Did any posts this year have a significant impact on your life? Many come to mind, and one in particular has stayed with me closely for several months… Do you remember The Big Ask? After reading it I came to several realizations: Often our prayers are too small, too simple-minded, and the prayer reflects a minimized view of a big, great, all-powerful, perfect, and loving God who created us and calls us by name.
The Big Ask redirected my prayer life from prayers of delivering me out of something to bring me into something. The “into” I was seeking was for Him to reveal His will, to let me see His great and mighty plans, and change my heart to choose His will over my own.
No matter what our 2016 was like or what 2017 turns out to be, there’s nothing more important than how we respond to the resurrection of Jesus Christ. I love the heading before these two verses at the end of John 20: “The Purpose of This Book”. Young Peyton Harris had a similar observation in that he appreciated that it directly stated the purpose and couldn’t recall seeing this kind of statement elsewhere.
Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. (John 20:30-31)
This year ended with two public confessions of John 20:31 that brought tears of joy to many. Those confessions occurred during the baptism by submersion of our two boys.
Preston asked to be baptized and Amy and I challenged him a little bit to make sure he was ready. Through this discussion, his response was “wait, does that mean I have to be perfect?” No son, that’s why we get baptized; we come to Christ in our imperfection and He makes us perfect through his sacrifice. Preston is not alone in this line of thinking. Too often we believe some lie that says we need to be better than we are to come to him, but there is no amount of “good” that we can be on our own to stand before God’s throne, hence our need to repent and ask for Jesus to make us perfect… a request that he freely grants.
As for Peyton, he is a super well behaved kid. I’ve talked about him in other posts so I won’t go on much here but Peyton is an excellent example of “how good is good enough?” He knows he’s a very good kid; honest, a rule follower, respectful, and kind. He also knows that no matter how good he is, it isn’t enough. He acknowledges that he, like all of us, is a sinner, and that even one sin separates us from God. Many adults either do not comprehend this or they try to argue with it, so it is so refreshing to witness this pronouncement of truth in the life of a kid.
As the year closes out, would you consider making the best choice you’ve ever made like these two young boys did? Our Lord is calling you, waiting for you to answer and turn from denial to acceptance of him. He is real, so is his book, and his promises are true. Simply confess your sins to him, repent and ask him to take over. If you’re like me, you’ll have a flood of other sins come to mind, but that guilt can be eliminated forever in a single moment. Confession is telling God something he already knows, it isn’t like we can hide it. Do not delay this decision any longer, we never know which day will be our last.
2 Chronicles 35; Revelation 21; Malachi 3; John 20
Sincere thanks to all of our readers this year; friends, family, and those whom I’ve not yet met. I pray over each of these posts that they honor God and are factual accounts of his truth impacting each of our lives. I pray you have much peace, love, and joy in the coming year.