Life is a cavernously deep expeditious journey. It is a complex menagerie of diverse emotions, feelings, thoughts, interactions, relationships and occurrences! How long or short will each of us be here no one really knows! As we grow we encounter a multiplicity of experiences that cause us to look deeper into what life is really all about. Each day is a new opportunity to discover something new no matter how small or seemingly inconsequential! As we grow it becomes evident that there is so much more to life than meets the eye! We embark upon a remarkable quest of discovery; but where does or will it all lead? We discover that we are also spiritual beings…
How do we get to know GOD?
The spiritual journey leads us to the realization of our Creator! God the Father the Great “I AM.” The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob! This is what we as adherent believers believe! ( I realize that not everyone believes the same.) As we begin to relate to the Lord properly He will free us more and more from the things that misrepresent Him. As we grow spiritually our spiritual eyes are opened and we become more conscious of why we do what we do! Our conscience becomes much more sensitive to the things that are contrary to His Will and His Way! Our desire should be to live to please Him as we grow spiritually. Growing in the Grace and Knowledge of our Lord & Savior Jesus Christ is an ongoing continuing life process! The Canonical Gospels which we know as the WORD contains a wealth of the history and origins of mankind! This is why it is so important to spend time in HIS WORD! Here we are able to ascertain the invaluable, priceless and precious TRUTH!
Through a plethora of life lessons we grow! We all have areas in which we are lacking! It is within our deficiencies we can discover a need for something greater than ourselves for survival. How do we cope with life, living and the anxieties that come along with it! As we become aware the discovery of a supernatural existence greater than ourselves and the ongoing need for spiritual growth and balance becomes apparent! It is a continual learning process.
God did not create us to be or become robots. Each of us is uniquely different with varying temperaments! He has given us the free will to choose… The world also offers many choices as well. It’s important to know the difference and then choose wisely. There are both good and bad consequences for our choices. Sin is what separates us from God! God is the Creator and Maker of mankind an ultimately knows what is best for us. It is our choice to draw closer to Him or look to the world and society for direction. The ways of God and the ways of the world often conflict here lays the inner conflict…
God sent us His only begotten Son; JESUS CHRIST to redeem us from the curse of sin! Sin separates us from GOD! Jesus came as an innocent babe wrapped in sinless flesh. He overcame sin in the flesh. He went through all the stages of life, yet He never sinned! He was crucified, died and was buried and then He arose with ALL POWER! He came to point us back into the right direction that once again unites us to our Creator. The Narrow Path is the Way that leads to Him! Jesus was the Door back to the Father! Jesus is the only perfect example! Living for the Lord is meant to be a way of living daily! No one knows when but the LORD is going to return for HIS CHURCH!
GOD NEVER INTENDED FOR RELIGION TO BE A CRUTCH!
Why is there so much confusion about religion! What is religion?
Religion consists of cultural views, beliefs and various systems worldwide. Religion in itself is not bad but for many it means different things. It takes on many forms depending on the particular culture! Christianity, Islam Buddhism and Hinduism are considered the four major religions. There are thousands of religions throughout the world. Within those religions are varied and diverse practices and an assortment of ritual. What, whom, why and how we choose to worship is where the problem lies. What we believe varies… We must become aware of the mixture of misconceptions in order to know what true godly religion really is according to the Word of God.
This is what Wikipedia has to say about religion: “
“The word religion is sometimes used interchangeably with faith or belief system, but religion differs from private belief in that it has a public aspect. Some religions have organized behaviors, clergy, a definition of what constitutes adherence or membership, congregations of laity, regular meetings or services for the purposes of veneration of a deity or for prayer, holy places (either natural or architectural), and/or scriptures. The practice of a religion may also include sermons, commemoration of the activities of a god or gods, sacrifices, festivals, feasts, trance, initiations, funerary services, matrimonial services, meditation, music, art, dance, public service, or other aspects of human culture. However, there are examples of religions for which some or many of these aspects of structure, belief, or practices are absent.”
Technically by the worlds standard you can elect to worship just about anything. For some religion is just a commitment to an organized institutionalized system of beliefs and doctrines. The beliefs vary and often adapts and changes as the world changes…
CHRISTIANITY & RELIGION
Christianity goes beyond just being a religion. It is also the main focus within the context of this narrative! Religion is an essential important fundamental aspect of Christianity. Let’s take a look at The WORD of GOD’S definition for religion! “If any one considers him religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. Religion that GOD our FATHER accepts as PURE and FAUTLESS is this; to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to KEEP oneself from being polluted by the world.” James 1. These verses are quite self explanatory.
Christianity is a way of living, it is meant to be a daily lifestyle! Being a Christian simply means to follow Jesus Christ and His teachings! Jesus is the promised Messiah! We who are called believers, through FAITH believe the Bible to be the intrinsic infallible Word of God! Christianity is monotheistic! We believe in one GOD! The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit are ONE! We are supposed to actually apply the principles of God’s Word to our daily lives! It is the barometer by which we determine right and wrong! Yes! It was divinely inspired by dedicated followers of God! As mentioned earlier the aspects of pure religion are explained in the Book of James! For many religion is about conforming to the beliefs of the masses without really personally taking the time to know what is actually in the Bible. Sometimes often embracing the traditions, doctrines and beliefs of a denomination over the Word of God!
GOD’S WORD IS ALIVE! It can sometimes be so simple we miss the intended message. The closer you or I draw to GOD the more we can increasingly understand the simplicity and powerfulness of HIS Word! His Holy Spirit further opens our spiritual eyes and illuminates His Word so we can better comprehend the intended message. His Holy Spirit is the eternal inner Teacher and spiritual interpreter that reside within us as believers! To lead us to ALL TRUTH! Listen closely to what Jesus said! “I have much more to say to you, more than you can hear now bear. But when He the Spirit of TRUTH, comes He will guide you to ALL TRUTH. He will not speak on His own; He will speak only what he hears, and He will tell you what is yet to come. He will bring glory to Me by taking from what is mine and making it made known to you. ALL that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the SPIRIT will take from what is mine and make it known to you.” John 16.
During Jesus’ last days on earth He talked quite candidly with His disciples. He warned them that they would be misunderstood, mistreated and persecuted. He also told them they would not be accepted by the world. But most importantly He assured them that they would not be alone! He has given us His Comforter, His Holy Spirit to be with us always! This is why it is so important to know HIS WORD! We can call on the LORD anytime and anywhere! Think about this for a moment; when JESUS left the earth and ascended to Heaven there was not an actual physical Christian Church as far as a building! The disciples and His followers met in homes, they knew then as we should know now that they themselves were the CHURCH! GOD’S CHURCH is universal!
America along with the world has been privileged to share a monumental, memorable phenomenon. Barak Obama becoming the 44th President of the United States of America is nothing short of a miracle! If you look closely and attentively throughout the corridors of America’s history you will find that what was thought to have been unheard of has happened. By the grace of God the “Impossible has become possible!”
It took faith, fortitude, stamina, dedication, persistence and perseverance to forge ahead against insurmountable odds for Barak Obama to pursue relentlessly the position of president. His winning the candidacy for the President of America reaches far beyond the United States. It has been said that his methodical, strategic campaign was a seamless, well planned, professionally skilled endeavor of any other candidate. This victory has brought about a much needed message of “Hope” and renewal of confidence within the American people. It also yields a restored “Faith in God.” The Word of God tells us that “Faith is the substance of things hoped for the evidence of things not seen.” The Truth and promises of the scriptures have been “made alive.” “With God All things are possible.” One can surely appreciate the fact that the ” highway of possibilities” has been opened. The possible pathway of opportunities are boundless for our nation, the world and future generations to come.
Traveling throughout the world affords one the opportunity to broaden your perspective and experience and envision life through a much broader lens. I am thankful for having been afforded such an opportunity, to travel throughout the world along with my husband /pastor as well as in a group. The world is so very diverse with a plethora of multi cultural people, customs, religions and beliefs. All having such a broad assorted variety of lifestyles in which an innumerable amount of peoples with diverse backgrounds live together. But regardless as to where I have traveled, from Mexico to Aruba, the Bahamas to Jamaica, England to Rome, Athens Greece to Ephesus, France to Spain and Switzerland…. I have always been thankful to return home to America. We have met wonderful people. There have been countless wonders, magnificent architectural expressions and artistic monuments as well as majestic sceneries to behold from the hilltop Montserrat to Notre Dame Cathedral, St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City to the Blue Mosque and Hagias Sophia in Turkey. Yet I have never seen nor experienced a place where the freedom in which we are privy to here in America is experienced anywhere else in the world. It is because of this freedom and opportunity Barak Obama has become the 44th and 1st Afro American President. How ironic he and his family will be the first Black Family to ever take up resident in the nation’s capitol infamously known as “The White House.” “Look How Far The Lord Has Brought Us.”
In the 1930′s America was a segregated society where everything was separate. There were even separate water fountains and restrooms labeled for “Whites only” and less hygienic accommodations for the “Colored”. Let’s not forget back seats on buses and back entrances to public facilities. Many Blacks decided to migrate to the North. Being born and raised in California has had its benefits since here, we have been somewhat shielded from the dire profundity of racism and discrimination that permeated the deep south. Not that discrimination did not go on here, it did, and has ……. Here we have just been a tad further removed from the antagonistic discrimination which was so outwardly and blatantly, readily displayed itself in the deep south. Despite the fact America is a country made up of immigrants from all over the world. Where slavery was practiced and embraced. Where many Whites felt that they were superior to Blacks and we were perceived as inferior. To many even to be dark skinned was considered a curse. To be beaten, severely punished, raped or lynched and treated less than human was once considered acceptable behavior. The right to learn how to read and write was also denied as well as deemed illegal. Dissension, factions, immorality and discord are works of the flesh. Here is an excerpt from the article; Blacks are better off than in 1999 than in 1960 “After the Civil War, many amendments were passed in order to better represent blacks in America. The 13th, 14th and 15th amendments all changed blacks’ lives drastically and positively. The 13th amendment ended slavery and the 14th declared blacks as citizens. The fifteenth amendment stated that anyone can vote, regardless of color or race. However, the South devised poll taxes and literacy tests in a successful attempt at preventing blacks from voting. But in 1964, after a sufficient number of states ratified an amendment proposed by Congress, the tables turned for blacks. The 24th amendment banned poll taxes. The voting act of 1965 banned the use of literacy tests related to voting. Voting gave blacks a say in government and helped raise the moral of blacks in America.” “Look How Far The Lord Has Brought Us.”
I can personally recall from time to time watching on television the injustices broadcasted on the news and the many interruptions for special bulletin news reports as a child. I can remember the many tales of my parents and the many experiences they encountered growing up in the early 1900′s in Arkansas. I was a mere toddler when segregation in the schools legally ended in 1955, which resulted in the Montgomery Bus Boycotts. The Supreme Court eventually ruled that Alabama segregation laws were unconstitutional. It is during this time that Rosa parks decided not to give up her seat to a white person simply because she was so very tired. This protest resulted in Dr. Martin Luther King a Baptist Minister at the time, being ushered to the front lines as a prominent Social Leader for the Black Community. Discrimination in theaters, hotels, hospitals and public places continued on until in 1964 Congress passed a Civil Rights Act. Dr. King lead many “Peaceful Freedom Protest Marches” protesting the many injustices upon Blacks. Dr. King believed, practiced and exemplified the Fruit of God’s Spirit which is Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness and Self-Control. “Look How Far The Lord Has Brought Us.”
I can recall when I was in Jr. High School during the sixties, as president of my homeroom. I clearly remember having to lead the class in the “Pledge of Allegiance.” But, halfway through one particular morning, all of a sudden it dawned on me. It had become quite clear to me that it really was not “Liberty and Justice for all”. So I decided that I would silently and peacefully protest not to complete the pledge. Of course it did not go over big at all with my homeroom teacher. But it was a real awakening in my soul… One cannot help but to appreciate the far reaching magnitude of what has taken place here on November 4th 2008! It will be forever recorded in America’s History. American has resumed its intended purpose and the opportunity to provide “Liberty and Justice for All” has been forthrightly reinstated! There is no doubt that the successful election of Barak Obama was a concerted effort that included a network of people of All Colors and creeds working together. This is truly a victory for ALL people of America! He comes from a multi faceted colorful ancestral heritage that represents a multitude of people. “With God ALL things are possible.” His Word tells us “that God is not a respecter of persons…” It may be hard for the finite mind to fathom that God who is Omniscient, knew way back then, even from the very beginning of time what would be taking place today! “Look How Far The Lord Has Brought Us.”
We as Christians and as a Country have so much to be thankful for. All of God’s Word is true! Today we are living in perilous times. But despite the nations many financial hardships, declining economy, overwhelming number of businesses closing, devaluation of property, wars and rumors of wars, terrorists attacks, natural disasters, famines and earthquakes in divers places throughout the world, we can have peace knowing God is still in absolute control! Absolutely nothing gets by Him! Romans 12 tells us, “To not be conformed to the pattern of this world! But to be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is, His good, pleasing and perfect will…” As a professed Christian and believer it is very important to know God’s Word! To have an intimate personal relationship with HIM! The book of Romans goes on to tell us that in leadership the ability to govern diligently is a gift from God. Ultimately every authority, government and principality is under God’s authority and the headship of Jesus Christ. Colossians tells us that ” For by Him All things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible, and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by Him and consist for Him…” Whether you believe it or not only God is Sovereign! The Bible tells us how God, delivered the children of Israel out of Egyptian bondage. There are also endless true life stories in His Word of how He delivered His people from unjust rulers and countless situations that seemed impossible. “Look How Far The Lord Has Brought us.”
It is through a committed personal relationship with His Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ one can truly experience necessary continued spiritual growth and development as well as His peace and freedom that surpasses the understanding of man. There are invaluable benefits knowing who you are in Christ. Today it is through God’s grace and mercy America has been delivered! It was quite evident as we all watched the hysterical excitement permeate the enormous crowds as Barak Obama was elected president. God has truly delivered America from the clutches of despair and hopelessness and ushered in a glistening glimmer of “Hope”! “Nothing is impossible with God.” In His Word He also tells us although we may be accused living among unbelievers (pagans) we must still live to please Him! God’s promise to “never leave nor forsake us” is quite true! Truly we can say “GOD BLESS AMERICA!” As Christians we must individually, collectively and corporately pray and ask God’s protection, grace, wisdom and direction to rest upon President Barak Obama , his family and his staff. As he takes upon his shoulders the awesome tasks of restoring America’s dignity, credibility and prominent visual universal position. He will encounter many land mines and obstacles. America has a tall order to fill. The 24th Psalms says, “The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it, the world and all who live within it…” As a country and a nation that proclaims to be “one nation under God with Liberty and Justice for ALL.” The Word says, ” With God All things are possible.” Praise be to God from whom ALL blessings flow. Praise Him ALL creatures here below… It is truly amazing ! Again “GOD BLESS AMERICA”
One can truly say “Look How Far The Lord Has Brought us.” He has delivered us from unjust rulers, slavery, oppression, and given us freedom. In America, Egypt, Libya, Iran, Yemen, and all over the world, Let Freedom Ring.
Yes, Look How Far The Lord Has Brought Us. He has brought us from a mighty long ways.“But we still have a long ways to go.” Listen/Purchase “Look How Far The Lord Has Brought Us” from the CD “Somebody Somewhere Was Praying For Me” by Brenda Lowe.