Does religion lead to a relationship with God?

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It’s something I’ve been pondering a lot lately. Why? Well, like many other people, I was raised in a religion &, after leaving it, I visited many churches & I must say, I met a lot of very nice people, I formed strong bonds with them & made some really special memories with them & continue to do so, however, last year I stopped going to church. I certainly shocked myself as I never thought I’d actually ever stop attending church. I found church wanting. I never found God’s presence wanting. I said goodbye to religion but not to my relationship with God.

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What made me decide to leave church? What was the real clincher? You know, I started to think heavily on Jesus words, 3 statements he made that clearly made sense to me & stirred my heart. Jesus said: ‘ I AM the WAY, the TRUTH & the LIFE;’ ( John 14 verse 6) so, why am I searching for truth in religion instead of Jesus? Why am I searching for a way to serve God in the religions of this world when Jesus said that he is the way? Where can I get life? Not in a building but by seeking God’s presence and believing in His son’s ransom sacrifice which opened the way for us sinners to have life eternal. You see, I get lost in a church and found in Christ. I wonder what I’m nodding to & agreeing with in a church, when Jesus said that the Father is looking for such ones who will worship Him in Spirit & Truth. ( John 4 verse 24)

How do I worship God in Spirit & Truth? I believe it also means to seek God’s presence & to seek God’s truth through prayer & His word, the only living book on the planet.

I still don’t know what I think about the church system as a whole as yet, but I do remember someone saying to me that she thinks corporate worship is important & all I could think was… I don’t like corporate anything.

The command in Hebrews chapter 10 verse 24 & 25 is ‘ Not to forsake the gathering of ourselves together.’ I agree. but I believe strongly in Jesus words that ‘ Where 2 or 3 are gathered in my name, so too, AM I.’ If I’m eating a meal with Christian friends I’m serving God &, you know when you have FOUND God because there is JOY.

So, I’m walking this journey right now & the amazing thing is that it doesn’t feel wrong. Will I go to church again? I’ll wait & see where God leads me, IF, He leads me THERE.

I do know that Jesus invites us to accept him as our Lord & Saviour, we can pour out our heart to him & he won’t condemn us because God is GREATER than our hearts ( that might condemn us) GREATER than peoples tongues &, HE KNOWS ALL THINGS. In short. He’s got the facts! Now, isn’t that wonderful! &, even if the facts point at YOU, He can gently take your finger & kiss away all that ugliness in an instant.

 

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The beauty and healing balm of humility

Placeholder ImageGod cares for the poor, the widow and the fatherless child. Scripture clearly shows He resides with the contrite and the broken. What do we find in all of these states? Humility.

A humble heart is a teachable one. Compassion abides deeply in the soul of humility. Empathy is an ever-present friend. Forgiveness is its strength. So contrary to pride and arrogance.

Sometimes it takes being broken to understand & expose the arrogance and pride within us. Sometimes it will take forgiving someone who has hurt you so unbearably or someone who may have cruelly cast you aside. Loss of a loved one teaches us how empty life is without meaningful relationships and love in our lives. Humility is never to be scoffed at as weak but the wise will embrace it and the beauty that flows from such a welcome is that you heal.

God loves us and the refining work He sometimes puts us through is so that we will become like Him. Humble, kind and forgiving.

Jesus invites us to come to him; to accept him as our Lord and Saviour. It’s an invitation to those who want to be like him and the result will be healing, spiritual health and eternal life.

God bless you x

What Religion does & What Jesus Did!

She was caught in an act of adultery. Dragged out of bed & shamed in public. Juicy gossip for the eager self-righteous! Can’t you just see their spiteful faces filled with glee?!!! Let’s stone her! but first, let’s bring her to Jesus so she can really feel like a low life, so she can get the ultimate condemnation & that’s sure to finish her off!

Ugly, isn’t it? What did Jesus do? I imagine his heart went out to the way this woman was being treated & the Master knew every sin that those desperate to stone her had done & were doing!

Jesus knelt down and simply wrote in the sand, what? I don’t know. Maybe he wrote, thief; wife beater, liar, etc; whatever it was, they skulked away pretty quickly! We know for sure that not one of them was FIT enough to throw the first stone, they were naughty boys & girls, too!

Notice that Jesus never told her that she should recite a prayer over & over or feel bad forever or instead of forgiveness she should be put on probation for a couple of years!

Jesus said “Neither do I condemn you.” Can’t you just see those tears falling from her face? The anguish of heart giving way to relief! You see, she had no doubt condemned herself way before any of those ugly hearted ‘do- gooders’ got hold of her.

Jesus never told her to go become a Jew or follow a religion of the day, instead, he gave her some wise advice for her future happiness, “Go! & sin no more. How could she not follow him after that loving, tender experience?

Jesus came to save & not condemn. It doesn’t mean you can live as you please because Jesus gave her sound advice, don’t sleep with that married man, you’re hurting other people & you’re hurting yourself first. I’ve freed you to live a life of loving God your neighbour & you can’t be loving your neighbour if you are sleeping with someone else’s husband. Think of his kids & go, live a better life, one that will benefit you.

It’s a beautiful account & you can read it for yourself in John 7:53–8:11, what encouraging points did you get out of it?

What must I do to be saved? Follow Jesus; believe in him & accept him as your Lord & Saviour, ask forgiveness for your sins & be at ease, he will give you the same loving consideration that he gave this woman.