Among all of the various actions, descriptions and procedures I know nothing about, computers are the most complex I have ever encountered and my greatest fear is the fact thhat they seem to be getting more and more complicated by the hour. I had that fact confirmed - in spades, yesterday.
As you know, my birthday is fast approaching and I thought I might have some fun, sending birthday cards to 80 or more of my "closest" friends, confessing it was not my birthday then, but hoping they might check in on the Internet site I recorded and - as a "gift" to me, send me their impressions of the talk they would hear - offered by a dynamic speaker by the name of John Lynch on the subject of Grace, God's grace. The joke was on me. According to those who have responded, they could not use the link I had tried to relay. So, the option is still open and I still would like to hear from you, commenting on Lynch's talk. I guess I could call it a sermon, I would prefer to call it - a talk. Here you go:
He is going to talk about the problems that many have with the sermons, the Christian teachings they hear more about these days, but more importantly, he graphically describes what can happen to the new believer in the hands of far too many teachers of the Law. I hope you will listen and I hope you will relay your thoughts. I find it is amazing as the basis of his message is the same as I received some 35+ years ago when I happened upon a pocket book, written by a delightful Englishman I had the pleasure of meeting many years ago. He has since gone on to glory and he will be one of the first people I want to meet when my days on earth have passed.
The name of Major W. Ian Thomas' first book, the one that turned my life around is, "The Saving Life of Christ" and Zondervan combines it with another of Thomas's books, "The Mystery of Godliness", in what they term as Clarion Classics.
Christianity, Thomas insists, is more than a religion, or an ethic or the dream of a sentimental idealist. It is more than your hopes or fears of tomorrow. Jesus Christ is the very content of the Christian faith. "Faithful is He who calls you and He will bring it to pass". (I Thessalonians 5:24) "It is God which works in you both to will and to do His good pleasure." (Philippians 2:13)
I never really understood that my sins, my past sins, those I committed today and those I will commit in the future were all covered by Christ's crucifixion at Calvary. The apostle Paul made it clear in Galatians 2:20, "I have been crucified with Christ and it is no longer I who live but Christ lives in me and the life that I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and delivered Himself up for me."
I had been attending churches for years, decades in fact, and I might have heard this taught, but none that I could recall, ever made this clear, I was almost 45 years of age when I learned that the kingdom of heaven was introduced by Jesus in Matthew 4:17 with one simple word - repent. I could not recall hearing that word either, but I agreed with Him and my life changed as surely as the night precedes our days. I read that the Holy Spirit had been sent to "teach us of all things that Jesus had said to His disciples." (John 14:26)
The Bible that I was not able to study for years was suddenly opened to me and I discovered a thirst as if I had been stranded on a desert. I began to realize all that I had missed for years. Rather than sitting in a pew and hoping to understand what the preacher was saying, I took notes and examined what he (or she) had to say, compared to what the Bible says. Most Christians understand that their Pastors teach what they were encouraged to teach in the seminaries they have attended, but what has always troubled me more than other Christian "doctrines" is their divisive nature. Of course, that has been the nature of religion since the very beginning, but it often has disastrous effect on the meek, the very ones Jesus blessed in the Sermon on the Mount. And if you examine His words in this highly esteemed portion of scripture, you often have to wonder if our interpreters are doing what they were surely called to do.
I love the Bible, but I have and have had friends over the years who continue to remain confused by what they read as being scripture and the activities of those coming and going from the physical church buildings in their neighborhoods. Wisdom has never been in short supply among many of those who are esteemed because of their intellect or leadership in other faith groups.
So, I encourage all who want to live prosperous lives - free of frustration and concerns that were settled two thousand years ago at a place called Calvary, I encourage you to find such a church that teaches how to love all others for no better reason than if you love others, others tend to love you. You will be amazed at the positive results that tend to occur when you drop prejudice from your reasoning processes and stop to enjoy life as it actually is rather than wasting your time in wishful thinking as to what it ought to be - if only.
If you are serious about learning what I have learned, add a comment and we can get started on the process.