It’s not what God can do for you but what you can do for God. He’s not there for us to use, but for him to use us.
Why when a person says they are a Christian do other people start to think you said you’re perfect? No where in the definition of the word Christian does it say this. I have many flaws and many faults. Some I know and some I don’t. No one is perfect or we wouldn’t need forgiveness nor would there be wars. Or even a need for a God.
I find it heart breaking how very many times I have to explain to people I’m not perfect. Yes I’m a Christian and try to be good and do good. But I’m not able to be 100%. No matter how hard I try I would and could never be 100%. Should I too be nailed to the cross for mistakes? Treated poorly because, wow in my past I did something I forgot about? I have noticed temperaments online tend to be a lot shorter than in real life. No one would so rudely to my face go off about anything. But online where sitting behind a screen hiding from the world, it’s easy to say what one wouldn’t have the guts to any place else.
Being a Christian at least by today’s terms means, following the teachings of Christ. Doesn’t say “Perfect” or “Trying to be perfect.” or “God like”. So yes, I will do things wrong. Yes I sin, and continue to sin. This is why I pray and ask God not only for forgiveness, and strength and guidance to not keep on sinning.
Throwing in my face my testimony only shows ignorance of the person doing so. Clearly they know nothing about Christ’s teachings. If they even read it to begin with. More education about this issue is clearly called for. And one way to start that, is not remaining silent and being branded.
Growing up going to a Protestant church, I never really cared about God. But I tried very hard to be a good kid. As well as please my parents and go to church every Sunday. My mother was big in the church. She was a Sunday school teacher as well as VBS organizer. She made VBS fun, however she made church hell. No matter how well behaved we were in church it seemed it was never good enough. We (us 4 kids) would return home to punishment. This taught us church = punishment. It wasn’t long after we moved houses that we stopped going to church. At the same time my family was growing up and was leaving house.
Protestants are prim and proper and never have any kind of fun in church. (Please do not take offense to this, this is what I experienced.) They sit there, sing and listen then leave. They also believe full body baptism gets you into Heaven, which my brother Scott and I had done together. Not really knowing what it meant, plus I didn’t feel anything even after it was done. But I believed at the time that should I have died I would go to heaven.
It was my brother Scott who changed all our lives. He started going to a church my mother made fun of, calling it a “holy rollers church” where they shout and roll around all over the floors. She made it scary. It was only after her death that I would attend my brother’s church for the 1st time. I had asked to go before but he pushed me away saying how I wouldn’t like it. Though I felt he worried I would embarrass him in front of his girlfriend’s family.
April 4, 1993. My brother’s car tires got sliced for the 3rd and final time. I was up and dressed, hair and make up done as I watched his car being fixed. My brother Scott being late for church seeing I was up and ready turned to me before walking out the door. “Want to go with us?” I was thrilled, finally to have the chance to see what’s going on in my brothers life. I jumped at the chance and went.
Walking into the church, it didn’t feel cold like our old church. It felt warm and happy. They were already singing as the service had already started. It was nice. Everyone was standing up and singing, unlike my old church where they stood and a few sang. These songs were joyous and beautiful and not the typical “he” or “rock of ages”. These were rock songs! In fact I came to learn that church is meant to be like a rock concert, a huge celebration of the love of God.
We quietly walked in and took our seats and the minister began preaching. I had met the minister prior to my mother’s death, and he was a babe! So I was more than happy to watch and listen. However he was NOTHING like I experienced before. He didn’t stand behind the pulpit all the time. He didn’t just talk. He banged the pulpit, he made me jump, he shouted. He walked up and down the isles. He grabbed hold of you and kept you awake and listening. He was passionate, entertaining, fun and even funny.
It was nearing the end of the service and I was relieved, I felt exhausted just listening to the guy. But something started to happen. Something I never knew about or could understand in any way shape or form. Something I never even heard of. The minister asked if anyone wanted to come forward for prayer. I thought to myself, how embarrassing. Going in front of the whole church, and believe me, it was full! Going forward was the last thing I would ever want to do. I checked marked in my mind of something I didn’t like about this church and thought, its over we can go home now. Thanks for sharing this with me.
But as I looked at the pastor, my body began to shake. I began to get chills all over my body from head to toe. I quickly glanced at my brother Scott and his soon to be wife. He didn’t notice. I thought, “I’m safe, no one is noticing.” I tried hard to ignore what was going on. It wasn’t working. I began uncontrolled crying. I couldn’t believe it! What was happening to me? I tried hard to choke back the tears. I didn’t want to go forward, I wanted to go home now more than ever! Scott looked at me, and touched my arm and asked. “Do you want to go forward?” I couldn’t speak!!! I just looked at him shaking and crying. He led me forward, no idea who all else followed. They had a railing around the stage, in which I was motioned to kneel down to and bow with my head down. I did. Still crying the pastor came over to me and people laid their hands over me and prayed. I even heard others speaking in tongues over me as they prayed. The pastor asked me if I believed Jesus was sitting at the right hand of God. Of course I believed this, as it’s written in the Bible. I said yes. He took my hands and we prayed together. It seemed like ages, people had left the church I had finally stopped crying and cleaned my face. My brother and the pastor helped me up and as I walked down the isle to the exit of the church it felt as though I was floating. I looked down to check to make sure I was walking on the ground. I could swear I wasn’t. I told the pastor this and he informed me that the weight of my sins was lifted from me. The backpack of all my troubles has finally been laid in God’s hands to deal with, thus the weightlessness. I had finally been saved. It was days after for the weightlessness effect to wear off.
After this I did and much research to make sure it was real, because I wanted to be knowledgeable of what occurred. I discovered I received gifts when I got saved. Not only had I got the Holy Spirit but I got spiritual gifts as well! I had always had the ability of visions that foretold the future, which come in dream form. But now I also received the gifts of discernment, prophecy, ‘word of knowledge’ and MAYBE ‘word of wisdom’. Discernment most everyone gets when they get saved. This helps you to know what’s right and wrong. But because I’m a very open person physically, spiritually and mentally, I was more open to the affects of this gift. When I hear something, which I KNOW, is wrong, I feel very sick. When I read something that I KNOW is wrong, I feel very sick. This came in handy with all my religion research. These gifts I mentioned aren’t the only ones I received either, even now I am still discovering all that I was given. Just like how I said that I might have the gift of ‘word of wisdom’. Only time will tell if I have that. It usually goes hand and hand with the other gifts I got. But I may not have gotten it. Either way, I am more than happy with what all God has done for me. And maybe now, you will see things a bit differently too.
Many people experience things differently as we are all different. Just as many people believe differently. Some believe once saved always saved. Some don’t. That is totally up to the individual; don’t let anyone push their beliefs on you. You have free will; use it to decide for yourself. I decided to share this because I hope others can experience a difference in their life as well. Many think that just because they accept Christ as savior their life is going to be perfect, it’s not like that. Let me share an example with you.
A young man gets on a plane, the Stewart says “Here’s a parachute. Keep this on and with you at all times.” Well it’s a long flight and it’s digging in on his back and hurting, he’s uncomfortable and getting annoyed with it. So he takes it off, and puts it under his seat. Mid way through the flight the plane goes down. He dies. Now, let’s try again with how it really is. A young man gets on a plane and the Stewart hands him a parachute and says “here keep this with you and on you at all times. This plane is going to go down, and this will save your life. It’s going to be a bit of a pain but it will save you.” The man keeps it on even though 7 hours into the flight nothing has happened yet. He’s uncomfortable and annoyed but keeps it on, as he knows it’s going to save his life. Sure enough the plane goes down, and the guy lives. This is a prime example of what happens. People get saved and think life’s going to be perfect. It’s not. It will be hard, but you will be saved in the end. A fault is many people who strive to get others saved don’t let them know this simple truth. So when you hear a person say they tried religion, that’s fine and dandy but they clearly haven’t tried God. I love you God, without you today, I am nothing.
ADDED MARCH 16 2007
Please know this is my experience and I have been to many churches like my mothers in the past, so in my experience and my testimony I can say it as I see it. Why lie? Please keep in mind this was the 80’s when I went to the Protestant Church. Things may have changed by now. As I stated I got saved in 1993. I now attend another church. As the years past so do I grow in the Lord. If a church can’t keep up with me, then I am to move on. There is nothing wrong with looking for a new church that meets your needs. We are to be filled with the spirit, not drained.
I know many people in the past who have read my testimony and been upset one way or another. Saying how not all churches are the same. I know this, but once again, this was my experience. Not yours. The churches I attended during the time period of this being written are as I explained. I am sorry if your church NOW is different than what I experienced THEN.
This is my walk, I can’t please everyone, but I can please God.