• Respect is more than just tolerance.

    4 dec 2012, 13:20 av Mixora

    You hear a lot of people in the Christian community (and probably others, as well) preaching this gospel of tolerance. We should tolerate those who don't agree with us in our beliefs. We should tolerate those who have different ideas about who God is or if there even is a deity at all.

    On the opposite end of the spectrum, you hear a bunch of people raging against this idea of super-PC-tolerance, and what they want from us is basically a lot of Old Testament style condemnation.

    I don't think either way is the answer.



    When I tolerate something, I allow it to exist. We show tolerance in a way that medieval Christians did not in that almost all of us don't go around killing anybody we think is a heretic. Don't get me wrong, that's definitely progress.

    Still, I think that was not what Jesus preached. Neither was the OT style condemnation (otherwise, it would just be New Testament style). He told us to love our enemies and to pray for our persecutors. If that is how we were to behave to people who outright hate us, can you imagine how we should treat people of different religions who treat us well?

    Bottom line is, I think we should all learn to respect each other and our different beliefs. What does that mean? Well, first let's cover what it's not, before I'm misunderstood.

    This kind of respect does not mean simply agreeing to disagree. For people of many religions, including Christianity, theological issues are not just a matter of likes and dislikes. It is disrespectful to expect others (e.g. those of the Islamic faith) to just accept that oh, yes, well just because we believe that Jesus of Nazareth was the Son of God doesn't mean that they have to believe He's more than a prophet and that those can both be true. That blatantly undermines the rules laid out for us in the Bible as well as contradicting what the Muslims believe.

    I'm not saying we don't need to believe we're right, or that we should give up proselytizing. I'm saying that we should do so respectfully. We are to follow in Christ's example. Did He go around, knocking down people's doors and threatening them to repent or face hellfire?

    In case you haven't read the New Testament, no. He led by His example of grace and love, and people changed their hearts because of that. Instead of preaching at people, He invited them into His fellowship. He didn't yell "THIS IS THE TRUTH" at them, but instead gave them a reason to want to learn more. So why don't we do that?

    I also need to mention that respect is not a "there are many roads to heaven" mindset. That is not supported in the Bible, and doesn't even make sense when you try to apply it to the real world religions. Many of them (especially Islam, Christianity, and Judaism) have a huge focus on the idea of there only being one God, and only being able to reach Him through a certain way. Therefore, stating that all religions are fully true is both ridiculous and offensive. Not to mention the fact that it doesn't really cover atheists!

    I do include atheists in the "to be respected" column, by the way. I know that we in the Christian community tend to just see the "crazy atheists" who seem to make their lives out of trying to ruin everybody else's. We're familiar with the atheists who post hate on every slightly spiritual thing, in just the same way that the secular community is familiar with "uber-Christians" who are violent, narrow-minded, and kind of scary. Again, respecting them doesn't mean agreeing with them, but it does mean recognizing that they are fellow human beings and are allowed to have a viewpoint.

    This is not incompatible with belief in hell, by the way. As I said above, I don't mean to dissuade people from proselytizing, but I think that everything should be respectful.

    Above all, we should value the person more than what we can do with them. It seems like a lot of Christians (and doubtless, people in other proselytizing religions) see unbelievers as just more souls waiting to get into heaven. Please continue to share the Gospel with those you know, but for heaven's sake, the entire reason you're supposed to want them in heaven is because you love them. We're to love the way that Jesus loves—unconditionally. If you really care about the other people in the world and not just your "saved count", you'll do more than just preach at them. You will not only tolerate them, but respect and love them as well.
  • What matters

    11 okt 2012, 17:23 av roots-roy

    What matters

    "Religion without Relationship is like the ocean without water -
    a big empty hole." G.B 11.10.2012

    There are people who a very religious, but they don't have the connection, the Relationship with God. There are other people, who are not religious, belong to no church, but they speak with Jesus in their hearts and listen to Him. There are people who call themselves "christians" because of their baby-baptism, church-membership, following christian ethics, laws, principles, rules, regulation etc., but they don't know Jesus PERSONALLY. I met others who never read the Bible but speak with Jesus naturally, pray like kids and experience the Love of God.

    The word "Religion" can be used for faith and belief as for example Henri Nouwen and Bonhoeffer are doing it. But FACT is, that many many believers through ALL denominations don't have that eternally essential Relationship with Trinity-God. How to get it ? It is only ONE prayer away and you will have to find your personal words for your unique, personal relationship with God. No matter in which religion or philosophy you were educated, no matter whether you are old or young, black or white, homo or hetero, circumcised or not, fat or slim, rich or poor, if and once you start to talk with God, something WILL happen, 100% guarantee ! You can say for example:

    "Dear God, dear Jesus Christ, thanks for creating me, thanks for making me a living soul by your breath of life. Please forgive me my sins, my mistakes and my stubbornness. I take your hand and accept you as my Lord and Saviour. You were and are never against me, but for me. Thank you, Jesus, that you died for me on the Calvary-Cross, gave your blood as the foundation for our eternal friendship. Thank you, that it is not legalistic religion, what you offer, but everlasting Love, friend- and relationship. Thank you, Papa-God, for being your child now and forever. Thank you, Holy-Spirit, for leading me the good way. Amen."

    That is only an EXAMPLE.... I heard about a very shot prayer of a prisoner: "God, I can't believe in you, but come into my heart." God accepted that prayer and changed this life completely...

    God is GOOD, Jesus is LORD and The Holy Spirit is Truth and LOVE, HalleluJAH :-)
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  • Religion is over !!!

    12 maj 2012, 14:14 av roots-roy

    Religion is over since Jesus died on the cross and rose from the grave.
    Religion is artifically made by power-hungry and money-greedy priests, popes and even pastors of so-called „free“ churches.
    In life the issue is not and never your RELIGION, but your RELATIONship with your creator, with your fellow-humans and with yourself.
    RELIGION is focussed on rules and regulations, on structures, organisation and church-institutions, on law and order, on fear of punishment etc.
    Your RELATIONship with your creator, Papa-God, Jah-Daddy is focussed on love, mercy, grace, affection, mutual esteem + respect, trust, confidence and on The Holy Humanity of Jesus.
    It is o.k. and good to be a member of a church, but if this membership is more important to you than your relationship with God and your conscience, you are on the wrong track.
    It doesn't matter at all, whether you are religious, non-religious or even anti-religious >>> God sees your heart. He knows you better than you know yourself – be sure of that!
    God knows your deepest desires, your most secret phantasies, your wildest dreams. Nothing can hide from His Light and Truth.
    Yes, He knows YOU and He LOVES YOU !!!
    You are right to reject religion, but don't throw out the baby with the bathwater.....
    Jesus not and never started/invented a religion, but invited you PERSONALLY into the Family of God to be His sister/brother.
    God Almighty became human in Christ Jesus to make you a child of God again. It's your chance NOW !!!
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    shouts ONLY in english !!!!!!!!!!
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  • And Pray For Those Who Persecute You

    16 feb 2012, 00:50 av Mixora

    "I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you." (Matthew 5:44, NIV)

    I was doing some thinking about the second half of this verse, and came to the conclusion that it is even harder than the first half (although they are, of course, two sides of the same coin). Why?

    Sometimes I think I take the first half as a sort of day job. Love my enemies. Okay. I'll love my enemies while I'm going out into the world. I'll love them, be sweet to them, bite my tongue when I want to tell them things I've really thought of them in the past. But my time alone with God...that's mine.

    I have an easy enough time with prayer requests for people I don't know. Even easier when I do know them, and love them and care for them. If a friend is hurting emotionally, physically, whatever, you can bet I'll be on my knees as soon as I'm alone or possibly sooner. Yet, if the same thing happened to someone I didn't happen to get along with...I might roll my eyes, mumble a prayer if I needed more "nice points". Might even laugh.

    That's disgusting and horrible of me. I hope for my sake that those reading this can identify. Just that person that rubs you the wrong way. Maybe there's a history, maybe not. You don't even have to know the person. Maybe a celebrity or politician.

    We say that celebrities these days have lost their dignity, call them "trashy". I don't doubt that's true, but we're the ones stripping them of their dignity when we refuse to see them as people. I admit, while I always avoid the word "hate" when it's a person I know, it'll slip out easily when talking about celebrities, because they're not "real people". How many times a day do I raise a judgmental eyebrow at acts that would be only sad if performed by a friend?

    In the same vein, we don't have to love the actions to love the person. We may absolutely loathe everything a politician stands for, may swear up and down we'll leave the country if he or she is voted in. Might even have a good basis for this. Does that mean that we should hate them? Of course not. Even if they persecuted us openly, we are still to love them, still to pray for them, following His words and example.

    When I do pray for those who hate me or persecute me or don't even know me but happen to bother me by their existence...I tend to go about it all wrong. "Dear God, please guide this person...You know they need it, the filthy heathens." I might not actually say that (who would?) but that is all too often the feeling behind my words.

    So I started something new to me. I prayed for someone I didn't like as if they were the only person I knew, only person I loved. As if they were my best friend, all faults immediately forgiven simply by virtue of my love.

    And it was incredibly freeing. Maybe it sounds a little ridiculous, but I plan to do that every time I'm tempted to open my mouth about somebody. I want to replace gossip and hateful thoughts with love all around, 24 hours a day.
  • Second 8th Week Ministries :( - Part 1

    5 jul 2008, 17:17 av Arwen4CJ

    It is very important that everyone reads this - and it links in with other things that have recently been going on in the church as a whole.....

    JoAnne Cremer tries to get people to rely on angles and she tries to assign them unbiblical roles, and giving them glory.

    I posted this on my MySpace blog this past fall, not knowing how much this would be relevant to refuting another ministry....

    Here is what my blog entry was about:
    There is someone on MySpace named Apostle JoAnne Cremer. She claims to be an Apostle, and she's with a group called Second 8th Week Ministries. They have online education, teachings, and they try to start churches.

    If anyone is into these teachings, you HAVE GOT TO GET OUT NOW!

    I was suspicious of her from the first time one of my friends told me about her. I listened to a couple of her lectures...there seemed to be something wrong with her teachings. She was relying on angels instead of the Holy Spirit. Also, she teaches that in order to understand the Bible you have to have an Apostle, and learn under that Apostle. That sounded like a cult to me.

    I just decided to go online to see if there were any apologetics on this ministry, and I came across this website:

    http://www.conqueringlove.com/testimony.html

    This is some really scary stuff, and it is demonic. I'm not kidding. It's spiritual warfare, andn this ministry needs to be exposed for what it is! These persons are not Apostles....they are Apostates.

    Please pass this message on to all of your friends, whether or not you are Christian.


    Below is a testimony from a couple who was deceived by this group, and I got it from the above website:

    This is our testimony of how we were deceived and how the Lord Jesus delivered us out from the lies we believed from the false apostle Eric (his websites are: www.second8thweek.com, ("university"), www.second8thweek.org, (Perfect faith through Apostles), www.researchoncults.org


    We will break our testimony down into 3 parts, starting September/October 2000, then into November/December 2000, then finally January/February/March 2001.


    We will be including in our testimony information about our friends, but not their names. We started doing the false teachings, through the Second 8th Week, with them and they are a part of our testimony. We live in the same town, we love them and consider them our friends, but we cannot fellowship with them anymore because they are deceived and leading others into deception as well. There also are other believers in our town that we know personally that have been deceived by the "apostle Eric" at the Second 8th Week. We love all these people and pray that they will come out of this deception, and be restored back to Jesus Christ.


    We would like to briefly explain our spiritual condition when we first started reading this false apostle's doctrine.


    John: I had been saved for 4 months, and I really wanted to know the Lord. I read my Bible everyday. I prayed everyday. The Lord spoke to my heart. I know the Lord was with me, and the Holy Spirit was in me. But there was so much confusion in my life, from the church we went to, and in mine and Debbie's marriage. All I knew was that Jesus was my Savior. In the church that we belonged to, I would ask questions about God, the Holy Spirit, etc. Our Pastor would give me books to read instead of telling me that all the answers I needed were in the Bible. So I learned to look elsewhere for God. I was learning to rely more on man than on God. So when this deception came along I was primed to be deceived, because I wasn't relying on God alone. I wanted to learn about God, and I wanted God to fix a certain problem in my marriage. I didn't know what it meant to "wait" on the Lord. What these false teachings provided for me was a quick fix. This so-called apostle seemed to "know" something, and I thought these false teachings were my answer. Having said this, I do not blame anyone, I take full responsibility for the path I chose to take.


    Debbie: I had been saved for 5 years. In 1999 I left my church where I had gone after my salvation. While there, the Lord had laid in my heart a solid foundation. I knew what the "truth" was; I knew the voice of my Shepherd. I left because of a personal disagreement between myself and the leadership of the church. I went to another church, and 1 year later John came to the Lord in May of 2000. John and I started to go street witnessing in a nearby town, and we were active in our church. Even though we were doing these "good" things for the Lord I did not feel like I was growing much. The Lord was also causing things to surface that were hidden in my heart, things that He wanted to heal. I was in bondage because of past sin, and I knew that it needed to be addressed. I really wanted to be free! But rather than fall on my face before the Lord, repent, and seek Him only, I started looking for relief from other people. I knew my answer was in the Lord and His Word, but I became impatient.
    I was open to this deception for many reasons. The biggest one I think is, I just wanted more of God and the devil was able to trick me for a time.


    September/October


    Everything started for us around September of 2000. At this time my best friend and sister in the Lord told me that she had found a website on the internet by a man who claimed to be an apostle. She gave me a few of his teachings, and told me how to get to his website (Second 8th Week). I (Debbie) went to his website, and I began to read. In the beginning I had a hard time understanding most of what this so-called apostle and his wife were teaching. I also had a feeling of something not being right, but they seemed so spiritual that I thought they knew something about God that I didn't. At about this time I had given some teachings to John to read. We discussed them together with our friends. At this time we all expressed doubt that this man was an apostle, and agreed that his teachings were difficult to understand. We decided that we would check it out anyway, and see what would happen. We (J&D) thought, in the beginning, that this was only going to be a Bible study.

    Around the end of October we (J&D) decided that we would do Eric's "elements of the gospel". We and our friends decided that we would start meeting after church, on Sunday, to study these teachings together. We all enjoyed being together. Our families were good friends. We enjoyed fellowshipping together over lunch, and as we did these teachings. The funny part is that we would just get finished with church, and still be so hungry for the Lord, that we would spend all afternoon together doing these teachings.

    At first everything seemed ok, but as we continued this, every Sunday, some concerns started to arise. We still had a hard time with this man saying he was an apostle. But the way these people (E&M) wrote made them seem so spiritual, so we continued.

    This was the Holy Spirit warning us that something was wrong. We overrode these feelings, because of what we thought we were learning.

    This is when the Lord gave Debbie a dream (dreams & visions 1). When I told my friend about this dream, she didn't have much to say about it. But we both did think it was an interesting dream. I tried to forget about it but I could not.

    I (D) wanted to get to know Eric and Maria better. So I asked them some questions about themselves. They wouldn't answer my questions. What they said was, "they didn't want us to mold ourselves after them." I thought was a very strange answer. So I kept asking them to answer my questions. I wanted to know how big their church was, how many people were in their church, what they did for a living, etc. They finally answered; they told us they do not go to a church, that they have assemblies at their home. They told us there were 3 other people besides themselves, and they had been out of the church for 20 years. We thought this was very odd, that a so-called apostle hadn't been to a church for 20 years, and only had 3 people listening to him. When we expressed our concern about him not being in the church and only having 3 followers, his answer was; God had been preparing him just like God prepared Paul. We accepted this answer.

    Another warning ignored!!!

    November/December

    It was about this time that my friend was having home groups (through our church) at her home. She was trying to bring some of Eric's teachings into the Bible study. Some of the people expressed an interest in who this man was, and what he was teaching. At this time Eric and Maria said that they would like to come to our area to meet us, and do some teaching in person. The people in the home group found out that he was thinking about coming up here, and they said they would want to come and listen to what he had to say. When Eric and Maria found this out they said no one else could come, except those people who had been reading his teachings. He said that he didn't want to answer any questions. This caused the people in the home group to be greatly concerned about what we were getting involved with. They even told my friend something was wrong with Eric if he was not willing to answer questions about what he was teaching.

    This was just another warning we all received, but ignored!!!

    I (D) now began to email them (E&M) on a regular basis, and whenever I could, I would be at their website reading. At this time 2 things were happening inside of me. Part of me liked what I was learning. I thought that I was learning things about God that I had never known before. The other part of me (the Holy Spirit warning me), felt uneasy, nervous, confused, and the two could not mix. While I thought that I was advancing in the Lord, in my knowledge of Him, I started to notice things in my heart and life that were not lining up with the foundation that Jesus had laid in my heart from the beginning of my salvation. I noticed that I was reading this so-called apostle's doctrine more than my Bible. I knew this was not right!!! I was homeschooling at the time, and it was a struggle for me to focus on my children during school time. I was either reading their website, or emailing with them. My priorities were getting mixed up!!! I started to become critical about other believers. For instance, if they didn't speak in tongues, they didn't have the Holy Spirit and were not saved. I started to lose my love for the members of the Body of Christ. I started thinking our church was not under the right authority, because there was no apostle. The men of God that I enjoyed listening to on the radio (Chuck Swindol, David Jeremiah, Charles Stanley, etc.) were wrong too. When I would listen to the music on Christian radio, or one of my tapes, I felt like I was doing something wrong. You see, I was told by this false apostle that praise & worship music was not accepted by God. This brought confusion to me, because when a song would come on the radio, and I wanted to worship God, I would feel condemned because of what I was "learning" (brainwashed). At this time I expressed my feelings to my husband, and to my friend.

    I (John) felt nothing. I was so new in the Lord, and so ignorant to the ways of the Lord, that when the Holy Spirit had warned me, I had no idea what He was saying to me. I was being "fed", and still thought I was learning about God.

    When I (D) told my friend that I was feeling uneasy, nervous, and confused, she told me that she had been feeling the same way, and also physically ill. She told me that she had emailed Eric & Maria, and told them how she was feeling. They (E&M) told her that there was a group of people in South Africa that were feeling the same way. They said it was only the church's false doctrine being purged out of them, and us.

    We know now that this was the Holy Spirit warning us, and them. We again ignored these warnings!!!

    Something strange happened to me (D) at this time. I was standing behind John while he was emailing with Eric one evening. As I was reading with John, a shining, flickering object came off the computer screen. At first I thought something was wrong with my eyes. When I turned around I saw three more of these objects in different places in the room. I then told John and the kids, "I think I am seeing angels." But my family did not see them. They all left but one. This one was on my left side, and everywhere I went, it followed me. It was a shiny, vertical form. At first I thought this was kind of neat, but then I started to feel very uncomfortable, and scared, because it would not leave me alone! After about 1/2 hour of this, I started to panic a little. So I prayed, "Lord if this from You, please make me not scared, but if it is not from You, take it away." Immediately it was gone! John and I didn't know what to think. I told my friend about this, and she said that she had seen similar things also. When I told Eric & Maria about this, Eric told me he sees these all the time, and that they are present at his assemblies. He said they were ministering spirits. I believed him!

    Another warning from the Lord that we ignored!!!

    We now began to give these teachings to our Pastor and people at church. We thought that the problems in our church could be solved by this so-called apostle's doctrine. Our Pastor pretty much ignored what was given to him by my friend and by myself (D). He only took notice after John had given him a teaching. This is when things started to heat up.

    Our Pastor finally read through what was given to him. He expressed his concerns, and disapproval of these teachings. We asked him what was wrong. He pointed out a few specific things that were in error. The "not being saved unless you spoke in tongues," and "having to be under a living apostle." He also said, "there is something else wrong with these teachings but I don't know what." But at this time we (J&D) were already in deception and becoming brainwashed by this false doctrine. So we didn't listen to our Pastor, and his discernment.

    Another warning from the Lord that we ignored!!!

    Another important event that happened is that Eric and Maria sent us (regular mail) some scripture cards. We were supposed to read these everyday along with his teachings. These were verses about apostles, and spiritual government, etc. On one of the cards was a verse from Genesis 5:24 about Enoch. We thought this was strange because it seemed to not belong with the other scriptures. When I asked about this I was told about Enoch, that he was such a righteous man, but not much else was said. So we just blew it off and didn't think it was very important. But it was. We just wouldn't find out why until later.

    January/February/March

    We had a New Years Eve party at our house. We invited friends from church, our Pastor, and their families. We played games and had a lot of fun. The next day we called and invited our Pastor over to our home to meet with us and our friends. We were going to try and convince him that this so-called apostle's doctrine was of the Lord. We honestly believed that we would be able to persuade our Pastor that this was the route that the church should go.
    Our Pastor was set up!
    Before he came over we emailed Eric & Maria and told them about the meeting. We asked them, "What do we say to convince him?" They (E&M) told us what scriptures to take him to, what key words and phrases to use, i.e.; "grace and truth" and "pattern." They told us to use these words when we talked with him. Before our Pastor came over for the meeting, he had emailed Eric and asked him a bunch of questions. Eric replied back to him. What our Pastor didn't know is that Eric forwarded our Pastor's letter to us with Eric's answers. We knew in advance the questions and statements our Pastor would ask us, and Eric told us what to say.
    This was deceitful, dishonest and most definitely NOT of the Lord!
    The Bible says in 1John 2:21 "no lie is of the truth".

    This was another warning we ignored!!!

    During the meeting our Pastor told us that if we were going to continue to pass out these teachings to people at church, that he would denounce these teachings, and us, from the pulpit. He also told us that he would be talking to the people we had given these false teachings to. He would tell them to get rid of them, and that they were not from the Lord. This was the end of our meeting. Even though we had a decision to make, to follow Eric, or to stay in the church, our minds were already made up. When we were not at church the following Sunday, people from church started to call because they were concerned about what was happening. I (D) found out that our Pastor had talked to my friend, and she was very upset, because he told her she was going to lose her soul if she continued with this false apostle. So I decided to call our Pastor myself. When I called him, he told me the same thing, "that I would lose my soul if I didn't stop following these teachings." This made me very upset. Because of the statement my Pastor had previously made, that "there is something wrong and I don't know what it is," I said to him, " You cannot say that I will lose my soul if you can't tell me why." John then talked to our Pastor and told him that, "if we find out that this is wrong, we would come to him and tell him that we were wrong."
    The statement our Pastor had said to me, about losing my soul, haunted me the entire time I was under this false apostle.

    The next thing that happened was that two men from our church wanted to meet with all of us at our friend's house. They were going to try and address what was wrong with these teachings. So we met with them. One of the men quoted some scriptures that got us (J&D) to stop and think. When we got home we decided to put everything from Eric & Maria away for 2 weeks, and seek the Lord. That very night the Lord gave John a dream (dreams & visions 2). Because we interpreted this dream wrong, and had the wrong interpretation confirmed by the false apostle, we didn't put everything away for 2 weeks like we said we would. We continued on.

    Another warning from the Lord that we ignored!!!

    Now we entered a new level of deception. We had separated ourselves from the "Body," and we were accountable to no one but the false apostle. Instead of our time together with our friends being Bible study (even though we never studied out of the Bible) we were now having "assemblies." Since our friend had been doing these false teachings the longest, Eric made her the Elder of our group. Eric told us that they have assemblies everyday. He said we should try to have them at least 3 or 4 times a week. As we began our so-called assemblies together, we started to try and indoctrinate our children with these false teachings. Our children really didn't want to have anything to do with this. They did not understand anything this false apostle taught. We tried to explain to them about God wanting us to come to Him through the "contact points," "tools of covenant," "speaking in tongues," etc. This brought confusion to our children.
    Jesus is not confusing to children.
    In Matthew 19:14, Jesus said, "let the little children come to Me, and do not hinder them, for such is the Kingdom of heaven".

    Another warning from the Lord!!!

    Even though we (J&D) were pretty much fully indoctrinated by now, I (D) could not get rid of the memory of my dream (1), and what my Pastor had told me about losing my soul. I was finding it very hard to understand that we were the only ones that knew "the whole truth of God," and that the entire Body of Christ was wrong. I kept telling myself and my husband that "if there was only 1 more person in this area that was doing this, I thought I would be ok." My feelings of isolation were growing stronger. I couldn't fellowship with my friends from church anymore. I also had no connection in the spirit with Eric or Maria, like I had with my brothers and sisters in the Lord. We rationalized this as, "we had not met them face to face yet." Because we were so deceived and we thought we were gaining such great knowledge about God, we continued to ignore the warnings of the Holy Spirit.

    By this time, in our assemblies, we were not singing to the Lord anymore because we were taught this was not a contact point with God. So I begged my friend to ask Eric and Maria if we could have music in our "assembly" because I missed singing to the Lord. They (E&M) told us it was ok to have a couple songs, because now we had the correct truth laid in our heart by the apostle, and we knew the "right" way to come to God.

    We started noticing more references to the books of Enoch in Eric's false doctrine. When we asked about this, we were told that these were missing books of the Bible. We were told that they were inspired just like the Bible. This bothered us but we figured we would just ignore the Enoch parts.

    Another warning ignored!!!

    By this time we were having our assemblies on a regular basis. John and our friends all seemed to be doing great with this false doctrine, but I (D) continued to have problems. I couldn't quite put myself totally under Eric, and I still didn't feel right about how we left our church. I was having a real hard time ignoring the warnings the Holy Spirit was giving us! I was so deceived that I didn't understand what God was trying to tell me. By this time I was almost totally convinced that Eric was an apostle, and I believed that if I walked away from Eric, I would be walking away from God. We know now that this was part of what they were teaching, that without Eric's false doctrine we couldn't be with God. I was confused! I loved Jesus with all my heart and only wanted to go wherever He wanted me to go. 1 Cor. 14:33 reads, "God is not the author of confusion, but of peace."

    At this time, 2 of this false apostle,s followers, who also lived in Port Huron, broke into Eric and Maria's house and stole their computer. When we were told this, we couldn't believe it! These men had studied under this false apostle for 4 years. Eric had laid hands on them and confirmed them in their callings, "prophet," and "teacher." We thought, "How strange, this doesn't make sense." How could they steal from "the apostle?" What had they been taught, to be comfortable enough to steal? We thought they were so spiritual, and then to do something so obviously wrong. We asked Eric and Maria what had happened? They told us that these 2 men wanted to come up here to our town to teach us. Eric told them they could not come up here. They got mad and stole the computer, so that Eric and Maria could not communicate with us. This action did not stop them, or us.

    Another warning from the Lord!!!

    Around the beginning of February 2001, my friend received a teaching from Maria called "The Baptism of Light." My friend told me this teaching was about heaven. Maria told her not to let anyone read it that was "faint of heart." When she told me about this, I got a real creepy feeling, (Holy Spirit). I told her that I wasn't ready to read it yet; I told her I felt afraid.

    February 10th: Eric called me (John) on the phone and taught me about suffering for the Lord. He talked to me for about 2 hours. He was very "to the point" about everything, no chit chat. I felt no spiritual connection with him.

    February 16th: The Lord gave John a dream (dreams & visions 3).

    February 20th: Our friend was getting ready to go to Florida, and we were going to have our last assembly before she left. We really didn't have anything planned so she asked us if we all wanted to do "The Baptism of Light." We agreed. This teaching was about heaven, and how when we die we will go back INTO God, and become gods. Eric said this was the 3rd covenant, or baptism of light. Eric teaches that we will have creative powers to create new worlds etc. He also says that the mansions Jesus spoke of in John 14:2 are not places Jesus is preparing for us, but that they are rooms INSIDE of God Himself, and this is where we will enter INTO. This is what Eric teaches the 3rd covenant is: WE BECOME GOD!

    This was the turning point for me (D). After we left our friend's home that night I could not shake the creepy feeling I had again. Just like when my friend told me about this teaching a few weeks previously. Eric's teaching made heaven seem dark to me. I had never been afraid of heaven before. I always knew heaven was the place where I would see Jesus face to face, and get to be with Him forever. I looked forward to seeing my saved family and friends. I knew there would be no more tears and a place of pure joy. Now I was afraid to go there????? I didn't want to create anything; that was Gods job, not mine. I knew this was not right! This man Eric claims that because he is an apostle of God, God gives him special knowledge. He said God showed him what the 3rd covenant was and how we would operate in it.

    What happened next I describe as "the Holy Spirit rising up within me." God was opening my eyes to this evil doctrine.

    The next day before my friend left for Florida, I told her that something was going to happen while she was gone. I didn't know why I said that. I just had a feeling (the Holy Spirit). The same day that our friend left, Eric called John and did another study with him. Maria also contacted me (D) and asked me if I would like to talk to a new person who was starting to study "the apostle's doctrine." She thought it would be good for me because then I would have someone to fellowship with while my friend was gone. I thought it was strange that Maria herself would not want to fellowship with me, and that she would want me to help teach someone new when I was the doubter of our group from the beginning! I agreed to email this woman; her name was Valerie.

    As God was opening my eyes, I knew something was wrong so I decided to go back to Eric's website and look at things again. While I was reading, the Lord had things jump off the page at m; things Eric was teaching that I had never noticed before, even though I had already read them. First I noticed how Eric took many scriptures from the book of Isaiah, and said they were about him. I knew these scriptures were Messianic prophecies about Jesus Christ, not Eric! I noticed in his testimony where he talks of a bearded man who appeared to him. Eric says this was Enoch. I began to ask Eric questions about these things. I told him how those scriptures in Isaiah were about Jesus, not him. Eric's reply was that those scriptures were also meant for the apostles. I asked him if he had tested that spirit of Enoch that came to him in his room. According to 1John we are to test the spirits. Any spirit that does not confess Jesus is God in the flesh is not from God. This spirit did not confess Jesus Christ. It told Eric he was the "deliverance one." Eric's answer to this was that if Moses and Elisha could visit Jesus, then Enoch could visit him.

    I started to tell John that something was really wrong with what we were doing. I told him I was emailing Eric with questions about who he was claiming to be. I told John about the scriptures Eric was claiming were about him. I told John that Eric was giving me the run around when he wrote back to me, and was not really answering my questions. At this same time, Valerie (the woman I was supposed to be teaching) emailed me with a question. She asked me if I was feeling strange about Eric's teachings. She also said she felt like something was wrong but she didn't know what! Well this was getting to be a pretty common phrase by now. It seemed everyone that came in contact with this so-called apostle had the same check in their spirit. I knew this was the Lord speaking through Valerie to me, and I was not going to ignore His warnings anymore.

    February 22nd: The Lord now began to open John's eyes. This night John and I (D) were praying before bed. The Lord gave John a vision, (dreams & visions 4a). We talked about this vision, and we knew we were the metal and God was the forge. He was tempering (strengthening) us for the battle to come! That same night the Lord gave John a dream, (dreams & visions 4b). This dream got John's full attention!!!! He (J) emailed this dream to Eric and Maria for interpretation. They said that it was just the "church system" being cleansed from him (J). We were very suspicious of their answer because we knew that this dream was about them. By their lack of answer, it proved to both of us (J&D) that this dream WAS about them.

    After Valerie's email to me about how she was feeling, I noticed that I felt an immediate connection with her. I knew she was my sister in the Lord and I had never seen her. This was something I never felt with Eric or Maria, and had thought was because I hadn't met them face to face yet. Well, I couldn't use that excuse any longer. Valerie told me she was going to pray and seek the Lord about Eric & Maria. She said she recognized the feeling of something not being right, and that the Lord would show her if she sought Him. She said she would contact us when she had an answer.

    Meanwhile I (D) continued to ask Eric questions. I saw on his website in his teaching called "apostles separation and cleansing" that he said if there were other apostles in the world they would have to come to him (Eric) for cleansing. He compared himself to Moses; that just as God used one man to cleanse the people then, God is going to do the same now. Eric was claiming to be that man, because he said the "church" is in darkness and needs cleansing from a living apostle.
    I knew this was wrong!!!
    I also saw something else Eric said about this so-called Enoch that visited him. Eric claims that Enoch is an angel now in heaven, and his name is Meditron. He has 70 eyes and 70 wings.
    This was not only wrong, but just plain strange!
    Eric still didn't answer any of my questions with straight forward answers; they were always very wordy.

    February 25th: The Lord gave John a dream (dreams & visions 5).

    The emails continued between Debbie and Eric. Now Eric told me I was asking all my questions out of fear and not for the purpose of learning. I told him, "You bet I am asking out of fear, as what I am discovering about you is frightening me." I was now begging Eric to please answer my questions with simple answers, but he wouldn't. You see, I didn't want to believe the worst about him; and he was making me feel like I was confused, and misunderstanding him. He told me that satan was getting into my head and giving me these fears, and that I needed to put scriptures around my house to keep satan out. I did not do this. Even though I was confused (spiritually), I was not confused about what God was showing me about Eric's false doctrine. In my spiritual confusion, I decided I could not follow Eric & Maria anymore. I told John that I was done, that they were not from Jesus, and I had to stop! John was not yet convinced.

    March 1st: Valerie sent us an urgent email. She said that our souls were in great peril, and she wanted to talk to us on the phone. When she called she said we were dealing with "luciferic evil," and said that Eric's teachings were "convoluted," meaning truth covering many lies. She found out that Meditron was part of ancient Jewish mysticism (the 3rd book of Enoch). This was where Eric got his information about Enoch being an angel.

    At this time I (J) was convinced that Eric was wrong and had deceived us. All I could think about was going over to our friend's house to warn him about what we were being taught. Right after Valerie's phone call Debbie and I went to our friend's house to talk to him (his wife was still in Florida). We told him what we were discovering about Eric, about who and what he was claiming to be, and about what he was teaching. Our friend did not know what to think. After we got home we went online to try and find out about Meditron. What we found was frightening and very evil, and some of what we found was in line with Eric's "Baptism of Light" teaching.

    March 2nd: We emailed Eric with some very specific questions. We asked him to answer us very simply, with yes or no answers. He gave very confusing answers that went around our questions. He accused us again of asking these questions out of fear. I (D) then asked him, "if I decide not to follow you anymore, would I be walking away from God?" He told me that I would be walking away from the "grace and truth" of God. He also said, "What about everything you have learned? How can you deny that God was with you while you were learning from the truth I have shown you?"
    God was with us the whole time, protecting us and guiding us out!!!
    They then told us we were not welcome to contact them anymore, and they blocked our emails.

    We were out!

    I (D) went upstairs to pray. Even though I knew Eric was wrong, I was still confused. I was thinking that Eric had made a good point when he told me that God was with me while I was learning his "doctrine." I was confused; was he or was he not an apostle? I was thinking because of all the things we had been "learning" that God was showing us that Eric was an apostle. As I was praying to the Lord about this, He gave me this word:
    "I do not give you more of Me to confirm a man, I give you more of Me to confirm Myself."
    I wrote this down in my Bible; I knew this was truth! John called our friend and read to him the emails between Eric and us. At first he didn't see anything wrong with them. We were very concerned about him!

    March 4th: We met on Sunday with our friend. He said to us that he felt the Lord told him to read the entire book of 1 John. He also said the Lord told him "to learn more." He told us that he knew it meant to learn more about Eric & Maria, not to learn more about the false apostle's doctrine. As we continued discussing this false doctrine, his eyes were being opened and he seemed convinced that these teachings were wrong. He then said, "My family will have nothing to do with this anymore." He said that when he got home he was going to disable their computer and leave a note on it, so that when his wife got home, she would not be able to contact Eric & Maria.

    March 6th: Our friend came home from Florida. We met her at her house shortly after she arrived. We told her all that we had found out about Eric & Maria, and the false doctrine he was teaching. We showed her the scriptures that Eric claimed were about him. We told her what Eric and Maria believed about Enoch being Meditron, and all the emails back and forth, and how they blocked us from contacting them. We discussed these things with her for most of the afternoon. She was bothered by all that we told her, and she said that it didn't sound very good. She told us that her husband left her a note on the computer telling her that she was not allowed to have any contact with Eric & Maria. We went home rejoicing that our friends were going to get out of this deception also.

    March 7th: I (D) had talked to my friend on the phone and her whole attitude had completely changed. She agreed that what we had explained to her about this false doctrine was wrong. She told me that they were going to continue to study under Eric anyway, because of the peace that they had, and because they didn't want to stop learning. They wanted to finish doing the "elements of the gospel." She also said that it didn't matter if some of what he taught was wrong, because the "elements" were so truthful. I was very upset by this, because I thought she was going to come out of this deception with us. She was my best friend. I looked up to her as my sister in the Lord, and I didn't understand why she was going to continue with this false doctrine. I was devastated! I didn't know what was right or wrong. Now I was even more confused.

    At this time, the Lord let me (D) see how far away I was from Him. It was as if there was a big gulf between me and Jesus. I felt like I was drifting away from Him and I didn't know how to get back. In my almost 7 years of knowing Jesus, I had never experienced this type of spiritual feeling. This feeling frightened me beyond words. I was having a hard time hearing the voice of my shepherd, a strange voice was now there, one I did not know! I had been crying, and crying out to the Lord. I was asking Jesus, "What is happening to me? What is the truth? How did I get to this place I am in?" I asked Him to show me exactly what I had done wrong. My Lord then gave me a scripture in Jeremiah 2:20-22 (dreams & visions 6). I knew this was for me. I knew this was my answer, and it cut right through my heart. I didn't know what to do with it. I felt like my sin before God was so great. I thought, how could I be restored! I kept this to myself for almost a week, because I didn't know if Eric was the "noble vine, and seed of highest quality" or if it was Jesus. That night as we were praying the Lord gave John a vision (dreams & visions 7).

    March 8th: I (D) was still very confused, and doubting everything. I called my friend again to try and convince her to stop. She told me that I was overreacting, and that Eric's doctrine was not that bad. I got off the phone very upset. We both went to Eric & Maria's website and discovered that they had removed specific parts off of "Apostles Separation & Cleansing." They had taken the part out about Enoch being Meditron, with 70 eyes, and 70 wings. They also changed other parts of their website. We knew that Eric changed these things because we had confronted him about them.
    There are only 2 reasons for them to remove or change parts of their website.
    1. They realized they were in doctrinal error,
    or
    2. They were hiding the parts that people were questioning.
    We know that they were hiding things because they never believed that they were in error.

    March 10th: I finally told John about the scripture the Lord gave me in Jeremiah 2:20-22, and how I felt that I couldn't come back to the Lord. John reminded me of the blood of Jesus. John asked me if I had read a little further in Jeremiah. He then read to me from Jeremiah 3:12-13; this was a great comfort to me. I then remembered that Jesus Christ is the noble vine, and not Eric. So I acknowledged my sin to the Lord, of leaving Him to follow another voice. The Lord then reminded me of the very basis of my salvation.
    I knew Jesus died on the cross for me - this is truth
    I knew His blood covered all my sins - this is truth
    I knew that because I believed these truths, that the Holy Spirit was inside me - this is truth
    I knew He promised He would never leave or forsake me - this is truth

    THE CONFUSION LEFT!

    March 12th: The Lord gave John another dream (dreams & visions 8).

    March 13th: We went to our friends' house to try and convince them again about everything that was wrong with Eric's teachings. We were not successful! They were going to continue! We went home very sad, and not sure what we were going to do next.

    March 14th: We were talking about everything that had happened in the past 2 weeks. All the questions we had asked Eric, and all the answers he gave us. We didn't understand why he got so angry and why it was so wrong to ask questions out of fear. We wondered what we had done that was so bad, that he would block us from communicating with them. We were still confused. Was he or was he not an apostle? Then the Lord spoke words into John's heart; Jesus loves us, and would never tell us to leave or kick us out because we were asking questions or were afraid. God is love, understanding, and longsuffering towards us. This word from God greatly comforted us and took away the confusion about who Eric claims to be. He is not a true apostle of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    The Lord had now delivered us from the hold that this deception had over us, and He put us on the path that has led us to where we are now.



    ALL PRAISE, GLORY, AND HONOR TO HIM WHO SITS ON THE THRONE.

    Revelation 22:13

    "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last."

    THANK YOU JESUS!!!!!!!
    Adrienne Liesching, Geoff MooreAudio AdrenalineBob FittsCandi PearsonCasting CrownsCharlie HallChris TomlinCircadian RhythmCircleslideDarlene ZschechDavid Crowder BandDelirious?Jars of ClayJeremy CampJeremy RiddleMatt RedmanNewsboysPhil JoelPillarPraise BandReuben MorganSanctus RealShane Barnard, Shane EverettShane & ShaneSteve FeeSteven Curtis ChapmanThird DayTim HughesTruevibeScott UnderwoodMatt RedmanJohn BarnettCasting CrownsArrivingGloMission BellRedemption SongsCarried MeRestoredFull AttentionFacedownGoing PublicUnshakeableCarry AwayAll Things NewOfferingsOfferings IIOfferings 2When Silence FallsBeautiful NewsIn Christ AloneWalk On WaterWalk On WaterVictory ChantSing to the KingWhat If His People PrayedVoice Of TruthAmerican DreamHere I Go AgainSendingHow Great Is Our GodOn Our SideCome Let Us WorshipUnchangingHow Can I Keep From SingingBeauiful SaviorGravityAll Things Are PossibleBe Lifted or Hope RisingDo Not MoveWe WinRevolutionary LoveGod's RomanceJesus' BloodStrongerNow Is The TimeSolid RockJesus, I Lift My EyesIt Is Well With My SoulTrust In YouWalk By FaithLonging HeartEven WhenMore Than a FriendNothing But the BoodMission's FlameShineUnshakeableBring Me DownI Will Not Forget YouHear Our PraisesOn the Lord's DayHey WaitSong Of SurrenderRevolution CryMuch of YouBelieve Me NowTreasure Of JesusConsuming FireMedleyConsuming FireGiver Of LifeWhole World In His HandsYou Are The WayLight The Fire In My Heart AgainYou Never Let GoA Greater SongChurch Rise Up
  • @tea-bee, iSoS and other non-believers

    21 mar 2010, 17:37 av roots-roy

    God does not cease/finish/stop to exist only because some former christians are disappointed/frustated by their former faith/belief or because some people make their logical intellect + brainy rationalism their first and only criteria, their substitute "god".

    You can't prove the non-existence of a thing or event or reality by your own non-experience, that's foolish.

    One should be wise enough to admit one's limitation !!! We ARE limited in our knowledge of what we call The World or The Universe. There are many many things which are still not explored, and the big area of spirituality can't be explored and discovered by non-spiritual, materialistic-scienctific-intellectual means. You have to go into the spiritual realm, but be careful. Your earthly cleverness doesn't help you there.

    Don't drink the poison-water of devlish thoughts and ideas, don't get trapped by intoxication of your mind, soul, spirit + heart through pseudo-liberating and false-freedom-inspired fascinations.

    The satan-loser-devil is much more intelligent than any human being !!!!
    He is using his IQ for his kingdom of destruction, hate, evil + perversion.
    Only through God's Grace and His Spirit we can resist him.
    And this Essential Grace is forever connected with The Name, Person(ality)
    and Spirit(uality) of Jesus Christ. He appeared 2000 years ago on this planet and showed us the Nature of His Father Jahwe-Jehova-El Shaddai, God Almighty, our Creator. Jesus is The Word (of this God) through which the universe is created, the visible AND unvisible world.

    My common sense tells me, that we human beings (homo sapiens) are the crown of God's Creation. We are not merely "the most intelligent animals" even though many people act like that. Wars and crime and all kind of self-made sufferings like addictions, perversions etc. will go on AS LONG AS WE DO NOT RECOGNISE OUR GODLY ORIGIN AND DEPENDENCE !!!

    That is the root of ALL evil: trying to live without Trinity-God, Papa, Jesus and Sarayu (THE SHACK).

    Our real Freedom is in the total dependence of Eternity, Infinity and Trancendent LOVE !!! When Jesus shouted IT IS FINISHED the world was reconciled and we are Papas Kids again.

    God is God is LOVE !!!
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  • Reconciliation + Redemption

    13 sep 2009, 14:09 av roots-roy

    Call for reconciliation

    To all men: Be reconciled to God !!!

    2Kor 5,20Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech [you] by us: we pray [you] in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.

    So far approx. 1-2% of you followed this call.
    When you are reconciled to God you have peace in your heart, you live in forgiveness with your fellow-men and you have the absolute assurance to go to heaven.
    You live every day, every hour, every minute und every second BY THE GRACE OF GOD and no longer by the false justification of your own goodness because of good deeds and character-qualities.
    For everything what you are and have you give thanks to Jah-Daddy. And you have the absolute assurance that He loves and accepts you unconditionally.
    A simple prayer and invitation is enough to give your life an entirely new direction.
    Invite Jesus Christ into your heart + life, give Him your old life and start a brandnew life.
    And if you have tried it already earlier and maybe you have been disappointed bitterly by pious and/or religious people, try it once more, because Jesus can and WILL never disappoint you.
    Stay focussed on Him in your heart.
    Don't be satisfied with traditional, established religion, which can't quench the yearning of your heart.
    Don't be a nominal christian who relies on church-membership or takes
    baby-baptism or other religious rituals as foundation.
    Trust for your redemption on Jesus alone, for your life-power only on the Holy Spirit and look forward to your Daddy who waits for you in Heavenly Jerusalem.
    ONE GOD, who revealed and still reveals Himself in 3 persons, which orthodox monotheists like the muslims and jehovas witnesses don't want to understand. But the Bible in context is clear about it.
    And this one + only God, who created and preserves the infinite universe want to come into your heart+life VERY PERSONALLY!

    Kol 2,9For in him /Jesus) dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.

    Joh 1,12But as many as received him (Jesus), to them gave he power to become the sons + daughters of God, [even] to them that believe on his name:

    And in case you are still relying on established religion: ASK YOUR PASTOR/PRIEST, WHETHER HE HAS A LIVING RELATION TO AND WITH JESUS AND REAL ASSURANCE OF SALVATION!
    IF NOT, HE IS NEVER ABLE TO HELP YOU, HE IS A BLIND BLIND-GUIDE. (Matth.23,24)
    The bible is telling us to really prove and accept only the good and true things.

    1Thes 5,21Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.

    Be reconciled to God, the Father, through God, the Son. God's Holy Spirit came almost 2000 years ago on the first Pentecostal Day an founded The Church, the first assembly of Jesus Christ:

    Acts 2,41Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added [unto them] about three thousand souls.

    If you insist to call Christianity a religion, it is - unlike other religions - mainly the religion of reconciliation through forgiveness in the LOVE of the cruzified + resurrected Lord Jesus Christ.

    Who understands and/or proclaims Christianity mainly as a religion of rules and regulation, has not really introverted the glad-making, redeeming, reconciling „COREelement“, the inner heart of The Gospel.

    Be reconciled with yourself. You will be astonished about the peace which comes into your heart when you have a relation to God, learning to know Him as the father, which you never had on earth.

    Many, many people have/had a demanding, strict father or a weak one not capable of relation and emotion; at least ALL OF US have/had fathers who need(ed) redemption for themselves and also fathers who disappeared or even misused their children in different ways.

    CHRISTIANITY....BEING CHRISTIAN as a living Love-relation and Eternal Love-story between One Human Being and God as The Perfect, Ideal + Genius FATHER is the only possibility to fill that whole in your soul and that void in your heart, becoming REALLY whole.

    RELATION is The Chance, NOT DEAD RELIGION OR RELIGIOUSNESS WITHOUT POWER !!!

    Can you imagine JUICY Grapes without connection to the vine ?

    Joh 15,5I Jesus) 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.

    At the end I like to admit that my words are partly rooted in my idealism.
    I admit that I am NOT a perfect christian.
    I admit that much of what I describe are PROCESSES, which start in the different areas of life, changes of character, healing of the soul, spiritual-mental extension of the horizon and all that TAKES TIME.

    But I AM on my way to God and in some sense already at the destination, because with Jesus Christ the Way and the destination are ONE.

    Joh 10,30I (Jesus) and [my] Father are one.

    BE RECONCILED WITH GOD, YOUR FELLOW-MEN AND YOURSELF !!!

    God is LOVE :::::: Jesus is Lord !!!

    ...and the world will NEVER change through abolition of faith and/or new political systems/ideologies and/or super-spiritual philosophies, but ONLY through people who are changed IN THEIR HEARTS by God's Love !!!

    RECONCILIATION MAKES THE CHANGE, FORGIVENESS SETS FREE, SO:

    Be reconciled to The Love, to God !!!

    (sorry for mistakes in spelling+grammar, just understand the meaning of the essay, thanks)
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  • Great Christian Metal and Rock On My YouTube Page!

    25 jan 2010, 02:54 av mrmichel0927

    Everyone check out my YouTube page. It is devoted to rare and/or hard to find Christian Metal and Rock. Join the over 25,000 viewers who have checked out one of my vids so far. Bands include Extol, Antestor, Mortification, Mortal Treason, Bride, Narnia, Few Left Standing, and everything in between!

    Enjoy!

    My YouTube Page
  • Religion OR Relationship (by Joyce Meyer)

    16 okt 2009, 20:06 av roots-roy

    Enjoying God

    by Joyce Meyer

    Did you know that God wants to be your friend? Jesus experienced death on the cross so that you and I could have a deep intimate, personal relationship with Him!

    It was never His plan to come and give us a list of rules to follow so that we could be acceptable to God.

    For the most part, that is what religion is all about—following a set of rules and regulations. When we keep the rules, we feel good about ourselves, and when we fail to keep them, we feel bad about ourselves. I was a religious person for a long time. I struggled to keep all the rules I thought I needed to keep so I could feel good about myself and be accepted by God. I soon discovered that the biggest problem with being religious was that it kept me from enjoying my life and my relationship with God.

    Unlike religion, relationship is about fellowship, not what we do or don’t do. It’s about being in love with God and communicating with Him throughout the day, just like we would with a good friend.

    Ephesians 3:12 says, …because of our faith in Him, we dare to have the boldness (courage and confidence) of free access (an unreserved approach to God with freedom and without fear). In other words, as a result of our faith in Jesus, we can enjoy an ongoing relationship with God that is part of our normal everyday life.

    There is a big difference between practicing religion and experiencing a relationship with God. I would like to share some things with you that God has taught me about what it means to have an intimate relationship with Him.

    God's Expectations or Man's
    “What does God expect of me?” Many people ask themselves that question, and the answer has a lot to do with how you view your relationship with God. I’ll never forget what a woman at one of my conferences shared with me. She said God told her that religion is man’s idea of God’s expectations, and I think that’s a very good definition. For example, many people think God expects them to be good. But the Bible says that there is no one righteous, not even one.(1) God knew that you and I were not capable of being good apart from Him. That’s why He sent Jesus—so we could become the righteousness of God in Christ.(2)

    The truth is, we need God’s grace to be good, because being good is not just about our behavior or following certain rules…it’s also about our motives. If we are in close fellowship with God, the natural result will be that we are motivated and empowered by our relationship with Him to do the things that He would like us to do.

    Whether it’s helping others, reading the Word, praying or doing any other good thing, if our relationship with God is priority, then we’re going to be concerned with what He thinks. In other words, we will be motivated by wanting to please God and love people, not by our own need for acceptance or fear of what others may think.

    Are You Enjoying Your Life?
    Another sign that we are practicing religion instead of experiencing relationship is that we are not enjoying our life or our relationship with God. The high call of every believer is to enjoy God. If we don’t enjoy God, we won’t enjoy life because He is life.(3) If you and I are just practicing religion, then everything seems to center around following rules and keeping laws.

    The truth is, we can make a law out of almost anything! We can make a law out of exercise, cleaning house, prayer, Bible reading…you name it. I can remember when I was so religious about cleaning my house that I couldn’t even relax and enjoy having friends over for a meal. I made such a big deal out of making sure everything was perfect before the guests came over that by the time they got there, I was angry and exhausted and wished they would go home.

    If we’re just practicing religion, even our relationship with God can become a burden. Instead of looking forward to being with Him, we feel like we have to spend time reading His Word, we have to pray, we have to go to church… and the list goes on. But when you and I are enjoying an intimate relationship with God, we see things differently. Spending time with Him becomes a privilege—we get to read the Bible, we get to pray, and we get to go to church!

    Now, I’m not saying that we should never have any rules in our lives. Having rules is okay because they actually help us live a disciplined life. But having rules becomes a problem when we feel like we are unacceptable or not good enough when we fail to keep them. Jesus doesn’t want us to live under guilt and condemnation. He came to set us free.

    Are You Experiencing Freedom?
    I believe there’s a world full of people who are living under the bondage of religious rules and regulations who would love to experience friendship with God. Jesus paid a great price so we could be made the righteousness of God and brought into right relationship with Him. Second Corinthians 5:21 says, For our sake He made Christ [virtually] to be sin Who knew no sin, so that in and through Him we might become [endued with, viewed as being in, and examples of] the righteousness of God [what we ought to be, approved and acceptable and in right relationship with Him, by His goodness].

    You and I should be encouraged to focus on our relationship with the Lord, not on things such as how many chapters of the Bible we read or praying the “right” number of hours. We were saved from our sins so we could know God and have fellowship with Him. God wants us to be relaxed in His presence and be ourselves in our relationship with Him. It is for freedom that Christ has set us free… (Galatians 5:1 NIV).

    My husband, Dave, is my best friend—I fellowship with him all day long. I am free to relax and be myself and talk to him at any time about anything, no matter how I am feeling. In the same way, that is how God wants you and me to relate to Him.

    Choose Relationship
    The choice is yours: You can either practice religion, striving to keep rules and regulations, or you can enjoy relationship, experiencing intimacy with God. The God of all creation wants to be your friend—to talk to you about everything, to share your secrets, your joys and your tears. I encourage you to seek Him for a personal revelation of His love so you can relax and enjoy a free and intimate relationship with Him— starting today!

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    (1) See Romans 3:10. (2) See 2 Corinthians 5:21. (3) See John 14:6.
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  • Praying To Saints

    13 jun 2009, 15:06 av the_gray_fox

    So, I'll have to clarify this. People (mostly Protestants) believe that when an Orthodox or a Catholic prays to a Saint, he's asking him to forgive his sins. That's a major misconception. In fact, praying to someone else besides God to forgive your sins and save you is a heretical doctrine.

    First off, Saints were uncommon Christians who were closer to Christ's life and were (obviously) -most probably- saved. We just use them as an example and we admire their deeds and their (theological) works. There are one or two Saints for almost every case; scientists, theologians, ascetics, teachers, doctors, dedicated husbands/wives and so on. Why that? So that we can all live accordingly, regardless of what life we're following.
    For example, Saint Catherine of Alexandria should be a paradigm for scientists, Mother Mary is a true example of a pure woman and Prophet Daniel can always show us how to live in a society where there are no Christians.
    Again, we do not dismiss Jesus' life in that way. He is the original archetype who is above all; free from sin and fully pure.

    As for prayer, we never pray to a Saint (or an angel), so that he will save us. We pray to a Saint, so that he will pray to God for us; it's all about intercessory prayer.
    But why would a Saint's prayer be greater than a friend's our ours? Because they have more faith than we do. But by no means does this imply that we should stop praying to God, no! Praying to God is the most important of all.

    Moreover, one may see some hymns saying "O Saint X, save us!". This kind of salvation is similar/close to Pau'ls way of saving. We may also -again- see this as intercessory prayer; in the very same way a friend's prayer can save us when our faith is not enough.

    On a side note, we always (?) name our children after a Saint, in order to make it remember the Saint's life and try to follow it.

    The life of Jesus Christ is very far for us and only few have managed to remotely follow his way of living.
    Why is this so bad to admire people that have lived (and -sometimes- died) for Him? Is it so bad to ask from them to pray for us? Does it matter that we consider their words to contain the Holy Spirit?
    After all, we never said that they don't make mistakes or that we must blindly trust them.