That is a question I wish someone would have been bold enough to ask me years ago, so I am going to be bold and ask it now because I hope that someone will ponder it to the point of full surrender and let the transformation begin. It was almost seven years ago, when I discovered for the first time in my life that the Lord Jesus Christ is not religion. He is real and His Spirit now lives in me. Hallelujah, I am redeemed!
As I continue to grow in my faith-walk, Scripture not only brings me my daily comfort and guidance as I seek wholeheartedly, it also makes my heart ache. My heart has been aching for a very long time now and I have been given courage to share this no matter the cost because someone needs to have their heart strings tugged at. I believe the Lord will use it in a powerful way for those whose hearts have not hardened past the point of no return and who need to hear Him and finally surrender ALL like I did. So please listen to Jesus’ words found in Matthew 7:21-23 (as written in my one year New Living Translation Bible): “21 Not all people who sound religious are really godly. They may refer to me as ‘Lord,’ but they still won’t enter the Kingdom of Heaven. The decisive issue is whether they obey my Father in heaven. 22 On judgment day many will tell me, ‘Lord, Lord, we prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ 23 But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Go away; the things you did were unauthorized…’”
Now I am not a pastor with eloquent speech, but I have become a true disciple of Christ and I believe that God uses our willing hearts in different ways to reach different types of people in different types of situations. I am a simple servant who has only been walking this walk for a short time but I will share that I think this passage is warning us that going through the motions and pretending to sound and look godly when people are watching is not going to get us anywhere with God. Religious actions without real faith in Christ does not develop a personal and loving relationship with the One who created us. This, I know!! My heart hurts to think that there will be people at the end of this present evil world who will find themselves on judgment day crying out to the Lord, only to hear Him telling them to go away because He doesn’t know them. That makes my heart tremble and so incredibly grateful that I have chosen to no longer be one of those people! I pray the same is true for you.
I do not think that this passage can be any clearer when Jesus states that the decisive issue is whether we obey the Father in heaven. If you are walking in obedience to God, you are in a relationship with Him. We cannot continue to live in our old ways of life and be obedient at the same time. We cannot pick and choose what we will obey. It is all or nothing. We must turn away from our old way of living and allow Jesus to come in and transform us from the inside out. That is why He died on that beautiful terrible Cross!!! And I also think that being obedient to God means we are known by Him. What a relief for a sinner like me.
All those years I was brought up to memorize and recite what I consider now to be mindless and incredibly empty prayers. The church back then never taught me that I needed to ask Jesus to come into my heart and be my Lord and Savior. I just did what I was told to do like a good little girl and memorized words and performed religious rituals (not sure what else to call them) that left me feeling empty and fearful for most of my life. I was taught to fear God by the church, but it was in a way that made me so afraid that when I came to a point in my life where I was nearing rock bottom, I ran even further away from God instead of to Him. In fact, I doubted that He was real and made some terrible choices that almost destroyed my life.
Today, I thank God for my rock bottom because that is where He met me and made me alive in Him. I had a choice – I could die in my sin, or I could surrender and give Him a chance. I do not regret taking that chance on Jesus!
I am also grateful for my new church and my pastors who keep me hungry for the Lord. My heart’s desire is to know Him more and more and please Him! I never had that when I was young. My heart is broken when I watch others today going through what I did back then. It doesn’t matter what their background is, whether they never knew God, or whether they’ve walked away from Him for whatever has happened in their life –all I see is dread and emptiness and I think God allows me to see it and feel it so I can pray and preach and be bold whenever He gives me something to share like this latest writing.
Some people are waiting to surrender to Jesus because they think they have time, but they are wrong. Okay, so maybe Jesus won’t come back today, but that drunk driver might strike out of nowhere or that stray bullet might hit and then what? There is no time like today.
My heart rate seems to be increasing. I never initiate altar calls in person or online, but suddenly I think this is a good time. No one is too dirty to come to be made clean by the blood of Jesus. No matter who you are or what you have done, if you want to start a new life in Christ, here’s a prayer that I found through a pastor’s book written just for you. Pray it with all your heart and then tell someone! Prayerfully seek a Bible based church and reach out. DO NOT try to do this walk alone. Please trust me on that. In time, you will understand why:
“Father, it is written in Your Word that if I confess with my mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in my heart that You have raised Him from the dead, I shall be saved. Therefore, Father, I confess that Jesus is my Lord. I make Him Lord of my life right now. I believe in my heart that You raised Jesus from the dead. I renounce my past life with the evil one and close the door to any of his devices. I thank You for forgiving me of all my sin. Jesus is my Lord, and I am a new creation. Old things have passed away; now all things become new in Jesus’ name. Amen.”
If you prayed this from the heart, God heard you! I wish I could be there to give you a hug and warm welcome to the family of God. I pray the Lord will bring some strong men and women in Christ into your life to walk along side of you. Like I said, we cannot do this alone. No matter what you think or what you have believed in the past, God loves you! He sent His one and only Son to die in our place. He paid our ransom with His blood. I pray you will believe and receive and then tell the world what He has done!
Thank You, Holy Father! ♥♥♥