When I was growing up; I was taught to go to church on Sunday, and perhaps to attend Sunday School and other various church activities such as the famous "covered dish" feasts, etc.
I think many Americans had a similar upbringing.
All of us presumed that we were Christians, as I did for 29 years.
However, I fell into an entrapment by satan in 1972, and I was almost murdered. I cried out to almighty God, and He saved me from sudden destruction.
During this very traumatic time in my life; I was led to go to a church despite my terrible circumstances, and I met the Lord of glory.
I remember going forward to receive Christ (even though I thought that I was already a Christian), and I floated to the front of the small church. It seemed like I was literally carried by unseen hands.
When I got to the front; I was crying tears of joy as all of my previous burdens were being cast away from me one by one. It was unspeakable liberty and the Lord spoke to me that I would never die, and He told me that every word in the Bible was true, and He totally transformed my life.
This was the turning point in my life, and I realized that I had truly been born-again!
It wasn't until after this experience that I understood that before I only believed in The Lord Jesus Christ, but I did not know Him. After this experience, the Word of God came alive and it exploded off of the pages of The Bible, and it became the living Word of God in my heart and mind.
As I began to read the Bible and understood the spirit of The Word of God; I learned that with God "all" things are possible. I found that God used the Word "all" a great deal in how we should walk with Him.
The rich young ruler came to Jesus, and he had surrendered a great deal to the Lord in trying to follow Him. However, he had not surrendered "all" to The Lord Jesus.
The old saying is true, "If Jesus Christ is not Lord of all, then He is not Lord at all."
The greatest commandment of The Lord requires that we love Him with "all" of our hearts, minds, souls and strength".
The Lord told us that if we obey His commandments; we show that we love Him. We are now being taught in some churches that we do not have to obey His commandments. This is a lie out of the pit.
We are saved by grace, but grace without the work of obedience to our Lord is dead. God requires our utmost for His salvation. Those who endure to the end will be saved.
We are to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. The message of presuming that you will go to heaven no matter how you live is a dangerous teaching.
Many so-called Christians think that they can have an innoculation of God to enjoy all of His benefits. They think that they can set the standards for themselves, as to what they are to do with their daily 24 hours. This is a great delusion.
Our lives, our time, our property, our money, our family, and everything we have been given is not our own to do with it whatever we so desire. We were bought with a high price (the blood of Jesus Christ), and our reasonable service unto Him is to lay down our own lives and live for and unto Him.
Unless we die to our own desires; we cannot live in His resurrection life. When we learn to seek Him first, His Kingdom and His righteousness before our own desires; we will be given everything that we need for life and godliness.
Jesus Christ requires that we deny ourselves; take up our crosses daily, and He requires that we follow Him. He only did what His Father revealed to Him to do, and we also must only do what He shows us to do.
We can do whatever He asks of us in His mighty Name! However, if we try and operate in our own flesh; we will fail.
We are hearing a very greasy Gospel these days that tells us that we can sin, but we do not have to repent of our sins. This is a doctrine of demons. This doctrine can cause you to slip right down into hell; do not be deceived by its high sounding claims of unconditional salvation.
God is not mocked; whatsoever we sow; that also we will reap. The Lord told us that unless we fall to the ground like the seed in the parable and die of our own self-interests; we will remain alone, and if we die, we will bear much fruit for the Kingdom of God. The greatest blessings of God are based on our obedience to The Lord and our being led by The Holy Spirit each and every day.
With God; nothing is impossible, and we can live the abundant life with almighty God, as we surrender "all" to Him.
Peggy Kannaday has worked as The Managing Editor for The "Church Growth International" Ministry since 1991.
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I like how you worded this, "the famous 'covered dish' feasts..." :) You have an amazing testimony. Thank you for writing this!