Have you ever felt stuck? Have you ever looked at a passage or verse in the Bible and thought you or a pastor could of interpreted wrong? Have you ever felt your beliefs shift from one view to the other. Have you ever thought that somethings in the Bible might have certain answers? Have you ever thought it might not? If you ever rethought what you have been taught but still love Jesus this book is for you. If you have been wandering away this book is for you. If you are doubting your faith this book is for you. If you are strong in your faith this book is for you. So basically this is for EVERYONE. What I love about Sarah Bessey is that she walks with you through your questions, fears, and doubts. She is also a wonderful encourager.
I am going to write about my biblical baggage and how I am overcoming that.When I was “On fire” for Jesus I tended to read the Bible in a legalistic way. I never considered the context of the situation. The Bible was written for us who live in the 21st Century but not to us. I am learning to read the Bible in a whole new way but sometimes reading those passages or verses that I took so literally that caused me damage really still hurts. It is hard to look at them differently. However, I am slowly falling back in love with the Word of God.
I used to be a an avid reader of Proverbs 31. I loved the Proverbs 31 ministry. But recently I discovered from Orthodox Jews it was not a standard for women. Jewish men used it praise their wives. They called them women of valor. 1 Timothy 2:12 says “But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.” 1 Corinthians 14:34 says “Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them”. I learned that this verses were most likely contextual. I also used to think that we all had to be like Mary and not Martha. Jesus Gently rebuked Martha. However, He didn’t like her any less. She is not condemned to hell. He even said what she was doing was good. Mary was doing what was better. But serving is actually a good thing especially back then.
I so desperately want to fall in love with God and how He is in the Old Testament. It always seems to violent for me. And a lot of the times all I see is violence. So I will talk with people who have already fallen in love with the Old Testament. The ones who know that the God of the Old Testament and the New Testament are the same.
I also used to not like that we had different denominations. My black and white faith was the cause of it. I so dearly wanted to cling to certain views of each Scripture. I thought there had to be certain way of doing everything. Now I see the beauty in Advent and Lent. I see the beauty of direct evangelical teaching. I see the beauty of immersion of adults and water sprinkling of babies in some churches. I cry in when we have baby dedications and see that the parents are longing to see their children grow up to be lovers of God.
Now don’t get me wrong there are certainly things in the Bible that are black and white. There are sins we aren’t allowed to commit although there is grace for that too. I certainly don’t justify unrepentant sin. But I do believe we are all a work in progress. I don’t believe people are going to be “fixed” immediately. One thing for sure is I know we don’t have God figured out. We never will. The Bible even says God is exalted beyond our knowledge (Job 36:26 ). That used to frustrate me when I wanted the black and white answers for everything. But now that I realize that God is to big to fully grasp. I think that is a beautiful mystery. I know when I read certain verses my thoughts about them and what they mean will change again. Instead of fearing that I will welcome it. There is one thing I know is true. Jesus walked this earth. He loved the unloveable. He carried are sins on the cross and He felt tremendous pain for us. I am very thankful for that.
P.S. I don’t dislike my old view that was Black and White view of the Bible because that is what drew me to the Bible. I wanted answers for living. I wanted answers for why I was created. I am certainly most thankful for my new way of looking at Scripture. Realizing not everything is black and white is good for me. This new view is what drew me back to Christ and to be honest it saved my faith.
I always thought loving your neighbor had to be very dramatic. I thought you had to give them everything. But I learned lately that everything doesn’t always require something so dramatic. I know in the Bible God talks about miracles and giving everything to the poor. Don’t get me wrong God is always right. We should obey Him. However, I don’t think loving your neighbor has to be drastic. When the workers came to our house the other day my mom asked if they wanted to go fishing. The next time they actually brought their fishing poles and they fished. We talked for a while and shared stories. I got to know him and he got to know us. Our neighbors invited us to dinner one time. We got to know each other. Another time we invited our other neighbors and kids to go out on their boat. They went tubing and swam in the river. They had a wonderful time. They started going to our Church. When we do acts of kindness and invite people into our lives I am pretty sure this makes God smile. I am pretty sure we are showing them an example of Christ in this cruel world. Maybe this is how we love our neighbor.
- Missions: I have never been on a missions trip but I really want to go on one. It is just so difficult to raise money. I have tried and it didn’t go well before.
2. Children: I love children. I love encouraging them. Thankfully they love me as well.
3. Women: I am passionate about empowering women. I want them to know their worth. I want them to see themselves as equally as important as men.
4. Horses: I love horses. They have always been therapy for me. I want to use them in a therapeutic setting one day for kids.
5. Traveling: I really want to travel the world. Traveling is really helps heal my soul. I love seeing more of God’s creation. I love getting to know what other cultures are like.
“Jesus was more brokenhearted, scarred and betrayed than anyone in history. Yet, He did not shut Himself off from us; Instead, He calls us unto Him. If you cannot trust anyone, right now, please trust Him. His scars are proof that you are loved more than you know. He will guide you through this pain, He will sit with you when you are weak, and He will carry you until you can walk again. Christ wants to see you run again, He wants to see you live in His glory. You just have to take His hand and walk; it will take all of you, but you will get all of Him.
He is worth it.” — T.B. LaBerge
Sometimes I have a difficult time knowing whether God cares about me. I mean deep down I know He cares. However, there is a lot bad things that happen in my life. It is easy to blame God for those. I prayed and asked God to show me a passage or verse I needed to read today. I opened the bible randomly a few times. I saw the title Jesus comforts Martha and Mary. To be honest I did not want to read another passage on Martha and Mary. There has been so much debates on Martha and Mary. Pastors make it seem like Mary was the perfect Christian and and Martha was not ( I will talk about this in another post). Both Martha and Mary told Jesus that He should of been there so Lazarus would not die. Martha and Mary’s faith did not waver. However, they were a upset that Jesus did not protect Lazarus from death. I have read the passage a few times. However, two verses stuck out to me that I don’t think ever has before. John 11:33-34 says “When Jesus saw Mary weep and noticed the tears of the Jews who came with her, he was deeply moved and visibly distressed. “Where have you put him?” he asked.” Jesus really cared about Lazarus. It troubled Him. He was very distressed. This proves that even when bad things happen to us our God is with us. I have heard so many tragedies lately. It has been questioning my belief that God is loving and that He cares. However, this verse shows that even though God allows certain things to happen it doesn’t mean He doesn’t love us. He gets angry when people hurt us. He cries knowing when we grieve. Even though God believes in the resurrection for believers after death it doesn’t that He is not bothered by death on earth. He loves us. I hope this verse makes you remember that today.
“I dream too much, and I don’t write enough, and I’m trying to find God everywhere.”
If you know anything about me you know I love to read. I have always been a lover of words. The last part of the quote really defined me. I have been trying to find God everywhere. I tried to find him at high school, through people, through serving at various organizations, among the poor, among evangelical Christians who have so much faith it makes me jealous, in people who don’t believe in God, in nature, by going to a Christian College, mentors and on long drives. Sometimes searching for God gets weary. All the searching makes me tired. The verse in Jeremiah 29:13 which says ” If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me” always frustrated me. I told God I have been searching inwards through prayer, community, reading scripture, serving, and worship. I have searched inwards and outwards. It just of tens seems like I can’t find Him. But recently I have noticed He shows up when He is ready. It is not that He doesn’t want to show up for you. You may not be ready for what He has to say. Or you may be making the wrong choices. But He will always remind us of His love for us. Sometimes it is revival. However, for me it never has been. I never had one moment with God that was a huge transformation. He is working on me slowly. He pushes me. He makes me realize I need to change inwardly. He is there to guide me. He loves me. He rebukes me. He gently breaks down my walls.
I always have a difficult time praying. I always here God speaking to me through His Word or other people. I can read scripture all day. I can sing and dance to worship music. I usually never hear from God during prayer. Or at least I don’t think I do. I don’t like to blame this on God. It could just be I am not listening. However, I want to share my raw feelings with you all. I want to open to up about my prayer life. I get so frustrated that I don’t hear from God or feel His presence during prayer that I hardly ever pray. I am not saying God never answers my prayers. But often times I don’t feel like we are spending time together. I often don’t feel like the Holy Spirit is present. Of course I know that is not true. But I don’t feel God’s presence when I pray or hear from God like most people do. When I pray to God it often feels like I am talking to a brick wall. I crave the intimacy of prayer. I will continue to make efforts to breathe a prayer every now and then. I don’t want praying to feel like a job I don’t like. I want prayer to be like having a two way conversation with God. I still am a LITTLE hopeful about prayer. But I want to love praying to God more.