This Is Too Good
To Be True!
God loves me, actually loves me. He sent His only Son to pay the full price for all of my sins on the cross. God freely gives eternal salvation as a gift. It is not something we can ever buy or earn. But it is a free gift everyone can RECEIVE by BELIEVING ¯Jesus did it all.
Therefore if any person is [ingrafted] in Christ (the Messiah) he is a new creation (a new creature altogether); the old [previous moral and spiritual condition] has passed away. Behold, the fresh and new has come! (2 Corinthians 5:17 AMP).
That was me. When Jesus came into my heart, the sky was bluer. The grass was greener. Even the flowers and colors seemed more vibrant. I had hope for my future, confidence now that Jesus was with me, and everything was going to be all right.
I was concerned about staying true to the Lord. Self-discipline was not my strong point. God had more good news for me. He had planned that Jesus would also baptize me in the Holy Spirit, equipping me by that relationship to be a victorious witness for Christ. I wanted everything God had for me.
[John the Baptist said] “I have baptized you with water, but He [Jesus] will baptize you with the Holy Spirit” (Mark 1:8 AMP).
If you then, evil as you are, know how to give GOOD GIFTS [gifts that are to their advantage] to your children, HOW MUCH MORE will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask and continue to ask Him! (Luke 11:13 AMP, author emphasis).
For the promise [of the Holy Spirit] is to and for you and your children and for ALL that are far away, [even] to and for as many as the Lord our God INVITES and bids to come to Himself (Acts 2:39 AMP, author emphasis).
[Jesus said] And behold, I will send forth upon you what My Father has promised; but remain in the city [Jerusalem] until you are clothed with POWER from on high (Luke 24:49 AMP, author emphasis).
I attended a prayer meeting where some believers put their hands on me and joined in prayer as I asked: “Jesus thank You for saving me. I believe You are the Baptizer in the Holy Spirit. I ask You to baptize me in the Holy Spirit, give me my very own prayer language. Fill me now with Your Holy Spirit.”I felt held by God’s love. I opened my mouth and began to make sounds that seemed to flow out in beautiful syllables I’d never heard before. The longer I spoke in tongues the more I knew I was expressing my love for Him way beyond what I could communicate in the natural.
Jesus began transforming me from the inside out. I had new desires. I could hardly wait to go to prayer meeting. I forgave people I’d vowed never to forgive. I had the Holy Spirit guiding me every day¯His peace ruled in my heart like an umpire.
Most of the young women my age had been raised in the church. As a first generation believer, I had a hard time relating to Christians my own age, but I found common ground and the prayer support I needed from their parents. I was so full of joy and so excited about Jesus that my pastor would ask me to share my testimony.
One time when I finished speaking, a well-meaning lady took me aside. “Lynn,” she said, “As you grow and mature in the Lord, this joy you have will taper off.”
She was right. In the next few months, religion convinced me I was unworthy because I was going to be divorced, thus I would not be able to inherit the kingdom of God. If I married again, I would be committing adultery and risking my salvation. Religion never asked “why” I was alone, but encouraged me to try to get back with my husband who had been physically and emotionally abusive and had actually abandoned me and our baby. I was nine-teen-years-old at the time. Religion convinced me I was damaged goods.
How did I “forget?” I was already a single mother for almost two years when Jesus saved me! Why would I think that “now” I was no longer acceptable to Him? No longer beloved. I remember how the Holy Spirit made Isaiah 54:5–7 come alive for me. God kept His Word and gave me another chance:
For your Maker is your Husband¯the Lord of Hosts is His Name¯and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; the God of the whole earth He is called. For the Lord has called you [Lynn] like a woman forsaken, grieved in spirit, and heart sore— even a wife [wooed and won] in youth, when she is [later] refused and scorned, says your God. For a brief moment I forsook you, but with great compassion and mercy I will gather you [to Me] again (Isaiah 54:5–7 AMP, author personalization).
I wanted to belong so badly. I made new worldly friends, compromised, and lost my intimacy with the Lord, my joy, my enthusiasm for life.
When a friend of mine from the Dutch Reformed Church wanted me to go with her to St. Luke’s in Seattle to hear Father Dennis Bennett share about the baptism in the Holy Spirit, I went along. As my friend received her own prayer language with such celebration and joy, I became envious and jealous. I used to feel God loved me like that, I thought, but now everything has changed to just cold ceremony and rules.
Then I heard God’s still small voice in my heart: “For I am the LORD. I do not change” (Malachi 3:6 NKJV). And again he said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5 NKJV).
I saw a picture in my head of me in a car, my head resting on the driver’s shoulder and hugging his arm. I knew God was the driver. Next, I saw myself in the same car, clinging to the armrest on the door so I wouldn’t get closer to Him as we went around a corner. “You’re the one who moved, Lynn, not Me,” the Holy Spirit spoke in my heart. “I missed Your presence, Lord, and feeling Your love, and Your divine hugs. They said only new Christians experience that and after a while ‘it’ wears off.”
I will show you the path of life. In My presence is fullness of joy. You shall live in My presence every day. (Psalm 16:11, author paraphrase).
He forgave me and took me back, restored the joy of being His beloved child. I basked in His grace and mercy. Freedom to live for Him was far better than anything I’d ever experienced away from Him. I knew He loved me just the way I was, but His presence in me would transform me into His image and character from the inside out. The reality of this was unbelievably good news. I remember when I heard that God wasn't mad at me. I thought He had taken my mother to heaven when I was just a child because I was so bad.
For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world [that's me] that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever [I'm a whoever] believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life. [This was really good news] (John 3:16 AMP, author personalization).
For God did not send the Son into the world in order to judge (to reject, to condemn, to pass sentence on) the world, but that the world might find salvation and be made safe and sound through Him (John 3:17 AMP).
He who believes in Him [Jesus] is not condemned; he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God (John 3:18 NKJV).
This was a relief to me. It sounded too good to be true. God doesn't want to judge me on what I did or didn't do. My salvation is ALL about Jesus. I accepted Him as my Savior. I could hardly wait to get to know Him better. The more I read my Bible, the more I loved Him. I wanted everything He had to offer.