Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Come As You Are
By: Melody Mohnhaupt

“Come as you are” - a phrase we don’t often grasp the depth of. That goes for those of us that seek and serve the Lord diligently as well as for those who’s relationship with Jesus is hanging on by a thread or yet to be discovered. 

For those in the church, we sometimes expect newcomers to be transformed instantly and don't allow them time to grow. We don't understand how if God said “this”, why its still a struggle. We want to see them surrender all immediately! And for those in which salvation is practically nonexistent, they feel that pressure to change before they even walk through the church doors. They feel judged for not being in the place everyone else is. And for others, sometimes they are completely oblivious to the change the Lord desires at all.

You see, each one of us, whether we were born in the church or are ignorant to any Biblical understanding, at one point or another, have to choose whether we are going to come to the Lord. Most people in America have at least heard about God or understand remotely who Jesus is. Whether we inquire him or not is the question. We could know the ins and outs of the Word of God, recite verse after verse and still never experience coming to the Lord. Likewise, we can have only a minuscule idea of who God is and still come to him.

What I want to focus on is this: Jesus desires every single one of us to come to him. He doesn't care if we are a drug addict or a sneaky, trouble-seeking teenager. He doesn't care if we’ve been parading as a Christian for years but in all reality feel so far and lost. He doesn't care if we used to know him and serve him and have somehow let life drag us away from the alter and the life we once had in him. None of that matters. You could be in prison as you read this and it WOULD NOT MATTER. He is still saying COME TO ME! It is not too late. 

One thing that has become more and more clear to me over the years is how jealous or God is. And not just jealous, but compassionate and worried and concerned for your safety as any good parent should be. He’s not okay with just letting us go. He’s not going to just let us walk away. He is going to fight for us. He is going to show us that he wants us. He is going to use people to bring us back to him and remind us of his love for us. He is going to seek us out. He is going to answer our unanswered question and be that comfort in our most broken hours. 

“What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them gets lost, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountain and go in search of the one that is lost? And if it turns out that he finds it, I assure you and most solemnly say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that did not get lost. So it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones be lost.” Matthew 18:12-14

The Lord is all around us always. He is with the believer and the unbeliever. He has his hand in all of our lives. The thing is, much of the time we just can’t recognize that it is in fact him at work. People tell me things all the time about their lives and situations they've been through and I have to point out, “That was God in your life! He did that! That was him at work!” He works through the good and the bad situations. He sometimes lets us go through the bad to build a strength in us. Sometimes he allows it so that we cry out to him and look for him. Sometimes it’s so that we have a testimony to tell others of how he delivered us from our lowest points.

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavily burdened [by religious rituals that provide no peace], and I will give you rest [refreshing your souls with salvation]. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me [following Me as My disciple], for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest (renewal, blessed quiet) for your souls. For My yoke is easy [to bear] and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

My heart’s desire is to truly come to the Lord. I want to surrender all. I want to take of that free gift of salvation and safety. I want to cling to his promises and walk after his way. I’m leaving the past behind me and running after my new, abundant life in the Lord. I have no to feel condemned. My Lord desires me and I desire Him. I’m coming back to the Lord with all of me! I pray all you reading make that conscious decision as well. There is no time to waste!

Isaiah 55 
“Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you who have no money come, buy grain and eat. Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost [simply accept it as a gift from God]. Why do you spend money for that which is not bread, and your earnings for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight in abundance. Incline your ear [to listen] and come to Me; hear, so that your soul may live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, according to the faithful mercies [promised and] shown to David. Listen carefully, I have appointed him [David, representing the Messiah] to be a witness to the nations [regarding salvation], a leader and commander to the peoples. In fact, you [Israel] will call a nation that you do not know, and a nation that does not know you will run to you, Because of the Lord your God, even the Holy One of Israel; for He has glorified you. Seek the Lord while He may be found; call on Him [for salvation] while He is near. Let the wicked leave (behind) his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to the Lord, and He will have compassion (mercy) on him, and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon. “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your way, and My thoughts higher than your thoughts. For as the rain and snow come down from heaven, and do not return there without watering the earth, making it bear and sprout, and providing seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so will My word be which goes out of My mouth; It will not return to Me void (useless, without result), without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it. For you will go out [from exile] with joy and be led forth [by the Lord Himself] with peace; the mountains and the hills will break forth into shouts of joy before you, And all the trees of the field will clap their hands. Instead of the thorn bush the cypress tree will grow, and instead of the nettle the myrtle tree will grow; and it will be a memorial to the Lord, for an everlasting sign [of His mercy] which will not be cut off.”

HE WANTS YOU!! (I felt a bit like Uncle Sam writing that - But it’s true!!) Jesus doesn't want you to wait until you’ve got your act cleaned up for to seek him. He’s not disgusted by the mess you’ve made. He’s not shaking his head in disappointment. He’s standing there waiting for us all to come as we are. 

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