Sunday, April 15, 2018

Glory {Art} Rewind 2018, Religion

I wanted us to look at a previous study about religion. I see so much talk on various social media sites about being religious, what denomination you belong to, etc. It's so much more than that, and instead my prayer is that people truly understand that it's about a relationship not religion. I encourage you to read Hebrews 11:4-31 before beginning today's study. These passages don't say "By being a Methodist . . ." or "By following this religious law . . ." Our relationship begins by putting our faith in Christ not a religion. So all of these mentioned in this passage had faith in Christ and a relationship with Christ. Wouldn't you too love to experience a relationship with the living God instead of following a bunch of religious rules? Let's read on.

The Study
God has been putting the word "religion" in front of me for several weeks now. It first started with a quote from Bono that said:

"Religion is what you have left when the Holy Spirit has left the building."

Then a few days later, I was preparing my lesson for church to lead the K-5 service. This stood out to me:

"Religion is about our attempt to reach God. The Gospel is about the truth that God 
reached out to us. God is not about religion, He is about relationship." 

There's that word againreligion. In both of these quotes, we see that religion is about us doing something, following rules, and not relying on the indwelling Holy Spirit that fills each and every believer. The Holy Spirit is how believers experience God. It makes Him known to us, to know scripture is truth, and to be able to apply it. He expects believers to follow the Spirit's leading. That honors God. Here we see how the apostles followed the Holy Spirit's leading when Matthias became an apostle.

Acts 1:24-26 "Then they prayed, 'Lord, You know everyone’s heart. Show us which of these two You have chosen to take over this apostolic ministry, which Judas left to go where he belongs.' Then they cast lots, and the lot fell to Matthias; so he was added to the eleven apostles."

I hear people say or I see on message boards "Well, I am not religious." I think the word religion can have a lot of negative connotations, and it does not necessarily draw people to Christ. As the quote said above, God is not about religion; He is about relationship. He is not about a list of rules. Yes, He wants us to obediently follow Him as His Word leads us but it's not about following a list of rules. We have a relationship with Him, and we serve Him and obey Him because we love Him not because we are following a list of rules. Our joy is in our relationship with Him not by following a religion. He created each and every person on this earth. The power of God's indwelling Holy Spirit and our relationship with Him completely transform us; religion does not do that.

Genesis 1:27 "So God created mankind in His own image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them."

Psalm 139:13 "For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb."

Colossians 1:16 "For in Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through Him and for Him."

He puts a desire within each person to have a relationship with Him but not all people respond. We respond to Him by accepting Christ's sacrifice on the cross for our sins and believing that God raised Him from the dead. His blood was poured out so that our sins are forgiven. We cannot experience a relationship with God unless we have received this free gift. Even Paul, who was a Pharisee, learned that it was belief in Jesus instead of obeying a list of rules. Our outward religious acts do not save us. He wants to have that relationship with you. He loves you. To read more about accepting His free gift, please click here. Have you experienced religion or a real and personal relationship with Jesus?  

John 1:18 (NLT) "No one has ever seen God. But the unique One, who is Himself God, is near to the Father’s heart. He has revealed God to us."

Romans 3:25a "God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of His blood—to be received by faith."

Romans 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 10:9 "If you declare with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved."

1 Peter 3:18 (NLT) "Christ suffered for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but He died for sinners to bring you safely home to God. He suffered physical death, but He was raised to life in the Spirit."

"Going through the motions of religion won’t ever satisfy. It’s only when we bend down low, open our hearts in complete surrender, and say, 'Jesus, it’s You. Only You. There is no other. There is no other possession or person or position that can ever fill the deep soul place shaped only for You.'" Lysa TerKeurst

So, will you be so bold as to begin saying you have a relationship with Christ instead of calling yourself religious or a Methodist, a Baptist, etc.?

  • Describe your relationship with Christ.
  • How might you deepen your relationship with the Lord?
  • Do you feel feel you are religious or living for Christ? Explain.
The Art
I have not done a journal page in quite some time, and I really wanted to journal about my relationship with Christ. My dear friend and I were also working together in my studio last week, and she had been using some red paint. Of course, we don't waste paint so I used some of the paint to stencil these flowers onto book paper. I never use red, so she challenges me to use it. :) Red is certainly perfect for His blood shed for me!

Anyway, once the flowers were dry, I was able to cut them out and use one of them on today's page. I only used one of the flowers so I have a second one still to use on another project. I put them on the page with a glue stick and then doodled around them before adding the typed prompt.

Original Study Link
I first shared this study July 2015. Click here to see the original post.

Feel free to join us on the Facebook page where some people will be sharing their creations. To see all of the information regarding this challenge and the previous studies, please click here. May you be blessed as you study and deepen your relationship with Him!

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