As Christians we have a check list . . . don’t we?!
I go to church every Sunday . . . . . . . . check!
I put money in the offering plate . . . . . check!
I listen to Christian Radio . . . . . . . . check!
I pray for my family and friends . . .. . . check!
I try to be a good person . . . . . . . . . check!
I am faithful to my spouse . . . . . . . . check!
I don’t steal, lie or curse . . . . . . . . check!
. . . . . we could go on, but you get what I mean.
SUDDENLY – this human heart stops beating – the life that I lived on earth is ended – there is no second chance, no starting over. Will my check list get me into heaven? No worries – “I got it covered!” . . . or so you thought!
Here’s what God’s Word says on the matter:
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9
“…know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified.” Galatians 2:16
If we choose Christ. If we believe upon Him – that He IS the Second Person of the Trinity, that He came to earth and took on human flesh, lived a sinless life, was crucified, died, buried and raise again to life on the third day – if we have repented of our sins, and learn His Word, applying it to our lives. If we walk in love towards one another. If we honor Him, worship Him, and share Him with others . . . it’s all about His LOVE! It is about a personal, intimate relationship with Him. He came to restore us back to the Father. His own precious blood ransomed us! We can’t earn a place in heaven by a doing things on a list like that above . . . how about this one:
I prayed from my heart today . . . . I poured out my heart before Him today . . . I spent time with Him in His Word, and in quiet listening to the voice of His Holy Spirit . . . I was obedient to His Word today . . . I worshiped Him today . . . I thanked Him today . . . I danced in before Him in gratitude . . . I sang praises and adoration to Him . . .
You know, sometimes Abba Father, our Loving ‘Daddy/Pappa’ simply HAS to take us to the woodshed. He loves us SO much that he gently speaks to us over and over about an issue and if we continue to choose to walk in our own stubborn ways, He keeps on until we finally ‘get it’! (or He will allow us to continue making mistakes and suffer the consequences) Once we ‘get it’, IT often comes as a trip to the woodshed…
image from durangotexas.blogspot.com
…but…there is breakthrough – IF we willingly go and allow Him to do His work in our hearts!
Oh, how we can drag our feet, dig in our heels, cover our ‘area to be spanked’ hoping that it won’t hurt too much . . . well, of course it will hurt! But His healing balm is greater than the hurt! There is FREEDOM that comes from realizing that He has been lovingly trying to reach our stubborn hearts all this time! His ways ARE best! Why are we soooooooo stubborn?!
My husband and I are studying “Seeking Him”, a Bible Study on personal revival by Nancy Leigh DeMoss, this year and today . . . was my day for the woodshed. I truly believe had we not been in a time of fasting (this is our fifth day in a 21 day fast)my heart would not have been receptive (as often before when He has tried to reach me on a specific topic).
Today’s lesson was actually part one of the end-of-week review, consisting of 9 questions for us to answer as honestly as possible. Part of question # 4 was like this: “What things do we hold on to even though they can easily be taken away?”
This was my response: (I am making myself vulnerable here as well as accountable)
~ I guess the one thing that I am / have been “holding on to” is the preaching and teaching part of 4-Given . I feel the Lord prompting me (this morning as I’m doing this study) to FULLY let it go. This is causing tears to fall and my heart to be torn apart, but I need to rest in Him and His plans for me. I need to become ‘okay’ with the fact that He may never choose to use me that way again. Can I let this go? I need to be obedient – Oh, Father, help me! – I have treasured this aspect of ministry for so long – IT HURTS – but, not my will . . . Yours be done. Forgive me, Lord, for clinging to this – pridefully – I repent and I release it to You. ~
Now, hours later, the tears are gone. Peace is upon me. I believe and KNOW that no matter what the future holds for me (and/or 4-Given Ministries) that ‘it is well’!
Don't ever change yourself to impress someone, cause they should be impressed that you don't change to please others -- When you are going through something hard and wonder where God is, always remember that the teacher is always quiet during a test --- Unknown