Sunday, October 20, 2013

What Has Jesus Done For You?

Life.

Just a few weeks ago, my church did things a bit differently. The Pastor, "shut up," and turned over the hour and a half to the Congratulation. The concept was simple. "What did Jesus do for you?" It was a pure Testimonial Service.

As I sat back and watched, I was amazed, touched, moved, and even brought to tears on a couple of occasions. A couple were as you would expect. "God saved me from Drugs and Alcohol." "God saved my Marriage." "God saved a loved one." "God healed me." ETC. All moving. All great testimonies.

A couple moved me even more. One held a sign and said "I am worthless." Then went on to explain how she found purpose through Jesus. How she found self worth through Jesus. Another, "I am alone." Went on to explain how they no longer feel that way through Jesus. It was an incredible Service.

So me? My response? To tell you the truth, I thought about my story the whole time. What is my answer? How do I respond to this question. To my surprise, my response is one Word. One Word I wanted to share with you all today. Life.

Growing up, as a kid, in a small town, me and my friend Billy did stuff all over the place. Different time and all that. We were never worried about some stranger coming and taking us away of anything like that. One day we were walking on the Tracks. There was this Trestle in town that we always walked on. It was old and missing some planks. A Neighbor fell through it once and broke his back. It sits very high over a rocky river. One day we were walking on it, and I fell through. But I didn't fall. There I was, feet dangling, wondering what just happened, when I found myself being pulled up by, well, "nothing." I was fine.

Fast forward, later in life, I'm driving down the road in my 77 Toyota Celica GT Limited Edition Sports Car. I'm coming back from picking up my Girlfriend at the time, Katrina, from School. I fall asleep and hit a tree airborne and rolled it down the road. We find ourselves standing outside the pile of twisted metal. I remember being ticked off, looking at the wrecked car, when the Police arrived. I will never forget the look on the Cop's Face when he said "Good thing she wasn't in the car." I told him she was, and he pointed out that the battery was embedded in the Passenger Seat. He said we should both be dead.

There are a few more times I know, beyond any doubt whatsoever, I should be dead. But that's not the "Life" I'm talking about.

Fast forward a bit further, while working as a Mall Security Guard, I meet two men. Both claiming to be Christian, both claiming to be "Born Again." But both telling me two entirely different things. Which started me off on my quest for the Truth According to God. Whole other sermon. I always knew God. Now I know, God always knew me. But I really had no concept of Salvation until I was like 20. Oh, I knew God was real. I even Prayed to Him. I knew the Ten Commandments. Learned them in Sunday School. But I did not understand "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." Nor did I understand "For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." {John 3:16-18}

I read "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." But I had no idea "If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him." {John 14:6&7}

I had no idea that Jesus said "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers." 

Or "Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep." {John 10 1-5, 7-11}

So I learned that there is no other way. There is no other Truth. There is no other key. You can be as Religious as you want, but without accepting Jesus's Sacrifice, you are not His. You are NOT a Child of God. I learned that this simplistic, and open invitation to accept Jesus's Sacrifice, was made open and simple to ALL. Available to all. The fact that all can come to the Cross. It is not exclusive, but INCLUSIVE. Available to all who seek the Truth. So I did, and was Baptized the way Jesus told us to be.

But this is not the "Life" I'm talking about.

No. The Life I'm talking about is the reason I am here to begin with. I breath. I exist. I am here, because God loved me first. God looked down from Heaven and saw three people. The first was a Man named Percy. The second was a Woman named Dianna. The third was a Man named ??? Let's call him John Smith. He, on an appointed time, on an appointed day, whispered in John's ear. "Buy this land. On this land, build a building. Call that building 'The Store.' In that store place selves in this manner, and place these products on these shelves." So John did. Then on an appointed time and appointed day, God whispered in Percy's ear, "Go into 'The Store,' go to isle 3, and buy Peanut Butter. " Then He whispered in Dianna's ear "Go into 'The Store,' go to isle 3, and buy Peanut Butter. " So they did. They met, fell in love, hence, here I am.

Now God wrote in The Book, you will be this tall. You will have this build. You will have Brown eyes and Brown hair. You will have this plan and purpose for your life. You shall be called Peter. Now my Mother and Father never really got along. He left when I was 13 months old. But that's OK. It was not his job to raise me. It was his job to bring me about. I'll say that again. I feel someone needs to really get this. It was not my earthly Father's job to raise me. It was not really my Mother's job either. It was my Grandmother's. It was my Father and Mothers job to bring me into the world.

Now my Father wanted me to be called Livingstone Steven Carlock. I kid you not. He was not there at my Birth. When the nurse came in and asked my Mother "What shall we call him?" My Mother, to this day has no idea why, said "Peter." Here I am. As God wrote in His Book, and exactly the way He planned me to be.

"For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them. How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them!" {Psalms 139: 13-17}

There are five steps in EVERY life. Every life, of every person, to ever walk the earth. They are these.

1 Foreknowledge
2 Predestine
3 Call
4 Justification
5 Glorification

In Romans 8:
29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
God foreknows you. He fashions you as He Wills. He then sets up a plan and a purpose for you. A Destiny if you will. Then He calls you which is where Free Will comes into play. You can say no. You can live the rest of your life on your own. Or you can say yes. If you say yes, then God will show you His plan for your life. He will Justify you and prepare you to do it. He will make the way. If you stay in God's presence and fulfill His plan, He then will Glorify you.

However, if you are never born, this can no longer happen. This is why Abortion is so evil. Why it is also accepted by the flesh as no big deal. Imagine though if Mary, pregnant out of Wedlock, not Joseph's, decided to abort? What if MLK was aborted? What if one of our Presidents were aborted. What if YOU were?

You are here, because God loved you first. He created you in His own imagine, fashioned you in His own way, and even set up a destiny for your life. You were raised the way you were. You have received the reaps you have sown. You have experience the things you have, based on the things you have done. Now God calls you and you must decide if you want to say Yes or No. Now it's up to you, if you chose to go it alone, or fulfill your God given Destiny. The Choice is yours. He gave you Life. Now chose how you are going to live it.

Do you know Jesus as your Savior? Have you been adopted into the Family of God? If not, say this Prayer. Right now. Wherever you may be. Say it in your own words, and do not doubt in your heart. God will hear you. He will send the Spirit of Life to you. Let us Pray..

"Oh heavenly Father, Lord God. I am a sinner. I know this. I know there is nothing I can do to change that. But I know you can. I accept Jesus's sacrifice for me. I repent my sins. Please send the Spirit of Adoption into my life. Help me to get to know the real you. Save me. Please. In the name of Jesus, Amen!"

That's it. It really is that simple. Now go tell someone what you have just done. "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." {Romans 10:9} You need to find a Church that God leads you to, and be Baptized the way Jesus said to be. You are now a Child of God. A new Creature. You "have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him." {Colossians 3:10}

If you want to tell me, or comment, question, give testimonials, or just say "Hi," the Email is opntalk@gmail.com

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen. {2 Corinthians 13}

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