Twice a year I like to give an update on what’s been happening with my blog—once on the anniversary of my very first post back in April of 2008, and then 6 months later…which is just about now. I remember last April praying about the upcoming year and wondering if I should be content to finish out 7 years and then try something different—such as a book—or just keep on keepin’ on. Last April, I felt that the Lord might be urging me to just keep writing my heart out on this blog for as long as I’m able, but as a bit of a fleece, I asked God if He’d be willing to answer by giving me 500 followers and 250,000 views by April 8, 2015 as affirmation. To date, I have 536 followers, Summer Setting has been viewed nearly 224,000 times and is averaging 250 views per day this month so far, so it looks like my prayers for affirmation may indeed be answered by next April. As an added delight, people from 187 countries have found Summer Setting, including many countries where Christians are not allowed to share their faith. That in itself brings me no end of encouragement, and then I noticed some of the Google searches that had brought people to my blog over the past few days. Probably the most common searches are related to travel, such as “Oahu secret spots” or “St. Petersburg top sites,” but there are also many that relate to other topics. Here are a few that particularly touch my heart: “draw me nearer quotes,” “enjoying God’s presence,” “beauties of love,” “Heaven is for real setting,” “I sat down under His shadow,” “Last Lecture,” “learn to laugh at yourself,” and “overcoming addictions verse.” However, the real heart-stopper for me was this one: “accepting eternal life in Christ prayer.”
I don’t know who this person is, or from which country, but I’m glad that typing that search into Google led this precious soul to my blog, and I hope she/he found what they were looking for! Whoever you are, you certainly helped me find what I was looking for…which is a sense for whether or not my blog is really lifting up Jesus and drawing people to the love of God for them. That’s my goal!
For anybody out there who doesn’t know for sure how to become a child of God or what it means to be “born again” or to “become a Christian,” may I offer this explanation and prayer? The “gospel” (“good news”) is that—although we’ve all sinned and deserve to die—God became a man in the person of Jesus Christ (“Emmanuel”=”God with us”), came to earth, lived a perfect, sinless life, and died in our place, so that if we repent (agree with God that we’ve sinned and are sorry for sinning…not that everything we’ve ever done has been a failure, but that we acknowledge not being perfect and that we’ve done some things intentionally even though we knew they were wrong) and put our faith and trust in Jesus as our Lord and Savior, He will “save” us, making us new creations in Christ, giving us spiritual rebirth and eternal life. Christ’s resurrection from the grave is THE cornerstone of our faith, because it was His resurrection that proves what He said was true, and it proves that He can also give us eternal life, resurrecting us from the dead just as He was resurrected.
That’s the good news! The other good news is: God loves us so much that He’s waiting for us with outstretched arms, ready to forgive and make us all His children. There is no magic formulaic prayer that saves us. We’re saved by our faith. But, if you’re wondering what such a prayer of faith might sound like, here’s one offering:
I have heard and believe that Jesus died for my sins and rose again. I acknowledge that I have sinned and failed to live a perfect life, and that I do not deserve an eternal life of bliss with you in heaven. But, I’ve also heard that you are a merciful, compassionate God who loves us, your created humans, so much that you sent Jesus to die in our place, as an atonement for the sins of everyone who ever lived, so that every person who believes in Jesus will be forgiven and become Your child, inheriting eternal life in Christ. I do ask for your forgiveness, based not on my merit but on the sacrifice of Christ in my place, and I entrust myself to you—body, soul, and spirit—forever. Please redeem me from sin and make me your child through faith in Christ so that I receive eternal life and live forever in your love and presence. Thank you, my dear heavenly Father. Amen.”