Yesterday was my birthday! Fifty-five years old! It’s hard to picture in my head that until I look at the guy in the mirror. My, how he has aged well beyond the man inside of me! Honestly, I feel fit and healthy – not at all like the skin below my chin (waddle I believe that’s called?) or the bags under my eyes. I guess that’s all part of the package. I’m going to do my best to watch my weight and stay active. That will certainly help, physically. Mentally, I would like to start studying more, perhaps in preparation to write a book someday. Oh! I almost forgot! I got hearing aids on Friday! That has made a big difference in feeling younger than I was. Honestly, it was discouraging to miss out on conversations because my hearing is bad. These hearing aids are making a big difference. I recommend checking into it if you are having trouble.
Another thing that is making me feel young today is that I also went to a Christian Writers Conference over the weekend. I tell you what, we heard three people speak that are masters at captivating attention: Susie Larson, List Curtis Higgs, and Sheila Walsh. I recommend that you check any and all three of these women out. The odd thing is that they didn’t do anything spectacular besides share how our Lord took their own brokenness and gave them life. Yes, they know how to communicate better than the average person on the street, but their story really is no different than yours or mine. Every one of us walked apart from God until one day he had mercy on us. Some of us accepted that blessing as children. Others, like me, needed to make a train-wreck out of their lives before we would allow ourselves to hear God’s voice.
Hebrews 3 & 4 does a wonderful job to encourage non-believers to decide. There are two good reasons not to wait like I did. One, it spares you from a lot of self-inflicted harm. Man, how I wished I would have accepted Jesus when he called while I was still a teenager. The longer I am sober, the less I see any redeeming qualities in alcohol – even for “social” drinkers. That’s not the path I chose back then. Heck no! I turned my back on Jesus and dove head-first into a life of alcoholism and paid a big price for it. Second, God’s call is for the moment. When Jesus knocks, he will leave if you don’t answer. There is no telling if he will return. It’s a lie to say that you can choose God any time you wish. We are given opportunities here and there. Salvation is not like an open-door flophouse where you can come and go as you please. That is something that the church is terrible about – that we have all sorts of time to say yes to Jesus. That is simply not true.
Pastor James MacDonald has said that this is the most heart-wrenching verse of the bible:
Hebrews 12:16-17 that no one is sexually immoral or unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal. For you know that afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears.
Hebrews 3 & 4 quotes Psalm 95 three times, urging non-believers to make a choice.
Hebrews 3:7-8 Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, of the day of testing in the wilderness,
This whole section of scripture is often said to be speaking to believers which concludes that one can lose his/her salvation. However, careful study will prove that this is targeted to those who have intimate knowledge of things holy yet who have never accepted Jesus as Lord. They are those who are not born-again and the ones Jesus says, “I never knew you.” (Matthew 7:21-23)
Don’t just take my word for it. Study it yourself. That’s why you seldom hear of death-bed conversions. Think about it. So, if we see a sense of urgency in Hebrews, we would be wise to covey that same sense to those whom we share the gospel with.
Father, thank you for new life, and thank you for the opportunity to share that good news with a world that so desperately needs it. Thank you for people like Larson, Higgs, and Walsh who inspire countless others to share the gospel. Send out your workers, Lord! Amen.
Copyright © 2018 Scott Powers