prisonchaplain

Why do so many fail to find God?

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How does one find God? Whoever looks will find. One can look in the Torah, the New Testament, the Quran, and even the Book of Mormon, and find God promising He will reveal Himself to anyone who seeks Him. It is not so easy, though. We want, so very much, to make our own way—apart from any higher power. You hear this desire all the time. When one says, “God judges the heart,” s/he really means they want to be left to their own devices. Even in churches we hear, “The rules can’t save you—only the Rule Giver.” Well, sure. However, if the Rule Giver saves me will He not give me rules?

 

We fail to trust in God because we want so much to trust in ourselves. What folly! Mao and his communist party tried to create a new socialist man and saw 50 million Chinese starve. He considered these deaths acceptable collateral damage. Godless nobility gives death.  

 

Another dangerous road away from God is the search for the good within. China, the Soviet Union and North Korea, in their quest for godless goodness incarcerated people of faith. Stalin’s Russia even used psychiatric hospitals to try to cure Christians of their apparent mental disorders.

 

Inside the church, there are voices suggesting that doctrine—teaching—is not important.

A growing church in Los Angeles became famous for helping the poor and for being interracial in the 1970s. Even city government sought out its church leaders, due to their positive works. Yet, behind the church doors the pastor was engaging in fake healings, teaching that humans could be gods, and he was allowing church beatings in the name of discipline. The church was the People’s Temple, and the pastor was Jim Jones. By 1979 the church relocated to Guyana, and over 900 members lie dead, from mass suicide.

 

We must return to our faith in the one good God. In creation God sees his goodness repeatedly. After the great flood wipes out wickedness, God’s man, Noah, declares God’s goodness by building an altar to him. God’s nation, Israel, often declared en masse that he is good and loving. Jesus’ resurrection showed God’s goodness. Paul says that without resurrection we are pathetic, but with it we are most blessed! Finally, even the opponents of God will ultimately declare God’s goodness. The Bible says every knee will bow and confess that Jesus is Lord.

 

God is good—but all the time? Every week I join female prisoners in worship. They flock to Christian chapel. Statistics suggest that 90% of them have been sexually molested. Nevertheless, they come, declaring that life may be hard, but God will get them through. So many who faced bad times, but continued to declare God’s goodness!

 

Despite testimonies to God’s goodness, we gravitate towards our own efforts. Sadly, even when we find the right answers, we usually cannot carry them out. Consider that Unicor, also known as Federal Prison Industries, has a tremendous record for successfully rehabilitating prisoners, so they can return to society and get legal, productive jobs. Nevertheless, the program flounders because local factories want the jobs that Unicor does. So, we know a program that works well, but we do not have the political will to enact it on a large scale.

 

We cannot solve our own problems. Good intentions are not enough. What can we do? We must have right belief: That God is good; that God is one; that Jesus is our only way to the Father; that any good we do must be grounded in God; and that God is love. Is it really that simple? Sure! However, to know Jesus is to love Him. To love Jesus is to serve Him.

 

Will you give up your independent efforts at goodness? Will you trust God to lead you in His way of righteousness?

 

To see a video presentation of this message visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jx5S904diRI

 


 

 

 

 

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10 hours ago, prisonchaplain said:

How does one find God? Whoever looks will find. One can look in the Torah, the New Testament, the Quran, and even the Book of Mormon, and find God promising He will reveal Himself to anyone who seeks Him. It is not so easy, though. We want, so very much, to make our own way—apart from any higher power. You hear this desire all the time. When one says, “God judges the heart,” s/he really means they want to be left to their own devices. Even in churches we hear, “The rules can’t save you—only the Rule Giver.” Well, sure. However, if the Rule Giver saves me will He not give me rules?

We fail to trust in God because we want so much to trust in ourselves. 

It's been said that pride is the greatest sin, and it's easy to see why in this kind of case. 

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On 2/21/2019 at 9:21 PM, prisonchaplain said:

How does one find God?

It is my opinion that any effort to isolate truth (including G-d) within the parameters beginning at birth and ending with death will be met with abject failure.  As much as any of us would like to project knowledge, especially of the divine, the reality is that whatever conclusion we think we obtain - it is by faith.  We will die without knowing G-d but thinking so or thinking not to various degrees.  Our little moment of mortal time is spent in hope and imagination or confusion and despair.  

As much as we think finding G-d is an accomplishment; I am of the notion that in the end G-d will find us and we will make an account of what we do while we do not really understand what we are doing.  Growing up, my father spent a lot of time trying to teach me wisdom he had learned.  I recall being alone with my father while hunting (I regret not hunting with my sons and daughters because alone in the wilderness with no distractions is a great time to learn and teach - but to be honest my oldest boys were horrified with a kill and field dressing).  Anyway, my father once, during a time of our being alone together with light snowfall - talking.  We discussed why people do what they do - and my father cautioned me that the best clues to understanding someone else is what they do when they think no one is watching and what they do does not matter in the larger picture of what is going on in the world and the universe. 

Now, my friend PC, we have talked in tiny segments before - and I have expressed to you that there is no logic, sense or justifiable purpose in us if we consider who we are starting at birth and ending with death.  G-d, the universe, justice, love, evil, us - nothing makes sense, unless we were something before birth and will be something after we die.  I do not believe anyone knows what they think they know - nor can anyone come to any logical conclusion, especially about the love and compassion of G-d without a hope and faith in something before and something after.  Any other rational will make G-d something other than kind and compassionate and our search for such things in a G-d flawed, confusing and disappointing - or even worse force us to disbelieve the reality of life and death happening all around us.

And so it is that I do not believe we find much in life to justify any success or failure.   I do not think that is even the point.  I believe the point is to experience the opportunity to dedicate our hope of living to something we hope is meaningful beyond ourselves.  A legacy, if you will, of wasting ourselves even when there is no logic or evidence that it matters beyond our hope and faith that it does.

And so I believe that by sacrificing ourselves, that when we find G-d (or he finds us) we will know him - not because of knowledge but from understanding ourselves as the image of him.

 

The Traveler

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On 2/21/2019 at 9:21 PM, prisonchaplain said:

Why do so many fail to find God?

It is because they are using the wrong set of eyes and instruments. Physical eyes, even when enhanced by reading glasses or microscopes or telescopes, will not be able to see spiritual things even when they are abundantly right before them.

Christ explained this when visited by Nicodemus. (Jn 3)

Quote

How does one find God?

I think you can guess my answer from what I said above.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

 

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57 minutes ago, wenglund said:

It is because they are using the wrong set of eyes and instruments. Physical eyes, even when enhanced by reading glasses or microscopes or telescopes, will not be able to see spiritual things even when they are abundantly right before them.

For those who do have some of these instruments, who dig astronomy, and yet also "have eyes to see," this site is a very cool use of vision to point us towards God:  http://www.seetheglory.com/

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On 2/21/2019 at 9:21 PM, prisonchaplain said:

 

 

How does one find God?

 

 

 

 

 

 

All have the light of Christ.  The sure way to find God is to forsake the carnal nature and listen to the spirit within and learn to distinguish between carnally minded thoughts vs spiritually minded thoughts.  Over time, as one listens to the carnal influence more, they become deaf and blinded to spiritual influences to the point of hearing but not hearing, seeing but not seeing. 

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OPEN QUESTION: So, I received an interesting "like" on this article, over at LinkedIn. The individual is a female, outed-lesbian Catholic priest (obviously, not Roman Catholic...must be some smaller group claiming the 'Catholic' title), who does masses with her life-long partner/wife. Part of me is pleased that such a person would read a conservative-Evangelical-Pentecostal preacher's material, and like it! Another part of me wonders if I communicated clearly. Another post of mine, very much with the same type of messaging, was appreciated by a vaguely spiritual psychologist, who finds my writing to be "progressive and inclusive." Again, I wondered if I am just really good at communicating the mercy and grace of God outside my own faith community, or if I am somehow failing to deliver "Thus says the LORD?"

Perhaps folks here can help. After all, I'm not LDS. Do my posts wound like those of an open-minded Pentecostal, or am I coming across as a 'dry' LDS church member? In a way, both would be good. I'm not trying so much for either--just to communicate God's truth in an open, empathetic, yet clear manner.

Edited by prisonchaplain

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31 minutes ago, prisonchaplain said:

OPEN QUESTION: So, I received an interesting "like" on this article, over at LinkedIn. The individual is a female, outed-lesbian Catholic priest (obviously, not Roman Catholic...must be some smaller group claiming the 'Catholic' title), who does masses with her life-long partner/wife. Part of me is pleased that such a person would read a conservative-Evangelical-Pentecostal preacher's material, and like it! Another part of me wonders if I communicated clearly. Another post of mine, very much with the same type of messaging, was appreciated by a vaguely spiritual psychologist, who finds my writing to be "progressive and inclusive." Again, I wondered if I am just really good at communicating the mercy and grace of God outside my own faith community, or if I am somehow failing to deliver "Thus says the LORD?"

Perhaps folks here can help. After all, I'm not LDS. Do my posts wound like those of an open-minded Pentecostal, or am I coming across as a 'dry' LDS church member? In a way, both would be good. I'm not trying so much for either--just to communicate God's truth in an open, empathetic, yet clear manner.

Personally, I think you come across as open-minded and loving.  Not open-minded in that you're willing to consider that your views on doctrine are wrong, but in the sense that while you disagree with someone that doesn't mean you condemn that person.  You're perfectly willing to co-exist with someone who believes differently than you.  I feel that way, but I'm absolutely horrible at presenting it.  I come across as very judgmental and condemning.  You don't.  Because you don't, I believe your message is received much better, even if not accepted.  It's appreciated.

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We're too passive with how we regard spiritual matters. Many come to church with the mindset of, "Well, I'm here, now inspire me." We get constant reinforcement from the world. We need to counterbalance that with the  spiritual. I mean, the average person is awake for 112 hours in the span of a week. There's quite in an imbalance between the temporal and spiritual if 110 hours is devoted to work, chores, errands, recreation, etc - and just 2 hours is dedicated towards God. Two hours of church is not enough to sustain us through the week. 

Frequently you hear people say, "Well, I just don't have time to read my scriptures every day. Life is busy." Nonsense. Let's crossout, "I don't have time" and say what it really means: It's not a priority. I love watching my favorite sports team. Am I going to miss a single game they play? Absolutely not. I watch them because I make it a priority. Let's stop with the excuses and actually make gospel learning a priority.

Mosiah 5:13 "For how knoweth a man the master whom he has not served, and who is a stranger unto him, and is far from the thoughts and intents of his heart?"

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From what I've observed I think the younger generation aren't used to putting in the hours required to search which is understandable given that they live in a fast food 24 hr plug and play society now. Instant gratification. 

Big bright colors and loud bangs vs long sullen silences from upon high. 

I generalize of course but its just what I've observed. I don't fear for them though, they'll figure it out. 

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On 2/27/2019 at 9:39 AM, prisonchaplain said:

Perhaps folks here can help. After all, I'm not LDS. Do my posts wound like those of an open-minded Pentecostal, or am I coming across as a 'dry' LDS church member? In a way, both would be good. I'm not trying so much for either--just to communicate God's truth in an open, empathetic, yet clear manner.

I almost always enjoy your posts and I certainly respect the way you handle doctrinal differences and disagreements in your posts on this site. I'm not sufficiently familiar with the stereotypes of dry Mormons or open minded Pentecostals to make any reliable sort of judgement as to which of the two your posts sound more like but I'm sure you'd make a great Latter-day Saint. :) 

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On 2/26/2019 at 3:39 PM, prisonchaplain said:

OPEN QUESTION: So, I received an interesting "like" on this article, over at LinkedIn. The individual is a female, outed-lesbian Catholic priest (obviously, not Roman Catholic...must be some smaller group claiming the 'Catholic' title), who does masses with her life-long partner/wife. Part of me is pleased that such a person would read a conservative-Evangelical-Pentecostal preacher's material, and like it! Another part of me wonders if I communicated clearly. Another post of mine, very much with the same type of messaging, was appreciated by a vaguely spiritual psychologist, who finds my writing to be "progressive and inclusive." Again, I wondered if I am just really good at communicating the mercy and grace of God outside my own faith community, or if I am somehow failing to deliver "Thus says the LORD?"

Perhaps folks here can help. After all, I'm not LDS. Do my posts wound like those of an open-minded Pentecostal, or am I coming across as a 'dry' LDS church member? In a way, both would be good. I'm not trying so much for either--just to communicate God's truth in an open, empathetic, yet clear manner.

At the risk of being overly simplistic, your posts come across to me as “sharing” and not “preaching,” intended to help, not condemn or provoke.  For that reason, I read them and appreciate your perspective. 

 

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On 2/26/2019 at 3:39 PM, prisonchaplain said:

OPEN QUESTION: So, I received an interesting "like" on this article, over at LinkedIn. The individual is a female, outed-lesbian Catholic priest (obviously, not Roman Catholic...must be some smaller group claiming the 'Catholic' title), who does masses with her life-long partner/wife. Part of me is pleased that such a person would read a conservative-Evangelical-Pentecostal preacher's material, and like it! Another part of me wonders if I communicated clearly. Another post of mine, very much with the same type of messaging, was appreciated by a vaguely spiritual psychologist, who finds my writing to be "progressive and inclusive." Again, I wondered if I am just really good at communicating the mercy and grace of God outside my own faith community, or if I am somehow failing to deliver "Thus says the LORD?"

Perhaps folks here can help. After all, I'm not LDS. Do my posts wound like those of an open-minded Pentecostal, or am I coming across as a 'dry' LDS church member? In a way, both would be good. I'm not trying so much for either--just to communicate God's truth in an open, empathetic, yet clear manner.

You come off as an extremely reasonable, respectful, disciple of Christ who's interested in Truth, love, and service.  You speak with a small still voice.

I know some individuals who try to share Christ by being the most condensing jerks screaming Hellfire to whoever's in the room.  That goes no where, and I think your methodology reaches FAR better.  

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Lots of kind reflections. Thank you! I just don't want to be like that minister I heard about who was so subtle, so circumspect, so gentle and kind, that five years after he started his church he proudly said that half of his members were not even Christians. He went on to relay an incident when one of his deacons told him, "Hey preacher, we like all your little stories and everything. We just wish you didn't have to bring up Jesus so much. For some, it's kinda confrontational." This minister thought he was being "organic." "missional," and "getting his hands dirty." IMHO, when the key members are calling for less of Jesus, yikes. Then again, thirdhour.org is not the "spiritual-not-religious" Pacific Northwest. 💕

Edited by prisonchaplain

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I think most people don't find God because they don't know what to look for.  People already form an expectation of God.  When they don't see it, they keep looking for something that doesn't exist.  Then they finally declare "God doesn't exist."  Well, the God they were looking for doesn't exist.  That's true.

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I personally really appreciate your comments on the forum and think that you come across effectively and with compassion. I also think its great that you feel that you can contribute on an LDS forum with your different perspective. 

 

In answer to your original question:  Because they are not even looking!

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To your original question ~ why can't people find God? Because they are listening to Satan's description and being misled. Listening to the philosophies of men, not the gospel of Jesus Christ. Cherry-picking the Lord's Commandments to suit their own wants, then getting offended, made at God when He doesn't follow through with what they think He should do. For every act by man, there is a consequence.

As for how you came across in your sermon AND in your posts here on the forum, you are open, honest and stand firm in your faith. I also believe that you are a "dry" Latter-day Saint.

@prisonchaplain can you answer a question for me? Never have I heard it said in the LDS church that we go to Worship. My step-daughter belongs to Calvery Chapel in Hawaii, where she is teaching her grandchildren (and also taught her children) to Worship by raising their arms above their heads, swaying, and yelling Halleuah, Amen, Praise Jesus. She takes video's of the two oldest grandchildren marching around, stomping their feet and yelling the songs rather than singing them, the people who are standing and singing. To me, this is not Worshipping. Her eldest child is in her early 30's, the youngest of 7 is a junior in high school. 5 of her children are less than law-abiding citizens, two have children born out of wedlock and none bare the name of their biological father. I guess in my 66 years being here on earth, with 52 of those years being a baptized and confirmed member of the LDS faith, obeying the law of the land where I reside, obeying the Lord's commandments that I covenanted with Him at baptism than later in life when I received my Endowment,  kept me on the "straight and narrow path" by "holding firm to the iron rod".

In the LDS church, we listen respectfully to our Sabbath speakers, and when they finish with ". . . I say this in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen, we also say Amen, but in a revered, respectful way. After Sacrament, we go to classes where we study, discuss and interact with each other over the New Testament book(s) selected for that Sunday. Actually now we alternate Sundays for Sunday School- where this year we are studying the New Testament and the other Sundays our Auxiallry Presidents (Relief Society for the Women, Elders Quorum for the men, Young Women & Young Men for the youth) choose a talk from our last General Conference for us to study, discuss and interact with each other.

To me, learning about the teachings brought forth in the Scriptures ~ for Latter-day Saints these are the King James version of the Holy Bible, The Book of Mormon, The Doctrine & Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price ~ this is Worshipping. My personal, private prayers at home are prayers of gratitude, thanks, and pleas to God the Father for wisdom, strength, knowledge, compassion, etc. and are said through His Son, Jesus Christ. My personal, private prayers are said with the familiarity of His child to her Father. This to me is Worshipping.

Just recently I came across of the entire Joseph Smith, Jr translations of the Old and New Testament. What a wondrous and marvelous find.

So, back to my question: Define Worship and how you/ your parishioners do this. 

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@Iggy, first,, thank you for the kind feedback. I take it as a compliment when people here call me a 'dry Mormon.' The compliment is especially well-taken, given that the Calvary Chapel example of loud, demonstrative behavior being treated as ideal worship is something I understand. So, what is worship? Is it loud and demonstrative, or quiet and reverent? YES. In that service you described, the congregation is invited to "enter in." God is present, let's open ourselves to the Spirit's moving. Sometimes it is somber, and there is even weeping. Sins may be repented of, and the awesomeness of God's forgiveness is overwhelming. Other times, it's joyful, with clapping and celebration--yes, including shouts. The lifting of hand, the shouting, the weeping--these are all found in the Bible--many in the Old Testament. On the other hand, I recall one of the holiest moments I ever experienced. We had a small group Bible study in our dorm room, at Evangel University. A holy silence came over the dozen or so of us. It lasted nearly 20 minutes. Later, we amused ourselves by pointing out that we all knew this was a God thing, given that it was so quiet in a Pentecostal Bible service! 

Having said all that, listening calmly to a scripture teaching is worship. Doing a day's work for a day's wages is worship. Tithing is worship. Abstaining from that which we've covenanted not to partake of is worshiping. Believing that God is real and near after the doctor says it's cancer is worship. Expecting a 3-5 year sentence, getting 12, and responding with, "I don't know how I'll get through this, but it can only be with God's help," is worship. Cliches are corny, but sometimes they last because there is truth in them. So, here's one:  worship is really worth-ship--anything we do that declares the worthiness of the LORD.

Edited by prisonchaplain

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On 3/15/2019 at 11:07 AM, prisonchaplain said:

So, here's one:  worship is really worth-ship--anything we do that declares the worthiness of the LORD.

Except for trying to steady the Ark.  On a humorous note I recall a parable of two Christians of competing sects arguing over doctrine.  After failing to resolve the differences one finely proclaimed that each worshipped G-d in their own way.  And then the other responded, "I guess you are right.  Obviously you worship G-d in your way and I in his."

 

The Traveler

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