Friday Focus – Religion

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“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”

James 1:27

So many people of faith that I know really, really don’t like the word, “religion”. I find this odd, and mainly an American concept. I know, because I used to do the same thing. We sometimes say things like, “I don’t have a religion, but I have faith in God.” And that can be true if we are not plugged into a place of worship, but do we really want to sound so independent?

Even more prevalent is the phrase, “I don’t have a religion, but I have a relationship with God.” Oh wow, maybe it is simply a matter of semantics, but this can be terribly confusing for people that don’t have the same faith we do. Are we really saying that we are to high and mighty to be part of a religion, or even a church? No of course not.

When we use this phrase though, without realizing it, we can sound like we are judging others that say they have a “religion”. In other words, we give the impression that we really know God – and others? Those religious people? Well maybe they really don’t know Him. You see where that can lead us and how wrong it can sound? We too often judge others.

I love the Book of James. According to James we do have a religion. You know what this verse reminds me of? The Two Greatest Commandments, of loving God and loving our neighbor as our self. And you know what? It’s ok to light a few candles and kneel down from time to time.

So how is your religion doing?

I wish you peace.

       

Prayer, Commentary and Image, Copyright © 2018, WalkingthroughPsalms

quote from the NIV Bible

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Friday Focus – Noah’s Ark

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So God started over, because He was deeply disappointed at the violence of men. In Chapter 6 of Genesis we see that humanity was always thinking of, and doing evil, so He was willing to try again – giving the earth a fresh start, with a small group of people. But they had to be different, they had to be people that knew and feared Him.

Noah was a man that loved God. I doubt if he went to church each week because places of worship had not been invented yet. And yet, we know that He loved God and followed the One who made us all.

We never hear much of the women, the wives of Noah’s sons. I wonder though if this could be where the different races of people came from. Perhaps one was black, another Asian and so on. One thing is for certain, and that is – we all come from the same roots, the same original people. That’s why people of faith should never have any racial prejudice. We are indeed wonderfully related.

And most people think the concept of food restrictions, the concept of “clean” and “unclean” came with Moses, and the “law”. Well no actually. God has always cared about what we eat.

Look at Chapter 7 of Genesis. God tells Noah what to bring into the Ark. Remember the two by two story? When it came to “clean” animals though, Noah was to take seven of each. Why? For food. So, seven goats, seven sheep etc. Other animals were two of each kind. We don’t eat vultures and cockroaches, do we?

And I love how God makes a promise to us as the waters receded from the mountains. He says He will not destroy all living creatures again:

“As long as the earth endures,

seedtime and harvest

cold and heat,

summer and winter,

day and night

will never cease.”

Genesis 8: 22

Amen.

Thank you, Lord God.

      

Commentary and Image, Copyright © 2018, WalkingthroughPsalms

quote from the NIV Bible

Friday Focus – India

from tripsavvy

One of the reasons I picked the Psalms, when I began this blog, is so many people around the world have read them or do read them. This includes many people of different faiths. Jews, Christians, Muslims, Sikhs and many others, enjoy these beautiful Scriptures which were originally sung as praise songs.

India has been on my heart for many years, even though I have never been there. Ok so ready?

India has about 1.3 billion people now – that’s billion! It’s the second most populated country in the world. When I was growing up we were always told that 1 out of every 4 people in the world is from China.

Well guess what – 1 out of every 5 people in the world is from India. That 20% of the people alive on the earth right now, are from India.

Even though most people are Hindus, there are many religions there. And it’s wrong to think of the country as having only one ethnic group, or language. Depending on how you count them there are more than 300 languages, and some say there are as many as 1,000 languages.

Now you might ask what is the Sikh religion? Well they are actually, monotheistic, worshipping one God, they have a holy book, and their services include a lot of singing praise songs, while sitting on the floor. Some say Sikhism is a blend of Hinduism and Islam, but Sikhs don’t like that at all.

Are there Jews in India? Yes, there were many more, but most of them have emigrated to Israel. To all my Jewish friends it’s Friday night so, Shabbat Shalom!

Besides having anthropology as a serious hobby, I shared this tonight because many of us in the west become sheltered, and wrapped up in our own world, seldom thinking about Asia. So this is a very brief overview.

I know I have readers from all over the world, and some I believe are from India. If you are from India, I’m so glad you’re here!

I wish everyone peace.

    

Commentary Copyright© 2018, WalkingthroughPsalms

image from trip savvy

Congregations

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Regardless of our religion, faith, or traditions, congregations do become important to us don’t they?

Whether you’re Jewish, Christian, Muslim, or Sikh, houses of worship weave so much of their fabric into our lives, giving more to us than doctrines.

They give to us some of our culture, and certainly some of the way we look at the world.

Perhaps just as important are relationships with fellow believers. But in the U.S. and in many other places, we move around alot.

And connecting with people with the same beliefs can be a real challenge, especially when many of us are consumed with our phones, and social media.

As we grow in our faith maybe we see teachings we don’t agree with anymore. And oh no, suddenly we need to move on!

I’ve written all this because I don’t think we should be Lone Rangers in our faith, but sometimes it can be a real challenge to find out where we belong.

I know it is for me, and I ask for your prayers. I’ve actually been in churches I don’t enjoy!

Lord God help us to find where we fit into Your plan for us. Guide us, lead us, and we pray for Your peace in the journey. Amen!!

Prayer, Commentary, and Image Copyright © 2018, WalkingthroughPsalms

 

Romans 10:20

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“And Isaiah boldly says,

I was found by those who did not seek me;

I revealed myself to those who did not

ask for me.”

     

Lord God, we know that sometimes you work in our lives,

when we least expect it, or when we think we don’t

need you. Continue to reveal yourself

to each of us, in beautiful ways.

Amen.

   

Written Prayer and Image © Copyright 2017, WalkingthroughPsalms

quote from the NIV  Bible

The Sixth Day – Creation Ending

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Genesis 1:30-31

“And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground – everything that has the breath of life in it – I give every green plant for food.” And it was so.

God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning – the sixth day.

     

Image © Copyright 2017, WalkingthroughPsalms

quote from the NIV Bible

The Fifth Day

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Genesis 1:20, 22-23

And God said, “Let the water team with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of sky.” And God saw that it was good.

God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth.”

And there was evening, and there was morning – the fifth day.

      

Image © Copyright 2017, WalkingthroughPsalms

quote from the NIV Bible

The Fourth Day

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Genesis 1: 16-19

God made two great lights – the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars.

God set them in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth, to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness.

And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning – the fourth day.

       

Image © Copyright 2017, WalkingthroughPsalms

quote from the NIV Bible