We were recently blessed with a chance to visit the Holy Land. Our pilgrimage was a wonderful experience with many incredible stops along the way including some places Paul shared the good news about Jesus and His doctrine. One of the highlights was touching Jesus’ birthplace at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. There were people from across the globe crowding the church for a chance to see this special place. A Palestinian traffic jam almost made us miss that opportunity. We left the stuck bus and quickly made our way to the church where a Priest held the door and locked it behind us. Our guide spoke Aramaic and after a tour prayed the Lord’s Prayer just as Jesus did. We also walked the Jerusalem streets where Jesus carried His cross and touched the stone slab where His crucified body was laid. This powerful spiritual experience inspired me to publicly share my beliefs about Jesus.
My walk with Jesus started as a young boy in church. Even as I strayed at times, He stayed with me. Old gospel hymns would occasionally come to mind reminding me He was there all along. We sang How Great Thou Art in a small service during the trip. It became a theme song that played in my head throughout our travels. (Please consider listening to it while looking at the slideshow.)
I am not ashamed of my walk with Jesus. I am ashamed of many things that have been done in His name. The Jesus I know is kind, compassionate, and forgiving. Many have taken it upon themselves to judge and demand punishment of those they view as sinners. Consider the troubled woman some religious leaders wanted to stone and the trap they tried setting for Jesus. When asked what should be done, Jesus said whoever was without sin should cast the first stone. Each one dropped their stone and walked away as they realized we all fall short. Jesus never suggested they ask Caesar to punish her for them. He had compassion and forgave the woman just as He has forgiven us. Jesus gave His life on the cross as atonement for our sins. It is by grace rather than works that we can be forgiven and walk with Jesus forever. This heavenly gift is given freely to all who accept it.
The teachings of Jesus can be summed up in the Golden Rule. We could have peace on earth if everyone treated each other the way we want to be treated. You have an open invitation to discuss my relationship with Jesus and how you can enjoy your own. Jesus loves you unconditionally and wants to be part of your life. He offers freedom, guidance, and peace. Please don't let the misguided actions of those who judge and condemn others push you away. You can start your walk with Jesus simply by inviting Him into your heart. Think of it as insurance for your soul that ensures eternal life in heaven. It is always easier to lose a loved one when we know they will be in paradise after taking their last breath. Having doubts and questions does not exclude you from having a relationship with Jesus. Reading about His life in the New Testament can answer many questions while raising others. Pray in a way you are comfortable with while remaining open to receiving answers. Don't be afraid to ask for blessings in your life and for others. Recognizing and appreciating our blessings is a great way to keep them coming.