Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘relationship’

By Mike Edwards

Beliefs claimed about God lead to many tuning out God. Our relationship with God cannot exceed our understanding of God. I have written HERE how we can decide what God is really like. One’s interpretation of a Book may be the only reason to think human and godly perfection are different. Why would a Creator not love us and others how we were seemingly created to love others?

Friends can smell a hidden agenda a mile away.

It simply is wrong to engage in friendships for the purpose of converting them to your beliefs without advising upfront this is your agenda. It should be obvious that we need to start acting like true friends act toward one another. We engage in relationships because we are interested in having friendships with others, both to love and be loved. Discussions about spirituality or God best come up naturally.

If people want to pursue a relationship with God, they should see in our life something worth asking about. What if I told you the Gospel is: God loves you and longs for a relationship so you can be the kind of person you deep down truly desire to be. I am convinced God wants you to know true freedom is knowing your Creator’s love for you so you might love others similarly. 

God has been a respecter of freedom of beliefs from the very beginning.

Why would a God who is powerful enough to create not annihilate immediately those who choose evil and oppose God? Jesus did not force God on others but discussed spirituality in a natural, relational way. Jesus brought up spiritual matters when it seemed appropriate and was accepted. Jesus’ agenda was to simply love people in the moment, not to manipulate them.

We have portrayed God as a Parent who has certain conditions to be loved and accepted. We portray God as wanting to save people from hell, which is a myth, rather than being a God who respects one’s freedom to consider how they might make for a better world. God knows what human parents know. Love is the only path to authentic relationships but can’t be forced. “Controlling love” is a contradiction in terms. Relationships come out of inspiration not fear!

Even the Son of God in the Bible didn’t require certain beliefs.

Jesus simply invited His disciples to follow Him and see for themselves as opposed to adhere to a set of beliefs. He told Levi (Matthew): “follow me” (Lk. 5:27). Jesus basic message could be summarize as: “But to you who are listening I say: ….Do to others as you would have them do to you” (6:27-31). Jesus only encouraged those seeking a better life to follow His example. 

We all know the story of how Jesus responded to the religious elite who had caught a woman in adultery (Jn. 7:53-8:11). When Jesus rightly shamed the crowd, they dropped their stones and left Jesus and the woman alone. Jesus didn’t lecture, pray with the woman, or tell her to go to church. Jesus simply said: “Go now and leave your life of sin.” Jesus showed the woman all she needed to know – God loves you and encourages you to do what you know is right in your heart.

Jesus saved tough conversations for religious pretenders who claimed to represent God. The Pharisees were in love with their power, thus making religion self-serving rather than self-sacrificing. Jesus reprimanded the Pharisees for their misguided emphasis on rules and obedience rather than a relationship and God’s radical love. 

Many may be surprised what Jesus said when asked how to have eternal life.

Jesus did not warn one to run like/from Hell. Jesus simply advised to love God and your neighbor. One saves their life by running from selfishness. A religious expert asks Jesus: “what must I do to inherit eternal life” (Luke 10:25). Jesus didn’t admonish one to get on their knees and pray for forgiveness. Jesus said: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself” (10:25-27). Jesus knew loving God can empower us to be the person we deep down desire to be.

Eternal life in the Bible isn’t about one’s destination in the future but life in the present. J.D. Myers is right: “When Scripture teaches about being saved from sin, it is not referring to escaping hell and going to heaven when we die, but to the deliverance from the devastating and destructive consequences of sin in this life.” https://redeeminggod.com/confess-jesus-romans-10-9-10/

God-followers need to worry more about their example than what others believe.

Baptists, Methodists, Protestants, Catholics, etc. fight over their different doctrines, yet all supposedly believe in the same message of loving your neighbor as yourself. Why would anyone seek spiritual guidance from people that can’t get along? We have enough conflict in our families, friendships, and places of work. Christianity or any religion is better off without buildings with names on them. We simply need relationships that encourage one another in their spiritual journey.

What does God believe in and desire for us all?

People feel manipulated rather than loved when spiritual folks have an agenda. Engage in relationships only with the desire to love others as they wished to be loved. The Gospel is simply that our Creator desires a relationship to influence us for the world and our own good. Jesus only wanted to help others listen to their heart. I am convinced a close relationship with my Creator helps me to be a better man, husband, father, and friend. Loving parents seek the admiration and respect of their children, so they want to follow in their footsteps to make this world a better place. Similarly, knowing and understanding God’s radical love can inspire selfless love toward others.

More posts in the I Doubt God Really ………. series:

Why I Doubt God Is An Excluder Of Religions

Why I Doubt Heaven Is Closed To Anyone After Death

Why I Doubt Hell Is Real

Why I Doubt God Is A Homophobe

Why I Doubt God Is A Sexist

Why I Doubt God Is A Mysterious, Moral Hypocrite

Why I Doubt God Is A Blood-Thirsty Child (Jesus) Killer

Why I Doubt God Expects Every Word Of The Bible To Be Viewed As Inspired

Why I Doubt God Is An End-Of-The-World Doomsayer

Why I Doubt God Is An Angry Egomaniac

 

Read Full Post »

By Mike Edwards

I am convinced there are beliefs claimed about God that lead to many tuning out God. Our relationship with God cannot exceed our understanding of God. I have written HERE how we can decide what God is really like. One’s interpretation of a Book may be the only reason to think human and godly perfection are different.  Why would a Creator not love us and others how we were seemingly created to love others?

The Bible often does portray God as an angry hothead.

Many Old Testament passages just can’t be rationalized away. The story starts off by God destroying the world minus eight with a Flood. Even if it was a local as opposed to global flood, the metaphor still stinks! There were surely a few people innocent of evil so horrific to escape such actions by God. Who doesn’t think it is wrong to drown just one child in a bathtub? It gets worse by killing babies in Egypt and God supposedly ordering the Israel army to “not spare them: put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys”(I Sam. 15:3). Hundreds of passages seem to advocate evil behaviors in God’s name.

Hundreds of passages also speak of God’s love and mercy. Did the biblical writers think it sacrilegious to not portray God in controlling terms like the others gods at that time? We have every right to question if the writers’ views of God evolved over time. God can handle it. I wish the writers had clearly indicated God was angry at evil as opposed to people. God violent one minute and merciful and loving the next minute sounds like an abusive spouse or parent.

Doesn’t the Bible say “fear God” or else?  

We are often encouraged to fear God as if God thinks such fear and obligatory loves leads to a genuine relationship. God supposedly demands fear for ego reasons or as a sign of reverence. Fearing someone seldom leads to an inspiring relationship with that person. Some scholars suggest “fear God” is better phrased “respect God.” God’s request for respect (glory) is no different than a loving parent’s hope for respect because their love should have their child’s best interest in mind.  

Are humans really holier or more moral than God?

A human parent warns or gets upset with a child’s actions not in their best interest or the welfare of others, but that doesn’t lead to them wanted to annihilate their child. What God or parent doesn’t know sin has its own consequences; God doesn’t seek to pile on the anger. God doesn’t worry that their unimaginable love gives us further license to keep sinning. Acting selfish is natural and doesn’t wait for permission. God seeks to continually assure us of their love so we don’t every give up no matter how demoralized we may feel.

God couldn’t be egotistical!

If God was so worried about their reputation, God certainly would not have given us freedom to contradict their wishes. All the evil in the world suggests God isn’t controlling. God is not more concerned with restoring their honor than expressing a desire for a relationship freely chosen. Many religions today imply their god expects certain beliefs or face immediate extinction. Not the God of the Bible! And what kind of all-powerful God wants to be friends? Abraham (Jm. 2:23) and Moses (Ex. 33:11) are called God’s friend, and Jesus called the disciples His friends (Jn. 15:15). God is our Creator and Friend.

God isn’t possessive of their glory.

What kind of parent wants to be alone in their glory? Jesus says in John 17:22 after speaking on fulfilling his mission with his disciples and then turning his attentions to all who believe: “I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one.”  We cannot be God, but we can strive to be like God. God’s request for glory is not self-infatuation. Imagine a world that glorified God in all they did! There would be no evil or suffering caused by others in the world. There would be no physical or sexual abuse in the world. There would be no parents living out their dreams through their children. There would be no bigotry based on the color of your skin or the gender you were born.  There would be no locking of cars and houses. God gets a bad rap when portrayed as selfish or obsessed with themselves.

Why I Doubt God Is An Excluder Of Religions

Why I Doubt Heaven Is Closed To Anyone After Death

Why I Doubt Hell Is Real

Why I Doubt God Is A Homophobe

Why I Doubt God Is A Sexist

Why I Doubt God Is A Mysterious, Moral Hypocrite

Why I Doubt God Is A Blood-Thirsty Child (Jesus) Killer

Why I Doubt God Expects Every Word Of The Bible To Be Viewed As Inspired

Why I Doubt God Is An End-Of-The-World Doomsayer

 

Read Full Post »

Kindness is something you do not find much of in our world today.

The Bible speaks about kindness many times. Kindness is one of the fruit of the Spirit mentioned in Galatians 5:22.

The dictionary says kindness is being considerate, or helpful. I think the world be a better place if everyone treated each other with kindness. I am talking about all people, even those you do not agree with in life. Those who have different interpretations, lifestyles, sexual orientations, political stands or religious beliefs.

It usually doesn’t take a lot to be kind. Sometimes I think we make it so hard, when something as simple and easy as a genuine smile can brighten someone’s day. Being polite and kind to others can sometimes be just what they need to make their day. Holding the door for someone, letting them go ahead of you in line, smiling and saying hello… you never know.

Kindness

Simple Kindness

The little, everyday things we can do to show others kindness can be a seed planted in their lives that will one day grow and help lead them to Christ.

These days it seems we even have a hard time with Christians treating each other with kindness. We want to fight and argue over our views and interpretations and forget that as Christians, we all have the common ground of faith in Christ.

A friend of mine recently talked about relationships and how they seem to come to an end. He said it is based on what the relationship is about. If it is based on some thing or some activity, once we get tired of that particular thing and move on, the relationships based on that activity usually come to an end. I have noticed the same thing among those who attend an organized church. You may spend many years there, making many friends and being involved in all the activities. Yet once you leave, either to move to another church or to have communion outside the walls of the organization, all your friends from the old place seem to disappear also. Our friendships and relationships should be based on the common ground of faith in Christ and His grace. This should not change no matter where you go or how you participate in life as the Church.  Our love of the Father and for one another as His children should be the one thing that can hold together a friendship.

Let’s see if we can make a point of doing at least one act of kindness each day. You never know where it may lead.

Read Full Post »

A recent mishap the other day made me think about objects, things and relationships.

Those of us who have lost a loved one know how objects or things that belonged to our loved one has special meaning. The person is gone and all we have are the special items that used to be theirs.

sugar bowl

On Mother’s Day, I got up and was making coffee for my wife and myself. We have always kept my mom’s sugar bowl and used it each day. When I was putting it away, I hit the bottom of the cabinet and it slipped out of my hand and shattered all over the counter. I felt so bad, it was like another piece of my mom was gone.

This brought to mind how we get so caught up on things. It makes sense in the human aspect, the loved one is gone and all we have are the things that bring to mind good memories. These things are not the person, but they help us think about the person.

Spiritually speaking, we seem to do the same thing. We have been taught that God is up in heaven, separated from us and we are waiting for some future day when we will be united. Because of this, we get caught up on the things of God more than on God directly. We look at things about God that help us think about Him, learn about Him, remember Him, yet they are not Him.

We start looking to the Bible as the only way to hear from God. Sometimes we go so far as to make the Bible part of the God-head and worship it, not seeing it as a book inspired by God. We look to a building we call the church for a place to go and meet with God and his people. We pray for God to show up or the Spirit to fall when we meet in ‘God’s house’.

The truth of the matter is the living Word of God, Jesus, actually lives within us through the Spirit. We are the temple of the Holy Spirit, we are God’s house. We are one with God as Jesus prayed in John 17: 20-22: “I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me. The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one.

Humanly speaking, when a loved one dies, all we have are things that were from our loved ones. All we can do is use those things for pleasant memories of the relationship we once had with that person.

Spiritually, we do not have to focus on the things of God, we have God right here within us. We can enjoy reading the Bible and seek truth as the Holy Spirit guides us. We can attend services together in a building, or anywhere else two or three gather, but we do not have to look to another human being as our spiritual guide. We should not make the things of God the main and only way of knowing our Father. To do this is to miss the most important part, which is a daily relationship with the living God who is within us.

Read Full Post »

I contribute to the Synchroblog site on WordPress, and this month’s topic is about renewal. When thinking about the word ‘renewal’, I had always considered it a time when I realized I had drifted away from God. It was a time when I decided to make things right and get back close to Him.

The dictionary describes renew as: 1. to revive, reestablish. 2. to recover (youth, strength); 3. to restore to a former state, make new or as if new again.

renewal

When I really think about it in regard to these terms, I wonder if renewal is even a correct term.

God is a friend that sticks closer than a brother, he will never leave or forsake us. After Jesus was crucified and resurrected, the Spirit was given and God came to live within us. Jesus said the Kingdom of God is within you, and Paul writes in 1 Corinthians that we are the temple of the Holy Spirit.

Since God is within us and never leaves us, why do we feel the ongoing need for renewal?

I understand from our end, we think we drift and get away from God, and we think we have to do something to revive or restore the former state we were in with our Father.

The only thing wrong with that thinking is, we do not have to do anything to be restored. God never left us. There are times when we feel we have left God, but that is not the case. Jesus did everything necessary for us to have a continual, lasting relationship with the Father. We cannot do anything anyway. It is grace through faith, and Jesus already took care of everything necessary.

Many couples, after many years of marriage want to renew their vows. There is nothing wrong with doing this, but does renewing your vows make you any more married, any more a couple in love than if you did not renew your vows? Same with God, we are children of God because of grace, and Jesus only had to die once to provide grace for all time.

Another aspect of renewal is the idea of renewal of membership, or our vows to God. We feel we have to renew those every once in a while or we may no longer be a part of God’s family. We have our renewal weekends or renewal (revival) services and think we are going to make a new commitment to God and do so much better. God does not accept us one moment, then get frustrated with our actions and disown us. No, God accepts us forever. We are holy and righteous because of Christ, and children of God for all time… no renewal necessary. It was his work that made us holy, not our works. We are saved by grace through faith, not of works.

I truthfully feel our thinking is wrong. We have always been taught that God is up in heaven, and if we do the right things, he will hear us and be happy with us. That idea is wrong. God is within us. We are holy and righteous because of what Jesus has done. God loves us and accepts us no matter what we do or do not do.

There is no real need for renewal in our relationship with God. It does not make a difference how we feel, God is right there with us each and every day. In the story of the prodigal son, the son certainly felt a need for renewal. He had a speech all prepared to try to get back in good with his father, but it was not necessary. His father never saw his son as anything other than a son. He watched and waited for him each day. As soon as he saw the son, he ran to him and loved him. He took him in as a full-fledged son, no questions asked.

That is the way our Father sees us. There are times when we get away from the Father in our thinking because we are basing our relationship on our actions. Only thing is, our actions do not affect our relationship. God is right there with us every day. Jesus provided everything for us, and the Son/Father came to live within us. Jesus asked the Father that he and we would be one as he and the Father are one. A time or renewal is no longer necessary from God’s point of view.

If anything, it is time to renew our minds to the fact that God is within us all the time. Through Christ, we have been crucified and resurrected as new creatures….the ultimate renewal. This renewal was a one-time thing. It is not necessary as in the Old Covenant, to continually come to God seeking forgiveness and renewed relationship.

The only renewal we may need is in our thinking. Talk to your Father constantly, trust what Jesus has done, once and for all, and stop thinking you have to renew your relationship with your Father. He loves you continually, he lives within you daily, and he will never leave you.

 

This post is part of the February synchroblog “Renewal”

Abbie Waters – It is Well with My Soul

Mark Votova – 30 Ways the Church Can Find Renewal

Jeremy Myers – I am Dying … (So I Can Live Again)

Phil Lancanster – The Parable of the Classic Car

Susan Schiller – Renewal by Design

Glenn Hager – Repurposed

Wesley Rostoll – Why I no longer pray for revival

Clara Ogwuazor-Mbamalu – Renewal of the Spirit

K. W. Leslie – Those who wait on the Lord

Lisa Brown – Momma’s Kick Off Your Shoes and Stay For A While!

Jenom Makama – …Like An Antivirus

Leah – Renewal!

Read Full Post »

Kindness is something you don’t find much in our world today.

The Bible speaks about kindness many times. Kindness is one of the fruit of the Spirit mentioned in Galatians 5:22.

The dictionary says kindness is being considerate, or helpful. Wouldn’t the world be a better place if everyone treated each other with kindness?

It usually doesn’t take a lot to be kind. Sometimes I think we make it to hard, when something so simple and easy as a genuine smile can brighten someone’s day. Being polite and kind to others can sometimes be just what they need to make their day. Holding the door for someone, letting them go ahead of you in line, smiling and saying hello, you never know.

The little, everyday things we can do to show others kindness can be a seed planted in their lives that will one day grow and help lead them to Christ.

These days it seems we even have a hard time with Christians treating each other with kindness. We want to fight and argue over our views and interpretations and forget that as Christians, we all have the common ground of faith in Christ.

A friend of mine recently talked about relationships and how they seem to come to an end. He said it was based on what the relationship was about. If it is based on some thing or activity, once we get tired of that particular thing and move on, all the relationships based on that activity usually come to an end. Only the common ground of faith in Christ and His grace is what doesn’t change and the one thing that can hold together a friendship.

Let’s see if we can make a point to do one act of kindness each day. You never know where it may lead.

Read Full Post »

Why is it that we Christians can’t seem to accept one another?

My wife and I grew up in the organized church, and we have many friends who are part of the four-wall system. Yet, after many years of feeling uneasy, questioning, thinking there has to be more than just sitting in a pre-planned service every week, we decided to look for fellowship elsewhere. We feel sitting in a service every week, listening to someone else tell us what they think God is saying is really not very biblical.

The Bible talks about the priesthood of ALL believers. 1 Peter 2:5, 9. It talks about when we assemble, each one has something to say. 1 Corinthians 14:26. We say we are going to the Lord’s house, yet the Bible says we are the temple of the Holy Spirit 1 Corinthians 6:19.

Truthfully, how much fellowship do you get sitting in a service, looking at the back of someone’s head? The most fellowship I remember in a situation like that was when the pastor told us to get up and shake somebody’s hand. I don’t call that fellowship.

We are finding more fellowship outside the walls of organized church when we meet with other Christians during the week. We meet in houses, cafes and restaurants. We talk about what God is doing and what grace means to us. We are getting to know one another, we pray for one another and care about each other. Open discussion makes more sense to us rather than just sitting, listening to one person talk.

People say by not going to church, we are disobeying the Bible where it says to not forsake the assembling of yourselves together. We always ask where it says that it has to be in a particular place on a particular day in an organized service. It doesn’t say that, and meeting anytime two or three come together, talking, praying, enjoying each other is a more meaningful assembly to us.

I say all of this to ask this question, why can’t we accept each other at the place we are currently in our walk with God. It doesn’t make a difference if you go to church or not, if you think of Sunday is a holy day or not. It’s OK to think of every day as the Lord’s day and not just Sunday, or to realize church isn’t a building you go to but a people, saved by grace, living their lives for God daily.

If we could realize God is working in each of us in different ways. We are at different stages in our walk with Him. We all aren’t going to be the same. Let’s accept each other and not try to force our way of thinking on everyone else.

God is our focus. Loving Him and loving each other is what we are commanded to do under the New Covenant. Other than that, we should let our way of doing things be just that…our way. We should not expect everyone to agree with us.

None of us have it all figured out. None of us are right on everything. Many interpretations and ideas in the Bible will never be known this side of heaven, yet we get mad at other Christians when they see things differently. Let’s just accept each other in the love of Christ, realizing that He is in control and He will lead us into His truth in His timing. It isn’t our job to force others to see things our way. It is our job to love each other, accept each other and pray for one another. God will do the rest.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

Done with Religion

Living for God Outside the Walls of Religion

The Grace Cafe Journal

Rediscovering Grace Apart From Religion

Blind Injustice

In this blog, I talk about injustice that we struggle to recognize and/or blindly commit.

Sophia's Essays

This is where I post my essays, primarily about LGBTQ+ issues, politics, and Christian theology.

My Journey

Welcome. My blog is a place where readers will find writings of personal experiences, thoughts, and the peace that the Lord provides throughout my walk. I intend to bring inspiration and insight, as well as providing a very personal and transparent view into my life, in order to help others see their own lives in a different perspective. I strongly believe that we all need a different view at times, in order for our own personal growth to take place.

Hazy Divinity

Welcome To The Party

Candice Czubernat

A leading voice in the LGBTQ and Christian dialogue

Our Journeys Matter! - Posts

Living for God Outside the Walls of Religion

Ally's Notebook

Thoughts To Share

The Grace Cafe Blog

Rediscovering Grace Apart From Religion

Life of a Prodigal

Searching for Truth outside the church walls

Red Letter Publications

Trade in your religion, for a relationship.

What God May Really Be Like - Misbeliefs About God

To those done with religion but not God and my kids (Click FOLLOW for future Posts; See ABOUT/USING THIS SITE tab to navigate Site)

Christy Lynne Wood

Looking for the real God

Confessions of a Recovering Churchboy

What I bought before, I just can't sell

To the Saints Radio

...let us press on to maturity...

Intermission

Reflections in the midst of life.

The Curious Atheist

Freely Seeking Truth

The Wild Frontier

The Truth will set you free.

Chris Kratzer

Grace // Jesus // Life

Stephen Bradford Long

Religion, Esotericism, Skepticism

A Wilderness Voice

"The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, says the LORD of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, says the LORD of hosts." (Hag 2:9)

Beyond the Goldfish Bowl of Christian Religion

by an 83 year old agnostic questioner

Entering the Promised Land

by walking in the Spirit

TruthForFree.com

What You Won't Find In A Christian Bookstore

Jesus Without Baggage

For those attracted to Jesus but not to the baggage often attached to his message.

Beyond Church Walls

Living for God Outside the Walls of Religion

Escape to Reality

Exploring the wide open spaces of God's amazing grace

%d bloggers like this: