My story begins with one of my earliest memories. I was 8 years old sitting in the backseat of my family’s minivan on the way home from church. I asked my mom why she was always so happy and she said that it was because she had the joy of the Lord. I told her that I wanted to have that joy too. It was then that I first accepted Christ into my heart. I had the faith of a child. Years later, when I was 11 years old, I began struggling with a sin that is still a struggle for me today, 5 years later. In 2011, I went to the Baptist church camp Falls Creek for the first time. One night during the invitation after the service I decided to rededicate my life to Christ. I felt like up until then I had just been going through the motions, and I felt like I was finally at the point where I could truly understand what it meant to follow Christ. There’s a lyric in a Jamie Grace song called You Lead that reminds me of my testimony: ‘As a child I heard your voice. But as a girl I made my choice. There is no other way for me. I’m devoted to you.’ After I rededicated my life, I started really living for Christ. In fact, for 6 months, I was clean of that sin that was holding me down. I wish I could say that rededicating my life to Christ eternally demolished that sin in my life, but I can’t. I have changed though. Radically. I have the joy and peace of Jesus Christ who died so that I may have life. I often wonder what my life would be like if I weren’t a Christian. I am convinced that I probably wouldn’t be here right now if it weren’t for God saving me. I’ve been through a lot in my life, and it has dragged me down. If I didn’t have God to pick me back up, then I probably wouldn’t have made it this far. That scares me. To think that I might’ve ended my life years ago if it weren’t for God. And if I had then I would’ve spent my eternity in Hell. Now, through the never ending grace and unfathomable love of God, I get to spend my eternity in Heaven. And while I’m still here on this earth, I will live my life for the God who rescued me from death.
“Every sin of your life has been cast to the sea. Every mistake you’ve made nailed to the tree. You’re blood bought and heaven made. A child of God forever saved. So be grateful, joyful, for isn’t it for true? What you don’t have is much less than what you do.”
Grace is getting what you don’t deserve. Ephesians 2:8- For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.
Devotion for the week of 7/14/14-7/20/14 (Sorry it’s late. It’s summer and I totally forgot that yesterday was Monday…)
I have met many people in my life who I knew that if they were to die right then, they’d go to Hell. Every time I’ve met someone like that, it’s made me very sad and I’ve wanted to do something about it. Unfortunately, many times I didn’t do anything. But there have been times when I’ve tried very hard to save someone’s soul. Back when I was in 7th grade I had a friend who claimed to be a Wiccan. At that time I didn’t really know what she believed, and I still don’t. People used to tease her and call her a witch. However, as far as I know, she didn’t do any witchcraft or perform any rituals. She was just into the supernatural. Anyway, I spent a lot of time during that year, before she moved over the summer, witnessing to her. I wish I could tell you that she’s a Christian now, but I can’t. I remember one time in particular I was really fed up with her constant rejection of my attempts to talk with her about Christianity. It was after school and I had a flute lesson to get to. I saw her by the bathroom and we were talking. I don’t remember exactly what we said but I do remember what I said as I was walking off. And I know you aren’t supposed to be this blunt when you’re witnessing to people, but I was on my last straw and I didn’t know what else to say. So, angry, I shouted to her, “You’re going to Hell!” And her reply was even more surprising than my sudden outburst. She shouted back, “I don’t care!” … I had never gotten that kind of response before and I haven’t since. Usually people know that’s true but try not to think about it. But she knew it was true and didn’t care. I don’t understand how someone couldn’t care that they were going to be tortured for eternity in a pit of fire. I’ll never know if she truly didn’t care or if she was just saying that, but her words will stay with me forever. The Bible describes Hell in a few different places. In Matthew 13:49-50 Jesus says, “This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth”. Revelation 20:14-15 says ‘Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire’. Based off of those descriptions, Hell does not sound like a place that I wouldn’t mind going to. I encourage you to witness to the lost souls around you and show them that Hell is not a place they want to go. But don’t do what I did and try to scare them into being a Christian. Yes, make them aware of how horrible Hell is, but also make them aware of how amazing Heaven is and how graceful and loving our Savior is.