I have spent the last several weeks spending a lot more time talking to God. I have taken time to talk with each of my children (still at home) individually to see where they are in their relationship with Him. I am trying to really nail down what I believe and move forward in the spiritual side of my life without getting all caught up in religion again. I have been thinking alot more about what I do and don't believe, and here are my current thought on this.....
1. I don't believe I will ever have it all right. I will never nail down exactly how everyting is meant to be. I will never walk this path of life perfectly, or cease to make mistakes. I will never earn my way to heaven, or make enough mistakes to land me in hell. No one else will ever do any of these things either.
2. I believe God is real, and He is a loving God. He doesn't need me to jump through hoops to appease Him. He doesn't need me to convert the world for Him. I am not responsible for the choices others make. I beleive He wants my life to be a witness to his love an his importance in my life. I believe he wants to be an active part of my everyday life, and my new goal is to show more love and compassion to those around me. Instead of asking for every little blessing everyday for myself I am asking God to show me one person each day I can help in some small way.
3. I believe God is compassionate and fogiving. I believe God is just waiting for us to realize we need him. I don't believe God is going to send millions of people to hell for the choices they have made here on earth. Now don't get me wrong, I do believe some people will send themselves there for some time, but I don't believe just because their time on earth has ended they wont have the chance to still change their hearts and minds. I believe that God is like the best parent ever. I know no matter what any of my children EVER did I could not send them away into torment for all eternity. I could send them to jail, or to a detention home, or sit back and watch them endure the consequences to the choices they had made. (Though this would hurt deeply, and I am sure it hurts God deeply). But they moment they had a change of heart I would be there to step in and help them back up. I believe God is no different.
4. I beleive sin has a purpose in our lives. Sin can do many negative things to us, and to those around us. Choices we make can literally put is in a hell on earth. We can tear our lives up from the inside out, and tear down those around us by making choices that are selfish and uncaring. But without sin we would never see our need for God. Without evil we would recognize the beauty of holiness. Sin causes death and destruction when we allow it to take over and rule our lives. But on the other side of that, without sin we may never grow. It is the hard part of life. It is the mistakes and the selfish behavior, and the consequences of those actions that bring us to a point where we have to grow or die. When I look back on my life it wasn't the easy, glorious meetings with God that bought about the most change in me. It wasn't the "spirit filled church services" that taught me who I was, or who he meant me to be. It was putting the feet to my beliefs and walking out of some of the biggest messes I could put myself in, knowing He was walking beside me holding my hand.
5. It is NOT my place to judge others. We need to all work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. You know we are all so alike, yet it is so easy to feel we are superior to someone else. Our beliefs are better, we know God better, we act better, we don't sin like they do! Lies, lies, lies. And I believed them for so long. Heck, sometimes I still believe them. I think God meets us each where we are, and He is not turning us all into a cookie cutter society of perfect little Christians. We will all continue to have our struggles and our sins. We will all hold on to some difference in our beliefs. I dont think we are the only ones who have it right. While I do believe Jesus was sent here for ALL of us, I believe others may know Him by a different name. And while there are some who may not have plugged into that divine spark in their life yet, I believe every person has that inner craving for the spiritual side. God has made us to need him, to feel him, and to know him. So while some of us may find that connection in a Bible, in church, in nature, or in silent meditation, God is big enought to happily meet us each in those places. He hasn't said, Hey I am only gonna show up at The Church of ___________ on Sunday , so be there, or be square! No, I believe God meets us each where we are, and he has created us to worship and connect to him differently. I am want to really keep growing in this belief because I find myself ridiculing others who can only find him in specific places and that is really wrong. I am no better than they are, and they are no better than me. On this note, I do not believe that Christians are the only ones who know God. I think that God is so much bigger than we can imagine and just because someone calls him by another name, or labels themselves with another title does not mean they do no know the Creator!
6. I believe we are here to learn how to love, and how to create a better world. God made us in his image and so we are made to be like him, to want what he wants. The creative process did not stop on day 6. We are here to change things. To bring Gods desires to earth. I think we spend so much time thinking about eternity that we throw out the gift of today. God has given us a life to live, and not just to make sure everyone we know has purchased their ticket to heaven. We need to be more about today, and tomorrow will take care of itself. We need to be creating a world like God saw in the begining. It starts with one person making one good choice. Imagine if everyone, took one day (all at the same time) and focused on not thinking of themselves, but of others on that one day. That would be a picture of heaven on earth. We all have that ability but are usually too consumed with our own lives to do so.
Well, there is more coming, but I need to end this and get to work. If this gives you something to think about or you have any comments or questions I would appreciate them.