For the past few days, I have been looking through old Bible camp directories online.
When I look through the pictures and see the names of old friends and acquaintances, I notice that some of the last names have changed. But for too many, the greatest change has not been that of their name, but of their heart.
I remember serving alongside so many of those kids, staffing and counseling with them, and just talking about Jesus and how we can serve Him better.
Today, I am happy to say that many are still walking with Jesus, sitting at His feet, learning from Him, and trusting Him. Their hearts have changed for the better. But there are many whom I have no idea where their hearts are, and there are some where I have heard enough from them or about them to know that they don’t trust in Jesus, nor do they walk with Him.
Too many have forgotten their first love or perhaps they never loved Jesus in the first place. It makes me sad to know that so many of those pictured are lost souls; living apart from Christ. But then I come across my own picture.
A lot has changed in 16 years. My teeth are a little straighter, my hair is a little less frizzy, and all my baby fat is gone. But more importantly, in those 16 years, I have learned what it means to love Jesus and what it means to be a daughter of the King. I don’t know why God would call me His or why He would call me to Himself in the first place. All I know is that the grace He has poured out on me is completely undeserved, yet most assuredly mine for all of eternity.
Who am I without Jesus? I am lost.
But since I have Jesus, I am found, saved, set free.
Too often, I struggle with the same old sins, but daily, Jesus gives me victory.
God has not given up on any one of the kids listed in my old camp directories. He loves them as much today as He did then, and He always will love them. Though they have gone through hard things, made bad choices, and/or chosen to say, “No,” to God, yet His grace, healing, forgiveness, and love are still extended to them.
More than anything, I want all of my camp friends, past and present, to know that they can gain victory in Jesus, if only they believe in Him and stop believing the lies the world has fed them over the years.
There will always be reasons to doubt and question God when all you hear are lies and all you see is pain. But those seeking to defy Jesus and draw His little ones away from eternal life; all they want is the worst for every soul; all they want is to see another soul go into a hopeless eternity.
Pain was not created by God, but He can bring people out of the worst places on earth to sit at His table, because He suffered pain on their behalf.
The cost of freedom is high, and those who seek Christ are not always loved and accepted by the world.
It is hard to trust Jesus when you seem to be the only one. It is hard to read His Word when people keep telling you that it is all fairy tails. But faith in Jesus means that you are never alone and it also means that fairy tails come true. Because the hero really did come to save His Bride and He will come again with great power and glory, and all those who trust in Him will not be put to shame.
Jesus is the hero in every story. He comes to rescue and deliver, but not all of those in distress choose to take His help.
I cannot make you choose Jesus.
I can only tell you that Jesus is totally worth it.
He suffered more than any of us, yet He, in all of His life, never did anything to deserve such pain. He died for us, for every lost soul, and rose up from the grave for us, for all those who would believe on His name.
You can tell me that you don’t believe in Jesus, because you have faith that the Bible isn’t true or because, if God existed, then so many things would never happen. But I tell you that I believe in Jesus, because the Bible is true, and the truth that it preaches is our only hope for this life.
If I am wrong, I have nothing to lose. If you are wrong, you have everything to lose.
I do not gamble with my life. I know that God exists, because I can ask if He exists and I can choose to follow Him or not. This choice is given to every human being, but bad things happen in this world, because too many people have chosen not to believe in Him. I will not let the lies and hypocritical lives of others convince me that God does not exist.
For in Him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, “For we are also His offspring.” Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device. And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now, He commands all men every where to repent. Because He has appointed a day, in the which He will judge the world in righteousness by that man Whom He has ordained; whereof He has given assurance unto all men, in that He has raised Him from the dead. Acts 17:28-31
Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, is alive. I am not afraid of Him, because I love Him and I have received His love. I am nothing without Him, but with Him, I can breathe and rest assured in a hope that cannot be extinguished by death.
By the grace of God, I will witness many lost, dying souls come to life in Christ. But until those souls are saved, I will not stop praying for them or for myself. There is a battle we face daily, and only by the grace of Jesus Christ and the power of His Holy Spirit will any of us gain the victory. Amen.
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