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Archive for January, 2016

I want to say thank you to to all of you who read my articles. I realize not everyone is going to agree with what I say. I am in a constant state of learning and changing myself, just as we all are in one way or another.

No matter what your lifestyle, what you choose to believe, how you accept things, none of us will ever completely agree with anyone else. As believers, we would not expect those who do not follow the christian faith to agree with everything we think and say. Yet, we also know that other christian people will not agree with everything either. We have so many denominations in the christian world, yet none of them can agree completely. But this is all OK, we are all individuals who see things differently. The last thing I want is to make people feel I expect everyone to see things my way.

Agreement2

Accept One Another

I think those of us trying to follow Christ should be able to accept one another, believer and non-believer alike, talk with each other about how we see things and still be respectful and kind. We are to be known by our love, but unfortunately, that just isn’t the case most of the time.

No matter if we are gay, straight, christian, muslim, jew, hindu, atheist, asexual, baptist, methodist, charismatic or whatever label people put on us, the underlying fact is we are all human beings. We all deserve to be treated with respect and be accepted. We each should be able to live our life and make our own choices without being condemned by others. We should be able to discuss our differences respectfully, and none of us should try to force our views and choices on another.

Unfortunately there has been a lot of name calling and disrespect among different groups of people over time. Christian people saying God hates gays, and atheists are of the devil, people being afraid of muslims, one denomination wants nothing to do with another denomination…this is all wrong and sad.

Look Past the Labels

If we could look past the labels and see each other as people who overall want the same thing, to be happy, to be loved, be healthy, get our bills paid and enjoy life, I think things would be better even with our differences. This is not to say we have to agree with everyone and associate with everyone and be happy together, that just isn’t going to happen. There are too many different thoughts, ideas, beliefs, lifestyles and personalities for us to agree on everything and be totally comfortable with everyone, yet accepting each other and respecting each other in spite of our differences certainly is a possibility.

When you read about the life of Christ in the gospels, you see someone who loved people. He did not disassociate himself from any particular group, nor did he turn away anyone or think he was better than others. Jesus showed the love of the Father by caring for people, talking with people, eating together, healing people and not condemning them. The only crowd he had a problem with was the religious leaders of the day who thought they were so much better than everyone else because they kept the rules. Their reasoning was they didn’t do the ‘wrong’ things and they did the ‘right’ things. They didn’t associate with the type of people they thought were less religious and unworthy of God’s love. Jesus was always getting on their case for being so religious they were no earthly good to the Kingdom of God.

Separation?

Speaking of all the different views and lifestyles, I can remember when I was young and growing up in the organized church, how I always stayed with people of similar belief. I do not know for sure if I was actually taught this or it was just a common belief I picked up, but I felt I needed to stay away from people of different views and lifestyles. I still see this in the church today, a separatist mindset. I thought it would be great to work in the church system or for a christian bookstore as a job, then spend my off-time in church services and doing church work. That way I would always being around someone who saw things pretty much the same as I did.  This way I wouldn’t have to be around ‘those’ people, whoever they were.

Pharisee

Sound familiar? So much of the traditional church setting is based on separation from those who think differently. This usually brings a feeling of superiority, being separated from those who need to see God’s love in action, and living a Pharisee-type lifestyle. (Pharisee: strict observance of religious ceremonies and practices, one who adheres to laws and traditions, self-righteous or hypocritical person).

Compare that to the life of Jesus we read about in the gospels, a person who loved people, wasn’t condemning or unkind, hung out with those who the religious crowd didn’t want anything to do with, spent time eating and drinking with the non-religious crowd, and truly cared for others.

I know we all see things differently. We all will not agree on things and we all have no way of proving our point in regard to spiritual matters. Yet I think it is time the christian ‘religion’ comes to an end and Christ-like people begin to daily show the love and acceptance of God to everyone.

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Have you ever had one of those experiences that, at the time it happens, just doesn’t hit you how much it means? Maybe later on down the road it becomes more and more important to you?

It’s been four months now since my wife and I took what was for us, a vacation of a lifetime. We drove from Ohio to the west coast, up the coast and back to Ohio.

We covered just over 7,000 miles, spent 26 days away from home and went through 17 states. We saw sights that we had always heard about or had seen in pictures, but to see them in person was quite amazing.

I think as time passes, and the more we think back on everything we got to do and see, it sinks in more and more. At the time we were traveling and seeing everything, it was so overwhelming that it took time for the impact of what we did to really hit us.

Famous Sites

We saw the famous archway in St. Louis, stopped at Vaile, Colorado and went into the Grand Canyon National Park. We went on to Las Vegas for all the lights, entertainment and activities there. We drove up the coast to San Francisco, a city we had always dreamed of seeing, sitting by the bay and driving across the Golden Gate Bridge. We took an Amtrak ride from a town we found nice and interesting, San Luis Obispo back down to Los Angeles and saw many famous sites and landmarks there. Then we drove back up the coast to visit some friends in Klamath Falls, Oregon, then up to Seattle and Mt. Rainier then over to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho where we had dinner with a couple other friends.

Hollywood

From there we went down into Yellowstone National Park to see Old Faithful, getting there just fifteen minutes before it erupted.  We went over to see Mt. Rushmore and the famous four presidents sculpted into the mountain. We finished up our trip with a stop in Chicago and a walk around Navy Pier and down the Magnificent Mile.

I think once we got home we were so tired and full of memories, it just didn’t sink in how much this affected us. As time passes, it hits me how much this trip means to the both of us. For me,  I got to spend this fantastic trip with my best friend and the person I love more than I can express, getting to see such beautiful and interesting scenery, famous landmarks and interesting sites. And all the while we were making wonderful memories that we will never forget.

Fear

One of the things that really hit me about this trip is the fact that I really had some fear about going. Not a fear that something would happen, but a fear of the unknown. I wondered how would we ever pack a car for a month, how would we find where to stay every night, and how would I ever be able to drive in some of those big cities. The truth of the matter is I could have told my wife I was very nervous about doing this and wanted to wait a while. She would have said that is fine and we would have probably gone to the beach like normal, and probably never made this trip.

The thing is, the more I thought about it, the more I realized it was time to take the plunge and make the decision to give it a try and see what happens. Sometimes we just have to look past our fears, jump in and take off. That is exactly what we did and it turned out great. For my wife and me, we feel that God was watching over us along the way, protecting us and guiding our schedule. I know not everyone believes that, and that is OK.

All along the way, everything just seemed to fall into place at the right time and right place. We had great weather, got into nice hotels every night at decent prices, had no trouble on the road, and just enjoyed ourselves beyond expression. We got to spend a little time with some fellow believers, enjoying good conversation and good food, and to us, we felt we had better fellowship than we have found in most churches we were part of in the past.

So, I guess if there is any moral to the story, it would be look past your fears, make up your mind you are going to do what you feel is right and don’t let worry or fear hold you back. You might just miss a great time and lose those wonderful memories that last a lifetime.

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Believe it or not, here we are into a new year already. For those of you that follow this site and read the posting, I just want to thank you for taking the time to do so. I appreciate each one of you, whether you agree with what I write or not. I feel we are each entitled to make our own choices without someone condemning us or trying to force a particular view on us.

At this time of year, a lot of people take time to reflect and make new year’s resolutions, wanting to make changes and do things better. The new year is like a fresh start, a new beginning.

NewYearResolutions

For me, I stopped making resolutions. First and mainly because I never keep them. Like most of us, making a resolution to do better makes sense. We want to better ourselves and do better in our life, yet like most people, a few days into the new year and the resolution has been forgotten.

Usually that makes people feel a little guilty. We want to do better, yet we fall flat on our face with our resolutions so fast.

I got to thinking about this and realized that trying to better ourselves in one sense is not a bad thing. When we want to spend more time with family, be better parents, be a better friend and treat people better, that is not a bad thing at all.

Spiritually speaking from a christian viewpoint, new year’s resolutions are something that is not needed. In Christ, he made all things new when he fulfilled the law at his death. When he arose, a New Covenant went into effect, a covenant of grace.

We no longer need to try to do better, to do more for him, to be better christians. He did everything that was needed to make us new creatures in Him. Because of his work, we are holy and righteous, we are kings and priests, our old sin nature was crucified with him and we no longer need to make resolutions to do better.

In one sense, each day is a new beginning for us, and his mercies are new every morning. Yet as far as our life in Him, each day is a day living in the Kingdom of God. Each day is a continuation of the previous day living as one with God, we, as God’s house, are now one with Him just as Christ prayed, that we might be one as he and the Father are one.

So, spiritually speaking, let’s not get caught up in the guilty feelings we have with new year’s resolutions and trying to do better for him. Let’s rest in him, knowing he has done all the work and all that is necessary for us to live pleasing to him. Let’s enjoy each new day as a day the Lord has made, and rejoice and be glad in it. Let’s live each day in the power of the Holy Spirit, showing God’s love and acceptance to all we meet during the day.

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