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 are some Christians that claim that the basic nature of human beings is sinful. It is the human tendency to rebel against, ignore, or resist God’s will. This makes human beings susceptible to illness. In a sense, a person can actually own his or her sickness or take responsibility for it. So illness is often linked to life style, which has moral overtones. The word, “disease” says it all: it means “without ease” or stress.
CAUSES OF SICKNESS
There are two principal theological interpretations of sicknessand healing:
Sickness is caused by forces or spirits opposed to God out of sheer perverseness. The devil wishes to thwart the divine plan for humankind. So illness is not the fault of the sick person. This is the view that Jesus took 2000 years ago.
Sickness is caused by God for different reasons. Sickness may be used to teach a person a lesson of faith. It may be used as a test so that a person can provide an example of faith for others as in the case of Job.
The sick person is understood to have earned the illness. The real aim of the sickness may be to change or moderate the nature of a person’s life.
The charismatic healers know very little or nothing about medical science and did not practice elaborate therapy. Most of these healers belong to the “holy person” category. They never ask for any fees for healing.
There are no elaborate rituals or complicated techniques. The healing is done by touch or command in the Name of Our Lord, Jesus Christ in the same manner as Jesus healed. A healer may use a general prayer such as, “May the mercy of God, which is present here with us now, enter into your soul, your mind, your body, and heal you from all that harms you” By Your stripes (whippings) Lord Jesus, you, , are healed! These last few words are the most important and they are based on the Bible: “With His stripes we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5 and “by whose stripes you were healed.” 1 Peter 2:24
For specific healing, the words to use can be, “Send Your power right now into this baby’s ears and take away all germs or infection and make them well”. Some healers speak directly to evil spirits: “You spirit of disease, I command you in the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, to come out of this boy,_______.”
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.
“Live by following the Holy Spirit.” Galatians 5:16
“The true children of God are those who let God’s Holy Spirit lead them.”Romans 8:14
To simplify this, the Holy Spirit is the Presence of God in our lives, carrying on the work of Jesus. The Holy Spirit grants us all the fruits of the Spirit Galatians 5:22-23.(“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control”). If the disciple teaches, it is the Holy Spirit that teaches the disciple. Luke 12:12(“For the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.”)
If the listener is convicted, it is because the Holy Spirit has penetrated. John 16:10(“Concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see Me no longer”) If the listener is converted, it by the transforming power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 8:11(“He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.”)
If the new believer matures, it is because the Holy Spirit makes him or her more competent. “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own.”1 Corinthians 6:19
“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. You know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.”John 14:16-17
How have you seen the Holy Spirit at work in your own life?
HOW DO YOU RECEIVE THE HOLY SPIRIT?
“As I (Peter)began to speak, theHoly Spirit came on them as he had come on us at the beginning. Then I remembered what the Lord had said: ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’Acts 11:15,16 There are four different ways, which can be used by the minister of baptism:
Laying on of hands: “they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied. ” Acts19: 2-6
Praying : “When they arrived, they prayed for the new believers there that they might receive the Holy Spirit, because the Holy Spirit had not yet come on any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. ” Acts 8:15,16
Speaking: “While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message.” Acts 10:44-45
Breathing:Jesus commanded that the disciples receive the Holy Spirit, “And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” John 20:22
The most important part of the rite is that the person being baptized in the Holy Spirit be in acceptance: ” I receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit in the name of Jesus Christ.”
We simply have to find a quiet place and a straight chair and sit in a relaxed position. We close our eyes and begin to repeat the name of Jesus in a seven word breath prayer that you find meaningful until we are completely focused on Him.
Then we surrender to Him and allow Him to do whatever He wishes. We simply absorb all His love, His peace and joy. We let Him be in charge for the duration of the prayer.
If a distraction comes, we gently return to repeating the name of Jesus until the distraction goes away, and continue our surrender to Him. We must not expect anything but accept whatever the Lord gives us. This is a prayer of the heart and Jesus will communicate in the center of our heart. Remember He is free, and be patient.
If you have not contemplated before, just read the book on contemplative prayer andbegin contemplating for 10 minutes. Once you are comfortable with 10 minutes, you can add a few more minutes until your prayer lasts 20 minutes. Contemplative prayer should last 20 to 30 minutes at a time.
Almost every person can contemplate and even children as young as 12 years of age can profitably contemplate for 10 or more minutes.
Remember that contemplative prayer is a gift from God. Prayer is very dear to Jesus. It makes our relationship with Him grow continuously.
Without that still space we start spinning. We become driven people, running all over the place without much direction. But with that stillnessGod can be our gentle guide in everything we think, say, or do. HENRI NOUWEN
The greatest tragedy of life is not unanswered prayer, but un-offered prayer. Many people don’t realize that prayer can change even the fate of nations. There is no limit to the power of prayer. It is the ultimate spiritual arm and no earthly power can stand against it. What does the Bible say about prayer?
“The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.”Luke 18:25 “Let us come boldly to the throne of grace.”Hebrews 4:16“Pray without ceasing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:17
“Ask of Me, and I will give you the nations for your inheritance, and the ends of the earth for your possession.” Psalm 2:8