Can we say "oh my gosh how do I answer this question and bring the glory and honor to God that He so lovingly deserves? How can I say the right things that she needs to hear...that God wants her to hear...How can I, at the end of this conversation, leave her wanting more of Him and not less? How do I get out of the way and let God shine through?"
So I told her I would get back to her. And I prayed. And I'm still praying honestly. I thought I would document it here...because when I am finally a sweet old lady who weeps at the name of Jesus I want to see how far I've come.
Here is what I shared with her:
Keep in mind that I am sinner. Just like everyone else. I do not pretend to believe that I understand or know it all. I am still learning and growing and changing. God is not done with me yet.
That being said here is what I know, that I know, that I know to be true.
God is good. Always.
God is right. Always.
God is just. Always.
The Bible IS the inspired word of God.
It is not written by man.
Men may have transcribed it, but God laid it on their hearts word for word.
Every word in the Bible is true. The standards it set have not changed.
God is constant in what He says is good.
Society changes "good" based on what makes the most people happy.
Customs of the time change. People change. The Earth changes.
God stays the same.
I don't know that I can explain how I got from point A: (a sinner lost in sin without hope in sight) to point B: (a sinner repenting of sin daily, holding fast to the Hope that is in Christ).
I can tell you that if you seek Him, He will answer. It may not be in your timing but it will be the right timing. We are a people who want it NOW and to be in control. God does not care about any of that. He has nothing to prove to us. His love has already been shown through the sacrifice of His one and only Son.
I know that I have had to seek Him purposefully. As with any relationship, no fruit will come of it if you don't do the work. And I have had to work. I read the Bible out of duty for a good ten years until I got to the point where I did it out of joy and love and wanting to be the way He wants me to be. I read for years because it was the right thing to do...and I believe that God blesses me because of it. Before if I missed a day I would feel guilty...now it makes me sad because I missed an opportunity to hear Him.
It has taken me just as long to really feel like I have a relationship with Him. Don't hear me wrong now...He has always been there. It's been me who has had to change, to drop MY expectations, to learn to humble myself before Him, to stop demanding and starting digging in. To allow Him. Period.
I know that any "contradiction" you find in the Bible can be disproved through understanding the context and the language. You can find scripture to support any sinful cause you want if you ignore context and use of language.
I believe that the Bible most certainly applies to us TODAY. We are no different than the grumbling newly freed slaves...who turned their heads and immediately forgot what God had just done for them.
I do believe that Jesus changed history. I believe that without Him we were and are all doomed. I believe that He was the one and only perfect sacrifice. I believe that to take Him as your savior and pick and choose the rest is cheating yourself out of what God wants for you. He doesn't just want you to believe. He wants you to believe and FOLLOW.
It would be like accepting a gift but never ever opening it.
Jesus has an stance about being lukewarm.
I don't believe in staying quiet about what is right because it is unpopular.
This does not mean being judgmental. This means lovingly encouraging one another down the path that God says is right.
I don't think being a Christian is meant to be or should be easy.
I don't believe that we are supposed to understand a fraction of what this world is about.
I believe that the point of life is to seek God and enjoy Him. And that is it.
I know that I don't want to serve a God that I can understand.
I believe that Satan is real and really good at what he does.
I believe that Hell is real.
I believe that sin is not taken seriously enough.
I am TIRED of being told to be quiet because my opinion is unpopular. I am tired of being told that because I don't accept what society says is OK that I am hateful.
I believe that you can love the sinner and hate the sin because I know this first hand.
I hate my own sin and yet still love myself.
I believe that God will never give up on you...even when you give up.
I believe that Jesus is coming back again and I believe that He is the only judge. And on the day He comes back...EVERY knee will bow and every tongue will confess. There will be wailing and pain and righting of wrongs. There will be justice for every hurt.
I believe that God is no where near done with me. And I am SO thankful. My prayer is to be one of those little old ladies who weep at the sound of His name.
I believe that God is the first uncaused Cause.
I know that the Bible is full of Truth. And that it is all true.
I believe that not believing because we don't understand is sinful pride and shows lack of Faith.
It's all about Faith.
I've had to pray when I couldn't hear Him.
I've had to believe when I couldn't see His hand.
I've had to trust when I didn't understand.
I've had to put in the hours when I didn't want to or didn't immediately benefit. (imagine that!)
I have had to keep at it.
Sometimes I have had to pray for the "want to want to".
I've been angry at God.
I have sobbed with Him.
I have prayed over and over for my heart to break over what breaks His.
I love Him more than anything.
I know that if I am never given another blessing that I will never cease to praise His name because He has already given me more than I could have ever earned or deserved.
I love Jesus. It's a simple and as complicated as that.