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A MINUTE TO LOVE

We are all in this together.

All eight billion of us.

Really.  We are.  Our fates are intertwined.

Are we going to continue to let government, business interests, and religion tell us who “our enemies are” and let YouTube, Google, and conspiracy theorists pit ‘them’ vs. ‘us’?

What if we refused to be in conflict with each other?

What if we refused to be in conflict with each other?

What if we refused to accept the suggestion, for any reason, that there was a them?

What if we decided to become adamant there is only an us?

Take a minute to reflect on what the world would be like if each of us decided there is only a we.  What if we decided that our family, all 8 billion of us, were in this together?  What if we looked out for each other and had each other’s back?

By choosing to focus on what unites us rather than what separates us, we can change the world.  In Truth, if we decided to do this, the question would not be IF we could change the world . . . or even HOW MUCH we could change the world.

The only question would be:  Would we officially have to change the name “Earth” to “Heaven“?  Or, does that happen automatically?

* * *

Everyone has a heart.

Every heart wants to love and be loved.

Every person.

You never know what every person you meet is going through.

That person passing you in the hall may have just lost a loved one.

The person in the elevator may be suicidal.

You never know the hurt hiding behind the mask.

You never know the battle they are waging within.

You could be standing next to someone completely broken.

So don’t withhold your smile.  Never withdraw your good will.

Was This Sign Constructed in Corinth? (Pablo Lane & 13th Street)

Always provide hope to every single person you meet.  Hope may be all that they possess.

Let us connect them with the love in our heart

. . . and with the network of Love all around us.

Take a minute now to decide you will do this today.  Be grateful for something.  And tell yourself nothing is worth withdrawing your love or your smile from anyone you meet today.

Remember:  Life is hard.  God is great.

Do your best not to reverse them.

With love,

Scotty b.
about.me/AttorneyBlackburn

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10 WAYS THAT CHRISTIANS ARE OFTEN DECEIVED

God is not an impotent, egocentric dictator who concocted the Ten Commandments as a cosmic power grab.  God’s Law is a gift to humanity; not a subversive control system.  God did not order compliance with the Decalogue to show the Universe who was Boss or because He narcissistically needed attention or followers.

The Ten Commandments:  Love or Power Grab?

The Ten Commandments: Love or Power Grab?

No.  It is our enemy who leveled those untrue charges against the Most High.  It is the Deceiver who accused, and continues to accuse, God of being a dictatorial tyrant.  The Father of Lies, not God, demands absolute obedience from his followers.  It is the Enemy of Souls, not our Loving God, who refuses to share power.  God has invited us to boldly approach His Throne anytime we wish.  The Deceiver would not even extend an invitation like, “Come, let us, reason together.

The Deceiver has manipulatively whispered to humanity that we must gratify and placate our narcissistic God’s fragile ego. . . or He will become angry and enraged and condemn us to eternal Hell.

Alas, we have been listening.

If God desired rigid and absolute compliance, God could have easily designed Humans without Freedom of Choice.  God could have created us with no ability to rebel against His law.  In fact, by withholding Freedom of Choice, God could have saved Himself millennia of angst, anguish, rebellion, and the heartbreak of sacrificing His Son to atone for our sins.   So why did God bestow such a sacred and princely gift upon the race of humans?  Why did He give humans Freedom of Choice?  The answer is simple:  Because God Loves us deeply and could not stand for us not to be free!

God’s Laws are designed to benefit humans 100% and to benefit God 0%.  I’ll repeat that:  God’s Laws are designed to benefit humans 100% and to benefit God 0%.  They are for our benefit alone.  When observed instead of merely followed, God’s laws promise each human enhanced freedom, and a life filled with abundance and Joy.  ‘Blind allegiance’ (aka rigid commandment following), on the other hand, makes it feel like our freedom is being curtailed and stripped away; fails to deliver grace or mercy; eradicates peace, Joy, Truth, and Love; completely disregards “The Greatest Commandment”; advances the Deceiver’s accusation that God is an unjust tyrant; and often blocks our ability to receive the blessings God’s Law was designed to provide and which Jesus’ Life guaranteed:  An Abundant Life.

Not just what Christians do.  Joy, Truth, and Love are what Christians ARE.

Not just what Christians do:  Joy, Truth, and Love are what Christians ARE.

Is your Life filled with abundance?  Or do you struggle to ‘keep’ God’s Law but find yourself still feel mired in physical, mental, spiritual, financial or interpersonal issues?  If any area of your life is less than abundant, you may be thwarting Jesus’ promise of abundance by rigidly attempting to follow God’s Law.  This blocks us from abundance and leads to legalism.  It causes us to become hypocritical and judgmental and cheapens grace and mercy.  Making ‘not breaking commandments’ our primarily goal inexorably begins our descent to a life of quiet desperation as we feel diminishing levels of peace, Joy, Truth, and Love.  Observing the Commandments as God intended, instead of ‘rigidly following them’ is a simple but critical step in maturing as a Christian.  This step leads directly to the Abundant Life Jesus promised.

Remember that in addition to promising Abundance, Jesus also declared that He did not come to abolish the Law but to fulfill the Law.  How does someone ‘fulfill’ a Law?  If you get nothing else from this post, please prayerfully contemplate and focus on how someone ‘fulfills a law.’  Once we gain clarity on that issue our entire view of God, Love, Grace and the Plan of Salvation will be instantly and forever transformed.  Everything before the moment we discover that Truth seems like a dull, black and white, uncertain and dangerous affair.  When we truly grasp how Jesus ‘fulfilled the Law’ our Christian journey will suddenly burst alive into the vivid, Technicolor, abundant Life we have always dreamed!

Our focus as Christians should be on observing the Law as Jesus did, which means focusing on the purpose and intent behind the law, rather than rigidly apply its exact technical wording to every situation.  This is considerably more daunting and difficult than simply ‘not transgressing the law’ and perhaps explains why many of us have settled for ‘not breaking it.’

So how should we observe God’s Law as Jesus did? Start by understanding that each provision is designed solely and 100% to benefit humans (i.e. recognize that God doesn’t get all butt-hurt when you break a law).  Next, fully embrace the Truth that each of God’s Laws is aimed at maximizing Peace, Joy, Truth, Love and Abundance.  When the “letter of the law” conflicts with the “Spirit of the Law” in a given situation, those who would Live as Christ need not hesitate in deciding on the course of action that maximizes Peace, Joy, Truth, and Love.  We can confidently do this because we know that even if when we get it wrong once in awhile . . . God did not send Jesus to the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Christ.  And whosoever believes in Jesus shall NOT perish but live eternally.   (John 3.17,16)

Jesus came to Save the world, not to condemn it. - John 3.17

Jesus came to Save the world, not to condemn it. – John 3.17

Do you believe the words of John 3:16, 17?

Do you?!

Read them again.  Allow the meaning to sink in and infuse every part of your soul with the beauty of the simple Truth it contains:  ALL that is required to be Saved is ‘to believe in Jesus.’

Are you positive you believe those words?

It seems that to ‘believe in’ the Jesus described in John 3.16 we would necessarily have to ‘believe in’ the Jesus described in the very next verse.  Do we really believe “Jesus came not to condemn the world but only to save it?”  Or does the fact that we continue to white-knuckle all our little Christian behaviors expose the lie we tell ourselves.  If our prime focus of our Christian walk is ‘not breaking Commandments’ than we do NOT believe John 3.17.

Christians are supposed to be ambassadors of Peace, Joy, Truth and Love to a world gravely lacking these qualities.  Focusing on ‘not breaking Commandments’ can perhaps make us good, little, moral Boy and Girl Scouts.  But it does NOT make us CHRISTians.  CHRISTians believe in CHRISTCHRISTians believe CHRIST died for their sins.  Therefore, CHRISTians aren’t primarily focused on ‘not sinning’ in hopes that they can somehow complete the work that Jesus failed to do at Calvary.

No, the folks that fit that description are called Pharisees.  They oppose Jesus.  And that group includes me more often than I care to admit.  Perhaps you have been a Pharisee on occasion, too?  One of the numerous AWESOME things about God is if we are willing to humble ourselves and ask forgiveness, God is Faithful and Just and Merciful.  God will not only forgive us on the spot . . . but he will cleanse us from all our unrighteousness.

All we have to do is appear boldly in His throne room and ask for forgiveness.

That does not at all sound like a dictatorial tyrant to me.  THAT sounds like Love!

With Love,

Scotty b.

To go to Part Two and continue with the case study: “THE SABBATH WAS MADE TO BENEFIT HUMANS.  HUMANS WERE NOT MADE FOR THE SABBATH

– LINKS BELOW WILL BECOME CLICKABLE AS REFERENCED POSTS ARE PUBLISHED –

[Make Sabbath and Life more meaningful by “CREATING A SYMPHONY OF ABUNDANCE IN YOUR LIFE”]

[Jump to Part Three: “GOD’S LAWS ARE DESIGNED SOLELY FOR THE BENEFIT OF HUMANS”]

DOES GOD JUDGE ME . . . OR DOES HE LOVE ME?

I was raised a “Christian” with certain values, beliefs . . . and an arrogant and judgmental mindset.  Not consciously.  I don’t believe my parents, teachers, or most of the members of my religion intended to be arrogant and judgmental hypocrites.  We did not know better.

As I reflect back, it seems silly that I was unable to recognize that I thought my religion was the exclusive keeper of “The Real Truth,” and – by the exercise of simple logic – that everyone else must  possess less of the truth (or perhaps none at all).  No one in my religion ever explicitly said that.  Perhaps like me, they never really thought about it in those terms.

How Does God Feel About Me?

How Does God Feel About Me?

It seems so obvious now. I don’t know how I missed the realization that a Loving and Just God would not, and could not, “Save” some tiny fraction of Earth’s population and damn the rest of the people who ever lived on Earth.

People He Created.  People He Loves!

And why?  Because they didn’t join (or, in many cases, ever even hear about) His preferred religion.  So they fail.  They don’t receive an “A” in Life.  So God sentences all of them to eternal damnation.

Hellfire for the losers.

Even scarier is the fact that most religions teach that “The Losers” in the Game of Salvation includes the members of every other religion.

So the reward from a Loving God for everybody who is sincerely seeking Him, but chooses one of the hundreds of ‘fake’ religions instead of ‘His Preferred Religion’?

GO TO HELL!

DO NOT PASS HEAVEN.  DO NOT COLLECT $200.

No “Get Out of Hell Free” Cards.

Just Hell for the humans He claims to Love so much.

Heaven’s public relations staff doesn’t even spin it as “A very long, all-expenses paid vacation to a tropical destination ‘down under’!”

Nope.

Just Hell.

Not even a half-hearted, “Sorry, Losers, but we have some excellent consolation prizes for you backstage.”

Just eternal separation from God.

WHAT?!?! 

Courage is Not the Lack of Fear but Moving Forward in the Face of Fear in Love, Truth, Joy, and with Respect.

Fear is the opposite of Love (See, e.g., 1 John 4.18)

That doesn’t sound like LoveIt actually sounds like the opposite of Love — Fear.

Either the Apostle John had a pretty jacked-up vision of what “Love” looks like.  Or Beloved Johnny was having a brain seizure when he penned … well, almost every single thing  he ever wrote.

But wait a minute…

Is there, perhaps, another possible explanation?

Just perhaps, the problem is not on God’s end.  Perhaps I have it wrong.  Perhaps I have attributed God with possessing an emotion and employing a tactic that He is incapable of being or using.  In fact, now that I think about it — I don’t believe God ever employs ‘fear’ as a motivational tool or a strategy to win souls.  He is God, after all.  If He wanted to ensure victory, He could have just designed every one of us sans Freedom of Choice.

No, upon reflection, I think ‘fear’ is the prime and exclusive operational tactic employed by those who wish to deceive us.  Not those who Love us.

Perhaps Big John’s moniker, “The Beloved” was indeed deserved.  And perhaps three of the Youngest Disciple’s words are actually three of the most important words to be found in the Bible:

God is Love.

God is Love.

God IS Love.

GOD is Love.

God is LOVE.

God = Love.

It really is not crucial where you place the emphasis in the above sentences.

What matters is the emphasis you place on the thought it conveys.

A more crucial concept does not exist.

Believing and accepting the proposition that God is Love will change the emphasis you place on the meaning to just about everything you read in scripture; it has the power to change the very essence of the way you relate to God; it can and will change the way you relate to your friends, co-workers, members of other religions, atheists . . . and your enemies.

Embracing those three words will exponentially increase the Joy you experience in your House of Worship.

Ultimately, the proposition contained in those three words has the power to transform an aimless and hopeless Life of fear and depression . . .

Into a Life of Meaning.

A Fulfilling Life.

A Life of Abundance.

I am living proof of that fact.

 

A Life of Abundance

The Abundant Life, the Life Jesus came here to give us, the Life Jesus is Dying for us to accept; that Life begins the instant we initially embrace those three words.

I suspect that we will spend all of eternity learning to fully comprehend the depth, and the breadth, and the beauty, and the Truth, and the Joy expressed in those nine letters.

And one little eternity may not be nearly long enough.

But it all begins with deciding if we believe those three words.

God is Love!

God is Love!

For me, that journey started when I considered that my Mom would Love me every speck as much as she does now if I announced I was converting to a new religion.

Every speck as much.

I know, without question, that my Mom Loves me the same when I do every single thing she expects me to do . . . and when I screw up in the most public, offensive, and despicable ways possible.

Every speck as much.

Her Love does not wane when I ‘transgress her rules.’  It is not diminished when I refuse to follow “her will” for my Life and elect to do what I want with my Life.  Her Love for me would not even be affected if I chose to call some other woman “My Mom” and refused to acknowledge her as Mom.

She would still Love me every speck as much.

Even if I chose to become a mass-murderer and serial rapist, her Love for me would not falter.  I seriously doubt my Mother’s Love is capable of faltering.

She created me.  So Mom Loves me.

She created me.  So Mom Loves me.

Why would I think any less of the Love my Heavenly “Father” has for me?!?!

Let me say that again:  Why would I think that the Dude that Self-styled Himself as “my heavenly Father” would (or could) Love me any less than my Mom?!?!?

HE IS LOVE!

He created me.  So He Loves me.

That is clearly what the Apostle Paul had in mind when he summed up everything he felt was important in being a Christian in a single sentence (notice the word ‘ONLY’ chosen by the man who wrote most of the New Testament):

“The ONLY thing that matters is Faith, which is expressed by the Way we Love.” (Galatians 6.5)

“The ONLY thing that matters is Faith, which is expressed by the Way we Love.” (Galatians 6.5)

Perhaps that is why in the most circulated book and the most popular musical group in history, John and Paul proclaim the same timeless message of Joy and Truth:

“All you need is Love.

Whether it’s the Apostles…or the Beatles… John and Paul got it right:

“All you need is Love.

“All you need is Love.”

From my heart to yours,

 

Scotty b.

THE WORLD HEAVEN-WEIGHT TITLE – SALVATION IS THE PRIZE!

Please direct your attention to the main stage, and (if the Prefixed Life had an unlimited budget such that we could afford him on this grand occasion) to your ring announcer, Michael Buffer.

“For the hundreds who have visited the Prefixed Life…and the millions with the ability to do so worldwide . . .it gives us great pleasure to introduce the Blogging Match-Up . . . which will be decided by fifteen (or more or less) rounds of furious blogging action to determine the Heaven-Weight World Championship. . .

. . .and perhaps . . .

Salvation itself!

Ladies and Gentlemen, introducing, first . . .

In the Black Corner;

Our Veteran . . .

He Lives in gorgeous, sunny; traffic-, smog-, and crime-free Southern California . . .

Your liberal, left-of-Karl Marx-leaning, Commandments-are-not-our-God. . .

blogging correspondent,

SCAAAAHHHHHHH…TTTTTTTTYYYYYYYYYYYY . . . . .BAAAAAA-LAAAAAACCCCCKKKKKK-BURN.

And now.

The Prefixed Life is proud to introduce,

In the White Corner, your challenger

She hales from the not quite-so-gorgeous or warm, or beach-front . . .

or cool (unless you mean temperature-wise) State of Pennsylvania, U.S.A.

where she has two children, a cat, a degree in nursing, a gorgeous mind . . .

and a bizarre alarm clock.

From the exact center of the famous and historic

Philadelphia-Harrisburg-Scanton exotic triangle,

Presenting . . .

The Naturally-Talented, ‘Not-So-Dumb,’ Conservative-to-the-Right of Genghis Khan, Commandments-Point-The-Way-To-Heaven, Blonde Blogger,

KAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRREEEEEEEEEEEEEEENNNNNNNNNN “For Patients Because I am a Nurse,”  BBBBBBBBBOOOOOOOOOOOORRRRRRRRRRRRRR-TON.

Blonde Blogger Karen Borton

Ladies and Gentlement, AAAAAAARRRREEEEEE YOU RRRRREEEEAAAAAA-DY?

THEN . . .LETS GET REEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAADY TO CONTRAAAAAAA-PUN-TAL!

And now please direct your attention ring side to our humble referee, dressed in a simple garment of shimmering white, who bears scars in His hands and feet but has the beautiful smiling face of a caring, shepherding, carpenter . . .for the pre-fight instructions:

“Alright, Karen and Scotty:

We went over all the rules in your respective locker rooms before this bout.  Obey My commands at all times.  Love your God and fellow humans with all your heart.  No low blows, no kidney punches, or feline jabs to the diaphragm.

And remember, the Goal is NOT to knock each other out; the Goal is NOT to Divide or Conquer.

Our goal here is to unite, empower, equip, find common ground; and, ultimately to enhance and deepen our relationships with God, fellow humans, our planet, our communities, our respective Houses of Worship, our families, and even with ourselves;

So . . . touch gloves and let’s have a good, clean, Truthful, Joyous, Loving and fun match.

And may the THOUGHTS that lead to SALVATION . . .

ALWAYS WIN!”

WHY IS IT SO HARD TO FOLLOW GOD?

Is it?cross-66700_1280.jpg

Is it difficult to follow God?

If it is, maybe WE are doing something wrong.

Because if God knows all about me, and Loves me, and wants me to be Saved . . .

Why would He make it so difficult?!?

Now that is something to think about.

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