Happy 4th!

Happy 4th! As we celebrate July 4th, let’s pray with our kids for the men and women who serve our country, as well as their families. Thank you to each of you who has served, is serving, or has a family member serving. We are so very grateful for each of you and that because of your commitment, service, and sacrifice we can have freedom.

Lord, we come together to pray for each man and woman serving our country, as well as for their spouses, children, parents and friends. Please fill them with your peace, your presence, your power, your Spirit, your comfort, your truth, your love. Thank you for the independence and freedom we have here, and above all, for the freedom we have in you, Jesus. We pray your words from John 17:11 for them: “Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name.” In Jesus’ name, amen.

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Sometimes figuring out how to start a relationship with Jesus can appear like a magic formula and seem confusing or unattainable.

But, in Luke 23:39-43, Jesus shows how we can have a relationship with Him.

The three crosses stood on the hill called the Skull – Jesus was being crucified between two criminals.

“One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: ‘Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!’”

But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence?

We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”

Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

Jesus doesn’t say – sorry, you believe in me, but your past is too bad.

He doesn’t say – sorry, but you didn’t say the five-step, exact word prayer you needed to, so you don’t make the cut.

No, Jesus knows the repentant heart of the man.

Jesus sees how the criminal acknowledges his own guilt.

That the criminal saw him on the cross, innocent, not deserving of this.

The criminal recognizes Jesus is the Messiah – the one offering the way to God’s kingdom.

And, Jesus says, “TODAY you will be with ME in paradise.”

Not that he would think about it and consider what he’s saying.

The man reached out to Jesus and Jesus accepted him – right then and there.

Right now, wherever you are in your faith, Jesus wants you to turn to him.

To choose him.

To believe in him.

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” Jesus (Matthew 7:7-8)

Jesus is there for you.

He came to this earth for you.

He died on the cross for you.

He rose again for you.

Because he loves you and wants you to come into his kingdom.

So you can have life now and forever with him – the life that is truly life.

This world is limited. But life with Jesus is everlasting.

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Here are some other verses that talk about starting a relationship with the Lord.

I’m praying for you. That the Lord would speak to your heart, comfort you, and connect with you.

“Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life.” Jesus (John 5:24)

“If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:9

“For God so LOVED the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

“And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Acts 2:21 & Romans 10:13

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