2023-It’s going to be Okay … but it’s going to be different

Occasionally I watch a news and economic commentator named Maria Bartiromo. A couple of days
before Christmas she had a Cardinal of the Catholic Church from the New York City diocese on to
comment on some of the statistics Maria had thrown up on the screen. These stats showed that people
in the United States were leaving the church in droves and the implication was that that also meant that
they were leaving Christ, or Christianity.

Maria asked the Cardinal to comment on this which he did. He joyfully talked about the birth of the
Baby Jesus and how God felt this was an innocent and nonthreatening way to bring the King of Kings
into the world. I certainly agree with that, but through their entire discourse all I could think was, “My
word! People are leaving religion, not Christ!
People are looking for Christ, and they are not finding Him
in many churches.”

That’s because Christianity is not a religion, it is a relationship with a person named Jesus. People want
an authentic, close relationship with Jesus. The Bible says that God is a living God. People want to know
what that means and be a part of it. I know this because I wrote a book about it a little over 12 years
ago! (You can read the first chapter of my book, The Desperate Christian for free by clicking this link.)

Another thing I thought as Maria and the Cardinal were cluck-clucking their tongues over the pitifulness
in the decline of America’s spiritual and moral compass is that the enemy of God loves to make the
believer think that he is rotten and that there is no hope. He loves to make the American feel that way
too. Why he (the enemy) has spent the last 50 years trying to make the people of this country feel guilty
instead of blessed. After all, no country has had the progress and success that we have enjoyed in the
United States of American. No country has ever been as beneficent either. “You have been blessed to
be a blessing” says Genesis 12:12. Yet so many of us feel guilty about being blessed by God.

Now I am not saying we are not convicted by God when we move away from Him, but conviction is not
the same as guilt and removing our guilt was a HUGE reason He died on that cross. (Mark 2:5,7; 1 John
1:7 AMP) And, I’m not saying many folks are not turning from the religion of many churches. (You know
this was a problem in Christ’s day too.)

I am saying that many, many Americans don’t know Jesus well enough to know the difference between
Him and religion. And, I am saying that many Americans don’t know the Bible well enough to know that
God wants us to be well provided for and blessed so that we can joyfully share and bring others to Him. I
am saying that the enemy is roaming around trying to make lots and lots of people think they are rotten
to the core because their spirits are discontent with the stale, dry, empty, trite food that many, many
churches are trying to stuff down their throats with guilt. The enemy is trying to make the person who is
looking for the living, breathing Christ, feel guilty because he wants more God, instead of more religion
and tradition.

Christians and churches with the heart of God have a mission to bring people closer to Christ, not to
get people to come to a building.
We are to be witnesses for Christ. A witness is someone who knows
something, and the Christian is to know Christ, and we are to introduce folks to a more intimate
relationship with Jesus by sharing with them and showing them what Christ has done in our lives and by
speaking His truth in love. (Luke 24:48; Ephesians 4:15)

Postscript-(I’ve been stewing over this issue for some time, and it came to a head with that visit Maria,
(who I just love), had with the Cardinal. So I was ready to get that off my chest. However, it dovetails
nicely with a video and workbook series I’ve been working on for over a year about the aliveness of
Christ, and how He lives, moves, and has His being in our lives so that we can live in Him. Very
practical, real-life stuff. It’s coming soon if you’re interested.

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