Saturday, May 15, 2010

Why and How I Came to Be a Christian, and Things you Didn't Know About Christianity

It is true, when one becomes faced with death you will try to find faith or find "religion." Whether you face death at an early age or when you are 90 years old, I believe everyone will try to answer the question, was I a good enough person? Good enough to enter a place everyone knows as paradise or heaven. Or was I not good enough? Will I go to a place that eveyone knows as the place that bad people like Hitler and Manson should be in right now, hell.

As some of you may know I was faced with death last year with my cervical cancer diagnosis. During this time, I asked myeslf these questions and I found myself praying to the God that I have always believed in asking for more time on this Earth for the sake of my daughter and my family. When one gets a cancer diagnosis and you are not spiritually strong enough to accept it, you begin to start bargaining. You say things like, well if i'm going to die I want to die "happy." You then start coming up with all kinds of definitions of what happiness is, and in my case it was to my own demise. With the cancer diagnosis came the search for "happiness." This meant that I was to leave my husband and find someone that would make me happier. Little did I know my definition of happiness was juvenile. To make a long story short, by the grace of God my cancer is in remission and I am now back together with my husband who really loves me.

Well along with the search for happiness comes the what happens after I die? Will I go to heaven or hell. I believe there has to be a hell because where else should Hitler and Manson and the serial killers of this world go? If you believe that you are a creation of God, then you should know that God is a merciful God, but he is also a just God. He wouldn't allow the righteous to be in the presence of the unrighteous. We don't even allow this here on Earth, that is why we have jails, prisons, and asylums, to keep the people safe from evil. So I decided to give the Christian church a try. I was Catholic but like many Catholics I wasn't "practicing" or going to church. I didn't read the Bible(God's word), which is also what Catholics base their faith on. I wasn't religious, but I knew there was God, and I believed John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whoever should believe in Him should not perish, but have eternal life." I don't know why I believed this since my parents never took me to church or Sunday school. I was a Catholic who believed in God and the death of Jesus for the remission on my sins by tradition handed down to me by being Filipino. I guess my lack of Catholic religiousity actually helped me become open minded about Christianity and "Christian Church." I had not been indoctrinated into the Catholic doctrine or routine. I have to tell you though, it is by God's grace only that I was born into a family that believes in the Christian God and not Allah the moon god, or like tribal societies, many gods.

As a Catholic who even went to Catholic school for a year in high school, I feel I have been blessed to have known of John 3:16, even though I didn't know the whole gospel story of Jesus. I knew it was amazing that my creator said that He sent his only son (Jesus) to die for me so I could have eternal life. It took me 27 years to find out why though. After 27 years I finally decided to listen in on a Christian sermon, and boy was I mesmerized. It only makes logical sense. If you claim to be Catholic or Christian you have to know that the Bible is God's word. Yes, the Bible was written by men, but it was inspired by God. The men were merely the vessel in which God was able to communicate in writing His love for us. In the Bible he explains EVERYTHING! How the world began, how we should live, how we should love, and yes believe it or not, how the world ends. Through the Bible, God tells us exactly what we need to do to finally be back in heaven with our creator. He also tells us exactly how to get into hell. So if you are wondering how to avoid hell then you should read the Bible. And contrary to what the media says about how hard it is to get into heaven, and how unfair God is to allow for a hell, it is not that hard to avoid hell. You just need to overcome the number one sin. Ok what do you think the number one sin is? Stealing? Adultery? Idolatry? Blasphemy? Murder? No! The number one sin is that devil driven PRIDE of ours!

So you think you are a good person? That is your pride talking. The Bible says everyone has sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Only God is good, God does not sin. Admit it, you've told a lie, you've stolen stuff, you've used God's name as a cuss word. So already you have admitted you are a liar, a thief, and a blasphemer, that is 3 of the 10 commandments. And Jesus says if you think about a man or woman in lust you commit adultery with them in your heart, and if you talk shit about them you commit murder in your heart! So now you are an adulterer and murderer at heart. If God is the judge and he judges you based on the commandments will you be found innocent or guilty? Again, if you don't want to admit your guilt that is your pride doing the talking. Because you say, well I am remorseful and I have asked for forgiveness. Well a person standing in front of a judge in our courts can't just say sorry please forgive me and have the judge release him from his rightful punishment. The judge will say i'm glad you are sorry but you still have to do the time buddy. Well when we die we will all be judged. I know it sounds scary but there is no way that people can be murderers, rapists, and molesters and get away with it with no eternal consequences. The righteous will be rewarded and the unrighteous will be punished, the same as it is here on earth. So just in case you were still wondering what needs to happen to be forgiven here goes... Do you know what God did? In the Bible God says that he doesn't wish anyone should perish in hell, but that everyone become saved from hell and be with Him in heaven. So what did he do? God sent his son to die on the cross. When Jesus was on the cross all the sins of the world were attibuted to him, thus paying our fine for sin. It was a legal transaction, he paid the fine and punishment so you didn't have to. All that God requires now is that we repent, which means acknowledge you are a wretched sinner and turn away from your sinful ways, believe in God's good grace, and have faith that Jesus' death on the cross was sufficient for your release from hard time. Ok so that is the gospel message! That is all a Christian is, someone who believes this.

On the radio I heard a very successful Christian businessman talking to another successful business man about why he was a Christian. The Christian businessman said "Because it is the best deal that is out there." The profits of being a Christian outweigh the losses. Well actually there are no losses. If you go "religion shopping" there really is no better deal. Read the Koran, it is very hard to get to Allah. Well if you think suicide bombing is easy then go for it. Then with religions like Jehovah's Witness, Iglesia ni Christo, Mormonism, and even Orthodox Roman Catholicism, it is very works based and legalistic as well. Works and legalism meaning you have to do certain things and do some many "good things" to get into heaven. But this is all contrary to what the Bible says. If you read it you will find out the the "moral" to the whole Bible is that there is no amount of good works (like volunteering, healing, fasting, giving, 24 hour Bible reading, perfect church attendance,etc)that you can do to earn your way into heaven. It is by God's grace alone by faith in Jesus' atoning death alone.

Now back to Christian church... At Christian church they actually open up the Bible and teach verse for verse, unlike the Catholic church. I found it very suspicious that there was a lack of Bible reading by Catholics even though they confess also that the Bible is the innerrant word of God. Come to find out, this may be deliberate, which is a whole different blog. It is essential to the Christian faith or anyone who claims to be forgiven by Jesus that they read the Bible. I don't need to be affiliated with a particular church or pastor to understand the word of God, as some religious cults claim. The Bible has been preserved for ages for all to read and understand on their own, which in itself is a promised miracle, (the Bible itself says it will be preserved.) It is better preserved than the copies of the Greek Iliad and Odyssey. It is the number one all time best seller. The Bible is a living work of God, it is evident by the many lives it has transformed, thieves, murderers, and adulterers alike have been saved and transformed by the contents of this book. Scoffers there are many, but God still loves and cares for them, and His forgiveness and grace are still available for those who will diligently seek it.

My ultra liberal psychology teacher gave us a handout that asked us to write down the top 10 things/titles that we identify ourselves as today, and how we would have ranked them 5 years ago. After 27 years of life I didn't hesitate to write that my number one now was that I was a Christian, two a wife, three a mother. Christian would be nowhere on my list 5 years ago. And I am not ashamed of being a Christian regardless of what people say, regardless of how they make fun of my Bible reading, or singing church songs, or listening to Christian radio and sermons, or not watching tv or listening to the radio. Why? Because I've been there and done more than you can ever imagine. And God saved me. He saved me from the pits of hell. God came knocking on my door and I let Him in. I dropped my pride and let him change my hard heart. People think that Christians have to give up stuff, like fun, rap music, and tv. Nope wrong. When you decide to realize that that stuff might be influencing your behavior, changing your values, and hindering your relationship and time with God, God comes into your heart and gives you a distaste for them. So essentailly you aren't giving anything up, you just don't like those things anymore. Lil Wayne, Kendra, New York, and Lady Gaga aren't that cool anymore. The Bible becomes your source of strength, wisdom, and truth, in a world that likes to fool us and tell us there is no truth. No truth means no one can question what you do. You can do what you want to do because there are no rules in which you can be judged. Well it's a lie, there is truth, sometimes you just need to turn the tv off and listen to God to find it. Lady Gaga and Shakira keep talking but they don't know jack shit.

Sucks because because there are people out there who want to know everything and think they know everything. Those people are usually so "scientific" that they refuse to believe in God because they can't see him. Well I believe you can't truly be wise if you don't know God. And wisdom can be acheived by reading his word, the Bible. God straight out said I made the birds and the bees and I keep them alive and fed. What more us man, who He loves and made in His image? If you know how this whole world started and if you know how it ends then I believe you are one up on a lot of people.

It is pride that keeps us from knowing God. That is why we do anything to try to skirt around finding Him. We read all kinds of books with "God" in the title, but we refuse to read his love letter to us, the Bible. We try all kinds of things like yoga positions, breathing tecniques, new age practices, blending in of eastern religious rituals that "spiritual" people/authors say will help us find God. In my study I have found that this Oprahesque trend in spirituality is not the true path to God that gets us to where we want to be, heaven. For Jesus said, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life, nobody gets to the Father in heaven except through me." Note that no other person in history has made this claim except for Jesus Christ. I know it sounds arrogant and non inclusive, but Christianity is inclusive. Remember God wants everyone to go to heaven. But being the loving and just God that he is, he realizes that maybe not all people want to have anything to do with him. He is not an evil dictator who says worship and believe in me or else! So what does a fair and just God do? He makes a place for those people. A place far far away from him, it's hell. Hell is just a place that is away from God. Even on Earth, we know what people are like when they don't have God, watch the Discovery channel. Usually they are savege, prideful, and unrepentant. Does this sound judgemental? Maybe. But it is the truth. I don't want to go to hell, that is why I am a Christian. And if on my way to trying to avoid hell I become a changed person and learn to love my enemies more, is that a bad thing?

Well I will wrap it up with this. Don't let the world fool you into thinking Christianity is intolerant and hateful. It's not true. Christianity is the only faith that will tell its people to unconditionally love your neighbor and love your enemies. If everyone in this entire world lived up to Jesus' standard of love your enemies then we would have zero problems. We would be in that socialized utopia that the world dreams of but could never achieve.

No comments:

Post a Comment