Jesus is coming soon . . . Are you ready?

You may have the feeling that something big is happening in the world today (a lot of people do). Things seem to be falling apart from all directions, the economy, the weather, just the way we deal with one another. There's a reason for it. Since the beginning of time, people have been turning away from God, doing what "feels right" or what's good in their opinion. Whether you believe it or not however, there really is a difference between right and wrong, and it's not our place to decide which is which. God has made it clear.

You've heard of Adam & Eve - in the Garden of Eden, paradise, nothing to worry about - enjoying God's company like old friends. The ONLY thing they had to do was not eat from one certain tree - the knowledge of good and evil. Well, the devil has always enjoyed messing with people, tripping them up, and he found Eve near the tree one day and encouraged her to take a bite. She then took some to Adam, they got kicked out of the Garden, and we live under the curse of sin as a result. In his mercy, though, he gave them the hope of a future redeemer who would cleanse the world of sin.

No matter how good we try to be, our fleshy minds and bodies want to do the opposite. Even so, God is good, he provides food, shelter, health, family and friends, and other blessings to us. He only asks us to love and trust him in return. So, what does that mean…

Long story short, we all need Jesus. I always believed I was a pretty good person, you probably do, too. Unfortunately, pretty good doesn't cut it when you're talking eternal salvation. God is perfect, and His law is perfect justice, and if you break any of the law, you're guilty. That means if you've ever told a lie, or sworn with the Lord's name, or even envied what somebody else had, you've broken God's law.

Originally, God gave his people, the Israelites, the law on stone tablets - you know, Moses and the Ten Commandments. It included detailed instructions on how to sacrifice animals to make up for breaking the law, because sin could not be erased without the shedding of blood. (It sounds grim to us, but keep in mind, back in those days other cultures used to sacrifice babies and virgins to appease the sun, the weather, the sea, the volcano, whatever.)

This system went along pretty well for a while, but then the Israelites started mingling with the heathen, worshipping all kinds of weird things in weird ways, and yes, even sacrificing babies. Understandably, God was angry. He realized that we were all hopelessly evil, and sent his only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to be the Savior of the world. How did he do that…

Jesus came to earth, born of the virgin Mary, fully God and fully human, and lived a totally sinless life. No sins in his thoughts or his deeds, he was perfect. He preached about God's love and mercy, and challenged the religious authorities of the day for over-complicating God's Word to make themselves look more important. He reached out to all the people that nobody else would touch - the tax collectors, the drunks, the prostitutes, even reaching out to heal lepers and other sick people. He warned rich people not to be greedy (it's easier for a camel to walk through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to walk through the gates of Heaven).

Because His life had no blemish, He was a perfect offering to atone for our sins. He was betrayed by one of his closest followers (Judas Iscariot) for 30 pieces of silver. He was mocked, beaten, tortured and crucified to death - nailed to a wooden cross by the Romans. If you've ever seen a movie depicting the crucifixion, you have absolutely no doubt of God's love for you - that He volunteered His only Son to be a sacrifice for our sins.

Right before Jesus died, God put the sin burden of the entire planet on Him - all the sins of the past, present, and future - so that they could be forgiven. Jesus' blood saves us all. In a final expression of love, Jesus cried out to the Father in Heaven and asked Him to forgive the executioners. He died and was buried in a tomb. His followers were very depressed and afraid because they didn't understand exactly how he would redeem Jerusalem.

Three days later, He rose from the dead and appeared to them and hundreds of other people. He proved that He indeed is the Son of God, and has redeemed His people by conquering sin, death and the grave. He made it possible for anyone to be saved. It sounds too easy - what's the catch …

There is no catch! As long as you're willing to accept God's free gift of salvation, admit you're a sinner, and turn away from your sins, you're good to go. Here and now, when you call on Jesus, he sends the Holy Spirit to guide you and strengthen you. You'll be able to resist temptation a little easier than before. He'll also help you become a better person, kinder, more patient and loving, and more joyful as you become conformed to Christ's likeness. Then, when you die, your spirit will live on forever and you can be with God and everyone else in Heaven and on the new restored earth.

You can start right now - pray to the Father in Heaven and tell him you're sorry for all your sins, and you want Jesus Christ to wash you clean and send in the Holy Spirit. If you haven't been baptized, you can check online for baptism services near you and contact them. Then get to know Jesus - read the Bible (King James version is the best). You can find a lot of affordable Bibles on Amazon or at your local bookseller. Later check out forums online, local churches, mission opportunities.

The time is very short - please call on Jesus now. You'll be glad you did, today, tomorrow, and forever. Tell God you're sorry for all the things you've done wrong, and that you thank Jesus for his sacrifice. Ask forgiveness for your sins, and ask Jesus to come into your heart and be your Lord and Savior.

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