Saturday, September 26, 2015

Jesus Christ, I thought I knew You

Before I start I want to share Jesus's words about the "MANY " people that profess to KNOW Him but they DO NOT and yet, they teach Him as if they do. Jesus warned His disciples about false prophets when He walked this earth. If we heed to His warnings then we are His disciples and if not, then we never knew Him. Here are four translations:

Matthew 7:21-23 
*(King James Version)
21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

*(The Living Bible Version)
21 Not all who sound religious are really godly people. They may refer to me as ‘Lord,’ but still won’t get to heaven. For the decisive question is whether they obey my Father in heaven. 22 At the Judgment[a] many will tell me, ‘Lord, Lord, we told others about you and used your name to cast out demons and to do many other great miracles.’ 23 But I will reply, ‘You have never been mine.[b] Go away, for your deeds are evil.’ 
*(New Living Translation Version)
21 “Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. 22 On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name. 23 But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’

And a most modern version I like:

*(The Message Version)
21-23 Knowing the correct password—saying ‘Master, Master,’ for instance—isn’t going to get you anywhere with me. What is required is serious obediencedoing what my Father wills. I can see it now—at the Final Judgment thousands strutting up to me and saying, ‘Master, we preached the Message, we bashed the demons, our God-sponsored projects had everyone talking.’ And do you know what I am going to say? ‘You missed the boat. All you did was use me to make yourselves important. You don’t impress me one bit. You’re out of here.’ 

The Point of this scripture is simple: Just because someone says Jesus's name DOES NOT mean that they KNOW Him. They only know OF Him.

 Here is how I got introduced to Jesus.

Jesus drew me very gently and in different stages before I ever said my first "yes" to Him.
I believe that Jesus does this for us that have been horribly wounded by the church. Especially as little children. Children are VERY precious to the LORD and when they are hurt by those leaders that misrepresent Him, it is no small deal.
I don't like to remember my past and how much I had a very DEEP hate for God and His people. But if I don't go there, I can take for granted the MERCY he has given me to walk alongside Him in the life I live today. I've already blogged about the hate (lets-address-hating-god) so I won't go into it again.

Today, I want to share how I learned about:
  • The Jesus I "thought" I knew. The "one" I was taught about and grew up with. 
  • The "jesus" I was forced to submit to and fear, so I wouldn't go to hell. 
  • The "jesus" that stared back at me from a cross statue to remind me that I should feel ashamed for being a sinner and grateful for his sacrifice. 
  • The "jesus" that I was made to kneel and pray to for the sin of being born alive.
This was the "jesus" represented to me and so I grew up to mock, hate, and despise him and his people. He was a bully and I didn't want anything to do with him.

Then one day I was told about a movie that showed the evil corruption of the church and it's leaders.
For someone like me, that's all I needed to hear.

The year was 2001, sometime in February. I had a few days off work and my boyfriend and I decided to rent the horror movie Stigmata.

Classified as a horror. Ha, what a joke! Terrible movie!

I was raised in a very religious environment and so I fully enjoyed movies that poked at the church. The word "church" alone made me mad. It was a word that conjured up painful memories of humiliation and perversion. I hated the church and the leaders were the WORST. 
So, I was expecting this movie to justify my emotions and solidify my beliefs that the church was evil.

Here's what happened:

As the movie started I was expecting it to be a horror movie but it was too funny, the acting was horrible and the cast was just wrong for their parts. I started to tune out but something caught my attention. It was the last wound. The wound to Jesus's side. I had no idea that Jesus had a wound on His side but not just any wound -- BUT -- His last wound.

I don't know what it was about not knowing of His last wound that made my WHOLE brain just STOP.

As the movie was playing I sat and literally went back in my memory-bank and tried really hard to think about a time that I had seen or heard any mention of His LAST wound. Where the LAST DROP OF BLOOD came out of Him.

I was raised with lots of pictures and statues of the bloodied crucified "jesus" and so I should know. If I really "KNEW" Jesus then I would know about the last wound and WHY such an infliction was made, right?
I grew up in the church for gods sake. I had nuns and priests for teachers so, I should know about this.

Not knowing this for some odd reason really bothered me.

I gave up trying to remember and told my boyfriend what I didn't know. He just looked at me and said "yeah, they needed to make sure that he was dead....".

As he was explaining to me Jesus's last day I was stunned that he knew anything about Jesus or church or God. We had been living together for about five months and he had never talked to me about his religious beliefs or a god. I had never asked. It didn't matter and now... I was curious.

I asked him how he knew all this stuff about Jesus. He simply got up from the couch, went into our bedroom and came back with a Bible.
First off, I was shocked that there was a Bible in my apartment and that this man had it in his possessions. 
Yes, I was weirded out by this because now I knew why he was so damn weird when I met him. The way we met was even weirder. Lord willing I'll blog about it some day because that boyfriend is now my husband. :)

Anyways, when he opened up his Bible I was horrified that he had written and marked all over in it. When I asked him why he did that he simply said "it's my notes."

I then explained to him that I was raised in a religion where only the priest was allowed to read and interpret the Bible. We were to listen to him speak and trust his teachings. So, I had never touched or read a Bible for myself. Not even in the private Catholic school I attended.
I told him that his Bible is the first that I had ever laid my own eyes on.

He then opened it to the book of John and showed me the passage that was about Jesus's crucifixion. I didn't read it. I just took the Book in my hands and flipped through the pages. Not really reading anything but just looking at everything. Really getting a feel of it in my hands.

I then closed the Book and ended the discussion about Jesus as the movie ended.

I never watched Stigmata again. I don't really remember the movie at all. I do know though that that movie left me with one question -- who is Jesus? Really? Who is He?  
Because the one I was told and taught about -- was not Him!

In the following days we never talked about God, his Bible or the movie again. I also wasn't as mad at Jesus as I was prior to the movie because I couldn't be mad at someone I didn't really even know.

I only wanted to be happy and to go about my business as normal. No more talks about Jesus or a god or anything. Back to my life as usual. I had everything I needed.

Everything was fine for a couple days until I found a card that was left for me in my galley that read:

"If we meet and you forget me, you have lost nothing; but if you meet JESUS CHRIST and forget Him you have lost everything."

All the sudden everything was not fine.

I put the card in my bag and never looked at it again BUT it got me thinking -- Who is this JESUS CHRIST???


Friday, September 11, 2015

Writing down my journey

I've had several dreams this week about writing and in my dreams I was very prepared to write whatever I was writing and I was okay with whatever was going on. I then woke up.

My reality is: I don't enjoy writing about my life and what God has taught me in the process! It's painful and I see it as a useless waste of time to share so much darkness, in written form. I can talk to others about it but I just can't write it.
When I talk about my journey then I can make it sound better than it was or laugh off the most painful parts and the hearer can see that it wasn't that bad. I want them to hear how God pulled me out of such a mess. I want them to overlook the dark stuff and when I see that they are hurt or bothered, I want to be there to fix it. I can control the situation.

But writing is different. I don't get to control how my story is read. I don't get to see a readers face. I don't get to laugh off the painful parts. I don't get to explain why the people in my life were so hurtful or why I was so hurtful. Justifications are out the window. I only get to write and wait for God to do His part.
I have NO control. None, zilch, nada, nothing, zero control and it's TERRIFYING. I only get to trust Him. And for me, that is the most agonizing part of writing my journey.

So, if it's so agonizing for me to do, then why do it??
Because, I would be in complete disobedience to the God I say I love and serve if I did not share the journey He has me on. I WANT TO BE OBEDIENT.
I don't want to call my God a liar. He is trustworthy and He has proven His faithfulness to me countless times and yet, I call him a liar when I don't trust Him.
Satan is the king of liars and I don't serve him but when I give in to my fears then by default he is who I'm trusting.
My last blogs took such an emotional toll on me that I stopped. The spiritual warfare was so heavy that I couldn't breathe. I would get anxiety just thinking about blogging and then tell God that maybe I heard him wrong. Then I would ask Him to redirect me and well, here I am. He redirected me right back here. :)

So, my hope and prayer for this blog is that God has His way with it. And that my faith will grow unimaginably. That a year from now I will look back and be absolutely astounded by His mighty works and that the dreams I have had this week will be made TRUE.

One day I will wake up and be prepared to write and I will be okay because I serve a God who loves me. I'm His girl.