Wednesday, May 8, 2013
If I Could Spend 30 Minutes With You
If I could spend 30 minutes with you ... I am certain that I could talk to you about photography until I was blue in the face. However, I would rather tell you something really important to me instead.
Blogging really isn't like knowing people in your neighborhood. We may know some people in our blog world more than others but we still tend to remain strangers. You might discover that I like photography or that I own a dog (albeit 90% rat, 10% terrier) but we still remain strangers. We don't really discover what makes each other tick.
If I had that 30 mintutes with you I would want to tell you what gives me real joy in my life.
Life hasn't dealt me aces. I have had my share of trials and my share of blessings. At this moment, I am nearly 54. I am happily married now 32 years. I am unemployed after a 25 year career in one company and another 10 years of work in several places prior to that career. I have 5 grown children, 6 grandchildren and another on the way. We had 17 consecutive years with a high school student living in our home. One of my children deals with a life long disability that requires 65k in medication per year. The road has had many bumps and bruises but I also know that I have seen God's provision through it all. I just want you to understand that I DO know pain and I have seen life's setbacks. I don't have big a 401k and I haven't won a lottery. I have wondered many times why things appeared to be going so badly in my life but looking back I am really convinced that we have seen the goodness of the Lord!
If you know Jesus and are going through a tough period, make sure you run to the Lord quickly. In Matthew 11:28, Jesus says, "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." He is faithful. We have seen this over and over and I would talk to you at length in specific ways God has shown up during our trials.
If you do not know the Lord, I would have so much more to say to you.
As I mentioned before ... in most cases we don't really know each other in the blog world. We have had no past life together and we may really only know a few facts about each other in the "somewhat" present life. But, we certainly have no depth of relationship.
I want to speak of the future ... because it is really the only part of life in which we might be able to say hello and talk to each other. Here is the good news that is available in Christ alone.
You and I can live forever in eternity with Jesus. AND we can actually KNOW we are going there RIGHT NOW! And that is very very good news!
The world has tried to crush the good news of Jesus Christ. Satan wants you to think that you do not need Christ. Satan wants you to think that ignoring Christ means you won't be held accountable by rejecting Christ in the process. Satan wants you to ignore Christ and run your own life. He wants you to think that if there is a heaven, surely you are good enough to get there on your own. Satan is and has always been a liar!
Get your Bible! Seriously, go find that old dusty copy of the Bible that great-gramma used to read. I want you to get a copy of God's word in front of you if you can to read these things for yourself. What I am about to say is not my oppinion. It is in your Bible. I am only showing you where to find these things quickly. I am using an English Standard Version Bible but use the version you have to read these words for yourself or check them out later after reading. The words may be a bit different but the meaning is the same.
Here is the central message in the Bible.
1 - You were made in God's image. Read Genesis 1:27
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
That was a good plan! Uh, so ..., what happened?
2 - Sin separated you from God. Read Isaiah 59:2
but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.
3 - You and I and everyone we know. Read Romans 3:23
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
What's the penalty?
4 - Death is the result of sin! Read Romans 6:23
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
5 - Judgment! Read Hebrews 9:27
And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment,
Why don't you think I'll be "good enough" for heaven?
6 - Because God does not grade on a curve! Read Matthew 5:48
You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Let's pause here for a moment.
I agree. So far, ... this is really really really bad news.
None of us are "good enough" because being "good enough" isn't the way to heaven. God knew there was nothing that we could do to meet His requirement of perfection after we had become sinners.
Many people make the worst error by simply believeing they are "good enough" when God clearly says that we could do nothing to save ourselves. God requires perfection and He isn't lowering the bar! That's why He offers you a gift to accept that IS perfection.
If we could save ourselves then Christ died for nothing! Read Galatians 2:21, it says, I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.
God made a way for us because there was no way that man could earn salvation. His mercy and grace made a way. God loved us so much he gave His only Son, Jesus. Read John 3:16! THAT'S how messed up sin really made us in God's sight. Sin IS serious. And God will punish anyone who does not meet His requirement.
So, how do we get to heaven from all this mess?
7- FAITH! Read Ephesians 2:8-9
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
Faith in what?
8 - JESUS! Read John 14:6
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
9 - CONFESS! Read Romans 10:9
because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
That's how we get to God?
10 - YES! JESUS paid for your sin! Read 1 Peter 3:18
For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit,
So, that IS good news! What's the next move?
11- You need to make a decision. Read Revelation 3:20
Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.
Jesus wants to enter your life. He wants to make himself known to you in a personal relationship. Right now, Jesus is asking you to open the door of your heart and let Him in. He won't force his way in because he created you with the ability to choose. That ability to choose is part of being created in the image of God. What will you choose to do with Jesus?
Well, what are my options?
12 - Receive the Gift / Reject or Ignore the Gift. Read 1 John 5:11-13
And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.
You mean I can know I have eternal life?
13 - Yes! You have passed from death to life! Read John 5:24
Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.
Now that really IS good news!
14 - It sure IS! Don't DELAY! Read 2 Corinthians 6:2
For he says, “In a favorable time I listened to you, and in a day of salvation I have helped you.” Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.
I pray that you will answer that door. Jesus is knocking. You don't know if you will ever stand at this place again in your life. I pray that you will invite Jesus to take control of your life. I pray that you will make Him Lord right now.
You can pray this right now to accept Jesus' payment for your sins and to make Him your Lord and Savior.
Lord Jesus, I am a sinner. Please forgive me for all my sins.
Thank you for showing me how much I need you.
Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins.
Thank you for providing a way for me to live eternally with you.
Make me clean and help me to start a fresh life with you.
I want to accept your gift of salvation and make you my Lord and Savior.
Help me to live each day for you and to pray to you when I stumble in sin.
In Jesus' name. Amen.
Becoming a Christian is just the beginning of an exciting new journey. Jesus called this experience being "born again in John Chapter 3. You have now begun a personal relationship with God as your Heavenly Father. You will never be alone again. If you asked Jesus into your life, the Holy Spirit came into your heart and He will begin to change you over a period of time. The Holy Spirit will now help you understand the Bible more and more. He is now your counselor and He will guide your path to truth. The Holy Spirit will help you to live each day for God and to learn to accept the changes that will begin to happen in your life. You can now depend on His strength and power to help you to grow as a Christian.
Here are some things that will help you begin to see these changes in your life.
1. Tell someone. Confess Jesus to someone you know. Tell them that you believe in Christ!
2. Get yourself a Bible and start reading the Gospel of John every day. Try to read as much as possible but ask the Holy Spirit to show you what it means.
3. Talk to God. Pray! Tell Him how great He is for giving you eternal life! Confess your sins to Him when you still sin. He forgives! Thank Him for the good things you have in your life. Ask Him for help to live for Him and for your needs. Talk to Him because He is now your friend and He loves you so much and He can do anything to help you.
4. Find a church where they teach the Bible and encourage YOU to read it daily. Find other Christians and tell them about your decision to follow Jesus! Find a church that has small groups where you can begin to find new friends to talk to about your faith and life.
5. Simply share your faith with your friends. You have discovered the riches of eternity with Christ and you will want your friends with you. Read Romans 1:16. I am not ashamed of the gospel or Jesus! Tell them how much He loves them! You don't need all the answers! No one has all the answers. I can tell you that I was blind and now I see!
6. Find 1st Corinthians 10:13 in your Bible and memorize it. This is one of the most important verses to learn when you become a believer in Christ. After you memorize it, find more verses to learn. Start with the verses on the photo diagram attached to this post. If you need more, keep going ... here are some more VERSES that will help you grow.
7. Want to study more on your own? Find a book called “Growing In Christ (with Lessons on Assurance and Lessons on Christian Living)” by NavPress. It is a thirteen week study that includes the following topics: Assurance of Salvation, Assurance of Answered Prayer, Assurance of Victory over Sin, Assurance of Forgiveness, Assurance of Guidance, Putting Christ First, His Strength, God’s Word, Love, Giving, The Church, Good Works, and Witnessing.
8. Want even more after that? You think I'm surprised? No, I am NOT! Find a book called "Who I Am In Christ" by Neil T. Anderson.
No matter what you study in God's Word, ask yourself these questions!
a. What did the chapter content say to me?
b. Was there something in the content that exposed an area in which I need to grow in faith or trust?
c. How can I apply this content to my daily living?
I will try to help you with anything you need. If you are looking for a church and need help let me know but the Holy Spirit will guide you if you ask Him for help. Pray for help in all things! What a God! He is right with you.
I hope this has been the very best 30 minutes we could ever have together. This is where my heart is for you! I care for you deeply and wish you the very best in Christ. If you accepted Christ, we will meet someday ... and when we do ... it will be glorious to worship the King of kings with you!
As bloggers ...
We had no past,
We had no present,
... but in Christ alone, even bloggers can know each other!
We can have eternity!
May God bless you with the knowledge of His Son, JESUS!