Espirational Faith

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." –The Apostle Paul


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New Year – Old Wars

This article was written as an answer to a post made by a person in a discussion forum several weeks ago. I am reposting this today, New Year’s Day of 2018, as my response to her and anyone else’s fearful statements to the way terrorism seems to have a goal of annihilating everyone who are not Islamic and how it appears the only thing that can be done is to oppose such a religious faith violently. There is another way.

 

 

Believe me I understand how you feel about how Islam seems as violent as to want everyone who is not of their religion dead. But it is a religion, now hundreds of years old, regardless what we or others call it. My intent in replying to your comment is not to argue with you, but to give another point of view.
Let me ask this, in reality, are any other religions truly much different? We know that the Islamic faith sprung from the tribes’ ancestors by two brothers’ conflict. Most people of faith have read the Old Testament and wondered about the Hebrews being told to perform one battle after another, slaughtering whoever stood in their way, to take over the land promised to Abraham. And the Christians? From the time that believers in Jesus, the Christ, were forced out of Jerusalem in 66 A.D. Christians have stood at attention ready for military battle to defend our faith; believing that if they did not, then who would? This can be seen in international conflicts like the Christian Crusades, and more localized conflicts like the enduring war between Catholics and Protestants in Ireland.
But have those armed military conflicts really settled anything? Oh, certainly you can point at the United States and proclaim that had it not been for the armed revolution against the British that the Freedom of Religion would not be known in that country, or anywhere else. Freedom of religion? Defined how? While the whole purpose of this clause in American government was to sever the relationship between religion and government, it seems that today certain extremists Christian believers are proclaiming that instead the clause means freedom only for those who believe in Christianity. This, therefore, is an action toward establishing Christianity as the state religion, and to make things worse, those who are shouting this should be done are also declaring that anyone who does not believe in Jesus as the Christ should have no rights or possibly be killed. Now tell me, how different is that than what you found in the Quran?
Let’s take just a few moments and reason this whole mess out. WWJD?
Most certainly it is not a pleasant experience to suddenly realize that there are major, and I mean extremely major groups and forces who may feel it is their duty and responsibility to the God they worship to annihilate the rest of us. But, not to make excuses for these peoples’ actions nor to imply they are right, the Islamic/Mohammedan people have, in the past, experienced the same treatment at the hands of the Jews and Christians. The immutable conflict between the two brothers has been on an international, interreligious battleground for millennial ages now and has spread worldwide with no foreseeable end in sight.
So just what is this battle? Is it really who owns a piece of land in the Mid-East? Is our battle really who has been given the true access to the Creator, God of this physical universe?
I can tell you through my years of experience in the study of people, societies and human religions that the people who claim and try to live the Islamic religion are, in their hearts, no more naturally violent than anyone else – Christian or not. Now this can be offensive speech when heard by many Christian believers; but how many true believers have you ever known who would not explain away the words of Christ when it came to explaining their reasons for having a right, a duty, to defend themselves and their families? Yet is this the Christ message they are declaring, or is it something each one of us learn from the time we are born that is our “sacred” duty to do – or be shamed? This radical declaration of possible violent defense of the Christian belief systems is actually no different than what I have heard from the few radical Muslims I have had discussions with. The teaching of ones right and responsibility to defend their religious roots and existence is universal, though the roots may be on different religious plants.
But there is a different group of people in every religion, every country, and every group of well-meaning individuals who are less than benevolent, less than pure, less than holy. While there are people in every religion in the world who try to live a pure, clean and holy life, Christian, Jewish, Islamic and other religions alike, there are others who would prefer to disrupt the balance and claim such spiritual riches as being theirs and their groups’ alone. These extremists are the ones who declare that everyone who does not believe as they do and/or serve their purpose should die. They are the political activists who consider no compromise. They are, in short, the terrorists.
Fear is a terrible taskmaster. But, instead of the popular t-shirts with the slogan printed on them stating, “No Fear,” we, as Christians, should be holding up a banner proclaiming “Pure Love.” We are in a spiritual battle during this age, as stated in one of the “Lost Gospels” where the conflict is over good vs. evil, light vs. darkness and truth vs. lies. The truth which Jesus proclaimed is to not fear those who proclaim that darkness and defeat is inevitable, because if we believe that then our actions will become such as to cause that fear to become reality. No our instructions given by Christ was to “occupy” until he returns. Notice there is no mention of doing battle or slaughtering everyone who refuses to believe in Christ. We are to simply occupy. (LUK 19:13)
Strange, isn’t it? If we were all to simply occupy and serve God, as we know him, in our own ways without attempting to say, as would little children, “My God is better, bigger, more powerful than your God,” then go about our daily lives serving God as best we know how, it seems that could be a taste of heaven on Earth?
What do you think?
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WAIT! Who’s Really Christian Here?

Okay, so with the title of this article post one might be able to tell somewhat of what it is about. You, the reader, might think, “Well, isn’t he the brave soul who thinks he has the authority to judge in such a way.” Or perhaps you will wonder where I got my facts or even had the time or incentive to get them. But in most cases you who are reading this post will be simply shocked that anyone would have the gall to publish such a bold statement such as this and declare me either brave, insane or a fool with satanic tendencies of rudeness. Think what you will, after nearly seventy years of living on this planet which is filled with the intensity of so called intelligent creatures who each believe they are God’s own special gift to the world I have finally come to the point of realizing the real irony of humans, us, trying to govern ourselves or to even imagine we can comprehend our Creator.

Through my life, I have lived in this country called the United States which has boldly been called a “Christian nation” by many. I have intentionally visited many denominational churches, preaching in some, singing in many, and listening to the preachers teach their theologies in all. Amazingly, all of the churches I have visited who called themselves “Christian” did have one basic message between them: that being that Jesus is the Christ who was born, killed upon a cross, buried, resurrected and taken somewhere with most teaching the hope of him returning sometime in the future.  But the similitude ends there. The way these things happened and what is promised to happen after that differs in as many ways as there are mountains on the planet. Beyond this maze of so called messages of truth are several other similar mazes of other people attempting to live the best way they know how by following leaders like Mohammed, Gautama the Buddha, and others, they believe or have been taught have found the truth. Each of these groups, these religions, like Christianity claim absolute possession of the truth with no one else having right to make that claim.

If you’ve been reading my posts on this blog then you’ve seen me ask the question before of what does it really mean to be “Christian.” I don’t really expect you to be able to just sit down at your computer and start typing your answer immediately. But we have entered into a period of time in our world’s history where everyone making the claim that they are “Christian” have a very clear definition in their minds of what that means. There seems to be three major ways to study the Christian Holy Bible and each of these ways tends to shape a person’s concept of what it means to live the “Christ life.” Interestingly, the three basic concepts of the Christ life follow the Christian teaching of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit  — the “Trinity.”

Traditionalists (One God – The Father). Many denominations believe that in order to be like Jesus, the Christ, one must study the Old Testament history which leads up to the birth of Jesus and to help bring, no, to demand the establishment of the Kingdom of God on Earth even if it means doing so by force. They teach a readiness to take up arms when necessary. They believe there is no place in heaven for the so called “coward,” and devote much time in studying the scriptures to prove their responsibility to God regardless what it takes. These believers become single minded, single purposed, and single hearted. Put simply, it is best to stay out of their way or they may consider you God’s enemy and think it their responsibility to destroy you. They see Jesus as a quiet warrior who accepted a fate of being innocently sentenced unjustly to death, being crucified and later, to be able to show his followers that they really had nothing to fear, not even death itself and to pay the penalty of being less than perfect required by Jewish law. Why? Because Jesus’ resurrection proved the believers’ power over death, the “King of Terror.” These believers emphasize the basic Hebraic belief that there is but one God, but they have various ways of proclaiming that belief all best summarized by the fact that they in essence are stating that Jesus was and is God. This fact, and the belief in a promise that sometime in the future Jesus is promised to return to Earth to establish the Kingdom of God on this planet is of prime importance to these believers. Thus this body of believers’ faith is based on the history of this world and is centered upon overcoming this world to eventually establish God’s kingdom upon it to make it a paradisiacal existence as it was originally created to be.

 

Reformers (God, the Son). Other churches believe that Jesus, the Son of God, taught a radically different method of overcoming the chaos of the world and giving freedom to those in slavery and poverty. This group of believers trusts less on the violent tendencies taught in the Old Testament scriptures and more upon the power of loving God and one another. Their message is less that the truth is for a specific chosen group of people and more that whoever chooses to do so can be a part of the spiritual kingdom of God. They teach less of the history of the Old Testament and more of the life of Jesus and what this master teacher taught,  insisting that it is the emulation of the Christ which will bring peace to the world. They are less concerned with the letter of the law and teach more of the method of truth as taught by Jesus. They study more deeply such Christ teachings as the “Sermon on the Mount” and his teachings and actions concerning the parables and miracles. While recognizing the hope for a future kingdom these believers place less emphasis on prophecy and more on trying to live their current lives in a way they believe is honorable to their spiritual king, Jesus. Many seem to believe that while the evidence in the physical world appears to show otherwise the Kingdom of God is already established in this world through those who believe and attempt to emulate Jesus’ lifestyle.

Spiritualists (God, the Spirit). Then there is this third group of believers with gatherings which appear much smaller but with messages which seems at times much more powerful. That is, if the message is comprehended. They are the ones which believe the Spirit of Christ, the Spirit of God is already dwelling within people. The way the Kingdom of Heaven will be established as reality on this planet will be for us to recognize that fact of the indwelling spirit of perfect love and allow it to live through us. These groups tend not to have denominational or even religious boundaries for they believe all “seekers of truth” are seeking the same God and that all religions, including Christians, are serving the same God. It is this indwelling Spirit, best recognized as Agape, that these believers proclaim as the fullness of the “unseen God.” They attempt to show the essence of what they believe God’s love to be with no barriers to others due to race, ethnicity, education, wealth, political stance or religious background. They believe the Kingdom of God to be a spiritual one visible only by the love their varied members have for one another. Their idea of who Jesus was, is that of a highly esteemed master teacher of life alongside of, or sometimes leader of, many other esteemed avatars like Mohammed, the Buddha and others. They generally do not believe the idea of a physical return of Jesus, but rather believe his “second coming” is that of the Holy Spirit indwelling believers through which the whole planet could be “saved” when enough people are controlled by that same Holy Spirit.

 

So there, in a short, simplified description, we can see the Christian concept of Christ as it has shaped our present. The Protestant, Evangelical conservative believers who believe they must now establish the Kingdom of God. By force if necessary. The Protestant, Catholic, liberalistic believers who teach that we must emulate Christ and serve people regardless of who they are. And those who attempt to live a spiritual life and be less involved with worldly philosophies, attempting to live the spiritual life of peace and love in the world today in the hope that if enough people do so that eventually it will change the world.

So who is right? None of them. All of them. The irony of this whole scenario is that this trichotomy of philosophies, while they seem to be somewhat in opposition to one another and in fact at times find their leaders in direct debate, they must through the Holy Spirit somehow lay aside their differences and find their commonalities before the glorious Kingdom of Heaven can come to Earth and the Kingdom of God be established on the planet.

The conservative traditionalist must lay aside their thought that the spiritualists’ teachings of a possible kingdom based on agape love is a weak faith which can lead only to failure. The reformers must recognize and study more of the Old Testament history of the church and how and why Jesus taught as he did. The spiritualists must be more open with their faith and allow the Holy Spirit to be expressed within them more boldly that others might see and experience the peace and love they claim to be possible through such faith. In short, each group has but just part of the wholeness of the truth.

It is only when we all recognize that we are all on this planet together as seekers of the Truth and that we only have a vague image of it shadowed in a few pages of some ancient books that we will begin to comprehend how we can bring the Kingdom of God to this planet. We must recognize that the place where our neighbor is currently at in their faith is, at the time, the best place for them. Yet if we believe what we say we believe then we must actively live our own faith, allowing the same right and privilege to do so to everyone else. The most major hurdle to be made toward bringing the Kingdom of God to Earth will be what Jesus said were the two greatest commandments: Love the Lord thy God with all your heart, soul and mind, and to love thy neighbor as thyself. Where are you at on this challenge? Where is your church?


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A Newborn Year — A Newborn Life

To the new born, everything is new. While usually their eyes are still sealed shut, the new world around them is vibrant with sounds, smells and textures. All of which are spell binding. All of which are wonderfully compelling. All of which create a drive to want to see. To the person who is newly born into the true faith of the Spirit of God, of Christ, within us it is no different. These new born believers hear the sounds of truth around them. They smell the essence of the incense of prayers for them. And they feel the love which is now their life not only within them but all around them. Grow, little children, sleep, observe, play; for soon you will see with your own eyes, your own spirits, that which many have only ever dreamed.

We are holding now a three day old New Year in our hands, what do we do to help it grow and develop into the type of year we can be proud to be part of? We are also holding the occassion to allow the Spirit of the Christ child opportunity to grow within us. The question is will we?

There is only one way a baby grows: By someone loving it enough to provide its basic needs of air, water, milk, warmth and protection. As newborns grow they learn to do these things themselves, but for now they must be comfortable with being cared for by those who love them.

The same is true with this new year. While often uncomfortable, the inability to know the future is actually quite a blessing at times. To know the future would mean that we also would feel responsible to attempt to change that future if something were foreknown to be harmful to someone we love or ourselves. This type of responsibility could cause irresponsible actions by us because we would feel compelled to take actions which, on a universal-eternal basis, may not be prudent.

No, for the most part we know not the future. The year just past has proven that to most of us with the social-political events which have shook the globe. But the globe has been shaken before, yet it still spins on its axis and travels around the sun at a steady pace. And yes, we are still here.

The fact is that the spiritual Kingdom of God is but still an infant, a newborn. The Apostle, Paul, stated that he, representing the early church, “travailed in birth” (GAL 4:19) awaiting the rebirth of the believers in God through the Christ Spirit. And John said, in the book of The Revelation, that the birth of the Christian Church was as if the Hebrew faith were pregnant, and “travailing in birth,” or that is to be in labor (REV 12:2). The early church was the rebirth of mankind’s faith in the true Holy Spirit of God.

It has now been two allegorical days since that birth (2PE 3:8) and while much growth has occurred within the past 2000 years for most of us our eyes are not yet open. Many of us are frustrated and dismayed that the world is still in what seems to be even worse turmoil than historians have recorded to have occurred in the past. So we weep and shout and proclaim ourselves the ones to bring about the promised Kingdom of God on Earth, even with violence if necessary. Yet, even this decision shows that we do not understand Christ’s words when he said, “My kingdom is not of this world.” (JON 18:36)

We are still infants, when it comes to true faith in God. Even as this year we call 2017 is but three days old today, the universal, invisible church called “Christian” is just now entering its third day of existence in the Spiritual realm. It is now time for believers to open our eyes to see the possibilities of the spiritual world which cannot be seen, but sensed only in our hearts and minds – only in our spirits. By doing so, and only by doing so, shall we see the fulfillment of the line in the Lord’s Prayer: “ Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.”  (MAT 6:9-11)

May God bless you all this coming year.


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Having Peace In Conflict

This month, Rogene (Genie), my Spirit lead wife, has a message which everyone should read and heed who proclaim and are dedicated to living a spiritual life and helping to bring forth a more perfect existence on this planet we call home. While many Godly oriented people are today cheering for who has been chosen to be our next U.S. president, others are now weeping. Emotions are rampant and becoming chaotic. Violence and hatred have taken control of many of our nation’s streets, led by fear; yet the truly spiritually led person knows that we are told:

“Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.”                     (John 7:24)

But now the choice has been made. In just a few weeks we will have our new president and to make righteous judgment we must realize that we really do not know what type of leader Donald Trump will be for the United States. Therefore, I hope the new president the best for his first term of office, but I will refuse to get caught up in either the rejoicing or the grief many are feeling because of this decision. While some people trust in guns and tanks to bring about the changes which cannot seem to be brought forth peacefully, and others trust in fear and violence, Genie and I have made a conscious decision to trust God’s holy nature of Agape Love.

— In him be the glory.

    — In him shall we live and serve and have our peace..

 

Here is what Genie wrote:

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Jesus, the Master Teacher, came to this earth to teach us how to live.  But if we read the Scriptures we will see that he had issues with the religious leaders of his day.  We get a glimpse of the anger that led to the over-turning of tables driving those who were taking financial advantage of worshippers out of the temple in Matthew 21:12. Mark 11:15 and John 2:15.  He was even known to call the Pharisees vipers including. Matthew 23:32-ch25 is one example of this.

We also see great sorrow as the Messiah wept over Jerusalem in Matthew 23:37 and Luke 13:34:

“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.”

Many have been experiencing anger and sorrow following the American presidential election while others rejoice.  For me there is sorrow and disbelief that many who call themselves “Christians” appear to be supporting and ushering in a scene which appears to be what they fear most, instead of their hoped for “salvation” from the destructive forces of darkness.  There is also at least a little anger within me toward these people and their leaders for the hatred and fear they spew in the name of God.

Please, let me explain: This is not the first time I have experienced this type of anguish. I watched in disbelief as dedicated, called women of God were kept from or driven out of “the ministry” in attempts to preserve the “boys club.”  The attempts to keep the women “in their place” included physical violence and intimidation, all justified in the name of God.

I have wept as I saw my loving and caring home church left in ruins after a “hostile takeover” by a group who felt the church was “too liberal.”  In their attempts to “save” the church it was severely damaged.

Looking back on my life now I can see that I have been prepared for this time.  Once again I have watched as the fabric of the union of these United States, and it’s diversity of races and cultures, have been ripped to pieces as was the church in which I was raised.  The progress we thought we had made now so easily destroyed by realizing the anger that was seething under the surface all along.

Perhaps one day we will finally come to realize that we cannot depend on the governments of mankind to save us.  The time has come to trust God and walk in the Light.

My reaction to the election results has surprised even me.  I am a person who is somewhat given to fear and panic, however in a real crisis I usually step up and find the strength to find a way through.  The message I received through spirit before I had seen the news the day after the election that said, “It’s Trump, but it’s okay” did not mean that he will be a great leader and the world will be saved through him.  It meant that what happens in this world will happen.

I will continue to trust God and walk in the light.  The sun will continue to come up each morning and the birds will continue to sing. It also doesn’t hurt that I am surrounded by angels and the white light of God right now.

So, along with Paul in his letter to the Romans (8:31), I ask, “If God be for us, who can be against us?”

Who is with me in this faith?

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You can read more of Rogene’s work by following her blog at espirational.com. She would welcome your comments.  — Bob


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The Choice

 

The one who was, and is and is to come, I AM.

Alpha, the beginning, the Creator, I AM.

 

I speak and the Earth is formed,

and the light is there;

the waters are divided from the dry land,

and the light from the darkness.

Energy, time, light, darkness, all of these, I AM.

The father of man, of creatures, of life, I AM.

 

I speak and grass, and herbs, and trees do grow;

and animals, and birds, and insects, and serpents

do present themselves; and man.

 

Creation, life imaged, grantor of gifts, I AM.

The Word, the Spirit, the fact of all things, I AM.

 

I speak and the angels are, and authority is given;

and Satan is given freedom, or bound; also testing allowed.

Strength, hope, happiness, the everlasting, I AM.

 

I AM LOVE, but was unloved, alone.

I AM needed by my friends,

my children, my servants

to love, to me love.

I AM offering perfect peace, trust, tranquility, and love.

I AM NOT selfish and allow you another one to love.

I AM perfect, when he is punished

so shall you be with your love.

I AM your Lord, your God, Christ.

I AM perfect, Agape, Love.

 

The one who was, and is, and is to come, I AM.

Omega, the conclusion, the justice, I AM.

 

I speak and my voice brings down tyrants, dictators, bad masters, demons and Satan, and those not fused in my son’s book of life.

 

Truth, understanding, logic, honesty, I AM.

Faith, understanding, and absolute fact, I AM.

 

I speak and the present heaven and earth disappear,

and a new heaven and a new earth appear,

and there to rule is my son.

 

Beauty, loveliness, true life conceptions, I AM.

Abraham’s, Joseph’s and Moses’ God, I AM.

 

I speak, and the universe reacts as I think,

all creation reacts as I think;

but you I have freed to react.

 

Either love, hope, happiness and peace I AM,

or hatred, confusion, sadness, and fear he is.

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Please Check out Genie’s post related to this poem at espirational.com.

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(Poem: “The Choice,” originally titled: “I Am,” written by Robert O. Robbins, copyrighted 1981 & 2016. All rights reserved 2016, by R.O. or R.A Robbins & E.T.M Publishing; use by permission only. Permission to reprint for personal use is granted to everyone provided no changes to item content are made, including this notice; however reprints in any form made for profit requires a written permit. Contact via secure email at espirational.com or espirational.org. Suggested donation of $1.00 per copy produced; click here.)

 


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“Peter, Put Away Your Sword!”

In a beautiful garden, one familiar to Jesus and his disciples for he had taught them there many times the story of Jesus consummates from one of the Christ attempting to prepare his flock of followers for the inevitable to one where the solders came, with a representative of the high priest, to arrest Jesus. But Peter still could not conceive of what was about to happen. He had conjured in his mind that he would be a general in the Lord’s army which would lead the Hebrew people into a great victory over Rome establishing  them with the leadership they long deserved.  When Peter saw that the soldiers were taking Jesus away as a prisoner he could contain himself no longer. Peter ran to block the way of the entourage with sword drawn and, most likely recognizing Malchus who was representing the high priest at the arrest, swung his sword in an attempt to cut off the head of the intruder. However, not trained as a military man, Peter’s poor aim resulted in the removal of Malchus’ ear, and a very upset Christ who said quietly, “Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?” Then Jesus replaced the ear onto Malchus’ head and proceeded to go with the solders willingly, as Peter remained astonished and confused at what had just occurred causing him even to doubt the very one he had followed for several years. (JOH 18:1-18-NIV) This part of the salvation story is of utmost importance to believers today who try to follow Christ. Here’s why. . .

Throughout human history mankind has been violent. It seems to be an inevitable, almost innate characteristic of people which wells it’s ugly head at sometimes the most inopportune times and, without a doubt, causes reason to question our ability to ever be able to emulate such a Prince of Peace such as Jesus. But that is exactly what those who proclaim Jesus as Lord are called to do.

Jesus knew how difficult such a command would be for us to obey. Jesus explained to Matthew and the other disciples,

11 Truly I tell you, among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet whoever is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. 12 From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been subjected to violence,[d] and violent people have been raiding it. 13 For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John. 14 And if you are willing to accept it, he is the Elijah who was to come. (MAT 11:11-13-NIV)

Throughout the Old Testament there is presented extreme violence of war after war, murders, slavery, and multitudes of various persecutions while the Hebrew people have attempted to both regain their homeland and serve Jehovah God at the same time. This attempt to live successfully in two realms in the same lifetime creates chaos in a person’s mind and is, according to Jesus, impossible (MAT 6:24). However the materialism of property on which to live which can be called one’s own is very important in our minds if we are to feel freedom in this world. Thus, it seems, we are willing to fight and die for it.

But Jesus never gave the order to Peter to defend his right to movement, or his ability to teach of the Kingdom of God, nor for any other purpose. Earlier he had pleaded with his father (Jehovah) that the fact that he would be tried and executed as a common criminal be removed from his future, but realizing that plea was impossible if he were to carry out his mission he accepted it and went on toward his fate (MATT 26:39-42-NIV).

This is why scriptures indicate that even though he could call upon multitudes of angels to defend him during the crisis of his judgement here on Earth, he did not. He accepted his fate, written by his trusted father/god, and “marched on” toward a greater victory without violence. (MAT 26:53-NIV)

By accepting his responsibilities, Jesus was teaching his disciples and us one of the most important truths ever to be expressed in this world to know the difference between being an animal or a child of the living God. To recognize our relationship to God means to accept there are greater things in the universe than the physical and higher realms of reality than what we can sense with our common five senses. In short, violence leads to violence and in reality accomplishes nothing, but the way of peace creates within people the reality that there is a way through which all can be accomplished.

This message has been expressed by several other great spiritual leaders, both Christian and those of other faiths, through man’s short history. Ghandi’s leadership to India’s independence, Martin Luther King’s bold leadership of the black revolution in the middle of the  twentieth century and others have walked in great physical danger, some even to be killed, to promote right thinking and right actions in a peaceful way.

But the Christian faith has been riddled with violence ever since our Lord’s resurrection. Ever since the escape from Jerusalem when Rome came into the City of Jerusalem and destroyed the Hebrew temple there, the believers who call themselves Christian have armed themselves and gone to battle in defense of their faith. The Christian Crusades and other battles which was fought to embolden the Christian believers and to defend their right to exist against those who would argue otherwise.

Even massive worldwide wars like World War II have been promoted as a good thing for Christian believers to do because of the cruel and inhumane things being done by those being fought against. So we could not set back and do nothing while a despot rampaged over Europe, raping the land and slaughtering millions of Jews simply because they existed.

Now, today, we are facing a new yet ever so common a threat to our ability to follow the Prince of Peace. Several years ago this country called the United States was attacked in a very unexpected way. It seemed to be from within, using our own commercial aircraft as weapons and our own fear as the main tool to change this country from within.

What am I saying? Oh, we are not afraid? Don’t kid yourself. If this country is not afraid then why have we developed the most powerful military the world has ever known. Why have we declared war on a group of nationless faces who have likewise declared war on us, and for much the same reasons. And why has our political circumstances in this country become so chaotic that we are considering placing into leadership two questionable choices; either a person who has been struggling with court cases and questionable character during the whole presidential campaign or one who says he will build walls, build defenses, and eliminate certain people and traditional thought which this country has developed and known for centuries. And, furthermore, why is it that from the pulpits of this country’s churches who claim to worship the father of the Pirince of Peace do we hear church leaders telling congregates to arm themselves? Only fear creates such an atmosphere.

The U.S. citizen becomes the modern Peter in this scenario. For too long we have been following our animalistic selves and drawing our swords without thinking that there might be a better way. The Lord’s way. If we strike out with that sword, we could cut off the ear of the priests and political leaders of other countries and for what reason? It would do no good. Those in other places of the world could then not hear us and those we thought were friends would most likely choose otherwise. Could it be that there is a better way? A way of peace. A way of trying to set back and consider what we see and are experiencing before striking out and cutting off the world’s ear causing them to be unable to hear our need for help? After Jesus told Peter to put away his sword, Peter slinked into a corner of the garden palace and found himself denying his faith in the Christ three times. Are we, the nation who has carried the Holy Bible to the whole world, about to have a similar experience? Are we about to deny our faith in the Prince of Peace?

We need to get to a quiet place, pray, observe our circumstances and realize that fear is not the choice, except to fear fear itself. We must make some very hard choices in this country within the next few months. I pray everyone will make the choice best for the Lord we claim to trust. But listen to the Spirit of the Lord, “Peter, put away your sword.” Put away your knives, your guns, your bombs and your rockets. Put away your fear. For even as Christ had to drink of the cup his father gave him, so must we drink ours. Even as Christ had to die to show mankind mercy by saving us from Satan’s fear, so must we deny that fear from causing us to live without peace.

shalom aleichem


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Choices: Learn, Understand, Be Wise

Throughout our lives, every second of our lives, there is something which we all must do which will create the atmosphere of all which we will experience throughout the rest of eternity. We must choose.

Choose? Choose what, you may ask. How do we choose anything?

The simple fact is that no matter what we are doing, or even if we are doing nothing at all, we are making choices. Choices if by no other sense of the word concerning what we will be doing at that moment, if anything at all. Sound confusing? It really isn’t. Let me try to explain.

A choice is simply an opportunity to make a decision as to which way to go, what to do next, in order to accomplish what you are wanting to do. No big secret in that, right? But where the secret seems obscured is when the crossroads on your path seems to be numerous, the speed of the road gets rapid and the map which is supposed to show you the way to your goal becomes unclear and hard to read.

Every day we all make routine choices as to what clothing we will wear, what we will eat, how we will comb our hair (if we have hair), the route we will drive to work (if,  indeed, we drive to work), and so forth. Each of these seemingly repetitious, routine actions involves a number of smaller decisions like is this a work day or a day off which will determine if you wear work clothes or play wear. The only time these types of activities do not involve immediate choices are when you have done the same thing long enough that the activity has become habituated and you no longer have to think of how you will do that activity. At least not consciously. But a choice has been made. Sometime in the past you decided to do something in a certain way, over and over, until such action became routine and planted in the subconscious until the conscious mind no longer had to be involved until you find need to change the decision.

Such need to make choices permeates every aspect of our lives, throughout our lives, and as such helps us to create our own view of the universe wherein we live. Do we see everything and everyone as being dangerous and out to harm us. A pessimistic attitude such as this can create for you a form of hell on earth and endanger you of possible psychological paralyses. This unrealistic view creates within a person the cause for suspicion of everyone and everything they come in contact with, and they often become frozen in their actions because they soon begin doubting even their own abilities.

However, the incurable optimist can often be just as blind to reality because they are so intent that “all is good” that they are blinded to potential dangers which could and most likely should be avoided. The key here is to first gain knowledge, then work toward an understanding of how that knowledge can be used beneficially and then to tempore the positive and negative information you can obtain about any choice or set of choices so you can make a wise choice between the directions you can go. You may recognize this as the message of the “Serenity Prayer” quoted so often.

A good example can be seen in the story of the hiker in the mountains who is wandering along a mountain path to suddenly have the chill of a low growl coming to him from behind. At the point he was at on the trail’s ascent, the hiker knew there was no other way back to the cabin than through the area from where he heard the sound. Not sure of what was creating the growl, he decided against that and tried rapidly to think of other choices out of the danger he felt he was in as he kept climbing the path. As the growls grew louder and the trail grew narrower, the hiker soon came to the end of the trail which, a narrow precipice was overlooking the town below from whence he came.

Decision time. The growl was still echoing to him and his imagination started being wildly creative. But he had to make a decision. Does he go back down the hill to face whatever was making the hungry noises? Not an acceptable choice in his mind, especially since he was unarmed. That would be a similar pessimistic choice as just sitting down on the rock in the clearing, enjoying the day, and waiting for his carnivore host to arrive and eat him. Not a pretty picture. The other choice extreme is to optimistically believe that he can overcome all situations and therefore decide if his 150 pound, nonathletic frame could fight the bear or lion behind him or should he trust that at the last moment he could sprout wings and be able to jump off the cliff and fly to safety in the town below? Well, obviously whether you be a pessimist or optimist, the logic of reason and reality must at some point set in and the hiker must realize that he cannot fight a bear bare handed, nor can he fly, and to try to do either of these things in this physical reality would be simply suicidal.

What could be done? The hiker remembers a way to clear his thinking by taking a few deep breaths and, while doing so, repeating the word “Relax,” quietly to himself. While doing this the question permeated his mind, in the form of a prayer, of “How do I get out of here, safely.” While doing this, the hiker suddenly became aware that, even though the trail ended where he stood, the mountain did not. It went, well, straight up. Now a new choice was having to be faced, but there was no time for an in depth analysis of how to climb this steep precipice. The head of the bear suddenly appeared about 30 yards away. The hiker instantly grabs a stone sticking out from the cliff and started to climb. He was not an experienced climber and had no special equipment with him. But by the time the bear got to the clearing where he had been standing he was well above the animal’s head.

Safely wedged between the cliff wall and a tree trunk growing from it, the hiker sat gratefully thanking God for giving him the wisdom to make good choices. After the bear had made a circle of the clearing, eating a few barriers and walking a circle he had obviously walked many times before, he went back down the path and disappeared. The hiker never knew what the growls were about. Knowing that brown bears are mainly vegetarian, he did not know if the bear caught his scent and was upset that an intruder was in his territory or something else. But the hiker walked back down the trail with a wonderful story to tell without fighting a bear or jumping off a cliff.

Most of us will never have such a dramatic story about decision making such as this, but we must all make decisions at all times. Do you put on your left shoe or your right first every morning? Do you take the back roads to work, or the freeway? Do you vote Republican or Democratic, or which candidate do I vote for in the U.S. election? What do you do about your bills? Do you believe in a God of love or are all things circumstantial?

Whatever you believe, the choices you make, are the reason you see the world as you do. Don’t like the world you see, change how you look at it, change what you’re doing, in short change your choices. But please, think and pray before you choose.