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Reiki: Black Magic or God’s Grace

Logo del RC

Logo del RC (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Brother Christopher

Throughout  Christianity, we have been told innumerable accounts of Jesus the Christ’s ability to heal using the laying-on-of-hands while on this earth as the Son of Man. In scripture, particularly John 14:12: ‘… he who believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do…’ , Jesus communicated to his disciples that those who followed His teachings would surpass his abilities.

Hands-on healing, also known as Energy, Lightwork, or Spiritual Healing, has been performed by almost all cultures throughout history and around the global. Greek mythology talks of Chiron, the wise Centaur, who taught Asclepius, the God of Medicine, the practice of hands-on healing. Both Pagan and Christian cultures have embraced this form of healing throughout history.  Our ancient legacy of hands-on healing is today comes in a number of diverse forms, from; Reiki, Therapeutic Touch, (TT) ,  A Healing Touch (AHT), and a number of others.

As the attractiveness of Hands-on Healing develops and grows in today’s society, many Christians are exposed to these healing styles.  And many Christians are told that incorporating these modalities into their treatment plans or practicing these modalities is wrong… against God.  This false fear of systems like Reiki is perpetuated by church goers who are ignorant in both healing and the teachings of Jesus.  Healing is God’s calling, and the spiritual gift of healing that Reiki and its cousin modalities offer is fulfillment of this calling.

Increasingly more and more Christians view Energy (Medicine) Healing as a practice that provides an opportunity to follow more closely the teachings and examples of Jesus, Son of Man, healing the sick. Yet there are others that voice a concern that Reiki and the other energy healing modalities have an Eastern origin and in turn are automatically dismissed as ‘evil, the work of Satan, or non-Christian’.  Often those who bad-mouth energy medicine have never researched it or understood it and in turn speak of it in a fear-based mentality.

True Christians seek ways to increase and strengthen their spiritual relationship with Christ.  We have examples of our saints adopting different practices to strengthen their faith develop the ‘Gifts of the Spirit’, of which reinforced their relationship with God and Christ Himself.

1 Corinthians 12:4-12 New International Version

4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.

7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.

In I Corinthians 12:4-12, Paul speaks of the gifts to including speaking wisdom and knowledge and the power to heal.

1 Corinthians 12:28-31 New International Version

28 And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues ? Do all interpret?

31 But eagerly desire the greater gifts. And now I will show you the most excellent way.

Paul goes onto describe the people within the church as having roles of apostles, prophets, teachers, those who perform miracles, those who heal, those who direct others and those who speak in tongues.

One of the spiritual gifts spoken of is healing. Dedicated Christians who understand scripture have investigated the practices of Hand-on Healing to include the practice of Reiki and its cousin modalities.

John 14:12-14 New International Version

12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.

Within John 14:12-14 is both instruction and task.

As Christians study the teachings of the Master and search for ways to follow more fully Jesus’ teachings in order to draw closer to God, we must keep in the forefront of our mind those the examples Jesus set for us.

Matthew 14:14New International Version

14 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.

Mark 3:10New International Version

10 For he had healed many, so that those with diseases were pushing forward to touch him.

Luke 4:38-39 New International Version

38 Jesus left the synagogue and went to the home of Simon. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever, and they asked Jesus to help her. 39 So he bent over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her. She got up at once and began to wait on them.

Mark 1:40-42 New International Version

40 A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, ‘If you are willing, you can make me clean.’

41 Jesus was indignant. He reached out his hand and touched the man. ‘I am willing,’ he said. ‘Be clean!’ 42 Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cleansed.

Matthew 20:29-34 New International Version

29 As Jesus and his disciples were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed him. 30 Two blind men were sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was going by, they shouted, ‘Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!’

31 The crowd rebuked them and told them to be quiet, but they shouted all the louder, ‘Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!’

32 Jesus stopped and called them. ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ he asked.

33 ‘Lord,’ they answered, ‘we want our sight.’

34 Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him.

Mark 8:22-25 New International Version

22 They came to Bethsaida, and some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him. 23 He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spit on the man’s eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, ‘Do you see anything?’

24 He looked up and said, ‘I see people; they look like trees walking around.’

25 Once more Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly.

Mark 7:32-35 New International Version

32 There some people brought to him a man who was deaf and could hardly talk, and they begged Jesus to place his hand on him.

33 After he took him aside, away from the crowd, Jesus put his fingers into the man’s ears. Then he spit and touched the man’s tongue. 34 He looked up to heaven and with a deep sigh said to him, ‘Ephphatha!’ (which means ‘Be opened!’). 35 At this, the man’s ears were opened, his tongue was loosened and he began to speak plainly.

Luke 7:12-15 New International Version

12 As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out—the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her. 13 When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, ‘Don’t cry.’

14 Then he went up and touched the bier they were carrying him on, and the bearers stood still. He said, ‘Young man, I say to you, get up!’ 15 The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother.

Luke 8:49-55 New International Version

49 While Jesus was still speaking, someone came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue leader. ‘Your daughter is dead,’ he said. ‘Don’t bother the teacher anymore.’

50 Hearing this, Jesus said to Jairus, ‘Don’t be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed.’

51 When he arrived at the house of Jairus, he did not let anyone go in with him except Peter, John and James, and the child’s father and mother. 52 Meanwhile, all the people were wailing and mourning for her. ‘Stop wailing,’ Jesus said. ‘She is not dead but asleep.’

53 They laughed at him, knowing that she was dead. 54 But he took her by the hand and said, ‘My child, get up!’ 55 Her spirit returned, and at once she stood up. Then Jesus told them to give her something to eat.

English: The healing hands of Penny the Wonder...

The healing hands of Penny the Wonder Nurse (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And the list of scriptural teachings goes on….

If one studies scripture, prays, sits in contemplation the truth on Hand-on Healing will be revealed.  The Scriptural evidence clearly reveals that healing is something appropriate for Christians to be participating in. Christians, who have a solid foundation in their faith, know that God always look after and directs them to do His will. Those Christians who practice modalities such as Reiki do so within the direction and armor of God, assured in the confidence that they have been guided to follow Jesus’ model to be a healer.

So, more particularly what is Reiki? Reiki is a Hands-on Healing modality that balances and rejuvenated the bio-electric magnetic energy (science proven) of the human body balancing the body, mind, emotions, and spiritual essence of a being. Reiki is a Japanese term meaning ‘Universal Life Energy’ referring to that bio-electric magnetic unseen energy that permeates and gives life to everything. A Japanese Tendai Buddhist monk named Mikao Usui was given the method of healing, a gift after 21 days of fasting and contemplation on a mountain outside of Kyoto. He used this gift to heal those in need; he was able to teach others this system of healing.  Just because Usui was Japanese… just because he was Buddhist does not invalidate the modality, nor does it mean the ‘Love of God’ or ‘Holy Spirit’ was not or is not present in healing.

Romans 2 13-16 (NIV) tells us this:

13 For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. 14 (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.) 16 This will take place on the day when God judges people’s secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.

Even a Buddhist practice can follow the Will of the Christian God. Reiki delivers a magnificent system for Christians to make use of God’s grace. When giving or receiving Reiki attunements or treatments, call on God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit to work directly through you and do the healing for you (in essence this is what Reiki practitioners are doing- though they use different Buddhist or New Age terms). This can be done through prayer before Reiki sessions, attunements or classes etc. By doing this your connection with God’s love (what some identify as that bio-electric magnetic energy we earlier discussed) can become very powerful and act as a source of support, healing and grace that is always be available to you. Reiki practitioners feel that they do not heal, but the energy or God’s Love does the healing; they are simply tools in the process.

Reiki is not Black Magic. Black Magic has a purpose to cause harm and suffering to another. There is no ill intent in healing. Reiki can only be used to heal and to help people and is always guided by God. In fact the practitioner must enter the session with no attachment in the outcome and allow the Grace of God to heal. Healing is not curing, but bringing a balance of body, mind, emotion, and spiritual bodies into harmony to accept the problem(s) at hand. Here is something to keep in mind when someone says Reiki is Satan’s work… our knowledge about Satan comes from the Bible. Nowhere in the Bible do we find where Satan healed someone. Satan tempts people to sin but Satan does not heal people. Furthermore, in Luke 6:44, Jesus speaks, ‘Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers.’ Which translates to, ‘if something is helpful and benefits individuals with positive results, such as with Reiki, then it must be trustworthy and come from God.’ Reiki the system and Reiki the energy comes from God, which is understood to be the one or Universal God, AKA The Source.

Challengers of Reiki often argue against the attunement process and the use of Reiki Symbols. The attunement process is simply turns on your healing energy which has been lying dormant. During this process God connects you more powerfully to His grace which in-turn supports the healing energy coming from your hands. Those who receive a Reiki attunement have noticeably stronger healing energies coming from their hands. As for symbols and rituals, they are throughout Christianity: the Sign of the Cross, and the fish for example. The symbols are used in Reiki to connect with different intents for the healing (physical, emotional, spiritual) which come from The Source, God. But the uses of the symbols are not necessary to use with Reiki for the healing to be effective. And Spirit Guides. Not an original Reiki concept or teaching. They do not need to be used.  Christians often call on the Christ for guidance or saints.  So why stop?

In the end you must decide if Hands-on Healing is ‘Christian’ or not. As for me I will continue to follow the teachings set out by Jesus utilizing my skills as a Reiki Master/Teacher as one of the tools in my kit.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/reiki-articles/reiki-black-magic-or-gods-grace-7038641.html

About the Author

Brother Christopher Bashaw OFD, RN, M.Div. is a professed Brother in the Franciscans of Divine Mercy, an Old Catholic Tradition within the Independent Catholic Church of the Americas. He is also enrolled in the Independent Catholic Church of the Americas Seminary studying for the permanent deaconate. Brother Christopher has worked as a RN since graduating nursing school in 1984, with nursing experience including drug and alcohol recovery/detox, psychiatric nursing, physical rehabilitation, pain care, military nursing, occupational health, nursing home care, and pediatric/camp nursing. He has brought these skills into the developing his ministry the Mother Mary Society and Franciscan Pastoral Counseling. In addition to holding a M.Div., he holds certificates in Biblical Counseling, Marriage and Family Counseling, and Alcohol & Drug Addiction Recovery (Level 3) with a Christian approach.  


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Touché!

Stained glass at St John the Baptist's Anglica...

Stained glass at St John the Baptist’s Anglican Church http://www.stjohnsashfield.org.au, Ashfield, New South Wales. Illustrates Jesus’ description of himself “I am the Good Shepherd” from the Gospel of John, chapter 10, verse 11.  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By PK Christian Writer

I remember that it was 2006 that I first became a believer in Christ and it was His providence that I would end being involved in evangelism and apologetics. At that time I was just 15 with virtually no background in Biblical interpretation or logic.

Nevertheless, the “zeal” of my faith did not allow me to stay silent. The internet in general and social media in particular was getting popular by the day (do remember that I live in Pakistan), and so I found a whole new venue for “spreading” the Gospel.

I came across a number of non-Christian groups that were challenging the authority of the Christian faith, largely based on the arguments of a famous Islamic speaker in the subcontinent. It is important to note here that everyone around me including my own parents were enthusiastic about my new found interest, yet no one made any effort to mentor me.

I think along with my own stupidity, it is was this factor that made me write things on these websites that I wish I never have written.

For instance, one person wrote that since we do not know the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, therefore it must not be the word of God. In reply, I asked him for some evidence, and he happily obliged by quoting authoritative commentaries.

You know how I responded ? “The commentaries are all false!”

No effort to research and no willingness to divert from my position.

Later that evening I told my parents that commentaries are simply rubbish. My father simply smiled, while my mother got angry. Yet no one of them simply took out the time to correct me.

It was a couple of months later that I finally realized that it is true, that it is not only Hebrews but a lot of books in the Bible have debatable authorship And I also learnt that authorship does no harm to the the Christian view of Inspiration.

Sometime later, I came across this wonderful website that presented scholarly articles in the defense or Christianity while criticizing a major worldview. I started whole-sale copy pasting from this website, thinking in my mind that since others are also plagiarizing their arguments, why shouldn’t I do the same?

Overtime, I had stopped responding to objections (which is the only form of apologetics that the Bible talks about) and started pin pointing the flaws in other people’s religions. I had no regard for the sentiments (since they did not have respect for our faith), I made no effort to check the arguments for accuracy, and I simply had no regard for the sources.

Surprisingly, I was doing pretty good and I developed a reputation as challenging online debater. But this shows the quality of religious discussions that were widespread on the internet.

The point that I want to raise by writing all this is that when people discuss religion or other ideologies, all they need is conviction and that’s it. While conviction is necessary for propagating a worldview, we also need to consider the logical aspect of the whole matter.

Jesus told us to love our God with all our minds as well, but we as Christians don’t follow this, right? And then we consider that since we are promoting our faith (which is obviously true), everything we say or do is legitimate.

A lot of my Christian friends, when I contradict something they say, respond by saying “Oh man, you don’t know!” or “you’ll see”, and this according to them is a fairly legitimate argument. Or consider how two people usually debate about 9/11:

For: Hey man, Islamic terrorists bombed the WTC”

Against: No man, it was an inside job!

For: Yeah? Well how do you know?

Against: Well I saw videos where they showed all the details of the conspiracy.

For: Nonsense, I have seen a video where bin Laden himself stated who did it!

As you can see, none of them realizes that they are in fact saying the same thing. The problem is, most of the people who make such arguments are not 15 year old boys who flunked the 9th grade, but educated and aged men and women who have some standing in the society.

So here is my call to all of you. I make the effort to admit my mistakes and tread the path towards honesty in all things, even if they go against what I already believe.

If we claim to follow the Truth, we have to be honest.Sure people bring up absurd theories, like Jesus was the leader of a mushroom cult, but do you also have to say that a certain denomination is the “anti-Christ” because they “changed” the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday?

About the Author

Suleman, M. John – I am a writer who creates content for clients (and myself as well). I think, read, and surf a lot, but my strong areas of research and writing include religion, history, literature, and online content creation (especially ghostwriting).


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The Three Poisons of Buddhist Psychology or Christian Teachings Left Ignored

Temptation via Tumblr

By Brother Christopher

There are what is known as the three poisons in Buddhism, ignorance, attachment (greed), and hatred. This concept of the three poisons is important whether you consider yourself Buddhist or not, and by understanding this concept of the Three Poisons both your pastoral practice and the client will benefit to wholeness.

Greed, anger and ignorance are treacherous toxins which can build and destroy our life, are noted as the cause of human suffering. Buddhist psychology reveals that not only are these ‘poisons’ the source of our material greed in wanting more and more possessions, and the root cause of all of our harmful illusions of the ego, but they are also painful pollutants, which bring both physical and mental illness.

From the Christian angle, the core definition of greed or attachment defines the term(s) as the obsession with accumulating material goods; a greedy person values material goods more than they value God.

Luke 12:15 New International Version (NIV)

15 Then he said to them, ‘Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.’

Greed’s buddies are desire and lust; these appetites and attachments cause us to want to ‘get hold of’ things, and to have more and more of them. Leading to never being satisfied. In essence greed and his entourage separate us from the One True God; Greed is that Golden Calf of the Old Testament.

Hate, simply put from a ‘Jesus perspective’ is when we stop considering another’s welfare. Hate is when we simply don’t care. Hate includes ‘when my thing is more important than your thing’.  Hate kills harmony. Hate kills inspiration. Hate kills others. Hate is suicide.

1 John 2:11 New International Version (NIV)

11 But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them.

God&Window

God&Window (Photo credit: Tallapragada)

Hatred’s cohorts are anger, animosity and loathing, which trigger us to reject that which displeases us or infringes upon our ego. Again we create and divide the separation to the Divine as we promote hatred.

Matthew 22:36-40 New International Version (NIV)

36 ‘Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?’

37 Jesus replied: ‘‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.’

Ignorance, which is ‘not knowing,’ our true nature, sets the path for delusion or in our believing something that is false when it is not or in believing lies in order to support our ego and avoid hurt.

Mathew 7:21-23 New International Version (NIV)

21 ‘Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

With ignorance we breed fear, co-existence with others diminishes, our intolerance of people, ideas, and practices grows. Out of ignorance we have bigotry, lack of understanding, lack of compassion. Ignorance is a choice that can be overcome through acceptance and education, and is something that is continual in our human life- ever evolving. Ignorance does not allow us to live in God’s Light.

Christ and the devil via Tumblr

Countless numbers of us are most likely to be dominated by at least one of the poisons. These poisons fill our lives with suffering, unhappiness and our ability for tolerance and co-existence.  They are the reason we make poor decisions that upset our future.  They are the source of our self-serving and dishonest intentions, which lead us to act both unethically and immorally.  They are the roots of not only our own pain and misery, but the cause of the pain and suffering to those who love us. They bring ruin upon society itself.  Fortunately, there is an antidote, a treatment, a cure to these three poisons.  The practice of loving kindness and compassion and the connection to God, serving God,  is the medicine.

If we become aware of the Three Poisons, their causes and their cures, we can bring about a wonderful metamorphosis to those we serve as well as to our self.  Through the practice of loving kindness and compassion poison is transformed into nectar. And from the nectar evolves true happiness and righteousness that God intended each of us to behold.  When we realize our interdependence on each other, our connectedness to each other and to the Divine Source, as well as our unique oneness, we rid ourselves of the poisons that keep making us sick.  With pastoral counseling guidance can be offered, lessons can be given, but each one us must take the hand reaching out to us, embrace the tools being given to us, and then use those tools. This is God’s way.  As pastoral counselors we must look at how these poisons are affecting our clients… and unlike many other counselor types use the teachings of the Master, Jesus the Christ to teach our clients how to rid themselves of the poisons and bring harmony and wellness back into their life.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/mental-health-articles/the-three-poisons-of-buddhist-psychology-or-christian-teachings-left-ignored-7021341.html

About the Author

Brother Christopher Bashaw OFD, RN, M.Div. is a professed Brother in the Franciscans of Divine Mercy, an Old Catholic Tradition within the Independent Catholic Church of the Americas. He is also enrolled in the Independent Catholic Church of the Americas Seminary studying for the permanent deaconate. Brother Christopher has worked as a RN since graduating nursing school in 1984, with nursing experience including drug and alcohol recovery/detox, psychiatric nursing, physical rehabilitation, pain care, military nursing, occupational health, nursing home care, and pediatric/camp nursing. He has brought these skills into the developing his ministry the Mother Mary Society and Franciscan Pastoral Counseling. In addition to holding a M.Div., he holds certificates in Biblical Counseling, Marriage and Family Counseling, and Alcohol & Drug Addiction Recovery (Level 3) with a Christian approach.  


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God’s Way – One Step At A Time

Piero della Francesca: Legend of the True Cros...

Piero della Francesca: Legend of the True Cross – the Queen of Sheba Meeting with Solomon , Detail. (c. 1452-66, Fresco, San Francesco, Arezzo, Italy) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Ngozi Nwoke

Can you image a child learning how to walk today and tomorrow he is driving? I know you can’t imagine it. But that is what many people expect God to do for them. They want to take giant steps beyond God’s way. One step at a time is God’s style and it always gets you to the peak if you stick to the Lord. This article gives the reasons why this way of the Almighty is the best approach to life.

A bishop then must be blameless… not a novice, lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil – 1 Timothy 3:2, 6 (emphasis mine, NKJV)

But the word of the Lord was to them, ‘Precept upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little,’ Isaiah 28:13

I will not drive them out from before you in one year, lest the land become desolate and the beasts of the field become too numerous for you. Little by little I will drive them out from before you, until you have increased, and you inherit the land – Exodus 23:29-30 (NKJV)

Multiple promotions are desirable but not at the detriment of one’s future or destiny. A father, no matter how much he loves his six-year-old boy, will not allow him to drive his car. Also, no pupil starts primary one or standard one today and next session he is in the secondary school. It is always one step at a time. This is God’s way and God, our creator, is the originator of this way.

Every newborn baby always starts with milk and gradually graduates to solids (1 Peter 2:2). This principle applies both to spiritual and physical growth. Also, in leadership positions, whether spiritual or physical, nobody puts a novice in leadership position. Everyone needs to grow into any new and higher position.

However, some people do not want to go through this growth process and so they involve themselves in dishonest and unethical activities that end up in destruction (Proverbs 28:20). While others wind up in complaining, murmuring and being offended in God, instead of going through the pain of growing into the position they desire.

King Solomon said in Ecclesiastes 3:1 that there is time for everything. Furthermore, he that believes will not make haste, (Isaiah 28:16). It is honour and glory to go through the growth process because what you learn remains with you forever (Romans 5:3-4), no man can take that from you.

One step at a time is not a delay tactics. There is a purpose for it and it is beneficial to you. God is a God of purpose and He never does anything without a reason.

Why one step at a time?

1.       It increase your sustainability

It is one thing to get to a new level or position, and another thing to sustain that level or position. You need to be able to balance every other aspect of your life with that new position. For instance, your walk with God and family should not suffer because you had a double promotion in your place of work.

However, God will give you a double promotion if you qualify for it. The growth process prepares you for the double promotion.

You may ask me now how you are to qualify for it. It is through:

                                I.            Increasing your knowledge level – God said in Hosea 4:6 that His people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. The more knowledge you have the more your ability to sustain the new position.

Knowledge about what, you may still ask? First and foremost, your knowledge about God, His word and how He operates. This is the foundation for any other meaningful knowledge. And if the foundation be destroyed what can the righteous do, (Psalm 11:3)

Secondly, you need a good knowledge of your desired position. If it requires getting a certificate, go for it. Prepare yourself (Proverbs 24:27), let it not be that you missed that position because you didn’t know enough or you didn’t have a tangible proof of your qualification.

                              II.            Increasing your faith level – It is impossible to please God without faith, (Hebrews 11:6). It  takes faith for God to move you to your next level and to sustain you there. The word of God remains the authenticate source of faith. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God, (Romans 10:17)

  2.       It keeps away the beasts

Another reason for one step at a time is to keep beasts from over-powering you. In Exodus 23:29-30, God chose to drive the enemies of Israel little by little so that the land will not become desolate and the beasts of the field become too numerous for them. He wanted them to increase and grow into fully occupying the land.

There are many beasts around, visible and invisible and unless you grow to be bigger and stronger than them, they will encroach into your territory and may take over. Therefore for every new position you need a new level of strength to match.

The sons of Sceva in Acts 19:13-16 assumed a position that they had no matching strength for and the demons in the possessed man over-powered them. The evil spirit said, ‘Jesus I know, Paul I know but who are you?’

Now the strength I am writing about is not in yourself but in the Lord and in the power of His might, (Ephesians 6:10). This is because your human strength is limited and cannot deliver you from the beasts. Truly, by strength shall no man prevail, (1 Samuel 2:9)

The acquisition of this strength boils down again to increase in the knowledge of God and His word, and also increase in your faith in God. Surely, God’s way prevails anytime and anywhere.

In conclusion, as much as God loves you and wants the best and has prepared them for you, you must grow into your inheritance in Christ. And it will take one step at a time to get there. But the speed with which you will possess your possession depends on you. Therefore start today and you will surely get to your desired position.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/christianity-articles/gods-way-one-step-at-a-time-6834257.html

About the Author

Ngozi Nwoke is a teacher and a counselor. She has a passion to teach people how to enjoy peace, God’s love and christian living for more fulfilling life. Want more fulfilling life? Subscribe for free email updates today. http://stepswithgod.com


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Sunday Reading

English: Mary and Jesus

Mary and Jesus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Matthew 11:2-11
New American Standard Bible (NASB)

2 Now when John, while imprisoned, heard of the works of Christ, he sent word by his disciples 3 and said to Him, “Are You the Expected One, or shall we look for someone else?” 4 Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and report to John what you hear and see: 5 the blind receive sight and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. 6 And blessed is he who does not take offense at Me.”

Jesus’ Tribute to John

7 As these men were going away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John, “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? 8 But what did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Those who wear soft clothing are in kings’ palaces! 9 But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and one who is more than a prophet. 10 This is the one about whom it is written,

‘Behold, I send My messenger ahead of You,
Who will prepare Your way before You.’

11 Truly I say to you, among those born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than John the Baptist! Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

Commentary

John the Baptist was no ordinary guy. He was something of a wildman, eating locusts (grasshoppers) and an uncultivated substance that tastes like honey. He wore rough cloth made of camel’s hair. Today, he’d be like a self-sufficient hobo, living away from the city, offering salvation to sinners. Authorities would probably shoo him away to somewhere he couldn’t be seen and “bother” people. Maybe even issue a citation or arrest him if he failed to comply. And I don’t think Jesus would have won any fashion contest, either. The issue of clothing is brought up in today’s reading. Jesus notes that royalty wears fine clothes but, for the people of God, it really doesn’t matter what we wear.

Jesus proceeds to tell us that John is simply the best human being ever to walk the face of the Earth. We can assume that Jesus is excluding himself in that assessment. But here comes the clincher… Jesus adds that, although John may be the best, he can’t compare to the LEAST in the kingdom of heaven. Wow. Can you get your head around this? What Jesus is saying is that heaven is so fantastic, so altogether different from this world, that we just can’t imagine it. We may have glimpses through moments of grace. But on the whole, heaven is a completely different order than this physical universe, and all the conventional judgments that usually go with it.

So with Christmas coming, it’s great to see family, friends, and enjoy giving and receiving whatever toys may come our way. But most important, Christmas is a time to remember what it’s all about. What’s behind and above it all. What counts. What makes it possible for us to enjoy all the lesser, temporary things of this world.

And what’s that?

Well, the Lord. And for most Christian believers, Christmas is a time to remember how God came to us as Jesus Christ. Myself, I can get so caught up in the tree, the lights, and the idea of “Christmas Cheer” that it takes a while for me to get in that quiet space where I just think of a young teenage woman, Mary, giving birth to God-in-the-flesh amidst all kinds of persecution and resentment. (Remember that King Herod wanted to kill Jesus, even as an infant). But when I do get in that headspace, that’s when Christmas takes its most noble and holy form.

—MC


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Jesus Christ

English: Jesus Christ - detail from Deesis mos...

English: Jesus Christ – detail from Deesis mosaic, Hagia Sophia, Istanbul (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Fr. Thomas R. Harding, Th.D.

This homily has been posted with the direct and generous permission of the late Fr. Thomas Harding, Th.D. (1918-2005). It is not to be copied, duplicated, modified nor distributed in any way.

In the Gospel of John 4:5-42, Jesus was sitting by the well. He asked a Samaritan woman, who came to draw water, for a drink to quench His thirst. A long conversation ensued and finally the woman said to Him: “I know that the Messiah is coming (who is called the Christ). When He comes He will proclaim all things to us. Jesus said to he, I am He, the one who is speaking to you.”

Who is this Jesus Christ?

The Apostle Creed answers:

I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, Our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born to the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried. He descended to the dead. On the third day He rose again. He ascended into Heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father He will come again to judge the living and the dead.

The primary and best source of our knowledge of Jesus Christ is, of course, the four Gospels which all agree on the essence of the Revelation of Jesus Christ.

  • First, that He is the Messiah and the Prophet.

  • Second, that He is the Son of God and that He became Man.

  • Third, it is as Man that He is Our Redeemer, Our Saviour, Our High Priest, the Head of the Church, and the Just Judge that is to come.

In addition to this agreement of the Four Gospels on the identity of Jesus Christ, each of the four has his own individual emphasis on His Character and Personality.

Matthew portrays Jesus as the Great Leader by giving His six great discourses

  1. The Sermon on the Mount (Matthew Chapters 5-7).
  2. The Missionary Discourse on the spread of the Kingdom (Mathew Chapter 10).
  3. The Sermon on the Coming Persecutions and Rewards (Matthew 11-12).
  4. The Sermon on the Parables (Mathew 13).
  5. The Sermon on the Church (Matthew 18).
  6. The Last Discourse and the Triumph of the Kingdom (Matthew 24).

In addition to these discourses, since Matthew was living in Jerusalem he wrote primarily for the Hebrews so Matthew presents Jesus Christ as the Fulfiller of the Messianic Prophecies of the Old Testament.

Mark portrays Jesus Christ as the Mysterious God Man

  1. The central point of Mark is the Person of Jesus Christ.
  2. Jesus Christ is a Person of Mysterious origin and great Power.
    (a) The voice of the Father said “This is My Beloved Son in whom I am well pleased “(Mark 1:11).
    (b) The Spirit as a Dove also descended upon Him. (Mark 1:10)
    (c) Jesus is the Lord of the Sabbath. (Mark 2:28).
    (d) Jesus is the Lord of Nature. (Mark 4:35-44).
    (e) Jesus has power over demons. (Mark 9:13-28).
    (f) A frequent refrain of Mark is: “They brought all the sick and the possessed to Him and He healed them all. (Mark 6:53-56).
  3. Jesus Christ is a Person of humility and suffering.
    (a) He suffered at the hands of the Jewish Leaders. (Mark 14:1).
    (b) He suffered at the insensitivity of the crowds. (Mark 4:12).
    (c) He suffered from the obtuseness of His followers. (Mark 3:21)
    (d) He rejected the false notion of the Messiah as a temporal King. (Mark 6:1-6)

Luke presents Jesus Christ as the Friend of the Poor, the Lost, the Suffering

St. Luke was an artist and physician and he was close to Mary, the Mother of Jesus Christ and to the Holy Spirit. Thus he wrote the Gospel of the Infancy and Childhood of Jesus Christ and the Apocalypse, the Gospel of the Holy Spirit.

  1. A Friend of the Poor such as the Shepherds and He listed the 8 Beatitudes. (Luke 2:8-20 and 6:20).
  2. A Friend of the Lost such as the Lost Sheep, the Prodigal Son and the Penitent Woman. (Luke 15:1-7; 15:11-32; 7:36-50).
  3. A Friend of the Suffering and He healed all who asked Him. (Luke 4:33-44).

John presents Jesus as the Incarnate Word and he emphasized
the Divinity of Christ

  1. The Christ of the fourth Gospel is presented more theologically than in the Synoptic Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke.

  2. In the Prologue to his Gospel, he describes the Majestic sweep of the Second Person from Heaven to Earth and back again to Heaven with the Redeemed of the World. (John 1:1-18).

  3. John describes Jesus as the Light of the World. (John 8:12).

  4. The Promise of the Eucharist. (John Chapter 6).

  5. He gives the Last Discourse and the Prayer for Unity at the Last Supper. (John Chapters 14, 15 and 16).

  6. He describes the Resurrection of Jesus. (John Chapter 20).

Jesus Christ in Theology

  1. Jesus Christ is true God and true Man.

  2. He has Divine and Human Nature.

  3. As a human being, He has a human body and a human soul.

  4. In that union of the divine and human natures in Jesus Christ, there is just one Person, the Divine Person, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity.

  5. In the Prologue to John’s Gospel, we read: “No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, Who is in the bosom of the Father, He has revealed Him.” (John 1:18). We cannot know God as He is in the present order, but we can know God as He is in human form as He appeared in Jesus Christ, the God-Man.

Jesus Christ in the Secondary Sources

There is also the Life, Character and Personality of Jesus Christ in the Secondary Sources such as Lives of Christ, Works on the Spiritual Lfe, Great Biographies, Inspiring Histories, Records of the Martyrs, Subtlest Theology, Sublime Poetry and Literature, Great Art and Music.

I have enjoyed the Lives of Christ such as Karl Adam’s The Son of God (very theological), Constant Fouard’s Christ the Son of God (very scriptural), Archbishop Alban Goodier’s The Public Life of Our Lord Jesus Christ and The Passion and Death of Our Lord Jesus Christ (very scriptural), Abbot Marmon’s Christ in His Mysteries (very mystical) and the popular Lives of Christ by Fulton Oursier, Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, Malcolm Muggeridge, Francois Mauriac, Fyodor Dostoevski and the pictorial version of Georges Rouault with text by Jacques Maritain entitled Art Through the Ages.

Many have derived benefit from films on the Life of Christ such as: The King of Kings, Quo Vadis, Ben Hur, Godspell (meaning Gospels) and the controversial versions like Jesus Christ Superstar, Jesus of Montreal and The Last Temptation of Christ.

Some have also derived benefit from musical compositions such as those of Mozart, Beethoven, Cesar Frank, Handel and the great masses. Many have been inspired by the masterpieces of art of Michelangelo, Leonardo Da Vinci, Albrecht Durer, Salvador Dali and the Dutch Masters.
Even though adults cannot understand it, teenagers have been touched by the Musical Hair in the sixties. With their long hair, they were imitating Jesus Christ as we discover in the words of one of the songs in the musical.

My Hair like Jesus wore His Hallelujah,
I like it Mary loved her Son,
Why doesn’t my mother love me?

Another song shows that some of the youth think that they can find precisely in Jesus the answer to their questions formulated in Hair:

Where do I go? Follow the river,
Where do I go? Follow the gulls
Where is the something?
Where is the Someone?
That tells me why I live and die.
Follow my heart beat
Where do I go?
Follow my hand,
Where will they lead me?
And will I ever discover why
I live and die, I live and die?

They also loved the Beatles. When George Harrison died recently, they revealed that he was a spiritual person and did not appreciate the time when John Lennon said they were more popular than Jesus. Then came the song “My Sweet Lord, I Really Want To Know You” by George Harrison.

Among all the secondary sources, I liked the two works of Archbishop Goodier, S.J. the best. He was from England but he became an Archbishop in India. The reason why I like his two books is because he shows how to find the true Jesus Christ in the gospels. He emphasizes His attractiveness, His winsomeness, which drew people to Him: the sinners, the sick, the blind, the lepers, the possessed, the hardened and the little children who flocked to Him. “Let the little children come to me for of such is the Kingdom of Heaven.”

Jesus was in demand also as a dinner guest. He was the life of the party. He was always accessible born in a cave, always on the open highways, in the market place, in the temple, no home except the mountain tops. He died publicly in a public place of execution called Golgotha, the Place of the Skull. All were struck by His courage, His fearlessness, His sublime teaching, His healing, His love for all, even for His enemies.

Archbishop Goodier points out four guiding lines in the Gospels’ portrayal of Him.

  1. His absolute truth of understanding or His stamp of utter, unerring certainty and trustworthiness because of certainty. “He spoke as one having authority.”

  2. His boundless tender heart, a father, a mother, a brother, a sister, a true friend. He was always meek but never weak to those who were disposed to Him. His love went out to all. It was theirs for the taking.

  3. His constancy in action. He has a definite work to do, a definite life to live and death to die and never for a moment does he swerve in its accomplishment. Failure may disappoint Him but He never gives up; opposition may alter His plan but it does not slacken His effort; malice does not embitter Him, deceit, betrayal, denial, desertion, none of these things can lessen His endeavour, make His hand tremble or the feet on the mountain falter.

  4. His infinite mercy goes out to all who are repentant. He always wants to forgive, to save, to heal. He does not compel people. He is gentle. He invites them to come to Him and when they respond His eyes glisten, His Heart expands. His hand opens and He releases the flood gates of Infinite Love and the Mercy of His Sacred Heart.

There are many examples of leaders who are remembered in history for good or evil. Julius Caesar, Alexander the Great, Constantine, Charlemagne, Napolean, Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini, Churchill, F. D. Roosevelt, Mahatma Ghandi, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Mao Tse Tung. (Mention ladies as well). Only one stands out above all the others and is remembered in the minds and hearts of billions, Jesus Christ. Christianity is a creed, cult and code, but it is also a Person, the Love of a Person for us and our response to Him, that is, Jesus Christ, the God-Man.

Napolean, according to John Henry Cardinal Newman, may have once said to himself:

I have been accustomed to place before me, the examples of Caesar and Alexander with a hope of rivaling their exploits and living in the minds of men forever. But in what sense do Caesar and Alexander live… Their chief place is in the school room, in children’s grammars and text books. IBut on the contrary, there is just one name that lives, Jesus Christ I He has possessed the world and He maintains possession. Palaces and monuments are raised to His Honour. His Image is triumphantly displayed in all countries and on the tops of mountains.

He died but He rose again from the dead on the third day and He lives on as Christ the King in the minds and hearts of billions. We praise and thank you Lord for your unspeakable gifts.

As Romano Guardini said in his brief Creed: “I believe in you Jesus of Nazareth. You are the meaning of the World and of my ljfe.” I also like the Jesus Prayer: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, Have Mercy on me a sinner.”

So much for the secondary sources.

In conclusion, let us consider the appearance of Jesus Christ. What did He look like? We have our image of Jesus Christ largely from Medieval Art. But we also have the benefit of an eye-witness and of the expert on the Shroud of Turin.

First, the eye-witness is Lentulus, who was consul in the 12th year of the reign of the Emperor Tiberius. In the letter of Lentulus, which is mentioned in the writing of Josephus Flavius, a first century historian, he describes how he saw Jesus during His trial and Crucifixion. His report to the Emperor reveals what Jesus looked like.

Lentulus described Jesus as having a noble and lively face, with fair and slightly wavy hair, black and strongly curving eyebrows, intense penetrating blue eyes and an expression of wondrous grace. His nose is rather aquiline and His hair has never seen a scissors. His neck is slightly inclined so that He never appears to be bitter or arroganL His tanned face is the colour of ripe corn and well proportioned, it gives the impression of gravity and wisdom, kindness and goodness and is completely lacking in any kind of anger.

Second, Professor Giovanni Judica-Cordiglia, an eminent scholar of the Holy Shroud of Turin, the cloth covering the face and Body of Christ in the tomb; from it he tried to describe the appearance of the Lord, gleaned from the Shroud with his experience as a Doctor and a Professor of Forensic Medicine.

Here is his report:

The Man who was wrapped in the Shroud was a man of great beauty and uncommon stature. He was about one metre and eighty centimeters tall (approximately six feet) with a perfectly proportioned physique, lithe and harmonious. He was a standard type in the most literal sense of the phrase. His face was a very soft and gentle one, rather long and with a broad straight forehead. The nose is straight and turned slightly downwards, the cheeks are large and slightly protruding. From all the anthroprometric calculations so far made, it seems that Christ was physically in far better shape than the average man.

I can conclude that His cranial capacity was of 1575 cc, which would place Him in the Megalo Cephalic (Large Headed) category with a cranial capacity coefficient of 95 which would indicate that the weight of His brain was 1492 grams. This is far greater than the average, suggesting a person of extraordinary genius.

So much for the evidence of the eye-witness who actually saw Jesus and from the expert on the Shroud of Turin who described His appearance scientifically with his experience as a Doctor and a Professor of Forensic Medicine.

In conclusion, I wish to give the conclusions of John Duns Scotus about the Person of Jesus Christ. John Duns Scotus was a great Theologian who lived from 1265- 1308 A.D. He was a contemporary of St. Thomas Aquinas and he taught both in Italy and in Oxford, England. He was beatified by Pope John Paul II just a year ago, probably delayed because of his daring Theology.

Blessed John Duns Scotus says Jesus Christ was God’s greatest work. He taught that Jesus Christ would have become Man even if Adam and Eve had not sinned. He also taught that the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity will be united to human nature for all time to come and for all eternity.

Blessed John Duns Scorns also taught that Mary, the Mother of God, was the highest creature after Christ as Man. He taught also that Mary was conceived in Her Mother’s womb immaculately. The Immaculate Conception of Mary was defined by Pope Pius IX in 1854. Our Lady Herself appeared to St. Bernadette Soubiroux in 1858 and when asked who she was, she replied “I am the Immaculate Conception” in the dialect of Southern France which was familiar to St. Bernadette.

Incidentally, Pope Pius IX was beatified with Pope John XXIII, and Abbott Marmion of Ireland, on September 5, 2000 by Pope John Paul II, the present Pope. He probably Beatified them because of their brilliant teachings about Jesus Christ, His Mother, and the Church.

This homily is not to be copied, duplicated, modified nor distributed in any way.


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Krishna, Buddha and Christ: The same or different? (Part 5)

The Holy Spirit as a dove in the Annunciation ...

The Holy Spirit as a dove in the Annunciation by Rubens, 1628 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

A Final Word on Violence

In Christian mysticism, peaceful living and spiritual growth go hand in hand. As the believer increases in perfection and becomes closer to God the soul usually experiences an overall increase in heavenly graces.

The ideal Christian washes not just the outside but the inside of the proverbial cup to receive the pure waters of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 23:26). In this metaphor the cup represents the self, the soul, and the person who ultimately is bound for heaven.

So Christian mysticism never justifies violence but rather, gentleness and humility.

One might object to this claim by citing Joan of Arc, her inner voices apparently coming from God and urging her to lead the French army into battle. But it was the Catholic Church which eventually canonized St. Joan. The New Testament Gospels, themselves, never condone violence.

God or no God?

As noted earlier, religion can get complicated. Whenever one forwards a given assertion, an exception usually arises. On the issue of violence, we might point out the notion of the Just War and, for the matter, the bellicose Old Testament which Catholics embrace as originating in God. Having said that, the New Testament and Buddhist ideals about non-violence clearly differ in the sense that Buddhists do not believe in an ultimate, omnipotent, omniscient and eternal God, while Christians obviously do.

To repeat, Buddhists do not believe in God. Instead, Buddhists normally contextualize the idea of God saying “God” is just another cultural idea to surpass on the road to Nirvana, a journey involving the belief in reincarnation.

In Christianity, however, an unselfish love of one’s enemies arises from inviting the living presence of God to dwell in one’s heart. Happiness isn’t just inside, as so many non-Christians (and even some Christian pop singers) say. Rather, happiness is having a good relationship with God, who ultimately exists beyond the self but also immanent.

Unlike Buddhism, Christian salvation cannot entirely rely on one’s own contemplative efforts because God, and not oneself, is seen as the source of all goodness and being. Some see this ultimate dependence on God as a weakness but from a Christian perspective it’s just the way things are. One can only go so far through one’s own initiative. And that, for many Christians, is a significant limitation for Buddhists and for any New Age thinker who thinks they can reach the highest high through their own efforts.

To complicate things, Buddhism does speak of compassionate and intervening bodhisattvas who dispense graces to seekers along the way. But these exalted beings are not regarded as God. A monotheistic God is never present in Buddhism and at some point even bodhisattvas must be surpassed to enter into the nothingness/fullness of Nirvana, a place where the apparently illusory idea of individuality also vanishes.

Granted, some Christian mystics do talk about losing the self in a boundless ocean of God’s love, but God never disappears from the picture. And it’s doubtful that Christian mystics are advocating a complete loss of individuality. Instead, their metaphors seem more like happy fish in a boundless, beautiful ocean instead of the more Asian notion of drops of water dissolving in the sea.

Heaven and Hell

The Buddhist perception of heaven and hell is related to a discussion about violence and non-violence. Hell isn’t eternal for Buddhists. It’s more like a stopover in a lousy hotel room where one eventually checks out. Likewise with heaven. Heaven is described as a sort of ‘spiritual health spa’ enjoyed between lifetimes. So the reincarnating soul eventually departs from heaven to become fully enlightened. In fact, in Buddhism one encounters numerous heavens and hells before attaining full enlightenment.

Upon attaining enlightenment, Buddhists say the soul realizes it, itself, doesn’t exist. And at this point, even the idea of past lives becomes illusory. After all, how can you have a past life if you never existed?

These are interesting philosophical ideas but a Christian hoping to reach everlasting heaven might wonder if the Buddhist heavens could be astral realms and not heaven as understood within Christianity.

Since Buddhist hells are not eternal, they perhaps would be closer to the Catholic notion of purgatory because for Christians hell is eternal. Nor is the Christian hell a mere way-station or, for that matter, trendy or humorous Hollywood fantasy as portrayed in movies and video games. “See you in hell!“¹

For the vast majority of Christians, hell is just hell, forever and ever. And when it comes to the opposite, namely paradise, the Christian understanding of grace as a living presence that guides believers to everlasting heaven is relativized and absent in Buddhism. True, different Buddhist schools speak of emptiness, fullness and enlightenment. And they mention transitional grace and temporary heavens and hells. But Buddhist do not believe in everlasting heaven and hell as articulated within Christianity. So it stands to reason that the graces that Buddhists speak of are not the same thing that Christians talk about.

Conclusion

This brief comparison indicates that the scriptures and beliefs emerging from Krishna, Buddha and Christ have points of similarity but are not equivalent. As we’ve seen, the Mahabharata speaks of peace but in the Gita Krishna emphasizes holy warfare. By way of contrast, Christ, as part of the Holy Trinity is said to be co-equal with God and the Holy Spirit and, rather than engage in violence, is willing to sacrifice himself on a cross. While non-Christians may see this as misguided and some Buddhists (like D. T. Suzuki) say it’s “distasteful,” for Christians it is the ultimate point. This world is not it, and fighting and killing for material gain is not the way to get to eternal happiness.

We’ve also seen in the above that the Buddha doesn’t believe in God, and Buddhists say that the Buddhist nirvana surpasses the Christian understanding of heaven and hell.

The Hindu Krishna and the Buddha each speak of many lifetimes and associated opportunities for salvation through reincarnation, whereas the Christ of the Gospels entreats disciples to get it right the first time because (presumably) there is no such thing as reincarnation.

To overlook these and other differences may be well-intentioned but it’s also imprecise. And it’s doubtful that a fuzzy, misinformed belief in religious homogeneity will contribute to meaningful dialogue and genuine interfaith harmony. Promising commonalities can be discerned among today’s faith groups, but it will take clear and honest thinking for humanity to walk peacefully into the 21st century and beyond.

¹ http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/SeeYouInHell

© Michael Clark

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5



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DVD Review – God Kings: The Descendents of Jesus

godkings

Title: God Kings – The Descendants of Jesus
Genre: Documentary – Ancient History, Religion,Occult
Production Company: Reality Films

Is the Jesus story an ancient Roman marketing plan? Did Christ have a wife and daughter? A twin brother? These and other controversial questions are posed in God Kings: The Descendents of Jesus, a new DVD by Philip Gardiner.

Borrowing from the Gnostic Gospel of Philip (which was discovered near the Egyptian town of Nag Hammadi in 1945), retired professor Hugh Montgomery openly challenges mainstream Christian belief by arguing for an alternate history of Jesus and the Christian Church.

Legend has it that Constantine, the very first Christian Roman Emperor, conquered the pagan Romans in the name of Christ. Apparently Constantine was empowered by a vision (in some accounts, a dream) of a cross in the clouds that he encountered on the road to Rome, just before the Battle at Milvian Bridge.

On this and similar points Montgomery believes he’s dispelling 2,000 years of Church propaganda by suggesting that Constantine was a clever manipulator, seeking to control the lives and afterlife beliefs of the masses. Montgomery says that important details of Jesus story were allegedly fabricated and sold to the public to ensure Constantine’s complete control over their temporal and eternal aspirations.

But not only that. Jesus also had a wife and daughter, Montgomery says. And he interprets certain key Coptic words in the Gospel of Philip to support his idea.

Not every scholar would agree with Montgomery’s translation of the Coptic terms in question. But that doesn’t deter him from saying that Jesus’ powerful descendents can be traced along the bloodlines of the Germanic Odin and biblical David. Those of Odonic and Davidic lineage are said to have a quiet, inner power not necessarily exerted over others but which nonetheless can be sensed. And Montgomery, funnily enough, says he’s one of them.

Montgomery then proceeds to speak out against The Da Vinci Code, claiming it’s a work of plagiarism and, except for the idea that Jesus was married and had children, is largely hogwash. Montgomery also offers some seemingly Freudian influenced comments about language, rhythm and musical preference and presents a vision of God that fits with the idea of naturalistic pantheism—that is, God is everything and everything is God.

This is an entertaining video but it’s doubtful that all contemporary scholars would agree with Montgomery’s claims. However, he does point out – and I think rightly so – that the Jesus stories we’ve been told are not necessarily the whole story, and that power and politics may have played a part in their formation and promulgation.

Montgomery is a well-spoken man with not a few credentials to his name. Having said that, my main reservation with his work is that it might lead some non-experts to hastily replace one set of assumptions with another. Instead of leaping from one position to the next, it seems a better way to approach the history and, perhaps, heart of Christ’s life and teachings is to carefully study the existing evidence. True, a difficulty arises here in that it’s virtually impossible to read everything that’s been said about Jesus. But with the power of the internet, we can at least check to see if different perspectives can be found within surviving textual accounts.

And I highly doubt that Jesus would object to this. After all, he did advocate personal responsibility and the freedom to choose.

—MC (revised from 2009)


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Merry Christmas!


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Why Christ is the Only Way to Heaven

Jesus Christ is Lord by Geof Wilson

Jesus Christ is Lord by Geof Wilson

By William Nugent

Christians are often criticized for saying that Jesus is the only way to heaven. This criticism is unjust because every religion and philosophy makes exclusive truth claims.

All religions contradict each other on major issues yet all religions make either implicit or explicit claims of being the only true religion. Even Hinduism claims that everyone eventually gets reincarnated as good Hindus in order to enter heaven.

To explain, let me point out that the laws of logic dictate that two contradictory statements can’t possibly both be true. Islamic teaching on salvation directly contradicts Christian teaching on salvation. If Islam is true, Christianity is false. If Christianity is true, Islam is false. There’s just no other way to deal with it logically. Do we tolerate Muslims? Of course we do! We accept them as people although we disagree with their teachings.

A postmodernist might say to a Muslim “Islam is true for you.” To say “Islam is true for you” is blatantly illogical. That’s like saying to a flat earth society member “The earth is flat for you.” The earth is round for everyone, including flat earthers whether they believe it or not!

Atheistic materialists believe that human beings are the products of nature. Atheists claim there is no God, no afterlife and no transcendent moral code. If atheistic materialism is true, Christianity is false. If Christianity is true, atheistic materialism is false.

Any truth claim is an exclusive truth claim. Any person who makes a statement of any kind is making a truth claim and by this is implicitly rejecting anything contrary to their statement. Again, this is simple logic.

We Christians are not narrow-minded bigots. We believe Christianity is the one true religion because it is based on the historical fact of Christ’s death and resurrection from the dead which was foretold by the prophets. This fact was confirmed by hundreds of eyewitnesses and written down in the Bible.

Painting of Christ by midiman

Painting of Christ by midiman

The Bible itself is credited with over two thousand prophecies and fulfillments. No other holy book comes close to this claim. The fact that Jesus came in fulfillment of hundreds of Old Testament Bible prophecies means that the truth claims of Christianity are backed up by more supernatural phenomena than any other faith.

Jesus said “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).

Christ died for the sins of all people. The way to show toleration for all people is to love our neighbors as ourselves and gently point them to Christ who loves them and offers them the free gift of salvation.

The Bible in Romans 10:13 says: “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” All who turn from their sins and ask Christ for forgiveness will receive eternal life.

Article Source: Articles Engine

Bill Nugent has written many articles on Christianity, philosophy and science. He has also written books that give Bible based teaching on sanctification and that caution against the error of legalism. His books are available at his website www.gracelawandsonship.com.

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