Testify

10 months ago
63 in religion

This is the third, of a hopefully weekly series, that explores faith, religion, and Christianity. The idea is to share with you my faith, issues I am working on, and to promote discussion.

I hated God.

Testify
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Please check out the previous discussions:

Disparity on Display.
This discussion takes a look at disparity and injustice and proposes guidance on a response.

Comfort and Contentment
This post examines my struggle with the differences between being content and being comfortable.


I would be angry at anyone who would discuss anything religious.

I especially hated Christians and the Word of God

Which meant I hated members of my own family.

Sometime between finishing up high school and starting college I realized that I had no idea what my life had come to and where I was heading. I was caught up in worldly values, youthful rebellion, and was lacking a purpose and peace to my life.

Most of my time and thoughts were focused on my financial situation, an unhealthy relationship, and just being plain lost.

I had grown up attending a Methodist church and had prior background knowledge of God, Jesus, and the church but they did not mean anything to me.

I started working on Sunday morning and stopped going to church altogether.

As time went on things got worse.

One day in college my World Literature professor had everyone bring a Bible to class.

He said if we did not have a Bible to buy one.

Let me go back a bit…

At this time I didn’t know what I was going to get my degree in or really why I was going to college anyways.

It was the expected thing to do and so I did.

I eventually would end up deciding to become a teacher, but that didn’t work out and is a story for another day...

What did work out is that I got my undergraduate degree in Social Sciences.

“Why Social Sciences?”

Growing up I was a shy and awkward kid.

Mostly I would spend time by myself playing in my room or later online.

In fact, this part hasn’t chanced much…

Being a “smart kid”, I decided that the best way to figure this thing called “life” out would be to study other humans and what they have done.

If I could figure out what other people did then maybe I could emulate them and fit in.

The Social Science degree would have me study all parts of humanity, including:

Geography - both physical and social

Sociology - the study of the development, structure, and functioning of human society

Psychology - the study of behavior and mind

Government - politics and power

Economics - the branch of knowledge concerned with the production, consumption, and transfer of wealth

And History on top of other general studies required to get my degree.

As part of the aforementioned World Literature class we read classic works of religious text.

We read excerpts from the Quran and the Bhagavad Gita along with other works such as the Epic of Gilgamesh.

This time he wanted us to study the Song of Solomon from the Old Testament.

I didn’t own a Bible.

So one day while shopping at Walmart with my mom I asked her to buy me a cheap paperback copy and took it to class the next day.

Later at home, I found in the back of it a “365 day Bible reading plan” and decided that I could take that challenge and accomplish something cool, because I thought, “Hey everyone seems to have heard of the Bible, but who has really read the whole thing?

I seriously thought no one really read the Bible.

Growing up it was not something my parents did.

At least not in front of me.

None of my friends read it and I didn’t personally know anyone who did.

In fact, I realized that I didn’t know much about the Bible at all.

Again in World Literature class our professor handed out the following paper.

Credibility-of-the-Gospels

I was about 20 years old and learning for the first time things about the Bible that I had never been taught.

The part that stood out to me and got me thinking was from St. Augustine, On the Trinity, book 15, chap. 12 pictured above.

“Far be it from us to deny, that we know what we have learned by the testimony of others: otherwise we know not that there is an ocean; we know not that the lands and cities exist which most copious report commends to us; we know not that those men were, and their works, which we have learned by reading history; we know not the news that is daily brought us from this quarter or that, and confirmed by consistent and conspiring evidence; lastly, we know not at what place or from whom we have been born: since in all these things we have believed the testimony of others. And if it is most absurd to say this, then we must confess, that not only our own senses, but those of other persons also, have added very much indeed to our knowledge.”

I never really gave any thought to the “Credibility of the Gospels” which turns out matters because the Gospels are witness accounts of the life of Jesus.

This would mean more to me as I read through the 365 days Bible reading plan.

Not being a Christian at the time of starting the reading I was curious to find out what the book actually said about God and Jesus and everything else.

I approached reading it as any other religious text that I had read in the course of my other studies.

However, little did I know what the Lord had in store for me through this process.

I thought I knew something about Christianity and what it was all about. But I had to unlearn my misconceptions and prejudices before I could understand what it was really all about.

Over the course of reading the Bible in a year, I prayed for forgiveness of my sins and to accept the gift of Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior and for Him to come into my heart and be Lord of my life.

This was a whole new world for me.

I had hated God before and now here I was...

Broken, lost, and alone. Humbled.

Saved.


If this relates to you and you are interested in knowing more, please ask someone. Me. My wife. A local pastor. A neighbor you know who is a Christian. But please ask and I guarantee you that they will be excited to tell you more. They will especially appreciate that you asked them so that they are not forcing their beliefs upon you but getting your permission to share. It may even be something they have been praying for.

Lord willing, see you all next Sunday!

Thanks,
@strangerarray

Michael


Written by Michael Paine

Please follow me, @stragerarray, to keep up to date with my other fiction, non-fiction, and other post.

Hey y’all for more great content check out my friends:

@mindover - He writes stories about overcoming incredible odds and living life to the fullest. And a bit of fiction for good measure.

@micheletrainer - Engineering project management, health and wellness expert, lifelong ocean lover. Follow for tech/geek, healthy living and water feature stories and writings.

@lukeofkondor

@mctiller - Martin is a photographer and fiction author of the Kevin's Books Series, Dolbin School for the Extraordinary, and Baseball and Aliens along with original stories on steemit.

@ericvancewalton - Eric is an acclaimed American poet, novelist, and blogger. He is the man behind the popular steemit serialization of ALARM CLOCK DAWN.

@soulsistashakti

@cristi

@stellabelle - The steemit darling dolphin who runs the SECRET WRITER series on steemit.

@mars-eve

@patrick-g

@kaylinart

@romanskv

@the-alien

@razvanelulmarin

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67
  ·  10 months ago

This is great! We need you out there in the trenches. There is soooo much misinformation I begin to dispair that it can ever be all corrected. (Not to mention the problem that most people love darkness anyway.)

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63
  ·  10 months ago

Thanks @stan and thanks for your article.

68
  ·  10 months ago

Keep this series up. And I appreciate the tag there at the end. Now I understand what your were looking for.

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63
  ·  10 months ago

Thanks!

Yeah it is a work in progress, but I guess that's life...

58
  ·  10 months ago

Faith and hope are the ultimate anchors in this chaos life. Proud to know you @strangerarray! Thanks for the mention too. :)

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63
  ·  10 months ago

Thanks!

68
  ·  10 months ago

Amen! Jesus is the answer to all of our issues and the issues of the world. He saved me about six years ago. Like you, I grew up hearing about God and Jesus, but never applied those teachings to my life.

In my mid-twenties, during the most difficult and testing years of my life, I decided to give Jesus a try. I read the series Left Behind by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins, and I realized the truth, that I needed Jesus, and so do we all.

I am a firm believer now and a regular Bible reader. I do not do this to look good to others or receive praise, but I do it to honor God and follow His path through life.

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63
  ·  10 months ago

Thank you @countryinspired for sharing.

I know that to outsiders there are tons of issues with the Church and Christianity.

Christians see this too and hopefully are trying to change towards the ways of Jesus.

We just aren’t there yet and so we struggle, but with an aim to glorify God (even though sometimes it doesn't always happen that way...).

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69
  ·  10 months ago

there are a tons of issues with all religions. but for the majority of religion they provide good anchoring for the believer.

62
  ·  10 months ago

You look happy and that is all that matters. The fact that you were in pain and are no longer is wonderful. I'm an atheist and far be it from me to judge others beliefs.

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63
  ·  10 months ago

Thanks for being open to reading my story.