Scott and I are reading a new book for our next CLST class, “The Heart of the Old Testament” by Ronald Youngblood. It was initially published at “Great Themes of the Old Testament”, which I think is a better title. It touches on what the author believes as the nine major themes of the Old Testament. Anyway, we had a discussion of the book on the way home from Starbucks tonight.
I tend to be a fiction reader. I love fiction. Give me a historical romance, futuristic law, or modern romance and I’m happy. I have never been a fan of nonfiction, but that’s what Scott likes to read. He likes biographies, theology, and history. Needless to say, reading my CLST assignments isn’t my favorite thing to do, but it is necessary to be prepared for class. So, Scott and I were bantering about this month’s book and I found some things that I didn’t agree with.
Youngblood was saying something to the fact that he believes that God has made us to live out His purpose, but without our say in it. But, this isn’t what I’ve been taught or read and I disagree with the author. God is a wonderful, omnipotent, omnipresent, sovereign, creator. We were created in His image and were made to worship Him. I do believe this. God has a plan and purpose for our life that is trillions of times better than we could ever ask for or imagine in our human brains.
You see, we try to imagine God, as great and wonderful as He is, in our tiny brains. Imagine putting the universe in a jewelry box. This is what we try to do to God. We will never truly understand our infinite Creator, His will, His mind, or His nature in our finite brains. We’re constantly trying to “help God out” in our lives, as if we could do anything in our own wills that’s better than God. But, I digress.
God loves us so much that He lets us choose whether or not we’ll follow Him. Free will! Isn’t that the ultimate love? God loves you so much that He’s going to let you choose your path, knowing what the right path is and He’s willing to lead you on it. God doesn’t run our lives as if we are just simply along for the ride. That’s not living life at all. That’s being a puppet.
God’s made it simple as well. Do you think a loving God would make following Him difficult? All He asks is to come to Him, admit you’re a sinner, ask Him for forgiveness, believe that His Son Jesus died for your sins, and make Him Lord over your life. Easy-peasy! It’s easy to get started. It’s not about religion. It’s not about denomination. It’s not about doing any special steps. There isn’t a “required” way. God doesn’t want us to speak in “thees” or “thous”. He just wants our open, repentant heart.
Luke 11:9 “And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.
God wants to be your friend. How do you build a friendship? You spend time together talking and getting to know your new friend. God wants us to spend time daily getting to know Him. You do that by talking to him, the way you’d talk to a friend sitting in front of you. That’s all prayer is, a conversation with God. You talk, you listen and let God speak to you. It probably won’t be an audible voice, but it might be. You read the Bible, starting perhaps in Mark or John, so you can get to know Jesus.
You need to get into a body of believers. It’s probably not going to be in a church that has a lot of rules, religion, rights, and wrongs. A Christian’s rule book is the Bible. Not the catechism, not some other “holy” book, not a prayer book. See, man created religion. God created relationship. God wants relationship, not religion. That’s what messes up most people, what makes people leave the church or religion they grew up in.
I speak simply from my own heart when I say that you will probably need to find a good non-denominational church, who’s pastor teaches from the Bible, who’s music touches your heart and brings praise and honor to the Lord, and who accepts all people wherever they are in their walk. Jeans or shorts; shoes or no shoes; beautiful or ugly; black, white, yellow, red, brown; strange, weird, outrageous. If that church accepts people like that, that’s where you will want to go. I’ve heard it said that the church is like a hospital, a place for sick people to get well.
Sure the church is full of sinners and imperfect people. For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard (Romans 3:23). The church is full of hypocrites. We’re human; we’re working on not being hypocrites. Are you going to be offended at church, probably at one time or another. There are times that what’s said hits a little too close to home. Perhaps that’s the time you need to reflect on why you’re offended and make a change.
I really don’t want to make this post too long. It’s probably too long already. So, I’m going to leave you to chew on this post and this video for awhile until I can get back and write some more.
The Bible was written over a 1500 year period by approximately 40 authors on 3 continents (Asia, Europe & Africa) and it agrees in every way. There are 66 books, yet they are one, the Bible. I saw this video that says that Jesus is in every book of the Bible.