Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Solid Foundation

Have you ever noticed how much celebrities have an affect on people? Gossip, tabloids, paparazzi and news reporters swarm to them like bees to honey. You read stories about them, you see their life on TV and hear rumors on the radio reporting various things. You actually feel like you know them well. We start making assumptions about their character.

“Well, if Britney Spears was home with her baby instead of partying all night…”

“Did you hear that Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake are together again? They were seen at a basketball game!”

Or the latest:

“I can’t believe Anna Nicole Smith died! She was such a nice girl.” (A few months later the same person was calling her a dimwit.)

How do you know someone if you don’t have a relationship with them? If you don’t spend time with them, you don’t talk with them to great lengths and you don’t visit them at their house, then how would you get to know them?

This is the same scenario as having a relationship with God. His tabloid is the bible. You read about Him, and feel you know Him. His media is the church and Christian channels on TV. You visualize and hear the pastor talk about God, and you feel instantly that you know Him. It’s great to learn about God, but it’s better to spend time with Him and develop a solid relationship with Him.

Is your foundation built on sand or solid ground? Is it stable? What happens when you build a house on sand?

It’ll eventually sink.

People will try to instill the word of God and preach His word, adding fear and taking away peace and love as its replacement. When they preach, they sound angry and full of fury. They focus on the sins of man and only focus on negative aspects of your life. Usually, this will make the average believer run away from the teachings of God. It scares them. There is a huge difference between a “healthy” fear of the Lord and scaring someone away from believing. In my opinion, the people who preach the negativity have a great fear of the devil instead of the Lord. The way you can determine this is by just reading their work or hearing them preach. Do you feel the Spirit move you? Does it encourage you to draw nearer to God? Does it give you hope? Or does it scare you that “their God” wants to punish you and cast you off to hell if you’re not perfect?

Pure and simple, God is love.

Since we live in the carnal physical being, we are always going to sin. You may say, “Well, I live for the Lord, so I don’t sin.” There are so many other “sins” that we don’t even realize is a sin. For example, just looking at a woman in a desirable way is “just as good” (or just as bad) as sleeping with her. Every impure thought we have, whether sexual, criminal, or devious are looked upon as a sin. We are flawed by birth.

Here, let me give you a better example… What about a person who has been having an affair on his wife? It’s a sin, right? Then he decides he can’t do this anymore, because he wants to be "right" with God. So, after some time, he stops the affair and continues living with his wife happily ever after. Do you think the sin stops there? Do you think his ‘eye’ stops there? Men are meant to ‘spread their seed’. It’s instinctual for men to look at more than one woman. It’s “natural”. What about if he looks at another woman on TV? It’s still the same thing. It’s an impure thought.

So how are we ever going to be perfect with God? It’s impossible as far as the human aspects of it, however we are perfect to Him, if we trust in Him.

God knew we would stumble and fall. This is the entire reason He gave His only Son. There’s a big difference between desiring to sin and to hurt others as opposed to having a sinful nature in general. We’re not perfect – God knows this very well. People think God isn’t capable of handling our everyday trivial sins. As long as our carnal bodies are placed on this sinful earth, we are bound by sin. But by the blood of Christ, we are saved and forgiven. Jesus has paid the price in full, and I totally believe a lot of people haven’t accepted His gift. They feel guilty if they do. Guilt stems from the devil. It’s not an emotion that God gives to you.

The devil is clever. He’ll make you think negative things about yourself. “Well, God’s going to punish you if you do this! God’s going to hate you if you do that! God’s gonna throw you into hell if you think that thought!”

Eventually what does the person do? He/she gives up on God. They feel inadequate and can’t comply with the ‘rules of God’, as the devil teaches. This is the same type of teaching that radical Christians will throw at you. They want you to feel guilt and shame for everything you do under the sun. The one important thing they fail to tell you is that Jesus took those sins for you up on the cross.

If you walk into a church that only condemns their people and makes them scared of God – my advice would be to walk out and never turn back again. Don’t surround yourself with negative thinking people who feel God’s presence is only out to hurt you. Find another spirit filled church. Then who will come to God? They’ll struggle all their lives trying to be that perfect person – when in fact it’s absolutely impossible.

Reading the bible is great. But before you pick that book up, pray for wisdom and understanding. Ask God to help you understand His word. Ask Him to show you what is applied for “you”. One morning I prayed to God for Him to shine His light upon me. I wanted others to see His light through my writing or through my words in the book I published. I opened to the first page available, and it said this:

“Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” ~Matthew 5:16

Receiving the Light
No one lights a lamp and then hides it or puts it under a basket. Instead, it is put on a lamp stand to give light “to all” who enter the room. Your eye is a lamp for your body. A pure eye lets sunshine into your soul. But an evil eye shuts out the light and plunges you into darkness. Make sure that the light you think you have is not really darkness. If you are filled with the light, with no dark corners, then your whole life will be radiant, as though a floodlight is shining on you. ~Luke 12:33-36

Every morning I sit and pray to God. I spend time with Him, instead of just “reading about Him.” After my prayer and meditation, I talk to Him and ask questions. He answers back all the time. There hasn’t been a prayer that went unanswered. This is why my belief in God is so great. It’s not just my upbringing or what the preachers have told me. It’s not because others said to believe in God – it’s because I witness God on a daily basis. My relationship with God is based on a foundation that’s solid.

I received an email from a reader and friend this morning. She said, “I can see your glumness is gone.” She didn’t mean it in a bad way. She was trying to tell me that she notices that God is working through me more and more lately. And she’s absolutely right! I was backsliding for a while. I wasn’t praying as much and I was becoming really depressed and it showed in a lot of my posts. Of course we get depressed from time to time, but my writing had shown that I haven’t been coming to God all that much. Now that I have been coming to Him daily again, and even though my life still has its ups and downs, it’s so much better hearing answers from the Lord instead of trying to work it out myself. I give my problems to the Lord.

The LORD helps the fallen and lifts up those bent beneath their lands. ~Psalm 145:14

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us—they help us learn to endure. And endurance develops strength of character in us, and character strengthens our confident expectation of salvation. And this expectation will not disappoint us. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. ~Romans 5:3-5

Sometimes, the more we pray, the more challenges are set before us by the evil one. They’re tests in my opinion. They help us do ‘endure’ and ‘build character’ as the scripture says. If we didn’t go through certain things in our lives, how would we learn from it? How would we know what’s best to do in a particular situation if it wasn’t handled before? But when we come across a new challenge, pray and ask for help, and see how it works out best for you. The devil hates it when we come to God in our times of troubles. The devil will seek any obstacle to throw in our path. Conquer it.

Don’t be impatient for the LORD to act! Travel steadily along his path. He will honor you, giving you the land. You will see the wicket destroyed. ~Psalm 37:34
A steady walk with God leads to a successful journey. If you get lost, God will make sure He finds you again if you have enough faith. When God feels that you love Him with all your heart, He’ll never let you go. He’ll nudge you to come back to Him. Focus on Him and trust that He’ll take care of all your problems.

People ask me how I deal with the opposition of other Christians. We believe differently. They throw scriptures at me and bible thump me until they’re blue in the face. I throw scriptures out there too, but only because God has given them to me in order to relate to what I’m writing. Call me psychotic, call me whatever – God speaks to me through scripture, through words on the radio or TV, and even through the words of what other people say to me. It’s truly amazing. That’s why when others come onto my site trying to make me believe differently, I can’t be swayed. My relationship with God is too strong. I listen to them, I hear them out, I let them comment as much as they want, and I also respect their beliefs, however my beliefs can’t be changed.

God uses us in many different ways. He uses the least expected in order to draw attention from people who wouldn’t normally listen to the typical preacher types. God has told me in many ways that my writing and my way of thinking will help others to develop a relationship with God – if that’s what they want.

In 1 Corinthians 15:58 – God pointed this out to me:

“My dear brothers and sisters, be strong and steady, always enthusiastic about the Lord’s work, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.”
As we pursue our God-given purpose, we do not get discouraged even when it seems that nothing is happening. God wastes nothing.

I’m a gay Christian with a lot of flaws, but by believing in God and believing that His son has died for my sins, I know I’m saved – regardless of what other negative Christians have to say about it. It doesn’t bother me. I would never say to another Christian, “God is going to cast you into hell” for whatever sin they have in their lives. It’s not my job.

The foundation of my relationship with God is solid. I feel secure because of that. If I wasn’t secure with the foundation, I’d be nervous. And maybe, I would tell the neighbor next to me that his house was sinking too. But who am I to tell him that if I’m not a building inspector? {Or God.}