Thursday, January 16, 2014

Jesus Transforms: How knowing, being loved by, and loving Jesus has transformed and is transforming my life ~ by Elizabeth

Isaiah 43:1b-3a says, “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name you are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.” That is my life verse, it describes who I am in Christ. I am His and I am redeemed. It describes that when trials come, my Lord will be with me, and He has saved me. He knew He would save me from before the beginning of time, He knew I would always be His.

As a little girl, after I’d found Christ, there was nothing I liked better then talking about Him. I had a childlike faith, I did not care what other people may have believed. I only knew that I was saved, and I wanted every one else to be, too. I talked about Jesus to everyone. One time, my extended family, who are atheists, came over when I was about 7. I put on a play, of my own planning, for them about a princess who lived in a castle, distressed because she did not know how to run her kingdom. Then a man came by who told her about Jesus, and she accepted Him into her heart. Then, with Jesus ruling by her side, she was able to wisely govern the kingdom. The play ended with me giving out some New Testaments. I was not hindered by the fear of what they would think, I just knew what was true and what Jesus had done for me, and I had to share it.

As the years went by, that boldness to speak about Christ began to diminish, as it always seems to when one is growing away from childhood. I began to understand that other people had minds that could think, too, and what they thought about me began to matter more than in the past. I still loved Jesus, but I kept it more hidden. When I was around 11, I could feel the Lord was pressing on my heart, inviting me into a deeper relationship. However, I did not really know or understand how to have a relationship with my Maker, He seemed distant and far off. This feeling was there until, at a conference by Amy Vest in 2009, Jesus revealed to me just how He is my Best Friend of all friends, how He loves me like no one else. I rededicated my life to Him, and I’ve been growing rapidly since that time. The core of how I think and who I am revolves around my Best Friend, Jesus. I have, undeservedly, come to know Him. In His arms I find rest, under His gaze I find peace!

Now my passion is talking about my Savior, as it once was. There are still times when I feel that old nasty enemy, fear, place it’s icy hand on my heart, but
the Lord is there already and He says, “Be gone.” What on this earth do we have to lose when we are in Christ? My Maker died for me. Sometimes I just sit and
ponder that. Why would He love me like that? Yet He says, “…You are precious in
My eyes, and honored, and I love you.”
(Isaiah 43:4a). No one loves me like He does, and it has made me who I am. I am so sinful, and yet He has said I am honored in His eyes. That is only because Jesus died for me. Now when the Father looks at me, He does not see me as I was and still am, full of sin. Now He sees His Son, Jesus Christ reflected back. Not because of anything I have done. I deserve death upon death forever. Yet He has called me into His marvelous light, the light of His truth and love, revealed to me through His Word, which is ultimate truth from Genesis 1 to Revelation 22!

At this point in my life, I am a senior in high school, and am thinking a lot about my future. Sometimes I feel so unsure about what I should do. Then I look back on my life, and I see what my Lord has done for me in the past. He has made Himself my Best Friend, He has made me His own. I can trust that He who began a good work in me will truly carry it to completion (Philippians 1:6).  I know that what my Leader of Life tells me to do, I need to do, because He has my heart and knows me better then I do. I am excited about my future, because I know that His plans for my life are what I want most of all, because He plans perfectly. (Jeremiah 29:11).
Recently, I have been taught that I am not native to this earth, I am native to Heaven, where my Lord is. Although I was condemned to death, Christ transformed my heart and made me who I am today, His and His alone. He wanted me to be with Him forever! I think back to Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden in the beginning of Genesis. When they sinned, God really should have destroyed them. But He didn’t. He longed for them to be with Him forever. He loves us that much! Why would we even dream of giving up that free gift? We need to declare the truth of Christ to everyone! A verse that describes my passion is Jeremiah 20:9, “If I say, ‘I will not mention Him, or speak any more in His name,’ there is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot.” My fire for Christ is intense within me, and it hurts when I hold it in. Unbelievers need to see the truth, that they are sinners, in need for a Savior. I desire to unleash it, to let that fire shine out of me. It is not I, but Christ who works in me (Galatians 2:20), who has built up that fire and it is Him who will let it out. Once the fire is out, there is opportunity for ultimate Truth to be revealed!

Friends, while we’re here on earth, I challenge you to not be afraid to speak about Jesus to everyone. It is not easy. Skeptics are out there, ready with all their worldly guns pointed at the foundation of the church, the Bible. Fight hard, and put on the full armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18). 1 Peter 3: 13-17 says, “Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.” Even though we may be required to suffer for speaking out, we should not be afraid. I sometimes struggle with fear, but Jesus has already won the battle over sin, and so I do not have to be afraid. Just like my life verse says, “Fear not…” (Isaiah 43:1). The Lord grabbed hold of my life at an early age, made Himself prominent in my life, transformed me, and most of all, loved me. He loved me so much that He died on a Roman cross for me. There is no greater love in the world (John 15:13). Therefore, as His servant, but also His princess, I want to love Him back with all of who I am, trusting Him for my life.

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