holy Bible isn't simply text on a page any longer, but the messages and lessons begin to be revealed to us. The more a believer reads through the various books of the Bible, particularly the 4 gospels and the books of the new testament, the greater our understanding grows. Over time, our knowledge and understanding of the Holy Bible become like highly detailed 3-D maps of our place in God's universe. It really is a waste of time for an unbeliever to quote scripture to a true believer, because the unbeliever, in their ignorance and hardened heart, will always quote out of context, or misuse the scripture passage in some way, to simply manipulate the believer. Having any good discussion about Bible passages when unbelievers cannot argue correctly the content of the Bible is a lesson in futility. It simply cannot be done. God does not allow any person who has intentionally chosen to turn away from Him to understand the mysteries or universal knowledge of His Word.
  5. Catt, In #19 you state that there is no God: "...imaginary deity that doesn't exist?" Then in #23 you state: "Wrong, he did not create free will. Romans 9:11 (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works (free will), but of him that calleth;)" No surprise here. An athiest will usually come through in taking a quote out of context. This statement has absolutely nothing to do with whether we are given free will. But I am sure that you knew this, or you would have quoted the entire paragraph to include the proper context. In the entirety of Romans 9 the apostle Paul is pointing out to the Jewish people that God, as creator of all things, is free to offer saving grace to the Gentiles if He so chooses. It is also pointed out that being Jewish does not make you an automatic heir to the kingdom of God. It is the believer, whether Jew or Gentile, that is saved and made an heir to the kingdom. Romans 9 is also where the concept of God's "election" comes from. It is frequently misconstrued in arguments, both intentionally and unintentionally, as God doing some sort of cherry-picking. It's just not true. Then in #23 you claim there is: "No free will." So which is it? No free will means you are being controlled by something. No God, or no free will? And also in #23: "Dude if your going to come in here and talk shit to me, at least know your bible and what it says. Everything you said in your post is not biblical." Of course my post is biblical. All of it is. I've been down this road before with non-believers. Athiests read the text and know the words and passages of the Christian Bible better than most, but you have little to no understanding of it. What you believe are facts for your arguments, are usually nothing at all, because you rarely understand the context correctly. All book smarts and no street smarts. It's like "Dude, you don't know what you don't know." mymistake, in #22 you state: "Don't give us the "complete the law" run around. You need to come up with a logical explanation for why a God of love and justice would create the barbaric laws of the Old Testament and enforce them on pain of death for around a thousand years." So, telling His children to not kill each other, not to commit adultery, not to steal, etc. is a barbaric law? Do you let your kids run rampant in your own household? And God did not "enforce them on pain of death". Sheesh, how dramatic! As you well know, the Jews wanted to know what constituted a sin, and the 10 commandments were given to show that all people are guilty of having commited sins. This was done to show the Jews that they needed a saviour. (Unless they wanted to try paying for their own sins on judgement day.) mymistake: you also stated: "I know you directed this to Catt but let me point out that you missed a vital difference. Nobody is telling you how you need to live your life based on the teaching of Bugs Bunny or Micky Mouse." I thought this might be pointed out. The problem is...it is religion that tries to tell us how we should live our lives. It is humans that have put those rules into religion, to grab power and to control people. It was one of the reasons that Jesus was born on earth when He was. To start correcting the misunderstanding of the people, and the corruption of the church at that time. Jesus came to set the record straight. To show people they did not need to follow the hundreds of rules put into place by the religious leadership. Today, it seems that many (if not most) churches are heading back in that old direction. sdelsolray states in #24: "Fresh meat. But unfortunately, he appears to be another dime-a-dozen indoctrination Christian, full of mere assertions of his particular religious dogma and likely versed in standard Christian Apologetics with their attendant logical fallacies, factual lies and misrepresentations and holier-than-thou hubris." Lol. That's an awful lot of words for saying absolutely nothing. Actually, I was "indoctrinated", to use your term, very intensely and directly by the Holy Spirit 20-some years ago. It scared the crap outta me. And no, I am not versed in any Christian Apologetics. "I would not be surprised if this one doesn't last long around here, of his own choosing of course." Well duh, captain obvious. Why would I hang around a long time where I'm not wanted? I'm just here for some fun. I have nothing to prove to anyone here. I'll respond to a few challenges. Try to keep this interesting. I really don't care what you believe. That will be your problem with God. Not mine. Catt, in #25 posted: "Remember, the burden of proof lies on you, not me." This is classic. I don't think I've ever read an unbeliever that didn't toss out this line at some point in a discussion. Actually, you are the one in the minority position trying to change minds and beliefs in society. The burden of proof does in fact lie on you. mymistake, in #27: "Nowhere else in life does believing something accomplish anything at all." Come on now, do you people just regurgitate quotes that have worked for you at other times? Nothing in life is ever accomplished without first believing it can be done. Catt, in #29: "Kind of like how you and your Christian brethren's hatred towards unbelievers fed upon itself to burn us at the stakes? How many people has your religion of hate murdered?" Wow, Catt. I'm very sorry if you think my posts are exuding hatred. I don't know how that could be. I don't have any hatred. My sincere apologies. As for my Christian brethren, I don't think (but I could be wrong) that any of them were living yet back when stake-burning was going on. I certainly know that I was not around. I would have remembered that particularly sad episode in Christian religion history. And for what it's worth, I don't consider myself belonging to any religion. I am a follower of Jesus Christ, and of His original teachings, which came to be known in that time as "The Way". TheOutsider, in #30: "...why we should believe your particular creation myth over scientific discovery." I don't care if you believe me or not. I'm not here to change your minds. It's not my job. But perhaps you should consider this: Actual human knowledge is almost non-existant regarding our own world around us, much less what is in deep space. The fact that there are so many new advancements year-after-year in technology, medicine, bio-chemistry, genetics, and other areas suggests that we are still only scratching the surface. Most of these advancements are made with our ability to be very close hands-on to the developments being worked on. And yet, many people put there trust in flawed human theories and hypothesis about the cosmos. We know virtually nothing. All our knowledge is from photographs and videos. And all from a single perspective or point-source (the earth). Without any doubt, we will continue to find that scientific discovery frequently gets it wrong.
  6. Wow! Is this thread just a perfect example of how anger and hatred towards something just feeds upon itself? Cat, as you stated: "p.s. none of them exist anyways so....", so why all the energy and hatred directed at someone that doesn't exist? That would be like frequently ranting about Bugs Bunny or Micky Mouse. Quite pointless and a waste of time. It seems that most every thread eventually devolves down the same rabbit hole. Everyone jumping like lemmings over the cliff, trying to see who can claim the best twisted truth and the last word in trashing God. So much mental and emotional energy spent. So much time wasted formulating, in some cases, articulate arguments and replies. And all this simply to debunk a supposedly fictional and non-existant character? I don't think any of you are so foolish as to waste so much of your limited precious time remaining (for those who don't believe in any afterlife) arguing against a fictional character. Move on already. Go live your life the best you can. Based on your postings in this forum, I can assume it's working out wonderfully well for you. Or is it...? But since I'm pretty sure that all of you will remain here to continue trashing God and His followers, I think that this suggests highly that you do in fact believe in God, and you know that Jesus died for all our sins. Ranting and raving, denying, twisting scripture, throwing temper tantrums, and name calling works brilliantly to mask the truth, but it cannot change the truth. Now, I know your ready to battle, so let's get on with it. HBEtechnician posed the following question: "Think of all the shit the devil has done to man, now think of all the shit bible God has done to man. Christians who do you think wins the nice guy award." Unfortunately, this question in itself is quite absurd, and I'm not sure what it exposes about the experience or knowledge of the O.P. regarding competent or caring leadership. Whether in business, politics, or anywhere else, a strong, competent, successful leader does not worry about winning some "nice guy" award. He or she cares for the organization and people that they are responsible for. The best leaders will make decisions based on what will be good in the end for everyone. Often the people will grumble and complain because they lack facts or accurate information regarding the big picture. God has already spelled out the "big picture" for all of us. It is in the Bible, particularely in the New Testament. It's not that hard to wrap your mind around. Here it is in a nutshell: God created the universe. He created beings with free will, desires, and other attributes, including Lucifer, who's desire eventually turned to envy. That envy grew to mistrust and hatred of God. This eventually led to Lucifer battling God, and being defeated. Lucifer was then cast down to the earth, where he is allowed to roam and rule for awhile. (If God were so vengeful and hateful, don't you think that He would have just "poofed" Lucifer away. Eliminated Lucifer's soul and existance? How about Lucifer's army, 1/3 of the angels? Why not simply eliminate them? Eliminate the threat? Start over with fresh angels?) So now God creates humans, with souls, desires, and the ability to both receive and give love. (Most people think of humans as "bodies with souls". The soul as secondary, but this is incorrect. We are actually "souls inhabiting bodies". The soul, and heart, is primary to God.) Right from the start God warns us about Lucifer, who is now known as Satan (or the devil). That Satan has become evil, and roams the earth. We are warned of Satan's lies, deceipt, and trickery. It's easy to understand a growing threat when you can see it coming at you, but the limitations of our physical eyesite and other senses don't even allow us to see him, to see spirit beings or angels, thus the threat was not understood. We are also warned that we will have a difficult time here on earth. We will endure pain, hardship, disease, hatred, and many other troubles. In other words "this place is going to suck!". But we need to persevere. We are only here for a very brief time out of our entire infinite lives. (Our time on this sinful earth out of the length of our infinite lives, can be equated to the time it takes for a single quick refueling stop during a year-long vacation.) So, Adam and Eve were fooled by Satan into mistrusting God's intentions for them, and made a bad decision based on misrepresented information. Or to put it simply, they were conned by a thief, and unkwowingly let sin, and the effects of it, into this world. I can imagine God might have been thinking "Crap! The kids have screwed up the whole plan. Now how do I fix this?" I personally don't think that God expected sin to have such devestating effects on us, His children. I see many posts in this forum either referring to, or quoting OT scripture to show Gods anger. Why wouldn't He get angry? His children are well warned about all types of evil and temptations, yet they continually gravitate towards it. Then when things get really bad, they come running back to their father (God) for awhile, who forgives them and takes them in. Feeds and clothes them again. The next thing you know, they get complacent and bored, and go wandering away towards trouble, and sin, again. A side-note: My daughters have been well-warned against drugs and the high rate of addiction. If one of them now was seduced into a drug addiction, I would be royally p*ssed! Not because of her getting addicted. But because she chose to trust in the seductive lies of the drug more than she chose to trust in me, their father, who only has their best intentions at heart, and who told them only the truth. Next I would be working to get her out of the addiction. There would be arguing and fights. There would be denying the truth. She would probably say that she hated me, that I'm too controlling, that I have too many rules. There would be a lot of pain for both of us. I would forgive her, even if she never forgave me. Maybe she would never speak to me again. That would be her choice. But I would go to extremes to help her find the right path again. Now back in history, things are getting really screwed up. The Jews are misunderstanding God, and have created over 600 rules to follow. They believe that God is all about rules and regulations. If you're a Jew, you can hardly move without breaking one of their manmade rules. But it's simply not true. Another lie cooked up by the devil, and successfully implanted into religion. We see this still today in many religions. So God formulates a new plan. A new covenent, if you will. It is so clever and brilliant in that it both covers the debt of the blood sacrifice required for payment of sins, while not a single drop of blood needs to be shed by any person born of a human man and woman to pay that debt! God decides that He Himself will pay the debt for His children's mistakes. (Have any of you ever decided to pay for a mistake your child made? Why did you do it?) So a part of God's soul or energy (pick your favorite term) is born on earth in the form of a human, in the person of Jesus. For all practical purposes, he is entirely human. He has the same experiences that all of us have. He has to learn everything down here, just as we do from the time we're babies. The difference is that Jesus's heart and soul are more directly connected to God. (This is highly simplified, but you should get the point.) Part of God's plan includes opening up salvation to the entire world's population. It is no longer just for the Jews, but for everyone, everywhere. God, as Jesus, will take all human sin upon Himself, allow Himself to be insulted, whipped, beaten, scourged, and put to death. When He died on the cross, His soul was then forsaken by God in heaven for a short time, so He could "decend" to hell and complete His work of defeating Satan. Jesus then rose 3 days later. It is well documented that He was seen by several hundred people. This gives us proof that there is life after what we call "death". God's plan gave "debt paid-in-full" credit to all humans that died before Jesus's crucifixion, and will continue to give credit to all humans at their death. The covenent is for no human to ever have to pay for their sins. This is the default position. The offer is in place from the time you are born, but the credit is given when you die from this earth. Take note that God does not look for ways to trip-you-up, or to create obstacles in your path. He does not create rules that will disqualify you. A father does not pay the child's debt, just to turn around and offer the child the same temptation that caused the child's debt in the first place. But be forwarned, that after the father offers to pay for the child's debt, if the child tells the father to get lost, he doesn't need his father's help, or if he tells his friends and family that he has no father, that his father never existed, then the truth is that the offer of debt forgiveness may be withdrawn. You have all your sins forgiven from birth by default. There is nothing you can do to improve this position. You can however, lose salvation by turning away from Jesus. Put simply, if you adopt the lie that Jesus did not die for your sins, then no one has yet paid for your sins. You are an adult. If you do not want Jesus to stand in for you as your surogate to atone for your sins, then you have every right to deny Him, and pay for your sins on your own. Ask any lawyer that tries his own defense, how that worked out for him. Only a fool does it. So here we have it, God is continually, for all of history, trying to figure out why we're so obstinate and destructive in all aspects of our lives. Yet, He repeatedly forgives us, sacrifices for us, and tries to set us on the right path. Sure He gets p*ssed once in a while. Who would'nt? If the local gang-bangers were contantly trying to seduce your kids into their gang, wouldn't you do something about it? As for Satan, just reading the various threads on this site exposes it all. The despair, anger, hatred, mistrust, envy. It says it all. This is all you get when you try to remove God from your life. Absolutely no hope or joy at all. I do understand that many of you have had very bad personal experiences with church and religion. The stories are everywhere, and many within this forum. Please keep in mind that churches are filled with human people. There is not one that has not sinned many times. Churches, no matter the size, require some type of leadership. Being in this position can become an immense power trip. A very difficult temptation to stand up against. Often we consider a church and it's leaders a type of "safe haven", thinking in some form that it's off limits to the devil. This is not the case. In fact, the devil does some of his best behind-the-scenes work within churches. I am not criticizing churches. I belong to a fairly large one. I do not agree with eveything in the church I attend. I have had disagreements with church leaders. But the fellowship and close friendships I have forged there are priceless. I can only suggest that if you are ever in a situation where someone in a church tries to control you or your actions with rules and regulations, then you should be questioning them and their motives.
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