Greetings Sisters in Christ!
Today brings another day for us to kill our flesh and joyfully serve our King who has gone to prepare a place for us if we endure in obedience until the end. This verse was pretty strong for me in the beginning of my walk in Christ:
In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. John 14:2
I love the part of that verse where Jesus said 'If it were not so I would have told you.' That reminds me of years past in my unregenerated state of the blind trust I had in the little knowledge that I was given about God and Jesus from the corrupt Lutheran religion. Praise God I had faith like a child (starting when I was a child) but the lies of Lutheranism and other false religions never made sense to me. I fully trusted that God created the whole universe and everything in it and that man was sinful (boy did I know what sin was because growing up our house was filled with more than the usual sins, there was much vileness in it as well.) I also knew that Jesus died on the cross for the forgiveness of sins but I never understood why He had to do that since everyone I knew that 'went to church' was STILL SINNING! My whole life I was searching for truth but never knew where to find it because I was trained that the bible was just accounts written by men and only pastors could understand it. One time I tried reading it but it was so filled with violence and blood that I thought the men who wrote it were blood thirsty (so I stopped) and it didn't fit the God that the church talked about as being loving so it was all confusing to me. So the very day, the very second that I heard the gospel was when I was 39 and I grabbed ahold of it right away. Brother James had been being convicted about seeking truth and this is what happened:
I was getting ready to walk out the door to go to town and he said 'I'm going to follow Jesus.'
I said 'What does that mean, what more is there to do?'
(I really wanted to know.)
His answer was 'You know you're going to hell don't you?'
That stopped me in my tracks because I never knew where I would go when I died but all my life I cried out to God to give me an answer.
I said 'What else is there to do...maybe go to church more?'
He said 'Jesus said you must be born again.'
Of course I asked what that meant and he said 'You get a new heart, new mind and a new life.'
Right then I wanted it. I was so hungry, for years and years I wanted a new life and wondered about the futility of this awful life and here my answer was being given to me.
Then I asked what anyone would and said 'So what do we do, how do I get born again?'
He said 'The bible is God's Word you know, go read it, it's in there.'
I was astonished and said 'It is?' And that's all I needed...someplace where I could find truth and the meaning to this life. I used to wonder why God made us all and just left us here on this earth to figure it out all on our own. It all made sense to me....He left us a book!!!!! I used to say 'why isn't there a book about this life and how to raise children and why we are here?' I was an avid book reader (unfortunately all ungodly) but now I find out there is a book about life and I finally get some answers!!! We made plans to go get me a bible the next day.
That afternoon I kept repeating.... 'If Jesus said it then it must be true. I don't know what born again means then I must not be. That means I'm going to hell until I figure out how to be born again.'
Every day I read God's Word and every night I cried myself to sleep worried that I would die in my sins because I knew very well how sinful I was...and I was sure there were a lot I didn't even know about!
So, I scoured that awesome book from God but there was no way I could ever clean myself up enough to be born again, whatever that meant. Through a hard life I'd become a wicked feminist woman who did everything except have an abortion or literally kill someone. I had a rotten mouth and a wickedly dirty mind that I worked hard at clearing up. I was a drunk and tried to stop. I knew how I dressed and acting provocative was wrong and the deathly rap music I pounded in my head to pump me up was not right. I was bold, loud and in your face and I tried to be kind and gentle. I forgave all the people I knew that wronged me and tried to forgive myself for all the destruction my sins caused to others. On and on I tried....
But nothing worked.
For 3 months I cried out to God and searched the scriptures until one day I gave it all up. I threw myself at the cross and said 'I trust that you will do what you need to do, and will wait for you to do it.' I had just read about the woman in Luke 8 that touched His hem...that was me. Jesus called her daughter and commended her faith... I never really had a father and here I could become the daughter of God?
That day I started to slowly see and understand.
I had a childlike trust in Jesus and His words and as I read them I was so joyful that God had someone write all this down and I was willing to do anything He said, because I was going to strive for that eternal life that He offered. After all, the God of the universe died for me? And I can be His daughter? How can that be? I was so wretched and dirty, sinful and despicable yet He died while we were yet sinners. (Romans 5:8)
And I came across that verse in John 14:8 and I wept tears of joy and thankfulness.
In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
See, those words 'if it were not so I would have told you' meant a lot to me because how often do people say something and never do it? I used to work as a manager in a multi million dollar company and ran various departments and my word was my word. What I said, I meant, and I got mad if anyone doubted me because I held to my word. I felt like the centurion in Matthew 8.
I knew I could count on Christ as being rock solid, I could trust wholeheartedly. And then He said He's preparing a place for me and I felt loved.
I grew up in an very dysfunctional family, had a pretty brutal time in my life before all this and now here is the Creator of the universe saying that He's preparing a place for someone like me and everyone else that is looking for truth?
I still marvel that the God of the universe is so kind and loving that He gives us a chance, He's long suffering and patient with us if we are repentant and have a right heart for Him. He's unmovable and solid as a rock, we can count on every word being true, right and just. He promises not to leave or forsake us if we are striving in His ways.
Oh, and one thing I forgot to mention was during this time I had a realization about brother James and I was raging mad!
I jumped up, stormed into the living room and belted out...
'YOU KNEW ALL THIS TIME WE WERE ON OUR WAY TO HELL AND YOU NEVER TOLD ME THIS?!?!?
He said 'How could I tell you when I wasn't living for God myself?' I couldn't fathom anyone knowing the truth and still choosing hell, but now I see how blind people can be and God allows people to see what He wants them to see, in His timing.
Every day since then I have been striving in holiness and obedience and will continue to endure until the end.
I'm blessed to be in ministry and called to share the gospel with women on the streets with brother James. I am also blessed to minister to women who reach out and to encourage other sisters in the faith as I walk this road after my Savior.
Glory to God!