Monday, November 22, 2010

The hardest one, by far. Day 19ish : Your thoughts on God

 What do you think of religion? 

This God question has left me staring at a brick wall for weeks.  I had no idea this post would prove to be the hardest for me to write. I think that's why I've been slacking a bit too - trying to get through this question.

At first I thought it was because I respect my friends of different faiths, and those of no faith at all. I didn't want to offend, or  I didn't want to sound judgy. But, those concerns were squelched in the confidence of knowing that most people who know me, know that I am genuinely open and accepting, no matter what. And, this was my turn to offer my views, and I knew they would be classy enough to respect mine.

So if it wasn't that, what was it?

I've been very outright in admission of being a Christian, and believing in God and Jesus and all that jazz. I've mentioned I believe in the Power of Prayer, Jesus love, and God's Power in some prior posts. We all know that I am far from a perfect Christian, and am just a normal Jesus loving girl.

But there is something you would be surprised to know.

I  don't attend a church, and have not since the age of fourteen.


Shocking! How can that be, right?

I find myself having to defend my choice to Believers and Atheist friends alike.

Believers: Doesn't Jesus Girl = Church girl?

Non Believers: Doesn't Church girl = Jesus Girl?

My reasons for not attending church are very deeply, deeply personal. I don't harbor any ill feelings regarding Religious establishments, Houses of Worship or those who attend them. In fact, a few years back I was really struggling with this, and asked God to introduce me to some really good, genuine, church going, Jesus Girls - and he did! These four women were excellent examples of fun, down to earth, genuine Church going Women. They don't know it - but they greatly changed how I view ladies of the church. That being said - I still struggle with the thought of attending.

And you know what?

God knows that.

God knows all about my situation, my issue, my hurt. He knows it better than anyone else - and it hurts him too. He is patient with me because he loves me with such a relentless love - and he knows everything hidden about me.  He has offered me a very intimate relationship with Him, outside the doors of a church. Without. A. Doubt.

So, I'm just gonna write on what I personally know about God.

He created the Heavens and the Earth - and he created you and me - and everything in between.

He sent his son, Jesus - to die for my sins. He says - Whoever believes in Him (Jesus) Will have eternal life. The Bible goes on to say that once you have accepted Jesus as lord - you will forever be in the palm of the God Almighty's hand. He promises me that he will always provide what is best for me  - and even though it may hurt, he will see us through it - and he does have a purpose with our lives.

I believe the Bible is real - and is God's message to us and a source of all kinds of comfort and direction.

I believe God is very, very real. I need no scientific proof - I need no vivid picture. I have had many instances in my life where God has shown his undeniable power - Most Miraculously HERE, the story of nearly losing my first born son. It's a moving story, and all the proof I need. But, he has shown himself in so many other was as well.

Let me share an old story about a specific time where I undoubtedly witnessed God's unshakable hand holding mine....

I was 19 and I was working at the Courtyard Airport - we just had Jakob, and we were living together in our first apartment. (It was a nice apartment, and very pricey for our modest budget). We were struggling! I knew that our baby formula would be running out soon - and it was a day before payday and I had zero dollars to my name.  I had posted a rather large sum of money at the beginning of the shift - larger than normal and all in cash. I was downright tempted to steal $10 - tempted like I hadn't ever been tempted before. And never tempted like that since! It was eerie. It's eerie, even now. I totally felt the devil on my shoulder. I had never stole anything in my entire life! That's wrong. That's distrustful. That's BAD! BUT, I needed to feed my baby - the temptation was real.

So, heavily burdened, I went to my car and prayed during my lunch. I mean I prayyyyed. I specifically said to God: Look, It's been a minute, we used to know each other, but I'm being really tempted to do something wrong to feed my baby. My gut is saying No, don't do it, and Just trust God..and that's what I'm going to do. So, if you are real: Show yourself to me, have some formula for me when I come home.  So, I went in - and intentionally made an early drop of all the cash I had taken in, early in the shift, and I trusted God the entire day and on the way home.

When I got home - I stopped to check the mail, per normal - and in there was an official envelope with my name on it. I opened it up, and it was my tax return. That return wasn't due for another 5 weeks - I had submitted it via mail the week before, and was being mailed a check a WEEK LATER. But there. it. was.

God had answered my prayer - and showed his existence to me. All I asked him to provide was one can of $10 formula, and instead I had a check for $2500 waiting for me. That was not coincidence - that was God.

The great thing about God - is that he will show you himself if you ask. He certainly does not perform on demand - but if you have an earnest heart, and say, God: Show me your love today - He will do it.

Everything Good, comes from God.

In a nutshell:
So yeah, I believe God is real based on faith, the words of the bible and the experiences of my life. I do not believe that a church defines a Christian, nor will not attending one exclude you from God's love and the kingdom of heaven. Church is good for most, but not a prerequisite - in my opinion and experience. If you love God, ask Forgiveness for your sins, accept his Jesus as the Messiah, Read his word and Search for his ways....You are as much of a Christian as one that attends church morning, noon and night.

This is one my my favorite verses of the bible - and one that I try to live by, every day. 

36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
 37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Matthew 22: 36-40