Monday, January 2, 2023

Not One

 


Good morning.

I am sitting here sipping my coffee, from my trendy Rae Dunn mug, reading my devotionals, and listening to Fox & Friends talk about the sky-high, record number of Fentanyl deaths in 2022.  Seems like I am multi-tasking on spot this am, but then, I am shocked by something I read in my devotional.

Before starting my reading this morning, I asked God to show me what I needed to learn - a short and somewhat superficial prayer I admit because I am running behind in my morning schedule.

Actually, I'm feeling pretty good this morning, so I was thinking, "I'd better ask God what He wants me to learn because I'm not FEELING any particular downsides this morning."  (How superfluous of me!)

Well never ask God those types of questions because, like asking for patience, He will often grant the request readily.

I read my first devotion.  Nice enough and a good reading, but nothing I felt compelled to write on.  Next up, Lysa.  ­čśÂ

You know Lysa will hit you between the eyes when you least expect it...and here is a paragraph I read in her devotion this morning that shot through me unexpectedly:

"You know what is really odd, Lysa? All those years of high school and college, I was a very visible person, had lots of friends and received a college basketball scholarship at a major university, yet no one—no family member, peer, girlfriend, teacher, coach, professor, fan—not one person ever told me about Jesus. All those years, all those people, and not one time did someone try to tell me the truth. Finally, when I was 21, someone shared how they met Jesus, and it radically changed my life.”

Wow.  Did you catch that?  This young man was twenty-one before one Christian in his life or who crossed his path shared the saving grace of Jesus with him.  A sad, but all too familiar story.

At that precise moment, I realized the Fox & Friends broadcast playing in the background of my morning scenario was talking about the record number of Fentanyl deaths in America last year. The two clashed together around me like a lightning bolt striking in the middle of a torrential thunderstorm.

You can read that quote from Lysa's high school classmate and think, "Wow!  Twenty one years and not one single person told this young man about Jesus!  How many Christians must have crossed his path and never shared their faith and beliefs?"

You could also correlate that quote to the fentanyl news story on the high number of people who died from a drug overdose.  How many of those people had also never heard about or accepted Jesus?  How many people of faith had crossed their paths?

...or, you could think like I did when I read it for the first time, "I'm not sure if I should be shocked and saddened by that quote or what if God had ordained that specific moment in time?  Maybe if this young man had been told about Jesus earlier in his life, he would have rejected Him or maybe hearing about Jesus would not have had the impact it did later on when he was 21 years old.  Maybe this was God's plan all along.  This young man needed to be at an exact and precise moment in life in order to change and make an impact in the world."

Regardless of either scenario (obviously, God knew when this young man was going to accept Jesus into his heart), one truth rings out loudly to me as I read the story - WE ALL NEED TO KNOW AND ACCEPT JESUS INTO OUR HEARTS.  

Not one person is beyond the saving power of our Savior.  Whether you are 4, 8, or 21.

I can't say the story below touches me in all the ways it was intended to.  I think it was shared to prompt us to share Jesus with everyone we know, and quite honestly, I am the worst at sharing Jesus.  I can do it here each day, but if you ask me about it in real life, I am one to shy away and not want to cross your line, offend you.

I know I have to get better at this.  I don't want to ever stand before my King and hear Him say I denied him.  I don't want to be like Peter on this one thing, but honestly, I'm just not as good at it as others.

Maybe that will be one of my personal goals for 2023 - to grow in my witnessing skills and in my ability to share Jesus and the Gospels.  I can't bear the thought of this story "including" me.  I don't want any person I know and love to one day say, "All my life, you never shared Jesus with me.  Why?"

If you don't know Jesus, this morning (or whenever you are reading this) is the perfect time to meet Him.  Pick up a Bible, download the YouVersion app, and just start searching.  If you are ready to meet Jesus right now, bow your head and pray this simple prayer.  (Yes.  It is that simple.)

Listen to me - Satan and the demons all know Jesus.  They've met Him.  They know him intimately.  He created them.  Yet, not one of them will be in Heaven with Him for eternity.  There is a difference between knowing who Jesus is and knowing and loving Him.

Take two minutes out of your day and pray this prayer with me.  If you need help, reach out.  People like myself and others around you, as well as Jesus Himself, are all waiting to listen and help.
"Jesus, thank you for the chance to come to you right now, in this moment of silence.  I admit I am a sinner and that I can't get to Heaven on my own.  I realize that I need Your help to get there and that I can't get to Heaven on the basis of what I have done here on Earth.  The gifts of grace and mercy can only be given by You.

Jesus, please come into my heart and make me a new creation before you.  I acknowledge you as the Lord and King of my life and will do my best to learn your Word, commit it to my heart and mind, and live under Your guidance as best I can.

I admit I am a sinner, and by accepting Your gift of eternal life, I know I will go to Heaven and live with You forever.  For we are not saved by our works, but only by the grace You freely give.  Thank you Jesus for offering me this gift and for showing me it's the only way to get to Heaven.  Amen."

 


Today's devotion, from which the quote above was pulled, is below.  I hope it helps you as much as it did me this morning.  Happy Monday my friends! 

No One Is Beyond the Reach of Truth

I am convinced that people don’t care to hear about our Jesus until they meet the reality of Jesus in our lives. Our history with Jesus and what he has done in our lives is the most effective salvation message we can share with others. Our history is “his story.”

Truth lived out is the best sermon.

One evening after I spoke at a pregnancy care center, a board member came forward to close in prayer. I almost fell out of my chair when I saw this board member was a guy I’d known in high school.

Well, let me clarify. I knew who he was. He didn’t have a clue who I was. He had been in the ├╝berpopular crowd. He was a star athlete who dated the beautiful girls. I was easy to miss.

After we chatted for a few minutes, he got a very serious look on his face. Then he said something I won’t forget.

You know what is really odd, Lysa? All those years of high school and college, I was a very visible person, had lots of friends and received a college basketball scholarship at a major university, yet no one—no family member, peer, girlfriend, teacher, coach, professor, fan—not one person ever told me about JesusAll those years, all those people, and not one time did someone try to tell me the truth. Finally, when I was 21, someone shared how they met Jesus, and it radically changed my life 

His statement startled me. I hope it startles me for the rest of my life. No one is beyond the reach of truth.

Who in your life needs to hear his story in you? Jesus will handle all the details. We obey. God brings results.

Here's a good one, from the Red Hymnal, sung by Natalie Grant and Kim Hopper (two of the best):

 


 

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