In 2010 someone emailed me after reading some of my postings on various sites. This person asked;
What exactly makes you so sure about this god thing. I wrote the following article with our questioner in mind although I sent him a much shorter response before I wrote the following.
Since you are not a believer and are not guided by the Holy Spirit of God I doubt you will understand what I say but I will do my best. I say you would not understand because God purposefully made his Word, the Bible, to be foolishness to those who do not believe. It has nothing to do with your intelligence and is not intended to offend people but to make them search out and study Gods Word for the truth.
When I decided I wanted to know whether or not God was real I made a decision to consider the possibilities with an open mind. Not mocking, or making excuses even if I found something I didn't like or that made me uncomfortable. Then when I went into my search by reading the Bible and comparing other things I read and heard, to what the Bible said on that same subject, God knew I was serious about wanting to learn.
When we approach God in a serious frame of mind, He will reveal Himself to us little by little as we continue to reach out to Him. In the case of my Dad I do not know how long God dealt with his heart but once he confessed the transformation was instantaneous. After living his life as a sinner and I don't recall ever seeing him read the Bible or go to church except for a funeral. However I was told that he read the Bible some as a small kid. Anyway already past the age of sixty he went to church with my sister one Sunday morning and when the preacher asked for people to come to the altar who wanted to be saved, my Dad went. He got down on his knees and he told me he asked God to forgive him of his sins. Admitted and confessed to God, the wrong things he had done in his life. When he got up he had been crying but he was smiling. From that day until he died just over two years later my Dad was a very different person.
He had smoked since he was nine years old, but he never touched another one. He was an alcoholic and drank heavily, but after the altar he never touched a drop and said he never wanted a drink or a cigarette. He never uttered another curse word and he and I never argued again. In fact he became my best friend. Everyone who saw him after that said he was a different person, even his face looked younger and peaceful. That is because God had accepted my Dads confession and had forgiven him and made him to be a new person just as the Bible promises.
I knew what had happened, I could see the amazing change, and by then I had come to know that there was a God in Heaven but I enjoyed my sins too much and was not yet ready to give them up. However God used what He had done in my Dads life to work in my heart and over the next three years I gradually became more interested in the Bible and of talking to Christian people. Then one day I went to church with a neighbor but it wasn't a church where they preached out of the Bible much or one where the people really tried to live what they said they believed, but I had the hunger and so I attended for five months but was not yet saved.
Then one morning I was reading a book that someone had given me and all of a sudden things started to make sense. I went into the kitchen to wash up some dishes while still thinking on the things I had read the last several months and right there I came under conviction for my sins. Knowing I needed to pray and already in tears I went into the living room but ended up in a heap on the floor. I was born again in the floor where I tearfully confessed my wrong doings and every sin I knew about. I was broken and felt totally lost and unfit to even mention the name of Jesus for some time as I sought God with my whole being. Later I learned God requires we be broken if we are to be saved and it shows God that we now see our sin much the way God sees it and we admit we can do nothing about them in and of ourselves.A new man got up off of that floor and I felt light from head to toe and had a peace that is indescribable. Immediately my thoughts on things changed, my feelings and desires changed, and things I had once enjoyed were no longer enjoyable but brought a question of
What does God and Jesus think about this?Suddenly my desire was to please Him, to help Him save souls from the lies and the burdens Satan loads onto people.
And so seventeen years later (2010), God is still touching me, my mind, my heart, and my body through the person of Jesus Christ. He still guides me with His small inner
voice that says
walk this way. One way He guides me is to ask,
Are you sure you want to do that? or not do that? depending on the situation, but the main guidance I get from God is by reading the King James Bible everyday. God will never tell us something or ask anything of us that contradicts the Bible and it is through the Bible where He speaks to us the most.
The Bible tells us that if we draw close to God then He will draw close to us and that promise is certainly true. There is a spirit in every human being and when we are born again the Spirit of God comes to live in us, to help us, to guide us and to teach us. Unfortunately too many people never learn to listen to what that Spirit of God (Holy Spirit) has to say. They blot it out by never spending time in reading and studying the Bible, by time in prayer, or just quiet time pouring out their heart to God. Many never learn to be patient and to simply wait on the Lord who teaches us step by step in a orderly manner. Another thing folks should know is that God does not accept challenges of any kind for He is supreme. He does not bargain, and He does not tolerate insincerity. Such tactics will receive nothing from the Lord but stony silence. He expects us to humble ourselves and if we are challenging him we are still puffed up with an exalted opinion of self.
Everyone who says they are a Christian is not necessarily a Christian because most people in church today have never been broken in heart and spirit, therefore they are not born again. It is the Bible alone that defines who is and who is not a Christian. Just because someone is a preacher does not mean everything he says is right. Compare his words to the Bible if you don't want to be led astray or to be deceived. Some intend to deceive and some are simply ignorant because they don't seek and study to find the truth. Remember that God is a God of order and He is more than a God of love. He is also a God of justice, Holiness, compassion, vengeance, and everything else we can think of. In other words God is balanced and if we want to learn about Him and from Him we will have to submit to His schedule and His ways.
There have been times when I have tried to understand something in the Bible and after weeks of study and prayer I did not understand in those early days of being a Christian why God had not stepped in to help me understand. Then God would lead me to a subject or passage in the Bible that did not even seem related to what I wanted to know. Suddenly it would all fall into place and my questions were answered. God builds precept upon precept, meaning sometimes we have to learn A before He will show us B. He is a God of order.
For the serious seeker who puts their eyes on the Lord and keeps them there, He will lead them every step of the way. Do not be drawn away by others, the flesh, and your own mind because Satan will try all and more to keep you from crossing from darkness to light. We have to come to God like a newborn baby and depend on Him for our nourishment and as we grow we mature. It all depends on what one wants deep down in their heart and if they are willing to step out and risk making a fool of themselves. Those who are sincere never regret taking that step.
Knowing God just has to be experienced. It is free and it doesn't hurt. All one has to do is lay SELF aside and say God I want to know you. Help me. The Bible teaches that is by His Word whether heard through being preached to us or our reading the Bible that changes us. If the Word of God is not in the mix there can be no true salvation.
I must admit I don't really have any words that can answer the question asked by that young man some years ago. On a personal level what I can say though is that I am sure of God because of what He has done and is doing in my heart, my mind, and my life. (Everything is not roses and He did not promise it would be in this life.) I am sure of Him because He confirms His Word either through the Bible or through others, or just things that happen. For me I can feel His presence most of the time as though He were a flesh and blood person in the room with me. I can't explain Him, He just IS as He said He would be. He changed my thinking, my mind, and has taught me things that surprise even me many days.