God's presence is our personal treasure - James Bell

I had the pleasure of spending time with several of my long-term friends this past week. One is now 86 years old and doing very well, considering he is almost blind.

He and I worked together at the same company for a combined total of 93 years! He spent 52 years there and I put in 41. For 31 of those years, we worked in the same department, so you might imagine we had lots to talk about.

Some of the others I went to high school with, so we knew lots about each other. We all heard the convicting voice of the Holy Spirit early in life, and have had the counsel of God in our lives, and consider Him our personal treasure.

In most of our lives, we have had the power and presence of our Lord Jesus and have called on Him for guidance and received His direction and help, knowing He always has the right answer.

I am so thankful I responded to His call early in my life and have received His blessings and counsel, for it has enriched my life tremendously.

The Bible tells us in Matthew 1:23: "Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call His name Emanuel," which being interpreted is, God with us. We know and recognize this as the announcement of the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

He was not only present with man during His short life, but after His death, resurrection and return to Heaven, He sent us the Holy Spirit to live in our hearts, to be ever-present with us, to guide us and bless our lives.

Acts 1:4b, 5 says, "Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised -- in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit." Every person who becomes a Christian receives the presence of God through the Holy Spirit living in his heart.

There are so many advantages in becoming a Christian that I cannot understand why everyone doesn't accept Jesus Christ at an early age. Now, you may feel that one should not believe in Christ because of the advantages He gives, but rather, first, because He is real and alive and He is the Living God.

This is like saying, "Which came first, the chicken or the egg?" True, we should accept Christ because of who He is and what He did for us, but in either case, we are saved because we believe in Him and put our faith and trust in Him. In many areas of Scripture, He has said, "Your faith has made you whole."

Ephesians 2:8, 9 tells us, "For it is by grace you have been saved through faith and this not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast."

Jesus said, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock, if anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him and he with me (Revelation 3:20)."

Listen my friend, if you are not a Christian and you feel in your heart you should be, please realize that still, small voice is none other than that of the Holy Spirit calling you to belief in Christ. God gives all He calls a free will to either choose Christ, or reject Him.

In Revelation 3:20, please know the door handle is on the inside only, so only you can open the door to your heart and invite Jesus in to save you. You do this only by faith through the grace of God -- not anything you have done will save you or any sin you have done will condemn you, if you believe and accept Jesus as your Savior.

Being a Christian will not be easy. You will pay a price, not to receive Christ, but because you accepted Him. You may lose some friends, but more likely, you may convince some to believe, also.

You can be sure of one thing -- Jesus will be with you always!

Please think seriously about becoming a Christian soon. May God bless you!

Father, I pray you make all Christians aware of your constant presence. Amen.