At over 150 pages, I thought it was time to close the old thread before it started causing problems due to it's size, and continue the devotionals here in a new thread. For today: Have you heard the Oriental blessing “May you live in interesting times”? We live in interesting times. We announce to the world that we have answers to the human sickness, then we press for doctrinal orthodoxy with everyone pigeonholed into a stereotype of our own definition that stifles the very ideas we pronounce as divine, AND we push for lifestyle acceptance that is in direct violation of scripture. The creative Christian life and thought scares the daylights out of many ministers. Kenneth Scott Latourette says that once Christianity became legal in the Roman Empire the faithful got doctrinal, conformist, and formed creeds that sent the church into 1,000 years of uncertainty. Martin Luther got the movement unstuck when he rediscovered grace. When he nailed his challenges to the door of the church, the church leaders would have loved to nail Martin Luther to that same door! Then conservatives got God all stuffed into a nice tight little box and liberals deified humans and gummed the faith all up again. If you come visit Bethany Church, you will NOT find a list of ‘statements of faith’ on the wall. You will NOT find a pledge everyone has to recite before joining. You will NOT find a Catechism written by a board of deacons in Cleveland, nor a doctrine agreed to by a meeting of elders in New York. We have Bibles – and that is sufficient. Someone said that the problem with Man is, he has written three million laws attempting to enforce the ten commandments. James 1:26-27 (KJV); “If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain. Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” Ephesians 2:8-9 (KJV); “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Matthew 23:23 (KJV); Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.