Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Good Friday That Changed History

I grew up in a Christian home.  My parents were faithful Christians and raised me in the church. So faithful that we were there every time the church doors were open.  I grew up knowing the stories of Jesus.  I never missed a day of Sunday school.  I had been confirmed in the faith classes, memorized a lot of prayers and petitions.  So I naturally assumed I was a Christian.  Once married, I went with my husband to church membership classes, so that he could join the church.

As a young mom, it was important to me to have a Christian home, just like I was raised in. Little did I know, though, that I was really running in the opposite direction...away from God. It looked like I had it all together and knew all the right answers, but in reality, I didn't have a personal relationship with Christ. I only knew of Him. I had studied Him and acknowledged His existence, but there was a huge chasm of difference between my head and my heart.  I was a good person, thought I was going to heaven, but I was into some bad habits and behaviors.  Just like any other young married mother with a couple of kids, I was trying to make the best of my life. So every time the church doors were open, I was taking my family too.  

That was ...until one Good Friday................the ladies hurried in and started removing items one by one....

The lights were dimmed and the room took on a quiet solitude.  One by one the candles and the flowers fixtures disappeared.  The wooden cross hung over the center of the bare stone altar.  Nothing was left but the cold, dark reality of my sin.  In that quiet and holy moment, I was the only one in the pew, and I knew I needed a Savior.  As I sat still in that dimly lit minute, I realized the altar of my heart had become barren and cold. I felt God chip away at that hardened surface to the meat of my heart, as it if were a block of ice readied for a masterpiece.  God-whispered..."I died for you. That's how much I love you. And as if you were the only one on this entire planet I sent my Son....just for you." My eyes were opened as they filled with tears and my heart and soul were filled with love and forgiveness. I knew without a shadow of a doubt that I needed to change. I confessed and repented of my wrongs, bad habits and behaviors. I prayed to accepted Jesus' love and forgiveness in my heart. 

After that, I was different.  This holy moment was a turning point in my walk with Jesus.  I came away from that service different and filled with love and joy. It was the best decision in my life.  I turned away from and removed all influences that were getting in the way of me living a life of faith. Bad habits stopped.   I strive to please God instead of my selfish desires.  That was years ago .... 

I was only clinging to the shirt tales of my parent's faith. Find out for yourself what you believe and why. Right now, ask yourself, if you died tonight, do you know without a shadow of a doubt....that you would see Jesus? If not, stop reading right now, and ask Jesus into your heart.  Admit.Believe.Confess. 

It's that important. 

Ephesians 2:8 - 9 "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith, and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God; 
not by works, so that no one can boast."

God's grace and forgiveness is a gift. You can't earn it nor can you get it by osmosis. Even if you have been in church all your life, and think you are a good person, you have to actively accept Christ's death on the cross as payment for your sins. Your guilt has been taken care of...because of His Love for you. Yes you if you were the only one on the face of the planet. This is grace, this is love, this is forgiveness, and Jesus is the only way to God. 

Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
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