Since this is my initial entry, I need to explain my motivation for creating this blog for those of you who may know me, and those who are just curious.
I’ve had conversations with God since childhood. He doesn’t speak to me in an audible voice-although He does speak to me through people that I encounter-friend and stranger alike. He speaks to me through my surroundings and especially through His Word. And my purpose is to share with you that not only does God speak to me, He speaks to anyone who is willing to listen. I want to share my journey. My pursuit. Because much of it is joyful, but some of it is painful and wrenching. I want to share because if you keep reading, you may see a little of yourself, too.
Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV) states:
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.”
He spoke that passage to me at a time when I was experiencing a “Christian identity crisis”. I have been a Christian since childhood, and I serve as a lay minister in a local congregation, but I had experienced so much church hurt, relationship hurt, coworker/job hurt, etc., that I felt like I had more questions than answers. I looked at my hurting friends, who were also believers, and they began asking me “why” questions, so I began a more intense journey of seeking God to find answers to questions many are afraid to ask because they feel it shows a lack of faith. So many Christians don’t feel prosperous or hopeful, and they question their futures. Here are a few questions:
Why are people lonely when in the midst of a sanctuary full of believers who claim to love them with Christ-like love? (I’ve been there).
Why do so many people feel condemned in a room called the “sanctuary”? (There is a difference between conviction-which is of the Holy Spirit, and condemnation-which is of the enemy).
Why are so many Christians self-righteous, judgmental, or just plain mean?
Why are some Pastors getting rich while their members can’t afford to pay their bills? (It has nothing to do with the lack of faith of the members-it really doesn’t).
When are Christians going to take responsibility for reading the Scripture for themselves? (Most issues Christians have would be settled if they opened the Bible once in awhile to seek the answers God has already placed there instead of depending on someone else to spoon feed them).
What are Christians doing individually to change the world around them? (Going to church once or twice a week and doing nothing else isn’t going to cut it in a dying world).
Why does the world reject Christians as hypocrites? (I bet many of you can state a few reasons for this one)!
What do these questions have to do with Jeremiah 29:11?
Part of the reason is that as Christians, we should all remember that no man has our destiny in his hands. God knows exactly what His plans are for us. Discouragement, disappointment, fear, anger, depression, oppression-whatever it is that may be a stumbling block to our faith walk-can be overcome if we remember that our destinies lie in God’s hands, and we have a prosperous future ahead. Jeremiah 29:11 is a focal point and a resting place in the midst of the questions, tears, trials and fears.
Now some may say-just have faith. But stepping out on faith takes action. And as we grow, God stretches us to greater understanding and stretching can hurt. Our faith is in Him, true enough, but it will be challenged from time to time. When this happens, we stand on His Word. And if we don’t understand the Word He gives us, we pray and ask for wisdom. He will honor that prayer through His Word and those He sends. We just have to listen!