I have battle for years with scripture that speaks of Jesus being savior of the world. The world? I have pastored so long and dealt with addicts alcoholics,people abused and hurt as children. They could never seem to get their lives together. Suicide by a guy who was one of the kindess people I have ever known. People raised in church who happened to be guy,just two nights ago,a man who is a double amputee and had battled with herion addiction for years died of a overdose. Yet this man really love the Lord and wanted to be better. If we are truthful,or if I am truthful,Jesus came for the sick and not those that felt they had it all together. If sickness is a qualifier for mercy and grace our world including me qualify. I would often wonder why is only the good church people seem to go to heaven at funerals? The people who seem to need most was always disqualified because they were still sinning. I read the other day that 2 out of every 4 men setting in church are struggling with porn. Yet you can't be honest in church when thats the very place you should be able to be honest. I'm a pastor and I know that if I go to heaven it's by His grace because I have not deserved it. If me being a human wants all people to be saved then how much more does the Father. The Father? That starts another series of thoughts. I'm a father,a earthly father,incomplete and sinful. Yet I would never! for any reason! destroy my daughter or hurt her in anyway. I may correct her or punish her but only with and through love. To bring better behavior. I can't stay angry because I love and enjoy her so much. Got a go I'll be back latter.
First, big hugs to you, and welcome from another newbie to the boards.
Second, check out every link WhiteWings shared, and really read the info with an open heart, God will open your eyes to see the depth and breadth and width of His love and mercy.
Third, I do not even go to church, precisely because of what you observed in your comment. I find information and fellowship here and elsewhere. We are all sinners, every last one of us, but looking good is more important to too many people than getting right with God. So many hurting people, so few real ministers to ease the pain with the loving truth of Jesus.
I think we've lost something really vital in the body of Christ. I think it is past time we relearned the old supposedly outdated practices of fasting and humbling ourselves before almighty God. I think we spend far too much time focusing on our worldly wants and creature comforts, and in doing so, we have taken our eyes off of what God wants us to do. We want to do it our way, but our way never, ever, ever works.
That is why I suspect we do not see the real outpouring of the Holy Spirit in power today as the early church did. The love has been buried beneath mountains of lies and deliberate misinterpretations, weighing people down with legalism that Christ did away with. It's all judgement and condemnation if you make a mistake, yet Jesus Himself did not condemn, He came to save us, and save us FULLY! Salvation isn't supposed to be just for your soul. It is supposed to be an ongoing work of healing of our bodies, of our minds, of our emotions, with the infilling of the Holy Spirit. It's not just about speaking in tongues, it is about power, God's power, infilling us, healing us, setting us FREE! For whom Christ sets free is FREE INDEED!
We haven't been set free because we have not let go and let God. We have not turned our eyes totally on Jesus, surrendered every area of our lives to Him, and given ourselves FULLY. The early christians sold everything they had and helped each other. They went house to house, breaking bread, praying, sharing the message of total love, and it completely revolutionized their society, with THOUSANDS of people coming to Christ EVERY DAY!
We don't NEED a huge church building that costs millions of dollars. It's an obscenity to me, as I look at these gaudy buildings, all I can see are empty stomachs and homeless children and lost souls in the surrounding areas that the members drive past to get to it and never even see.
I salute you in having a place where the rubber meets the road in dealing with humanity. While you are struggling with your own sin, it has at least kept your heart tender towards others who struggle, as well. I'll definitely be praying for you in seeing victory in your life. I suspect that you may be on the edge of a spiritual breakthrough that will completely revolutionize your life and the lives of everyone God brings your way.
Fast and pray, brother, get alone just as Jesus did, just as the disciples did, the apostles, the believers of old who put everything aside and fasted and prayed, and refused to stop until they touched the heavenlies. That is what this life is for, It is our testing ground, it is our trial arena in which we do battle with the flesh, putting our trust in God, overcoming with perseverance and faith, and when we finally touch the hem of His garment because we did not give up, we endured, THAT is when the healing comes, THAT is when the Holy Spirit will hit you like a freight train and blow away every last shred of addiction and sickness like so much chaff in the Holy breath of God!
God bless! didn't mean to preach, I'm not a preacher, but just had to put this out there for you, may God grant you the victory and strengthen you and use you mightily as a result!