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Strengthening my faith (Robbie)
December 14, 2009
10:10 am
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robbie2007
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Hi guys,

I have been in this struggle for years now and wanting to strengthen my faith. I go back and forth between believing in God and not. I mostly believe, but wish I did whole-heartedly 100% without question or doubt. How do I do that?

I do not attend a church because I feel like its fake and ritualistic. I dont understand why people think they are "good" or religious just because to go to church every week. I would rather let actions speak. I would rather have a relationship with god in my own way - but I want it to be a stronger relationship.

I hate to put it this way, but I want some proof. I want something concrete that I can really grab onto.

where do I begin?

December 14, 2009
10:40 am
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Robbie, I think you have taken the first step in saying "God, I believe, help my unbelief". I know a lot of people think that a lot of the people in church are hipocrits but the only place you will find meaner people is outside of a church. I don't attend Sunday services on a regular basis but I do attend a Wednesday night service and most Fridays I attend Celebrate Recovery. I will anxiously await Ma Strong to answer some of the deeper questions you have. I always love to read the signs in front of churches. "If God seems far away, who moved?" If you are really being led in this direction I truly believe God will find you right where you are. Good luck and I will check back. {{{{{Robbie}}}}}

Bitsy

December 14, 2009
10:41 am
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StronginHim77
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Ask Jesus to make Himself Real to you...a Real Person Whom you can encounter firsthand.

I did...and He came through, BIGTIME.

- Ma Strong

December 14, 2009
10:52 am
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robbie2007
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Hi Bitsy, Hi Ma...Thanks for replying to my post.

Ma, Can you share your experience with me?

December 14, 2009
10:56 am
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darkeyes
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robbie let me share!!god is..my experience....my brother was 23 when he passed away, was never sick a day in his life, was full of life..the day of his death i was with him cos it just was to be....i was told by the dr that he had a few hours to live in the morning, he was conciouse and was very alert..he asked me what time he was able to go home at....now my heart was breaking but i asked god to get and help me through it..i witnessed him go through a very strong struggle with god, he wasnt ready to go and he was making that very clear to god..he struggled on for many hours more, the battle grew stonger, unless you witnessed this i couldnt ever put into words what was happenin..the pain and the struggle was getting unbreable to watch, so i asked god, if your going to take him pleas do right now, and just at that time he did, the most beautiful feeling came over me, its like my brothers soul touched mine and showed me where he was going. no one will ever make me doubt that ever, ever doubt that theres something greater than what we can see...god is without question for me........

December 14, 2009
11:05 am
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robbie2007
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Darkeyes....Thankyou so much for sharing. Its cool that you experienced that but I'm sorry you had to lose your brother to do so.

That is exactly what I'm looking for. I have heard stories like yours or similar where something happens where they are left without a doubt -I WANT AN EXPERIENCE LIKE THAT.

December 14, 2009
11:22 am
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Robbie, we aren't all given experiences like that. Some people are destined to struggle with their unbelief. I personally was told by doctor after doctor that I would never have my husbands baby. We were at an empasse. I wouldn't agree to a sperm donor and he wouldn't agree to adoption. She is both of our biological child and I did have her. Much prayer went into it and many minor miracles occurred along the way, including not knowing how we were going to pay for the infertility medicine and a co-worker going home that afternoon and finding a magazine in her mailbox that talked about the high cost of infertility and how people were going to Mexico or Canada to get the medicine. My best friend was getting married that month and going to Mexico on her honeymoon. Miracles are all around us if we look for them. Just start talking to God.

Bitsy

December 14, 2009
11:38 am
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robbie2007
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how do you differenciate between little miracles and coincidence?

I feel like my eyes have been wide open before....sometimes I can make something so just cuz thats what I choose to believe. But I know its me choosing to see it a certain way where it wasnt something that made me 100% certain. I pray for such an experience.

it may not happen for a long time if at all..... so what can I do in the mean time to strengthen my faith?

what is something I can get involved in besides church or a recovery program?

how do you pray when you are unsure about it all.

what does it mean that someone experiences jesus and another does not?

why do some people get a miracle and others do not?

if I ask god to help me to make the right decisions in my life, i want to FEEL his guidance. I have asked/prayed but never feel his prescence. I know have to be open to it and I am. I have.

How do you know if youve been led to a certain person by God's will (because it was meant to be) or just because thats the way it goes?

December 14, 2009
11:44 am
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Bitsy, thanks for sharing your experience.

I would like to hear more if anyone else has one.

December 14, 2009
12:13 pm
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robbie..do you ever wonder where the beauty of the world comes from, if you just go in the garden, look around then go back tomorrow, nothing will ever be the same..just watch nature and the wonder of it, this is where god is, look at the people on here this is where god is...just someone helping another is where god is, in the most horrible of situations thats where god is..in your music god is...in robbie god is....

December 14, 2009
12:29 pm
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robbie2007
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Than why dont I FEEL it? I want to believe it. I can tell myself as I look at nature all around me. but I want to have that feeling. I want to 'experience' god in nature, not just have blind faith that he is all around me.

Do you understand what I'm trying to say?

and how can i be sure, that it was all created by HIM? I find myself going back and forth between God and evolution a lot.

am I supposed to believe just because someone says so? because my parents said it was true and the priest at church says it. because they choose to believe a book says its true?

How do some have such strong faith in something that is so intangible?

December 14, 2009
12:46 pm
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robbie2007
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what is something or things I can do each day to strengthen my faith?

December 14, 2009
12:46 pm
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Robbie, if it makes you feel any better, I also lost my faith and turned my back on God for a long time. I came back. If you are looking you will find it.

Bitsy

December 14, 2009
12:50 pm
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Robbie, read a devotional, a verse from the Bible, and pray. Approach this like you approach your music. I have never studied music so I cannot call myself a musician. I haven't been taught to play...you have.

Bitsy

December 14, 2009
12:57 pm
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robbie2007
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Thanks Bitsy....i just want to actively seek and im frustrated because I dont know what to do - what to get involved in. who to talk to. maybe theres a book. maybe its something I do. I dont know....

December 14, 2009
12:59 pm
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robbie2007
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we cross posted.....

December 14, 2009
1:41 pm
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darkeyes
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robbie but if you can feel it in nature, what is that only believe..why not get out and do things to restore your faith, volunteer in stuff for xmass, mayb god in his way is getting you to go out and find him..it has to come from you..dont look for hardship to restore your faith, look for the good in life....play your music. listen to prayer.watch children play, begin to notice little things just become aware.....

December 14, 2009
1:53 pm
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robbie2007
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oh - i didnt mean i was looking for hardship!

December 14, 2009
1:59 pm
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StronginHim77
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All very good questions, Robbie. I asked them all, myself...years ago when I was much younger.

You asked me to share my personal story of how I came to believe in Jesus, so I will share what I can.

First of all, I am an intellectual. When I came to Jesus, I did NOT "check my brain at the door." However, I have learned that our real life experiences rewrite our personal theology. No amount of preaching, teaching, reading, rationalizing or "brainwashing" made a believer out of me; a personal encounter with His Presence did.

It's rather like love. How can be form a deep friendship or love someone we have never met on a personal level? It's the same way with God. On some intellectual level (I was raised a Roman Catholic), I accepted the premise that there was a God, a Creator of this universe and -- presumably -- me, as well. But He was not personal. I had no RELATIONSHIP with Him. I only had empty religion to stand on...which included teaching, catechism studies, mass attendance...the works. Empty, religious "legalism."

What I lacked was a personal relationship with Him. And I got it at age 36. I was very ill at the time with inoperable fibroid tumors. I was married with a toddler (my older son, now 25). We were very poor. My husband was a heavy equipment operator. We lived in a trailor park. We had no health insurance and I was very ill with constant hemorrhaging episodes. We had NO WHERE to turn for help.

One Friday, the hemorrhaging became so severe that I got rushed to the doctor's office. He did an emergency D&C on me, right there in the office to stop the bleeding. After the procedure, he sent me home with the warning that I MUST have an emergency hysterectomy immediately, if the hemorrhaging resumed.

I spent the weekend laying down, ice-packed and petrified. My husband took care of me and our toddler son. On Monday he had to go back to work. (No work...no money...and we were very poor.) So, he set up the room in which I laid the best he could, prepared meals for me to give our son and left for work. (This was back in the days before cell phones.)

Within a few hours, the bleeding began. I was so afraid. It got worse and worse. I could feel myself getting weaker and weaker. My toddler son was blissfully unaware of my condition, of course. But he took advantage of my being trapped on the sofa, laying on towels (in case the blood started seeping onto the furniture) and grabbed the remote control to the TV.

A program came on. It was one of those horrible "religious" stations. And I listened to a woman preacher (astonishing concept...I had never known a woman who preached!!) talking about how Jesus had healed her from fibroid tumors. Coincidence?

Well, I had nothing to lose. So, right then and there, laying on that sofa with blood flooding out of me, I said (out loud), "Ok, Jesus. If You really are Who You say You are, go ahead and heal me. I got nothing to lose."

Immediately, the atmosphere in the room changed. I felt a tremendous warmth come all over my body. And then, I felt as if Someone had lifted a huge burden off my shoulders and I was cocooned in warmth and comfort. I began to cry from relief. And I knew that I knew that I KNEW, Jesus was Real. And that He loved me. And that He had healed me.

Fast forward. Went to see the doctor. He examined me. All of the tumors were completely gone. (Oh...did I mention that the hemorrhaging stopped immediately?) And we went on to have our second son, two years later.

I gave my life to Jesus that year. Totally. Told Him my life was His, to use as He chose. He was now my Savior (He had saved me, physically, emotionally AND spiritually) and Lord of my life...of my future. I just wanted HIS will for my life.

It is a decision I have never regretted. Today, I have such a close relationship with Him. He has stood by me through such losses, such heartaches...and brought me such peace, strength and joy. I have buried my beloved husband, my sister, my dad, my stepdad, my childhood best friend of 33 years...and still I have peace, joy and a purpose in life.

I am nearly 60, but my life is just beginning. My sons are now raised. The younger one (an A/C technician) is getting very involved in my ministry. Next month, I will be ministeringin Switzerland...ME, a widowed housewife and mother. A nobody. And I have been approached to minister in New Orleans, Jacksonville, FL, and possibly Germany & France this winter.

Jesus did all of this for me. He is the first Person I talk to when I awaken in the morning and the last Person I think of at bedtime. Holy Spirit is my best Friend. He is with me constantly, speaking to me and guiding me. He teaches, comforts and sustains me.

Life is good.

There is my story (in 1000 words or less).

Once you have an encounter with Him, your life will never be the same. I will be praying for you to have that encounter. If you look for Him, He will come. If you seek Him, you will find Him.

Blessings to you,

Ma Strong

December 14, 2009
1:59 pm
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StronginHim77
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All very good questions, Robbie. I asked them all, myself...years ago when I was much younger.

You asked me to share my personal story of how I came to believe in Jesus, so I will share what I can.

First of all, I am an intellectual. When I came to Jesus, I did NOT "check my brain at the door." However, I have learned that our real life experiences rewrite our personal theology. No amount of preaching, teaching, reading, rationalizing or "brainwashing" made a believer out of me; a personal encounter with His Presence did.

It's rather like love. How can be form a deep friendship or love someone we have never met on a personal level? It's the same way with God. On some intellectual level (I was raised a Roman Catholic), I accepted the premise that there was a God, a Creator of this universe and -- presumably -- me, as well. But He was not personal. I had no RELATIONSHIP with Him. I only had empty religion to stand on...which included teaching, catechism studies, mass attendance...the works. Empty, religious "legalism."

What I lacked was a personal relationship with Him. And I got it at age 36. I was very ill at the time with inoperable fibroid tumors. I was married with a toddler (my older son, now 25). We were very poor. My husband was a heavy equipment operator. We lived in a trailor park. We had no health insurance and I was very ill with constant hemorrhaging episodes. We had NO WHERE to turn for help.

One Friday, the hemorrhaging became so severe that I got rushed to the doctor's office. He did an emergency D&C on me, right there in the office to stop the bleeding. After the procedure, he sent me home with the warning that I MUST have an emergency hysterectomy immediately, if the hemorrhaging resumed.

I spent the weekend laying down, ice-packed and petrified. My husband took care of me and our toddler son. On Monday he had to go back to work. (No work...no money...and we were very poor.) So, he set up the room in which I laid the best he could, prepared meals for me to give our son and left for work. (This was back in the days before cell phones.)

Within a few hours, the bleeding began. I was so afraid. It got worse and worse. I could feel myself getting weaker and weaker. My toddler son was blissfully unaware of my condition, of course. But he took advantage of my being trapped on the sofa, laying on towels (in case the blood started seeping onto the furniture) and grabbed the remote control to the TV.

A program came on. It was one of those horrible "religious" stations. And I listened to a woman preacher (astonishing concept...I had never known a woman who preached!!) talking about how Jesus had healed her from fibroid tumors. Coincidence?

Well, I had nothing to lose. So, right then and there, laying on that sofa with blood flooding out of me, I said (out loud), "Ok, Jesus. If You really are Who You say You are, go ahead and heal me. I got nothing to lose."

Immediately, the atmosphere in the room changed. I felt a tremendous warmth come all over my body. And then, I felt as if Someone had lifted a huge burden off my shoulders and I was cocooned in warmth and comfort. I began to cry from relief. And I knew that I knew that I KNEW, Jesus was Real. And that He loved me. And that He had healed me.

Fast forward. Went to see the doctor. He examined me. All of the tumors were completely gone. (Oh...did I mention that the hemorrhaging stopped immediately?) And we went on to have our second son, two years later.

I gave my life to Jesus that year. Totally. Told Him my life was His, to use as He chose. He was now my Savior (He had saved me, physically, emotionally AND spiritually) and Lord of my life...of my future. I just wanted HIS will for my life.

It is a decision I have never regretted. Today, I have such a close relationship with Him. He has stood by me through such losses, such heartaches...and brought me such peace, strength and joy. I have buried my beloved husband, my sister, my dad, my stepdad, my childhood best friend of 33 years...and still I have peace, joy and a purpose in life.

I am nearly 60, but my life is just beginning. My sons are now raised. The younger one (an A/C technician) is getting very involved in my ministry. Next month, I will be ministeringin Switzerland...ME, a widowed housewife and mother. A nobody. And I have been approached to minister in New Orleans, Jacksonville, FL, and possibly Germany & France this winter.

Jesus did all of this for me. He is the first Person I talk to when I awaken in the morning and the last Person I think of at bedtime. Holy Spirit is my best Friend. He is with me constantly, speaking to me and guiding me. He teaches, comforts and sustains me.

Life is good.

There is my story (in 1000 words or less).

Once you have an encounter with Him, your life will never be the same. I will be praying for you to have that encounter. If you look for Him, He will come. If you seek Him, you will find Him.

Blessings to you,

Ma Strong

December 14, 2009
2:03 pm
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StronginHim77
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Oh shoot. I don't know why that posted twice. Didn't mean to be a thread hog.

- Ma

December 14, 2009
2:42 pm
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robbie2007
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Ma, Thank you for sharing your story. just hearing these stories strengthens my faith!

I think you really "got" it - that being "empty religion"

I was raised roman catholic as well. was baptised, went to church every Sunday, went to ccd, had first communion and confirmation.

I stopped going when I was in college. and when I returned home, I discovered that Sunday mornings was the only time I had peace and could let down my guard. Wouldnt God want that for me rather than go sit in a church and chant what everyone else chants?

I am now seeking something more personal. I want to feel his prescence as you did.

Sure, I can see God in life. I use to go to a quiet place in my yard in the summer and just be still. I would look up at the clouds on a glorious day and watch the redtail hawks soaring and the distant hum of an airplane. I used to imagine that the soft breeze I felt on my face was God walking by. but its in my mind. I want something more than that. I want my own encounter.I dont want to just know he loves me, I want to feel it like a real hug. I want to hear his words in my ear.

I dont want to live off facts I want to experience HIM. I want it personal. a relationship with HIm, not the concept of him as I have been taught.

I think you understand what I'm looking for. my eyes are as wide as saucers and the doors to my heart open....."seek, and ye shall find?"

December 14, 2009
4:06 pm
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OK then what is wrong with a simple prayer of Dear Lord, please let me have a personal experience with You? I know what you are looking for also. I personally have never had that. My priest used to call it the difference between a crockpot Christian and a Microwave Christian. I am the crockpot (slow and even) you want to be the microwave. Fast and Hot.

Bitsy

December 14, 2009
4:24 pm
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darkeyes
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robbie i understand you also..im a little annoyed.. i experienced god at the most painfull time in my life.it was my first encounter, we lost our baby brother, and id give my experince back in a heartbeat to have him back...i was raised a catholic, i think as you grow and experience life you become more spiritual, you ask questions, and look for answers, you grow away from the conditionin you were raised with..be careful in what you wish for is a saying which is so very true.....

December 14, 2009
4:44 pm
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robbie2007
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Now I feel misunderstood just because I connected with what ma strong said.

what do you mean be careful what I wish for? I wish to have a personal experience and a closer relationship to God. I'm not asking for something tragic to happen in order to have it. and I said I was sorry that something like that happened to you.

Darkeyes, I have noticed that when someone doesnt respond to you in the same enthusiasm they have for another poster you get upset. is that whats going on here? because I related better to what someone else said over what you said?

Bitsy...i think ive been slow and even....but its just not staifying my thirst, ya know?

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