Thursday, November 15, 2012

Our Intimacy with God

Below you'll find a great sermon, a You Tube video on the topic of intimacy with God. It's a fantastic message delivered by Dr. Charles Stanley, one of my favorite teachers who I listen to on television or on the internet when I get a chance. I heard this message a few weeks ago and decided to listen to it again tonight as I was folding laundry.

Before I gave my life to Christ in June 1999, it was my cousin Lisa who e-mailed me on a daily basis, sending me devotional messages written by Dr. Charles Stanley. Bless her heart for doing that. Everything he wrote I remember just made sense to me and made me think alot about many things during that season in my life. Often times I would read things that related to my very specific circumstance and that both amazed me and would freak me out a bit.

Lisa e-mailed me faithfully for well over a year and then one day, much to her surprise, I surrendered my life to God. It happened in a church in South Barrington, Illinois during the summer of 1999. I was led to to this church by three different people who didn't even know each other. Lisa was not one of the three people. During that season in my life, Lisa was a seed planter in the equation, a person who God placed in my life to share the Gospel message with me in bits and pieces, sometimes through conversations but mostly through these e-mails, these devotional messages written by Dr. Charles Stanley.

To this day it still amazes me that three different people who didn't even know each other kept inviting me to this church in South Barrington. Each of them insisted that I come visit this church and each of them insisted that I would absolutely love it. After a while, I started thinking that maybe, just maybe God might be up to something. I remember thinking: this HAS to be God. I think God wants me to start going to church again.

I grew up Catholic and attended church until I was about sixteen. I stopped attending because I didn't enjoy it and also because I worked on Sunday mornings. I began church shopping a little in my mid twenties when I lived in Lousiville, Kentucky but never found a church that helped me understand that life is about a relationship with God. I didn't learn this until 1999, until I started attending Willow Creek Community Church, until I gave my life to Christ. It was in that church that I could really hear the Gospel message and after a while I started reading it for myself. When I started attending services at Willow Creek Community Church, I loved it! My friends were so right, I loved it there and I looked forward to attending every single weekend. Imagine that???!

I still remember the day I shared with Lisa that I accepted Christ into my life. I gave my life to Christ within a 4 week period of attending that church in South Barrington. When I shared the news with Lisa, I remember where we were. I remember that we were in my kitchen. She was visiting and sitting at the kitchen counter. I was living in Elk Grove Village at the time. I was standing in the kitchen in front of my white stove talking with my hands in the air as I usually do and waving a black spatula back and forth in my right hand. I must have been cooking something simple like a grilled cheese sandwich or a quesadilla as we were talking.

Anyhow, I remember Lisa's eyes welling up with tears, when I shared the news with her. I could tell in her eyes that something really important had just happened to me. I don't think I really realized in that moment how my life would change and how amazing it is to have your eternity in heaven sealed. In the coming weeks and months and years after I gave my life to Christ, life changed, and my heart changed too, they changed in really good ways. That singular decision I made in June 1999 was one of the best decisions I have ever made in life, one that I will never regret. Today, I'm so thankful for that decision.

So take a listen to this message, delivered by one of my favorite people, Dr. Stanely. I hope God speaks to you through this message and may this message bless you richly.

Until next time,

xx, Ruthie

The greatest miracle in life will always be salvation. Always, always. 
Siempre, siempre mi gente!

May the Lord bless you and keep you and may His face shine upon you. May He be gracious to you, lift you up and bless you with His peace.  ~Numbers 24-26

When God’s face shines upon you, that’s Big Daddy smiling at you, beloved.