Monday, April 18, 2016
I Have Given You This Land
Joshua 24:13 - I have given you a land for which you did not labor, and cities which you did not build, and you dwell in them; you eat of the vineyards and olive groves which you did not plant.
A reminder...Only God gives us life, both physically and spiritually.
We live part, sometimes all, of this life not knowing God. In fact, we can even go to church and claim to be Christians but still not know Him. He woos us throughout our lives. He brings others into our lives who might open our eyes, even if we are truly reluctant, as I was for many years, to the real Jesus and the most powerful God the Father.
Like when God allowed Israel to be in captivity for a time in the world, He also chose to lead them out, by His strength, power and miraculous signs (see Exodus!), He does the same with each person who is somehow touched by His truth, His words, His love and forgiveness.
Did I believe I was a sinner? Of course not. I was a good person in my own mind. I was fair, pretty honest, only told little white lies, kinda knew right from wrong...I wasn't any worse than the majority of people, and definitely better than others. Um...that's not good enough. None of us ever can be good enough without Jesus. That's why He came. To die that we might have life. But He didn't just do it so everyone could have this life. Only those willing to give their lives to Him that He might "clean us up."
I knew who Jesus was but didn't need Him to operate in my life. I knew what I was doing, most of the time. Who did others think they were trying to tell me I needed Jesus? What I didn't realize was the definition of knowing Him. It's not an intellectual thing. It comes from the heart. I didn't know that the Bible, the true, inerrant Word of God tells us that we must be born again...not of the flesh, which we already are, but of the Spirit. That can only be done by God to a willing individual. I was far from willing. For a long time. I pushed that concept, and God, away. Not a good thing to do. But what did I know?
But one day things clicked. I know I had very little to do with it. I know now God had been doing something for some time within me to draw me to Him. All it took were a few words from someone to completely drain me of myself. The words she spoke, looking back on them, in a normal state of mind would have seemed preposterous. In fact, the conversation we had was causing me to push God even farther away. I didn't want this conversation. STOP!! Stop trying to push Jesus on me.
But in a moment, when those few words were spoken, tears came to my eyes and little did I realize I was done for! And when I went to church the next morning upon her request, I gave my life to Christ. He ministered to me then and there in an area of my life where I so needed help. Only He could orchestrate something like that. And that's the gist of all this. As the scripture above declares, only God freely gives this life in Christ. We cannot earn it or work for it. All we need to do is receive it.
Like Israel crossing over the Jordan River to the land God had promised them, so Jesus allowed me to cross over from death to my hurts, anger, fears, to life in Christ and peace. He gave me my promised land in Christ. We are all offered this promised land, life in Christ. But we need to cross over. We need to receive Christ's hand and allow Him to guide our daily lives.
This all happened for me April 18, 1999. I'm forever thankful for that day. A friend and I don't celebrate our natural birthdays anymore. We now celebrate our spiritual, supernatural birthdays. We have been granted new life and the hope of eternal life in Christ. We will see Jesus face to face some day. We will walk the streets of gold with Him, although I hope there's grass there too! We will be given the privilege of worshipping our God all the time. There will be no more tears, no more pain, no more sorrow. Forever grateful for the life He has given to those who will receive it.
I know there are those who don't believe any of this. Often it is not preached in churches. I wonder if it's because these churches want things done man's way, not God's, or so as not to offend. I know that there is also some confusion about the concept of being born again. But, people, it's clearly started in the Bible (John 3).
My prayer is that others will recognize this. I pray that God will meet you where you are, in a way only He can touch your life. Today is always a good day to cross over from death in the world, to life in Christ. The Word tells us that some day every knee shall bow and tongue confess that Jesus is Lord. Whether we are born again or not. For some it will be in reverence for God, for others not so much. I'd rather be on the good side, the side of the promised land, the land of milk and honey. The other side offers only the lake of fire.
My words are simple and I often repeat the same thing. It's because there isn't any more I can say. There is only one truth and that is Jesus. No Jesus, no peace. Know Jesus, know peace. He is the only way, truth and life (John 14:6) We cannot go to the Father (God, not a man) without Him. If anyone pushes these truths away, if they are offensive, or even convicting, he does not know the Lord.
1John 2:15-17 - Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.