Friday, March 29, 2013

Good Friday with my 18-inch hole

I grew up in a Christian home. My parents were faithful to take me to church every Sunday and raise me in the Christian faith. 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 the faith of my parents. I didn't have to question what I believed because it was what I always knew. 

As a young mom, it was important to me to raise my little ones on a firm faith foundation. I was doing all the right things and repeating prayers like I was taught. I was taking my kids to church & Sunday School every Sunday. 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 something missing, a 18-inch connection between my head and my heart. I was a good person, thought I was going to heaven, but I was like everyone else that had fallen 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. Little did I know, though, that I was really running in the opposite direction...away from God.

That was ...until one Good Friday...

The church ladies hurried into the sanctuary and started removing items one by one....
The lights were dimmed in quiet solitude. One by one the candles were extinguished and the flowers disappeared. The room was practically empty except the few people who sang silently. A simple wooden cross hung over the center of the bare stone altar. I watched as the room was emptied of the familiar, leaving it practically void. My soul ached with an emptiness I couldn't describe. I sat alone in the cold, dark reality of my sin. 

In that quiet and holy moment, it seems that I was the only one in the pew. God bent down and touched my soul in a way that I knew I needed a Savior. Heaven opened up and grace came down. As I sat still in that dimly lit minute, I realized the altar of my heart had become barren and cold. I suddenly felt God chip away at that hardened surface as it if were a block of ice readied for a masterpiece. 

Whispers to my heart..."I sent my Son for you, He died for you. That's how much I love you. And yes, even if you were the only one on this entire planet. I did that ....just for you." 

There were no trumpets blaring, no special lyrics, no confetti, party horns, no balloons, no compelling preacher, just Jesus bending down. 

My eyes were opened as they brimmed with tears. I knew I needed to change. I confessed what God already knew. I prayed to receive His free gift of Grace. My soul soon spilled with His love and forgiveness.

I am a life that has been changed by the power of the Gospel. Jesus Savior, always and forever. And forever will I live with Eternity stamped on my heart. I owe Him my life as He continues to give me new Life. 

That was years ago ....and I remember it like it was yesterday. 

Find out for yourself what you believe and why. Right now, ask yourself, if you died tonight, do you know....that you would see Jesus face to face? If not, stop reading right now, and ask Jesus to bend down and quiet your heart. 

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. Even if you think you are a good person. You have to choose to accept Christ's death on the cross as payment for your sins. But the best news is that your guilt has been taken care of, long ago on that simple cross. The Gospel changes lives. It's grace, it's love, it's forgiveness, and this Jesus changes...lives. Jesus bridges the gaps between heads and hearts, sins and righteousness, life and death. 

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