Happy Easter! Maybe you can identify with my life. I came to realize that doing things my way leads to painful consequences, but these motivated me to turn to God for acceptance, love and security.
“All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes.” 1
God’s Glorious Grace…
It’s so wonderful to hear from those responding to the website. Listen to Alec as he draws closer to God’s love and plan for his life.
“So glad to hear back from you. Thank you for your kind words and prayers. I surely am focusing more on Christ and most recently—worship. I went to a chatroom and found some local friends around my age who share the love of God, which isn’t as easy as I thought it would be.
“I mentioned your site to my new friends and happily they love it. The older crowd aren’t so keen on it because of the past, sadly, but my younger friends definitely love the site and enjoy how you are spreading God’s love. They agree with me that you’re a changed man; a God loving man spreading the word.
“Since I last wrote you, I haven’t put the Bible down. One of my favorites is “Jesus said to the people who believed in Him, ‘You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free’” (John 8:31,32 NLT). You will be in my thoughts and prayers always. Take care!”
Alec is a young musician from Virginia, who I believe will eventually be a praise and worship leader. As we view things in the Spirit, we see that,
“God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family, by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear son.” 2
God’s Glorious Acceptance…
I grew up in a wonderful church going family but I never found absolute security, identity and approval in my parents’ love and, most of all, in my Heavenly Father's love for me. I was unable to say no to all kinds of temptations, trying to fill that vacuum. I to do all sorts of things to win approval of my friends.
Through faith in my Heavenly Father's love, my need for approval and acceptance was filled, enabling me to overcome various temptations by Jesus' blood, His resurrection and the indwelling Holy Spirit. In other words, as my identity grew in my father's love, acceptance and security, it became increasingly easy to say no to sin as God's beloved child.
"He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his son and forgave our sins. He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding." 3
Thank you Father for revealing to me your love and acceptance, empowering me to live and overcoming life.
God's glorious power...
Our Heavenly Father has a wonderful plan for the believer. "He who believes in the Son has everlasting life and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” 4 As an unbeliever in the 60s, there was a plan before me that seems right, but it ended in death. Today, it's all about love, life and liberty that causes me to soar.
After 40 plus years of ministry, my sole desire is to carry out God's plan through all eternity. Our life does not end here on earth; it's just barely beginning. The Lord has "...plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope." 5
Listen to the Apostle Paul explain God's future plan for the believer,
God has now revealed to us his mysterious plan regarding Christ, a plan to fulfill his own good pleasure. And this is the plan: At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ - everything in heaven and on earth." 6
Where will you spend eternity?
If it hadn't been for Jesus, we wouldn't have an eternal inheritance. The promise of eternity is only because of him. We share as co-heirs and his inheritance.
"Furthermore, because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, for he chose us and Vance, and he makes everything work out according to His plan." 7
God's glorious love...
God still loves me, but my life wasn't going according to his plan before receiving his son's love. I was a vagabond, having left my family in Texas to end up in poverty with the Manson Family in California. I was a prodigal son, blinded to my heritance with God and family.
I was separated from God like so many today. Daily, we see the ripple effect of sin inherited from Adam be bringing forth Wars, fighting, anti-semitism, terrorism, adultery, murder and other works of the flesh.
"But God is so rich in mercy, and he loves us so much, that even though we were sad because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God's grace that you have been saved!) For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus." 8
Listen, it's time for you to receive God's love, escaping his wrath that is to come upon send. I'll leave you this month with a wonderful scripture from the Apostle Paul to meditate and received by faith.
"God saved you by His grace when you believed. And you can't take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ you this, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago." 9
Won't you receive Jesus today, by saying yes to his love and grace?
A prayer for you...
Jesus, I turn from trusting in myself and my own works for salvation. I confess that You are my Lord. I believe in my heart that God raised You from the dead, and I receive Your gift of salvation right now by faith. Thank You for revealing Your love and grace to me!
Father, I recognize my need for Your power to understand Your word and to live this new life. I desire to receive Your revelation knowledge. Please fill me with Your Holy Spirit. By faith, I receive it right now. Thank You for baptizing me in the Holy Spirit. You are welcome in my life! Amen.
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Scripture references (NLT):
1) Eph. 1:3,4
2) Eph. 1:5,6
3) Eph 1:7,8
4) John 3:36 (NKJV)
5) Jere. 29:11
6) Eph. 1:9,10
7) Eph 1:11
8) Eph. 2:4-6
9) Eph. 2:8-10