Spreading God's Love Thru Prayer
Genesis 35:1-5: Then God said to Jacob, “Go up to Bethel and settle there, and build an altar there to God, who appeared to you when you were fleeing from your brother Esau.” So Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, “Get rid of the foreign gods you have with you, and purify yourselves and change your clothes. Then come, let us go up to Bethel, where I will build an altar to God, who answered me in the day of my distress and who has been with me wherever I have gone.” So they gave Jacob all the foreign gods they had and the rings in their ears, and Jacob buried them under the oak at Shechem. Then they set out, and the terror of God fell on the towns all around them so that no one pursued them.
I wanted to open with this scripture, because it spoke to me regarding where I’ve been, and where I’m going. I am using this as a parallel to my life. How many people know that there comes a time in our lives when we need to grow and change?
When we were younger, we did everything that we were big and bad enough to do; the good and the bad. We may have had the mindset that we couldn’t wait until the legal ages of 18 and 21 to be able to drink, smoke, party, or anything else that was exciting to us at the time. The crew that we hung with may have even pressured us into doing things that we knew that we had no business doing, but because we wanted to be with the cool kids, we did it anyway, ignoring the still small voice of the Lord, telling us that we knew better.
I think that everyone who is at least between the ages of 45 and 80 grew up in a saved household, where it wasn’t an option if you wanted to go to church. I promise you that even if you partied the night before, Big Mama or your parents weren’t having any objections to going to the house of God if you were too tired. You’d better look like getting out of the bed, clearing your mind of the fun things you did the night before, and going to worship the Lord in the sanctuary.
Like I said, there comes a time when the drinking, smoking, partying and sexual encounters weren’t fun anymore, and you may have felt the tugging of the Lord at your heart, saying that it’s time to go higher and deeper in Him. If you grew up in church, and didn’t stray, great. But, if you didn’t, it may have been a struggle to give up some things and people that you know weren’t of the same thinking that you were at this point in your life.
Of course, the enemy would be whispering in your ear, saying how much you would be missing out by making the decision to follow Jesus without fear, inadequacy, guilt or shame. He would play remember when with your mind, trying to get you to see how good those days were. Of course, it looked good, but you may have forgotten a few things along the way.
Philippians 3:7-14: But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ – the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christ – yes, to know the power of His resurrection and participation in His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
So now, we have choices to make. We want to be completely sold out for God, yet we have Satan trying to embarrass and humiliate us for our past. He has many tactics, like bringing old boy from back in the day, looking better than ever, reminding you of that one song that you used to dance to, and you haven’t played it since. Better yet, how about your 30th high school or college reunion, and seeing all the people you used to hang with, drinking and getting high, and they tell every single story about how you used to act.
You try and protest that you’re not the same, but of course the enemy of our soul makes you second guess yourself. You might even imagine that the sights, sounds and smells of the past bring you back there, but do you really want to stay?
There is a reason why the past is just that. No matter how good or bad it is, it will never take the place of what you have and will have gained by making the decision to serve the Lord. Sure, the devil will do his best to take you back into his fold, so that you can’t see how blind you really were. But I promise you that it is the grace of God that you are sitting here today, and because of His mercy, you are alive, and didn’t die in your sins.
At the end of the day, we want to be able to forget those things which are part of yesterday, and press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. He loves each and every one of us, and wants the highest and best for our lives. That’s why it was so important for me to write this book, “A Personal Guide to Live, Love & Laugh Your Way to Making Better Choices”, because I lived it. The examples that I gave were from my life and some of yours, if we would just be honest for a moment. The thing that I love about my church is that we have shared testimonies that have changed lives, because all we want to do is serve the Lord without the fear, inadequacy, guilt or shame that the enemy tries to cast on us. Christians aren't perfect, but we are forgiven, and it’s time to walk in the forgiveness and newness of life that God wants for us.
I invite you to check out my book, and answer some of the questions that I ask within its pages, which can be found on Amazon. May the Lord bless you abundantly is my prayer.