Through You

I am so glad Jesus came and died for all the sins of the world. I am so glad that He broke the power of sin over you and me. I'm also very glad that with His infinite love, God poured out grace and mercy on us. Through Christ Jesus, God's only Son we are forgiven of our sins. Forever and ever we will dwell with Him. What a deal! Only through Jesus can we obtain this indescribable gift from our God.

Not only will those who accept His sacrifice (Jesus Himself) dwell with Him throughout all eternity, but we become His ambassadors right here, now...on planet earth. "Therefore we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were entreating through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God." (2 Corinthians 5:20) 

I noticed something very interesting here. Paul says "...we beg reconciled to God." Why is Paul begging the Corinthians to be reconciled to God? So they would go to heaven? Not necessarily. Was it so they would not go to hell? Not really. It is quite clear. Paul is begging the Corinthians to be reconciled to God through Christ so they would become ambassadors for Christ. You see, a genuine relationship with Jesus is more that an assurance you and I will go to heaven (and not to hell). Thank God for that fact. But according to Paul, we become ambassadors for Jesus, as though God Himself were entreating through us.

How can anyone live a mediocre, lackluster life if God Himself were entreating those around them to come to Jesus? Think about that one. If I am a born again, spirit-filled follower of Jesus, I am an ambassador for Jesus Christ. God Himself is entreating the world to come to Him......through me! Wow! When you look at it like that it lights up some stuff many folks don't realize.

Can I be satisfied with a couple of hours of church each week? No. Can I be satisfied having a regular, consistent quiet time? No. I must present myself, outside of my comfort zone, in ways through which God can entreat others to come to Jesus through me. You and I must seek out ways to serve others. We must listen to the hearts of others and seek to minister Jesus to them. To accept Jesus, and sit back and wait until we get to heaven just might not get us there. Or it might cost us some rewards! The following Scripture passage has been controversial, but it has a distinct meaning. If it were one to ignore, Jesus would not have said it:

"Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of my Father in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles? And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness." (Matthew 7:21-23) According to Jesus, to disobey Him is to practice lawlessness. One who is unsaved practices lawlessness. (Keyword - lawlessness)

Listen to the positive. We have the right and the authority to be ambassadors for Christ! 

What could be better? Nothing! It is our choice. The choice we make will affect our eternity one way or the other. As Paul did in 2 Corinthians, I beg you to come to Jesus. Become His ambassador. If you already know Him, know that you are His ambassador. Allow God Himself to draw others to Jesus through you. Don't sit back and wait for heaven, or for...

Also study Matthew 25:34-40.

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Until We Meet Again

It's good to be blogging again. For the past month and a half I've been out-of-pocket as my Mother slipped slowly and steadily toward her departure for glory. She departed on Tuesday, February 3rd quietly and peacefully. There is no more pain and suffering. In addition to being in the presence of Jesus, she is totally healed. What a blessing! Even though we miss her, I can rejoice at the fact that she is in a better place, and much better off.

Mother had been in a nursing home for the past 19 months. But over the last 6 weeks Connie (my wife), and my two sisters Kathie and Cindy (and myself) became consumed with making her departure as comfortable as possible. There were times when we simply sat with her. Other times we sang worship songs and prayed over her. Still other times we sat with family and got closer to one another. Let me say my family is incredible. When I go, if there is that much notice, I pray my family surrounds me in the same way!

I know you have probably heard a bad thing or two about nursing homes. But let me say quite honestly and directly...I cannot think of one single negative thing about the nursing home in which my mother stayed. She was tended to constantly. As the family began spending more time in the nursing home, the nursing home tended to us as well. I would call the Jasper General Nursing Home more than a nursing is a ministry.

Many times I rehearsed her departure in my mind, over and over. I thought of how I would respond when she left for heaven. She had suffered a lot, and we were praying for God's mercy on her. But when it actually happened it broke my heart. Just to know she was gone, broke my heart. In my head I knew she was in a better place, but still my heart was broken. Then the Holy Spirit began doing what He does...comforting. He reminded me of how (just that morning) my sister Kathie was driving through our neighborhood when a deer darted out in front of her car and crossed the road. She said the deer looked like it was flying. (No. It wasn't a reindeer!) It was prancing across the road. Immediately the Holy Spirit spoke to her and said that was Mother's spirit. She is now free! We believe her spirit was already free at that time. What a confirmation of not only that she was departing, but that she was free. Free of the chains that bound her physically!

Connie received a text from our daughter Stacie late Tuesday night after learning she had departed. Here is the text message: 

"I wanted to let you know that I was interceding for Grandmother tonight, a deep intercession. I saw her room full of angels, and later I also saw her giddy wearing a pair of high heels (I don't know what that means), but I got a peace that she would be home soon. I am so relieved for her and heart broken at the same time. Love you!!"

If you knew Mother you knew what the high heels meant! But what an incredible confirmation engineered by the Holy Spirit to comfort us!

And here is how the Holy Spirit comforted my broken heart. Mother passed away on Tuesday evening. At some point on Wednesday (the next day), the Holy Spirit let me feel the joy she was experiencing in heaven. It was very brief, but it was just enough to move the knowledge in my head to reality in my heart. I was overwhelmed! I still miss her. I still hurt. But I know I will see her again. I am overjoyed to KNOW (in my spiritual knower) that she is where she needs to be. She is rejoicing in the presence of Jesus! And she is dancing in high heels! Just saying. Therefore I am rejoicing with her! The Holy Spirit is truly the Comforter.

To know Jesus as Savior is to know the comfort of His Spirit. To know Jesus is to know that we will be with others (who know Jesus)...who depart before us. Make sure you know Him. Settle that today. Then live for Him from here on out. The "here on out" is forever and ever. I am rejoicing in the fact that I will be with Mother and Dad, and all of my family that knew Jesus, and have already departed before me. And I will know Jesus and live for Him...until we meet again!