I used to wish that I'd be able to hear God audibly or see some sort of sign. I figured this would help my faith in a huge way if that were possible, because church and all it's rituals (e.g. laying of hands, speaking in tongues, baptism, praying aloud, dancing, singing etc... ) just weren't cutting it.
Something was missing, and I came to realize God does not live in churches made by hands (Act_7:48 ). Not to mention many questions I had were unable to be answered while I was in the church.
So now Im coming to realize we must live by faith and not by sight just as Jesus and the Apostles said.
Joh 20:29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.
2Co 5:7 (For we walk by faith, not by sight)
There was a time when God would manifest Himself in some physical way, but I now understand He doesn't do things like that anymore. The Church preaches about all sorts of miracles that just aren't happening in an effort to make people feel good and deceive them into thinking God is with them. Honestly I don't think your suppose to feel much of anything except for peace, love and hope and in my case now a days, a lot of wonderment. When you actually STUDY your bible and not just read it, when you pray and know without a doubt your prayers will be answered, you cant help but to feel those good things and your faith is strengthened tremendously. Strip away all the rituals and all the open displays of "faith" that the church encourages it becomes more pure in my opinion.
If you want to believe there is something better for us then please meditate on these verses, believe and don't doubt that they are for all humanity. They have helped my faith greatly. The first couple are ones my grandmother read to me when I was a child crying for a mom who died too early.
Isa 25:8 He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off ALL FACES
; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken it.
Rev 21:4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
Imagine that, no pain, no sorrow, no more crying and no more death to be found ANYWHERE
in all of God's creation. Couple this with the fact God will resurrect every person that ever died gives me great hope.
I truly believe God has an incredible plan for all of humanity. Part of the plan of our great and good God is to create everyone into His glorious image. The life we live now at this time is in part to experience evil so that we may get a good working knowledge of it just like God does.
Before that we need to be judged and repent of our sinful ways. God will ensure this happens at the right time. Some are being judged now in this age, and most will be judged later at the Great White Throne. The good news is that judgment will teach everyone how to be righteous.
Isa 26:9 With my soul have I desired thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early: for when thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.
Rev 15:4 Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest.
Hows that for a faith builder?
I want to share a study paper with you from one of my favorite teachers. I hope you will read it with an open mind. It's a bit long, but a totally good read. I'll also post a short excerpt from that paper below.
WHY DOES GOD LOVE YOU?
"Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so."
I well remember those words from a song we sang at summer Bible School when I was about ten or twelve year old. Yes, we know God loves us because the Bible tells us so.
Probably the most oft quoted and recognizable verse in all the Bible is John 3:16 which reads:
"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have ever-lasting life."
But WHY does God love us and the world? Some think God loves for no reason at all, which makes no sense at all. God has reasons for all that He does, including loving humanity.
Aside from the fact that the Bible tells us that God loves us, God may have numerous reasons why He loves us. But there are two very profound reasons for God's love that are not openly stated to be reasons for His love, yet they are. However, few have ever comprehended these two reasons for God's love. There is something about the world and about you individually that are cause for God's love. Yet neither one of these reasons has anything to do with any contribution from us. Both reasons are out of God.
WHY SHOULD GOD LOVE US?
Is there anything natural and inherent in humanity that is loving and desirable?
Everyone loves new born babies because they are so innocent and helpless. But we are all familiar with what happens 24 months later -- "the terrible twos," where innocence, helplessness, and cuteness seems to give way to loud, rebellious, outbursts of selfishness. But we continue to love them hoping to love them OUT of their terrible-two stage of development. Likewise, God puts up with humanity even in his terrible twenties, and terrible thirties, because God knows that at whatever point He desires, He can bring all those terrible ones to repentance and change. But God does not love humanity in his carnal and "terrible" stages.
The old shop worn platitude: "Just as I am" has no place in the Word of God. God will not accept you "just as you are" regardless of how many thousands of pastors and evangelists tell you differently. We have all fallen victim to the unscriptural statement that "God hates sin, but loves the sinner." Oh really? And does anyone have chapter and verse on that? I think not. Let us now take a look at man's condition of "just as he is," just as God sees him.