Monthly Archives: June 2012

Religion Killed Jesus

One day when I was about 13 or 14 my mom looked at me and said, “Never discuss politics or religion.” I assumed that she made this statement because they can be very heated topics so I shrugged my shoulders and went on about my business. I didn’t have much to say about either topic so that was an easy request to fulfill, until now.

What is religion?

After being saved I began to wonder what religion was. Was religion different from Christianity? Apparently it was as I kept hearing others mention how disturbing and unrighteous religion is. It was then that I began to ask God to show me religion and furthermore, show me if there are any religious aspects in my life. I don’t want to know religion. I want to know Jesus.

Micah 6:6-8 (NIV):” 6 With what shall I come before the LORD and bow down before the exalted God? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? 7 Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of olive oil? Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? 8 He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”

Religion is very much explained in Colossians 2:23(NIV): “Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.” Religion is idolatry as it ultimately tries to edify man. Christianity, on the other hand, was never meant to be a religion. Christianity is the spiritual relationship with our Savior, Jesus Christ.

I had an interesting conversation with a young man yesterday. He mentioned how he believed in spirituality, didn’t believe in religion, but was still uncertain about his stance on Christianity. In the midst of our conversation he asked me what exactly spirituality means to me and if it has anything to do with Christianity. I started off by stating that we are a spirit with a body, not a body with a spirit. The young man continued to tell me about a school he once attended as a child. He mentioned how he was confused by the teaching there and how he was instructed to say, “Praise Jesus,” after every statement, literally. It isn’t funny but it is very crazy to me. I will admit that I laughed, only because I saw how religious that was. The young man described the school as being hypocritical while adding Jesus’ name on the end of everything to try to justify the dirt they were doing. The young man then began to question if religion is something new to our generation and I reminded him that nothing is new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9) and that even Jesus pointed out religion during His time on earth.

The Pharisees and the Sadducees were religious! They claimed to be holy and they claimed to be anointed but they plotted the destruction of our Messiah. Why? Because they were religious. In Mark 3 it states how they believed that Jesus was possessed by Beelzebub and that being the reason why Jesus had the power to drive out demons. Some of them were wealthy, some of them were educated, and some of them held festivals but guess what Scripture says? Amos 5:21-24 (NIV): ” 21 “I hate, I despise your religious festivals; your assemblies are a stench to me. 22 Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them. Though you bring choice fellowship offerings, I will have no regard for them. 23 Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps. 24 But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!” 

There was a female who asked me a week or two ago if I was a Christian. After answering yes, we had about an hour-long discussion about Christianity. The young lady mentioned how much she didn’t trust Christianity but when I asked her why, she could only give me examples of religion. She mentioned how she and her family went to church with the focus of being the best looking family. She mentioned people exercising spiritual gifts in a questionable manner and proud hypocrites crowding the pews. 1 John 4:1-3 (KJV): “1Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.2Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: 3And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.” After hearing all of this I could only reassure this young lady that what she hated was religion since she hadn’t yet experienced Christianity. It was sad to see that her perception of Christianity had been skewed by religion but I did have hope in knowing that she hadn’t rejected the true Gospel simply because she hadn’t yet heard the true Gospel.

Acts 17:22 (NIV): “Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: “Men of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious.” Religion is relevant is our generation, it was relevant in the generation before us and will be even more so in the generations to come. As the body of Christ, we need to work to abolish religion so that the fruit of the Spirit may drench every corner of the earth. Deuteronomy 12:31(NIV): “You must not worship the Lord your God in their way, because in worshipping their gods, they do all kinds of destestable things the Lord hates. They even burn their sons and daughters in the fire as sacrifices to their gods.” Get out of self. Find fellowship with true followers of Christ and avoid individuals who desperately want to gain religious titles. It is easy to identify religion as it claims a lot but fails to produces fruits of the Spirit. Test the spirit by the Spirit.

Hate religion as much as God does. When we see religion we need to run the other way into the arms of our Groom. We cannot exchange an intimate relationship with Christ with legalism. The idea of religion is new to me but it didn’t take long for me to realize the poison it produces. Religion can detour the lost, sway the desperate, and corrupt the innocent. We should become so consumed with a personal relationship with Christ that there won’t be any room for religion in our lives. If you recognize religion in your walk simply ask God to remove it. We need to come to God with our hearts, not with our checks. Isaiah 29:13 (NIV): “The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men.” You know if you are living righteously or not. Be honest with yourself because being religious does nothing but anger God. Religion is man-made, just like denominations as stated in my article One in Christ . When religion says that you can work your way into Heaven, Ephesians 2:8-9 (KJV) states, 8For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Jesus hated religion and religious leaders hated Jesus. See the issue? Abolish religion.

James 1:27 (NIV): “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this:to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”


I Am Not A Thief

Ephesians 4:28 (KJV): 28 Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.”

This is another article inspired by God showing me something about myself, as usual. Growing up I was never really interested in materials but there was always something that I felt like I HAD to have. It was typically something related to technology. If I wanted it, I told my dad and chances were, he got it for me. I never understood how someone could steal. While I had my share of sin, I always felt too scary to steal something. I felt like I was in trouble even if I thought about it. I always imagined that if I had stolen something, that I would give it back, immediately. For example, I went shopping once and a worker forgot to take the censor off one of my items. As I went to leave the store the alarm began going off. My eyes got wide and all I kept saying was,”I didn’t steal anything!” Of course the worker came and explained how she had forgotten to take it off and all was well. Just the thought made me afraid. I always thought, “Man, someone must be really tough if they can steal.” One day a few months ago I was thinking of all that God had delivered me from, giving Him thanks. I found myself praying against all stealing spirits and I thought, “Wait…what!?? I’ve never stolen anything!”

John 10:10 (KJV): 10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”

I sat there, trying to figure out what would make me pray against that. I pray against anything that God puts on my heart but this prayer was almost like a confessing prayer. I thought really hard. I wasn’t a thief. Was I? God quickly brought to my mind the many songs that I had in my iTunes. I had over 3,000 songs a year ago and guess what!? I had gotten all of them illegally. It felt awkward to think that while it seemed like no big deal then, I was indeed a thief and my music library was proof. I then felt like I was in a dilemma because half of me wanted to delete the music but that would mean that I would have to restart my music library. I tried to pretend like it didn’t matter but I felt convicted, each time I pushed play. At that time I had only been listening to gospel music, which made me feel worse. I was listening to illegal worship. I made up my mind. I decided to erase everything in my library and if I were to listen or download music that I would either listen on Youtube or download them from iTunes.

Proverbs 10:2 (KJV): “Treasures of wickedness profit nothing: but righteousness delivereth from death.”

After I had gotten rid of all of my illegal songs I found myself asking God again, “God am I a thief?” What He showed me was and is very important. I had/have sometimes a bad habit of annoying others the way that they annoy me. I never think about intentionally giving someone a taste of their own medicine but I guess I subconsciously find myself doing or tempted to do that. How does this relate to being a thief? Because if someone stole my joy I would steal theirs. When Satan comes to kill, steal, and destroy, it isn’t always with materials. The devil can also steal joy, happiness, prosperity etc. When I found myself operating in the flesh and directly or indirectly causing people to feel the way I felt, I was a thief. Even if my joy had been stolen, that is never a reason to steal from others. Misery loves company? So aside from the illegal music, I had a history of stealing the joy from others. If someone ruined my day; theirs was going to be ruined too. I guess in my mind that would show them how it feels? Or to never upset me again? Regardless of my foolish thinking, I was operating the way Satan does. It doesn’t matter what he steals, just know that he comes to steal all things. So while I may have never stolen anything from a “store” I had indeed been a thief and it took me to surrender to God, to be humble enough to hear from Him, to see Scriptural evidence, and to gain His perspective to see myself clearly. I promise, God never fails to show us what we need to know. It is important that we ask Him to show us, so that we can turn from our wicked ways. Stealing anything is wicked and the works of Satan.

Exodus 20:15 (KJV): 15 Thou shalt not steal.”

Uncomfortable For Christ

2 Corinthians 3:5 (KJV): “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God.”

While studying abroad I took a Biomedical Ethics course and I absolutely loved it! I was able to concentrate on medicine and philosophical ethics at the very same time. During the course we focused a lot on the physician/patient relationship and a very important aspect was the competency of the doctor. Even after medical school physicians have the duty to remain abreast on latest epidemics, resources, treatment etc. so that they may be able to provide the best care for their patients. I often think about the position I was in when the Lord began to draw me nigh and I remind myself that I need to have a growing passion and zeal for the Lord each day that I serve Him.

2 Peter 3:18 (KJV): 18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.”

I don’t know any Christians who consciously agree to become slack in their walk with the Lord. However, I believe that we all have been guilty of at some point saying, “Oh, I’ll read the Bible later,” “I’ve prayed about that a long time ago,” or, “I already know that.” While we may have prayed about something many weeks, months, years ago; that doesn’t mean the Father doesn’t want us to remain fervent in prayer about it. When we first receive salvation we are usually in bad condition and we yearn for God to give us peace, to give us a breakthrough but once some of our strongholds are broken reading the Bible can “Come later.” There is always  something to be aware of as a vessel for the Lord. Especially in the last days we are always to be aware of the seducing spirits and the anti-Christ, which are trying to exalt itself against the knowledge of Christ. How can we be His soldiers if we don’t know the tactics and resources of the enemy? How can we remain competent and effective for the Father if we are still holding onto yesterday’s prayers and this morning’s Bible reading? We have busy schedules, sure we do but as soon as we put life before God, we become ineffective. God isn’t overbearing and He allows us to take care of business as long as we have everything in its proper place. 

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18  (KJV): 16 Rejoice evermore.17 Pray without ceasing.18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

As humans we want to be comfortable. We love to be comfortable actually,which I know to be true for myself firsthand. I hate discomfort but I have learned from the 20 years that I have been alive that I have always performed best when I was uncomfortable. Moving to new locations and attending new schools usually produced some of the best aspects of my life. However, I also noticed that when I had done particularly well in a semester, the semester following became a “comfortable semester” and my grades showed. To anyone who watches the pattern of my grades will see that in the beginning I’m excited and do well then comfort sets in so I become LAZY, then I become anxious to do well again, then grades improve and the cycle continues. For many years I couldn’t understand why I would operate that way but I now understand that it is simply because I am human. Whether it be in the realm of academia or relationships, comfort is bad business. When entering a relationship individuals go the extra mile to woo the other individual but the moment they feel as if they are “accomplished” their comfort kicks in. This is when many individuals become upset with their spouses because they feel like they are no longer with the person that they married. Women sometimes marry a man who they believe will always send them flowers when appropriate and who will spend hours looking for the most extravagant restaurant to dine at. Men sometimes marry women believing that their wives will work effortlessly to surprise them with their favorite dish and who will spend hours in stores finding cute things to add to their well furnished homes. Certainly many things come with marriage and not all things will remain the same but I am simply mentioning how comfort and ultimately laziness can cause someone to quickly become disgusted. This goes way beyond spending money and eating but even concerning the small things, like saying I love you?

1 Peter 1:25 (KJV): “But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.”

If a couple can become exasperated because of comfort how do you think God feels? When we tell Him we no longer have to bind and rebuke that demon because we are “Through with that?” The Bible tells us that Satan comes to tempt in seasons and while Christ has delivered many of us from many forms of bondage we should never stop praising Him nor should we believe that we are invincible. The moment we think we are humble it is then that we have lost it. We should be confident and rest assured in His deliverance but we also should never be comfortable and let down our guard. We should never be so holy that we cannot take constructive criticism or be open to hear a word from a brother or sister in the Lord. Scripture makes it clear that the journey with Christ requires us to be competent each day, each hour, each minute, each second.We need to grow in His glory daily and the only way we can do that is if we constantly thirst for His living water.

Luke 9:23 (KJV): 23 And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.”

Whenever I read a verse and I see something that mentions daily or every I try to make a mental note of it. When I received salvation I wasn’t sure how often I should pray a certain prayer or enter His gates with praise. How often should I thank Him for deliverance? How often do I need to read the Word? When someone asks me a question? How often should I pray and talk to the Lord? Every chance I get.

Lamentations 3:22-23 (KJV): 22 It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.23 They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.”

We are called to be the salt of the Earth but if our salt loses its savour, what can we preserve? Satan is always lurking and sin is always knocking at our doors. How can we stand it without constantly renewing our minds? The life of a Christian is dangerous because if it weren’t then we wouldn’t need the Father and His protection. How can we be vessels if we leave our crosses at home? God tells us to pick up our cross daily; it is no good in our attic. We are to be living testimonies. The Lord’s work in and through us doesn’t stop when we get saved, it is simply that it then becomes alive. I can tell all of you about the story of my salvation but I too have stories up to this day about the mighty works of God. The Father is always prompt and ready to do work. God always knows about our current situation and He is always a step ahead of us, why are we still trying to identify with yesterday? The same way we find refuge in the Lord’s competency, we too need to offer Him our lives as a living sacrifice so that we may be competent and faithful in Him. Not that we can do that on our own, as we already agreed that we are naturally lazy individuals. Too much danger to be comfortable. Too much work to be done to be comfortable. Too much praise to give to be comfortable. Too big of a God to serve to be comfortable. While I tend to lean toward comfort by nature, I am willing to be uncomfortable for Christ. God takes us from glory to glory but while that journey takes place we must earnestly pray that our competency in Christ doesn’t get lost in translation.

Romans 12:2 (KJV): And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

Father, we thank You for our salvation. We come to You asking that You may keep us on our toes, always finding ways to better please You. We are naturally lazy beings, not wanting to remain uncomfortable. However, our walk with You is important and we are willing to be uncomfortable so that we can produce Your fruit. Salt without savour is good for nothing other than to be trampled underfoot. You have been too good to us and You never deserve lukewarm vessels. You were never lukewarm to us. When we need You, You’re there. When we call, You answer. Lord, please help us stop sending You to voicemail because we think we know “the message You’ll leave.” Please allow us to pray against all sins and all wickedness in high places because while You are constantly delivering us, Satan and his angels are always trying to find ways to bind us again. When one demon is gone another is waiting to be addressed. When one battle is won another is waiting to be fought. We are Your soldiers Lord, please train us to keep our boots on and our guns aimed while in war; even after a win. There is no place for feelings in the Kingdom and “feeling” strong in the Lord and “feeling” like we are past that point are not attitudes we should have. We should always look for ways to better go toward the mark for the prize of God that we have been called to in Christ Jesus. Amen.

Matthew 5:13 (KJV):1Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.”