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.
To build healthy, positive thoughts.
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.
The soul has a strong desire and need for intimacy, and it loves vernacular life—that particular place, family, friends, neighborhood that are part of our daily life. That is why we look at ways of being in any kind of relationship soulfully: bonds that we feel with certain people.
A soul mate is someone to whom we feel profoundly connected by divine grace.There is nothing more precious in life than our soul mate. Actually, this form of intimacy is not limited to one person or one form.
We are not talking about the interpersonal mechanics that comes to the foreground. Some nonchalantly say that we are simply programmed to act the way we do – almost like a machine. Not so! Today’s communication is technically sophisticated and speedy, but not necessarily more soulful.
We are dealing with questions like, “what is this thing when we fall madly in love?”, or “Why is this deep love never seemed to be satisfied?”, or “What is it that the soul wants upon separation?”
Some of us are frustrated and ask, “What is this continued failure to find love?” There are troubling aspects: doubts, distancing, desire for separation and freedom and endings. We suffer symptoms of loss of soul. The reason why we have so much trouble with relationships today may be our neglect of the study of the soul.
The soul loves attachments of all kinds – to places, ideas, times, sounds and music even in the ordinary details of everyday life. There are two pulls on our life: one upward toward success, progress, and intellectual clarity and another downward into individual, quiet life.
We have strong desires to have a family, live with another person, or join a community and yet after this has been satisfied, we are still drawn in exactly the opposite direction – our intimacy and our solitude. We must learn to honor both togetherness and individuality at the same time, even though we may sometimes feel a tug to one side only.
There are really two goals: one, to come to know yourself and two, to get to know the deep and subtle richness of the soul of the other. The final objective is to be both intimately connected with one another and at the same time, preserve one’s integrity and individuality.
This can be accomplished by giving the other sufficient emotional space in which to live and express one; then to risk revealing your own soul, complete with all its own absurdities. There are deep roots that may never have been revealed because of a lack o communication. The solution is not knowledge but love and a feeling that “you are accepted” by the other
We look at ourselves and we don’t like what we see. We try to change but the old imperfections remain steadfast. The basis of all relationships starts with the recognition that you have to be a friend to yourself– intimacy with oneself. The answer has everything to do with developing a good, intimate relationship to our own soul and the soul of others.
THE SOUL OF THE FAMILY
People living in the modern life often complain about a loss of traditional values and about feeling aimless, rootless and adrift. The culture of the family is a resource into which a person may dip throughout one’s life for direction, meaning and style.
One task is to forgive our parents for being imperfect. Life is much richer if we could let go of the excuse of parental failure and to establish a satisfying relationship with them. We benefit from the richness of a family and in particular of family stories, which identify who we are. The family may be one of the most powerful creative forces in our lives.
THE SOUL OF MARRIAGE
There is intermingling of souls that culminate in marriage – a demanding form of relationship. Marriage is a mystery, a sacrament and a sacred symbolic act. The interior of marriage is magical: it is fulfilling union that supplies a profound need for meaning, fulfillment and relatedness: a good home, fine children, happy days.Continue reading SOUL MATES→
Materialistic life can be so absorbing that we get caught in it and we forget about spirituality. Many don’t believe in the soul and therefore many don’t give it any place in the hierarchy of values. What we need is soul in the middle holding together mind and body. A spiritual life of some kind is absolutely necessary for psychological ”health”.
Psychology is a secular science while care of the soul is a sacred art.We separate psychology and religion, therapy and spiritual practice. Psychology and spirituality need to be seen as one. Psychology is incomplete if it doesn’t include spirituality in a fully integrated way. When the soul is neglected, our problem doesn’t just go away; it appears symptomatically in obsessions, addictions, violence and loss of meaning.
The emotional complaints of our time that are heard by therapist:
Disillusion about marriage, family and relationship
Loss of values
Yearning for personal fulfillment
A hunger for spirituality
All these symptoms reflect a loss of soul and let us know what the soul craves. We cannot solve our “emotional” problemsuntil we grasp the mystery that honors the Divine.
We yearn excessively for entertainment, power, intimacy, sexual fulfillment, and material things. We think we can find these things if we discover the right relationship or job or therapy. We strive to attain alluring satisfaction in great masses, thinking that quantity will make up for lack of quality.
Yet, without soul, whatever we find will be unsatisfying. What we truly long for is the soul in each of these areas. Soul doesn’t pour into our lives automatically. It requires our skill and attention.
We cannot care for the soul unless we are familiar with its ways. We need to make the necessary changes revealed by depression and anxiety. These problems make it felt because the soul needs attention.
ILLNESS AND HEALING
Doctors are learning that there is an actual correlation between psychological experience and physical ailments. For example, one’s colon is unhappy. Doctors know that there is a relationship between repressed anger and colitis. If cancer cell growth has gone berserk, is there something that has been disordered?
The word, “disease or dis-ease” says it all. It means without ease and disease emanates from stress. Disturbances created from marriage and family can be more stressful to the soul than conditions of work.
Modern medicine is hell-bent on cure and has no interest in anything about the soul. Maybe our lives are too secular and in need of such a visitation through the soul. Do we know what can be speaking silently to us in our body? “Recognize what is before your eyes, and what is hidden will be revealed to you.” Gospel of ThomasContinue reading CARE OF THE SOUL→
We are in this world but not of this world since every day Christians say: “Our Father who art in heaven…
Even when we worship different gods, attend different schools, have different skin colors, we’re all supposed to share spirituality.
But you have a compute and Wikipedia: “Spirituality can refer to an ultimate or immaterial reality; an inner path enabling a person to discover the essence of their being; or the ‘deepest values and meanings by which people live.’”
Yes, that’s Wikipedia! It continues on to say, “Spirituality is often experienced as a source of inspiration or orientation in life. It can encompass belief in immaterial realities or experiences of the immanent or transcendent nature of the world.”
Hmm! That’s extremely broad.Maybe you should read a book on the subject.
Princeton religion scholar Leigh Schmidt wrote one called Restless Souls that charts the development of American spirituality. Rather than the “New Age” phenomenon it is sometimes misinterpreted as, spirituality is an egalitarian, pluralistic realm of experience and thought has a unique and sometimes intellectually advanced role in American history. So, basically, Schmidt can’t (or won’t) really define spirituality, either.
We instinctively know that it’s mixed up in religion, but it’s definitely distinct from institutional religion.Can someone be religious without being spiritual?It’s completely plausible.
On the other side of the coin, you hear “I don’t go to church, but I’m very spiritual.” You may get called spiritual once in a while without understanding what it means. People can use spirituality as a buffer. Relying on ambiguity can be risky.Continue reading WHAT DOES SPIRITUALITY MEAN?→
Jesus enters into partnership with us. He comes to us full of perfect knowledge and unlimited love. God knows all our defects and weaknesses. He knows all that might have been done for us or by us.
The soul becomes capable of living in a higher order and of becoming the agent of acts which are completely beyond it natural possibilities. If a plant were given a true power of sensation, or an animal a true power of reason, this would be like the radical transformation that is produced on our soul by grace: still these examples are inadequate. “I have come that they may have life,and have it to the full.” John 10:10
”And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” 2 Corinthians 9:8
God gives Himself wholly to the person who gives it wholly to Him.God’s love for men is not merely a love for humanity in general. God is in love with each human individual, personally and particularly.Continue reading LIVING IN A HIGHER ORDER→
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What is more important than your Relationship with God!