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Saturday, July 14, 2012

BELIEVE ~ SOMETHING

I am inspired here to write about believing in something, more particularly something bigger than you and me. My own spirituality is defined and definite. I know what I believe and I know what I doubt. I do not know what is factual and what is not. I will not know that until the end of my life on earth which could be the end period or it could be the beginning of eternity.

Heaven? Hell?  I believe Heaven is your reward for your life on earth. I do believe you will encounter loved ones and friends who have gone before. I do believe you are judged by God and you must answer for whatever He finds you failing. I also believe in forgiveness and that once judged, you will be forgiven if you are regretful and seek forgiveness. I also believe the Devil wins some souls and Hell awaits them as their reward. Those who shun God, accept the Devil, will share eternity with that.

When I talk of my beliefs, MY beliefs, there is no argument with anyone about them because they are what I believe and no one can argue with what I believe. I never state my beliefs as facts. I never ask the listener or the reader to accept them as their own. I simply am telling you what I believe. I am telling you how I live day to day in peace and relative happiness. I am telling you why I don't attend church, not why you shouldn't. It is just a sharing of my own beliefs and done so with the hope you will understand me a little better. If that is not something you want to do, then by all means, clickity click outta here now and no hard feelings.  One of my biggest and strongest beliefs is that you are entitled to your own values and your own beliefs. None of my concern, really, but I would read about yours if you posted them. Just to know you better.

I ask only that no one feels compelled to start a big argument in the comments section about how ridiculous they think my beliefs might be or leave me quotes from the Bible disproving my beliefs. Otherwise, say what you want and be respectful as I will be in return.

Steven Clark is my inspiration for this blog. He is a fellow writer and recovering addict. I love his writings and his strength through addiction. No one I have known personally has kicked addiction without some sort of relapse and the right helping hand is a factor for most. That hand is not always the 12 step programs, but it can be, it is sometimes someone who just said the right thing at the right time or one on one therapy with someone who knew how to lead the addict through the tough days and nights. Point is, every hand reaching out to help is a possible key to success. I have tried to explain to Steven how to believe, if you don't. That is a difficult concept and here, I am just going to explain my beliefs and hope he will find something in there to inspire him. I am not trying to tell Steven Clark WHAT to believe, only hoping it will inspire some desire TO believe in something greater than himself.

I was raised in the Methodist church. I have spent a good deal of time in the Catholic church. Considered once joining that one. Being told I would have to annul my first marriage was the deal breaker. My first marriage was in church, I swore before God and the witnesses etc, so annulling it and making the 10 years I lived with the father of my children, a man I loved very much, null and void, was unthinkable to me. Formality or not, I would not do that. Those 10 years existed and were real and not void. The second reason I didn't follow through was the reading of "the word of God."  More on that later.

Having said all of that, I am now associated with no religion. I cannot identify any group that would make my faith any stronger, any better or any more real than it is. My faith is between me and God. For me, He is real; He is constant; He is omnipresent; He is in me. Always IN me. He hears every thought and He sees every action. He reaches out to me when I need His guidance and ask for it and He knows my gratitude for all the gifts He has given. He knows my heartache, He knows my joy and He shares those. He loves me unconditionally even when I fail to do the same. My God is forgiving and loving and constant. All things I strive toward. All things I fail to obtain. All things I hold dear and shall work on all the days of my life.

The Bible, I believe, is a book. That's all. A very interesting book with thousands of interesting stories written by thousands of people over thousands of years. It has been translated millions of times by as many hands. From one language to another from one time to another. Now being read here in the USA by many people in a modern language so as to be understood more easily and read by more people with less strain to understand. Understand the new words by the new translator. My point, it contains a lot of good advice. It has moral stories and explains how faith will lift you up and it is a GOOD  BOOK.  I do not, however, believe it is the word of God. It is the words of many men who believed they were hearing or seeing the word or the works of God and they are telling their stories. The stories of Jesus were told by many, I like reading them. I read them as men telling of their adventures with this Carpenter from Jerusalem who came to us as the son of God. I certainly believe in Jesus, he certainly existed and I choose to accept that he was the chosen one. He was given to Mary, the virgin, so as no suspicion could be in her own mind as to how precious this gift of hers was. Hers was the womb He chose. No one, no one, but Mary knew she was a virgin. Others just believed. Faith requires you accept some things without proof. I choose to accept this one.

I do believe Jesus lived his life spreading the word of his father to all who would hear. I just don't know that the stories of the Bible are exactly as they happened or even exactly as those men told them. Translators have to use different words when none exist so their meanings may or may not be accurate.  I choose to think it's safer and more accurate to believe in God on a personal and intimate level and live with Him inside of me than to hang onto a book which often contradicts itself.

For me, faith and God are everyday all day long facts of life. I live with Him all around me, with me and helping me along this path. I never doubt, I never wonder, I do forget now and then to be thankful, but I remedy that asap. I believe he forgives me for being human because he made me to have faults and weaknesses so that I might remember to look up and say, "thanks" and continue on my way. I am enveloped in God's love and His forgiveness and His unfailing faith in me. I am a child of God, a student of God and a faithful and sinning worshiper of God.

Asking someone to believe in a Master of the Universe or a Universal Power or God is not for me to do. I am here simply and straightforwardly to say that I believe and all it takes is a little thought and a look around your world to realize it had to be created somewhere. There had to be a beginning at some point. The Genesis according to the Bible or any other genesis you might choose to fit your life, but in my head it's a simple fact that God did create and now oversees His work lovingly. Sadly. Hopefully. Endlessly.

My question would be, "How can you not believe in something bigger than you and me?"

Jo

Suggested reading for some inspiration or entertainment...
A series by Neale Donald Walsh


Conversations with God
*an uncommon dialogue*


26 comments:

  1. I praise your bravery! I applaud your ability to NOT chastise those who would shove their religions down our throats. I have an unusual relationship with my religion - with two Baptist Ministers in my family - I don't agree with the church. Nicely done. Couldn't have been done so eloquently without a warm heart.

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    1. Thank you, Bob. Glad you enjoyed reading it. I often feel like I am alone in my beliefs and I am fine with that, but reading the Conversations with God books really solidified my heart! It is so common sense based and so very much what I have embraced most of my adult life ~ guess you would say it gave me confirmation of sorts.

      Thank you for your kindness and your friendship. ♥

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  2. Jo – as I struggled with my faith many years ago, my husband kept reminding me that faith is a journey, not a destination, and a very personal one at that. All my formal church experience was in the Methodist church as well, although I don’t attend regularly for a number of reasons now, I believe for myself, that it helped shape my belief in the higher power that I feel and believe in. I love writings like this as there is no challenge, no gauntlet, nor a desire for debate. It’s simply a sharing of what your faith is, how it guides you in your life and empowers you on a daily basis to be a better person. It also gives some great nuggets for thought and a direction to head in should someone care to follow it. I am happy for the sense of peace that it brings you! Blessings to you. Amy

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    1. Amy, retrieved from spam folder and so glad I did. Thank you, thank you. I never like to debate faith. I feel you have it or you don't and it's YOURS either way.
      I am hoping it helps my readers to understand me, who I am and why I bow out of some discussions.
      Being a better person is my life's work and believe you me, it's a work in progress! I have a long way to go and couldn't have a better partner to walk it with.

      Thank you for all your thoughts. ♥

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  3. I read and I believe you...nice hot Saturday read!

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    1. Guy, you are so silly and I adore that about you. Thanks for always being here supporting this wanna be and saying the sweetest or the silliest of things. You can believe me, I don't lie, often.

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  4. Thanks for your honesty Jo! Without my faith I would not have been so positive in my toughest times. Love you and your heart!

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    1. I know exactly what you are saying, Anna. We all have our stories and we all have our beliefs of some sort. Thank you so much and I love you right back.

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  5. I'm humbled, Jo, that you've taken the time to write this in response to the discussion we've been having on my blog. Thank you for sharing your insights.

    I do believe there is a force greater than us, nature for instance. Nature has the ability to wipe a whole city off the map in an instant, and yet bring forth such beauty it's heart wrenching. After we've blown each other up and the zombie apocalypse is over, the trees and grass will still keep on growing, pushing up through the cracks in the asphalt, reclaiming the land from the human taint. I know you'll say, "Ah, but what about the force behind nature, what makes nature work?" For that I have no answer.

    An intelligent, conscious force though, I'm still really having trouble wrapping my brain around that because it's not something I've ever felt. Does it really exist, or is it just a placebo effect the mind plays? I guess some would say, even if it's a placebo, who cares because it's working, right? Much food for thought here.

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    1. Steven, I am not really sure I had a choice to write or not write this one. I have such an incredible push inside to so it, I believe I was 'supposed' to reach out a hand and make this effort. I do care about you and so does God. He doesn't stop because you are unsure.

      I agree with your statement, "even if it's a placebo, who cares because it's working, right?" There is a lot of truth right there.

      ♥ Thank you for reading and sharing.

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    2. Oh, I forgot, the Nature thing? I am pretty sure Mother Nature is the hand of God. She may be the PROOF so many look for in their struggles.

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  6. Oh wow Jo. As always brilliantly written. As they say like attracts like - no wonder I love what you write. Loved and related to every word you wrote.

    I am also spiritual not religious. I believe we create our own hell by our actions and our words and the choices we make, that Mother Nature is the hand of God, that collective consciousness is powerful, that our souls continue to exist beyond this lifetime, that spiritual worlds exist beyond our imagination, that Karma balances all of life, that God is the creator, sustainer and loving destroyer of all that is and that faith in His power conquers everything.

    In times of hardship when faith is tested to the brink the hymn "Lead Kindly Light" helps me get through those days - "keep Thou my feet, I do not ask to see the distant scene, one step enough for me"

    The Conversations with God series are also one of my favourite books.

    This post really touched my soul. love and hugs.

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    1. Thank you for the kindness in your words and the kinship of our souls. It's always nice to find someone who doesn't think you're completely nuts. This spirituality has served me well and my hymn of choice is "How Great Thou Art" particularly sung by Elvis. I also find peace when hearing or singing "In the Garden".

      "He speaks and the sound of His voice is do sweet the briefs hush their singing. And the melody that He gave to me, within my heart is ringing.".

      <3

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    2. Oh dear. Phones!
      "so sweet the birds hush their singing.

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  7. My dear Jo,
    You are such a sweet, honest person and your belief in God is evident in every word you write, every action you take and the way you live your life daily. I couldn't agree more that our beliefs are to be shared freely, but never forced on anyone. I also believe that we can have different beliefs when it comes to the details, but in the end we are all serving the same God and striving for the same goal. I was raised Methodist and have been a southern Baptist since marriage. I may not agree with all of your beliefs, but neither do I agree with all of either church. I, too, believe our personal relationship with God is what matters and much of the rest is up to individual interpretation. You are a shining example of God's love and compassion and I love you my friend.

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    1. This may be the most loving comment I have ever received. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, Kat. I seek to be what you have stated I am. I appreciate your friendship and totally return your love and respect. Your friendship is one of my many blessings. See you in a couple of weeks! I hope! ♥

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  8. The GOD loving fake. The belittling blog is an example of the GOD loving fake.

    What a hypocrite and wannabe you are.

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  9. _My question would be, "How can you not believe in something bigger than you and me?"

    A lot of people like to live in a place called the REAL WORLD. They haven't got much time for fairytales, riddles and mumbo-jumbo blogs.

    _I am a child of God, a student of God and a faithful and sinning worshiper of God.

    Sure, why not, LoL

    _Asking someone to believe in a Master of the Universe or a Universal Power or God is not for me to do.

    He-Man would agree with that.

    _My faith is between me and God.

    A classic one liner that religious people use.

    _I have spent a good deal of time in the Catholic church:

    Ireland in the 1950s was still held fast in the grip of tradition. Although we did not know it, and would have been shocked to think it, our conditions were very like those in the Eastern Bloc countries. The State, backed by an iron ideology—Irish Catholicism is a special case of the Roman faith—ruled over us absolutely; all protest was futile, all dissension was punished. Sinners and misfits alike were sent into exile. Inconveniently free-thinking writers were forced to go abroad or be silent; recalcitrant boys were locked away in Industrial Schools; girls who got pregnant "out of wedlock", as it was quaintly put, were sent to work—to slave, really—in laundrys run by nuns, and when their babies were born they were taken away from them and put in orphanages, here and abroad. These were the realities of life on this right little, tight little island.

    http://www.benjaminblackbooks.com/1950sIreland.htm

    America would be turned into that if religious people got their own way on almost everything;).

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    1. Finally, a real and thoughtful and well done comment from you! I appreciate that and therefore, will leave it for all to read. Good to know that although you hold such a low opinion of me, you are still reading and this time, you were inspired to have your intelligent reply.
      I would take issue with only a small part of your reply,
      "American would be turned into that if religious people got their own way on almost everything;)."
      In Ireland it was ONE church, ONE religious group who oppressed and caused such heartache. In America the religious people are of many different faiths, many different beliefs and often are only of ONE mind on a few issues. They are not in control of anything, but free to speak and write of their hopes and dreams. Truly spiritual people are not inclined to destroy or overrule those who believe differently. Spiritual people base their life on love and seeking peace. Not to say they won't stand up for themselves, they will, but seldom to they initiate discord.
      There is room and opportunity for all beliefs to live side by side until one group believes they are the ONLY way. That is not spirituality, that is domination and nothing I can support nor could I ignore.
      Thank you for your thoughts, refreshingly better than previous ones.

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    2. I am also leaving your previous comment because I think it's an interesting contrast. Hard to believe, except for the similarity in writing style, the same person wrote both.

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  10. I was just kidding in ways, as if most religious people in America would want this: Recalcitrant boys were locked away in Industrial Schools; girls who got pregnant "out of wedlock", as it was quaintly put, were sent to work—to slave, really—in laundrys run by nuns, and when their babies were born they were taken away from them and put in orphanages, here and abroad.

    An insane American might see this in it all: Recalcitrant boys were locked away in Republican Schools; girls who got pregnant "out of wedlock", as it was quaintly put, were sent to work—to slave, really—in Walmart's and McDonald's run by the Romney and Bush family, and when their babies were hatched they were taken away from them and put in orphanages, here and abroad.

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  11. Yes, God is in me too . Us all I like to believe. And all around. Loving and hurting for us. I need to believe in that compassion, finally, for all human kind.

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    1. I do, too, Sandra. It's a basic part of who I am and I am sure I will die with these same beliefs. Thanks for sharing.

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  12. Hot topic to tackel. I admire anyone willing to go out on a limb on their beliefs. It's such a strong subject that evokes extreme reactions. I am on the fence most days about celestial beings to be honest, although once I was certain. You ask a good question for which there will be many different answers. Faith and spirituality are private subjects for the heart to discuss with the head. My view. As much as I enjoyed reading your post (well done as always) I enjoyed the comments and your response more. The passion here is strong.

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    1. Thank you for such a thoughtful comment. I appreciate uncertainty because it's better than certain negativity. God shows himself to us every single day and yet we try to put some other label on it. He doesn't need, I don't think, our belief that all things are GOD. He already knows we are imperfect and doubting beings.
      He gives us all things in nature and we adore and admire and wonder at their beauty or their fierceness. I praise Him for those gifts. I thank him for the smallest creatures and the mighty storms. His works are all around us. I do believe.
      I also believe I adore you and your free and always curious mind.

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