Not Affiliated

There are many gods in this world, many ways to worship, and many religious organizations. Lately there has been a furor over a survey which reports that a growing number of Americans are not affiliated with any religious organization. How many react to these reports by thinking that we are becoming a godless or less Christian nation? That kind of reaction is an indication of the problem.

I have spoken with people through the years, observed groups and listened to others about spiritual matters. The problem is that religion and god has become one and the same. You cannot have one without the other. Thus these two entities have become one. Religion is in itself an idol; religion is not Biblical or scriptural.

The idol of religion must be supported by people, when the God and Father of Jesus Christ desires to support and carry us.
Isaiah 46:1,2 tells of two idols, bel and nebo, which where physically heavy to be borne or carried. Even strong beasts of burden cannot carry and save the idols from being stolen and plundered. In contrast, in Isaiah 46:3, 4, God expresses his desire to bear, carry and save those who are His children. He does not desire for his children to be enslaved to carry and support the heavy burdens of religion.

In Acts 17:24, 25, the apostle Paul proclaims the truth that God does not live in temples or buildings made by man; nor is He served by human hands. So, biblically and scripturally speaking, it is not possible to accurately call any building "the house of God"; this is a lie! There are no sacred places or sacred times!

To the religious, Jesus said the following (Mark 7:6 – 8):

And he said to them, "Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, 'This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.'
You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men."

This continues to be the condition of religion today. Do religious people worship? Yes they do. Do they worship the true God? The revelation in the scripture indicates that they do. That is not the imperative question though. This revelation indicates that they worship the true God in vain! Their worship is worthless!

To one who desired the truth Jesus said the following (John 4:22 – 24)

"You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews (Judeans). But the hour is coming, and is now here when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship him in spirit and truth."

This is what Jesus taught. He did not come to establish a man made religious organization as can be seen in the world today. He did not come to this world to be worshiped. He has no involvement with the many man made religious organizations that purport to carry his name.

Jesus Christ came to set us free from the blindness of idolatry and the slavery of religion. It is through Jesus Christ that we can have a personal relationship with God, our heavenly Father. It is through Jesus Christ that we have the ability, power, and freedom to effectively worship God, our heavenly Father, in spirit and in truth.

So, do not become dismayed at the "news" that America might be growing less religious. This has nothing to do with America becoming godless or less Christian. Idolatry continues to be rampant in this country as it always has been.

Regardless of the state of religion and idolatry in America, those who desire to know and worship God in spirit and in truth will continue to do so. What do you desire to do?

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(C)2012 Keith S. Radcliffe

Just A Cat

My mother, Dorothy Self, was 85 when she passed away on July 1, 2012. Like most of us, she had her share of love, challenges, outright hostility and rejection, joy and sadness. I was privileged to accompany her on quite a bit of her life, observing the growth of her faith and her relationship with God.

When she hit her 40's it appeared as if her life was a complete and total failure. Among other things, she had to contend with the end of a stormy and unedifying marriage; later there were several episodes of cancer.

However, by the time she reached her 80's she remarked to me that all her prayers had been answered. The challenges had been resolved. The life that seemed such a failure turned into success.

She was unsure of the details of the path forward but she was aware of the reality of the end of this life. I reminded her that God is our guide, even unto death. This continued to be her experience and she continued to grow spiritually.

Mom was very fond of cats. Sonny was her 2nd "last cat". He was her faithful friend and companion for over 5 years.

In May 2012 mom told me that she knew it was time to go. Although she had so much more she wanted to do, she knew it was time. After having a last visit with each of her children, she fell asleep and is awaiting the return of her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

When I gathered with our family to remember our mother, my brother Bill reported to us that Sonny had been placed with a wonderful family and Sonny was very happy. It reminded me that God loves us as His children and is not too big or to busy to help us with the smallest of details. Sonny was just a cat, but God made sure that mom's cat was taken care of.

What a wonderful heavenly Father we have!

Dorothy Self

Sonny The Cat

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(C)2012 Keith S. Radcliffe