Good morning to all, grace and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Have you noticed there are so many different ways to have faith and to put your faith in? There are all kinds of philosophy's, sciences, and gods today that claim they can bring ourselves to a place where we know ourselves, make us right with ourselves, and God? From our growing technologies, and different ways science is learning about our human mind, emotions, addictions, and desires. The self-help philosophies, and our own natural faith in ourselves and other gods are getting spread faster and heard more these days then ever! This can cause so many to waver from their faith given by the One true God if they do not retain what He has clearly given them within themselves from His Spirit given to us from the Cross.
1 Samuel 7:3 And Samuel said to the whole house of Israel, "If you are returning to the LORD with all your hearts, then rid yourselves of the foreign gods and the Ashtoreths and commit yourselves to the LORD and serve him only, and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines. So the Israelites put away their Baals and Ashtoreths, and served the LORD only.
Many claim today Christianity came after many other religions, when our God, the God that created the Universe is the same God that Christ is, so his ways and thoughts were before the world began and other religions actually received some of their truths from Him, and they added other gods, and other beliefs to suit their own human needs. The Egyptian, the Hindu, the Buddha, and the Islamic faith have some of the One True God's wisdom entwined in it, not the other way around. The God of the Universe started His wisdom when time began and is lived out in Christ, and given to us within form the Cross.
John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God, He was with God in the beginning.
v14 The Word become flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory of the One and Only (or the Only Begotten) who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
The God of Israel is the only true God that has been before time began, and He came to earth as His Word in the flesh of Christ being the same God that created the universe, he was with God in the beginning so Christianity truly has been around through God's wisdom since time began making it the oldest relationship with God, and the only true wisdom of the Universe.It is not a religion in the same sense the other religions are religions, it is what is given to us by God not what man can do, or what natural man has to believe in order to be right within himself. Salvation is the great through and plan of God's, and He planned it before the creation of the world. Christianity is what God did and what He gave man that made man right with himself, and right with God.
Ephesians 1:4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will- to the praise of his glorious grace,which he has freely given us in the One he loves.
To truly know this is true you have to receive Him, and to receive Him you have to be willing to get rid of all other gods, and to want to truly know Him as He truly is. Sad but true many are not willing to accept One God being their only God, and committing their whole mind, spirit and body only to Him being that God so He can deliver them, and mold them into their true image of his Son, and be that child they were created for.
It is within our human nature to be that "god" that saves ourselves and all other "religions" have their own human nature saving themselves in some way or form by their own works , "enlightenment" they find from their own power that gives them their own goodness to save themselves. I am going to briefly explain other religions and other gods in how they are different. Even though some are older than the "religion" of Christianity they are not proclaiming the same God of Christianity that is the God of Universe, and that is the God of Israel, Issac, and Jacob which is the only true God. You will see that Islam is the only religion that some claim to be the same God Christianity worships. Just because they use some of the same words out of the Holy Bible that does not mean they worship the same God. Christ is God, and Muhammed is not claimed to be God by Islam or Christianity so how could they be worshiping the same God? For the Christian (In Christ) the Old Testament God is the same as the New Testament God; He never changes!
Hinduism- A religion of India and Nepal, and it goes back about 3,500 years. To make it short they believe in reincarnation and all living things have a soul, and one must reach "moksha" which means salvation, or being "right" with God "Brahman". They can be reborn or reincarnated many times in different life forms before they reach this "moksha" state. Their karma is very important and their karma is determined by how they live their lives. In Hinduism there is no absolute good and evil so obtaining karma depends on how well individual fulfill social and ceremonial obligations. Good karma means in the next reincarnation you maybe reborn in a higher social class and ultimately attain "moksha. Bad karma means being reborn in a lower caste, or even as an animal. Thus killing an animal might be killing some dead relations.
Buddhism- Was founded by a man named Gautama, and there beliefs were written after his death After searching for answers about the suffering in the world he had what Buddhist call "the Enlightenment" was experienced around 530 B.C.in a time of meditation under a Bodhi tree, and he became "Buddha" the "enlightened one". He believed that he came to understand the answer to human suffering, expressing it in what he called the "Four Noble Truths". These are
1) Suffering is universal
2)The cause of suffering is desire or craving
3) The cure for suffering is to eliminate desire
4)Craving is eliminated by following the "Eight-fold Path"
The eight-fold path consists of
1)right view point
7)right mind fullness
Buddhism has no opinion that there is a God of any kind. This religion concerns itself with humanity and human dilemma rather than with God. Over time two main streams of Buddhism developed. The Theravada Buddhism of Sri Lanka, Burma, Cambodia and Thailand, which teaches that the Buddha was and enlightened man who through self-effort taught others to reach "nirvana" through monastic withdrawal and practice of its disciplines.
The other stream is Mahayana Buddhism, which view Buddha and Bodhisattavas (future
Buddhas) as a divine beings who can save if one has faith in them.
I truly believe Gautama was given this enlightenment by the God of the universe, the God of Israel through meditation but Gautama being a man clearly made himself this "god" they were to worship and said his enlightenment came from his own human nature, and all who follow these "enlightenment's" he came up with could find their true inner being and be overseer of their souls that brings them to experiencing this "enlightenment" for eternity through their undying human spirits.
Islam - The Islamic faith was founded by Muhammed, in A.D. 570. He claimed he received a revelation from God from the angel Gabriel concerning one God, "Allah" (meaning one God) and his command to submit to him. By the time of his death in A.D. 632, Muslim armies conquered most of the Middle East, North Africa and Spain. Today, Islam is divided into two main followers, the Sunni and Shiah. There are six doctrines every Muslim (follower of Islam) must believe in
1) God is one. He is absolutely transcendent and unknowable, yet somehow personal. He is compassionate and merciful, becomes angry and can seem arbitrary. He is the almighty creator and has planned everything according to his will and purpose.
2) Angels and jinn (supernatural beings who influence human affairs)
3) God's prophets and messengers. Prophets are distinct from messengers in that they brought a book from God. Muhammed is the greatest and last of the prophets because he brought he book called the Qu'ran (or Koran). No new prophet will appear after him.
4)The Books of God. These include the Jewish Torah, David's Psalms, the New Testament and the Qu'ran. All four are revelations from God, but each replaces the previous one. The Qu'ran is the last and therefore the final and best word from God.
5)Judgment Day when all will be judged according to their works. Sin is moral, social and ceremonial. It's seen as a weakness in humans, not the same in the Holy Christian Bible which proclaims a complete moral corruption making humans unable to please God by thier own efforts. If the Islam have done sufficient good works through their religious duties they may enter a sensual Paradise. Those who haven't are thrown into a hell of fire.
6) Inch'allah- the will of God God is absolutely sovereign and whatever he decrees must come to pass. Humanity's task is simply to submit to God's will.
There are also five practices ("Pillars") every Muslim should perform:
1) Shahada, the central confession of faith: "There is no god but Allah, and Muhammed is his apostle."
2) Daily prayer with the Muslim community:five time for the Sunnis, three times for the Shiahs.
3) Giving alms-about 2 1/2 percent of income
4)Dawn-to-dusk fasting for the month of Ramadan (with feasting after sundown).
5) The Haj or pilgrimage to Mecca, which all Muslims should make a least once.
Some scholars add a sixth practice:
6) Jihad, or struggle. This can include proselytizing which means to convert or recruit to a religion, belief or party. Every Muslim is bound to do everything possible to defend or advance the cause of Islam. In Islam there is no concept of "church and state" separation, because there's no diction between secular and sacred. Islam is a whole way of life.
With Christianity a person gives their bodies, souls, and spirit to God so He can save them by his purifying presence through the cross by the gift of His Son living in us that makes us right with God by the faith He gives us. When the power of God takes hold of a person through the freely given message of the cross, and God is freely received from the person, that person's faith comes by no effort of their own because all is given to that person by God, and each person is willing to receive what ever God is willing to give of himself. Jesus freely gave His faith to people as he walked the earth some accepted it and others did not. He actually gives a person their belief by what He gives them of Himself. Faith comes as the message from the presence of Christ is heard. When God comes into your heart it is very hard not to give all of yourself to Him, His grace should have that kind of effect on all his children. He is God and His presence within a person should change a person! But not all want a "God" to be over them so they see him differently.
A person does not know when He will come or how He comes, He is real and each person he comes into experiences their rebirth, and the person is willing to submit all or not of themselves to Him, and the union begins only if the person is willing to submit. God does not force Him, but He will never be far from each one of us. If the person does submit, accept or surrenders their body, mind and soul that person will be in God's will and presence guiding them by His presence as they continue to surrender all to Him. This life is proven by them changing supernaturally with God's signs, miracles and wonders within themselves, and through their lives so others will be drawn to Him. No one can deny this happening within themselves, nor can those around them deny these miracles, signs and wonders happening within and through that person His presence is revealing. This is why we know Jesus is the Only One and Way to the Father.
It is His Holy work, and power of His righteousness that saves us and creates in us our true selves, our human nature is willing to crucified and we receive his resurrected power and New Birth in Us. We do not create our new birth, or are we reincarnated into another creature until we do the right works that pleases Him. There is no human effort a Christian can do within themselves that can save them to be right with God. What a human does when God comes to him is to submit to Him as their Lord and Savior by the presence He has revealed. He has called all humans to come to the cross by what He did for all at the cross, but not all will come because other gods of this world including themselves have their minds blocked, or they have not heard the true message from the cross.
The covenant is between Christ IN us, and God and that covenant cannot be broken by God, because it is between God and His Son Jesus which is God's Spirit within a human making them One as they are One with one another. We can break that covenant by following, and having faith in other gods, philosophies, sciences, and ourselves being that "god" as Muhammad, Buddha, and the Hindu's have done but it will cost us everything He has given us.
This is why Christianity is different and so powerfully true because of His power, miracles, and wonders he gives each child that truly is His through the cross if they keep the faith and love they first receive from the beginning; their lives will prove His growing, and powerful Holy presence that heals them physically, spiritually, and emotionally. If one looses their faith in Christ and the love He can only give for the Father, one can always repent and begin again, and you will know by His Spirit if He has forgiven you and given you repentance. Godly sorrow always leads to repentance, no Godly sorrow, no repentance. His Spirit will always keep you cleansed with HIS forgiveness as you live a life of repentance doing His will and not your own. It is a freely given and received relationship that is REAL, and His compassion, and forgiveness we do not have to "work for" but we do have to surrender to, and live by with His presence guiding us, and molding us as our relationship grows into his own child reborn by His presence. We will become His wine glass to pour out of.
The reason God gave me this message for all of us today is because He wants to remind us that all these other gods, philosophies, sciences, and people beleiving in them are bound to come, and the more we understand how they believe gives us a way to communicate more about what they need and understand from the Cross out of love and the salvation of their souls. Knowing also gives us the knowledge of why we don't need to be yoked with these other gods, philosophies, sciences, and people that continue these beliefs.
There are false prophets in every religion even in "Christianity" claiming their the "true" church making their denomination a cult, or making their "body" of believers the only church. There are many going a way that seams right to them but we know by His Spirit testing other spirits in us, and through us, we or they, are headed in the wrong direction. If we submit, surrender or accept Christ at the Cross from what our Father gives us of His presence we will rid ourselves of all other gods, idols, and wisdom so we can keep hold of what has taken hold of us; His presence! Do not be deceived by other gods, yourself or the world like the Israelites were many times, and may are today. Let us learn what to do by what they did not do. Thy did not have what we have! We have God through Christ that keeps us holding on! We will serve Him only and He will always deliver us from what is not Him within us, and from the evil of this world into his arms today through His Spirit of truth, and we will be with Him for eternity. We all can become God's reborn children through Christ, and stay by what He gives us of Himself.
Building friendships with all cultures and races can enable us to speak the truth of His word dwelling in us without arguing, but some will continue not to believe. We also have the prayer of a righteous man through the Spirit of Christ knowing it is powerful and effective when that person does not accept his truth (James 5:16) There are millions of individuals in our world who are walking in the darkness of these religions, worshiping and believing in other gods, and philosophies as well as others not mentioned here. Let's pray for Laborers to go into these vast harvest fields-and let's be willing to reach out with the Good News of the Cross, and let Him speak through us as His child, as he did through Samuel to the Israelites. We have one greater than Samuel, we have the gift, and power of Himself to speak and work through us!
His peace and love always.