Sunday Faith Blog

I have a friend whose faith has grown in leaps and bounds through loss of family members and almost unendurable physical pain.   I say “through” because he had had faith but I had never witnessed it quite this strong and inspiring to me.  I don’t wish any of that on me or on any of you. I do wish his faith on me and you.  “The miracle of prayer is real,” he said to me.  One of the most beautiful things I’ve heard.  Ever.

I do believe that it’s stories like his  which encourage people who are on the fence about their faith, or who are what some call “baby Christians,” just getting into the study of the Bible and their faith.

A pastor-friend’s bro-in-law was very doubtful, truly an agnostic, most of his life. He was finally prodded to read the Bible. This is a scientist type who was WAY too ‘smart’ to fall for the Bible.  He finally read it on a kind of dare, and he read it again right away. He’s a total believer now…not necessarily a church-going man, but has NO doubts anymore.  His wife is recovering from a particularly virulent breast cancer and he’s come through calmly, in ways he said he couldn’t have beforehand.

A friend’s brother, one of four kids from a home of bright, fun Christians, did nothing but get into trouble in school…drugs, minor offenses, bad friends…he went to jail for a more major offense about 20 years. He came out a Christian ten years later after being exposed to it again in prison, married a Christian gal and has 3 kids, and has never turned back.

A neighbor stays married to the man across the street, a die hard liberal who has MSNBC on 24/7 as she stays in conservative sites on the internet to stay sane.  She says their relationship hasn’t been good since the marriage, when he completely changed personalities.  Her faith carries her through…. how, on this one?  I don’t know.

I had lunch Tuesday with a 34 year old who’s very, very pretty, extremely bright and a former drug addict. She attends my church.  She has four stepparents and three stepbrothers, and tells me what she’s told me is nothing, that she keeps inside her the really bad stuff she’s gone through.  She’d drunk big and drugged big for about 15 years and, one day, she stopped.  No rehab, no nothing.   She knew who her Savior was and started to pay attention to what her faith was about.  Promiscuity and drugs weren’t it.  She’s never looked back and blows my mind with her faith.  She’d memorized so much scripture as a kid in a Lutheran school and says she can’t remember them but she very often will come up with a quip./concept that’s directly from a Bible scripture.  It’s IN her.  And it’s working.

Do you have a story you could share about changed lives?  Because those of you who say “but it’s in the BIBLE!” to nonbelievers need to get a grip (and I usually don’t give directions or orders, but…on this one I am) and stop with the Bible recommendations, giving people verses.  They don’t CARE what’s in a book they don’t believe in!!  KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE.  Tell your friends about stories like those above…I’m sure you’ve heard some, or lived some yourself…On the other hand, some people do sit down to read and become believers….I have to throw that in!

Changed lives matter.  Changed lives change lives.   (Hm…that’s a good one! You may use it!! But quote ME! Ha!)

Have a good Sunday…….change a life.  But only when the time is right.  Believe me.  When the time comes with that person that you can say “….and it’s in the Bible,” you’ll know they’re there.

And remember, a very wise woman once said “but you do NOT have to seal the deal.”

God will do that.

Z

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16 Responses to Sunday Faith Blog

  1. bocopro says:

    Ehhhh . . . I donno ‘bout that. I went to church regularly ‘til I was about 11 or so, shepherded there by my grandmother, a good Baptist woman. She had me read the Bible when I was far too young to get any real benefit from it and made sure thanks was given before every meal.

    Later as a 60-something teaching literature to young people, I knew that the two most frequent and important sources of allusion, metaphor, exempla, and other instruments for mastering the tricky business of being human were the Bible (especially the OT) and Shakespeare.

    So I re-read it and did a synopsis, a summary, of nearly every book in it . . . in groups: the Pentateuch, the Wisdom books, the History books, the Prophetic books, the Gospels, Acts, groupings of the Pauline Letters, and especially Revelation, as well as thoughts on the soul and different concepts of greater-than-natural beings.

    That little project reinforced my perspective on the Bible as a very valuable reference book of common sense, what-ifs, this-is-a-BAD-way-to-do-it, here-is-a-GOOD-way-to-do-it, all based on the observations of a people without the distractions of TV, boomboxes, smart fones, and nose candy who thought about what they witnessed and WROTE IT DOWN! so that successive generations didn’t have to rediscover fire or reinvent decent behavior.

    Much of the OT is a study in “Hey, if you want THIS to happen, go ahead and do THAT!” And Proverbs is just a marvelous collection of Will Rogers-like sayings, aphorisms, instructions, and common-sense axioms. I go back from time to time and re-read my synopses: good for the psyche, I think.

    Of course I did the same with the Greeks, Zoroaster, Buddha, Islam, and even the Norse gods. Looked into Shinto, too, as part of a project comparing Japanese and Korean cultures to Native American tribal customs and beliefs. Wisdom is wisdom, no matter where you find it.

    It’s hard NOT to learn from those old tomes of wisdom. And I firmly believe that people who follow a moderate religion tend to be better citizens, better parents, better neighbors, and better friends than those who believe only in cold, hard science . . . or cold, lonely self.

    The Bible is a book, and as I heard in one of my favorite movies, Inherit The Wind, “it’s a good book, but it’s not the ONLY book.” Actually, the Qur’an is a good book, if you stop after the first 60 or so surahs; a little self-repetitive, tho.

    I can’t buy ALL the myths and legends from ANY religion, but I believe that we are hard-wired to believe in a creator as well as an afterlife, just as we are hard-wired to develop language and perpetuate the species. Even wrote some stories on those theses.

    Further, I believe that the two finest women I ever knew – the grandmother who raised me and the woman who’s shared her life with me for over half a century – are better for being Christians. And I just can’t resist throwing in two Bible verses:

    Be not righteous overmuch
    and
    Take thee a little wine for thy stomach’s sake. (paraphrased out of context from Tim)

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  2. Like I said yesterday about resonance. It either does or it doesn’t.

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  3. geeez2014 says:

    Bocopro…..am not sure those people in the anecdotes I shared would have got the same from Shakespeare or Zoroaster, but I go on experience. This isn’t about wisdom……it’s something I can’t explain. If I could……

    Ed….I think so

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  4. Mal says:

    Bocopro, I wholeheartedly agree with what you said about those that follow a moderate religion tending to be better citizens, etc. including the two verses you quoted. But isn’t moderation also good in most other things, like food, drink, sex, work, rest, etc?
    Ergo, me thinks moderation is a good thing!

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  5. bocopro says:

    “But isn’t moderation also good in most other things, like food, drink, sex, work, rest, etc?”

    Well, it’s what grandmothers, mine included, have been tellin people for generations. My grandfather said, “A little whiskey is good for what ails you, but too much of it will kill you.”

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  6. Mal says:

    Amen to your grandfather, too, B!

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  7. Mal says:

    Your comment about whiskey reminded me that my father, who didn’t smoke or drink other than a little beer or wine, kept a bottle of whiskey for a shot for the rare times he felt a cold coming on. He took no meds and died at age 94 of old age (frail). We, too, only drink a little beer or wine, but don’t have any hard liquor on the premises. We simply don’t enjoy them.

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  8. Baysider says:

    Wonderful examples, Z. I’ll share a friend’s story that I think I wrote on long ago that shows the power of Christ to overcome.

    “Sue” is the oldest of 3 children. Her parents were traditional Christians, active in church. They started doing LSD when she about 4. COMPLETE change. Divorce. Mom followed a ‘guru’ who sexually abused her and her 2 siblings for some time. They were removed from the home with lifelong scars (it was her own mother’s mother’s testimony in court about the unfitness of her daughter as a parent – it was that bad).

    Her mother created a cult, presenting herself as the incarnation of the TRUE Christ, had lots of followers, and went out of her way to do and say every nasty thing about Christianity. She turned away from her children. Father settled down and re-married a church lady. All 3 kids were now raised by a Christian and became followers of Jesus.

    Fast forward to end of the mother’s life. She got ALS and was a textbook case of the worst end imaginable of such patients. These 3 grown Christian children met with her, and assured her they would make sure she was taken care of in comfort and ease, and paid for it all. They made it clear that they were doing this because of their commitment to their Lord, their love for HIM. The woman CONTINUED to pour out vitriol on Christianity, willing herself to live long enough to finish her last book – the worst of the screeds – which she gave to each child as her parting Christmas gift just before she died.

    These kids who had been through hell, years of therapy, etc., came through with the power and light of Jesus in them and giving them the strength to lovingly care for this spiteful woman.

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  9. geeez2014 says:

    Baysider, that truly is QUITE some power….thanks for this story….You have told me this (on the way to Wendy’s party at the Wilshire?) and it still blows my mind! Good for my readers to read…thanks.

    WHO CAN FAULT MODERATION? Except zealots and … whoever!

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  10. geeez2014 says:

    I hope I’m never a MODERATE Christian, tho!

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  11. geeez2014 says:

    sadly, I can be from time to time, I must admit.

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  12. geeez2014 says:

    “It is my opinion that many of the leaks coming out of the White House are fabricated lies made up by the #FakeNews media,” Trump wrote in a series of Twitter posts on Sunday.

    oh, brother.

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  13. Trump should tweet in moderation.

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  14. geeez2014 says:

    Ed…truer words were never spoken!

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  15. Imp says:

    Ms. Z..Thank you. This was / is one of the most beautiful of what I call, your loving Sunday “sermons” I’ve ever read. This one is a keeper for me and I wish I could have it all transferred to a plaque that I’d hang on my wall forever, for all to read and be inspired by. Especially for those soft on beliefs or faith. Our power of prayer, that we all possess, makes miracles happen.

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  16. geeez2014 says:

    thanks, Imp….that means a lot to me.. xx

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