Jesus died for freedom, not religion

Category : Galatians, God, Jesus, faith, hope, revolutionary, sin

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It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. (Galatians 5:1)

Jesus died to bring us freedom.  Not death.  Not rules.  Not religious checklists.  Not mind-your-p’s-and-q’s religion.  Freedom.

This is what I wish someone would have explained to me when I was a kid.  Sadly I didn’t hear this message until I left the church, abandoned God, and became an atheist / agnostic.  I had to suffer a great deal in order to learn the truth.

Which is why I find it so heart breaking to hear someone ask why God is punishing them.   It’s one thing to carry the burden of guilt if you’ve been sinning.  It’s wrong, but I understand.  It’s completely wrong to be sick and told that the reason you are sick is divine punishment.

I wish I could say that it’s because people are using “god language” as a way to control and manipulate people.  That it’s some nefarious plan.  And I suppose in some cases it is.  But I think there is something worse going on – I think a lot of well-meaning Christians say and believe these things.  They want to help, but they honestly believe God is the type who is waiting around to smack us with plagues and disaster if we don’t sit still in church.

And the result is a lot of pain and suffering.

My biggest wish, I think more than any other, is to find a way to let people know that you don’t need to be perfect to talk to God.  He’s not the Giant Rule Counter in the Sky.  He’s not the angry father who hates us.  He’s a loving God, who cares so much that he gave his one and only son.  That if everyone else was perfect but you, God would still send his son to die for you.  That’s who God is.  That’s the God who radically changed my life, and can revolutionize yours.

It breaks my heart to know that so many people who believe in Jesus, believe he punishes us to make us behave.  It is no wonder so much of religion is seen as unChristian.  It’s no wonder people work so hard to stay away from him.

prayer thursday: thanksgiving

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Category : God, different, faith, hope, miracles, worship

 

Today is Thanksgiving.  A day we Americans typically eat a ton of food, spend time with friends and family, and watch the Lions lose.  And it’s also the conclusion to R3’s series on thanks giving.  I’ve found that just writing and thinking about these posts has really impacted my perspective.  I find I’m a lot more thankful for just the random stuff in my life.  I hope you find the same.

Thankfulness

God – Thank you for everything you do in my life.  Most days I simply don’t take enough time to thank you for all the miracles I experience.  If I’m honest, I almost never thank you for anything.  In fact, my attitude tends to be one of ungratefulness, rather than gratitude.  I am sorry for that.

As I sit here thinking about how complex life is, I am amazed that my body can breathe air, type words, and hold a conversation with you all at the same time.  Even though I usually take it for granted, I am grateful for a working body. 

Mostly though, I find today I am very thankful for you.  You’ve completely changed my life.  You’ve completely changed me!  And you did it for no other reason than you love me.  Not because I deserved it.  Not because I earned it.  Simply because you are love.  For that I am thankful. 

As I enjoy thanksgiving with friends and family, I ask that you watch over them, and everyone else.  Perform miracles, heal the sick, and do amazing things – and I am thankful even when you aren’t doing those things in my life. 

You are a loving God.  For that I am thankful!  Amen.

<comments are open, feel free to add your own prayer of thanks>