Thursday, April 23, 2015

Whom Shall You Serve?

 Three years ago, we walked into an orphanage completely unannounced and carried two of our children out of their affliction.


 My son was covered with weeks worth of his own dried vomit after being fed a diet of only milk powder, of which he was severely allergic.

Our daughter had scars all over her body which had not been there when I had traveled to meet her just 3 months before.  She clung to me for dear life as I carried her out, and hid her face in fear from the nannies who approached us to say goodbye to her as we left.  

In a little guest house down an alleyway in Addis Ababa, far away from that orphanage, we peeled them out of their dirty clothes and washed them in a little tub in the base of the shower. 

We dried them off and rubbed frankincense oil into their cracked skin.  New clothes, new shoes, new life.  We left behind their pasts, which had literally been robbed of them by a few greedy criminals here in the United States, and we brought them home.

Two years later, 

we brought home two more.


In the past three years, 
God has REDEEMED the years that the locusts had consumed.  

But don't miss this.  It isn't about them. 
And it is not about the act of physical adoption.

It's about you.

You are, in many ways, these children.

God shows up for you.  

He visits you as you lay in your own filth, battered by the sin of this world and the thief who wants to rob you of your past, present, future, and salvation.  You may tell yourself that you do not need saving...but my friends, we ALL do.

God is not only forgiving, loving, and merciful; He is also HOLY and Just.  He cannot dwell eternally with your sin, regardless of if you believe Jesus existed or not.  We have ALL sinned (Romans 3:23).  

We know those commandments, the ones Moses carried on tablets of stone, because our Creator wrote them on our hearts.  By those commandments we all fall short of eternity with Him (Romans 6:23).  We must be reconciled to Him, and He has given us The Way.

He shows up unannounced, and He asks you to come with Him.  He provided your ransom, a sinless person to die in your place for your sins, Jesus Christ. 

He places your sin on His Son (Romans 5:8) who defeats your sin and the death you should have died by rising from the grave 3 days later and ascending into Heaven to prepare a place for you (John 14:2-3).  He provides a Father in Himself and promises to put His Spirit within you.  

He asks one thing.  

To be the Lord of your LIFE.  

Not the lord of your Sundays, or your weeknights, or some portions of your life and days...He asks for EVERYTHING.  To accept what Christ did for you as your only hope of salvation and turn from the sin that you currently love.  In return, He washes you clean, annoints your head with oil, and makes you more LIKE JESUS.  

You take on His name and He makes you love what He loves. He gives you an aversion to the things of this world, to sin, to the trappings that destroy, and gives you the desire for things of eternal value.  

When this happens, you will HIDE YOUR FACE from the sin that you once loved.  You will cease in defending your "right to sin" and take an active battle against it in your life and in this world.  

You will never again claim the "right" of forgiveness as if you had earned it, you will fall on your face in the humbling knowledge of your completely undeserved receipt of it.  

Do not love your own sin enough to be unwilling to lay it down and claim what He is offering to you (Romans 3:10-18).  

I assure you that no night of inebriation, no day of clinging to the false hope of material things, no pill, no purchase, no vacation, no diet, no drink, no job, no child, no relationship, no community service, no public standing or recognition, no reputation, no church ministry or service, and certainly no good deed will EVER bring salvation or eternal joy. 

Freedom comes ONE way, and it was paid for with a heavy price. Unshakable Joy and Peace are only available through Jesus Christ and the assurance of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:1).  

Drop everything you are doing right this minute and decide TODAY whom you will serve.  You cannot serve two masters, you are either serving HIM or you are serving SIN.  If you love your sin, God says you HATE Him (Matthew 6:24). 

I don't care what circumstance you are in at this moment, today IS the day that you can hand over your entire life and truly begin to LIVE (Joshua 24:15) as an adopted son or daughter of God.

It doesn't matter if you are the most successful person in your family or the black sheep with no family.  

It doesn't matter if you are rich or poor, churched or unchurched, living in sin or sinning in your mind - if you are not a servant of King Jesus, you have NOTHING.  

And if you choose Him now, you have EVERYTHING.  FOREVER.  

We know this from experience.  

Paul and I were liars, thieves, partiers, and revelers.  

We were false converts who had no love for Jesus or for His Word, and we did not seek to do His will except for our own glory.  Yet we sat in church EVERY WEEK, pretending we were okay.  We thought we had it all together.

And then He came for us both - within weeks of each other - and said "ENOUGH, COME WITH ME."

And we did (Acts 1:9).

We walked away from our idols, 
our security, and our "freedoms".
We have never looked back. 

And He has truly Redeemed 
what the locusts had consumed in our lives.


The story never changes...

One boy, one girl.  

By His Grace and Faith ALONE (Romans 5:1).

We have Mercy because we were Crowned in it.  

We love Him

Because He first loved us.

"Now fear the Lord and serve Him with all faithfulness.  Throw way the Gods your ancestors worshipped...and serve the Lord.  But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day who you will serve...But as for me and my household we will serve the Lord."

Joshua 24