My Bible study group gave me a wonderful birthday celebration at my home last week. As I looked around the room at the precious friends I was filled with love and complete admiration.
Admiration? Most of them were raised in unchristian homes. Many of them had to struggle to find salvation. I am always awe struck by people who fight to find the saving power of Jesus.
No...I'm not contradicting my last post. I am so grateful for my Christian home and the care my parents took to help me find Jesus. Yet, when I think about all the stories I've heard of how difficult it was to grow up in some unchristian homes - the abuse, the rejection, the hopeless feelings - all the problems those people faced and yet.....God reached out and grabbed the lost sheep. He called to them and they responded. He completely changed their lives.
Well....my experiences may be safe and loving and comforting - but they don't hold a candle to someone who has fought evil and wrestled with satanic powers and emerged victorious! That precious person deserves adoration. That precious saint deserves to be applauded and given the stage.
I hope that everyone reading this blog will realize how important it is to build a Christian home for your children. They need to see the love of God in you. It will help them avoid the sorrow and pain that so many children from unchristian homes have to endure. But....and this is very important....when you survive and go on to find the love of Jesus "in spite of" an unchristian home - I believe you deserve Heaven's highest honor.
It's kind of like being in the military. I am very thankful that I did not grow up in a military home. I would not respond well to someone else determining where I live and how I conduct the business of my home. I would hate being forced to do what they want when I know it's not right for me. I'm a freedom based person and would not want to give that away. I'm not sure that it's good to ask small children to endure the hardships that the military imposes on their lives. For that reason I am grateful that I avoided marriage with a military person.
However, do I respect and honor every person in the military? You bet. Do I stop and clap when I see them in the mall or an airport. You bet! Have I stopped them from time to time just to shake their hands and say thank you. Absolutely!
That's why if you had to struggle to find Jesus - if you grew up in a situation that made it hard for you to see his face but you continued to search for Him - I am so very proud of you. I am humbled by you. I admire you and wish I had a medal just for you.
I believe when we get to heaven and God begins the task of handing out medals and crowns - I believe your crown will be bigger than mine and I will be so very proud of you!
In one of my Dad's sermons he challenged us to think differently about Heaven's rewards. He asked, "Who do you think will receive more honors? A woman who had a drunkard for a husband. He made it difficult to feed and care for their children because he drank more than half of what he made. She did what she could for all eight children. She made things to sell and she made all their clothes. She read the Bible to them and prayed for them. They walked to church every Sunday morning knowing that if they didn't return fast enough and get dinner on the table - mom would be attacked. Every child became a Christian and two went on to be ministers. When this woman arrives in Heaven perhaps she will stand in line beside a well known evangelist. He was raised in a Christian home, married a Christian woman and had a relatively quiet Christian life. He traveled and preached to a lot of people. He was treated with respect and honor. Hundreds of people became Christians because of his work.
If Heaven is where justice is applied and all is made right, who do you think will receive more honors? I think the woman will. Not that the evangelist did anything wrong. He too will receive a crown and the joy of living forever with Jesus. But he received a good chunk of his reward while here - she didn't. I think Jesus will take her in his arms and swing her around. He will do the dance of joy with her and be delighted that she followed Him and made it to Heaven. I think at that moment every angel will fold their wings and every saint of Heaven will be excited. I think everyone will understand that she earned her reward and she deserves it!
For all of you that have fought to find your salvation - I am so proud of you! You inspire me! Praise God for you!
God loves you,