I grew up in a family where we pretended to be a Christian family, that is, we had a home church that we attended when it was convenient but didn’t really practice any Bible reading or prayer. At about the age of 25, I decided that religion was a crutch needed by people who couldn’t make it in life by themselves and I rejected the existence of God. I was angry and belligerent toward Christianity for about 10 years but, in spite of this attitude, God never abandoned me or rejected me. As I look back, I realize that I always had Christian people around me who cared for me and prayed for me. As the years went by, I softened toward Christianity and began to listen to and read stories of modern day miracles in the lives of missionaries and others. I couldn’t explain how lives were saved or how just the right amount of money came at just the right time – they were either lies or acts of love and protection by a sovereign God. Gradually, I began to think that the only explanation for these miracles was that God did exist and I prayed for faith to believe in God. Over several years, my faith grew and I felt the need to attend church and hear His word. I began to read His word and pray. There was no specific day that I can name as being the day I was born again. Today, I am a child of God and my faith continues to grow, my need for Jesus continues to grow, and I am more and more overwhelmed by the love of God for even me.
Today, I celebrate the love I can’t begin to comprehend and the great mercy and grace of our God for rebellious and disobedient people like myself. I can’t really explain God’s system of atonement and justification that cost Jesus so much – He was abandoned by His followers to suffer by Himself, He was mocked and scorned and hated, He was beaten and whipped, He was thirsty and hungry and so tired, He was nailed to the cross until He died, and He was separated from His Father by my sin. He knew these things were going to happen to Him but He went anyway because of His love for us and our need for His gift. Nothing I could have ever done could have bought the security and peace that I have been granted by simply believing in and trusting Jesus. I am so blessed.
I mentioned that earlier in my life I considered religion to be a crutch and this was a bad thing. Today, I desire more than ever to lean on and rely on God’s mercy and His involvement in my life. He is faithful to hear my cries for any of my concerns. Friday night, when we returned home from practicing our music, our little 9-lb. pug puppy was gone. We searched around our home for her with no luck. I got in the car and drove around the little town of Roberts and prayed that God would not allow our 10-year old boy to be devastated by the loss of this little dog. The others were praying at home that we would find her. I was not optimistic when I decided to drive up the road from our home to the next house. I didn’t realize that it was about ¾ of a mile to this house or I wouldn’t have even gone. When I pulled into the driveway to simply turn around to go back home, our little Missy was there and unharmed. Just a coincidence? We don’t think so.
Those of us involved in this music today have prayed that the Holy Spirit will minister to all of us here today and that the words of these songs and Pastor Todd’s message will open our hearts to the incomparable love of God that He would pay such a price for us. In I John, the word says, “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew Him not.” It’s my prayer that today we would all give in and choose to be sons, and daughters, of God.