Folks who think the church is full of people who think they have it all together and are better than everyone else, couldn’t be FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH! Actually, it’s the opposite: We realize that we need help!
Remember CliffsNotes? I’m not sure if they still even have them now or not. Kids probably just use Google. But anyways for those too young (or for those who actually DID do their homework), CliffsNotes were the abbreviated version of literature classics. If you didn’t read the actual thing, you could buy the CliffsNotes and get the gist of it.
Are you getting Jesus or the CliffsNotes?
“The right understanding of Jesus Christ is essential to understanding many other vital truths, particularly the gospel and salvation. There’s no good news apart from Christ.” – John MacArthur
Let me give you just one verse. It is short and easy: “I and the Father are one.” – John 10:30.
I was at a restaurant once and they poured my Ginger Ale over a ton of ice. I could hardly taste it. It was gross, really. I have harsh words for anyone who waters down the Gospel to make it easier or more user-friendly. Its gross, really.
MacArthur also admonishes those who make their faith a “private” matter: “If your faith is ‘a private thing,’ it’s not the Christian faith.” I have heard this defense as I’m sure you have too.
Nothing about the Great Commission sounded “private” to me.
“And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among people by which we must be saved [for God has provided the world no alternative for salvation].” – Acts 4:12 (AMP)
Don’t make that private. Make it public!
Don’t settle for an abridged rendition of Jesus. Demand the full version!
The road in front of our house was nothing but ice, so of course Charlotte wanted to go ice skating on it. We were crossing the street & she stopped to play around. I let her do that for a little while, but then I told her to come in. Like any other kid, I had to tell her multiple times before it got through that I was actually serious. Eventually, I had to go get her. For some reason this was all a great surprise to her & she appropriately made a big fuss.
Here’s what WASgoing through my head:
She’s going to fall on that ice & get hurt.
She’s little, so any car coming might not see her.
Its icy, so any car coming may have a hard time stopping.
It’s cold out here & warm in the house.
I have hot chocolate inside ready for her.
Here’s what was NOT going through my head:
I don’t want her to have fun.
Someone who has not accepted Jesus, is like that kid playing in the street. There are cars coming. There is ice everywhere. The sun is going down & it is getting dark.
Love isn’t sitting complicit as they are play. Love is warning them to get out!
Of course, we can’t physically go get people out of the street like I did with Charlotte. We lovingly tell them the truth (Eph. 4:15). We tell them how warm the house is & what a wonderful feast there is inside (Isa. 25:6). We tell them how we also used to play in the street until our Father beckoned us safely away (Luke 15:32). We pray that message pierces their hearts as it did ours (Acts 2:37). But then, it is up to them to turn away from the street & to the Father (Deut. 30:19).
You know what? I did go over there & ice skate with Lovey. Sorta. I held her hands as she scooted across the ice. I walked along beside her & held her up. She slipped a few times, but I never let her fall. I just reassured her, “I got you. I got you. Don’t worry.”
Then after a bit, I carried her inside & we had hot chocolate. God will meet you where you are & if you let Him, He will walk along beside you & hold you up. When you slip, He will never let you fall.
He has you (Isa. 49:16). He has you (Heb. 13:5). Don’t worry (Phil. 4:6).
Ever get a song stuck in your head? Of course you have! The Belle Stars’, “Iko Iko” from the movie, “Rain Man” used to get it’s catchy claws on my brain and not let go.
Well, how about after you’ve been arrested… in a dungeon… at midnight? Still got a song rattling around up there? Kind of different, huh? Well, that’s exactly what Paul and Silas were doing when they were in prison in Philippi:
“But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them;” (Acts 16:25)
Nowadays, songs that get stuck in my head are Christian worship songs. That may sound weird to you, but to me it isn’t. A couple of years ago I took the K-Love “30-Day Challenge” of listening to only Christian music for a month… and I never looked back. That’s not my point, my point is this: we lay up things in our heart. They can either be things of God or things not of God. When you wake up with a Christian song or a Scripture verse in your head, then this is the “song in the night” that God has given you!
“The LORD will command His lovingkindness in the daytime; And His song will be with me in the night, A prayer to the God of my life.” (Psalms 42:8)
Prison at midnight might not seem like a great place for singing. But in fact, it was ideal. Note that “the prisoners were listening to them.” What a witness! How many of Paul and Silas’s fellow inmates were converted that night? It’s hard to tell.
It’s also hard to tell who’s listening to you. And make no mistake, nonbelievers are listening. What are you singing? What songs are stuck in your head? God can give you songs in the night and it will be a prayer to the God of your life!
May God’s Love be with you
Re: Daily Devotion with Greg Laurie, “Songs in the Night”
It’s not my job to “sell” you on Him. It’s not my job to make Him as appealing as possible so maybe, if I’m lucky, (fingers crossed!) you’ll give Him a try.
It is my job to tell you about Him. It’s my job to help you realize what Paul realized when he said, “Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” Phil. 3:8 (New Living Translation)
It’s really up to you.
It’s up to you if you’ve continued reading this far.
It’s up to you if you think this is all nonsense.
It’s up to you if you let Him into your heart.
It’s up to you where you will spend eternity.
It’s up to you, not me.
King Agrippa told Paul that he was “almost persuaded.” (Acts 26:28,29) Almost doesn’t cut it. “Almost” might as well be “Not At All.” Paul gave his witness and then it was up to Agrippa. The ball was in his court. And he dropped it. Big time.
It’s not my job to get to you to believe in Jesus, but I’d be happy to help! Jesus is with me to the end of the age. (Matt. 28:19-20) Is He with you?