Sunday, March 16, 2014

The Transforming Power of God's Love

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 1 John 4:18

At eighteen years of age, my future was a kaleidoscope of confusion. Fear hunted me down and wounded me like a young deer caught in a bear trap. As a senior in high school, I scouted out colleges, while I wondered at what I would do with my life. Should I pursue something in the sciences? How about music – I love to play guitar? But my questions were not hopeful they were laden with self doubt. At the same time, God was pursuing me. During this time, I received an advertisement in the mail from Wheaton College. They offered a three-day “Get Acquainted Weekend” where potential students could learn about the school. I decided to go. Part of the package included a free concert with a man named Leon Patillo, who formerly sang for the group Santana.

This singer and keyboardist played and sang skillfully. The message of God's grace permeated his music and ministry. At the end of the concert, I walked forward to receive Christ into my life. I wish I could say that fear immediately left me after I met Christ. The truth is that it took time for me to find freedom. That freedom came as I slowly learned of God's love for me. And that knowledge came as I meditated upon God's word, as I spent time in the Lord's presence, and as I fellowshipped with other believers.

If you are struggling with fear in your life, my first recommendation to you is that you make sure that you are born again. When I received Christ at that gospel concert, Leon, the performer, led me and others in a prayer. Here is a similar prayer that you can pray if you do not know Jesus, the Wonder- worker.

Dear God of Heaven,

I come before you as I am. Forgive me for my fears and failures. I acknowledge that I am a sinner and that I need your mercy. Thank you, Jesus, for dying for me on the cross, and for taking the punishment for my sin. Lord, I surrender all to you. Have your way in me and through me. I choose to follow you all the days of my life. Help me to grow as a new believer, and help me to know you more and more. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.

Once you become a born again Christian, take time every day to read God's word (the Bible) and pray, and find a church where you are loved and where God's word is powerfully preached. Ask the Lord to reveal to you his love for you. He will, and it will come in stages. The love that comes from God the Father acts like the sun that melts away the icicles of fear in our lives. Love always drives fear away. When we choose to love God and others, that love flows more and more freely in our lives.

I am now 47 and with God's help I have overcome all my foreboding fears. My wife, her cousin and husband, and I run a caregiving agency. I also serve on the praise and worship team at my church. I no longer fear the future. Instead I live life blossoming with the Spirit's joy.

You too can experience the transforming power of God's love. Come and invite Jesus to shower you with his love – I promise you, you will never be the same.

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