Beginning March 2, 2014 no new posts. Please use the Archive and Topical listings.


If you would like to receive a weekly e-mail reminder of each new post e-mail your request to:

You may also contact me at the above e-mail address with any comments or questions that you may have regarding any post. Please indicate that your comments are confidential and they will not be shared on the blog site.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Does Knowing God Make A Difference?

“For I know the plans I have for you,"
declares the Lord,
"plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future.” 
 Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

 I was born into a Christian home but NOT into a personal faith. The fact is the opportunity to know God came to me at a very early age. I first prayed to accept Jesus Christ at age five. It did not end there. In fact, the influence of living in a Christian home made it almost impossible for me to see my life as being anything apart from what I learned from the influence of my parents. I grew up being a good girl. I kept the rules, I attended church, and I believed in God. I definitely did not want to go to hell so what other choice did I have? I had to be a Christian.
At age twelve, I began to make my faith more personal. I made a choice to be baptized and at that point I knew that I did not want to be anything other than a Christian. During my teenage years I often wanted to step out of the box of my parents faith. Some of the things  I had not been allowed to do became a little more alluring.
In my twenties I had a few ups and down in my faith. Nonetheless, I continued in my faith. It has been a wonderful journey of faith but at times I have had many questions. Sometimes it seemed that my mind became confused as I observed that bad things happen to good people. At times it seemed to me that people who had no faith at all seemed to have more and be happier. It was hard for me to determine if knowing God really made a difference.
I began to realize that lots of people knew about God but  didn't have a relationship with him. Others who called themselves Christians had accepted Jesus Christ but continue to live their life apart from him. They did not seek to follow his teachings, they did not trust God and they didn't seem to be interested in learning more about God . I also observed some Christians who had found forgiveness through Jesus and they were actually pursuing and following him.
I eventually learned that being a Believer does not make you a Follower of Christ. Somewhere around thirty years of age I actually became both a Believer and a Follower of Christ. That is to say, I now desired to know Jesus Christ in an intimate way that I had never known before. I desired to pattern my life after the truth that Jesus taught in his Word, the Bible. I wanted to find ways to serve Jesus Christ and I wanted my life to be lived in such a way that others would also want to find and follow Jesus.
Still again, there was that nagging question that begged for an answer. Does knowing God make a difference in a person’s life? How was I to really know? I had always been a morally good person. I soon discovered that if this question was to be answered, it was going to take more than a few trips to the garden to get the answers. Finding the answer was going to require me spending time with the Master Gardner so that I could hear his gentle whispers as he revealed his answers to me. It was going to be Jesus who would disclose to me why knowing him does makes a difference.
So to the garden I went as I endeavored to discover how my life might have turned out if I had not become a seeking Believer. There in the cool of the garden among the beautiful rhododendrons, God began revealing to me some very amazing details of my life that I might not have ever considered if I had not given my life to him. I began to think back to the very beginning of my life. What if I had decided to walk away from the faith I had learned at the knees of my parents? How would my value system have differed? Where would I have gone to college? Who would I have married? Who would have become my best friends if I had chosen a different path? What blessing would I have missed? Would I be at peace in my spirit? How would I respond to others? Would I be an angry, fearful woman? How would I have responded to the sorrow and pain that I have experienced? How would I feel about life after death? How would my life be different if I had traveled a different road? Would I have lived in different places, had different jobs? Would I attend church or would I have ever read God’s Holy Word? How different would my thoughts be? How would my words and actions be different? Would I be totally self-absorbed? Would I be searching for happiness in all the wrong places? What would my attitude be when faced with adversity? What would my view of God be?
As I pondered each of those questions the answer was crystal clear. The answer in my heart was a resounding “YES”. My life would have been completely different. Some of my friends have known Jesus Christ most of their life and their story is much the same as mine. Our faith has been such a constant that sometimes we have to think long and hard to imagine how our lives might have looked apart from Jesus Christ.

Others I know accepted Jesus Christ later in life after they had lived many years apart from him. It is not hard for them to imagine a life apart from Christ because it was not so long ago. Some of these people made mistakes and choices that caused heart breaking consequences. Still other first generation Christians came from good moral homes but their parents did not teach them to follow Jesus. They have their own story as to how they came to know Jesus Christ and the difference it has made in their life. But the truth of the matter is, apart from Jesus Christ all of our lives would have led us down a different road. A life without Jesus Christ may not be a bad road but it is not the best road.
God has a plan for each of our lives. It is a plan for our good not our harm. It is a plan to prosper us and give us a hope and a future. This is not a life void of trouble and pain, but it is a life that can experience peace in all circumstances when we learn to trust the One who holds us in the palm of his hand and loves us more than we can ever imagine. I know now that my decision to become a “Follower of Jesus” was the best decision I have ever made!
Today in the garden I am feeling nothing less than the abundant, lavish, love of my Heavenly Father. It is joy that is unspeakable and void of understanding to those who have not dared to follow Jesus. But for those of us who have chosen to follow Jesus we can live daily with a deep settled peace in our soul. It is a peace that no one can take away. Someday I will exit the door of this life and step into eternal life. It will be a day of rejoicing! I will leave behind the problems of this life. I will enter into a new life that will be void of the pain and suffering that permeates this world because of sin. Does knowing God make a difference? Yes, both now and in eternity. God has a perfect plan for each of our lives. It is a life that will give us a hope and a future!

  1. Are you a Believer in God or are you a Follower of Christ?
  2. What is the difference?
  3. As a follower of Jesus Christ have you ever wondered if following him has made a difference in your life?
  4. Can you name three differences that following Jesus has made in your life?
Dear Jesus,
I am so thankful for the road that you have taken me down. What a magnificent plan you have had for my life. It is a wonderful plan that I continue to enjoy everyday. Your plan has indeed given me a hope and a future. Your plan has been a plan for my good and not my harm. Dear Jesus, knowing about you is one thing, but being a Believer is quite different. Different still is being a Believer who longs to walk with you daily in a loving relationship. I want to walk with you in simple trust and obedience. Lord, I want to be recognized as one of your followers. To know you is to love and to follow you. Living the Christian life is not always easy. Many times following you is a road that is sad, painful, and perhaps even lonely. Still following you Lord is an amazing journey. I thank you Jesus for making such a wonderful difference in my life. It is a life that encompasses me with love and comfort, fills me with peace and joy even in times of trouble. It is a life that is full of hope because I know that when this life is over I have only begun to live forever. Yes, being a Christian makes an amazing difference! Lord thank you for guiding my steps, putting the right people in my life, and leading me to your truth.
In you name I pray. Amen