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Connecticut Massacre

My heart goes out to the broken families of Connecticut…

People are talking about prevention and gun laws etc. I think there is a place for this. The God revealed in Jesus Christ is anti-violent (“turn the other cheek”) and I want to be like him and teach others around me that violence is not the answer.

My heart goes out to the 20 year old gunman as well. What made him feel that violence was the only answer? Was he not taught healthy ways to express anger? What was his upbringing like? Why did he do this? What is his story?

I will admit that I have an inclination to pity perpetrators because I fear that we all have the propensity to become one.

As I understand it, God has compassion for the abused and the abuser; the perpetrator and the victim. He loves and forgives all. He gives free will equally to all – the capacity to hurt, to be hurt, and to heal… This is the epitome of his antiviolence, if you will…

I pity the dark road this young man has travelled down and I pray for his salvation in the afterlife.

Matt 5:44 Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.

Romans 12:14-15 Bless those who persecute you, bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn…

Deleted for your Beliefs

Have you been deleted for your beliefs?

I have been deleted off-of facebook accounts by a number of people recently, including Pastors and other Christians I once went to church and Bible studies with. I think the reason is because I am not a traditional Christian and this affects them in some way or other.

I am a Christocentric-Universalist. I believe that Jesus is the only way, the truth and the life that leads to eternity with God, and that he will draw all people to this way, truth and life in the end. I do not believe that all roads lead to heaven, so I am not a “Pluralist-Universalist” but a Christ-centred (Christocentric) one.

I do not believe in traditional hell. I believe that hell is the love of God burning away the lie we believe that he is not strong enough to save us. When we finally surrender to the fact that he alone can save us and we cannot save ourselves; when we put our faith exclusively in him, we move from darkness to light, from living in a state of hell to living in state of heaven.

By revealing this, I feel that I am breaking the rules and facades I was raised to live by, and being more true to who I really am deep down. I am less socially acceptable now because I am being more real. It hurts to only be liked when you hold to a certain set of beliefs, and to be disliked for admitting your heartfelt convictions.

However, with increased rejection from some people, I find a greater level of acceptance from other people as well. By becoming more and more myself, I invite people to be more themselves and I attract the kind of friends who know more about who they are, what they believe and what they want. I have deeper relationships alongside this deeper level of rejection.

So I want to invite you to come on this journey with me in which we mutually respect each other’s opinions and agree to disagree. Let’s explore what we believe and why we are the way we are. Let’s be more honest and open.

Alternatively you can forget that I exist and we will reconcile in the afterlife.

Santa Claus or Satan Claws

“Santa Claus is Coming to Town” is, in my opinion, the worst Christmas Carol ever written.
You better watch out
You better not cry
You better not pout
I’m telling you why
Santa Claus is coming to town

He’s making a list
He’s checking it twice
He’s gonna find out
Who’s naughty or nice
Santa Claus is coming to town

I am not having a go at parents who tell their kids about Santa for their own reasons. My parents told me about Santa and Saint Nicholas – the fairy tales and the true story. My issue is with likening Santa to God.

Let’s take a closer look at the words of the above Christmas carol:
“You better watch out, you better not cry, you better not pout …”
These words imply: Santa is watching your behaviour and he has expectations. It also implies trouble if you fail his expectations. Sounds a lot like the ten commandments right? “Thou shalt not … or else …”

“He’s making a list, he’s checking it twice, he’s gonna find out who’s naughty or nice …”
This drills the point home. Santa’s got a list of good and bad children. The list gets checked, because there is a limited amount of time to change your behaviour, because by Christmas Eve, there are no more second, (third, fourth etc.) chances.
Some might relate this to God by referring to judgement day and the “Book of life.” If your name is not in the book of life by the end of your life, it will be too late on judgement day – right?

Santa sounds just like God doesn’t he? Watching over our behaviour with expectations and a limited time to repent…

But that’s not the God I know at all. The God I know, revealed in Jesus Christ, died to “take away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). Every person on the planet is forgiven of all past, present and future sin. There is no checking a list of our sins to find out who is good and who is bad – this is a sickening misconception!

People will quote verses about judgement day and how God will “judge our works.” Indeed he shall. He will judge the one singular work of putting your faith in Jesus Christ. That is all. Nothing else can come under judgement because all has been forgiven. How do we know this? John, who wrote the book of Revelation where there is the most talk about our works being judged, also wrote the book of John which spells out the definition of “work” in John 6:29 The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent. But then, you ask: why use the plural “works” rather than “work.” The answer is simple. There are multiple people therefore there are multiple works. If the sentence were about one person it would say that I am judged by my work [singular] because there is only one “work.”

We are saved by grace through faith, Ephesians 2:6-8. Think about this for a minute. There is nothing that I can do – absolutely nothing at all that can save me except Jesus Christ himself. He is grace. He is saviour. He is love. He is pure. I can’t save me, only Jesus can save me. If God were to judge me based on my good or bad deeds I would only ever come up as having failed to redeem myself, to be pure and blameless. I need Jesus to save me as only he can. Yet if I refuse to believe in his capacity to save me and I try to save myself, then I am relying on good deeds or works and not relying on grace: I am without true faith. My faith needs to be utterly in the fact that God is powerful enough in and of himself to save me and that nothing I do or don’t do can change that. This is my only work: to believe.

So why then did God give the law? Romans 5:20 The law was added so that the trespass might increase but where sin increased, grace increased all the more. Sin brings its own punishment. We punish ourselves. We punish each other. God was never about punishment though. He is all about forgiveness, mercy and grace. The law frustrates us into realising we need a saviour. While it is a great moral code to attempt to live by, we are fooling ourselves if we think we will ever fulfil the law in this lifetime on earth.

Despite how the Old Testament is written as though God punishes people, we have to remember that the Israelites had no concept of Satan and his demons until the late Old Testament, so not everything that is attributed to God came from God (see Job chapter 1 where Satan clearly does the things that were blamed on God) in the early OT writings.

Finally, this idea that there is a limited amount of time to come to faith in Jesus, just as Santa has to know who’s naughty and nice before Christmas Eve, is a Catholic belief that came into existence 500 years or more after Christ’s death and filtered down into most Western churches. I do not hold to this belief. If you would like to know why and what I believe about how far removed Jesus is from Santa; ask and I will share.

In my opinion the legalism of Santa is more akin to the legalism of Satan. I have done some research into Satanism for my Covenant-999 series of three novels (www.covenant-999.com). My understanding now, is that Satan has tricked a lot of people into thinking that God is a legalistic, judgemental, perfectionistic, controlling personality, when in fact, this is who Satan is. He wants obedient followers and he is called the “accuser of the brethren” because he is the one who judges our works! He is very good at pulling the wool over people’s eyes, including mine. I daresay that Satan loves whispering to people at Christmas time that Santa is a picture of who God is.

So try to avoid projecting Santa onto God this Christmas. If you’ve ever seen the movie “Fred Claus” the moral of the story is that Santa should love all children equally. Remember, this Christmas, that God, who is far greater than Santa, actually does love everyone equally!

You better watch out
You better not cry
You better not pout
I’m telling you why
Satan Claws is coming to town

He’s making a list
He’s checking it twice
He’s gonna find out
Who’s naughty or nice
Satan Claws is coming to town

The Power Within

In the story of Samson and Delilah, Samson was a Nazirite. From what I understand, this means Samson did some good deeds for God – he ate certain types of food, dressed a certain way, and never cut his hair. Samson was also incredibly strong physically. So Samson made the assumption that his strength came from being a Nazirite and doing certain “good deeds.” In fact, Samson put his faith in his hair! He actually believed that because he was a Nazirite whose hair had never been shaven, that this outward deed of being a Nazirite, gave him his strength.

The story (Judges 13-16) goes on to tell us that when Samson’s hair was cut off, surely enough he lost his physical strength. His faith in his good deeds failed when his good deeds failed. Uh-oh. In a last ditch effort to get his strength back, Samson turns to God and simply asks for it. And then he acts, in faith, hoping against all hope that his strength would return – and what do you know? He pushes against two pillars and brings the walls crashing down!!!

Your strength is not in being a Nazirite or a Christian. It is not in your good deeds (long hair never shaven might equate these days to some other physical act, like being sexually perfect or something). Your power comes from God who lives inside you. And even when you fail (in deeds) and your hair get’s cut off or you’re accused of not really being a Christian, keep believing! The power within you is greater than the power of any good deeds or religious labels.

You have the power within you for greatness!

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