Sunday, September 27, 2020

Do You Belong to Jesus?

Are you still waiting for a particular family member to make a decision to follow Christ? 

They might even say they are a Christian - but their life's actions don't back up that assertion. Many profess their religious preferences and convictions, but a true conversion will be evident by their lifestyle (fruit). Ultimately, only God Himself knows if they are truly saved.

Embracing the true gospel and its doctrines is difficult. 

Jesus Himself had this to say about two ways of life:  "Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way, which leads to life, and there are few who find it." (Matthew 7:13-14)

Becoming a Christian is an individual choice

It is not predicated on your family background, your church attendance, or your moral values. There is a saying that "God has no grandchildren". It is based solely on faith in the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ as a substitute for you at Calvary. He bore our sins so we could become sinless. It is a belief and a personal confession of His saving grace and mercy extended to you as a sinner by a loving God who pursues us.

There should be a time in your life where you can clearly point to 
an event or a private moment that changed you forever, and that is  
your genuine conversion experience with the Lord Jesus Christ.

There is a super highway in life that is packed with many lanes of traffic - all headed in the wrong direction. The pace is fast and furious. There is congestion and noise and mass confusion. The world is on the broad road to destruction and death. Eternity for them is pure hell - literally...

There is also a road less traveled. It is like a picturesque back country road - meandering through the hills and valleys of life. It is a narrow road that leads to life and godliness. It is often a difficult and lonely journey. Eternity for the true believer will be a never ending communion with the God of creation.


In the last days there will be many in the "church" who will fall away from the faith (apostasy). 

There are countless false believers and those who would confuse and mislead many on the way. Our loved ones are often lulled by the world and its relentless tug-o-war on their hearts and minds. Praying scripture is one of the most effective ways to petition God on their behalf. This passage is a favorite of mine:  "I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know Him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints, and His incomparably great power for us who believe..." (Ephesians 1:17-19 NIV)

No doubt there will be many in heaven whom we never thought would be there. Certainly there will not be people in heaven that we were sure would be there. The point is Scripture clearly teaches there are "few" who find the narrow gate to heaven. It is a road less traveled and it is difficult.

The good news is that God invites us to join Him via the gospel message - declaring His love sent down from heaven, that we might ask Jesus Christ to save us and sanctify us by His redeeming work.

For those who live in an unequally-yoked marriage, faith in God's ability to reach them is crucial. 

Pray for them and remember that their decision to follow Christ is just that: a personal choice. We do not answer for their actions or their failure to act on His invitation. Free will to reject His offer is not God's perfect will - but it is in His permissive will. 

There will be evidence of a true conversion for a believer when they become part of God's family. You cannot be a true disciple of Jesus Christ without loving His people, His Word, and His ways.

A Christian is a “follower and disciple of Christ”.  
The one who keeps His commandments and 
does His will is a true Christian
 (John 14:15). 



Here are two past posts that talk candidly about true conversion 
by way of the narrow path:

                         It's Not About Religion                                A Bona Fide Convert




Deborah is the author of a Christian non-fiction book titled “Mission Possible”. It was written for women who love the Lord Jesus, but their spouse doesn’t share their passion.  It will encourage and challenge the reader to embrace God’s promises for their spouse and future together. Visit  http://www.spirituallyunevenmarriage.com

 If you have been encouraged by this post - please take time to share it with others.


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Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Where are you, Lord?

 

A well-known phone carrier was famous for its mantra of "Can you hear me now?"

The mobile phone user wanted to make sure he is heard from any location, at any time, in any situation.  Connection is the key to success.

Suppose you are on a call with your spouse and they begin to fade out.  It’s hard to hear them – you might only catch every other word. Their voice might grow faint and you may hear static in the background. You frantically move from room to room in hopes that the signal with grow stronger.

Sometimes you are in a place with God where your signal is weak and your connection is wavering.  

The fault is not at God’s end, but at yours.  You've moved out of range and now you no longer hear Him clearly. “Where are you, God?” 

Now go back in time with me… Remember playing with two cans and a string when you were little – believing you were in an urgent conversation with your sister or best friend?  Sure, you could hear alright, but every now and then you wondered if what you said actually got to the ear of whoever was on the receiving end.  The science says it works, but you had your doubts.


Dr. David Jeremiah [Turning Point Magazine] puts it this way: 
 
  Whenever we pray, God is on the other end of the line with His ear to the can, hearing every word and listening to every vibration of our voices.  He hears even the faintest sigh.  The prophet Daniel prayed regularly all his life and history was changed.  The apostle Paul prayed, and cities were opened to the Gospel.  Hannah prayed and God lifted her burden.

  If you’re in anguish or distress, you don’t need two cans and a string.  Two bent knees and a broken heart will do just fine.


So, how can you be sure you’re being heard?  What can you do from your end to keep the connection intact?  Here are four simple things:

  1.      Keep the line open.  (confession, repentance, devotion)
  2.     Minimize distractions  (gadgets, TV, kids and pets)
  3.      Focus on God  (Bible, devotions, praise music)
  4.      Don’t lose hope while you wait.  (prayer)

I have personally been going through a season of wondering if I am hearing clearly from God or not. You know what I mean…You usually find yourself asking at least one of these questions out of frustration:

            “Lord, why don't you answer me?”
            "Jesus, where are you?"
            “Help me hear Your voice, Lord.”

I know intellectually that God is still where He has always been. The disconnection is at my end - not His!

I’m the one who has moved into the “dead zone” where the signal is faint at best, or non-existent at worst. Then I find myself rehearsing in my mind those things which might have caused the “dropped call”



One of my favorite verses is Psalm 139:23-24, “Search me, O God, and know my hear; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting.”  Verses 1-4 give me pause to reflect on the fact that though I have interfered with the connection – God in His great mercy recognizes my human limitations and knows me intimately.  He comprehends my thoughts and my actions before I do.  His Spirit invites me to re-connect on a stronger signal.

I am glad God is still interested in having a dialog with me.  I often find myself taking a rogue thought captive and redirecting it to the Lord in the form of a prayer and praise.  I am determined to keep my line of communication open with Him despite my shortcomings and failures.

Do you have a tried and true method of staying connected to the Lord?  What advice can you share with others on how to maintain a strong signal through the constant static of life?



Now, more than ever - you need to hear Him clearly!

I am a sheep of the Lord’s pasture.  I listen for His voice.  I follow Him closely.


Yes Lord - I've got 5 bars now!




Deborah is the author of a Christian non-fiction book titled “Mission Possible”. It was written for women who love the Lord Jesus, but their spouse doesn’t share their passion.  It will encourage and challenge the reader to embrace God’s promises for their spouse and future together. Visit  http://www.spirituallyunevenmarriage.com

If you have been encouraged by this post - please take time to share it with others.



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