In the center of my heart and my life there is a man. A wonderful man who did the most amazing thing for ME. He has taken my sins and not only FORGIVEN me of them but He has FORGOTTEN that they ever happened. And because of this great act of love He has made it possible for me to live forever. WOW!! Isn't that awesome? The concept of forever might sound exhausting to some. But to me it sounds peaceful. I know that when all of my hard work here is done, then I will enter into my peaceful eternal life and have the awesome opportunity bow down at the foot of this wonderful man and thank Him for all that He did for me. Did I deserve it? No. Have I earned it? Hardly. But I will live each day on this Earth trying to serve Him and do what He has planned for me.
Salvation. WOW! It's something that I feel that I'm a little behind in learning about. I always figured, if you believe in God and believe that He sent His Son to die for our sins then you'd go to Heaven. I thought if people went to church and did good things then they'd go to Heaven. I also thought that since Jesus died for all of our sins, then everyone would go to Heaven. These are just a few thoughts that have passed through my mind over the last several years about eternal life.
In fact it wasn't until a year or two ago that I even heard of the words "Being Saved" In retrospect, how could I have truly been a "Christian" and have never heard those words before? Have I not been listening? Have I been misguided? Have I been uneducated? That word "Saved" sat there on my heart for a long while until I heard it again when I was doing my Walk to Emmaus. Saved. What does that mean??? Oh, my goodness! Have I been saved? I wasn't sure. I believed in Jesus, I loved Him in fact. I went to Church and gave my money and talents where I could. Are you telling me that's not enough?
I had a perfect opportunity one evening while on my Walk to ask Jesus into my heart. But I was so overwhelmed and distracted with all that had happened and all that was going on that even though I prayed the "right" words I just didn't feel like I had "done it right." When I returned to the "real world" I found myself very frustrated about 48 hours after returning home. I found myself actually questioning this God of ours. I had just had this AMAZING experience that proved to me the love that God has for me yet when I returned home I felt so overwhelmed with just how big He is that for a day or so I actually started to doubt His existence. I really felt like I had failed. But then I realized it was the Devil working overtime on me. I had seen God's love and had actually seen Jesus for the first time in my life that the devil was scared. I realized that I had to learn how to see Jesus everyday through my own eyes. When I realized this I prayed. I sat on the edge of my bed and prayed for Jesus to come into my heart and to be my Savior.
So after that I felt pretty good. I had been Saved by grace! I was on my way.
But I still felt that since Jesus died for our sins that meant the sins of everyone. Then the John 3:16 slapped me in the face. This wasn't a new verse to me. I knew it quite well in fact. But for some reason, it jumped out at me. For about a week I was just so drawn in by this verse. I realize now that it was God speaking to me.
"For God so loved the world that he sent his only Son, so that anyone who believed in Him shall not perish but have eternal life"
So that ANYONE who BELIEVED in Him SHALL NOT PERISH but have ETERNAL LIFE. There it was....God telling me that salvation was not for everyone, but only for those who had accepted Jesus as their savior. WOW! This is huge! It was a light bulb for me for some reason.
A short while after that light bulb, another one went off in my head. I was sitting at a training meeting for a summer ministry that I was going to help out with this summer. The director handed out a sheet of paper on Salvation so that we could be prepared to help lead some of these children to Christ should they ask. There it was....God speaking to me, teaching me once again. The way to salvation is NOT simply by being "good" or doing "good works" but ONLY through Jesus Christ; asking him to be our Savior; asking him into our hearts.
So there I was one day not too long after that....and on the radio they were talking about this topic of salvation again. So I turned off the radio, left the dishwasher as is and dropped to my knees on my not so-clean, bleach-stained brown kitchen carpet and prayed. Yes, again. For the third time in about 2 1/2 months I asked Jesus to be my savior; I surrendered my life to Him; I asked him into my heart. I was on my knees for about 30 minutes, tears rolling down my cheeks....talking to Him; thanking Him; accepting Him; surrendering to Him.
There is no cookie cutter way to accept Christ. But for me I think I had to do it three times I needed to let Jesus into my heart a little bit at a time because I was still learning what all that entailed. I think "Gee, I'm 29 and could have used Jesus a long time ago!" Well, I know he was always there.....I had felt him several times throughout my life nudging me. But I had never opened my heart to Him, I had never invited Him in. With Him there now the possibilities are all in His hands and I'm excited!