Thanks for all the kind words. My new ebook Lessons from a Hippo Hiney will be ready for release on Amazon.com/Kindle later in February. Enjoy this SheepTrax Classic included in the new collection.

Bryan Hupperts

Choosing My Religion

So, your aching soul has finally realized the cold universe spins on with or without you. Upsetting to finally realize Grandma was right, isn¯t it? It¯s not all about me or you. There is something out there greater than us, calling us to seek and find. Congratulations. We¯re growing up. The Creator is calling out to us, is creation.
 
Spiritually, it can get very weird out there. Please consider a few helpful hints on avoiding the spiritual pitfalls awaiting you on your journey that I¯ve learned from mine. Remember: not all that glitters is God.
 
1. If your new faith friends have a name tags that all say ¯Elder¯, knock on your door weekend morning before even the wee birds are chirping and have ¯special study guides¯ without which you simply cannot grasp the teachings of the Bible, it¯s OK to unchain the family pit bull. God understands. It¯s probably not what Jesus would do but trust me, you¯ll feel better.
 
2. If they constantly reference Jesus but don¯t follow him, don¯t follow them, either. Better, if their example does not reflect His, they do not reflect Him.
 
3. If they offer castration and tennis shoes as prerequisites to salvation and they are waiting for anything out of the heavens other than Christ himself, say, a UFO or a comet, tell ¯em you¯re going out for a Slurpee and run! Sure, they¯re in tennis shoes but you have more important things hanging in the balance. Your future progeny will thank you.
 
4. You¯ve been invited to a special 3 day meeting at Kamp Submission ¯ out in the woods where there are no cell phone towers or washing machines ¯ and they insist on driving, leaving you trapped with no way home, they¯re not really taking you camping. And they only thing they intend to wash is your brain.
 
5. Don¯t drink the Kool-Aid. Just don¯t.
 
6. If you find out that Jesus is just an angel or merely a good man, or that Jesus and Satan are, in fact, brothers, skip the next meeting. Get a really good security system. Look what happened to pop singer Prince. He¯s now a Jehovah¯s Witness. And you¯d think that wealthy brother could afford a better security system.
 
7. Buying into the promise of personal godhood is a guaranteed, permanent eviction notice from the grace of God. If this particular lie was powerful enough to turn angels into demons, just what do you imagine it will do to you? Do the angry words, "I will be like the Most High" ring any frightening bells?
 
8. If there is anything or anyone put between you and God, say, a priesthood you obey without question, ditto on a high potentate, the necessity of child or sexual sacrifice, or sacrificing your property to the collective, beware. Under no circumstances do you open the door and let such thugs in your home.
 
9. If the anointed leader lives a posh few million bucks up the street from your little house in a great big house with gates and guards and you can¯t pronounce the name of the import car he or she drives, you can probably guess that those sacrificial ¯special offerings¯ aren¯t getting to the widows and orphans. Tell that smiling greeter with the required ¯Information and Income registration card¯ a hearty, ¯Ummm. No Thanks¯.
 
10. If they reject the Bible, that¯s their decision however foolish. If they decide to rewrite it being ¯led only by the Spirit¯ and not scholarship, well, ¯There is a dimension not known to man¯ you¯re entering the Twilight Zone.¯
 
11. If an angel, spirit guide or ascended master has told the leader that their group will teach the Bible like it¯s never been taught before, they probably are teaching it like it¯s never been taught before. This is bad bad bad. Psst. Evoke the Run Away strategy.
 
12. If their attire of choice is veils or sheets, you¯re either about to be enslaved or shaved, tattooed and recruited for the master race. You can do better.
 
13. If they coyly whisper to you, the about-to-be initiated, that evil has a secret, beautiful side to explore; there are most likely dismembered bodies in the basement deep freezer. Time to go.
 
14. Umm, if the phrase ¯72 virgins¯ comes up positively in conversation, what they aren¯t telling you about in their Suicide Bomber Recruitment Drive are the 72 eternal mother-in-laws. Count ¯em, 72. Ponder the scary finality of that word eternal. Sadly, you only get to kill yourself once. Still worse, see point 15.
 
15. Dynamite Suppository. DO NOT get in the car, strap on the vest, or carry that mysterious unopened package to Check Point B. The last thing that will go through your mind is your backside.
 
16. Sometimes identity theft is about stealing your money. Sometimes it is about stealing your soul. Example: If you suggest stopping for lunch and your new faith friends says they must first consult the elders about where and what to eat, opt to dine alone and don¯t answer your phone for 6 months. You know who it is.
 
17. If your faith friends invite you to a back-to-nature orgy to celibate the ¯ancient paths¯ and you note with concern all the freshly bloodied knives and axes, remember this helpful phrase: ¯Children of the Corn.¯
 
18. If the privately revealed ¯will of God¯ involves you getting naked so they minister to you in a ¯blissful state of innocence,¯ it¯s not a sacrament they want to slip you.
 
19. Like oil and water, snakes and faith do not mix. It didn¯t work in the Garden of Eden and it will not work now.
 
20. If the new religion, the higher revelation, makes a good Oprah¯s Book of the Month, please revisit point 10. Cure the Twilight Zone theme¯ Do de do-do, Do de do-do, Do de do-do¯
 
21. You¯re in the mall and take a fun, free personality test. Surprise. Your real problem is that your amnesic mind has forgotten that it is possessed by the souls of dead aliens and you need to pay a heapin¯ wad o¯ cash to have your new faith friends evict these pesky parasites of the soul. We¯re back to points 10 and 20.
 
22. If the goal of the path they offer is blissful Nothingness, just an opinion here, but I think we can shoot a little higher. God¯s name is I AM, not I¯m Not.
 
23. Recycling. Cans, yes. Souls, no.
 
24. If all you¯re required to do is ascribe to a set of defined beliefs, even Biblical beliefs, without actually having to implement those beliefs in your personal life, something is amiss. Don¯t wait around to find out what.
 
25. If makeup and fashionable clothes are evil but gluttony and gossip are ¯ministry and fellowship,¯ let someone else grab that third piece of pie. Politely excuse yourself from the fellowship feeding tough, run for your car, and never look back. Chances are good they are too out of shape to catch you.
 
26. If they offer to pray for you and try to look spiritually powerful by pushing you over or knocking you down, bite their ankles and holy roll your tail right out of there. Hucksters can speak with the forked tongues of fallen angels, too.
 
27. If they use telltale phrases like orbs of light, gold dust or jewels manifesting from the ether, or boast about having Cornflakes with angels, or about having been interviewed on The Blasphemy Network, you have God¯s blessing to sleep in that Sunday to regroup and try another church. Do not confuse Prophetic with Nitwit.
 
28. If they believe in a Way, a Truth, or offer a Life that is not the Lord Jesus Christ who shed his blood on the Cross to die in your place to pay for your sins, then it is not the Way, not the Truth, or the Life. Do not pass God, do not collect eternal life.
 
A final thought. Having fed at many of the world¯s spiritual slop troughs, I finally came to believe in the God of the Bible. Why? His love won me over. But isn¯t the Bible full of error and contradiction? When I ask skeptics to name even one instance of this, their stunned silence is quite telling.
 
This magnificent book is a revelation of God himself and offers a somber warning in Proverbs 16:25, ¯There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.¯ Having traveled down those roads, I can tell you from painful experience this is true.
 
For instance, Buddhism offers an 8 fold path that finally leads to hell. So does every other path of every other competing ism. So do all roads lead to God? John 14:6 Jesus answered, ¯I am the way and the truth and the life. No-one comes to the Father except through me.¯
 
If that sounds narrow, it is! Consider Jesus. He was crucified for blasphemy. He believed himself to be God in the flesh and even accepted worship from his disciples. He died but rose again from the dead and offers this same hope to all who will turn from turn from evil and trust in his promise of eternal life.
 
This great promise is found in Romans 10:9. ¯That if you confess with your mouth, ¯Jesus is Lord,¯ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.¯
 
Or you can keep wandering aimlessly as you perish eternally.
 
Chose this day who you will serve.
 
Peace.
 
BH
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InJesus