“It doesn’t matter what religion you adhere to, as all religions end up the same in the end. Because, all religions are man-made for the purpose of bringing personal comfort and hope.”
I’ve heard it before, but this time the statement came from someone who had once followed Jesus, but after suffering a great loss, turned away from any faith. His anger was understandable, but are his comments true?
If you question not only religion, but a belief in God, I’d recommend two books, each written by a man who at one time was a very angry Agnostic. During college, he was challenged to look at the Bible from a purely intellectual standpoint. Taking the challenge, he set out to disprove the validity of the Bible, spending months traveling mostly Europe, scrutinizing the evidence. He came away from his investigation with the realization that everything written in the Bible about Jesus was accurate and true. He came to the realization that the only reasonable response to those facts, was to become a follower of Jesus Christ.
Below is Josh McDowell’s personal story. The video is a riveting 40 minutes long. In it Josh tells of growing up with years of sexual abuse, an alcoholic father, a sibling who’d committed suicide, enormous family dysfunction, and taunting neighbors, turning from any belief in God because of it.
He also tells how in college he was drawn by the genuine love of a group of students. It was they who challenged him. His acceptance of their challenge changed his life forever. His story is well worth watching.
If you wish to learn more about Josh and his ministries, you may also take a look at his website.
I too have experienced the life-changing power of Jesus Christ and can attest to the power of God to change lives and answer prayer. I haven’t gone the route of trying to disprove the Bible, but through many years of extreme difficulty, I can say from that perspective I know God to be real, and all he said about Jesus to be true.
God is real. He does listen. He also has the power to do something about what he hears. Then why don’t I always see answers?
Possibly, his answer isn’t what I wish to hear.
Also, what if:
In praying, do I look for every other resource before turning to God so as to maintain control?
Isaiah, whom I quoted yesterday, recorded a conversation between God and his people. In his anger, God responds to their complaints that he is not acting on their behalf as he once did: (Their complaints are similar to ours, and are recorded in the previous chapter – 64)
“I was ready to respond, but no one asked for help.
I was ready to be found, but no one was looking for me.
I said, ‘Here I am, here I am!’
to a nation that did not call on my name.
2 All day long I opened my arms to a rebellious people.
But they follow their own evil paths
and their own crooked schemes. Isaiah 65:1,2 (NLT)
Do you need God to act? If you aren’t following him, the first place to begin is with the prayer, “I need you. For too long I’ve gone my own way – I’m sorry. Please forgive me. I acknowledge that Jesus is the One who’s in charge. I need him to take the reigns. I choose to follow his lead.”
If you aren’t ready for that kind of prayer, I’d challenge you instead to boldly say:
With love and prayers,
p.s. If you are following Jesus for the first time, the next step is to find a church who follows Jesus. (Not all churches do). Start getting to know the people there, and choose to spend time weekly with them. It matters.
Also, if you did pray that prayer to follow Jesus, expect conflict to arise. The enemy of your soul (Satan) won’t like it and may cause some trouble. That’s one reason you need to find a Jesus following church right away. God is bigger, and will easily take care of you, but just don’t be surprised.