As I write this, it's the morning and I'm at my parents house on my laptop, sitting in a recliner that they have in the living room of their house. It's a rather comfortable chair that I don't regret purchasing for them, though I'm not going to ramble on about my current surroundings.
My Spiritual Journey.
I'd like to begin by relating my experience in finding the lord and my life changing as a result of that. It began in 2012, around January or February, I don't recall precisely when. I met a person named Russell, who I've come to be good friends with, though at first, he didn't like me much. I always thought him to be an intelligent person, though, and he seemed to get along with everyone. He also seemed calm and objective when he needed to be and I found I liked that.
He soon became an administrator on my TeamTalk server, and with his suggestions, some of mine, and my willingness to commit to the changes that were being made, the server and my life began to transform. I found I felt more confident and sure of myself under Russell's wise teaching, though I noticed something when I'd speak with him. It wasn't often, though when we'd have deep discussions on certain subjects like humanity, people, the experiences he's had throughout his life in obtaining things he was fond of, he would talk about the lord and sometimes, would bring up the bible. At this point in my life, I wasn't very comfortable with such topics, though I felt I had a firm ground with scientific views. I never discounted the existence of God, though I didn't really believe it either.
Russell presented his experiences in such a way that they couldn't be denied as they were stated. There were no loopholes or anything I could turn around and make sense of in a purely scientific manor. I would ask him questions, though, trying to understand where he was coming from. I failed completely because I couldn't relate to it, couldn't analyse it. It made little sense to me. How could God do all these things?
I also had my own preconceptions about what religion was about, as well as the bible. I studied it in an environment that was boring and not comfortable for me. I grew up attending LDS churches, which was more of an expectation than anything, I felt. I didn't keep going, stopping when I was around twelve or thirteen, but going again when I was around seventeen and stopping a couple years after that. Religion, the bible, god, these were subjects I didn't understand, didn't really believe in, and wasn't comfortable discussing because I wasn't truly secure in my beliefs. I would always be nervous, even if it was only a little, worried if I would offend someone with my comments.
In 2013 around August, I decided to start reading the bible after another discussion Russell and I had about it and his beliefs. I figured I really didn't have anything to lose.
When I started reading it, I wasn't comfortable, but it began with a message that stated if you didn't read the bible with an open mind and heart, nothing would come of it. I could open my mind, I thought, but I didn't really know how to open my heart. I tried by setting aside all of my prior feelings about it, though I didn't entirely succeed. I wanted to understand it, though, so I kept reading.
As I did so, I still felt uncomfortable, but truth started to hit me from the words I was reading as I continued to try and be comfortable with what I was reading and not put any stereotypes, expectations, or beliefs of my own into it. The night I started reading, I prayed in the position I'd been taught, as it was the only one I knew. My arms were folded, head bowed, eyes closed. I asked the lord to help me with my doubt and disbelief, to keep the devil from my thoughts. I didn't really think anything was going to happen. That was my first expectation, and it got smashed as I lay in bed, feeling more at peace than I'd ever remembered. I was calm, felt confident enough to reveal what I was doing to some other friends, as I'd already told Russell what I was doing.
I related what I was doing to Russell and what had happened. He told me I was witnessing and that I seemed eager to witness. It seemed to be a good thing, though I wasn't entirely certain why, but I'd committed myself to reading the entire bible now, and that was something I wasn't going to turn away from.
In 2014 around July, give or take a month, I learned about a radio station called Moody Radio. I listened to a sermon that Russell enjoyed, though at first, limited myself to only that half hour. I eventually started listening to the two hours that he enjoyed, which is on Sundays from 08:00 AM to 10:00 AM mountain time. I found them enjoyable. In fact, they did something others hadn't. They touched me in a way that got me to think and consider deeper issues. I also felt like they touched me in a way I couldn't quite explain, but I wanted to hear more. The messages were deep and I felt moved in certain ways, though I didn't completely understand why.
I had moved to my own apartment in February of 2014, and at the time I was listening to the sermon's, I hadn't been reading the bible very much. They would talk about believing in God, and discussed how God changes you so you can fully accept him. I believed in God at this point, there was undeniable evidence such as my gaining security in my beliefs and the knowledge that the bible hadn't been dis-proven. I hadn't accepted the lord as my Savier, though, and I knew it. I wasn't entirely comfortable with that, but I didn't really trust the lord either, in that I thought I could change myself, and with enough evidence, I could believe completely on my own. That wasn't working, and I don't believe it ever will. You could probably convince yourself of your beliefs, and perhaps feel so strongly about them that you could state with assurance experiences that have happened to you that might reflect those of believers, but God must change you.
There were also things spoken about that I didn't know if I believed or not. We are all sinners. The lord died for our sins and we are redeemed through his selfless act. But what sin had I committed? I knew I wasn't a bad person, so what things had I done wrong?
I knew there were certain things that I did which were sinful, some were obvious such as downloading things on-line which needed to be purchased, others not so obvious such as being judgemental toward others in my thoughts, not being as humble as I should be, and other things of that nature. I did my best not to act that way and believed that your actions are what truly matter. To some degree that's true, but your heart, your feelings and thoughts, also reflect you as a person. I didn't truly start to understand these things until October 6, 2014.
The day before, I had listened to a sermon that told of God creating the acceptance and belief within you that the lord is your Savier, that you couldn't do it on your own. I didn't really think about it that Sunday, but on Monday, which was October 6, I thought about that message at work. I decided, around 11:30 AM, to accept the lord as my Savier. Some part of me must have known and come to the realization that I am a sinner, though it wasn't an immediate conscious thought. My heart believed, though, and that was the most important thing. I felt like I'd done the right thing, that I was making the right decision. I called Russell at lunch and told him I was ready to be saved, asking him what I needed to do. I didn't feel I was saved at that point, but looking back on it, I believe that moment at my work was the moment I became saved, but there was still one more thing I needed to do.
Russell got me in contact with his cousin, a man named Wain, who called me around 05:20 PM. He wanted to know about my experiences to get an idea of where I was at in my spiritual journey, so I told him a brief overview of what had happened in my life. He told me there wasn't anything special I needed to do in order to be saved, that all I needed to do was accept that I was a sinner and wanted to receive the lord as my Savier, as well as confirming it out loud. He asked me if I'd done these things. That was when I fully realized I had. I said with complete assurance and confidence, "Yes." My life changed.
He said a prayer with me and did some research for me regarding churches I might be able to attend. After we'd prayed, I felt even better about what I'd done and the path I'd chosen. I felt light, happy, and my thoughts were filled with the lord. I even lifted my arms to check to see if they were the same weight, which they were. Later on, I did pray to the lord and stated that I am a sinner, asked for forgiveness, and told him I wanted to receive him, to accept and believe. I felt I already had, though, but was further reassured anyway.
For about a week, I felt a very deep curiosity and desire to sit in silent thought or research and learn about the word of God, which is both written in the bible and obtained through prayer, though to say that the word of God can be obtained through prayer isn't entirely accurate. You can change through God and prayer, and can even come to know certain things as well, but you still need to read, to learn, to figure things out for yourself. We have a brain for a reason and it's not good to let it go to waist.
Some changes in my life have been small, such as not humming to music at work, not being as filled with desire for purchasing things as I once was. Others are larger, such as removing every peace of illegal content I had on my computer, some of which I listened to a lot, and also making certain that nothing illegal would occur on my servers, or that I wouldn't be an accessory to anything illegal occurring. I started this process almost immediately after I got saved, the next day, removing much from my computer.
Through Wain, I was put in contact with a person named Jimmy, a paster at a community of people known as Washington Heights. They don't really consider themselves a church in the traditional sense, which I found rather interesting.
I was comfortable talking with him and getting to know him, which was encouraging. Last week, I attended church with them for the first time. One of the deacons named Louis is taking me at the moment. The only two things I didn't quite like was their loud music, and their referring to New Testament Christianity. Both of these things aren't anything to worry about, though, in terms of weather I should keep going or not, so I've decided to stick with it.
Today, I've found myself humbled when listening to the sermons I heard, which were about the people of God already having their place in heaven, and the differences between New Testament Christianity and the Catholic beliefs. There were also other topics covered, but those are the two main ones. Notice that I didn't say those who believe in God, but God's people, his children. I've come to understand that God chose me first before I came to the lord, Jesus. It's humbling to think about. I chose to be saved, but only because I was already receiving help from the lord.
If you have the desire to believe but don't for some reason, I challenge you to set aside any preconceptions, beliefs, or feelings you have about the bible, God, and any other religious or stereotypical views. Do so as much as you are able, then begin reading, praying. If you are truly seeking the truth, you will be heard, and perhaps, you will come to know the lord as I have. It's an incredible experience and something I wouldn't trade for anything.
Remember, don't thank me, thank the lord. I can't help you, only he can. All I can attempt to do is give you something to think about, consider, a seed of thought in your mind, something Russell did for me. I thank him and the lord for planting the seed. I thank the lord for all things. I feel humbled to give this message to all who will read it, as I wouldn't be doing so if it wasn't something the lord wanted me to do.
This may seem confusing to some people, so I'll explain my reasoning. For this, we go back to the beginning of what we know. I state it this way because there really isn't a beginning or end to eternity, it simply is and will always be. The beginning of what we know is from the bible in Genesis, chapter 1:1-5, taken from the 1611 King James bible.
1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness [was] upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
4 And God saw the light, that [it was] good: and God divided the light from the darkness.
5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
This is the beginning of creation, the beginning of what we know. God has been, is, and will always be. Here's more evidence.
The earth remains in its perfect orbit around the son. It never changes, never alters. The moon remains in its perfect orbit around the earth. The oceans react to the gravity of the moon causing waves, the tide, and exposing certain creatures that live in shallow waters in the ocean when the tide is low. And, oh my, man made satellites are subject to something called orbital decay due to atmospheric drag and/or the gravity of earth, as well as various factors on speed and trajectory. Why aren't the moon, earth, and the other planets and moons in our solar system subject to this? The answer is simple, but can't be analysed logically or scientifically. God is perfect and is the creator. Physics and science can also answer this question, but since God is the creator, everything since is a result of God.
This having been said, it's easier to follow my line of thinking, but I'll break it down a little more. The creator of something creates a device that is for a specific purpose and it will perform that purpose if the creator made it correctly. God created everything perfectly. Everything is here for its specific plan and purpose, even the objects man has created, as they wouldn't be here without God. The devil exists through the allowance of God, and is a deceiver, convinces people to live for the pleasures of the moment, and runs the world.
One big obstacle with some people is that they don't believe there's any outside influence on their thoughts. To the untrained, everything appears to come from within. Even I believed that before being saved, but afterword, I was able to tell what comes from the lord and what comes from the devil, and also, what comes from within my own nature. Following what the lord wants and not what my sinful nature or the devil wants, that's the challenge, but you can't learn without challenges, and some things like the devil's influence, you probably won't know about until you are saved.
I encourage anyone reading this to research these things for yourself. Read the bible. What do you have to lose? I lost nothing and am gaining each day, but at the same time, I am deeply humbled by the knowledge I have just revealed.
Now, we'll dive into the technology side of things, and I'll reveal more spiritual incite in the future.
The Content Management System.
We'll dive right into the technology behind the sight now, and it's fantastic. A content management system is something used to serve pages, but to do so in a manor that doesn't relate to directly modifying the html source, or other such things. Instead, you either modify things directly on the sight itself, or you modify files within folders, as I'm doing. I won't go into all the details now, but I'm using a content management system called Kirby. It's quite fast and easy to work with if I want things to look completely different, which is how I added my page counters and such. To find out more about it, you can click the Powered by Kirby link at the footer of the page. You can also find out more about Linode there as well, which is the company that currently hosts my server.
Wrapping Things Up.
For now, that's about all I can think about posting, but I'll update these entries as things happen in my life. The page for the journal entries will display some from newest to oldest, so you can click on any you'd like to read.
Have fun, everyone, and enjoy your days!