This morning I would like to share with you a little of my salvation story. I grew up attending church regularly; it was a Sunday ritual in my home, and for many years I learned how to play church very well. I knew about Jesus Christ, and even liked a lot of the stories, but I would not say I had a personal relationship with Him. I would say He had a relationship with me because He never stopped calling me to Him; some would argue that is not biblically correct, I am sure. It was not until my life hit my version of rock bottom that my genuine relationship with Christ was born. My real relationship with Christ was born from a place of pain, hurt, anger, betrayal, shame, insecurities, and fear. I would like to tell you the exact time and date however I do not recall any of those details, the details I remember are that I was broken and out of human options, so I fell on my knees and reached out for a lifeline. It was early in the morning in my bedroom after another sleepless night. I knew what I needed to do, and so I found the courage, and I cried out to God for help, I confessed my sins, I mean I listed all the ones I could remember the lies I told, the shameful acts I committed, the anger I felt, the hurt I had caused to others, the times I betrayed others. I mean all the muck and mire of my life. And then I asked God to forgive me in Jesus's name then I did something I had never done before, I asked God to give me the courage to accept the forgiveness of Christ so I could move forward and forgive myself. Then I asked Him to take His rightful place in my life. At that moment, I felt something I had not felt in a long-time, perhaps never, hope. My salvation story is all about hope; that is when my real journey with Christ began. My 2 Corinthians 5:17 journey started. "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come; The old has gone the new is here!" He took me through a variety of things in my life that I needed to see some for the first time, my warped belief system about Him, myself, and others. Then the work began, and we worked through each of them and we still are to date. There was a lot of journaling and out of those broken moments came love inspired truth. When I sat with Christ in those moments Isaiah 61:3 came alive for me it states; "and provide for those who grieve in Zion to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be call oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor." In my darkest moments, I sat in Isaiah 51 when you get a moment, I encourage you to read it in any translation. Here are a few of the verses that keep me going Isaiah 51:17 "Awake, awake! Rise up, Jerusalem, you who have drunk from the hand of the Lord the cup of his wrath, you who have drained to its dregs the goblet that makes people stagger."
Isaiah 51:22-23 "This is what your Sovereign Lord says, your God, who defends his people; see, I have taken out of your hand the cup that made you stagger; from that cup, the goblet of my wrath, you will never drink again. I will put it into the hands of your tormentors, who said to you, fall prostrate that we may walk on you. And you made your back like the ground, like a street to be walked on." Then He took me to Isaiah 52: 11-12 "Depart, depart, go out from there! Touch no unclean thing! Come out from it and be pure, you who carry the articles of the Lord's house. But you will not leave in haste or go in flight; for the Lord will go before you, and the God of Israel will be your rear guard." My friends, God is good if you need a moment to rekindle your connection with Him take it now. May I suggest something like this to open the door, Father, I believe, and I have been struggling for a long time, I confess my sins …… and I ask for your forgiveness, please allow me the grace and courage to accept your forgiveness and help me to forgive myself. I need you, Lord, to take your rightful place in my life. Amen