Discussing Spiritual Differences- John 8:32, 1 John 2:21

And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth.

COMMENTARY

The truth shall make you free
Yesterday I considered how the truth wants to be spoken and urges us to utter it. However it is not the truth that needs us so much as it is we who need the truth.
Truth is not some fragile being that we must protect or else will fade away. It is not Tinkerbell who will die if we stop believing in it. Truth just is. It exists independently of our involvement. Truth does not need to be stated to be true.
So when we speak the truth, it is not for truth’s sake, but for humanity’s. As Jesus attests in this verse, it is the truth that makes us free. Thus to know the truth and to not say it is to leave your brother in chains.

Ye know it, that no lie is of the truth
And this is yet another reason why those that have found moral truth must speak up, even to a world that doesn’t want to hear it. Just as it is wrong to see someone walking into physical danger and not call out a warning, it is also wrong to not call out a warning of moral dangers.
When one has found the truth one knows the truth and one knows what is not of the truth. And when one knows that what they hear is not truth, it would be an act of abuse to leave one’s fellowman so blinded. Even if the other will not hear, the one that knows the truth is still obligated to speak it so that the other can have his chance for freedom.

Discussing Spiritual Differences- Matthew 7:7-8, John 7:37, John 6:66-67

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.

From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.
Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?

COMMENTARY

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find
For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth
If any man thirst, let him come unto me
We must always remember that this is a gospel of invitation, not of force. It is a gospel where the disciple is meant to seek after, not be pushed ahead. It is opt in, not opt out.
When we can share the truth we should do so with passion and commitment, we should leave no question about the importance of what we are saying. But never should we try to make someone accept it and never should we punish them for ignoring us.

From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.
Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?

Jesus boldly renounced sin. Jesus reproved his own disciples. Jesus chased away those who corrupted the place of worship. He was very clear and very firm in his declaration of truth. But the decision to follow him was always left to the disciple. If they wanted to leave then they could, and some of them did. But if they wanted to stay then they knew where to find him and they knew what he expected of them. It was just up to them to choose it.

An Invitation

I want to start off by acknowledging that there’s almost always “an angle” in the blogosphere. So many comments and likes are left only in the hope of receiving comments and likes back again in a sort of ego-exchange. And I’ll be perfectly honest, in my early days of blog-writing I did exactly the same thing.

But I do believe it is possible to do something nice just to be nice, and I do believe that a real sense of community can be built even in the virtual world. And so I’d like to extend an open-ended offer to all of my readers, inviting them to let me know if there’s anything I can help them out with.

This is not about wanting a cross-promotion, a guest appearance, or a testimonial. I mean, let’s be honest, it’s not like I have nearly enough influence to be useful in building your brand anyway, and I stopped caring about building my own brand a while ago.

So Wait, What Exactly Are You Offering Then?

There are other blogs where’ve I wished I could reach out and have a personal chat with the author, but have felt that that would be too forward. There are people who I’ve respected and would like the opinion of, but don’t want to burden them for their insights. There are people that I would like to work with, just to make something together for the fun of it, but then worried they’d think I was just trying to get something from them for free.

In short, with today’s culture most of us feel like we need to have an invitation to connect. So this is my blanket invitation. This is me saying that if you want to chat, I’d love to chat. If you want me to look at your stuff, I’ll gladly tell you what I think. If you want to try making something together, I’d love to see what we can do and you keep the intellectual property!

My only stipulation is that we approach this in the spirit of genuine friendship. I sincerely do want to help…but even more than that I just want to get to know you better.

My Interests

It’s an open-ended offer, and if you decide to reach out you don’t have to keep yourself constrained within the following categories and examples. But just to get your ideas flowing, here are a few of the things that I have at least some experience in.

SPIRITUALITY
I know, I know, never talk about religion or politics if you don’t want to ruin a friendship, but if you’re on this blog then you already know that this is a very large sector of my life. I’d love to have theological discussions (though never an argument!) with anyone who cares to.
Most of us carefully couch everything we say about religion in order to not say anything offensive, but we all need to find a place where we feel safe enough to talk about very real frustrations and confusions. We need a friend who understands that partially formed ideas are only partially formed ideas. The relationships I value most in life are the ones where I am able to say “hey, this might sound crazy, but what if God is actually like this…?” If that sounds interesting to you, I’d love to chat.

STORIES
I love writing, and I will always write. Never mind if I’m any good at it or not, I’ll always be trying! But we writer’s are notoriously reclusive. None of our work is good enough to share, because if we show it to someone else they might think its terrible, and then they’ll hate us forever by extension.
Well, let me tell you, I’ve read the work of people that I love dearly and it was astoundingly bad. Yet, in spite of all temptation to forever loathe them for coming up with such a monstrosity, I somehow was still able to respect them as a person. I know, crazy! Not even sure how I came by this ability, but so long as I have it feel free to make use of it for some honest, but kind, feedback!
Or tell me about the idea you’ve always wanted to get rolling, but would like a fellow creator along the journey. Or ask me about my own work, see if I have a starting point laying around that you could build off of. Or just start a conversation about our favorite stories by others.

TECHNOLOGY
By profession I am a software developer. That doesn’t necessarily mean that I can fix your computer or build your website…but, depending on your exact situation, maybe I can! If you want an opinion for what your next laptop or cell phone should be, let me know what you’re use-case is and I’ll try to help you find something that you can really love.
Or maybe you’ve wanted to learn a bit more about technology? Perhaps you want to find out what we mean by “its all just 1s and 0s,” or you’d like to setup your first coding environment, or you’re about to take the plunge and build your first PC…let me help, I’d love to.
Or ask me about the hobby projects I’ve been coding up on the side. Tell me about your little game idea that you’ve always wished someone would make. Perhaps you’re a programmer yourself? Why don’t we see if there’s an intersection of interests and make something together?

LIFE
If none of the above is striking a chord, then talk to me about how you’re afraid your new job is about to let you go. Or how your marriage is on the rocks. Or how you felt so proud of your son yesterday. Or how you’d like to go to therapy but don’t want to be labelled as having a problem. Or how you wish the world saw your autistic brother the same way that you do. Fact is, I’m a darn good listener, and I would be privileged to do just that.

CONTACT ME

And like I said, don’t feel like the ideas I threw out were the only one’s you can take me up on. Thought of something totally different that could be helpful for you? Great. I’d love to hear it.

To make things simple, you can just email me directly at abe.austin@gmail.com

If you don’t get a response, assume that it went to my spam. I promise I won’t ignore any reach-out that I receive. So if I don’t respond to your email within a day, then either send another or try using the Contact page of this site.

Okay, I think that about covers it.

If I’m being honest…I don’t actually expect anyone to reach out.

So prove me wrong.

I really would like to get to know you.

One Year In

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Reflections)

It was one year ago today that I decided to start this blog. At the time I had already been writing a story blog for a year, but felt that it just wasn’t covering the full spectrum of all I wanted to say. I wanted a better platform to directly explore my spiritual thoughts and feelings.

Also, I wanted a way to keep myself honest with my spiritual studies. I have always reviewed the scriptures on a frequent basis, but not on a regular one. I needed something that was more systematic, a dependable daily ritual. I also wanted to try a study approach that was different from my usual “read Genesis Chapter 1, now read Genesis Chapter 2, etc.”

This blog has met all of those needs perfectly. I have been far more reliable in my studies, I have found great value in choosing a topic and following wherever it may lead, and I feel far more aware of where my spirit is healthy, and where it has need to improve.

I have called this out before, but by far the lesson that has stood out most is my need to be a doer of the word, and not a hearer only. This study has helped make me a better hearer, but in the hearing comes the pricking of the conscience to now go and do.

To be sure, I am living a more Christian life now than I was a year ago, and I attribute much of that growth to how this blog has stirred (and at times agitated!) my soul. But I also see that I can do more, and I am very excited to see how I grow this next year when I take my studies deeper.

Statistics)

Before we get to those changes, though, I’d like to reflect on the numbers that make up the previous year. I have made 290 entries for this blog, resulting in 33 essays and 1 poem.
My blog has been read in 43 different countries, and I have been pleasantly surprised at the diversity in where it has been picked up. For example, there have been readers from Pakistan, China, Saudi Arabia, and Israel. This blog’s posts have had “likes” from readers that profess all manner of different religious beliefs, even of atheism.
The process of writing this blog has made me feel a powerful kinship to all others, even those with vastly different beliefs. It seems that much of the internet is focused on sowing discord, but this blog has opened me up to the realization that there are still streams of unity out there.

Moving Forward)

I am very grateful for all that this blog has provided to me, but particularly for the two lessons I have just detailed: that I need to act on the religious principles I study, and that I need to form bonds with all other sincere seekers of truth. I will be taking actions to try and incorporate those lessons into my blog moving forward.
In the first place, at the start of each month I am going to share which way my heart is pushing me to live my discipleship more. I will lay out my commitments for how I will answer my conscience, and then give an account for how things progressed with my next entry one month later.
In the second place, I am going to extend an invitation to all of my readers. I would like you to let me support or help you in any way that I can. In order for this request to not be lost in a wall of text, I will extend this offer in detail through its own post, which I will also publish tomorrow.

Thank You)

I find it very surreal that I live in a world where I can explore my own spirituality, and people all around the globe can participate in the journey. To be honest, my motivations in writing this blog have been largely self-centered. I wanted to understand the scriptures better for my own betterment, I want to answer the questions of my soul, I want to uncover what messages God was saying to me.
But intermingled with those intentions has been the hope that others might derive some benefit from being a witness to my journey. If any of these posts have meant anything to you, thank you.