Friday, January 31, 2014

It's Time

What do you do when you're a blog writer and you feel led to write about something?  Well, you write about it of course.  But what if it's something straightforward and bold?  What if not everyone wants to read it?  What if it's offensive to some, blown off by others, or heard too many times before?

I think you say it anyway.

You see I had an incredible, breathtaking privilege this week.  As I was putting two of my younger children to bed one night I just felt strongly that I needed to tell them about Jesus.  Now, growing up in a house where daddy is a pastor, you hear about Jesus quite a bit so they already knew about Him.  But this night, I just felt very strongly that I was supposed to tell them again about what it means to give your heart to Jesus- and so I did.  Let me tell you, my 5 year old daughter and my 4 year old son were captivated- I mean their hearts were truly engaged and when I was done, they asked me if they could pray and ask Jesus into their hearts.  I called my husband up into the room and with him I did the greatest thing I could ever do- I led my children to Jesus.

Me praying with Natalie, my 5 year old daughter
Me praying with Johnny, my 4 year old son

The next day we talked to them about what they did when they gave their hearts to Jesus and my children were truly joyous.  It was incredible to see that they not only were aware of the decision that they had made, but that in their spirits they were truly happy and they could feel the difference it made inside to be reconciled with the Lord.  I could not be more happy.

In church this Sunday the preacher took us back to Matthew chapter 28:17.  Back to the mountain where Jesus met His disciples AFTER He had been crucified.  The verse says that Jesus' disciples saw Him on a mountain after He had already been killed and it was there that some worshipped, and some doubted.  They stood face to face with the risen Jesus- and still some chose to doubt.  When it comes right down to it these are the two fundamental choices that people make even today- believe, or doubt.

Because here's the thing, both are a choice.  Doubt is a choice, and belief is a choice.  The reason I say doubt is a choice is because you have to see it through- you have to take that small piece of questioning inside you and you have to cling to it; you have to cling to it and you have to choose to make it what you believe in.  When a person chooses a life apart from God he honestly thinks he is walking farther and farther away from God.  The drinking, the swearing, the life living solely for yourself- you really think that you are getting away from God.  But let me tell you something about God...before you were born God loved you with a love so fierce and a love so strong that there is nothing you could ever do to get away from Him.  "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?  Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?  For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels, nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither, height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:35, 38-39)  The further you walk into the depths of your sin the closer you walk into His arms because even "if you make your bed in hell, there He is" (Ps.139:8)  He just loves you that much.

I have been talking about this for weeks, and finally it is time for me to be completely forthright with you.  Don't get me wrong, I have no intention of changing this blog- things will go back to normal.  I will update you on my illness, I will talk about my life and take you with me as I walk through it- I will laugh with you and cry with you just as we have been for over a year.  But today- today I will say what needs to be said...what I feel I am being asked to say.  Because God has told me to lay aside my own plans so He can speak to someone.  So He can to speak to you.

Friends, you have a choice to make today.  It is no accident.  Heaven does not come to those who are good, to those who attend church, or whose friends are good- there is no such thing as entering on cruise control.  "Jesus answered him, 'Truly, truly, I say to you unless one is born again he cannot see the Kingdom of God.'" (John 3:3)  We all die and we all will come face to face with God Almighty- and you will give an account to what you did with the choice that was given to you.  It is a deliberate choice that you yourself will make about Him.  About Jesus.

Friend you are a sinner.  Just like me.  Just like us all- everyone who ever graced this earth and who ever will is a sinner, thus not worthy of heaven "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23).  If you think for one moment that you are a decent person you might want to take a second to read the Bible and then try and line yourself up with those standards- since those are the ones that God will be using.  God knew that none of us would ever, ever be able to live up to those standards and that's why He did the most insane thing known to any god or man.  You ask me why THIS God- why not buddah?  Why not allah?  No other god ever did what my God did...because you see, my God took His very son- Jesus- and He put Him on the altar and shed His blood.  His pure and perfect son paid the price once and for all for my sins and for your sins.  His red blood continually washes my slate white as snow.  When I ask, I am forgiven- and I can now come before God wholly and purely.  Because, and only because, of JESUS.  "And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." (Acts 4:12)

It is not just a religion.  It is not just service on Sunday morning.  It is not just reciting of prayers.  It is about giving your heart and soul to the one who can set it free.  It is about asking forgiveness to the very one who died so that you could live.  Jesus died on the cross because it had to be either Him or you- and He didn't want it to be you.  And you know what?  On the third day he rose again.  He not only provided a way for your sins to be forgiven, but He also conquered death.  My God lives.  He lives then, He lives now, He speaks, He moves, He hears my prayers, He guides my steps, He has a plan and purpose for my life, He has a plan for your life, and He is speaking to you even now.

Right now.

So make your choice.  There are no bells and whistles.  I have no fancy music and I am not even sure if my words were eloquent enough.  But I know that you know the choice you are faced with right now.  It is between you and Jesus right now.  God has had a gift with your name on since the day Jesus went to the cross- and it always will have your name on it.  Nobody but you can open it.  This was the uncomfortable part for me to write- because I need to urge you.  I need to tell you that I love you, heart and soul.  I need to tell you that I am not talking about saying a simple prayer asking Jesus into your heart, or asking Jesus to forgive your sins, or asking Jesus to be your God....oh don't get me wrong, I am talking about all of that.  But that's just the outward sign of the inward choice.  The choice to leave an old life behind in exchange of a new life.  The choice only you can make to give Jesus total control of the person you are now, and allow Him to give you a new life in Him.
A new man.  A new personhood.  A new path.  To go from being blind to finally being able to see.  It is not about saying a noun, it's about living an action.  "Not everyone who says to me 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the ones who does the will of my Father who is in heaven." (Matthew 7:21)

It is simple.  So, so simple.  Face your eternity, and the one who created you and loved you enough to bridge the gap your own choices have created between the two of you.

I could have given you reasons.  I could have told you about sin and it's effect on your life in many different ways.  Maybe used scare tactics on what sin does to you in the long run- maybe even told you all about hell.  I could have gone in the other direction and told you just how amazing it is to choose Jesus (because it really is).  About the precious security your soul will have.  How in a world where everyone is always looking to fill this endless void, your soul will have all that it needs.  About how one moment your life- regardless of how nice it looks on the outside- is in shambles, and then Jesus enters it and begins to pick up the pieces from the inside out.

But I didn't do that.  I felt led to give you the core- the straight-up heart of the matter.  Why?  Because today it is YOUR choice, and your choice alone.  You spend countless hours researching what phone you are going to get, or what kind of car you will buy.  And yet what do you do with this one life you have been given?  I want so badly to plead with you, because I know what is at stake and because if you know anything by now then you should know that the heart of mine is that I love you and I want more than anything for you to be closer to Him.  But I have to bring this post to an end, and leave it in your hands.  So now I give you this: the biggest choice of your life and death.

And I am leaving it all up to you to make.  You're a big kid now, and God told me to tell you about Him, and leave the rest up to you. Because it will always be up to you to make, and you to live.

This is between you and God.  It always has been.

I am praying for you.

Joshua 24:15 “But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve...But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” 

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