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John Calvin puts forward a very simple reason why love is the greatest gift: “Because faith and hope are our own: love is diffused among others.” In other words, faith and hope benefit the possessor, but love always benefits another. In John 13:34–35 Jesus says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Love always requires an “other” as an object; love cannot remain within itself, and that is part of what makes love the greatest gift.
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just_me

If you could go back in time and meet yourself as a teen, what would you Say to yourself?

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As for me, I would try to tell myself that the Jehovah's Witnesses did not represent the Christian community at all and there is a God that truly loved me for who I was, instead of trying to be this regimental goosestepping robot that the JW's promoted as being Christian.

 

I would tell myself that there was no future in drugs and drinking, and to try and make me realize that my brother, in doing what he was doing was not being cool but being just as cruel as he was to me when we were growing up. He just had surrounded himself with more people just like he was and it looked cool only from my present stand point.

 

i would also tell myself that running away from the JW's didn't mean running away from my own problems, but running away from the problems of being in a cult. I left school at the same time that I left the JW's and it stifled my grwth as a productive citizen in the process.

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1. Don't waste your time with girls. There will be so many more opportunities to find a really nice one once you start working/living in Asia.

2. Learn a foreign language (either Korean, Japanese or Mandarin) and try to learn the original languages of the Bible.

3. Take the words of the Bible more seriously and heed the warning found in Ecclesiastes 11:9 - to which I cling even more to Psalm 25:7.

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Well, it would be an interesting experiment. I wonder if I would listen to my older and wiser self? I was nearly 50 when I came to find real faith, even though I had grown up in an evangelical home with godly parents, none of it really impacted my life. I often regret all those years, but I also know that the Holy Spirit has his own time table and no one can come to Christ unless the Father draws him (John 6:44). I also regret all the worry I must have caused my parents. But I am reminded of the faithful prayers of Augustine's mother Monica, who never ceased to pray for her son's salvation, and I'm sure that in my case the prayers of my parents were no less effective. Here is Augustine's confession regarding his mother:

 

"And Thou sentest Thine hand from above, and drewest my soul out of that profound darkness, my mother, Thy faithful one, weeping to Thee for me, more than mothers weep the bodily deaths of their children. For she, by that faith and spirit which she had from Thee, discerned the death wherein I lay, and Thou heardest her, O Lord; Thou heardest her, and despisedst not her tears, when streaming down, they watered the ground under her eyes in every place where she prayed; yea Thou heardest her."

 

Augustine, S., Bishop of Hippo. (1996). The Confessions of St. Augustine. (E. B. Pusey, Trans.). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

 

See also, "Monica: The Mother Who Never Stopped Praying."

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If I could see and talk to my younger self, I'd probably tell him some advice that I would hear from a friend years later: "Hear God and obey Him."

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The road you are on is a dead end.

Hi @Beau Michel, could you please be more specific? Please explain to whom you are speaking and how it is a dead end. (I think you may be talking about JW's, but I don't want to assume.)

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No, sorry ,I was rather general. I was referring to a sordid past of sex drugs and rock n' roll.

 

Although I'm only 28 that pretty much sums up my teenage years of using whatever drugs I could get my hands on and spacing out to Pink Floyd's Dark side of the Moon album in my room with a blacklight. Even worse is I listened to dirty rap music too, looking back I don't know how I enjoyed such garbage.

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There's a lot of stupid things I was doing when I was younger. I would tell myself not to focus on the broken ideals of success and significance of high school peers. I'd tell myself to stop playing around with drugs and alcohol, something that should have killed me or destroyed my mind as crazy as I was. I'd tell myself that my friends aren't really friends at all. And I tell myself to stop smoking, chewing dip, drinking coke, and eating sunflower seeds, all that destroyed my teeth.

 

But I think that past has purpose, I know what's in the darkness because I was there and I learned what that lifestyle does to people. And I don't think I'd be happy as a high achiever.

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But I think that past has purpose, I know what's in the darkness because I was there and I learned what that lifestyle does to people.

 

 

I agree. If I hadn't experienced the absolute darkness of the world, I don't believe I would be who I am today. I believe my journey through darkness gives me a greater appreciation and understanding of the scriptures.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I don't think any of us would have listened (we thought we knew it all)

 

Even after we showed them our ID. That would have freaked me out and the fact that we could recount everything we had thought no one else knew. lol.

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No, sorry ,I was rather general. I was referring to a sordid past of sex drugs and rock n' roll.

 

Been there, done that. Didn't even get a tee shirt. lol.

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Well, it would be an interesting experiment. I wonder if I would listen to my older and wiser self? I was nearly 50 when I came to find real faith, even though I had grown up in an evangelical home with godly parents, none of it really impacted my life. I often regret all those years, but I also know that the Holy Spirit has his own time table and no one can come to Christ unless the Father draws him (John 6:44). I also regret all the worry I must have caused my parents. But I am reminded of the faithful prayers of Augustine's mother Monica, who never ceased to pray for her son's salvation, and I'm sure that in my case the prayers of my parents were no less effective. Here is Augustine's confession regarding his mother:

 

"And Thou sentest Thine hand from above, and drewest my soul out of that profound darkness, my mother, Thy faithful one, weeping to Thee for me, more than mothers weep the bodily deaths of their children. For she, by that faith and spirit which she had from Thee, discerned the death wherein I lay, and Thou heardest her, O Lord; Thou heardest her, and despisedst not her tears, when streaming down, they watered the ground under her eyes in every place where she prayed; yea Thou heardest her."

 

Augustine, S., Bishop of Hippo. (1996). The Confessions of St. Augustine. (E. B. Pusey, Trans.). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

 

See also, "Monica: The Mother Who Never Stopped Praying."

 

Your walk parallels mine, my friendI hope you've fared better in the long run , but we will see each other in glory, if not before and maybe swap notes.

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There's a lot of stupid things I was doing when I was younger. I would tell myself not to focus on the broken ideals of success and significance of high school peers. I'd tell myself to stop playing around with drugs and alcohol, something that should have killed me or destroyed my mind as crazy as I was. I'd tell myself that my friends aren't really friends at all. And I tell myself to stop smoking, chewing dip, drinking coke, and eating sunflower seeds, all that destroyed my teeth.

 

But I think that past has purpose, I know what's in the darkness because I was there and I learned what that lifestyle does to people. And I don't think I'd be happy as a high achiever.

 

Amen. I remember thinking proudly of myself after I came out of detox and thinking me slick for sliding into The Military after loosing the warm cozy beed of that drug cleansing place. I know now, it was the hand of God that was slowly lifting me out of the personal poverty and the decadence of my youth and bringing me into a mental state that would support my enough to allow me the time to come to know him. I know I should have died many times along that path that I choose, but the emperor of the world held me up while I was teasing destruction.

 

The idea of the darkness is quite apt. All we have to do is look up in the night sky and see the blanket of the stars to see that. Would we truly appreciate the light of the stars, if it weren't for the vail of darkness that surrounds them. Would we focus on these tiny points of light that so efficiantly represent the small path that Jesus once talked about, to get to him, if we hadn't seen the immensity of the black areas that surround them and understand that in all that dar spaces there is only the emptiness and the coldness that pervades this world we live in.

 

 

 

The more I think about it, the more I am reminded of that beautiful poem, "Footsteps in the Sand." It brings a tear to my eye, every time it pops into memory.

 

I'd like to thank you all for allowing me the chance to remember that poem. Isn't God wonderful?

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I agree. If I hadn't experienced the absolute darkness of the world, I don't believe I would be who I am today. I believe my journey through darkness gives me a greater appreciation and understanding of the scriptures.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amen. I think that as well.

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Yes I think a great many of us did. Fortunately I had a strong upbringing which help me grow up and take responsibility when the time came for marriage and family. None of my escapades were done in ignorance. My debauched lifestyle was done in full knowledge of right and wrong. Self-will was the dominant factor in my life at the time.

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