Fighting For the Name Of Jesus

Language is a very powerful tool. As a writer, I’m passionate about learning new words, which is one of the reasons why I intentionally look for challenging books; not only to challenge my brain, but to expand my vocabulary. One of the reasons I’m passionate about learning new words is because I am passionate about being an effective communicator. Effective communication is a helpful tool to use in just about every facet of life, and so I take it seriously to develop my skills in this way.

As a tool, language is loaded with abilities. Language can be a barrier, or it can be a bridge. Words can hurt, and they can inspire. As a Christian, the most upsetting use of language is the vulgarity in hearing Jesus Christ used in a derogatory sense. I also find it ironic that those who claim to be on the fence about Jesus, or directly claim to be an atheist, use Jesus’ name in such a way. If they don’t believe in the man’s story, why use His name?

Hearing this makes me very upset. Jesus has become a very close friend to me through my faith. When I hear His name used disparagingly, I want to address the person with compassion but also with assertiveness, because the name is not to used for anything besides respect or veneration. If a man named Bob heard his name being spoken with a disparaging inflection, I think he would be insulted or hurt as well. Why is Jesus any different? Why use the name if it has no meaning to you? Why not use John Digadee, or Abbott and Castello? I don’t understand why people must use Jesus Christ in vain. There are so many names to use when you’re angry—why choose His name above all the rest?

This bothers me both because I have a personal relationship with Jesus, and because it simply doesn’t make any sense to me. Using the name of someone you claim not to believe in makes you sound moronic and absent-minded, and that’s after claiming whether or not you believe in the God whose story Jesus belongs to—and your disbelief in the God whom Jesus Incarnated as just doesn’t make much sense when you use His name like that. Do you follow?

Do you use the language because of the friends you have, or perhaps the employees you work with? Both? Can they rationalize of the use the name of Jesus in a derogatory sense beyond carelessness? There is literally no reason for it whatsoever. It’s flat out hurtful to the person of Jesus, and it’s offensive to believers of Jesus like me. When I get angry, sometimes, I admit—I will catch myself using a vulgar word—I’m trying to stop—but never Jesus, and never God. For those who claim Jesus either never existed or wasn’t God Incarnate, I respectfully disagree, and I openly ask that you please stop using His name until you have a better reason to. Particularly if you believe in Him as your Lord and Savior, but even if you don’t—it makes even less sense! I hope this point is being hammered into the cement.

With love, readers, I mean to correct you with love. Jesus loves us all, and using His name like that is absolutely unnecessary. Even using other vulgar words is unnecessary, but they are at least more understandable because they have no spiritual foundation. Some vulgar words even have a history which do not have any blasphemous origins; history itself made certain words “vulgar” by their use and context. But Jesus Christ is not one of the names on that list. His name is precious, whether or not that’s what it is to you. For others, like myself, His name is gold, and you pour acid on the gold when you say His name with such arrogant malice. Please, as a believer of Christ, PLEASE—stop using His name until you are praying to Him, or talking about Him with an open mind to someone. His name is too meaningful to use any other way.

If you want to use a name, use John Digadee. I guarantee you that using it will help improve your mood—if not from laughing at using it when you’re angry, then from not using Jesus’ name instead. Either way, using a different name will be much better for not only you, but everyone around you. There are plenty of vocabulary words to use when you’re angry. Just keep His, and God’s—out. Please.

That said, I hope you will take my words into heavy consideration. I care for your heart, and even if you don’t believe Jesus is real today, the power of His name is more powerful than your disbelief. I pray that His love would overcome your lack of desire to know Him and that you might give Him a chance to enter into your heart and ask Him to help you understand Him better. Change your usage of His name from blasphemy to respect and admiration. If nothing else, think of His name as a man who lived a loving, selfless life; there is no reason to use His name when you’re upset. Hopefully, over time, the banality of John Digadee will cause less of a laugh, and you’ll start wondering who Jesus really is. And when that happens, I hope you’ll remember reading this post and look up the book He’s written in: the Bible. There is plenty to read, and more than enough to fall in love with. Please give Him a chance, and please stop using His name blasphemously.

John Digadee, if you exist, I’m sorry for all of this. But I hope you understand my point and will take this hit for Jesus. He took everything else for you.

Filthy

The Love Of Jesus As Our Joy In Life

What does joy mean to you? For me, joy is defined by hope. My hope for the future comes from my faith in Jesus. Knowing He loves me more than anyone ever could gives me the hope that my future is set in stone; no matter what anyone else says or does to me, His love for me is more important and more valuable.

The time when I find it most difficult to feel joy is when I feel lonely. That’s when I need to reach out and connect with friends who remind me that I matter, and that I’m cared for. Through my Christian friends, I know Jesus cares for me because He places people in my life whose care for me extends from a place beyond themselves. Do you have friends who love you because they are inspired by Jesus’ love to love others? There’s nothing like the love of Jesus; it comes through so many forms, including that of other believers who have faith in His promises.

Years ago, I was resentful towards life, and I found many reasons to complain because I felt unseen by so many people, despite how so many people did actually care for me. I can openly tell you now that that time period was influenced by my atheism. As an unbeliever, I couldn’t find a reason to be thankful or joyful. I was hurt, stubborn, closed-minded, and lonely. The hurt was caused by circumstances in life beyond my control. The stubbornness, the closed-mindedness—those were my choices. Obstinately choosing not to believe in God forced me to put more weight on lust; I wanted romance to fill the part of me that was meant to be sated by God in much, much deeper ways. Naturally, I never found what I was looking for with people because… well, people are not God. Until you believe in the loving God of the Bible, accepting love from others carries a different meaning. I want to elaborate on that difference here because I think the distinction is worth taking a closer look at. Perhaps this perspective will help others to see the importance of faith—not only in one’s own life, but in the relationships of one’s life as affected by faith in Christ.

Being loved by a person feels good. Sex is the one act that brings two people closer together emotionally and physically, and even spiritually; however, love from God is eternal, and is even more compelling and fulfilling than sex. There’s something about the love of God that is so much more powerful and motivating; separate from human love.

Imagine the embrace of a close friend. Hugging them feels good because you know they care about you, and you them. Even more so, kissing a girlfriend, boyfriend; husband or wife also feels very good when you deeply love them and cherish your relationship with them. The love from God is the emotional aspect of these affections, only one-hundred times deeper. Furthermore, the experience of God’s love is spiritual—meaning—the connection is not limited only to the body and mind. While God doesn’t physically hug us (not yet), He loves us in our very souls… forgive me if that sounds cliche or dramatic. What I mean is, God’s love for you and me is so deep that it extends and expands far deeper than the electric signals running from the pores on the surfaces of our skin to our brain, alerting us when we experience the sensations of physical affection, and putting in place the chemicals and pheromones which enable us to feel the connection and build the chemistry of that relationship. That is all how human love works.

God’s love is deeper than that.

If our heart is center of our anatomy, and the part of humanity we connote to as the home of morality–then the soul is the essence of the heart. The soul cannot be found tangibly; the soul is the heart of a person’s existence. The heart may beat, and our body may sense its own physiological existence, but the soul is who we are when our heart beats. Without the soul, a person would be denuded of personality and character—absent of humanity altogether. The soul controls the heart, and the heart affects the soul. In this sense, if God resides in our hearts, and His love affects our souls, imagine how deeply we are designed to feel the love He extends to us. That humbling realization is incredible… at least, it was for me when the difference between human love and godly love became clear. God’s love bypasses all human love. When we try to fill our souls with human love, it never feels like enough. And when our hearts remain unfilled, we feel a lack of joy. I’ve learned, after becoming a Christian, that though we may feel a lack of joy in our hearts, God has always loves us as deeply as we can be loved. But unless someone introduces us to Christ–to God Himself–then we don’t find out how deeply we are loved, nor what that love is capable of doing for our lives. God’s love is what gives us purpose, and our reason to keep going. Without belief in God, joy becomes stripped of its definition and very foundation, undermined by our doubt in what was and is designed for us to live within and for.

Another sad truth about the misperception of the joy of God’s love is when we only hear about Him through the walls of church, where the image of God which gets created  in our mind’s eye is limited to what we read about in the Bible, and what we’re told by the speaker—rather than what is learned by the relationship in our hearts and the connection to God in our souls. We cannot expect a relationship to be built with God if we only learn about Jesus and communicate with Him in church. Our relationship with Him must become a lifestyle in every aspect our lives if we are to experience joy in its fullest measure. True, authentic joy comes not from knowing God exists or knowing Jesus loves us— joy doesn’t come from knowing Jesus died and rose again to save us from an eternity away from Him—joy comes from receiving these gifts into our hearts and feeling the impact in our souls as we believe in and trust in these gifts as gifts, and not just knowledge to imbibe and lose sight of.

Knowledge could never save our souls. But relationship with God can, and it does. Let me give you an example.

Knowing where the key is that unlocks the door which leads to the outside of a trap isn’t what gets you out: taking the key, putting it into the lock, witnessing the key unhinge the lock on the door and experiencing the relief when the door opens, and then walking out into freedom— that gets you out. The love of Christ–the core of the walk of Christianity–does not come from knowing what Jesus did; like reading a study guide and memorizing the answers. Getting out of a joyless life (like a trap) requires us to use the key, not just know about it. Jesus is the key to a joy-full life, where nothing can defeat us but our doubt in ourselves, or losing faith in the power of Christ. When we putting Jesus face-to-face with our adversities, every door is unlocked and every trap is opened before our eyes. He is the answer to everything.

To reiterate this point, if you haven’t experienced the joy of Christ yet, joy cannot be experienced in the fullest measure it was meant to be experienced until you accept Jesus into your heart, unhinging yourself from what you know about Him, to what you experience to be true with Him. Knowledge might help create a mental picture, but believing in and using the correct tools is what provides a way out to freedom itself. Jesus is the key out of our traps, but we must apply Jesus to our hearts in order to get the traps to open and be able to walk out. How badly do you want to experience the freedom and joy of Jesus Christ?

That said, when you have friends who also believe in this, they shine the same truth about Jesus into your life. They will remind you of the key; that you need Jesus to get out of your problems, you need Jesus to heal from your pain, and you need Jesus to surrender to when you’re trying too hard to control your life and end up watching your whole world fall apart. Eventually you’ll realize, with humility, you never had control to begin with. Friends who trust in Christ remind us of this reality, and encourage us, with love, to turn back to Jesus, asking Him for help. They will be willing to pray for us and urge us to also pray to God in faith that the answer will come.

Friends who do not have Jesus will offer everything they can, and that is appreciated. When someone can’t redirect us back to the Source of joy and hope, however, they remind us, without realizing–or perhaps without believing–that out of our own volition, we can overcome anything on our own. Of course, as much as this sounds convenient and possibly encouraging, it is painfully untrue. Acting out of our own will and depending on our own strength will become completely exhausting. Humans aren’t meant to play God; when we do, the world falls down, and we come running back with fists in the air over why it’s so frustrating that life isn’t going our way. Life goes according to the way God allows it to. He won’t control us, but He commands us to depend on Him in order to know where we’re going, since He is the one clearing the path for our next step. Trying to skip ahead only leads to confusion and disappointment. Trusting in Him inspires authentic humility, and closeness to Jesus Christ. Concordantly, the more we trust in Christ, the less anxiety we feel; the less anxiety we feel, the easier it is for us to trust–once again–in Jesus. And so the tale of our lives can go, once we accept and receive in our hearts the promise of God’s love–Jesus–the Source of our joy in life.

How badly do you want to experience this joy? I would love to hear what you think of this concept, and where you are on your journey with regards to this right now. Please feel free to join in this discussion by posting in the comments below. Where are you with regards to your faith in the hope of Jesus as the key to joy in life? Perhaps you’ve never given yourself to Christ before, and it’s not too late to do that now. Or perhaps you don’t want to give yourself yet because you don’t feel ready. Maybe you could talk about that and explain what’s holding you back from faith in Him. I would love to hear where you are now, where you’d like to go, and why. There is no judgment here, only love and understanding. I hope to help you see that the key to all joy and hope is found in relationship to Jesus. There is no other way. I’ve tried—many have—it doesn’t work.

If you’d like to read more, please follow this blog. You may also find me my Facebook page at Lance Price Blog, Twitter at LancePrice2017, or on Tumblr at lancepriceblog2017. Please share this with anyone you think would benefit. I hope you will take my words into consideration, and that you will leave your thoughts in the comments below.

May God bless you today!!

Liminal

Let Me Tell You God Loves You

As I’ve grown older, knowledge has become somewhat less important to me, and wisdom has taken precedence. What hit me is that knowledge doesn’t get me any closer to my soul, but wisdom digs at the walls of my character and dares me to challenge myself. Additionally, as I’ve grown older, being challenged has become more meaningful to me. I yearn to be challenged because I constantly want to grow. When I am not learning, I get bored easily, and boredom leads me to question the purpose behind my passions. Every year, I notice the way my desire to learn is met by a new phase in life; a new job, new/changing relationships, new living situation, etc. I find myself reading more spiritually engaging books that dig at my soul and beg me to seek the hope of eternity. While I digest what I read, I think about the rest of the world, pondering how many others are as enthusiastic and passionate about concepts like purpose, meaning of life, eternity, and the human soul as I am.

One of my greatest inspirations as a blogger is to challenge others to think outside the box of their comfort zone—outside of what they’re familiar with. The reason I feel so passionate about this particular challenge is that I once was an atheist, and I took seven years of my own life to realize that I needed to believe in the challenge of finding my purpose in life in order to desire my own next breath. Living in the cocoon of a depressed, angry heart is a suffocating existence; certainly not worth seven years, and yet that’s how much time I let go to that lonely, self-defeating lifestyle. Not that being in that mentality isn’t a challenge—but I wasn’t yearning to learn anything new; the challenge was finding a reason to stay alive.

Discovering my passion for learning new concepts was tantalizing; finding Jesus in my heart was enthralling. My passion for knowledge is a fun part of me that I enjoy utilizing every day, but what is so much more important to me now is that my heart is open to Christ’s work inside me. I can feel His presence pulling me ever so slowly through time, inviting me into yet one more challenge. He knows what I can handle and He gives me as much as I can take, but no more, and no less.

I write about this because I am passionate about telling you why I do what I do, and what strands of thought bring me back to the keyboard. See, purpose to me is wine to wine-maker, and a story to a film director—it’s food to a chef and thought to a philosopher; I crave to know more about it, understand it, embrace it, teach about it, and ask others about their thoughts on it. I wouldn’t even be writing if I didn’t feel this was a part of my purpose. I write because I absolutely LOVE to write. Another reason I write is because I’m passionate about informing you about things you may not think about on your own. To put it playfully, I love to give others food for thought that I hope they will consider worth their while. Food they will not only eat, but want more of.

Knowledge to me is a great book—and I love reading—but wisdom to me is when I bow my head in humility and ask Jesus to overcome my pride and my ego, hoping His love will overcome my arrogance and find me in a place where I will just surrender all of me. I learned how soothing surrender is upon realizing how much closure there is in letting go of the fears in my life that don’t matter—like social norms, acceptance from people I don’t respect, and losing things that won’t hurt my existence in 50 or 100 years. Little things that bother me that don’t need to put weight on my shoulders—I’ve learned to let them go and be released from the anxiety it caused me. The surrender behind that kind of release is not only believing that certain areas of my past no longer matter, but that there is a replacement for the useless moments I let waste away to bad choices: Jesus Christ. Where social norms and the critical eyes of society that are used to judge and belittle have previously shrunk my soul from fear of condemnation, Jesus’ love picks me up and reminds me why I exist in the first place. When I accept and embrace that my purpose is in Him, what happens in return is that I understand what others think of me doesn’t matter, and that what does matter—regardless of whether or not others like me—is that they know Jesus. Why would I not want to share the love of someone who takes away all of my fears about life with others around me?

As a writer, this is yet another reason I blog: I want others to hear about how much of an impact Jesus has on a man like me; someone who was an atheist for most of his life and converted after living with depression, anxiety, anger, and fear for years and years. Jesus was able to turn all of that around. And though there are traces of reminders of what I went through, they are only that—reminders—and I use them as references to remind myself what an incredible role Jesus plays in my life today, and where He always was, even when I was too stubborn to believe it.

If you’re reading this, I hope you will find something interesting about my story, and I hope you will find that it inspires you; I hope my story will give you hope about your own story and challenge you to consider seeing your past from an even different perspective than you may have been seeing it from before.

My name is Lance, and I have this blog because I want you to know Jesus. I desire for you to know how he impacts people like me, and others who I will write about whose stories reference back to Christ again. I hope that in writing about these experiences, you will feel challenged in what you think you know about your life, and inspired to take on new and refreshing points of view you may not have had before. I only write with the intention of helping others, and my goal is to extend myself to you, personally, in a way you can feel it in your heart. You may not have met me before, but if you could, I would want you to know that life isn’t over yet, and there is still time to do what you love, feel how you were meant to, and trust in a God who saves. Life is meant to be full of love and complete with dependency on the God who protects us from ourselves in our worst moments.

You are seen, you matter, and you are loved more than you could possibly imagine. If you don’t know it yet, I hope you will come to feel this way soon. May God show you the way to this truth, and may He use these words to encourage you to believe in their validity and authenticity.

May this day be blessed for you! I would love to know who reads these articles, what they do for you, and even what you would like to see in future posts. To engage with you would make my day, more than you know. Please follow this blog to read more. You may also find me my Facebook page at Lance Price Blog, Twitter at LancePrice2017, or on Tumblr at lancepriceblog2017. May God bless each of you!!

God’s Voice Amidst the Battle Cry Of Life

When God speaks, how do we know whether or not we’re listening?

Many times we get stuck thinking God has grown silent on us. Maybe what’s really happened is we haven’t yet figured out how to discern His voice from the noise of the world. Sometimes, I even find God’s silence to be the best answer of all.

LISTENING TO SILENCE

When I pray, I know God is listening. I don’t always feel a response, but I can feel His presence listening to my words, paying close attention to my thoughts and my heart. For many of us, silence can be uncomfortable or disconcerting, and so the same reaction applies to God; we don’t want the silence, we want His answer. But God created the silence as much as He created the music of life—can we learn to appreciate both, and to understand the unique ways He speaks to us through each?

THE BEAUTY OF SILENCE

Sometimes silence carries with it the horrors of depression. What I mean by that is, for some people, silence creates the space and time to consider everything hidden by the noise of life, such as our problems and stressors—so people run from it like they would a pouncing lion. However, silence doesn’t always have to allude to sadness or anxiety. Sometimes silence is the peace between the waves crashing on the ocean shore. Sometimes, silence is the breeze coming through the window on a beautiful spring day. And sometimes, silence is the ecstasy of getting lost in the loving gaze of someone special. In so many instances, silence is not always connotative to something unpleasant or melancholy; with God, this is also the case. Silence is one of the most beautiful, ravishing ways the Lord communicates through to us—so if we’re too busy paying attention to all the noise in the world, we’ll miss this precious treasure coming straight from the heart of God, Himself.

CONVERSATIONS WITH GOD

Prayer is the communication between us and God. Prayer can be viewed like that of a conversation: God speaks, then we speak—and when the other speaks, we listen. Trusting in God’s voice is like trusting a parent when they say, “Jump, I’ll catch you!” Do you trust them, or do you stall and think about it?

God is the parent constantly promising us He will not let us fall no matter what happens; reminding us to constantly keep our eyes on Him. To put that into some perspective, we must ask ourselves: As often as God communicates with us, are we communicating back? Again, are we listening? What are we saying when we respond? Do we only initiate conversation when something is wrong? Do we only reach out when we’re upset? When God responds, are we able to accept what He offers, or do we treat His answers like an 8-Ball—shaking the conversation when we don’t like what we hear to see if His words change? When we hear what we don’t like and we stall to wait for a “better” response, the reality is that we’re really stalling to wait until we can accept His response. We probably don’t always realize this to be the process taking place, but it’s true. God knows better, and so many times, it’s much easier to believe giving God some time will change His response to something more digestible and convenient. That is delusional, of course—and it will keep us standing still in life.

TRUSTING GOD

Something we fight tooth and nail for, more often than we care to admit, is the way we claim we trust in God without following through with what He says when He says it, convinced there must be a better way to get through what we’re troubled about. Unfortunately, the longer we take to genuinely trust in God, the longer it will take to see our lives take shape, fully embracing the challenge of our souls like building muscles in a workout—developing our trust in God as well as the strength of faith in our hearts. When we practice listening, we practice blocking out the noise of the world. When we’re listening, we’re trusting; when we’re trusting, lives change.

Maybe we’re too humiliated to admit our desperation to hear God, and those of us who feel frustrated by the noise of life may find it easier to believe there is no God even talking at all.

I empathize with people who feel this way because I once felt the same. It’s very difficult to be open-minded about God when the world seems to be growing faster in corruption and slower in understanding and patience. Additionally, witnessing the reality of the world’s corruption makes it difficult to hear God’s voice. Even so, we can’t blame God for not being loud enough if we are unwilling to slow down and try to hear His voice more clearly. We cannot expect the world to be what we, ourselves, are unwilling to embrace.

WORLD PEACE

For an example, I will use world peace to illustrate my point. How could world peace be possible if those who were seeking it acted with coercion, intimidation, and aggression? Claiming God doesn’t exist because we can’t hear Him may in truth be quite telling of our level of surrender to the very qualities we find ourselves begging the world to embrace. Can we claim to fully believe in a world at peace if we fight corruption with bitterness and self-pity? Can we complain about the state of our world if we’re unwilling to set an example for others to follow? Most importantly, can we blame God for the mistakes of the world if we haven’t even given God permission to enter our hearts and renew us for the better? In other words, if we are unwilling to accept Jesus into our hearts, do we really expect Him to help others—or the world?

THE LIVING EXAMPLE WE NEED

By the way, Jesus came to be a living example of the best way for the world to work together; by loving others and directing the reason why we love others back to our heavenly Father. Interesting how we can interject the truth into this story that, as a society, we claim to want world peace while we claim not to be able to hear God, and that there isn’t enough love, selflessness, mercy, or understanding to go around to change the world. When no one had the power or the courage to take the first step towards real change, Jesus came and spent His entire lifetime being the example we need. The eyes of history, enveloping around the story of Jesus Christ—are survived by the authors of the Bible, and the hearts of every believer that passes the truth of Jesus’s love from generation to generation. How else—in fact, why else—has the news of Jesus passed down over two thousand years? Because His truth is the Truth.

Sometimes we get so frustrated with the way the world is now that it seems like we’re soldiers of war–the war of life on Earth–and we’re peering ahead into the fog of the battle, wishing there were only someone to show us the way…. but if our eyes would continue beyond just ahead, there is a light coming through the fog revealing to us that the fog itself is not the end, but only a distraction—that through the fog is Christ Himself—already paving the way for our lives. If we would only take the risk of walking into the fog that is life—even when we’re unable to see past only one step at a time—with faith in the undeniable power of Jesus, then we would experience for ourselves that the way to what we want in our world can be found in the person of Jesus.

SOLACE IN SILENCE

Silence is a beautiful way for us to hear from God, but it isn’t the only way. My hope is that you will find solace in understanding how effectively and powerfully God speaks through silence, as well as through people who pursue Jesus with their hearts. I also hope you will consider the way you listen for His voice, and make room in the areas of your life where you could try harder. God is always speaking, and perhaps with a little more commitment to giving God room to be heard, we could make the best of what He wants us to hear. May it be so, in Jesus’s name.

LET’S CONNECT

If you enjoyed reading this article and would like to read more, please follow this blog, and please share this with anyone. You may also find me my Facebook page at Lance Price Blog 2017, Twitter at LPBlog2017, Instagram at LPBlog2017, Pinterest at Lance Price Blog 2017, or on Tumblr at lancepriceblog2017. Please feel free to leave your thoughts or any questions you may have in the comments below. God bless you all!

Elicit

 

A New Chapter In Life: Friendship With God

While I could tell you at great lengths about my darkest moments so many years ago, about finding myself laying in the fetal position and begging for death while putting scissor blades to my wrist—that is a darkness of my past not nearly as important and relevant as the phase I am in now. By only mentioning that in passing, I am letting you know that my history with darkness and atheism runs deep, but its stint ended and relationship with Jesus has replaced the road leading to misery and hopelessness.

For those of you who don’t yet know Jesus in a personal way, I wonder if the reason why is because when you hear about Him, you instantly find Him connotative with that of a child’s bedtime story—you know, something only for kids? Perhaps you’ve felt like the person bringing it up is naive. But this is all from the point of view of someone who has never had a relationship like the one you can have with Jesus. I know, because I used to hear the name of Jesus this same way.

People are amazed to know I used to be an atheist because of the way I am now. By no means am I some saint, but I try to shine a light for others because of the passion in me for the Truth that Christ’s resurrection means an eternal life with peace, joy, and love—that no matter what pain I’m experiencing here on Earth, Heaven will unequivocally make up for every second of suffering here in this life. That promise comes with accepting Jesus into my heart and believing in the Good News of who Jesus was and still is. So… how did I get there, if I was an atheist?

Basically, I was an atheist from 0-years-old until I was just barely passed 22-years-old, and I’m not quite 30 yet. Though raised Catholic, I didn’t understand anything I was being taught, and so I naturally didn’t believe in any of it. In fact, I remember kind of mocking the receiving of the Eucharist (“Eucharist” is the Catholic term for the cracker which represents Jesus’ body during Communion) when I was first being introduced to it. Why? Because it seemed silly to me. “Here’s a cracker. It is the actual body of Jesus. Take it seriously.” WHAT?? Why?? It’s—a—cracker… I was only in 3rd grade when I received Communion for my first time, but I was only going through the motions I was instructed to follow: “Walk up, put your hands together with palms facing up, say ‘amen’ when the usher finishes speaking, and then eat it.” Got it. Eat the cracker. No, it’s Jesus. Not just a cracker. The whole thing was ludicrous to me, but I did it until I was confirmed a Catholic in 8th grade. The very next year–two years after my parents divorced, two of my grandparents were killed in a car accident, and new family moved in—I didn’t just state my frustration with a theology I clearly misunderstood—I declared my disbelief and labeled myself an atheist.

Do you recognize or relate to some of the mistakes of the church system I experienced while growing up? If you’re currently experiencing disbelief, maybe you can even relate to the frustration towards rules and instructions that mean nothing to our ears. To choose relationship with Jesus, what usually helps is a little context and a realistic backstory to who He was and is.

The context is that Jesus loves us, has always loved us, and WILL always love us. The realistic back story is that for over two millenniums, millions of people have given their lives to the pursuit of emulating Christ, even become martyrs in the process (does that not say something about the man of Christ as more than a myth, fantasy, or hoax?). More of the story is that Jesus was seen by over 500 people post resurrection, validating all of the claims of Jesus pre-crucifixion. That makes His claims to be God (which are what got Him crucified to begin with!) true! If He had stayed dead, everything would have been over, and Jesus’ story would be nothing but an obscene disappointment. But He did rise, and people did witness it; many have died for His Truth.

For those of you who aren’t quite familiar with Christianity, it is the one walk of faith set apart from all other religions where you don’t have to do anything to receive God’s love; rather, it is freely offered. It is in accepting His love that changes us. Relationship with Jesus is a relationship involving the soul. Though there have been some notable physical experiences with Jesus, they are referred to as starting from inside and working their way to the surface—such as being embraced “as if the Lord hugged me”, or “like the Lord caressing my face”. The Lord shines His light upon us—and by the “light”, I am referring to the truth that Jesus is the Light of Heaven. So, if you understand that and use the metaphor from Heaven as a reality in our Earthly experiences, the light of Christ shining on us is His presence with us, and we can feel that presence in our hearts, our souls, and—when we’re most in touch with His voice and His presence, even a form of physical touch unlike any other you’ve ever experienced by another living being.

Having experienced 22 years of atheism and misunderstanding Jesus, I also experienced heavy pains of worthlessness, meaninglessness, and anger towards life. Some people respond to the world and its unexplainable circumstances, when cornered by the question of the existence of the supernatural–with the last resort excuse that the universe is a enormous constitutive mass of thoughts and feelings, and therefore God is just the total sum of peace, love, and happiness—which is one way to explain paganism, or even pantheism. Pagans don’t worship Jesus, but they won’t worship God, either, so they combine various random elements of different religions to create one “safe” religion—still denuded of Jesus or God—but without complete disbelief in everything supernatural or spiritual, considering themselves safe from the accusations of closed-mindedness.

My response was to live inside of my anger and doubt for many years, exhausting any choice to give the supernatural a place in my life. That kind of living is exhausting and very undesirable. Hence the scissors to my wrists reference from earlier. Disbelief is the worst prison to live inside of just shy of solitary confinement—being restricted from any outside world communication is just inhuman, it’s no existence at all—disbelief, on the other hand, is living life without believing you even have a reason to exist. The terrifying reality of solitary confinement is truly believing you shouldn’t be in there, believing there is purpose in desiring to be on the other side of the restrictive walls separating you the outside world. Disbelief is experiencing that existence without even knowing why, and worse—disbelieving there is even a reason to know.

I explain about solitary confinement and disbelief to give you the picture of me living in disbelief for most of my life, including the most traumatic time period of experiencing life after my parent’s divorced— shattering most of everything familiar in my life. After living in that, the one thing I had left was curiosity to get me to tomorrow. Why live tomorrow? Why not just die today? My thoughts would taunt me day in and day out, hanging onto the fear that if I was wrong, then I would go to Hell and burn forever. Curiosity may have been the key to keeping me alive, from a secular point of view, but I look back on my time before finding my faith and I realize now that God was hanging onto me, desperately hoping I would not give in to the temptations of the enemy telling me to take my own life. God allowed the trauma of my parents’ divorce to give me a more complex reason to need Him as the Source of strength in life. God knew I needed Him above all else, and that the way to my heart was pulling out the floor from beneath me, having me in what seemed like a free fall position for long enough to desire nothing but Him. That free fall period were my atheistic years post divorce. When I finally reached the point where I became desperate for a purpose beyond death, Jesus became the only thing left I could see. I reached out for Him when I was 22, and He immediately took my plea for help.

The process of becoming a believer wasn’t exactly overnight—it took me a couple of years of asking questions and experiencing the devotion of others’ praying for me in faith, as well as seeing the differences in my life as I started trying to believe. One of the most notable examples was something I wrote about in my post, “Paving the Way For Trusting God: Part 2” where God provided rent when I was about to be evicted from my living situation. That was just one example, but simply nothing else could explain what happened to me. Obviously a person put the money where I found it, but God inspired that person to do it because there was no one else who even knew I couldn’t afford rent. God spoke to someone and they followed through. That is one of the most obvious examples of Christ acting in my life, other than fantastic friendships and people supporting me through the faith while directing me back to Christ when they did. Over time, Christ became much more real, and far from just a one-dimensional character in an old book from millenniums past.

No, Jesus is real. He is real to me, and millions of others. He can be real to you if you’ll accept Him into your heart. Just say a prayer and He will show Himself in a way unique to you and your relationship with Him.

I love ending posts with prayers. If you aren’t sure where to start, try praying like this:

“God, I don’t know if You’re real. But if You are, please speak to me. Show me who You are. I want to know You and I want to receive Your love for me. I am sorry I’ve neglected trying to know You, and I want to try that now. Please meet me where I am and show Yourself in my life and in my heart here, today, now. In Jesus name I pray and ask this. Amen.”

Now let Him speak into your life. I pray you would recognize Him above all else. If you would like to share your experience, please do so! I have a contact form from the Menu option on my homepage. I’d love to hear how Jesus is speaking to you.

To read more, please follow this blog. You may also find me my Facebook page at Lance Price Blog, Twitter at LancePrice2017, or on Tumblr at lancepriceblog2017. Please share this with anyone you think would benefit, and feel free to write in the comments below—I would love to hear from you! God bless you!!

Second Thoughts

 

Retrieving the Soul Of Christmas

Decorations on the Christmas tree scintillated with a glow that warmed the living room with the most wonderful permeation of tranquility, excitement, and familial love. Each of the decorations were carefully handpicked and chosen for the occasion of tree-decorating for our family room. Presents of all colors were neatly organized around the tree, extending at least a foot and a half from the tree’s outermost bottom layer. Entering the main tree room was like entering a Christmas store; there was so much holiday decor that one would be amazed this was actually a house. Christmas growing up was all about Santa Claus, stockings, presents, and hot steaming cinnamon cider over a lit fireplace. Looking back now, I recognize the missing piece which was absent from my family all those years—Jesus had not been injected into our soul, but only into some of our traditions; He had become a name, a religious logo, and an event—but nothing of a personal friend or Savior.

I haven’t put up a Christmas tree for many years now. After the first few sentences of the above paragraph, you might wonder why Christmas wouldn’t hold a special place in my heart. I will tell you—at one point, it did. And even in some ways taking shape now–it still does. But, you could say that I’ve stopped trying to recreate the memories of my past Christmases because they only remind me of the trauma that took place after my parents divorced. Christmas for me is still slowly being transmuted from the fatal blow of drastic familial schism to the grateful celebration of the glorious birth of Christ.

But, there’s more.

Once I actually received Jesus into my heart, everything changed: my perspectives, my decisions, my outlook, and most importantly—my sense of purpose. After years of asking questions post-discovery (of the Christian God), what came to me was the importance of the distinction between man-made events and events inspired by the supernatural; of which the most obvious to me was Christmas.

After heavy reflection on my past with the opening of my heart for the future–what became poignantly obvious to me was the way society mistook Christmas as a holiday directed at advertising the North Pole as more significant than the God who came down in the flesh of Christ to renew our spirits with a love only He could offer. Ever since this realization, I’ve quickly tossed out the idea that immaculately dressed Christmas trees and exquisitely wrapped gifts hold nearly as much significance as they did before I accepted Christ. But, hear me readers, this isn’t me taking a stand against gift-giving. Please let me explain.

While I don’t dismiss that gift-giving is a beautiful, humanistically tangible expression of love, I have also gathered the opinion, based on my own life experiences, that gift-giving should make a person feel good, not obligated, to take part in; that it should be out of love, not coercion, conceitedness (i.e. “I have this much money so I’ll give my friend the best gift of all”), or any selfish ambition. My thought is, if gift-giving feels so good, why are so many people so incredibly rude at the store and equally dangerous on the road driving home to give the gift to their loved one?

Before entering the family room with the gorgeously decorated Christmas tree—and even prior to arriving on the scene of my parents’ house by just entering the driveway—you would notice the passionate effort of a family devoted to shining Christmas spirit into the street for all public to witness; with hundreds upon hundreds of lights carefully folded and wrapped around anything we could place in our front yard.

Misguided, however, was the “Christmas spirit” we were celebrating: we extolled the mysticism of Santa Claus; the child-like caricature of St. Nick (insofar that Christmas is underscored by sentimental songs and platitudes, stories of love; singing for peace, harmony, and joy; all virtues of Jesus, but with all the credit carefully denuded from the indubitable person of Jesus–and instead, inhered to the idyllic, man-made version of a God-made cornerstone event; a man-made event which references nothing of that of the origins of Christ, who so inspired St. Nick to become the man who we admire in the “spirit” of Santa Claus), rather than the spirit of the soul, derived solely from the hope of Christ’s infamous birth as the main source of celebration. No doubt, Christmas as a secularized holiday instigates the transient, seasonal display of many generous deeds; all done, however, in the name of the holiday… not always inspired from the progenitorial soul of the holiday itself: Jesus’ birth.

My family decorated the house with Santa Claus and elves, saints, and other characters of classic Christmas stories of old—but seldom with that of Jesus. We had one setup of the manger scene outside, and maybe one or two inside, but most noticeable was how the fictitious was raised as the glamorous, as Santa and the elves took precedence over the celebration of the Savior of our species, and more alarmingly—the reason for the holiday.

It’s no wonder the idea of Jesus seemed one-dimensional and incomplete after my parents divorced. At the time, my thoughts were, “What kind of God destroys everything my family created? The problem was—and what I’ve come to realize years after all the trauma and reconfiguring the misconstrued interpretations of a weak religious upbringing—I had placed the spiritual weight and dependence of an imaginary God on my parents and family, deifying, in fact–the absence of the deification of anything supernatural (in other words, atheism), and in turn, stripping away the glory and worship of God.

See, I’ve been blogging for a while now, and, in many of my previous posts, I’ve written about how I was raised Catholic. But the truth is, upon careful introspection, I have come to realize something significant in the truth of my upbringing. While growing up pre-divorce, my parents never spoke to me about Jesus in such a way as to encourage me to believe in Him, or His love for me. When I “became” an atheist at 14—as I’ve come to see now—it wasn’t hard at all, because I had already been one. I had followed the rules of Catholic church, recited all the lines from the pew books, kneeled when they said to kneel, said “amen” when we were supposed to—but I never actually believed for one second that Jesus was real. And so, when my parents divorced in 1999, God planted the seed in my heart; the spiritual seed I would need and learn from later on—8 years later on, in fact—just how desperate for a personal relationship with Jesus I needed to be to come alive. To be reborn.

But let me continue.

Christmas as a holiday is, for me, a memory of a time when my family devoted its spirit to the mystical ideologies of the world, and not the soul of the purpose of the world’s creation: relationship with Jesus. My family promoted the Christmas season as influenced by a society believing more in—and taking more seriously—the ideologies of mysticism and pantheism; not the reality and future of its spirit through Christ as Lord. Secular society dictates holidays as merely fun and games, candy, gifts, and movies—but our souls bellow in desperation for eternal fulfillment from the emptiness of the void we leave barren; vying for a reason for the meaningless, vacuous celebrations missing intrinsic value.

If you stop to think about it (please take a moment with me here, readers), what really is the point of a holiday represented by trees, presents, and actors in costumes? Furthermore, what is the meaning of a holiday, leaned on by believers and unbelievers alike, who may or may not view the holiday with reverence, but with potentially subjective degrees of veneration? What does this kind of celebration reveal about humanity’s spirit when we can’t (or refuse to) even explain the reason for such a holiday beyond mere mysticism? We call a child naive for being too innocent to understand the difference between Santa Claus and religion, and yet the majority of our country celebrates this holiday in some respect or another—all the while pretending to give substance to the virtues and purposes of a sanctified event by playing a part in a game they don’t even believe in, nor comprehend (or care) enough to explain. Ultimately—how are we, as adults, any less naive?

With regard to meaningful celebrations and purposeful holidays–what is the point of Santa Claus? Why are we drawn to his image? Something I find ironic is the way some people base their skepticism of Christ on the fact that His story and message are so ancient, yet they turn and expend the same skeptical effort into absent-mindedly revering Christmas by celebrating a proselytizing saint, fattening him in a red suit, backstory, and believing more in the magic of his fantastical histrionics than of the soul-renewing truth of Jesus’ reality.

If you know St. Nick’s history, we know that he was inspired by Christ, striving to implement His ways through love and generosity. If this is the notion Santa Claus is founded on, then which is more effective: To emulate the emulator, or the emulated; Santa Claus/St. Nick, or Christ? Generally, when we feel inspired by someone, we may be curious as to what inspires them to be the way they are, that we might understand the qualities of the source of the inspiration we are uniquely drawn to through the indirect emulator (in this example: St. Nick). Are we able to look into the face of our upcoming generations and explain to them why we celebrate Santa Claus over Jesus? They may ask us, the way I’m bringing it up by writing this post, “Why didn’t you tell me about Jesus? Why did you make Santa Claus into such a big deal?” What will we say?

As a society, even to celebrate the late St. Nicholas rather than his fictitious counterpart would greatly miss the point by huge margins, simply because, as we have uncovered—he, too was inspired by Jesus; not the other way around. Would we not be more impacted by the Source of all love stories, rather than a byproduct of the main story? Ultimately, to interview St. Nick would be to have him lead us to the foot of the cross Jesus was nailed to—where St. Nick himself was inspired to turn to. Ironically, we have chosen to emulate the bystander, rather than the God the bystander so openly venerated and passionately pursued.

Holidays like Christmas—or even Easter—are meant to be reminders of Jesus; however, because not everyone celebrates holidays such as these, since not everyone believes in the sanctification of the resurrection, or the significance of Jesus’ birth—not everyone views the holidays as reminders the same way those who take their faith seriously do.

What my upbringing taught me, in hindsight, was how much I needed Jesus. Readers, if there’s anything I would hope for you to take from this story of mine, it is just that. Jesus is the Lord of my life, but He didn’t have that place until only about 7 years ago, when I finally started to try to let Him in. I talk in my posts about letting Jesus in as a choice because He won’t force Himself through the door of our hearts; that is what I’m talking about. He loves you and He loves me, and He knew that He wouldn’t break  (without force that He wouldn’t use) through the mold of my view of family—a life denuded of the love of Jesus—without force, especially since my family didn’t raise me to know Jesus beyond church walls.

Something I would have wished my parents had done (if I could go back now) was to have talked with me about Jesus every day; encouraged me to pray with them, and prayed with me before bed every night. What ended up becoming of my childhood religion was that is became pantheistic; God as the universe, but not a personal being like Jesus as God in the flesh.

If you’re a Christian parent, I strongly urge you to talk openly about Christ with your children as often as possible. I didn’t receive that, and I lived atheistically for many, many years. I can tell you that it wouldn’t have been necessary if my family had known Christ more personally, and if they had revealed that to me earlier and more ubiquitously than just one hour at church on the weekend. If this is you right now, it’s okay! You can still turn things around. And I highly urge you to do so in the name of your child’s spiritual future.

My parents did not raise me around Jesus, they simply brought me to church. And not to discredit that act—they did want me to experience God—but they hadn’t genuinely experienced Him themselves. Therefore, they couldn’t share with me what they didn’t have already, and now I realize that. But that doesn’t have to be you or your family. Don’t let it be. Let Jesus be the Lord of your life and don’t wait for decades to understand His significance. Without Jesus, morality and purpose have no substance. We don’t have a reason to “be” at all without Him. To argue that is to argue the Source of our creation. Would you like to start that discussion, or would you like to know more about the life and love of Jesus Christ?

Please leave any comments, thoughts, or responses in the comments below. If you would like to share anything that you would prefer to be kept unseen by the public eye, please fill out a Contact form on my home page. I would be touched and humbled to hear from you!

I hope you walk away from this post and feel challenged, but also inspired to consider the purpose and meaning of Jesus Christ in your life. He changed mine, and I hope you will allow Him to do the same for you without waiting as long as I did. The best decision I’ve ever made was finding my purpose as the cross of Christ, letting His direction be the only road of my life. Let Him be yours as well.

Be blessed, readers, in Jesus name!!

Urgent

 

Explication Of Christian Love: What It Means To Receive Jesus

Doubt in the purpose and deity of Christ is a prevalent theme in today’s world. Many times condescended by a castigating skepticism, Christianity can become the contemporary joke for modern folklore, reprimanded for its largely misunderstood and underestimated call to love others, as well as to receive unconditional, eternal love from God.

There seem to be several common denominators for this love relationship between humankind and God. Among them, I believe unmitigated disgust with the ambiguity of human purpose is ranked very highly. I believe, at least in part, there is confusion about the message of God’s love, and that the confusion was brought about by the religiously pious—even in the days Jesus walked the Earth. The very attitude which defined Jesus’ manhood and simultaneously set Him as God Incarnate—His gentle, confident, knowledgeable, infinitely loving nature—is what the religiously pious completely lose sight of. In missing this, those who are quick to judge and slow to love, while claiming to be highly religious, have shunned people– generation to generation—from being fully receptive to Jesus’ unabated love. With knowledge comes pride; people learn about God and sometimes grow proud of their understanding. Rather than apply the knowledge, they abuse it, losing sight of the wisdom derived from humility. They forget to extend Godly love to the needy because they forget they are among the needy, themselves.

Unmerited judgment from these theologically confused, pious believers can feel an awful lot like a contradiction of the love Jesus calls us into, and an intrusion of hypocrisy. Furthermore, when someone who claims to be close to God acts in this way, their distorted expression of love defines religion in the eyes of the weary and the lost, and when an unbeliever experiences the haughty of religion behaving like know-it-alls—rather than experiencing unconditional love from someone living in the hope of Christ’s love, the prospect of faith appears to surrender to fallacy; blood-soaked in religious discrimination, which Jesus never taught.

Forgiveness of sins is definitely a hard topic to uncover, but the heart of the issue is that we are commanded to forgive others in order that God will forgive us. Now, instead of jumping to the conclusion, “I thought it was said that Jesus forgives us no matter what?” This command to forgive others is for the benefit of us seeing how detrimental our bitterness is in the context of our relationship to God; in the context of understanding our sin compared to His perfection. God has forgiven us through Christ–IF we receive, in our hearts, that promise through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. His forgiveness is a promise if we receive Jesus’ love sincerely. However, the reception of His promise of forgiveness requires our humility, repentance, and the desire to move forward in His love; away from our desire to satisfy ourselves with indulgence and greed.

Receiving His love does not mean we forget we ever desired to satisfy our sin with greed and indulgences; in fact, we’ll likely fall many, many more times before we see Him again. The difference is that we do not treat our sin with nonchalance and a numbness of spirit anymore. Receiving Jesus’ love means we understand the weight of His holiest promise: eternal life in the presence of God. In understanding its weight, we are transformed by the love that saves us from an eternal life separated from God, and the peace and joy which comes from that promise is what brings our souls to life in a way nothing else ever could. That is the reason why Christianity is humbling: no matter how much we feel the pride of Jesus’ love covering our entire lives, that is NEVER a reason to be condescending, careless, or nonchalant about our words and actions. We can always refer back to Christ, who lived a perfect life, and ask for strength. There is no excuse for us to justify sin when we accept Jesus; only the humility to confess the sin in openness and transparency with Him, and try our hardest to do better moving forward. Pride is justification; humility is striving to do better without so much as an explanation other than “I didn’t mean to cause you harm. Forgive me, I’ll try harder from now on.” The voice of humility is a complement of receiving Jesus in our hearts.

Jesus’ love also translates into the acceptance of who we are as individuals. He always sees every facet of our being; flaws, strengths, the number of hairs on our head, the number of tears we’ve cried, and the number of times we have sinned or will ever sin. And He doesn’t see us with a sigh of disappointment or a loud moan of frustration; He sees us with everlasting love and mercy. Why? What did we do to deserve such fantastic love from the God of the Bible? Nothing. We have never done–nor could we ever do anything. We are loved because He created us to be loved by Him. He chose to love us, and that is why He created us. Think of it this way–parents don’t make babies intentionally just to dispose of them or scoff at them; they procreate so they can spoil the child with love! God wants to spoil us with His love, because we are His children. We don’t always see it that way because we’re busy focusing on everything but His blessings.

These are some of the truths of His blessings:

  1. If you’re breathing without suffocating, it’s a gift from God.
  2. If you can swallow without choking, it’s a gift from God.
  3. if you can move with excruciating pain, it’s a gift from God.
  4. If you can smell, taste, touch, hear, or see the world around you–these are all gifts of God.
  5. If you’re alive–your life is a gift from God!

Think about this the next time you’re sure you aren’t being blessed. And if you are experiencing all of the items in the list above as unchecked, are you being supported by friends or family who want to see you through to your recovery? Are you alone in your journey to healing? If so, your support system is a gift from God.

Please hear me, I do not mean to belittle anyone who is experiencing any kind of pain, or to dismiss anyone’s pain as worthless. My point, and what I would hope you might take from my words–is that God has bestowed us with SO many blessings, we would honesty have to make excuses in order to not give Him credit where it is due. We all experience pain. But we all experience the love of God, as well. He does not leave us empty-handed, even when it may seem like it sometimes.

Experiencing the love of Christ means loving others the way we know Jesus would. Even though you can’t heal people, you can pray for them, you can show them kindness, thoughtfulness, mercy, patience, understanding, grace—and above all, you can tell them about the one inspiring you to be that way. Christianity is a not a faith of the ego, but an ego-check. Christianity is not about egocentrism; what’s in our hearts must be shared because it’s too invigorating, too important, and too purposeful to keep to ourselves. The love of Christ is the key to the lock of our soul—a key we didn’t even know existed before we realized our hearts were locked shut with doubt, shame, regret, and the excuse of transient pleasures masking the wounds of our empty hearts. We need Jesus more than we realize.

Without faith, the whole world looks very different. When I was an atheist, I appreciated very little about my surroundings. I was heavily enamored with the desire for lust because human relationship filled the hole in my soul where I resisted my need for God presence. There was nothing as ecstatic as the idea of a romantic relationship, because human love is a bridge to–and representative of– our love with Christ–hence Jesus is the “groom” of the church, with the church (community of all Christ-followers) is the “bride”. That said, I was only seeing the first half of the equation. Lust was all that mattered to me; Christ was just a distant religious joke that made as much sense as pickles and mustard. Very different from what I understand now as a Christian.

My understanding of both sides of the fence is what inspires me to write this to you, so that you would understand someone like me, who once viewed Christianity with facetious mockery, now worships the deity of Christ because I understand the importance of Jesus’ love as more significant and purposeful than the void of an Godless life, where purpose is only moment-to-moment, defined by society and instant gratification; not life everlasting through Jesus calling me to action through love, grace, and forgiveness.

Where instant gratification gives me what I want now, it simultaneously strips me of retaining my sense of meaning and purpose once the satisfaction wears off. Instant gratification is like a drug/alcohol buzz: once the buzz is over, everything wrong with the world comes flooding back into my mind. That is empirical evidence in direct opposition of the ideology of selfish pleasures masquerading as the definition of purpose in life. Believing in selfish ambition as the replacement for “What else is there to live for?” is just as empty and vacuous as a picture without any hint of dexterity. Art can’t be art without the artist; likewise, life isn’t life without its Creator—and humanity didn’t create itself. Making up as many as thousands of excuses as to how humanity arrived on the scene of Earth is not as fulfilling as believing that a loving God created us to be fulfilled in the promise of His love; once accepting that following His love also commands us to to love others the same way—forgiving them and treating them with the same kindness and mercy God did when He came down in the flesh as Jesus. We could argue all day about where humanity comes from, but at the end of the day, the question may actually deviate from the point of a scientific origin story and culminate with a theology that invites us into a purpose both worthy of striving for, and exciting to embrace.

What I want to leave you with is that there is more to Christianity than the judgment you may have experienced. The love of Christ is so much more important than someone correcting your wrongs by condemning you. We need to check the log in our own eyes before we pick at the spec in others’ eyes. As much as we need not let someone do that to us, we also need to be encouraged not to close ourselves off from receiving love from those who understand Christ’s call to love us as brothers and sisters of God’s family. That is what we’re being called into, and that is what we embrace as Christians.

If you have any questions you would like answered–whether about this post or what you might like addressed for a Part 2, please leave those questions in the comments below. If you enjoy reading these posts and would like to read more, please feel free to follow my blog and share it with others you think would benefit from reading about the message of Christ. I am passionate to tell you about what Christ’s love has done for me, and what it’s still doing, as well as to clarify so many confusions about the Christian faith. In the end, what happens from clarity is there is a transformation of the heart from rock hard to soft and open, and that is when Jesus can enter. That is what I want for you, as a Christian writer; that you may experience the love of Christ in your heart when you’re most vulnerable and susceptible to feel it completely.

May you be blessed while reading this and I pray you walk away with some newfound understanding that you may not have had. In the very least, I hope you are reminded that Jesus loves you no matter what you’ve done, and it’s up to you whether or not you receive that love and live into its promise to transform you from the inside. Jesus is the key; the answer. Will you let Him be that for you? If so, let this be a new day for you. If not, may He help you to understand and embrace that His love is everlasting, compassionate, confident; steadfast and eternal. He will never stop loving you, even if you can’t believe He already does.

Let that soak in. May He transform you, if that is your desire today. In Jesus name.

Transformation