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Thursday, April 7, 2011

Headed for Heaven?

I assumed it would be just another normal Monday morning. As I rolled over in bed and grabbed my phone, I noticed I had a voicemail. I immediately checked to see who had called me so early in the morning, and my heart sank when my mom's phone number crystallized before my eyes. Before I even listened to the message, I knew something bad had happened.

I dialed my voicemail, and as the phone rang I prayed, "Lord, give me peace. Lord, help me with whatever I'm about to face. Lord, keep me calm." My dad emphatically began his message and said only a few words: "Stephanie, this is your dad. Call me immediately. It's very serious."

I hurriedly dialed my parents' number and willed my heart to stop beating so fast. My dad answered and handed the phone to my mom. She was crying, and the words that tumbled out of her mouth left me numb. My Aunt Melinda, the oldest of eight siblings, had died suddenly a few hours before.

The shocking news of my aunt's death was surreal. My Aunt Melinda was a beautiful, vibrant lover of life. She was a beacon of light for Jesus Christ to all who knew her. And she lived like He would return at any moment, in eager expectation of His arrival.

Well, He didn't return. Instead, He called her home. And she was ready.

The question today is: Are you ready?

God had every day He ordained for you written in His book before one of them came to be (Psalm 139:16). He knows the day you were born, and He knows the day you'll die.

Life is but a vapor (James 4:13-14) and death but a blip as we pass from this life to the next. That's because we'll all live forever. The only thing in question is where.

The reality is, we were created for a relationship with Jesus Christ. And He is the only person who will ever fill the hollow places in our hearts. God created us to know Him intimately, as a best friend (John 15:15).

But when Eve took a bite from the apple and sin entered the world, it marred God’s plan and separated us from Him forever. Instead of living intimately connected to God, we decided to follow our own selfish ways.

Thankfully God loves us with an everlasting love, and through Jesus’ death on the cross, He’s made a way for us to know Him. God waits patiently for us to trust Him with our lives because He doesn’t want us to perish in our sin (2 Peter 3:9).

Our salvation never depends on what we do; it depends solely on what’s been done.

We don’t have to wait until we get our acts together to come to Jesus. He beckons us to come just as we are so He can place crowns of beauty on our heads instead of ashes (Isaiah 61:3). He desires to separate our sins from us as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12). He longs to make us white as snow (Isaiah 1:18).

Through His death on the cross, Jesus paid the price in full for the sins of the entire world (John 3:16).

Today I beg you to evaluate whether this is the Jesus you know. We are all sinners in need of God's mercy (Romans 3:23). And God made a way for us to have a relationship with Him through Jesus’ death on the cross (Romans 6:23).

Jesus Christ came to Earth to be the payment for our sins so that we might live forever with Him in heaven. This is a free gift (Ephesians 2:8-9) that we can’t earn by being good people or attending church on Sundays.

If we could somehow earn our salvation, Jesus’ death on the cross would not have been necessary.

Romans 10:9 says, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

It's that simple.

Maybe you're sitting on the other side of your computer screen right now and sense something is missing in your life. You have all you’ve ever wanted—a wonderful family, a beautiful home, a successful career. Yet inside you feel an emptiness you can never seem to escape. Or maybe you’re at your lowest point and the only place to look is up … but you have no idea who to look up to. Nothing has ever gone right in your life, so you figure you’ll just be broken forever.

God hears the cry of your heart right now. It's no accident that you're reading this post at this exact moment in time. God loves you, and He's pursuing you today.

Pray to God and acknowledge your need for Him. Tell him exactly how you’re feeling, admitting your brokenness. Confess to Him that you have fallen short of His glory because of the sin in your life. Admit that there is nothing you could ever do to earn your salvation. Tell Him you believe He sent His son Jesus to die on the cross for your sins so that you can live forever with Him in heaven. Thank God for His free gift of eternal life.

And then REST, knowing that God will never leave you or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5). The moment you are saved you receive the Holy Spirit, who is your counselor, comforter, and helper. The Holy Spirit steers your life and guides you into truth (John 16:13).

Because of the Holy Spirit’s power, you can live free from sin (Romans 6:18) and become a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). Trusting Jesus transforms your life. As you surrender your life to Christ, you begin to look more like Him and less like yourself. There’s a visible difference in how your life looks before and after you meet Jesus.

So I ask you again: Do you know about Jesus, or do you KNOW Him?

None of us are promised tomorrow. So make sure you're ready to meet Him face to face today. Don't delay. You never know if this moment might be your last.


Danielle said...

Hey girl! What a powerful post. This is something we've been talking about alot lately, or really over the last year. My husband and I are involved in House Church planting and Discipleship. So exciting to see what God is doing!

Are you going to She Speaks this year?

Also, if you get a chance, would you check out the new blog I started for young girls. It's my desire to see them come and grow there as Daughters of Zion! If you'd like, follow the blog. When we get to 25 followers, I'll have a give-away for the girls. And if you have friends with daughter between the ages of 8-14, please send them that way as well!


Holli Ratcliffe said...

There is nothing worse than loosing a friend or loved one and not knowing if you will see them in Heaven. I am so glad that your aunt was a believer.

Thank you for speaking TRUTH...and for reminding us to live each day for the Lord b/c we are not promised another moment.

Anonymous said...

Great Word Stephanie!

Way to keep the Main Thing THE MAIN THING!! ;)

Gal. 2:20-21 "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!"

I love these two verses!!!!


Anonymous said...

This was powerful Steph. I reposted on my wall and two friends wrote to me on email and told me how it touched them. :)


Anonymous said...

Stephanie, it would be cool to ask your readers how God pursued them in an upcoming post!

Anonymous said...

Stephanie, you should become a writer. You really draw in your reader to want to know more. And you put so much emotion and feeling into what you write. God has given you an awesome gift. You are an inspiration to me. Thanks for posting !!

I'm sorry about the loss of your aunt. I'm so happy to know she was saved and in heaven with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ !! God Bless you and your family !!

Sherry Clarke

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