Song to set the tone:
I was inspired by a post I read recently; I linked to it at the end. Sheila’s post started me thinking about what it means to be open minded. The dictionary defines it as “willing to consider new ideas; unprejudiced”
To me, that sounds like true open mindedness means that a person will open the door to new ideas and not be offended when someone presents ideas that are directly opposite from what they believe.
Has that ever happened? Have people ever been able to put aside their differences and accomplish something worthwhile?
The United Nations
I thought about the United Nations and decided to study the history of the United Nations to see what that organization has been able to accomplish.
The United Nations was established on October 24, 1945. The purpose of the UN, as stated in its charter:
“to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war,…to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights,…to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained, and to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom.”
It’s now the year 2018. The UN has been in existence for 73 years. We still have war in the world. People are still oppressed by evil totalitarian governments. People are still starving, dying, being gang raped and living in fear. Children are still be murdered for any reason or no reason. Terrorist activity continues. The world is more dangerous now than it was in 1945. The UN has failed in its stated purpose.
The United States of America
The stated purpose of the US Constitution:
“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
Are our streets safe? Are we protecting our “posterity” meaning our offspring or are we killing more babies than we are allowing to be born? Are we protecting children or allowing children to be sexualized at increasingly younger ages? The children aren’t safe. Are women safe, when there are so many cases of women being raped and murdered in broad daylight, and people around just go about their business because they feel it does not effect them. Those women are someone’s child, they may be someone’s wife, mother, sister. Do you think it couldn’t happen to someone in your family? Women aren’t safe in public and with the rate of domestic violence, many of them are not safe in their own homes.
Are men safe? Not if they are a police officer, they’re not. So who exactly IS safe in this country that seeks to “to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity,”
Islam seems pretty successful in their stated purpose to force everyone to convert or die. They seem very unified and successful in their purpose, but they are not trying to promote peace, liberty, or freedom. I think that being successfully evil is still a fail.
Most people believe that Buddhism started in India around the 6th century BC. In a nutshell, Buddhists worship Buddha and are trying to achieve Nirvana by doing good deeds and not doing bad deeds. Salvation by works, and they have no way of knowing if they are succeeding or not. As an aside, I asked an acquaintance who is a Buddhist, what he knows about Siddhartha. He told me that there so many Buddhist bloodlines that it is impossible to keep track of them all. Siddhartha was the birth name of Buddha himself, so it is a little confusing how a Buddhist could not know that. Anyway, I’m not aware of Buddhists doing anything to make the world safer for anyone outside of Buddhism, if you know of any examples, I would like to hear about them.
I don’t know of any contributions that Wiccans have made to society, other than a very popular and long running TV show that I used to watch with my mother, Wiccans seem to mostly keep to themselves and aren’t doing anything to promote safety or liberty for non Wiccans.
As a whole, it has been my experience that most religious people, of every religion, are narrow minded and bigoted.
The (so called) Christian (Hodge Podge)
I’m not religious. I do my best to follow the teachings of Christ. He promoted equality for women; several of his followers were women. He valued children, so much so that he told his followers that whoever was not pure and innocent as a child, would not get into Heaven.
I have no delusions about the failures of Christians. In some ways, so called Christians are worse than Muslims because at least the Muslims aren’t trying to hide who they are, or making a secret of their agenda.
Gandhi once said he seriously considered becoming a Christian, but changed his mind when he saw that Christians were nothing like their Christ.
I call it the Hodge Podge because there are so many divisions, factions, denominations: there are Pentecostals, Baptists, Lutherans, Methodists, Episcopalians, etc, all claiming their personal beliefs and interpretation of the Bible is the only one. Oh, and many make their living from selling salvation, healing, blessing, etc. No wonder the world mocks the church.
The Catholic Church
The Catholic Church has been guilty of great evil, both in the past, and currently. However, there are good Catholics, just like there are good people in every religion. There are also evil people in every religion. That doesn’t mean the religion is evil. Christ is not a reflection of the people who claim to follow him. The people who follow him are supposed to be a reflection of him, but that is rarely the case.
Religion fails because the followers become corrupted and evil. People fail, religion fails, opinions fail. Truth doesn’t fail, and Christ doesn’t fail. I expect though, to hear from all the open minded and tolerant people who disagree with me.
What is open mindedness in practice?
It is being able to peacefully coexist with people who believe differently from you without being hateful, vengeful, spiteful or sarcastic towards them about it. This doesn’t include being tolerant of crime or harming of other people. A follower of Christ who shares his faith with other people, and expresses faith in what the Bible teaches, is not harming anyone by those actions alone. If what they are saying is untrue, about Christ and Hell, why do the same people who say they don’t believe that, get angry about it? What’s there to make you angry? That’s not “cramming religion down your throat” if someone threatens you to force you to convert, that is forcing religion down your throat. Hell is not a threat, it’s a reality. Every religion has the concept of hell.
Open mindedness and tolerance wouldn’t belittle another religion with out finding out why they believe what they believe. It’s only self righteous and bigoted people who get angry at people who believe differently than them.
Cooperation means people of different viewpoints come together to create something, it doesn’t mean that the so called weakest one should be bullied into changing their view point. That is NOT unity, that’s forced conformity. The ONLY time that has ever happened was when Jesus walked the earth. He never rejected anyone, except religious hypocrite
An honest look at history will show that there has never been perfect unity, except in Jesus’ example. People throughout history have forced conformity on people, disguising it as unity.
This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t try for true unity; we should try, even it is not perfect.
For it was not an enemy that reproached me; then I could have borne it: neither was it he that hated me that did magnify himself against me; then I would have hid myself from him: But it was thou, a man mine equal, my guide, and mine acquaintance. We took sweet counsel together, and walked unto the house of God in company.
This was written by David, about the betrayal of Ahithophel, one of his closest advisors, and his wife Bathsheba’s grandfather. This passage also describes Judas’ betrayal of Christ. Have you ever been betrayed like this? By someone close to you–a person you thought was a friend? I have. It is only when we are down and out that we truly know who our friends are. Job also found this out.
Throughout the book of Job, you can read about the “encouragement” of these high and mighty (in their opinion) so called friends. Even though Job found out the true nature of these three men who he thought were his friends, God never let him down; God was shown to be consistent in His nature toward Job–He showed Job just as much grace when he was destitute as when he had been wealthy. God’s nature does not change–one of the many lessons in the book of Job
Now most of us–had this happened to us–would have wanted to see those friends dealt with severely by God. They weren’t–but they were chastised and told to offer sacrifice. Do you know what that tells me? These men were saved–they knew the Lord in a very real way, but their hearts were far from him, and so they condemned a man whom God had justified.
For the Lord disciplines the one He loves and punishes every son He receives.
Furthermore, God required Job to forgive these friends, and not only to forgive them, but to intercede for them for forgiveness for the very sin they had committed against him.
And Job did.
I believe that Job truly forgave them because God would not have accepted the sacrifice he offered for them, other wise.
Proverbs 4 King James Version (KJV)
Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding.
2 For I give you good doctrine, forsake ye not my law.
3 For I was my father’s son, tender and only beloved in the sight of my mother.
4 He taught me also, and said unto me, Let thine heart retain my words: keep my commandments, and live.
5 Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth.
6 Forsake her not, and she shall preserve thee: love her, and she shall keep thee.
7 Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.
8 Exalt her, and she shall promote thee: she shall bring thee to honour, when thou dost embrace her.
9 She shall give to thine head an ornament of grace: a crown of glory shall she deliver to thee.
10 Hear, O my son, and receive my sayings; and the years of thy life shall be many.
11 I have taught thee in the way of wisdom; I have led thee in right paths.
12 When thou goest, thy steps shall not be straitened; and when thou runnest, thou shalt not stumble.
13 Take fast hold of instruction; let her not go: keep her; for she is thy life.
14 Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men.
15 Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away.
16 For they sleep not, except they have done mischief; and their sleep is taken away, unless they cause some to fall.
17 For they eat the bread of wickedness, and drink the wine of violence.
18 But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.
19 The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble.
20 My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings.
21 Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart.
22 For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.
23 Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.
24 Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee.
25 Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee.
26 Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established.
27 Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil.
These verses have a dual meaning, the writer is Solomon, but the words are also the words of Christ. When you read it with that in mind, it gives the words a whole new depth of meaning. I have often read of Jesus going to a secluded place to pray, early in the morning, during his time on earth. I have often wondered what He prayed. Many of the Psalms and Proverbs contain the prayers of the Son of God, and we are privileged to read the sweet and holy discourse between the Father and the Son.
In verses 1-3, Solomon clearly is writing of himself, as beloved of his mother, Bathsheba, and taught by his father, David. But they are also the words of The Father to His Son. Jesus was the beloved Son of his mother Mary, and He kept all the commandments of His Father, and never sinned, not even once.
Jesus fulfilled these verses
He exalted wisdom, in teaching the people. And, as verses 8-10 states, He was exalted, and crowned. His name is above every other name, He is King of Kings, and because He lived a perfect life, He is our worthy Savior. He lives forever, and He is seated at the right hand of our Father, ever interceding for us.
Image source: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/445293481884257875/
Related: Live to please God as Jesus did
He is coming again
The first time, He was the Lamb. The next time, He will come as the Lion. That is the “perfect day” of verse 18. In verses 19-27, the Father speaks to the church, to keep our hearts with all diligence, and so be ready when He comes again.
Image source: http://www.preceptaustin.org/second_coming_of_Christ
Related: How do I pray?
The day of Pentecost took place 50 days after Easter Sunday, which is traditionally thought to be the day that Christ rose from the dead. Christ himself said He would be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. Now if you look into this for yourself, instead of blindly believing what people tell you, it will be clear that it is impossible to fit three full days and nights into the period between Friday afternoon, and early Sunday morning.
People often confuse tradition with what the bible actually says, and that is one of the reasons why people think the bible contains errors. It doesn’t, but people’s traditions do. I found a good site with some interesting information about Pentecost:
People often ask why God allows bad things:
But they don’t look at it from both sides. God gave us doctors to treat disease, God gave them the intelligence and wisdom they have. He causes all manner of food to grow from the earth to keep us healthy and free from disease. Many diseases are caused by a poor diet. God gave us government to regulate society: police, judges, government officials. Because of the evil hearts of men, these institutions don’t always work as they should, but those are flaws in man, not God.
Too often, the people who want to blame God don’t want the truth–in their heart, they really hate God–they will attack God’s people for standing on the truth, and they refuse to be reasoned with. It comes down to choice, and it is a moral issue–a matter of an evil heart and a reprobate mind.
1 Corinthians 12:1
“Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant.”
Since all of the bible was inspired by the Holy Spirit, and written down by men, this passage, like every other passage of the bible, is very important, and as we go through this chapter, we must realize it is the Holy Spirit speaking, and not men–the Apostle Paul was just the vessel through whom the words of the Holy Spirit flowed, So the Holy Spirit is here saying that He does not want us to be ignorant about what the gifts are, and what is involved with their proper function, and what benefit they have to the body of Christ
1 Corinthians 12:2
“You know that you were Gentiles carried away unto these dumb idols, even as you were led.”
A dead religion sets up men as idols, men who do not understand the word properly, as they should understand it. In this passage, the word “dumb” does not mean unintelligent–in this scripture that word means “unable to speak” This applies to these idol leaders, they are unable to properly convey the Word of God because they do not understand the Word of God. This is for one of these reasons: 1–they are not saved, or 2–if they are saved, they do not understand, or outright reject the work of the Holy Spirit, and as a result, the people who listen to them are led into error, and make idols out of men; this happens every time that God the Holy Spirit is rejected.
Many of the people who follow these dumb idol leaders are unsaved themselves, because they are not being fed the Word of God by these leaders, and the Holy Spirit has no opportunity to work in their lives.
1 Corinthians 12:3
“Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Spirit.”
This is speaking of more than just words: it refers to accepting the gospel once it is heard, thereby declaring Jesus Lord, or rejecting the Gospel, and in your heart declaring Jesus “accursed.”
It is the Holy Spirit who points people to Christ, it is the Holy Spirit who convicts the sinner of their sin, and makes them aware of their true condition, and of their need for a Savior, it is the Holy Spirit that takes a sinner who was dead in their sins, spiritually dead, that is, and makes them alive spiritually.
An unsaved person has no knowledge of who God truly is, no desire for the true God, and no clue about their true condition, until the Holy Spirit shows them. It is the Holy Spirit who takes that spiritually dead sinner, and makes them alive. The word for this is “quickening”
There are several scriptures in bible where the word “quicken” or “quickening” is used in this way–with the meaning “to make alive.”
“And you has He quickened who were dead in trespasses and sins:”
When we look back to Ephesians 1:15-23, it becomes clear that the “He” spoken of is Jesus Christ, because He is our Savior, and it is in Him that we are made spiritually alive, as He was crucified, and then made physically alive, after three days and nights. But it is still the Holy Spirit who quickens our dead hearts to come to Christ in first place, accepting Jesus as Savior, at which point we become alive in Christ Jesus.
“But God (God the Father), who is rich in Mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, 5 Even when we were dead in sins, has quickened us together in Christ (by Grace you are Saved:) 6 and has raised us up together, and made us sit together in Heavenly Places in Christ Jesus:”
God the Father decreed the Cross, God the Son became a man and died on the Cross, and the Holy Spirit orchestrated all events, carrying out the will of both the Father and the Son. Here we also see that all the members of Godhead are all equally, 100% God and all are involved in our salvation.
I need to write it again:
God the Father decreed the Cross, God the Son went to the Cross, and God the Holy Spirit carries out the decrees of both the Father and the Son, and quickens us to faith in the Cross. God’s greatest work was the Cross. Jesus came for that purpose, and that purpose alone.
” And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, has He quickened together with Him, having forgiven all your trespasses; 14 blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it our of the way, nailing it to His Cross; 15 and having spoiled principalities and powers, He made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it..
The place of Jesus’ victory, and in Him, our victory, was, and is, the Cross, and no where else!!
Scriptures concerning our quickening:
“As it is written, I have made you a father of many nations, before Him whom he believed, even God, who quickens the dead, and calls those things which be not as though they were.”
Once we were not the children of God, but by placing our faith in what Jesus accomplished, we become the children of God.
“For as the Father raises up the dead, and quickens them, even so the Son quickens whom He will.”
“It is the Spirit who quickens the flesh profits nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.”
The Cross is the Well in the Wilderness. Jesus said: “He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” John 7:8
To truly believe in Jesus means to believe that He accomplished everything on the Cross: victory over sin, the flesh, and the devil. Those who come to Christ and accept this finished work will have their spiritual thirst satisfied.
This truth was given in the story of Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well:
Jesus and the Samaritan Woman
1When therefore the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John, 2(Though Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples,) 3He left Judaea, and departed again into Galilee. 4And he must needs go through Samaria. 5Then cometh he to a city of Samaria, which is called Sychar, near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. 6Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour.
7There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink. 8(For his disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat.) 9Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans. 10Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. 11The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water? 12Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle? 13Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: 14But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.
15The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw. 16Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither. 17The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband: 18For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly. 19The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet. 20Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship. 21Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. 22Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. 23But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. 24God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. 25The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things. 26Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he.
The Disciples Return and Marvel
27And upon this came his disciples, and marvelled that he talked with the woman: yet no man said, What seekest thou? or, Why talkest thou with her? 28The woman then left her waterpot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men, 29Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ? 30Then they went out of the city, and came unto him.
31In the mean while his disciples prayed him, saying, Master, eat. 32But he said unto them, I have meat to eat that ye know not of. 33Therefore said the disciples one to another, Hath any man brought him ought to eat? 34Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work. 35Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest. 36And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together. 37And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth. 38I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour: other men laboured, and ye are entered into their labours.
Many Samaritans Believe
39And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman, which testified, He told me all that ever I did. 40So when the Samaritans were come unto him, they besought him that he would tarry with them: and he abode there two days. 41And many more believed because of his own word; 42And said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world.
There is such a wealth of teaching in these passages. Jesus said “My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.” That finished work is what Jesus accomplished on the Cross, that was His mission. He did heal the sick, raise the dead, and he did many miracles, but His primary mission was to go to the Cross. Our primary mission needs to be to preach the Cross, because “behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.”