The Gift….The Choice
I have only told a handful of people about this. Yesterday, I became impressed that I needed to share it so I am. Perhaps there is someone out there who needs to know/hear what I’m going to share.
When I was 8 years old, during the summer time, I was attending the local VBS at a church down the street from my granny’s place. We had attended this VBS before. It was a Saturday night. I remember because we were having our final program the next evening.
That night, I had a dream I was at the crucifixion. I saw things in detail I had never heard about before. In fact, until I reached adulthood and read the book ‘Desire of Ages,’ I had never had the words to even describe what I had seen. We often romanticize the cross. We even wear it as a fashion symbol. We do not think of the cruelty and what it meant. To die on a cross was to be cursed. Christ took OUR curse upon Himself.
Remember, I was only 8. The only thing I had ever heard about Jesus’ death was that He died on the cross for our sins. I definitely had never thought of it being the horrendous, painful, ordeal that it was. I was a child of the 60s. I didn’t grow up watching the violence children today take for a part of life.
No matter what you imagine, you cannot imagine the wrenching pain our Savior went through FREELY for us to have a chance to be reconciled to God.
I saw the darkness which descended that afternoon. I heard the cry out from Christ when He felt the total separation from God due to taking on OUR sins.
This scene never leaves me. It is always in the back of my mind. To me, there is nothing that Christ can ask of me that would be too much to do for Him.
When you love someone, you enjoy doing things to please them. You will often go out of your way to show your appreciation for them being in your life. Even though they may like things that are not along the same line as you, you will attend events because they enjoy them, just because you love them. All Christ asks is ‘If you love me, keep my commandments.’
But I digress. The next evening, I attended the VBS closing program. I told the teachers about my dream in vivid detail. They told me I was just imaging things and I needed to be quiet. So I did.
Years later, I was attending a Life & Teachings class with Dr Underhill as an instructor. We were reading the book, ‘Desire of Ages.’ This book has been recognized as the best book written on the life of Christ outside of the Bible. It’s a wonderful book.
In the closing chapters of the book, I found myself reading my dream written down. I cannot express my surprise. I went in early to my class and told my instructor that I had dreamt this when I was 8 years old. He believed me. He told me I had been granted a special gift and to cherish the memory. And I have.
Now, almost 50 years later, as I continue to study and learn about God’s word, I find myself remembering that dream on a regular basis. The knowledge of what Christ went through and suffered for ME. Because of His love for me. He had a choice. He could have changed His mind. They could have wiped us all out and started over. Yet, He chose to walk that pathway to hang upon the cross and die for our sins, our selfishness, our self-centeredness, our greed, and our appetite for wanting what we want when we want it no matter what.
Christ gave up everything for us. Are we willing to do the same? The other day I asked what percentage we were willing to give up for Christ. How devoted to Him are you? 50% 75% 90% 100%
This is something I ask myself also.
I often hear people tell me that they could not follow the eating plan I do. To me, it’s cheap enough to experience a life worth living again. I love being able to walk without a walker, cane, or a wheelchair when I’m shopping. I love not being in constant 9-10 pain. I love having a memory again and being able to type again. Yes, the lifestyle changes I made are a small price to pay for my life today where I can function and enjoy life.
Often people consider the cost of following Christ is too high. They look at the Ten Commandments as a list of ‘don’ts rather than a safety fence to keep us safe. They look at the biblical principles as something to keep them from having fun instead of a way to have life more abundantly.
Jesus said in Mathew 16: 24-26 that if we want to follow Him, we are to die to self/deny our selfish wants. This can include having to give up everything, even our loved ones, if their choices lead them away from God. Time is short. The time for fence sitting is over. It is becoming more and more dangerous to be a true follower of God today.
I can promise you that when we stand before Christ in heaven and look at Him with His love shining out of His eyes, see those nail prints He will carry throughout eternity as a sign of His love for us, we will count the cost as very little.
This world is becoming more and more divided. On one side are those who are true followers of God. On the other side is everyone else, even those who think they may be following God but have been deceived by man’s traditions. Remember, the wheat and tares grow together until harvest time.
One day soon, those who think to be doing God a service will be trying to put to death the true followers of God.
It is time to open your Bibles and read for yourselves and ask yourself why you believe what you do and where it is in the Bible. God never changes, and He does not contradict Himself.
Christ died of a broken heart. Did you know that is an actual condition? It’s caused by emotional pain. When a person is under such high emotional pain, the connections around the heart which hold it in place can break due to the emotional trauma. This breaking can kill you, hence a person can ‘die of a broken heart.’
As a former self-injurer, I can tell you what it feels like to experience emotional pain to such a deep level. Even though I have never had my heart break to the extent as Christ’s, I have felt that emotional heart pain that I felt my heart could break due to emotional trauma.
Now, think about the fact that Christ would have come to earth to die just for you if you had been the only one who needed saving. His heart break was for you specifically. His painful death on that cross was for you.
So that you would have the choice to accept life eternal with Him. It’s a gift but there is a cost for accepting that gift.
That cost is to follow Him.
Jesus said, ‘If you love me, keep my commandments.’
We are to pattern our lives after His example.
Jesus died to break the chains of sin and darkness for us here on earth. We do not have to remain bound by sin any longer. We can have victory over the temptations we face each day. Jesus did nothing that we cannot do if we live life as He lived, depending totally on God the Father.
In Revelation 22:12-14 (Clear Word), Jesus said:
‘When I come, I will come quickly and will reward everyone according to what he has done. I am the Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.
Blessed are those who have washed their robes in my blood and lived by my commandments. This is what gives them the right to the Tree of Life and to enter through the gates into the city.’
I don’t know about you, but I am looking forward to standing before the throne and looking into those eyes of love and saying, ‘Dear God, thank you so much for your love for me. Thank you for giving me the choice to follow You so I could live life more abundantly. Thank you for making me whole.’
We all crave love. Some of us search throughout our lives for the unconditional love God is offering us right now. I hope you will stop searching and accept that love today.