Category Archives: Faith

Jeremy’z Journey: Prayer vs. Reason. Are those who pray, unreasonable?

As some may be aware, the first Thursday of May – May 3 this year – has been established as a National Day of Prayer.
As a Christian, I am aware of how our faith – and even other faith – is constantly under attack. But I must say this one was new to me. So while some may already be aware of what I’m about to write, I was unaware of such assaults against faith in general until recently. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, whether you put your faith into practice or allow it to lie dormant in your life, please listen up. Uh, I mean read intently, because war is being waged against all of our beliefs in America.
I knew that the National Day of Prayer was coming up soon, as I missed participating in the event last year because I wasn’t active in faith. As I began my research, I found that there has been controversy surrounding this particular nationally designated day for many years, particularly since 2003. That year, Atheist groups such as the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) and the American Humanist Association (AHA – not to be confused with the American Heart Association AHA) began working to enact their own National Day of Reason. This Day of Reason was read into existence in the U.S. Congress in 2009.
A writer for the Atheism Examiner wrote in that year, “It is a protest, of sorts, to the unconstitutional National Day of Prayer… The National Day of Reason encourages groups that are opposed to the National Day of Prayer to organize events in their respective areas to show unity against the continued perversion of our government’s nature by religious ideology. Just as important, these groups are doing things in their communities that actually contribute to the overall well-being of our nation, unlike prayer, which is a fruitless time waster.”
That writer continued, hoping that then newly elected President Barack Obama would “put an end” to the nationally recognized day of prayer.
Another writer at the Manchester branch of the Examiner – not sure which Manchester as I didn’t care to research the location further – that same year, 2009, wrote, “For the freethinking people who reject myths and superstitions, this is a great way to counteract the unfortunate National Day of Prayer.”
I am most offended by the word “unfortunate.” The author describes it as the “unfortunate” National Day of Prayer and seeks to “counteract” it. The first writer says that prayer is “a fruitless time waster” and that Americans should “protest” it.
The second author’s bio states that she “looks to educate others on the problems caused by believing in the magical and invisible guy in the sky,” and “hopes to further enlighten her community with reason, logic, and science.”
Another Examiner writer in Oklahoma, this year wrote, “On Thursday May 3rd, 2012, many Americans led by our elected officials will turn to God in prayer and meditation in a day observed as the National Day of Prayer (36 U.S.C. 119). While prayer and meditation are recognized for their self-satisfying benefits in lieu of action, a better sense of well being and gratification can be experienced by actually doing something good for one’s community. As the saying goes, two hands working can do more than a thousand clasped in prayer.”
I have intentionally given the editorialists I’ve quoted anonymity here, God knows who they are!
Reading more into these articles, I found that Atheism is not a religion. This puzzled me because they seem to be trying to convert as many people as possible to their faith – or lack thereof. Most who believe in a god are content to be peaceful with others. However, those with a lack of belief seem to be mounting an attack against the rest of us, regardless of what we believe. I mean with the hope to “further enlighten her community with reason, logic, and science,” it seems that Atheists consider anyone who believes in anything beyond themselves are apparently irrational boobs. Is it unreasonable to recognize a higher power than myself? Some believe it is.
I am a believer/knower of Christ. Christianity is NOT a religion, but rather a relationship. I believe that religions, and I include Atheism, are false and meant to divert man from the one true GOD, the Bible says this. I won’t apologize for believing this way. If you believe something else, you should know that I don’t think you’re an ignoramus, as some human(ist)s apparently do.
But as a believer in this century, I can work Google just fine, despite those who think faith makes me foolish. I also believe/know that gravity, the inertia of a speeding train and hydrogen atoms exist. So I must be a freak-of-nature because I am a believer and I understand logic, reasoning and scientific principles too. Of course, I’m joking other believers can comprehend reasoning also, but don’t tell the Atheists.
Without being judgmental, it’s obvious to me that the last author, among others, has never experienced the power that can be experienced when two hands are clasped in prayer. One thing I noticed about these articles, other than their disbelief in “the guy in the sky,” was that on the side there was a place for comments on various platforms. All of the articles had something else in common, “0” tweets, “0” Facebook Likes, “+1” Google hit, “0” In Shares and “0” comments. I assume that I gave them the “+1” on the g, because that’s how I came across them.
Now for a history lesson: On many occasions prior to a National Day of Prayer being enacted by Pres. Harry S. Truman in 1952, our leaders have called for the country to pray. Prior to the nation’s founding, the Continental Congress issued a proclamation recommending, not forcing, a day of public “humiliation, fasting, and prayer” be observed on July 20, 1775. George Washington, John Adams and other presidents have called for the nation to pray. In 1863, Abraham Lincoln blamed the country’s lack of prayer for “that the awful calamity of civil war, which now desolates the land.” He claimed it “may be but a punishment, inflicted upon us, for our presumptuous sins.” He called for “national humiliation, fasting and prayer,” hoping that God restore “our now divided and suffering Country, to its former happy condition of unity and peace”. In 1988, the day was announced to be held the first Thursday in May from then on.
Americans of all walks acknowledge that one of the reasons the United States was founded was for religious freedom. That includes those with the lack of religion. But just because you don’t have something in this country, doesn’t give you the right to take it out on those of us who do have. To balance that – or to force religion – would be communism. Our government isn’t forcing anyone to pray, or to pray to a specific god, with us on May 3. That would be unconstitutional. But setting aside a day for prayer across the land isn’t. Many of our leaders are believers; many of those are brave enough to embrace faith publicly and will join us.
After reading this, and the excerpts from other writers, I hope you of little or great faith are paying attention, as I admittedly was not before now. Believers must realize that by not practicing our faith, we are neglecting it. By not standing together in prayer, we are losing it.
“Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world. You, dear children are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of Truth and the spirit of falsehood.” – 1 John 1:1-6.
To those who believe in nothing, I repeat these wise words: If I am wrong, what do I lose? Nothing. If you are wrong, look at what you stand to lose!
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time,” – 1 Peter 5:6.
So I ask you to join with us in prayer. It isn’t forced. It isn’t required. But if you believe, then pray. If you are reading this after the National Day of Prayer this year, it’s ok. God will forgive you if you pray to Him today. Hopefully next year, we can all pray together. And to Atheists, those who don’t believe in anything, we will pray for you.
“The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.” – 1 John 2:17.

Jeremy’z Journey: Of course Jesus can walk on water! But who is Peter?

I’ve always been intrigued by the story of Jesus walking on the water to meet His disciples who had gone ahead of Him to their boat. While amazing and startling to His disciples, I’m not talking about His action of walking on water. Jesus on the water is referenced three times in the New Testament, but I especially like Matthew’s account of that day’s events (Matthew 14:22-33).
I’m not surprised by Jesus walking on water – He is the Son of God. He can turn water into wine, then turn the wine into a beautiful Jell-O mold and walk on that if He really wanted. What amazes me is Peter walking on the water to meet Jesus.
Jesus himself often taught in parables, and Matthew – possibly unknowingly – gave us a parable about ourselves by presenting his version of this miracle, which includes Peter walking on the water.
In all three accounts (the others: Mark 6:45-51 and Jon 6:15-21), Jesus says the same thing when His disciples think He is a ghost. He says, “It is I. Don’t be afraid,” – (New International Version).
In Matthew, Peter replies, “Lord, if it’s you, tell me to come to you on the water,” – 14:28.
And Jesus says, “Come.”
Verse 29 continues, “Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’”
Often, I have known that God wants me to use the gifts He has given me to bring people closer to Him. However, I also hear my voice in my head saying, “Who am I?” And, “Who am I to tell people about God? Who am I to speak to God’s people?” And of course, my favorite, “Who am I to attempt to step out of a seemingly safe boat to tread the water for Christ?”
The answer to all of those questions is the same: I am a saved, sealed and soon to be delivered child of the Great ‘I Am!”
I trust Him as my savior! I trust that He has cleansed and forgotten my sins! But it’s a scary thing to step out of our personal safety zones to tell others about how He saved us. Scared to tell them that He has cleansed our sins, and can do the same for whomever we are talking to in that moment.
As Christians, we often go to church, sit in our safe pews, and jingle our keys when it’s close to noon or even during the Invitation.
What is an “Invitation?” It’s the time of our worship services in which the speaker gives us – as individuals – the opportunity to come up front, pray and allow God to get closer to us, individually. More importantly, it’s the time to accept that we need to be closer to Him. We need Him.
Sometimes, and to some of us, it’s just the next cue that lets us know we’re a little closer to lunchtime at Shoney’s, KFC, or any one of the many after-church hotspot eateries.
But spiritually, it is much more than that. It is an opportunity to submit to God’s will and spirit. It is our opportunity to become Peter. Why would you step out from a seemingly safe pew, putting it all out there for the rest of the church to see?
Simple! Because Jesus says, “Come!”
It is difficult for us, as imperfect humans, to step out onto something that we are told cannot hold us up – faith – uh, I mean water. Our mind and its knowledge of things on Earth keep many of us from truly giving ourselves to God, myself included sometimes. And those of us, who do dare to take that first step onto the water, or out of the pew, are amazed when He does exactly what He says He will do – keep us afloat.
Sometimes, just as Peter did, we take our eyes off of Jesus, we look down and see the choppy water and realize how far from the clearly safe boat, or seemingly safe world, we have come. Fear and doubt, tools of evil, come back into our mind, and just as Peter did, we start sinking.
I believe in Matthew’s unbeknownst parable, the water represents the safety we think we have in the world. Walking along safely in the world seems easy enough for all of us until that very water becomes unsteady – when the wind picks up and the water we are treading becomes violent. The wind, and again the water, represents just how unstable our world, and its vessels – or boats – are. Jesus on the water, to me, represents His Supreme ability to stand over the choppiness and insecurity of our world. It’s His desire to show us that safety in Him is far stronger than the safety we find in our manmade “boats.” When He says, “Come,” that simply shows God’s desire for all of us to come to Him. He wants all of us to be near to His side, all of the time. But our sin, and love of sin, gets in the way of that.
My favorite part of this chronicle comes after Peter cried out, “Lord, Save Me!”
Verse 31 reads, “Immediately Jesus reached out His hand and caught him.”
It doesn’t say, “After five minutes of Peter flailing his arms trying to swim on his own.”
It doesn’t read, “When Peter grabbed Jesus’ leg and pulled himself up.”
And it certainly doesn’t say, “Eventually, Jesus….”
The verse recounts what many sinners have experienced when they have sought God’s forgiveness. “Immediately Jesus reached out His hand and caught him,” the Bible states. “You of little faith,” He said. “Why did you doubt?”
So why did Peter doubt? Peter, a disciple of Jesus, an eyewitness of many miracles, has doubts? And again — as I have written about him in the last several writings — Peter, one who had left everything to follow Jesus during His ministry here on Earth. He doubted?
Who is Peter to call himself a follower of Jesus, a disciple of Christ, to doubt Him? Again, who am I to help someone to know God when I have had doubts myself? The answer was staring me in the face. The final conundrum of Matthew’s riddle of a parable:
I am Peter!
Peter is me. Peter is you. Peter is all of us who have stepped out on faith – on the unsure, unstable, wavy, choppy, violent waters of faith. It isn’t unsure or unstable to Jesus. The water isn’t choppy or violent to God. He is still standing there with His hand stretched out to us. He is still standing at the altar waiting for us to step out of the safety of our wooden and padded pews.
Maybe some of you reading aren’t in a padded pew regularly, or ever. Maybe you’re sitting at a restaurant booth or your living room couch. Maybe you’re in front of a computer or glancing over someone’s shoulder at their newspaper.
Wherever you are sitting, no matter where you are in your life, Jesus is in the same place. He is standing there, on the water saying, “Come!”
And if we answer His call and keep our eyes, our minds and our hearts focused on Him, we will never even notice the harsh waves beneath our feet.
It’s not that any of us should doubt after experiencing Him changing our own lives and after seeing Him change the lives of others around us. But should we falter, He’s waiting at the altar. And when we call out to Him, “Lord, Save Me,” He is there,
“Immediately!”

Jeremy’z Journey: He rose from death and even His followers were skeptical

When I started this series, the first column published asked the question, “Who else do you know who is celebrating their 2,000th birthday?” Today, many countries still celebrate Christmas, even if many of those have changed it from ‘a celebration of God’s greatest gift to the world’ into ‘a celebration of how much money we can spend in 46 days.’
We also celebrate Easter, which is apparently the day a waskiwy-wabbit breaks into the henhouse only to steal and then boil baby chicken eggs. He colors them and then litters the countryside with them for little children to find. I guess Bugs was jacked-up on chocolate at the time, because somehow candy fits into the tradition of this celebration also. Did you know that Easter is America’s second biggest candy-consuming holiday next to Halloween? And according to the empty shelves at Wal-Mart, we all did our part to carry on that tradition. Seriously, we’re lucky our kids have teeth at all.
Oh, and there’s Good Friday. You remember, it’s the day we get out of work and school to prepare for Ea(gg)ster.
Of course I’m kidding! These are not the real meanings of these days, but in our modern world of mentioning God’s son Jesus Christ as few times as possible, the real reason for these days must be hidden and shoved aside as quickly as possible. Thus, for Easter and Christmas we get ‘Bugs and the Fat Man.’
Good Friday was originally a day that Roman soldiers and hecklers did not take off from their jobs. Instead, they crucified Jesus Christ. The leaders of the day, Herod and Pilate, did not want to be responsible for this and had swapped responsibility for it back-and-forth. It was kind of similar to politicos today. But as often happens in modern-day government, the hecklers got their wish.
“Wanting to release Jesus, Pilate appealed to them again. But they kept shouting, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” – Luke 23:20, 21 (New International Version).
And Jesus, the Son of God, died on the first Good Friday. He was tortured, beaten and a wreath of thorns was forced upon his forehead as the hecklers jeered his kingdom, using this as His crown.
“The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, ‘He saved others; let Him save himself if He is the Christ of God, the Chosen One.” – Luke 23:35
But Jesus knew it was His time – time for us humans to receive a way for forgiveness and salvation, and of course, the only way to come back to the side of God and His kingdom in Heaven.
“On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb.” – Luke 24:1.
The first day of the week is Sunday for those not standing next to a calendar and that one in particular was the first Easter. (I hope my writing style isn’t condescending to anyone, but the Bible can speak for itself. However, I will choose to leave Luke and give Matthew’s account.)
“There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men. The angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; He has risen, just as He said. Come and see the place where He lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see Him.’ Now I have told you.” – Matthew 28:2, 7.
I’m not skipping around to make my point, but these are all Biblical accounts of the same event from different personal perspectives. So let’s go back to Luke’s account.
“When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others.”—Luke 24:9.
“But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense. Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened.”—Luke 24:11- 12.
Again, Peter. One of the disciples, who had left everything to follow Jesus during His ministry here on Earth, stood and scratched his head in disbelief. Peter, much like many people today, couldn’t wrap his head around the fact that Jesus had risen and returned to life. He had seen the torture. He had witnessed the brutal treatment unjustly given to our Lord, but most importantly he had been there when Jesus released His last breath upon the cross. Because of that, Peter couldn’t fathom how Jesus could now be alive.
I imagine Peter thought someone had stolen the body of Jesus. In fact, I will return to Matthew’s account.
“While the women were on their way, some of the guards went into the city and reported to the chief priests everything that had happened. When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money, telling them, ‘You are to say, ‘His disciples came during the night and stole Him away while we were asleep.” – Matthew 28:11, 14.
The chief priests, those who wanted Jesus dead more than anyone, devised a plan to blame the disciples in an effort to squash the thought that Jesus had risen to life. But it wasn’t the disciples! After all of the time they followed Jesus, believing Him to be the Son of God, now they also were scratching their head in disbelief. Now they were becoming convinced that it was all for nothing. At best Jesus was a prophet, they briefly thought.
“While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’ They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. He said to them, ‘Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself!” – Luke 24:36, 39.
Luke 24:41 goes on to say, “And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement…”
“He told them, ‘This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.” — Luke 24:46, 48.
At all this, they still were unbelieving. At all this, His disciples still had doubts. At all this, today there are those who still don’t believe Jesus is the Son of God and can forgive them of all their wrongdoings. At all this, they don’t believe He arose from the dead and can light their path to the kingdom of God. At all this, they deny Him in their lives.
“When He had led them out of the vicinity of Bethany, He lifted up His hands and blessed them. While He was blessing them, He left them and was taken up into Heaven. Then they worshiped Him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God.” – Luke 24:50, 53.
Some, even disciples sometimes, doubt. That’s because we try to dissect the mind-blowing life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ with our human minds and it doesn’t make sense. But if you open your soul – open the eyes and ears of your heart, not your brain – then, and only then, you can truly understand what Good Friday and Easter are really all about.
God, I pray that You will open our hearts and help us to understand and remember the love that was given in those days, the love that You showed us, and that You continue to offer us all. Help us all to know that love, to see that love in the world around us and to project that love to others. Amen!

Jeremy’z Journey: The three hardest words to say

If you’ve been reading this writing series, then you know the last few have been geared toward those who don’t know Christ Jesus as their personal savior. The words have been written for those who have never accepted that he stretched out His arms and gave His life to offer us all the free gift of forgiveness of our sins. And also to those who have long forgotten God’s warm and forgiving and loving embrace. That’s because there are many people who are near and dear to me that fit one of the above listed descriptions.
As I have drawn nearer to God over the past year, I have been burdened with the desire to see my friends and family come closer to God as well. After all, it is my desire to one day share Heaven with them all. That is a burden that all of us Christians should have for our fellow Earth-mates.
I can’t “beat the Jesus” into those people, as some have suggested. Like any gift, if I offer some of God’s words to them, they must be willing to reach out and receive the gift of those words. So this time I will write to my fellow Christian brothers and sisters. Although, I pray this writing will be of benefit to non-believers also.
So to those in the fold, we all know – or should know – that Jesus has already paid the price for our sins to be forgiven. Unfortunately, as human beings with a sinful nature, we undoubtedly need His forgiveness on a regular basis. The “fortunate” part for us sinners is that He will forgive us again.
Hebrews 7:25 says this about Jesus, “Therefore He is able to save completely those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to intercede for them.” (New International Version).
First of all, thank God for that statement. I thank Him for always living to intercede on my behalf. To me – and I’m not a certified theologian, just someone trying to follow God’s Word and apply it to my life as I am reading it – that verse and many others are a reminder that no matter how I mess up, Jesus will “intercede” for me, forgive me of my new sin, just like He has forgiven me of my old sin, and help me get back on the path He wants me to be on.
That is a wonderful thing!
But it doesn’t give me, you, or any other Christian a monopoly-game-style “Get out of sin free” card. That verse doesn’t mean, “Do whatever,” and then get forgiven. If Jesus is your savior, you will strive to not sin against Him. That’s how you make Him your Lord. Sometimes we say He is “Our Lord and Savior,” but those aren’t just words. He is our savior; we have to put Him first for Him to be our Lord.
Jesus, knowing all things, knows that we will sin again and again. One Biblical example of this is when Jesus predicted that Peter would deny Him three times before the rooster crowed (John 13:31-38).
Peter…. A disciple….. Peter was one of the original twelve who loved and followed Christ everywhere. Peter, like the other disciples had dropped everything he had going on and left his family to follow Jesus, but he continued to sin.
“’You are not one of His disciples, are you?’ the girl at the door asked Peter. He replied, ‘I am not.” – John 18:17. John 18:25-26 continues to fulfill Jesus’ earlier prediction, “As Simon Peter stood warming himself, he was asked, ‘You are not one of His disciples, are you?’ He denied it, saying, ‘I am not.’ One of the high priest’s servants, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, challenged him, ‘Didn’t I see you with Him in the olive garden?’ Again, Peter denied it, and at that moment a rooster began to crow.”
I know that I’ve never been put in a situation like Peter was that day. People were coming to kill and imprison Jesus’ followers. Jesus himself had already been arrested. After all they had been through together; things were getting “out of (human) hands.” Even the disciples were getting scared.
Scared to stand up for Jesus!
They didn’t yet understand what all Jesus was to go through. Scared of what might happen to him, Peter was afraid to proclaim to be one of the Disciples of Christ.
When we today commit blatant sins in front of, or even along side of non-believers, we commit the same type of denial of Christ. Not only are we guilty of sin, again, but in that situation we are guilty of spreading the darkness of sin in front of those who are near and dear to us, but do not believe in Jesus. We show them our sin, or take part in theirs, and they already know we are supposed to be Christians. We are showing them that we are no different as a Christian that the rest of the world.
I know the feelings Peter had when he heard that rooster crow – the sound Jesus predicted would follow Peter’s betrayal of his closeness to Jesus. I’ve felt those feelings many times myself: shame, embarrassment, failure, that mental, “Oh man, what have I done?”
I usually don’t hear a rooster crowing after I have sinned, but I don get that, “Oh man,” feeling. That feeling when you realize you’ve just let something bad happen that is already driving a wedge between you and God.
On the other hand, it is a wonderful feeling, knowing that Christ will forgive me. But what definitely isn’t wonderful is repeatedly needing to ask for His forgiveness.
It was hard for me as a teenager to admit that I was wrong, that I couldn’t do it all myself and that I needed to say three difficult words, “Jesus, forgive me!”
But Hebrews again tells us that even though we repeatedly sin, we must stay true to the course.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,” Hebrews 12:1.
It was hard for me, a know-it-all-teenager, to fall to my knees and ask for His forgiveness. But I’ve found that after repeatedly falling short of what God wants for me – again and again sinning against Him – the three hardest words to say are the ones I find myself needing to say most often:
“Forgive me…… Again!”

Jeremy’z Journey: ‘Have you Ever’… realized whose heart you’re breaking?

“Have you ever loved somebody so much it makes you cry? Have you ever needed something so bad you can’t sleep at night? Have you ever tried to find the words but they don’t come out right? Have you ever… Have you ever,” – Brandy
Most people can say that they have had one love – that special someone – who didn’t work out in their life. Even though you really wanted it to, that someone you tried to, or wanted to, hold on to just slipped through the fingers. Maybe you were too young, maybe you weren’t ready, or maybe you just didn’t realize how dumb it would be to let this person get out of your life. Maybe situations around the two of you were too much for the other person to handle. Maybe you just thought the situations were too much for them, but that special person didn’t care, they wanted you all the same.
Unfortunately, that has happened to me twice.
The first person I am guilty of forsaking is Jesus Christ; the other, is the woman who has now – after many years apart – agreed to marry my dumb-self.
Seriously, I have no doubt that God put us in each other’s paths all those years ago because we were His plan for us. But because I’m an ignoramus – and as I explained a few columns ago had decided that I had to be in control of my own life – I fouled it up. I threw His perfect and wonderful plans for my life out.
Over the years, I’ve often wondered what my life could have been like had I not let her go. I’ve also wondered the same about my life had I not let go of God. Those two thoughts alone are enough to shatter an otherwise good-night’s-sleep.
There wasn’t much I could do to salvage the one relationship, however, I could save my relationship with Jesus just by turning away from my ways, swallowing my pride and asking for His unwavering, unconditional forgiveness and help. (Also in a previous column for those keeping up, it took years to come to that realization.)
“If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, ‘I repent,’ forgive him.” – Luke 17:3, 4 (NIV).
That’s Jesus talking people! In the context, He was telling His disciples how they should be willing to forgive. But He was also showing hoe He will unquestionably forgive us if we truly seek His forgiveness.
While I had lived many years without Christ, and seemingly had it all together, I knew I was missing a very special love, and embrace, and grace and forgiveness by not being near to God. When I finally swallowed my own misery that I had created, I once again felt His love, His embrace, His grace and His much-needed forgiveness in my life.
He also saw fit to bring that one special person – my one-and-only earthbound love – back into my life. She had received the grace and forgiveness of Jesus Christ at an earlier age than I. Truly loving God, and also truly loving me on this Earth, she offered me forgiveness and the love that had always existed between us.
How can she love me like this, an idiot-ignoramus? How do I love her the way that I always have? How do any of us truly know what “love” is? It’s because He first loved us. If not for His love for us, none of us could know or experience love. There would be no example of true love, because Jesus showed us true love.
As I read the rest of Brandy’s lyrics, I realized the words could stand as a modern-day version of Jesus’ love (minus the poppy “baby” parts of course). The words could easily represent what Jesus was saying to all of us while He lived on Earth.
“Have you ever been in love, been in love so bad, you’d do anything to make them understand? Have you ever had someone steal your heart away, you’d give anything to make them feel the same?”
God loves you that much!
He loves you enough that He would send His only son to Earth to die for you, for all of us ignoramus humans. Jesus died to create a way for us to be forgiven of our sins, so that we can come back into His embrace.
“Have you finally found the one you’ve given your heart to, only to find that one won’t give their heart to you?”
‘Have you ever’ thought of how it breaks God’s heart when you deny Him?
Fathers and mothers, you know what it’s like when your children rebel against you and your teachings, and man it hurts. How would it feel if your children outright denied you? Would you be up at night? Of course you would! Sometimes just a small amount of our children’s rebellious nature is enough to keep us from sleeping a minute.
‘Have you ever’ thought of how your rebellion, my rebellion, all of our rebellion keeps God awake at night? ‘Have you ever’ thought of how denying Christ breaks God’s heart?
We all have known Earthly heartbreak, but can you imagine how many times each day God’s heart is broken into pieces by us?
“What do I gotta do to get you in my arms? What do I gotta say to get to your heart?” – Brandy.
Jesus was persecuted His whole life, He was. Beaten, tortured, thorns forced upon His head and brow, pierced with a spear in his ribs and side, He was. Nailed in His hands, nailed in His feet, He was.
Crucifixion wasn’t a quick death either like some might think.
Bleeding from many wounds, thirsty from brutality and parched by the heat of the sun, He was. Forsaken and left for dead, He was. Withering into death, not only for His friends and relatives but for all of humanity, He was. Laid in a tomb, and forsaken again, He was. Brought back to life by the mighty hand of God, His father; brought to the exalted right hand of God, He was.
Willing to forgive us all for forsaking Him, willing to forgive us of all our transgressions and bring us closer to His side, forgiving and forgetting all we have done against Him and each other….. He is!
Now I ask you, in a reprisal of the lyrics: What does God have to do to get you in His arms? What does He have to say to get to your heart?
And now I ask you: What else can He do or say that He hasn’t already done or said? How much more love can He possibly give you, than what He has already given?