Friday, September 5, 2014

I Chose You

John 15:15-16

No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.

This is a concept that unbelievers might have a hard time understanding. We did not choose God, He chose us. He works miracles in people to bring them to salvation in Jesus Christ. He works in their lives, poking and prodding spirits and consciences until they see a need for Him. Of course, there might be some who ask, Then why haven't I been chosen? Are you listening for His voice?  It comes in many ways. He is the Word. He uses trials. He uses others.

I remember the years it took and what I went through and the real fight against Him the day before I became a true believer! I always believed in God. Many others do too. As a child I loved laying outside on a summer or winter night and looking up at the stars and knowing I only saw a small number in comparison to how many there were. And I used to wonder with frustration and awe at how God has always been. No beginning, no end. Just always has been.

I remember the years where I gave no thought to him as I entered high school and the work place. It was about boys. It was about band. It was about clothes and looking good. I might pop into a church here and there at Christmas but saw no need to attend regularly. When I first got married we attended a church whose denomination is not considered truly Christian. I even recall a need to go to St. John's Cathedral just around the corner from where I lived in downtown Milwaukee one Christmas. I needed to feel close to God. There was an emptiness or a longing. Short lived...

Then I dabbled in the Shirley McClain new age stuff which took me deeper into occultic practices. I became frustrated because what seemed to "work" for others didn't for me. My mind couldn't be read because I never offered any "clues" because if they were supposed to be able to do this, they should tell me, right? And having my palm read...general statements that would work for anyone, like horoscopes. I was so skeptical...or was I? Maybe God had His hand upon me knowing what was to be.

Little by little things happened that I believe God was orchestrating. A friend at work became a believer (which I didn't know, of course, till I confronted her later, after I became a believer). I can actually remember how I barked at her at lunch one day when she had repeated something about Bible study or God for what seemed like umpteenth time. We laugh today at how she said I looked and spoke! I guess I was not very kind.

Then one day I was asked to go to church the next morning. I fought it but something had stirred me to tears and while I was very nervous about going, I did. And I walked out a different person. The old man was gone, the new emerged. In what seemed like a moment's time...

God chose me. He caused me to search, even if I misunderstood where to look and went the wrong direction. He sought me. And I am so thankful for it. I am so thankful to know the truth. It's true what the Bible says about the truth setting one free. I am convinced this is how He works in everyone. He puts a desire to know Him within us. Some just choose not to listen while others pick up on it and respond.

Now our testimony of what He has done is up to us to tell. We don't know whose life we might
change in the telling; a bearing of that fruit. When we continue in this fashion, He uses us more. He opens the doors. He hears when we ask for His assistance, guidance, words of wisdom and knowledge, discernment, strength and peace. That is what He means by asking must be according to His will. He will not give us things we do not need but only want. He gives us what He knows we need.

So, we are no longer His servants, unable to know what He does, because He has chosen us that He might give us the eyes, minds and spirits to know Him in an even greater way...through His Word and His Spirit. Because we have responded to His call, responded to His words, now seeking Him, He has shown us we can be His friends, when we respond and allow our conversion to take place.

This is hard to understand to an unbeliever because that moment of reality has not occurred. If that's you, let your heart be open to receive and your spiritual ears and eyes open to hear and see Him. If it happened to me, one who did not want to know or hear, one who did not think she needed to, it can happen to you...if you want it. Even if you don't, He might just badger you till... You do not need to be the worst sinner. We are all sinners without Christ. All. We might compare ourselves to the worst of sinners and justify ourselves that God is for "those people" but not you. The fact is, He is for you too.

1Corinthians 6:9-11 - Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adultery, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of God.

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