You see November19, 1971 is the day, that while I was driving home for a long Thanksgiving break from Tacoma to Palo Alto, that I asked Jesus to come into my life and take control. I remember it vividly. I was in my 1970 VW bug (still one of my 2 favorite cars ever) and somewhere in the Siskiyou Mountains in Oregon as I contemplated my long talk the night before with my friends Bill and Dave, that it all made sense. That Jesus wanted to have an everyday relationship with me.
It was an easy decision.
Probably because I had been raised a Catholic and had always believed in God and that Jesus was His Son, who came to earth to die for my sins. I just wasn't aware of His desire to be involved in my whole life and that's where it all finally made sense.
I wanted that relationship too. The way God desired it.
Little did I know then, how much that would change my life through the years.
I was so used to being "in control" of my life. I didn't understand what it all meant at the time. I don't think any of us do. Bit by bit, piece by piece, area by area, God taps us on the shoulder. or bangs our head so it seems on a wall and shows us a part of our lives that we still want to hang on to; the part that we don't want to give to Him, that part that we want to have control of.
We can resist all we want. But He will keep pursuing. Eventually, we cave; we learn -all too often through rough times, that He really is the better ONE to be in control.
Here's part of what I wrote yesterday in my journal:
42 years ago today, I asked YOU to come and take charge of my life. BEST decision I ever could have made. I can't imagine my life apart from YOU. Thank you Father for drawing me to You....I know i've often been flakey. I've sinned way too much. Have been defiant and disobedient. I've wanted to hang on to control of my life and YOU often have had to pray away the tight grip I held...I have been faithless more times that I even want to count. And YET, YOU still love me. You extend your amazing GRACE to me every single day. You forgive my sins. You are patient with me. And at the same time, You will discipline me. You keep pursuing me, keep drawing me back to YOU.
You keep reminding me that YOU are GOD. That I am not.
You are in control.
You are not surprised or fazed by what happens in my life or catches me completely off guard.
YOU are always present with me, whether I "feel" it or not.
I am so so grateful LORD GOD. I can't even find the words to express this.
But today LORD, my heart is bursting with my love for YOU, with my gratitude for Your Love, Mercy, Grace and Forgiveness...
I am completely blown away how Our God keeps pursuing us. How the Creator and Sustainer of our lives loves us. Loves us unconditionally; all the time, whether we are good or not.
So having a day where I really chose to reflect on what it means for me to follow Christ, for how He has pursues me (and you), and how He has forgiven me time and time again, for being ever so grateful for His constant Presence in my life, I was caught off balance by something I read in the Bible.
I am currently reading the Book of Acts. This is the story of the early Church of Jesus. How God caused it, despite huge disturbances from the Jews, to grow exponentially. In the 19th chapter of Acts, Paul the Apostle, is in Ephesus and the church is growing. Paul has cast out demons from people. Some Jews went around trying to cast out demons by saying " In the name of Jesus who Paul preaches, I command you to come out."
I presume from the account of this story that one evil spirit, did not like this at all and thru the man he inhabited, gave a beating to those who tried this practice. It says that when this became known, people were seized with fear "and the Name of the Lord Jesus was held in high honor".
The Name of the LORD JESUS held in high honor.
Do we do that today?
Sometimes yes, and other times I shudder how little we hold His Name in high honor. I want to ALWAYS hold the Name of Jesus in high honor; to give Him the Honor HE alone deserves.
But often I feel like we can be too flippant.
I am not casting stones. I just want us to give THE GOD OF THE UNIVERSE the reverence He rightly is entitled to.
In working with younger folks, I often hear them pray: "heh God".
Heh, like He is their friend.
And He is.
In Young Life we constantly tell kids to talk to God like He is their friend. Because He is the best friend they will ever have.
But I seriously believe that when we meet God face to face, we aren't going to say "Heh God", I think we will fall down on our knees in awe and adoration. Or we will be speechless.
I want all of us to talk to God the easiest way possible for each of us.
I just want us to remember WHO HE REALLY IS.
HE IS GOD, the Creator, Giver and Sustainer of life.
We need to give Him the respect He deserves, and requires.
We need to acknowledge His Supremacy.
We need to be humble before Him.
I don't believe any of us will be flippant in how we will respond to seeing Him face to face when our time on earth is over.
So why don't we start now?
Holding the Name of the LORD in high honor.
42 years ago. Still by far THE BEST decision I ever made.
I am eternally grateful LORD GOD ALMIGHTY.