Christianity -- Christian Living/God talking
QUESTION: I was raised catholic then at 19 I joined a strict church. It was not a good experience, no unity, lying, back stabbing, my second church was worse.
The experience at my second church caused me to become a very strong atheist.
But then I met my best friend. During the time when I first met her, I started seeking God again. I asked if I could date/marry her. I then started seeing things saying to pray, and I'd often run into individuals who said pray, be patient, and have faith.
I asked God during this time to reveal himself to me. He did indeed do this. God also started nudging me to return to Him and pray. So I've been praying for myself and friends salvation.
My question is simple, has God spoken to me and why is the young lady involved.
ANSWER: Dearest Raul,
Thank you for writing. Please know that you have only shared the bare- bones of your spiritual walk. That leaves me far too much room to guess.
You say you were a Catholic first. Did you come to know The Lord Jesus as your Savior at that time? Or did you just attend Mass? When you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you are 'spiritually' 'born again'! You are no longer captive to sin, you now see and live life through the eyes and heart of Jesus.
For some reason you tell me you left your Church - but did you leave your faith in Jesus? Did you no longer believe that He is the Son of God, born of the Virgin Mary? Perhaps the question is, "Were you just a member of a particular church because that's where your family membership was, and you never really believed and had a relationship with Jesus at all?
Now you find yourself visiting a church that has a different doctrine than you have. It's confusing - it doesn't make sense. You felt it was full of hypocrites.
When in reality, it was full of sinners just like you. The Bible says, "All have fallen short of the glory of God." Whatever you were seeking, you were unable to find it there.
You say your bad experience turned you into an atheist. I can understand you being disappointed in a church - not understanding a Doctrine, being a stranger,
seeing and hearing people who were as lost as you, apparently little fellowship. That's not a comforting situation. But to say 'those' people caused you
to become an atheist is, to me, an unusual conclusion. The basic foundation of the Christian faith is our belief in Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
Our faith and trust is not in the people - but in Our Creator God. How can their actions steal your faith? You either believe or you don't! If you so quickly threw Jesus away perhaps you never knew him at all! I think you need to examine yourself and find out what you believe . When you're 'born again' you have a new mind. You see those people through the eyes of Jesus. Remember. my friend, he died for them too an He has commanded us to 'Love as he has loved us."
Now it seems you continued to seek for the Truth. Jesus said "Seek and you shall find, knock and the door will be opened to you." That's not just a 'saying' it's Jesus' word. Jesus backs all his words! That's why you are to put your trust in God not man. He is who he is and he does what he says he will do.
It seems that God is placing mentors around you. You wanted unity (fellowship) - He's provided it. It's time to give thanks.
If you feel God has called you to come close to Him, you must give some thought to how you are going to do that. When God calls - we are to obey.
You've stated that he wants you to pray. Prayer is conversation with God. He's calling you to deepen your understanding concerning communication with Him
and the importance of intercessary prayer. Intercessary prayer is laying down your life for another (just like Jesus). I encourage you to set aside several months just to study prayer. There's thousands of great books that would benefit you. Books written by those who 'too' needed to walk side by side with the Father. You learn that God is not the 'great Santa Claus' in the sky.... He's the One who knows you the best and loves you the most. Understand, my friend,
prayer is not getting God ready to do your will...... Prayer is getting 'you' ready to do God's will. The way I see it, when you get God involved, the crooked can
be made straight.
I suggest that you constantly pray for wisdom. Jesus says, "You don't have because you ask for the wrong things." You need to know the 'mind' of God! We spend so much time cultivating our relationships with our girlfriend/boyfriend/friends, etc. so we can understand how and why they think and do what the do
but take our relationship for granted with God. (What does he teach on this situation? How does God see this problem? What would He have me do?). Questions like these are important. We must see with the eyes of Jesus and reach out and touch with His touch. We can't do that unless we 'know' Him.
How well do you know the Holy Scriptures? What do you know about the Holy Spirit of God? When you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord, did
you know you were 'sealed' with the very Spirit of God, your Father? If so, what 'gifts' did He seal you with? Remember, when you 'believed' God sealed you for Himself AND NOTHING can take you from the hand of God! Soooooooo my friend, the people at the churches that gave you a 'bad taste' of Christianity
did not make you an atheist - you either were a believer or you were not.
A deep study will help you clarify your position. Pray to be open to hear. The Holy Spirit of God is your teacher and guide. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you - that's His promise.
Question: Has God spoke to me?
Read John: 10:14;27;29-30. Scripture makes it clear that our Father talks to us through many avenues. It also clearly states that we know His voice. The more you know the mind of God, the more you know 'what' is of God. Think on this.
Question: Why is the young lady involved? I don't know. I know nothing about her. I hope she is a believer. I hope Christ is the most important person in her life! I hope Christ is first in your life too! Will she be your chosen mate? I don't know. We are not to be unevenly yoked - that goes for her as well as you.
What I'm saying is, both of you need to be grounded in your relationship with Christ. We don't take Christ off and on like a old coat. When we believe we are One in Christ. Nothing can separate us from the Christ of God. I hope I have helped you in your understanding of belief and a walk of faith. Remember it's all about relationship - not a church building. All who seek will find - praise God! Study my friend. Ask the Holy Spirit to lead you and give you understanding. Pray to be filled with his love-He is faithful.
In Christ's love,
Rev. Ramona Stonecipher
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: Yes I became an atheist due to my bad experience.
Whether they are sinners like me isn't my concern, but back stabbing, threats, and such is something I'm not asked to put up with.
My friend is a believer. And I'm praying we follow Gods path as many do not including me a lot.
I've been told different things by different Christians saying God spoke, or the devil spoke, I don't think satan would cause me to seek God.
I did not take my faith off like a coat, my faith was shaken by a traumatic experience.
As I said God told me to pray, have faith, and be patient. As for other things, he has sent others to speak to me, most had problems and a few seem to be spiritually mature. Thus the message stays the same, have faith, pray.
I was a believer, people can lose faith. If I'm not a believer then I'm mentally ill when I pray.
I was baptized etci.
I know the scriptures pretty well.
As for Gods Spirit, I understand that he leads us to truth, and Gods plan.
My old church did not believe in Gods gifts etc. you were saved, then you were damned at any moment.
As a catholic I did indeed believe in God, we do no accept God in Catholicism. And yes I've accepted God as my savior.
Good for you! It sounds like you are on the right road. Like I said, it's important to know the doctrine. I believe the Scriptures teach'Once saved always saved". The other belief is works righteousness. Our salvation is a gift - we can't earn it. I hope you will continue in your search for Truth - it's a life journey.
God has many blessings in store for his children. I do believe a Christian can 'fall away' and 'quench the HolynSpirit', but we cannot lose our salvation. We are sealed bt God as His very own. We are Jesus's inheritance.
You misunderstood me in regard to taking our faith off like an old coat. Many church goers go to church and claim they are a Christian - and when faced with a temptation or a hurdle, they fall back and want nothing to do with God. That's when we (believers) need to pull our coat of fath up tight and go in for the battle.
When we truly believe, we have 'the peace that passes all understanding' in the midst of a storm. I agree, Satan would not point you to God. Like I said, God talks to his children through many avenues.
I'm confident our loving God will hear your prayers and lead you in the right direction so you will be in His will. He has a plan for your life. You will know it, just as you know He is talking to you now.
Blessings upon you as you continue to seek His Truth.
Rev. Ramona Stonecipher