As I have gone through the process of slowly privating many posts, I realized my very first blog post was part of this privated group.
The original post discussed my fear in starting the blog. I was confused about what my “calling” was though I was convinced writing must be a part of it. At this time, my husband was overseas. There was a lot of uncertainty and fear.
My first post covered why I started the blog, and gave a little intro on myself. Unfortunately, that meant bringing up all the “experiences” in my life that I believed were interactions with God.
It’s very common now in my blog that if I find an old post touching on seeking God in mystic ways it will be privated. Sometimes these posts will be rewritten completely or a new one, such as this, will be published instead.
Which is why I do want to give you more of a backstory and my mindset on how I started the blog. Most importantly, though, I want to share some of my flaws in my mindset.
Pride & Confusion
Growing up, I had a bit of a prideful way of thinking, though I clearly did not know it at the time. I grew up under the impression we need to come to Jesus with a “heart prayer.” Now, while I think a heart prayer (asking Jesus into your heart) isn’t…exactly wrong, I think when it is used as a formula to make people feel better about themselves, and to add a number to the “I’ve “saved” this many,” mentality, we have a problem. The heart prayer is an issue when people do not have genuine faith because they do not understand the Gospel.
Instead of preaching the Gospel, answering the questions and skepticism people may have (especially kids and teens) we just want people to know Christ died for them and they don’t have to go to Hell. This sounds all well and good, but this isn’t the Gospel, rather, this is not the FULL Gospel, it’s a portion.
People need to understand sin. They need to understand the division sin causes between us and God. They need to understand God took on the flesh so that He could teach, preach, not only be our example, but then become our atonement sacrifice on the cross. Jesus needs to be explained and understood on how He is God. He is equal to the Father, and the Holy Spirit. If we do not understand how Christ is God, then this will taint the understanding we have of the Gospel. It will not be the true Gospel and it will not be the true Christ.
If we do not understand how Christ is our propitiation, how He paid off our cost of sin on the cross, how He justifies us and imputes His righteousness to us, then we have a watered-down and weakened understanding of the Gospel.
When I started my blog in 2016, I knew the very basics of the Gospel. Christ died for our sins and He resurrected. Sadly, I used to think the Gospel was a surface topic. I thought talking about holiness and sanctification was deeper than the Gospel message. Imputed righteousness and propitiation were terms I did not understand. There was a bit of the Gospel I wished I understood better.
I was focused on sanctification and holiness, and I thought I was quite mature for my age because many adults around me knew about as little of the Gospel, as I did. Life application lessons were abundant and the main focus. Like many other American Christians, I grew up into the Seeker-Driven movement. I focused on emotions and experiences, as ways to affirm my faith in God. I did not really focus much on Christ, as I should have. Jesus did the most important thing in my entire life (paying off my ransom with His blood, His life)…and yet, I did not really look at Him as God.
And you may see how my lack of understanding… created issues.
With the mindset on seeking God with emotions, and thinking I was more mature than I was, I started writing my first blog post on Inside Cup, June 2016. The goal of the blog remains the same. To draw closer to Christ from the inside out. Ironically enough, during that time, I was trying to draw closer to God from the outside in. Using emotions and experiences to “affirm” faith.
I wanted to share “truths” or “lessons” that I believed had been revealed to me. Not so much in a prophetic way, but images or words that had appeared in my mind’s eye. As the Seeker-Movement often encouraged,as long as my “experiences” didn’t add to scripture, but supported scripture, then it was okay, or so I thought. I did not realize if nothing is being added to scripture, then it does not need to be shared, either. We should just go to the word of God.
I did not understand seeking God and believing He “spoke” to me in this way was mysticism. I didn’t understand thinking God spoke to me was extremely SIMILAR to prophecy. We cannot lower the authority of God’s word. So, if God actually was sending me things in my mind, then this should be counted as scripture.
As I said, I grew up with this mindset, and many false teachers who promoted the mindset. Like Rick Warren claiming we just need to “tune in” to God, as if He is a radio channel, to hear Him well. The Purpose Driven Life used to be one of my favorite books, but it took me over a decade to realize…the book did not even teach the Gospel, I was sad to find out. Yet, it explains and shows why I was so confused. I thought I knew things and I really didn’t.
The Christian resources I sought out tended to encourage me to seek out emotional experiences, and they only encouraged my pride.
The resources and many people I trusted to be godly teachers were not.
From 2016 to most of 2019, I very much held a confused and watered-down mindset, which saturated the blog. But in the fall of 2019, I started to listen to Doreen Virtue and the interviews she and Melissa Dougherty had on YouTube. I started learning about false teachers. Actually, I started learning about false teachers in order to help a friend who was getting out of a cult. But the Lord, in His kindness and mercy, helped me learn so much more. He showed me the truth of my own flawed thinking.
It was interesting because by understanding how the things I believed in were wrong, I was shown through scripture, what God’s word actually taught.
By spring of 2020, I gave up seeking after dream meanings. (Sharing my dreams was something I started doing on this blog between 2017 and 2018). I watched the Clouds Without Water series by Justin Peters. He touches on false teaching and false teachers. I listened to Pastor Chris Rosebrough from Fighting 4 Faith. Both men made cases that we do not hear God, and originally, I listened with the intention of agreeing to disagree. However, the more both men pointed to scripture for their reasons and pointed out the errors of those who believe they “hear” from God, the more I began to ponder my own experiences.
Could I really prove I was hearing from God? No.
But every person in the Bible NEVER had issues knowing Who they talked to. There was no doubt. None. There was no possibility of them being wrong.
Could I really prove when I saw the number 6 that God was speaking to me? No. (Yes, this was something I often did. It was a favorite number of mine, and I believed I saw it everywhere. This happened for years, and I thought this affirmed it. However, when I gave up this way of thinking, guess what, I stopped seeing the number everywhere. This is the problem of being set on looking for symbols from God. We will see things, whether or not they are from God is a completely different matter. When God spoke to someone, it didn’t matter how ”in-tune” they were. He got the attention of men who even tried to run from Him.)
Could I really prove my dreams were from God? No.
What was I using to affirm what I believed was God? Emotion and twisting the context of scripture. (Back in the day, I treated scripture like a magic 8 ball. Just randomly open it, and read. If the words related to what I was seeking or feeling, I took it to be a “sign” from God. Scripture can minister to us and our problems, but we still need to understand proper context.)
From understanding my own errors, I started to listen more to these people who I once thought just had a difference of opinion. I began to get introduced to Christian Apologetics, and finally all the pieces that did not make sense started to align. Which is what lead up to me writing in 2020, Why Did A Loving God Kill His Son? (Does God Hate?).
I watched the American Gospel the first and second movie (they are fairly cheap to rent, please watch the full version, resources below). This really helped me! My husband watched, too, and it helped open his eyes, as well. In fact, on his birthday in 2020, he confessed his desire to know Jesus more. He realized how much he didn’t know, and all the ways he had tried to reject God. As we got more into the word together, something I had prayed for especially that year, his eyes were opened to the Savior. He had a legit Pilgrim’s Progress moment.
And so I continued to listen, to learn, to read, ask better questions, and I still do.
The beginning of Inside Cup lasted several years, in a way. I wasn’t as equipped to write about how to draw close to Christ from the inside out because I was seeking Him from emotions and experiences.
Drawing close to Christ from the inside out means understanding our heart – the storehouse. We need to understand sin, how the wages of sin is death, how sin separates us from God, and how Christ is the answer. We need Christ to atone, justify, impute His righteousness to us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. What Christ does to our heart, mind, soul, and strength will make outward appearances. The way we live completely changes.
When I first started the blog, my life hadn’t changed too much. But my life is quite different now compared to 2016. All because of Jesus Christ.
Some resources that have helped me:
Fighting 4 Faith
Pastor Tim Conway
R. C. Sproul
American Gospel: Christ Alone
American Gospel: Christ Crucified
Greg Koukl: Tactics
*(I have a much more extensive resource list down below)
Scripture To Memorize/Meditate On – (ESV) Romans 5:08, “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
–To learn more about what Jesus did on the cross and why His atonement sacrifice is so needed please see: Why Did A Loving God Kill His Son? (Does God Hate?)
–If you do not know the Gospel, do not turn away. If you think you know the Gospel, check out these questions and see how prepared you are for the day someone might ask you why you believe: The Gospel Challenge (30 Question Quiz) – Are You Ready To Defend Your Faith?
Community Prayer –September ‘21
Christian Topics/Series Covered
Personal Blog: Peeking Beneath
Blog For Christian Women: UnAshamed Christian Housewife
*Godly Men & Women I Recommend: Link To List
Resources For False Teaching: Recommended Websites For False Teachers/Teaching
Video Playlist: Christian Questions, Topics, False Teachers, Insights
Video Playlist: New Christian Believer
Video Playlist: Understanding False Teachings
Video Playlist: Sermons To Grow From