Silver Falls State Park, Oregon
February 26, 2022
I have observed that humans, when they reach an age approaching adulthood, perhaps starting at around 16 years old, begin to notice that there is a lot more to life than meets the eye. Most probably first see this in ‘religion’ in America, when they begin to realize that faith and belief are not grounded in what they can see, touch or observe on the earth. No, religion is not based on any earthly process that we can observe, test and study in order to understand and accept it, but rather is contained within another realm entirely. And, surprisingly, that ‘other’ realm is often spoken of as being as real, or even more real than the concrete world of matter that we interact with each day. This is known generally as the ‘spiritual’ realm, where beings exist who do not live in physical bodies, but rather bodies which are not subject to the laws of matter at all. Yet they exist as surely as the house we live in or the car that we drive. It would be easy to simply discount this shadowy and mysterious world as not real and simply made up in peoples’ fertile imaginations, if it weren’t for the profound effect this hard to define world has had on the physical world that we all live in. For me, this became more than real when I began to search out and understand the Catholic religion that I was born into. Its history goes back thousands of years, and most notably includes the time following the birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The very calendar that virtually the entire world uses today, starts at ‘0’ years and has now spanned over 2000 years to today’s date of 2022. This is the Gregorian calendar, which surprisingly begins with the single historical event of Jesus Christ’s birth. Jesus was known as the one and only ‘Son of God’, the God that lives in the spiritual world. This realization began an understanding within me that maybe the spiritual world is the actual ‘real’ world, while our physical world is really only a temporary one, because nothing here ever lasts very long, including our own lives. I thought, “What besides reality could possibly sustain Christian beliefs for thousands of years and hundreds of generations?”
As I entered my later teen years I began to be interested in exploring this exciting spiritual realm, but not the religious part of it, which I felt that I understood pretty well. No, what intrigued and excited my interest back in those days were odd things that I heard and read about, like seances, where I learned that people contacted the spirits of dead relatives, or simply spirits from another world who could manifest here as ghosts, communicate with people, and physically move objects on earth. I was intrigued by clairvoyant Edgar Cayce, Ouija Boards, the purported power of witchcraft, and even the predictions of astrology. I was particularly interested in seeing this spiritual realm in its raw form, without having been filtered through the lens of religion. I thought that checking out these odd happenings would help define and expand for me what this unseen world was really all about. I sensed that there must be reality there beyond what my Catholic religion taught me, and it seemed a lot more mysterious, alluring, and exciting to me. Some of you reading these words may currently be similarly intrigued by this other dimension like I was back in the 1960’s. At the time, my mother was very interested in astrologer and self-proclaimed psychic, Jeane Dixon, who was well known for predicting the assassination of US president John Kennedy. When I asked her about her interest in Dixon, whom I felt was grounded in a rather shaky and deadend offshoot of belief, her explanation was that Dixon was a devout Catholic who firmly believed in God. In my Mom’s eyes, this gave her credibility. Jeane Dixon not only credited her predictions to God, but also was an advisor to many public figures, most notably to Nancy Reagan, wife of president Ronald Reagan.
I did research, read books on the subject, and gathered information for some time concerning apparently documented supernatural happenings. I concluded that things like levitating furniture, and spiritual beings from the ‘other’ side knowing unknowable facts about specific people and their lives, most likely contained at least some truth and reality. But eventually, the more important revelation that I discerned from my research, was the almost universally unimportant and purposeless nature of these happenings. They all seemed to have little value or purpose in themselves, besides being odd and interesting, and seemed to serve only to whet the appetite of human curiosity to learn more and more about this hidden side of life. I never saw any indication in my delving into this sideshow of the spiritual world, that there was any profit or good for me to be gained from it. All seemed to be grounded primarily in showmanship, making money, and enticing as many people as possible to come back again and again for more. I personally found no wisdom, information, or understanding that I could come away with from this offbeat world, and eventually lost all interest. What I was really looking for was real truth, bonafide reality, and genuine good that I could benefit from. The common thread that I did find, however, was that most everything was tainted with a hodgepodge of the bizarre, the hint of evil, and a look into ugliness, oddities, and a world impregnated with scariness, unpredictability, darkness, and a dose of fear. This was a world that I did not want to spend much time in.
Now we come to the title of this article: All paths forward lead back to God. I have subsequently learned from personal experience, from God’s revelation to me, from the Bible, and from others’ lives, that the spiritual world contains only two primary beings who compete for control there. One is Almighty God, and the other Satan with all his demon followers. The latter were all initially created by God and for God as angels, but they rebelled against him and were cast out from his presence. When men venture into this spiritual world it can be dangerous and unpredictable. That’s because you will be presented with both enticements towards evil as well as inspiration towards good. Satan generally baits you with promises of excitement, pleasure, power, hidden wisdom, and control, but these eventually lead you to their opposites: pain, deceit, misery, slavery, helplessness, and death.
God, on the other hand, leads with requirements of self-control, holiness, suffering, and loving God and your fellow man. These eventually lead to eternal bliss, freedom, wisdom, safety, joy, fellowship, and life with God forever in heaven. But like what happened to me early in my life, if you are seeking what is good and right and holy, you will easily be able to tell Satan’s enticements from God’s holiness and inspiration. I can’t emphasis this more. Be careful what you are seeking, for you will eventually get what you are asking for. God promises to give us the desires of our hearts.
The use of illicit drugs for pleasure provides the perfect example of one of Satan’s enticements towards evil. Drugs provide an immediate escape from life, with extreme pleasure, ecstasy, and feelings of empowerment, freedom, and control. But their end result is often addiction, pain, slavery, helplessness, and death.
God often inspires using the portals of self-denial, self-discipline, and faith in him as paths towards good. These initially may look like loss of freedom and loss of pleasure and control. Sex provides the perfect example. God teaches us to keep sex between a man and a woman, and only within the commitment of marriage. Waiting until marriage to enjoy sex provides the perfect path for marital fidelity, partnership in parenting, a stable home life, great sex, consistent love, safety, and security. The alternative is often broken homes, single parenting, neglected children, and juvenile delinquency, along with pain, struggle, and depression.
All paths forward in life will lead to good, to truth, to love, to success, and eternal bliss. And these paths will always go back to the beginning: To the God who in the beginning created the world and us. Why? Because he alone holds the keys to a truly happy and eternal future, and he desires eternal love and good for all people. He planned it that way and gives each human being a choice: Either choose God or reject him. Choosing God and good requires us to do these things to the best of our ability:
1) Love God with your whole heart, your whole soul, your whole mind, and all your strength
2) Love your neighbor as yourself; a love that never wrongs your neighbor
3) Treat others in the way that you yourself would like to be treated
Follow these paths in life and they will lead you straight to God and good and happiness. It’s that simple! Make a decision today before it is too late.
Here are some scripture verses to keep you on track and safe on your journeys into the spiritual world; don’t search for excitement and pleasure, but rather for truth and good:
“Beloved, do not imitate what is evil but what is good. Whoever does what is good belongs to God; whoever does what is evil has never seen God.” 3 John 1
“Anyone who is so ‘progressive‘ that he does not remain rooted in the teaching of Christ does not possess God, while anyone who remains rooted in the teaching possesses both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you who does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house; do not even greet him, for whoever greets him shares in the evil he does.” 2 John 1