(Closed) A few questions about christianity.. Sorry it's long

posted 6 years ago in Christian
Post # 3
Member
3053 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: February 2015

@kris325:  commenting to follow

ETA: your upbringing sounds insane! Idk how you tolerated it! What do you mean by with one of your near death experiences you thought you were going to hell?

Post # 5
Member
7685 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

@kris325:  

1. More or less what your grandma says.

2. I pray in my head. (I also pray with my husband, that’s out loud). I go to a private place and um, talk to God in my head.

3. Ooh that’s hard. I’m not even sure God has a specific plan for our lives. i.e. there are all sorts of right and good ways we can spend our lives. But I’m 100% for contraception so long as it does not involve abortion. I can’t think of any bible verse against it. This “trust God and ignore doctors and medicine” is silly and dangerous IMO.

4. I believe that means don’t get ever drunk. (But also that if it happens it is of course forgivable). I like the sound of your bachelorette party!

You father threatening suicide is manipulative and wrong. It is true tattoos are banned in the Old Testament, but so are all sorts of things. A lot of these things were banned because they were tied up with pagan religions, and I think tattoos fall into that category. Which means there is nothing inherently evil about tattoos for Christians today. That said, I think tattoos are silly and I’m never getting one.

Post # 7
Member
227 posts
Helper bee

I think I will start with number 3. I once heard a pastor say God gives us dreams for a reason, and he gives us talents for us to use them. Start with what you are good at or what God has given you passion for and use it for him. If it is nothing then pray to begin to have passion for something. Number 2. As far as how you pray the Lord’s prayer is a model. Not in the exact words so it just becomes repetive but in the things he does. First he gives adoration to God. Then He prays for God’s will to be done. Then he asks for God to provide daily. Then we ask for forgiveness and mercy and to forgive others. Next ask for guidance and to be led in the right direction and to be delivered from the wrond directions. It is a prayer model. The bible says to pray without ceasing and since I do not believe that means we are to walk around praying a loud everywhere that would mean that we can pray in our head as well as aloud. As far as going into your closet to pray it means go into your secret place, a place where you are not distracted and can focus on talking to God and being still in the peace of God. 1. Now in order to know when God is talking to you, unless he decides to give you an audible message, you have to get to know him. You have to study the word of God and spend time in prayer. In the Bible Jesus says my sheep know my voice. So the more you get to know him the more you will know when he is talking to you. Number 4 I answer last. If being drunk could cause you not to be able to be in a position to witness or answer questions about your faith… you should not be drunk. Nothing wrong with having a couple drinks though, unless you feel God calling you to a life free from that. If you have more questions PM and I will give you more scriptures for backing. This is sort of a short answer to what could have been a much longer response.

Post # 9
Member
11418 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: May 2009

@kris325:  Wow. You have quite a long list! 🙂

First, I just want to say how absolutely wonderful  it is that you have recommitted your life to Christ and that you want to know Him more and follow Him! That is aweseome!

Next, I want to say that I am so sorry for the negative experiences you had while growing up “in the church” and that some people said some pretty scary and ridiculous things to you.  Although my own experience was not exactly like yours, I, too, went through a period of time when my thinking was affected by what some well-meaning but overly harsh and legalistic Christians had to say.

I don’t know if I can begin to tackle all of your questions tonight or in one comment.  However, I wanted to respond in some way tonight so that you would know that we are here for you and care about you!

1) How do you know when God is talking to you?

God speaks to us in many ways — first, and foremost, through His Word, the Bible. He will never, ever  tell you something by way of some other  manner that would directly conflict with a truth or principle found in His Word. (Example:  Let’s say that you develop a crush on your married co-worker and he feels the same about you.  You may begin to think that God may be telling you to date this man. However, you can rest assured that there is no way  God would ever  be the source behind those thoughts, because God’s Word forbids adultery.)

God also speaks through men and women of God. This can be through through sermons, books, Christian DVDs, CDs, music, podcasts, websites, etc. of teaching by Spirit-led, knowledgeable teachers of the Word or through the encouragement of friends and family.  He also speaks prophetically through some individuals, as prophecy is one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Again, however, you must always  be ready to compare what God’s Word says with what anyone  else says.  If someone preaches or teaches something or gives you a “word” from God that conflicts with the truth and principles found in Scripture, then do not receive that teaching or word.

God’s Word also tells us that He speaks to us in a still, small voice. Although I know people who have actually heard an audible voice, I never have. However, God absolutely  has spoken to my spirit.  At times it’s been a direct, word for word kind of experience.  At other times, he has dropped a broad realization/lesson into my lap really fast, all at once. There is nothing more wonderful in life than having God speak to you or spending time in His presence!

He also speaks to us through the wonder and beauty of His creation.

Another way is through circumstances — but, again, it’s very, very important to have discernment to know if the circumstances are of God or not, and how to interpret them. 

Finally, I will note that the Bible tells us that, where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty and that there is now, therefore, no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.  One of the most important things a Christian must learn how to do is to discern the voice of God from the voice of the enemy — how to distinguish the Conviction of the Holy Spirit vs. Condemnation from the enemy.

If the “voice” you’re hearing in your heart is convicting  you of sin (i,e, lovingly urging and prompting you  to want to serve God and repent for unGodly thoughts and actions and become more like Jesus), that is the voice of God.  If the “voice” you’re hearing in your head is a very harsh and negative, accusatory, and condemning “voice,” it’s coming from the enemy, who tries his best to imitate God, but is always twisting and distorting God’s truth for the enemy’s own evil purposes. It will take time to learn to discern the difference between God’s voice and the enemy’s voice, but the Holy Spirit will  lead you if you ask Him to do so.  

Post # 10
Member
430 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

I’m sorry that your experience of religion has been so hurtful and manipulative.  Sometimes people abuse religion for the purpose of being hurtful, sometimes they really think theyre doing the best thing even if they may mot be.  I think if you stick with mainline denominations and/or churches and pastors you feel comfortable with, youll find your way.  I’m not going to go too into detail with the answers to these questions, I’m currently in div. school and could easily write 10 pages and not even get to what you’re looking for.  I will recommend that you read Martin Luther’s small catechism and, if you find that helpful, the Freedom of a Christian.  The small catechism is designed with the basic points of faith and explanations of them.

Post # 11
Member
2354 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: April 2018

@kris325:  I’m so sorry you had that kind of past experience with what should be a beautiful and fulfilling relationship with Jesus Christ. Your old church sounds very much like a cult to me.

1. God speaks to us in his word, the Bible. I doubt very much that God audibly speaks to people anymore, and if he does, it would be extremely rare. He can also guide us through the people in our lives. I know sometimes when I listen to a sermon, I feel extremely convicted of a sin of mine that I was ignoring or blind to in the past, and it feels like the pastor is speaking directly to me. God also speaks to us through the Holy Spirit, who convicts our consciences of our sins.

You need to be very careful with this one. Often believers are led astray when they try to justify something they want by saying, “I really feel that God is calling me to do X thing.” Remember that God will never call someone to act in a way that is contrary to what he has commanded in the Bible.

2. Jesus never ever said to say an ‘Our Father’ prayer and to never talk to God about our problems. In Matthew 6:7, we see that the Bible says, “When you pray, don’t babble on and on as people of other religions do. They think their prayers are answered only by repeating their words again and again.” Basically, don’t let your prayers be meaningless recited chanting. You don’t need to ty to be eloquent or use big words; you’re not trying to impress God. Just speak to him honestly. You’re not wasting God’s time. In fact, Jesus once stayed up an entire night praying to God. He even asked God not to send him to the cross because he knew what was coming and was afraid. “Now it came to pass in those days that He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.” (Luke 6:12). 

Keep in mind, prayer is not for God’s benefit as much as it is for our own. Sin separates us from God. If we sin, we are commanded to pray for forgiveness so that we can experience God’s grace and love and mercy through Christ. James 5:16 says, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” In 2 Chronicles 7:14, “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

If you are feeling happy and grateful, pray to God and give him your praise! If you are feeling sad or lonely, talk to God and ask for relief. If you are struggling with something, ask him for guidance. God wants us to talk to him; that’s how relationships are built. Ephesians 6:18 says, “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.”

3. We don’t ultimately know God’s plans for our lives. That is part of the faith- trusting in God and his plan for us, even when his work is not clear. He is in control. From Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

Here is another one of my favorite verses out of the book of Luke: “Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God.  Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”

HOWEVER, we do know what God’s will is in regards to how we are expected to conduct ourselves as Christians. The beautiful thing about the Bible is that it is a handbook full of God’s guidance on how God has asked that we live our lives. Proverbs 3:5-6 says this, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.”

4. Without getting too much into this one, I will say this. If you believe in your heart that something is a sin, even if it is not named as a sin in the Bible, and you choose to do it anyway, you are sinning. That may sound a little shocking at first, but bear with me.

Rebelling against God is a sin- I think we can all agree on that. Now consider this- you and I both know drinking apple juice is not a sin; I’m going to use a silly example on purpose. But let’s pretend for a moment that you feel in your heart that God does not want his people to drink apple juice. If you believe this and choose to drink apple juice anyway, you are essentially saying to God, “I know you don’t want me to drink apple juice, but I like it so I’m going to do what I want.” Do you see how that would be rebelling against God in your heart? We are to have humble and obedient spirits.

That being said, if you think intentionally getting drunk is a sin (and I’m inclined to agree with you), then it would certainly be a sin for you to get drunk.

In regards to the birth control issue, I’ll say the same thing. Do you feel that birth control is a sin? If yes, are you taking it anyway? Do you feel rebellious?

If it helps, I will tell you that nowhere in the Bible does God forbid the use of contraception in general. And if God has not outlawed it, who are we to add to his commandments?

I personally am comfortable using all forms of contraception other than hormonal birth control such as pills, patches, shots, and IUDs. These forms of contraception, especially those containing progesterone, are very ineffective at preventing ovulation, and instead affect the lining of the uterus so that a fertilized egg cannot implant itself in the uterine wall. Sometimes a fertlized egg will pass through and not implant itself naturally anyway, but I feel that purposefully taking a medication with the intent to cause that to happen would be too close to abortion. So I have been spiritually convicted that this particular form of contraception is not acceptable for me.

However, I have no qualms about using other forms of preventing pregnancy- if you want to get technical, even abstinence within marriage with the deliberate intent of avoiding a pregnancy is a form of birth control.

Post # 13
Member
349 posts
Helper bee

I sent you a lengthy private message, but wanted to add that on the topic of prayer, one of my favorite Christian authors says “There are basically only two prayers: “Thank you, thank you, thank you” and “Help me, help me, help me.”  Any prayer you pray will be some variation on one of those.”  It sounds really basic, but I think she’s right.  When I am feeling very overwhelmed by a situation, I actually will just pray one of those and I trust God knows what is in my heart.  When you are so frightened that you can’t even make sentences, it’s okay to just say to God “Help me!”  He knows what we need before we even ask, and He loves us like His children.  There are good verses on this that I will send you soon. 

There is a chorus I love that goes “For all You have done I will thank You, for all that You’re going to do; for all that You’ve promised and all that You are is all that has carried me through.  Jesus, I thank You.”  It’s really beautiful when sung, but I think the key words are “for all that You’re GOING TO DO.”  It honors God when we thank Him before he even answers our prayers, because it shows we believe that He is going to do something.

There’s another prayer I pray frequently in the mornings before I go to work.  I ask God if He has anything He needs me to do today, to please show it to me.  Especially on days I host orientation for college students, I ask Him to send me any student who needs special help.  Every single time I remember to pray that prayer, a student will come to me for help who really needs it, and I am always very clear that God sent them and is relying on my to show them His love.  I work for a state university so I can’t be completely open about my faith to my students who are of many faiths or sometimes atheist, but I always wear a cross and if they ask me, I take the opportunity to share with them that I want to serve God by helping meet their needs.  I also try to remember to say the prayer of St. Francis every morning: “Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace.”  There is a lot of conflict in my office and I want to be part of the solution, as tempting as it is to become part of the problem.  Hope those are helpful examples of how prayer can fit into your everyday life! 

Regarding the use of alcohol, although many churches preach against it, I can find nowhere in the Bible where it says not to drink at all.  It says “be not drunk on wine” and refers to drinking in moderation.  It sounds like you are already making good choices in that area by changing your bachelorette plans to something more moderate that will help you stick with your beliefs.  I would be so proud if you were my daughter – I hope your parents are supporting you in this spiritual journey, but it sounds like your father is just completely off the deep end.  I’ll PM you some verses this weekend.

Post # 14
Member
7437 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: February 2013

I’d like to suggest looking into sermons/podcasts/books by Mike Erre. He tells it like it is, and is relatable, yet doesn’t sugarcoat the Bible.

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