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by Jim Gordon

You may have noticed that many christian people seem very quick to judge and condemn others. If you are not a traditional, church attending christian or not a believer at all you probably notice it more than others.

When reading the bible we find that christian people are to be known for their love for God and their love for one another. Not only fellow believers but those who do not believe or see things the same way.

Unfortunately, we do not always see such actions. We see more backbiting, judging, condemning and anything but love. So much that many times those outside of Christianity see no reason to pursue it any further.

Over the centuries God has often been misrepresented by many of his followers causing a lot of questions and problems with people having any interest in being his follower.

Jesus is the representation of God the Father. When we read about Jesus in the gospels we see that he treated people, not by judgment and condemnation but with love, healing and forgiveness. He taught about the good Samaritan, the prodigal son and many other parables about God being loving and accepting.

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Rather than listening to other people tell us what God is like and what Christianity should be, we need to start asking questions, seeking answers with the guidance of the Holy Spirit and realize that God is a God of love.

Today we seem to spend more time worrying about which denomination to belong to, which bible version to read, what doctrine to follow and which political party is the one to support. Once we make a choice we will fight to the end to defend our point of view no matter who we hurt in the process. We seem to be concerned with everything else rather than following the example of Jesus by loving God and loving others.

It is a known fact that we will not always agree with one another, but there is no reason to be spiteful, condemning and judgmental when we should be loving, kind and accepting.

Loving others, respecting others and being accepting does not always mean we always agree but we can show the love of God to everyone no matter if we see things the same or not.

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by Jim Gordon

In a day when many feel it is the job of the Christian to point out the sins and mistakes of others, I personally do not see Jesus being that way.

Jesus associated with all kinds of people and he showed love toward them. He was genuinely interested in them and accepted them. That does not mean he always agreed with them, but he accepted them as they were. He treated them with love and respect.

Acceptance does not necessarily mean we agree or condone the actions of another, it means we are kind, respectful and show the love of God to them. We obviously are not all going to agree on things, yet we should be able to treat one another with kindness.

Many say we have to point out the sins of others and warn them of impending doom or we are not fulfilling our obligation as a Christian. Yet I feel that we are told the Spirit will convict people of changes that should be made. The Spirit will draw people to the Father. We are not called to do the work of the Spirit, we are called to show the love of the Father to all people.

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My opinion is that showing love and acceptance to people is more in line with the way Jesus treated others. He did not condemn, he did not hate, he did not associate only for ulterior motives of getting people to join him. In fact, the only people Jesus seemed to have issues with were the religious leaders who thought they were so much holier than others. They were mad at Jesus for associating with people they determined were the sinners and lower class of the day.

For me, rather than point out sins, rather than show condemnation and many times down right hatred towards people, I would rather do what Jesus tells us to do. Love God will all your heart, soul, strength and mind and love your neighbor (all people) as yourself.

We love through the power of the Holy Spirit within us. Love and genuine friendship will draw people into conversations and respect for one another, thus providing an atmosphere where we can all learn from one another and respect one another.

Unfortunately, one of the major issues many christians seem to have is in regard to LGBTQ issues. I am not sure why, but people who consider this to be a sin jump on this issue more than anything.

To me, I like to follow this way of thinking. Whether you are LGBTQ affirming or not, there is no reason to treat people with hate and contempt. Whatever you think about LGBTQ, right or wrong, affirming or non-affirming, be respectful, kind and show the love of God to all people.

We are all made in the image of God. We all have our interpretations and opinions. We each have to follow what we feel is right for us, but we do not have to force our views on others. We all deserve respect and the same equal rights as anyone else.

Accept each other for who we are and follow your convictions for yourself. There is no reason to be hateful toward anyone. We are all loved by God just the way we are now. If there is anything that needs to be corrected or changed in us, the Spirit will gently persuade us in the way we should go. It is not up to people to do the work of the Spirit.

Love and accept others. This means LGBTQ, atheist, people from different religions, races and nationalities. We do not all have to agree. Show each other love. Love makes more of an impact on people than does hatred, condemnation and forcing personal views on them.

Remember we are not told to go force our views and beliefs on others. We are told to love God and love our neighbors as ourselves.

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by Jim Gordon

I have been away for the past week enjoying time with my family. After a very enjoyable and relaxing week at the beach, it feels like a fresh start now that we are back to reality. Even though it was hard to come back and get started again, we all know vacations never last forever.

Our family has always enjoyed the beach. We get up in the morning and sit on the front deck of the beach house enjoying the ocean and drinking coffee. Then we head to the beach and sit out watching for dolphins or stingrays, we read, swim and nap. Then it is out to dinner and we finish off the night by sitting on the deck again listening to the ocean. It was oh so peaceful and relaxing.

BeachHouseatNight We also know that if we did this every day of our lives it would ruin the enjoyment. It would not be long before we were bored with the beach and we would lose the uniqueness of the ocean. It would become like many of the fishermen we saw each day, out doing their daily chores and working hard trying to earn a living not even noticing the joys of the ocean and beach. It seems strange in a way, they are out doing their daily work at the same place we were relaxing and enjoying being away from work.

Yet for a week, what a time we had being away from the daily routine, watching birds dive-bombing for food (click link) and watching passing boats. It was an enjoyable time just taking it easy. Actually, sitting on the beach doing nothing can be quite tiring, but it was a good kind of tired. A relaxing kind of tired.

I think we all need breaks like this from time to time. A chance to get away from the everyday chores and responsibilities just to relax and enjoy life. Even Jesus needed time to get away. A time to relax, reflect and refresh.

In our busy world it is common to just keep going. Many choose not to get away and relax. They feel guilty just sitting and taking it easy. That have to be busy and working all the time trying to get more money to get more stuff. I feel there are enough hours taken up by work and the normal chores of life. Working for stuff can be a never-ending job. And the stuff we buy never completely satisfies anyway. I would rather forget the stuff and take some time to relax, enjoy family, refresh and do nothing. It recharges us and renews our strength.

I think God wants us to take time to get away and enjoy some peace and quiet. It is calming to the soul and refreshing to the spirit. Never feel guilty for taking time to relax and enjoy life. There is plenty of time to work hard and do what needs to be done. The Spirit lives within us and he can use this time to refresh us, build us up and prepare us for a fresh walk with him.

Many times, we can hear the Spirit better when we are sitting and relaxing, listening for that still, small voice that is missed sometimes in all the hustle and bustle of life. So next chance you get, take a break and go relax, whether it is at the beach or in the mountains. Let the Spirit refresh you and build you up as you enjoy some time away. You will be glad you did.

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by Jim Gordon

A friend and Christian brother of mine recently passed away unexpectedly. It was quite a shock and something that is just now starting to sink in.

This got me to thinking even more about all the arguing we Christians do with each other.

We are so quick to defend our personal views and interpretations, we will argue, judge and even condemn one another because we see things differently.

Yet in moments like this I cannot understand why we have such a problem accepting one another in a spirit of Christian love. This life passes all to quickly to spend so much time arguing and defending our views.

Jesus said we are to love God and we are to love one another. He did not say we are to fight, argue and condemn one another. We are not to force our way of thinking on others. We are to share the good news that God loves them, but we need not argue over personal views and interpretations.

If only we could get that down inside us and start treating people with the love of God, knowing that we all see things differently. We all have our views, interpretations and beliefs and they are going to vary from person to person. We will not always agree and accept one another’s views.

Obviously, we cannot prove very much when it comes to spiritual matters. Most is a matter of faith and how we personally interpret scripture or how we view what makes sense to us. Rather than continually defending our way of thinking and trying to get others to see things our way, it would be much better if we could love others and accept them for who they are and how God made them.

We will have differences of opinion and there is nothing wrong with that. The Spirit is our guide and teacher and we need to allow each person to hear from the Spirit and follow the way they feel they are being guided.

We also need to accept that not everyone will believe like us, not everyone will believe there is a God and not everyone will interpret the bible like everyone else. I do not believe it is our job to force anything on anyone. God is able to work in the life of each individual the way he sees best. The Spirit will work and draw people to the Father. Even God leaves the decision up to each person as to how they will respond. Even those who do not believe and want nothing to do with him are stilled loved. God wants us to do the same.

Life is to short for all the arguing, judging and condemning. Love God, love your neighbor, love your brothers and sisters in Christ and let the Spirit work in the life of each person. Enjoy one another, enjoy fellowship, have a laugh, be concerned for one another and do what you can to show the love of God to everyone you meet.

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by Jim Gordon

Here in the United States we are always talking about freedom of speech. I have to say I am in favor of it, yet many times the practice of it seems to be done in the wrong manner.

Freedom to say what we think, how we feel and what we believe should be the right of every individual. Done in the right way it should not be a problem for anyone. There are questions as to how far we go with this and what is beyond freedom in regard to the rights of others and disrespect towards others, but that is for another discussion.

The trouble starts when one group thinks they should be able to say what they think but the other group should not. Or one person is very judgmental and condemning in what they say and are very rude in their presentation. Or the person or group speaking thinks everyone should conform to their way of thinking.

Freedom of speech should be done in a respectful way. Make your point and speak your mind but do it in a way that is not mean and judgmental.

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Also remember that we will all have different views and opinions and just because we are free to speak them out, we should be accepting and respectful towards others whose views are going to be different.

Most of the time we would rather fight and argue over opinions, trying to prove ourselves right and the other person wrong. Name calling gets started and it ends up in a mean free-for-all and nothing gets accomplished.

Just because we have the right to say what we think, we have to realize that it is only our opinion. Not everyone will agree with what we say and we should be respectful of others opinions.

It would be best if we could say what we think in a kind and respectful manner, yet I know that does not happen most of the time. By being mean and condescending towards others we usually cause people to be defensive and respond in the same rude manner.

Enjoy your freedom of speech. Express yourself, give your views and opinions in a respectful way but allow the other person to have the same freedom. If we could express ourselves in this manner I think we would make more of an impact and we could actually have meaningful discussions with one another.

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by Jim Gordon

Living in these days of uncertainty, for me it is good to have a faith and trust in God. I know not everyone agrees with me on that and I certainly understand. This is just my opinion, but for myself and my wife we would not want to be without God in our world today.

We hear so many scary events going on in our world, threats of nuclear war, natural disasters and terrorism.

Here in the US it seems that sometimes we over-react to certain groups of people and do things that not always seem so Christ-like. We do things and say things that I just do not think we would see Jesus doing or saying.

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We are told in the bible to put our trust in God, cast our cares on him and do not worry about events going on in the world.

We are also told to love God and love one another, yet we see so much hate and unacceptance even coming from fellow Christians.

Here in the United States we have a wide variety of beliefs, ideas and interpretations all falling under various labels. Labels such as christian, atheist, religious, LGBT, straight, asexual, male, female, black, white, illegal alien, nationalist, republican, democrat and such. Yet we need to remember behind each of the labels is a person who we are to love, accept and treat with the love of God.

We obviously will not agree with one another or see eye to eye with all the different views in the world, but we should be able to look past those differences and love the person who was created in the image of God.

In the organized church I have found we have been taught many things that may not necessarily be exactly as we have been told. Most of us, me included, have been taught a lot of things we take as truth without checking out for ourselves.

Most of us do not know Greek or Hebrew. Most of us do not have access to anything other than the current versions of the bible. I think I am safe in saying that many of us do not do a lot of in-depth studying for ourselves. We seem to take the teachings of a particular pastor or evangelist as gospel truth.

I am finding that this is not a good thing to do. We are told in the scriptures that we have the mind of Christ. We are also told the Holy Spirit lives within us and we have no need for anyone to teach us. To me that says we should stop focusing on listening to only a few people tell us their versions and interpretations and listen for the voice of the Spirit to guide us into his truth.

We find ourselves listening to one person give their explanation of the bible and we do not even check into it for ourselves and seek the guidance of the Spirit to see what is the correct way of interpretation.

We have been taught for so long in the institutional church that God is up in heaven and he shows up now and then at a special church service. We are in the frame of mind that we can only hope to find the will of God while we are in this current world.

The truth is, the bible makes it clear the Spirit of God lives within us. God is not a person that resides in one place. God is spirit. God is not male or female, white or black. He is not an American or a republican. God is spirit and God lives within us. He is closer that we can imagine and it is time we begin to realize this truth and listen for the still, small voice of the Spirit from within.

For me, I feel it is time to put our trust and faith in God and not worry about all the things going on in our world today. Worry will only affect our health and make us miserable. We cannot do anything about most of these things anyway. God promised to be with us always and that he would never leave us. Whether in the physical world or the spiritual world, having the God of the universe tell us he is with us and loves us is the best thing I can imagine.

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The goal of myself and my wife is to become more and more accepting of all people. We all have different personalities, different ways of life and different beliefs but there is no reason why we cannot be respectful and kind to one another. Rather than attack LGBT people, people of different nationalities and color, people of different faith or no faith, look past the differences and see a human being who can be a good friend in your life.

This is one thing for me that has become more and more evident after leaving the institutional church. The organization that should be known for its love, so much of the time is known more for what it is against and for showing judgment and condemnation against people who see things differently. I think it is time for this to come to an end.

We do not have to agree with one another, we do not have to condone what we do not agree with and we do not have to participate in things we feel for us is not right. Yet we are called to love one another even in the differences, and we can be kind and accepting to all people without pushing our personal views on them.

So, in this day of uncertainty focus on the love of God. Put your trust in him and walk each day in the power of the Spirit, letting the love of God touch each person you meet throughout the day.

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by Jim Gordon

Here we are into a new year already. This is the time many of us have a sense of excitement for new beginnings. We make resolutions to do better at various things in life, whether it is exercise, our spiritual life, eating or treating people better.

Resolutions

My wife and I have stopped making resolutions since we usually, like many, forget about them within the month.

On the other hand, we would like to continue on our walk outside the walls of religion and the many religious rules it puts upon us.

We are going to continue making new friends and get to know people who we were told to stay away from when we were in the organization. We were supposed to associate with people who believed in God and people who mostly believed like the denomination we were part of at the time.

We feel that Jesus came to show us that God loves people. Jesus associated with all kinds of people from all walks of life. They were not all godly people or people the religious leaders of the day would even dream of being seen spending time.

What we have found over the last few years is that people are basically the same. We all have our own beliefs, interests and ways of life. Yet behind the labels that are placed on us we are all human beings in need of love, acceptance, fellowship with others and a fulfilled life.

We all go about finding those things in different ways. Just because we see things differently is no reason to separate ourselves from one another. There is no reason we cannot respect one another, accept one another and treat each other as equals.

Many christian people think this view is very wrong and we should only associate with other believers. They feel christians should judge and condemn those who do not believe as they do and stay away from them until they come to Christ. They seem to think that if we accept people as they are we are condoning what the other person is doing.

My wife and I just do not see things that way. Obviously none of us are going to agree or condone everything other people do, yet we can accept others as human beings, treat them with respect and enjoy time talking and learning about their views. We believe we are all loved by God just as we are, and we believe we are to show that same love to others.

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Many times we read in the bible how God treats the righteous and unrighteous equally. We read how God loves all people whether they love him or hate him. We are told to love our enemies and do good to those who treat us bad.

In the New Testament we are told to love God and love our neighbor. Of course our neighbor is not just the person who lives next door but any and all that we come in contact with during the day.

So, we are anxious each day to meet another one of God’s creation. Maybe it will be someone that believes like us, maybe it will be someone who is completely opposite from our views. We just pray that no matter who we meet or what they believe, we will be guided by the Holy Spirit to show love and acceptance, and to enjoy our time together.

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