Monday, July 4, 2011

FREEDOM--WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO YOU?

TODAY IS INDEPENDENCE DAY:


John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both signed the Declaration of Independence on July 2, 1776. the National Holiday was declared on July 4, 1776.


Ironically 50 years later both of these "founding fathers" died on the same day just hours apart on July 4, 1826.


Today we celebrate our breaking away from British rule.  This is only one kind of freedom.


I once read a story of a man who was shackled in a dark pit in Haifa, Israel.  His name was Baha'u'llah.  In Arabic his name means, "The Glory of God."  Jesus the Christ told us in the Book of Revelations that He would send us a "comforter", and on Him He would write a NEW NAME.  He said that the name would mean, "The Glory of the Lord."  Baha'u'llah is that "comforter".


He spent most of His life being scourged, beaten, imprisoned and exiled from country to country  and spent many years in "The Most Great Prison" in Akka where there were no windows, no running water and no facilities.  This Holy man was forced to live among thieves and murderers. He did so without complaint, and His spirit soared because His "freedom" came from God.


It was while in this prison that He was visited by an angel who told  Him that He was the new chosen divine messenger of God.  


Baha'u'llah after being released from the "pit" was always under "house arrest" and was constantly scorned and had to suffer indignities and disbelief--much like Jesus the Christ.  However, since God had manifested His Spirit into this human soul, Baha'u'llah had the power to withstand every kind of humiliation and degradation that the Clerics of that day as well as the Islamic Government could heap upon Him.  He was constantly ridiculed and cursed at.  In spite of this He had many staunch followers.  He was most beloved by these brave souls who were putting their own lives at risk to be wherever He was, and to openly worship Him. 


Baha'u'llah and the founder of the Babi Faith known as the Bab ( meaning "the Gate" in Arabic) were known as the "twin prophets".  Bab declared his mission in 1844 and was much like Johm the Baptist who was the forerunner to Jesus the Christ.  He came to tell the Jewish people that God had sent a new messenger. Many did not believe Him  and He too was treated with indignities, tortured and finally killed. 


However unlike John the Baptist, the Bab was a divine prophet himself and brought new laws and a new book called the Bayan.  He died a martyrs death,  but not before He had firmly implanted the teachings of His book into the hearts of His followers.  He also commanded that after His death they were to follow the new Messiah known as "The Glory of God".  Baha'u'llah declared Himself to be the one that mankind had been waiting for. He let it be known in 1863 that he indeed was the "Promised One" of all ages.


Baha'u'llah was sent to bring about love and peace through His teachings.  He wrote over 100 epistles and books in His own hand, or those that he dictated to His secretary.  Two of my favorite books are "The Kitabi-Aqdas ( The Book of Laws), and the Hidden Words (words from God). I also highly recommend a book called. "Baha'u'llah: King of Glory" by H. M. Balyuzi, you can find it on Amazon.com/


If you are interested in learning more about this most recent prophet, and His wonderful Baha'i Faith, go to www.bahai.org/


Yes--I am a Baha'i, and have been for over 40 years.  As Baha'is we do not proselytize, but we do invite you to investigate for yourself.


That's what "freedom" means to me--the right to share with anyone what I believe--no strings attached.


Following are some of the principles of the Baha;i Faith:


  1.   ALL HUMANITY IS ONE FAMILY
  2.   WOMEN AND MEN ARE EQUAL
  3.   INVESTIGATION OF TRUTH WITHOUT PRECONCEPTIONS
  4.   SCIENCE AND RELIGION WORK HAND IN HAND
  5.   ECONOMIC PROBLEMS ARE LINKED TO SPIRITUAL PROBLEMS
  6.   FAMILY UNITY IS OF THE UTMOST IMPORTANCE
  7.   ALL MAJOR RELIGIONS COME FROM GOD
  8.   THERE IS ONE GOD
  9.   THE NEED FOR AN AUXILIARY LANGUAGE
10.   MANDATORY EDUCATION FOR ALL CHILDREN
11.   THERE IS NO CLERGY--WE ARE THE TEACHERS
12.   WORLD PEACE IS THE UTMOST NEED OF OUR TIME


The following are questions often asked about the Baha;i Faith:


   1.   WHO IS BAHA'U'LLAH?
   2.   WHAT IS THE VISION FOR THE FUTURE?
   3.   HOW DO BAHA'IS RELATE TO POLITICS?
   4.   HOW DO THE BAHA'IS VIEW THE ENVIRONMENTAL CRISIS?
   5.   HOW DO BAHA'IS SPREAD THEIR BELIEFS?
   6.   WHERE DOES THE MONEY COME FROM FOR ACTIVITIES AND PROJECTS?
   7.   WHERE DO THEY WORSHIP?
   8.   WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF LIFE?
   9.   DO BAHA'IS BELIEVE IN HEAVEN AND HELL?
 10.   WHAT IS YOUR VIEW ON MARRIAGE?
 11.   HOW CAN I BECOME INVOLVED?


What Baha'u'llah has to say about freedom:


          "If the learned and worldly-wise men of this age were to allow mankind to inhale the fragrance of fellowship and love, every understanding heart would apprehend the meaning of liberty, and discover the secret of undisturbed peace and absolute composure."--Baha'u'llah


Have a very Happy 4th of July, and please be safe.


GOD BLESS!!   SEE YOU NEXT TIME!!