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Henry Bates

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The Way to a Wonderful Life, Sunday, October 6, 2013 

Listen to the Radio Broadcast of this Message:  click here
               "Man (generic) is the Son (part of) of Intelligence, therefore intelligent.  He loves, or is capable of loving, because the Essence of his being is love; the inspirator of his highest idea, of his best impulse, is Universal Love.  Jesus spoke of himself many times as the "Son of Man" for man being created in His image and Likeness is Life, Power and Intelligence.  He is a part in the great Universal Whole.  Fully realizing this great Truth, each one individually can say as did Jesus of Nazareth, "I and my Father are one." - Isidora H. Minard, "Prove Me Now" Ten Lessons in Truth, 1903

       As I was browsing the Internet site ChristianNews.net, I came across a headline with the words:  "Joel Osteen:  God 'Absolutely' Accepts Homosexuals" ... and the article stated that during an interview with the Huffington Post, Joel Osteen stated that and much more that rattled more than a few in the Christian Community.  I personally think it is noteworthy that Joel Osteen would state it so absolutely given the nature of his ministry.  And even more than this, however, I appreciated his words regarding our relationship with G-d;
“I believe that God’s breathed His life into every person. We’re all on a journey. Nobody’s perfect." And in this I am in total agreement with him and glad to be.  However, the interview did bring up some points that gave me pause to both admire Joel Osteen's spiritual understanding and also to question, in my mind, how he arrived at some of his conclusions.  The following is taken from the interview Joel Osteen did with Josh Zepps of the Huffington Post:   “As a Christian pastor, the only thing in Scripture that I see is that a relationship with Jesus will get you to Heaven,” he replied. “Now, do you have to be a certain denomination or something like that? I don’t know that, but I do know that I’m not the judge of who gets to go Heaven. What I see in the Scripture is that you have to have a relationship with Jesus. That’s why He came.”
       “Someone who believes in the monkey god is not going to Heaven then,” Zepps commented, referencing the 1.2 (billion) Indians in the world, many of whom practice polytheism.
        “I don’t claim to understand who’s all going to Heaven,” Osteen replied. “I just believe and I teach in all my messages that when you have a relationship with Christ–that’s the reason why He came, to have a relationship with him that is the guarantee from Heaven.”
         “People don’t all believe like me; they see it bigger,” he added. “I believe God’s mercy is very big. I thank God I’m not the judge of who gets to come. Only He can, but that’s the way I see it.”

      I don't think Joel Osteen was intending to speak for all Christians when he responded to these questions, after all, who can speak for 41,000 different Christian sects?  I believe Joel Osteen was speaking from his own personal philosophy and I respect his being true to it.  There are two statements that are frequently used in his and similar ministries that always get my attention; one, is that we are to seek out a "Bible Based Church" ... now there are more books in my Catholic Bible than is contained in my King James Version of the Bible and there are many variances from my King James Bible in my English Standard Bible ... so which Bible do "Bible Based Churches" use?  I would venture to say the one that validates their specific Christian sect.  This seems reasonable to me.  The second statement that always gets my attention is that we must accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior to get to heaven.  In other words, Christians are guaranteed heaven and anyone else is a maybe at best.  Yet, anyone who knows anything about the life of Jesus knows that he was a Jew ... lived as a Jew his entire life and all that he taught, he was teaching to Jews.  So, does this mean that Christians believe that Jesus, who was a Jew, would not let Jews into this "heaven" that Christians so firmly believe that Jesus holds the key to?  Could this Christian Heaven be a "gated community" or an exclusive "Country Club"?  I find it difficult to imagine how someone can believe this, but many people do ... yet, the Master Mind Jesus clearly stated, "it rains on the good and the bad, the just and the unjust" ... and so we can assume that G-d's unconditional Love is not withheld from anyone, either here or in the hereafter.

     Something that does pass the test of an intelligent conclusion comes to us from the ancient wisdom 1 Samuel 16:7, " ... The LORD doesn't see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."
  This revelation found in 1 Samuel is contained in both the Holy Bible and The Torah.  I believe that our "religion" is found in our heart ... yet it is defined more as spiritual than religious.  It is what we believe and feel to be true, even when those around us may not agree with us.  Jesus stood against both the political, governmental and religious leaders of his time with a philosophy that called us to what he believed were the "ideals" that G-d called us to live by; love one another, love your enemies, etc.  These are "ideals" and I believe that Jesus accepted them as so.  To expect the 41,000 different Christian sects to believe and interpret the teachings of Jesus in the same way, is just not going to happen in most of our lifetimes.  The same applies to the different sects of Islam, Judaism, Hinduism and Buddhism ... it is just not likely that even in their own defined religions, people will give up their differences for a very long time.  It is these differences I believe that cause so many to give up religion entirely, not because they don't believe in G-d or at least a Higher Power or Intelligence, but because the contradictions of religion create confusion and separation from others and even from G-d.

     As for the question of "Heaven" which is taught as the opposite of "Hell" in most religions, I believe that Jesus did reveal the "intelligent conclusion" about it.  He said two things that I believe we can count on; one,
"the kingdom of G-d is within you, not lo here or lo there" and two, "in my Father's (Spirit) house there are many mansions."  And in these two statements we have something we can intelligently understand.  Jesus is telling us that there is a place for all of us in the hereafter just as there as been a place for all of us here ... and if the "kingdom of G-d is within us" we know that it is within our spirit, not our body or our brain, but our Spirit and Mind ... and these we take with us into the hereafter and arrive at that place in consciousness that we pay for with spiritual coin ... faith and belief in the livingness, givingness and forgivingness of G-d through us ... not through the checking off of sins and good deeds against dogmatic illusions of man-made ideals and moralities.  But, our responsibility lies in our recognition that we must "live as one" in both our heaven and our earth; in other words, in the content of our thoughts and imagination and our actions in our daily life activities.  We take our "heaven" with us in consciousness into the hereafter and we take our "hell" as well ... just as we take them into our daily life experiences in the here and now.  And that is all we take ... as I read on the sign for the Morongo Valley Church, "you will never see a U-Haul following a hearse" (church humor).

     I am repeating this from Isidora Minard as I still believe it is incredible that she wrote this in 1903 and here we are in 2013 and so few people are aware of this Highest of Truth:  "Neither shall they say:  'Lo here! or, lo there! for behold the kingdom of God is within you."  From this sta
tement, given by Jesus, we know that Heaven is a state of consciousness.  Heaven is not any specific realm, but Heaven is a harmonious state of mind, reached only through acknowledging God in all our ways or living in at-one-ment with Love and Truth, having all our actions as well as our speech in accord with the "Word."  Consequently, "Hell" which is supposedly the opposite of Heaven, is a state of unrest or discord."  And in this we find an intelligent conclusion.


Keep the faith!
. Henry Bates

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