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Faith--Choice, Intuition, Inspiration, Proof, or Gift?

Discussion in 'Non-Christian General Discussion' started by LookingForGod, Apr 13, 2022.

  1. LookingForGod

    LookingForGod Member

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    Hi. I'd be interested to hear how you came to faith.

    What happened to me, in the happy times when I could believe, was that something would happen that was so unlike things that usually happen in the material world, that I was "blown away" and my skeptical mind temporarily gave up. This happened several times, 5 or so. The problem was that the skeptical mind doesn't give up for long, although some of those experience were real stunners and I still remember all of them and think, "Could all of that, taken together, really have been by accident?"

    So how did it happen to you?
    --Experiences like mine
    --So much evidence that your own inner skeptic just gave up for all time*
    --A choice (I've made the choice for Christianity myself, just waiting for how to carry it out more than I currently can).
    --Just always had it. It was a gift from God that came early.
    --The world just feels like there's a God in it and you don't need to question it
    --Something else

    I'm thinking about the choice thing, if I can go farther with it. Like maybe those experiences were hints, and now I'm supposed to do something with it. I heard second-hand about a pastor who, earlier in his life, made a choice. Reportedly he said, "One day I decided to live as though God is real, and it was wonderful, and I never looked back." I'm wondering if that's what I'm supposed to do. Would the inner skeptic still be there and kicking up a fuss? Should I try it anyway?
    Or do I just keep up the reading and praying, and wait?

    *I'd like to hear about your evidence but it's probably more understandable to cover one subject at a time.
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2022
  2. ScottA

    ScottA Well-Known Member

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    This whole idea is crazy strange to me..

    Just briefly, after some years of downward spiral: being a victim of crime, loss of my business, bankruptcy, marriage, loss of the ability to live with my children; all the while, winning awards and personally doing what would otherwise be considered great... Anyway, one night, having little or no religious upbringing, I had tried every other angle, so I called out to God not knowing if He was real or not--and He answered. I was caught up in the spirit above the Earth and changed in the twinkling of an eye, then returned.

    So there is no room for waffling for me. None.

    But the reality is...living in this world, it is unavoidable to not have some sense of the fact that there is a God and that there is a choice to be made before it's too late...which could come at any moment. I mean, anyone without a definite opposition should easily be able to weigh 60-100 years in one hand against eternity in the other and declare before God, "Okay--I'm not a fool, I'm willing...so please show me what is right--show me you are real."

    I say this, because that is kinda what I did... I didn't ask, but flat out told God (not knowing He was even there to listen)--that I needed some answers, that I had run out of options, that I was at that place where otherwise sane people take their life, and I knew it, but was not going to do it, and only had one last option..and without some answers would go live in the woods.

    But 60-100 years compared to eternity, should leave no contest, no reason to waver. Make up your mind, and then live your life convinced you have done what any reasonable person would do given those two options. But don't think that means you need to reorder your life--it's not like that. Your life will reorder itself--He will reorder it. You'll be fine--you'll end up hating sin and making different and better decisions. Just move forward, rather than being stuck in no man's land. Make your move, and leave the next move for God to make--that is His business and His job, and that is what He is waiting for.

    As for the fact that you have been around this block before--stop the car--don't keep circling.
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2022
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  3. Pearl

    Pearl Well-Known Member

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    I met with Jesus in December 1977 after I was given a copy of 'Journey Into Life' by the vicar of my local church. Up till then I'd always considered myself to be a Christian as I had gone to Sunday school and church and been confirmed.

    How wrong could I have been. That little booklet and the message it contained changed my life and I'm still being changed by the love and grace of God all these years later. Being a Christian isn’t about religion; with me it's relationship all the way; Father-daughter; lover-beloved; teacher-disciple.
     
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  4. Pearl

    Pearl Well-Known Member

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    And this is what somebody I know has been posting on facebook last week: it is very similar to my own story.

    34 years ago I was asked a question. It was this ‘If you die TODAY, will you go to Heaven?’ It was a question that I could not honestly answer. I hoped I would go to Heaven, but I didn’t know. (We die only once and then we are judged . . . Hebrews 9:27). Next part of ‘my story’ tomorrow . . .

    Part 2:
    So, posed with the question 'If you die today will you go to Heaven', that got my attention - the question went deep into me. I was given a small booklet called 'Journey Into Life', that I started to read. This explained about sin, about who Jesus is, what Jesus has done, and how we can respond to that. The booklet answered my questions, and everything made sense to me. This was not me 'grasping at straws', this was not out of fear, it was the right booklet, at the right time, answering the things I needed answering and explaining what needed to be explained. What happened next? Find out tomorrow . . .

    Day 3 (just!):
    Some more detail . . . So, I continued to read 'Journey into Life' and it made so much sense . . . It explained sin - 'I' in the middle, me first, going my own way, sin marking and spoiling, when God intended otherwise. The answer? Jesus' sacrifice on the cross. God Himself dying in my place, taking the punishment that I should have taken for everything I have done wrong / will ever do wrong, and making the way open to be in relationship with Him - to be actually able to know God. Why? Because God is love, but also He is just. Forgiveness comes at a price, and Jesus paid that price - because of His love.

    Romans 3:23
    Romans 6:23
    Romans 5:8
    Ephesians 2:8-9
    John 1:12
    Revelation 3:20

    So, what happened as I neared the end of the 'Journey into Life' booklet? - tune in folks for day 4 . . .

    Day 4: So, I was nearing the end of the 'Journey into Life' booklet, I'd read about sin and its affects, also about who Jesus is and why He came. Towards the end of the booklet it says this:

    'It might help you to say this prayer, phrase by phrase, quietly, thoughtfully, thinking carefully about what you are saying, and what you are doing:

    Lord Jesus Christ, I know I have sinned in my thoughts, words and actions.
    There are so many good things I have not done.
    There are so many sinful things I have done.
    I am sorry for my sins and turn from everything I know to be wrong.
    You gave your life upon the cross for me.
    Gratefully I give my life back to you.
    Now I ask you to come into my life.
    Come in as my Saviour to cleanse me.
    Come in as my Lord to control me.
    And I will serve you all the remaining years of my life in complete obedience.
    Amen.

    I was sat in my bedroom, on my own . . . I read the prayer to myself, and then prayed the prayer to God, out loud, as best as I could, being as genuine as I could be about what I was praying.

    I finished the prayer and then - well, that's for tomorrow . . .

    Day 5:
    So, I had become a Christian, all the swearing had totally gone, with no effort from myself, I had an assurance for eternity, what happened next . . . .
    Soon after noticing the swearing had gone, one morning I woke up, to find my nose was sore down one side, and the very tip was tender to the touch - I'd never experienced this before, and didn't know why. This continued for a few days, until the pain and sensitivity started to subside, and then my nose felt fine. Well, actually, it felt more than fine for the first time in years! What am I talking about? Well, previously I had been suffering for years with nasal allergies, my nose would 'react' to pretty much any kind of fragrance . . . Fragrances from washing powders, air fresheners, soaps, perfume, aftershaves, shaving gels, flowers, the list really did go and and on. It wasn't even controlable outdoors. I could be walking down a street, someone walks past me with perfume/aftershave on and I would start to sneeze / my nose would run / start to itch. I'd been to the doctors and they prescribed antihistamine which didn't really help, they said maybe I could have an operation, but the distinct impression I was given was that it was just 'one of those things'. I did suffer from hayfever in the Summer, but that was nothing compared to this - at least with hayfever the medication worked and it was only seasonal. My other nasal allergies were 365 days a year! So back to it, after a few days my nose was no longer sore, or sensitive to the touch, I also realised that my nasal allergies had gone, I mean like the swearing, gone gone! After years of suffering, after years of always HAVING to carry at least one hanky, I don't mean paper tissues, I mean old school hankies, some days two weren't enough, wringing wet, like having a constant cold. It had all gone! I also realised that the allergy had been severely hampering my sense of smell, and I could now smell clearly, some not so nice smells, but many wonderful and amazing smells! Clearly, clearly as a result of now being a Christian, yet another display of God's goodness to me!
     
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  5. LookingForGod

    LookingForGod Member

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    Thank you for the replies. I'm going to read them all, one per day (starting with the earlier threads), and think about what you're saying and what you've done, and maybe I'll find the bridge to the other side.

    I think some people don't realize that I didn't choose to be an agnostic. It's unpleasant and unsatisfying. If I loved it I wouldn't be here asking you these questions.
     
  6. Aunty Jane

    Aunty Jane Well-Known Member

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    Can you offer some of the things that your skepticism has difficulties with? Maybe that is a good place to start.....? You are quite correct....agnosticism isn’t a choice.....something has to trigger the first steps in any journey.....what has caused your skepticism? What have been the main stumbling blocks?

    Where have you come from spiritually speaking? Catholicism? Protestantism? Fundamentalism? If you are looking for God, where do you imagine that you will find him? Or perhaps he has been with you all along, just waiting for you to search for him in the right place? Who do you imagine him to be?

    Does he have a purpose for us here on this earth? Are these the questions you ask?
     
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  7. JohnPaul

    JohnPaul Soldier of Jehovah and Christ

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    I was born and raised into the Roman Catholic Church, so I have always believed, I credit the RCC of bringing me close to Christ and learning about Christ, I have since left the RCC for obvious reasons, but have never ceased to believe in God Jehovah and his only begotten Son Jesus Christ, and so have always had a relationship with Jehovah and his Son.
     
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  8. farouk

    farouk Well-Known Member

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    Ephesians 2 and Hebrews 11 have thematic relevance and answers to questions asked, generally speaking.
     
  9. Angelina

    Angelina Prayer Warrior Staff Member Admin

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    As a young child growing up with lots of siblings in a very rural area, I guess that God wanted to make himself real to me and he did in so many ways One time when I was around 8. I was sitting on the railing of a balcony which was on the second story of our home. Something our mother told us never to do My feet were dangling over the edge and I was holding on to a supporting post. Suddenly, I felt a huge push from behind and found myself losing my grip of that post and I began to fall forward toward the ground. I was half way down to the ground when I felt a hand on my chest (invisible) and that hand pushed me so hard in the opposite direction that I began to fly backward, up and over the balcony I was previously sitting on where I landed on the deck. I bumped my head and I got a headache from it but I was also very blessed that I didn't hit the ground because I would have definitely died. This was the first of many saves that the Lord performed in my life. Praise Jesus!
     
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  10. LookingForGod

    LookingForGod Member

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    I've had a lot of little pushes somewhat like that, especially in later life when I started going to church again (irregularly, but sometimes for several years in a row.)
    So maybe God wants me, but for some reason it's supposed to take a long time. I've had Christian, agnostic, and even atheist friends, and when I go through these changes I tell them. I lost a friend that way, when I first started going back to church. She was an atheist. I told her I was going back to church for another look, and she got mad and said, "There's no way there's anything good about a baby dying." I said, "Are you sure?" She told me I obviously didn't have as good a scientific education as she did, and hung up, and I was never able to contact her again. But she was an intelligent person, and maybe she thought about how she really didn't know. This points out how different the mindsets are, between an atheist and an agnostic. I realize that I don't know much for sure. It's nothing to do with how many years you went to college.
    Another man I was dating and had discussed this with said that he went back to religion, a while after we stopped dating but were still friends. Maybe that was at least in part because of me.
    Even in my agnostic phases, I tell about my religious experiences, as I call them, those little nudges and answers that come to mind from nowhere, because I still wonder and hope in those phases.
    So maybe there's some use to this whole experience.
     
  11. Pearl

    Pearl Well-Known Member

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    Religion is not the same as Christianity. Religion is rules and rituals; Christianity is relationship with Jesus. We can all have non-Christian friends but we mustn't let them keep us away from God. My son says he is atheist even though he was brought up Christian. He says it is because he can't accept a God who lets people suffer. But God has his reasons. All through the bible God has allowed people to suffer either because they were the enemies of his people or because they were his people who were being disobedient. Ask god to show you the right way and be prepared to let go of certain things and people in your life in order that you might have Jesus.
     
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  12. devin553344

    devin553344 Well-Known Member

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    I was baptized into a church at an early age and had a confirmation for the Holy Spirit. I was raised into a church that provided this. The Holy Spirit will provide the proof you need. But doubting comes from the tempter, and he loves to throw doubt into our hearts and minds.

    I've seen God and now have no doubts that God is real.
     
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  13. Pearl

    Pearl Well-Known Member

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    In fact doubting occasionally can lead you closer to the truth. It is a natural part of life but through prayer the spiritual side of our natures will overcome the doubts and give us confidence in our faith.
     
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