winter, shield, snow

Just one small slip could send a car tumbling down any steep ravine.

Many years ago I attended Washington State University in Pullman but my home was on the other side of the Cascade mountains.  To travel back and forth it was necessary to cross a mountain pass which could be quite treacherous in the winter.  The road could be icy and many parts of the highway did not have guard rails.  Just one small slip could send a car tumbling down any steep ravine. You could look down hundreds of feet to the base of the ravine below.  I recall laying down in the back of a van (which had very poor traction) and praying to a God in whom I did not believe that He would preserve me to the other side of that mountain pass.  I had not yet believed in God and I was very afraid of dying before having the chance to do so.   I had a fear of not only death but also hell.  I had heard about a place called hell and I did not want to go there.  

So I prayed inwardly to a God I did not know to please preserve me.   Thankfully we made it safely to our destination!   But there was still the return trip a couple of weeks later. In that same tractionless van on the same icy highway I prayed again to the unknown God that I would make it to my destination.  To my relief we arrived safely again.

Sometime later I was offered a tour of the university campus boiler plant.  We could see into the fire box through a little glass window.  The boiler burned coal which was constantly being thrown into the furnace creating flying sparks of burning, white hot material.  The fire was churning, flaming, roiling, full of fire but empty of any other thing.  What a fearful sight!  If this was what hell was like I surely did not want to end up there!   Again I offered a prayer to the God I did not know to save me from such a place.

Soon afterwards came registration day for the spring semester.  After registering for classes, while walking home to my dorm, I passed a row of tables where campus clubs were handing out materials.  I let them drop items into my bag.  That night I opened my bag and found a small tract titled “In Him is Life”.  I read through it to the end where a verse from the Bible was written:  “…The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the word of faith which we proclaim, that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart the is believing unto righteousness, and with the mouth there is confession unto salvation….For “whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”  Romans 10:8-10,13

“whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”  

Romans 10:8-10,13

I read that verse over and over until I suddenly realized that if God had raised Jesus from the dead 2,000 years ago, that means He was still living right now!  And somehow I knew that was true!  It explained why I had the urge to pray to a God I did not know.  I then realized I had fulfilled step one – I believed! Now I needed to complete step two – speak the name of Jesus, calling Him “Lord”.  So I opened my mouth and called out His name “Lord Jesus, Lord Jesus!”  I felt as if a heavy lead hat had been lifted off my head!  I was ecstatic, happy, as if walking on air.  I knew that I had been saved!   No more fear of hell, no more fear of sliding off icy highways, no more visions of a lake burning with fire and brimstone.   God accepted me and I had received Him.  I was born again!

TWO SIMPLE STEPS

Dear reader, you may have heard that God is a God of love.  And that He is!  He desires that all men be saved.  He loved us so much that He gave His only Son to die on our behalf, to suffer God’s wrath on our behalf.  God’s Son Jesus suffered on our behalf so we do not have to suffer nor be cast into that lake of hellish fire.  That fiery, terrible place does not need to be your eternal destiny.  You simply need to open, receive and accept the work that Jesus accomplished on the cross for you.   Just follow these two simple steps: 1) open your heart to believe that God has raised Jesus from the dead (that He is living now to save you) and 2) open your mouth to confess his name “Lord Jesus!”.   Now, please pray this prayer:   

“Lord Jesus, I open to you.  I thank you that you love me and died for me.  I do not want to spend eternity in a fiery hell.  I accept  the work you did for me on the cross by taking the punishment that I deserved.   I believe you are resurrected and are living now to enter into me.  I confess you are the Lord, my Lord.  Lord Jesus, I open to you!  Save me!  Fill me!   

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