Well, I am very glad to report that my busy 40 hour week at work is over! And little Bug is over the "bug" she had all week! I've been beginning to unearth the house from the piles of junk and chaos everywhere. I may actually have a tree up before the week is over!
I have been rheuminating on life, how brief it can be. Young folks gone in the blink of an eye. Older folks battling diseases, hoping for a few more years, days, moments. We recently had a young cousin of Pete's killed in a car wreck on his way to work one morning. Nice, happy young man. Did he know Christ as his Savior? No one knows. I hear and see pleas from all around to please pray for this loved one or that friend who knows not Christ and is ill or battling addiction or in despair. And I see others happily going along their way in a messy mockery of life and real living, totally unaware of all they are missing. All that is real.
A number of years ago, I was fortunate enough to sit under a study led by a dear missionary to Mexico.....Bro. Bill Hayes. Brother Hayes had developed a walk through the scripture to answer all the "reasons, excuses, rationalizations, etc." that people offer when confronted with the opportunity to receive Christ as their savior.
I want to walk through these scriptures here. Topic by topic. Excuse by excuse in hopes that someone will see themselves and be aware for the first time how they are deceiving themselves. (Or being deceived by the Father of Lies.) And also I want to share this so that maybe all of us who know Christ will be encouraged to try to push on through the flimsy excuses our loved ones and friends offer whenever we try to bridge the subject of where they will spend eternity.
The first excuse is to WAIT. Why hurry? I have all my life ahead of me. I am busy. There are things I still want to do that I don't need God involved in. There are things I just have to give up before I can contemplate serving the Lord. God is love. He'll always be there.
So what does God say about waiting in His own Word? Starting with Luke 12:20. The rich man was busy planning how to expand his barns to hold all his fertile fields had produced. "But God said to him,`Fool! Tonight you die. Then who will get it all?`" So busy accumulating things. Planning for a future in this world. We are only visitors passing through this world, yet we plan and work for our stay here like we were homesteaders. Wouldn't a prudent person look toward the Final Destination? Plan for eternity!
Jesus had been speaking of himself as the Bread of Life. The Jews in the area where having trouble grasping this concept. After all, wasn't this merely Joseph's son? "For no one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him to me, and at the Last Day I will cause all such to rise again from the dead." answered Jesus. God woo one and then another to come to Him thru Christ. Better heed that intense, personal feeling like you need to do something! I might be the Holy Spirit. He won't always be there striving with you. Your opportunity is there when you feel it. When you understand it is there.
Paul himself pleaded that all would not toss aside this message of God's great kindness. "For God says, `Your cry came to me at a favorable time, when the doors of welcome were wide open. I helped you on a day when salvation was being offered.` Right now God is ready to welcome you. Today he is ready to save you." You've been questioning, seeking, looking for answers......God knows. He heard and he is ready to answer your hearts cry by welcoming you to Himself. If you have heard the plan of salvation, then the welcome mat is out!
Over in Hebrews Paul puts it this way: "Beware then of your own hearts, dear brothers, lest you find that they, too, are evil and unbelieving and are leading you away from the living God. Speak to each other about these things every day while there is still time, so that none of you will become hardened against God, being blinded by the deceitfulness of sin." Your heart is tender and ready today. But tomorrow it may be jaded and hardened by the hard knocks of this life. Satan may have the volume turned up so loudly on his sound track of lies that you cannot hear the gentle call of the Spirit.
James, the brother of Jesus, reminds us all how brief life is "Look here, you people who say, `Today or tomorrow we are going to such and such a town, stay there a year, and open up a profitable business.` How do you know what is going to happen tomorrow? For the length of your lives is as uncertain as the morning fog -- now you see it; soon it is gone." We all seem to always think that we are going to live to 80, 90, or more. Even though we see children die, young men drop dead we still somehow think that it can't happen to us. This if folly. It's down right denial of what we see everyday. None of us knows if we will draw our next breath or not. You say the odds are in your favor that you will? Are you so much a gambler as to risk your very soul?
The last passage is in Revelations. Much like the motto on the Statue of Liberty, chapter 22, verse 17 says, "The Spirit and the bride say, `Come.` Let each one who hears them say the same, `Come.` Let the thirsty one come--anyone who wants to; let him come and drink the Water of Life without charge." There you have it. An invitation. An invitation to every thirsty soul.
Don't wait to live abundantly. Don't wait to feel free of guilt and shame. Don't wait to know your future is secure no matter what happens. Now is the time! It always has been. Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow is unknown. Today, this moment, is all that is real and certain.