In the first part of my little story, I found out that God created the world; after that, I learned what church was, and that God loved me. In this third part of my journey of faith, I was given one of the most important pieces to the puzzle.
It was 1976 and my family lived in
There is a lot of discussion among theologians about what comes first regeneration or belief. Do I believe because I’ve been regenerated or am I regenerated because I believe? I can tell you that I know that my church tends toward the second option but I don’t. I continued to read that New Testament over the years, finally learning that I could pick and choose what I wanted to read. I especially loved the Psalms. I had an idea that they were used in prayers, because that’s what they sounded like to me. I loved the section of my New Testament that contained: “Where to find help when….” There were all kinds of verses to give comfort when one was anxious, grieving, or tempted. I looked up these verses, and read them, and cognitively understood them, but all the reading I did at various times over the years didn’t change me at all. And I don’t think it was because I had trouble with the actual reading. I was always a very good reader, and I always had a good vocabulary. When I was sixteen years old, I began really reading in earnest, and it didn’t change me then, either. There was always a lot of effort, but things still weren’t clear to me. I didn't know God any better for all my studying. Something had to happen to me before I could really have those words change me; I had to be regenerated.
Being given God’s word was a wonderful thing. We had a bible in the house, but if I had ever wanted to look at it, my mother seemed a little bothered. I could keep this New Testament in my room and read it whenever I wanted. Paul tells us in Romans 1 that the gospel is the power of God for salvation. The gospel is contained within the pages of the Bible. I had within my possession the means by which I could hear the gospel and believe. I just needed someone to give me a roadmap.
Next time, the Troublesome Teens Years.