God & His Church

“All Religions Are (Not) the Same”

Have you ever heard of the Indian Elephant Analogy/Parable? It goes something like this:

An elephant was brought to a town one day filled with people who had never even heard of an elephant. Among the residents was a group of blind men. These blind men inspected the creature via touch.

The first person who touched the trunk said, “It is like a thick snake!”

The second person who touched the ear said, “No, it is like a large fan.”

The third person who clung to its leg said, “Not so, it is more of a tree!”

The fourth person who placed his hands on its side said, “Surely, it is like a wall.”

The fifth person who touched the tail said, “It is like a rope.”

The sixth and last person who rubbed its tusks said, “It is hard and smooth like a spear.”

This story was originally used to teach perspective but later it became known for explaining away various religions. Many people use this analogy to show that every different religion is like a different blind person. They only have a part of the story that is informed by their biases and they are all correct and incorrect to some degree.

However, this interpretation ignores the presence of the narrator who knows without a doubt that the creature is not a snake, or a fan, or a tree, or a wall, or a rope, or a spear. The narrator sees the entire picture and knows an elephant when he sees one.

All Religions Are The Same

The above phrase was intended to show tolerance to all religions. After all, we currently live in a world where everyone is right all of the time. We do not want to offend or hurt anyone’s feelings. However, this phrase “All religions are the same” is actually extremely offensive. In stating that all religions are the same, you take away the complexity, the authenticity, and the detailed nature of each religion and you offend those who practice it. Buddhism is not Hinduism, Hinduism is not Islam, Islam is not Christianity.

Every Religion Has a Different View of God & a Different View of Salvation.

I believe that there is in elephant in the room and that elephant is religion. All of the religions of the world attempt to understand that elephant. However, I stand by the idea that we have a narrator who depicts what true faith is and that narrator is Jesus.

John 14:6, “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

One of the major differences between Christianity and every other religion is that in other religion’s man is the hero. In Christianity, man is weak and God is the hero. Perhaps we do not like admitting our own weaknesses, but I can admit to mine.

It’s a large concept to grasp, I know. If you are interested in hearing a more in-depth discussion of this concept, I really encourage you to watch the video by Claude Hickman. He has traveled all over the world and studied all different kinds of religions:

I do believe that faith in Jesus is the only road to salvation.

However, please know that this does not mean that I do not love or respect others any less due to their religious beliefs. I share my faith because I believe that it brings about salvation and because I want everyone to have the opportunity to hear or read about the love of God at least once in their lives.

I am more than open to discussing my faith or your questions in the comments, but please remember I will never approve any hateful or derogatory comments.

 

God & His Church, Uncategorized

Are you lacking Courage in your Life?

Can we be honest with each other? Because if we are being honest, I think we can admit that at one point or another we are all lacking courage. We lack the courage to do what is right, to speak the truth, to chase after a dream, etc.

Recently, a pastor at Sandal’s Church spoke about courage, specifically Godly Courage.

Reading a passage from the Bible, the pastor focused on Judges 3:12-30 which tells the story of how Ehud, an Israelite enslaved by the Moabites, rose up against his oppressors and led his people to freedom.

Judges 3:12-30 (NLT)

Ehud Becomes Israel’s Judge

12 Once again the Israelites did evil in the Lord’s sight, and the Lord gave King Eglon of Moab control over Israel because of their evil.. . . 14 And the Israelites served Eglon of Moab for eighteen years.

15 But when the people of Israel cried out to the Lord for help, the Lord again raised up a rescuer to save them. His name was Ehud son of Gera, a left-handed man of the tribe of Benjamin. The Israelites sent Ehud to deliver their tribute money to King Eglon of Moab. 16 So Ehud made a double-edged dagger that was about a foot long, and he strapped it to his right thigh, keeping it hidden under his clothing. 17 He brought the tribute money to Eglon, who was very fat.

18 After delivering the payment, Ehud started home with those who had helped carry the tribute. 19 But when Ehud reached the stone idols near Gilgal, he turned back. He came to Eglon and said, “I have a secret message for you.”

So the king commanded his servants, “Be quiet!” and he sent them all out of the room.

20 Ehud walked over to Eglon, who was sitting alone in a cool upstairs room. And Ehud said, “I have a message from God for you!” As King Eglon rose from his seat, 21 Ehud reached with his left hand, pulled out the dagger strapped to his right thigh, and plunged it into the king’s belly. 22 The dagger went so deep that the handle disappeared beneath the king’s fat. So Ehud did not pull out the dagger, and the king’s bowels emptied.[b] 23 Then Ehud closed and locked the doors of the room and escaped down the latrine.[c]24 After Ehud was gone, the king’s servants returned and found the doors to the upstairs room locked. They thought he might be using the latrine in the room, 25 so they waited. But when the king didn’t come out after a long delay, they became concerned and got a key. And when they opened the doors, they found their master dead on the floor.

26 While the servants were waiting, Ehud escaped, passing the stone idols on his way to Seirah. 27 When he arrived in the hill country of Ephraim, Ehud sounded a call to arms. Then he led a band of Israelites down from the hills.

28 “Follow me,” he said, “for the Lord has given you victory over Moab your enemy.” So they followed him. And the Israelites took control of the shallow crossings of the Jordan River across from Moab, preventing anyone from crossing.

29 They attacked the Moabites and killed about 10,000 of their strongest and most able-bodied warriors. Not one of them escaped. 30 So Moab was conquered by Israel that day, and there was peace in the land for eighty years.

From Ehud, we can learn a lot about Godly Courage. Here are some basic steps:

  • To have courage at all, we must first turn to GodThink of Ehud. In the passage it says that Ehud was a left-handed man which is translated to mean that his right had was either damaged or bound, meaning he was most likely cripple in some way. His courage could not come from his own physical abilities, but instead it came from his faith in God.
  • Next, we must prepare for action.Although Ehud did not know what he would do, he had prepared a dagger beforehand ready for anything.
    • I Pete 1:13 says, “So prepare your minds for action and exercise self-control.”
  • After turning to God and preparing, we must face our fears.Again, Ehud was only one man and when he first went before the king, he let his fear get the best of him and he left. However, it was after leaving the king that Ehud saw the stones of the idols and trusting in God, he prepared to face his fears.
    • Courage is not the absence of fear but acting despite the presence of fear.
    • Courage in not about personality, but it is about our purpose in serving God and being a difference maker for our generation.
    • I Corinthians 16:13-14, “Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong. And do everything with love.” Isn’t it wonderful how everything comes back to love with God?
  • Next, we must do what others won’t.Ehud was not the most skilled warrior, remember his bound-up right hand? However, he was willing to do what others would not because of his faith in God.
    • James 2:18, “Now someone may argue, ‘Some people have faith; others have good deeds.’ But I say, ‘How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deads?’ I will show you my faith by my good deeds.” Indeed, our actions speak louder than words and reveal who we truly are.
  • Lastly, we must lead with what God has given us.All of us struggle to find our way, to find our courage. All of us were given a specific purpose and sometimes it is hard to find that purpose. Whatever it is, God equips us with the necessary tools to get the job done.

What do you need to be courageous about this week?

***I am a Christian and a follower of Jesus, but I am in no ways an expert. I am always happy to discuss my faith with anyone who wants to have a genuine conversation, but I will never respond to hateful comments.***

Blogmas 2017, Blogs / Life

Blogmas: More Than a Manger

Starting the month of December, Sandals church is going back to the beginning, not only back to the beginning of Christmas, but to the beginning of all time.

I am not a certified pastor, but I am a follower of Christ and would love to share with you some of the amazing things that I heard in the last message.

Matthew 2:1-3, “Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him.” King Herod was deeply disturbed when he heard this, as was everyone in Jerusalem.” 

Around the holidays, there is inevitable controversy about one thing or another: starbucks cups, santa claus, Jesus Christ, the actual date of Jesus’s birth, etc., etc., etc. This is nothing new.

Christmas has always been controversial. – Pastor Matthew Brown

One of the greatest controversies perhaps is concerning Jesus Christ himself. Jesus Christ is more than just a baby in a manger, in fact, his life did not start in that manger. Long before that manger, Jesus existed as the Word.

I John 1:1-5, “In the beginning the Word (Jesus) already existed. The Word (Jesus) was with God, and the Word (Jesus) was God. He existed in the beginning with God. God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him (Jesus). The Word (Jesus) gave life to everything that was created, and his life (Jesus’s life) brought light to everyone. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.” 

Indeed, Jesus did not come into existence, instead He existed with God in the very beginning of God. Jesus is the guiding force behind all creation.

  • The book of Matthew starts the story by tracing Jesus’s lineage back to Abraham (the father of Judaism)
  • The book of Luke starts the story of Jesus by tracing his lineage to Adam (the father of mankind)
  • The book of John starts the story of Jesus by going back to the Beginning – Jesus has always existed

“In the beginning the Word (Jesus) already existed.” John 1:1.

700 years previously, the prophet Micah shared God’s words, “But as for you, Bethlehem . . . Too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity.” Micah 5:2

Jesus, having always existed, humbled himself and reduced himself to a human baby born in an unknown town. Christmas may cost you money, it may cost you time, but for God, it cost him everything to send his son to live among us and to share his good news.

To Watch this Excellent Message for Yourself, please click here

You can attend online like me!

FullSizeR

Just included this song because I love it

“. . . Now I’m not one to second guess
What angels have to say
But this is such a strange way to save the
World

To think of how it could have been
If Jesus had come as He deserved
There would have been no Bethlehem
No lowly shepherds at His birth . . .”