Why Believe or Connect with God 2018-96

Why Believe or Connect with God           2018-96

This is a simple question that came to mind when surfing the Web the other day.

An article stated that many millennials (Born between 1980 and 1990’s) do not go to church or any religious place, due to many reasons that were listed. Not only is that a fact but they list “No Religion or belief” as a reason, in most cases.

The thing that was interesting were the comments below the article which were stated by various people responding to the article. I scrolled down and read them, and my first thought was a little over the top of understanding. The reasons were bonified, but they or many of them, were pure hokum. 

Some were legitimate, and I agreed that they had a case, but not against all religions regarding the church portion.

First off, it DOES take “FAITH” to believe in a God or in his son Jesus Christ, the man-God.  Nobody has the ability to look back in the past and see the wounds that Jesus Christ had from the Cruxificition at that time. So, doubting Thomas did and it convinced him that Jesus was who He was, at that time. We today do not have that luxury of seeing and believing with something right in front of us. So, I can understand, somewhat, why the lack of faith is present in society today.

But, using the reasons for not going to church that were used, is a stretch.  I will list some now and explain my thoughts. I could probably write a full discourse about each item, but will not do so now, and only a concise, short thought for each of them.

1. Churches are hypocritical in their thinking.   There are some churches and people that go to them that are hypocritical in practice.  That is not right but is a fact. I will repeat this— NOT ALL are that way. To use this broad statement is not only incorrect, but inconsistent with reality.

2. Churches are money grabbing and should be taxed.  Churches need money to exist, support community endeavors and pay for other needs.  To tax them is not going to do anything, except put many out of existence.  If any church DEMANDS people to give money to them or to tithe at 10%, then that is THAT church or religion, NOT ALL of them. If you tithe fine, if you give what you can, fine, if you just go to church and not contribute, fine, so be it.

3. People are judgmental.   Not right, but is so in some cases where humans are going to and exist. This is true in society as a whole, not right, but a fact. But NOT ALL are that way. People being judgmental exists everywhere, so saying a church or religion is so, is a fact, but not the absolute truth.

4.  People in churches are prejudicial towards gays and blacks (if a white church). Not right, but if so, they do NOT represent the majority or churches in general, as a whole. There ARE churches in most locations of the country that have an accepting attitude of everyone welcome; they have to be found and usually on the internet  they state this fact.                      

5. Children are molested by leaders in the church. This HAS happened and is wrong and sometimes, even covered up, but does NOT represent churches in general.  I would think that this is even a rare factor overall for churches in general; sad but true.

6. Too many rules, regulations, dictates, and laws. The only list that counts are the Ten Commandments, for the individual, and internal church ones are subject to change if needed and desired. There has to be some way of guidance for any organization to run and function. Many churches have “Constitutions” that show how the church is run, how it should react to situations, and these are needed, just like the country of the United States, has now.

7. Too many churches with just old people in them. That is a problem for some churches in certain locations, again due to the times.  Getting younger couples to attend is difficult if there are none now in a particular church. Maybe if those young people attended, that church would change for a betterment.

8. Fake stories in the Bible equal lies.  The Old Testament has many “stories”, which are there to make a point, but they do not mean the story is accurate or absolutely true.  They are stories; period. Some religions have beliefs that everything in the Bible is correct, which is wrong in my mind.

9. No proof of Jesus being the Son of God.  There is no birth certificate of Jesus; again, Faith works. The desire to believe also has to be there, and if not, well that is too bad.

10. God does NOT show Himself or talk to us today.  Hmmm, I will deny this as a fact and say that maybe the person did not look or listen, therefore did not see or hear. God is everywhere and most importantly, always Present, always aware, always active, for those that need. He is also alive, to those that will just give Him a chance to react to our needs.

ll. Prayers not answered.  Depends on the prayer and circumstances, which may or may not be accurate of a statement.  God does His thing in His way and in His time, so this is not an absolute. If a prayer for winning the lottery, for instance, to a certain person is not answered, it does not mean He is not there, just was not your time to win. If a wife or mother died and you prayed that they would not, perhaps it was time for them to go; sad!!!  God works in His way, not ours and that is hard to understand for many.

I would rather those that commented did so with honest reply’s, instead of personal hokum type responses. To give a reason for not believing or not going to church for a GOOD reason is one thing, but I don’t think many of the above, are bonified reasons overall.

If it is easier to sleep in, go play golf on Sunday morning, or attend a soccer team match at your kid’s high school, but these are excuses, not reasons for not going. It is also easier to not believe, because believing DOES require commitment and action on our part, which many refuse to do; also sad!!!!

If you just plain don’t believe in God, again, I understand, and both of us will find out someday which was correct. 

Peace,

Den Betts

                                bettsden@gmail.com      = email

                                thebettsden.com             = Blog site

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Jesus is the Light 2018-93

Jesus is the Light   2018-93

I have heard this expression before, but never gave it much thought, through ignorance of either not caring or not knowing.  Anyhow, something lit up in my mind and this thought that Jesus is the Light is something that triggered my brain to contemplate what it meant.

First off, I looked up “Light” in the Bible references and the three passages listed at the end of this discourse, came up to give me illumination of the question, why is Jesus the Light of the world.  

Well, at that time, for Him to declare himself the Light of the World meant that He was the exclusive source of spiritual life and no other source was available to mankind then, or even now.

In His time, he was saying that the light of His TRUTH, the light of His WORD, the actual eternal LIFE was what He declared of Himself, the very light of the world and anyone that perceives the true light, will NEVER walk in spiritual darkness.  

Of course, we will walk in darkness if it is dark outside.  A fact! BUT, we, with Jesus being the one we will follow, we will have the light, the truth and most importantly, eternal life.  Yes, eternal life will be the opposite of darkness, the light of eternal life…  Simple as that.

That means something about us too.  Just like the moon reflects the light of the sun, we as followers of Jesus Christ, will reflect the light of Jesus so that all can see it in us as believers. Through the Holy Spirit, we do things, we do deeds based on faith, and through the power of the Holy Spirit, the light of Jesus shines through us to others.

This is somewhat of a burden for us in a way. To be witnesses to the world ourselves, we must be people of faith, honor God, be trusting, honest in all that we do and say. We want or should want the light we have, that is given to us, be there for all to see and enable others to also leave the darkness and come into the light of love, through Jesus Christ, the savior of mankind.  We WILL become sons and daughters of light, if we try to do so.

I had some help from the Scriptures in writing this, based on various passages, which I admit.

 

JESUS IS THE LIGHT!!!!!

John  8:12   “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life”.

John  12:36 “Put your trust in the light, while you have it, so that you may become sons of light.”

John  12:46 “I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in the darkness.”  

Listening to Hear 2018-92

Listening to Hear    2018-                                                               10-26-18

Events in life, sometimes make one pause and take stock in life, about living. Too many take life for granted, and in doing so, go through living, without truly experiencing life itself.

How so?  Well, one way is in bypassing the things that make life interesting. Letting schedules go, routines, rules to dictate how we see life going on around us are some ways.

Taking time to bend down and actually smell the flowers that we pass by on a walk in the woods or nature trail is an example of slowing down in life.  Taking the time to stop and listen to a little child when they ask us a question, instead of saying “later, not now” to them.

I find myself still not expecting an answer when I pray to God. It may be due to my not taking the time to listen for a reply. Yes, He does answer our prayers, if we try to hear what He has to say. It is still eerie to have Him comment on what I asked Him, yet I admit, I do not listen enough.

Part of taking life for granted is not expecting something to happen. Therefore, we continue on our way, oblivious to what goes on around us.  Such as hearing God tell us something we could hear if we listened.

Many of us are fixated on conversing with our I-Pad, tweeting and liking on FB, which I will not criticize other than say it is a way of communication that is different than in the past. Some things are lost in the process, which is sad, but a way of life now.

If we become techno-nerds, and lose sight of those things around us, it will be a loss for all of us. I think that keeping in touch in whatever way we do is not bad, but we have to realize there is a cost to all of us in doing so.

What cost? It is different to all of us, and individually, we have to account for the price we pay.

Take time to hug a kid, a mother, father, or loved one and look into their eyes and see the appreciation of your doing so with them. Say hello to God sometime and, well, take the time to listen and you MAY hear Him reply to your prayer.  It does take work in this respect.

Peace,
Den Betts       
betttsden@gmail.com
=   Email

                           thebettsden.com          =  Blog

Does God Exist? 2018-24

Does God Exist?  2018-24

OK, I now ask the question as to whether He exists, but I also now state, I believe He DOES exist! 

I cannot prove it, of course, but, I can say equivocally, YES, He does exist!!  But, I am not going to explain now, why I think this is a fact.  It is, period!!  My blogs have shown how I feel in this subject, but I post this as an answer to a blogger that asked me, what I believe.  So, yes to those that think no…….

Confused!? Don’t be!

What I think though, does not matter, because trying to prove He exists is a lost cause, since it is unprovable. A non-believer, cannot prove there is NOT a God too, so, a stalemate ensues.

Too many holier than thou people and absolute atheists both have their agendas they want to have and go on and on about how they are right, and the other side is wrong. Too bad!  The FINAL say will be when both die, and they find out which side is correct.  I like to think that both will find out that their journey of life continues after death.

I am 76 and hope to be around for a while yet, and based on my family’s DNA it may happen that my wishes will be so.  I have much to learn yet about life and want to experience the living of it.  It is sad when those that I know have died and their lives might have been prevented if they had chosen a different life style. So be it.  

Anyhow, does God Exist?  Well, I said yes and will stand by that statement. He is alive, He is active, He is aware, He is present and with us always. Great feeling and comfort knowing this is a fact in my mind. 

Peace,

Den Betts                            bettsden@gmail.com

Spiritual Growth 2018-09

Spiritual Growth    2018-

Ever wonder what it would take, or more importantly, what you could do to achieve anything like Spiritual Growth in your life? No, well, consider this anyhow. Yes, then also, read on!

Maybe you are wondering what action you could do, to enhance any one thing, to achieve more of a closer relationship with God.

There are things like doing meditation with prayer, that could or could not help. Finding a church that suits you is another thought, but it may not work for you either.  Seeking someone to council you is another, but then again, it just may not work.

What would work? There are varied things to consider, but I might make this suggestion, which is a simple (not much of a cost either) thing to consider.  It COULD, no WILL, involve something from you, namely — YOUR TIME!  And, not that much of it, I might add, and even that will be up to you to control. You can put as much time into this as you desire.

So, what is it!  Taking a Bible (any version) and reflecting on the meaning of Scriptures therein, and therefore, it will be like using the Word of God as a mirror to reflect back the truth of Scripture on our actions, decisions and events of our daily lives.  Hmmm, interesting to state…..

Just like exercise is somewhat of a pain and takes up our valuable time, the reading of Scripture requires us to contemplate, and meditate on the Words written. There ARE guides to help us untangle the mysteries and power of God’s inspired Words, such as study guides, Bible primers, devotional books and others, that will enable us to understand the uncertain aspects that are written.

Reflection on Scripture might, just might, raise awareness of the Spiritual benefits and motivate us to adjust our daily routines to continue to do this reflection.  In the process, Spiritual Growth can be the ultimate benefit.

I feel there is NOTHING matters more to us, than time spent on God’s Word for achieving Spiritual Growth. The going to church, service activities, small group meetings, etc, ARE important overall, but, reading Scripture beats all.

We can say we are not religious, but instead, Spiritual!  As a statement that sounds neat or good. It also sounds terrific maybe, but just saying it does not mean anything.  Actions speak louder than words.

A simple action, that has minimal cost other than our time, is the main way of expressing our commitment to God. Starting to read just a verse daily from the Bible and contemplating its meaning, is a large, very large, beginning to Spiritual Growth.

I invite you to begin anew with your thoughts about God and His son, Jesus Christ. Allow them into your life, absorb what is said and become one that God looks at with favor.

Take the time and quit using time involvement as an excuse not to increase your Spiritual Growth with God.

Peace,
Den Betts                            bettsden@gmail.com

Is Religion Dying Out? 2017-33

Is Religion Dying Out? 2017-33

No, Not dining, dying.  I don’t know! Though, I do see signs of religion not being that important to people today. 

As we, in the more civilized world, have become more affluent and as we feel we are more secure in our environment, and even more educated perhaps, it is possible that people, in general, are becoming more rational and less in need of religion.  Many areas of the world, and in certain cultures, are divorced from the domination of religious affiliations, and influence. Religion, for many, is becoming less important in everyday life in the upper advanced cultures. I will not even mention anything like moral reasons at this time.

When I travel to my church on Sunday morning, I feel, that I am the only one up and the roads are NOT busy, not crowded, and not full of vehicles going to their church for services.  Since I live in an Amish community, I must say, there are horse and buggies on the road, so I must watch out for them.

I would think that, as improved living conditions occur, a decline in a religion also is the result. The feeling of need is lessened or unimportant.  I remember 911 and the uptick of religious feelings for a small period of time afterwards.  We were fearful of the unknown and church attendance had a surge of recurrence right afterwards.

The decline has occurred worldwide and I read that many modern secular democracies, more and more people are identifying themselves as non-affiliated with religion. I realize that it is “uncomfortable” to discuss this subject with people, because of many reasons. I do know some people that said it is convenient not to go to church for many reasons. Those that said this do not have a logical reason, but it could be said by some, their reasons are petty at best. Everyone is different, and I realize this as fact.

I do not believe that those that say they are non-affiliated, can be called atheists, but instead belong to the secularism group of people. When I looked at my notes from my teaching Sunday School at church, I could see that Christians made up about 31% in the world then, and declining, Muslims around 23% and growing, and the non-affiliated about 20%. So, religion is not dead, just not doing well today.

In addition, many people state they do NOT belong to an organized religion, but are spiritual, whatever that means to everyone stating this. Instead of dying out, religion may be, becoming dormant. I do not think atheism will take over, but those leaving religion will become members of a less defined religious belief or just simply unaffiliated overall.  I know, I consider myself, Spiritual and Religious, two different words meaning different things in my mind.

In a contradiction, I read that places like China, Christianity is growing the fastest, which is strange.  Some places, like Australia, where church attendance is about 10% is somewhat holding at that percentage, but they were always thought of as a predominantly secular country.

This discourse has many source references so I did not list any.  I do not know what Wikipedia has on this, which is weird, my not going there for data.

Anyhow, I believe that there is a God.  God is alive, God is active, God is aware, God is Present and around and in us always.  He, as the living God, loves us regardless.

Den Betts

Prayng and Meditating 2017-15

Praying and Meditating   2017-15

A prayer is not really a meditative action, but would guess it could be related.

I meditate, which is when I contemplate or reflect on something, where I focus my thoughts or ponder about something. I, at times, come up with a plan or create a project to do in the future based on my meditative experience. I do not have a purpose in my thinking, but sometimes do have an innovative idea that I can react too or put into reality. 

I can combine the meditative time with prayers though and that is based on the contemplation that happened during this time. This is a quiet time for me—thinking to myself what is going through the convolutes of my brain.  Sort of neat….

Some could say that the meditation could have a spiritual practice to it that gives me purpose in life based on a religious thought or so. Perhaps!  The Buddhist meditation tradition does have some of that, but I don’t look at this as an ongoing way of understanding at the time.

Prayer is different.  This is a relationship with my God. It is not my silent thinking, but my vocal or outgoing way of talking with a Deity. Could a prayer be a devotional contemplation? I would think so, because of the two methods interacting at the same time. If I am meditating or reflecting about a religious thought and it goes over the fence and I am now discussing this with God, I have joined the two practices, in the same time frame.

Much has been published about how to meditate and how to pray.  It is, to me, easy to combine the two at the same time and do both.  To void the mind of extraneous thoughts while meditating and then trying to pray, can be an effort so it has a fine line on the doing of both at the same time.

So, I think they are related as I said, but still separate in their own way. If anyone does either that is great, for I get satisfaction when I meditate and extreme satisfaction when I pray so the best of two worlds is something to strive for in life.

Peace be with you,

Den Betts