| Letter To A Friend
As I lie awake I ponder our conversations. I wonder if there's more I could have said, should have said. Yet I wonder if I've pushed too hard. I pray that God can take what I say and build an understandable picture for you.
Somewhere between the spiritual and the physical, there is a place called the valley of self worth. This is where we build our house. . . where we live. Where we wonder, "Who am I? Why am I here? What does all this mean?" I believe God built in each one of us a void. . . purposely to generate these questions, an emptiness that haunts us until we've realized that only He can fill this need. This is where Jesus knocks and bids us, "come, all who hunger and thirst." And His promise is, "I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me shall not hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst." John 6:35 He courts us with His creation and He promises, "I will never leave thee nor will I forsake thee;" Joshua 1:5
I believe in God's awesome power. "Heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain Thee," 1 Kings 8:27, yet He lives within me every day, every hour, every minute. With each breath I take, my God is here. I haven't always believed this. After 17 years of marriage, I lost my husband and my home to another woman. I felt broken, unwanted, shamed, and very alone. God saw me pitiful and full of need— the place where He works best. He knew how I believed, that He was in heaven and I was on earth, that if I were good enough and obeyed His Golden Rule, someday, I would go to be with Him. He showed me the fallacy of this belief in a very dramatic way.
I learned He is God in the here and now and I am nothing without Him in my every waking hour. When I was broken, He carried me. Step by step I learned to walk confidently again, knowing He holds my hand. When I am happy, even the trees clap their hands. Isa 55:12 When I grieve, He carries my tears in a bottle. Ps 56:8 No matter how small I feel, how far I fall, He picks me up and helps me stand. Each day I wake and rest assured His mercies are new every day.
In the beginning, God said, "Let Us make man in Our image,"giving us our first glance at His triune majesty; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Although we'll never fully understand this concept in our lives here on earth, we can look at ourselves and see a model of it in it's most simplistic form. A man is a son, a father, and a grandfather, and yet is only one. . . three personalities, one man. A triune God is confusing to many, but when we see Jesus face to face, we will see clearly. Until then we'll continue to see "as thru a glass darkly." 1Co 13:12 I've learned that God gives peace about not understanding everything clearly nor having every question answered. It's a faith that God requires of us.
I know some believe life is an accident, that we, (mankind and creation) evolved from an accidental cell. Yet, even the most primitive of peoples, often without prior contact with the rest of the world, have their myths, their belief in a higher power, a creator/savior concept. What science carbon-dates, man has learned to accomplish with amazing speed, as in making fake diamonds under pressure. God, on the other hand, created this earth in six days. Adam and Eve, and all the animals were created fully grown. When Jesus spoke to the 5000, He created fish for them, fully grown. The two fish and five loaves of bread suddenly became enough to feed 5000 men plus their families. John 6:1-14 We don't know if God created fossils, coal, and petrified bones in the beginning or left the aging process to the flood. The weight of the water would have been more than sufficient to age these things.
The rain comes down, then the sun comes out and warms the earth, and spring is here every year. The sun and moon and all the planets and stars know their place and we have seasons and day and night. Man is born, matures, reproduces and dies, as do all living things. God placed man in a perfect creation, then gave him the responsibility of keeping it that way. He also gave man free will— the power of choice. Because of this, our world quickly slipped from perfection. Man suffers from a fatal disease called sin. 1 John 2:16 calls it "the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life." When our world was perfect, it was without sin.
As I stated previously, each one of us is born with the innate desire to seek out and connect with a higher power. You voiced this desire when you made the remark, "I wish I had that kind of faith."
That unquenchable burning kind of faith comes from having a personal relationship with the same Jesus we meet in the New Testament. John 1:1-3 & 14 tells us, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being by Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth." That kind of faith comes from reading the Bible, by studying it, through prayer and answered prayer. . . the promises of God realized.
Jesus was born to die. He was born to hang from that terrible cross on calvary. That day He endured the weight of all the sin ever committed, past, present, and future. He became the slain Lamb of God. From the Old Testament we know a lamb was sacrificed and its blood was used for the atonement of sins.
I believe the Holy Spirit woos us, witnesses to us, and finally, lives within us. Acts 2:38 tells us, "Repent and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." God honors His promises to us when we are obedient to His Word.
Through the Bible, Jesus introduces us to the Father. He helps us build a relationship with the Father and offers us life eternal with the Father.
Being a good person and living by the golden rule isn't enough. God wants our love and obedience. He has given us specific guidelines to follow. These guidelines aren't difficult. The Bible is like a road map.
To start a journey, we leave from one point headed to another. Our journey to the Father is the same. The book of Acts is the historical account of Christianity in the first century. Peter shared the same Good News in the book of Acts that is pertinent today. After the people heard what Peter had to say, they were remorseful and asked, "What shall we do?" Peter outlined the first steps for them in his answer. Repent, be baptized, and filled with the Holy Spirit.
Romans 10:9 tells us, "...if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved;" After one realizes they need Jesus, they confess before man. Then comes repentance and baptism. After that comes obedience to His Word as you embark on an awesome journey getting to know Jesus and listening to His leading in your life.
Yes, I believe in hell; the hell described in the book of Revelations. There it's called the lake of fire. The bible also describes it as total darkness. The deeper you go into the depths of the ocean, the darker it gets. Also, the deeper you go into the depths of a bottomless pit of fire, the darker it gets. It is absolute separation from God forever and ever. Those in hell will neither see anyone else or feel their friendship. They will be keenly aware of the anguish and torment of others. They will hear their wailing and gnashing of teeth. This knowledge alone drives me into the safety of the arms of the Lord.
I cannot walk on the beach without feeling God's mighty power. With each wave, I'm reminded that water weighs eight pounds a gallon. What power could be harnessed, kept in check within it's shores such as this? How exact the formula kept in heavenly places must be to accomplish this. I am awe struck when I try to comprehend all of God's creation. The Word tells us He gave us His creation to prove to us He is God.
"For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and
unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because
that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it
evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes,
His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being
understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse."
Jesus tells us, ". . . it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." Mt 19:24 In Jerusalem there is a gate called the "eye of a needle." When the camels come to this gate, they have to get down on their belly and scoot under to get in. It is to this gate that Jesus is referring. The analogy He used here is fitting. Self-made, successful men often have too much pride to scoot on their belly. It is much easier for a poor man, especially one who is facing personal disaster, to turn to the Lord in desperation. AA recognizes this concept. They say, "only when a man hits rock bottom will he look up." It is then that we can realize that we are powerless and only God can help.
You're probably saying— "Why should I even listen to this? I'm a good person. I pay my bills. I live by the golden rule. Why should I give up those things I find pleasurable?" Getting to know God is the most pleasurable and rewarding experience I've ever had. The peace that fills me when I pray and read His Word is indescribable. The knowledge that I'm saved from hell is extraordinary. The Holy Spirit guides me and I learn something new every time I open His Book. The better I get to know Him, the stronger my faith grows.
A man works all his life for simple pleasures in his allotted time here on earth. These things are nice and offer temporal security. God has nothing against this. It's only when we place so much importance on them that they get in the way with our walk with the Lord. They become our idols and that makes God angry. "You shall make you no idols nor graven image, neither raise you up a standing image, neither shall you set up any image of stone in your land, to bow down to it: for I am the LORD your God." Le 26:1
Throughout the Bible we see God working in the lives of His people. Common ordinary people like you and me experience radical changes in our lives at the hand of God. God counts the number of hairs on my head and knows my going out and coming in from beginning to end. He gives each of us a part to play in the scheme of things here on earth. If we live in accordance to His will and listen to His soft whispers, He orchestrates our lives. When we follow Him, each person we meet is involved with us for a reason, however big or small that reason might be. God is omniscient, (all knowing) omnipresent, (everywhere at the same time) and omnipotent, (all seeing) I take comfort in this because I know He doesn't lose sight of me for even a second. If He can orchestrate the entire planet, He certainly can orchestrate my life. Therefore, everything happens in my life for a reason. God had a plan from the beginning and brings His plan together, piece by piece like a picture puzzle. The funny thing is, God's will becomes my will. I freely give it up to Him because I desire what He wants for me.
I believe God crossed our paths for a reason. I am equally sure He gave you the desire to ask the questions you have and me the desire to respond. We don't always understand why He urges us in a certain direction. Sometimes we never know, and sometimes when something seems conspicuously clear, we find we've read it all wrong. Oftentimes, God uses the happenings in our lives to teach and strengthen us.
These are my beliefs and some of the reasoning that leads me to these beliefs. God lives and works in and through me everyday, every moment. I praise Him with every beat of my heart. I share my beliefs with you because they are the foundation of my life. They are who I am. I long for you to believe and walk the journey of faith too.
I will not cease to pray for divine guidance for you in your search for the truth. I pray that you find the faith that moves mountains, knowing that you understand a mountain can be anything larger than yourself. Finally, I pray for a miracle in your life— that you can see, and hear, and believe. And I pray this in Jesus' name.
A Special Friend