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Wilderness
Feb 18th 2008, 07:52 PM
Hiya folk.

I've been pondering the Christianity question (again!) and Seeker can't help me with my latest thoughts.

You see, I'm looking for a role model. I've heard soooo many testimonials from people for whom God/Jesus saved them at the most desperate time of their lives. What I really haven't heard much of are stories of ordinary folk, for whom the biggest trial of their life is getting the laundry dry when it rains, or the toddler has had a bad week of tantrums, who found God when washing carrot puree out of the toddler's hair. Is this because God prioritises the saving of those in real need? Is it because people need to be desperate in order to need a higher power (no such thing as an atheist in a fox-hole!)? Seeker won't mind me sharing that his most powerful experience of God was at a particularly difficult time in his life, and the type of church that he is drawn to tends to pick up a lot of the congregation from our local rehab facility (the two things are not connected!) so most of the other Christians I know have found Christ through the depths of despair. From a psychological point of view, to keep our sanity do we not all turn to some form of "higher power" at those times as a way of making sense of what feels so unfair at the time? A sort of self-preservation instinct?

I'm still finding the Bible difficult to read - I wish God had produced an autobiographical novel, as opposed to different view points that tell different parts of the story! At least Grisham has a start, a middle and an end, and so yes, the devil is tempting me away from the Good Book, to Grisham's latest good book! The Bible is just not talking to me right now, and I'm wondering if I should wait for God for a few months until my son is born, so that I can hit suicidal desperation point sometime in the wee small hours when it feels as though I've not slept for a month (because I probably won't have done!!!) Thing is, I'd to be honest, I'd rather skip the desperate and suicidal bit, but from the testimonials I've heard it sounds like an inevitability on the road to Him. Is that the case for everyone?

Help please!

Wildy.

menJesus
Feb 18th 2008, 08:01 PM
Not at all! I got saved during one of the best periods of my life! Many people get saved...well, just because...

Read the "testimonies" section in here. I`m sure there is a wide variety of scenarios for you to ponder, as to when people received salvation. And why.

aliveinchrist
Feb 18th 2008, 08:03 PM
I think most people tend to find Jesus when they are in their desperate times, is because that's when we're REALLY weak and when our spirit is really paying attention and seeking. If that makes sense...?

You can find Jesus, though, really, at any time you want. You just have to open your heart, and let Him in.

Jesus will come into your heart, anytime you let Him. Whether it's when you're at the end of your rope, or if it's when your washing carrot puree out of your baby's hair.

Wilderness
Feb 18th 2008, 08:09 PM
I've tried the testimonies page and got bogged down in a whole loada major crises!

So why did you accept Christ if life was so great? (or is your story one I missed in the testimonies?)

I'm struggling with the "need" for God in my life thing - if there's not a big enough hole to fill, do I need to fill it? I saw the scariest TV programme of my life last week, profiling three "Baby Bible Bashers" - basically child preachers. The parents of whom were the least Christian beings I have ever seen portrayed, according to my understanding of God and Jesus that is. It was chilling. If that is what a life in Christ means - shoot me now!

Seriously - I know those portrayals are extreme - but those parents believe themselves to be guided by God. I may have few morals, but if that is what a misled God-shaped moral compass does, I'd be better off raising my kids using my own knowledge and steering clear of all organised religions. And yet I'm still here, drawn to wanting to understand and maybe have a relationship with God....... You're meant to be helping to save us damned (sorry mods, you probably hate me being so blunt about my status with God) - chuck me a line here!

Wildy.

DeadToSelf
Feb 18th 2008, 08:13 PM
Well GOD will actually forgive anyone. If they are willing to ask for it.

However one of the reasons that you do not know the BIBLE is because you have to have to be saved. Is GOD then showing partiality? No! It is because learning the BIBLE is a flesh vs. spirit thing. You ask an athiest or non-beliver(flesh) what a certain scripture in the BIBLE is they will miss interpret and ask a follower(spirit) they will anwser to the scripture with a different point of view. Which is the right one.

Actually my testimony is what I think you are looking for. Ok so my sophmore year.......
So I started school as an unsaved person. I knew who GOD was but didn't know Him. However I had a great life. I mean it had its ups and downs but it was like whatever I'll heal. However my aunt kept pushing my mom and us to go to her church(our former church) we blew it off from september to about february-march(around there). But I really didn't care if we went I like my life I like whatever I did didn't bother me. Then we went the pastor was talking and he was talking about altercalls for people to go up. I drowned out what he was saying and started thinking....dude if you die rightnow your not gonna go to heaven do you really want that?.... I said no to myself and when he called people up and I just went up and gave my life to the LORD. However my walk isn't peachy it is hard. If you really want to know the challenges that I go through then I will tell you that later if you asks.... But now I am serving the LORD and am glad that I gave my life to Him. I wasn't going crazy or in a deep hole at the time I was a happy kid but I knew what would happen if I died then.

Help?

aliveinchrist
Feb 18th 2008, 08:15 PM
I've tried the testimonies page and got bogged down in a whole loada major crises!

So why did you accept Christ if life was so great? (or is your story one I missed in the testimonies?)



I'm struggling with the "need" for God in my life thing - if there's not a big enough hole to fill, do I need to fill it? I saw the scariest TV programme of my life last week, profiling three "Baby Bible Bashers" - basically child preachers. The parents of whom were the least Christian beings I have ever seen portrayed, according to my understanding of God and Jesus that is. It was chilling. If that is what a life in Christ means - shoot me now!

Seriously - I know those portrayals are extreme - but those parents believe themselves to be guided by God. I may have few morals, but if that is what a misled God-shaped moral compass does, I'd be better off raising my kids using my own knowledge and steering clear of all organised religions. And yet I'm still here, drawn to wanting to understand and maybe have a relationship with God....... You're meant to be helping to save us damned (sorry mods, you probably hate me being so blunt about my status with God) - chuck me a line here!

Wildy.

Please don't let people like that scare you off. That's what they're meant to do.

Life in Christ means leading a life of love, giving, serving, compassion, tenderness, etc etc etc. That all comes after you've accepted Jesus as you Lord and Savior, and you decide to abide in Him and the Holy Spirit.

Whether you feel you need Him or not, you really do. Or you wouldn't be here on this website, talking to us and looking for an answer.

It's about Christ, not Christianity. In my opinion, just chuck out christianity, and just look at Christ. Look at Jesus and His love for you. Don't think about "Christianity" as a religion, just look at Jesus.

What's your REAL question here? I'm sensing something deeper than what your saying.

Wilderness
Feb 18th 2008, 08:21 PM
You can find Jesus, though, really, at any time you want. You just have to open your heart, and let Him in.

Thanks. But who does?! And how?! And why?! It's kind of like Seeker's Uncle giving directions - turn left at the big tree. They were driving through the Forest of Dean surrounded by darned great big trees!!!!!!!

[QUOTE I think most people tend to find Jesus when they are in their desperate times, is because that's when we're REALLY weak and when our spirit is really paying attention and seeking. If that makes sense...?QUOTE]

Or they are desperate for an answer, any answer that helps them make sense of their circumstances, and not mentally equipped to analyse what is happening? This is what makes it so difficult. In desperate times we are all so vulnerable. Some folk will choose God, some folk will choose alcohol, some folk will choose pills, and others will sit and wait for the clouds to part and hope like hell that something changes soon before they end it all. Some folk will analyse where they went wrong in their life, critically analyse what they are responsible for and then go about putting the things right that they can control? How do I know that God is the answer in life, and not just a form of solace that some folk use as a crutch in times of need? The Bible tells us. Great. But the Muslims would tell me the only Truth is in the Koran! The human brain is such a complex organ that it can make us hallucinate, remember things that didn't really happen and all kinds of trippy stuff that can explain the "religious" experiences folk have. I was facscinated by the similarities between evangelical churches giving praise, and the local nightclub playing trance music and whipping their own audience into an almost religious state.........

This is why I could use a role model. I mentioned ages ago, in jest that there should be an "adopt an unbeliever week" on this forum. I've just put myself up for adoption. Patient, grounded parent wanted to offer sane advice (no platitudes, cliches, or unexplained Bible references) from a similar background to troublesome, questioning child........ Apply here.

aliveinchrist
Feb 18th 2008, 08:29 PM
Thanks. But who does?! And how?! And why?! It's kind of like Seeker's Uncle giving directions - turn left at the big tree. They were driving through the Forest of Dean surrounded by darned great big trees!!!!!!!

Who does? Anybody that feels, deep, deep, deep down, that there is something missing, that the world just can't give it.
How? By getting down on your knees and saying "Lord, I want you in my life. I accept you as my Lord and Savior. Please come into my life and my heart, and take control." Or something along those lines.
Why? Same as the "who does" question.

[QUOTE I think most people tend to find Jesus when they are in their desperate times, is because that's when we're REALLY weak and when our spirit is really paying attention and seeking. If that makes sense...?QUOTE]

Or they are desperate for an answer, any answer that helps them make sense of their circumstances, and not mentally equipped to analyse what is happening? This is what makes it so difficult. In desperate times we are all so vulnerable. Some folk will choose God, some folk will choose alcohol, some folk will choose pills, and others will sit and wait for the clouds to part and hope like hell that something changes soon before they end it all. Some folk will analyse where they went wrong in their life, critically analyse what they are responsible for and then go about putting the things right that they can control? How do I know that God is the answer in life, and not just a form of solace that some folk use as a crutch in times of need?

Because people can't fake REAL changes in their life. Know what I mean? Somebody that has turned their heart to Jesus, and changed for the better, can't fake that.

The Bible tells us. Great. But the Muslims would tell me the only Truth is in the Koran! The human brain is such a complex organ that it can make us hallucinate, remember things that didn't really happen and all kinds of trippy stuff that can explain the "religious" experiences folk have. I was facscinated by the similarities between evangelical churches giving praise, and the local nightclub playing trance music and whipping their own audience into an almost religious state.........

This is why I could use a role model. I mentioned ages ago, in jest that there should be an "adopt an unbeliever week" on this forum. I've just put myself up for adoption. Patient, grounded parent wanted to offer sane advice (no platitudes, cliches, or unexplained Bible references) from a similar background to troublesome, questioning child........ Apply here.


Well, I will definately help as best I can. And I know others can and will give you some good answers, probably better answers that what I can give you.

Tanya~
Feb 18th 2008, 08:36 PM
Hi Wildy,

When I came to the Lord, it wasn't at a time of crisis or specific 'felt need' per se. I heard the word of God, and it spoke to my heart, and I responded. In retrospect I can see my need for Christ but at the time, I wasn't at some sort of 'bottom' or anything like that.

There are a lot of dramatic testimonies but there are as many like me who simply believed the word when they heard it. A crisis is not necessary for a person to come to faith.

The Bible does have a beginning, middle, and end. There are many interesting and dramatic stories within the greater Story as well

Wilderness
Feb 18th 2008, 08:41 PM
In my opinion, just chuck out christianity, and just look at Christ. Look at Jesus and His love for you. Don't think about "Christianity" as a religion, just look at Jesus.

Thanks for that. Good point. The only problem is in untangling the two. BUT....



However one of the reasons that you do not know the BIBLE is because you have to have to be saved.

Hmm. We're heading into circular logic here. To become a Christian I have to accept Christ, in order to understand His Word. To give my life to Christ I kinda want to know the chap first. I never slept with a guy on a first date, I'm not about to hand over the rest of my life to someone I don't know on the basis that I've heard he's a good bloke and will look after me.


Whether you feel you need Him or not, you really do. Or you wouldn't be here on this website, talking to us and looking for an answer.

Well do I? I keep wondering if I do. I've been hanging around here intermitently for a while having looked elsewhere for answers a few times (Evil Alpha group that nearly caused a stroke through the stress to name but one...) I mean I'd love another Radley handbag. I browse the website from time to time and covet the latest butter-soft leather offerings, but doesn't mean I need one....... It was that pop song from the 90's that ruined everything for me - "If you buy this record your life will be better" - will it? How do you know? What's wrong with my life? I keep coming back, but then I taunt myself with those pictures of handbags I can no-longer afford too......


I drowned out what he was saying and started thinking....dude if you die rightnow your not gonna go to heaven do you really want that?.... I said no to myself and when he called people up and I just went up and gave my life to the LORD.

DeadtoSelf - this sounds kinda flippant! I give more time to choosing which pair of shoes to buy than that! That was the rest of your life! How could you be so sure you were doing the right thing? I mean picking a lifestyle where you should be radically changing the way you lead your life on almost the toss of a coin? If I were to give my life to God I should:

Make time to pray each day
Sumit yet more of my life to obeying my hubby
Read the Bible every day
Live out my faith through deeds not words - so I need to do stuff for other folk for God - no Sunday benchwarmer here!
Do what God says I should do - whether I want to or not. If not I risk being drowned at sea like Jonah was threatened with.

Or, I can carry on as I am, in a life where some days I don't get to use a toilet on my own because the toddler is clinging to mummy like a limpet............ Taking on more stuff to do sounds like making my life harder for myself not easier. If I die tomorrow (there'e tempting the devil), I get into heaven on my husband's ticket (sorry forget the verse, cos someone is bound to want to flame me for that), so I don't lose on the heaven score either.

Also, what if I pick the wrong God? What if right now Allah is laughing at us all on this board?

Wildy.

aliveinchrist
Feb 18th 2008, 08:56 PM
Thanks for that. Good point. The only problem is in untangling the two. BUT....

Not really, in a sense. Just put your focus on JESUS. Don't worry about what others have to say, just look at what Jesus Himself has to say.



Hmm. We're heading into circular logic here. To become a Christian I have to accept Christ, in order to understand His Word. To give my life to Christ I kinda want to know the chap first. I never slept with a guy on a first date, I'm not about to hand over the rest of my life to someone I don't know on the basis that I've heard he's a good bloke and will look after me.

Jesus is the only One where you can take that risk. Like I said below, what have you got to lose?

You can't equate Jesus to a man. (Yes, in body He became man, but in Spirit, He was still God)

You really do have to accept Christ to be able to understand His word.

that's why so many atheists can twist what the Bible says to suit their own explanation, because they don't have the Holy Spirit in them to tell them what it REALLY means.



Well do I? I keep wondering if I do. I've been hanging around here intermitently for a while having looked elsewhere for answers a few times (Evil Alpha group that nearly caused a stroke through the stress to name but one...) I mean I'd love another Radley handbag. I browse the website from time to time and covet the latest butter-soft leather offerings, but doesn't mean I need one....... It was that pop song from the 90's that ruined everything for me - "If you buy this record your life will be better" - will it? How do you know? What's wrong with my life? I keep coming back, but then I taunt myself with those pictures of handbags I can no-longer afford too......



DeadtoSelf - this sounds kinda flippant! I give more time to choosing which pair of shoes to buy than that! That was the rest of your life! How could you be so sure you were doing the right thing? I mean picking a lifestyle where you should be radically changing the way you lead your life on almost the toss of a coin? If I were to give my life to God I should:

Make time to pray each day
Sumit yet more of my life to obeying my hubby
Read the Bible every day
Live out my faith through deeds not words - so I need to do stuff for other folk for God - no Sunday benchwarmer here!
Do what God says I should do - whether I want to or not. If not I risk being drowned at sea like Jonah was threatened with.

Or, I can carry on as I am, in a life where some days I don't get to use a toilet on my own because the toddler is clinging to mummy like a limpet............ Taking on more stuff to do sounds like making my life harder for myself not easier. If I die tomorrow (there'e tempting the devil), I get into heaven on my husband's ticket (sorry forget the verse, cos someone is bound to want to flame me for that), so I don't lose on the heaven score either.

Also, what if I pick the wrong God? What if right now Allah is laughing at us all on this board?

Wildy.

My question is: what do you have to lose by accepting Jesus?

Only you can answer the question of if you need Jesus. I believe everybody does. But still, I really can't answer that question for you. You have to come to that decision.

Here's something to think about. (I know you said you didn't want scriptures, but Jesus is His scriptures.)

Matthew 11:28-29
28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in Heart, and you will find rest for your souls

I don't know about you, but not even my dad or my husband can offer me that. that right there, if I wasn't already a Christian, would make me accept Jesus.

Picking the wrong God? God IS the only God. And those are not my words. Those are God's words. So if you pick Him, you can't choose the wrong God, because He IS the one and only TRUE God.

shnfx
Feb 18th 2008, 09:51 PM
I've tried the testimonies page and got bogged down in a whole loada major crises!

So why did you accept Christ if life was so great? (or is your story one I missed in the testimonies?)

I'm struggling with the "need" for God in my life thing - if there's not a big enough hole to fill, do I need to fill it? I saw the scariest TV programme of my life last week, profiling three "Baby Bible Bashers" - basically child preachers. The parents of whom were the least Christian beings I have ever seen portrayed, according to my understanding of God and Jesus that is. It was chilling. If that is what a life in Christ means - shoot me now!

Seriously - I know those portrayals are extreme - but those parents believe themselves to be guided by God. I may have few morals, but if that is what a misled God-shaped moral compass does, I'd be better off raising my kids using my own knowledge and steering clear of all organised religions. And yet I'm still here, drawn to wanting to understand and maybe have a relationship with God....... You're meant to be helping to save us damned (sorry mods, you probably hate me being so blunt about my status with God) - chuck me a line here!

Wildy.

It is not about accepting Christ to make ones life on earth better. Although it can in a different sense make our lives better, but many christians go through so much more persecution just because they are Christian. Christ made my life better not because of what I got out of it in this world, but because I know that I am free from sin through Jesus and I will spend eternity with God. The things of this world don't matter as much to me anymore. They are only temporary things, but of course I want to still live a happy life.

It is not about just giving this 'Jesus thing' a go to get a kick out of it or to see what you can get out of it.

Jesus Christ will save us from the wrath to come because God's wrath abides on sinners. The only way we can escape God's wrath is to be washed clean in the blood of Jesus, who shed his blood for mankind. We broke God's law(sinned) and the sinless Jesus Christ paid our fine(ransom) so we could be set free. That is an awesome God showing unfathomable love.

Would you sell your eyes for a million dollars? Probably not
If you wouldn't sell your eyes for a million dollars and they are only windows of your soul, how much more important must your soul be since your soul lives forever?

watchinginawe
Feb 19th 2008, 06:14 AM
Those are some interesting thoughts. I am answering because I thought of a role model that might be interesting to look at in the Bible. Maybe there will be others more worthy than mine too. :blush:

Anyway, I offer the account of Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch. You can read the account in Acts 8:26-39. :hmm: I don't know what possessed me to offer a Eunuch as a role model for you. :lol: Anyway, read it through and I think you will see why I offered it.

God Bless!

RoadWarrior
Feb 19th 2008, 06:36 AM
...
I've been pondering the Christianity question ...
You see, I'm looking for a role model. .... most of the other Christians I know have found Christ through the depths of despair. ... The Bible is just not talking to me right now, and I'm wondering if I should wait for God for a few months until my son is born, so that I can hit suicidal desperation point sometime in the wee small hours when it feels as though I've not slept for a month (because I probably won't have done!!!) Thing is, I'd to be honest, I'd rather skip the desperate and suicidal bit, but from the testimonials I've heard it sounds like an inevitability on the road to Him. Is that the case for everyone?

Help please!

Wildy.

Hello Wildy,

If you are serious in looking for a Christian role model, go to your library and check out some Christian biographies. Many missionaries were Christians from early in life. Look for the true stories, not novels. You might find some of those more engaging than John Grisham, and certainly they will give you something real to think about.

Your neighborhood experience may be coloring your expectations. A high percentage of the Christians I know have been so from early in life, without drama and desperation.

There are many good reasons to come to Christ early, and to avoid the suicidal depressions. What kind of life do you plan to offer your baby son? What environment will he live in? What spiritual strength will you build into him, so that he will be able to face the crises in his life? I have unbelieving relatives who have their children in Christian schools because they want the values that are offered only there.

I wish you well.

ImmenseDisciple
Feb 19th 2008, 05:32 PM
Hiya folk.

I've been pondering the Christianity question (again!) and Seeker can't help me with my latest thoughts.

You see, I'm looking for a role model. I've heard soooo many testimonials from people for whom God/Jesus saved them at the most desperate time of their lives. What I really haven't heard much of are stories of ordinary folk, for whom the biggest trial of their life is getting the laundry dry when it rains, or the toddler has had a bad week of tantrums, who found God when washing carrot puree out of the toddler's hair. Is this because God prioritises the saving of those in real need? Is it because people need to be desperate in order to need a higher power (no such thing as an atheist in a fox-hole!)? Seeker won't mind me sharing that his most powerful experience of God was at a particularly difficult time in his life, and the type of church that he is drawn to tends to pick up a lot of the congregation from our local rehab facility (the two things are not connected!) so most of the other Christians I know have found Christ through the depths of despair. From a psychological point of view, to keep our sanity do we not all turn to some form of "higher power" at those times as a way of making sense of what feels so unfair at the time? A sort of self-preservation instinct?

I'm still finding the Bible difficult to read - I wish God had produced an autobiographical novel, as opposed to different view points that tell different parts of the story! At least Grisham has a start, a middle and an end, and so yes, the devil is tempting me away from the Good Book, to Grisham's latest good book! The Bible is just not talking to me right now, and I'm wondering if I should wait for God for a few months until my son is born, so that I can hit suicidal desperation point sometime in the wee small hours when it feels as though I've not slept for a month (because I probably won't have done!!!) Thing is, I'd to be honest, I'd rather skip the desperate and suicidal bit, but from the testimonials I've heard it sounds like an inevitability on the road to Him. Is that the case for everyone?

Help please!

Wildy.
The reason many people find Him in hard times is because they realise how totally lost they are without Him, how utterly and completely they need Him. Hitting a low seems to work pretty well in this respect - but certainly isn't required. Personally - God actually waited until He'd already helped me (although of course, I thought I was doing it on my own) out of my darkest depths and was back on my feet again, before He showed me the Light. Misery isn't a necessity :lol:

judi<>><
Feb 19th 2008, 07:01 PM
Hi, wilderness! It's been a long time since I've seen you, but just spotted this. Wish I had time to look at it closer, but it's time to run (lunch is over)! I'll check back later on, and see if I can be of any help....

Wilderness
Feb 19th 2008, 08:20 PM
'scuse me eveyone else a second - Hi Judi! Good to see you :hug:. I hope all is well for you, and it'd be good to see your take on things.

Thanks for bearing with me everyone!

Alive - you misunderstood me.


(I know you said you didn't want scriptures, but Jesus is His scriptures.)


What I said was
(no platitudes, cliches, or unexplained Bible references)

In the past I've had a few two verse answers to questions, which considering your own point


You really do have to accept Christ to be able to understand His word.

that's why so many atheists can twist what the Bible says to suit their own explanation, because they don't have the Holy Spirit in them to tell them what it REALLY means.

means that the answers didn't really help me with the question concerned. I value everyones contribution - after all folk are giving up their own time to help, but some answers need a context and some explanation to be really valuable. The verses you quoted however were good verses. I especially liked verse 29! Only occasionally can my hubby make me feel as if I have taken out my soul and let it take a long warm bath to relax, so I can see your point.


Picking the wrong God? God IS the only God. And those are not my words. Those are God's words. So if you pick Him, you can't choose the wrong God, because He IS the one and only TRUE God.

I don't understand your point here though. Afterall, as a Christian you would say that. In the same way, I suspect that a Muslim would tell me that Allah is the one true God etc. Don't get me wrong, I have absolute belief in a loving God, who for me fits the Christian model of God, but to say that He is the only God because the Bible says so, relies on me believing the Bible over the Koran, and over the writings (rantings?) of books such as the God Delusion. I suppose from my position as a believer in God, as opposed to a Christian this is not a cut and dried assumption.


RoadWarrior -
What kind of life do you plan to offer your baby son? What environment will he live in? What spiritual strength will you build into him, so that he will be able to face the crises in his life?

You made me smile. He and his sister will have a life of love. My husband has a strong faith, and I support this and will do what I can to raise them to have faith in a heavenly father who loves them. I will also raise them to ask questions and make their own decisions about their beliefs as they grow up. But they will face the crises in their lives knowing they are loved unconditionally, and with me and hubby to pick them up when they fall, and dry tears with hugs. I'm sad in a way that I was not brought up in an environment that assumed belief as the background state. Maybe if I could accept God's love with the childhood innocence I had I wouldn't be spending so much time dithering!

BTW - did you have any particular biographies in mind?

ImmenseDisciple -
God actually waited until He'd already helped me (although of course, I thought I was doing it on my own)

Out of interest, how did you know you didn't do it on your own?

Thanks for your thoughts everyone. I appreciate it. :hug:

Wildy

LawrenceDreaming
Feb 19th 2008, 09:03 PM
You know, I wish you were wrong, but your observation is pretty much spot on. Most people come to Christ when they are facing hard times, and I am no different. I became a Christian, quite frankly, to fit in. See, Im a pretty lonely, shy guy, and I just moved into an overwhelmingly conservative, Protestant town (Tulsa) and as much as I would want to be, say, a pagan, it just isnt practical. So, I figured what do I have to lose, and became a Christian. Now some might look down on that, however it isnt like I am a fake Christian. No, I accepted Jesus, I believe in all the main tenets of Christianity. It's just that I didnt come to Jesus through a religious experience or through researching it myself. I became a christian because in my eyes it was practical. But hey, that doesnt mean I wont have a powerful religious experience in the future to confirm my faith. Or that this is a mistake. I mean I love christians, they are some of the kindest, most friendly people on earth, and the religion isnt half bad either. Although not the perfect faith for me, I'll get used to it. Now, I guess I could be a fake Christian and pretend to be one when I'm at church, but that is not what I was striving to be even before I considered conversion. I want to be an honest man, someone who not only talks the talk but walks the walk. So anyway there you go, you may think I'm stupid or weak minded but I dont care, I just wanted to contribute to this discussion, and of course be honest :D

menJesus
Feb 19th 2008, 11:26 PM
I was in Sunday School at 3 years old, grew up in church. Got "saved" when I was 9, in Sunday School.

When I got really saved, it was because, at that time, the only thing missing in my life WAS God. I was young (19) and on top of the world (thought I was, anyway) and I thought Jesus would make it all complete. And so I got saved. :)

Athanasius
Feb 20th 2008, 07:03 AM
Well, suicidal depression wasn't the case for me.
And let me tell you, I've had (or currently have):

Cancer, liver disease, insomnia, a weakened immunte system, a 50/50 chance of ever having children. I've been the recipient of neurosurgery and a half dozen blood disorders.

I was saved very young and have been a Christian (haven't fallen away in any major way) ever since. Oh, and those things I listed--they really show a person how much they depend on God for everything.

In fact, in about 6 hours I have to go for a routine CTScan. Make sure my cancer hasn't come back.
Blood work on Thursday.

Physical by middle aged, balding, overweight doctor the week after.
If only they had interns again!

Ashly
Feb 20th 2008, 07:50 AM
Personally, I think God taps every human being on their shoulder to get their attention; but when everything is going "just fine and dandy," it's not easy to get their attention when they already have peace and happiness, all fun and games, nothing but joy, no worries, no problems, etc. ... (realisitically, I think we can all admit, few will probably hear Him with such a gentle tap).
:pp:lol::D:rofl:

Another concept that interests me is that of the Holy Spirit being "The Great Counselor." Most folks don't need counseling if everything is always peachy.
:idea::bounce::spin:

So we don't listen, things get rough ... and God then (instead of tapping us on the shoulder) has to crack out the ballbat, so to speak. LOL Hence, a chastening to bring us closer to Him.

:B:help::giveup:

Ashly

Wilderness
Feb 20th 2008, 10:07 AM
I was young (19) and on top of the world (thought I was, anyway) and I thought Jesus would make it all complete. And so I got saved. :)

But how did you KNOW? How come you went to Jesus for that completeness and not paganism, Allah or the local ten pin bowling club?

I read the passage WatchinginAwe suggested, and it's interesting. The thing that still seems a bit spur-of-the-moment for a life changing decision is the whole "yup I've heard about God so now I'm gonna get me baptised" thing.

Becoming a follower of Christ has to change your life. Alive in Christ asked this


My question is: what do you have to lose by accepting Jesus?

Well, I should be giving up my free will to do the will of God. What if God is not content with me trying to be a good wife and mother? What if I should be tithing? How do I afford my childcare costs if I do? What if God calls me into working with the needy? How do I fit this in with my other commitments? Christianity is not about "getting me saved" so that I can feel good about being one of the gang. It's about choosing to serve God. Service requires deeds not words, or I wouldn't be a Christian at all. I could say the right stuff now and live a life of trying to be a good person - but I know loads of nice people who don't profess to be Christian, and loads of "Christians" who apparently have forgotten the service bit! It's not just about what do I stand to gain, but can I really give? And am I prepared to give my life to God, for what gain?

Shnfx posed this


Would you sell your eyes for a million dollars? Probably not
If you wouldn't sell your eyes for a million dollars and they are only windows of your soul, how much more important must your soul be since your soul lives forever?

The hell I'd sell my eyes for that! And so what would I be selling my soul for? Giving up my life for God/Jesus is a somewhat bigger decision than would I give up my eyesight! I just don't understand the whole "yeah, so I became a Christian" thing - it's a bigger decision than buying a car, or house - and hubby and I spent months looking for the right house - and yet it's just bricks. Somewhere to spend a few years of our lives, not a decision that will affect every moment of my life until I die. Does anyone understand where I'm coming from here?

Wildy

menJesus
Feb 20th 2008, 10:28 AM
From Wilderness: "But how did you KNOW? How come you went to Jesus for that completeness and not paganism, Allah or the local ten pin bowling club?"

Because there IS no source of fullness, other than Jesus. I knew nothing of paganism or Allah. Once I realized that Jesus Christ is King of Kings and LORD of Lords, it was all over for me.

ImmenseDisciple
Feb 20th 2008, 10:56 AM
ImmenseDisciple -

Out of interest, how did you know you didn't do it on your own?
As I say, at the time I assumed I was doing it on my own. In retrospect, it seems like it went entirely too smoothly :lol:
I basically spent a couple of years stagnating, I had pretty much just given up on everything - and then within a matter of months everything had turned around. It was about another year before I actually found God.

Sold Out
Feb 20th 2008, 03:29 PM
Hiya folk.

I've been pondering the Christianity question (again!) and Seeker can't help me with my latest thoughts.

You see, I'm looking for a role model. I've heard soooo many testimonials from people for whom God/Jesus saved them at the most desperate time of their lives. What I really haven't heard much of are stories of ordinary folk.....

Help please!

Wildy.

You know, my testimony is really not exciting (in human terms). I was 6 years old when I accepted Christ. It was at Vacation Bible School. The pastor presented the plan of salvation and I just accepted it...it wasn't hard. It usually isn't for children, which is why Jesus said, "... Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven." Matt 18:3

My pastor has a very uplifting testimony. He was 17 (back in 1971) hitchhiking to school in Illinois. A guy stopped and picked him up, who happened to be a Methodist minister (Frank). He asked him:

Frank: "Bart, do you know 100% that you are going to heaven when you die?"

Bart: "No."

Frank: "Would you like to know?"

Bart: "Nobody can know for sure."

Frank: "Have you ever read the bible?"

Bart: "No"

Frank: "Then how can you say that nobody can know for sure?"

My pastor was like, "Oooohhhhh....he got me there!"

So he pulled over into the school parking lot and presented the gospel to him. He didn't get saved that morning, but he was so intrigued about what he heard, he told his girlfriend (now his wife) he was going to Frank's church the next Sunday. She nearly flipped, because the Bart she knew would NEVER do that! He was a rough kid from the streets of Chicago!

So long story short, he went to church that next Sunday, went forward during the invitation and accepted Christ. A week later, his girlfriend went forward and got saved.

shnfx
Feb 20th 2008, 05:53 PM
The hell I'd sell my eyes for that! And so what would I be selling my soul for? Giving up my life for God/Jesus is a somewhat bigger decision than would I give up my eyesight! I just don't understand the whole "yeah, so I became a Christian" thing - it's a bigger decision than buying a car, or house - and hubby and I spent months looking for the right house - and yet it's just bricks. Somewhere to spend a few years of our lives, not a decision that will affect every moment of my life until I die. Does anyone understand where I'm coming from here?

Wildy

I don't understand what you are saying - not in a rude way- I really don't understand what you are trying to say above.

What I am trying to say is that your soul is so much more valuable than anything we have now because what we have now on earth is temporary, but your soul lives for eternity. Although we don't like to think about death, it is true that 10 out of 10 die. That should make everyone want to live forever in heaven or at least find out what God requires.
We need Jesus to save us from our sin. THere is nothing christians can do to earn salvation - it is not our own works. If it was our own works then we are saying that we deserve heaven and have erned our way in when the reality is that we haven't earned anything - God's grace gives us the opportunity and hope - only if we accept his free gift. That is why christianity is so different.
We aren't God and we cannot our way in to heaven - we need a savior - Jesus who did save us from our sin by shedding his blood for us.

aliveinchrist
Feb 20th 2008, 06:15 PM
Well, I should be giving up my free will to do the will of God. What if God is not content with me trying to be a good wife and mother?

No, He's not content with that. He's GLAD you are, but He wants you to accept Jesus. He wants you to have a relationship with Him.

(I'm doing my best to answer your questions. I don't know if it's just me, but I'm not sure what it is exactly that you're trying to find out.)

What if I should be tithing?

You should.

How do I afford my childcare costs if I do?

Funny thing is, if you bless God with giving you money to help people in need (tithing), He will bless you ten-fold. God gives back. As long as you trust Him, He WILL help you financially. And with whatever else you need.

What if God calls me into working with the needy? How do I fit this in with my other commitments?

God's work takes precendence over everything. After that, with God's help, everything else falls into place.

There are people that give up EVERYTHINg, to just do what God wants them to do. And they are incredibly blessed for it.

Christianity is not about "getting me saved" so that I can feel good about being one of the gang. It's about choosing to serve God. Service requires deeds not words, or I wouldn't be a Christian at all. I could say the right stuff now and live a life of trying to be a good person - but I know loads of nice people who don't profess to be Christian, and loads of "Christians" who apparently have forgotten the service bit! It's not just about what do I stand to gain, but can I really give? And am I prepared to give my life to God, for what gain?

For the gain of going to heaven. But MOSTLY, for the gain of spending eternity with God in a place where there is no pain, suffering, strife, agony, etc etc.


The hell I'd sell my eyes for that! And so what would I be selling my soul for? Giving up my life for God/Jesus is a somewhat bigger decision than would I give up my eyesight! I just don't understand the whole "yeah, so I became a Christian" thing - it's a bigger decision than buying a car, or house - and hubby and I spent months looking for the right house - and yet it's just bricks. Somewhere to spend a few years of our lives, not a decision that will affect every moment of my life until I die. Does anyone understand where I'm coming from here?

Wildy

Hi Wilderness!

I apologize for misunderstanding you. But I'm glad you liked the verses anyways! :)


Wilderness, like I stated above,, I'm really slow right now, so I'm not totally sure what your big question is.

Is it, whether you should accept Jesus or not?

It is a big decision, and it's an important decision.

Can you sum up what is you want to know, in one big question?

(i really want to help, but I'm not quite understanding what is you are seeking, besides Jesus.)

judi<>><
Feb 20th 2008, 10:39 PM
Becoming a follower of Christ has to change your life.

Well, I should be giving up my free will to do the will of God. What if God is not content with me trying to be a good wife and mother? What if I should be tithing? How do I afford my childcare costs if I do? What if God calls me into working with the needy? How do I fit this in with my other commitments? Christianity is not about "getting me saved" so that I can feel good about being one of the gang. It's about choosing to serve God. Service requires deeds not words, or I wouldn't be a Christian at all. I could say the right stuff now and live a life of trying to be a good person - but I know loads of nice people who don't profess to be Christian, and loads of "Christians" who apparently have forgotten the service bit! It's not just about what do I stand to gain, but can I really give? And am I prepared to give my life to God, for what gain?

Giving up my life for God/Jesus is a somewhat bigger decision than would I give up my eyesight! I just don't understand the whole "yeah, so I became a Christian" thing - it's a bigger decision than buying a car, or house - and hubby and I spent months looking for the right house - and yet it's just bricks. Somewhere to spend a few years of our lives, not a decision that will affect every moment of my life until I die. Does anyone understand where I'm coming from here?

WildyMan--you always ask the best questions, Wildy. Do I understand where you are coming from? No, I don't really think I can. I have known a lot of other people coming from the same place, but it is hard for me to comprehend, because that's not the Lord I know....

Yes--you are absolutely correct, turning your life over to God/Jesus is a huge decision. It does and should change your life--your entire outlook on what life is all about. But I can't really understand the.... I'd almost say fear that God would make you suddenly change everything in your life.

God, I have found, is remarkably patient with His children--especially those of us still "in diapers" so to speak. But even when you've been a Christian for 30+ years (like I have...yes, I am old :blushhap: ), God doesn't usually force the issue of change. Remember, He knows all about what it means to be human. Not only did He make us the way we are, He lived as one of us--for an entire lifetime.

Could He ask you to suddenly begin working with the poor, or tithing beyond your means, or .... Yes, He could. But there is really only one thing the He really wants you to give Him. Yourself. To what gain? For Him? He gets to have his daughter with Him for eternity. Would you ask your children for anything more?

The service, which you are correct not enough of us "get," is not a requirement in Christianity, but a response. A response that is absolutely vital to faith, for "faith without works is 'dead.'" We cannot truly say we have given ourselves to God if we will not run to join Him wherever we see Him at work. As His eyes and hands and feet in the world, we need to be active in serving others--not to get into heaven, but to show our love for Him, and for all His sons and daughters on the earth (especially those who do not yet know Him).

That's my thinking, anyway. Don't know if any of it makes sense, or helps, or just raises more questions....:hug:

HisBlood
Feb 21st 2008, 01:43 AM
Hey, Wildy!

I just wanted to duck in here and answer these questions you had!


Well, I should be giving up my free will to do the will of God. What if God is not content with me trying to be a good wife and mother?

He probably won't be. As others have said, he yearns for you to accept Jesus. Will he ask you to completely turn your life around, sell your house, and go to the mission field? Maybe, but he may just want you to stay and be a good wife and mother.


What if I should be tithing? How do I afford my childcare costs if I do?

My parents were in bankruptcy. They had to draw up a budget for the courts for the proccedings. They put tithing on there and the lawyer said that they needed to take it off becuase it would send them under again. My parents refused and chose to put their faith in God. Today, we are on strong financial ground. They're sending me to college and building a house. We're not rich, but we get by easier than we did.


What if God calls me into working with the needy? How do I fit this in with my other commitments?

God will provide everything for you. Just when you think you don't have enough time, he gives you more.


Christianity is not about "getting me saved" so that I can feel good about being one of the gang. It's about choosing to serve God. Service requires deeds not words, or I wouldn't be a Christian at all. I could say the right stuff now and live a life of trying to be a good person - but I know loads of nice people who don't profess to be Christian, and loads of "Christians" who apparently have forgotten the service bit! It's not just about what do I stand to gain, but can I really give? And am I prepared to give my life to God, for what gain?

You are dead center on all of this. You stand to gain eternity. Isn't that a wonderful, amazing gift?

watchinginawe
Feb 21st 2008, 07:17 AM
I read the passage WatchinginAwe suggested, and it's interesting. The thing that still seems a bit spur-of-the-moment for a life changing decision is the whole "yup I've heard about God so now I'm gonna get me baptised" thing.

Becoming a follower of Christ has to change your life.This is what I liked about the passage. First, the Eunuch fits your description of someone who didn't need to experience despair to find Jesus. But, more importantly, we can recognize:

1) The Eunuch was already on his way back from a trip to worship God in Jerusalem. :hmm: He was already seeking God and believed He could be found in Jerusalem. He apparently had taken the care to prepare his travel and make his way. He was sincere. But I guess he was leaving Jerusalem still wanting.

2) The Eunuch was blessed. He managed the Queen's treasure! I wouldn't doubt that this may be one of the reasons he sought God to worship Him. I admire that. I wish I had come to God that way. But noooooo, I had to insult God first, blaspheme, etc. :blush:

3) The Eunuch had a scroll of the book of Isaiah. How rare indeed! He was educated and able to read, but even after journeying to Jerusalem, the book seemed a puzzle to him.

4) MOST IMPORTANT: God took notice of the Eunuch and his desire to seek Him. God put into place all that was necessary to bring the Gospel to the Eunuch, including the Evangelist Philiip. This wasn't just a spur of the moment life changing encounter, but rather one that had it's appointment made back in Ethiopia.

5) The Eunuch's journey to worship God was fulfilled in the Gospel of Jesus Christ and this made the puzzling book (the scroll of Isaiah) understandable and clear, his baptism affirmed his belief, and the whole enounter brought rejoicing to him because his journey was successful and he had found the Lord!

Now wildy, if you were to submit to God tonight I don't think any one here would think you just rushed headlong into a life changing encounter. :spin: I bet the mellon folks at the grocery hide when they see you coming. :) It was the same way with the Eunuch. The Eunuch desired to find and worship God and had gone to great care to seek him out and God had set the wheels in motion to satisfy his desire.

I think the Eunuch's life was changed.

God Bless!

Wilderness
Feb 21st 2008, 06:43 PM
Duh! Why didn't I get that first time around?! Thanks for taking the time to explain that to me WatchinginAwe.

No time to post more at the mo (pregnant lady gone from zero to starving hungry in 30 seconds flat. I gotta eat!) Will catch the rest of you later.

Thanks again folk. :hug:

Wildy

A Seeker
Feb 21st 2008, 07:51 PM
Hey Y'all


Thanks again folk.

From me as well.

And particular thanks to Lawrencedreaming who's post lifted my spirits considerably. I LOVE to see Christians who are so obviously honest with themselves. It raises the bar for all of us.

Triumphalism is great. Love to see it and its a wholesome thing. But too much of it can get cloying and its often not what you need if you are searching (or seeking;)).

Anyway, just wanted to say thans to everybody.

Seeker
(aka hubby).

kayte
Feb 23rd 2008, 12:18 AM
Hi Wildy! You do indeed ask great questions.

I'm not sure if I would say that I came to the Lord under distress or not. Things certainly weren't perfect, in fact I'd made a real mess of life, but I was used to it. Know what I mean? I didn't give my life to Him so He would 'fix it'. It was more like I had a growing curiosity about God that just wouldn't quit. I didn't have anyone to go through the Bible with me or answer questions. (I think I would have loved this site back then!) When I read it, I admit that most of it didn't make plain sense to me and I'd often quit, frustrated or bored.

One night it just seemed right. I still wasn't sure, but it seemed right, and so I prayed. It was along the lines of "Jesus, IF You're real and IF You're God and IF You died for me... please forgive me and make me Your own." And He did.

That may sound whacky, but let me ask you... why did you marry seeker? Did it come to a point where it just seemed right?
Why did you have children? Did motherhood just seem right to you? Even knowing that it (and marriage) would undeniably change your life forever? Knowing that being a wife and a mother is very often HARD and requires giving up yourself? Knowing that you would in a very real sense be a servant... the one that gets up in the middle of the night to feed and change a baby. The one that will stay up late, waiting for your child to get home. The one that cleans up throw-up and does the laundry, has to discipline, dry tears, knows your own heart will break when theirs does, etc., and yet we willingly say YES! I want that!

For myself, love was the driving force and love zapped the word 'servant' and altered it completely. I loved my husband before I married him (pretty much, sort of, kind of), but after 30 years of marriage I can say that I am madly passionately in love with him and he is with me. My life responds to his love and reflects that love. It's the same with the Lord.

Something else I've seen you say several times is that you've encountered Christians that keep you from becoming one because you don't want to be anything like that. I totally get that and felt the same way myself. But I found out that it isn't about being like them... it's about being like Him and Him only.

I also knew a lot of couples that had really bad marriages. Horrible marriages. But that didn't stop me from being married. I knew a lot of really bad parents and some kids that frankly frightened me to death thinking I could have a kid like that! :lol: But it didn't stop me from having children.

All of these are huge decisions... life altering. It's good to count the cost, but not good to let the cost prevent us from experiencing the best that life offers, like being a wife and mom. I thought I had life when I just had those. Once I met Jesus it was like a part of me that I didn't even know was dead, came to life (which is exactly what happened.)

Yikes, I'm getting rambly.
God bless, wildy! :hug:

Wilderness
Mar 11th 2008, 01:52 PM
Apologies that I didn't get back to this sooner - I've had a couple of dodgy weeks and not really any chance to check in.

Thank you Judi and Kayte - good answers and very thought provoking. You're right - I wouldn't expect much in return from my daughter and no she doesn't have to earn my love (even if she does test it occasionally! Mind you as a toddler that probably says more about me than her!!!). As for Seeker - I just knew. Any doubts that I had that I was doing the right thing in marrying him were dispelled by knowing how much he loved me, and that he only wants me to be happy. The only problem that I have really with this, is that I was already in a relationship with him that I could trust. It is difficult to trust that God loves me more than Seeker can when I don't have that background relationship, and I can't see so easily what God is doing for me. Seeker is the one who brings me tea, and is doing more than his share of the chores at the moment, but then I guess it was God who gave me Seeker..... Aargh. Brain overload!!!

Kayte - it's so nice to see a straightforward testimony. It's reassuring to me that there are others who have had a nagging pull towards God, rather than the few who seem to have had real revelations, or those who have grown up always being a Christian and so don't really remember it being a decision. What you said in your post really struck a chord. God seems to keep tapping me on the shoulder as if to say "I'm still here. I want to get to know you better" but then I end up busy and get distracted again. You're also right that in becoming a Christian the real role model is Jesus Himself, but it does trouble me that there are so many Christians I know who don't appear to be very Christian - and would I know the difference? I know that's whatthe Holy Spirit is for - to guide us, but surely these Christians who do so little for the reputation of the religion believe with all their hearts that they too are being guided by the Holy Spirit.

Anyway. Thank you. You guys have really helped again!

Wildy :hug:

Brother Mark
Mar 11th 2008, 02:42 PM
Hiya folk.

I've been pondering the Christianity question (again!) and Seeker can't help me with my latest thoughts.

You see, I'm looking for a role model. I've heard soooo many testimonials from people for whom God/Jesus saved them at the most desperate time of their lives. What I really haven't heard much of are stories of ordinary folk, for whom the biggest trial of their life is getting the laundry dry when it rains, or the toddler has had a bad week of tantrums, who found God when washing carrot puree out of the toddler's hair. Is this because God prioritises the saving of those in real need? Is it because people need to be desperate in order to need a higher power (no such thing as an atheist in a fox-hole!)? Seeker won't mind me sharing that his most powerful experience of God was at a particularly difficult time in his life, and the type of church that he is drawn to tends to pick up a lot of the congregation from our local rehab facility (the two things are not connected!) so most of the other Christians I know have found Christ through the depths of despair. From a psychological point of view, to keep our sanity do we not all turn to some form of "higher power" at those times as a way of making sense of what feels so unfair at the time? A sort of self-preservation instinct?

I'm still finding the Bible difficult to read - I wish God had produced an autobiographical novel, as opposed to different view points that tell different parts of the story! At least Grisham has a start, a middle and an end, and so yes, the devil is tempting me away from the Good Book, to Grisham's latest good book! The Bible is just not talking to me right now, and I'm wondering if I should wait for God for a few months until my son is born, so that I can hit suicidal desperation point sometime in the wee small hours when it feels as though I've not slept for a month (because I probably won't have done!!!) Thing is, I'd to be honest, I'd rather skip the desperate and suicidal bit, but from the testimonials I've heard it sounds like an inevitability on the road to Him. Is that the case for everyone?

Help please!

Wildy.

Try reading some of the OT books like 1 and 2 Samuel or 1&2 Kings. Perhaps the book of Genesis and Joshua or Judges. Those books are very entertaining and full of great stories! You might even find an example you are looking for in there. Ruth and Esther are also awesome books.

Drums4Him
Mar 15th 2008, 09:27 PM
Wilderness, When I came to the Lord, all was well with me in the natural world. I was 19, and seemed to have my life under control. I really didn't but thought so at the time. I was invited to church by a friend, and my curiosity grew from there. I couldn't believe the love that I felt there, (I was raised Catholic, and never felt this at Mass.) The whole idea of Jesus and becoming a Christian became something that I was very drawn to, relentlessly pulling me, but the worldly life seemed to prevent me from taking the step. The devil lied to me (what else is new?) telling me that I was young and there were so many worldly adventures out there for me to enjoy, why tie myself down to Christianity? He told me stuff like Christians have to be sinless after being saved. There was this back and forth see-saw action going on. I would try to make half hearted attempts, trying to circumnavigate a real commitment to the Lord, but I knew deep in my heart that only a true submission to the Lord would work. The Lord had a plan for my life, strange as it was, and here I am today saved and baptized. Long story short, I was not in turmoil, thought I had it all but in reality had nothing until I came to Him.

Wilderness
Mar 16th 2008, 08:15 PM
Thanks for sharing that Midyrvette. But what point was it that made you make that commitment? I've been a yo-yo for a few years now - feeling that pull and then something happening and moving away again. What made you make that commitment?

I'm really interested, because like I say so many folk I have spoken to have been on their knees (in more ways than one!) when they have found Jesus, so the commitment was somewhat easier to make.

Thanks.

Wildy :hug:

DanDMan64
Mar 19th 2008, 11:40 PM
...Well, I should be giving up my free will to do the will of God. What if God is not content with me trying to be a good wife and mother? What if I should be tithing? How do I afford my childcare costs if I do? What if God calls me into working with the needy? How do I fit this in with my other commitments? Christianity is not about "getting me saved" so that I can feel good about being one of the gang. It's about choosing to serve God. Service requires deeds not words, or I wouldn't be a Christian at all. I could say the right stuff now and live a life of trying to be a good person - but I know loads of nice people who don't profess to be Christian, and loads of "Christians" who apparently have forgotten the service bit! It's not just about what do I stand to gain, but can I really give? And am I prepared to give my life to God, for what gain?...Of everything you've argued here, I feel this is the thing I need to respond to first. You say "...am I prepared to give my life to God, for what gain?" How about eternal life?, as opposed to eternal death. I hate to use the "Scare people into salvation bit" but sometimes that's the only thing that people like you, people who seem to have everything figured-out, who have a perfect reason for not serving God mostly based on the bad examples of other "Christians", will respond to, even-though in your case it probably won't work, but let me give it a try anyway because it worked for me.

Basically this is what we're talking about when we talk about "salvation", salvation from what?, yes "Hell", eternal torment of the "physical kind" in an eternal body that will never die, yet the worst part about Hell is not the torment, but the knowledge that you had a chance while you were alive on earth to not end-up there, and yet you allowed Satan to trick you into believing you were sooo reasonable, soooo intellectual, soooo full of wisdom, sooo cleaver in your argumentative skills that you managed to refute every argument from those well meaning folks that were trying to keep you from getting there, and you just fell for it hook line and sinker, and there you are sunk in the eternal flames of the lake of fire, along with the devils who only wanted to make sure you ended-up there with them.:cry:

Notice in this post I keep using the word "ETERNAL" this is totally intentional, Eternity is not temporal, as this life on earth is, and therefore even the longest life lived on this earth in servitude of oneself just so you can "enjoy" all the meaningless foolishness this world calls "happiness" can not be ever compared with the real "Joy" of spending eternity in the presence of the Loving God who prepared a place for us there, considering the alternative.

I'm sorry, I know this doesn't seem very loving on my part, but on the contrary I'm telling you this with my heart in my hand. You see, regardless of how wonderful you think your life is right now, and how much you'll have to "give-up" if you decide to hear God's calling and give your heart to Him, without trying to rationalize all the reasons why you shouldn't, ultimately the fact of the matter is you don't know when your number is going to be up, you keep thinking there's always going to be another chance, that you're going to have time to figure everything out before you're ready to commit, surely a loving God would not allow you to go to Hell, that's just for bad people, (define bad people) that's just for criminals, (define criminal), that's just for hypocrites (define hypocrite).

No my dear friend, we have no such assurance of a next day, or a next hour or a next minute for that matter, death could be at your door right now, the Bible says in Hebrews 3:15 "While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation."

Please, think about this, because it sounds to me you are only thinking of how "inconvenient" it will be for you to fit God into your life, so what happens when life as you know it is over?, then you'll just accept your place in Hell for all eternity and endure eternal torment comforting yourself with the thought of "well at least I got to live my 80 or so years on earth without that pesky God getting in my way". This is why I can't understand why anyone would want to reject such a loving God, that gave His own life-up and suffered our punishment so we could have eternal life (John 3:16) with Him, and enjoy the joys and benefits of His company and protection not just for eternity but even in the here and now?:pp

Just FYI and in case Seeker hasn't explained this to you, there is NOTHING YOU NEED TO DO to please God or gain His favor, He already did all the work for you, this is what we call GRACE, "8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast." Ephesians 5:8-9. So if you're worried about all that God is going to demand of you if you chose to serve Him, then quit worrying, He doesn't need anything from you, other than for you to give Him a few minutes every day to let Him love you like the loving Father that He is, and to keep Him in your thoughts constantly. So are you worried you won't be "good enough"? probably not, will you be able to love Him back the same way? probably not, will you stumble and fall back into unbelief? you might, there are no guarantees, but regardless it's not about your faithfulness or ability to serve Him, it's about His ability to be faithful to you and keep pulling you back into His loving arms every time you reach-out to Him, "6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:" Philippians 1:6.:hug:

It all comes down to this, as Bod Dylan said "You've got to serve somebody, it might be the devil, and it might be The Lord, but you've gotta serve somebody." So please stop making-up excuses, you know the truth, you know the way, you know what you need to do, you know you have everything to gain and yes, you may have to give yourself-up in the process, but why is that such a bad thing? isn't the promise of eternal life, and one that you can start experiencing right now, worth it to you?:hmm:

I don't know what else to tell you, there's no in between, there's only light and darkness, and we only get this life to make the choice, as a child of the light you might think I'm biased, but I've had enough darkness in my life to tell you even if there wasn't a Hell to be saved from, I'd still choose the light.;)

Wilderness
Mar 20th 2008, 09:29 PM
Ah, the turn or burn argument. Help me out here Seeker, but what's the verse that gets me saved on your ticket?

You see Dan, the "terrifying non-Christians into belief with stories of hell" would only work if the Muslims weren't telling us that the only way to paradise is through Allah, and that the Jews would consider the only way to heaven to be through their religion, the Buddist view of Utopia....... You see Christians are the only ones marketing their faith as being the "real" way things are. Good grief - I mean have you seen the threads on Scientology??!!!!!

According to a variety of threads I have started to understand the word of God I need to be a Christian, because without accepting Jesus I won't be filled with the Holy Spirit and so I won't understand the real meaning of the Bible. However, pretty much every thread will quote scripture at me and tell me to read my Bible and then I'll understand. Bit of a circular argument.


I hate to use the "Scare people into salvation bit" but sometimes that's the only thing that people like you....


even-though in your case it probably won't work

Gosh you know me so well for one who has never conversed with me, or participated in my previous threads. You're right it won't work on me. It would have more gravitas if there wasn't the vaguest possibility that you could be wrong. Incidentally, I don't expect Christians "like you" ;) to understand that some non-believers do actually consider that you might be wrong! If you'd read any of my previous posts you'd realise that one of the things that I am aware of is that I am looking for faith on the basis of serving God, and not on the basis of all that I gain. If I was just after the membership badge I'd have "converted" ages ago.


Eternity is not temporal

Yup I know. That's scary IF YOU'RE RIGHT ABOUT ALL THIS! The worrying thing is that there could be Christians in heaven that aren't actually christian. That would equally count as hell for me, so I guess I'm damned regardless.


Just FYI and in case Seeker hasn't explained this to you, there is NOTHING YOU NEED TO DO to please God or gain His favor, He already did all the work for you, this is what we call GRACE

That I understand already, without assistance from Seeker or otherwise. I understand all the theory. I understand the principles but I've just never felt anything. Therefore I have no reason to believe that my understanding of God is not just a psychological comfort for me to blank out the otherwise futile nature of our existance. Here's a thought though - we none of us KNOW we're right about our choice of theism - that's why they call it FAITH. For all I or you know all we have for eternity is a bunch of worms turning us back into our molecular composition and making your tithing (assuming you do?) and my apparent stupid selfishness is not accepting God's grace of equal value and importance. And I get to lie in bed on a Sunday morning if I fancy it!

I believe in God. I struggle with why I should seek a relationship with Him directly and where Jesus fits into that personal relationship. I also struggle with the concept that to be a Christian (note the big C it's important) I need to also be a christian (see - small c!). The first is the membership badge, the second demonstrates that I live the faith rather than profess it. That means service to God because faith without works and all that?! If I just believe and assume that God only wants me to love Him to save me it's a bit empty and actually selfish, calculating and NON-SCRIPTURAL!


I didn't intend this post to sound like a rant. I'm pregnant, hormonal and passionate about people "choosing" their faith for the right reasons. Christianity shouldn't be a social club that you join without taking up the rest of the scripture and living your faith through works. I know Christians who are anything but christian. THAT is why the turn or burn argument doesn't work for me. Or maybe being Christian is not enough to get you into heaven, in which case the fact that I have been told that I am christian may just get me a chance when I'm thrown to the pearly gates to justify myself to St Peter......

OK pregnant hormonal bird is going to eat ice cream, apologise to God incase he got the wrong idea about this post and thinks that I don't believe in Him, and generally get over being patronised by your post. I know you believe that you're trying to save my soul so I forgive you that.

God my apologies, I've been hoping for a message that would speak to my soul, and yet I struggle to find you behind whichever door I open. I just don't how we can move our relationship onwards from my awe of you to something that I can feel working in my life on a daily basis...... And I guess you don't have broadband, so maybe this ain't the right door either.....

Love and blessings

Wildy :hug:

Tanya~
Mar 20th 2008, 09:42 PM
Hi Wildy,


According to a variety of threads I have started to understand the word of God I need to be a Christian, because without accepting Jesus I won't be filled with the Holy Spirit and so I won't understand the real meaning of the Bible. However, pretty much every thread will quote scripture at me and tell me to read my Bible and then I'll understand. Bit of a circular argument.

You will hear a lot of things, not all of which are Biblically supported. The Bible isn't something that is incomprehensible apart from the Holy Spirit. The words and sentences in the Bible are like those in other books. They mean what they say according to the context.

If someone quotes Scripture to you, it is to support something that is said, and the expectation is that you would understand the Scripture. Sometimes as I read your posts, I get the sense that you're overthinking it... making it much more complicated than it needs to be. It's really a matter of whether you will choose to believe and accept the gospel, or not.

It is wise to count the cost. Most people don't consider that there is a cost to discipleship. If you have decided that you are not willing to pay the price, then that's your choice. It is like this guy:


Mark 10:17-22

Now as He was going out on the road, one came running, knelt before Him, and asked Him, "Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?"

18 So Jesus said to him, "Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. 19 You know the commandments: 'Do not commit adultery,' 'Do not murder,' 'Do not steal,' 'Do not bear false witness,' 'Do not defraud,' 'Honor your father and your mother.'"

20 And he answered and said to Him, "Teacher, all these things I have kept from my youth."

21 Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, "One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me."

22 But he was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
NKJV
The idea here is not that everyone who wants to come to Christ is required to sell everything they have and give it to the poor. With this particular person, Jesus got right to the heart of the matter. He was a good and decent guy. But he loved the world more than Christ, and he wasn't willing to trade the world for Christ. So, he went away sad. It was his decision, and he made it.

DanDMan64
Mar 21st 2008, 12:58 AM
Ah, the turn or burn argument. Help me out here Seeker, but what's the verse that gets me saved on your ticket?Yes Seeker, I'd like to see that verse, cause I'm sure what ever it is you're getting the interpretation of it totally wrong. The only one I can think of that comes close to that is 1st Corinthians 7:14 "For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy." If this is the one, this is no free meal ticket. "Sanctification" is not the same as "Salvation", as if to say "the unbelieving partner is automatically saved when the other partner gets saved", all this is saying is that the whole family benefits from the blessings that come upon the life of a believer when he/she yields to become a partaker in God's favor for His children. "Says you" you might say, so let me give you another passage to prove it's so, assuming you believe in the authority of The Bible. Verse 16 says. "7:16 For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife?", If sanctification and salvation were the same, there would be no need for this verse to be there, or would read differently, such as "For you know, O wife, that your sanctified state has already saved your husband. Or you, O man, that because you are sanctified you have already won your wife's salvation." I know you'd like to believe that is the case, but salvation doesn't work that way, each one of us has to decide whether to believe and accept the gospel message individually, kinship has nothing to do with it.


You see Dan, the "terrifying non-Christians into belief with stories of hell" would only work if the Muslims weren't telling us that the only way to paradise is through Allah, and that the Jews would consider the only way to heaven to be through their religion, the Buddist view of Utopia....... You see Christians are the only ones marketing their faith as being the "real" way things are. Good grief - I mean have you seen the threads on Scientology??!!!!!First of, rationalizing "hell" as being just a "story", a fable, a fantasy, a made-up fairy tale to scare us bad little children into behaving, does not in any way negate the "fact" of it's existence, any more than rationalizing the earth is flat negate the fact that when you sail-off the horizon you don't fall off the edge. Secondly, unlike the Muslims, the Buddhists, and Scientology, Christianity and Judaism are the only "religions" (boy I hate that term!) that use prophets, that actually prophecy future events with 100% accuracy, to prove the source of their foreknowledge to be real, and thus make the Bible a truly reliable source for understanding the will of a very real living God; so if God uses the Bible to speak to us His will, His message about how to get right with Him so we can be saved must me the only real way to do it. Which as I said before has nothing to do with doing any works, it's all about Jesus Christ, that's the way. The Jews by the way got saved by faith in God's promise of an ultimate sacrifice to be provided by God at a future time, (Jesus Christ), we get saved by accepting that ultimate sacrifice in a past sense, (Jesus Christ).

According to a variety of threads I have started to understand the word of God I need to be a Christian, because without accepting Jesus I won't be filled with the Holy Spirit and so I won't understand the real meaning of the Bible. However, pretty much every thread will quote scripture at me and tell me to read my Bible and then I'll understand. Bit of a circular argument. Yes it is, and I apologize on behalf of all my well meaning brethren, they speak the truth in love because they're already inside the "circle" and forget that people outside the circle need a little bit more guidance than that. So let me explain it a different way. God is a Spirit, He made us and gave us of His spirit, our spirit "died" because of sin, so all we had to go on was physical senses and mental logical reasoning, which is all we need to exist on this logical physical world. However God wants to "revive" our spirit so our fellowship with Him can be restored, so He selected a few men whose spirit He revived to put a plan of restoration into effect, and to use them to tell the rest of us how to get back into fellowship with Him, we call that revelation "The Bible" and it's a book inspired by The Holy Spirit through men whose spirit had been revived. In the Bible God said He would take care of everything to make sure we can have our fellowship with Him restored, and that's through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, this plan becomes clear at some point in our lives when our spirit is called-out by His spirit to hear the message and accept it. However there are two forces working against our spirits to allow us to hear that calling clearly so we can accept it, one is our logical physical minds that insist in being able to "see" everything before they can acknowledge them as being real, the second is a bunch of spiritual forces that take advantage of the fact we can't see them to give us alternate reasons for why it's better not to accept and believe the message. And thus here we are, we who have accepted the message and the plan and are determined to make sure others can understand it clearly, and those like you who feel you need more time because you think somehow this is too good to be true and there must be a catch to it somewhere. An unfortunately the rules are everyone has to make the choice on their own.


Gosh you know me so well for one who has never conversed with me, or participated in my previous threads. You're right it won't work on me. It would have more gravitas if there wasn't the vaguest possibility that you could be wrong. Incidentally, I don't expect Christians "like you" ;) to understand that some non-believers do actually consider that you might be wrong! If you'd read any of my previous posts you'd realise that one of the things that I am aware of is that I am looking for faith on the basis of serving God, and not on the basis of all that I gain. If I was just after the membership badge I'd have "converted" ages ago.I know you so well because I used to be just like you, and unfortunately it did take a "wake-up" call from God to make realize how much all my reasonings and fears were just excuses for not doing what in my heart I knew was right. So I'm sorry to say I'm not that "role model" you're speaking of, and I know you probably won't be convinced until you get your wake-up call either, but it doesn't hurt me any to try to reach you now so that perhaps you can become that "role model", that will say to others, "Hey I came to God even-though He didn't have to do anything harsh or supernatural to make me believe in Him, I just did and there He was." When you get to that point then I won't need to convince you that I'm not wrong, not one bit of doubt in my heart that I'm not, I have doubts about some minor things in my Christian walk, but none about the reality of My God, His Son Jesus Christ, or His Holy Spirit, and the certainty that His Word is true, that we are eternal beings that have to make a choice right now as to where we're going to spend our eternity, and that Hell and Heaven are the only two choices.


Yup I know. That's scary IF YOU'RE RIGHT ABOUT ALL THIS! The worrying thing is that there could be Christians in heaven that aren't actually christian. That would equally count as hell for me, so I guess I'm damned regardless.Oh I know I'm right, but I also can assure you of this, there won't be anybody in heaven that didn't earn the right to be there, regardless of what their "badge" is, "Christian" or otherwise. And all who will end-up in hell, will only get there because they dammed themselves to get there, through unbelief and hardness of heart. :cry:


That I understand already, without assistance from Seeker or otherwise. I understand all the theory. I understand the principles but I've just never felt anything. Therefore I have no reason to believe that my understanding of God is not just a psychological comfort for me to blank out the otherwise futile nature of our existance. Here's a thought though - we none of us KNOW we're right about our choice of theism - that's why they call it FAITH. For all I or you know all we have for eternity is a bunch of worms turning us back into our molecular composition and making your tithing (assuming you do?) and my apparent stupid selfishness is not accepting God's grace of equal value and importance. And I get to lie in bed on a Sunday morning if I fancy it!I understand, but you see, faith is just the first step, once you're spirit becomes alive again and you connect to The Spirit, He'll take over in the measure that you allow Him to take over, but it's not about "feeling" anything, at least not at first. By the way I do tithe, but I know my salvation, or yours for that matter, is not dependent on the things that you do or don't do, that has more to do with wanting to be rewarded in heaven for being obedient to the leading of The Spirit, so if you don't want to tithe or go to church, if that's what's keeping you from making the decision, then don't worry about it, but somehow I know that if you're serious about wanting to be faithful to God, that won't be a problem for you.


I believe in God. I struggle with why I should seek a relationship with Him directly and where Jesus fits into that personal relationship. I also struggle with the concept that to be a Christian (note the big C it's important) I need to also be a christian (see - small c!). The first is the membership badge, the second demonstrates that I live the faith rather than profess it. That means service to God because faith without works and all that?! If I just believe and assume that God only wants me to love Him to save me it's a bit empty and actually selfish, calculating and NON-SCRIPTURAL!You should seek a relationship with Him because that's how most all of these questions you have will get answered, Jesus Christ is the way by which you can enter into that relationship, by accepting He paid your price of entry, because He's the only one that could, and He is God, The trinity is a mystery and a hard concept to understand, even I struggle with that one, but some things you just have to accept and believe that when we get to heaven it will all make sense. God's family is not a club, it's a family, do you expect your children to have to do anything but be born before you can call them your children? neither does God, and would you rather your children love you on their own or you have to force them to love you, neither does God.

I'm going to have to go now, you gave me a lot to chew on here and I already stayed too long at work to reply to you, but I don't mind I think it was worth it. I'll address the rest of your arguments tomorrow unless you ask me to give-up, or I sense it's not helping.

In the love of Christ, Dan.:hug:

Drums4Him
Mar 21st 2008, 02:56 PM
Thanks for sharing that Midyrvette. But what point was it that made you make that commitment? I've been a yo-yo for a few years now - feeling that pull and then something happening and moving away again. What made you make that commitment?

I'm really interested, because like I say so many folk I have spoken to have been on their knees (in more ways than one!) when they have found Jesus, so the commitment was somewhat easier to make.

Thanks.

Wildy :hug:

I guess I wanted what I thought everyone else in the church had, a relationship with Jesus. I wanted to feel the fire. I said the sinners prayer, which was what I was told would get me saved, that was the way salvation was preached back in the day when I was a young man. One day I responded to an altar call, and that was it. My testimony takes a bit of a turn here, but to answer your question, I came to Him because it seemed like everywhere I would go there would be a reminder of why I should have a relationship with Him. I wasn't a alcoholic or drug addict lying in the gutter, I have never heard the audible voice of Jesus talking to me, Jesus never came to me in a dream and took me to meet the saints in Heaven...no, I don't have a testimony like that. What I do know now that I didn't fully grasp back then is this: God sent His only son Jesus who was the perfect sinless sacrifice for our sins to die on the cross, to bear the sins of the world past and present, to pay that sin debt so that whomever believes in Jesus would be saved from eternal punishment. At my ripe old age of 54, wouldn't come to Jesus if I were just looking for a spiritual high, love and joy, no that would not be the right reason for me, even though that comes when you are walking in obedience to God. I would come to Him because I don't want to spend eternity in Hell, and I hope you don't either, I want to spend it with Him. My Christian life is a process of trying to be more like Jesus and repentance when I stray. Sorry to ramble but I hope this helps......

DanDMan64
Mar 21st 2008, 08:03 PM
...That means service to God because faith without works and all that?! "Faith without works is dead", is not about proving you're "In the faith" (as in the concept of the Christian religion faith, (Boy I really, really hate that term!)), by doing a bunch of good works; That's talking about showing you have faith by putting it into practice and thus proving, "it's not dead" by showing that, for example, God has power to heal the sick because you exercise your faith in that by praying for the sick and they get healed, do you see the difference?

As I said before, good works done just for the sake of doing good works to try to please God will never gain His favor, in facts He says all our righteous acts are as filthy rags if they don't have the right motivation behind them, which is Love that flows from His own Spirit but expects nothing in return.

...If I just believe and assume that God only wants me to love Him to save me it's a bit empty and actually selfish, calculating and NON-SCRIPTURAL!Please explain this thought, do you mean God is selfish and calculating? or you as the one giving the love would feel selfish and calculating? and is there a particular SCRIPTURE you have in mind?

...I didn't intend this post to sound like a rant. I'm pregnant, hormonal and passionate about people "choosing" their faith for the right reasons. I don't blame you, hormonal or not I know it's my fault you feel obligated to defend your thoughts, and I apologize, that's no way to treat a lady, pregnant or otherwise, but I too feel passionate about people choosing their faith for the right reasons, my problem is, because I know that my faith is right and will lead to eternal life, I see a whole world of people that Jesus Loves and died for to save, happily thinking that they have chosen the right faith and being dammed for eternity for rejecting His sacrifice.

Christianity shouldn't be a social club that you join without taking up the rest of the scripture and living your faith through works. I know Christians who are anything but christian. THAT is why the turn or burn argument doesn't work for me. Or maybe being Christian is not enough to get you into heaven, in which case the fact that I have been told that I am christian may just get me a chance when I'm thrown to the pearly gates to justify myself to St Peter......I agree about the "social club" part, as I said before it's supposed to be a family, and through Scripture you're supposed to learn that works is not the key, relationship between the parent and the children is the key, works is just a by-product of that loving relationship. Unfortunately there are many "tares" among the wheat fields of The Lord, but please don't judge the wheat by the tares, their job is to distract you so you don't see the fire that's awaiting them as well as you unless you accept God's gift of salvation, it's-up to you if you choose not to believe there will be a fire, my job is to point you to the exit signs, that's all I can do.

OK pregnant hormonal bird is going to eat ice cream, apologies to God incase he got the wrong idea about this post and thinks that I don't believe in Him, and generally get over being patronised by your post. I know you believe that you're trying to save my soul so I forgive you that.And apologies to God from me too for sounding patronizing, or I admit it, actually being patronizing, but I was just trying to be used by Him to speak to you because both Him and myself do love you and want to save your soul, so I thank you for understanding that I'm only human.

God my apologies, I've been hoping for a message that would speak to my soul, and yet I struggle to find you behind whichever door I open. I just don't how we can move our relationship onwards from my awe of you to something that I can feel working in my life on a daily basis...... And I guess you don't have broadband, so maybe this ain't the right door either.....That sounds like a prayer to Him so I won't comment on that, other than to pray for you that He will answer it, if not though my comments perhaps through some other means, or another servant better fit to lead you to Him, a better "role model". And thanks for the hugs, here's more :hug: back at cha!

IWalkWithHim
Mar 22nd 2008, 12:06 PM
I guess I wanted what I thought everyone else in the church had, a relationship with Jesus. I wanted to feel the fire. I said the sinners prayer, which was what I was told would get me saved, that was the way salvation was preached back in the day when I was a young man. One day I responded to an altar call, and that was it. My testimony takes a bit of a turn here, but to answer your question, I came to Him because it seemed like everywhere I would go there would be a reminder of why I should have a relationship with Him. I wasn't a alcoholic or drug addict lying in the gutter, I have never heard the audible voice of Jesus talking to me, Jesus never came to me in a dream and took me to meet the saints in Heaven...no, I don't have a testimony like that. What I do know now that I didn't fully grasp back then is this: God sent His only son Jesus who was the perfect sinless sacrifice for our sins to die on the cross, to bear the sins of the world past and present, to pay that sin debt so that whomever believes in Jesus would be saved from eternal punishment. At my ripe old age of 54, wouldn't come to Jesus if I were just looking for a spiritual high, love and joy, no that would not be the right reason for me, even though that comes when you are walking in obedience to God. I would come to Him because I don't want to spend eternity in Hell, and I hope you don't either, I want to spend it with Him. My Christian life is a process of trying to be more like Jesus and repentance when I stray. Sorry to ramble but I hope this helps......

This is a lot like my story too. Although you have me by 20 years my friend, I did the same thing you did at the age of 16. For me, deep down in my soul I always knew that their was a God. Not because my parents told me (well, my mom because my Dad wasn't at the time) or friends or anything like that. I just knew it for myself. So at 16, I respnded to the alter call too. I wasn't on cloud 9 or laid out in the spirit. I wasn't struggling with life or being picked on as a kid either. It was just something that I wanted to do because it seemed right.

Not long after that, I left and went to the Army. And WILED OUT!! I was cursing like like crazy, being with different women, living like a maniac and LOVING it. I was having so much fun!! By then, I wasn't praying hardly ever or reading a Bible, just doing me and whatever it was I wanted to do. But here's the weird thing. Despite all that fun, deep down I felt so empty inside. I thought maybe I was just crazy and that it was just my imagination so I just ignored it. One day, out of the blue, one of my friends asked me a life changing question. He simply asked me, "Why do you curse so much??" And he said it in a jokingly manner. But for the first time in my life, I didn't have a straight answer. It was then that that emptiness came full circle. I looked back over all the things that I did that I felt were meaningful or exciting and realized that none of those things ever really filled that void in myself. I couldn't fill it with hours and hours of basketball, I couldn't fill it by having sex, I couldn't fill it by playing spades until the sun came up, I couldn't fill it by acting crazy and having useless fun. I couldn't satisfy it no matter what I did. So as I pondered that question, I realized just how "unhappy" I really was and that all the things that I was doing were mearly distractions.

I'll write more later....

Drums4Him
Mar 22nd 2008, 03:42 PM
This is a lot like my story too. Although you have me by 20 years my friend, I did the same thing you did at the age of 16. For me, deep down in my soul I always knew that their was a God. Not because my parents told me (well, my mom because my Dad wasn't at the time) or friends or anything like that. I just knew it for myself. So at 16, I responded to the alter call too. I wasn't on cloud 9 or laid out in the spirit. I wasn't struggling with life or being picked on as a kid either. It was just something that I wanted to do because it seemed right.

Not long after that, I left and went to the Army. And WILED OUT!! I was cursing like like crazy, being with different women, living like a maniac and LOVING it. I was having so much fun!! By then, I wasn't praying hardly ever or reading a Bible, just doing me and whatever it was I wanted to do. But here's the weird thing. Despite all that fun, deep down I felt so empty inside. I thought maybe I was just crazy and that it was just my imagination so I just ignored it. One day, out of the blue, one of my friends asked me a life changing question. He simply asked me, "Why do you curse so much??" And he said it in a jokingly manner. But for the first time in my life, I didn't have a straight answer. It was then that that emptiness came full circle. I looked back over all the things that I did that I felt were meaningful or exciting and realized that none of those things ever really filled that void in myself. I couldn't fill it with hours and hours of basketball, I couldn't fill it by having sex, I couldn't fill it by playing spades until the sun came up, I couldn't fill it by acting crazy and having useless fun. I couldn't satisfy it no matter what I did. So as I pondered that question, I realized just how "unhappy" I really was and that all the things that I was doing were mearly distractions.

I'll write more later....

Yes, your path was similar to mine. You said it very well in your post. Through my 20's I partied, drank to excess, chased the girls......all with reckless abandon. Then in my 30's I thought that having nice things would fill the void, I would buy sports cars and houses to impress, but after awhile I would be bored and look for the next big thing. I broke up my marriage for another younger woman, I was just living for me, a real creep. It wasn't until later on in life that I truly repented, and came back to Christ. I now feel that all those years have been a waste! I could have been serving the Lord all those years. Life for me now is stressful at times, and things sometimes don't work out, but the difference is that I know He is with me and He will never leave! The void is filled. Good post, I walk with Him, looking forward to more from you.

ilovemetal
Mar 22nd 2008, 05:14 PM
Hiya folk.

I've been pondering the Christianity question (again!) and Seeker can't help me with my latest thoughts.

You see, I'm looking for a role model. I've heard soooo many testimonials from people for whom God/Jesus saved them at the most desperate time of their lives. What I really haven't heard much of are stories of ordinary folk, for whom the biggest trial of their life is getting the laundry dry when it rains, or the toddler has had a bad week of tantrums, who found God when washing carrot puree out of the toddler's hair. Is this because God prioritises the saving of those in real need? Is it because people need to be desperate in order to need a higher power (no such thing as an atheist in a fox-hole!)? Seeker won't mind me sharing that his most powerful experience of God was at a particularly difficult time in his life, and the type of church that he is drawn to tends to pick up a lot of the congregation from our local rehab facility (the two things are not connected!) so most of the other Christians I know have found Christ through the depths of despair. From a psychological point of view, to keep our sanity do we not all turn to some form of "higher power" at those times as a way of making sense of what feels so unfair at the time? A sort of self-preservation instinct?

I'm still finding the Bible difficult to read - I wish God had produced an autobiographical novel, as opposed to different view points that tell different parts of the story! At least Grisham has a start, a middle and an end, and so yes, the devil is tempting me away from the Good Book, to Grisham's latest good book! The Bible is just not talking to me right now, and I'm wondering if I should wait for God for a few months until my son is born, so that I can hit suicidal desperation point sometime in the wee small hours when it feels as though I've not slept for a month (because I probably won't have done!!!) Thing is, I'd to be honest, I'd rather skip the desperate and suicidal bit, but from the testimonials I've heard it sounds like an inevitability on the road to Him. Is that the case for everyone?

Help please!

Wildy.


If I were to give my life to God I should:

Make time to pray each day
Sumit yet more of my life to obeying my hubby
Read the Bible every day
Live out my faith through deeds not words - so I need to do stuff for other folk for God - no Sunday benchwarmer here!
Do what God says I should do - whether I want to or not. If not I risk being drowned at sea like Jonah was threatened with.

hey, i haven't read all the replies but heres my thoughts.

as far as self preservation instincts let me tell you a thing i heard. if a rabbit is in the forest, and cougar is running at it, and it can either run, or stand still and die, it's going to run, to live. but if it stays because it "believes' that a better life awaits, then it get's eatin, fine. but then the question is why would the same rabbit make up a worst place to go. essentually theres no reason for hell to exist.

and, from my own life, i haven't posted my testimony, but i'll tell you a short verson. actually i'll give you a quote...by cs lewis. "Dont let your happiness depend on something you may lose."

you've gotta take a step back and think what is happiness. have you ever felt really, truley happy, cuz i can say without Jesus, i haven't. thing is, people nowdays have been tricked into thinking possessions make them happy, but in reality they never will.

also, i guess, with those "shoulds" you said, the thing is when you know God they arn't shoulds but wants. you want to do those thigns, and so it's not like, awwww i have to pray again, or etc...

not tho say it's easy, cuz we all like ipods and sweet videogames and stuff, but yeah. i think i said everything i can think of. hope it helps. :D

kev

Wilderness
Mar 22nd 2008, 08:11 PM
rationalizing "hell" as being just a "story", a fable, a fantasy, a made-up fairy tale to scare us bad little children into behaving, does not in any way negate the "fact" of it's existence,

It's not a provable fact though is it? IF I chose not to heed your post now you couldn't show me evidence of the existance of hell from an independent source. Not like any of us have ever been there for a day trip!


why would the same rabbit make up a worst place to go. essentually theres no reason for hell to exist.

Yeah there is! Fire and brimstone sermons from the pulpit through the ages have kept the serfs in their place, stopped the poor getting above their station and kept some degree of sociological order through the ages.

However the existance or not of hell is not a turning point regarding faith for me. Faith about believing in something and putting trust in God to guide my life, it's not about believing because the threat of an eternity of hell is going to scare me into it! I liked the parable that Tanya P used - all the threats of hell would not have pushed that person into following Christ.

Dan to pick up on your question


Quote:
...If I just believe and assume that God only wants me to love Him to save me it's a bit empty and actually selfish, calculating and NON-SCRIPTURAL!
Please explain this thought, do you mean God is selfish and calculating? or you as the one giving the love would feel selfish and calculating? and is there a particular SCRIPTURE you have in mind?

My point was that if I make the decision to accept God's love just to save my ass from frying in hell, rather than from a position of awe of Him, and love for Him, and wanting to truely know Him then it is empty. Approaching God in that way without those genuine feelings is not what my understanding of scripture is about. My understanding is that God wants a relationship with His children, not a load of scared kids hanging off his robes to stop themselves getting fried. Afterall we've already established that calling yourself a Christian is not enough to actually be one!

Love requires a demonstration. I know Seeker loves me. I also know that we both have rotten colds, feel fairly rubbish at the mo and he had very little sleep last night. He got up and made tea this morning, even though I offered. If I were to ask him whether he WANTED to do that, he'd probably say "No, I wanted to be in bed asleep", but he did it because he didn't want me to hobble down the stairs and make it. That was a demonstration of his love for me. God deserves a weeny bit more than putting the kettle on at an hour that can barely be considered to be morning!!! That would change my life. Or at least it should.

I'm glad Tanya can see how it is a decision that is not to be taken lightly. I wish I could not think about it so much, but I need to know that I am doing the right thing for the right reasons. It would be so easy to spend a few minutes on my knees, ask God to forgive my sins and come into my life properly and then just get on with my life without letting it change my life much. That would be like the wilful child being asked to tidy his room and just kicking the mess under the bed and hoping his mum won't find out, just to say his room is tidy. Not my style though!

Wildy:hug:

A Seeker
Mar 24th 2008, 03:21 PM
That was a demonstration of his love for me.

You're quite welcome;).

I'll not interject here too much. Wildy knows my thoughts, she's here for some fresh ones. However i will say the following.

The subject of hell seems to keep coming up. I agree with herself that this is not the best reason to come to faith. Nor even a very good one!

My understanding (which is much flawed and very much a work in progress) is that God gave us free will so that we could choose, freely, to come to him. That HE loves US is not in dispute, his desire is that that love be reciprocated.

I love my daughter immensly (most of the time;)). It means a great deal to me that she loves me back. Anyone who has experiance a baby who squeals with delight when you get home from work knows what i mean.

Now i do a lot for her. I change her toxic poo, sit up when she is poorly, feed her, clothe her etc etc. It is also fair to say that without wildy and i to look after her, being helpless, she could not survive.

But i would hate the idea that she came to me for cuddles because she knew that without me she would starve, or because she thought it would increase her chances of getting a chocy bibbit. These are realities, however i would hope that the basis of her love for me is my love for her, not the things i do for her BECAUSE of my love for her.

If i thought she hugged me when i got home because someone had told her "if you don't you'll starve" i would be devastated. And quite cross with that person for reducing what should be a recipricol loving relationship to a transaction based on enlightened self interest.

blessings
seeker

IWalkWithHim
Mar 24th 2008, 03:48 PM
This is a lot like my story too. Although you have me by 20 years my friend, I did the same thing you did at the age of 16. For me, deep down in my soul I always knew that their was a God. Not because my parents told me (well, my mom because my Dad wasn't at the time) or friends or anything like that. I just knew it for myself. So at 16, I respnded to the alter call too. I wasn't on cloud 9 or laid out in the spirit. I wasn't struggling with life or being picked on as a kid either. It was just something that I wanted to do because it seemed right.

Not long after that, I left and went to the Army. And WILED OUT!! I was cursing like like crazy, being with different women, living like a maniac and LOVING it. I was having so much fun!! By then, I wasn't praying hardly ever or reading a Bible, just doing me and whatever it was I wanted to do. But here's the weird thing. Despite all that fun, deep down I felt so empty inside. I thought maybe I was just crazy and that it was just my imagination so I just ignored it. One day, out of the blue, one of my friends asked me a life changing question. He simply asked me, "Why do you curse so much??" And he said it in a jokingly manner. But for the first time in my life, I didn't have a straight answer. It was then that that emptiness came full circle. I looked back over all the things that I did that I felt were meaningful or exciting and realized that none of those things ever really filled that void in myself. I couldn't fill it with hours and hours of basketball, I couldn't fill it by having sex, I couldn't fill it by playing spades until the sun came up, I couldn't fill it by acting crazy and having useless fun. I couldn't satisfy it no matter what I did. So as I pondered that question, I realized just how "unhappy" I really was and that all the things that I was doing were mearly distractions.

I'll write more later....

I begin to really struggle with the thought that I didn't have it together. Considering that I had always known "of" God, I thought that this just could not be and that maybe I was just trippin'. But obviously, things didn't get any better. Now I'm going to be a bit frank here and it is tied to when things began to turn for me. One night (I was still in the Army) I had a married women in my bed. Me and this E-5 (I was a Specialist) was kinda kicking it. I thought she was very attractive despite the fact she was married and she was trying her best to get with me if you know what I mean. Other soldiers were starting to suspect something but no one really came forward and said anything. Well, this particular night her husband was in the feild for two weeks leaving her free to do whatever. She came to my barrick dressed very seductively and unannounced. I invited her in and and we chilled in my room watching TV for a minute. I knew why she was there and she knew I knew. So the time came for us to, well, you know.

As I lie there getting ready to do the unthinkable, for some reason I just couldn't get into it. No matter how much I wanted to (and I did!!!) nothing was happening. Eventually, I told her that I was very tired from playing Basketball earlier that day and said that I just wanted to get some rest. I knew that really wasn't the issue but it was the only thing I had at the moment. And it was then that I realized just how mixed up things were in my life and it was like God saw that opportunity and jumped on it.

More later....

(I guess this is turning into a testimony a little bit...:rolleyes:)

IWalkWithHim
Mar 24th 2008, 06:36 PM
I begin to really struggle with the thought that I didn't have it together. Considering that I had always known "of" God, I thought that this just could not be and that maybe I was just trippin'. But obviously, things didn't get any better. Now I'm going to be a bit frank here and it is tied to when things began to turn for me. One night (I was still in the Army) I had a married women in my bed. Me and this E-5 (I was a Specialist) was kinda kicking it. I thought she was very attractive despite the fact she was married and she was trying her best to get with me if you know what I mean. Other soldiers were starting to suspect something but no one really came forward and said anything. Well, this particular night her husband was in the feild for two weeks leaving her free to do whatever. She came to my barrick dressed very seductively and unannounced. I invited her in and and we chilled in my room watching TV for a minute. I knew why she was there and she knew I knew. So the time came for us to, well, you know.

As I lie there getting ready to do the unthinkable, for some reason I just couldn't get into it. No matter how much I wanted to (and I did!!!) nothing was happening. Eventually, I told her that I was very tired from playing Basketball earlier that day and said that I just wanted to get some rest. I knew that really wasn't the issue but it was the only thing I had at the moment. And it was then that I realized just how mixed up things were in my life and it was like God saw that opportunity and jumped on it.

More later....

(I guess this is turning into a testimony a little bit...:rolleyes:)


A fellow soldier by the name of Sgt. Brown came to me one day not long after this and asked me if I would like to attend church with him. Now mind you, I didn't really know Sgt. Brown all that well but his invitation was all that I needed to try and get things back right in my life. So I attended church that coming Sunday. He picked me up in his old ride and off we went. I was feeling so nervous about going which was odd considering I had been in church since I was young. By the time we got there, I was a nervous wreck but I hid it from Sgt. Brown, conceiled the sweat and went on in. I asked if I could sit alone and he warmly agreed. As I sat there in the church, I begin feeling overwhelming thoughts about how out of touch I was with who I really was and who He was to me. I started crying the more I thought about and realized that despite everything that I had done, good and bad over the course of my life was being summed up in this one moment in time. I remember feeling so insignificant and that I would never be able to be forgiven for all that I had done and that made me feel even worse. I don't even remember what the message was about because I spent all my time thinking on these things.

At the end of the service came alter call. Oh boy. He comes the tug. Big time. I gave in and realized I didn't want to go back to doing the things that I was doing before. Even though I felt as though the world was my oyster; fit as a fiddle, attractive, smart, talented, had some loot, well liked amongst everyone, girls at my left and right; I was never whole as a person. It felt as though my life had no purpose and that I was just living a "vein" life. Lost in my own mind...

So I said, enough. I went down to that alter and told God that I know that I didn't know Him as well as I thought and that I was missing something in my life and that I realize that it was Him. I cried and asked Him to forgive me for acting a fool, and that I wanted to feel complete.

After leaving the service that day, little by little, things in my life began to change. I started losing my desire to curse as I once did. I wasn't as eager to approach girls anymore. My thinking was much more humble and content and it was followed by my actions. My friends began to realize that I had changed. They all still loved me like a brother but it was just different now. Actually, one of my closet friends began to talk with me about my change and was looking for the same thing in his life.:rolleyes: Who knew!!!

Anyway, I said all this (3 posts worth!!) to say that it wasn't a tragety in my life that led me to Christ. I wasn't losing my mind or looking for some substitute for life or and excuse to find God or anything like that. If there was anyone in the world that felt he didn't have to have God it was me!! But despite all that so called fun and excitement and talent and looks and so forth, I was so lonely and lost on the inside. So empty and spent a good portion of my life looking for fullfilment in everything else and couldn't find it. And it would always leave me back where I stared.

So maybe, somewhere deep down inside in a place you can't describe, lies an area in you that somehow just feels disconnected. Empty. Like there has got to be more to life than this. And it has nothing to do with your financial situation, marital status, occupational status, family or friends but something much more personal to you. And despite how happy you may be at any one moment in your life, that feeling causes your smile to dim a little. That is the place that only having a relationship with Christ can fill. It exists soley for Him and ONLY he can fill it. For me, after I let Him in, life began to make sense. It had meaning; purpose and my situational happiness was replaced with a state of unshakable joy. I began to appreciate things I had never paid attention to before. The sun rises and sunsets, trees and how when the wind blows they almost look like they are praising God, the birds in the air, I saw people differently. I cut off relationships with people that were influencing my former lifestyle and begin to live a new life and I had soooooooooo much peace within me it was rediculous. I was finally in a place where I felt complete and that I could live FOR something instead of living IN something.

So you see, you don't have to be a basket case for you to accept Christ.:lol: Just be willing to listen..........;)

DanDMan64
Mar 25th 2008, 12:03 AM
It's not a provable fact though is it? IF I chose not to heed your post now you couldn't show me evidence of the existence of hell from an independent source. Not like any of us have ever been there for a day trip!Hi there wildy, since you haven't replied to my PM with a negative, I will go ahead and post a reply and hope it won't lead to WW-III.

I really hate to talk about hell and the reality of it as much as the next guy, but accepting it's existence it's a matter of faith based mostly on this question, "do we believe in the absolute authority of The Bible as the infallible and incontrovertible inspired Word of The Living God." If so then it is our duty as Christians to take the good and nice stuff along with the not so nice, the hard stuff, the judgment day, Hell. I don't understand why it's so hard for people to believe in these things, as readily as they want to believe in His loving and caring nature, but totally ignoring His role as Just Judge and punisher of all who choose to live in disobedience to Him. You can't just pick and choose which attributes of His personality as He Himself has revealed to us in His Word, and say Oh I believe in these things, and ignore the rest because we don't like those things as much, or not at all.

Yeah there is! Fire and brimstone sermons from the pulpit through the ages have kept the serfs in their place, stopped the poor getting above their station and kept some degree of sociological order through the ages.

However the existence or not of hell is not a turning point regarding faith for me. Faith about believing in something and putting trust in God to guide my life, it's not about believing because the threat of an eternity of hell is going to scare me into it! I liked the parable that Tanya P used - all the threats of hell would not have pushed that person into following Christ. The thing about "Fire and brimstone sermons", if done correctly by servants of God that have the right motivation (love for the lost) is that they should always be concluded with an altar call, with a verse or two that contrast the horrors of that eternal punishment with the promise of eternal salvation from that end , by accepting the salvation provided by God The Father through Jesus Christ His Son, who died for the whole human race so no single human being ever had to end-up there, that's why it's called "The Gospel, (the good news)" is: yes there is a hell, and no one has to go there, even though that was our appointed end, (John 3:16). However the good news don't end there, the sacrifice Christ bought for us entails more than salvation from punishment, but also salvation from our own selfish unloving selves, so that we can be transformed as we die to our selves and allow Him to live through us, but without totally loosing ourselves in the process, only those parts of us that did deserve the punishment of hell, but by His grace will turn us into fit citizens of heaven. This is the part the Rich young ruler had trouble with, he wanted salvation from hell but eternal life so he could continue being rich and Young and the ruler of His own life, and there are so many of us like Him still now-a-days.


Dan to pick up on your question...My point was that if I make the decision to accept God's love just to save my ass from frying in hell, rather than from a position of awe of Him, and love for Him, and wanting to truly know Him then it is empty. Approaching God in that way without those genuine feelings is not what my understanding of scripture is about. My understanding is that God wants a relationship with His children, not a load of scared kids hanging off his robes to stop themselves getting fried. Afterall we've already established that calling yourself a Christian is not enough to actually be one! And strangely enough I agree with you, and the fact that you understand this is what leads me to believe that regardless of the text by your screen name that says {No, I'm not a Christian}You are in fact more of a Christian than you're willing to admit. The thing is that God doesn't care what your initial motivation might be for coming to Him and repenting and accepting His gift of Eternal Salvation, He loves the world so much He has already done the work, just like Noah's Ark before the flood, the door is wide open and there's plenty of room left, "just come in and let me love you" (He tells the world), "I'll take care of your heart latter."


Love requires a demonstration. I know Seeker loves me. I also know that we both have rotten colds, feel fairly rubbish at the mo and he had very little sleep last night. He got up and made tea this morning, even though I offered. If I were to ask him whether he WANTED to do that, he'd probably say "No, I wanted to be in bed asleep", but he did it because he didn't want me to hobble down the stairs and make it. That was a demonstration of his love for me. God deserves a weeny bit more than putting the kettle on at an hour that can barely be considered to be morning!!! That would change my life. Or at least it should.

I'm glad Tanya can see how it is a decision that is not to be taken lightly. I wish I could not think about it so much, but I need to know that I am doing the right thing for the right reasons. It would be so easy to spend a few minutes on my knees, ask God to forgive my sins and come into my life properly and then just get on with my life without letting it change my life much. That would be like the wilful child being asked to tidy his room and just kicking the mess under the bed and hoping his mum won't find out, just to say his room is tidy. Not my style though!

Wildy:hug:Like I said before, you already understand how this works, He Loved, He gave, He provided, You accept that and as you go you'll have no choice but to Love Him back, give your self-up, accept His provision and allow yourself to be used to become someone else's blessing, it's a process that will go on for the rest of your life, it's not a one time rash decision, all it takes is trust in Him to be able to complete
the work in you as you allow Him to mold you into the image of His own dear Son, through the power of His Holy Spirit. Just let yourself go, just fall back into His arms and let the transformation begin. Read 1st John with much prayer and allow the Spirit to teach you these truths. You'll see the commandment that I told you about to love as He loves is there. :hug: Like tanya said, you're over-thinking this too much.:confused

Wilderness
Mar 30th 2008, 06:30 PM
I will go ahead and post a reply and hope it won't lead to WW-III.

I'll leave the World Wars to the leaders of our beloved countries - Bush and Blair/Brown seem to be making a reasonable job of it themselves. Shame they're running out of cash though before they've taken over the whole of the middle east - must be a real bummer for them. But I digress!

Thanks for your post Dan. I wasn't ignoring you - just haven't really been online this week. You made some good points. Especially this one....


He has already done the work, just like Noah's Ark before the flood, the door is wide open and there's plenty of room left, "just come in and let me love you" (He tells the world), "I'll take care of your heart latter."


And strangely enough I agree with you, and the fact that you understand this is what leads me to believe that regardless of the text by your screen name that says {No, I'm not a Christian}You are in fact more of a Christian than you're willing to admit.

Not strange!!! It doesn't say anywhere that I've seen that Believers and Unbelievers can't share the same point of view! You also seem to share the same view as Seeker. You know, I do even admit to semi-Christian tendancies. I don't call myself a Christian because I find it difficult to see how Jesus fits into the day to day life of Christians. I have a strong faith in God, and the Christian model of God is the closest that fits with my beliefs. I just don't live the Christian life (big C!), and instead use the moral compass that Christianity in part provides. I also haven't exactly been pushy for His time in trying to build that relationship with Him.

That explain things? Could waffle for ages on the exact nature of what I do and do not believe, but I think this gives you the idea.

Anyway. Thanks again. Gotta dash for now, but I mean it. Thanks.

Wildy

Sonshine
Mar 30th 2008, 08:10 PM
Hi Wilderness,

I went through a lot of stuff before becoming a Christian, but at the time I accepted the gift of salvation things were going pretty good in my life.

The reason I accepted Jesus' gift was because of something I saw in those who were Christians that I didn't see anywhere else. Real love.

I could sound like an old country and western song by saying I went looking for love in all the wrong places, but everywhere I went and everything I did came up short.

I had heard the scare tactics given by various preachers about hell, but in my opinion I had already lived through hell, so they didn't scare me. I didn't turn to God out of fear, but because of the love He had shown me.