Tuesday, May 11, 2010
"Daddy, am I going to hell?"
These troubled words tumbled off of Gracie's lips last night after her Bible study and Devotion with Rod. He kind of laughed out loud and asked her a question, "Have you accepted Jesus as your Savior? Have you asked Him to forgive you for your sins?" She smiled brightly, "Yes, of course!" He finished, "Then, you're not going to hell. Now, goodnight, I love you." He flipped off the light and began to close her door. Her small voice raised from the down comforter. "Are you going to hell?" He laughed again, "Gracie, you know I love Jesus. No, of course, I'm not going to hell. Now, goodnight. I love you."
He came into the bedroom and asked, "Did you just hear all that?" He had an incredulous look on his face. I said, "It's good. It means she doesn't yet understand the gospel. She's giving you feedback on her spiritual condition without realizing it. Now, you know how to proceed with training her. She's the one who wants to be "a great woman evangelist". He still seemed troubled by it. "But, Jenn, how could she not know?" I said, "Rod, she's five. She needs assurance of her salvation. She needs to understand the scriptures. She'll get there. It's okay."
Gracie sings her own made up songs to God on a regular, if not daily, basis. And then she pounds away on her red lacquer upright baby piano as she belts out "O, God, You are my God and I will ever praise You! I will seek You in the morning and I will learn to walk in Your way-a-ays and step by step You'll lead me and I will follow You all of my days!" I have to admit it gives me great joy to hear her worship the Lord like this. She loves that song. She sings that song so much that I have it rolling around in my head constantly. (Praise God for Rich Mullins!)
Once upon a time Pastor Dennis McCutcheon made a prophetic remark to me when Gracie was just around two or three years old..."That girl is gonna be the lead singer in a Pentecostal worship band." I accepted it that moment as a Word from the Lord. Like Mary, "I treasured that thing in my heart". And I still do.
Many people who know Gracie think that I put this love for Jesus Christ into her. I disagree completely. It seems to me that she came home from the hospital with it. We met her on her one month birthday. She was four pounds and two ounces and for all appearances, abandoned by her mother. The foster care system had custody of her and we felt like we had prayed her into existence. This is NOT true, but it was something we felt. Seems like "everyone" knows our story. But, this is the world wide web and perhaps someone will read this post who doesn't know.
Rod and I have not been able to have children of our own. We became licensed foster parents. We prayed over a piece of paper that had these words hand-written in pencil "Please let us adopt a healthy baby girl born to a drug addicted mother." We wrote that prayer down on a Wednesday night and the following Tuesday afternoon we got the call to go up to the intensive care unit for premature infants at the hospital. The baby was one month old, tiny but healthy and beautiful. The doctors were baffled. The mother had tested positive for numerous illegal drugs and also for three different STD's. Gracie was perfectly clean. God had answered our prayer in seven days!
She was never fussy. She slept 12 hours a day for the first three years of her life. What a total blessing this child was. And now, she's blessing me with her worship of the Lord. When my father died I was beside myself with grief and this little four year old girl gently took my hand in hers and encouraged me that "Grampa Bob is with Jesus. Don't cry Momma. He's with Jesus, now." That child's words soothed me instantly. She was right. It was true.
I saw this painting on the internet this morning. It is by David J. Negron. I thought of Gracie and Jesus hanging out in her bedroom. Psalm 22:3 says, "But You are holy, enthroned in the praises of Israel." And "From the lips of children and infants You have ordained praise..." from Psalm 8:2 comes to mind.
This young daughter of ours has asked us to pray that "God would let me be a great woman ebangelist" (that's how she pronounces it). We don't, either one of us, know where she came up with it. But, she's already there. Woman, no. But great evangelist, YES. And isn't it just like Satan to bring doubt even to a little five year old girl who knows JESUS is her Savior and is making Him her LORD?
Do you wonder, "Daddy, am I going to hell?" Please, don't wonder. You can know. There is no other person who could be a Savior other than Jesus Christ. He was without sin. And only a sinless, spotless sacrifice is acceptable to God. He was born through the Divine mix of a virgin womb fertilized by the HOLY Spirit. He is NOT made from sinful seed of man. Man's sin-gene did not initiate His beginning. Therefore, Jesus was born HOLY. He lived the sinless life. He died a sinner's death. Which sinner? Me. You. My mom. Yours. Gracie's, Rachel's, Rod's. All of us. That death He died on the cross was the only Supernatural exchange that could ever be acceptable to pay the penalty for our sins.
We, as believers, accept what Jesus Christ did on the cross (allow Himself to be murdered though He was innocent) by faith. We accept his resurrection by faith. We believe Him when He says, "I am the way, the truth and the life and no one comes to the Father except through Me." We follow Him daily and believe Him when He says, "If you love Me you will obey My commandments." We don't obey Him because it's part of the bargain. We obey because we love Him. Loving Him is essential to Him knowing you. If you don't love Him, then that is where your problem is.
My mother, when she got saved around six years ago...she read the Bible in four months. She wanted to believe it. She said with her lips, "Okay, Jesus. I believe You are Who You say You are, but I don't love You. If You want me to love You, You're gonna have to make me." And He did.
Saddest verses in the Bible; Matthew 7:21-23..."Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then, I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from Me, you evildoers." It's disquieting, isn't it. The prospect of Jesus telling you that He doesn't know you and shooing you away from heaven...to the alternative place (hell). He tells those "evildoers" "I never knew you". This bothered me for quite some time. "Does He know me???" Does He know me? How will I know if He knows me? Will it be some terribly big drama at heaven's gate?"
I found this scripture in 1 Corinthians 8:3 and it brought me great comfort. "But, the man who loves God is known by God." It was the answer I sought. That is how you can know that God will welcome you "home". He knows who loves Him. Don't you? You know who loves you and who doesn't, right? It's simple, isn't it? When my mom first told me about her crass prayer to the Lord that day in the beginning of her walk I was appalled. But, God is big enough to take it. I was new in the faith, too.
You need another assurance of salvation scripture to hang on to? I'll give you this set...it goes together: 1 John 1:9, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness." That scripture was written to BELIEVERS in JESUS CHRIST. So, we blow it. Sometimes we think it's a little thing. Sometimes we think it's a big thing. Sin is sin with God. Let's just keep it simple. When we sin, confess...that's our part (not to a man, priest, etc.) but confess to God and do it when you're ready to really be humble. Sometimes we blow it and we're still in the hard-heart stage. We know we need to confess but we're just not ready yet. So, wait. Ask Him to forgive you with a softened heart. You've transgressed against the God of the Whole Universe Who gives you life, breath, vision, loved ones...all that stuff you appreciate. I'm not advocating that you wait like for days. I'm saying, give it a few moments. Invite the Holy Spirit to tenderize you and then when you feel sickened about what you did (no matter how big or small) that's when you know you're ready.
There's a lot about God in that verse. First, His character is mentioned: He is faithful and He is just. That's good. You want a Faithful and Just Lord. Not a wishy-washy bribeable, he winks at sin Lord. Faithful and Just. And also the verse says what His part is in this whole deal...we confess...He forgives and cleanses. Wow! All we do is confess and God, Who is faithful and just will forgive us and cleanse us from (how much?) ALL unrighteousness. Really, all? Pastor Bob Wilson loves to ask his flock, "How much is ALL, anyway?" Dear, all is ALL.
Here are the other verses...1 John 5:10b-13, "...Anyone who does not believe God has made Him out to be a liar, because he has not believed the testimony God has given him about His Son. And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God."
Please, listen. God is not a liar. His will (as mentioned in Matthew 7:21) is that everyone would believe in His Son, Whom He sent. (Look it up in John chapters 14-17). That is God's first and foremost will for everyone alive! Now, if you do believe, then you can have assurance of salvation: Love Jesus. Confess when you need to. Believe God. He says you can KNOW that you have eternal life and that you should CONTINUE to believe in Jesus.
Now, I have to go teach these things to Gracie. Don't ask Daddy if you're going to hell. Just read the Bible and dare to believe Him. And you won't go to hell!