If you do not believe in God and Jesus,
I ask that you give me a chance to show you how and why I've come to realize that God exists.
And, more than that, God wants us to live our lives a certain way.
If you already believe in God and Jesus,
that's great! I would still encourage you to read this webpage and to carefully consider my other religious webpages, as well. You may find some things on my site rather suprising, and I hope this website will effectively challenge you to better serve God and to fully submit to His will in your life.
Before We Begin...
Before we begin, I'd like to fully acknowledge the fact that--just like anyone else--I do sin and fall short of the glory of God. I am but a mere man, and I know I have many faults and shortcomings. However, I know that if I acknowledge my sins and truly repent of them--that is, if I strive diligently to change my lifestyle and actions in order to correct those sins and shortcomings in my life--believing and trusting in God, He will forgive me of them. I'm not "better" than anyone; I'm just trying to live my life the way God expects each of us to live. And I hope and pray that you will choose (or have already chosen) to do the same in your life, that God might be glorified.
My Journey: Coming to Know God
Each of our lives is a journey. And, in a way, each of our lives consists of many different journies, and each of those journies is filled with many different experiences. These journies, those experiences intertwine, interact with each other. They shape us, mold us, help make us who we are today.
Just like anyone else, in many ways the journies and experiences of my life have changed me. But, somehow, on a certain level, in a certain way, I'm still the "same ol' me"--it's just that I'm a refined version of "me" if you will. That's the benefit of all that experiences and journies I've gone through. And I still need to be refined even further, I must admit.
So here's a brief (by my standards, that is!) explanation of how I came to know God in my life.
Or, at least, these are the most major things I remember!
My Parents' Influences
I remember clearly many things that my parents taught me as a child that helped me, ultimately, find my way to God. Whether that was my parents' intentions or not, I'm not sure. But I do know that my parents did want me to be a good, respectable, knowledgeable, hard-working citizen when I grew up. And those values, I believe, set the foundation for me to see a need to accept God and Jesus Christ into my life.
Discipline: Knowing the Difference between Right and Wrong
My parents obviously were careful to make sure that I learned the difference between right and wrong even from an early age. Of course, I can't remember everything they taught me in that regard, but the lessons were many, I can assure you.
My parents were far from being abusive in any way, but there did come those times when I was due for "swats" or "licks."
It didn't take long for me to learn, though, things like this:
My parents did more than just "swat" me when I disobeyed or did something wrong. In fact, most of the time, they chose other methods to teach me and dicipline me. They explained things to me, clearly told me their expectations, and let me know that throughout my life my choices of behavior would have consequences. I even came to understand that certain choices could result in long-term consequences that went far beyond simply being "punished" by my parents for doing something wrong.
Because of the dicipline I received, I had several goals in life, I set myself my own personal standards that I wanted to live up to. These included:
And I had a few other very personal goals and convictions that I promised myself--vowed to myself--at a relatively young age to never break.
I wasn't perfect, despite my choices and decisions. I did make mistakes. But, when I did, I knew I had done wrong because I'd been taught about those things. And I felt the guilt associated with doing something I ultimately knew was wrong. And my parents followed through with their discipline, even if it was just lecturing me or talking with me about my choices.
But I am happy to say that--thanks to my parents teachings, and thanks to God--there were many of those goals that I achieved or at least came very close to achieving. For instance, regarding those personal things which I had the strongest convictions about, I've been successful in never breaking them. Something else I'm proud of is the fact that I never got licks at school (they were still legal then), and I in reality I didn't get very many at home, either. And I was only sent to the office for wrongdoing once in my entire school career, and that was over an action that resulted from poor communication between a substitute and my entire class. Finally, even though I did cheat once in school, I fortunately got caught, making that time both my first and my last time cheating.
I don't really totally understand why I had all the convictions about how I was supposed to live life, other than saying that my parents did their best to teach me. But I know that--because I had and still have those convictions--I was very different than many of my peers in school. I had a different set of values, but I knew they were the right ones. I faced adversity many times in my life because I didn't do what was "popular" when I knew it wasn't right. School was tough, but it strengthened me, tempered me, helped me grow even firmer in my resolve to do what was right. In fact, as a senior in high school, my favorite quote in the yearbook was one I had come up with by myself, one that I lived by. It was:
"Do what's right, even if you have to face adversity."
Respect: Treating Other People the Right Way
My parents also taught me about respect. I came to understand that I shouldn't consider myself the most important person in the world, but that other people were worthy of my attention and respect. As with learning about discipline in general, I wasn't perfect in this regard, either. And, similarly, it took quite a bit of time to learn and understand different aspects of this quality. I would hope, though, that basically anyone who knows me considers me a very respectful person. That is extremely important to me in my life.
One thing that my parents specifically taught me to respect was the law. Along with that came a respect for rules and regulations, as well as guidelines, expectations, and instructions.
My parents also taught me to respect basically every person.
Some types of people were especially worthy of respect, including the following:
Another component of being respectful is giving honor to other people, openly recognizing them for their worth, value, achievements, and positive attributes. Because of many experiences I've had in life, I've come to learn the value of being recognized, honored, or simply encouraged... and I know how it hurts to be ignored, overlooked, or even insulted or "cut down." I want others to really know how much I appreciate them. After all, there are so many people who have made positive contributions to my life, and they are certainly worthy of praise and personal recognition.
Because I have long striven to be respectful of people, I believe that that attribute has helped others to consider me a very respectable person in return. Again, although I'm not perfect in that regard, I try very hard to the the most respectful person that I can.
Education: The Benefits of Learning Things
Mom and Dad also taught me how important getting a quality education really is. This is so involved a discussion that I will save it for later. However, just to give you an idea of how much this means to me, I still love to learn new things. In fact, that's part of the reason I chose to be a school teacher as a full-time profession--I love to learn things, and I love sharing my love of learning with other people.
Early Religious Experiences
My earliest religious experiences occurred before I was in the Second Grade, but I still remember aspects of them very clearly. I remember my parents taking us to church on Sundays, and I remember occasionally not liking having to go. I distinctly remember one time asking why we had to go, and I remember being told that we ultimately (when we got older) would have to make our own decisions about what to believe when it came to spiritual things.
I plan on adding more to this page in the near future. Please go ahead and visit the links below, as I have several more pages on my website that pertain to my religious views and my dedication to God and the Bible. Thanks for reading!
Please Visit my Religious Webpages