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- Exploring Religious Options
Making The Best Choice Of Fellowship
Having God in my life has been a mature goal. But as a child, I did not know that I was making a choice for my future. I really have appreciated that my Mom and Dad took me to church which was Catholic, and sent me to a private Catholic school where I was able to learn about Jesus Christ, about God and how to incorporate my beliefs into a lifestyle that was wholesome and good. I am grateful that my Mom and Dad exposed me to church and I always wanted to be closer to God all through my youth.
Now as an adult, I reflect on how my interests in church worship have changed. I do not disregard my lessons of my early Christian beliefs in the Catholic Church. I do not condemn what they believe either, because the Catholic religion is the springboard that gave me my discernment throughout my youth of right and wrong, good and evil, and made my relationship with Jesus Christ a bit deeper. I have visited different Protestant churches during my life, such as Methodist, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Baptist, and Assemblies of God. I have attended worship services by the Church of Christ, Rock Church, and other nondenominational smaller bible study and prayer groups in my early twenties. I was searching for the right group, the right kind of fellowship that was just right for me.
PRAYING FOR SALVATION IS OPENING A DOOR
Accepting Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior was new to me, because it was the way to the Truth. I was a socially healthy individual. I dated boys in high school, I said no to long term relationship that would lead to risk of teen pregnancy, and I had a lot of friends that were also born again Christian believers when I entered college. I was not naive to worldly enjoyments, but I made choices, and even my Mom and Dad were influential who I socialized with when I was a teenager. When I entered adult single living, around the age of 40, the worldly invitations to parties, intimate relationships with men and trying to balance church worship with being a single parent were in my way to Choice.
I continued to have a desire to study God's Word, and understood that its importance would help me in my life. I gave up my "swinging" single life when I suffered financial hardship. The very individual that was the worst influence in my life, a person that was chemically dependant on drugs, introduced me to the individual who got me to the Church Ministry that I am in today. The Ministry that I have belonged to in the past eleven years has taught me the Truth in the Bible and deepened my relationship with The Lord, His Son, Jesus and The Holy Spirit.
INTRODUCTION TO OTHER BELIEFS
I also had other beliefs introduced to me. I had family members and friends of family members who followed Edgar Cayce. I was fascinated and I thought that I had such abilities as being a seer, or a psychic, that I had spirit guides, past lives and that I could predict the future through the tarot, palmistry-the reading of lines on the palm, and even astrology. I was led to believe that it was alright to have these paranormal beliefs and be a Catholic Christian at the same time. It was not until recently in the last few years that believing in psychic sciences is contradictory to God's Word.
Even the Word in the Holy Bible makes reference to false beliefs: "Behold, I am against them that prophecy false dreams,saith the Lord, and do tell them, and cause my people to err by their lies, and by their lightness; yet I sent them not, nor commanded them: therefore they shall not profit this people at all, saith the Lord." - Jeremiah 23: verse 32.
About twelve years ago, I got to know my co worker who I will identify as E.G. who claims to be a serious practicing Buddhist. She kept on inviting me to her meeting, and finally, reluctantly, I said I would go. The whole time I sat cross legged on the floor in rows of several men and women chanting quickly in Chinese and nodding and bowing to the statue of Buddha. Deep down in my heart and mind during this whole time, I was silently asking God to forgive me and to forgive all these people for trying to persuade me to believe the way they were. I could not believe I was there. This whole experience changed my relationship with my nurse friend. What had driven her away from Christ? (She stated she had been raised Catholic). What changed her heart? I never questioned her, tried to continue socializing with her despite this difference between our beliefs.
BEING AWARE OF FALSE BELIEFS
In the gospel of Matthew, chapter 7, verse 15, it says: " Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves."
There are so many things in the media today to encourage the youth and the spiritually young to believe that what they are seeing is from God. When one hears from God, it is made clear as long as one is open to receive through the proper channels of prayer, study of the Bible's Word and the obedience of doing what the Word tells us. Many rappers and song writer's will speak of Jesus in their lyrics, wear the symbols of Christianity, but they may also speak about death with vulgarity in the same mouthful of words as they speak life. The listener has to make a decision what to believe, and to know that the Word of God is not entertainment, and a cross is not just a piece of jewelry.
RESPECT SHOULD BE GIVEN TO ALL, REGARDLESS TO BELIEFS
Whether one is a Christian, Jewish, Mormon, Catholic, Hindu, or Muslim, Buddhist, or even a wiccan, all people should be respected as a human being. God created all life, and we are the product of His Will to be on this earth. We make choices, thanks to the great sinners in the first garden, named Adam and Eve. We have to live with our choices. If we choose to separate everyone into their own catagory, the human race becomes divided, and there is no Peace.
The Golden Rule, "Love one another" should apply to all human beings. Demonstrating good towards others produces a more positive world. Treating others the way you want to be treated promotes a good relationship with each other and with the Lord God who created you.