ALWAYS A REASON
FOR HOPE

ALWAYS A REASON
FOR HOPE

Knowing Him

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be
transformed by the renewal of your mind,
that you may discern what is the will of God,
what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
Romans 12: 2, ESV

          How do you define God personally?  This is a very important question to examine closely because it relates to your core values and how you function in this world.  All of us have core values, or belief systems that have been developing since childhood.  You learned behaviors and beliefs from your parents, your friends, your teachers, your churches, and from observations you made personally.  Some of these behaviors and beliefs were good and some were bad, and some were truths, and some lies, but how many you internalized personally and accepted as truth has been the springboard for how you interpret and play out life.
          Your view of God is the most important concept because it determines several aspects: whether you even believe in God at all, how you perceive God (as good or bad, what you believe His character is like, and even how He sees you).  Knowing God personally is possible.  I am not referring to being religious.  Many people are religious.  They have sat in church pews for decades, and served on church committees for years and they think they are doing God a favor for doing their Christian duty.  They have only a shadow of who is God.  This is not what our Lord desires for those who belong to Him.  He planned so much more!  The Bible states, “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”’ (John 14: 6, ESV).  Also, in the Book of Jeremiah in the Old Testament, scripture says, “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hears. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, “Know the Lord’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” (Jeremiah 31: 33-34, ESV).  While this last verse is talking about the nation of Israel, it applies to everyone today.
          I know from experience what you believe about God can either destroy your life or it.  I came from a very dysfunctional family.  Not only did I suffer abuse from my mother, but also from the church I was forced to attend as I was growing up.  I was raised in a Southern Baptist church. The preacher constantly spewed hell, fire, and brimstone from the pulpit.  He taught about a God who was vengeful, and that if we ever did anything wrong, we were going straight to hell.  I never heard of the love of Jesus or of the mercy, goodness, and kindness of our Lord.  That preacher viciously assassinated God’s character year after year.  It burned such a fear in my heart, mind, and soul that it took years for God to teach me the truth about Himself through patience and love. I could never have achieved this on my own, and I must say that He is still teaching me.  I am so thankful and grateful that I have a God who loves me so much that he continuously pursued me until I, at the age of 31, finally fell to my knees, asked Him to forgive me of all my sins, and to come into my life as my Savior and my Lord.  He has never left me or forsaken me and has loved me through every painful trial I have gone through.
          This journey of spiritual growth has not been easy, but I have never regretted asking Jesus into my life and heart. He is my life, and I could never live without Him.  I am so thankful and grateful that He has led me and taught me the truth. My only regret is that I didn’t give my life to him sooner!  Knowing Him personally is the greatest gift He has given me and knowing that He loves you that much also is just the most amazing gift you could ever desire and receive.  Just think: God, the King of the World, the Creator of Heaven and Earth, the Almighty God wants a personal relationship with you!  He knows you intimately. He knows everything you have ever done, good or bad, and still loves you.  Isn’t that absolutely amazing?  He knows the plan He specifically created for you and all you must do is give your heart and life to Him. Scripture states, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3: 16, ESV).  That kind of love is astounding to me.  Just put your name in that verse in place of “the world” and know He did this just for you. And in the Book Jeremiah, it states, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares, the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.  You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29: 11-13, ESV).  What an amazing promise this is!
          Why in the world would you not want to give your heart and life to the one person who loves you like no other possibly could?  Not only does He promise this in His Word, but He promises to never leave you or forsake you.  All His promises are “Yes and Amen.”  My sincere prayer is that you will examine your core beliefs today with courage and ask the Lord to show you the truth. I also pray for your salvation if you have never taken that step to ask Jesus into your heart and life, that you would not put it off any longer.  For those of you who have asked Jesus into your heart some time in the past but have drifted far away from Him, I pray that you will return to Him, ask for forgiveness, and get back on the path and plan He has for you today.  It’s never too late.

                                    In the precious name of Jesus,

Gwen Wilkinson, thehopeauthor

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