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Spirituality

The title may be misleading, so let me explain. This is not about Spirituality for Judeo-Christians alone, but about Spirituality for all, EXPLAINED using a Judeo-Christian basis. I have a deep respect for the spirituality of quite a few people of other faiths, or belief systems, but I am inept at using those systems to explain what I have to say. I do not wish to exclude anyone, but I will not hide from you the source of what I understand so far.

I am not committed to supporting any organized religion. I am more interested in what the Hebrew Bible (Torah) has to say about God and my personal relationship with the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Don't take that as a negative statement about organized religion, it just means that the first commandment does not allow me, as I understand it, to put anything or anyone as more important to me than my relationship to my God.

I believe that when the pendulum swings too far off to one side, it is only natural for it to start back towards a more balanced position. I believe that this is the way God, the Creator views us, His children. Whenever the body of believers needs reminding that they are going too far off track in one direction, God finds those who are willing to help it swing back the other way. Sometimes God finds them within the organized 'church', sometimes God finds them outside the organized 'church'. This happened to ancient Israel years ago and happens to the modern church and synagogue today.

If we focus too much on compassion, God reminds us of accountability and responsibility. If we focus too much on predestination, then God reminds us of our free will. If we focus too much on the mistakes people made in the Old Testament, God reminds us of the power and purpose of forgiveness. If we focus too much on what we'll inherit, God reminds us of what we haven't left behind. If we focus on the mistakes, or sins of others, God finds a way to hit us with our own mistakes and sins. If we focus too much on what we get from God personally, He reminds us of our responsibility to 'be the light of the world'. If we focus too much on the evil that is active in this world, He reminds us of the 'final score' at the end of the game. If we focus too much on how good we are, He reminds us of our flaws. If we focus too much on what we think we are entitled to, He reminds us of the frailty of life and all we have to be grateful for. If we focus on Him, He smile is wider.

In such light do I present the articles and analogies listed below. This is not to point out who is wrong and who is right, or even who is more important. Those arguments are exercises for which I am losing taste. To get an even better idea of how I look at spirituality, and on what I can learn from others, EVEN IF I DON'T FULLY AGREE WITH THEM, read the article on the "Supermarket Approach" to life. I prefer to take the following view:

Imagine that when God said that we are the body, it was at least partially meant in the figurative sense. I can easily imagine the organs of my body arguing with each other. Especially since my recent surgery and somewhat difficult post-operative recovery. My organs, see little or no value in each other because they don't relate in either function nor appearance. My eyes would have no idea what those fingers do that is worthwhile, or even the ... kidneys. My hair would wonder what those blood vessels think, and certainly my lungs would not understand my toes. (In this analogy, my organs have not viewed my web page on Understanding Others. They actually have the viewpoint of the six people standing around the fire in the web page entitled The Cold Within.) Oh, sure, the stomach may have some respect for the intestines, because they share a common function that they each can respect in the other, but how much like some religious people we all know! I also know how to be arrogant towards those that I understand less than is best, so I come to you from the school of experience, not of superiority. If what I have learned helps you, let us both be grateful. I will add articles as I can get them onto the web site.

By the way, if you are looking for a religion that matches what you believe, or if want to know what religion matches what you believe, you may want to try the survey at www.selectsmart.com/religion/. It is certainly interesting, and may help you in your search! But before you decide to find a group of people that totally agree with you on everything you already believe, you may want to read the article on Spiritual Incest.

Articles
(click on title to read article)

Books
(click on title for more information @ Amazon.com)

The Return of the Prodigal Son So powerful and deep that I could only read a few pages at a time!

The Prayer of Jabez Wow! This puts it into words so much better than I ever could! Then there's the sequel, a very powerful and well written "Secrets of the Vine".

Classic Christianity Lost centuries ago, can it be resurrected before it's too late? I think so!

Celebration of the Disciplines The attitude to take if you want to reduce your self-centered focus. It helped me greatly over the years.

Spirit of the Disciplines Great companion to the above book, they were a one-two punch to my gut!

Experiencing God I can tell why so many have sold! This non-traditional view of being with God is right up my alley!

The Ten Commandments By popular (2nd only to Rush Limbaugh in audience) talk-show host, Dr. Laura Schlessinger. This is a very practical guide to why it is important to have a standard to live up to.

God's Greatest Secrets This daily devotional kicked me in the teeth in a very pleasant way. I owe this author very much, and pay him back by letting you in on the secrets!

My Utmost for His Highest This daily devotional, especially when combined with the one above, really helps me to see things very differently, and better!

Serenity This 12-step companion New Testament is powerful, and available for free through this link!

Celebrate the Feasts. This wonderful book covers the Jewish "High Holy Days" or "Feasts". It explains their significance in history, the materials you need to celebrate them and all the details. Some say that an understanding of these feasts is the key to the Messiah's return. He fulfilled the spring feasts on His first visit, TO THE DAY, and may be set to fulfill the autumn feasts in the same fashion.

Black Elk Speaks No, this is NOT Judeo-Christian. But look closely at some of his statements, and see the relationship!

The Pursuit of God by A. W. Tozer If you want to find God in your daily life, start pursuing Him!

A Violent Grace by Michael Card. Don't think the grace of God is cheap, or this book will blow you away!

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