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The party had been going just fine until a doctor who was there got very offended by something another guest said. He was in a rage! He stormed out and slammed the door behind him. Someone said, "At last he's gone." The host corrected him. "No, he's not gone. That's a closet."
There's something inside us humans that wants to avoid facing the God who made us. Maybe it's because we know that He knows everything about us. Maybe we don't want to face our darkness. We know that facing God means surrendering the wheel of our life. Whatever the reason, we walk away, or run away, or in some cases, we even storm away from God, only to find that we've only walked into a closet.
We get very good at avoiding God. You can hide behind all those religious hypocrites you've seen. Or you can hide out in those doubts and questions you keep raising to protect you from really facing your Creator's demands on your life. You can stay very busy, running so hard, sedating yourself so much, that you don't have to think about why you're here and where you're going. You can even hide out in your religion, believe it or not, faithfully, maybe fervently, going through all the spiritual motions. That way you can feel like you're spiritually OK without having to really face God Himself.
Guess who invented running from God? The first man and woman God ever created! It's like avoiding God is in our spiritual DNA! In Genesis 3:8-9, Adam and Eve realized that they have disobeyed the one command given to them by the God who had given them so much. Then, in our word for today from the Word of God, "The man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as He was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, 'Where are you?' He answered, 'I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid ... so I hid.'"
From the first fugitive from God down to someone who's listening today, here's the reality of God's love. The God you're trying to avoid pursues you wherever you go. Why? Because He loves you too much to lose you. In fact, Jesus said He's like a shepherd who cannot be content with the sheep that He has in the fold while even one is lost. He said He would "go after the lost sheep" until He finds him or her (Luke 15:1-7).
His pursuit of you and me took Him all the way to the cross where He died a brutal death. The Bible says His death was "a sacrifice for our sins" (1 John 4:10). He died in your place to pay for the sins that you would otherwise have to pay for eternally.
And now He's pursued you to wherever you are today. You can walk away or run away again, I suppose, but He'll keep pursuing you to rescue you until the day you run out of time. Some day will be your last day to get ready for God before you meet God. But for now, His arms are open, inviting you to come home to the One you were made for. When you walk away from Him, you walk away from the only possible hope of a life with meaning and an eternity in heaven. Be glad He's loved you enough to pursue you all the way to a cross.
My prayer is that this might be the day when you run to God and let the battle finally be over. Your personal love relationship with God begins when you say, "Jesus, I'm Yours." You have nothing to fear from coming to Jesus. He loved you enough to die for you. He will never do you wrong.
If you want to open up your life to the One who gave His life for you, I've got some information on our website I think will help. I hope you'll go there and read about how to know you belong to Jesus. Just go to yoursforlife.net. Or if you'd like me to send you my little booklet about it called "Yours For Life" just call and ask for it. It's toll free 877-741-1200.
Once you experience His love for yourself, you'll have only one regret. You'll just wish that you'd come sooner.
If you're not sure you belong to Jesus, and you would like to make sure today, Ron would like to send to you a free copy of the booklet, "Yours for Life: How to Have Life's Most Important Relationship." To read it online, click here: http://www.yoursforlife.net/
OR, to request your free copy of "Yours for Life," click here: http://rhm.gospelcom.net/yours/yflorder.html
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To find out how you can begin a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, please visit YOURS FOR LIFE: HOW TO HAVE LIFE'S MOST IMPORTANT RELATIONSHIP at: http://www.yoursforlife.net Or, call 1-888-NEED HIM.
"A Word With You" by Ron Hutchcraft is a daily radio challenge, with slice-of-life illustrations and insights - providing practical help on the issues that matter most. If your local Christian radio station does not air "A Word With You," please let them know how much you value this program. Over six years of transcripts are available online, at http://rhm.gospelcom.net/awwy.php
A story is told of a young man who learned of Christ entirely by list¬en¬ing to a housekeeper who sang hymns as she went about her day. The child had never been to church, seen a Bible, or heard anyone mention God. But in the singing that filled the hallways, he found an unknown desire in his heart confronted. As a child he came to know several hymns by memory, but the song that most encouraged him as a believer seems to confess with stirring appropriateness his own situation: "I love to tell the sto¬ry/ of unseen things above/ of Jesus and his glory/ of Jesus and his love." What was unseen in his life became the certainty that moved him most.
The writer of Hebrews gives us a definition of faith in similar terms. The chapter begins, "Now faith is being sure of what you hope for and certain of what you do not see" (11:1). If I am being honest, this definition has always somewhat eluded me. John Wesley once observed of the same words, "There appears to be a depth in them which I am in no wise able to fathom." In the examples of faith in the verses to follow, we find exactly this--an unfathomable depth of belief. We find faith moving across the pages of history, the gift of God sparkling in the eyes of the faithful. We discover in the unseen, a certainty by which countless lives were guided. "By faith, Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the Promised Land like a stranger in a foreign country. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God" (11:8-10).
Near the end of Abraham's story in Genesis--long after God promised his descendants would outnumber the stars and his people would dwell in the promised land--Abraham buries his wife; his only son is yet unmarried, and he owns only a small plot of land in a world in which he is still living as a foreigner. Yet what was unseen was the certainty that moved him; he was looking forward to a vision for which he would live and die.
In C.S. Lewis' The Silver Chair, Eustace, Jill, Prince Rilian, and Puddleglum are trapped beneath Narnia in the land called Underworld. The Queen of Underworld, who is really a witch, has thrown a green powder into the fire that produces a sweet and drowsy smell. In this enchanting haze, she convinces the group that Narnia does not exist-- like the sun, moon, and Aslan, the great lion, Narnia is all a dream. The children try their hardest to describe the things they are certain exist. Yet with each argument the Witch makes it all seem more and more foolish.
It is at this moment of despair that Puddleglum makes a brave move. With his bare foot he stomps on the fire, sobering the sweet and heavy air with the unenchanting smell of marshwiggle. Boldly he turns to the Witch, "One word, Ma'am," he says coming back from the fire, limping, because of the pain. "Suppose we have only dreamed, or made-up, all those things. Suppose this black pit of a kingdom of yours is the only world. Well, it strikes me as a pretty poor one. We're just babies making up a game, if you're right. But four babies playing a game can make a play-world which licks your real world hollow. I'm on Aslan's side, even if there isn't any Aslan to lead it. I'm going to live as much like a Narnian as I can even if there isn't any Narnia. So, thanking you kindly for our supper, we're leaving your court at once and setting out in the dark to spend our lives looking for Overland. Not that our lives will be very long, I should think; but that's a small loss if the world's as dull a place as you say."
In a world where faith is defined as foolish and irrelevant, the definition of faith in Scripture stands by the better country--even if at times it eludes us. Like Abraham who looked for the city of foundations and the housekeeper who sang of another world, we are strangers on earth, setting out in the dark to spend our lives looking for a country of our own. It is by this depth of certainty that Abraham lived and died, knowing that the small family he could gather together in his final days would yet one day outshine the starry sky. The one who promised is faithful, and He is the builder of the city we seek. Let us therefore hold onto the hope we profess, looking for Overland, for the city with foundations, the city of the living God. It is his story of starry skies and Promised Lands and unseen things above; and it is a story we love to tell.
Jill Carattini is senior associate writer at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia.
----------------------------- Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM) "A Slice of Infinity" is aimed at reaching into the culture with words of challenge, words of truth, and words of hope. If you know of others who would enjoy receiving "A Slice of Infinity" in their email box each day, tell them they can sign up on our website at http://www.rzim.org/publications/slice.php. If they do not have access to the World Wide Web, please call 1-877-88SLICE (1-877-887-5423).