I have been thinking today about religion. Personally I don't get all caught up in denominations or what people call themselves. As long as you believe you have made a decision to accept Jesus Christ as your Savior and have put your faith in him to save you, how you go about "practicing" your faith is of no concern to me.
If you feel at home in a cathedral - good for you. If you like like loud shouting charasmatic Sundays - also good for you. If you find Jesus in a temple, on a hillside, or in your living room with Charles Stanley - good for you too. I have at different junctures found Jesus in all those places.
It's funny living in the South for a whole bunch of reasons, but the one that I find concerning is that EVERYONE is religious in the Bible belt. I always say the south is where atheists go to church - and it's true! It's not "proper" or something to not believe in God in the South. And I think people here really do believe in God, I'm just not so sure they believe in Salvation. The verse about even the demons believe there's a God always comes to mind here for me. There's such a critical difference in believing there IS a God and believing IN God. I think Satan would like for people to believe they are one in the same.
I have been spending a lot of time in the book of John. I love to return to the place where Jesus became so real to me and for me, that's John. If I could have been anyone in the Bible it wouldn't have been Queen Esther (although I'd love a few months at the spa!), it wouldn't be Mary (I'd have freaked clear out to be pregnant with the son of God!), it wouldn't have been Daniel (I love animals, but not great big teeth so close to my head!), and it wouldn't have been Jesus (I hate to admit it, but I think I would have called on those angels to come GET ME OUT OF HERE!). No, I want to have been John.
There's something in me that so wants to be the steadfast loyal friend that was John. John had no more answers about what was going on than the rest of the disciples, but he was faithful. His attitude and countanence were not dependent on his circumstances. He trusted in Jesus before there was evidence he was trustworthy. And after Jesus ascended and the disciples were probably out of control trying to piece things together, I think John winked to sky and said to himself, "see you soon friend of mine." And I think John is and has been with his very best friend and his father for a long time already.
God is not a higher power like the new age theories believe. God is not us and we are not God. It's definitely not enough to believe there is a God. It is necessary to put your trust in God and believe in him for his gift of salvation. After that, I believe where you find him and how you walk out your faith with him is between you and him. I think God is just big enough to meet us all as individuals and speak to us in a way that we understand and feel connected to Him. I try not to judge what God is doing in other people's lives because I know I have much to learn with my own! I do know for sure that He is God, He is infinitely good, and He is Mighty to Save!