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What Constitutes Real Conversion?
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As a prayer team member who is praying for God to supernaturally convert this area of central Pennsylvania for salvation, I have been given certain daily prayers to study and pray over in order to prepare the way of the Lord for an upcoming revival, better described as an outpouring of the Holy Spirit. As I read one of these prayers, I had received a clearer understanding of it as tears began to flow down my cheeks. I realized the condition of the majority of the people in this area. It really affected me in a way to pray salvation for these lost souls because they honestly don’t have any idea just what the Lord Jesus Christ did for them as He hung upon that tree of shame. This my friends, is truly the saddest condition of all the earth. It’s not about the gas prices, it’s not about the homes being foreclosed, it’s not about all the loss of jobs...rather it’s about the loss of souls! How Satan lies and deceives when we are open to his suggestions. We are the ones who give him the power to destroy. This is due to ignorance on our own part. But, we also have another choice. We can stand up for Christ and say, “Enough is enough, Satan we rebuke you in Jesus’ mighty name! You must take your hands off of us!” Only by faith and trust and expectation will God move. How much more are we going to sit and take before it is too late? For this reason I am standing in the gap for the salvation and the freeing of lost souls out of bondage to sin and death and hell. I personally, have had enough of the lies. What about you? Will you agree with me in prayer that only Christ has the power and authority to save a lost world of sinners? And He gave us this power and authority to stand in the gap and declare the victory over the enemy.
It really hit home for me back in April when I attended the first meeting concerning this revival. A powerful evangelist by the name of Mark Swiger from Georgia was called of God to come to this area in July. A handful of about 50 people attended, myself included. It was then I realized that this is truly the work of the Lord that is about to take place. With discernment I tested the spirit of this place. As I listened, I knew it was not a man ordained event. God will always confirm His messages through people. There were several who stood up and gave testimonies to having dreams, visions and messages given to them by God which all lined up for such a time as this. I myself realized that God has been preparing me as well for this task as a prayer warrior. He even moved me to this particular area after my husband and I went through a trial of losing our home in a partition dispute this past year. Everything that God has been refining me for while increasing my faith to believe and trust that He is the One in control, has brought me to a humble position of relinquishing my own fears and doubts. I have been shown the importance of forgiveness and not to complain about what is not fair. It is this state of maturity in which I am certain God is going to bless my endeavors because they are for my own good and His glory. When we can get this into perspective, life no matter what the situation may look like, can and will be victorious. We can have the joy which is our strength in Him, we can have the peace that passes all human understanding and we can have the contentment to know that Christ is at the wheel. Believe me, it’s a liberating experience when we can truly lay it all down at the foot of the Cross and know we are going to be just fine in the end. These fruits of the Spirit are what separates a truly converted person from a false one. That spirit of discernment as well will kick in loud and clear.
This evangelist, Mark Swiger, who has spent nearly 2 decades evangelizing in India made a very disturbing comment. When we think of missionaries, we automatically assume they are sent to distant and remote third world countries. But he said that for the first time in history, God is calling missionaries to America! This once God fearing country has lost its reverence towards God. As we allowed His Word to be taken out of the schools, His Commandments to be removed from the courtrooms and His laws to be over ruled with man made ones, we are now the victims of those consequences. So my dearly beloved friends in Christ, I pray this will touch your heart as it has mine, in praying for a mighty move of the Holy Spirit in this whole country, not just this area. Especially now as we are facing one of the most crucial presidential elections of all history. May the Lord lead you and guide you into all truth on this matter.
Today I read the Scripture reading for preparation of revival in central Pennsylvania. John 3:16 is one of the most beloved and well known passages of all time. But, as we automatically release these words that tumble off our tongues, do we truly understand their meaning? And have we honestly taken the time to read the following 5 verses that follow? I’m not quite so sure that I really did, until this morning as the Holy Spirit came upon me with a conviction to pray in earnest for those who are lost. I praise the Lord for what He is about to bring in this message, Hallelujah!
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16
This passage makes it quite clear that God wishes for no person to perish into sin. But the choice is all up to each individual. God gave us a free will to choose His Son or not. God has offered us the best gift of all, but will we take it? When we remember that Christ’s whole earthly mission was bound up in the supreme love of God the Father for this evil, sinful “world” of humanity which is in rebellion against Him , we should be humbled. When John wrote the word “so” loved, he was emphasizing the intensity and the greatness of His love of us as sinners. God, the Father gave His only Son Jesus as an atoning sacrifice on the Cross to die on our behalf! This is unconditional love at its greatest definition. When you consider how He was pierced by the nails and the thorny crown for our transgressions so that our hearts would be pierced for Him, it’s still hard to believe that people have no idea what all this means for them.
“For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.” John 3:17-21
Christ did not come to point fingers at us, He came to embrace us in His love and understanding of our sinful natures so we can realize that we need a Savior. Once we repent of those sins, God forgives us and remembers them no more. He chooses to separate us from them as far as the east is from the west. The two will never meet. He could and actually should judge us as guilty because we don’t deserve this gift. But by His grace, which is unmerited, He doesn’t judge us anymore as He now sees us through His Son as righteous. This is just a miracle of the Almighty God. We should all fall on our knees in gratitude and complete and utter submission for this gift that now cleanses us into a righteous position. Without it, we are dead. To believe in the name of Jesus goes way beyond an intellectual sense. It’s not anything we can understand in our human mind, it’s supernaturally given. This belief in Christ is trusting Him and believing His promises in order to commit ourselves to Christ as our Savior and our Lord, the One Who rules over us in everything. We can no longer pick and choose what we give to Him. It all belongs to Him.
In order to be truly converted, this total submission will show in how we live and think and act. It’s not just an occasional thing, it doesn’t happen only on a Sunday when we sit in the church pews and pay a small tithe or even a large one. When we are converted we become a new creature in Christ. We take His character upon ourselves. We think the way He would think, or at least we should attain to this, we act in patience, love and understanding when all others want to be rude or ignorant. It’s praying for those who have hurt us and forgiving when we feel they don’t deserve it. After all, we don’t deserve forgiveness for the horrendous act we’ve done against the Lord, but He is quick to forgive us.
A truly converted Christian loves the truth, walks in the Light and isn’t ashamed of Jesus. But for so many, their first love is themselves and their deeds are often shameful in the light. They are convicted of their wrong doing and this is why they remain in the dark, both physically and spiritually. God will show them their sins through a loving conviction, but Satan is quick to condemn and accuse them with guilt. Therefore they run and hide from a Sovereign God because of this guilt. It’s the Light of Christ that shows our imperfections and it’s the dark that keeps them hidden. Many people love their sins more than their salvation.
It is this darkness that has overshadowed this area in particular. There are people that live unjust lives and are convinced that it is perfectly normal. But this is not normal behavior as to the intentions of the first created man. God had made Adam in His own image and it was His good intent to walk in fellowship with all of mankind. We all know the story of Adam and Eve and how they fell to the wiles and schemes of Satan in the garden. Just as they disobeyed God’s command, it opened their eyes to their present condition. They had to run and hide themselves from God. It wasn’t that God didn’t know their whereabouts when He asked Adam, “Where are you?” God wanted Adam to take a full account of his spiritual self and realize that he had sinned.
Do you suppose that God still asks us this very same question today? “Where are you?” It’s this conviction that should pierce our heart to the core when we hear it asked of us. If we do hear it, we know we are like Adam, trying to hide our nakedness from the Lord. It’s this nakedness that reveals our sinful nature. It’s this sinful nature, that causes us to run into the dark because we are guilty and don’t want to be seen. But, God sees everything, knows all there is to know about each and every one of us, saved or unsaved.
My dear friend, if you have not yet truly received God’s unmerited gift of grace for salvation, don’t wait until you feel you have earned it or are worthy enough to receive it. We can’t hope to earn this salvation by our own good deeds, it is impossible. Christ died to give it to us, free of charge. God loves you just the way you are. His only requirement is that you stop yielding to the lies of Satan that are destroying you and choose life in His Son Christ.
Admit to God that you are a sinner in need of a Savior. Ask Him to forgive you and tell Him you believe that Christ lived and died and was resurrected and is now alive! If you truly believe this and have confessed it aloud, you are now a child of the Light. You are free from the law of death. You now have eternal life.
As you grow in the knowledge of God’s will for you, your life will begin to make sense. The Holy Spirit which resides inside you will lead you into all Truth! Praise the Lord today.
Because Jesus is the Light of the world, we don’t need to be in the dark about God.
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23 Jun 2008
There is some really excellent, thought-provoking material here. However, reading it through, the words of a longtime editor-mentor of mine came to mind: 'Don't bury the lead'. Could this article's impact perhaps be strengthened by renaming it:'Where Are You?' and opening or 'leading' the reader into the article with a description of God speaking in the garden, then following up with the current prayer outreach efforts in Pennysylvania?
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