Yesterday Scott and I walked in church and glanced at the bulletin we were handed as we came in the door. Missionaries were speaking instead of our pastor preaching. And I'm ashamed to admit my first thought was "oh so sad Bro Phillip isn't preaching today". I don't know why I thought that. I think Missionaries are the MOST amazing people on this earth.
Well - this missionary and his wife serve in East Asia and he captivated me. From the minute he started to speak until long after he finished on through the final prayer - I sat and cried. I was SO convicted by what he shared. He told about the MILLIONS of people who live in East Asia where less than a 1/4 of one percent are Christian. He kept saying "How will they know if we do not tell them". He told of missionaries who were put in jail, beat, killed, their families were beat all because they were sharing about Christ and yet those same missionaries prayed for the people who beat them - and some of those people came to know Christ.
And I started thinking about how I have this blog that tens of thousands of people read daily. No one reads because of me but because God has given me this platform. And I use it just to record my daily life and to share my faith as often as I can. I thought about how I know for a fact that many of you come from different religions than me. Many of you have no relationship with God and have never stepped foot in a church. I thought about how I worry all the time about offending someone who reads this blog or about what kind of mean comments I might get if I truly shared the gospel. I thought about how scared I am sometimes to share about the single most important thing in my life - JESUS! And how people all over the world were losing their lives to share about the same thing and I was worried about COMMENTS? I thought about all the people in the world dying and not going to heaven because no one was brave enough to tell them about the greatest gift they could ever receive. And I just kept crying.
I was crying because I know of something that gives so much hope, so much love, so much joy in this dark, cold world and even if not one person reads this and changes their mind or opens their hearts - I feel like I HAVE TO SHARE about the source of all that hope and love. I thought about how so many of you are hurting and are just in search of something...............Something that no material possession can fill, no relationship can fill, no level of success can fill.
John 14:6 "Jesus says "I am the way, the truth and the life - no one comes to the Father but through me".
Romans 10:9,10 "That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved."
All you have to do to be saved and spend eternity in heaven - is to confess that you know you are a sinner and accept Christ as your saviour! Believe in Him and begin a relationship with Him. As a Christian - you are a new creation. You will have joy that can not be explained. A peace that passes all understanding.
You can not work your way into heaven. The Bible says even our BEST works are like filthy rags in God's eyes. Thankfully - Ephesians 2:8-9 says "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." That's the best news ever - it's God's AMAZING grace that saves us. It's NOTHING we can do. Isn't that freeing?
I just want you to know the love that God has for you. I want you to know how great a life in Christ can be! I accepted Christ at a young age and I have never doubted my salvation. There have been many days and years where I was not as close to God. But He never left me. The only way I can know Him and hear Him and grow closer is to spend time talking to Him in prayer and reading the Bible.
How do I know that all this is real? Because I have felt God in my life. I have seen Him at work. I can't explain the hope that I have in Him. I could not have made it through many things I have been through without trusting that His word is true. I believe the Bible is the inherent word of God. Every word is true. It's all about faith. Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see (Hebrews 11:1). Without faith - it is impossible to please God. (Hebrews 11:6)
I didn't write this before because I just wanted to write down how to KNOW Christ - but yes - once you are saved - it is not really enough to just believe in Him. Even Satan believes in Jesus. You must serve Him and strive to have a relationship. We don't do "works" to earn our way into heaven but we DO serve and try to follow Him in all we do because we love Him and want to Honor the One who saved us. James 2:20 says "Faith without works is dead".
I share all of this because I deeply care about each of you who comes here to check in on my life. I felt very strongly that I needed to share this with you today and God just laid it on my heart in a very clear way that I HAD to share it.