religion: ritualistic observance. comes from a word that means to wail, to clamor, to frighten.

well then. that about sums it up. these are the new testament definitions, i might add, used all of three times. there is no old testament word for religion.

since that day i gave my heart/life to the Lord, january 2nd, 1980, at the bible study at doug and dianne’s house, (it was a wednesday night), i have encountered alot of religion. and religious people. the first was actually a member of the bible study. i dont begin to presume these people didnt love the Lord, or werent genuinely born again. i only refer to their thinking about what God wants and what pleases Him.

let me add here, that if i were the devil, and this word that God has given really did defeat me in my endeavors, i would sure want to stop its effectiveness in people’s lives if i could, since its so much harder to tear these kind of people away from their God. better to do what was done in the garden, that worked so much better than he ever imagined it would…to simply ask “did God really say…?” and then to follow up with, “what God really meant was…”

to explain, when i first entered that covenant with God, and really knew i had Jesus in my heart, i was very excited. much like one is when one first falls in love. for so i had. this tends to stir up feelings. and one night at the bible study this well meaning man told me ‘dont trust your feelings! they wont last!’ well i figured that. i wasnt trusting my feelings to know i was saved. i was having my feelings at starting a relationship with God. the God. the one so many people expect to get lightning bolts thrown at them from. like He would miss if He ever did throw one at some one. (there’s another religious concept).

well i have heard a variety of religious ideas since that time. the most frequent is the idea that God will cause, or deliberately step out of the way to allow, a catastrophe to happen to teach some one something, or to punish them for something. it just so totally goes against what the bible says. and the bible is His word to us. so it claims, any way. if it isnt, then why worry about what God is like anyway? there are all kinds of ‘design you own’ religions out there to satisfy any one that wants a taylor made belief system. but choose wisely. its good to get one that actually can produce results when the going gets rough, and not merely offer a condescending platitude.

one time i talked to a woman who had some serious health problems. she was seeing a physician – several actually, for some serious stuff. she told me this was God’s will, for her to suffer like this, to teach her some lofty thing…patience? its usually patience. the funny thing is, the bible says the word and the Holy Spirit are the teachers of the people of God. patience is a fruit of the Spirit in us, and not learned. and Jesus said He only did what He saw the Father do, and He never denied healing to anyone that asked. not once. so if Jesus didnt deny healing to anyone, than neither does God, and it isnt God’s will for us to be sick. so i asked her, if it was God’s will for her to be sick and bare up under it like a trouper, then why was she going to a doctor to get better? that made her angry.

that question made her defensive, because it exposed the fact that she didnt want to be sick, and that religious thinking declares that baring up under illness without complaining makes the person in question actually look very saintly. it doesnt really give God glory if you endure sickness like a sweet, uncomplaining servant. it makes God look kind of abusive. but it makes the person doing the enduring look very praise worthy. God gets glory from healing sick and maimed people. thats what the gospels always say. every time Jesus healed people, they gave God the glory. when sick people bare up under it sweetly, they get the real accolades. she got angry, because i was threatening those accolades with my simple question. and she didnt really want to be sick. who does? so she didnt want to think that wanting to get better might be against God’s will.

i have many more things to say about this. but that is for next time.