Category Archives: Personal Experiences

Finding God in Modern-day Churches? (Part 1)

Personal Experiences with Modern-day Churches

I do not write this to condemn the modern-day church but only to reveal their present spiritual state for I know it could be so much much more when they are actually infused with the LIVING SPIRIT OF GOD! I’ll start with my personal experiences with church.

When I was much younger, I couldn’t understand the preaching due to my deafness although someone did translate pastor’s preaching for me. I found it filled with inspiring life stories but lacking much content in God’s word. Uninterested in the preaching, I turned to my own Bible and dug into God’s word. I learned much more from reading the Bible than the preaching.

Then later on I was off to college, I managed to find a nearby church and a college youth group. I enjoyed the pastor’s teaching because there was more focus on God’s word unlike most teaching emphasizing uplifting life stories. However, even with pastor’s teaching, I still felt spiritually unfulfilled since it was pretty basic, or in other words – a “spiritual milk”. Additionally, the folks there seemed to be more interested in socializing with each other and showing up to church social events (movie nights, community service, etc…) compared to hearing God’s word.

And there was my college youth group. I had a helpful and knowledgeable youth mentor but the program mostly consisted of music, games, and some of the teachings focused on courtship/dating aspect. I wanted to grow spiritually and connect with God in a deeper level, not to play games or listen to music. There’s always other time to play games and be involved in social activities but I WANTED to learn more about GOD and to connect with Him in deeper and meaningful way if I’m at church or youth group. That’s what I wanted to see in churches and youth group all these years but haven’t found any of these so far.

Finally, when I moved to a new town after graduating from college, I thought I would give church one more chance. I came wanting to learn more about God and to be inspired. I was then disappointed when the pastor gave a sermon that resembled little or no connection with God’s Word. Rituals and planned agenda gave the church a wooden feel to it. It was man-made instead of being truly God-breathed. Then I saw one person making mockery of Jesus resurrection as the congregation sang about it. It was supposed to be a place of worship and a place to honor LORD yet I found none of these in that place. I felt grieved in the Holy Spirt while there.

As I left the church, I came across a homeless man begging down the street. Out of compassion, I decided to give him a gift card to a deli food chain – which just happens to be conveniently located nearby. He was ecstatic and very happy then thanked me profusely. I explained to him how to use the card to get food and hoped he would know how to use the card. I felt more connected with God right there than inside that church.

From all these times, I’ve learned from my experiences that I tend to connect best with God when I am alone and talking with Him. Remember how Jesus often left the crowd and disciples so He could pray alone? I thought that was a good example to follow! I’ve found alone time with God to be very intimate, personal, and rewarding. It has given me the spiritual fulfillment I’ve been looking for. I will always continue to thirst more and more for His presence. God is the best teacher you can ever get, much better than any pastors or Christians you’ll hear from! After all these experiences, I definitely prefer to worship in spirit and truth!

John 4:21-24
21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”

Quiet time with the LORD and Resting

relax
Relax by Asther Isbrucker licensed under Creative Commons 2.0.

Luke 10:38-42 (ESV)
38 Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. 40 But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” 41 But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, 42 but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”

Sometimes I am like Martha who gets distracted by trying to ‘serve’ Jesus rather than just simply focusing and listening to God. I tend to have a hard time with this because I like to be productive and do things for Him when I needed to learn how to still my soul and just relax in Him. My thoughts consisted of checking things off my imaginary to-do list for God – reading bible, writing for Him, thinking up of a good deeds, etc… to please God. Then I realized that sometimes I lose focus of God by trying to ‘serve’ rather than simply enjoying His presence.

God even commanded a day of rest on Sabbath for He knew we needed to rest from our labor and so that we can spend quiet time with Him. I think when we still our soul and have less of our earthly thoughts/worries then we will start to hear God more clearly. Quiet times can help us to reflect, to rest, and metaphorically speaking, to stop and smell the roses. I have found quiet times to be very rewarding and refreshing to the soul.   It’s never too late to start practicing!

Mark 2:27 (ESV)
27 And he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.

Matthew 6:25-34 (ESV)
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

Uptick in Spiritual Attacks

In the past week, I’ve noticed a huge uptick in spiritual attacks to which I’ve done a lot of rebuking and scripture quoting to remind myself of the promises God gave me. At first I didn’t realize it was a spiritual attack, but then I realized it was when I saw how concentrated and repeated these intrusive thoughts were, which made me think it came from the evil ones. Perhaps it’s a time of testing to see how I would stand?

There came a barrage of thoughts trying to invoke unforgiveness inside me related to past. People who’ve sinned against me popped up repeatedly in my thoughts, one after one with very specific actions. I kept on rebuking these thoughts and said that I forgave anyone who sinned against me. God forgave me so therefore I will forgive anyone else. Anytime these thoughts came up, I wielded forgiveness as my arrows shooting against these negative thoughts. And even when I didn’t have strength, I can always call my GOD to give me the strength to do so. I chose not to be defiled with unforgiveness and will clothe myself with forgiveness instead!

Then there were thoughts trying to show my unworthiness, showing how people have rejected or overlooked me. Of course, pain came though me, but I rebuked these thoughts saying God loves me very much and that He will never leave or forsake me. I refused to let these thoughts bring me down. I can let them go and then focus on moving on and enjoying my life. I reminded myself that Jesus was rejected and overlooked so he probably felt hurt as well. In response, I wrote a poem to God showing my love hoping that even my small attempt at loving Him will please Him (see earlier post on Songs of Love).

Also, there were thoughts that tried to invoke self-condemnation within me, showing my sins from the past. I rebuked these thoughts as well, saying that the Blood of Christ washed away my sins and I am forgiven. I am new creation in Christ! I told myself that I am not tied to the past and what matters is I can learn from the past to do things differently for better. In addition to that, I cling to the faith that He will raise my corruptible body into incorruptible body with Christ reigning my heart!

Finally, there were doubting thoughts saying that God isn’t there, and I rebuked that quite strongly saying that I will wait upon the LORD and for His perfect timing. It is HIS timing not my own timing! He is always with me, whether if I’m asleep or awake. Even when I may not feel his presence, He is always there. So I will make sure I cling on His garment tightly and never let go.

So in short –
Arrows of forgiveness to shatter unforgiveness,
Balm of love wiping away unworthiness and rejection,
Blood of Christ washing away self-condemnation,
And finally, helmet of salvation to protect myself from doubts and confusions.

Swiftly Answered Prayer

While driving up to my hometown, I was suddenly tailgated at a high speed (60mph or so) and the truck seemed very close. I couldn’t turn out of the way since there were cars on my left. He continued to tailgate me for a while. When there were space for me to turn right, but was prevented by doing so as he turned right quickly and passed me. As he was passing me, he decided to cut me off and could’ve hit me if I didn’t slow down immediately. As I slowed down immediately to avoid being hit, I received a very hostile look and gesture. I felt evil and hostility so strongly. I prayed to God and asked Him for protection from this evil and for justice. I mentioned that I will not receive this curse from him. I also asked for strength to forgive him and for him to learn from his mistake. My thoughts were racing, I asked for so many things at once – to have proper response, to have a clean heart, to ask for justice (hoping that police will pull him over), protection, to forgive, not to curse him, for him to learn his lesson, to rebuke evil I received, to take refuge in His love, etc..

Guess what?

He was pulled over by two police cars about 30-45 minutes later as I passed him by. I thanked God profusely for He has provided justice and the fact that He always watch over me. I felt relieved and also watched myself to make sure I didn’t rejoice too much. Just that he needed to learn his lesson and hopefully stop doing that in the future. The following scripture came to mind –

Proverb 24:17-18 (NIV)
17 Do not gloat when your enemy falls;
when they stumble, do not let your heart rejoice,
18 or the Lord will see and disapprove
and turn his wrath away from them.

God does protect HIS LOVED ONES! He is jealous and very protective!! Take refuge under His wings, He will watch over you!

Psalm 105:15 (NIV)
15 “Do not touch my anointed ones;
do my prophets no harm.”

Psalm 91:14-15 (NIV)
14 “Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call on me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him.