Chrisitanity is a Religion and so much MORE!!!

1. What is the definition of Religion?

– a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs

Am I religious? Yes! By this definition, Christianity is a religion!!! Why is this even an issue? Well, many, many, Christians get hung up on the “I hate religion, but love Jesus” line. I understand what they are saying in theory, but unfortunately I do not believe it is appropriate to separate Christianity and religion (it makes us look dumb). What I do believe is Christianity is so much more than religion!!! To me that is an accurate statement. Our devotion to Jesus Christ and our rituals such as prayer, Sunday morning worships, bible studies, and fasting (just to name a few) along with the Bible which guides our conduct in life make what we call Christianity our religion.

Why is Christianity more than just religion?

This answer is so specially unique to the religion of Christianity that we love to point it out, embrace it, and claim it to be superior to the religious aspect of Christianity (which it certainly is). Christianity is more than just a religion because it is a working RELATIONSHIP with our Father, our Creator, our Redeemer, and the one and only God. We have a relationship with God that no other religion claims to have. Why? Because we believe in Jesus Christ!! You see, before Jesus was sent to earth man had a very different relationship with God (well besides Adam and Eve). God only spoke to a few, he was “untouchable” if you will…He reached out to his people, but they could not reach Him except through the practice of religion; in the temples, with the high priests, through burnt offerings (you get the picture). Since Jesus came to Earth, died on the cross, and rose again to be with God the Father in heaven he sent down the Holy Spirit to live within each one of us so that we may have a working relationship with God. I will explain this all in detail sometime real soon, but if you’ve never heard this before please try to hang in there with me! In everyone of us through the Holy Spirit we have the power to pray and call out God’s name and be heard!!! How awesome is that!! We matter to God. Every single one of us.

Let me end with this…for now,

Religion (Self Effort, Works)

Goal: reach out to God, try to work your way into heaven

Means: diligent service & works, with hopes of a reward (heaven)

Power: good, honest effort through self-determination

Control: self-motivation and self control

Results: apathy, failure, chronic guilt, eternal separation from God

Salvation Through Faith In Jesus Christ (Personal Relationship)

Goal: trust fully in Jesus, then live to please Him

Means: confess sins, repent, yield self to Jesus

Power: the Holy Spirit does God’s work in and through us

Control: allow the Holy Spirit to control & direct our lives

Results: love, joy, peace, freedom, power eternal life in heaven,…

You can have religion without relationship, and many of Christians do. These are the Christians that Atheists talk of when they are talking of those who have started wars and done horrible things in the name of Christ. Religion will always fail you if left alone!! That is why as Christians we believe in something more than religion. Something that cannot fail! That is the relationship we have with Jesus Christ our Lord! Amen!!

Even though this guy claims to “hate” religion (which I don’t agree with) I still got so much from his message. We don’t have to “hate” religion to realize it’s just one small aspect to Christianity. Enjoy this video…I did!!

My Journey With You

Hello everyone. I’m hoping and praying that this is the beginning of a long relationship for us! Who am I and why do I want a relationship with you? Well….that’s kind of a long story…I will start from the beginning because that’s sounds like the most logical place to start.

My name is Amanda. I was born in a very small town in Pennsylvania. I was raised by a non-religious, but very well-intentioned family. I’ve always felt loved by my mother and father (although they were by no means perfect). My father had a stroke when I was very young, maybe 8 or so and things took a turn for the worse from there. My father became disabled and depressed, my mother became absent because she now had to work to support the family. The stress levels in our house rose and my father’s favorite display of emotion became anger. My sister and I never really got along growing up. We were so different!! Four years separated the two of us but it might as well have been 40, we still do not have the greatest relationship today, but it’s better. So the sum of my childhood involves, heartache, loneliness, anger, fear, and lots and lots of verbal abuse. I can remember times during my childhood vividly where I would lay in our bunk bed, stare at the stars and pray to God that he would save me from my emotional distress. I can’t even guess how many nights I cried myself to sleep with that same prayer not really knowing if there was a God, much less if He would answer my prayers….

Then I graduated high school. I wanted to leave home so badly. There’s nothing I wanted more than to get myself out of the environment I was in, so I chose the military. I joined the Navy right out of high school and shocked the heck out of my parents!!! After all I was a straight A student, top 10% of my class, could have probably gotten a scholarship to somewhere and I threw it all away just for the opportunity to leave home. INSANE; but God’s plan!

While in the Navy I traveled to Chicago, Washington D.C., and Japan. Oh, the trouble I got myself into!! I cannot even begin to tell you what a free, lost soul I was. I look back on those years as liberating and shameful, yet they were still in God’s plan; he never gave up on me!!

I had a boyfriend through most of high school and during some of my time in D.C. When I found out he cheated on me I became so angry that my only desire was to get as far away from him as possible (him being in PA and me in MD was definitely not far enough!!). That is why when my orders came up and I found out Japan was available I said YES, send me there!!! I acted out of spite…and still God continued His plan.

After about 1 year in Japan I met my husband…well, he was just an amazingly good looking guy at first, then my boyfriend for about a year, then my fiance for 3 days, then we got married. A whirlwind I know!!! It was crazy, but I was so enamored by him and just knew in my heart he was the one for me (which is crazy if you knew how many guys I dated before him and never, ever had this feeling for anyone else before, I was usually the dumper; not the clingy one). We got married in TX while on leave and that is when I first got introduced to the first Godly man in my life. Mr. Jones. I can not tell you how much this man has changed my life!! God sent him to me just as surely as he sent my husband; of this I’m sure!!

You see, my husband was the guy that was raised his whole life in the church and strayed away during his time in Japan (the time that we met) and I never knew God. But God knew that we would be perfect together and He was right!! Our first year of marriage was kind of easy. I got pregnant with our daughter¬† and he left for Afghanistan…you would think that made things hard, but knowing what I know now on year 5, the first year was a breeze!!!

After we had our daughter and after my husband served overseas our desire to know the Lord became stronger and stronger. Both for different reasons. I was beginning to understand what a godly lifestyle could look like and I wanted that for my daughter so badly (after all it’s what I prayed for so earnestly as a child). My husband came close to death and well, it doesn’t take much explaining to see why that will send you running back to the Lord!!

When my husband came back from Afghanistan we both worked so hard at learning how to be a married couple, learning how to be parents, and learning how to be godly role models to each other and our child as well. Let’s just say learning was tough, tedious, eye opening and convicting. I spent a lot of time crying in repentance that first year that we spent together. Then I became pregnant with our son.

While pregnant with our son I was baptized by the wonderful Mr. Jones. I didn’t know at the time much of what that meant (I mean I was still learning who God was and still assuming that baptism was just for babies).¬† But a miracle happened in me that day that I will never, ever forget. I accepted Jesus into my heart and He changed me in ways I still cannot fully comprehend. How did I get from my beginnings to here? By going to the other end of the world and back? My story will never cease to amaze me and I love God for all he’s done in my life!!!

But to continue…my journey did not end there. My desire to learn more about the Lord led me to Liberty University where I achieved my B.S. in Psychology and Christian Counseling. My husband also decided to leave the military and go to college, but his route was not so straight forward. We moved a lot because of his change in majors; different cities, different houses, different friends, all the while toting two kids along for the ride. Not the best time of my life!!

We are currently settled in an apartment and still debating our next move (if any), but my husband is graduated and we are closer and closer to be the settled family that I’ve always envisioned (like my visions matter); God is the one directing my life…I just can’t see it until much, much later…

About 6 months ago I was commenting on my sister-in-laws posts; she also has a blog. At the time she blogged mostly about her “sonnylife” all the good thing they did and how great of a mother she is…just kidding…she would never say that; I say that!!! She’s one of those women who just inspire you to be better. She has a love and a passion for her family that I was so envious of. Not of the specifics in her life, but just of the fact that she had a passion. Which is something I felt I lacked. I prayed hard to develop a passion for something, anything….and then it happened.

Recently I feel as if the Lord has given me a renewed passion for Him that I cannot ignore. I feel passionate not only to study about the Lord, but to gain wisdom from Him, and preach His Word. That is where you all come in….Over the past 4 years I have had more questions than answers. I have doubted the power of God, thought I knew better than Him, and have fallen victim to social norms instead of holding myself to the only true standard; God’s standard. No more!!! I know that there are many of you in the same boat. Do you have more questions about God than answers? Do you desire to know more? Well, than brothers and sisters I’m writing this blog for you!!

I want to start a journey with you that helps both of us become closer to God. I am in no way a teacher, nor to I claim to be!! I will learn just as much from this experience as anyone else might.

I know I’ve really shortened up my life story here, but the goal was to share the fact that God has brought me to this point. I am here because of His mercy and grace. Because of what God did for me I want to dedicate my life to following Him and furthering His Kingdom (in anyway that He chooses to use me).

I look forward to this journey with you!!

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