He is as close as the mention of His name. "Jesus"
My guess is you're going through something in your life that you aren't feeling His presence or His answers when you do pray. Maybe that's not the case but I do know that when we get our lowest, He always seems the furthest away. As you grow & mature in Him, you just keep praying (Why did Dory come to mind when I typed that? Just Keep Swimming). You keep praying & trusting knowing He's got this because you've seen it happen so many times in the past & He's never failed you yet. Now, you may have never reached the point of trusting Him to begin with. If you've never reached out to Him with your sins, repented & turned to Him, I can understand your discouragement. If you have but this is new to you, I can still understand your discouragement. I guess my first question should have been, "Are you a Christian?"
I replied to Tammy after this initial letter was posted. I poured out my feelings, struggles and some of my past. It took awhile. I hit the reply button at the bottom and nothing happened except my message vanished. I scrolled up and down but my message /response to Tammy was gone. It's like every avenue I take to reach out whether in prayer or asking for other help it ends the same. Disappointed and frustrated.
That's terrible, I'm really sorry that happened. It's happened to me before, and I acknowledge how frustrating it is.
As a result, if I am typing a long response to someone, I have learned to type if up in a word document first, save it, then copy and paste it here. I hope this help you avoid this frustration from happening again. I don't know why it happens, it's a glitch that we can't seem to fix.
I read somewhere "A growing relationship with God comes when you experience Him daily." Why do all my efforts to connect with God always end the same. Nothing. Nothing but emptyness. I walk away each time as I came. No "enlightenment" nothing. I'm the same today as I was 40 years ago. Empowerment .... what is this? What is God's Holy Spirit? I thought I knew. To Jesus disciples Jesus said Don't leave Jerusalem until you have receive power on high " I used to think this was something given to those who come to Christ to help them to live and obey God's commands. Without it we are just trying to do things by our own determination strength power and might. That's not going to work. But here I am ...near 60 and I feel nothing but uselessness emptyness weakness disobedient. Its like God pre chose those who would be successful and I'm not one of those. Nor anyone in my family. I see other christians who are working for God's kingdom ... successful as parents leading their children to God and salvation. Loving what they do. Warm caring christian people who are great at praying not to mention all the other things that they are great at ... and I look at me. I wonder why I'm here on this planet. I'm a huge failure at everything. I don't say this because I'm pitying myself but I say this because I feel it and I'm tired of feeling like some people are special to God ...like David Moses mary Daniel and the many others. I don't have Faith in my prayers. Without faith it's impossible to please God. I really don't know anymore the way forward. I don't feel I have love for God and I don't know how one gets it. I've prayed for it but I'm still here ... same place same feelings. I dont enjoy church so I don't go. I don t enjoy reading the Bible. I try to push past the feelings of not enjoying reading and make myself but it makes no difference in the end. I don't understand how other people come to God and their lives change. They love God ... love reading his word ... love others Inc enemies ... have compassion love church. Love all things God. But here I am still stuck in the same spiritual emptyness. Like God does not even exist. I envy people who have it all together with God. They can pray over others. Been baptised. Speak in tongues. Help the poor and downtrodden. Love church. Hungry to read their Bibles. I saw a thing on you tube ... francis chan and something about most christians who will go to hell. Most christians will fail. What gets to me is what happens to people like me. We try but it just never seems to be enough. We are damned if we do and damned if we don't. How does one receive when we just have no faith left. When our lack of spiritual experience wears us away so we have no ability to pray and seek God. Our boredom from reading the Word that leaves us like me saying " I don't get it ... I don't understand. What is the meaning. Why did Jesus say this or how come that " . I'm tired of this. I feel like I'm part of a cursed family line. My mum ... a born christian for many years never seemed spiritually happy. She spent most of the last year's 40 or so reading her Bible but I never felt like she was really happy. She spoke tongues and she would say " if you have the Holy Spirit you can understand the Bible but she didn't seem to have much victory and I dont remember her telling me much of her joy of as a christian ...just talked about antichrist and hell. Can someone please help me . Am I demon possessed. I just don't get how we are to change if we are doing things under our own determination strength power and might. I'm desperate for a miracle. I've tried talking to God so many times. I just don't know what to say to God anymore.
This is an article that landed in my email this morning. It really explains the salvation process well...
"Paul says, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved." He says, "If you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead you will be saved."
So I take texts like that and begin at the core - the death of Jesus. He died for our sins, which means I must believe I am a sinner. A person that doesn't believe he is a sinner can't be saved. If there is nothing to forgive, Jesus didn't do anything for me. If he didn't do anything for me, I'm not believing him for salvation. If I'm not believing him for salvation, then I'm not saved. So you must believe you are a sinner.
You must believe that there is a God who has created the possibility for sin. That is, sin by definition is the falling short of the expectations of your Creator. So there has to be a Creator God out there who has expectations of humans. God expects humans to trust him, love him and live for him. And we fail.
Which leads us to the third thing we must believe. Because we fail to trust, love and live for God we are under his holy judgment—his wrath. You've got to believe that.
If you are a sinner and there is a holy God, and if you are defining sin as a falling short of that God, then in order to understand what he is doing to make things right you must understand that God is angry about sin. He is a good and just judge.
So, what has he done to solve the problem of our alienation from him? He has sent his Son into the world. You've got to believe in the deity of Jesus. Psalm 49 says that no man can pay a ransom for another man. A few verses later, in verse 15, it says God will pay the ransom.
He couldn't have used John, or Peter or Paul to die for us. He had to have the God-man die for us. So the deity of Jesus is essential.
You also must acknowledge what Jesus did. He lived the perfect life. I don't think you can believe that Jesus sinned and still be saved. Because then the sacrifice made for you was not what God required, and you aren't believing in what God did for you. So Jesus is the sinless Son of God and he gives himself up to die in my place.
This substitutionary dimension of the death of Christ for my sins is necessary. There are lots of ways the Bible talks about this and I think you can be very confused about some of them while still being saved. I don't want to start listing off all the ways the Bible talks about the atonement and how confused you can be about them while still being saved. Let's just say that what is required is the core of the gospel - that the remedy is that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who never sinned got in my place and took the wrath of God for me. He died in my place.
If he had stayed dead, we would still be in our sins. So you must believe he rose from the dead. So now he has risen from the dead.
I am willing to stop there. This is the cluster of essentials for salvation. You might be able to bring to mind some things that are so theologically attached to this cluster that I would say, "OK that has to be included as well." But if someone asks, "What do I have to believe to be saved?" My answer is, you must believe this cluster of things about yourself, about God, and about the cross.
One more thing. I am assuming something because the question was, "What do I have to believe?" But I should make clear that you have to believe something about belief. Meaning, you must believe that belief is required. If you say, "I get all of what was said, but now I'm going to work so that God can make all of this count for me. I'm going to keep the law 85% so that all this redemptive work will count for me," then you've missed it. You're not saved.
For salvation you must believe that instead of working for this salvation, Jesus has already done what needs to be done. We receive it. "As many as received him, who believed in his name, he gave them the right to become the children of God." So I think sin, God, cross and faith. That is the summary, the core of truth surrounding those four things."
--end of article--
I really also just want to encourage you to not trust your feelings. We're human, so we have them, it's part of our make-up, it's who we are. Sometimes we're going thru stages in our lives which cause our hormones to be out of balance. Perhaps you may want to check with your doctor to see if anything is going on with your health/hormones?
Trusting our feelings can lead us astray when we trust them over God's word. God's promises surpass everything including our feelings. If you know you are sinner in need of a saviour, and if you have repented of your sin and believed the gospel (Jesus died for your sin and rose again back to life to defeat sin and death on your behalf) than you are saved.
Your experience of being saved is different from the experiences of other people. Our personalities may or may not play a part in that. Please don't compare yourself to others, God has made you uniquely YOU. He loves You enough to die for you, and His desire to restore your relationship with Him cannot be changed. In short, God desires for all men to be saved and come to a full knowledge of the truth (1 Tim 2:4).
I understand that you're having trouble reading the bible right now, but I urge you to battle through that lack of desire and read these verses below.
"And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.
29 For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And having called them, he gave them right standing with himself. And having given them right standing, he gave them his glory.
31 What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? 32 Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won't he also give us everything else? 33 Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one-for God himself has given us right standing with himself. 34 Who then will condemn us? No one-for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God's right hand, pleading for us. 35 Can anything ever separate us from Christ's love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? 36 (As the Scriptures say, "For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep." ) 37 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. 38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God's love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow-not even the powers of hell can separate us from God's love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below-indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Once you fully understand and receive what Jesus has done for you I believe you will love Him. It's a natural progression of salvation. Experiences may or may not follow. I can promise you though there will obviously be similarities, your personal experience of Jesus will be different from mine, and from Tammy, and from JB and from everyone else.
Love In Christ, Carla
I'm sorry you're feeling overwhelmed. We really do want people to know God's Grace, Forgiveness, Love, Freedom, Mercy. Something you posted above really stood out to me. It was this: "I just don't get how we are to change if we are doing things under our own determination strength power and might."
The answer is 'we can't'. Our own determination, strength, power and might will only lead us into a pit.
I don't know you, and I haven't earned the right to speak into your life, so it's difficult to address this here online. But if you are going on in your own determination, strength, power and might, the answer to that is repent from it (if you haven't already). Turn away from your own way of doing things and turn to God and HIS way. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you whatever else is in your life that you may need to repent of. Is there unforgiveness?
I'm new here, too. Your post caught my heart. Please forgive me if I say or ask anything that offends you. It's not my intention. Communicating in written form can be challenging and easily misunderstood. With that being said, I'd like to ask you a question. When were you Born Again? Do you have a "moment" where you can look back on and remember feeling your need for God and His forgiveness in your life? Can you recall the time when you believed the gospel message of Jesus and His death on the Cross for your sins, accepted that message of Salvation, and His forgiveness, and asked Him to come into your heart and life? For some people it's a very dramatic overnight experience and for others it's more of a quiet surrender. Would you feel comfortable sharing your experience? Julie
Marion, Thank you for taking the time to respond to my question. I will definitely write back with more thoughts. My grandkids are around this weekend, but it will soon be quiet again and I'll be back on the site. Julie ( I would like to say, there is nothing "wrong" with you.)