Why I am not religious

Originally posted on WisdomForLife:

Interior10I do not believe in religion. Religion is a human attempt to find the way to God. It’s an empty and hopeless pursuit of something God already did for us.
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The gospel is good news about God’s loving pursuit of sinners who run from Him.

Religion always involves traditions, rituals and laws that are used to try to gain God’s favor. But none of these things will work.

Please don’t confuse religion with God’s plan for our relationship with him.
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Opposite of religion
 
  • “We know that a person is made right with God by faith in Jesus Christ, not by obeying the law… For no one will ever be made right with God by obeying the law. For if keeping the law could make us right with God, then there was no need for Christ to die” (Galatians 2:16,21).
  • “God saved you by his grace when you…

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The unexpected members of the Kingdom of God

Originally posted on WisdomForLife:

“To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable: ‘Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.”

“The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’” (Luke 18:9-13).

Notice the difference 

The proud (he claims superior status)

  • some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else
  • one a Pharisee
  • stood up and prayed about himself (or standing by himself, praying)
  • thanks God for his state of being righteous

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You don’t have it in you

Sometimes when we face difficult circumstances and feel we can’t go on, someone will say, “Be strong. You have the strength. You can do this!”

This is not a message for life with God.

When it comes to pleasing God, I don’t have it in me. I can’t make myself pleasing to God and I don’t have the strength to live a life that pleases God.

Following Christ is not difficult; it’s impossible! This is where living the life begins!

A message God wants us to learn

You will never have enough strength in yourself to be what God calls you to be or to do what God calls you to do.

This truth was emphasized long ago to God’s people

Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord” (Deuteronomy 8:2-3).

A pattern emerges

Throughout the Scriptures, a pattern emerges on this emphasis. We see it in the call of Moses (Exodus 3:1 – 4:17), in the call of Gideon (Judges 6:11-24), and Isaiah (Isaiah 6:1-8), Jeremiah (Jeremiah 1:4-10), and Ezekiel (Ezekiel 1:1-3:11).

The repeated message is clear

You are not competent or sufficient in yourself. Your strength must come from God. It’s not about you and how adequate you feel — it’s about God and His grace that will give you the strength and provision you need.

Remember this truth

This is the lesson God has for us. Our sufficiency and strength must come from God. “Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God” (2 Corinthians 3:5).

Are sitting in front of a river?

Human extremity is a most suitable opportunity for God to display His power.

Why do you think God made his people gather for three days in front of the Jordan River before they entered the Promised Land? We learn that they sat there during harvest season when the river overflowed on all its banks. Before God miraculously split the raging river to allow his people to enter the land, he let them sit in front of it to absorb the clear sense of their own inadequacy. Unless God does something for us we’ll never cross this river!

Are you sitting in front of a raging river?

This is one more opportunity to confess you inadequacy and your complete dependence on the Lord. Be still and know that He is God!

  • “The Lord is good,
 a refuge in times of trouble.
 He cares for those who trust in him” (Nahum 1:7)
  • “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today” (Exodus 14:13).
  • “God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging” (Psalm 46:1-3).
  • “… work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose” (Philippians 2:12-13).

Rest in the Lord and His strength today!

Steve Cornell

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The danger of legalism

legalism-maskFew things are more disruptive to unity in the Church than legalism.

We must understand the threat of legalism and equip the Church and our families to respond.

The links below will help you understand and teach about the danger of legalism.

For the helpful resources listed below, see here

  • Understanding legalism (part 1)
  • Understanding legalism (part 2)
  • Understanding legalism (part 3)
  • Understanding legalism: (part 4)
  • Six reasons legalism is a challenge for the Church
  • Unity through the Gospel
  • A dress code for Church
  • Protect your Church from Pharisees
  • When Christians Disagree

Steve Cornell

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5 Links worth seeing

Concept internet communication

Our Marriage Is Stronger Because My Husband Isn’t My Best Friend
Rethinking the adage of “I married my best friend.”

In Zimbabwe, We Don’t Cry for Lions

Did all those Americans signing petitions understand that lions actually kill people? That all the talk about Cecil being “beloved” or a “local favorite” was media hype? Did Jimmy Kimmel choke up because Cecil was murdered or because he confused him with Simba from “The Lion King”?

Why Civility is a Democratic Virtue

Civility is an important virtue that is poorly understood by some…

A Death in Yellowstone
On the trail of a killer grizzly bear.

On Friday a hiker was found dead in Yellowstone National Park. CNN reports that based on a preliminary invesitgation, “an adult female grizzly and at least one cub were present” at the hiker’s death, and that, if found, bears involved in human fatalities are generally euthanized. In 2012, Jessica Grose wrote about death in Yellowstone.

8 Things You Won’t Find in Heaven

“…the Bible often describes heaven in terms of what will not be there. For example, the last two chapters of the Bible tell us eight things that will not be there…”

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Don’t be such a Pharisee

Originally posted on WisdomForLife:

Unity-logo-unity-32506259-1344-1000

Don’t be such a Pharisee! We still hear it today. The label is typically aimed at a self-righteous person or a hypocritical religious legalist. I’ve never heard someone use the word pharisee in a positive way.

The Pharisees are primarily remembered as the chief antagonists of Jesus. Yet, in all fairness, the group can trace its history to a noble beginning — long before the days of Jesus.

The Pharisees (in earliest formation) had great zeal for the things of God. Believing that God’s people were punished under the Babylonian captivity for neglecting God’s law and compromising with pagan culture, these men became zealots for the Law and extreme separatists from the world. Out of intense devotion to the Law, they progressively established detailed traditions to hedge up the actual laws of God. They did this to protect against any possible infringement of God’s Law.

By the time of Jesus

The Jewish…

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Red flags in relationships

Originally posted on WisdomForLife:

I asked more than 50 singles in myRelationship 101 class what constitutes a red flag in a relationship. 

I also asked what would be a “deal breaker” to end a relationship. I was surprised by the silence. They didn’t know how to answer the questions.

As I thought about this, I realized that when it comes to relationships and marriage, many singles don’t have much of a plan. They haven’t thought through a criteria or a “must have” and “can’t stand” list. We tend to go with the flow or follow our gut instincts. 

I tried to jump-start the conversation by offering one thing that ought to be a deal breaker. If a guy uses any kind of hurtful physical force on a girl, it should be an immediate deal breaker for her. The class seemed to agree. But I didn’t get many others answers.  

In the resource…

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