The twelve disciples are mentioned four times in the gospels. Matthew referred to them in the first verse of chapter 10 and again in the first verse of chapter 11. Mark wrote about them in verse 17 of chapter 20, … Continue reading
When I was 12 years old we had a week of revival services at our church. The visiting preacher was Brother Gann. I listened intently night after night. Back then, I read the Bible SOME, but I didn’t really have a close relationship with God.
I listened to the radio and my tape collection, watched T.V. and played outside with my sisters when we weren’t in school. That was basically my life at the time. I didn’t really make much time for God.
So, close to the end of the week of meetings, Brother Gann took me aside and talked to me about salvation. He prayed with me and asked if I felt like God had done anything for me. I was a very shy kid and I hated confrontation. I always tried to tell people what I thought they wanted to hear so everything would go as smooth as possible and be over as quickly as possible.
I didn’t feel any different. I didn’t feel like God had done anything for me, but just to be done and get out of there as fast as possible, I said, “I think so.” I was baptized, with several other people, that Sunday night and became a member of the church. As I stood there in the front of the church with my heart pounding and my hair still wet, the congregation all came by to welcome the new members into the family with hugs and handshakes. But, nothing had really changed for me. I was no more saved than I had been a week earlier.
Four years later I was farther away from God than I had ever been. Oh, I still prayed, when I needed something or when I was afraid, but, I had stopped reading the Bible and I was no longer going to church. I was drinking and doing drugs and all the bad things that come with that lifestyle. I was still lost. I didn’t know Jesus at all.
I knew myself though. I knew I was lost. I knew what I was doing was wrong and I hated myself for it. I hated who I was, and what I was. I was miserable inside. I hated everything about myself. Everything I did and thought. I tried to do good and be a good person but, no matter how hard I tried it wasn’t enough. I was still the same miserable person inside.
Then, when I was 19, I started going back to church. Not the church where I was baptized seven years earlier though. I was ashamed to face those people because many of them knew what kind of life I had been living and I was afraid of what they might say to me.
In my new church, I began to learn more about God and what he expects from us. I was reading and studying the Bible again. That’s when I met Jesus. After I got to know him through the word and prayer, I thought, If he loves me so much that he would come to earth and suffer and die in my place just so I would have a chance to become part of His family and be with him forever, I should accept him as Lord of my life, and serve him.
I realized what a loving God he truly is and just how much he truly loves me. Me! The one person in the world who I knew everything about. The most vile sinner alive. But God still loved me. Wow! Realizing that was so amazing. There are just no words to describe it. At that point, I began to understand why Christians love him so much and how they could still serve him even when things are not perfect in their lives. I saw why Peter, Paul and the other early Christians and reformers were willing to die rather than denounce Jesus.
The awesome love that our creator has for us is beyond words. Even though we are such sinners and reject him time and time again, he still loves us. When we come to understand that love he has for us, it causes us to love him. When we truly realize how wretched we are and how vile and sinful we truly are in God’s sight, and then to see the depth of love that he has for us anyway, it is so awesome.
That’s why I love him. That’s why I serve him. That’s why I want others to know him. He is such a great God and he wants to be with us. God is real. Heaven is real. People who don’t believe in God have no idea what they are missing, and there’s no way they can understand why we love him.
We love him because he first loved us. (1 John 4:19)
Jesus said, “If you love me keep my commandments.” (John 14:15)
That’s all I want to do. Love God and keep his commandments.
That’s the main differences between Christians and Non-Christians. They don’t love God so, naturally, they don’t want to obey him. God is LOVE, and spending time with him and getting to know him, puts love in our hearts for others.
That’s how Christians can love people who others might not. Those who have committed horrible, sinful acts. Those who society have labeled as worthless, or a lost cause. It’s not just because we know how bad THEY are or what they have been through. It’s that we know how bad WE are, but God still loves us. I like to think of it as seeing them through God’s eyes.
If we are honest with ourselves, we will not judge others. If we truly see how sinful we are we will realize that another person’s sins are no worse than our own. One sin is no different than another in God’s eyes. Sin is sin. That doesn’t mean it’s okay to sin though. We just need to understand that we would still be out there, lost and living a life of sin, if it wasn’t for the grace of God.
So, do you know Jesus? If not, get to know him. He IS real. If you don’t believe, ask him to show you. If you are sincere, he will reveal himself to you. Don’t be afraid. He loves you and he died for you. The least you could do is say “Thank you.”
© 2015 Teddy Lynn – All Rights Reserved
My book The Journey To Heaven is available in paperback and digital format on Amazon.com.
I remember when I was twelve years old, we moved to a new place. It was beautiful, especially after four years of living beside the busy highway. The view of nothing but cars and trucks going back and forth, like … Continue reading