Friday, May 11, 2012

My testimony Part I

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So, I guess my first post on my new blog is going to be about God -- my First Love.  I think I can finally say that now without feeling like I'm lying, Lol.  You know how, as a Christian, we are taught (OVER and OVER again) that God is supposed to be our very first love.  Well, I don't think that's something that you can teach.  In fact, I think a lot of things in this Christian journey need to come from personal experience and/or revelation before it can truly become a reality.  At least that has been my experience.  So many sayings and things that have come across to me as clich├ęs have become recent realities in my life.  It is amazing the amount of truth that lies within a seemingly overused saying.  I'm guessing these sayings are "overused" because, well, they're true.  Somebody's getting the point, Lol.  I guess I just got a lot of them ... late. 

Anyhow, I am at a very interesting point in my life.  I am at a place where I am experiencing God's love like never before, and It's absolutely amazing.  For the first time (like ever) I am actually content in this life as a single woman.  I honestly never thought that was possible.  And for all those many women who spoke of such a place, I thought they were either lying or hallucinating.  I am realizing more and more that one truly can be whole as a single.  You really can be happy, satisfied and full of life as a single person.  You CAN live a pure and holy life in this world and in today's society.  You don't have to slip and fall every two seconds.  Victory is possible.  

I remember a time (that was not too long ago) God was dealing with me about a relational choice I had made.  He was NOT happy with it!  He had no problem in letting me know how he felt about it!  During that situation, I finally began to realize how seriously God takes us --His Beloved, His creation.  I also began to learn that...He really is jealous for us.  He wants ALL of us -- our whole, entire heart.  That was very hard for me to understand at one time, but I think it's finally beginning to sink in.  

I am seeing that this whole salvation thing really is like a "passport", if you will, that allows you to enter into a real relationship with...God.  Salvation is truly reconciliation.  And Christ -- Jesus -- is the only "passport" by which reconciliation is made possible.  Jesus is the way by which we are reconnected to the God with whom we were originally meant to be in fellowship with.   We were MADE to be loved by Him.  We were MADE to know Him, to walk in the cool of the day with Him, to talk with Him, to fellowship with Him, to chill with Him... etc.  We were made FOR him.  I am soo blown away by that.  The God that created the entire universe... wants me.  And guess what?  He wants you too.  

This point sinks in even more as I think about creation and living things -- trees, oceans, birds, animals, plants, etc. the Bible says that God spoke these things into existence.  But, when he made man, He created man in His image.  We were formed by His very own hands, not spoken into existence.  And THEN, after man was formed, God breathed his very breath into man and man became a living being.  "The LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being" (Genesis 2:7 NIV).  OMG... that right there is LOVE baby.  Man is the only living thing on the face of the earth that has been created in the image of God!!!!  Yow! We are special.  "O LORD, what is man that you care for him, the son of man that you think of him?" (Psalm 144:3 NIV).  "O LORD, what are human beings that you should notice them, mere mortals that you should think about them?" (Psalm 144:3 NLT). 

There is also this one section of text that blows me away every time I read it.  I'll share it with you.  It's from a book called Firm Foundation by Bob and Rose Weiner:

          God created all of this magnificent beauty with just the sound of His voice.  But when God    
          created man, He formed him in His very own image and breathed into him His very life.  And 
          all this was because God's greatest desire was to have a family to share His likeness, to have 
          someone He could dream with and share His life, love and plans.  The whole created universe was a giant birthday gift for His beloved. 

Every time I read that text, I am blown away.  It just reminds me time and again that ... God loves me.  And he loved me BEFORE I became a Christian and/or accepted Christ.  He loved me while I was yet STILL a sinner, while I was SINNING and DID NOT KNOW Him!!  "You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.  Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die.  But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:6-8). 

God is awesome.  Point blank.  I think soo many (too many) people have just been hurt and lied to, and I think those experiences jade our view and understanding of God and who He really is.  Because, let me tell you, if you really encountered God and understood his passionate love for you -- someone He created to love and be with -- would you really turn away?  I think I have the grounds, right and authority to speak on this considering that, at one point in my life, I wanted to be an atheist.  Yes, me.  I wanted to be an atheist.  Why?  Because I was hurt and confused.  Someone LIED to me BIG TIME!!!!  I was frustrated and PISSED!  I was tired of trying to figure out what was true.  I gave my life to Christ at an early (and I mean early) age.  I went to church, had Christian friends and did all the Christian stuff.  It was my life.  Somewhere, later in my adult years, I began to see that not everything I had been taught was true...and it nearly devastated me.  I did not know anything else.  I had no other way to live... This was it.  So, what was I supposed to do?  I was serious when I came to Christ (or accepted Jesus as my Lord/Savior) as a child.  I didn't have "one foot in the church and the other in the world" as "they" used to say.  No. I was ALL in.  It was not a game for me.  

So, as I realized that what had been taught to me in my formative years was a bunch of truth mixed with a bunch of lies, I did not know how to separate what was true from that which was the lie.  I instantly began to doubt EVERYTHING I had ever been taught and I questioned EVERYTHING I (thought I) believed.  I even doubted my salvation.  I mean, how did I know THAT was true!?!?!  It was that bad.  It got to the point where I became very depressed.  I could not function one day to the next.  I lived in fear every day with thoughts of eternal damnation consuming my mind.  Finally, I just got tired of being afraid of where I would ultimately end up in life and after.  I was tired of living in fear and depression.  I decided that if I just didn't believe anything, maybe this would all just go away.  So, I had decided that I just would not believe.  Maybe that way I could actually be happy and just move on and live my little life.  I had decided that it would just be easier to not believe in God than to try to figure out what was true and decipher the truth from the lie.  

The only thing that kept me during this very dark time in my life was the actual relationship I had build with God before my walls came crumbling down.  While I was going to church and doing all my wonderful Christian things as a youth, I was also developing a real relationship with the Father.  So, when I saw other people messing up and falling away, it did not affect me much.  I knew they were mere men and God was God.  Just because they messed up did not mean God was not real and it didn't provide an excuse for me to go astray.  But, what did shake my faith was knowing that an undetermined amount of things I believed could have possibly been a straight lie due to flat out BAD teaching.

I'll never forget the night that I sat on the floor beside my bed with the Bible laying in front of me.  I got right down to the nitty gritty and asked God, "How do I know Jesus (really) died on the cross to save me from my sins?  All I have is this Bible that was written X amount of years ago and what some man behind a pulpit told me."  That night, the Word (or scripture) that I had hidden in my heart “spoke back to me” so to speak.  It was as if God spoke His very word (or scripture) to my heart, providing me with the answer.  And it was an answer that I could not refute.  I asked another question to God -- a question that I do not remember -- and the same thing happened again.  He spoke His word back to me...and it provided an answer that I could not refute.  I asked one last question and my interrogation was over.  That night, God spoke to me.  It wasn't spooky.  It wasn't loud or "earth-shattering".  He simply reminded me of what His word (already) says...and I believed it.  I could not refute it.  

That night, I made a decision in my heart that the Bible is the final authority and that it would be The Final authority in my life.  Period.  The Bible says in Romans 10:9, "If you declare with your mouth, ’Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (NIV).  That night, I chose to believe that.  I had already declared Jesus as Lord and believed in my heart that God had raised Jesus from death.  I had already accepted Christ into my life as my Lord and Savior.  So, that night, I decided that I was going to believe what The Word said.  And that night, I went to sleep assured of my salvation.  That night, I chose to believe.  

I woke up the next morning with so much peace (of mind!!!). It felt soo good to believe.  I'll never forget the contrast of believing and not believing.  There was soo much darkness, fear and depression in not believing.  But there is soo much peace and joy that comes along with believing!  I'll never forget the way I felt when I woke up the next morning -- never.  It felt soo good, soo very good, to just believe.   

And that my friends, is where the journey begins...