Thursday, February 27, 2020

When You Became a Christian, How Did Your Life Change?

I think it's important to leave a lasting legacy. For some that might include passing down family history, items of importance, money, or even a home or car. Some might argue, that these worldly things are not necessary and while I can agree to some extent, I think there are ones that are more priceless than anything money can buy.

These are the things that make up who we are, things like our kindness, our love, the way we teach what we have learned to those who need instruction. In fact, the one thing my family loves is that they have all my YouTube videos to reflect back on if something should happen to me. It conveys who I am underneath my outside exterior.

So as a part of this legacy, I want to capture those moments that one may never have the opportunity to ask. I found a book called "A Family Legacy for Your Children" and in this case, its for Moms to write down your story in your own words, so I am putting mine out there for the entire world to see and hope you'll consider doing the same.

Today's question for reflection is simply, "When You Became A Christian, How Did Your Life Change?"

For me, I can easily remember that one day when I realized that a relationship with Jesus was so much more than my Catholic upbringing and all the required classes that went with it could ever teach me. I started attending a "Christian" church with my ex-husband. It was during a youth group teaching that I really started to make the connection that God was something more, than a script you read each time you attended. It was more than all the kneeling, standing and sitting repetition I only knew from the rare times our family did attend church, which was like the CEO session. It means Christmas and Easter Only. That was my mom to a "T."

Yet the basis for the faith types are still the same foundations. A belief in Jesus as God's only Son, that He died for our sins, and was resurrected and now lives in heaven waiting to welcome us home. Its just all the religious ceremonies that stand in the way of that personal relationship with our Savior.

When I found that personal connection, I knew this is something so profound and deep I desperately wanted it. So when the pastor asked if we wanted to accept Christ into our life, I knew I wanted to run to get there as fast as possible. I spent my time at the front of church, on my knees sobbing for the opportunity that presented itself that day. I guess when I look back and to this day, I am still someone who cries in church, but for all the right reasons. I cry when someone gets that same opportunity that I did, because I know how much it will change things for them. I cry when I stand in the dark during worship service listening to the voice of other believers singing with me, like a fore-shadowing of what is to come, when I get to heaven.

What happened at that moment, when I asked God into my life? Besides the overwhelming feeling of a love I had never experience, I don't think anyone is prepared for those moments that follow. That not everyone will welcome that joyful experience. I remember my joy at wanting to share that with as many people as possible, was not something my mom was even remotely thrilled with. I think she was beyond upset, thinking I had joined some religious cult, but no matter what I tried to tell her, she wasn't buying.

From talking to others, that is what so many experience as well. Long traditions of growing up in the "Church" now replaced for a more simple faith. One not of religious ceremonies but that one on one connection we experience in the quietness of a simple prayer when we talk to God. I think most new believers face that very same opposition, and its so sad. I guess most don't understand the concepts of their faith, and don't realize that we all have to make that personal choice for ourselves.

Some people I have talked with, not even have that overwhelming emotional moment I had at the front of the church. Some people don't have any emotional response at all, and that can be scary. I think people are looking for that magical moment that for some, doesn't happen at all. It doesn't mean anything hasn't changed on the inside, but over time, I find things happen as the Holy Spirit goes to work in your life, like cleaning a house out one room, one closet or one drawer at a time. So I want to encourage you if you didn't have an emotional moment when you gave your life to God, that He is still at work in your life. Often times you will find you can no longer "do" the things you once did. It might mean, no more swearing, no more lying, no more desiring to go out and enjoy the worldly pleasures like you once did. You sense a deep conviction when asked to participate in things you know God doesn't want you to, and for some, you might just pass that feeling off as good intentions of your own heart, without acknowledging that this comes from the Spirit now living inside you, that is causing you to rethink thing differently now.

Go with that feeling. In fact, I would encourage you to find other believers and a great teaching church to get involved with. I have to say that while I found some bits of learning here and there, it wasn't until a couple years ago, that I found a great church in Chino Hills and I can say without a doubt, I have learned more in the short time there, then in my entire Christian life as a believer. I think that is important for us in our Christian growth.

We need that in our lives. A connection with others to strengthen and encourage us in a world that day by day grows darker. We need that infusion of faith and hope in our lives and church does that. It helps you get through the days when you simply feel that spiritual battle wages on. The great thing is that with the advancement of technology, we can benefit from those teaching sessions through LIVE streaming or even recorded replays for when we can't get to church, or the churches we find are just not "feeding our souls" well enough. I have that link below for Pastor Jack Hibbs of Calvary Chapel of Chino Hills. He is a man with the heart after God's and isn't afraid to apply the Bible to our lives today and how we as believers should respond to what's happening in the world and for me, this is what I have needed so desperately in my life for so long.

I am curious though, when you became a Christian, how did your life change?

I'd love to hear your story and hope you found some value in mine as well.

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