My Takes

Just my humble opinion…

Archive for the tag “Bible”

Hell! It Can’t Be Real! Or Is It?

I have been thinking a lot about Hell lately. You know the Hell your parents and your church warns you about.  The place where bad people go to burn forever.  With the horned devil perched on his seat while he pokes sinners who dare to try to escape his fiery pit.  Try as I may, I just cannot fathom something so unimaginable.  (As a little boy, I would look at the big painting on the wall of my aunt’s house of Satan sitting with a harpoon and watching as tormented souls writhed and burn in his fire.  For some reason, I was always mesmerized by this painting, even as a kid).

Pardon me if you perceive that I am venturing out on the edge of blasphemy here.  It’s just your perception, I am a proud believer in God.  Now this Hell thing is what confuses me.  God Is Love, the ultimate unselfish lover whose love and forgiveness is bottomless.  I love my kids to no ends but that pales in comparison to the love that God has for his children.  And we are all his children, sinners and…never mind, there’s no ‘and’, we are all sinners.  There is nothing that my children could possibly do to make me sentence them to a life time in a burning pit of fire, in fact, there’s nothing anyone could do that would get me to wreak such a punishment on them.  God gave me that kind of Love.  If my puny love could transcends whatever wrong was done to me, how could his much greater love allow for any of his children to suffer this way? Yes, they broke a commandment and did not repent but does stealing a goat equate to an eternity in burning flames?   The funny guy in me is imagining a conversation between two burning souls:  Soul #1: So what are you in here for? Soul #2: Oh for murder, you?  Soul #1: I made a graven image.  Soul #2:  What the H E double hockey stick is that??

Maybe I am missing a big chunk of the picture and someone with a deeper understanding of the Bible needs to bring me up to speed or maybe it’s just my cynicism.  See my last blog here.  So, is Hell for real?  Would God really allow his children to suffer in anguish and torment while he feeds his other kids milk and honey as they walk the golden streets of Heaven?  I have to say no.  But then again,

That’s just My Take.  If I’m wrong, I pray God will forgive my ignorance and save me from the pits of Hell.

 

 

Hey, Look Who Showed Up To Church!

English: St Michael's Church, Llanvihangel Pon...

English: St Michael’s Church, Llanvihangel Pontymoel St Michael’s Church at Llanvihangel Pontymoel. Services are held here on two Sundays each month, three if a month includes five Sundays. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I hate missing church.  But I do.  We all do. In a perfect world, nothing we do should supersede God but we still let our personal agendas interfere with HIS schedule. So yes, there are times when I miss church to attend personal and pressing matters.  Don’t you?  Now don’t you hate when there’s that one Sunday you just cannot get your worshiping mojo on?   You just don’t feel it.  Even playing some religious music is not doing it.  Going to church is perhaps the least thing you feel like doing and you would stay at home but you have missed the last two Sundays and the regulars, including the pastor would surely notice your extended absence.  At least you think they would.   So off to church you go.  Decision made based solely on not wanting to let your brothers and sisters down rather than a motivation to give praises to God from whom all blessings come.

Now don’t feel bad. We are humans and I am sure that even our pastors have days where they feel like staying in bed.  The thing is, it’s not how you go, it’s that you go.  People have wandered into church quite by chance and found Christ.   The times when I have dragged my butt out the door, I have actually had the best worshiping experiences.

If you have taken a more than a few Sundays off, don’t feel bad and give up altogether.  Go back next Sunday.  Or the next.  No one will judge you.  At least they shouldn’t.

My Take.

 

Psst, I Agree With Victoria Osteen

A while back, the wife of renowned televangelist Joel Osteen made headlines when she made the following comments,  “When we obey God, we’re not doing it for God…we’re doing it for ourself. Because God takes pleasure when we’re happy. Do good ’cause God wants you to be happy. When you come to church, when you worship Him, you’re not doing it for God, really. You’re doing it for yourself because that’s what makes God happy.”  This set off a maelstrom of criticisms from Christians who were dismayed over these words.  Some church leaders and pastors posted the incriminating video on Facebook with various unflattering captions.  I read a few but try as I may, I just could not see what the issue was. Maybe I need to be prayed for because, heaven forbid, not only did I not see a problem with what she said, I actually saw the point she was trying to make.

As selfish as it sounds, Victoria Osteen is right, we really are worshiping God to ensure our own happiness.  The Psalmist sings that ‘Trust and obey to be happy in Jesus.”  We sing it in our churches without ever questioning the merit of it.  So why now?  We try to bring people to Christ by telling them it’s the way to their happiness.  We promise the sad and depressed that their lives will be happier and more fulfilling if they find and follow Jesus.  Isn’t that what our Christianity is based on?  We never start by telling the non-believers that they should worship God because he needs it.  Or that he deserves it.  No, we tell them how much their lives would be enriched by knowing Christ.  Your neighbour complains to you how miserable her life is and you go, “Maybe you should come to church with me.  It might make you feel better.”  Isn’t that exactly what Victoria said?

So in a nutshell, we are not exactly doing it for God since his existence does not hinge on whether we worship him or not.  We are doing it for ourselves.  For our continual happiness and existence. To say it doesn’t make him happy when we do worship him is denying a fact.  When he’s happy with us, we reap the harvest.  We find happiness that comes from him. Therefore, we really can’t deny the fact that we are indeed doing it for ourselves.

Victoria’s wording may have left a bit to be desired but the message is not entirely lost.  It’s funny that even though we all fall under the umbrella of Christianity, we still can’t agree on what and who God is. and what he wants of us.  We have our own ideas and opinions, I do too, and that’s why this is just…

 

My Take.

 

 

Tuesday’s Teaching: Money Is Not The Root Of All Evil

We have all heard the saying, “Money is the root of all evil”. Well do you know that it is not?  This saying is actually of biblical origin and in its entirety reads,  “The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (I Timothy 6:10).  Money itself is not evil but our love for it causes us to do evil, like kill, hurt and steal, even from those we love.  It would be more worthwhile to say the heart is the root of all evil.

And that’s not just My Take.

Jesus Sightings

Jesus on toast

Jesus on toast (Photo credit: topicagnostic)

Jesus seems to have a habit of popping up in the most unlikely of places.  On toasts, furniture, fabric and clouds.  Clouds I could see as the Bible said he will be coming out of the clouds but it never mentioned that we will see him on the food we eat.  The latest in Jesus sightings is a by a woman from New Mexico who is alleged to have seen Jesus on her toes.  I’ll give you a second to laugh.

Ok, the joke’s over.  This woman claimed that Jesus showed up on her toe after she bruised it and got her boyfriend to rubbed some dirt on it.  Well not just any dirt, dirt from a Catholic pilgrimage shrine.   Well now it all makes sense.  Should have read that sooner.   Pilgrimage shrine, holy dirt…that’s a recipe right there for a holistic sighting. There’s no word yet on if she intends to sell her bruised digit on Ebay as did her predecessors.

As a kid staring up at the clouds and imagining them to be the shapes of various animals, even at that young age, I was not that gullible to run off and tell my parents, “Mom! Mom! Come quick!  There’s a lion chasing a sheep! Look up mom, in the clouds!”  Maybe it was because I wasn’t on cheap drugs.

My Take, lay off the mind-altering stuff.

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If faith without works is dead, how about works without faith?

misfortune

Many of us believe that all we need to do is believe in God and study the bible and this should be good enough to make us  candidates for Heavenly rewards.  What we ignore is the part of the Bible that states  ‘Faith without works is dead.’   To me, that means that I can believe until I’m blue in the face but if I do nothing about it, then my faith is useless.   Dead.  Which makes sense.  Why it makes sense?  Well with genuine faith and belief in Him comes the need to be like Him.  If we want to be like him then we have to exhibit good works.

Now if my faith is dead because I have no works to back it up,  how about if I do good works BUT I have no faith and/or belief in God?  I am a good person, right?  My works show that I am, so where do I stand?  That’s a good one.  One that we hear often.   I think that indeed if I go out and do good deeds, without a doubt, I am a good person.  Not Godly, but good.  So don’t I get some sort of reward for doing good? Maybe a free pass to Heaven?  Well consider this, you have a son who you love very much.  You give him whatever he wants and treat him as good as any kid would want to be treated.   Unfortunately, your son does not acknowledge you or love you.  He couldn’t care if you live or die.  But on the flip side, he is great doing his chores and homework.  He is otherwise a good boy.  Would you be satisfied?  Would his works be good enough to make you ignore the fact that he couldn’t care less about you?

My take.   And you, keep up the good work.

 

Goals and Resolutions

I gave up on resolutions a few years ago.  I used to make them like they were a batch of cookies.  Made so many that by January 2nd, I would forget what I was supposed to do or not do.  By March, I would forget them all.  They were fun to make but a pain in the butt to keep.

Read the Bible daily, exercise more, eat better, don’t listen to gossip, and that’s for one year.  Like I said, I never got too far from home plate.  Now I set goals instead of resolutions.  What’s the difference?  Well by setting goals, I can afford the odd stumble or even a fall or two.  As long as I keep my goal in sight and keep striving for it, then I’m ok.  I don’t beat myself up as much as I would do for a broken resolution.

Now some of you might say, ‘But aren’t they both one and the same?’ Not really.  You see, at least in my interpretation, a resolution is a formal intent or a will to do something.  A goal is basically the result you hope to attain.  So instead of making a bunch of hard-to-keep resolutions, I can now make a goal that could maybe envelope them.  A goal to maintain a specific weight would mean exercising and eating right but will also leave room for little hiccups like a day off from exercising or an evening pigging out on pizza, without the guilt.   Get where I’m coming from?

It reminds me of a runner in a marathon.  He falls and hurt himself but he gets up and heads for the finish line.   When he crosses, it would not matter how many spills he had or how many times he walked.  What matters is that he crossed that line.

Whether you made resolutions or goals for the new year, make them realistic and don’t go too overboard.  I have a friend that would always have these big and drastic resolutions.  He once said he was quitting coffee altogether.  “Buddy, why don’t you just cut back your daily consumption instead?”  I said to him.  He didn’t listen and no, he didn’t quit drinking coffee…well maybe for a couple of days.

So whether you are setting goals or making resolutions, I hope they are/were realistic.  Don’t be too drastic as I don’t think any of us could change who we are in one year.  I know, I have tried.

Happy New Year to you and yours!

Casting the first stone

Huey and Riley stuck in a Mexican standoff.

A Mexican standoff. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone.”   We all know this Biblical saying.  But imagine what a boring world it would be if we subscribe to it.   None of us are without sin, even if we do not kill, we may lie.    Sin is sin, isn’t it?   if I am to judge my kleptomaniac neighbor, he also has the right to judge me, so  what we have here ladies and gentlemen, is a Mexican standoff.  No stones will be cast today.  You may now proceed to your homes.

In this day and age, casting the first stone is a luxury not readily affordable.  There is a race to get to that first stone and prizes are awarded.  Well at least so it seems.  Everyone’s fingers are pointed at everyone else but themselves.  We see the guy creeping on his wife but our own spousal abuse is overlooked.  As long as we are not cheating, it’s all good.  Sin that is highly visible takes precedent over sin that is behind closed doors and that makes it easier for the closeted sinner to cast the first stone.

Isn’t it funny that casting that first stone is almost the same as being the first one with the correct answer?  We all want to be the one who outed the sinner.  ‘I caught him red-handed’ is a triumphant cry, worthy of a trophy but our hands stay in our pockets for fear that they too might be seen to be red.

So why is it so much easier to cast the first stone even if we do not fit the criteria of a qualified stone caster?  Why is it easier to ignore our own failures while pointing out those in others?  Is it even possible for us to first look at ourselves before we look at others?  I fear not.

I don’t know how to pray!

When my then wife-to-be said “I don’t know how to pray” in the early stages of our relationship, I was taken aback.  I had asked her to say a pray for a reason I cannot remember and that was her response.  I could not fathom how someone so smart  could not say a simple pray.

I am from a staunch Catholic background so you could say I was born praying.  Everyone of my friends prayed.  Whether they meant it or not was a whole new different thing but they sure knew how to talk to the Big Guy.  This fooled me into thinking that everyone knew how to pray.

If you are one of those unfortunate ones who find it difficult to offer up prayers to GOD, just think of him as one man rolled into three of the most influential people in your life.  Your parent, your teacher and your doctor. (I am not sure how important any of them are to you but we’ll go with them as they are for most people.)

As your parent, tell him how much you love him and how you feel. Be honest, your parents know you and most of the time, know what’s on your mind before you tell them.  They wait for you to come to them.  So open up and feel free to cry on their shoulders. It’s what parents are for.

As your doctor, tell him what symptoms you are experiencing.  How would you like him to address your ailment? Whatever you tell your doctor is confidential so be candid. He can’t help you if you are holding something back. Let him know how you feel, what bothers you.

A teacher is one who guides and shapes our path in life.  As your teacher, study your textbook, (The Bible) and get ready to discuss with him.  Go to him with questions.  You may not understand everything but he does. It is his book so ask him what he meant by this or that.

My wife is now a Christian and prays publicly and often.  And to think, I questioned our relationship when I found out she didn’t know how to pray.

At World’s End

English: Sign for Family Radio's prediction of...

Just when I thought I had read and heard all the ‘end of world’ predictions, yet another ‘expert’ has made a bold prediction as to when earth will meet its demise. He is a university professor no less. Which makes is forecast all the more credible. (insert sarcasm).

From the Mayans to the half crazed nut Harold Camping who keeps changing his predictions daily, we are constantly bombarded with doomsday predictions by those who lives are so empty that they spend time trying to decipher a code that has been decoded eons ago.  The solution is in the Bible for all the read.  NO ONE KNOWS THE TIME NOR THE HOUR WHEN THE SON OF MAN SHALL COME.  Sounds like plain English to me and needs to translation.  That alone is all one needs to know and not buy into the hogwash.

Now it begs the question, why the are we so consumed with this doomsday? For some of us, our world could be ending as I write, in the next day, month, year or whenever.  For others, it could come while they are engaged in their daily activities, whatever they are.  Either way, we should not fret ourselves because  bluntly, it’s really none of our business when the world will end.  We can do squat about it so who really cares? We should make the most of each and every day and live it as though it will end today. (To a degree that is. Don’t get carried away now).

Saying this, I have decided to jump into the fray.  Toss my hat in the ring so to speak. I am making a prediction that the world will end when we least expect it.  And I am sticking to that. In the meantime, I’ll assume the pray position and thank HIM for allowing me another day to use at my leisure.  Like making dumb and pointless doomsday predictions.

Just my take.

http://ca.news.yahoo.com/forget-mayan-2012-prediction-expert-says-world-ends-091007928.html

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