A Dream, a Heart, and a Desire, Part 2

For by grace you have been saved through faith,
and that not of yourselves;
it is the gift of God…
~ Ephesians 2:8 ~ 

It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed,
because his compassions fail not.
~ Lamentations 3:22 ~ 

There was a benefit to the end-times dream and visit to the rescue mission — I changed in how I looked at homeless people and the condition of their hearts. I also realized that the very message that will save us, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, is often ignored or rejected by us when all is well; yet, when we are despairing of life, some of us turn to Him, while others continue to ignore or reject Him. It is a mystery to me why this is so.

For fourteen years I led a depraved life. For fourteen years I refused to hear the message that Jesus Christ loved me and would forgive me, if I would only bow my knee to Him. For fourteen years I built a house of shame and guilt; the trash was not on the outside, it was on the inside. My house was as dilapidated as the buildings on skid row; my life as dissipated as the men living on skid row, but I did not know it.

Those around me would have said that I was a good person; but they did not know that inside I was lonely, dirty, carried a heavy burden, needed forgiveness, and was starved for a love that no one could give. I was being eaten up from the inside out, literally — from stomach ulcers.

It was the turning point in my life. I began to examine what caused the ulcers and saw that my life, although clean and vibrant to others, had been one of secrets and lies; I had blood on my hands.

I knew that the only way to be cleansed, to have my shame and guilt removed, and to be forgiven, was to get right with God. I had avoided Him for fourteen years; I had willingly distanced and eventually separated myself from the flock of God, and had become lost. Now, it was time to move from the darkness, to the light of God, and into Jesus’ arms. I did not know how to do this, but oh, how gracious! how loving! how amazing that Jesus came to save that which was lost (Matthew 18:11). He came to me; He revealed Himself to me; He knew that my heart’s cry was to reconcile to Him and He saved me.

I joined multitudes in singing and praising Him, for He cleansed me, removed the burden of shame and guilt, forgave all my sin, and gave me new life.

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

My desire is that others know Him, too, and join in singing praise to Him. This desire has been intensified by my participation in a Bible study of the book of Revelation and by the events of this time and season.

Last week we studied Revelation 16. Because I was already grieving over a couple of other things, grief was magnified because of the terrible, yet righteous judgments of God upon those who refuse to repent and praise Him. Untold millions will suffer the wrath of God in the end-days judgments, and their eternity will be spent in torment. I found myself weeping for the future of family members and others who refuse to hear and listen to the Gospel.

The end is coming and our redemption draws near; we will spend eternity with Him.  But do our family, friends, and those whose lives we interact with on a daily basis know their destination? God’s righteous judgment awaits those who refuse to yield to and accept the gift of life that is found in Jesus Christ. “And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment…” (Hebrews 9:27).

Let us not forget that death is the payment for sin, “but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). So, will you join me in praying for the lost, that they may know the God who loves them?

Heavenly Father, You gave Your only beloved Son that “whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” We who have been the recipients of Your love and salvation pray for those who do not know You. Give us Your heart and love for them so we can share Your good news of salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Help us to be Your instruments of peace to a dying world. Lead us in the way we should go in spreading the Gospel, planting, tending, and watering the word of life, and partaking in the harvest when it is ripe. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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