Just as You Are

You are forgiving and good, O Lord, abounding in love to all who call to you. ~Psalm 86:5

Do you have any idea of how much God loves you? Don’t just skip by that question. Think about this for a moment. There really is a God. He is alive. He is interactive with all of humanity and He is madly in love with you – you personally – you who are reading this right now – yes you! It does not matter what you have done, who you think you are, how deserving you imagine yourself to be, what masks you wear, or what you pretend to be. God knows your deepest thoughts and innermost fears and He loves you. Just as a great father is crazy about His children so God is crazy about you and wants you to know Him personally.

God has been calling you, screaming your name, talking to you all your life. Through your friends; through the radio; in your own heart; that voice inside your head; that thought that occurred to you at just the right time; the message from that anonymous Christian that you ignored; in every moment that you have written off in your life as coincidence or chance – In all of these God has been calling you to come to Him and enter into close, personal, interactive, and loving relationship with your Creator. 

You do not have to put on a mask, pretend to be something you’re not, or in any way work to earn a spot at His table. You are called to come exactly as you are right at this moment. He has already accomplished everything that is necessary for you. He has laid the path and He has paved the way. All you need to do is accept the free gift of His love and give yourself freely to Him. He will never force you to come to Him. True love cannot be forced. It must be given willingly, freely, and fully.  That is what He is asking you to do.

Once you accept the free gift of His love and call on His name, He will begin a process of conforming you into His image. As you submit your life to Him then love, patience, kindness, long-suffering, and joy will begin to grow inside you. You will become a new creation in Christ.  Through the trials and difficulties of this life, a peace that passes understanding will begin to comfort and to define you.

God is calling to you. He is seeking you desperately - waiting for you to respond. His love for you is greater than you know. Now is the time to respond to His calling. There is no reason to remain away from the light of His love for even one more moment. Don't walk without Him any longer. Come just as you are. Won’t you respond to His call now?  

Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me. ~Revelation 3:20

Neither Death Nor Life

For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified. ~Romans 8:29-30 

I was recently blessed with the opportunity to meet a delightful man named Tom along with his wife Connie. Tom and Connie were married the year my father was born (provided I've done my math correctly). They are looking forward to spending the holidays this year with their children, several grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. Tom and I had a chance to talk about his relationship with Jesus and his testimony gave me great hope and encouragement. Tom has a strong faith in God and is working to become more of a leader in his church and to put his lifetime of experience to work for God's purposes. But, at 83 years old, this wasn't always the case. Tom, you see - this vibrant and active man of God - didn't chose to put his faith in Jesus Christ until he was 72 years old.   

This is a great encouragement because, as Christians, most of us have people in our lives, people that we love, that do not know the love of Christ. Many of us have been praying and witnessing for years or even decades that God would move in the life of our spouse, or child, or parent, or friend. It is easy to become discouraged and fearful when, in our own impatience, we don't see the fruit of that labor. We question God or even our own faith. Tom's testimony illustrates to us that God is faithful and that His will will be accomplished. 

This should also be a great encouragement to those of you who do not know Christ. Do you have a nagging feeling that things are just not quite right and that there is something more? Perhaps you feel that it is too late or that you have waited too long. Perhaps you think that there is no way that you could possibly make such a radical change in your life now - you're too old to be learning a new way of thinking; too old to be reborn anew. What Tom's testimony says to you is that it is never too late to be remade into a beautiful and new creation by the mighty and faithful hand of God.    

The opening verse in Romans speaks of those that are predestined by God to be saved. How do you know if you are one of those that has been chosen? Knowing that you have been predestined for salvation is simple. If you fully place your faith in Christ and confess with all sincerity that He is Lord then you have your answer. You are saved because nobody can confess that Christ is Lord except by the Spirit of God (1 Corinthians 12:3). It is truly that simple (for more on this see our post Elegantly and Beautifully Simple).

So what if you are unable to make that leap? Does that mean you are not of the ones chosen by God for salvation? No. It simply means that it is not yet your time. God's Word tells us that all things work together for the good of those that love God and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). The only way to prove that you are not among the chosen of God is to die without knowing Christ.

Connie has been a Christian all her life and I am sure that she spent many hours praying for and worrying about Tom during his time apart from God. If you know Christ and have someone you love that is lost and separated from God, continue to pray and place your trust in God. If you do not know Christ then please take a moment to pray and ask God to reveal to you His truth that you might come to know Him and be made new. 

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. ~Romans 8:38-39

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