Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Following A "True Survivor"
As many of you know I have spent the past few years chronicling the journeys of people who have appeared on the CBS Television show "Survivor" notably Holly Hoffman and Benjamin "Coach" Wade. Spending the past few years blogging about these seasons helped me to understand that each season is like taking a journey especially if you are closely following someone. I can't help but now apply this symbolism to the stage I am at right now in my life which is a conscious decision to follow in the footsteps of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ who is in all actuality the very epitome of the term "Survivor".
“When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (NIV)
My message today is simple He is our living God and He wants what is best for us. Are we truly taking the steps to take a "journey" with Him and in essence making the choice to "follow" Him?
I have always been a "believer" having grown up in a Christian based home or in a home where I was taught to believe in God and that Jesus is our Savior. I have always attended a faith of some sort. In fact I have attended many from Churches to sects.
But it was an experience that happened when I was 41 that has made me stop short to examine and realize an important truth. That just because you go through the rituals and attend doesn't necessarily mean you are following or even "know" the Savior Jesus Christ.
I would like to share an experience with you that made a big impression on me spiritually. It was definitely an eye opener!
When this experience happened I was attending The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints faith (commonly termed Mormon.) I had been attending this faith off and on since I was 16 and was pretty much grounded firmly then in their faith. By this period I was a very active member of this Church holding leadership positions in the Women's Auxiliary group "The Relief Society" within my small Branch. Along with leaderships in the music areas as a Music Leader/Chorister and Single Adult Representative as well.
My whole life then was consumed to serving in every way I could the members of my Branch. Plus I will admit there was some ambition for higher callings as well. So when a friend who I had once served under in her tenure as a Relief Society President (as a teacher) asked me to support her in attending a different Church and might I add religion..I consented. Thinking okay I am grounded and will not be looking elsewhere myself. But that night while attending this Church in Redford, MI an experience happened that took me completely off guard. It changed a lot of how I perceive "walking with God".
While attending this service I was so lifted by the Spirit that was present there that when I went home that night and knelt down to pray I was amazed by what happened. The very presence of Christ centered itself into my small room and all around me that I found myself saying "nice to meet you!" It was so solid and so strong that I could not deny that it was Him. That He was real. That He was ready to accept me as His child. Plus I made the realization that even after all my years of Church, serving and going through the rituals that I had not really "met" Him or come to truly know God.
That moment was an eye opener. That even though you do everything that you feel that is asked of you : attend, serve and live the way your faith dictates. Do you really have a relationship with God? Are you truly "following" Him?
Recently as I remembered this it made me reflect on how I should worship Him and how I should give to Him all that I am and could be. To meet Him on a level where I can build a lasting relationship with Him. Not just acknowledge He is God but actually "know God".
I eventually left as an active member of the LDS faith and just a few months ago joined a new Church "Calvary Chapel Worship Center" and was baptized last June into a new life. In the end the LDS faith did not work for me and I am at peace with and love my new faith! Below are photos of my baptism. Myself with Pastor Andrea and two wonderful folks who assisted in my baptism!
It is so easy to allow the daily stuff of work, home and activities to draw our thoughts away from building a day to day walk. But to have that walk it must take that few minutes or set aside period to devote to Scriptures and to daily meditation. If you don't set aside the time the Spirit that is alive with in you or surely the relationship itself will grow cold and wither just like a plant that is not watered and not nurtured. God never turns aside from any of us instead it is us who place other things before our relationship with Him. He wants us to "meet" Him and "know" Him. To make time for building a relationship with Him. He wants us to "follow" Him. To place our complete faith, trust and lives in His hands. To take the "ultimate journey" that will define who we are through Him. A journey that if taken will truly liberate us as we grow to know Him.
That's what I have learned from my experience of years ago.
Just know one thing if you get anything else out of this blog: Please know that God loves YOU! He truly does! Enough to sacrifice His life and be resurrected (hence the truest Survivor!) so that we may be forgiven and one day live with Him. That through Him we may find strength though we are weak (2 Corinthians 12:9) Through Him we are liberated (John 8:31,32) He is truly our truest Friend (John 15:12-17)and seeks to have a relationship with us. But most importantly He is our God. (John 1:1,14; Philippians 2:5-8;) and wants us to daily commune with Him and acknowledge Him as God. He wants you to truly "know" Him.
Philippians 2:9-11 (NIV) Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.