Monday, January 16, 2006
It was one of those winter nights that chills you to the bone - cold temperatures, a brisk north wind, a freezing rain, some snow. Our friends were inside their house, and their horses were inside their barn. Well, actually, three out of four of their horses were inside the barn. Cassie, their Shetland, was standing outside for some strange reason. So as our friends looked out their window, they saw this pitiful scene: one lone horse under a barn light, standing there with the freezing rain and snow pounding down on her, forming ice on her mane. Now, her horse friends were all smart enough to be in their nice warm stalls, but, oh no, not Cassie.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Standing Out in the Cold."
That horse chose to stand out in the cold - when all the time she could have been in the warm place that had been provided for her. You know in some ways, a lot of people are making that same mistake - maybe you.
In a way, maybe you feel as if you've been standing out in the cold for a long time. There's this loneliness that no relationship has satisfied, this confusion, this gnawing sense of uncertainty and insecurity, this emptiness that never seems to go away no matter what you've filled yourself up with. Emotionally, spiritually, it's as if you're out in the chilling wind and the freezing rain. But you don't have to be. There's a warm place that's been provided for you, but you have to step inside. In fact, this very day, I believe Jesus Christ himself may be beckoning you to come in where it's warm.
Listen to His invitation. It's our word for today from the Word of God in Matthew 11:28, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." If we're "weary and burdened" it may be because we haven't come to Him. It could be that Jesus has been asking you to come to Him for a long time but you've never responded. He's been waiting to answer your loneliness with His unloseable love, to turn your confusion into a sense of knowing why you're here and where you're going, to replace the uncertainty with His unshakeable peace, to fill that emptiness in your heart with the relationship with Him that you were made for. But you're still in the cold because you've never really come inside where Jesus is.
There are actually five things you can do with the man who died to pay for your sins. You can just outright reject Jesus. You can ignore Jesus, pushing Him to the margins for other pursuits. You can postpone Jesus - you'll get around to Him someday. You can agree with Jesus - believing everything you've been told about Him. Or you can commit yourself completely to Jesus. Four of those five responses end the same place - out in the cold, now and forever. Only one leads to heaven: giving yourself to Jesus. Yes, it's possible to agree with everything about Jesus and yet never have given yourself to Him.
But today He's close to you, where you are, and He's whispering, "Come to me ... I will give you rest." His love for you, His forgiveness, His peace have gone unclaimed far too long. Today you can begin your relationship with Him by telling Him, "Jesus, you died for me and I'm giving myself to you for now and forever." That's when you receive what He's been waiting to give you all these years. If that's what you want, I would love to help you begin your love relationship with Jesus Christ. I want to invite you to visit our website at yoursforlife.net, and there just briefly I want to explain to you either in a way you can listen to or a way you can read how to be sure you belong to Him. Or if you'd rather receive Yours For Life in print, you can call us for it at 877-741-1200. The website again is yoursforlife.net.
You've been out in the cold long enough. There's no need for you to be out there any longer. You're so close to the warmth and safety of belonging to Jesus Christ. Today, won't you come inside?