[title text=”Overwhelmed” color=”#343434″ focus_color=”#d90000″ align=”center” line=””]

“I’ve tasted and seen of the sweetest of loves, where my heart becomes free, and my shame is undone… Holy Spirit, You are welcome here. Come flood this place and fill the atmosphere. Your glory, God, is what our hearts long for, to be overcome by your presence, Lord.”

Have you tasted and seen? Does your heart long for God’s glory?

Over the last several weeks, I have truly tasted and seen God. Let me tell you, it has overwhelmed me unlike anything I have ever experienced before. I have seriously begun to grasp why it is so important to be in daily communion with Him. No, I am nowhere near perfect, and I’m not saying I have this all figured out, but I am saying that He is more real in my life right now than He’s ever been before. I don’t give Him nearly as much of my time and life as I should, but He is blessing me daily for what I do give Him.

God has been revealing to me daily what it means to live a life “for the sake of the gospel” (1 Corinthians 9), and I don’t want to keep that to myself. When you have a passion for something you don’t keep it to yourself do you? I know I don’t; I want to share it with those around me. I want everyone to experience the peace and joy that I am experiencing through surrender.

[title text=”The Gospel” color=”#343434″ focus_color=”#d90000″ align=”center” line=””]

In order to truly “taste and see” God’s work in your life, it is of utmost importance to have some understanding of the gospel. This has been the source of my joy and passion. When you get it, the gospel will overwhelm you and spark in you a passion like never before. So, what is the gospel? Most of us, me included, have heard it called the “good news” all our lives, but what exactly does that mean? This is a lot to take in and a lot of scripture, but it’s incredible so please try to bear with me. The scripture is there so that you know this is not just something I made up; it is from the inspired and inerrant Word of God.

This is the gospel. God, the creator of the universe and everything in it, decided to create man in His image in Genesis 1:26. In Genesis 2:7 he formed Adam from the dust of the ground and breathed life into him. (God spoke and creation happened, but he personally breathed life into man. How awesome is that? Think about the intricate details that go into our anatomy and physiology, and try to grasp the fact that He made all of that from dirt. WOW!) However, shortly thereafter, Adam fell into sin after being tempted by the serpent (Satan). He disobeyed God and darkness came into the world. Because of this, we are all “brought forth in iniquity (sin)” (Psalm 51:5). The inspired word of God then tells us in Romans 3:23 that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Not one of us is righteous (Romans 3:10; James 2:10). (TIME OUT: So what is sin? It is anything you think say or do that displeases God. Sin can be breaking the law of the land or it can be breaking moral laws or God’s law.) Isaiah tells us in chapter 59 verse 2 that our iniquities separate us from God, and then Romans 6:2 says, “For the wages of sin is death.” Well great… Now what? IT DOESN’T END THERE!

That verse continues, “but the gift of God is eternal life.” So what is this gift? “…while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). Christ is God’s son who was born into the world by a virgin, lived a sinless life, was crucified on a cross, rose from the dead three days later, and ascended into heaven. During that time, crucifixion was reserved for those who committed heinous crimes or led rebellions. Christ didn’t do either of those, but we see in Mark 15 that He didn’t even fight the punishment. He became this sacrifice so that we could be forgiven of our sins and made righteous by God (2 Corinthians 5:21). When Christ died, He took all of our sins, past, present, and future; but His resurrection from the dead three days later signifies his victory over sin. He conquered Satan so that we could once again have the power to choose to say no to sin. Romans 10:9 says “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” All you have to do is have faith and believe. Jesus plus nothing equals our salvation. Jesus is “the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the father but by” Him (John 14:6).

[title text=”So… what happens if you don’t confess Him as Lord?” color=”#343434″ focus_color=”#d90000″ align=”center” line=””]

At the end of your life, your response to Jesus will determine your eternity. Jesus tells us in Matthew 25:46 that those who fail to serve Him will “go away to eternal punishment but the righteous to eternal life.” Revelation 22:3-5 gives us a small glimpse of what eternal life will be like. It says there will be no more darkness because God will be the light for the righteous, and they will reign forever. However, in Revelation 14:9-11 Hell is revealed as a place where people will be “tormented with fire and sulfur,” and there will be no rest. That sounds terrible! I don’t know about you, but for me, just knowing the harshness of eternal punishment is enough to make me want to repent and choose the eternal life Christ offers. Where are you going to spend your eternity?

[title text=”There’s more to it than just escaping eternal punishment…” color=”#343434″ focus_color=”#d90000″ align=”center” line=””]

The gospel can also be referred to as the story of our redemption. Google defines redemption as “the action of gaining or regaining possession of something in exchange for payment.” That’s exactly what Christ’s sacrifice on the cross was for.When Adam fell into sin in the beginning, we were separated from God and therefore lost many of the characteristics that we shared with Him. (Remember, we were made in His image so we must have some things in common, right?) Those characteristics that we lost are once again offered to us by the “Spirit of truth” (John 14) to guide our lives when we choose to accept the forgiveness Christ offers through his sacrifice. Galatians 5:22-25 tells us that the fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Those all sound pretty good; nothing you wouldn’t want to possess, right? Well if we have truly surrendered our lives to Christ these fruits should be evident to some extent.

I’m a HUGE worrier. I literally worry about everything, whether I can change it or not so peace sounds awesome to me. God’s peace is a little different though. Philippians 4:7 says, “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Can you imagine having peace in all circumstances? That’s impossible, right?? WRONG! The Holy Spirit gives us a peace like no other, one that “transcends all understanding.” What does that even mean? Well, honestly there’s no way for us to explain or even understand that peace. It’s not like the peace we imagine. It’s not always going to mean no conflict or feeling good about everything; it is the hope we have in Christ’s power and control. Isaiah 32:17 tells us that it’s “effect will be quietness and confidence forever.” When you experience this peace, you will be overwhelmed, maybe even a little freaked out. Even in the hardest of times, you will have contentment if you are allowing the Spirit to reign over your life; and I can tell you from experience that it is awesome! Who wouldn’t want to experience that?

[title text=”That sounds way too easy though… What’s the catch?” color=”#343434″ focus_color=”#d90000″ align=”center” line=””]

There’s no catch; it really is that simple! Salvation is all about realizing our sin and accepting the forgiveness Christ’s sacrifice provides. Then what though? There’s got to be something else to it, right? What makes Christ followers different?

2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” When we choose life with Christ, we are changed. We begin to see life in a new light, like never before. Therefore, some things in our lives begin to seem unnecessary and sometimes even wrong. Think about a person in your life whom you are really close to; who you look up to. For me, it’s my parents. When you look up to someone, you usually not only want to be like them, but you also want to please them. My parents have done so much for me, but they don’t require me to repay them in any way. They love me and are proud of me no matter what, but because I love them and realize how much they have done for me, I want to do everything I can to please them and make them proud. It’s the same way when you have a true relationship with Christ. He doesn’t require anything more than your faith, but when you begin to understand His sacrifice and realize that He doesn’t just improve your life, He gives you life, you will WANT to do everything for Him.

[title text=”That was a lot of scripture and may have been a little confusing.” color=”#343434″ focus_color=”#d90000″ align=”center” line=””]

So, to sum it all up, the gospel is focused on what we lost because of our choice to sin, and how it’s restored. Our perfect relationship and worship to God is what was lost. In order to restore it, we must first choose to surrender our lives to Christ. Then we have to let Him reign over and change our lives. Once that change happens, it is our job, as we are told in Acts 1:8, to spread the good news to all the nations. Matthew 24:14 tells us that the gospel “will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” Before Christ comes back to complete our redemption, we have to fulfill our purpose of going into all of the world and preaching the good news to all creation. Are you fulfilling your duty and purpose? It’s not too late to start now.

[title text=”You Are Invited Into His Love” color=”#343434″ focus_color=”#d90000″ align=”center” line=””]

If you have never accepted Christ’s sacrifice, I encourage you to do so. Things won’t always be perfect, but I can promise that you won’t regret surrendering your life into His control. He will love you and give you peace like no other.

If you have accepted Christ’s forgiveness, are you living for the sake of the gospel? Does your heart long for God’s glory? Have you tasted and seen? Colossians 3:1-3 says, “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.” Are you living for Christ or the world?

[title text=”My Prayer…” color=”#343434″ focus_color=”#d90000″ align=”center” line=””]

For those who have not yet accepted Christ’s sacrifice, my prayer is for you to come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ so that you can experience the fullness of life like I am experiencing right now.

In Ephesians chapter one, Paul is telling the Church at Ephesus that He is praying that God will give them “the Spirit of wisdom and revelation” so that they “may know Him better.” That is my prayer for all of my brothers and sisters in Christ.

How did you get to know your best friends? Most of the time, it is by spending time with them, right? God is the same way. In order to get to know Him better, you must spend more time seeking Him in prayer and in His word. The closer you get to Him, the more He will reveal to you about Himself and how to better follow his son.

When He begins revealing Himself to you, don’t keep it to yourself. My prayer is that you would share your passion and joy with everyone around you so that they may have to chance to experience it too and give God the glory. You never know the impact a simple word of encouragement or advice may leave on someone. Keep your eyes open to the people in your path every day. Let God’s presence overwhelm you, and let His love, grace, and mercy overflow in your life.

“Let us become more aware of Your presence. Let us experience the glory of Your goodness.”

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