We love because he first loved us. 1 John:19
This is the beginning of a new year, a new and fresh start for all of us. I thought I would share the story of how I became new. It started around this time of year, 26 years ago.
I was in Junior High and had been attending a new church with my “boyfriend”. I had no interest in God, yet I really liked this guy. I felt very shy and totally out of my comfort zone. I was trying to sing the loud and crazy worship songs that I had never heard before. I didn’t understand anything that was happening in this contemporary, charismatic youth group.
A guest speaker was there one night, and I can’t even remember what he talked about. He invited us to come up to receive prayer. I didn’t consider getting prayer, yet I found myself up front. I had no memory of standing up, no memory of moving my legs to walk towards him. Yet somehow I was there, waiting for prayer. When the speaker prayed for the guy beside me, he started crying like something was touching his very soul.
“I wonder if this preacher will know that I don’t believe in this stuff,” I thought to myself as he approached me.
“You are having doubts about all this stuff.” He said, as though he was reading my mind. Suddenly the youth pastor was right next to me and asked, “Do you want to receive Jesus into your heart?”
I had never thought about asking Jesus into my heart. I didn’t even know what that meant. Before my mind could tell me “yes” or “no”, I heard myself saying, “Yes!”
I repeated the prayer that the pastor prayed for me. It went something like this;
“I believe in you Jesus, that you are the son of God. That you died and rose again to take away my sins. I ask you to forgive my sins and come into my heart.”
Immediately I felt something explode in my heart, and my eyes were opened to a wondrous and completely new reality.
I never expected this to happen! I didn’t even know what being “saved” or “born again” was, yet here I was experiencing it.
I spent the next week in a glorious daze! Everything was lovely and fresh. I never realized how beautiful a tree was! How amazing a doorknob could be! Or how much I loved my parents! The world was different because now I knew that God loved me. Since then I have learned that long before I ever thought about God, he was pursuing me. Even when I wasn’t seeking him, he was seeking me. I am so glad he found me.
I have also learned that new life isn’t something that just happened to me once, 26 years ago. It is something that happens with each new day because his mercies are new every morning. Jesus promised that we would have streams of living water coming from our inner most beings. The adventure of this life is accepting and allowing and enjoying that pure, fresh spring every single day!
Happy New Year!!! I hope you have fireworks of his love exploding in your heart.
May you enjoy a Happy New Year… every day of the year 2016!