I think it started as a desire to understand God. Having spent all those years growing up in the church I am painfully aware of what the religious folk taught me, but I needed to know for myself. I am really quite excited about what I have found, because I either had to or chose to look for myself.
On the one hand I could easily say I was lied to, but the truth is that they only tried to impress upon me the concepts that had been passed along to them (perhaps they were trying to make reality something they thought children could understand). I do not think that excuses those in authority from reading the truth themselves and passing along a correct understanding. Read the scriptures, you will find that God speaks consistently, with some anger, about shepherds that lead the flock astray.
Because it allows the flock to be destroyed.
As I think about the time frame, I have systematically been reading about eight years. Someone recently said to me, “you know so much about the bible.” I do not feel that way, and my mind is not retaining the locations of passages anymore, but then when you think about the time you have invested, you should have a better understanding than the average religious person who allows someone else to prescribe their theology (I almost hate that word because one the “Christian” radio stations fling the word around like a club to inflict you. It merely means your concepts, understanding of God, and how you apply them to your life.)
There were so many things going on prior to this change in me. I had been involved with a mega church where I operated computer driven projection screens that the audience saw. While some look at people who do things like this as icons, what goes on in the background is far to often filled with extraordinary stresses, most of which come from power-driven pastors and their staff. Sadly, I left there in a rage, never went back, and fell into a non-church going depression for about a year.
What changed that stage of my life had a lot to do with a church I used to go to that was doing a building project, and I got involved. Once the church was built I stayed there. Out of work, I involved myself in various Bible studies and groups and I began, once again, to experience a growth spurt in the Lord.
Bible studies usually gave you a clue about what to expect for the following week, so I would read ahead. Although I was not even close to being the leader, I have always had the wish to lead, and would prepare for when the need arose. Perhaps it was the preparation, or perhaps it was the fact that my being ready gave me some insights to share, but I did get several opportunities, and gained some respect from a handful of people.
Since nothing has ever come easily for me, why should this be any different. I watched, as people with the ability to schmooze the pastor gained bible teaching positions in the church while having no understanding of the Word, teaching garbage and someone else's opinion.
I have always had a desire to understand end times events, and like everyone else, reading the Revelation, Daniel, or Ezekiel had my head spinning (I am now quite sure that the “head spin” had much to do with trying to understand by using the conjecture taught me when I was younger.)
There used to be a man running around the country named Hilton Sutton. He would speak on end times in a way that fascinated me, but I would walk away just as lost. Attempts at reading and understanding these things just muddied up the water even more. It was not until I came across a book called the Islamic Antichrist that things began to have meaning. Names, places, and characters within the Revelation suddenly began to make sense.
While others around me seem to struggle with God's word, I will tell you that I am not confused (occasionally I can be, especially when someone decides to assert an improper dominance and force their ill-formed concept down your throat.)
A man who is part of a Bible study I attend pushes some poorly researched ideas about the Millennial reign. It is your right to have opinions, but to shove them down someone’s throat as theology, is not your right. When you do that you set yourself up as god, knowing what is best, and you will be judged accordingly.
1 Corinthians 3:11-13 KJV
- For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. -
No, I do not have all these scriptures memorized, but my mind clings to concepts, and one of the things education will do for you is to teach you to do research. I am not the best at it, but comparing resources and original texts I can gain an understanding, and hopefully share that with you. Therefore, if I am given time, I will come back to you with a definitive answer. If I cannot give you an answer like that, then I will lead to the truth of God’s Word, and allow Him to enlighten you.
Writing helps me to clarify things that bring me confusion.
Confusion is not of God, and in case you were not aware, God is not trying to confuse anyone who reads the Revelation. It is a book that was meant to be understood and there is a special blessing upon those that pursue that understanding.
Writing has given me a framework from which to ask questions.
I can develop those questions without reproach, obtaining answers just as if God were speaking directly to me, and there many times in which I feel that he is. I am safe in discussing my doubts, griefs and misunderstandings with God. While writing, no one rebuffs me for having doubts or erratic ideas.
Even though I write to understand the Father, I find it also gives me a better understanding of myself.
Work is filled with daily stresses; investing time in God’s word helps me to keep my head on straight.
Yes, I have had experiences with mental health professionals (I do not recommend you judge me at this point. Just because you either had better parenting than I had, or you choose to self-medicate. You are no better than me, and you need to understand that in a big hurry.)
Counseling gave me some tools to help me understand why I react the way I do. They told me that I was passive aggressive. What that means: my tendency is to merely take the abuse, no matter what the form, until I could not take it anymore, then I turn into a angry, raging monster. The worst part is that you have to deal with the carnage your monster leaves behind, and I hate cleaning up.
I learned that I have to talk about how I feel so that I do not merely retain a continuing stream of pain, and writing gives me a venue to discuss that pain and anger.
If you are not aware, God can handle your anger and pain. My problem is that I did not take it to him either.
For all the reasons I write I suppose the bottom line is, writing builds a trust in me.
I have come to trust and understand that God is trustworthy and therefore I can trust him. I have gone through doubts, and so did the Apostle Paul. Read 1 Corinthians 15 where he talks about the idea that what we are doing, this living a righteous life, is in vain, unless this hope we have in Jesus, and all that He entails, is true, and it is. He had to sort these things out for himself. Do you not understand that Paul’s training would have fought against the grace of God, and that grace is Paul’s main theme throughout scripture.
Through my writing, I have learned that God is a god of mercy, that grace rules my life, and that there is freedom in Him while choosing not to offend others so that they may come to know that same grace.
A benefit of writing is that I have come to understand that God is true and trustworthy. His word is comprehensible and that he desires us to understand who He is.
Finally, it is through writing that I have come to understand that Jesus is God.
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