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How to have an Intimate relationship with Christ whom you cannot see?

The following article seems to take the Bible a bit more literally than I would. But I post it because it makes a good point about being guided by the Holy Spirit. I have sometimes wondered just how spiritual people can be when they do not believe in God. For me, a recognition of being guided by the Holy Spirit was the true beginning of my mature spiritual life. And without that, I was just like an unfocussed infant. —MC

English: child Jesus with the virgin Mary, wit...

Child Jesus with the virgin Mary, with the Holy Spirit (represented as a dove) and God the Father, with child john the Baptist and saint Elizabeth on the right (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

How to have an Intimate relationship with Christ whom you cannot see?

By prophet3333 (Written by Joseph Ho, March 28th 2015)

Jesus always speaks with analogy whenever he wants to explain the concept in the Kingdom of God. He uses such examples as an indirect way to explain that the Kingdom of God is everywhere and also within us. In order to have an intimate relationship with him, we have to remain in the Vine. He is the Vine and we are the branches. By this he means that if we are cut off from him, we will lose the life giving support which comes from the main vine and the roots. A branch that is not connected to the vine will have no more life giving force or nutrients to support it. So the kingdom of God is like a vine with all its branches, and it is also how we should lead our life in him.

John 15 King James Version (KJV)

15 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.

2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.

3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.

4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.

5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.

Jesus explains things in simple understandable principle, yet even theologians cannot understand what he is trying to say since it is so simply mentioned. So if the branches have to remain with the Vine, how are we to be connected to Christ when he is no longer on earth? If Jesus were alive on earth today, it would be easy to have a relationship with him since we can all call him, write to him and spent time with him by talking to him or listening to him whenever he gives a seminar. But this is no longer so. So how can anyone have a relationship with a person who is no longer visible or easily contactable? Such are the question of ordinary folks who have no education or any deep understanding of what the bible is talking about.

The Holy Spirit depicted as a dove, surrounded...

The Holy Spirit depicted as a dove, surrounded by angels, by Giaquinto, 1750s. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The process of having a relationship with a saviour who no longer can be seen easily is indeed a mystery. Have you tried having an intimate relationship with your grandmother who has died? What would you do? You probably visit her grave, see some past photos and try to remember the times you had with her that you cherished. But the amount of material you have of her is limited because you didn’t get to say thanks. And you love her much but it never even occurred to you that she needs to hear those things from you either. When you were younger everyone lived for you and you never gave it another thought to return the gratitude for their time spent with you. So how can anyone love Jesus whom they have never spent any time with? We need to read the bible which kept an account of who he is.

Jesus although we know he is alive as a believer is someone who does not come to visit his sheep often. This is the truth, as I have asked many believers if they have seen Christ in their lives even once, and the answer is no; they have not seen Jesus at all. Even the most sincere of Christians and even pastors and evangelists, have not seen Jesus in their lives. So having an intimacy with Christ does not include seeing Jesus in their lives, if seeing Jesus was a requirement then 99.99 percent of all Christians do not have a relationship with Him. I only know that true apostles will see Jesus directly because he alone commissions them for his purpose. These are the real ones with the power to operate in signs and wonders. Then what was Jesus saying that we should be connected to him as the branches are to the Vine?

First of all if we are interested in the person of Christ we should know what he was teaching on how to enter into the kingdom of heaven. The bible contains much of his teachings on how to become his people. So we need to put in his teachings into our minds and hearts. Then Jesus said, we have to be baptized into his Kingdom in his name. After this baptism in water, Jesus promised to baptize us again in the Holy Spirit by sending us his Holy Spirit to teach, guide and remind us of what he has taught us in the bible. The evidence that we have this Holy Spirit is we can speak in tongues and we can hear his voice. When will we receive the Holy Spirit? It is written in the book of Luke that whoever asks the father for the Holy Spirit, he will give unto them this good gift. It is then upon the receiving of the Holy Spirit that we can begin to have an intimate relationship with God. We need to ask for the baptism in the Holy Spirit which Jesus can give himself.

Luke 11:13New International Version (NIV)

13 If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!’

Matthew 3:11New International Version (NIV)

11 ‘I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.

Mark 1:8New International Version (NIV)

8 I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.’

Baptism of Christ. Jesus is baptized in the Jo...

Baptism of Christ. Jesus is baptized in the Jordan River by John. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Once we can hear, we must learn to obey and move with the Spirit as he guides us. The very first thing that the Spirit will lead is in the area of Sin and Repentance. Sin separates us from the Holy Spirit of God so he would not hear from us. It is essential that we get deliverance from such iniquities that hinders us from having a close relationship with God.  Jesus has already paid this price so we can enter into the presence of God. The deliverance of such Sin is the first step. Once we get delivered, he will convict us of the need to learn from various different ministries that he would put into our paths. We must not limit or restrict how an what God will put into our ways to learn of what he wants us to have. He will put spiritual wisdom into our spirit so we can get involved in his kingdom work. Deliverance from spiritual bondage and oppression is an essential step into intimacy with him. We no longer need to worship Sin and be obedient to its torment once we are in Christ. This step may take a few months to a few years depending on how fast you response to his conviction. It also depends on your willingness to give up the particular Sin in your life.

When we begin to hear from God, we have to respond. We have to turn towards the burning bush to investigate if it is of God, like in the days of Moses. The next step would be the availability of our time and resources to do his errands. God will prompt us to do some errands for him so that he can authenticate his voice in our lives. There is a price to pay for being obedient to his voice. It requires your time and your resources. He will instruct you to do small little things, like giving some money to someone, give a book, speak to someone, and call a friend, and so on. But have no fear; God does not call us to do things beyond our means. We will be uncomfortable in the beginning, as it requires us to come out of our comfort zone to be bold to do things to strangers, people whom you have no prior relationship with. Only when you respond and obey the voice then he would speak to you more and give you a word of wisdom to minister to the poor, needy, oppressed and depressed. The gift and intimacy will develop through our own conscious effort to exercise hearing from God by our actions.

Giving of material things and resources is easy, but giving a word of knowledge is not so, as it requires us to hear accurately and with confidence. The fear of speaking something foolish is a greater fear to overcome for a new believer. But if you would not do this, then God will not be able to advance our spiritual intimacy with him. If you want an intimate relationship with God, he will take you for your word and commence to send angels to prompt you.

John 10:27King James Version (KJV)

27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:

The Holy Family with God the Father and the Ho...

The Holy Family with God the Father and the Holy Spirit (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You will begin to feel things in your heart which you have never felt before. It will be like something which just drops into your spirit and you suddenly have an urge to do something for someone. Anything that is good comes from God; so there is no need to worry if you hear from the devil, as long as you address your prayers to God in Jesus’ name, Satan cannot intercept your messages. The name of Jesus is the gate to God in the heaven. This is an assurance from God, else no one can speak to God, we are given the password to address our prayers to God, and that Code name is Jesus, Yahushua. Jesus shared this name with God, his Father, because it was his Father’s own name.

John 17:11New International Version (NIV)

11 I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one.

If you have no intentions to hear from God then don’t pray or ask him, because when you ask him, he expects you to obey his advice. Else, he may never speak to you again, since you do not trust him to take his advice. Remember you are talking to the Almighty God, King of Kings and he has no time for fools.  There is any other advice I can give to confirm the word from the Lord other than by using two or three witnesses. That means we can ask for any confirmation by seeking two or three witnesses. These witnesses can be word from the bible, prophetic word from man of God, pastors sermon, information that comes from other people speeches, streets signs, emails, as long as it’s not from the same source, it is a witness. The witness does not need to be a human they could be facts or given words, even dreams.

2 Corinthians 13:1New International Version (NIV)

13 This will be my third visit to you. ‘Every matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’

You can never be intimate with God if you cannot hear from him. That means there is no communications between you and Jesus, so you cannot be intimate with him. Reading the bible will not cause you to be intimate with him, it will caused you to know more about him but it will never replace a close relationship with him through communicates. You prayed, God answered and he tells you to so something and you did it. Many don’t have any breakthroughs because they think they know the mind of God, so they go ahead to do something of their own righteousness just to please God. God is not interested in the things you would do for him; he is only interested in the things he commanded you to do on his behalf. If you are still interested in the things you want to do for him then he cannot develop a relationship with you because you are still in your self-righteousness.

Romans 10:3King James Version (KJV)

3 For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.

Romans 14:17New International Version (NIV)

17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit,

Philippians 1:10-11New International Version (NIV)

10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.

Detail - Glory of the New Born Christ in prese...

Detail – Glory of the New Born Christ in presence of God Father and the Holy Spirit (Annakirche, Vienna) Adam and Eva are represented bellow Jesus-Christ Ceiling painting made by Daniel Gran (1694-1757). Post-processing: perspective and fade correction. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In God contains all the wisdom of the world. He originally wanted to teach Adam about the godly wisdom but Adam would not listen to him instead he listened to the bone of his flesh, Eve, and proceeded to get this knowledge himself, thus he lost a great teacher. As God has all the wisdom of this world, he does not need any counsellor so he does not need to bless our desires and ideas but as he has plans to prosper us, we do need to follow him. How good it is to have the Almighty God as our adviser, so we do not need to worry and be concern about the way we do things as he can command legions of angels to guard us in all our ways when we follow him. He is better than all of the world’s richest mentor for he commands the insects, the wild animals, the natural storms, hurricanes, tsunamis, the waters and the seas, the rain and the invisibles elements to give us the support we need.

When we hear from him and obey his commands than we prosper. Yet, most people still do not learn this truth, they asked God to bless their plans and then when they get into troubles, they asked God to deliver them from the foolishness of their own plans. They get into the cycle of falling down and asking God for help. This shows that they have not learnt this truth. I would rather follow the plans of God so that my life will be smoother and more pleasant knowing that God is with me thus avoiding many sleepless nights caused by disobedience. But to follow God’s plan, we must be attuned to his ways, and be able to listen to him with intimacy and reverence. Yet, even though many people know and understand this truth, they have not been committed to take the time to polish their listening ears, so they do not hear perfectly and thus do not prosper holistically also. But they do expect God to answer their prayers immediately when something goes wrong, then the process of asking God for help never ends. This repeating of getting into troubles and needing deliverance is evidence of an un-renewed mind. They followed their own plans and thus do not submit to the perfect will of God so their plans failed; all because they could not hear from God and obey him.

Now why would God bless us? He wants to show the whole world a testimony of a man who listens and follows his commandments, decrees, and statues. For eyes have no seen, ears have not heard, what God will do for a man who follows him whole heartedly. Only when you have an intimate relationship with God by obeying him after you can hear from him, will you then mature into a great spiritual powerhouse for God, to be used according to his will. A sanctified vessel fit for honour. The Psalms 91 in the bible belongs to those who have an intimate relationship with God and the benefits are real. He is your support and strong high tower, and no one can come against you all the days of your life. Make him your real father, a father who is Almighty and invincible who can call upon anything to save you from your enemies. He is the kind of backing that any men would love to have but not many have his undivided attention because all have fallen short of his expectation. I testify to this truth, God is real and he can do anything to protect you from harm’s way. For he promises to tell his servants what event is to come and when it will come so that they will escape the disaster that will befall these places of wrath. Those who walked with God are blessed.

Psalm 91 King James Version (KJV)

91 He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

2 I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.

3 Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.

4 He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.

5 Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day;

6 Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.

7 A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.

8 Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.

9 Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation;

10 There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.

11 For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.

12 They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.

13 Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet.

14 Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name.

15 He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him.

16 With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/christianity-articles/how-to-have-an-intimate-relationship-with-christ-whom-you-cannot-see-7234131.html

About the Author

Numbers 33:33, Job 33:33, Ezekiel 33:33. Apostolic, prophetic Ministry, Dreams and Dreams Interpretation. Author of My Sheep Hear My Voice, God’s Gift to the Chinese People.


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Living in the shadow of Judas

Español: Beso de Judas.

Español: Beso de Judas (Judas Kiss) Image: Wikipedia

By Gerry Legister

When a person like Judas dies his character lives on in other individuals, who are portraying symptoms of those same characteristic traits, they are reborn all over again with similar deep rooted guile.

Jesus answered them, “I chose you, the Twelve, didn’t I? Yet one of you is a devil.” John 6:70

Don’t hesitate to flee when you see the evil shadow of someone sinister trying to cover you, when a tree cast its shadow over a tiny part of the ground, nothing good grows there. Shadow is a dark place cause by the absent of light, and if you live in the shadow of someone, you may follow their bad examples and hardly get notice for the good that you are doing.

Don’t live in the shadow of a brother or a sister, there achievements and their abilities belongs to them, but you are unique and no one can take your place. God has placed you on this earth for a reason, try to find out what are the cause and reason that you are here.

We properly know the story well enough to repeat it over and over to our children. It is a sad story, and one that we are all familiar with, and the expression is that a person who is called a Judas is not a nice person to know, for he sold his soul to the Devil.

Some people may have strong disagreement about the final eternal state of the person who was called Judas, one of the twelve apostle of Jesus, who notoriously betrayed his master with a sentimental kiss, his reward for doing so was a mere thirty pieces of silver, hardly enough to make deposit on a new house.

The reason sinners don’t come to Christ easily, it is because somewhere in the back of their minds there are nagging doubts about certain things that they see Christians are doing, which just doesn’t seemed right, some do their wrongs in clandestine corners.

Others are bolder with their notorious behaviour, and they will climb the professional stage, and make their act believable, by reinforcing it with pride of ethics and the legality of their position.

Many who ply their craft this way, see the church as a business for profiting off the world, and whoever gets in their way will get tread upon. This could be the person who has help trained and nurtured them, until they were able to stand in the assembly of those they could only have admired before, but sooner or later when an investigation is on the table, the fame makes them unable to resist the bait, and like the ruthless practices of some business operations, they are persuaded to crush anyone who gets in their way.

They have all accounts prepare for scrutiny, for the love of money is the root of all evil 1 timothy 6:10

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, are thirsty for position in society and in their career prospect, have wandered from the faith and betrayed their integrity, sold their family and friends for what they can get out of it.

Sometimes it’s not so much the money that they are looking for, but the sheer satisfaction of seeing an individual being destroyed and humiliated, this makes them feel important, and make others look on them as someone who has an interest in seeing things improve.

As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him. So Jesus told him, “What you are about to do, do quickly.” John 13:27

But the backlash is that they will pierced themselves with many grief’s later on down the road in life when they have been found out. Craving for the position of others that they were not called to serve in, but they will use extortion and start hiding behind money, and this makes the greedy bring ruin to their home.

The deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. Mark 4:19

The Judases of this century do not operate by careless leverage, they use indirect diversion, career demolition experts, financial backing of those whom they are serving, with carefully planned surprises. Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But deceitful are the kisses of an enemy.

For example none of the other disciples of Jesus knew what Judas had in his heart to do, they were not aware of the dark gutter into which he wanted to plunge Jesus, his mild tempter gave no clue, but his soul was in utter darkness. In comparison to Peter; who was walking in the light, being loud and brassy, but meant no harm to anyone, Judas was quiet and unassuming, nevertheless, he had found himself in a privilege position, and he was going to make use of his good fortune.

Most of the time the person you least suspected is the one with the jealous agenda.

False friends can show signs to make them appear genuine, they make every effort to be perfect in everything that they do, hardly putting a foot wrong, and you would only know that they are false, when you scrutinise their attitude towards certain things, they are armed with great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the very elect, they are trust worthy, reliable, would never knowingly let you down.

But beware of the wolf in sheep clothing, they will sell you out for position, prestige and money. Friends selling out friends for a handful of barley, what sorrow awaits them? For they follow in the footsteps of Cain, who killed his brother Able? And like Balaam, they deceive people for money. And like Korah, Dathan and Abiram, they will perish in their rebellion. Blows and wounds scrub away evil, and beatings purge the inmost being.

Some people will have ask the question, did Judas had a choice or was he predestined to do this evil deed? It’s not such a bad question when you think that there are people living today, who harbour those same type of behaviour as Judas did, we cannot say for certainty that we have seen the last of Judas, for he may yet rise again in the resurrection, but what we can agree upon, is that Judas was one of the chosen disciple of Jesus.

For many are invited, but few are chosen. Matthew 22:14

Many people are called to be disciples of Christ, but not all are chosen, and whiles they are called, they may not venture to believe in the deity of the Lord, they may just be kingdom admirers, with no real relationship with the Holy Ghost, for if you are filled with the Holy Spirit, you would want to behave in a way which demonstrate loyalty to the cause in which you are involved with.

The scripture points to the evidence that Judas never believe in Jesus and he may not have been convinced that Jesus was the messiah, But there are some of you who do not believe. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who it was that would betray Him.

The nature of Judas was easily read by Jesus, this foreknowledge of issues is no accident, and Jesus was conscious about what was going to happen to him, he was well informed about his betrayal by one of his own, his death and resurrection. And failing the sympathy for Judas, for many of us having this knowledge would only have led many into enmity.

The lack of faith by Judas speaks volumes, and the same holds true for many today who are living in the shadow of Judas. When you read the synoptic gospels, there is clear indication that Judas not only lacked faith in Christ, but he also had little or no personal relationship with Jesus. But those consistent with a good relationship with Jesus were always listed first.

The pairing of Mary and Judas creates a rhetoric of contrast, for they are both so very different.

The only brief dialogue documented between Jesus and Judas, involves Judas being rebuked by Jesus after his greedy remarks to Mary. When Judas accost Mary for wasting an expensive perfume on Jesus, it was out of his greed to steal he exposed his true feelings about his spiritual commitment. But Mays humble devotion is contrasted by Judas critical stinginess of insincere ambition.

Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.

But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.” He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.

We will be just like Judas if we fail to recognize that Jesus came into this world, to die for our sins and destroy the works of the devil, and only he alone can provide forgiveness for our sins.

So in the final summary, let us hear the conclusion about Judas, and be warned about close alliance with those characters. The Old Testament prophecy said.

Even my close friend, whom I trusted, he who shared my bread, has lifted up his heel against me” psalms 41:9

Judas was consumed with envy and greed to the point of betraying the trust and loyalty of Jesus, and his fellow disciples, as we have seen in John 12:5 Judas may have desired to follow Jesus simply because he saw the great crowds of people following him, and perhaps believed he could profit from the collections that are taken for the group. In addition to that, Judas he had entertained political ambitions.

He may have followed Jesus hoping to benefit from assumption that most people had at the time, believing the coming Messiah was going to overthrow Roman occupation and take on a position of ruling over the nation of Israel. But Judas betrayal was known to God, and it was planned before hand as the means by which Jesus would be killed.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/christianity-articles/living-in-the-shadow-of-judas-7206687.html

About the Author

I love creative writing, it is just a wonderful way of expressing myself. I have been writing from a tender age, and therefore it gives me a deep sense of satisfaction. To share my articles with others. Writing is a treasured passion inside of me that will never die. I hope one day I can say something that will help others to appreciate the gift of life. In a career spanning over 20 years in Pastoral work. Gerry has decided it is time to enhance his spiritual outlook on broader subjects, and has recently collaborated on a new spiritual manuscript with a friend, compiling and presenting a thorough research work on the book of Revelation.


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The Betrayer

English: "The Judas Kiss", (Mark 14:...

“The Judas Kiss”, (Mark 14:45) by Gustave Doré. Judas kisses Jesus in order to betray him to the guards. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Gerry Legister

The payment was made before Jesus was arrested, and the transaction was carried out during the time of the last supper. The Devil put a wicked desire into the heart of Judas the betrayer, the idea of how he could foolishly betray his master to the other side, and get some money for doing it. What was he going to do with that thirty pieces of silver?

Here was a man who had wander off the path into a muddy lane, where he began to slip backwards very quickly, that is what is known as backsliding, wandering away from truth into covetousness, and into unlawful deeds that would eventually bring his downfall.

Jesus was betrayed with the kiss of death

Judas goes away to the high priest and commit a treasonous crime, he gets himself entangled in the web of deceit. And while all this is treachery is taking place with Judas. Jesus and the other disciples are in the garden of Gethsemane, and being in agony Jesus is praying earnestly for the father to remove the task away, but of course the request is denied, and not long after Jesus finish praying, he could see torch light in the night making its way towards him, as they came nearer, he could recognize Judas immediately, that he was the betrayer who came with a salutation.

The moment that Jesus was betrayed by Judas, immediately the conspiracy gain momentum.  

The betrayer is a person whose action takes no account of the consequences their offenses will cost, to the lives of others. For their conscience is only geared up for their own self-gratification, and they are looking for what they can get most out of a situation. Judas was blinded not by the darkness of the night, but by the deterioration of his conceited soul.

For what will a man give in exchange for his soul? Mark 8:37

In your lifetime you may have come across individuals who had made promises to you, but then afterwards broke those same promise and then betray your secret to others, would you ever trust that person again? Even if they came back to you, pleading for mercy and forgiveness, would you be brave enough to trust that person again? And make them feel comfortable around your dinner table?

For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many grief’s. 1 Timothy 6:10

The love for money will make you betray your very best friends, just so that you can come out looking better than them. But at what cost to yourself? Greedy people bring quick ruin upon their lives, and they are easily taken in by bribes, and the tools they uses to get what they want, later becomes meaningless to them.

Jesus said to him, ‘Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss’? Luke22:48

So if riches increase, and most likely they will if you are hardworking and industrious, but the wisdom of sensible thinking is that, it is an unwise thing to put your heart upon riches, because wealth easily grow wings and fly away quickly.

Judas was dipping into the dish and taking out what he could for himself, I don’t think he really was interested in the message that Jesus was trying to convey to the other disciples. And Judas had any intention of going the distance, because all he could see was the thirty pieces of silver.

Which was the going price for a slave, he got paid for Jesus, just like a slave owner would get pay whenever they sold a person as merchandise. In the last super Judas was dipping his hand into the dish when Jesus spoke to him about the intentions that were clouding his mind, and he looked for the opportunity to mark the unenlightened moment of history.

What was on Judas mind?

Satan had entered Judas mind with dollar signs, so we could say that he wasn’t in his right mind, especially if a demon had entered into him, which was not there before, but let us think for a moment, his barriers must have been down in the first place for him to allow Satan to use him in the way that he did.

He worked up inside of his heart corrupt thoughts and he entertained them for a while before he carried them out. There was nothing good on the mind of Judas, he had words smoother than butter, but war was in his heart, and he betrayed Jesus with the kiss of death.

Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful. Proverbs 27:6

Keep in mind what the scripture said about Judas, and in what light he was placed, which suggest that the evil things that was on his mind, may have resembled the kind of trickery that the serpent used on Eve to get her to eat the forbidden fruit.

The serpent, like Judas, was a villain that came up from behind the dark screen, and none of the disciples had discern the spirit in which Judas was operating, there was nothing out of the ordinary that would lead them to suspect Judas of any deceitfulness, and why would they suspect the chief treasurer? But Jesus pinned down the motive of the betrayer around the last supper table.

There are some things that money cannot buy, one of them is salvation, and no amount of money can save a person in the moment of death, there is more to life than the pursuit of money. In reminiscent of the finest moments that Jesus spent with his disciples. Many years later, some of those disciples looked back over on that dark night in Gethsemane with tears in their eyes.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/christianity-articles/the-betrayer-7131684.html

About the Author

I love creative writing, it is just a wonderful way of expressing myself. I have been writing from a tender age, and therefore it gives me a deep sense of satisfaction. To share my articles with others. Writing is a treasured passion inside of me that will never die. I hope one day I can say something that will help others to appreciate the gift of life. In a career spanning over 20 years in Pastoral work. Gerry has decided it is time to enhance his spiritual outlook on broader subjects, and has recently collaborated on a new spiritual manuscript with a friend, compiling and presenting a thorough research work on the book of Revelation.


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The Dislike of Catholicism: Understanding the Holy in the Catholic Tradition – 6 – Philosophical and historical reasons

Roman Catholic by digitalexander via Flickr

Roman Catholic by digitalexander via Flickr

Philosophical Reasons

Philosophy is an ancient pursuit that has branched out in different, sometimes conflicting directions. So it’s difficult to write just a few lines about why people dislike Catholicism from a philosophical perspective.

Having said that, a broad distinction can be made between two types of philosophers:

  • those who rely solely on conceptual thinking, or believe they do
  • those who believe that reason should follow divine revelation or that reason, itself, may be inspired by God

For convenience I’ll call the first type A philosophers. These thinkers often seem entangled in a web of concepts, perhaps never learning anything beyond the range of their own abstract thought processes. They take great pains to define certain concepts – e.g. love, meaning, being, knowing, caring, commitment – and then say why their definitions and elaborations are best.

Type A philosophers may address the importance of experience, but their experience is mostly gained from the five senses. Type A individuals may or may not believe in God. Any kind of unconventional experience informing their ideas tends to fall within a limited form of the numinous (say, through drug use).

The latter group, type B, believe that thought may be informed not just by the senses but also by religious or numinous experience. Type B believe in some notion of God, a higher power or a divinity within. Their beliefs may be pantheistic or theistic. Even so, their ideas and convictions are often colored by their interpretation of a particular numinous experience (or series of experiences).¹

Concerning the dislike of Catholicism, if neither A nor B had experienced the numinous within a Catholic setting, they’d have no direct way of understanding Catholic spirituality. On the other hand, many Catholics do consciously sense the Holy Spirit upon entering a Church and through the sacraments (such as the Eucharist), so they have reason to believe in Catholic spirituality.

Catholics may not agree with all aspects of Catholic teachings at this point in history, but they do believe in the core elements. After all, the true elements of Catholicism, if they really are true, must be holy and everlasting. And any spiritually sensitive person should pick up on that, provided they meet with the opportunity.

English: Catholic church in Tehran

Catholic church in Tehran (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Historical Reasons

Finally, there are historical factors contributing to the dislike of Catholicism.

Sometimes when I mention words like Mass, Church or Eucharist, those disliking Catholicism instantly point out the dark aspects of Catholic history. To outline a few:

  • the Crusades and the murders, robberies and rapes committed during them, crimes that had nothing to do with any supposed holy war
  • the Inquisitions and the cruel torture and murder of so-called witches, which some say had more to do with the Church seizing property for economic gain
  • greedy, reprobate Popes
  • the silly trial, condemnation and house arrest of Galileo when he saw four moons around Jupiter with his telescope and advocated a heliocentric cosmology

Clearly the Catholic Church has made more than a few dark blunders throughout history. While it’s important to acknowledge past atrocities of any social or religious institution, it’s also important to recognize how things have changed for the better.

Psychohistory

History deals mostly with recorded events. Another side of the coin is psychohistory. Psychohistory is an odd sounding discipline. Rest assured it has nothing to do with Norman Bates or disturbed individuals and their violent rampages. Instead, psychohistory combines psychology and history in suggesting that past generations influence contemporary individuals through a mix of genetic and socio-historical factors. In other words, psychohistory does not assume we are born into this world with a blank slate.

From the perspective of psychohistory, it’s noteworthy that many individuals come from non-Catholic families. And these families might go back for centuries. When family roots are deeply entrenched in a given tradition, it’s more difficult to adopt a new set of beliefs. Not impossible, of course. But difficult. So for psychohistorians, some individuals dislike Catholicism because they’re biased by their non-Catholic genealogy. They may see themselves as open-minded, but longstanding biases, stemming back generations, close them off from exploring Catholicism in the 21st century.

Church of Sándorháza (Sandra)

Church of Sándorháza (Sandra) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Final Word

Some self-perceived freethinkers maybe aren’t quite as hip, liberated and progressive as they seem to be. Many shut down when it comes to talking about Catholicism in a mature, adult way. They’ve got it all figured out. At least, they think so.

But to be truly open-minded, we have to consider things we don’t like. For me, converting to Catholicism was about coming full-circle and getting past my preconceived beliefs about intellectual and spiritual freedom.

I realize these articles only scratch the surface. People dislike Catholicism for many reasons. And this series only covers a handful of those reasons. I had little interest in covering many of the known objections to Catholicism. A quick web search will reveal several non-Catholic sites opposing Catholicism. Instead of regurgitating all the known objections, I wanted a fresh approach. One that came from my own personal involvement within this, at times, irritating but also magnificent spiritual tradition.

¹ For instance, some Christians in the first century believed that Jesus would return in their lifetimes. For them, the end of the world was near.

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Copyright © Michael Clark, 2014


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The Dislike of Catholicism: Understanding the Holy in the Catholic Tradition – 3 – Theological reasons

Soufrière Catholic Church

Soufrière Catholic Church (Photo credit: waywuwei)

Theological reasons

Sociologists and philosophers, alike, say that Catholicism creates and legitimizes “truth claims.” The idea of a truth claim provides a good way to talk about beliefs without necessarily advocating or dismissing them.

Most non-Catholics will say that Catholic truth claims are not eternal but, rather, culturally and politically motivated—that is, relative truths. And some non-Catholics believe that all Catholic teachings are Satanic. These people often describe the Church as “The Whore of Babylon” or use some other shocking and alarmist, not to mention sexist, epithet.

Infallibility

The idea of Papal infallibility is probably one of the biggest reasons why people dislike Catholicism. But informed Catholics realize that only two Catholic truth claims are deemed infallible. Most others are less authoritative, and merely disseminated as general guidelines for good moral behavior. Many critics of Catholicism are unaware that not all Catholic teachings are said to be eternal, unchangeable truths.

Catholic theologians say the Church’s teachings have various levels of certainty. And Papal infallibility only applies to these two dogmas:

1 – The Blessed Virgin Mary’s sinless birth (Dogma of the Immaculate Conception)

2 – Her bodily assumption into heaven (Dogma of The Assumption)

All other Catholic teachings are not infallible.¹ So it’s incorrect believe that all Catholic teachings are infallible when they’re not. True, some Catholics say that infallibility includes all of the Church’s teachings. But I believe these people are misguided. And thankfully, they represent a vocal minority that the majority of sober theologians, Catholic or not, would readily dismiss.

Emblem of the Papacy

Emblem of the Papacy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Papal Authority

For some non-Catholics, even two (allegedly) infallible declarations are good enough reason to dislike Catholicism. From their perspective, Popes are mere pretenders to the throne of truth. So these critics don’t believe in any kind of Papal infallibility, whatsoever. And the fact that only two dogmas are deemed infallible makes no difference. These people simply want none of it.

Christianity as a Stereotype

Another theological reason people dislike Catholicism is based on a misunderstanding and, arguably, unclear thinking.

Many use “Christianity” as a blanket term for all types of Churches, organizations and individuals calling themselves Christian. If I say “I’m a Catholic,” sometimes it’s like waving a red flag in front of people who dislike Evangelicals, Fundamentalists and Televangelists, and who don’t know the difference among different types of Christians. It’s just one big amorphous dislike for all things Christian.

However, differences among Christian denominations (and even among individual believers within each denomination) are significant. In Ireland, for instance, Protestant and Catholic youth gangs engage in violent clashes. And as CNN’s Anderson Cooper has pointed out, some Christians align themselves with the Green movement while others are out to make greenbacks.

Falling Short of the Ideal

People also dislike Catholicism because clergy and churchgoers inevitably fall short of the Christian ideal. Some Catholics criticize and even denounce one another. Mean-minded gossip and talking behind another’s back is not unheard of in Catholicism, even though Jesus teaches us to love one another. As in most spheres of humanity, pettiness and hypocrisy are alive and unwell in Catholicism. Not surprisingly, this can be a huge turn off for non-Catholics.

Counter protesters to the Westboro Baptist Chu...

Counter protesters to the Westboro Baptist Church demonstration at the United Nations headquarters in New York City, on the day of Pope Benedict’s address to the UN General Assembly. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Private and Public

With a little probing sometimes it becomes clear that a given Catholic’s private beliefs differ from his or her apparent beliefs as publicly expressed at the Mass. After all, human beings are social animals who normally don’t want to rock the boat. But arguably just as important, most Catholics believe in the necessity of liturgical structure. Structure affords unity and continuity amidst inevitable points of disagreement. So Catholics concealing their own private beliefs are not necessarily being hypocritical at the Mass. They might be respecting the need for structure while perhaps secretly believing in (and doing) their own thing—e.g. engaging in homosexual, premarital or extramarital sex, or practicing birth control.

On the need for structure, learned Catholics point out that the very first Christian disciples disagreed on certain issues (Acts 15: 1-21; Galatians 2: 11-14; 1 Corinthians 3: 1-23). So there’s a need, they believe, to clearly outline a set of teachings to carry the Catholic ship of salvation through all storms of disagreement which likely will arise in centuries to come.

English: Pope Leo XIII guides the ship of God'...

Pope Leo XIII guides the ship of God’s Church. Painting in shrine Kevelaer from Friedrich Stummel (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Judging a Book by its Cover

Another reason people dislike Catholicism has to do with their perception of being spiritually “alive.” Some non-Catholics say the Catholic Mass looks and feels dead or depressing. To them, Catholic parishioners behave like robots or maybe zombies; they’re victims of a Roman cult, just going through the motions, not really thinking nor believing in what they profess during the Mass.

With few outward signs of ecstatic joy or other grandiose emotional displays, critics wrongly assume that Catholics are spiritually dry and unhappy. These critics have no appreciation for the Catholic possibility of experiencing a high and delicate form of interior sweetness, healing and joy.

By way of contrast, Catholics, especially the more contemplative, may see non-Catholic displays of easily recognizable joy as commendable and perhaps even of Christ. But if possible, these manifestations of the spirit should be subjected to a process of discernment. Generally speaking, discernment aims to determine if spiritual experiences are from God or some other source. More specifically, discernment also tries to distinguish among different spiritual qualities, textures or environments, if you will, to find out if they differ from the sacramental graces conveyed through the Catholic sacraments.

Catholics are instructed to respect most other religions. The late Mother Teresa of Calcutta once said she “loved” all religions but was “in love” with her own religion. Along these lines, the existence of worldwide Catholic missions speaks volumes. Why would Catholic missions exist if Catholics did not have some reason to believe that their religion was best? And even though they may look dead on the outside, many Catholics base that belief on how their religion makes them feel–on the inside.

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)

Jesus as another teacher

Another theological reason some non-Catholics dislike Catholicism is that Christ is viewed as just another teacher. For these people, Christ is no different from the Buddha or the Hindu god Krishna. They overlook (or don’t know about) the Buddhist denial of a willful God, along with Krishna’s advocacy of physical killing in the Bhagavad Gita.

The view that Jesus is just another teacher often comes from contemporary gnostics, or those interested in gnosticism. These folks cherry pick from various traditions, believing they perceive some higher code or deeper order among them. For them it’s a mistake to insist on Jesus’ uniqueness. And the structured Catholic liturgy just gets in the way of supposedly genuine, gnostic spiritual experience.

In response, the Vatican claims to recognize any truths or partial truths in non-Christian teachings but firmly disagrees with the belief that Buddha or Krishna, for example, are equal to Christ. It’s as simple as that. And it’s doubtful that any politically correct, sugar-coated interfaith dialogue will lessen this firm point of disagreement. From a Catholic standpoint, it’s possible that some non-Catholic critics have yet to reach a point in their spiritual formation to fully appreciate the heavenly body of Christ as conveyed through the sacraments.

Intercession of Charles Borromeo supported by ...

Intercession of Charles Borromeo supported by the Virgin Mary (1714), the Karlskirche, Vienna. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mary and the Saints

Another theological reason people dislike Catholicism relates to Saint Mary and the remaining Catholic saints. Misinformed Christians often dispute the supposed Catholic ‘paganism’ of praying for the saints’ intercession.

As outlined at Earthpages.ca:

Some Protestants and Fundamentalists believe that Catholics have got it wrong because, so they assert, Jesus Christ is the only mediator between God and Man. But, quite ironically, many of these very same people freely ask their friends and associates to “pray for them,” which clearly is a request for intercession.

Catholics often reply to this Protestant and Fundamentalist charge by asking, “If we can ask souls on Earth to pray for us, why not souls in heaven?”²

Catholicism clearly outlines its stand on intercession. Asking the saints to pray for us does not elevate them to the status of gods and goddesses, as so many non-Catholic detractors would have it. This is just theologically wrong and an entirely groundless reason for disliking Catholicism.

¹ Dr. Ludwig Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, Rockford, Illinois: 1974 [1960], Tan Books, pp. 8-10 » See online discussion at socrates58.blogspot.com

² http://earthpages.wordpress.com/2014/08/11/virgin-mary-the-blessed

Copyright © Michael W. Clark, 2014

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The Dislike of Catholicism: Understanding the Holy in the Catholic Tradition

Jesus le nazaréen by *Katch* via Flickr

Introduction

If you ask someone on the street about the difference between a Catholic, Protestant, Evangelical and Fundamentalist Christian, chances are they’ll smile and admit ignorance.

Back in the 1990s, a fellow student of Religious Studies raised an interesting point in one of those mandatory seminars that everyone attends but secretly wishes they didn’t have to. He said humanities researchers should state their personal biases at the outset of a study instead of presuming they’re objective observers.

These days, the whole idea of objectivity is under fire, and rightly so. Any academic or scientist worth their salt will admit we can’t escape bias. The sciences have emerging concepts like “confirmation bias” and “experimenter bias.” And spiritual persons believing they’ve had a divine revelation should step back and ask if their apparent truth belongs within a given context. Is their revelation merely one that is appropriate for a given moment? It may be powerful. But it is universal? The highest?

This much said, and in keeping with my classmate’s prescription, I’ll tell a bit about myself to illustrate where I’m coming from.

English: Catholic church in Tehran

Catholic church in Tehran (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Before converting to Catholicism in 2001, I had little interest in organized religion. Childhood summers were spent enjoying the natural environment of Georgian Bay’s eastern shores. In winters I downhill skied at a resort overlooking the south side of Georgian Bay. So, in a sense, the great outdoors was my religion.

As for religion, itself, I was baptized in the Anglican church but never attended regular services. Weddings and funerals, that was it.

Like many kids, I asked the big questions. Why are we here? What is infinity? I never really got any answers but I kept on asking.

Eventually, I went to university and had summer jobs to help defray the cost. By that time I’d gravitated toward Freud, Jung and sociologists like G. H. Mead and Emile Durkheim. Later, I studied East-West philosophy, New Age and non-Christian religions. In 2001 I became a bona fide Catholic. But a free thinking one.

Since then I’ve met many critics of Catholicism. Instead of ignoring their views, I’ve talked with those honest enough to say what they really think. And from this I have a pretty good picture as to why some folks dislike Catholicism.

yesterdays_6

High Rock Island, Georgian Bay

Before writing this article, I told a Catholic friend about my plan to do so. She suggested I call it “Why people like Catholicism.” But I feel that dislike is the better term, because I’m mostly responding to the critics. And I’m not trying to put a positive spin on the all-too-human side of the Church. God knows, there are many issues in the Catholic Church.

Despite its real and pressing problems, I continue to experience the holy within the Church. And it’s not just because I was brainwashed as a kid. As mentioned, I wasn’t even a Catholic, and as a Protestant, I never went to church. I skied. I swam. But church? Nahhh.

Copyright © Michael Clark, 2014.

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Am I Called Or Am I Crazy?

English: Motorola L71 (China Mobile customised...

Motorola L71 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By George Fishburne, Jr.

I remember when I purchased my very first mobile phone in the early 1980’s. It was a beige colored phone and it resembled a block of wood. It must have weighed at least a couple of pounds and its big ear and mouthpieces could be spotted from several blocks away.

Whenever you touched one of the keypads, they illuminated with lime green fluorescence for all to see. I was forced to carry it in my hand, because it could not fit in any of my pockets. Occasionally, I would check my phone to see if it still worked because there were periods when no calls came through. In those moments, I would use my home phone to call my mobile phone and then when my mobile phone rang, I would answer it.

There is an epidemic in the Body of Christ’s pre-ministerial ranks of those who say that God called them, when in fact they called themselves. My pastor often reminded us as young ministers ‘if you just pick up the gospel ministry call on your own, people, problems, and pressures will make you put it back down.’ Throughout scripture, we find evidence that before God calls men and women to a work, they are first called away from a work.

When Matthew (known as Levi) was invited into Jesus’ fold, he was taken away from his lucrative and disreputable enterprise as a tax collector. Luke was often referred to as ‘the beloved physician’ to denote both his reputation and soon to be former occupation. Peter and Andrew were summoned from their prosperous fishing business in order to join the band of Christ. Essentially, you will know its God because God always seems to seek out those who are already busy doing something! God then creatively channels their energy, gifts, and commitment to a stream rolling towards God’s perfect will for their lives.

Those who call themselves run the very real risk of being left to fend for them-selves in times of crisis and calamity.

I can recall after wrestling for months with what I believed was God’s will for my life and sharing that jewel of information with my pastor, Bishop Victor T. Curry, he had nothing to say about it.

After he finally and publicly acknowledged my call, I asked him one day, why he had made me wait so long. He responded, ‘Because God always calls us first to preparation.’ During that waiting period, God was merely equipping me with the tools of patience and integrity, tools that must join forces with the call in order to fortify that very call.

Those who are called into ministry should cherish and make the most of those periods of preparation, allowing them to become thoroughly equipped by the Master. They are then doubly prepared to enter the ministry and mission field God has destined just for them.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/christianity-articles/am-i-called-or-am-i-crazy-7060925.html

About the Author

Elder George Fishburne, Jr. (www.georgefishburne.com) is the Senior Consultant of A Higher Calling Consultants and the Managing Editor of The Write Stuff, a writing and communications company which offers an array of text composition and editing services. His talents include ghost writing, resume & cover letter creation, website text content developement and an array of other literary services.

He is also the former Chief Operating Officer of the Elizabeth Baptist Church of Atlanta, Georgia and is the author of ‘A Higher Calling: Serving God, His Leaders and His People with Excellence’ and the accompanying guide and workbook.

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