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In these days of so many tragedies it is easy to start posting articles on social media about what needs to be done. I have tried to stay away from political postings and personal views on hot topics of the day. The few times I did make a comment it made we wish I had not.

Everyone has an opinion, and usually when it comes to the major issues going on in the news, posting your thoughts only bring about arguments and misunderstandings. I have found it best to stay away from posting personal views online.

StoptheViolence

In regard to the school shootings we all have an idea of what needs to be done. Those ideas vary widely from one end of the spectrum to the other. The main point I have found is that we all want to end the senseless killing of innocent people. How we go about that is very widely disputed and argued, so I do not want to go any further with that idea.

For me the main topic I enjoy writing about is the love of God and the love we are to have for one another.

Bad things are going to happen in this world, and there are plenty of people who will write and discuss such things. I do not feel I need to be another voice talking about the negative, terrible events that go on in our world. It is good that some people do write about this so we are all informed, but I do not feel the calling to do so.

I would rather write and hear about how people support one another, care and respect one another and build each other up in a world that many times has such a negative attitude.

I certainly do not have the answers to bring an end to tragedy, hate and unacceptance. I do believe that love and accepting others will have a more positive effect.

As a believer in God, I do not think it is my job to push my beliefs on others but I do think it is my calling to love people. All people, not just those who think like me or believe like me. Jesus said to love God and love your neighbor. I believe my neighbor is every person I come in contact with throughout my life.

To me being a christian means loving God and loving people. It is not going to a building once a week, it is not following religious rules, it is not pointing out the sins and mistakes of others or standing my ground on my interpretation of christian beliefs.

LoveGodLoveOthers

 

Being a christian is being a follower of the example of the life of Jesus. He loved people and showed the love and acceptance of his father to a world that did not know real love. That is what we, as his followers are to do today. Show the unconditional love of our father to all people no matter what label is placed upon them.

We have enough tragedy, unacceptance and hatred in our world. It is time we look past our differences, stop pushing our religious rules and interpretations and let the love of God touch the people we have contact with each and every day.

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As I sit here thinking about two tragedies that have happened in the last few days, I find my heart aching for the people and families involved.

WestervillePD

On Saturday November 10, two local police officers from Westerville, Ohio were ambushed, shot and killed. It is so sad to see two people trying to do their job and protect the citizens lose their lives, especially in such a senseless way.

Both had families who are now going through the worst time of their lives. I cannot imagine how they feel but I am sure the worst has not even hit them yet. They are probably in such shock that they cannot comprehend the whole situation.

Then on Wednesday November 14 the terrible school shooting in Parkland, Florida with multiple lives lost, many injuries and hundreds having their lives changed for years to come.

As a parent, it is easy to understand the fear and horror of parents wondering if their child is safe. Yet not actually being in the situation there is absolutely no way to really know what those parents are going through.

FloridaHighSchool

The shooting was at a high school that had grades nine through twelve and roughly three thousand students. Needless to say, these kids are going to be scarred for life because of the terrible events they have gone through.

It is so sad to hear of situations like these, and very upsetting that things like this are becoming more common. I wish there was an answer as to what to do to curb tragedies such as these, but I as one person do not have an answer. As people come together and work together there are things we can do as a group. I pray that we will come up with ways that will help stop such terrible things from happening. I pray that we will unite together and work toward answers to this terrible problem.

I ask my brothers and sisters in Christ to pray for all people involved and ask for the peace and comfort of God to be upon each one. For those who are not of the christian belief I would ask you to also, in your own way remember the victims of these tragedies.

I would also ask that we will come together and do what we can to cause change and bring an end to such horrible and senseless acts.

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It can be hard accepting the fact that God lives within us. For years we were taught God is in heaven and if we follow the commandments and do good things, one day we will go to heaven and live with him face to face. We have an image of God sitting on a throne in heaven and we are far, far away down on earth.

god is here

Pastors will tell us that God will show up now and then at a special meeting, or when a special service is planned and the Spirit will fall upon us. Yet we know that God is with us all the time and the Spirit fell on the human race two thousand years ago.

The more I read, I am finding that we really have the whole thing backwards.

The Old Covenant has been fulfilled in Christ and we are living under a New Covenant. We no longer have to try to be good enough. The law was a tutor that led us to Christ, but now that Christ has come and restored fellowship between God and people we no longer need a tutor. We are free from the law and we are children of God through the gift of his grace.

Jesus came to live among us and show us the love of God. When Jesus left, he said he would send us the Spirit. God has now come to live within us. Jesus said the kingdom of God is within you. We are the temple of the Holy Spirit and we have the mind of Christ. Jesus prayed in John 17 that we would be one with God, just as he and the Father are one.

Sounds to me that we are missing the main point. We do not have to wait to die and go to heaven to enjoy kingdom living. We do not have to wait to be united with the Father. We no longer need to look to a human guide, teacher or preacher. We have the living, powerful, perfect Word of God living inside us who is the Spirit of Jesus.

There is nothing wrong with listening to others, getting their thoughts and ideas and being encouraged by other believers, but we do not need to rely on other humans. We have the Spirit within us, teaching us and guiding us in the way he has for us.

We do not have to look up in the sky and speak words to some far-away place and wonder if God is listening. We can turn our thoughts inward and realize the Spirit is right there within us, listening, loving us and ready to teach us as we begin to hear his voice from within.

We are all at different stages along the path we walk with him, and we need to remember none of us have it all figured out. We so often want to fight and argue from the understanding we currently have without realizing that we have not reached completion. There is more the Spirit wants to teach us as we become ready to accept it.

For my wife and me, we have changed a lot over the past few years but we realize we have not come to perfection. We will continue to change over the next few years also. So why argue over doctrine, interpretations and beliefs as if we had it all figured out and everyone else is wrong. We all have more to learn as we walk with the Spirit each day.

We should come to accept each other where we are currently, realizing what we know and believe today will more likely change as we continue to walk under the guidance of the Spirit. We can love each other, learn from one another and accept each other as we are, just like Jesus loves and accepts us just as we are.

KingdomofGodwithinYou

We should be looking deep within ourselves, listening for the voice and guidance of the Spirit rather than putting all hope in others, and to those we think are more spiritual because they have been trained, educated and paid to do so. Remember, we are all kings and priests and have the same Spirit within us. Each of us are equal and important parts of the body with Christ as the head. His Church is not a building, not a denomination but people.

This is not saying we are all God, but the Spirit lives within us and we are one with our Father. It would do us all good to start focusing on this fact rather than what we have been taught in the past, that being one with God is a future event after we die. Kingdom living is now. Listening to the Spirit, being taught by him and living day by day in communion with the Father is a reality that we all need to realize is happening now.

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One big sore spot with me within the christian religion is listening to big-named evangelists and preachers tell us we need to give them our money so they can go forth and proclaim the gospel.

money

They will pile up big bank accounts, nice houses, huge buildings, expensive jets, cars and who knows what else, all under the guise of being able to proclaim to gospel to more people.

Many times the money they raise is coming from people who can barely afford to meet living expenses day to day. They will give money to these people because they are told it will help them better spread the gospel around the world. They are also told they are robbing from God if they do not give.

If I understand what I read in the bible, Jesus and his twelve disciples turned the world upside down with their love and by teaching the good news that God loves them. I do not remember reading about how much money they had, or how many luxuries they had that helped them spread the gospel.

It really bothers me that the money spent buying these people some of the luxuries of life could be used to help many starving, homeless, jobless people across our country or around the world.

As christians, we are all called to proclaim the gospel. We do so in the way we live. We are to show love to all people and help those in need with the means we have been given.

We are not under the old covenant law that said bring ten percent into the storehouse. We should give to help others, but not out of obligation. We are to give out of love and that amount we have determined without our own heart to give.

PriesthoodofBelievers

No person, man or woman, should be looked upon as more important or more spiritually holy than anyone else. We are to be a priesthood of all believers with no one more important than another.

Rather than focus on those who are demanding we give them our money to support the kingdom of God, let us follow after the example of Jesus by loving all people and using the money, gifts and talents he has given us to help those we can directly.

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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.

FreedomofSpeech

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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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.

Peace for facebook

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.

TrustinGod

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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Several of my past articles have mentioned modern day church and how it is off base from what it was intended. I want to make clear that I am not against church, but I also want to make clear what I mean when I say church.

Normally when the word church is mentioned, we think of a building we go to on a certain day to learn about and worship God. We also think in terms of how much we go to church as being a guide to how spiritual we are, or how close we are to God. We think of the doctrines, rules and regulations placed on us by the church as ways to make us better Christians.

Church

I think we need to reset our thinking. The Church is not a building. The Church is the bride of Christ, all of us who are saved by grace. We are the temple of the Holy Spirit. The building is just a place where we can meet and conduct spiritual meetings. It is another place to enjoy christian fellowship. Rather than see church as a place we go, we are to be the Church daily living under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and showing the love of God to all people.

Another area where we confuse the meaning of words is in regard to the word of God. When we talk about the word of God we usually think of the Bible. The Bible is inspired by God, but the true living Word of God is Jesus. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. Jesus is the Word of God.

WordofGod1

Far to often we christians put to much emphasis on the Bible, sometimes even thinking of it as part of the trinity. Remember it is not Father, Son and Holy Bible. Again, the Bible is written by men but is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. It is certainly profitable to read the Bible under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, but we need to focus on the fact that the Word of God is alive and living within each of us as followers of Christ.

Although it may seem unimportant on how we think of church or the Bible, I think it is very important that we understand what is really meant. The old mindset of a building and a book need to be replaced with the fact that the Church are those of us who are redeemed through the blood of Christ and the Word of God is Christ Himself, alive and living within us.

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