Sunday, July 10, 2011

July 10, 2011 … Fellowship With God

Passage of the Day: 1st John 1: 3 … We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.

My Journal for Today: It is always uplifting and encouraging for me to hear the testimonies of Christians – genuine Christians – who have had a conversion experience later in life. Not that early conversion testimonies are not pertinent or of interest; but maybe I identify with the former because my testimony is one of those where my life was turned around in 1983 at age 39 … from an angry “agnostic” [as I labeled myself – probably closer to “atheist” in reality] … to a seeking saint; … and from a desperate “lostling” [I know that’s not a word ;)] to a determined “foundling.” Testimonies, like mine, tell of a radical change of the heart, mind, and actions, … changes that come from a new and intimate relationship with the living Christ.

It is the reality of Galatians 2: 20 (a verse that I’d certainly exhort you to have memorized). It is the beginnings of the 2nd Corinthians 5: 17 process of transformation. It is the story of an Apostle Paul, who was a personal witness of the transformation that he later wrote about in Romans 12: 1 - 2 (and this is one passage you simply have to have memorized!), where he was changed from Christ-hater to a “living sacrifice” for Christ. [You should have all of these three scriptures deeply imbedded in your heart; so, I won’t dwell on an explanation from them here. If you don’t have these verses memorized in context, pardon me for sounding a bit like a Marine drill-sergeant; but a little digging on your part will be in order.]

However, testimonies of lives changed, such as mine or the Apostle Paul’s, become strong subjective evidence of the objective truth of a deep and abiding fellowship true believers who experience life transformation with their Savior/Lord. And it is strong evidence that should contribute to our assurance that salvation is a real and lasting truth when conversion in Christ truly occurs. Anyone who has seen the change in Bill Berry after April of 1983 would have to say that this change was way beyond the human norm for behavioral change – from angry agnostic, steeped in habitual sexual sin with a change to my current life as an Elder and Ordained Minister of the Gospel. Who, but God, could orchestrate such a change? What better assurance could there be that salvation is real … and lasting?

Today’s passage is the first of the eleven criteria the Apostle John presents; and John MacArthur asks his readers on this date, in Strength for Today, if they have experienced the deep/abiding fellowship (or “communion”) to which the Apostle John refers in 1st John 1: 3. So, I ask you, “Have you, as I have, felt God’s presence in your life in a deep way, … perhaps in tough circumstances where you knew that your strength was not enough to make it through “the storm?” Have you been touched by the excitement of a revelation from God’s word that was very personal to you and your circumstances in life? If so, then you have been given, as John teaches in today’s verse, an intimate and very personal confirmation of your salvation. No one can take that away from you; and it is the first, and best, assurance that you are truly saved.

My Prayer Today: O, Lord, I am blessed by your closeness. Amen

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