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‘But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.’ – Isaiah 53:5-6

If you were cured of cancer and knew how it happened, would you not want to tell everyone about it and spare them the suffering you endured? In the same way, I can’t keep quiet about my faith and don’t buy into the whole “there are just some things that are private matters that you don’t discuss” or “if you share the negative things going on in your life, you’re just self-absorbed and looking for pity.” If everyone was real and shared their beliefs, experiences, and burdens with each other, the world would be a better place. You could hear something you’ve never thought of before. You could know there is someone else who understands and can encourage you. You could realize that you are not alone in your struggles, and the grass is not greener, just different.

Faith is being sure of what you hope for and certain of what you cannot see. What am I sure of? I am a non-denominational Christian who believes the Bible is the inspired Word of God and our guidebook for wise living. In addition to witnessing the power of this book in my life and others, I believe in its authenticity and infallibility for the reasons Pastor James MacDonald lists in his series “God Wrote a Book.” (If you go to this link, click on the “Broadcasts by Series” tab and then scroll down to “God Wrote a Book” where you can listen to all the messages: http://www.oneplace.com/ministries/walk-in-the-word/listen/#God+Wrote+a+Book) I also believe Jesus is the Son of God and was in human form without sin. Yet, He paid the price for all of mankind’s sin and gave Himself up as the last sacrifice required to restore us – who all fall short of perfection – to a perfect and just God for eternity. I make no apology for my beliefs as God has loved me too much and worked too many miracles in my life and in the lives of others for me to ever deny Him or stop singing His praises. Perhaps if you keep reading this blog’s future entries as I share more of my journey and resulting perspectives, one day you can see why – even if your faith is different.

Faith can be a confusing and controversial thing, especially in a world where darkness seems to reign. Passions (and arguments) tend to run high when religion, politics, or any subject involving an individual’s perceptions and morals are discussed. We all must educate ourselves and choose what to believe and live by. At the end of the day, I support and respect everyone’s right to make their own choices…after all, we either reap the benefits or pay the consequences of our choices and will have to account for them someday. I simply share my experiences, and it is up to you what you take away from that. The key to using our free will responsibly is making reasonable choices that do not take away/destroy someone else’s right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

So many Christians keep quiet about their faith, afraid to offend or stir the pot, even though God has commanded us Christians to spread the good news of our salvation. While you should not force yourself or your beliefs on others, you should use your voice (through both words and actions in the way you live out your faith each day) to love, encourage, and speak truth to others who are willing to listen and observe whenever possible. No, you won’t be perfect and people may call you a hypocrite. Still, be genuine and share your life: the victories and the struggles. Do not hide the light you were given, but rather let it shine for all to see. You can and will make a difference.