Stephenway's blog listings. Feed Zend_Feed_Writer 1.10.8 (http://framework.zend.com) http://community.beliefnet.com/stephenway The Tongue The tongue is something that can well be applied to social media.  Metaphorically in Hebrew, Greek, and in all modern languages, the tongue represents the “word” whether spoken, written, or sometimes simply implied (as by facial expressions, gestures, etc.).  The tongue can be used for good or bad.  How much bad the tongue can cause is aptly expressed by James in the New Testament.  Just as a small spark can start a devastating fire with much destruction, a wrong word can destroy someone’s life.  Harsh words and harmful comments are things that have become rampant, especially in the media, whether on TV shows and movies, critical news reports, and video clips and posts on social media.  Often that which becomes so easy when not in face to face situations can cause it to become more easy in face to face situations, and it certainly seems that people are becoming much more confrontational when they meet.  But even when people don’t meet face to face, things said on social media (much of which may not even be true) have caused very many hurt feelings, created bad reputations, hurt people occupational pursuits, and even led some to suicide.  Guard yourself carefully and try not to post in moments of hurt, frustration, or anger.  Sometimes, even if something is true, it isn’t necessary for everyone to know.  Even if there is something people should aware of doesn’t always need to include so many details.  I’m not pointing fingers, and even I, myself, have at times been prone to let out frustration, hurt, and/or anger.  But it would be ideal if we would all try to be more patient, forgiving, and not so quick to speak (either with the mouth or typing keyboard).

James 3:4 Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs.  5 So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things.  How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire!  6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness.  The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell.  7 For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue.  It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.  9 With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God.  10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing.  My brothers, these things ought not to be so.

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Fri, 17 Apr 2015 16:21:56 -0500 http://community.beliefnet.com/stephenway/blog/2015/04/17/the_tongue http://community.beliefnet.com/stephenway/blog/2015/04/17/the_tongue The tongue is something that can well be applied to social media.  Metaphorically in Hebrew, Greek, and in all modern languages, the tongue represents the “word” whether spoken, written, or sometimes simply implied (as by facial expressions, gestures, etc.).  The tongue can be used for good or bad.  How much bad the tongue can cause is aptly expressed by James in the New Testament.  Just as a small spark can start a devastating fire with much destruction, a wrong word can destroy someone’s life.  Harsh words and harmful comments are things that have become rampant, especially in the media, whether on TV shows and movies, critical news reports, and video clips and posts on social media.  Often that which becomes so easy when not in face to face situations can cause it to become more easy in face to face situations, and it certainly seems that people are becoming much more confrontational when they meet.  But even when people don’t meet face to face, things said on social media (much of which may not even be true) have caused very many hurt feelings, created bad reputations, hurt people occupational pursuits, and even led some to suicide.  Guard yourself carefully and try not to post in moments of hurt, frustration, or anger.  Sometimes, even if something is true, it isn’t necessary for everyone to know.  Even if there is something people should aware of doesn’t always need to include so many details.  I’m not pointing fingers, and even I, myself, have at times been prone to let out frustration, hurt, and/or anger.  But it would be ideal if we would all try to be more patient, forgiving, and not so quick to speak (either with the mouth or typing keyboard).

James 3:4 Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs.  5 So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things.  How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire!  6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness.  The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell.  7 For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue.  It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.  9 With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God.  10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing.  My brothers, these things ought not to be so.

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New Testament in the Old Testament Notice how when the early church in the New Testament searched the Scriptures, they didn’t yet have the New Testament.  Also notice that Jesus once told the Jewish leaders that they searched the Scriptures, and it was those Scriptures that told of Him.  Can you study the Old Testament to learn what is in the New Testament?  Many Old Testament prophesies of Jesus tell in detail of His birth, life, and much detail about His crucifixion.  Then there are teachings about the greatest law being love foremost for our Creator and loving thy neighbor as thyself.  A couple of teachings from the Sermon on the Mount are pasted below.

Proverbs 25:21 If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat, and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink, 22 for you will heap burning coals on his head, and the LORD will reward you.

Doing good for your enemy may work in one of two ways.  It may shame your enemy and your forgiveness can bring about a restoration of a right relationship.  If it doesn’t shame your enemy, then the Lord will bring His own answers to your goodness and his wickedness in the end.  Notice another thought from the Sermon on the Mount below.

Lamentations 3:26 It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.  27 It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth.  28 Let him sit alone in silence when it is laid on him; 29 let him put his mouth in the dust— there may yet be hope; 30 let him give his cheek to the one who strikes, and let him be filled with insults.  31 For the Lord will not cast off forever, 32 but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love; 33 for he does not afflict from his heart or grieve the children of men.  34 To crush underfoot all the prisoners of the earth, 35 to deny a man justice in the presence of the Most High, 36 to subvert a man in his lawsuit, the Lord does not approve.  37 Who has spoken and it came to pass, unless the Lord has commanded it?

From verse 30, to turn the other cheek.  Also notice that as in Hebrews it says that whom the Father loves, he chastens and scourges.  Above it speaks of the Lord not afflicting from His heart.  It is not in God’s heart to harm His children.  Those who harm the Lord’s children will feel (if not sooner- at least in the final judgment) His displeasure.  When the Lord is the One Who afflicts His children, then be certain that He has His reasons, and it is not with a heart that wishes to hurt his children.  But when God’s children are afflicted it is good for them to bear it, and to examine themselves to see if they have been unfaithful to God’s will, or in some way hurt someone else, either by actions or inactions (as in to help the needy).

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Wed, 15 Apr 2015 11:36:05 -0500 http://community.beliefnet.com/stephenway/blog/2015/04/15/new_testament_in_the_old_testament http://community.beliefnet.com/stephenway/blog/2015/04/15/new_testament_in_the_old_testament Notice how when the early church in the New Testament searched the Scriptures, they didn’t yet have the New Testament.  Also notice that Jesus once told the Jewish leaders that they searched the Scriptures, and it was those Scriptures that told of Him.  Can you study the Old Testament to learn what is in the New Testament?  Many Old Testament prophesies of Jesus tell in detail of His birth, life, and much detail about His crucifixion.  Then there are teachings about the greatest law being love foremost for our Creator and loving thy neighbor as thyself.  A couple of teachings from the Sermon on the Mount are pasted below.

Proverbs 25:21 If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat, and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink, 22 for you will heap burning coals on his head, and the LORD will reward you.

Doing good for your enemy may work in one of two ways.  It may shame your enemy and your forgiveness can bring about a restoration of a right relationship.  If it doesn’t shame your enemy, then the Lord will bring His own answers to your goodness and his wickedness in the end.  Notice another thought from the Sermon on the Mount below.

Lamentations 3:26 It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.  27 It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth.  28 Let him sit alone in silence when it is laid on him; 29 let him put his mouth in the dust— there may yet be hope; 30 let him give his cheek to the one who strikes, and let him be filled with insults.  31 For the Lord will not cast off forever, 32 but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love; 33 for he does not afflict from his heart or grieve the children of men.  34 To crush underfoot all the prisoners of the earth, 35 to deny a man justice in the presence of the Most High, 36 to subvert a man in his lawsuit, the Lord does not approve.  37 Who has spoken and it came to pass, unless the Lord has commanded it?

From verse 30, to turn the other cheek.  Also notice that as in Hebrews it says that whom the Father loves, he chastens and scourges.  Above it speaks of the Lord not afflicting from His heart.  It is not in God’s heart to harm His children.  Those who harm the Lord’s children will feel (if not sooner- at least in the final judgment) His displeasure.  When the Lord is the One Who afflicts His children, then be certain that He has His reasons, and it is not with a heart that wishes to hurt his children.  But when God’s children are afflicted it is good for them to bear it, and to examine themselves to see if they have been unfaithful to God’s will, or in some way hurt someone else, either by actions or inactions (as in to help the needy).

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God's Wrath Is Close at Hand People do not wish to acknowledge that the One Who created them and gave them ears can hear them.  The One Who gave them eyes can see them.

Psalm 94:8 Understand, O dullest of the people!  Fools, when will you be wise?  9 He who planted the ear, does he not hear?  He who formed the eye, does he not see?  10 He who disciplines the nations, does he not rebuke?  He who teaches man knowledge— 11 the LORD—knows the thoughts of man, that they are but a breath.

He disciplines people not to be harsh, but to teach them.  If they refuse to learn, then He will, after long-suffering patience because of His love for them, bring them to judgment.  The Lord wants people to come to Him for knowledge.

From the creation when men did not call on or seek the Lord (though there were some who did, but not the majority), the Lord wanted people to call on Him, to search for Him.  He has always been ready to answer.  He sent people such as Noah, Abraham, Moses, and others, but people did not listen.  People wanted to hear what they wanted to hear, and set up their own teachers who told them what they wanted to hear.  These teachers who tell people what they want to hear are false teachers.  The Lord Who made the ears and the eyes can hear and see.

In the Hebrew language, leaders were often thought of a shepherds as shepherds lead the flocks.  They are also to care for the flocks, tend to their needs, lead them to places of food, water, and rest.  Earthly leaders are also to be charged as shepherds to care for their human flocks, to tend to needs, and lead their people to food, water, and places of rest.  These leaders may be civic, government, and/or religious leaders.  Rather than leading their people to care for the people, most leaders are seeking their own glories in this world.  The One Who made the ears and the eyes can hear and see.

Ezekiel 34:2 "Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy, and say to them, even to the shepherds, Thus says the Lord GOD: Ah, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding yourselves!  Should not shepherds feed the sheep?  3 You eat the fat, you clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fat ones, but you do not feed the sheep.

So many politicians survive on lies.  Jesus said that Satan is the father of lies.  The New Testament teaches that Satan is the prince of the power of the air and the ruler of this world.  Christians are to look only to Jesus as their ruler and king.  Now they are talking about the Democrats loss of emails in so many levels of government.  The Lord knows; He hears and sees.  He will bring justice.  Those who support Democrats are supporting the ruler of this world and will answer for their wrongs.  Still look at the Republicans.  There was Watergate with its lies.  There was the Iran/Contra Affair with its lies.  One Fox News commentator was talking about the good idea a Republican had to raise the age of retirement.  Well, it was under and earlier Republican administration that they recommended lowering the retirement age.  The reasoning was that there were so many young people coming into the job market and there were not enough jobs, so to open more jobs, it made sense to let people retire at a younger age.  Seemed to make sense at the time, but now they are talking about raising the retirement age.  (Wouldn’t you call that a flip-flop?)  Another Fox News commentator complained about people wanting to raise the minimum wage because it had been raised so many times between 1938 and today.  The only thing about this is that the cost of living and taxes has sky-rocketed at a rate that was monumental while the raises in the minimum wages were miniscule in comparison.  Democrats and Republicans live with their lies, and Satan is the father of lies, and those who support them are supporting the ruler of this world rather than focusing on Jesus as their ruler and king.  Does the rest of this world look much better?  My God’s wrath is coming soon, and you won’t even have to go to a theater near you.  People better be prepared, because the time is close at hand.

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Tue, 14 Apr 2015 19:36:42 -0500 http://community.beliefnet.com/stephenway/blog/2015/04/14/gods_wrath_is_close_at_hand http://community.beliefnet.com/stephenway/blog/2015/04/14/gods_wrath_is_close_at_hand People do not wish to acknowledge that the One Who created them and gave them ears can hear them.  The One Who gave them eyes can see them.

Psalm 94:8 Understand, O dullest of the people!  Fools, when will you be wise?  9 He who planted the ear, does he not hear?  He who formed the eye, does he not see?  10 He who disciplines the nations, does he not rebuke?  He who teaches man knowledge— 11 the LORD—knows the thoughts of man, that they are but a breath.

He disciplines people not to be harsh, but to teach them.  If they refuse to learn, then He will, after long-suffering patience because of His love for them, bring them to judgment.  The Lord wants people to come to Him for knowledge.

From the creation when men did not call on or seek the Lord (though there were some who did, but not the majority), the Lord wanted people to call on Him, to search for Him.  He has always been ready to answer.  He sent people such as Noah, Abraham, Moses, and others, but people did not listen.  People wanted to hear what they wanted to hear, and set up their own teachers who told them what they wanted to hear.  These teachers who tell people what they want to hear are false teachers.  The Lord Who made the ears and the eyes can hear and see.

In the Hebrew language, leaders were often thought of a shepherds as shepherds lead the flocks.  They are also to care for the flocks, tend to their needs, lead them to places of food, water, and rest.  Earthly leaders are also to be charged as shepherds to care for their human flocks, to tend to needs, and lead their people to food, water, and places of rest.  These leaders may be civic, government, and/or religious leaders.  Rather than leading their people to care for the people, most leaders are seeking their own glories in this world.  The One Who made the ears and the eyes can hear and see.

Ezekiel 34:2 "Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy, and say to them, even to the shepherds, Thus says the Lord GOD: Ah, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding yourselves!  Should not shepherds feed the sheep?  3 You eat the fat, you clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fat ones, but you do not feed the sheep.

So many politicians survive on lies.  Jesus said that Satan is the father of lies.  The New Testament teaches that Satan is the prince of the power of the air and the ruler of this world.  Christians are to look only to Jesus as their ruler and king.  Now they are talking about the Democrats loss of emails in so many levels of government.  The Lord knows; He hears and sees.  He will bring justice.  Those who support Democrats are supporting the ruler of this world and will answer for their wrongs.  Still look at the Republicans.  There was Watergate with its lies.  There was the Iran/Contra Affair with its lies.  One Fox News commentator was talking about the good idea a Republican had to raise the age of retirement.  Well, it was under and earlier Republican administration that they recommended lowering the retirement age.  The reasoning was that there were so many young people coming into the job market and there were not enough jobs, so to open more jobs, it made sense to let people retire at a younger age.  Seemed to make sense at the time, but now they are talking about raising the retirement age.  (Wouldn’t you call that a flip-flop?)  Another Fox News commentator complained about people wanting to raise the minimum wage because it had been raised so many times between 1938 and today.  The only thing about this is that the cost of living and taxes has sky-rocketed at a rate that was monumental while the raises in the minimum wages were miniscule in comparison.  Democrats and Republicans live with their lies, and Satan is the father of lies, and those who support them are supporting the ruler of this world rather than focusing on Jesus as their ruler and king.  Does the rest of this world look much better?  My God’s wrath is coming soon, and you won’t even have to go to a theater near you.  People better be prepared, because the time is close at hand.

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Still More on Belief Many people do not want to believe what the Bible teaches.  They want to believe that the Bible teaches what they want to believe.  So if I (or anyone else) teaches the Bible, how do people know if I am really teaching the Bible, or if I am teaching that the Bible says what I want to believe?  This is why it is so important that people ‘search the Scriptures to see what things are so’ (Acts 17: 11).  This is why so often I copy and paste the Scriptures in my posts.  This is why I say don’t believe in me (or any other man), but search and find within yourself what is the true teachings of our Creator.

If I went to the biggest church in the biggest city and said, “Oh, that’s a fine preacher; those are fine people.  I believe in that preacher; I believe in that church; and I believe in that Bible they teach,” that would not make me a Christian.  It may be a fine church and the preacher may be a fine Christian, but believing all of that because I believe in them is not what makes a person a Christian.  It would have to be my personal belief in the Lord Jesus that the church teaches, and my believing the teachings of the Scriptures that the church teaches that would be the basis for my own personal faith.  What good would it do for me to say that I believe in Jesus, if I didn’t even study the teachings of Jesus?  What good would it do for me to say that I believe in the Scriptures, if I do not even study the Bible?  So exactly what is it that I really believe?

Understanding this is important.  Do you know what you believe and why you believe it?  Have you searched the Scriptures to see what things are so?  Understanding this is part of what Paul was speaking of when he said that we are to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2: 12).  It is not ‘working’ to be saved, but ‘working it out in your understanding of your faith.  For himself, he said that he knew whom he believed (2nd Timothy 1: 12).  The other part of ‘working out your salvation’ is in following Christ’s commandment to love, and knowing that love seeks to serve one another.  This is the life of good works which our Father has prepared for us (Ephesians 2: 10).

So have you simply believed what you’ve been taught, or have you considered why you believe what you believe to be true?  Most churches encourage independent Bible study.  Look for materials to learn from.  Some churches tell you to believe only what they teach you.  They are not teaching you to find for yourself what to believe, but they are telling you what to believe.  Do not believe in them.  Some churches teach to use only this teaching or this doctrine or only what our ‘inspired’ leaders teach us.  For a long time the Catholic church did not even allow people to have the Scriptures in their common language.  Jehovah’s Witnesses tell people to only use their version of the Bible.  Mormons say you can use the Bible, but you can only interpret it by the filter of (or inspiration from) the Book of Mormon.  Do not buy into any cult that teaches you to use only their approved doctrines, because you should search the Scriptures for yourself to see what you believe, not what someone else believes.  It is always fine to study other beliefs to compare them to what the Scriptures teach and to be guided by the Holy Spirit into what is the truth.  If you truly believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and truly search with a believing in Jesus and the Scriptures heart, then the Holy Spirit will guide you into truth.  It may be a difficult and gut wrenching experience.  Satan is clever in hiding lies in the middle of truths.  But if you believe in the Bible, then search diligently for the lies of this world to be filtered from the truth of the Biblical teachings.

I’m fast becoming an old man.  My memory of many of my teachings are not as sharp as they once were.  Admittedly my understanding is not now, nor has it ever been perfect.  But the Spirit will guide you into such understanding as you need to perform God’s will for your life.  That does not mean that the people of this world (those who have not become the children of God through the blood of Jesus) will accept Scriptural truths.  That is why the people of this world persecute Christians.

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Tue, 14 Apr 2015 16:10:56 -0500 http://community.beliefnet.com/stephenway/blog/2015/04/14/still_more_on_belief http://community.beliefnet.com/stephenway/blog/2015/04/14/still_more_on_belief Many people do not want to believe what the Bible teaches.  They want to believe that the Bible teaches what they want to believe.  So if I (or anyone else) teaches the Bible, how do people know if I am really teaching the Bible, or if I am teaching that the Bible says what I want to believe?  This is why it is so important that people ‘search the Scriptures to see what things are so’ (Acts 17: 11).  This is why so often I copy and paste the Scriptures in my posts.  This is why I say don’t believe in me (or any other man), but search and find within yourself what is the true teachings of our Creator.

If I went to the biggest church in the biggest city and said, “Oh, that’s a fine preacher; those are fine people.  I believe in that preacher; I believe in that church; and I believe in that Bible they teach,” that would not make me a Christian.  It may be a fine church and the preacher may be a fine Christian, but believing all of that because I believe in them is not what makes a person a Christian.  It would have to be my personal belief in the Lord Jesus that the church teaches, and my believing the teachings of the Scriptures that the church teaches that would be the basis for my own personal faith.  What good would it do for me to say that I believe in Jesus, if I didn’t even study the teachings of Jesus?  What good would it do for me to say that I believe in the Scriptures, if I do not even study the Bible?  So exactly what is it that I really believe?

Understanding this is important.  Do you know what you believe and why you believe it?  Have you searched the Scriptures to see what things are so?  Understanding this is part of what Paul was speaking of when he said that we are to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2: 12).  It is not ‘working’ to be saved, but ‘working it out in your understanding of your faith.  For himself, he said that he knew whom he believed (2nd Timothy 1: 12).  The other part of ‘working out your salvation’ is in following Christ’s commandment to love, and knowing that love seeks to serve one another.  This is the life of good works which our Father has prepared for us (Ephesians 2: 10).

So have you simply believed what you’ve been taught, or have you considered why you believe what you believe to be true?  Most churches encourage independent Bible study.  Look for materials to learn from.  Some churches tell you to believe only what they teach you.  They are not teaching you to find for yourself what to believe, but they are telling you what to believe.  Do not believe in them.  Some churches teach to use only this teaching or this doctrine or only what our ‘inspired’ leaders teach us.  For a long time the Catholic church did not even allow people to have the Scriptures in their common language.  Jehovah’s Witnesses tell people to only use their version of the Bible.  Mormons say you can use the Bible, but you can only interpret it by the filter of (or inspiration from) the Book of Mormon.  Do not buy into any cult that teaches you to use only their approved doctrines, because you should search the Scriptures for yourself to see what you believe, not what someone else believes.  It is always fine to study other beliefs to compare them to what the Scriptures teach and to be guided by the Holy Spirit into what is the truth.  If you truly believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and truly search with a believing in Jesus and the Scriptures heart, then the Holy Spirit will guide you into truth.  It may be a difficult and gut wrenching experience.  Satan is clever in hiding lies in the middle of truths.  But if you believe in the Bible, then search diligently for the lies of this world to be filtered from the truth of the Biblical teachings.

I’m fast becoming an old man.  My memory of many of my teachings are not as sharp as they once were.  Admittedly my understanding is not now, nor has it ever been perfect.  But the Spirit will guide you into such understanding as you need to perform God’s will for your life.  That does not mean that the people of this world (those who have not become the children of God through the blood of Jesus) will accept Scriptural truths.  That is why the people of this world persecute Christians.

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More on Belief Many people don’t want to hear the whole truth.  They don’t care to read the ‘whole’ Bible to see what is beyond the flowery memory verses and quotes.  They don’t study the side of history that makes things look ‘bad’ for anyone they think is on their side.  As Catholics grew in Europe, they sought more involvement by turning pagan religious holidays into ‘Christian’ holidays.  When Mexico and South America was being looted for gold, and native people killed, the soldiers doing the looting and killing had the church’s blessings because it was getting good money from the conquistadores.  When people came to the US seeking religious freedom, that religious freedom displaced natives, ultimately leading to wars where many natives were massacred.

There may be a lot of people who seem to be fine, upstanding people who call themselves Christians, but that does not mean they fully understand what Christianity means.  There may be a lot of people who seem to be fine, upstanding people who call themselves Catholics, but that does not mean they fully understand what the teachings of their faith truly mean.  There may be a lot of people who seem to be fine, upstanding people who call themselves Muslims, but that does not mean they fully understand all the teachings of their faith.  The same applies to Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Followers of B’hai, or any other teaching.  People sometimes have such a strong sense of identifying with something that ‘sounds’ good to them, that they want to be called by that name, even if they don’t really understand it.

This is why it is so important for people to carefully study (as in ‘study to show yourself approved’ as Paul told Timothy) what they believe to be true.  I believe that there will be no one who will find eternal rest without a heart that searches for his/her Creator with all his heart (Jeremiah 29: 13).  But I believe that no one will find our Creator (whether He is called God, Elohiym, Yahweh, or Allah), except through our Lord (Adonai) Jesus (Yahshuah) Christ (Mashiach), and that a search for the TRUTH with the whole heart will lead to Him (Jesus), because He is the Way, the Truth, the Life, the Great I AM.

For people who like labels, then I may call myself a Baptist (though there are several varieties of Baptists), with inclinations toward the Assemblies of God.  In the Baptist realm I would put my inclinations toward the Southern Baptists.  But I do not believe that denominations or sects is the answer to any of this.  I do not believe that all ‘Southern Baptists’ are going to be in Heaven.  I do not believe that all of any denomination or sect will be there.  I believe that many from faiths that I do not support will be in Heaven.  Only the Lord sees deep into people’s hearts.  The Lord knows all the teachings (true or false) that people have been exposed to, and sometimes deceived by.  But the Lord knows who in his/her deepest heart is truly searching for Him and for His TRUTH.  In that search, I believe that many will meet Jesus, even if it is in that last moment of this earthly life transition to earthly death.

Even so- whatever faith, denomination, or sect you identify with, please consider that search for the TRUTH in our Creator.  Seeking Him indicates a belief (for why would one search for someone they didn’t believe in?) and in that belief (faith) ask Him to reveal Himself to you.  (I hope I’m making sense here.  I do not want to mislead anyone, but I am not perfect, and each person’s search is his/her own search.)

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Mon, 13 Apr 2015 17:31:10 -0500 http://community.beliefnet.com/stephenway/blog/2015/04/13/more_on_belief http://community.beliefnet.com/stephenway/blog/2015/04/13/more_on_belief Many people don’t want to hear the whole truth.  They don’t care to read the ‘whole’ Bible to see what is beyond the flowery memory verses and quotes.  They don’t study the side of history that makes things look ‘bad’ for anyone they think is on their side.  As Catholics grew in Europe, they sought more involvement by turning pagan religious holidays into ‘Christian’ holidays.  When Mexico and South America was being looted for gold, and native people killed, the soldiers doing the looting and killing had the church’s blessings because it was getting good money from the conquistadores.  When people came to the US seeking religious freedom, that religious freedom displaced natives, ultimately leading to wars where many natives were massacred.

There may be a lot of people who seem to be fine, upstanding people who call themselves Christians, but that does not mean they fully understand what Christianity means.  There may be a lot of people who seem to be fine, upstanding people who call themselves Catholics, but that does not mean they fully understand what the teachings of their faith truly mean.  There may be a lot of people who seem to be fine, upstanding people who call themselves Muslims, but that does not mean they fully understand all the teachings of their faith.  The same applies to Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Followers of B’hai, or any other teaching.  People sometimes have such a strong sense of identifying with something that ‘sounds’ good to them, that they want to be called by that name, even if they don’t really understand it.

This is why it is so important for people to carefully study (as in ‘study to show yourself approved’ as Paul told Timothy) what they believe to be true.  I believe that there will be no one who will find eternal rest without a heart that searches for his/her Creator with all his heart (Jeremiah 29: 13).  But I believe that no one will find our Creator (whether He is called God, Elohiym, Yahweh, or Allah), except through our Lord (Adonai) Jesus (Yahshuah) Christ (Mashiach), and that a search for the TRUTH with the whole heart will lead to Him (Jesus), because He is the Way, the Truth, the Life, the Great I AM.

For people who like labels, then I may call myself a Baptist (though there are several varieties of Baptists), with inclinations toward the Assemblies of God.  In the Baptist realm I would put my inclinations toward the Southern Baptists.  But I do not believe that denominations or sects is the answer to any of this.  I do not believe that all ‘Southern Baptists’ are going to be in Heaven.  I do not believe that all of any denomination or sect will be there.  I believe that many from faiths that I do not support will be in Heaven.  Only the Lord sees deep into people’s hearts.  The Lord knows all the teachings (true or false) that people have been exposed to, and sometimes deceived by.  But the Lord knows who in his/her deepest heart is truly searching for Him and for His TRUTH.  In that search, I believe that many will meet Jesus, even if it is in that last moment of this earthly life transition to earthly death.

Even so- whatever faith, denomination, or sect you identify with, please consider that search for the TRUTH in our Creator.  Seeking Him indicates a belief (for why would one search for someone they didn’t believe in?) and in that belief (faith) ask Him to reveal Himself to you.  (I hope I’m making sense here.  I do not want to mislead anyone, but I am not perfect, and each person’s search is his/her own search.)

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