Faith Gives Me Strength
Faith Gives Me Strength
I like to share with anyone interested how blessed I am to have Jesus in my life. Without my faith to give me strength during times of crisis, I honestly don’t know how I could have managed many of my past challenges. However, each time I felt despair or fear, my faith in Christ not only gave me strength but provided me with comfort, too.
Feelings of Isolation
Like many caregivers, I frequently feel isolated and alone when keeping vigil over my husband during hospital admissions and when providing daily care. Although I’m fortunate to have many devoted family and friends, the reality of life prevents most of my support from being available to help or provide regular aid.
Admittedly, the breakdown is not one-sided. I fail to fulfill my end of relationships, too. Rarely do I find the time to initiate a call, and seldom can I visit. In addition, I don’t like to ask for help because I understand how stressed out most of my support system is already, and I don’t want to add to their burden. The consequence is that I often feel lonely, abandoned, and unloved by others. While my head may know that’s not true, my heart still feels that way when I am exhausted and overwhelmed.
However, if I remember to talk to God during those times, I realize I’m not alone. God’s there whether I “feel” Him or not. When I’m physically exhausted and emotionally spent, my emotions become numb, preventing me from feeling joy. If I feel at all, my emotions are likely to be negative. However, in those moments, I am confident in my faith that I am not alone. (Hebrews 11:1) “Now, Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”
God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are One being in three forms called the Holy Trinity. (Colossians 2:9) Three at one time — how is that possible? Think about water. Water can exist as steam, ice, and a liquid; however, it’s still water in all forms. The Holy Trinity exists in all three forms, God the Father is spiritual, Jesus, the Son, is fully human and fully God, and the Holy Spirit is also spiritual.
God, the Creator
God, the Creator and Spiritual ruler of the universe, is all-knowing, all-seeing, ever-present, and all-powerful, and sits on His throne in Heaven. (John 4:24) God created the heavens and the Earth. His word is alive and active, penetrating our thoughts and attitudes. (Hebrews 4:12), God is perfect (Psalm 18:30) and just. (Psalm 50:6)
Jesus Christ, His Son
Jesus Christ, His Son, is both completely human and God. (Colossians 2:9) Jesus was with God in Heaven when God created Earth. (Colossians 1:15-17) Satan, or Lucifer, the Angel, was there as well. However, Lucifer challenged God’s leadership, and God threw him out of Heaven. Upon landing on Earth, he began his plan to entice as many people as possible into a life of sin and away from God. (Revelation 12)
God is a God of Justice. He believes in fairness and accountability. While not every situation on Earth may seem to receive the justice deserved now, God will administer His righteous judgment for all sins. (Psalm 37:27-29)
Jesus knew that man could not stop sinning on his own. Therefore, He volunteered to become the sacrificial Lamb His Father needed to provide salvation to His people. Jesus chose to limit His Divine powers when He took on Earthly flesh to be more like humankind who has physical needs. (Hebrews 2:14) In addition, He restricted Himself in His unlimited knowledge to boundaries consistent with the scope of knowledge humankind had available. Again, He restricted Himself to help establish a better relationship with His creation.
Jesus Christ, His Son, is both completely human and God. (Colossians 2:9) Jesus was with God in Heaven when God created Earth. (Colossians 1:15-17) After God threw Satan out of Heaven, he began to corrupt Earth. (Revelation 12) Jesus volunteered to become the sacrificial Lamb His Father needed to provide salvation to His people. Jesus gave up His powers of God to take on the flesh and limitations of man. When God created humankind, He gave us a soul, which is the spiritual part that uniquely makes us who we are. (1 Thessalonians 5:23)
Souls Must Be Sinless to Enter Heaven
When God created humankind, He gave us a body, soul, and spirit. (1 Thessalonians 5:23) The body creates the outward shell of what others see when they look at us. The spirit and soul reside inside the shell of the body. The soul is our mind, emotions, and free will – what makes us human. The spirit provides a way of connecting spiritually with God deeper than using emotions or physical senses.
God created your soul when He created you to be sinless. (Ezekiel 18:4) Once created, the soul belongs to God, and man cannot kill it. However, once someone sins, the soul experiences eternal death and cannot enter Heaven. Therefore, no one can enter Heaven based on their own merits.
What is Sin?
Sin can be many things but essentially is anything that separates us from God. Sin occurs when a person acts or behaves in a way that does not conform to God’s character or commands. It’s a failure to do the right thing and represents a rebellion against God. In essence, it’s falling short of the perfect standards set by God. If that’s the definition of sin, none of us could hope to be sinless. Frankly, we can’t hope to be sinless. As stated in Romans 3/23, “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”
Since humankind is incapable of living without sin, only those who have accepted Jesus’ gift of dying on the cross to forgive their sins can enter Heaven. The other souls must remain in the world ruled by Satan because their sins remain. People’s souls of this world that don’t follow Jesus reside in Hell for eternity because their sins have not been washed away by Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross.
Believers and Followers of Jesus are Not the Same
Followers of Jesus are not the same as those who believe in Jesus. Satan’s followers know and believe in Jesus and his powers and fear his strength and glory. However, Satan does not believe in the written word of God and thinks that in the end, he will overthrow God’s reign and take over the universe and reign in God’s place as ruler of the universe. That belief is why God threw Satan out of Heaven.
Satan Rules Over This Earth
Satan now rules over Earth because we humans are weak. God gave us free will (Galatians 5:16-17) when He created us so that we had the choice to decide if we wanted to follow Him. We want others to love us freely. God didn’t want to force us to love Him either. Since He gave us a choice to decide if we wanted to be followers of Jesus or Satan, then it makes sense that he would also allow us to make the rest of our decisions on our own.
Free Choice Pros and Cons
Though we appreciate the free choice option when making decisions, when a terrorist is blowing up a building, we don’t appreciate that freedom as much. So instead, we cry out, “How could a loving God allow this to happen? Why didn’t he stop it?
While God has the power to stop bad things from happening, each of us controls our actions and chooses to sin or not sin. So if he removes the terrorist’s free-will choice, He must take yours, too. It’s only fair.
God Works with Circumstances
Rather than remove free will choice, God works with circumstances instead. (Genesis 2:16-17) God intervenes with the events surrounding a decision. He may influence events in such a way as to prevent the event from happening, modify the impact of the event, or provide support to the participants and victims affected by the event. However, He will not stop the individual from following through with their decision. If they were going to push a button, pushing the button occurs. However, once the push occurs, God may answer someone’s prayer by making nothing happen due to pushing the button.
Holy Spirit Guides Followers
When making a decision, followers of Jesus have an advantage because when Jesus rose from Earth, He sent the Holy Spirit to live within each of His followers. Thus, the Holy Spirit is another form of God/Jesus, a spiritual being, that resides in the follower and acts as a spirit helper, helping the follower know what to do, how to do it, and when.
Finding your way in a new place without a map is difficult. The Holy Spirit acts as your helper, telling you which way to go and the best routes to take, the best places to stop to visit along the way, and what to avoid. If you learn to listen carefully, you can avoid a lot of trouble. Even when you mess up, it can help you find your way out again.
Unconditional Love and Acceptance
However, the best part of this story is that you’re never alone if you don’t turn away from the Trinity. In one form or the other, the Father, Son, or Holy Ghost is always willing to listen, love you, accept you, or take you with open arms. Their love is unconditional. No sin you have ever done or will do is so terrible that it would disqualify you from their love. The only action on your part that would prevent you from being accepted by them into their family is not asking with sincerity.
What I mean by asking with sincerity is that you have made a conscious decision to follow Christ as your Savior. You know that you cannot follow God’s expectations for living under your willpower without falling short. You have sinned, and you know that you will sin again. You need Jesus’s forgiveness for those sins and His help to keep from sinning more in the future. If you sincerely mean that, all you need to do is speak to Jesus in your heart and say, (Romans 10:9-10)
“Jesus, I want to be more like you, but I am weak. Please forgive me of my sins. I know you are all-powerful and can help me live my life according to God’s will. I want to follow you as my Savior. Thank you for your death on the cross and for dying for my salvation. Amen.”
The words above are examples of what you can say, but you don’t need to say those specifically. Just talk to Jesus and tell him you’re sorry you’re a sinner, you believe he’s your Savior, and you want to follow him. He’ll get the point. However, don’t stop there.
Get to Know Jesus
To be a follower of Christ, you need to know Him and establish a relationship with Him. Spend time checking out churches in your area until you find one where you feel comfortable. Don’t worry about which is the “right” church. Any church that teaches from the Bible and focuses on the word of God is the “right” church. However, if the church never opens the Bible and only talks about current events or interprets the Bible as they see fit, stay far away from them. They will only confuse you.
Find a Church for Fellowship
Of course, to know if a church is teaching from the Bible, you need to find a version that you understand and read it. (Ezekiel 18:30-32) There are many versions available. Pick one where the flow of the language feels comfortable to you but make sure that in the front, it says it’s a “translation” rather than an “interpretation.” Interpretations are not as accurate as translations. An interpretation is someone else’s idea of what a passage means; whereas, a translation is a direct transcription of the language from the original written word without individual interpretation.
Get a Bible You Understand
Some critics of the Bible say that the type of Bible does not matter because it’s a book of fiction. However, they are wrong. The Bible is non-fiction. Research and archeology surveys have repeatedly demonstrated the accuracy of the Bible. In addition, witness accounts providing additional information or unique details add authenticity to the writings rather than draw the records into question for most researchers. Why?
In “real life,” eyewitness accounts rarely are identical and only match exactly if the individuals have collaborated on their accounts in advance. Had Bible authors all used the same words to describe the same events the same way, the authenticity of the accounts would be in question because rarely do two witnesses at a scene do that. Indeed, all the prophecies pronounced in the Bible that were due during the time of Christ have come true. Therefore, there is no reason to question whether the prophecies predicted for the future will also come to pass.