When I Came Face-to-Face with Jesus

When I Came Face-to-Face with Jesus

Have you ever come face to face with the Savior? When you do, it will change your life. I knew I needed a face-to-face meeting with Him. I was actually praying for it. I really thought that it might happen. I thought, “He could possibly materialize in front of me”. And God did answer my prayer but not exactly how I was thinking. However, it was so powerful that it changed my life forever.

I was in distress and needed God. I knew I wouldn’t make it without Him. Through a series of circumstances and through much pleading with God on my part, I found myself sitting in someone’s living room, and telling them my story. This person didn’t offer much information, mainly questions. I answered truthfully. Here’s how it went. Do you believe God loves you? Yes, I believe that. Do you believe He is in control? Yes, I believe that too. What do you think His purpose is for you in this trial? I guess He wants me to turn my life over to Him. He doesn’t want your life. He doesn’t? No, He wants you. When those words vibrated in my eardrums, they reverberated in the deepest part of my soul. What just happened? God had spoken the words I needed to hear.

I never knew that God wanted me. I thought he just wanted my service, my money, my attendance. In that moment, I realized that I wasn’t just talking with a friend, but I was talking with the Almighty and God had appeared to me just as I had asked, in human form, through a member of the Body Of Christ.

I want to ask you a question. Does God have you? Because if He does, then He will use you in ways that are amazing and supernatural. He is so good! He wants us to give him ourselves and He will give us Himself. He will offer us the greatest blessing we could ever hope for, His Spirit. When He infuses us with His Spirit, we are given everything we need. We get His mind, His Heart, His Love, His Compassion, His Character, His Wisdom, and the list goes on. Whatever you need, it’s available not through your service, money, or attendance, but through giving your whole self to the One who gave His whole self to you on the cross. Don’t miss God’s appearance!

Is There a Hell?

Is There a Hell?

Is there a real hell? The answer is that it depends on what your definition of hell is. Most of what we think as a culture about hell doesn’t come from the Bible at all, but from the world of art and Greek mythology. If we are to find the truth, we must go back to scripture. That’s exactly what we are going to do this Sunday. But be ready to have your perspective changed. Be willing to adopt the truth and let go of any misconceptions that you are holding on to. We will take a hard look at the words used for hell in the Old and New Testaments as well as what part Satan plays in this and the location of hell, Satan, and demonic powers. I hope it will be as interesting and compelling to you as it is for me. No matter what you believe is about hell, the good news is that we have a Savior to trust in and Salvation to cling to. So, invite a friend or family member. It could be just the thing that we all need to hear.

Why Even Try?

Why Even Try?

What do you do when you sin? You’ve committed yourself to Jesus. You laid down your life before Him. You allowed His Holy Spirit to change your heart and your mind. Your habits and desires have changed. You see Him at work in the things you do. But you’ve sinned against your neighbor, against your God, against yourself. What’s the next step? Do you stay down, give up, wait for a later time when your feelings of guilt have subsided? Or do you repent immediately and come boldly before the throne of grace?

Jesus said to the man He healed at the pool of Bethesda and the woman who was caught in the act of adultery, “Go and sin no more”. He did not come to condemn us, but to save us (John 3:17). Our enemy, the evil one, would say to us, “Give up. Walk away. You’re just going to keep failing, so stop trying.” However, since he knows that most of us eventually crawl back to God because there is, of course, nowhere else to go, his most successful tactic is to convince us to wait. It’s in our waiting that the enemy makes his gains. It’s in the waiting that relationships are lost, wounds are inflicted, sadness, depression, and despair are cultivated. Waiting provides the opportunity for anger, rebellion, and bitterness to derail you and cause huge setbacks in your journey. So don’t wait! Go!

Jesus didn’t say to the woman who was caught in adultery to wait until her heart was right or until she felt better. He told her that He did not condemn her and to go and live a righteous life. “Sin no more”, He said. What can you do when you commit a really bad sin? You can go and sin no more. In fact, the quicker you turn away from disobedience and reengage in the good deeds that God has prepared for you to do, the more God’s kingdom and his people prosper from your role in His plan.

One more thing. Abandon your dependence on feelings to affirm your direction. Feelings are followers, not leaders. They are completely unreliable. Do the things that you know you should do, and your feelings will follow most of the time. And even if they don’t, determine that you will serve God anyway. Don’t worry though, God is faithful, and the joy of your salvation will come. So, don’t wait, go!

What Do You Say?

What Do You Say?

What kinds of things do you say? Are there any subjects, words, or ideas you have determined not to talk about? I hope so. Boundaries are good to have in a physical sense as in, “Good fences make good neighbors”. They are good to have in our relationships. And where words are concerned, it is vital that we have boundaries that we observe when speaking to others and to ourselves. We should be in the habit of speaking good things to our family members, friends, and neighbors. In every situation, we should try to find a positive thing to say, something uplifting or encouraging.

Your words can be cleansing, or they can make you feel dirty or ashamed. Jesus said to the Pharisees that it’s not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth. Paul the Apostle says that our conversation is in heaven. He also says to let no unwholesome talk come out of our mouths, but only what is helpful for building up the one in need and bringing grace to those who listen.

The focus of our story this week is more about what is not said than it is about what is said. There is much more power than you can imagine in what is not said. Sometimes a circumstance leads you to think that the worst is about to happen, and it could be that everyone around you is thinking the same thing. But the majority is usually wrong. When Israel came to the Promised Land, Caleb was right, and the majority was wrong. When Noah built the ark, he was right and everyone else was wrong. When the disciples said to Jesus in the storm, “we are perishing”, the majority was wrong, and our Lord was right.

Do your words echo the majority or do they echo what Jesus says? Do they sound like what a lost world would say, or do they line up with the ideas and principles of the scriptures? Your words, like our Lord’s, make things happen and cause people and situations to move and change. It’s the creative power of God. What are you building and what are you tearing down with your words?

One Life-Altering Boundary

One Life-Altering Boundary

Jesus has said to you and me, “Wherever your treasure is, there will your heart be also”. Because of the way He said this, we can see that we are in control of where our hearts will be. Have you ever thought, “I should be more excited about what God is doing but my heart is just not in it”? Or “I used to be diligent about following Jesus but lately I just don’t have the heart for it”. We say these things as if the circumstances we find ourselves in, just happened to us. The fact is, we create these circumstances and we can change them. How? Change what you are investing your time, energy, and money in and you change the state of your heart. Put your treasure in a different place and your heart will follow.

There is a part of your soul that longs for something that will last. In fact, we are eternal beings, and we have a deep desire to connect with eternal things. Material things are fun and there is nothing wrong with enjoying them especially if you are enjoying them with the people you love. But the joy of temporary things will always fade away and leave you empty unless you are also engaged with the eternal God and His kingdom. When I say His kingdom, I mean His people and the work He has for you to do.

How can you ensure that you stay connected to God? One life altering boundary. Just commit to it. Decide once and for all that although you have hobbies, interests, and passions, for things that may not fulfill God’s calling in your life, you will not allow anything to come between you and the things that God has prepared for you to do. And here’s a great spiritual exercise that will also elevate your life. Look at the things that you enjoy doing for recreation, fun and relaxation and ask God how He might use them to help others.

If you love reading, invite a few friends to read a great Christian book with you and get together to discuss it once a week. If you love working out, ask a friend who is not a believer to come workout with you. Don’t preach to them or secretly scheme to convert them. Just be their friend and see what happens. If you’re already in some club or play some sport, invite some of those friends to come to church with you. It could change their lives and perhaps yours as well. Whatever the state of your life is now, commit to this one boundary and God and people will notice and you will find the fulfillment that your heart desires. desire in your heart of hearts!

Be Strong

Be Strong

What would you do? Bug out to safety or confront the enemy and risk it all? That’s the choice that Captain Miller faces in the epic movie, “Saving Private Ryan.” In life, there are the knowns and the unknowns. Nine times out of ten I want to choose the knowns. What about you? It’s in our nature to avoid the unknowns. But, God very often insists that we abandon the things we know and launch into the unknown which is almost always outside of our familiar territory. 
 
Adventure, suspense, mystery and intrigue await all those who are prepared to trust the voice of God saying, “Follow Me.” We, like Susan, a character in “The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe” want to know if Aslan (Jesus) is safe. To which Mr. Beaver replies, “Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good.” Are you willing to risk safety for goodness? In this week’s movie illustration, “Saving Private Ryan”, we see this scenario play out in the movie. But what will you do?
 
Will you leave your safe way of thinking and pursue your heart’s desire? You might wonder, “what is my heart’s desire?” There’s one way to find out. Follow Him. He will lead you into the unknown and there, you will most certainly discover what you desire in your heart of hearts!