Getting Closer to God 2018-36

Getting Closer to God  2018-36

To get closer to God involves taking a step, or many steps, in the overall process. The first “step” is to decide that you WANT to get closer and could involve saying first, that you believe in God.

Saying this and believing it are two things. Maybe having some doubts would be in order and this, I think, is ok.  For instance, I KNOW there is a God, the one God of the Universe, BUT sometimes the evil one puts doubting roadblocks in my mind and that is to be expected. 

OK, let us say we are sure, in our minds, that there is a God, or at least, are trying to believe it. The first sure step is done now, so moving onward…

Anyone can say they believe in God, but to take the plunge and continue toward getting closer to God, has barriers to getting closer to Him, and if anything, we do that ourselves with our own volition.

Another thing, we cannot have a time driven goal to achieve getting closer to God, it does not work that way. Setting a date to accomplish this goal is not the answer, doesn’t work that way.

Earlier, I mentioned an overall process involving many steps. Any steps taken in getting closer, are not numbered 1 – 2 —  3 or anything like that type of system. There is NO SET ORDER or DIRECTIONS to be taken in getting closer; simple as that.

I have written before, that in the process, I have taken 2 steps forward and 1 backward in my quest to get closer to God.  I remember reading a book by St. Teresa of Avilla, a 15-century psychic, and she described her journey in the book “Seven Mansions” which was likened to moving through rooms with doors and when she went through rooms with doors and was going from room to room, she found that there was, at times, another door that had to be reckoned with in her journey, which was unexpected. Another 2 forward and 1 back type of journey.

Sometimes we MUST do this in our quest —- visit the past room before continuing onward. This can be frustrating, upsetting, and demoralizing. We want instant gratification and sometimes do not want to wait or be sidetracked in what we are doing. 

A good start on our journey is to begin with the Spiritual Disciplines as outlined in Richard J. Foster’s book, “Celebration of Discipline”. In it, he has us study the 12 tools for spiritual growth, which will also guide us in getting closer to God. It is an easy read and organized well for any to understand and follow.

One book to use on our journey is Josh McDowell’s book “More Than a Carpenter”, which gives an overall lead into believing in God. Another, is C.S. Lewis book “Mere Christianity”, which gives an overview of being a Christian.  I believe all are at Amazon.com for purchase.

The very best book to read is the Bible and to use the Scriptures as a guide to God’s way of life.   The Old Testament tells stories of the Hebrew living from the time of Abraham, and this is a great way to hear the history of God.  The New Testament is about the man-God, Jesus Christ, whose life, as written, is the mainstay of the Christian faith.

This post is NOT a detailed plan of getting closer to God, but instead, a guide to begin the journey. There are various practices I could, and maybe will in the future, mention to give insight as to how to make the journey better or at least be on the right track to continue.

I welcome any questions, suggestions or insight about this posting.

Peace,

Den Betts          bettsden@gmail.com

C.S. Lewis #1 2015-77

Quotes—-                              C.S. Lewis #1       2015-77

This quote is by the author, C.S. Lewis. He has written many books and has credit for many other endeavors in his lifetime from 1898-1963. His radio broadcasts during WWII brought him wide acclaim. I highly recommend his book, “Mere Christianity”, which is probably one of the most influential books regarding, or for evangelicals since 1945.

 

Can a mortal ask questions which God finds unanswerable? Quite easily, I should think. All nonsense questions are unanswerable.”, C.S. Lewis

To hear from God with an answer would be or I could say IS a great thing, but I would think that asking God in a nonsense way would not elicit a response from Him.

Den Betts

The Doubter 2015-51

The Doubter  2015-51

The doubter, Henry,  said to me, “it is difficult for me to believe!” That bothered me and I told him that I would try to help him. It did not work.

For over a year, we went back and forth, via email, to give and take our thoughts about belief. I found later that it is dang near impossible to make a valid point via email. When I sent the doubter an email with about four points in it, he came back to me with a thought about just one of them.  I asked Henry about the other ones and he made no comment.

Such is life.  It taught me something though about how to communicate and make points to another person; not via email for sure…..

What is a doubter? The easy answer is “one who is in doubt or uncertain of the truth, perhaps. The Spiritual doubter is one who is probably skeptical in his/her mind regarding belief in the deity or religion in general; again—–perhaps…….

The mostly known story of “Doubting Thomas” in the Bible gives us an idea of how someone can doubt. Thomas spent about three years getting to know Jesus and watching Him do his miracles and hearing the various prophecies about the Lord’s coming death and resurrection. He still had to ask to see proof that Jesus was on the cross and that He had risen. Then, and only then did he state and say, “My Lord and my God” in John 20:28. Jesus told him or commended him for his faith, even though it was based on sight. What a doubter he was……

I do not blame (cannot do so and would not) those that doubt about God. There is NO certain proof that God exists. I wish God would let those that doubt know, that He is around, His presence is there, He can hear us, He will answer us when we ask a question, and all the other ways that it would take to realize that God is a factor. That is NOT going to happen on a regular basis for all of us to fathom. Just is not going to happen; He does not work that way. Although we have the Spirit within us, we can still experience doubt. This, however, does not affect our eternal standing with God. He has known since Adam what humans are like and takes this knowledge into consideration.

This week, something occurred that made me pray to God, asking for advice and help. I made it a point to specifically ask for guidance on a subject that I had at the time. I was in turmoil in my mind and it was making me consider doing something that I did not want to do. To clarify, it was a decision I was thinking over that would affect my relationship with others in a way that would have been noticeable and would have affected those around me. I prayed to God and asked for an answer. I wanted the answer almost right then and not later.

Well, it did not occur when I wanted it to do so and the answer was different (in a way) from what I expected. I called my Pastor beforehand and we talked about it and I hinted as to the decision I was considering. She advised me to also consider the St Ignatius statements that I had learned over a period of time (another story), and I said I would do so. I did and in the process, I prayed to God and asked for His help.

Here is where the doubting came in. I admit I doubted if God would help me and I would have to or would then make a decision that I did not really want to make. I prayed and prayed and eventually meditated about the situation. It was a process to a degree. Then, God intersected by thoughts and a period of peace and tranquility came. The answer was there, with His help.

I emailed my Pastor, and in the email I only had three words that I put in it. “The Devil LOST!!!!” An email came back, stating, “YAY, Go Jesus Go!!” It was like a football game where I was a Cleveland Browns fan and I said ‘The Steelers LOST” and the reply was “Go Brownies Go” (Sorry Steelers fans, but had to use a team as an example).

I was going to church that night for a Lenten Soup Supper affair, and when I arrived, the Pastor was across the Narthex talking with someone and saw me. A hand went up and a smile was shown to me. Without a word, we both knew what we had said and what we meant in the emails.

The point is, I KNEW that God was involved and in His way and His time; he gave me my answer to my predicament. In effect He answered my prayer and with the answer. I defeated the desolation that was in my mind, that was bothering me. Could I have done it without Him? Perhaps, but not in the way that it occurred, and the outcome that transpired. By the way, St. Ignatius uses the word desolation in conjunction with the Evil one (Devil) that preys on us mortals on a daily basis.

I really would advise those that read this to consider getting a copy of the book “The Screwtape Letters” by C.S. Lewis. It is a Christian apologetic novel written by Lewis. It is written in a satirical, epistolary style and while it is fictional in format, the plot and characters are used to address Christian theological issues, primarily those to do with temptation and resistance to it.

Back to doubters!  There will ALWAYS be doubters about God, myself included.  Whereas I do not do so regularly, there are, at times, periods where I am unsure if God is listening to my prayers and I admit it. I think He knows this and forgives me and realizes that I am human.

I wish I had a magic wand that would help those that doubt, like I sometimes do.  Alas, I do not!  I can only pray that those that continually do have these doubts will find a way to get around this.  The one key is to pray, pray and pray again. It may not work right away, but it, I believe wholeheartedly, will work eventually. Or, at least I believe so.

Peace,

Den Betts