I haven’t always had it. And Satan tries his very best to make me question it, but I know that I know, and that’s a great place to be in life. Apostle Paul told the Romans in Romans 8:38-39,

For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, [39] Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The Persuaders

Paul knew too! And for the much the same reasons as myself and many others who are saved; there was a drastic change. And drastic is not used purely for dramatic effect, its reality. From the top of my head to the bottom of my feet I was changed, with the greatest of all changes happening in my heart.

It was a topic in the teen class last night about the evidence of salvation in someone’s life. When I brought up the fact that even a preacher could be lost, they were a little taken aback. Most of the preachers they know are strong, outspoken men of God that confirm their salvation by their actions. But not all. It was one such preacher that could be cruel and unkind and with that I ask them the question, “What if he’s lost?” What? They couldn’t comprehend that. He preached the gospel how could he be lost? I assured them I wasn’t saying he was, we are not the judges of a man’s salvation. But I recalled the video (which I know is not biblically correct) from the Left Behind series many years ago. Whether or not it was biblical, it had a lasting effect on my burden for those in the end times. It depicted well those who will be “left behind” at the rapture and their heartbreak. One of those left was a preacher who stood alone in his congregation having preached what he didn’t believe. Gut—- wrenching. “How could a man preach and not believe,” the teens wondered.

Anger Persuades Me

The same way I grew up in a family of believers, but didn’t. Religion is a vicious deceiver. So when I came out of it, I was changed and I was angry. I was angry at those who dare not preach that there should be a change, who stopped preaching on Sunday, and dared not to offend their congregation with the truth of the gospel, that it cost Jesus His life. Who treated their position as Pastor in a church as a job, not a calling.

Prior to salvation I didn’t really know that type of righteous anger. I could get angry, but my nature is not one of having a temper. I’ve always believed that life is too short to stay angry. But righteous anger hasn’t left me in 25 years.

The Spirit Persuades Me

The presence of the Spirit on and in my life has been amazing. Conversations with Him have been ongoing since 1996. To the world I’m just a chick from West Virginia, but to the Creator of the universe I’m a friend, and that is no small thing. We were discussing favoritism as well in teen class last night and they ask who was my favorite of them. I answered the same way I answer my children and grandchildren, how can you have a favorite when each is so unique. I love them all differently!  They of course thought they were my favorite. Which I love, I pray they always feel that way, because that’s how I feel with God. After all He takes time to speak to me when there are billions of people in the world. Surely I must be His favorite. And so are you.

The Word of God Persuades Me

Just like my conversations with God through the Spirit, He speaks to me through His word. Over the course of 58 years I’ve read a lot. But nothing compares to the word of God. I’ve had books that entertained and stirred my soul, but none compare to the living, breathing words within the Holy Book. The way it opens the eyes of my heart to knowledge that without God’s intervention, wouldn’t come from “just words.” I’ve written this blog since 2010. Thousands and thousands of words and thoughts that the Spirit of God would speak through me and always to me. I’ve been the recipient of words from others, usually preachers, who have preached a message that caused me to wonder if God had told them every secret in my life. Their messages would be so on point to what I was dealing with and never shared that it couldn’t have happened any other way. I’d leave the sanctuary and want to ask, “Exactly what did God fill you in on?” The word of God is powerful! Scripture says that it is a two edged sword, cutting in both directions, in and out.

Death Persuades Me

Though I have not been stoned like the Apostle Paul, I have faced death when I confronted mortality through open heart surgery. Although I was not done with my life and the people I love, I was ready to meet God. I was tired. I still have days when I think “Just take me home God…” But then I think of my unfinished work on the earth and I know it’s not my time. Paul said in Philippians 1:21 KJV – “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” I fully understand that. Moving to a place where there is no sorrow is certainly gain! I miss my Dad, my heart breaks when I see the longing for him in my Mother’s eyes. I don’t want to lose another friend to cancer, I’m tired of the evil of politics, but I know there is work to do and I will not pass front this earth until God says mine is done.

I used to fear death. I had no peace in my life and I struggled with it every day. I kid you not. Every day. That is another change, one of the many, many changes in my life. It’s what drives me to tell people about God and to share my testimony with them because I have the feeling many others struggle with it as well. But for the saved… 1 Corinthians 15:55 KJV – O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

There are other persuaders, but I’ll leave those for another day. Are you persuaded? Do you have that assurance in your heart that if Jesus would call the church home today you’d be among them? If not, take action. Call someone, speak to a friend or a preacher that you’ve seen live life differently than the world. Someone who has persuaded you that there is more to God than the world would have you believe.

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Shari Johnson. (aka The Jesus Chick) has been encouraging women of faith and youth for a closer walk with Christ for over ten years. Having a burden for the leadership in American Churches, much of her writing is meant to spear on the servant of God to do more for the cause of Christ in these uncertain times. With humor, transparency and solid bible teaching Shari outlines messages that are easily understood, life applicable, and often with easily remembered points to ponder in hopes that they’ll be reflected on throughout the day and serve as encouragement on the go. Her servant’s heart is grounded in her own local church believing that it is there that the greatest impact can be made and unfortunately suffers the greatest neglect across America. Shari speaks at women’s gatherings in hopes of leaving a giggle in their soul and a burning desire to serve in their own local body of believers having it said of her “I laughed, I cried, and I was drawn to the foot of the cross…” Which is what it’s all about. For information on scheduling Shari, call her direct at (304)377-6036, message her via email at talk2shari@gmail.com or find her on Facebook!

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