Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Religion or Relationship?

Job 36:22 - "Behold, God is exalted by His power; who teaches like Him?"

Continuing in the Book of Job, his three friends having spoken wise yet accusatory words to him, Elihu speaks the words above. They are true. But job already knows this. It's almost as if these guys are trying to show how smart they are. Attached to this scripture was a devotion of sorts from Oswald Chambers, a Baptist evangelist and teacher. His writings are widely acclaimed. His wisdom quite keen. I didn't want to do anything to add to his words which so aptly speak for themselves:

The Essence of Christianity - There is always a tendency to produce an absolute authority; we accept the authority of the church, or of the Bible, or of a creed, and often refuse to do anymore thinking on the matter; and in so doing we ignore the essential nature of Christianity which is based on a personal relationship to Jesus Christ, and works on the basis of our responsibility. On the ground of the Redemption I am saved and God puts His Holy Spirit into me; then He expects me to react on the basis of that relationship. I can evade it by dumping my responsibility onto a church, or a book or a creed, forgetting what Jesus said: "You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life." The only way to understand the Scriptures is not to accept them blindly, but to read them in the light of a personal relationship to Jesus Christ…. A scientist can explain the universe in which commonsense people live, but the scientific explanation is not first; life is first. The same with theology; theology is the systematizing of the intellectual expression of life from God; it is a mighty thing, but it is second, not first. Quoted from: Baffled to Fight Better. 

Just as I have pointed out repeatedly. It's not about our religion, our church or the beliefs of that church or the pastor or priest, or any other office within the church. It's about a relationship with Jesus Christ. All we are called to do is receive Christ. We cannot work for His forgiveness for our sins but we must first admit we are sin-filled and in need of redemption. And Jesus...Jesus...is the only way toward that redemption. HIS work on the cross was accomplished 2,000 years ago. He died for you and me.

Our church, our clergyman, the beliefs of or in them are not the starting point. It starts with Jesus. Oh, to hear about Him one might have to step inside a church (that preaches the absolute truth). But coming to Christ can be done by responding to a call within your spirit, a song whose lyrics so speak to your spirit, a message preached on the radio or a person' swords spoken on a street corner (or

When we come to Christ He gives us the desire and ability to know Him more when we read His Word and hear HIM speak to us through the Scriptures. If we rely solely on a man in robes or suit or even jeans and a tee shirt standing squarely in a pulpit we may be hearing only his words. They may be accurate, they may not. In the last two churches I have and am attending the pastors have all said not to just believe what they say, but check the scriptures ourselves. They all agree we are to not place them in the highest authority...Jesus is the highly exalted one. Be sure what they say is accurate...and call them on inaccuracies if there are. Man can fail, God cannot.

No matter what religion, it should not come before Christ. As Chambers states, we must be willing to come to Him, put Him first, not second.

He is also called our Mediator...between God and man. If we pray to anyone else we are putting Him second. Not one other person is greater than He. He alone has the power to save. He only died on the cross for our sins. His Father brought Him into this world for that reason...no one else. It's why He calls us to seek Him first. In Jeremiah 23 we are asked: “Am I a God near at hand,” says the Lord, “And not a God afar off? Can anyone hide himself in secret places, so I shall not see him?” says the Lord; “Do I not fill heaven and earth?” says the Lord. And then Psalm 139 says this: Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? Hallelujah to our God who knows all, who wishes us to commune with Him. What an honor...when He died on that cross the veil in the temple was torn from top to bottom to allow each of us access to Him.

Pastors, priests, ministers, all followers of the Lord, must adhere to this: He must increase, I must 
decrease (John 3:30). Often when I think about that scripture or pray that for myself I catch myself  saying I must decrease that He may increase. NO. He comes first. There's a reason we are called lowly worms in scripture. And why He is highly exalted, seated at the right hand of the Father. Because. Just because. He is God. No one else can compare. No one. Not one. He alone is worthy of all honor, praise and glory.

Psalm 99:1-3,5,9 - The Lord reigns; let the peoples tremble! He dwells between the cherubim; let the earth be moved! The Lord is great in Zion, and He is high above all the peoples. Let them praise Your great and awesome name—He is holy. Exalt the Lord our God, and worship at His footstool— He is holy. Exalt the Lord our God, and worship at His holy hill; for the Lord our God is holy. 

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