By Dr. Robert Owens
When I was young I was not a nice fellow. Snakes would cross the street when I sauntered down the sidewalk. My all-consuming passion was getting enough alcohol and drugs to help me forget something I couldn’t remember. Playing music and living in a 24/7 party atmosphere was all I cared about. Other people were collateral damage on my way to a buzz. I had the name of my guitar tattooed on my arm so women would know where my loyalties lay.
Spiritually I was dead inside. I called myself an atheist and I was faithful to my boast. Anyone who spoke to me of any religion was automatically consigned by me to irrelevance. The closest thing I had to an actual conviction was a strident attachment to militant apathy. I didn’t care about anything and I couldn’t stand anyone who did.
That was my life until I was thirty. Then God spoke to me. God touched me. God changed me. God gave me a new life. I was born again.
Today I can remember what I did in my former life but I can no longer relate to it. It as if my life before God was a movie I have seen. I can recall the important scenes and the important characters but I feel a complete detachment to being one of the actors in the plot.
God gave me a wife who is the love of my life. He gave me a son who is my heir and friend. He gave me a daughter-in-love who is the daughter I always wanted to have. He has given me two grandchildren who are the joy of my life as a seasoned citizen. He has allowed me to see miracles, plant churches, be a pastor, found ministries that fed and clothed thousands, watch people accept Him, watch people grow in Him, and hold the hands of people who went to join Him.
I was born again on Palm Sunday in 1980 so I just had my 37th birthday as a child of God. I give Him the glory for my life. I give Him the honor that is His due. I cannot even give a fraction of the love He has shown. He is my source, my summit, and my all.
As we passed the celebration of His rising from the dead I was reminded of the fact that it is faith that saves us and that not of our self for even the faith is a gift. I look about at all the traditions and customs we have developed in more than two thousand years and I smile. I pray that everyone who called on His name had a blessed and joyous Resurrection Day. Enjoy the season as best meets the requirements of your faith.
Let us all recall that if we confess Jesus as Lord and if we believe in our hearts that God has raised Him from the dead we shall be saved.
That is the truth, the truth upon which all of reality rests. That is the beginning and the end, the alpha and the omega, all the rest is window dressing. Just as one enjoys Italian food and another enjoys Chinese yet all food is good to those who like it. So too, our traditions and customs if they do not detract from the truth of by who and how we are saved are all good.
Have a wonderful time with family and friends, co-religionists and those C&E Christians who make it standing room only at so many normally empty churches at this time of year. Love them all and let God sort them out. Just remember, the biggest surprise when we get to heave in not who is there but that we are for it is not by works but by faith that we are saved. The greatest saint and the worst sinner both need the Lord’s grace to enter in.
There is no sin so great that it cannot be forgiven if we lay it at the cross. He knows us better than we can ever know ourselves and he forgives us. Don’t labor under a load you were never meant to carry any further than the cross. Give it all to Him and he will give you rest.
I praise Him for saving me. I praise Him for giving me life. I ask Him to open doors for me to serve Him. And when I am gone there is but one eulogy I wish anyone to hear, “God got the glory!”
Yours in Him,
Dr. Robert Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion. He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2017 Contact Dr. Owens firstname.lastname@example.org Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens