The Greatest Invitation

The Greatest Invitation

The door is WIDE open. The invitation is extended to all. There is a global call for all of mankind to yield to the everlasting love of God through surrender, repentance, and worship. It’s simple. It’s not complicated. It’s not hard. It was never intended to be. God loves ALL. He hates sin because it separates us from Him (Isaiah 59:2), but He loves ALL. He wants ALL. He is calling ALL. He sent His son for ALL (John 3:16). Salvation is available to ALL. Don’t let anyone lie to you and convince you otherwise.

There is a global call to repentance because God’s kindness is indeed meant to draw us to repentance (Romans 2:4). He’s not this vengeful, tyrant king who just seeks to strike us down for every little mistake. I once had this misconception of God and I’m sure I’m not alone. Before truly understanding the nature of His love, my focus was simply trying to stay out of sin to avoid “punishment”. This is legalism and Jesus did not shed His blood as the ultimate atoning sacrifice for our sins for us to adopt a legalistic response to His love. Once we really accept Jesus into our hearts as our Savior, allowing His love to fill hearts, and His Spirit to fill ever fiber of our being, our love for Him drives us into righteousness and holiness (2 Corinthians 5:21), which are the characteristics God seeks to mature us in. In other words, His love makes us want to live our lives and conduct ourselves in a manner that is pleasing to Him, and when we stray from that standard, we feel deep conviction. We will never be perfect, but Jesus is perfect, and He sacrificed Himself to reconcile and reinstate us back into the place in which God originally (and always) intended for us to dwell – in His perfect will through relationship (2 Corinthians 5:16-20).

So many feel that they aren’t ready. I did at one time. In fact, I was scared that giving my life to Christ meant forfeiting all enjoyment and living a dry and boring religious life where nothing is allowed. Who would want that? I spent years with my focus on everything but God. I tried to justify myself by being “good” rather than trusting in the power of redemption that is able to change my heart and life. I experienced one of my greatest breakthroughs when I finally learned to stop depending on my own strength and depend on His. I stopped trying to fix myself. My focus shifted from merely trying to avoid sin to allowing the love of God to heal my soul. I learned to accept the freedom that His Spirit brings (2 Corinthians 3:17). I learned that repentance is not just about a vocal proclamation, but yet it is the position of the heart turned to allow God (through His Holy Spirit that lives in us) to help us turn from sin. A good way to describe it is this way: If you’re sitting in between two people and turn your head to the person at your right, the person to your left is out of your site. You cannot look both ways at the same time. It’s impossible. So, when we choose to turn to God, we turn from sin because God is the polar opposite of sin, which is evil. Because we’re human, we will mess up and make mistakes, but by the atoning blood of Christ, we’re acquitted of the wages of sin which are condemnation and death (Romans 6:23).

As God’s children, our commitment is to Him, not sin. Got weaknesses? We all do. I’m far from perfect. But I’ve learned to lean into the truth that God’s strength is truly demonstrated in my weaknesses (2 Corinthians 12:9). In other words, when I’m struggling, when I fail, when I’m weak, God’s strength will always fill the gap to complete me so there are no deficiencies. He makes me whole. I know that He can surely do what I cannot. This is what I aim to rest in each day, and His Spirit helps me (Isaiah 41:10). I have experienced the power of God at work in my life that severed chains of sins I simply did not have the power to destroy. If we could fix ourselves, addiction wouldn’t exist, nor would many of the other issues that plague humanity.

This is the greatest invitation: to ascend beyond our human nature into a divine nature (2 Peter 1:3-4) through the ultimate relationship provided through salvation. Only Christ could have done this. Only Christ would do this.

This is the greatest invitation.

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All Things New

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One of the Most important things I’ve learned along this journey called life is this: DO NOT ALLOW YOUR PAST TO HINDER YOUR FUTURE. JUST DON’T DO IT.  Don’t allow people or past experiences to stop you from progressing into the greater that’s to come. Don’t allow them to stop you from embracing the new. They just simply aren’t worth it. That’s why all through the Bible we are urged to forgive others, renew our minds, and move on – NOT LOOKING BACK.

Everyone on this planet has experienced some sort of trauma – physical, emotional, etc. We’ve all experienced the harsh sting of failures and disappointments. We’ve all been hurt by others in some way. Man, it’s so easy to grow callous, closed, and guarded as a result of experiencing trauma. I’ve definitely been there. It almost seems like human nature. Think about it. When you scrape your skin, your body immediately goes into “self preservation” or defense mode. A hardened scab begins to form as a PROTECTIVE AGENT to prevent additional germs, etc. from entering and further infecting the wound. But notice this – the scab TEMPORARILY forms to initiate the healing process. Once the wound heals, NEW SKIN forms and the scab falls off. Once healed, the body doesn’t need the hard, protective agent. If only it were this easy and quick to heal from emotional trauma.

Often times, painful experiences in life (failures, disappointments, regrets, betrayal, rejection, abuse, ridicule, etc.) create emotional wounds, and similar to how our physical bodies respond, we go into emotional “self preservation” or defense mode. We build up these thick layers of callouses and scabs to prevent anyone or anything else from inflicting further pain. Sometimes it takes years for us to heal and allow the callouses and scabs to fall off, with new skin beneath. On the other hand, some never heal. They live life at less than full potential and they go to the grave with decades old callouses and scabs. Just to know that beautiful new skin was waiting to form the entire time, but never did because of over-extended callouses and scabs. People, PLEASE don’t become the latter. You’ll be doing such a disservice to yourself, others, and God. Healing is a process, but make sure you progress through the process.

A wise woman once told me that the GREATEST revenge is success. The absolute best way to take revenge on all those past hurts and pains is to simply let go and move forward (Philippians 3:13). It’s a decision that only YOU can make. There is something toxic about constantly looking back into the negative past. Check out Genesis 19:16-26. God was about to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, but he chose to spare Lot and his family. They were urged to flee quickly and not look back. God had a plan for them – something much greater than what they had…but…Lot’s wife couldn’t resist the urge to look back, and as soon as she did, she turned into a pillar of salt – her future and destiny FORFEITED all because she looked back rather than looking forward.

Jesus is the MOST progressive person to ever had live on earth and through Him, we’re all made new. God loves us. He cares about us and everything that concerns us. He’s fully aware of our hurts and pain. He desperately wants us to trust Him to make everything new (Isaiah 43:19). God wants to heal our wounds, removing the callouses and scabs of yesteryear to form beautiful new skin. While the Creator of the universe has the power to do anything, He does require our participation in the healing process. In layman’s terms, we have to do our part. Healing, moving on, and embracing the new surely takes much purposeful effort.

To begin with, we need to be enlightened and rejuvenated through the power of God’s word (aka the Bible). Jesus took lashes so we can be healed and set free from all types of bondage (Isaiah 53:5)  His word is the TRUTH and the truth makes us free (John 8:32). This implies that FREEDOM is a condition, a state of being, and anyone can obtain it. That’s why Philippians 4:8 tells us to keep our minds fixed on what’s TRUE (first and above all), noble, right, purse, lovely, admirable, and praiseworthy. The more we focus on the things of God, the more we heal and our callouses and scabs fall off as beautiful new skin grows. Now, while healing and freedom can be obtained, we MUST be sure to MAINTAIN them so we don’t end up regressing (Galatians 5:1). Aside studying, applying, and meditating on the word of God, we really need to stay in PRAYER. So many folks sleep on prayer, but it is powerful and effective (James 5:16). Prayer changes things. Really. You have to keep your heart clean. FORGIVE. Ugh, the F-word. That word has made me cringe in the past and I’m sure I’m not alone. It can be hard…it is hard. But what’s even harder is walking around wounded, resentful, and toxic – wearing layers of ugly callouses and scabs. Blah. Who has time for that? It’s legit self-torture. LET GO. No amount of hurt, anger, disappointment, etc, is worth you forfeiting your destiny. Your life is not just about you. There are so many people out there you’re assigned to reach, touch, influence, uplift, encourage, etc. You deserve to be the best you and becoming the best you requires the decision to turn away from the old and walk into the new.

MOVE ON. LET THE PAST GO. Everything that was meant to hurt you will work out for your benefit (Genesis 50:20, Romans 8:28). Don’t let your past suffocate your future – please don’t. There’s a better version of you awaiting for you to become it. Everything new is waiting for you to trash the old. Make sure you run with a tribe of folks who are headed in the same direction as you. YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Love wins. Love heals wounds. Love removes callouses and scabs. Love makes new. Believe and trust God through it all. Forgive. Move on. Love. The ingredients to a new you and a new life.

Enjoy the upbeat MercyMe song below that’ll remind you of the new that awaits you 🙂