I was born and raised in the Catholic church and I attended the Catholic schools. I am grateful to the Catholics because they convinced me of the existence of God and a place called heaven. My greatest desire was to one day go to heaven and watch Jesus officiate a “mass”. The teaching of Catholicism, where heaven was concerned, was very vague at best. I never really knew what was required of me in order to secure a place in heaven. I was convinced of one thing, only priests and nuns were going to heaven. I really wanted to go to heaven but I didn’t know the way!
Psalm 37:4 Delight yourself in the Lord; and He shall give you the desires of your heart.
Being a Catholic, I never heard this Scripture, I didn’t know any Bible at all. Having spent ten years backsliding from Catholicism I came back to my parish and began a quest for a place in heaven. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was doing this Scripture. The word delight means to mold oneself or become soft and pliable to the Lord. I didn’t know God’s will for my life but I was willing to do whatever He commanded me to do. I did not find Jesus in the Catholic church, I’m sure He is in there somewhere because He loves Catholics. He sent me some of His saints and they were armed with Bibles.
Philippians 2:13 For it is God who is at work in you, giving you the will and the power to achieve His purpose.
I now understand that it was God who gave me the desire to be saved and go to heaven. I could have resisted Him and spent eternity in hell with my father the devil, but He never gave up on me. In my ignorance I did put Him off for a season, but He was there when I came to my senses. He gave me something I never had before, He gave me the truth and the truth made me free. The truth made me free of doubt and unbelief, now I know and no man nor any devil can take that away from me. Religion is made for contention, it can be debated all the live long day. But the Word of God is forever settled in heaven and it will never change.
Romans 8:32 He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?
I had but one desire, a place in heaven forever, I soon learned that God’s vision for my life is much larger than mine. This will sound silly now but at the time I just never knew, I just wanted heaven but God wanted a relationship. I just wanted heaven, I had no plans to ever meet God face to face. Can you see how religion distorts our view of God? How can anyone be attracted to such a “god”? So, I got saved and I got a Bible and as I studied my Bible I began to see God as He truly is. I spent the first thirty years of my life in “the house of God”, but I never knew God. My view of God was narrow and erroneous, but that was before He revealed Himself to me. He continues to add to my desires and I see no end to them, I see Him more clearly every day. I don’t see Jesus doing mass in heaven, I see Him sitting on His throne recovering all my praise.
Pastor Jerry Lamping
Born and raised in Helena, MT, has been a Pastor for over 20 years.