MOST OF THE MAJOR FAITHS HAVE SOMETHING IN COMMON.
Most of the major faithsinclude the idea of a higher level of consciousness, which is called a union with God; this is the ultimate goal of most spiritual practices. All major religions with the exception of the strictest form of Buddhism (Theravada Buddhism) teach:
That there is a God who is not a person, but who created the cosmos and who is definitely personal.
That it is possible to know and to experience union with this personal God.
That the entire purpose of life is to seek to do so in order to experience God
CHRISTIANITY IS DIFFERENT.
Christianity is different from other kinds of God-mysticism. We become fellow-heirs” with Christ and “fellow workers” with God until one day we will see God face to face.
Not many religions offer a Leader who chose to live with us and show us how to attain the reward of everlasting life.
Not many religions offer a God in the form of the Holy Spirit who fills our lives with divine grace in extraordinary ways: what some would think only as coincidence or good fortune.
Not many religions offer happiness, forever, as a prize for following a few laws
Not many religions throw life jackets to those floundering in a sea of frustration, sin, contradiction and evil.
Not many religions offer light in the darkness and a trail out of the wilderness.
There is an intellectual atheism based on modern philosophy; a protest atheism, which insisted on the incompatibility of belief in God with human freedom and fulfillment; and a pessimistic atheism, which sees in the enormity of evil prevalent in the world an overwhelming argument against the existence of God.
As a Gallup poll of 1975 shows, in only 6 percent of all Americans questioned claimed to be atheists or agnostics; 94 percent believed in God and 69 percent in life after death — about the same percentages as in 1948.
But while many pay lip service to the existence of God, it seems true that many have experienced the death of God insofar as traditional images of God no longer make sense for them. They feel God’s absence, rather than His presence.
In the last century, God dwelt there with hosts of angels and directed earthly affairs: bringing good and bad weather, sickness and health, happiness and unhappiness.
After being gradually undermined for several years by accumulating scientific knowledge, this cozy picture has all but vanished from human consciousness.
If we can’t think of God, then, as some kind of absolute monarch ruling the universe from above, how should we think of Him?
Allow us to speak of an ultimate reality that is somehow “beyond” that which is directly given in our experience and our own ultimate limit.
All of us are constantly running up against limits, which are basically of four kinds: a) external physical limitation caused by material objects which can restrict our activities; b ) organic limitations we experience when we suffer illness, weakness and exhaustion; c ) personal limitations in our dealings with others insofar as their ideas and intentions often run counter to our own ; d ) restrictions related to our awareness of moral and aesthetic considerations such as the distinction between good and bad, beautiful and ugly.
Through this experience of our own finiteness we become aware.
How, then, can we conceptualize this ultimate limit?
The only experience we have is of our bare finiteness.
An encounter with God will involve both the ‘experience’ of our finitude and the faith which, points to some dynamic reality beyond the limit.
God as the ultimate limit, God as He is Himself, is thus profound mystery, which is completely beyond our grasp or comprehension.
Only on the ground that God had in fact revealed himself could it be claimed He exists.
The One Who is Creator of the world, Who by His providence guides and sustains and directs all things to their intended purpose. “God” means the Lord, the One Whom we must serve and obey,
He is our final End and Source of eternal happiness. He is also the Father Who loves His children, faithful, forgiving and at the same time absolutely just.
For the believer, He is the most real of all:
A believer finds in the symbol “God” the means of seeing life as a purposeful experience and a way of viewing the world as imbued with a personal presence. It enables one to feel at home in the world insofar as it is ruled with order and purpose.
As long as one stays on a purely metaphysical or speculative level it seems impossible that we will ever be able to answer this question with any certainty.
From Dynamic Catholicism: A Historical Catechism Bokenkotter, Thomas.
WHAT IS RELIGION?
Religion is man’s search: for strength and courage to be gained from the spiritual, which is greater than any individual man. It is the Power beyond our control and upon whom we feel ourselves dependent.
The mind and will of God exists outside man, which is superior to all men. Man attempts to get in touch with His spirituality. Once contact is made (by listening) man desires to live in harmony with God.This contact operates by graceand flourishes by prayer.
THE MYSTERY OF RELIGION
Religion deals not in problems but in mysteries. A mystery may be difficult or impossible to understand, but you are still passionate about and involved in.
Such passionate makes clear, objective thinking difficult, and being involved in a problem means one’s perspective is limited. One way to solve such mysteries is to rely on faith.
A DIVINE CHURCH
Suppose the Church were not divine but only human. Suppose she were our invention. Suppose the Church, unlike Christ, had only one nature, not two: that she was only human, not divine, and as “modernist” or “liberal” or “humanist” theology claims about Christ.
In that case we ourselves would have to figure out the right understanding of scripture, without divine authority. We would have to discover the truth about the Trinity, and the two natures of Christ, and baptism, and the Eucharist, and saints, and Mary, and Purgatory, and the Church herself, and crucial and controversial moral issues like abortion and marriage and homosexuality and euthanasia and contraception and war and capital punishment and money.
Under this supposition, who could ever know with certainty the will of God?And how could the Church ever be one? There are actually twenty thousand different churches or ten main-line protestant denominations, each teaching its own sincere but fallible human opinion. It is hard to believe that God would want His Church to split into so many pieces.
You Can’t Just Be Spiritual; You Need Religion.
Many people say, “I’m spiritual, but not religious.” On one hand, you can be happy that you are seeking a deeper meaning in their life. On the other hand, you should be worried that you will stay satisfied there. Spiritualityis what you believe and how you find meaning in regards to a higher Power whilereligionis how I live out the truth and what is right in regards to a higher Power. In religion:
We can gain an intimate knowledge of Christ.
We are better protected from evil so as not to misinterpret Scriptures.
We need a Christian community for encouragement and support.
ONE CHRISTIAN GOD
We Christians (of all flavors) are under greater attacknow that at many or most times in the past, from atheists, secularists, Islamists and others. It would therefore seem to be in our best interests to put aside whatever our differences are or have been in the past and try our best to become what Jesus asked for…that we may all be one.
Even if all religions are true, even profoundly true, this does not mean that all religions are totally true (free from error) or equally true. For only one religioncenters on the only sane man who ever claimed to be the TRUTH.
No other religious teacher – except some egomaniacs, fakers, tyrants and money-mad manipulators – claimed to be God. Any other religion except Christianity could survive without its founder after making such a claim.
If Abraham or Moses or Muhammad or Buddha or Confucius or Lao Tzu turned out to be mythical figures and not real historical people at all, the religions that they founded would still survive, just as Shakespeare’s plays would still retain their power and appeal if it were discovered that Shakespeare never existed, that the name was a pseudonym for Marlowe or Bacon. But Christianity could not survive if Christ was a fictional figure. You can’t be saved by a fictional or a dead savior.”
HAVE YOU BEEN HURT BY A CHURCH?
The Church often wounds us deeply.People with religious authority often wound us by their words, attitudes, and demands. Precisely because our religion brings us in touch with the questions of life and death, our religious sensibilities can get hurt most easily. Ministers and priests seldom fully realize how a critical remark, a gesture of rejection, or an act of impatience can be remembered for life by those to whom it is directed.
There is such an enormous hunger for meaning in life, for comfort and consolation, for forgiveness and reconciliation, for restoration and healing, that anyone who has any authority in the Church should constantly be reminded that the best word to characterize religious authority is compassion. Let’s keep looking at Jesus whose authority was expressed in compassion.
When we have been wounded by the Church, our temptation is to reject it. But when we reject the Church it becomes very hard for us to keep in touch with the living Christ. When we say, “I love Jesus, but I hate the Church,” we end up losing not only the Church but Jesus too.
The challenge is to forgive the Church.This challenge is especially great because the Church seldom asks us for forgiveness, at least not officially. But the Church as an often fallible human organization needs our forgiveness, while the Church as the living Christ among us continues to offer us forgiveness.
It is important to think about the Church not as “over there” but as a community of struggling, weak people of whom we are part and in whom we meet our Lord and Redeemer. HENRI NOUWEN
These FREE series of ten biblical quotes are called:
GOD IS GREAT: GOD’S LOVE LETTERS
GOD IS GREAT God’s Love letters can be printed and folded in a tent shape. Cut them out and place each in rotation where you do your personal grooming or have your breakfast. They are ideal tool to help you memorized them.
To strengthen your fellowship with God.
To show you the goodness of God.
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To provide curative comfort.
You may wish to send a FREE series of God’s Love letters to someone.
God divinely inspired the BIBLE . How do we know?Each of eight accurate predictions show a high probability mathematically. The probability of one individual fulfilling eight prophecies have odds of 1 in 10 17(1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000). Jesus Christ fulfilled all prophecies, therefore the Bible MUST BE TRUE.
The Old Testament indicates another 40 astonishing predictions.
Christianity experiences stunning growth—from approximately 3.8 million adherents in China in 1956 to an estimated 87 to 100 million Christians today.
In the end, one Christian conversion will benefit the whole family. The gifts of the Holy Spirit of healing and deliverance will help the whole family. A prayer of deliverance of evil spirits will leave any member of the family with a complete sense of peace immediately. A prayer of healing from a Christian disciple produces 80% healing. The remaining healing comes from continued prayer of praise and thanksgiving until all the healing is complete. This healing comes from the Holy Spirit through the power in the Name of Jesus Christ. No other god or deity or doctor uses this power. This proves the TRUTH OF CHRISTIANITY.
BILLIONS OF CHRISTIANS CAN’ T ALL BE WRONG!
Christianity is not a philosophy, but it is a relationship with God, your Creator, in Christ TODAY. It is not knowledge of abstract principles. How do we know this? Healing takes place TODAY in the Name of Jesus Christ.
Many Christian disciples use the gift of healing. They also use deliverance to deliver away evil spirits influencing people. These evil spirits cause depression, addictions and illness through all forms of stress. Only the Name of Jesus Christ makes healing and deliverance possible.
Jesus is alive today!He heals today (through His followers) and in many cases it is realized immediately. How else can you explain the explosion of Christianity, the world’s largest religion, on earth: 2.2 billion adherents, nearly a third (31 percent) of all 6.9 billion people on Earth.
Christians know and feel His Presence; they communicate with Him personally; Christian prayers are always answered.
This author has been given the Gift of Healing only because he is a Christian Lay Missionary, who travels two to three places every year. On his last trip to Columbia he successfully transferred his Gift to his Spanish translators, who were able to heal as he did. He has healed Muslims to their great surprise.
He also delivers away evil spirits along with their healing. All those who are delivered from evil spirits feel a complete physical sense of peace.
DREAMS AND VISIONS
God can give a message to those non-Christians to change their heart. God knows faith will be developed eventually. God will come to you in the form of dreams or visions. So be sensitive to any dreams or visions,when you ask God for it earnestly.
Most people know little about the Seventh-day Adventists beyond that they worship on Saturdays, not Sundays. But there’s more to this unique sect.
The Seventh-day Adventist church traces its roots to American preacher William Miller (1782–1849), a Baptist who predicted the Second Coming would occur between March 21, 1843, and March 21, 1844. Because he and his followers proclaimed Christ’s imminent advent, they were known as “Adventists.”
When Christ failed to appear, Miller reluctantly endorsed the position of a group of his followers known as the “seventh-month movement,” who claimed Christ would return on October 22, 1844 (in the seventh month of the Jewish calendar).
Ellen White gained recognition in Adventist circles as a prophetess and became the church’s leader; she claimed to receive the first of several hundred visions in December of 1844.
Often Adventist-related publishing houses conduct mass mailings of their literature to every home and post office box in a community. Much of the published material comes from White’s single most popular volume, The Great Controversy.Continue reading SEVENTH DAY ADVENTISTS: the TRUTH→
The Local Church now has more than 3,000 congregations worldwide and more than 250,000 members, with about 250 churches and 25,000 members in the United States and Canada.
Witness Lee was the protégé of his predecessor, Watchman Nee, a well-known missionary in China. The Local Church movement was founded in China by Nee and brought to America in 1962 by Witness Lee. Nee taught there should only be one congregation in each city.
The history of the conflict between Witness Lee and his Local Church movement—also known as the “Lord’s Recovery Movement,” along with their publishing arm, Living Stream Ministry (LSM)—and the counter-cult establishment is far too long for a detailed recounting here.
LOCAL CHURCH TESTIMONY
Critics say that more emphasis is put on Watchman Nee’s and Witness Lee’s writings than on the scriptures. Some people think the Local Church may be bordering to be a cult, but the members still feel good about what they believe.
Three possible reasons why people may go through a phase of being interested in someone of the same sex could be curiosity, slower sexual maturity, or misguided messages from the media that approve of homosexuality. There is no conclusive proof that homosexuality is inherited. (Experts such as Harvey, Nicolosi, Whitehead, Rudegeair et al, say that it is more likely to be socially caused, e.g. by a non-loving parent and/or various other types of neglect).
NOW HERE IS THE REAL KICKER.
A pastor, who is very connected to God, tells a story. He asked God why it is that his brother was gay and yet hes was not. You will not find this answer in any psychology book.
God said that when his brother was in the womb, there were destructive arguments between the mother and the unreasonable father. His brother took the side of the mother, his more feminine side.
A combination of both biological and social factors combined mold people into who they are and determines the mindset of one that chooses to engage in criminal behavior. We are not saying that homosexuality is criminal, but there are similarities.
The social environment is the main reason why individuals commit crime, and, secondly, crime occurs and is fostered by biological traits that eventually lead to criminal behavior. So it is all about the environment: one’s peers are those individuals that tend to coerce or indirectly effect the decision making of another. It’s also all about the biological rejection of a parent from a child in the womb.
HOW DOES THE CHURCH REGARD HOMOSEXUALITY?
To have a homosexual orientation means to be sexually attracted to someone of the same sex. The homosexual act is an act of grave, but the tendency towards the act is seen by the Church as a disordered condition.Whilst never accepting the sin we must always love the sinner, always being ready to give a respectful account of the truth.
No one sings the hymns in praise – music tends to be only for the background
Lack of reverence in the Eucharistic celebration
People are just taking their Communion without fully believing in Jesus’ presence and what grace is involved.
Some seem to exit before Mass has ended.
The overall attitude is that they need us to meet their Sunday Mass obligation. Where else can they go? We are accustomed to a generally mediocre experience of parish life.
“Neither do people pour new wine into old wine skins. If they do, the skins will burst; the wine will run out and the wine skins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wine skins, and both are preserved.” Matthew 9:17
This description is like old wineskin which is dangerously dried up and also leaking badly. The wine, the energy and the power of the Good News cannot be contained, much less allowed to develop and ferment.
Pop into your local Evangelical church. Look at how they do music, hospitality, preaching, small groups, child care, etc. Protestant churches are made up of large pastoral teams of 6-10 people. Most Catholic parishes consist of one or two priests, a secretary, and maybe a youth minister.
“Vassula, when I see how so many of My sacerdotal souls deny my signs and My Works, how they treat those to whom I have given My graces and remind the world I am among you, I grieve … they are unwillingly damaging My Body, I ache! They deny My Works, thus making deserts instead of making the land fertile! ” Vassual:Lord, if they deny Your works there must be reasons!
Vassula writes down the messages which she receives in a stately handwriting, quite distinct from her own. She hears, interiorly, a voice first, then , when she has to write down what she has heard, her writing changes. TLIG.org
“Spiritually they are dead; they are deserts themselves and when they spot a flower in that great wilderness they made, they rush to it and trample on it, destroying it.” Why?
Why? it is a misfit in their wilderness, they make sure that their desert stays arid! I find no holiness in them, none, what have they to offer Me? Protection Lord! Protection not to distort Your Word!
“No, they are not protecting Me, they are denying Me as God; they deny My Infinite Wealth, they deny My Omnipotency, they are comparing themselves to Me; do you know what they are doing? they are promoting atheism, they are multiplying My scourgers, they are increasing spiritual deafness, they are not defending Me, they are deriding Me!” July 7, 1987
“What grieves Me most is to see My own sacerdotal souls doubting My Works, refusing to believe, thus “remoting” Me instead of promoting Me… How could you possibly compare My works with human works; science cannot be compared with Heavenly Works, it is as if you want to compare Me with men!”July 9, 1987
“Philosophy cannot be compared to spirituality, never; that is one of the main reasons why all those in power and who call themselves wise will mock you, will scorn you, will deject you, will scrutinize you; so be prepared, beloved, for the wolves to hound you; do not fear, I will be near you.” August 5, 1987
Why this arrogance among the nations, these futile plots among the people? I had selected Peter, a man after My own Heart, the rock, on whom I would build My Church; why then distort My Command? Whom are You referring to, Lord?
I am speaking to those who scheme and plot against My foundation, do you not realize that your plots will lay futile? Lord, I do not know whom are you referring to.
I know, Vassula, all this is obscure to you, but it is as clear as day for those deceivers! My Eyes are fixed upon them; My sword lifted and ready to strike; they know themselves and believe Me, their days are numbered; yes, cast your eyes around you, deceivers! Why are you surprised? You will perish for I am doing something in these days that it will be hard to believe had you been told of it! ” November 8, 1987
When our Lord … was talking about those working for UNITY. Usually when the ecclesiastical authorities meet to be able to find a solution, what happens is the following: the one who comes to face the other one hopes that the one facing him will be the one will give in ‘something’; in the end it ends up by no one giving much. This was given me to understand by the Lord, yesterday night. December 8, 1987Continue reading THOSE OPPOSING CATHOLIC ORTHODOX UNITY→
People need to know which Churches is that of Christ, since He founded only one Church, the only one capable of speaking in His name. Why would the Holy Spirit have permitted so many different divisions and enmities among those who claim to be disciples of the same Gospel, disciples of the same Christ? The search: is unity lost?
Could it not be that these divisions have also been a path continually leading the Church to discover the untold wealth contained in Christ’s Gospel and in the redemption accomplished by Christ? Perhaps all this wealth would not have come to light otherwise.
It is impossible to imagine that this Church, instituted by Christ on the foundation of the apostles and of Peter, should not be one. But we can also understand how over the centuries contact with different political and cultural climates could have led believers to interpret Christ’s message with varying emphases.
Nevertheless, these different approaches to understanding and living out one’s faith in Christ can, in certain cases, be complementary; they do not have to be mutually exclusive. What separates us as believers in Christ is much less than what unites us.
Unfortunately, some Churches originating in the Reformation have a gap, which is considerably wider, since several fundamental elements established by Christ were not respected.
We can trust that “the One who began this good work in us will bring it to completion” Philippines 1:6