Friday, November 30, 2012

Do You Believe?

“Jesus said to them, ‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.  I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Mark 2:17, NIV Bible, in all these verses, the emphasis is added)
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) 
“He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.  They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord . . .” (2 Thessalonians 1:8-9) 
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)

“God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.” (Ephesians 1:7)
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)

For God so loved the world that he sent his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.  Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already . . .” (John 3:16-18)

“Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.’” (John 14:6)  
“if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. . . . ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’  (Romans 10:9-10, 13)  

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.  If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.”  (1 John 1:9-10)
“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”
 (1 Corinthians 1:18)  

“since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities - his eternal power and divine nature - have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.” (Romans 1:19-20)
The heavens declare the glory of God . . .”  (Psalm 19:1)
“Be still, and know that I am God(Psalm 46:10)

“He who has ears, let him hear.” (Matthew 11:15)  

            So . . . Do you believe?
            Now, if you do believe and you want to choose Jesus’ payment for your sin - so that you don’t have to pay it for yourself with eternal separation - it doesn’t take any real effort on our parts.  It was all done by God already.  All we have to do is accept it in prayer.  All it takes is a genuine desire to turn to God and a prayer that expresses it.  There is no magic formula for the prayer, but as I already said, if you “confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.   For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. . . . ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’”  (Romans 10:9-10, 13) 
            [And here is a secret, you can still choose to believe while having doubts.  In fact, we all have various doubts.  And exploring those doubts and finding answers and assurances is part of a Christian's journey.  But you can still choose to put your faith in Jesus even with doubts.  You can still take that first step toward Him.
            Or maybe you don't believe yet but you want to believe.  Or you want to want to believe.  These are good first steps, too.  Just tell God about this, what is on your heart.  Tell Him you want to believe and that you really want to know if He is real.  And then keep your eyes open.  And when the desire to give up on Him comes, push past it and keep waiting some more.  This kind of "pursuit of God" is sure to awaken all the forces of evil around you, all the forces that want to keep you blind to Him.  Give it time and keep your eyes and mind open.  God wants to answer these kinds of genuine prayers.  But if, deep down, you really don't want to find Him, then you will get exactly what you wanted . . . nothing!  So it has to be a genuine desire to find Him!]   
            If you want to take that first step toward Jesus - if you are ready to believe in Him - here is a prayer that you can pray.  (Or use your own words.)  It doesn’t have to be fancy; it just has to be real. 

            Dear God,
            I admit that I am a sinner and that I have been living life apart from You.  But I don’t want to do that anymore.  I want to spend eternity with You.  And so today, I am turning to You.  I am choosing to accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.  I believe that He came here and died for my sins, and that He rose from the dead, proving that He is God.  I ask for forgiveness for my sins, and I choose today to make Him Lord of my life.  I open up my heart to You and ask You to fill it with Your Holy Spirit, so that I can live the rest of my life for You.  Thank You for Your sacrifice for me, and thank You that because of it, I can spend eternity with You.  In Jesus’ name,  Amen 

            If you chose to pray this, tell someone about it.  It helps to cement your decision to turn to God.  And get a Bible and start reading, and find a good, Bible-believing church so that you can grow alongside other believers.  And welcome to the Family!

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