The eighth paragraph below this one begins the true, terribly true, story of my friend; he and I grew up together, hunted, fished, chased girls, got drunk, laughed and were very, very good friends. I'm not much for big fancy titles but this one is special to me. (2Cor. 6:14-17) (V.14) Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: AND (V.17) "Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord," One of us did and the other one didn't.
Blasphemy is (vilification, evil speaking against God and impious railing against God). (Matt. 12:22-32) Jesus cast out a devil through the power of the Holy Spirit. The Pharisees were the leaders of the Jews. The Pharisees knew Jesus but refused to recognize Him as the Son of God, the Messiah, even though He was casting out devils (Matt. 12:28) through the power of the Holy Spirit right there in front of them and they said He did His work through the power of the devil.
(Lev. 24:11-16; Isa. 52:5; Ezek. 20:27) Every Jew knew what blasphemy was so Jesus told them blasphemy against the Holy Spirit shall not be forgiven. Can you imagine how disheartened Jesus, the man, felt?
The apostle Paul had never met Jesus or the Holy Spirit until (Acts 9:1-22 esp. V.17) their encounter on the Damascus road. (Gal. 1:13) Paul had wasted the church and blasphemed in the process before his conversion but he did it (1Tim. 1:13) ignorantly (legitimate ignorance) in unbelief because he didn’t know Jesus or the Holy Spirit so he was forgiven of blasphemy when he was saved.
God forgave Paul and He forgives us for blasphemy when we get saved. When we know Jesus and the Holy Spirit through salvation and we blaspheme the Holy Spirit it will not be forgiven him (Matt. 12:32) in this world or the world to come.
IMPORTANT: Blasphemy- (vilification, evil speaking against God and impious railing against God): Vilification is the act of to vilify (to defame, denigrate, to call or make worthless): When a Christian sins or actually backslides and quits Church that is not blasphemy. Over the years I have probably spoken with more than a thousand backsliders and never once have I heard one blame God in any way.
The honest ones blame themselves, the majority blame other people, Christians, or preachers but none have ever blamed or vilified God, maybe they just didn't realize they were blaming and vilifying (blaspheming) God when they blamed some person for causing them to backslide who was, in reality, acting under the anointing of the Holy Spirit of God.
Jan. 11, 2013: I grew up with JR, we hunted and fished together, played cow pasture, dodge the cow piles baseball and football and ran the hills as boys. We spent lots of nights at each other's house. We got older and hitch-hiked to town to chase the girls too. JR could mimic people and make everyone laugh. He had a great sense of humor.
He was a lefty and could fight real good. He was even tempered but he wouldn't back up, not an inch. He was my friend. We joined the military at pretty close the same time, maybe within a year of each other. My only brother was learning to talk and I remember he called JR, "Jid-Arr". JR was around us that much.
I joined the Marines and JR joined the Army. He went to Germany and I wound up in Vietnam. He was in two or three years and I was in 6 years and 4 months. When I got back home from the Marines he was married to a nurse, had a job, drank alcohol nearly every night and gambled a lot. He could tell jokes, funny stories and hunting tales for a week and never tell the same one twice. Cool dude.
Back before I went "up North" to find work, back while I was still in vocational school on the GI Bill, I remember one time a feller owed JR some money. I went with JR to collect. It seemed simple enough; we'd drive up, toot the horn, they'd run out with big smiles and give JR his money. Simple, right? Wrong! JR tooted his horn, and tooted, and tooted. JR got out, I did too, we could hear people scurrying around inside the house, they were scurrying from window to window as we walked around the house, we could hear them.
JR beat on the doors and windows. No answer. No money. JR got mad and cussed. The feller who owed him money was a bootlegger, he had plenty of money. He also had some brothers who were just as mean as he was. I said; "JR, maybe we ought to come back another time." JR got madder and cussed louder! They had a bunch of fighting roosters in the back yard. JR pulled out his pistol and started shooting their prized roosters. OH MAN!
JR was willing to die for a 10 dollar debt! I didn't like it, I felt trapped but I was with JR, he was my buddy, if he was willing to fight over it I knew they'd consider me in it too so I got ready. After he killed their chickens he gave their windows a double middle finger and we left. We went to a turkey shoot. JR had an old, rusty, rattle-trap Noble shotgun but that thing would really shoot. We had a dollar between us, he entered the turkey shoot and he won the first round.
We sold the turkey for two dollars and I shot the next round. To make a long story short we came out of the turkey shoot with two turkeys, two fifths of vodka and nine dollars before they outlawed JR's shotgun. We simply shot too good for it to be a "legal" gun. I'm telling you this so you can understand our society at that time. We were roughnecks sometimes on the seamy side of society.
Somewhere during that time JR's wife miscarried and they lost a little boy. My first wife and I were there the night JR and his wife got to sass talking. They had a scuffle and his wife said he'd hurt the baby, she was big with child, she was a nurse and she ought to know. Yes, JR and I were drinking. I always thought it was a little strange that JR never mentioned losing that baby, not even one time, ever. Guilt, shame, self-anger, denial, didn't care? I don't know. I didn't ask and he didn't say, ever.
I drank with him every once in a while even though I was married and we hunted together until I graduated trade school and went North to find work. Much later, several years, after I had come back from "up North" they had a daughter but I never got to know her. Somehow she was always with one or the other set of grandparents or with one of JR's sisters. I wondered about that too.
Anyway, I came back, went to work in the mines and discovered JR was on another shift in the same mine. I had my family and he had his wife and we didn't associate but we were friends. Along that time, in those years, was when they had their Daughter. JR hung out with a pretty rough crowd of "good old boys". I started going to Church and got saved two years later.
I'd been saved just a very few years when JR also got saved. I belonged to a Church on the holler where I lived and he went to a Church near where he lived. I was delighted and we visited other Churches together quite often when our "home" Churches were not having services. JR could remember and quote chapter and verse scripture almost as good as anybody I ever knew. He was on fire for God; "I'm going to do this! I'm going to do that!"
"JR, it's a strange thing! I was also on fire for God there in the beginning just like you are now. I wanted to tell all my friends and fellow workers about what wonderful Jesus had done for me. I couldn't wait to tell them because I was sure they could see what I had and they'd flock to Church to get what I had gotten. I told them all about it and they didn't even look up. They never turned a hair. They simply did not care.
You have to take it slow, learn all you can out of the Bible, learn how to pray, develop your relationship with God, develop new relationships with Christians, love your friends and witness to them but don't never hang out with them because they're on the other side of the fence now, the devil's side. I'm still on fire for God and I'm strong enough now to resist the temptations my sinner friends try to get me to do."
It wasn't long before JR headed right back to his drinking and gambling buddies; "I'm going to convert all of them!" "JR you won't accomplish anything. You've got to let the Holy Spirit work. Testify to them and get away from them." JR kept going and hanging out with them. "They're listening. I'm making headway with them."
"No you're not JR, not one of them has ever gone to Church with you, not even one time. I'll bet you're right back to gambling with them if the truth was known!" JR wouldn't meet my eyes and he looked away when he said; "No, I'm not!" A shiver ran over me. I knew JR, my friend and spiritual brother, was on his way out. I was forlorn sad about it.
Our visiting other Churches dribbled out and ended, JR became unavailable to go and I missed his company. JR was one of those people who makes your life a little brighter and that dribbled out too. Later on, other people said JR was missing Church at his home congregation and he was running around hunting, fishing, etc. and generally hanging out with his old crowd.
I wouldn't go down without a fight. My friend was in a back alIey brawl with the devil for his eternal life and the devil was cutting him to pieces with the switchblade knife of subtle temptation. I prayed for my friend and for me. JR needed help, somebody to "get his back", and I went to see him.
We sat on the front porch of his old family home he'd inherited looking out over the creek, the small corn and hay fields and the beautiful hills. His wife stayed in the house. She was a Christian and the old JR had been a pure devil to be married to and live with. I guess she was in there on her knees begging God to help all three of us. JR and I were alone on the porch.
We talked about this-n-that, got caught up with each others lives, visited like we used to and it was good. But JR was nervous and shifty because he knew I'd eventually get around to Jesus, the Bible and Church; they are the big part of my life so they're a big part of my conversation too. JR was 6'3'' and about 200#, I was 5'8" and about 160#, JR was a lefty and could fight real good, I never heard of him losing a fight, JR wouldn't take much and he wouldn't back up, but I had it to do so I took a deep breath, then quietly said;
"JR, Jesus said in Luke 11:23; "He that is not with me is against me: and he that gathereth not with me scattereth." Those fellers are against you Buddy even when they're telling jokes and being "good old boys" with you. The Lord saved you and you changed sides. They're working for the devil and you don't have a chance if you hang out with them. Their influence will wear you down. (2Cor. 5:7-8 & James 1:12 based on Matt. 4:1 & Heb. 4:15) God tests a Christian's loyalty and faith and once in a while, somehow or other, you can't feel God like you once did.
The devil screams in your brain; "You didn't get saved! You're not saved! You're not saved!" It's a "spiritual low" for a while. You've got to go on faith, keep praying, keep studying, keep going to Church. In a few days all of a sudden one Sunday God will pour out a big, chill bump, tear pouring blessing on you and you'll realize you've somehow gotten closer to God because you've been through a testing time, a walk of faith, (Zech.13:9) a time of coming through the fire, a time of refining."
JR's eyes had that open, wounded look. Good, he was still tender hearted about Jesus and salvation. "I know you know about it because I've seen it happen to you and you've told me about having a walk of faith back when we went to Church together a lot. BUT: You'll be out with your buddies during a "spiritual low", one of them will say; "Aww h--- JR, one beer won't hurt anything, it won't make you drunk. Don't you read your Bible? Jesus turned water into wine and those fellers drank it." JR looked off down the creek. "Here!"
"One of them will toss you a beer, you'll automatically catch it, it will be all cold and wet in your hand, you'll already be dying for a drink, you'll look at it, then look at them and they'll be grinning and joshing with you in the good old boy, you're really one of us way, you'll shrug, pop the top, sip off the foam and feel like one of the good old boys again."
"You'll still go to church once in a while and pray a little bit now and then and you'll tell yourself its alright, you'll know it isn't alright, but that won't mean much like it used too because your heart will be getting harder and harder toward Jesus."
JR was still looking down the creek and his face was in profile. He turned red. I knew then that he had already done it. "JR, it won't bother you a bit but one day something will be wrong at home, or on the job, or somewhere and you'll use it as an excuse to get drunk. You'll regret it, damn what you done, pray about it desperately, go to Church every Sunday for a month or so and everything will be all right."
"(Eph. 4:30 2Pet. 3:9) Think what you're doin' to Jesus' feelings. He died for you Buddy. He died so you and me could get saved, please, please don't throw that away. But you'll go ahead and get drunk again, and again, and again and finally you won't bother with Jesus or prayin' anymore. You'll just be another drunk that used to go to Church." JR was bright red and his jaw muscles rippled and clenched. I'd said all that needed to be said so I hushed and waited for the explosion.
He'd listened and now it was JR's turn if he wanted to say anything but we just sat there in silence a few minutes and JR's color gradually returned to normal. He fidgeted. Finally he spoke; "I just remembered I've got to go see Dave. I sure hate to run off like this Jim, but I'm going to be late." We shook hands, said our "see ye later"; then I looked him right in the eye; "JR, I still consider you my spiritual brother in Jesus' blood until you tell me different and you know I love you, don't you, my Brother?"
"Yep." But JR was looking away by the time I finished and was still looking away when he mumbled; "Yep."; so I left and JR came down the driveway right behind me in his car. We came out to the road, I turned right toward home and my rearview showed me that he went left. No, I didn't bother to drive back by to see if he had turned around and gone back home as soon as I was out of sight. He'd made his choice according to his values and my heart was a broken thing within me.
I wondered if his red face was embarrassment or anger. It was a terrible question to have to ask myself and to wonder about. Embarrassment meant the Holy Spirit was still there. Anger at me meant the Holy Spirit influence was very weak or even gone and only the dregs of our friendship was all that kept him from blowing his top. The knowledge that God doesn't give up easily was a comfort in that dismal time.
NOTE: Before I go on I want to get something straight. Ethyl alcohol (the drinking kind) has a chemical number that is a common formula, CH3CH20H. Alcohol is a hallucinogenic just like any other brain/mind altering drug like marijuana, opoids, various pain medication compounds (pills), speed, crystal meth and etc. They are all destroyers and killers especially the pain medication type (pills) when consumed in violation of doctor prescribed dosages.
Twelve or fourteen years went by. You know how it is, different friends, different places, moved to different locales, different jobs in other counties, we didn't associate and we grew apart. I was divorced and married again. I'd heard JR was disabled with arthritis. I got burdened by the Holy Spirit to go see JR. I didn't want to go but I prayed up and I went anyway. I'd heard some bad stories about JR's activities, I knew he had a fast, filthy mouth and I didn't want to face it and well; you know how it is, but I went.
They had a new house in another place. JR's grim faced wife said he was on the back porch. I walked around the house. The porch had a lot of junk on it and JR was sitting in an old, beat-up, dirty, upholstered, easy chair drinking a beer. He seemed genuinely glad to see me. His face and hands looked bloated, he was scruffy and had gained a lot of weight. I hadn't been there 5 minutes in our getting re-acquainted when he offered me a beer.
With the offer of that beer JR told me he was no longer my spiritual Brother through the blood of Jesus! I quietly said; "No". I hadn't noticed the dirty, beat-up cooler standing in the litter of assorted junk around his chair. He wasn't even getting up to go in the house to get a cold one, too many trips, too much trouble. JR had traded Jesus' blood for a dirty beat-up cooler of beer.
I visited about two hours, old hunting and fishing adventures, fights, funny events, car wrecks, the old days AND I couldn't get a word in about Jesus or Church, he let me know he wasn't going to listen to anything about that Subject. He knocked off a cold Bud about every ten or fifteen minutes. There was no change in JR, no sign the alcohol was having any effect. "What's the use of drinking if it don't do any good JR?" "It will after while Jim." I started to leave and turned back a moment; "JR, what happened, why did you quit Church and why won't you go back?"
"It's them d--- preachers, all they're in it for is the money." He'd found his excuse. JR HAD GONE BACK TO WORSHIPPING THE HALLUCINOGENIC DEATH GOD OF FEEL GOODISM FUTILITY (John 11:35 keyword: wept) and had left Jesus with tears on His face!
"You know better 'n that Buddy, there's a bad one now and then but the vast majority are true to their calling. That's just your excuse. If any of them are led by the Holy Spirit you're blaspheming." He gave me the stare, he'd stand for what he believed and I already knew there was no back up in JR. I left and we were only friendly acquaintances because my friend, my spiritual brother, had died in a cooler of beer and an ace high flush in a poker game.
(John 1:29-34) Sometimes the Holy Spirit is portrayed as a dove (Acts 2:1-4) and sometimes he is portrayed as a fire. When JR offered me that beer it meant he had gone over to the devil's side and I could only be his friend, his old Buddy, if I joined him on that side of the fence. Have you ever seen a bird trapped in an old house? They'll ignore or forget the way they got in and go to a window where they can see outside. They'll flutter and struggle and look at what they hunger for just on the other side of the hard, brittle, unyielding glass.
They'll overheat, grow weaker, sit with their beak open struggling for breath. Their fluttering will grow weaker and weaker as they fight the hard, brittle, transparent glass and finally they'll just sit there, their little head will be harder and harder to hold up and finally they just droop over and die. I wondered when the Holy Spirit, God's dove, had finally fluttered His last touch against JR's hard heart, lookin' in at what he hungered for, just on the other side of the hard, brittle, unyielding sin that had taken JR away.
Have you ever noticed that fire can't burn unless it has fuel? God's fire cannot burn unless it has the fuel of passion, the hunger for God's word, separation from the world, humility, prayer, love and the struggle for obedience. Struggle? Think not? Read (Rom. 7:19-25) and compare yourself to the Apostle Paul. Now tell yourself the truth about yourself! Didn't work? Read (Luke 17:10 & Heb. 4:12-16 esp. V.15) and compare yourself to Jesus. Now, try again. No, I'm not trying to justify J R's deeds I'm trying to get you to look at you.
Another dozen or so years went by and the burden came again for me to visit JR. That was about four and a half maybe five years ago, maybe 2006 or 07. I remembered hearing, six or eight years before, maybe 1998 that JR was on the hard stuff. My friend David Keith was squirrel hunting and met JR who was riding his ATV.
They were cousins and David Keith said JR's arthritis was so bad he couldn't get the top off a quart of moonshine and he asked David to twist it off so he could "get a taste". They visited a while, JR "tasted" the quart away and turned back toward home. David Keith don't drink alcohol, JR offered it but David Keith refused. David Keith had said it was a waste of time to talk to JR about Church. I was remembering other things too.
I remembered how much JR's wife liked to go to Church. She was a Christian and she used to go to my Mom's church. They were good friends and sat together. JR's wife had quit going to church maybe 12 or 15 years ago. The constant verbal bullying, sarcasm, criticism and mockery about Church and Church people had beat her down emotionally, spiritually and mentally. It was easier for her to stay home than to run the fiery gauntlet of JR's acid tongue. JR had traded a kind, loving relationship with his wife for a moonshine hangover.
I dreaded visiting JR like I dread stepping on a yellow jacket nest. BUT: I prayed and I went. They had a brand new house in another different place and owned the land from hilltop to hilltop. When his longsuffering wife took me into their living room I was shocked. JR weighed over 400 pounds, his hands and face were bloated and his feet were terribly swollen.
He was sort-of-friendly neutral, I could see I didn't mean anything to him anymore, he was just a sort-of-friendly stranger. The old JR was gone. He had come into some coal royalty money and he was hard, cold, mean and greedy. JR had traded away his health for a few bottles of expensive 100 proof whiskey.
Their Daughter was several years younger than my youngest son, their only child, and I asked about her. "Awww &%#$#*@, she got too big for her britches and she don't come around anymore." "Have you seen your Granddaughter?" "Awww &%$#@**#$, my wife goes to visit our daughter and her husband and she tells me 'bout our Granddaughter." JR and I didn't have a common past anymore, too much time had gone by.
I visited him four or five times that summer with no results except frustration, disagreement, mild insults AND; "Its them d--- preachers, all they're in it for is the money". JR hadn't realized it at the time but he had traded away his daughter and granddaughter for that one cold can of beer when a "friend" had tossed it to him and said; "HERE." so long ago.
I was working up the nerve to go and again beat my head against the hard, stone wall of JR's soul when I heard JR had a heart attack and died at home. I called his wife to see if there was anything my wife and I could do. She said; "No." and then told me about it and I never heard a "catch or a sob" in her cold, emotionless voice. She said it took JR about three hours to die. He wouldn't let her call an ambulance, he made no prayers and he did not repent. He said he'd take it as it come. I believed her 'cause that's the way JR was.
The last hour of it; after he'd quit walkin' the floor, holding his chest and arm and groaning, after he said through clenched teeth the pain was "plumb through me, front to back", after he had laid down on the couch so she could rub his back, after he'd slowly rolled over on his back and looked up at her silently with his jaw muscles clenched and his neck tendons sticking out because he was straining against the pain.
The last part, that last hour while she rubbed his face and feet with a cool, wet towel, JR stared blankly toward the ceiling, he never said a word and that was when JR started slipping away, his breathing slowed and slowed, becoming more shallow as the endless minutes dragged on, slowing, shallowing, then he slowly quit straining, started relaxing, got real still, his last breath was exhaled in a small sigh then JR was gone, his half open, empty of life eyes looking blankly into a forever only he could see. I believed that too because that's the way she is.
JR had finally given the last thing he had, his life, in the worship of his god Alcohol while the devil gloated there beside his death bed.
Long after their love for each other was corroded, eaten away and gone because of his mean bitterness she was still JR's faithful wife and servant, she'd comforted him the best she could, she'd swore to it in their marriage vows and she'd held true to her word.
At the funeral I remembered JR had never said anything bad about or blamed God or Jesus about anything. But he did blame God's preachers, all of them and he was very critical about a lot of Christians, probably me too when I wasn't there. At the funeral I never saw a tear, not even one, from anybody. JR's daughter had come in from another state to be with her Mom during the funeral and her eyes were as cold and remote as the northern sky on a January night and her silent, motionless child sat beside her.
As I looked at the child I wondered what kind of stories she'd heard about JR. I couldn't bring myself to think of JR as her Papaw, the thought just didn't jell. I wondered if JR had ever even seen his Granddaughter. JR's wife's face was expressionless in its coldness. Her cold, cold face spoke louder than words; "Just another sorry job I have to do for JR and I'll finally, finally, finally be done with him". A good woman's life wasted.
(Rom 1:28 & 31) "And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge (recognition, acknowledgement), God gave them over to a reprobate (rejected castaway) mind (soul)." I wondered when, for sure, JR had finally gone too far in his Alcohol worship and blasphemy and had finally broken God's covenant beyond Mercy's repair and God had removed His Holy Spirit and let JR go his own way. I wondered if JR even knew when the Holy Spirit left.
JR's dead face looked the same way it had the last time I'd seen him alive, bloated, hard, cold, arrogant and mean. I remember his last words to me as I walked out of their living room and went out the door; "Its them d--- preachers, all they're in it for is the money."
I shook my head and walked out of the chapel, out of the gloom, out into the brightness of the day, out into the forever God had waiting for me. I was glad it was over. I suddenly halted, I couldn't remember a single word the preacher had said about JR, it seemed fitting somehow. And I went on, on into the shining of my forever, on to tell you about it, here, now.
Those awful memories make me sad. I can't help but think about what it might have been like; him and me, two old codgers sitting on the porch, telling our grandkids hair raising, belly laughing stories about the "good old days back when". Sometimes I think and remember about the good old days, back when we were friends, back when we laughed and enjoyed each other's company, (Luke 11:23-26) back when we used to be blood brothers through Jesus' blood, back when we both meant it, back when.
Do not even risk calling the Holy Spirit’s works evil. First example: Suppose a preacher, through the Holy Spirit, is counseling a female member of his congregation in a restaurant. You, a Christian, see them through the window, jump to the wrong conclusions, go on down the street, tell someone about it and convey the idea it is a meeting for carnal purposes; "He was right up in her face!" Then, more than likely, that one will tell someone else and make it bigger and worse; "They say it has been going on for years!"
Had you been listening you would have heard the Holy Spirit quietly warn you through your thoughts to not (Rom. 1:29) be a wicked, malicious, whisperer. If you have done something like this you have blasphemed the Holy Spirit who was working through the preacher to help his congregation member. (Matt. 12:31 & 1Tim. 1:13) You and God have to figure out if you have blasphemed the Holy Spirit through legitimate ignorance. Don’t be ignorant about blasphemy. If you don’t know all the facts about a situation please keep your mouth shut for your own sake.
Second Example: A Christian wife, under retirement age, hires a recently saved woman to clean her house one day each week while the wife is at her job. The Christian husband of the Christian wife, recently retired, is home every day. The Christian husband, many years a Christian, and the recently saved Christian housekeeper become friends and have conversations, through the Holy Spirit, concerning the Holy Bible.
God is using the older Christian, through the Holy Spirit, to help the younger Christian understand what the Holy Bible teaches. A Christian neighbor tells people the two Christians are having a sexual relationship, an affair. Result: The Christian neighbor blasphemed the Holy Spirit, badly hurt the two Christians’ reputations, and killed their testimony with somebody or maybe even a bunch of people. Cause: (Col. 3:8) “But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.”
(Rom. 1:29) Don't be a whisperer AND (Rom. 1:30) don't be a backbiter. Be very, very careful what you say about other Christians, God’s Children, who are your brothers or sisters because they might be operating under and living in the influence of the Holy Spirit and you may be (1John 1:1-3 esp. V.1 keyword: Word and 1John 5:6-7 keywords: and these three are one) ACTUALLY EVIL SPEAKING AND RAILING AGAINST THE HOLY SPIRIT- GOD--->BLASPHEMY!
Third Example: There are statements preached that are not in the Bible. (2Pet. 1:20) “They ain’t no scripture of any private interpretation!” “Grandaddy preached it, Daddy preached it, and I’m a preachin’ it!” Message: Why study the Bible; only preachers understand it anyway.
A different preacher, through the Holy Spirit, preaches to the same people and encourages home Bible study and happens to quote (2Pet. 1:20) “No prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.” Generational preacher says: “Thatun’s of the devil boys don’t listen to ‘em!” That statement negates the Holy Spirit’s effort to lead those Christians to study the Bible. Result: Continued ignorance. Cause: Blasphemy.
If you blaspheme God's man or woman while they are operating under the influence of the Holy Spirit you have blasphemed the Holy Spirit, God, who was directing their actions!
I'm sure you can think of lots of examples where Christians have committed blasphemy during your life experience now that you understand about blasphemy, maybe even you. Maybe that's why your blessing is diminished or gone. God is very understanding about things like that, (1Tim. 1:13) He knows we do things ignorantly; apologize, don't do it anymore and renew your love acquaintance with the loving God of eternal glory. It's your choice according to your values.
Jesus did not bring a religion based on a denomination, not even yours, not even mine. (Matt. 12:37 & Heb. 10:1) Jesus did not bring a bunch of impossible to keep rules and laws so He could have an excuse to send us to hell! (John 14:1-23 esp. V.6, 9, 18 & 23) In His nail scarred hands Jesus brought the offer of an individual, personal relationship with God through the Holy Spirit, (1John 4:8 & 16) founded on love because God is love.
(Rom. 5:8 & Gal. 2:20) An individual, personal relationship based on love because Jesus loved us enough to die so we could get saved and (all through the New Testament) built on love by keeping our Christian relationship with God flourishing according to God's word through the Holy Spirit and (Matt. 13:18-23 & Mark 12:35 keywords: love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, soul, mind and strength) depending on the intensity of each individual Christian's love, passion, desire, values, attitude, activities and abilities in our growth, or failure, as a Christian after we get saved.
Modern idolatry comes in many forms; materialism, pleasure, a hallucinogen, alcohol, political correctness, ownership, wealth, political power, a club, a house, a sport, other people, recognition, (Matt. 13:24-30 & 24:49-51) fake worship of God, some type of vehicle and etc. on into the infinity of our wants but they are counterfeit givers, an illusion, because they never really satisfy and they always take.
Jesus came bearing eternal gifts, gifts that satisfy because He is a giver. I wonder what JR would do if he had a chance to do it all over again? What about you?
One good thing happened out of J R's story. A few weeks after his funeral God led me to go talk to JR's wife about her going back to Church. That makes me really nervous. People have floppy mouths. "There's old Jim up there at JR's house. JR ain't even cold in his grave and Jim's running after his wife, seeing what he can get!" I say; "If you want to blaspheme the Holy Spirit who leads me that's your business. Just don't kill my testimony with other people while your mouth is pouring out the evil trash that's in your soul."
I stood at the foot of the 3 step flight of steps leading up to where she sat on the front porch and we talked a while about her needing to get back in Church. I told her how God knew all about why she quit and He's real understanding about things like that. All she had to do was simply go back and pick up where she left off and God would take care of the rest of it.
She was expressionless while we talked and as we said our goodbyes. I guess you get that way after you get hurt enough, don't show them they're hurting you and maybe they'll stop, it's the death of smiles because they can't see the dagger of pain they've put in your heart and they are unaware of your silent, hidden tears.
Anyway, I'd said what God inspired me to say and that's all that will ever matter. I was delighted when, 2 or 3 weeks later, my Mother told me JR's wife had started coming to Church. After a few more weeks her Granddaughter came to live with her and a few months later they started going to another Church in another place. I've heard nothing else about her these last few years and God has not led me to enquire.
(1Tim. 6:12) "Fight the good fight of faith." God Bless You.