Today we are excited about everything the Lord is doing to bring about all that He has declared for our lives. The most exciting of all is the “knowing” that our union is not of ourselves but is by His design and is “in the center of His perfect will.” This same knowing can be attained in your life as well. It is the Father’s will that every marriage come into the fullness of Jesus Christ and the infilling presence of His Holy Spirit. It is promised in His Word! The promises are for all who walk in the conditions of love, faith and obedience. In that place you can weather any storm—and grow together—as you “run the race that He has set before you.”
If you do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and you do not know Him as your Savior, I invite you to pray the following prayer with me:
“Lord Jesus, I believe that You died on the cross for me, and I know that I am a sinner in need of Your forgiveness. Please forgive me of all my sins and cleanse me with Your blood. Please become my Lord and Master. I surrender all that I am to You, and I desire to walk with You and obey You all the days of my life. Baptize me with Your Holy Spirit that I might walk in the fullness of Your power. Into Your hands, I commit my life. Thank You for Your forgiveness, love and mercy.”
If you said that prayer from your heart, Romans 10:9 says, “…if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”
All the angels in glory are rejoicing, as another lost sheep has found his way home. Begin to read the Word of God, find yourself a church so you can begin to grow spiritually, pray to Jesus as a friend and a comforter and watch His mighty Hand begin to move in your life. You might want to ask Him to send you a spiritual mentor. When you pray, wait for Him to speak; and remember, He speaks in many ways—through friends, something you might read, through a sermon, through family. Listen—you will hear Him!
I have desired in this short writing to encourage you to walk with Him, talk with Him and listen to His “still, small voice.” He loves us with an everlasting love that we cannot comprehend with our finite minds, but if we are willing to open our hearts to receive Him, He will come in to live and abide with us forever. Some of you may be thinking, “I can’t be accepted by the Lord. I have sinned too greatly and too often.”
Just remember the Apostle Paul who said,
“This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners of whom I am chief. However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life.” (I Timothy 1:15-16)
Paul, with great vehemence, persecuted the church. He had many killed and thought he was doing God a service. So we see that God desires to meet us right where we are. We can’t clean ourselves up first before coming to Him. We have no ability; all we must do is turn our hearts to Him and surrender, and He receives us.
You also may be thinking, “Don’t I have to pay the price for all of my sins?” None of us have received the just recompense for our sins—no, not one of us. The Lord continually calls us so that He can show His pardon. Nehemiah 9:17 states, “…But you are God, ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, abundant in kindness, and did not forsake them.” Over and over the Scriptures say the Israelites cried out to God in their bondage and slavery, and over and over God relented of the destruction He planned for them because of their disobedience. He continually helped them in their distress.
When we read Nehemiah Chapter 9, we should be humbled and broken because of the goodness and mercies of our Lord. It greatly touches my heart to read Nehemiah 9:8 concerning Abraham. “You found his heart faithful before You and made a covenant with him to give the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites and the Girgashites—to give it to his descendants. You have performed Your words, for You are righteous.” How it breaks the heart of our Father as He watches us over and over come to the end of ourselves because of the destruction that sin has wrought in our lives.
For those who are born again, He never ceases to cry out day and night by His Spirit living in us, “Your ears shall hear a word behind you saying, ‘This is the way, walk ye in it.’ Whenever you turn to the right hand or whenever you turn to the left.” (Isaiah 30:21) How tenderly Jesus says to all of us, “Come to Me, all you who labor.” (Matthew 11:28) He knows the pain we live in because of our disobedience. Coming to Him and abiding in Him is the only way and the only answer. Let us cleanse and purify ourselves with His Word that we might be a fit bride for our Groom.
The Lord is seeking those who will wholeheartedly abandon themselves to Him. Jesus tells us to “labor not for the food (fleshly appetities) which perishes but for the food (Jesus) which endures to everlasting life.” (John 6:27) It is labor to enter into the deep things of the knowledge of God. Jesus knew how difficult it was because he, too, experienced all that we experience, except He was without sin and did not succumb to Satan’s temptations. He tells us in Matthew 7:14, “…narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” Our Lord knows all we are up against. He knows all the enemy throws at us, and He knows the weakness of our flesh. He has not come to condemm us but to save us.
The Apostle Paul exhorted his spiritual son Timothy and said, “You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. You therefore must endure hardships as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier. This is a faithful saying: For if we died with Him, we shall also live with Him. If we endure, we shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us.” (2 Timothy 2:1, 3-4, 11-12)
“Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead. I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
Paul repeatedly expressed the labor and the “pressing in” that is so necessary for us to become vessels of honor and not dishonor, vessels of gold and silver and not vessels of wood, hay and stubble. The Apostle James exhorts us by saying:
“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to all who love Him.”
James 1:2-4, 12
Paul knew of the labor to enter into that “rest” that Jesus spoke of. That rest comes when we are completely surrendered to our Lord, and we abide continually with Him. We don’t go in and out. Our love relationship remains fixed. If we will pay the price and enter into that spiritual journey of the upward call in Christ Jesus, our spirits will soar, and we will enter into a dimension of rest we have never known. There is great labor in the flesh, but we should consider the cost of nondiscipleship versus the cost of discipleship. Having a dead human spirit with a body that is alive is a devilish and depressing prison to live in. This is not the easy way because there is no rest. A dead heart with a live body is a terrible price to pay, as Satan uses our carnal, sinful ways to destroy our families, our ministries, our very lives. But as we seek our Lord, and He reveals Himself to our human spirits, there is the thrill and joy of soaring with Him.
Beloved, are you ready for the marriage supper of the Lamb? Do you know if you are one of the “wise virgins” with oil (the Holy Spirit) in your lamp? My prayer for you is that you grow into a deep intimacy with Jesus and that you will be dressed in the garments of salvation and arrayed in His robe of righteousness. Get ready, Bride, for the “Wedding of the Lamb.”