This morning I had a difficult time saying goodbye to a good family friend. These past 3 days we've had Bro. Sommerdorf here preaching our tent meeting. I honestly cried after he left, which is saying a lot. I'm not big on crying, but it felt kind of like saying goodbye to my dad. Most of you know that my dad died a little over 6 years ago. I don't always cry on the anniversary of his death, but in times like these, it brings back all the longing for his presence and the sound of his voice once more. To be able to call him and ask him questions, to tell him that I love him one more time. I can hardly type through the tears. I'm not sorrowing as those that have no hope. I DO know, without a doubt that I will be reunited with him in Heaven one day.
I don't know who might end up reading this, but I'd like to share some of the reasons that I can make the above statement about "Knowing For Sure" that I'll have that reunion in Heaven.
It's NOT because I think I've been good enough to get to Heaven. God's Word says in Romans 3:10 - As it is written, There is NONE righteous, no not one:
It's NOT because I've never sinned or done anything bad. God's Word says in Romans 3:23 - For ALL have sinned and come short of the glory of God.
It's NOT because I can pay the penalty for my sin. Romans 6:23 says, "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
It's a Free Gift!
It's amazing how many people refuse to accept this "Free" gift and yet they are more than willing to accept "free" things that this world offers them. This gift is offered freely to us, but it's because Jesus took that penalty and paid for our sin. Mine and everyone else that has been born.
Sin entered the world by one man named Adam. God's Word says in Romans 5:12-Wherefore, as by one man sin entered the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for all have sinned. Sin brought separation from God. He is our Creator and He is the only one that can fill that emptyness in our soul. We often try to fill it with things that the world has to offer, but that "satisfied feeling" only lasts a short time. Then we're out looking for something or someone else to help us forget the those unsatisfied and lonely feelings. We were made to love, praise and glorify the Lord. We have great joy when we do those things. Serving the Lord and looking for ways to be a blessing to those around us bring true joy. I find that the times when I start to feel unsatisfied or bored with life it's because I'm not spending enough time with the Lord and there is usually something that He wants to me do, but I've gotten too busy with plans and everyday life to listen.
I'm thankful that the Lord never gives up on me and keeps working to help me become more like Jesus and less like the selfish person I'd be without His presence in my life. He encourages me to reach out to others!
This week I was reminded through the preaching that after inviting people to church or sharing the Gospel with them, I need to leave the rest up to the Lord. I need to love them and be kind to them, but whether or not they accept the free gift or not is something that is out of my control. I think we all have the desire to control things around us, but this is in God's hands. Can you imagine going to a Birthday Party and forcing other people to accept a gift? It's really not a scenario that I've ever seen happen. Usually people are more than happy to receive presents:). For some reason many people are unwilling to accept God's gift though. It's hard to understand, but it happens every day.
I didn't have to clean up my life before the Lord would accept me as His child - Romans 5:8 says, "But God commmendeth his love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us". While I was still a sinner Christ saved me! I'm so thankful that He did:).
Romans 10:9,10,13 say, "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in thine heart that God hath raised him(Jesus) from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord Jesus shall be saved".
Notice in the above verses that God's Word says "thou", not "some people". It says thou "shalt" be saved! Not that "maybe" you will be saved. It says "whosoever" and not "certain people". God is not willing that ANY should perish, but that ALL should come to repentance. He desires that everyone be saved, but it is still a choice that each person has to make for themselves. We REALLY wanted to see at least one person accept the Lord as their Saviour this week,but it's something that we prayed for and left in the Lord's hands. We know that His desire is to see souls saved, but it's not always in our timing. We thank Him for allowing us to be a part of planting the seeds of the Word of God and also watering. We know that He gives the increase in His time and pray for many of our friends and loved ones that are still "thinking about it".
There are so many people around us that are lost and headed for an eternity in Hell. It's not because they're all wicked people. It's because we're all born with a sin nature and unless we accept God's gift of salvation we are NOT able to pay the penalty for that sin. Our God is merciful and loving, but He's also a God of justice. There are laws here on earth that have penalties and if we don't obey the laws we end up in jail or put to death. Each action has a good or bad consequence and I,for one, am thankful that I'm trusting in what Jesus did for me on the cross and not my own good works to get me to Heaven. I'd NEVER get into Heaven based on that. I've heard that some people believe that if your last thought before you die is worldly that you don't go to Heaven. That is a frightening thought and I'm thankful that it's not true. John 14:6 says, "Jesus saith unto them, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." He doesn't say that everyone has to find their own way. He doesn't speak of working your way to Heaven. He doesn't say that this is just one of many ways. He says I am "the" way. It seems so simple. It's able to be understood by children and yet so many of us "adults" reject this as a fairytale.
Someone once told me-What do we have to lose by believing and accepting this free gift? If we're wrong then we've lived our lives like we believe God wants us to. Like we've read in the Bible. If there's nothing after this life, then there's nothing. BUT, and this is a big chance to take. If others are wrong and God, Heaven and Hell do exist-The Lost have EVERYTHING to lose. They will go to Hell with no more chances. So many times we give our children 2nd chances. Well, after we die, that won't be an option. It will be too late to accept that free gift or to tell the rest of your family that Hell really does exist.
The main reason that I put Bible references is that I want anyone who reads this to know that it's not just my personal opinion. It's written down and the Lord has preserved it for us down through history so that we can "KNOW FOR SURE" that we are saved and on our way to Heaven.
So, the sadness has passed, the joy and anticipation of what's to come is even stronger. As people travel away from us or pass away from this earth, it just gives us one more reason to look forward to eternity in Heaven. There will be no tears up there:). I'm excited about the day that I will see the Lord and my earthly Father. I'm excited about the reunions, but also given a greater burden to tell those around me that "Jesus Saves". The Tent Meeting Revival was not just to have another excuse to fellowship. That is an added blessing. It was to reach out to the lost and remind those of us who are saved that God has a purpose for our lives. He wants us to get saved, to be forgiven, to love those around us and never stop telling them that Jesus loves them and died to save them. Did He die in vain? Definitely not:)
My husband and father in law sang the song "Until Then" last night. The Lord is bringing some of the words back to me today. Especially the part about Until then my heart will go on singing, until then with joy I'll carry on". It encourages my heart and gives me joy to think of that.
Another thought was that lost people don't read the Bible, they just read us. Am I a joy filled person? Do I go around praising and thanking the Lord or do I walk around looking tired and discouraged? Whether we're aware of it or desire it-People around us are watching, waiting for us to give them a reason to find fault and reject the Lord. I am far from perfect, but pray that the Lord can use me to love others and share the Good News that JESUS saves. I can't save, but HE can:).
Rejoicing in the knowledge and the wonder that Jesus loves me and You!