Genesis 49:28-50:26 & Habakkuk 1:1-3:19
“The righteous shall live by his faith.” Habakkuk 2:4
Life is filled with decisions isn’t it? Big ones, small ones, life changing ones and some that you wouldn’t expect to change anything yet they do. What clothes to wear today? How to do my hair? Should I shower now or later? What to have for breakfast? To be, or not to be? We make a million decisions every day and each one has the potential to turn into a life changing decision.
My husband and I met in high school and were both in the band. Yup, I’m a band geek; I was in the Color Guard and loved every second of it. Anyway, this week our high school band director went home to be with Jesus. Her visitation is tonight and her funeral is tomorrow during the day. Band meant so very much to both of us as did she. So of course we want to go pay our respects. The only problem is, the services are over an hour away and we really don’t have the time or the money to go. A decision needs to be made, like ASAP. I’ve been praying about it and as I sat down to re-read the passages today and type this all up I had my Bible open and ready and breathed a prayer, to go or not to go. And when I opened my eyes they were immediately drawn to Genesis 50:7-8 “So Joseph went up to bury his father. With him went up all the servants of Pharaoh, the elders of his household, and all the elders of the land of Egypt, as well as all the household of Joseph, his brothers, and his father’s household. Only their children their flocks and their herds were left in the land of Goshen.”
Now, some may say that’s an uncanny coincidence, but I don’t really believe in coincidences. If my God knows the number of hairs on my head and the number of steps I will take in my life (which He does), then that’s a God who’s pretty into the minute details of my life. And if He’s that into minute details, I’m fairly certain that when I’m praying and asking Him for decision making guidance and my eyes fall on a scripture that points in a definite direction for that decision, well, I think it’s pretty safe to say that it’s not a coincidence. It’s God.
And that leads me to today’s point. With all these decisions we’re making throughout every day, the fear of making a wrong one can become pretty overwhelming. I mean, we see the decision of what to have for breakfast as a minor decision, but it isn’t. If I decide to make myself an egg instead of having cereal, an egg is going to take longer to make. That decision will lead to me leaving the house later than I would have if I had chosen cereal. Running late might tempt me to speed in order to get to work on time. Passing a cop while speeding usually leads to a ticket and being even later for work. A little way down the road there’s a huge traffic back up, there’s been an accident. An accident that had I eaten cereal and left the house on time and not gotten pulled over I would have been in.
Do you see what I mean about small decisions perhaps not being quite as small as we think they are? One small decision CAN affect the big things that happen later in the day, week, and year.
And that’s the beauty of a personal relationship with Jesus. When He died on the cross His last moments were recorded in John 19:30 “When Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, ‘It is finished,’ and He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.”
In Acts chapter one, after Jesus has risen from the dead and is preparing to return to heaven He tells His Disciples, “you will receive power when the Holy spirit has come upon you,” (verse 8) And in the gospel of John chapter 16 Jesus tells them, “When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth, for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak, and He will declare to you the things that are to come.”
Proverbs 24:6 says, “for by wise guidance you can wage your war, and in abundance of counselors there is victory.”
Now, I don’t know about you, but victory in my life sounds pretty good. And through the Holy Spirit of Jesus we can have victory in our lives in every decision we make.
In the Garden of Eden Adam and Eve made a pretty bad decision. And while they walked with God and talked with God, there was one thing they didn’t have; His constant guidance through the Holy Spirit. However, when we make the decision to choose Jesus, we can also ask His Holy Spirit to come into our lives and be our guidance counselor. And He will.
“If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” Luke 11:1`3
Have you made that decision to choose Jesus as your Lord and Savior? It’s a lot simpler than Satan would like to have you realize.
Romans 10:9-13 says, “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord (or the authority figure over you) and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, ‘Everyone who believes in Him will not be put to shame.’ For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on Him. For ‘everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.'”
You see, simple.
Step 1) Believe that Jesus is who He has said that He is; the Son of God who died for your sins completely erasing them from your account with God; then walking out of the prison of death, completely alive, effectively pronouncing the sentence having been served on your behalf. According to Romans 10:9-13 through belief, you are justified through the cross of Christ.
Step 2) Confess this belief out loud. You can whisper it, you can shout it from the mountaintops of Facebook, and it’s up to you. See, simple.
Many people believe that your salvation comes when you pray the sinner’s prayer, and I’m certainly not against that. In fact I think it’s a GREAT idea to start step 2 with a prayer to God confessing your belief in His forgiveness of your sins against Him. But I don’t believe that your salvation hinges on a prayer; at least not according to Romans 10:9-13. As fragile humans, it’s good for us to have a process or ceremony to help us create this milestone moment that we can remember vividly later in life. But as far as my experience goes, some of the biggest milestone moments in my relationship with Jesus have been the most ordinary moments of all. One in particular that comes to my mind first, was a moment that brought me straight to my knees as I was walking from the kitchen into the living room while I was eating a bowl of yogurt. J God has His ways of doing things and they are nothing like our ways. We love pomp and circumstance; He loves to catch us off guard. So if you made the choice to follow Jesus’ leadership in your life, while you were sitting in your recliner eating cereal don’t think that that moment doesn’t qualify as a salvation moment because it absolutely does! God meets us where we are, not the other way around! He come to us instead of requiring us to come to Him.
I mean that’s the entire point of the cross and Grace! We aren’t able to come to Him on our own. That’s why Jesus stepped down out of heaven to pave the way for us to get there. Before the cross the road had been broken and impassable. But Jesus came and made a way for us.
And the same is true in your life today. Absolutely positively nothing that you say or do can get you to heaven. No amount of good deeds or ceremonial prayers will get you to heaven; ONLY a belief in JESUS and then speaking that belief out loud. That is the heart of salvation. That is the heart of justification. That is the heart of being redeemed. Confess with your mouth that Jesus is YOUR Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead and you will be saved. Period.
It’s a simple decision with a profound effect! J
This one’s for you Mrs. Stowers! We love you!