The Pursuit of God

Serious Topics for Serious Christians

Category Archives: Catholics

Understanding Repentance

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TWO WAYS TO JUDGE

God judges you by your soul’s response to Him.  Once God establishes a relationship with you, you constantly make choices about how you will treat Him in that relationship, and those choices are what determine whether God is pleased or displeased with you.

Humans judge you by how you behave—especially by how you behave towards other humans.  Humans have strong opinions about how you ought to treat them, and if you don’t meet their expectations, then they dislike you.  Read more of this post

Rethinking Christian Rituals: Water Baptism

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THE ORIGIN OF BAPTISM

Read through the Old Testament and you won’t find a single mention of baptism.  The bizarre tradition of a grown man briefly dunking individuals into water first shows up in the New Testament with a guy who made such a career out of dunking people that he became known as John the Baptist.

Now John was an ethnic Jew and a devoted follower of Yahweh.  The religion he practiced was Judaism, and he lived in the land that had once belonged to the nation of Israel, back when she was a sovereign nation.  But Israel had lost her independence centuries ago, and in John’s lifetime, she was considered part of the territory of the Roman Empire.  Read more of this post

Why Serious Christians Shouldn’t Pray the Lord’s Prayer

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Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your Name.
Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen. (Matt. 6:9-13)

The Lord’s Prayer is one of the most well-known passages of Scripture.  It’s also one of the most misapplied.  First, we ignore context.  The Lord’s Prayer was part of the Sermon on the Mount—a long speech by Jesus which was intended to strike terror into the hearts of Jews who were blowing off the importance of reverentially submitting to God.  Second, we get hung up on the fact that Jesus is the One doing the talking.  Even though Jesus is God, we aren’t open to Him having a variety of agendas when He speaks.  We try to make everything Jesus says a direct message for sincere Christians, when in reality most of Jesus’ recorded words were directed at rebellious adherents to Judaism.  Ignoring Jesus’ original audience is guaranteed to lead us astray with our applications of what He said.  But the third mistake we make is not asking Jesus Himself to help us properly apply His words in our lives today.  It’s not like Jesus has ceased to exist and the biblical records are all we have to remember Him by.  No, Yahweh, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are all actively involved in our lives today and They encourage us to come to Them directly with our questions.  When we skip the step of asking Them, then we just end up eavesdropping on what Jesus said to a bunch of Jews 2,000 years ago and deciding that anything He said to them must apply to us as well. Read more of this post

Guidance for Serious Catholics: What does God think about Lent?

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According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

“The seasons and days of penance in the course of the liturgical year (Lent, and each Friday in memory of the death of the Lord) are intense moments of the Church’s penitential practice. These times are particularly appropriate for spiritual exercises, penitential liturgies and pilgrimages as signs of penance, voluntary self-denial such as fasting and almsgiving, and fraternal sharing (charitable and missionary works).” (CCC 1438)

So what does this mean exactly?  Well, here it’s being suggested that we should view certain events on the Church’s cycle of Christian traditions as opportunities to kick our pursuit of God into high gear.  How does the Church suggest that we do this?  By engaging in things like abstinence, fasting, the confession of sins, and acts of mercy.  In other words: do stuff that we normally don’t like to do.  Let’s be honest: humans reserve the term “abstinence” to refer to holding off on activities which are pleasing to their flesh.  This is what makes abstinence a difficult concept.  Self-denial would be a breeze if we were denying ourselves the right to do something painful, like hit our thumb with a hammer. Read more of this post

Communing with God: The Language of Your Soul

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Niagara Falls is a collection of three waterfalls which span the border of the United States and Canada. Collectively, these three falls can pour as much as 750,000 gallons (2,839,058 liters) of water down every second. Think about that. That is a ton of water. Now turn on your tap at home and see how much water it’s throwing down. Doesn’t even begin to compete, does it? Well, the vast difference in water volume between these two sources gives us an excellent way to explain how the language of your soul compares with the language you speak out loud. You talk to God with your soul, and your soul is like Niagara: the volume and depth of feeling it can communicate in a single moment is incredibly vast. Compared to the efficiency and richness of your soul’s language, that verbal language you use is like the water coming out of your tap: even on full blast, it just doesn’t take you where you want to go. Read more of this post

Intercession: Exposing the Lies

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Like tithing, intercession is one of those topics in the Church which a majority of teachers are teaching you wrong about. It’s a big problem when your shepherds lie to you, because lies end up creating problems in your personal relationship with God. Bad teaching about tithing inspires Christians to disrespect God and/or fear that His acceptance of them is not something they can count on. Bad teaching about intercession does major damage as well. Read more of this post

Understanding How Easy it is to Succeed with God

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Many earnest Christians find themselves paralyzed with fear that God will suddenly flip out on them if they make one wrong move in life. Naturally this makes them feel very distressed and anxious whenever they have to make a decision. If your human father was some unreasonable, short-tempered jerk who was always demanding that you reach some impossibly high bar of perfection, you will automatically project these same bad qualities onto your heavenly Father. But the truth is that God is not a clone of your earthly parent. Instead, He is an entirely different kind of Being, and One who is far easier to succeed with than your fellow human beings.

Here’s a key point to understand: God does not expect you to read His mind. When He wants you to do something specific, He takes full responsibility for communicating His will to you. When He’s not giving you any specific instruction (which many Christians feel is most of the time), then is He going to flip out on you for making some wrong move? No. Read more of this post

Talking to God: Two Essential Rules

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Here’s a common church scenario. You’re sitting in the congregation and Pastor Bob gets up and says, “Let’s pray.” He then starts dictating a prayer for you to pray. In other words, Bob is telling you how you ought to talk to God. This is a problem.

Your relationship with God is an extremely personal thing. Your soul’s communication with Him is as intimate and private as a man and wife cuddling each other in bed. In the Bible, God constantly likened worship and prayer to sex. He said His followers were like His wife and He was the possessive Husband who got super ticked when His wife starting doing it with other gods. In the Old Testament, most of God’s chosen people were heavy into idol worship. God took major offense at this. He called it adulterous betrayal and He put out some very crude descriptions of how He viewed souls praying to supernatural beings other than Him. Read more of this post

Angel Q&A

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1. ARE HUMANS SUPERIOR OR INFERIOR TO ANGELIC BEINGS?

Humans have always had an unhealthy obsession with angelic beings. We also insist that if God creates a variety of things, He must view some of those things as better than others. Well, no, this isn’t how God thinks. What is better, color or sound? What is more appealing: the sight of a beautiful sunset or the aroma of your favorite food when you’re super hungry? To God, multiple things can have equal value, even if those things are vastly different. But we humans have a fixation with comparing and ranking. When we’re presented with two things, we feel compelled to label one as better than the other. Read more of this post

Assessing God’s Pleasure with You: Three Useless Tests

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How do you know if all is well between you and your Makers? The Church offers you several simple tests. If you rely on her tests, one of two things will happen. You’ll either end up feeling hopelessly discouraged and questioning the validity of your salvation, or you’ll end up going astray with misplaced confidence and useless striving. The Church’s tests for identifying if a Christian is on track are utterly useless. Let’s learn why. Read more of this post