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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Twenty Things You Think Might Keep You Out Of Heaven But Totally Won’t

By now I can say that I’m deeply rooted in my faith.  How did I get here?  Well, I could give you the long, rambling story of my spiritual journey, but I’ll spare you the details.  It’s not that exciting.

There was a time when I was uncertain about God, that there was no future for me in heaven.  I wasn’t even sure I wanted to belong, to pursue faith in God.  A Christian life sounded so boring.

One day I decided to believe.  I took a tiny step in faith, just because.  Over time the thoughts I made up about what having faith really was about disappeared.  God opened my eyes to the stories of the Bible and how they related to my life.  I realized that I had been stubborn against God and felt the refreshing truth of his words.  Life was better.  I had hope.

It may sound simple, and I guess it is.  Everything is possible with God, you know? Matthew 19:26

Sometimes I hear people give the same excuses I had for not pursuing their own faith, for closing their minds and hearts against God, that it doesn’t matter what they believe, that everyone has different beliefs and hey man, that’s cool. 

It isn’t cool.  I believe that God wants everyone to know him.  Not everybody is the same, yet God wants all of us to believe no matter where we are in life.  There are no excuses, people.  God has an answer for every one of them.  Even these:

1. I don’t go to church.  It doesn’t really matter if you don’t have a church right now.  Find one.  Challenge yourself to go some Sunday.  Or really, any day.  There is literally a church door open every day of the week.  Did I say that you have to wear a suit or heels and get up at the crack of dawn on a weekend only to sit through a boring sermon?  Nope.  Get thee to a church and see what happens.

2. I don’t go to church anymore.  Okay.  So you know that the building won’t burn down if you enter its doors.  Nobody inside keeps a tally of how many Sundays you were absent.  Nobody will ask you how long it has been since you last were in a church.  If they do, there’s no rule that says you have to answer.

3. I don’t believe in God.  Not enough of an excuse.  God knows where each of us is spiritually.  Not every current Christian has always believed in God.  You might be a challenge, but he’s up for it. 

So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now;
rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen.
For the things we see now will soon be gone,
but the things we cannot see will last forever.
2 Corinthians 4:18

4. I’m mad at God.  I feel for you, kid.  Every one of us has been mad at God for something terrible that happened.  My faith tells me that God is good, and that helps, but it never really takes the pain away.  That’s called being human.  It’s not God’s fault that crappy things happen.  I believe that he is working to make good come from all of it.  So can you.

5. I hate God.  You probably have reasons for it, too.  But like hatred in general, it only serves to tear people apart from the inside out.  Let God show you what love is.  Where there is love, there is no room for hate.

6. I’m miserable.  Here’s the secret: Many of us are.  And we don’t have to be.  Did I say hope already?

7. I’m stuck.  All the more reason to take a step forward, hmmmm?

8. I’m a bad person. We all are.  We are all full of sin.  That’s the bad news.  The good news is: Jesus died so that we can be sin-free.  I’m not sure how it works.  But I know in my heart that it does, and that’s enough for me, and it is freeing.

But to all who believed him and accepted him,
he gave the right to become children of God.
John 1:12

9. I did something really bad.  Yup.  I feel bad about it, too.  God has forgiven me for it, and he will forgive you.

10. I have a sinful habit.  Many, many people of faith have bad habits.  It’s human nature. 

11. I have an addiction.  I don’t understand – where in the Bible does it say that only perfect people can be Christians?  If people of faith were perfect, then we wouldn’t need God.

When Jesus heard this, he said, 
Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do.” 
Matthew 9:12

12. I’ve broken all the commandments.  Really?  Well, pull up a chair and tell me all about it.  That’s still not enough to keep you from God wanting you as his forever.

13. I hate people.  ::whispers:: Me too, sometimes.  But I’m trying to do as God says: Love one another.  That part is hard.  Really hard.  Because some people just suck.  But he is teaching me that everyone is his child, and he loves all of us.

14. I don’t trust people.  Some people don’t earn trust because of their behavior, it’s true, but why should that get in the way of what I believe? 

15. I don’t want to give up my life/ I’m doing okay without faith.  I used to think that, too.  Then I saw how richer and more fulfilled my life was with God in it, and I realized that my life really didn’t change – I did.  For the better.  Much better.  Imagine how much better you could be with him?

Lord, your discipline is good, for it leads to life and health.
You restore my health and allow me to live!
Isaiah 38:16

16. The Bible is a crock.  People say this a lot.  “People wrote the Bible,” they say.  “It’s fallible, out of date, and irrelevant.”  Yeah.  I used to think that, too.  But then I really read the stories.  I mean, really read them.  I asked God to open my eyes and my mind to what he was trying to say through them, and the Bible went from some arcane tome to a personal instruction book for life.

17. I don’t know anything about the Bible.  It’s a book.  Christians refer to it as God’s word.  What more do you need to know?  Bibles are free in many places.  Why, you could open one on the internet RIGHT NOW.

18. God doesn’t want me in heaven.  False.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son,
that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 
For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world,
but that the world through Him might be saved. 
John 3:16-17

Boom.

19. I am destined for hell.  We all are, without him.  And hell isn’t just a warm spot where you chip away at rocks all day or something.  It is grim.  We get a taste of it on earth when we suffer.  Why would we want to accept that as our fate, when the alternative is infinitely more appealing?

20. I’m not sure what I believe.  All you have to do is allow him to show you.
  
May you experience the love of Christ,
though it is too great to understand fully. 
Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life 
and power that comes from God.
Ephesians 3:19


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14 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Thanks Sasha! It's amazing to me how the stories make so much sense in my life right now. Why didn't I see it before?

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  2. Great honest words! Straightforward and followed up with good scripture! This is encouraging! Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Thank you Clare! I was worried I'd seem preachy, which is never my intention. You encourage me! :)

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  3. I love 4 and 16! I hear all the time humans wrote the bible so it has gotten distorted through all the years... Thanks for sharing this! I am going to share it on my facebook page!

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    1. Thank you Tasia! I am interested that someone else mentioned the Bible one. I guess it's a common problem, that the Bible seems out of touch to so many.

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  4. This is aMAzing my friend, and with truths spoken in your usual funny, refreshing style.

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    1. Thank you, friend. I don't usually write this way here, but for some reason I felt these things needed to be said the way they roll around in my wacky brain. xo

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  5. These are so good. I needed too many of them as reminders in my own life today.

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    1. Thank you, Tracie. You are in good company. xoxo

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  6. Wow, Andrea. This is fantastic. You're such a talented writer and such insight. Wow.

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    1. What a great comment, thanks Melanie! xo

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  7. 4 and 5. I was there for a couple years after my son passed away. As a person raised in the church that time when I was so angry and hateful with God it was terrifying to me to turn my back on my faith. But I just couldn't do it then. Even so, I would still pray, mostly for God to lessen my hate and anger even though at that point I didn't believe in the power of prayers anymore. He must have heard them and answered them though. After leaving our church home of 10 years, we found a new place and a different style service that what I'd ever been to. And I was suddenly capable of really worshiping again. It was such a relief.

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    1. I'm so sorry about your son, Amy. Losing a child is one of those life events that I can certainly understand being mad at God about. Your faith was strong enough to pray, and God led you through it. That is encouraging. Love to you. xoxo

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