God changes the hearts…

I know that God is the one who changes the hearts of man, and He brings us to Himself, so praying for others is at the heart of this, but I am just not always sure how to pray.  I have just been thinking a lot over Hell and eternity and what it means for all of us, and through these thoughts I have been so struck with the reality of the narrow gate that Jesus talks about leading to heaven.  There are so many nominal Christians in America and it can be so difficult to minister to them because they feel like they already have a relationship with God but their life shows no fruit.  I struggle with knowing how to bring God up in conversation without being “judgmental” or “critical”  I pray for them often that God would soften their hearts but I feel as if I am not doing enough.  I think more often than not I am more afraid to push people away by to much “religious talk” that I instead say nothing.  How do I get past this feeling of constantly selling God short, not being enough and yet also worried that if I am too much it will push people away.  The idea is not just to cause people to come to belief in who Christ is and that He died for us but that their lives would show real change.  The hardest part is that many people don’t want to submit their lives to God because they are afraid that they will be missing out.  Unfortunately they don’t realize that they already live by some moral code and that moral code is usually based out of biblical principals not because the Bible is an overwhelming part of our society but because God has written these things on their hearts.  So how do you minister to a person who refuses to give over control of their lives to the only thing in all of creation who can actually help them to achieve true peace and joy.  We see them crying out for it, every conversation is laced with the pain of not having those things in their lives, how do we tell them with out “shoving our beliefs down their throat”?  As a mother it can be very easy to see why our God sets limits on us, it is for our own good.  I don’t know how many times a day I say to my sons, “you need to obey because mama knows best.” Essentially saying, “you don’t see the big picture right now, but if you keep doing what you are doing you will get hurt.”  That is what God, the creator of the universe is saying, He made us, He made everything, don’t you think He sees the big, big picture? What if His words to us are for our good, to keep us from getting hurt, not to stifle us but to help us blossom into what He created us for?

Sure you can get ahead by lying and cheating and doing all those selfish things, but at what cost?  If we are really truly honest with ourselves, we hate to be alone, we hate quiet moments because we know that eventually the guilt starts to creep in.  Don’t believe me? Spend one week, one day, one hour even just in silence thinking over your day or the day before that. If we are truly honest with ourselves it can be overwhelming all the things we can think of that maybe we didn’t handle in the best way, all the people we hurt because we chose not to control ourselves and let our emotions run rampant.  Because that is what our society is about right? Express yourself! who cares how anyone else feels!  Trampling all over those we say we love, and acting out of selfishness and not service.

So where does this leave us? It leaves us in desperate need for a creator a GOD (you remember, the guy with all the morals and control issues) well He loves us so much that he became man.  Stop and think about that, GOD, he has EVERYTHING, wants for nothing, is IN CHARGE of EVERYTHING, He chose to humble Himself and become man, and not just any man, a man who was born in a stable with poop and stuff, he labored his whole life using his hands to make things.  Talk about humbling yourself, and He did all this just so that you can know how much He loves you and that there is a better way, it is for OUR BENEFIT that He did this, not his own!  And when He died on the cross, I am sure that the nails, and crown of thorns, and the flesh on his back that was torn from being beaten was painful.  But that is not what he was overwhelmed with, it was with our sins, all the sins that you and I ever have, are, and will commit.  He died for those sins before you were even born, HE DIED so you could know eternal life with Him, and not only that but so that you could live in freedom and achieve your full potential here on earth.  Talk about crazy love, that’s some pretty intense stuff!  So give it a try, read your Bible, really read it, you know even in the tough stuff that might be difficult to understand.  Start at the beginning, in Genesis and keep reading even when you feel overwhelmed.  Because the Bible gives you this whole beautiful picture of how from the very moment that God had to ask Adam and Eve to leave the garden He has been working throughout history to restore us to Himself.  God is so good and so faithful, I guarantee that if you choose to read His word and seek something more you will be more blessed than you can ever ask or imagine, in fact His word promises that: “Ask , and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.” Matthew 7:7-8

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