There is one thing that we need to strive for every single day, and that is to get closer to God. I am not talking about buying a stairway to Heaven, I am talking about an intimate relationship with God almighty. When we have our relationship with Him, we shouldn’t be arrogant about it, we should just do it, and keep it to ourselves. Let your light shine through your actions, and how you love other people. If you try and get into a relationship with someone, or if you are already in a relationship with someone, you need to get Closer to God as an individual first before you try to do it with someone else. You see, if you are constantly working on a relationship with someone, and you are having issues, you first need to fix your relationship with God. If you stray from that path, well, then you will be headed into the realm of despair, and that is a hard place to get out of when you try and do it on your own.
There are two immediate ways that you can get closer to God, the first one is prayer. When you pray, you are in direct connection with God, you two are one, and that is the most intimate thing that two people can do, is to spend quiet quality time with each other. When you pray, its ok to ask God for certain things, but why don’t you try just thanking Him for what He has already done for you in your life. Think of all the things that God has done for you, provided for you and has kept from you for good reason. Take a step back and let God just flow over you with His love and grace.
The second thing that you can do to get closer to God is to read your Bible, or, if you are like me, I like to listen to the Bible the first thing in the morning. I put on my headphones and take the dogs for a mile walk. Thats at least 20 minutes of Bible time that I get, and I even just go to the gym and listen to the Bible while I am on the treadmill. Every time that you read the Bible God will reveal something new to you, He will bring up something that you needed to hear, and it will be something that you can apply into your life that very day.
Ask yourself this question, “how many hours a day do I watch TV, how much time do I spend on the computer and social media?” Well, if you only spent just 1% of that time with God, I believe you will be more enlightened, and I also believe that you will start to hear that small still voice a lot more clearly, and you will start to discard things from your life that will not only make you a better person, but you will be surprised how much more work God will do in your life!
There are some people out there that the devil is trying to get more than others. The reason why he keeps bombarding you is because you listen to him. Not only do you listen to him, but you ponder and dwell upon what he whispers into your ear. There are some of you out there that are in a relationship with someone, either dating or marriage. When things seem to go a little south, the devil really jumps up on his soap box and really lays into you. He will put all kinds of scenarios into your mind and soon enough you start to believe in those scenarios, then you start to not only get mad at your partner, but then you start to get mad at yourself for “allowing” yourself to be put into that situation. Soon days become weeks, weeks become months and months become years. As each day passes your torment gets bigger and bigger, the self loathing becomes almost ritualistic and you fall into a deep despair and are stuck in the dark abyss that you cant seem to get out of.
There is something wrong here, there in one person that you might have forgotten about, and His name is Jesus. Jesus is the light within your darkness, He is the hand that will pull you out of the abyss, and He wants to be your savior. But……it’s hard for you to listen to reality, it’s hard for you to listen to reason, because the devil sneaks right back into your life and you begin to listen once again to the whispers that roll of his tongue. Your happiness is fleeting and soon your light becomes dimmer and dimmer, you look into the eyes of darkness and are stuck within it’s trance, you then slowly losses the grip that you have on the all mighty and fall right back into the arms of darkness. This cycle repeats itself over and over again and soon you don’t even know if you are living in reality.
Your partner tries to talk to you, they try to tell you the reason things are the way that they are, but you don’t want to listen to them, or their reasons. You toss what they have to say aside and think to yourself, “I don’t want excuses, I want action.” You turn away from your partner and don’t care to listen to them anymore, your partners words start to fade away and become babble, while the devils words are crisp and have strong meaning to them.
One day you need to look into the mirror and ask yourself if you want to continue to listen to the devils lies, or if you want to listen to reason and turn your eyes completely to Heaven and surrender yourself. Yes, I know that it’s hard not to listen to the lies, because they sound so convincing, they sound so real and they seem to have meaning to them. But only God has the real truth, only He can save you from the darkness.
What do you do when your child says something like, “It just doesn’t make sense to believe in a God who created the world. I mean, that was a nice story and all, but I’ve been learning about what really happened. Scientist have pretty much determined that things just evolved, so I really don’t need those Bible stories anymore.”
What do you as the parent say!? Well, I am dealing with this very thing with my 13 year old, she all of a sudden hates going to church, she says that it’s boring. She hates worship service, again, she says that it is boring. Let me tell you, I go to a progressive church and it is not boring in the least bit, worship service is like going to a rock concert! This has all happened in the past 3 months, I have asked her why the sudden change. She says, “you can’t force religion on me,” and I tell her that I am NOT teaching her religion, I am teaching her about Jesus Christ who died for her sins. She has also tried this one on me, she asked if she could stay home and watch church online, my response was, “if church is boring to you, wont it be just as boring watching it on a computer screen?” I also told her that I have her till she is 18, and after that if she chooses to turn her back on God, then that is her choice, but until then she will remain in church. I don’t care if she sits in the corner, just as long as she is there, because there will be some word that will attach itself to her, and she will use it at some point.
So, to answer the very first question. This is why I don’t like public schools these days, they are trying their very best to uplift every other belief system out there EXCEPT Christianity. Scientists love to try and say that they have “proved” something against the Bible! Well, they honestly haven’t proved anything. The Bible has been proven correct chronologically, and things that were professed thousands of years ago have come true. Just study the story of Nebuchadnezzar and when his kingdom was stripped from him, and then what kingdoms popped up after that, it has all been proven, so I don’’t know what these scientists are trying to prove. Also, I encourage you to have your children show you this “proof” and then you back up the Bible with the facts that are laid out for you and you will be just fine.
BUT……..DON’T argue with your kids or get mad at them, because the second you do that, you have just lost them and you will push them even further away from God. You will show them that is they don’t believe the same exact way as you do then they are wrong. No, just smile and say, “I love you and I have tried my best to teach you the right way, you certainly have the right to your opinion, but I have laid out the facts for you and you do with that information what you will.” You see, my daughter LOVES to shove logic in my face, so, I use logic right back on her, if she can’t prove her logic to me, then of course she had no argument. I let her get upset, but I just smile and tell her, “Im sorry that your mad, but we are going to church.” The funny thing is that she is pissy all the way to church and she stomps off, but as soon as church is over she has a smile on her face and hands me some papers with writing on them and says, “here you go dad, I took notes for you and your blog.” I just hug her and say thank you, I don’t rub it in her face and say, “you see, you were wrong about church, you were mad going in but happy coming out so something must be right.” I just keep my mouth shut and let God work in her life.
It seems that freedom of speech doesn’t apply if you call yourself a Christian. I saw a post on my FB the other day, and it was advocating the acceptance of gay marriage. Well, I just typed one word in the comment section and that word was “Romans.” That set off several rants from people who were calling me a bigot, a gay hater, and many other colorful things, all that from 1 word. It’s funny to me how people who support something can shout it from the highest mountains, but if you as a Christian make a logical comment that is in no way judgmental, and you are just expressing what the Bible says, and NOT your own opinion, then these people crucify you! They become VERY angry and hateful towards you. Well, I obviously stood my ground on my convictions in a very respectful and nonjudgmental way, but that didn’t change their anger towards me.
How is it that I can’t exercise my freedom of speech rights if I don’t agree with another persons belief system? I wasn’t forcing my beliefs on these people, I was merely giving Biblical facts. I didn’t argue with these people, nor did I try and sway them in any particular direction. I just planted a seed, and I will let God water it when ever He deems necessary. Here is my advice to you, when you come in contact with people that don’t agree with your belief system, DON’T argue with them! You are going to have to bite your tongue a few times, but you are a Christian, and you are going to have to show the same love that Christ did when He was faced with the same criticisms 2,000 years ago. Because if you argue with these people, you are only going to cause them to hate Christians even more, and you will just show them that you in fact are being judgmental because they aren’t living up to your “standards.” Besides, it’s not you or your beliefs we are defending here, it is the words written the Holy Bible. Another thing, DON’T preach to these people, they HATE that, and it will automatically put them on the defense. Kindly state your case, and then just leave it at that, because the second you start to argue, you just lost.
Remember, the Bible does give us the right to judge others actions, not them as a person, it clearly states that. But, do it in a loving manner, not from your personal opinion. The Bible can defend itself, and if you keep with it’s boundaries then you will be just fine.
I grew up in church, I went to church every Sunday (twice a day) Wednesday, and any day that they had a revival going on. To be honest, as a kid I just went through the motions, I didn’t really know what church was really about, or what “religion” was about, other than a bunch of rules, and most of all the long list of things you couldn’t do unless you wanted to go to hell. I also went to several religious based schools while growing up, Baptist, Catholic and Pentecostal, so you can imagine the vast confusion that I was experiencing. Each school taught me something different about religion, and then the church I went to just scared the heck out of me with all the hell fire and brimstone talk. Well, as I have told you before, as soon as I was 17 and in the military I got the heck away from religion and church because all those people were hateful and crazy! I didn’t darken the doors of church for a very long time, and when I did, the people were just as mean and yes, I left again. This time I didn’t go back to church for over 2 decades, I wanted as far away from these religious freaks as I could get!
Well, I wasn’t until 10 years ago that I gave God another chance, I went to Bible college to get my degree. To be honest, while I was in school, there was more hatred, sex, drugs in Bible college than there was in a secular school. But I stuck it out because I made a promise and I intended to fulfill that promise. During my time in Bible college I learned quite a bit about what people call “religion”, because if you think about it, religion or religious people dont mean anything at all. Scientology is a religion, and that has NOTHING to do with Jesus. Heck, I started my own religion back in 2002 and had over 10,000 followers world wide, and you guessed it, it had NOTHING to do with Jesus, far from it actually. So, when I hear people say, “I am religious”, that really doesn’t mean anything to me, because what they believe or whom or what they worship could be just about anything. Religion is stupid really, because it is man made and mans rules, not Gods rules. Man is fallible and so is his religion! Religion is all about rules, rules, rules, and things you cant do. Religion is all about works, not about faith in Jesus at all, its all about if your good enough, or if you give enough then you will go to “paradise.”
Christianity is NOT about religion at all! It’s about a relationship with Jesus Christ, it’s about loving your neighbor as yourself. Of course there are some basic rules, but those are no brainers no matter if you are a Christian or not. You can’t buy your way to Heaven, there are no amount of works that you can do to enter the Kingdom. Is all you have to do is believe the Jesus died for our sins and rose from the dead and that He is one day coming back for us. No long laundry list of things to do or say, no rituals, no blood sacrifice.
Now, this doesn’t change that fact that a lot of so called “Christians” out there are still hateful and mean, but to be honest with you, you are going to find that ANYWHERE that you go. You just have to ignore those people and concentrate on Jesus and your relationship with Him. It doesn’t matter what your past is, or what you look like. Heck, if that was the case I would be screwed in a huge way. I use to be involved with satan worshipers, ouija boards, witchcraft, and every other debotched thing life had to offer. I have over 30 tattoos and my ears are gauged, I sure DONT look like your “typical” pastor. I get criticized by “Christians” all the time, and yes I have to be honest, it does hurt, but I have to remind myself that they aren’t the ones that I worship, and they aren’t the ones who died for my sins.
So, forget about religion, because it is all made up anyway, and it is the interpretation of who is in charge at the moment. Just look at the Catholic church, they have changed the rules of their “religion” quite a bit as the times have changed, and that is just crazy. Jesus NEVER changes, he is the same yesterday, today and forever!
I have expressed to you that I have been going through a lot lately and have been having spiritual battles, the devil has been whispering in my ear, and has been telling me about all of the skeletons that have been in my closet. As I have also said, just because I am a pastor doesn’t mean that I am exempt from spiritual attack, in fact, I think that I am even more under the enemies radar.
I was sitting in church these past 2 weeks and they offered communion during the service, and during that time I had the devil whispering in my ear and creating doubt that I shouldn’t even be thinking about partaking in communion. I started to think of all of the past sins that I have committed, and let me tell you, there have been pretty bad ones. Of course I know that the Bible says that Jesus forgives all of our sins and that he throws them into the sea of forgetfulness to remember them no more, and to never use our sins against us. But I got to overthinking and thought, “if I can still remember them, then how is it the Jesus can’t remember them?” So, I started to feel guilty and for the past 2 weeks I haven’t taken communion. I feel weak, unforgiven and now I feel bad because I didn’t partake in communion. I am real good at ministering to other people, and explaining Biblical principles to them, but I seem to be bad at taking my own advice. I feel that my sins are so grievous that how can Jesus forgive them? I mean, I use to be in a cult, and I use to talk to the devil and demons through divination and the ouija board, I almost feel like I have committed the unforgivable sin. I know that God is a loving God, and I love Him with all of my heart, I serve Him with all of my being, but at the same time I am very shameful for my past.
There might be those of you out there that feel the same way that I do, and you need to know that God does in fact love you, and He does intact forgive you for your past. I know personally how hard that it is to let go of your past and how hard it is to forgive yourself. Just know that you are not alone, that you can always turn to Jesus for help, and that you shouldn’t let yourself skip communion like I have done these past 2 weeks. Also, try and have friends in your circle that you can confide in and talk to. It is always good to have others pray for us when we are being spiritually attacked. The enemy is very cunning and he will certainly play upon your weakness, he will dig and dig in your mind until he puts you in a trans like stage to where you will dwell on your past, and before you know it, you will be consumed by that negativity.
It’s also a good idea to pray and read your Bible when you get up of a morning. That will plant some positivity in the beginning of your day, and you can dwell upon that as your day goes on. Then, try and pray in the middle of your day, and try to get in a quick reading of a verse or two from a Bible app that you can easily download on your smart phone. Prayer is key in your rebuke of the enemies attack on you, because the more light that you have in your life, the less darkness can creep in!
Do you ever feel that even though there are almost 8 billion people in the world and the devil only has time to mess with you. That he is just targeting you? I asked myself that very same question about a dozen times in the past week, I wonder what is so important about me that he has to mess with my mind and try and throw me off track. I have continually prayed for help and deliverance, I have increased my Bible reading time, and I have tried my best not to let these thoughts bother me. But I have to be honest here, these thoughts, they in fact bother me, they torment me, and I am getting quite tired of them. I feel lonely and don’t really believe that I have someone out there that really wants to listen to me. I don’t feel that I can go to certain people because I either fear judgement or I just feel that the other persons life is just to full to listen to my problems. I did mention something to a family member of mine that happened to me as a kid, and they just barked at me and said, “why do you have to dwell on things of the past, just don’t think of those things!” That of course was the wrong thing to say to me, plus it felt like they didn’t even care how I was feeling. So, I just rely on God to walk beside me and I try to talk to Him as much as I can throughout the day. I downloaded a couple of worship albums to my phone and try and let that emerge into my brain. This just goes to show you that just because you are a Christian and a pastor that you are not immune from spiritual attack.
I try to keep busy throughout the day, I work out in the morning, and then I go somewhere like a Starbucks and write my blogs. I like the distraction of watching people, and it helps just to be somewhere other than home. Not that home is bad, its just if I am being mentally attacked I don’t want to bring that type of negativity into the home where other people live.
Its weird though, when the devil is whispering into my ear I find it curious that not only do I listen to it, I find myself re-living the past that he is reminding me of. I drift into a trans like stage and when I snap out of it, 10-15 minutes have gone by and I feel mentally drained. I feel like the mental life is sucked out of me and I just want to crawl into bed and just hide in the darkness.