Posts Tagged ‘Jesus’

Imagine, if you will, a trip to the Grand Canyon. You arrive and spend a week exploring one of the greatest sites on the planet. You see it from the air as you arrive, you walk down into it and spend the night at the bottom. You visit the North, South and West rims. You visit the gift shops and buy your souvenirs. You see the canyon at sunrise and sunset and every time in between. Finally you head for home. When you arrive home you’re told that the Grand Canyon doesn’t exist. Imagine how you would feel. Imagine your unbelief of what you are being told. You’ve been there, experienced it and now you’re being told that all of that was untrue.

 

I guess this is a little of what I feel when I try to imagine Christianity not being true. I’ve believed it, I’ve stepped out in faith, I’ve experienced it, I’ve found it to be true. I’ve tested it and evaluated it. I have seen God at work in my life and in the lives of others. I have felt His presence and seen answers to my prayers. This is all to say that trying to imagine that Christianity is just a Myth is an extremely difficult things for me to do. I know you can discount the experiences of others but when you’ve experienced something it is hard to discount it.

 

Having said that lets have a look at the bottom line. Belief in God is a leap of faith. However, let’s not confuse that with blind faith. Belief in God is not blind faith. Belief in God is about looking at the available information that you have, evaluating it and then coming to a decision. So belief in God does take faith and therefore isn’t something you can prove. You have to trust that you have based your decisions on correct information, made wise judgements and trusted in something that not only intellectually viable but is also true! So, at the end of the day what if you based your decision on a myth?

 

Now, I know that this whole subject might just seem like a exercise in covering one’s back but what I’m wanting to convey is that a step of faith isn’t such a major thing. It’s not about diving headlong into a gaping chasm, it’s about taking small steps, carefully exploring and finding out wonderful things along the way. If at the end of the day you decide it’s not true you will have lost nothing, even if you live your whole life as a Christian only to discover it was a myth you will have lost nothing. If Christianity is not true, when you die that is it, no judgement, no hell, just nothing!! Your body, mind, spirit, soul is no more. Whatever you believed makes no difference. We will all find ourselves in the same boat.

 

But will you look back with huge regrets? Regrets of living your life for something that’s not true? If I were to get to the end of my life and discover somehow that Christianity were not true I would be gutted, but not because of a life wasted. I believe that so much of the teaching of the Bible is the best way to live. Even if you were to take away the bed-rock of the truth of the Bible, if you were to say that God didn’t exist I would argue that much of the teaching of the Bible, even being man created, gave us the best way to live. Even disregarding the Bible altogether I believe that it is…

 

  • better to love than to hate

 

  • better to pursue peace than war

 

  • better to give than receive

 

  • better to put others first than yourself

 

  • better to faithful than unfaithful or faithless

 

  • better to be sincere than insincere

 

  • better to be truthful than to lie

 

  • better to be selfless rather than be self-seeking

 

  • better to be polite rather than be rude

 

  • better to be satisfied rather than be dis-satisfied

 

  • better to be focussed rather than be aimless

 

  • better to see the good in people rather than the bad

 

  • better to be trusting rather than sceptical

 

  • better to hate injustice rather than embrace it

 

  • better to work for the good rather than evil

 

  • better to help rather than to hinder

 

  • better to build up rather than to destroy

 

  • better to see people as equal rather than superior or inferior

 

  • better to provide rather than withhold

 

  • better to respect rather than disrespect

 

  • better to persevere rather than give up

 

  • better to live in unity rather than in discord

 

  • better to forgive than to hold grudges

 

  • better to seek forgiveness rather than revenge

 

I’m sure the list could go on. Surely a life lived by these principles won’t hold too many regrets. If God does not exist a life lived as if he does exist will not be wasted or full of regrets – it will be a life lived along great principles, for others, with passion and with hope. But hey, I truly believe that you’d have an easier task convincing me that the Grand Canyon didn’t exist than convincing me that God didn’t.

 

 

Do you Ripple like Grateful Dead?

Posted: October 6, 2010 by Haelie in What About...
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Positive or negative, I must admit that Grateful Dead truly has had a ripple effect, as have many music and entertainment icons over time.

However, the “Ripple” to which I am referring is actually one of their songs.

A friend of mine mentioned to me recently that he had a bit of an epiphany when this song came on Pandora as it not only reminded him of how much he has always liked “Ripple” but also made him realize why he liked it so much – beyond the Jerry Garcia music part.  He said it was because the lyrics (written by Robert Hunter) “just absolutely slammed (him).”

Then he requested my thoughts on it.

So, here I will provide you with the lyrics followed by my thoughts on them:

Ripple 

If my words did glow with the gold of sunshine
And my tunes were played on the harp unstrung
Would you hear my voice come through the music
Would you hold it near as it were your own?

It’s a hand-me-down, the thoughts are broken
Perhaps they’re better left unsung
I don’t know, don’t really care
Let there be songs to fill the air

(Chorus)

Ripple in still water
When there is no pebble tossed
Nor wind to blow

Reach out your hand if your cup be empty
If your cup is full may it be again
Let it be known there is a fountain
That was not made by the hands of men

There is a road, no simple highway
Between the dawn and the dark of night
And if you go no one may follow
That path is for your steps alone

(Chorus)

Ripple in still water
When there is no pebble tossed
Nor wind to blow

You who choose to lead must follow
But if you fall you fall alone
If you should stand then who’s to guide you?
If I knew the way I would take you home

My thoughts:
Those are very good and deep lyrics (no water pun intended). 

Makes me think of how we all have our own intended path & purpose in life that no one else can fill.  Also that our words and action may be that ripple that start small but ultimately reach much farther.

And the reference to leading yet following…perfect example of a good, true leader – a servant leader.  I personally think of Jesus in that aspect because He was/is the true servant leader who taught His disciples and us, His followers, to lead by serving and genuinely caring for others regardless of whether they recognize or appreciate it and regardless of whether the love and service is returned.
Also, to me, the reference to the fountain not made by the hands of men, a very clear reference to the fountain of living water of eternal life and ultimate, eternal fulfillment in Jesus.  He says in John 4 to the woman at the well, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (Referring to His Holy Spirit which comes to live in us when we ask Him to and confess that we believe in Him.) 

Even the songs references to reaching out your hand if it is empty reflect that initial asking for the drink of Living Water. And though we, as believers, have His Spirit in full forever in us, some days we feel less full and drained from this life and don’t always live in the fullness of His power and love that is in us, so in those times, all we have to do is tap into the One who resides in us and we will feel full again.

Oh, and then, the part about the road, ours as followers of Christ is just that – a narrow, road – not a simple highway. We are assured in the Bible that there will be few who will follow that road, so many times we feel we are even on it alone.  The road of faith is often lonely and is tough, because it is just that – faith – “being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see (Hebrews 11:1).”  So as we walk that road, we are, like the song says, risking falling “alone” since so many others choose not to walk that road at all for fear of being wrong. But the hope and assurance I have, which I feel the song writer at that time was just on the edge of but not quite ready to go there, is that I am not alone. My God is always with me and though no one on this earth may be able to guide me safely, He is my guide as I stand and as I fall and is leading me safely home.

That’s my take on the song.

What is yours?  I would love to hear your feedback.
***Please note that the “Possibly related posts” are not necessarily ones with which we agree nor endorse, unless they come directly from this site (whatifdotdotdot.wordpress.com).  These posts are automatically generated by WordPress and are not in any way selected by us.***

From Belief to Faith

Posted: September 29, 2010 by Nathan in What Next...
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Romans 10:9

“If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”

All of us are at completely different stages in our life of faith. At one end of the spectrum there are some of you who have faith that there is no God and at the other end some people who have total faith that there is one. I guess that most of us sit somewhere in between. I just wanted to address the issue that some of you may have that you have a belief that God exists but want to translate that belief into something more. I would call it moving from a position of belief to a position of faith, or trust.

The Chair

When it comes to belief and faith I like to use the analogy of a chair. It’s perhaps because I’m quite a big guy so it is more relevant to me that others, but I hope you’ll understand the gist if it.

When it comes to the question of belief in God billions of people around the world would say they believed in Him. Yet for only a much smaller percentage of the world’s population does that belief have any real meaning. Billions of people believe in God but far fewer have faith or trust in Him. Here is where the chair comes in. When it comes to a chair or a stool or anything you can sit on, when considering sitting on it we have to believe that it will take our weight. We don’t want to end up in a pile on the floor along with the remains of a chair that didn’t quite do the job. As a bigger than average chap I have to consider this more than most, especially when it comes to camping chairs or chairs that like less than robust. I can pick a chair up, examine it from every angle, pull it about, check the joints and even read the label for it’s weight limit. I can come to a stage where I can look at the chair and wholeheartedly believe that it will hold my weight. It is not, however, until I sit in the chair that I can be said to have moved from that belief in the strength of the chair to having faith that it will hold my weight. So it is with many people’s belief in God. They believe in His existence but have not yet moved to faith in Him. It is one thing to believe in God but another thing to put that belief into action by having faith in Him.

So what does having faith in God look like?

The list below is by no means exhaustive but should give a good idea of the main elements that make up a faith in God.

  1. Believing that not only does God exists but wants a relationship with you.
  2. Being willing to enter into that relationship.
  3. Believing that the Bible is a major way that God has communicated with us and continues to do so.
  4. Putting in to practise the beliefs found in the Bible as best you can.
  5. Believing that God created us and all things.
  6. Believing that we have become separated from God through our wrongdoings.
  7. Believing that God sent His only son to die for us to bring us back into a relationship with Him by paying the price for our wrongdoings.
  8. Believing that God has sent His Holy Spirit to be our guide, counsellor and help.
  9. Trying to put God first in everything that we do.
  10. Believing that God wants the best for you and knows what is best for you.

Making the transition from belief to faith is a big step and not something to be taken lightly, but also not something to get hung up about. Some people make a huge “leap of faith” and go from believing to trusting in one quick step. Others make lots of little steps and get to faith that way. There are no set rules of how to come to faith but at some point you need to make the decision for yourself and pray a prayer similar to the one found right at the bottom of the page. Some of you may find that you’re not there yet and might like to try praying the prayer below asking God to help you in your search for Him.

When it comes to moving from belief to faith the Bible is very clear, all you need to do is “…confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” God has made it simple – after all there is nothing He want more that for you to make that step. Come on, what are you waiting for?

If you do make a decision to move from belief to faith please do let us know. We’d love to pray for you!! Also if you have any questions you want to ask before making that step let us know and we’ll do our very best to help. Just click on the contact button above.

Prayers that you may find useful

A Prayer for Help

God

I really don’t know if you are there or not.

I don’t know if you can hear me or I’m just talking out into space.

But I do want to believe in you.

If you are there please help me to believe.

Please reveal yourself to me in some way.

Please strengthen my faith

and help me in my times of unbelief.

Amen


A prayer of Salvation

God,

I recognise that I have been on a journey towards you. I thank you that you are real and love me unconditionally.

You say in the Bible that if I confess my sins and ask forgiveness, You are faithful and will forgive my sins and remember them no more. You will not hold them against me and You will give me everlasting life.

Father, I confess that I have done many things wrong in my life. I have not followed Your ways and have hurt you and others along the way. I am truly sorry for the hurt I have cause to those around me and to you. I repent of my wrong doings and ask for Your forgiveness.

Father, I believe that Jesus Christ, Your only Son, came to Earth and was born, that He lived among us, and that He was crucified to pay for our wrongdoings and for my wrongdoings. I believe that You raised Him from the dead and gave Him power over all creation.

God, I accept Your Son, Jesus, as my Saviour and I commit to follow Him from this day forward. Send your Holy Spirit to guide me, protect me, lead me and counsel me. Help me grow in wisdom, knowledge and love for You and Your ways. Give me the strength and courage to change my ways and resist evil and wrongdoings in the future.

God, I thank You for sending Your only Son to die so that I can live.

Jesus, I thank You in that You died for me while I was still doing many wrong things and had not yet accepted You. I thank You for forgiving my wrongdoings and for bringing me to a saving knowledge of You.

God I know this is the beginning of a new journey with you, a new chapter of my life. I ask that you would teach me to pray. Guide me. Increase my faith in you, and make me sure in the knowledge that I can rely on You, no matter what may come. Lead me to a good Christians and the right church where I can learn Your word and your will for me and where I can grow in my knowledge of You.

I ask these things in Your name, and I thank You for making me a Christian.

Amen!

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What If… I die tomorrow?

Posted: September 1, 2010 by Nathan in What If...
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Last Sunday we travelled back from our much needed and fantastic family holiday. We had not travelled far, about an hour, when we came to a stop at the end of a traffic jam. It became clear that there had been an accident and the traffic jam soon turned into a linear car park.  People got out of their cars and craned their necks to try and see what was going on. First police, then ambulances, fire engines, more police, an air ambulance, yet more plain police cars and finally the ominous sign of the darkened windowed cars of the undertakers filed passed our windows. We were only about 30 cars back and could see the aftermath of the accident.  It was far too close for comfort, especially with two small children in the back.

Three hours is a long time to sit in a car waiting. As I sat and prayed for those involved and for all those who were helping I couldn’t help but wonder “What if…?”  What if my wife had not taken that wrong turn?  What if my kids had not slept in so late? What if we’d been more organised the night before and packed the car then? All these questions leading to the inevitable “What if we’d have been 2 minutes earlier and it had been us involved in the accident and not them?” What if instead of sitting here in relative comfort for three hours we were sitting in agony as fire crew cut us from our car? In fact, what if it was us that the undertakers were packing into those black bags and transporting sedately away in front of the silenced onlookers?

In some ways it doesn’t bear thinking about. Yet thousands of people die unexpectedly every day of the week, every week of the year. Those six people involved in Sunday’s accident had no idea what their day was to bring. Never would it have entered their minds that this day would bring so much pain, anguish, tragedy and even death. However, it happens to people all over the world day in and day out and yet we never expect it to happen to us and never really prepare for it. When it comes to dying most peoples preparation goes as far as ensuring they have clean underwear on in case they land up in hospital.  Some people go as far as having funeral plans, life insurance and making a will.  But what about the really important thing?  Have we really thought through what would happen to us if we did die unexpectedly today? Is this life really all there is? Many people have a vague belief in God, but are we really ready to meet Him?

The Apostle Paul, in the Bible, says that to live and do God’s work on earth was great but to die was even better.  Not many of us can say that!!  I once knew an incredible lady who was so ready to die, she was an inspiration. Every birthday that came around she would say that we could wish her “Happy Birthday” but weren’t allowed to wish her many “happy returns” (a way of saying “and many more birthdays to come as well“).  She had been a missionary, she was still doing the work of God but what she really wanted to do now was to meet Him face to face, to go to heaven and start the party!!  She didn’t want to die in a sort of depressed, suicidal way she just wanted to move on to bigger and much better things. She knew she was living in a second class Kingdom and that God had so much better for her in store. She had thought through carefully the Christian faith, she had made her decision and lived it out for many years.  She was now ready to go home. Had she not spent the time and energy to explore the Christian faith she would not have been ready, she would not have had that certainty that a life trusting God can give you.

You may have made a will, got life insurance, have your family catered for and all your affairs in order but have you taken care of your spiritual welfare? You may have left details of what is to be done with your possessions and even your body when you die.  Your nearest and dearest may know if you want to be buried, cremated or even cryogenically frozen but what preparations have you made for your eternal future.  What if there is even the smallest possibility that part of you, that part that makes you you, continues in some form or other.  Some people call it your soul, some your spirit, but whatever it may be called isn’t it worth thinking through the possibilities.  No-one likes to miss out on good things.  As a Christian I believe that the best is yet to come. I believe it took God six days to create this earth.  I also believe that is has taken Him 2000 years and counting to create an eternal place for us to dwell.  That gives the magnitude of how great I believe heaven will be.

Now that is going to be some party!!  Are you ready to join in?

So, you came back for more.  Curious to read my response to my Agnostic friend?  (See last week’s post – Part 1 of 2 – for his side.)

Here is how I responded to my dear friend:

I know you said you couldn’t help but think that it (one of my own blog posts) was specifically directed to you.  Honestly, yes, a small portion of it was written with you in mind as well as knowing that I have many friends and family who could possibly be reading it that think very much like you…

I must say, I am glad to hear that you took me up on the challenge.  That’s more what I was fishing to find out than anything.  Did you read the whole book, or did your gauntlet stop you “in the beginning”? (That was a pretty good pun, if I do say so myself!)

Seriously, though, as far as answers to all of your questions and points made…I do not and will not pretend to have them.  (As I have said before, I have had many of the same thoughts and questions myself over the years.)  Neither will I attempt to proselytize you, as I know you likewise are not doing to me.  I merely am here to share with you the Essence of who I am – Jesus in me.  Though I cannot begin to battle wits with you in the intellectual realms, nor do I want to – battle with you is the farthest thing from what I would ever want (I, of course, mean that in a very complimentary and endearing way.)…I merely can share with you why I am the person that you know and are kindred spirits with.  How you chose to respond to that is, well, not something I intend to try to force a certain direction, nor is it of my concern. I respect your very thoroughly contemplated and eloquently expressed views and honestly do not feel it is my responsibilty to change them.

  • Yes, I do whole-heartedly believe there is a God and that He loves me (and you and all of the world – John 3:16) and that He is working out His divine plan in my life (as in everyone’s) every minute of every day.  (I know all of that opens up several more cans of worms, but I am just stating who I am and what I believe.  I leave the cans of worms up to Him.)
  • My life is not defined by my death, rather by His death on the cross for me (John 3:16).
  • And because my life is defined by my acceptance of His gift of His death on the cross, my life is truly now and forever an eternal life.
  • And, because of His death, I may die a physical death (even before I have the chance to see you again, or not) but I now and forever am free from having to pay the ultimate price of spiritual death and eternal separation from God that is the price of my inherent sin-nature.
  • I at one time worked very hard to believe that there was nothing beyond this life and no meaning to my existence, because that for me was much easier (in a sense) than living with the knowledge that I would one day face my Maker and have to give an answer as to why I did not choose to accept His costly-to-Him yet free-to-me gift.
  • Honestly, though, for me, convincing myself of the nothingness of life and existence was a very tiring and difficult struggle. Something always, deep down, ate at me and would not let me ultimately and deeply believe what I was trying so hard to believe.  I had many of my own “gauntlets”, as you so cleverly and accurately call them, that would be thrown down in my face right and left.  I was just never at peace, not once, the entire time I was trying so hard to believe in a way that seemed to lend itself to the most peaceful, freeing, and consequence-less life possible.  I read things, even in the Bible, that I attempted to use to prove what I so wanted to believe, but ultimately, for me, it was all a dead end…a dead end that lead to life, that is.
  • I cannot begin to explain to you in words what it feels like to have “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding” (Phil. 4:7), but I can only hope that one day you may come to experience that for yourself.
  • I cannot begin to describe to you in words what it is like to know and feel “the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort” (2 Cor. 1:3) who is always with me – Emmanuel.
  • I cannot begin to accurately explain to you in words what it is like to pray, not just seeking an answer – though those often do come, rather just to pray – to talk to the One who knows me better than anyone on this earth ever could (because He made me just the way I am, my faults and all, just like He intended for me to be) – to cry to Him, knowing He understands every struggle I face and that He, because He was once on this earth as a human (as is so well chronicled in the Book of John), understands so truly those human emotional as well as physical experiences that I have.
  • These are all things I cannot explain to you in words as much as I may try, because they are things you just have to experience for yourself to understand.
  • I realize you may not agree that there is any legitimacy to experiences such as these, at least in your own life, but all I can say is that they are very real and very legitimate in my life.
  • I would never want to nor try to force you to feel these things for yourself by succumbing to agreeing with me on anything or everything I have put forth.  However, because of what I know in my heart to be true, I can only hope that you, my very dear friend, can and will also one day come to experience my God for all He is and even come to a point that (one can dream, can’t she!?!) you will even call Him your God one day. Not because I want so bad to be right, nor that I want to say “I told you so” or anything at all like that, rather because I know the love and peace and freedom that comes with knowing and accepting Him and the gift He offers us all.
Again, I must remind you that, as much as it may sometimes seem otherwise, I truly am not trying to proselytize you, rather I am merely sharing my heart and the Essence of who I am with you, for all it is worth.
Because of Who He is,
Haelie

How do you stand for what you believe if you don’t truly KNOW what you believe!?!

Sure we all think we know what we believe for the majority of our lives. We are raised a certain way and “just believe” what we always have because we always have. (I know, that’s a little deep, but bear with me!) True belief in something, however, requires some true soul searching. First, you have to figure out WHAT you (think you) believe as well as WHY you do.

Maybe you are on that journey right now…deliberately rejecting some things you’ve always been taught and lived by, because, after all, what if they are not true? “What if my whole life up to this point has been a farce?” “Why do I believe the way my parents do…what if they’ve got it all wrong? They’re just humans like me, too.” Or, “why did I raise my kids to believe this way? What if I’ve misguided them? After all, my life hasn’t been going so well lately, so maybe I’ve been wrong all this time.”

All of these are legitimate, honest, real questions that we must admit we all have asked in one way or another at some time in our lives. Are you a bad person for thinking that way or questioning those long-held values? No, you are real.

So then, what do we do now?

Glad you asked!  (You did, didn’t you!?!)  Well, for one, we must accept that we will never know all of the answers nor were we ever intended to figure it all out. Some things are just too big to wrap our little finite heads around…and that’s okay! I personally don’t want any more responsiblity and expectation on me than I already have. How about you? Just let go of that control thing and accept that everything just will not fit into our nice little boxes.

Yeah, so, I got that…now what?

Once again, glad you asked! Now go on a truth-seeking journey.

A what!?!

Yeah, a truth-seeking journey. Since you always thought you knew what you believed but now you’ve figured out that you’re just not quite sure about that…now you’ve gotta find some truth to stand on, or trust me…you will fall…and it’s not fun! (True, often the lesson is in the fall, but try to avoid it if you can.)

So, for the first part of the search thing, what do I do? Well, once again, bear with me and listen (or read, rather) with an open mind…you do esteem that value in yourself, after all, don’t you!?! With an open mind, I dare you to take this challenge…no matter where you are in your journey of life. (We could all use a little refresher, huh?)

I challenge you to start this truth-seeking thing out by *hold on* praying. Yes, I said it…PRAYING.

Okay, if you don’t like the way that sounds and it’s just a little too out there for you (yeah, you with the “open mind”) then I’ll put it another way. Talk to God…yes, God…you know that whole belief that you are questioning right now…yes, Him! Okay, so how and why would you “talk to God” if you’re questioning His very existence in the first place? (Admit it, I’m not just talking to the un-churched crowd here, am I!?! You know who you are and, once again, that’s okay. Just be honest about it and come on this journey, too. What could it hurt?)

Well, to answer my question I asked before the little “aside”, the “How” is very easy…just open your mouth (or speak with your heart if you’re still uncomfortable speaking out loud to someone who is not physically sitting there with you). At this point, you don’t have to believe He is there with you listening to you, just trust me on this one and do it. Just tell Him, “God, if you’re out there…and I really feel kinda strange even talking like this, since I really don’t think you are right now, or I’m just not sure…but anyway, if you’re out there, then I ask you to show me.”

Come on, you can do it! Oh, and no, most likely you will not see fire come down from the sky right then and there, nor will you hear some booming voice audibly speak back to you (not that those things couldn’t happen, but they most likely won’t).

So now then, “Why”…especially if those cool, show-stopping things aren’t going to happen? Did you ever hear your mama say “Because”? Well, because…because that’s where it all starts. (Well, it really started way before that, but you’ll figure that out soon enough.) Another reason is because in order to take the next step on this journey, it will greatly behoove you to have started with that crazy prayer thing.

Should I keep going, or should I just save the next step for the next post? Okay, okay, okay…next post it is!

Answers…

Posted: June 7, 2010 by Haelie in What About..., What If...
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I want to share a response I wrote via email to a friend of mine who is a professed Agnostic and reads my blog faithfully.  He has had two very good comments/replies that he tried to post to a couple of different posts of mine, but…in case you didn’t know…Blogger’s comment fields do not accept more than 4,096 characters!!!  (My blog is a Blogger blog, not WordPress)  So, instead he emailed his comments/replies to me.  I really wish his would have fit, as they have some very interesting and probably commonly shared thoughts in them.  So, in order to let you in a bit on his thoughts and my responses, I will just have to share some snip-its with you that you may find of interest.  I believe my friend of whom I am speaking will not mind a bit, as like I said, he attempted to share his comments publicly himself.

What I am actually going to primarily share with you right now is a portion of my response to one of his comments.  So, keep in mind that some of my statements are specifically spurred by some of his.  Either way, I think you’ll follow it just fine.  And, please feel free to comment anytime! 

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…As far as answers to all of your questions and points made…I do not and will not pretend to have them. (As I have said before, I have had many of the same thoughts and questions myself over the years.) Neither will I attempt to proselytize you, as I know you likewise are not doing to me. I merely am here to share with you the Essence of who I am – Jesus in me. Though I cannot begin to battle wits with you in the intellectual realms, nor do I want to – battle with you is the farthest thing from what I would ever want (I, of course, mean that in a very complimentary and endearing way.)…I merely can share with you why I am the person that you know and are kindred spirits with. How you chose to respond to that is, well, not something I intend to try to force a certain direction, nor is it of my concern. I respect your very thoroughly contemplated and eloquently expressed views and honestly do not feel it is my responsibilty to change them.

– Yes, I do whole-heartedly believe there is a God and that He loves me (and you and all of the world – John 3:16) and that He is working out His divine plan in my life (as in everyone’s) every minute of every day. (I know all of that opens up several more cans of worms, but I am just stating who I am and what I believe. I leave the cans of worms up to Him.)

– My life is not defined by my death, rather by His death on the cross for me (John 3:16).

And because my life is defined by my acceptance of His gift of His death on the cross, my life is truly now and forever an eternal life.

And, because of His death, I may die a physical death (even before I have the chance to see you again, or not) but I now and forever am free from having to pay the ultimate price of spiritual death and eternal separation from God that is the price of my inherent sin-nature.

– I, at one time, worked very hard to believe that there was nothing beyond this life and no meaning to my existence, because that for me was much easier (in a sense) than living with the knowledge that I would one day face my Maker and have to give an answer as to why I did not choose to accept His costly-to-Him yet free-to-me gift.

– Honestly, though, for me, convincing myself of the nothingness of life and existence was a very tiring and difficult struggle. Something always, deep down, ate at me and would not let me ultimately and deeply believe what I was trying so hard to believe. I had many of my own “gauntlets”, as you so cleverly and accurately call them, that would be thrown down in my face right and left. I was just never at peace, not once, the entire time I was trying so hard to believe in a way that seemed to lend itself to the most peaceful, freeing, and consequence-less life possible. I read things, even in the Bible, that I attempted to use to prove what I so wanted to believe, but ultimately, for me, it was all a dead end…a dead end that lead to life, that is.

– I cannot begin to explain to you in words what it feels like to have “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding” (Phil. 4:7), but I can only hope that one day you may come to experience that for yourself.

– I cannot begin to describe to you in words what it is like to know and feel “the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort” (2 Cor. 1:3) who is always with me – Emmanuel.

– I cannot begin to accurately explain to you in words what it is like to pray, not just seeking an answer – though those often do come, rather just to pray – to talk to the One who knows me better than anyone on this earth ever could (because He made me just the way I am, my faults and all, just like He intended for me to be) – to cry to Him, knowing He understands every struggle I face and that He, because He was once on this earth as a human (as is so well chronicled in the Book of John), understands so truly those human emotional as well as physical experiences that I have.

– These are all things I cannot explain to you in words as much as I may try, because they are things you just have to experience for yourself to understand.

– I realize you may not agree that there is any legitimacy to experiences such as these, at least in your own life, but all I can say is that they are very real and very legitimate in my life.

I would never want to nor try to force you to feel these things for yourself by succumbing to agreeing with me on anything or everything I have put forth. However, because of what I know in my heart to be true, I can only hope that you, my very dear friend, can and will also one day come to experience my God for all He is and even come to a point that (one can dream, can’t she!?!) you will even call Him your God one day. Not because I want so bad to be right, nor that I want to say “I told you so” or anything at all like that, rather because I know the love and peace and freedom that comes with knowing and accepting Him and the gift He offers us all.

– Again, I must remind you that, as much as it may sometimes seem otherwise, I truly am not trying to proselytize you, rather I am merely sharing my heart and the Essence of who I am with you, for all it is worth.

Because of Who He is,
Haelie