How I find myself here.

rtm3039

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Feb 5, 2019
627
482
63
Miami, FL
Ok, I want to put this out there are see what other people think.

I grew up as a Christian and did all that Christian kids are supposed to do (church, baptism, Sunday school, etc). After college and joining the US Army, my faith went away. I never considered myself an atheist but did an agnostic. Now, I have retired from the military and am in a new life. For years, I have been struggling with the idea of faith and often quoted “Robert Langdon” (fictional character created by author Dan Brown), that “faith is a gift I have yet to receive.”

About three weeks ago, I attended services for a family friend that passed away. No issues with this, as our friend lived a long like (86) and his death was expected. These “viewings” take way too long (4 – 5 hours) and I was just walking around and looking at people. There was a young man (33 years old), who was standing away from most people. I did not know him personally but knew that he was a co-worker to the deceased’s son-in-law.

So, having not much anything to do (wife was busy talking to people and I had already spoken with everyone I knew), I went up to the guy with the intent of striking up a short casual conversation. During the conversation, which did not start off religious, he told me that his grandmother has used the same funeral home a year ago. This led to him sharing his personal history that, like me, he too grew up as a Christian and, in his 20s, had issues with faith. He added that this went on for many years, until he finally re-received this “gift” and is now in a better place. This was a unique conversation, as he never tried to “convert” me, but rather explained his own journey from faith, to not, and back.

After about three hours, it was time to go. At the conclusion, I have made the comment that we had both shared much personal information but did not even know each other’s names. At that point, he commented that his name way Raymond, but people called him “Ray”. As it turns out, my name is Reinaldo but people call me “Ray”. As we parted ways, he smiled and said two things: “Ray, nothing ever happens by accident. Read John and that will help.” He then asked for my phone and set up a Bible App for me. Needless to say, I spent the rest of the night reading the Gospel of John and, by the next day I too decided to received the “gift” of faith (again).

Anyway, this is how I find myself on this discussion board and why I am joining this community. So, my question is, what was that encounter suppose to be? Was it a sign, or am I just overthinking it?

Bless you all, rtm3039 (aka: Ray)
 

Pastor Gary

Senior Moderator and Staff Trainer
Staff member
Senior Moderator
Staff Trainer
Oct 29, 2006
20,696
7,863
113
Several US locations - seasonally
Hello, Ray and once again - Welcome to CFS.

As a Christian Pastor, I have seen God working in many ways, over the years, to bring 'Light' to those who may be in the dark. All it takes is an encounter such as yours to realize that there is more to our existence than just being alive. Whether we know it or not, we all need the love, the comfort, the guidance and the teachings of Our Father. Just as our real life father would care for us and prepare us for the rest of our earthly lives, so it is with God, Our Father, as He cares for us and prepares us for our eternal life.

Your encounter may have been a coincidence, but regardless, God's message was given to you in a very special way. Treasure that message and continue to read His Word so He can do good works through you, as well, to furnish the wonderful message to others.

Blessings.
 

Pastor Gary

Senior Moderator and Staff Trainer
Staff member
Senior Moderator
Staff Trainer
Oct 29, 2006
20,696
7,863
113
Several US locations - seasonally
Amen, Brother - And if I may, thank you for your military service. It means a lot to us all every time we have an active duty or retired Military or Public Safety veteran join us here at the CFS forum.

Please allow me to share a meaningful scripture with you from the New Living Translation Bible...

Isaiah 40:31 (NLT), "31 But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint."

May God Bless.


`
 

rtm3039

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Feb 5, 2019
627
482
63
Miami, FL
Amen, Brother - And if I may, thank you for your military service. It means a lot to us all every time we have an active duty or retired Military or Public Safety veteran join us here at the CFS forum.

Please allow me to share a meaningful scripture with you from the New Living Translation Bible...

Isaiah 40:31 (NLT), "31 But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint."

May God Bless.


`
Thank you for sharing. It was an honor serving our country and our people. I was in the service for 24 years, 1 month, and 23 days and I did not have 1 bad day. Deciding to retire was one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to do and something I have regretted on more than one occasion. But, it is what it is and we move forward another page in our personal book.

May God bless you as well,
 

AtomicSnowflake

Senior Moderator
Staff member
Senior Moderator
Secretary
Jan 8, 2017
1,995
2,094
113
48
Arkansas
www.kz.indigo-phoenix.com
Hello, rtm3039 , First of all, thank you so much for sharing this with us. And as mentioned by Pastor Gary, thank you for your military service.
As for the question you asked:
So, my question is, what was that encounter suppose to be? Was it a sign, or am I just overthinking it?
It would seem to me this was the work of God through the Holy Spirit to reach out to you. And you were blessed that the person you spoke with was able to "hear" and "obey" and follow that urge that prompted the direction of the conversation.
This was a unique conversation
Yes, it was unique because it needed to be in order for you to "hear". Anything less, and you maybe would have simply dismissed it...
As we parted ways, he smiled and said two things: “Ray, nothing ever happens by accident. Read John and that will help.” He then asked for my phone and set up a Bible App for me. Needless to say, I spent the rest of the night reading the Gospel of John and, by the next day I too decided to received the “gift” of faith (again).
It was no accident. Praise God :)
God is good!!
 

rtm3039

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Feb 5, 2019
627
482
63
Miami, FL
Thank you, Atomic Snowflake. You have an interesting "handle" and I'd love to hear how you selected it. What I struggle with the most is my academic need to quantify what I believe in. It is this need that moved me away from my faith 30 years ago and what I struggle with the most now. I know faith requires no evidence, but it is an old habit I am trying to resolve.

I have no idea if my encounter with this person was a sign or a coincidence. Personally, I want to believe the former rather than the latter. Regardless, the message was timely and there really was no way he could have known of my struggle to believe (as I made no mention of this).

Of one thing I am sure: Since embracing my new found faith in God, I feel as if a heavy rock has been lifted from my shoulder. This is going to take a while, but I am glad for the sequence of events that led me from where I was to where I am.

God is good and may he bless all willing to embrace his warmth.
 
Sep 3, 2009
11,946
4,593
113
Florida
Ok, I want to put this out there are see what other people think.

I grew up as a Christian and did all that Christian kids are supposed to do (church, baptism, Sunday school, etc). After college and joining the US Army, my faith went away. I never considered myself an atheist but did an agnostic. Now, I have retired from the military and am in a new life. For years, I have been struggling with the idea of faith and often quoted “Robert Langdon” (fictional character created by author Dan Brown), that “faith is a gift I have yet to receive.”

About three weeks ago, I attended services for a family friend that passed away. No issues with this, as our friend lived a long like (86) and his death was expected. These “viewings” take way too long (4 – 5 hours) and I was just walking around and looking at people. There was a young man (33 years old), who was standing away from most people. I did not know him personally but knew that he was a co-worker to the deceased’s son-in-law.

So, having not much anything to do (wife was busy talking to people and I had already spoken with everyone I knew), I went up to the guy with the intent of striking up a short casual conversation. During the conversation, which did not start off religious, he told me that his grandmother has used the same funeral home a year ago. This led to him sharing his personal history that, like me, he too grew up as a Christian and, in his 20s, had issues with faith. He added that this went on for many years, until he finally re-received this “gift” and is now in a better place. This was a unique conversation, as he never tried to “convert” me, but rather explained his own journey from faith, to not, and back.

After about three hours, it was time to go. At the conclusion, I have made the comment that we had both shared much personal information but did not even know each other’s names. At that point, he commented that his name way Raymond, but people called him “Ray”. As it turns out, my name is Reinaldo but people call me “Ray”. As we parted ways, he smiled and said two things: “Ray, nothing ever happens by accident. Read John and that will help.” He then asked for my phone and set up a Bible App for me. Needless to say, I spent the rest of the night reading the Gospel of John and, by the next day I too decided to received the “gift” of faith (again).

Anyway, this is how I find myself on this discussion board and why I am joining this community. So, my question is, what was that encounter suppose to be? Was it a sign, or am I just overthinking it?

Bless you all, rtm3039 (aka: Ray)
God bless you Ray and may I say to you that There are no such things my friend as "Coincidences".

God is sovereign and the Bible tells us that He knew YOU before the Creation of this old earth.

You do not need a sign or a miracle. What you need you just got and that was a messenger from God with the only thing that can help you...……....
The Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Consider these words from the book of Hebrews 2:1...…...
"We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away."

God placed someone in your path to give you what He wanted you to have and that is the FAITH to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ!

Do not miss the opportunity! You must now answer the same question that every person must answer...……….
"What do YOU think of Christ Jesus".

Is He just another man or is He the Lord's Christ and the Saviour of your soul.

Romans 10:9 is the medicine we all need to cure our sin condition...……...
"
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the LORD Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation."

Have YOU done that? If not why not?
 

rtm3039

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Feb 5, 2019
627
482
63
Miami, FL
God bless you Ray and may I say to you that There are no such things my friend as "Coincidences".

God is sovereign and the Bible tells us that He knew YOU before the Creation of this old earth.

You do not need a sign or a miracle. What you need you just got and that was a messenger from God with the only thing that can help you...……....
The Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Consider these words from the book of Hebrews 2:1...…...
"We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away."

God placed someone in your path to give you what He wanted you to have and that is the FAITH to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ!

Do not miss the opportunity! You must now answer the same question that every person must answer...……….
"What do YOU think of Christ Jesus".

Is He just another man or is He the Lord's Christ and the Saviour of your soul.

Romans 10:9 is the medicine we all need to cure our sin condition...……...
"
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the LORD Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation."

Have YOU done that? If not why not?
Major, thank you for your direct approach to answering my question(s). Yes, I accept Jesus as the Savior of my soul. I still have moments, but they are fewer every day. The Bible is teaching me just how incredible Jesus is. His love is beyond measure and his patience is equality as deep. I know that I have failed him on way too many occasions, but his love of his children knows no boundaries and we are all blessed that we can be forgiven for the moments we fell short of what he wants us to be. It's going to take some time, but I am in a good place and headed in the right direction.

Thank you ...
 
Sep 3, 2009
11,946
4,593
113
Florida
Major, thank you for your direct approach to answering my question(s). Yes, I accept Jesus as the Savior of my soul. I still have moments, but they are fewer every day. The Bible is teaching me just how incredible Jesus is. His love is beyond measure and his patience is equality as deep. I know that I have failed him on way too many occasions, but his love of his children knows no boundaries and we are all blessed that we can be forgiven for the moments we fell short of what he wants us to be. It's going to take some time, but I am in a good place and headed in the right direction.

Thank you ...
Blessings to you my brother.

I am to old now to waste a lot of time which is why I try to cut through the mustard and get to the point.

May I say to you that what you are experiencing is called "Sanctification". You are growing and learning and being prepared to be used by the Lord.

May I also say to you that now that you are born again please know that God will never bring up your past sins. They have been removed from His records and anytime you feel guilt over failing the Lord, that feeling did not come from God but from Satan who wants to harm you.
 

rtm3039

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Feb 5, 2019
627
482
63
Miami, FL
Blessings to you my brother.

I am to old now to waste a lot of time which is why I try to cut through the mustard and get to the point.

May I say to you that what you are experiencing is called "Sanctification". You are growing and learning and being prepared to be used by the Lord.

May I also say to you that now that you are born again please know that God will never bring up your past sins. They have been removed from His records and anytime you feel guilt over failing the Lord, that feeling did not come from God but from Satan who wants to harm you.
Hey Major, thanks, again, for your straight forward remarks. Few people speak in straight talk anymore and the level of hypocrisy we are surrounded by just makes me sick to my stomach. I now spend a great deal of time reading the Bible and working my way through my own thoughts and recollection of how things use to be.

I went into one of the boxes we stored “old stuff” in and came across my original Bible. It was given to me by my parents, back in 1973. It was bitter sweet, as my mon handwrote “Love Mami” (Spanish) and dated it 8-6-73. In the past 5 years, I lost both my parents and am still a little rattled by that. I had not opened that Bible in over 40 years and it still smells like I recalled back then.

Yes, I still find myself feeling guilty of the so often times I let the Lord down and focused on the wrong prize. Don’t get me wrong, I have had many occasions in which I conducted myself like a good Christian, but I guess we tend to focus on the bad and not so much on the good.

As I re-discover my faith and the teachings of the Bible, I am having a hard time justifying why I ever lost my faith to begin with. The Lord is so kind and so willing to forgive us for being human. I honestly feel free and unencumbered by the burden of my past shackles.

My brother, thank you for the inspiration.
 
  • Like
Reactions: bobinfaith
Sep 3, 2009
11,946
4,593
113
Florida
Hey Major, thanks, again, for your straight forward remarks. Few people speak in straight talk anymore and the level of hypocrisy we are surrounded by just makes me sick to my stomach. I now spend a great deal of time reading the Bible and working my way through my own thoughts and recollection of how things use to be.

I went into one of the boxes we stored “old stuff” in and came across my original Bible. It was given to me by my parents, back in 1973. It was bitter sweet, as my mon handwrote “Love Mami” (Spanish) and dated it 8-6-73. In the past 5 years, I lost both my parents and am still a little rattled by that. I had not opened that Bible in over 40 years and it still smells like I recalled back then.

Yes, I still find myself feeling guilty of the so often times I let the Lord down and focused on the wrong prize. Don’t get me wrong, I have had many occasions in which I conducted myself like a good Christian, but I guess we tend to focus on the bad and not so much on the good.

As I re-discover my faith and the teachings of the Bible, I am having a hard time justifying why I ever lost my faith to begin with. The Lord is so kind and so willing to forgive us for being human. I honestly feel free and unencumbered by the burden of my past shackles.

My brother, thank you for the inspiration.
I do not believe that you ever "lost" your faith to begin with brother.

It may very well be that you were never saved to begin with. There is a real distinction between religious and actually being born again.

The world and especially churches are full of people who use all the right “God talk” words and actions, and even make impressive displays of power, but they do not belong to the Lord.

It was those kinds of people who Jesus spoke about in Matthew 7:21-23 when He said ……………...

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’”

When Jesus said, “I never knew you,” to the feigned disciples, He meant that He never recognized them as His true disciples or His friends. He never had anything in common with them nor approved of them. They were no relations of His. Christ did not dwell in their hearts, nor did they have His mind. In all these ways and more, Jesus never knew them. Note that Jesus is not breaking off the relationship here—there was never a relationship to break off. Despite their high-sounding words and showy displays of religious fervor, they had no intimacy with Christ.

From what I read from you my brother, you sound very sincers and "humble" and I for one believe that you are your way to being someone very special for the Lord's work.

I am always blessed to speak with you and I will help you anyway I can.
 

rtm3039

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Feb 5, 2019
627
482
63
Miami, FL
Thank you Major. There is a great deal to be said about the kindness of others. There is a great deal going on in my life right now, but I feel that all of that was intended for all of this.

Bless you and your family,

rtm3039
 

AtomicSnowflake

Senior Moderator
Staff member
Senior Moderator
Secretary
Jan 8, 2017
1,995
2,094
113
48
Arkansas
www.kz.indigo-phoenix.com
You are here because you are supposed to be... don't allow yourself to dwell on any doubts, guilt, or negativity... those things are just traps. Our "feelings" and "emotions" are

Of one thing I am sure: Since embracing my new found faith in God, I feel as if a heavy rock has been lifted from my shoulder. This is going to take a while, but I am glad for the sequence of events that led me from where I was to where I am.

God is good and may he bless all willing to embrace his warmth.
God is good and may he bless all willing to embrace his warmth. <---- Don't forget, this includes you!!

If or when you ever have any doubts... just stop right then and be honest with God, & remember to talk to him... pray in total honesty and just tell him everything you're feeling, doubting, fearing, or whatever it is.
If you seek, you will find :) He will reveal the truth to you.
But I do believe you know these things already, and that's wonderful.

[Phl 4:6-7 KJV] 6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

[Phl 4:8 KJV] 8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things [are] honest, whatsoever things [are] just, whatsoever things [are] pure, whatsoever things [are] lovely, whatsoever things [are] of good report; if [there be] any virtue, and if [there be] any praise, think on these things.

And anytime you need prayer, support, questions... or whatever, that's what we're all here for.

[Heb 10:22-25 KJV] 22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the profession of [our] faith without wavering; (for he [is] faithful that promised;) 24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: 25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some [is]; but exhorting [one another]: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thank you, Atomic Snowflake. You have an interesting "handle" and I'd love to hear how you selected it.
That isn't the first time I've been asked. Not long after I joined CFS, I was asked about it..

I came up with this several years ago when google started gmail accounts. It was quite difficult to come up with something for an email address that wasn't already taken without having to add some useless extra characters, digits, letters or whatever...
So I tried to think of a pair of unrelated words that sounded good together & was different, or unique. Words that were opposites... a cute oxymoron...like jumbo shrimp.
I liked snowflake as being delicate, pretty, & natural... and for an extreme opposite, I liked atomic..
---------
However, I really like what bobinfaith pointed out about it in the thread where it was discussed.
 

bobinfaith

Senior Moderator
Staff member
Senior Moderator
Hello Brother Ray;

I've been touched by what I've read and am blessed you joined us, thank you!

When you shared about your first Bible that your Mom signed in 1973, it gave me time to reflect my Dad and Mom. Mom died 16 years ago this month and to this day I still miss her very much. When I was 9 years she prayed over me when I gave my life to Jesus.

Every Sunday Dad took us to church at the base chapel when we were kids. Today Dad is 82 and retired from the Air Force and still attends church. When I call him, no matter what I know today, my Dad still knows more than I do, he's my Dad, so I listen.

We, I, as believers of Christ all have our share of problems but Dad and Mom helped me be more bearable because of God's great love and promises to all of us.

God bless you, Ray, and I enjoyed reading How I Find Myself Here.


I liked snowflake as being delicate, pretty, & natural... and for an extreme opposite, I liked atomic.. however, I really like what bobinfaith pointed out about it in the thread where it was discussed.
Hi AtomicSnowflake;

I've been tempted to call you Snowflake for short. Or, when you get fired up, Atomic! lol!
Just kidding! God bless you!
 
Feb 11, 2019
72
85
18
39
Glen Rock, PA
www.facebook.com
Hope you don’t mind me sharing a poem that I wrote

Like He Knew


People spoken of in God’s Word weren’t created by accident


Nor were they placed where they lived by accident, was planned


Just like Psalms 139 says for all of us, as planned by God





Everything lines up played out like He knew through His Creation


Including the days leading to our total surrender of doing His will


Just like the People living the chapters of His Word to the Cross





We’re Born to the Parents God Designed to raise us as written


God’s Word makes no accidents, including the gift of free will


And its this Free will that gives us the choice to be raised right





Not everything plays out like planned in our minds let alone life


Nor does the house we live in always have four walls and a roof


The road we’re on may look rough getting where God leads us





What we’re going through is nothing compared to living the Bible


Yet everyone God put in place to live got to where He needed them


Despite where they came from, met up at the same destination





The life we’re living has been played out like He knew we would


Just like He said writing Psalms 139 seeing onto this day we Live


The Roads we took maybe different, yet here we are together





Everything lines up to the feet of Jesus starting with the Cross


Including the days we choose to wrestle Him instead letting go


Like those gone before us we’re born to see Him face to face





Psalms 139
 

rtm3039

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Feb 5, 2019
627
482
63
Miami, FL
Like is a funny thing, Robinfaith!

When I was a boy, one of my biggest fears was either of my parents passing away. I use to ask God to keep them with me for as long as possible. My Mom died of complications with dementia (Alzheimer) at 76 and in 2012. My Dad passed away at 87, in 2017, from a broke heart (he just never got over my Mom's passing). While I enlisted in the US Army at 19 and spent 24 years away from home, I did have many occasions to either come to Miami and visit, or have my parents visit me. God heard me and kept them around for a long time.

I actually visited them at the cemetery this morning and it still stings. It's a funny thing how life evolves. My dad was a not that great a husband. He had affairs way too often and my mom pretty much caught him every time. She stayed with him, mostly to make his life difficult. In 2006, after I retired from the military, we decided to move back to Miami. We bought a house and moved my parents in with us. By then, my mom's dementia was pretty severe. I will say this much for my dad: If it is possible to earn your wings, he did. From 2006 to 2012, he spent every moment of his day taking care of my mom. He did everything for her, to include spending hours trying to get her to eat. My pop turned out to be a really caring man and I hope they are not arguing up in Heaven.

Thanks or your kind words and bless you.
 
  • Like
Reactions: bobinfaith
Jan 31, 2019
25
19
3
Bradford County, PA
Ray, welcome aboard. I'm pretty new here too.

I found your story of becoming Faithful heartening because it was not from going down the "Roman Road." My conversion wasn't either and so I find it difficult to be supportive of typical evangelism. The Gate is narrow, yet there are many ways to get to that Gate. Peter's, Paul's, and John's way to the Gate were VERY different from each others. No reason your's should be like anyone else's.
 

rtm3039

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Feb 5, 2019
627
482
63
Miami, FL
Ray, welcome aboard. I'm pretty new here too.

I found your story of becoming Faithful heartening because it was not from going down the "Roman Road." My conversion wasn't either and so I find it difficult to be supportive of typical evangelism. The Gate is narrow, yet there are many ways to get to that Gate. Peter's, Paul's, and John's way to the Gate were VERY different from each others. No reason your's should be like anyone else's.
Thank you TwoBlocked. I consider myself a work in progress. I feel I am well on my way, but I know it will take some focus. Few of us get to where we are going by following the same path. It does help; however, when people are willing to hold up a light, when the road gets confusing.

Have a blessed day.

Ray
 
Sep 3, 2009
11,946
4,593
113
Florida
Like is a funny thing, Robinfaith!

When I was a boy, one of my biggest fears was either of my parents passing away. I use to ask God to keep them with me for as long as possible. My Mom died of complications with dementia (Alzheimer) at 76 and in 2012. My Dad passed away at 87, in 2017, from a broke heart (he just never got over my Mom's passing). While I enlisted in the US Army at 19 and spent 24 years away from home, I did have many occasions to either come to Miami and visit, or have my parents visit me. God heard me and kept them around for a long time.

I actually visited them at the cemetery this morning and it still stings. It's a funny thing how life evolves. My dad was a not that great a husband. He had affairs way too often and my mom pretty much caught him every time. She stayed with him, mostly to make his life difficult. In 2006, after I retired from the military, we decided to move back to Miami. We bought a house and moved my parents in with us. By then, my mom's dementia was pretty severe. I will say this much for my dad: If it is possible to earn your wings, he did. From 2006 to 2012, he spent every moment of his day taking care of my mom. He did everything for her, to include spending hours trying to get her to eat. My pop turned out to be a really caring man and I hope they are not arguing up in Heaven.

Thanks or your kind words and bless you.
One thing is for sure my dear friend...…..if they are in heaven, they are NOT arguing !

That is a wonderful story.
 
  • Like
Reactions: rtm3039