“THE TWO… OR THREE JESUS’S”: Teacher… Prophet…or God? Thoughts of CS. Lewis on Jesus Christ: Lord, Liar or Lunatic?

https://sharefaith.wordpress.com/2012/03/01/thoughts-of-cs-lewis-on-jesus-christ-lord-liar-or-lunatic/

You may also find this article to be of interest
PPS
“For me Jesus is the human face of God”

“Jesus makes God real to me.”

from https://sharefaith.wordpress.com/2013/03/03/jesus-makes-god-real-to-me-2/

I would rather live my life as if there is a God and die to find out there isn’t, and live my life as if there isn’t and die to find out there is.”

from https://myjourneyofaith.wordpress.com/my-journey-of-faith/

“THE TWO… OR THREE JESUS’S”: Teacher… Prophet…or God? Thoughts of CS. Lewis on Jesus Christ: Lord, Liar or Lunatic?

SUNrisechrist

https://jesusthoughts.wordpress.com/2013/02/21/the-two-or-three-jesuss-teacher-prophetor-god-thoughts-of-cs-lewis-on-jesus-christ-lord-liar-or-lunatic/

What are Some Key Similarities between Christianity and Islam?

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Article Title: What are Some Key Similarities between Christianity and Islam?
Shared by: Craig Lock

Category (key words): Christianity, Islam, religion, faith, beliefs, peace, spiritual, spiritual unity, breaking down barriers, building bridges

Web sites: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B005GGMAW4

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=la_B005GGMAW4_sr?rh=i%3Abooks&field-author=Craig+Lock&sort=relevance&ie=UTF8&qid and http://goo.gl/vTpjk

The submitter’s blogs (with extracts from his various writings: articles, books and new manuscripts) are at www.peacepursuit.wordpress.com

www.breakdownwalls.wordpress.com

www.sharefaith.wordpress.com

www.buildbridgesofunity.wordpress.com

Other Articles are available at: http://www.selfgrowth.com/articles/user/15565 and http://www.ideamarketers.com/library/profile.cfm?writerid=981
(Personal growth, self help, writing, internet marketing, spiritual, ‘spiritual writings’ (how ‘airey-fairey’), words of inspiration and money management, how boring now, craig)

Publishing Guidelines:
All my writings may be freely published, electronically or in print.
# #


WHAT ARE SOME KEY SIMILARITIES BETWEEN CHRISTIANITY AND ISLAM?

Submitter’s Note:
Craig is studying the teachings of different religions (to find ‘common ground’/principles/ and as he learns from his research, is sharing these notes in an attempt to ‘enlighten’ (himself and perhaps others) regarding ‘eternal and universal truths.’ These notes form part of Craig’s new novel set in the Middle East, titled ‘A New Dawn: Let the Journey Begin’. Hope this piece may be of interest to you too.
*
INTRODUCTION

The issue of RELIGION throughout history of mankind and today evermore plays a vital part in many conflicts around the world. Religion is (and was) often blamed as the cause of the conflicts; whereas it is/was people misusing religion for their own ends (often taking particular and significant interpretations out of context) that have shaped societies and cultures. I truly believe it’s critically important to emphasize the common values shared by different religions to drastically reduce tensions around the globe. So that religion (and it’s beliefs) can be turned around from being part of the conflict to be part of the SOLUTION. Instead of focusing on the differences between people, in this ‘battle of ideas/ideologies” we should focus far more on what we have in common.

So what are the foundations, what is the frame-work of the respective beliefs?

Most religions of the world espouse (nice word, eh!) good moral values as a code of conduct: the virtues of passion for liberalism, tolerance, compassion, decency and generous ideals. However, there is a fundamental doctrinal incompatibility between the major faiths of Islam and Christianity (though together with the Jews, they worship the God of Abraham). These three major religions share the common truth of the Old Testament, having many prophets in common and consequently have many “shared values” that have shaped societies over the past two millennia.

Whilst there are some major differences between Islam and Christianity, from my research (fascinating and mainly online) some of the fundamental similarities in beliefs between these two main religions (as well as Judaism) are as follows:

ISLAM

The main beliefs:

* There is only One True God: the Sovereign Ruler of the universe…
and has full control over our lives (and will meet all of our needs)

* God (Allah) is the Creator of everything and central to Muslims lives. Allah is simply beyond human thought and understanding.

* True believers are not to worship any other gods

* Allah’s goodness and benevolence is seen everywhere, because He is compassionate and merciful.

* Many Old Testament prophets were from God (ie. were sent by God as messengers to the world)

* Jesus’s strong sense of mission, unity and sense of purpose.
He was sent by God to serve humanity and being divinely inspired was a great moral teacher and prophet.

* God gave the Torah, the prophets, the Koran and the Gospel to guide our lives. ( I don’t know enough about Mohamed and his “divine destiny” to pass comment on his “mission”).

* We are to obey God’s words (as in the first five books of the Old Testament, the ‘Pentitukes’- spelling?)

* We should surrender/sacrifice ourselves fully to God
(in fact, the word ‘Islam” means ‘full submission to God’s will’)

* Jesus will return to earth one day (though in which form is uncertain). Though Jews do not believe that Jesus is the Messiah…
and I’m not sure on that point with Islam.

* Humans have free will and exercise a choice between doing good or evil in their daily lives.

* Humans only live once on this earth, then face judgment:
One day there will be a day of Judgment for how we’ve lived our lives.

* Believers who die will go to ‘heaven’ and live forever (though the concept of heaven is not precisely defined).

* Disbelievers will go to ‘hell’ (or suffer torment, which is ‘separation from God’ forever). Heaven or hell are written about in the Qur’an in poetic terms, ie. symbolic rather than actual places.

* It is important to pray to God frequently (Muslims do it five times a day) and attend a congregation at least once a week (usually mid-day on Fridays)

* We should have a spirit of charity and help the poor and those in a less fortunate position to ourselves (with money and/or works)

* A person’s allotted time on earth is predestined.

* All people are equal before the law.

and finally

* We should respect our differences and Christians, Jews, and Muslims should never be killed purely on account of their faith.

#
CHRISTIANITY

Christianity and Islam are both missionary religions. Both faiths believe they have a monopoly over the truth. Both want to share their version of truth with others and both compete in seeking converts. I am motivated to share these “truths” with others, so people may benefit and enhance their lives in a meaningful way…if they so CHOOSE.

There IS a significant difference from Islam: Christianity exists solely on the basis that Jesus Christ is the ‘son of God’ (ie. the fact is taken literally); whereas the faith of Islam exists purely on the basis that God dictated his laws to Mohammed and that the Koran contains God’s actual words. Most “informed” Christians, however, do not believe the Koran is the un-intermediated word of God. Most followers of Christ know very little about Mohammed being perceived as a ‘messenger of God.’ They can, therefore, only think that Mohammed was deluded, if not a liar. (Of course, most Christians are far too polite to say such a thing!).

The Bible teaches that Jesus is the son of God/God incarnate (“the human face of God”) and that he dies on a cross to reconcile mankind and God. Then he was resurrected after three days and now lives in heaven. The gospel message teaches that reconciliation with God is to be found through the redemptive work of Jesus only.

Good works as “entry” to heaven count for nothing, in the absence of acceptance of Jesus.

And as regards Christianity, it’s the notion of the Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit as one), which rationalists find to be the most implausible aspect of Christianity. If Jesus was not the Son of God, then he too was deluded, crazy … or perhaps even a “liar”. And if he – as opposed to He – was either of those things, then the Resurrection is also a lie and Christianity, as a faith rather than as a philosophy is utterly null and void.

Christianity is based on the concept of FAITH and God’s Infinite Grace. We are “saved for eternity” (so our soul lives on) through our faith in Jesus and are not solely judged for the ‘hereafter’ by our good works during our lifetime. (And these good works are inspired by our faith and the ‘divine spirit’ at work through God’s Infinite Grace). This is a battle of ideas. Cardinal Ratzenberger: “Islam simply does not have the separation of the political and religious spheres which Christianity had from the very beginning. The Koran… insists that the whole order of life be Islamic (ie. no separation of religion/church and state). One must understand that Islam is not simply a denomination that can be included in the free realm of a pluralistic society.”

True Muslims cannot accept either the separation of powers or the freedom under the law (ie. “democracy”), which are the hallmarks of Western civilization.

* extracted from an article (excellent) in ‘The Independent’ by Dominic Lawson.

As we are what we believe yourself to be (You are what YOU believe), I believe that Jesus genuinely believed himself to be a ‘Son of God’, divinely ordained with a specific mission, a unique purpose which he CHOSE to fulfil in his short life. Christians say that the tradition of Jesus of Nazareth points us to a new life and new thoughts, as well as new possibilities… as a community and as a nation. Still you may or may not CHOOSE to believe in Jesus Christ and follow his teachings as YOUR pathway to connect to God, a Higher Power, ‘the Ground of all Being, the Essence of Existence’, your spiritual self.
#

Whilst we can celebrate our differences, we should love God (whatever we understand the concept to be) with all our hearts, minds and souls and our neighbour as we love ourselves (common teachings from both faiths of Islam and Christianity). Simple, eh!

It’s not such a matter of conflicting ideologies, the great ‘battle of civilizations’ is it?

So
Isn’t WHAT UNITES US IS FAR MORE IMPORTANT THAN WHAT DIVIDES US!

and

God’s greatest gift to us is allowing us to find, then choose to follow our own truths.

Craig Lock

Former Archbishop in South Africa Desmond Tutu: “We have come to a time in the history of the world, where we need to rediscover the path to peace, and the path to peace can never be war. This pathway is lined with the concept of co-existence and co-inhabitance of the world.”

“A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new, when an age ends and when the soul of a nation, long supressed, finds utterance.”
– J.Nehru, first Prime Minister of India

“It is time for people of good will from every faith, culture and nation to recognise that a terrible danger threatens humanity. We must set aside the partisan bickering between nations and join together to confront the danger that lies before us. Let us seek common ground between peoples around the globe…
because what unites us is far more important than what divides us.

In our own little ways in our individual lives we can touch so many others and share our common humanity. And in so doing we can illuminate the hearts and minds of humanity. We must offer a compelling alternate vision for the world: a bright future of justice, tolerance, respect for other traditions and values and especially a vision of goodness and hope fuelled by the flame of love – one that banishes the fanatical ideology of intolerance and hatred to the darkness from which it emerged.”
– craig (as inspired by and adapted from the words of Abdurahman Wahid, former President of Indonesia)

“What we learn in the darkness, we are to share in the eternal light.”

“What we believe is not nearly as important as how we relate, interact with each other… and how we live. Only when we can say, ‘I am first and foremost a human being, and second a Jew, Muslim, Shi’ite, a Sunni, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu ,or a Sikh…’ will we progress and break down barriers between peoples, nations and cultures, both east and west. Let not our beliefs , but our shared humanity (ALL of us) define who we really are. “

“Let us build bridges rather than barriers, openness rather than walls. Rather than borders, let us look at distant horizons together…in the common spirit of the value and dignity of a shared personhood – our common humanity as citizens of planet earth.”

– craig

“God’s greatest gift to us is allowing us to find, then choose to follow our own truths.”

“Let not our different beliefs set us apart as human beings, but rather let our shared humanity be what defines and unites us as common citizens of our planet.”

– me

About the submitter:
Craig is “a passionate ‘extremist’ about respect for religious tolerance and moderation”. In his various writings little by little, one mind, one heart, one soul, one small step at a time, Craig hopes to promote better understanding across countries and cultures, striving in some small way to break down economic, social, cultural, religious and political barriers. He truly believes that whilst we should celebrate our differences, what we share in the form of our common humanity is way more important than what divides us.
http://www.craiglockbooks.comhttp://www.selfgrowth.com/experts/craig_lock.html

Craig’s new manuscript ‘A New Dawn’ is set in the Middle East: In it he attempts to find ‘common ground’/principles between different religions and cultures and to try to make some difference in building bridges in an ever more dangerous, turbulent and uncertain world. A passionate story of inspiration: hope, faith, peace and especially love.

Craig’s booklet ‘Jesus Meets Muhammad’ is available at http://www.amazon.com/Jesus-Meets-Muhammad-Real-ebook/dp/B005H86TPU/

The various books* that Craig “felt inspired to write” (including his books on Jesus and his numerous e-books on “the spiritual journey”) are available at: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B005GGMAW4

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=la_B005GGMAW4_sr?rh=i%3Abooks&field-author=Craig+Lock&sort=relevance&ie=UTF8&qid and http://goo.gl/vTpjk

“The world’s smallest and most exclusive bookstores”

“A good book should take you from your everyday life to another place entirely.”

The submitter’s blogs (with extracts from his various writings: articles, books and new manuscripts) are at www.peacepursuit.wordpress.com

www.breakdownwalls.wordpress.com

www.sharefaith.wordpress.com

www.buildbridgesofunity.wordpress.com

www.buildbridgesofunderstanding.wordpress.com

http://religiousunity.wordpress.com

http://craigsblogs.wordpress.com + so many others I can’t keep track (obsessive or WHAT!)

“Whilst we can (and should) celebrate our differences, let not our different beliefs set us apart as human beings, but rather let the Spirit of our shared humanity be what defines and unites us as common citizens of our planet.”

-me

Together, one mind, one heart, one life at a time, let’s plant the seeds, the hope of a better and brighter future.

THESE THOUGHTS MAY BE FREELY PUBLISHED, electronically or in print

Peace. it does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. it means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.”
– author unknown

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MY NOTES FROM BIBLE 1 (black)

God (fromantryup.wordpress.com)

MY NOTES FROM BIBLE 1 (black)

Here are some notes (in point form), that  I made many years ago in my black Bible given to me years ago by my dear sister Glenda in a very dark period of my life   when my “entire world/life” fell apart in a time where I had  “ NO God-consciousness” after rejecting God for much of my life (sorry, my good friends, Don and Lynda in spite of all your prayers over the years), thinking I could do anything on my own (“if it’s to be, it’s up to me”) .

It marked the start of a new journey. Since then the wisdom in this book has served to sustain, encourage  and inspire me since that time in the “deep, deep valley” of life.

As someone wrote, “we learn far more from our tears than from our laughter.”

Even though I’m still not what may be termed “religious” (way more “airey/fairey spiritually-minded”), I hope that these brief notes I jotted down in my first “baby-steps of faith. They  ”lit the way through reflecting and shining a light on part of my journey that is life – “the road less travelled from darkness to light” . No matter, where you may be on the journey, I hope they may do the same for you too

craig

March in the year 2013

PS: I have two other Bibles full of notes, which I’ll go through and put them in the new book

“Trust in the Lord with your heart

and lean not on your own understanding;

in all your ways acknowledge him

and he will make your paths straight.”*

– Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)

* and/or “direct our path and make the right way through life for you”

“‘For I know the plans I have for you:, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be fond by you,’declares the LORD.”

– Jeremiah 29:11-13

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

– Romans 8:28

“Be faithful until death and I will give you the crown of life.”

– Revelation 2:10

Jesus,

I surrender to you. Take my ‘little’ life and make something beautiful out of it.

I want to be used for Your Honour and Glory

Nov 1995

*

THE GOSPEL (Good News) OF GOD: THE HEART OF GOD

God always finishes what He starts.

God wants to satisfy our deepest spiritual needs.

A victorious heart

A blessing

Romans 8:28

Romans 10:9

You’ll hear God speak through these pages

You get a positive feeling letting Him guide you

*

THE CHARACTER OF JESUS

He was compassionate, humble, meek and mild…yet strong.

He treated the poor with respect, children with love and tenderness, and accepted ALL the way they were.

He was pure, selfless, sinless with immeasurable mercy, love and grace.

Had utmost integrity. He always saw the best in people, calling (inviting) them to be the highest (best) they could become.

*

“When our charm wears off, we need character.”

Jesus said: You shall know people by the fruit that they bear: fruits like compassion, justice, righteousness, forgiveness, reconciliation and so on.”

*

“Jesus is a soul with a body.”

In Jesus God became man.  Jesus, “Author of Reconciliation”  was the human face of God. He was totally human, yet also totally divine.

It is upon FAITH that you will build the Kingdom.

Through your faith you enter the kingdom of God.

My Grace is sufficient for you.

The Gospel of Thomas (read)

Thomas directs each disciple to discover the light within.

Jesus said: “If you bring forth what is within you, what you have will save you.”

V 70

and ‘Whoever finds self is worth more than the world.”

*

SOME THOUGHTS ABOUT GOD

“The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.”

– Westminster Confession

1. Know that God is continually involved in your life every single day. A Sovereign God, of All Knowledge and Power knows exactly our mind and our needs.

2. God works every circumstance for our ultimate good. Let His will be done.

“Let go, let God, let good.”

3. No matter your circumstances and what’s happened to you, you CAN have confidence about the future.

Jesus said: You shall know people by the fruit that they bear: fruits like compassion, justice, righteousness, forgiveness, reconciliation and so on.”

“Everyone who is called by my name,

whom I created for my glory,

who I formed and made.”

Isiah 43:7

“Lord, I acknowledge that I am a sinner. I believe that Jesus died in my place, paying the sin debt I owed, and  then rose from the dead. I receive Him as my personal Saviour and surrender control of my life to You. Please show me how to live for You, walk with You and know You better each day.

Amen

( from “very heavy heavy serious” US Christian preacher, Charles Stanley)

A  cknowledge

B  elieve

C  onfess

Inner change is expressed through outside changes.

Inner change is expressed by outside actions

Jesus makes God real to me  

The spoken Word – message of God

the truth of the living word of God, as inspired by man’s love of God

It’s the story of God’s redemption.

God is speaking to you directly. God speaks to us through His word- delights. His revelation, His truth, His understanding- absolutely indestructible

There’s no book that causes so much discussion, controversy, yet is so inexhaustible in it’s depth and ability to IMPACT people.

“Drink/breathe the breath of life into them (people)”

It the Bible is the most precious thing you can hold in your hand- it has affected and continues to affect people throughout the world…as a guide to good living.

“I want to be used by You for Your Honour and Glory. Be a testimony to the power of hope and faith to build bridges between people.”

7th April in the year 2006

*

APPENDIX

To read:

Matthew 7:12

Luke 23:33-34

John 1: 11-13

John 2: 13.17

John 13:1-17

Romans 5:8-

Romans 8:28

Romans 10:9

John 1:11- 13

Proverbs 3:5-6

Collossians 3:23

peace

Isiaih 9:6

Matt:5:9

John 14:27

Jeremiah 29:11-13 (pg 881)

Daniel 12:3-4

Luke 9:62

Phillip 1:6

Rev 2:10

Rev 21:5,6

Shared by “an inspiration distributer”

“And He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’ Then he said,”Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.’

He said to me: ‘It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without  cost  from the spring of he water of life. He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son.”

– Revelation 21:5-6

“Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.”

Daniel 12:3-4

AS THE SPIRIT MOVES ME

light (gorlin)

Picture: Stunning seascape by Anton Gorlin (from www.cuded.com and www.inspirefirst.com)

AS THE SPIRIT MOVES ME

Written about 1999 (and is a record of some my thoughts along the “spiritual journey”, when I was in one of the frequent “valleys of life”.

Hope I’ve grown a bit since those early days…

As my close friends and family say: You’re not having a mid life crisis now, your entire life is a long on-going one, craig!

So will keep on laughing along the often extremely hard, yet always amazing and magical journey of life#.

c

* that’s a metaphor, btw                    *

from http://www.craiglockbooks.com (My  American cyberpal Erich who kindly did this nice web site for me “many moons” ago)

*

So here goes…I’m NOT  religious. However, in the last few years I have become particularly interested in spirituality and theology, (rather than religion ‘per se’, an impressive expression, rather fancy and foreign.)

But what does it mean? I began to realize that the spiritual aspect was missing from my life for so long. Unbalanced, like a lop-sided wheel, my engine of life spluttering and misfiring along

(Although I did believe in “some sort of”  Higher Power (and included that in my earliest writings).

For most of my life I didn’t think much about God, Ultimate Source and definitely had not much God consciousness (like  “direct” experience and appreciation of God’s Infinite Love and Grace).

Though my good friend Donovan (a “normal/crazy” Christian – you don’t have to be overly “straight and boring” to be one) had been praying for me for many many years – “poor chappie”, I didn’t know much about Jesus (having forgotten much of what the nuns taught in my young convent days at Star of the Sea, in St James, False Bay, Cape Town.  Let alone how easy it is to “tap into” this incredible Source of Power and Wisdom through Jesus as conduit “spooky”, eh!

I’m certainly not another “Bible basher”. I like to think of myself (I don’t like “labels”, nor “trying to fit people into little boxes”)as a “free spirited, passionate, yet moderate” follower of Jesus Christ (and His teachings), who is most tolerant of other views and denominations.

“If Jesus were here today  (in “person”), would He be a ‘Christian’??!!”

There are many doorways to God, our great Creator and life-force, I believe.

I know, I know.. but I got an answer to that one!

A hint- go directly to The Source)

You choose!

I think intolerance and adhering to “narrow religious dogmas” is one of the reasons why rigid ‘religious (note alliteration) types’ are perceived as being ‘weirdos’ by those on the outside, and why the world is in such a mess! And why traditional religion is losing so many followers in the Western world today

I am a new Christian, but with the sort of life I’ve led, “Someone up there” must have been watching over me all the time. Now my relationship with a Higher Power, The Spirit of the universe through Jesus Christ, gives me great peace of mind and joy, though I’ve still got my “L-plates” on in my walk with our heavenly Father, Infinite Intelligence, Life, Nature or Destiny
(or whatever you wish to call Him /Her/ It).

My relationship with Him is vitally important to me, (together with my dearly beloved sons) and through Spirit I seem to get closer to and get to know God, Ground of All Being better
day by day. The Lord through Jesus as conduit, a channel is the source of my comfort (and I need plenty) strength and inspiration. I believe I’m doing what I’m destined to do by following
my ‘calling’ and the deepest desires of my heart.

I want to follow His plan for my life and serve humanity in some way. ( Well, without Him what a ‘stuff up’ I made, going down my blind alleys and coming to numerous
dead-ends – ‘cul de sacs’ ). Showing off my French again!

Enough disclosure of intimate stuff – as I’m a very private part – ‘er sorry, person!
This is a very quiet, stable period of my life here in “Sleepy Hollow” near the bottom of the world, after much turbulence in the past decade. Probably extremely boring for someone like me. However, I really needed this time out after our unstable and stressful past decade – changing countries as often as my ‘underrods’.

Most importantly, I sincerely believe it’s time for growing (as I’m quite short!). But perhaps most of all, its my apprenticeship serving God, as I have a very strong feeling that I would like to spend the rest of my life getting to know Him better and honouring Him, as well as helping people in distress and “serving humanity in whatever way I can. In short,being the best person I can possibly be.

In my future works I have a strong compulsion (or is it inspiration?) to write on a more spiritual level; about what HE has done for me personally and what He
can do in all of our lives…if only we will open the door and let Him (the spirit/energy of the Universe) in. All you have to do is ASK.

Yes, I firmly believe we all need that firm relationship with The Creator. I strongly believe that relationship is not only for the weak, the poor and the “lame ducks” of society; but also for the successful achievers who can do much more with FAITH.

We don’t know when we will need His help…and when our whole world comes crashing down, like Humpty Dumpty,  he is our ‘insurance policy’, our parachute.

How much more we can do with God’s help? We only have to ask Him to come into our lives. I truly believe God wants us to be good kind people (as most people are), to love ourselves as well as our neighbour; yet also to be successful (financially, but especially spiritually)…and to use our “wealth of spirit” to benefit others

Though ‘yours truly’ can’t speak from a position of strength – at least not yet!

Dream on, “sonny boy”!

“Without hope and a vision the people perish”

– Proverbs

Enough “heavy” theology and “preaching like a religious nutter,  trying to “save and convert you”…

craig 1999

From  http://www.craiglockbooks.com/spirit.html

“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience.”

– Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

The Spirit that made the world, is in you…but first it has to be activated.
from

SPIRIT

Living in Trust and Dependence (by Charles Price)

LIVING IN TRUST AND DEPENDANCE (by Charles Price)

With submission to Christ, then life on earth makes sense

(by His Word and through His Spirit).

Christ gave new life through a new spirit – His Spirit (immense)

“I have come that you might have life, and have it more abundantly.”

Christ gave His Spirit that you may live …more abundantly

Christ is in YOU

* I look to You

* I trust in You

* I depend on You

“If any man is in Christ, he is a new creation.”

The spirit involves personal transformation – a new spirit and a new mind.

“Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

(Romans 12)

Christ is in YOU

Christ gave Himself to live in you …humbly

We can live in dependence (quiet) in Him

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Article Title:Living in Trust and Dependence (by Charles Price)

Shared by: Craig Lock
Category (key words/tags):
Spiritual Growth, Faith, Christianity, Jesus, Jesus Christ, Charles Price, Living Truth, Thoughts on Jesus, Empowerment, Quotations, Thoughts,InspirationInspiration, Spiritual”, Inspirational Writings (enough there now, craig)

Web sites: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B005GGMAW4 and http://www.creativekiwis.com/amazon.html

The submitter’s blogs (with extracts from his various writings: articles, books and new manuscripts) are at https://sharefaith.wordpress.com and http://craigsblogs.wordpress.com

Other Articles are available at: http://www.selfgrowth.com/articles/user/15565 and http://www.ideamarketers.com/library/profile.cfm?writerid=981

 

(Personal growth, self help, writing, internet marketing, spiritual, ‘spiritual writings’ (how ‘airey-fairey’), words of inspiration

Publishing Guidelines:
This piece (as with all my articles) may be freely reproduced, electronically or in print. If they help at all, or make any difference in people’s lives by bringing some joy, then I’m very happy.

“We share what we know, so that we all may grow.”

*

Here are some of my notes (barely decipherable in point form) from an excellent talk by Charles Price that I recently saw on TV:

See www.livingtruth.ca

 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

– Philippians 4:13New King James Version (NKJV)

No matter what you may or may not believe about Jesus, enjoy…

craig

*

LIVING IN TRUST AND DEPENDANCE (by Charles Price)

With submission to Christ, then life on earth makes sense

(by His Word and through His Spirit).

Christ gave new life through a new spirit – His Spirit (immense)

“I have come that you might have life, and have it more abundantly.”

Christ gave His Spirit that you may live …more abundantly

Christ is in YOU

* I look to You

* I trust in You

* I depend on You

“If any man is in Christ, he is a new creation.”

The spirit involves personal transformation – a new spirit and a new mind.

“Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

(Romans 12)

Christ is in YOU

Christ gave Himself to live in you …humbly

We can live in dependence (quiet) in Him

Allow Him to work in and through you.

“I abide in Him, the Father”

– words of Jesus

However, it’s the Father in me does the work – it’s a partnership (like a “co-driver/co-pilot”).

(I see my “work”,  sharing this article with you “out there”, together with all my other writings as like a “co-creation” with Spirit – through my strong faith in Jesus Christ)

Christianity (applied) is a relationship – one of mutual dependence.

“I by myself can do nothing””

Say to yourself: ” Let Jesus do what seems ‘impossible’ in and through me.”

This was the essence, the core teachings of Jesus Christ.

Whatever He says, “DO IT!”… then watch what happens …

Charles Price www.livingtruth.ca

“Don’t tell people so much about Jesus; but rather show Him… through His Spirit working in and through you.”
– my good friend Lindsay, “the prayer-warrior and the prophet”

YOU can reflect Christ’s Spirit (Infinite) on earth

Shared by craig (“Information and Inspiration Distributer, Incorrigible Encourager and People-builder”)

“When (or is it perhaps if??) you arrive in a place (or rather state ) known as heaven, let faith, hope and love be the wings of the chariot that carried you there.”

– craig (as adapted from the words of Jonathan Edwards, a former minister in Massachusetts (New England)

About the submitter:

In his life mission Craig hopes to encourage, motivate and inspire people to be their best through realising their full potentials and live their very best lives (without being too much of a “boring Mr Goody-goody two shoes” (as he’s lost the other one!). Craig believes in the great potential of every human being in the journey of life and loves to encourage people to share their individual (and guiding) spirits, so that they become all that they are CAPABLE of being.

The various books that Craig “felt inspired to write” are available at: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B005GGMAW4 and http://www.creativekiwis.com/amazon.html

“A book is small enough to hold in your hand; but when you read it, the walls fall away and you’re in a room as big as the world.”

“Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside a dog it’s too hard to read.”

– Groucho Marx

He is presently “working” on his latest novels ‘The Awakened Spirit’ and ‘From Seeds of Hate to the Bonds of Love’, based on some true and inspiring stories
of the unquenchable, the indomitable human spirit, that lies within each one of us. Stories of ‘Endless Possibilities, Far and Unlimited (Grand) Horizons’

The submitter’s blogs (with extracts from his various writings: articles, books and new manuscripts) is at https://sharefaith.wordpress.com and http://craiglock.wordpress.com

“Together, one mind, one heart, one life at a time, lets see how many people we can impact, encourage, empowerand perhaps even inspire to reach their fullest potentials.”

“Our prayers are answered not when we are given what we want; but when we are challenged to be what (all that) we can become.”
– Morris Adler

THESE THOUGHTS MAY BE FREELY PUBLISHED

“Let not our different beliefs set us apart as human beings, but rather let the Spirit of our shared humanity be what defines and unites us as common citizens of our planet.”
– me

May the light of God shine brightly on your path up aheadimages_003

Sharing some Spiritual Thoughts and Principles on Jesus from Neale Donald Walsh’s book ‘Tomorrow’s God’

 

 

images_033

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Article Title: Sharing some Spiritual Thoughts and Principles on Jesus from Neale Donald Walsh’s book ‘Tomorrow’s God’
Submitted by: Craig Lock
Category (key words):
religion(s), Christianity, Jesus, Jesus Christ, faith, beliefs, spirituality, books, Neale Donald Walsch

Author’s web sites (ND Walsch): www.newspirituality.org and www.HumanitysTeam.com
Submitter’s web sites: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B005GGMAW4http://www.amazon.com/dp/B007E2WXW0and http://www.creativekiwis.com/amazon.html

Craig’s blogs (with extracts from his various writings: articles, books and new manuscripts) are at www.sharefaith.wordpress.com.wordpress.com

www.buildbridgesofunity.wordpress.com

www.buildbridgesofunderstanding.wordpress.com

www.breakdownwalls.wordpress.com

http://religiousunity.wordpress.com

www.peacepursuit.wordpress.com

http://craigsblogs.wordpress.com + so many others I can’t keep track (obsessive or WHAT!)

Other Articles by the submitter are available at:http://www.selfgrowth.com/articles/user/15565 andhttp://www.ideamarketers.com/library/profile.cfm?writerid=981
(Personal growth, self help, writing, internet marketing, ‘spiritual writings’ (how ‘airey-fairey’), words of inspiration and money management (how boring now, craig!)

Publishing Guidelines:
These writings may be freely published.
(Copyright ‘Tomorrow’s God’ by Neale Donald Walsch, published by Hodder and Stoughton, a division of Hodder Headline)

“We share what we know, so that we all may grow.”
*

Submitter’s Note:

This information that I’m sharing is sourced from an excellent and insightful book titled ‘TOMORROW’S GOD’ by Neale Donald Walsch (published by Hodder and Stoughton, a division of Hodder Headline).

This article (in point form) was largely based upon notes , whilst studying the link between the human mind (psychology) and spirituality. Whilst I may not agree with all of Walsch’s views and beliefs on the concept of God, a “Higher Power’, I’m sharing this piece to hopefully stimulate thinking and discussion on these concepts from Walsh’s personal ideas and beliefs on the ‘airey-fairey spiritual journey’ (and do ‘try to test’, further explore and then apply these principles in ‘real life’).

I have taken what I feel to be the main points, directly as they appeared in Chapter Twelve of Walsch’s thought-provoking great new book (together with a few additional points of my own – in brackets). Hope this piece (including a few thoughts of my own) may be of interest to you too.

 

Enjoy


*
THE JESUS FACTOR

(from ‘TOMORROW’S GOD‘ by Neale Donald Walsch)

“Slowly and gradually, out of a rich experience of the world, one builds a faith.”

God and I are one! That is, God is within each one of us. Jesus taught that we and God are One, but that no one wanted to believe it; because it did not serve the human agenda. Jesus was and is a saviour to all humankind. He knew Who He Really Was and his mission. So he declared it, his sense of mission and ‘unity of purpose’ for all to hear.

He declared something else. He said that what he did on the earth, we could also do (see John 12). By elevating and expanding His own consciousness, together with a high level of FAITH is the key to experiencing these gifts. That was the central message that Jesus taught.

“According to your faith, be it unto you.”
“Oh woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt.” And the woman’s daughter was made whole from that very hour!
“If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, ‘Remove hence to yonder place, and it shall remove, and nothing shall be impossible to you.”
– Jesus’s words

Still if we cannot believe in ourselves and in our own divine heritage (and because so many people cannot), Jesus in an act of enormous love and compassion, invites us to believe in Him. (That was why He invited us, gently, to go to God, the Creator of the Universe THROUGH Him.)

“Verily, verily I say unto you, He that believeth in me, the works that I do, shall he also do; and greater works than these he shall do, because I go unto my Father. And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask anything in my name, I WILL do it.”

This was an extra-ordinary promise. So great and so complex was Jesus’s understanding of who He was and of who we are (“I and my Father are one”). He knew deeply that there was no limit to what we could do, if we believed in ourselves, or in Him.

So great was His love for all humankind, and so full was his compassion for their suffering, that he called upon Himself to rise to the highest level, to move to the grandest expression of his being, in order to present a living example to all human beings everywhere.

And then He prayed that we would not only see the evidence of His Oneness with the Father, but our own Oneness with God as well.

It was a marvellous inspiration for him to invite those who could not imagine themselves to be a part of God to imagine themselves to be a part of Him. He knew that it would be easier for us to see ourselves as “Brothers in Christ” than as One with God!
“I and my Father are one (John 10:30). That is: God is within EACH ONE of us.
“And the glory which thou gavest me, I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one.” (John 17:22)

He stated repeatedly the truth of our oneness with God.
And if Jesus Christ was One with God, then so too are we. We simply do not know it, refuse to believe it and cannot imagine it!
(Because we may think too “lowly”).

So Jesus gently invited us to follow him…to go through him to God, our Creator (because most of us don’t believe we can do it directly). So he said: “I am the Life and the Way. Live your life as I live mine, go the way I’ve gone, ie. follow me – and you will experience God.

That is the truth I came to reveal to you. I came not to humble you, but to exalt you. Not to put you down, but to raise you up.

In essence, Jesus is saying: ‘I am the Life and the Way. Live your life as I live mine, go the way I’ve gone, ie. follow me – and you will experience God’. That is the truth I came to reveal to you. I came not to humble you, but to exalt you; not to put you down, but to raise you up.

His message was that he was greater than none, nor is any one greater than any other, for You are all One.

Jesus, like other masters and messengers (like Buddha, Abraham, Krishna, Moses and Mohammed) LOVE you today as they did in their times on planet earth. Jesus INVITES you today, as those other masters did then to accept and embrace the wonder and glory of Who You Are. He repeated these truths frequently, so that we would get the message.

His message was that he was greater than none, nor is any one greater than any other, for You are all One.

(Jesus Christ chose to live with the “highest thoughts” and consequently lived at the highest level of humanity as “son of man”.) Jesus said what He said and did what He did – that you may know who He was… and thus know also Who YOU Are.
Often what is hard for us to believe about ourselves, we can believe about another – and Jesus knew this! That was His mission: precisely what He knew and why He chose do do what He did …in life and in
death. Thus, it is not Jesus’s death that can save us, but his LIFE!

We are the hope of humanity
YOU too can CHOOSE to be the HOPE OF HUMANITY

Neale Donald Walsch
www.HumanitysTeam.com and www.newspirituality.org

“God is leading us to the light. What we learn in the darkness, we are to share in the eternal light.”
*
Submitter’s note:
Craig is studying the teachings of different religions, as he researches and writes his latest novel ‘A New Dawn’, set in the Middle East: To attempt to find ‘common ground’/principles between different religions and cultures. And as he learns from his research, is sharing these notes in an attempt to ‘enlighten’ (himself and perhaps others) about different religious faiths. As I “try to grow” spiritually, I am sharing some of the author’s writings on this most significant man, for you to ponder on (if you so choose) – the person who Christians believe to be ‘God in human form’), whose life and
death 2000 years ago largely shaped human history and our beliefs about life (and what is indeed possible to achieve!). I am motivated, perhaps “inspired” to share these ‘eternal truths’ about Jesus by Neale Donald Walsch, so that all our lives may greatly benefit in many ways.

Be happy

Submitted and shared by craig

P.S: These powerful, deep and moving words have great significance to me in my journey…and this is my reason for sharing…

“The moment of your greatest darkness may yet become your grandest gift. As you are gifted, so too will you gift others, giving to them the highest treasure: to BE THEMSELVES.

What we learn in the darkness, we are to share in the eternal light.
Let this be your task, let this be your greatest joy: to give back to themselves…even in their darkest hour.”
– adapted (slightly) from Neale Donald Walsch (‘Conversations with God 3’)

“There is neither east nor west, tribe nor ethnicity, male or female, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist. Christian nor Jew. There is only a God-filled humanity.”

“Together, let’s see how many people we can impact, uplift, empower, encourage and perhaps even inspire to reach their fullest potentials.”

These thoughts may be freely published.

About the submitter:
In his writings Craig strives in some small way to break down and economic, social, cultural and religious barriers. Craig believes that whilst we should celebrate our differences, what we share in the form of our common humanity is way more important than what divides us.

The various books* that Craig “felt inspired to write” are available at:http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B005GGMAW4http://www.amazon.com/dp/B007E2WXW0www.creativekiwis.com/index.php/books/74-craigs-booksand http://www.creativekiwis.com/amazon.html and http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/craiglock

Craig’s blogs (with extracts from his various writings: articles, books and new manuscripts) are at www.sharefaith.wordpress.com.wordpress.com

www.buildbridgesofunity.wordpress.com

www.buildbridgesofunderstanding.wordpress.com

www.breakdownwalls.wordpress.com

http://religiousunity.wordpress.com

www.peacepursuit.wordpress.com

http://craigsblogs.wordpress.com + so many others I can’t keep track (obsessive or WHAT!)

“The world’s smallest and most exclusive bookstore”

“Together, let’s see how many people we can impact, uplift, empower, encourage and perhaps even inspire to reach their fullest potentials.”

 

Church leaders’ Christmas message: It’s a matter of faith

Whether one is “religious” or not, everyone is a person of faith. If that sounds like a contradiction, the fact is that each one of us has faith, because faith is defined as having belief and trust in someone or something. It might be something intangible, but it is the trust we put into whatever motivates, inspires and gives us energy and vision.

Believing gives us meaning and a sense of our own identity. For Christians, it is faith in a loving, compassionate Creator God shown to us in the person of his Son, Jesus Christ, born into our world and still present in the context of our own personal experience and religious tradition. Some others may put their faith in the satisfaction gained from such things as success, or relationships or power.

Many people say that they are not “religious” but they are “spiritual”, and this is a recognition that life is more than just what we see. We are attracted to goodness and altruism. In our city of Auckland we all delight in the beauty of art and nature, and experience wonder and awe when we see deeds of great sacrifice and generosity and creativity. These express that beyond our rational thinking there is something great at work, something visionary that surpasses the reach of our human horizons.

SUNrisechrist

Church leaders’ Christmas message: It’s a matter of faith

5:30 AM Saturday Dec 22, 2012

From http://www.nzherald.co.nz/religion-and-beliefs/news/article.cfm?c_id=301&objectid=10855604

  1. Tags: religion and beliefs
  2. Email
  3. Print

Church leaders say our annual celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ is a reminder that life has a meaning beyond our knowledge and understanding. This is their combined Christmas message

Joy and peace are the real gifts of Christmas, not expensive presents. Photo / Thinkstock

Whether one is “religious” or not, everyone is a person of faith. If that sounds like a contradiction, the fact is that each one of us has faith, because faith is defined as having belief and trust in someone or something. It might be something intangible, but it is the trust we put into whatever motivates, inspires and gives us energy and vision.

Believing gives us meaning and a sense of our own identity. For Christians, it is faith in a loving, compassionate Creator God shown to us in the person of his Son, Jesus Christ, born into our world and still present in the context of our own personal experience and religious tradition. Some others may put their faith in the satisfaction gained from such things as success, or relationships or power.

Many people say that they are not “religious” but they are “spiritual“, and this is a recognition that life is more than just what we see. We are attracted to goodness and altruism. In our city of Auckland we all delight in the beauty of art and nature, and experience wonder and awe when we see deeds of great sacrifice and generosity and creativity. These express that beyond our rational thinking there is something great at work, something visionary that surpasses the reach of our human horizons.

Sometimes those who are spiritual but not religious can have good reason to be suspicious of organised religion. When Christians and people of other faiths fail to live up to our ideals of love and forgiveness we are not being true to what we proclaim. We may observe the letter, but not the spirit of what our faith is all about. Jesus warned against this when he spoke of the hypocrisy of the Pharisees whom he described as “whited sepulchres” – meaning looking good on the outside yet corrupt within. For Christian believers and the church as a whole, there is always room to grow as we reach towards the goodness and holiness of God.

One of the big questions in today’s world is whether there is such a thing as truth, or whether everything is a matter of opinion. It is a profound question; part of the universal human search for truth that has engaged whole cultures, philosophies and sciences since the beginning of human history.

A glance at ancient history shows clearly how cultures in different parts of the world have sought answers to the fundamental questions, “Who am I? Where have I come from? Where am I going? Why is there evil? What is there after this life?” There was a common recognition that beyond human knowledge and understanding there is something transcendent – a reality beyond their limited vision and experience.

The answers to these questions decided the direction which people sought to give to their lives. They told their own creation stories about the origins and destiny of life, and they created gods to worship and appease that they believed represented the random forces of nature upon which their whole existence and survival depended. In the search for meaning beyond all these different understandings, there was a body of knowledge which may be judged the commonality or spiritual heritage of humanity.

In today’s world, with all the amazing insights gained and uncovered by the sciences we, more than in any other age or culture, have discovered truths about what once was speculation. We apply rationality to what was superstition and mystery. Yet the search for meaning and purpose in life still lives on in the human heart.

This brings us to the matter of faith and reason, which comes especially into focus at Christmas when we celebrate the historical fact and the mystery of the birth of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem. His birth, gospel teaching of grace and truth, and compassionate ministry, changed the course of human history forever.

Some with no religious faith may feel that there is an irreconcilable tension between faith and reason. From its very beginnings two thousand years ago in the person of Jesus Christ, Christianity was not an exclusive sect. Before his birth, people in that part of the world lived by the great theological or philosophical traditions of the Greek and Roman civilizations and the revelations given by God to the Jewish people. The rise of Christianity after the death and resurrection of Jesus was very public and its first adherents were Jews, Romans and Greeks. It was open to all and offered a rational account of God and of the creation and destiny of humanity which came to fulfillment in the person of Jesus Christ.

What is the relationship between divinely-inspired faith and human reason? One contemporary philosopher wrote that without reason, faith tends towards uninformed feeling, emotion and intuition. Reason without faith tends towards self-interest, personal and transient satisfactions and the absence of altruism.

We affirm the intellectual credibility of the Christian faith, and remind ourselves and others that human intelligence will never be fully satisfied except by God. The centuries-long procession of Christian thinkers, humanitarians, artists and scientists for whom faith and reason were central to their work is unequalled and unparalleled in its contribution to our civilisation. Naturally there have been problems along the way, as we are all flawed human beings prone to sin and greed. This is all the more reason to believe that co-operation and dialogue is essential nowadays, with many pressing issues facing humanity – ecology, peace and the co-existence of different peoples and cultures. It is vital that there is a clear and honest collaboration between Christians and followers of other religions and those who, while not sharing a religious belief, have a heart for the renewal of humanity.

We read in the gospels that Mary responded with great joy to the news that God had chosen her to be the mother of Jesus. So the words in the New Testament announcing the birth of Jesus are about joy. This was the message first preached in New Zealand on Christmas Day nearly 200 years ago. This is the true meaning of Christmas: God is willing to be found by us in our searching – God is with us and became like us in the person of the child who was Jesus, who came to redeem all of humanity.

In those places where people are dominated by fear and uncertainty the words, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour” (Luke 1:46-47) truly give us hope.

Joy and peace are the real gifts of Christmas, not expensive presents. We can communicate this joy simply: with a smile, a kind gesture, with hospitality, reconciliation and forgiveness of past wrongs. The joy we give will certainly come back to us. We pray that the presence of the liberating joy and peace of God expressed in the birth of Jesus Christ will shine forth in all our lives and in our Auckland communities this season.
Signatories

• Rev Dr Neville Bartle, National Superintendent, Church of the Nazarene.
• Rt Rev Ross Bay, Anglican Bishop of Auckland.
• Pastor Tak Bhana, Senior Pastor Church Unlimited.
• Rev Norman Brookes, Auckland District Superintendent, Methodist Church of New Zealand.
• Mr Glyn Carpenter, National Director, NZ Christian Network.
• Rev Murray Cottle, Regional Consultant, Auckland Baptist Churches.
• Pastor Paul de Jong, Senior Pastor, LIFE.
• Most Rev Patrick Dunn, Catholic Bishop of Auckland.
• Mr Peter Eccles, Auckland District Chairman, Congregational Union of New Zealand.
• Mr David Goold, on behalf of the Open Brethren Churches.
• Pastor Mike Griffiths, National Leader, Elim Churches of New Zealand.
• Pastor Ken Harrison, Senior Pastor, Harvest Christian Church, Papakura AOGNZ.
• Pastor Dr Brian Hughes, Senior Pastor, Calvary Chapel.
• Major Stephen Jarvis, Divisional Commander, The Salvation Army.
• Rev Fakaofo Kaio, Moderator, Northern Presbytery, Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand.
• Very Rev Jo Kelly-Moore, Dean, Auckland Cathedral of the Holy Trinity.
• Rev Dr John Kirkpatrick, Senior Pastor, Greenlane Christian Centre.
• Rev Andrew Marshall, National Director, Alliances Churches of New Zealand.
• Pastor Bruce Monk, National Leader, Acts Churches of New Zealand.
• Pastor Sam Monk, Senior Pastor, Equippers Church.
• Pastor Peter Mortlock, Senior Pastor, City Impact Church.
• Pastor Lloyd Rankin, National Director, Vineyard Churches Aotearoa New Zealand.
• Pastor John Steele, National Leader, New Life Churches.
• Bishop Brian Tamaki, Destiny Churches.
• Pastor Eddie Tupa’i, President North New Zealand Conference, Seventh-Day Adventist Church.
• Rev Dr Richard Waugh, National Superintendent, Wesleyan Methodist Church of New Zealand.

From: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/religion-and-beliefs/news/article.cfm?c_id=301&objectid=10855604

Church leaders’ Christmas message: It’s a matter of faith

5:30 AM Saturday Dec 22, 2012

From http://www.nzherald.co.nz/religion-and-beliefs/news/article.cfm?c_id=301&objectid=10855604

  1. Tags: religion and beliefs
  2. Email
  3. Print

Church leaders say our annual celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ is a reminder that life has a meaning beyond our knowledge and understanding. This is their combined Christmas message

Joy and peace are the real gifts of Christmas, not expensive presents. Photo / Thinkstock

Whether one is “religious” or not, everyone is a person of faith. If that sounds like a contradiction, the fact is that each one of us has faith, because faith is defined as having belief and trust in someone or something. It might be something intangible, but it is the trust we put into whatever motivates, inspires and gives us energy and vision.

Believing gives us meaning and a sense of our own identity. For Christians, it is faith in a loving, compassionate Creator God shown to us in the person of his Son, Jesus Christ, born into our world and still present in the context of our own personal experience and religious tradition. Some others may put their faith in the satisfaction gained from such things as success, or relationships or power.

Many people say that they are not “religious” but they are “spiritual”, and this is a recognition that life is more than just what we see. We are attracted to goodness and altruism. In our city of Auckland we all delight in the beauty of art and nature, and experience wonder and awe when we see deeds of great sacrifice and generosity and creativity. These express that beyond our rational thinking there is something great at work, something visionary that surpasses the reach of our human horizons.

Sometimes those who are spiritual but not religious can have good reason to be suspicious of organised religion. When Christians and people of other faiths fail to live up to our ideals of love and forgiveness we are not being true to what we proclaim. We may observe the letter, but not the spirit of what our faith is all about. Jesus warned against this when he spoke of the hypocrisy of the Pharisees whom he described as “whited sepulchres” – meaning looking good on the outside yet corrupt within. For Christian believers and the church as a whole, there is always room to grow as we reach towards the goodness and holiness of God.

One of the big questions in today’s world is whether there is such a thing as truth, or whether everything is a matter of opinion. It is a profound question; part of the universal human search for truth that has engaged whole cultures, philosophies and sciences since the beginning of human history.

A glance at ancient history shows clearly how cultures in different parts of the world have sought answers to the fundamental questions, “Who am I? Where have I come from? Where am I going? Why is there evil? What is there after this life?” There was a common recognition that beyond human knowledge and understanding there is something transcendent – a reality beyond their limited vision and experience.

The answers to these questions decided the direction which people sought to give to their lives. They told their own creation stories about the origins and destiny of life, and they created gods to worship and appease that they believed represented the random forces of nature upon which their whole existence and survival depended. In the search for meaning beyond all these different understandings, there was a body of knowledge which may be judged the commonality or spiritual heritage of humanity.

In today’s world, with all the amazing insights gained and uncovered by the sciences we, more than in any other age or culture, have discovered truths about what once was speculation. We apply rationality to what was superstition and mystery. Yet the search for meaning and purpose in life still lives on in the human heart.

This brings us to the matter of faith and reason, which comes especially into focus at Christmas when we celebrate the historical fact and the mystery of the birth of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem. His birth, gospel teaching of grace and truth, and compassionate ministry, changed the course of human history forever.

Some with no religious faith may feel that there is an irreconcilable tension between faith and reason. From its very beginnings two thousand years ago in the person of Jesus Christ, Christianity was not an exclusive sect. Before his birth, people in that part of the world lived by the great theological or philosophical traditions of the Greek and Roman civilizations and the revelations given by God to the Jewish people. The rise of Christianity after the death and resurrection of Jesus was very public and its first adherents were Jews, Romans and Greeks. It was open to all and offered a rational account of God and of the creation and destiny of humanity which came to fulfillment in the person of Jesus Christ.

What is the relationship between divinely-inspired faith and human reason? One contemporary philosopher wrote that without reason, faith tends towards uninformed feeling, emotion and intuition. Reason without faith tends towards self-interest, personal and transient satisfactions and the absence of altruism.

We affirm the intellectual credibility of the Christian faith, and remind ourselves and others that human intelligence will never be fully satisfied except by God. The centuries-long procession of Christian thinkers, humanitarians, artists and scientists for whom faith and reason were central to their work is unequalled and unparalleled in its contribution to our civilisation. Naturally there have been problems along the way, as we are all flawed human beings prone to sin and greed. This is all the more reason to believe that co-operation and dialogue is essential nowadays, with many pressing issues facing humanity – ecology, peace and the co-existence of different peoples and cultures. It is vital that there is a clear and honest collaboration between Christians and followers of other religions and those who, while not sharing a religious belief, have a heart for the renewal of humanity.

We read in the gospels that Mary responded with great joy to the news that God had chosen her to be the mother of Jesus. So the words in the New Testament announcing the birth of Jesus are about joy. This was the message first preached in New Zealand on Christmas Day nearly 200 years ago. This is the true meaning of Christmas: God is willing to be found by us in our searching – God is with us and became like us in the person of the child who was Jesus, who came to redeem all of humanity.

In those places where people are dominated by fear and uncertainty the words, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour” (Luke 1:46-47) truly give us hope.

Joy and peace are the real gifts of Christmas, not expensive presents. We can communicate this joy simply: with a smile, a kind gesture, with hospitality, reconciliation and forgiveness of past wrongs. The joy we give will certainly come back to us. We pray that the presence of the liberating joy and peace of God expressed in the birth of Jesus Christ will shine forth in all our lives and in our Auckland communities this season.
Signatories

• Rev Dr Neville Bartle, National Superintendent, Church of the Nazarene.
• Rt Rev Ross Bay, Anglican Bishop of Auckland.
• Pastor Tak Bhana, Senior Pastor Church Unlimited.
• Rev Norman Brookes, Auckland District Superintendent, Methodist Church of New Zealand.
• Mr Glyn Carpenter, National Director, NZ Christian Network.
• Rev Murray Cottle, Regional Consultant, Auckland Baptist Churches.
• Pastor Paul de Jong, Senior Pastor, LIFE.
• Most Rev Patrick Dunn, Catholic Bishop of Auckland.
• Mr Peter Eccles, Auckland District Chairman, Congregational Union of New Zealand.
• Mr David Goold, on behalf of the Open Brethren Churches.
• Pastor Mike Griffiths, National Leader, Elim Churches of New Zealand.
• Pastor Ken Harrison, Senior Pastor, Harvest Christian Church, Papakura AOGNZ.
• Pastor Dr Brian Hughes, Senior Pastor, Calvary Chapel.
• Major Stephen Jarvis, Divisional Commander, The Salvation Army.
• Rev Fakaofo Kaio, Moderator, Northern Presbytery, Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand.
• Very Rev Jo Kelly-Moore, Dean, Auckland Cathedral of the Holy Trinity.
• Rev Dr John Kirkpatrick, Senior Pastor, Greenlane Christian Centre.
• Rev Andrew Marshall, National Director, Alliances Churches of New Zealand.
• Pastor Bruce Monk, National Leader, Acts Churches of New Zealand.
• Pastor Sam Monk, Senior Pastor, Equippers Church.
• Pastor Peter Mortlock, Senior Pastor, City Impact Church.
• Pastor Lloyd Rankin, National Director, Vineyard Churches Aotearoa New Zealand.
• Pastor John Steele, National Leader, New Life Churches.
• Bishop Brian Tamaki, Destiny Churches.
• Pastor Eddie Tupa’i, President North New Zealand Conference, Seventh-Day Adventist Church.
• Rev Dr Richard Waugh, National Superintendent, Wesleyan Methodist Church of New Zealand.

From: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/religion-and-beliefs/news/article.cfm?c_id=301&objectid=10855604

Thank God for New Zealand!

Jesus made many profound statements about how to live, one being that the greatest commandment was to “Love God and love others.” As simple as it sounds, doing so leads us to the blessings of a relationship with Jesus, and loving obedience to God which in itself can keep us from things that harm ourselves and others.

Loving others improves the world, one life at a time. Those of us already blessed with this relationship need to keep offering help and hope. Look around: we can see this love already working in Christian lives and initiatives, and it is truly a bright light in the darkness

CHRISTIAN COMMENT

(from www.gisborneherald.co.nz)

Thank God for New Zealand!

 

We live in a country anchored by rich resources, supported by a democracy, and with systems of healthcare, education, and law in place. We should be thriving! We should be rejoicing and enjoying. But something is going wrong. In spite of our abundance, we are beset with poverty.

When we think of poverty, we automatically think of our “most vulnerable” at the lower ends of the socio-economic spectrum. But ours is a spiritual poverty, found in all areas of society, where we can no longer see the value in others, or ourselves; where addictions take the place of God; and where consumerism has us wallowing in debt and discontent.

Wainui Gisborne, NZ sunrise

Our poverty will not be solved by insisting beneficiaries send their children to preschool, or by improving government systems, or by tweaking taxes, but by individuals, and a nation finding that God’s ways – of practical  love, forgiveness, and repentance – are the “programmes” that will make a lasting difference. When individuals become part of a caring community built on God’s principles, we will see a nation of people who are not just rich in resources, but rich in spirit and rich in life.

Larisa Hockey

Mangapapa Church, Gisborne, NZ

From  www.gisborneherald.co.nz

THE BOOK OF ISAIAH

In The Book of Isaiah, the Old Testament welcomes in the New Testament. This rather long book of Isaiah is a beautiful example of God’s strength and the promises He gave to the people, when they needed them most. God sent the Prophet Isaiah to forewarn and prepare the people of Israel for the problems that were to beset them. Like a novelist foretelling his readers of future tragedies and events, God sent the prophet to announce the coming captivity by warring nations and the destruction of Jerusalem. Throughout the historical narrative of these happenings is interwoven the thread of hope – the coming of the Messiah.

“Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign. Behold the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.” – Isaiah 7:14 (New King James version)

Isaiah promises the people that the coming Messiah will bring them into a loving relationship with God (see Chapter 53)

In comparing their lives to the desolate wilderness area, the Prophet Isaiah promises that: “Every valley shall be exalted And every mountain and hill brought low; The crooked places shall be made straight, And the rough places smooth.” – Is 40:4

God promises that even the most desolate and unfortunate life will become successful and productive with His power. God responds to our desperation. We can look to God for strength, for we know that the ultimate outcome is in His hands.

Article Title: THE BOOK OF ISAIAH

Submitted by: Craig Lock

Category (key words: Bible, Old Testament, Isaiah, Prophets, Messiah, coming of a Messiah, RH Schuller, Possibiliity Thinkers Bible , Jesus Jesus Christ,Christianity

Submitter’s web sites: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B005GGMAW4http://www.creativekiwis.com/amazon.html and http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/craiglock

The submitter’s blogs (with extracts from his various writings: articles, books and new manuscripts) are at www.sharefaith.wordpress.com and http://craigsblogs.wordpress.

Other Articles by Craig are available at: http://www.selfgrowth.com/articles/user/15565 and http://www.ideamarketers.com/library/profile.cfm?writerid=981

(Personal growth, self help, writing, internet marketing, spiritual, ‘spiritual writings’ (how ‘airey-fairey’), words of inspiration and money management, how boring now, craig!)

Publishing Guidelines:
All my articles may be freely published, electronically or in print

“We share what we know, so that we all may grow.”

*

THE BOOK OF ISAIAH

 

“Hope is the anchor of the soul.”

In The Book of Isaiah, the Old Testament welcomes in the New Testament. This rather long book of Isaiah is a beautiful example of God’s strength and the promises He gave to the people, when they needed them most. God sent the Prophet Isaiah to forewarn and prepare the people of Israel for the problems that were to beset them. Like a novelist foretelling his readers of future tragedies and events, God sent the prophet to announce the coming captivity by warring nations and the destruction of Jerusalem. Throughout the historical narrative of these happenings is interwoven the thread of hope the coming of the Messiah.

“Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign. Behold the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.” – Isaiah 7:14 (New King James version)

Isaiah promises the people that the coming Messiah will bring them into a loving relationship with God (see Chapter 53)

In comparing their lives to the desolate wilderness area, the Prophet Isaiah promises that: “Every valley shall be exalted And every mountain and hill brought low; The crooked places shall be made straight, And the rough places smooth.” – Is 40:4

God promises that even the most desolate and unfortunate life will become successful and productive with His power. God responds to our desperation. We can look to God for strength, for we know that the ultimate outcome is in His hands.

“Behold, I make all things new”

(Rev 21:5)Key word: “Salvation Is of the Lord

“All we like sheep have gone astray.”

Key Chapter: Isaiah 53

“Also I heard the voice of the Lord saying: ‘Whom shall I send. And who will go for Us?’ 6:8

Then I said: Here am I! Send me.’”

THE DESERT – A GARDEN

“The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever.” – Is 40:8

God will make the deserts in our lives bloom with new growth

… with perseverance and patience on our parts.

FACE REALITY WITH HOPE

Whether your problem is big or small, don’t run from it. Instead, face it and give it back to God. Today face reality with hope, and begin to turn your life around. Remember, with God all things are possible!

Light in a Land of Darkness “The people who walked in darkness Have seen a great light: Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, Upon them a light has shined.”

“Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid.” 12:2

“Now go, write it before them on a tablet, And note it on a scroll, That it may be for time to come, Forever and ever.”

30:8

* *

ON WINGS OF EAGLES

The psalmist compares God’s care for His people to the eagle’s wings. “Hide me under the shadow of your wings.” Ps 17:8

Attempt to do something great for God, even though you might fail, rather than do nothing and succeed.

“But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.”

40:31 “Behold My Servant whom I uphold My Elect One in whom My soul delights! I have put My Spirit upon him. He will bring forth justice to the Gentiles.”

42:1 “He will bring forth justice for truth. He will not fail nor be discouraged Till He has established justice in the earth.”

42:3,4 “I will bring the blind by a way they did not know; I will lead them in paths they have not known. I will make darkness light before them. And crooked places straight. These things I will do for them, And not forsake them.”

42:16 “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name: You are Mine.”

43:1 “I will go before you and make the crooked places straight.”

45:2″All we like sheep have gone astray.” 53:6

“And He bore the sin of many, And made intercession for the transgressors.” 53:12

“Then your light shall break forth like the morning, Your healing shall spring forth speedily, And your righteousness shall go before you; The glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard. Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; You shall cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’”

58:8 from the New Possibilities Thinkers Bible by Paul D Dunn and Robert H Schuller

(published by Thomas Nelson)

* All quotations New King James version

 

Shared by craig (“incorrigible encourager and people-builder”)

 

“The time of the singing of the birds has come.”

“Hope is the anchor of the soul.”

” I don’t believe in God.” I know God.”

– David Rosen, Jungian psycho-analyst

 

“There is neither east nor west, tribe nor ethnicity, male or female, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist. Christian nor Jew. There is only a God-filled humanity.”

About the submitter:

In his various writings, little by little, one mind, one soul, one life at a time, Craig strives to break down social, cultural, religious and economic barriers through sharing information and “planting, then watering uplifting ideas and seeds of hope”. He truly believes that whilst we should celebrate our differences, what we share as ‘human beans’ is way more important than what divides us.

Craig’s new manuscript, ‘A New Dawn’ is set in the Middle East: In it he attempts to find ‘common ground’/principles between different religions and cultures and to try to make some difference in building bridges in an ever more dangerous, turbulent and uncertain world. A passionate story of inspiration: hope, faith, peace and especially love.

The various books that Craig “felt inspired to write” (including ‘A New Dawn’) are available at:http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B005GGMAW4 and http://www.creativekiwis.com/amazon.html

The submitter’s blogs (with extracts from his various writings: articles, books and new manuscripts) are at http://craigsblogs.wordpress.com and www.sharefaith.wordpress.com

“When people’s hearts are full of love, the world is filled with hope.”

“With passion and purpose in our individual lives we can touch others and in so doing illuminate the hearts and minds of humanity to make a better world (through helping raise the ‘collective consciousness’). Let us encourage our leaders towards an alternate vision for the world to embrace: one that banishes the fanatical ideology of intolerance and hatred to the darkness from which it emerged. Each one of us in our own little ways can offer (and most importantly, LIVE) this compelling new horizon: a bright future of justness and justice, tolerance, respect for other traditions and values. Especially a vision of hope and thoughts of peace fuelled by the eternal flame of love, which can light the darkest night… always “

– me

“God, The Essence of Life, the Ground of All Being, is leading us to the light. What we learn in the darkness, we are to share in the eternal light.”

“Nothing that I can do will change the structure of the universe. But maybe, by raising my voice I can help the greatest of all cause – goodwill among men and peace on earth.”

– Albert Einstein

“What we believe is not nearly as important as how we relate, interact with each other… and how we live. Only when we can say, ‘I am first and foremost a human being, and second a Jew, Muslim, Shi’ite, a Sunni, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, or a Sikh …’ will we progress and break down barriers between peoples, nations and cultures, east and west. Let not our beliefs , but our shared humanity (ALL of us) define who we really are.”

– craig

“Instead of the limits of borders (of countries and of our minds) let us and our leaders expand our sense of possibility… and together let’s look at building bridges to distant horizons, far and great. Lord, help us all lift our eyes a little higher.”

– craig

This article may be published with acknowledgment to the source, thanks

God is a mystery, the ‘mystery of life’, a Creative Presence, Who/That allows me to be who I really want to be and become.”

“God, the Essence of Life, is the great mystery in the vast unknown; yet He (??) is understandable.”

May you all see God’s bright light on the path up head

From http://buildridgesofunity.wordpress.com

 

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