My mornings start early and are routine. I wake up, get my coffee and settle in my chair for a long stay in God’s word. This is what fills me up to pour out during my day. I have tried only taking a few minutes and reading a quick devotional. That resulted in little to give and me relying on my own strength. I found myself with some patience, some kindness, easy judgement, selfishness, pride and insecurity. Sounds delightful, huh?Simply put, I need Jesus to remind me of who He is and therefore who I am. My family and those I encounter during the day count on it. I need the daily reminder of the Holy Spirit living inside of me that gives me power, love, wisdom and strength for the day. I can look back over the years and know that it was the Holy Spirit alive and active in me that carried me through some unbearable heartaches. I am so thankful.
Back to the morning times. Today started the same and it is always exciting to see what the Lord will reveal. I started in Nehemiah and immediately read, “So I said to them, ‘You see the trouble we are in. Jerusalem lies in ruins and its gates have been burned. Come, let’s rebuild Jerusalem’s wall…” (2:17). This book always gets me thinking about families today. Everywhere you look, ruins can be seen. Divorce, affairs, the redefining of marriage, kids in foster care, child abuse, abortion, abandonment and the list could go on and on. All of this can of course be traced back to the selfishness of sin, ultimately worshipping oneself over God. We are in trouble.
I then turned to 1 John 4 and began to read. (Once you start spending time with your Bible open, it is amazing how He directs you. Try it.) I read these words, “There is no fear in love; instead, perfect love drives out fear, because fear involves punishment. So the one who fears is not complete in love.” (4:18). When something isn’t complete, like a circle, there is an opening, a gap. If a wall goes around a city and a gate is missing, anything can come in. All that enters may not be good. How can we be complete and our “gates” closed? Love would be the answer. It does away with fear and punishment. Are you afraid? Then read the next verse, “We love because He first loved us.” (4:19). You see, He loved you first. Let that take some pressure off. You do not have to fear if He will love you. However, if you do not accept this gift of love, then by all means, you need to be fearful. What is waiting for you is not anything you can imagine. I love you too much not to warn you.
“The whole world is under the sway of the evil one.” (1 John 5:19). When Adam and Eve chose to sin, an opening in a sense was created and the evil one has been highly active ever since. There isn’t a person alive that has not been the victim of his sway. Because of the internet and social media, this is extremely evident. Evil has waltzed in and claimed so many victims. Broken people are everywhere and are trying to repair themselves in anyway possible. Sin is on display and all are invited to join in. The entrance is wide open and appears to be getting wider by the minute. Walk on in if you wish, but what satan will neglect to tell you is you will be trapped for all eternity if you have not accepted the gift of salvation, the gift of love.
“And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. The one who has the Son has life. The one who does not have the Son of God does not have life.” (1 John 5:11-12) Remain dead in your sin or come to life, it is up to you. “Everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved…” (Joel 2:32). The greatest act of love ever, was God sending His only Son to die on a cross to pay the price for the sin of the world. We have all heard John 3:16, “For God loved the world in this way: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” However, you need to keep reading. “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. Anyone who believes in Him is not condemned, but anyone who does not believe is already condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the one and only Son of God.” (John 3:17-18).
I recently listened to a teaching and heard the question being asked if we believe if Jesus died for me, not just the whole world, but for me. Do you? It will make all the difference in your life, your family and eternity. Everything is not always easy, but you are never alone and can trust the One who loves you more than you can ever imagine.
It is your choice. We are in a state of ruin and there is only one answer. There is only one Savior who can close the gate and make us complete. You can say yes to the greatest love of your life today! Simply believe in the God who created you and gave you the freedom to chose life or death. You are free to remain dead in your sin or alive in Christ. Love and peace or fear. Confess that you are caught in the sway of the devil and sin reins in your life. Ask the God who loves you to forgive you. Now open your Bible and read the best love story ever written. He loves you so much! Your Heavenly Father is longing to have you home. You are safe in His arms.
*I took this picture today of Viv and Damon watching the football game.