Sunday, March 1, 2015

Forever Grateful

1John 4:19 - We love Him because He first loved us. 

Where in any other religion does a god seek us first out of pure love? In what other religion does their god purposely come from a heavenly throne to live on earth in human form just for the purpose of dying that lives might be saved? 

We sang a song this morning that so resonated with my experience of receiving Christ. It was like a renewal of my gratefulness to Him. I've said this before. There are days when I go back to the day when without realizing it God was seeking me. And while He was I was pushing Him away. Pushing hard. After all, why did I need Him? I knew who He was. 

I was lost. 

Here are the words to this older worship song. You can listen too if you wish. 

You did not wait for me
To draw near to You
But You clothed Yourself in frail humanity
You did not wait for me
To cry out to You
But You let me hear Your Voice calling me
And I'm forever grateful to You
I'm forever grateful for the Cross
I'm forever grateful to You
That You came
To seek and save the lost
In the Old Testament God sought Israel as His own. He had brought them out of captivity from Egypt. They saw all the miracles He had done. They followed Him for a time then somehow forgot all the good He did. They turned their backs on a God who loved them so much. 
In the New Testament, because His people had forsaken Him, He sent His Son to seek and save the lost. Still wandering aimlessly, mankind needed a Savior. God still has a great love for His own chosen people, the Jews, but He has used the Gentiles of this world to bring salvation to the Jews. He still loves them...but He loves us too. 
Our God chose to come to this earth, to live only 33 years and spend 3 of those years preaching about Himself and showing us more miracles, that we might see and believe. And yet we still, for the most part, fail to recognize the significance of this great God we have. Maybe it's because we cannot see Him physically, like a sports hero, musician or someone we hold in very high esteem. But that's where faith comes in...and maybe the stumbling block to coming to Christ.

We might be taking Him for granted. We have lived without thought of Him, as though He were non-existent. Imagine if you were a parent whose children wanted nothing to do with you. Imagine what God goes through day after day, year after year, and has for thousands of years...yet He still loves them enough to send His Son to die for them. He is our Heavenly Father. The Father that should mean more than our earthly one.
I was like this more than half my life. Then one day this God whom I had wanted nothing to do with, who loved me still despite it all, chose to get my attention. And I still balked for a moment. And unknowingly the next day I crumpled under the power of the Holy Spirit, heard God's plea for me, and gave myself over to Him. I am forever grateful, as the words of the song spoke again to me this morning. Those words took me right back to what I couldn't explain then, but understand now.
He didn't wait for me to draw near to Him. He didn't wait for me to cry out to Him. I may  never have. But 2,000 years ago before most of humanity would even exist, He came and lived and died...for all of us. Not that we can just take that thought and say, Oh, good, I'm safe and on to heaven because He died for all mankind. I will just accept that. No, there's a condition. He died for all who would receive Him as Savior. If we do not commit ourselves, we remain lost. 

He's still seeking. He's still wanting to save the lost. If you have never outwardly made a decision to receive Christ, maybe it's time. Maybe He's calling out to you like He did me. Maybe these words will be the step that puts you in a position to hear His voice. If there's a gripping in your heart, it might be Him. Heed the voice and receive.
In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift! (‭1John‬ ‭4‬:‭10‬, 2Corinthians 9:15)

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