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Never judge the book by its cover

Gary Wingo

My daughter gave me an old tattered book: a compilation of science fiction stories from the 1940’s. While the ideas were a bit dated, it was a wonderful read! If I had judged this book by the glitzy, clever image standards of today’s publications, I would’ve stuck this little gem on my “Ancient Book” shelf and forgotten it. Instead I read it with joy, becoming delighted with the gift and the giver. Then I realized that Christianity is similar to that little book. Today, people tend to judge Jesus Christ by the failures of those who are “Christians”. I understand. As a follower of Christ, I want to exemplify Him in a way that communicates the truth about who He really is, and I often fail. Fortunately, Jesus Christ never fails or gives up on me! That’s the truth I long for you to know. But you cannot judge Christianity on the imperfections of those who follow it; you must go to the heart and origin of Christianity itself, which is Jesus Christ.Did you know the Christian faith is the ONLY belief system on the planet based on grace? That is, you do not have to work your way to into Heaven or to get close to God to receive His love. The Bible says, “It’s by Grace you’ve been saved through faith- this is not from yourselves, IT IS A GIFT OF GOD not by your works so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9Jesus Christ is the embodiment of God’s Grace! He took all our sins, mistakes, and imperfections to the cross opening up the path to God by giving up His life for us. II Corinthians 5:21 states of Jesus: “God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Christ, we might become the righteous of God.” There’s nothing you have to do to clean yourself up for God to become acceptable to Him. He loves you just as you are and He desires a personal relationship with you.Furthermore, you don’t have to work your way into His presence. All you have to do is ASK God’s Son, Jesus Christ, to come into your life and He really will! Jesus said in Revelation 3:20, “Here I am. I stand at your door & knock. If anyone hears my voice & opens the door, I will come in & eat with him, & he with Me.” Your salvation and eternal life is NOT earned by being a good person. It’s simply opening the door of your life to God. You have been given a free gift “the free gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23bLife changes forever when a person chooses to follow Christ, Everyday is a second chance- a “do-over”. You are fresh and new each day simply by turning to Him. The New Testament encourages us: “If anyone is in Christ, they are a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” II Corinthians 5:17. This Scripture means that you are free from the difficulties of your past choices; a relationship with Jesus Christ is a gift expressly designed by God just for you.Did you know that when you have to make all life’s tough decisions, with Jesus Christ, God, the One who knows all about the future, will help you? The Bible says, “If anyone lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault.” James 1:5. You can take anything, any problem, any struggle, any wound, any relationship to Him with confidence in His love for you.It’s unfortunate that we tend to think that good deeds make us acceptable to God. They don’t– only God’s love and grace can save us. Here is the truth: when you and I accept the free gift of God and become a “Christian”, we are still sinners, still imperfect (until Heaven!), and still growing and learning. The difference is that we will live with Jesus in us, helping us everyday to discover what on earth we’re here for. The result will be eternity in Paradise. We’re not a bunch of clones of some religious organization. We make the decision to be transformed into the likeness of Jesus Christ becoming the persons we were meant to be!With Jesus Christ, I have grace, I get eternal life, I don’t have to work my way to God, the Lord helps me with all my decisions, I’m set free forever, and I get to have a life of purpose. Hmm… “God loved us so much that He gave us His only Son, that whoever puts their faith & trust in Him will never die, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16. Next time someone gives you an old book, don’t dismiss it. Read it, and you may just begin the greatest adventure your life!Gary Wingo leads a gathering called the Seekers Fellowship meeting at Colorado Mountain College in Edwards on Sundays at 6:30 p.m.Vail, Colorado


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