Come unto Him. Oh, please.

Oh, my friends. My heart is breaking right now.

I keep seeing people I love, so dearly, that I know Jesus loves so dearly, people with repentant hearts and souls longing for their God, talking about how they hope, one day, they can know they are acceptable to God. I just want to shout from the rooftops: "Jesus LOVES every one of us! All the way! Nothing held back! Right! Now!"

He died for us while the world lay in sin . . . before most of us were even born. The price fully paid, He announced the work of redemption finished on the cross. All of heaven and earth rejoiced, as we read in Enoch's vision. Enoch went from refusing to be comforted to rejoicing with the seraphs, shouting, "Hallelujah, for the Lamb is slain!!!"

Every one of us is FULLY acceptable to God, right this minute. He has not a single reason to reject us. That's the whole point of everything Jesus did, and the meaning of the scripture that says God is storing up his wrath for the day of judgement. Jesus won so we could have this period of grace. Jesus was God . . . He left the place of perfect love and glory and joy to constrain Himself within mortal--Telestial--flesh, to endure all, to suffer the effects of sin and illness until He bled from every pore resisting sin, and then to die one of the most painful deaths devised. 

For you.

It's the price paid for something that declares the buyer's valuation, its worth in the buyer's eyes. And you, my friend, are worth the innocent, priceless blood of God.

By virtue of the cross, Jesus now has the right to come to each of us (right where we are!), and to walk with us through everything. Instead of having to do a bunch of stuff to make sure we're cleansed of sin and worthy of His presence so we won't be struck dead, His blood pays for all the junk we've got, and gives Him the right and power to remit our debt, forgive our sins, and BE with us, right now. Instead of being like the priests who went into the Holy of Holies wearing bells and with a rope tied to his ankle so if the bells stopped and he didn't yank back when the priests outside yanked on the rope, they could haul the body out without going in and being struck dead, too, our God can fill us with His Spirit, can appear to us, and we are not destroyed.

When Jesus died on the cross, not only did the earth shake, but the veil in the temple in Jerusalem was torn from top to bottom. Rent clean in twain. The priests in the holy place were given a view into the Holy of Holies, and they weren't struck dead. But, instead of realizing what had just happened, they quickly closed the veil up again, shutting off the view of heaven Jesus had just freely given them, going back to business as usual. 

Brothers and Sisters, the veil is TORN! There is no longer separation between man and God. We don't have to be "good enough" or "qualify" for His love, or His presence. We only have to WANT Him, to invite Him.

Can we be exalted in our sins? No. But that doesn't mean that we are cut off from Jesus until we're worthy of exaltation. That's the whole reason Jesus did what He did! He redeemed us from the fall . . . that's right now. We don't have to live subject to sin and death, separated from God.

About a year ago, I spent a lot of energy wondering about why Jesus had to die. I had just been taught by the Holy Spirit and scripture that the test of this life is whether we'll desire good or evil. Each man is rewarded according to his works, according to the desires of his heart (D&C 137). And if so, if Alvin Smith could be found on the right hand of God, if those who had never heard of Jesus were saved so long as their hearts longed for righteousness and they did their best based on what they knew, then why did Jesus have to die? Why did He have to go through all of that incredible pain? Why? Why???

As I labored in that heart cry of "Why???", His answer came. So sweetly, so powerfully. 

"So I could be with you."

God misses us. So much. The Fall took us from His presence, where we were designed to dwell, and all God wants is for us to be with Him again. Jesus' victory means so many things . . . but most of all it means He can come to His people. His name, Emmanuel, means God With Us. And in a day of hardcore idolatry and fertility cults, where every other god was a distant deity, demanding all manner of iniquity as worship, silent and utterly unreachable, here was Jesus Christ. He walked with mankind, sacrificing Himself--even God--so He could succor His people, heal them, walk with them, be in fellowship with them.

Please, oh please. Don't think that there is anything--and I mean ANYTHING--keeping you from God other than your own unbelief. The enemy looooves it when we believe his lies, whether it's the one that says Jesus can't come to you right now as you are, or the one that says you're not good enough. (That second one is especially nasty, because it's true--none of us are "good enough"--but it utterly denies the power of Jesus by virtue of His victory.) Jesus is the God of relentless mercy, all-pervading love, and abounding grace. He LONGS to be with you, right here. Now. He LONGS to pour out His Spirit on you as soon as you open your heart to receive it. Rock Waterman's experience of receiving the baptism of fire is a perfect example. He was seeking it, praying for it. But, ultimately, it came down to this. He said, in a comment on this page: "I had the faith. In fact, I felt that it was about time I allowed myself to REALLY receive the Holy Ghost. So just like that, it happened." He was, simply and truly, open to receive. To "allow" himself to "really receive the Holy Ghost". No works. No earning. Just open.

So please . . . I'm begging you with everything that's in me . . . don't deny our Lord the chance to come to you right now. I'm SO flawed, so weak, so fallible. And yet, He is there whenever I turn to Him. Whenever I raise my voice to worship Him. Whenever I open my mind and heart to Him. Every time. Always. So often when I read the accounts of those who have seen Jesus Christ, it's obvious that they didn't earn that visit. They didn't pay for it. He just came, because they believed He could.

Jesus descended below all things. He can come to you where you are.

Some thoughts about Jesus

"Though thousands crowded around Him daily, He was sensitive to the needs of the individual- the infirm who touched the hem of His garment, the small of stature who sat in in tree to see Him over the multitude. 
After being betrayed by one he called Friend, the Lord of Hosts was taken by a mob to an illegal trial where He, the Great Lawgiver, was falsely accused and incriminated. The King of kings was then judged by mortal rulers, and taking the place of a seditious murder, the Scapegoat of Israel was condemned to death. 
At Pilate's command, the Gentle Healer was scourged, bruised, broken, and torn. Then the Carpenter from Nazareth carried his wooden cross through scorning crowds to Golgotha, where in ultimate irony, He, the only perfect person to ever walk the earth, descended below all things, being raised up between two criminals to justify a guilty race. 
Though appointed to be the judge of all mankind, He plead for the forgiveness of His tormentors. And while the world trembled in distress of His agony, He worried about the welfare of a woman, His mother. His death brought darkness to the earth. His resurrection brought light and eternal life. 
Little did the hypocrites who consented to His death know when they cried for His blood to be upon them that one day untold billions would plead for His blood to be upon them, not to condemn but to redeem. 
To us is His promise that those who lose their life for His sake shall find it, that through Him, scarlet sins may become white like wool, and that those who deny themselves of all ungodliness will inherit all that God has. 
Though the Son of Man had nowhere to lay His head, He has prepared many mansions for us in His Father's house. May we take comfort in knowing that the Creator of worlds without end still numbers the hairs of our head. He who clothes the lilies of the field will clothe us in spotless robes of righteousness. The One who cried, "Why hast thou forsaken me," has promised that He will not leave us comfortless. Someday the Man of Sorrows will wipe all the tears from our eyes." ~T.G.

"Come Unto Me", by Jon McNaughton. Used with permission.

Feeling Worn?

I can't tell you the number of times I've listened to people talk about the ideas and thoughts that pop into their heads, and that are wonderful things, or beautiful promises, that apply directly to their circumstance, to their recent prayers . . . but they dismiss it as their own thoughts, even while their hearts are breaking because they don't feel they ever hear God.

That is unbelief.

I lived there for a long, long time (like two decades), so I feel like I can speak with some authority. ;o)

If it's GOOD, it is of God. Jesus said so (through Mormon), and I believe Him.

Moroni, recording what his father Mormon preached, wrote:
Wherefore, all things which are good cometh of God; and that which is evil cometh of the devil; for the devil is an enemy unto God, and fighteth against him continually, and inviteth and enticeth to sin, and to do that which is evil continually.
But behold, that which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good continually; wherefore, every thing which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God. ~Moroni 7:12-13
This song came on Spotify today as I was listening, and it became my prayer . . . it was my heart's cry yesterday, and today, as I took these words for my own and sent them heavenward, Jesus answered. With an outpouring of love and warmth and the familiar wonder of His presence, I heard in my mind and heart, infused with the unmistakable feel of His smile: "That's what I'm for, beloved. That's why I AM."

Still Good! :o)

Give thanks to the  lord , for he is good! His faithful love endures forever. ~1 Chronicles 16:34 NLT
Oh, how good our God really and truly is. :o)

And the best part is, I have a feeling I've only just barely begun to see just how good He will be to me, as I follow Him, bringing unto Him my weaknesses, and allowing Him to clothe me in His strength, His faith, His righteousness, all through the blood of His atoning sacrifice.

You see, He won. He won, because He finished. On the cross, He told us so. I cannot imagine the deep relief, and wonder how much joy He felt as he hung there in so much agony . . . but even then, knowing that He had done it, that He had WON!, and He could finally release Himself from that tortured body and rest for a little bit. And then, to be able to take it up again, heal it and make it whole, and glorify it. Just, wow. I know how much I love putting on my most comfortable, well-fitting clothes. I can hardly imagine what it must've felt like to be able to clothe Himself once again in the flesh He had come to know so well, and yet to do so in glory, without the temptations, without the pain, without the burden of His mission before Him.

You see, my God is faithful. He never gives up, never wimps out, never fails me. Ever. His love isn't going to fade away, He's not going to change His mind. He is Eternal. He is Endless. He is Good. He is LOVE. And He has poured that love out over and around and through me, filling me up until it was more than I thought I could bear . . . and then He filled me some more.

And He wants to fill you, to heal you, to save you, too.

Jesus, I love You. I keep trying to find words to thank You, to praise You, to communicate somehow even a tiny bit of the miracle You have worked in me. It's not working out so well. lol But I'll keep trying, for it is one of the sweetest works I've ever had set before me. I thank You for Your patience, for Your grace, for the infinite nature of Your love and attention. I'm so glad You are Who You Are, and that I can keep learning, keep receiving, keep on growing in light each day. Thank You for not giving up on me, for not giving up on anyone, ever. Keep on reaching out, keep on showing, keep on entreating, and lead me more fully in Your light, in Your ways, and in Your love. And please . . . show me how to translate this into how I serve my family, how I care for them, how I work in my home and in the sphere of influence You've given me. It's all I want to do. Thank you!

Oh, how He loves us.

A while back, I was thinking about this life, and the untold billions who never knew Christ. As I mused on how on earth they would ever receive a fair chance at salvation, I was reminded of Joseph's vision of the Father & Son, where Alvin was with them. Alvin had no Melchizedek priesthood leader, no ordinances. Yet he was with the Father & Son after his death, and Joseph was given to know he received exaltation. This life is, as father Lehi says to his son Jacob in 2 Nephi 2:27:
"Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and call things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself."
It's to see what we desire in our hearts, and what we do about those desires. As I kept on meditating on this, God told me so clearly and simply that this life would still be an absolutely fair test, with the same potential for exaltation, without ANY interaction from God, whatsoever. Without the church. Without interaction from Christ. Just our consciences to guide us. (He still had to triumph over sin & death so He could pay our debt to justice, but that could have happened quietly, without prophecy and without a following.)

That idea came so cleanly, so clearly, so quietly and simply into my heart. I asked, "Then why, God? Why all of the effort and failure and heartache to work so much with your children? When you know so many will take what You give them and transform it into bludgeons to use on one another, especially the downtrodden and weak? Why go to all the effort?" His answer was so typical of Him, and so all-encompassing:

"Because I love you."

The true test is in our hearts--whether we are Mormon or Muslim, Jew or Gentile, American or Aborigine. Our life circumstance doesn't matter a single bit. Our access to "saving ordinances", et al, as members of the LDS church only provides a different arena in which to act out the desires of our hearts. I haven't yet pondered on why it is that some are blessed so richly (like my husband and myself), born to families that are pretty darn good, raised with sufficient food, clothing & shelter, without serious abuse from those that are supposed to love us, and then grow into adults who try to keep God's commandments and are blessed with so much safety as a result. But the answer I got that afternoon was astounding to me: God goes to all of this effort, all of this heartache, all of this rejection because He loves us, and He can't NOT do it.

God  ROCKS  my world. :oD