There are world religions and individuals I could be following. I’ve chosen to follow Jesus Christ. Jesus offers what no other religion or person offers. Jesus offers: forgiveness of my sins, a good relationship with God, and eternal life in God’s Kingdom. I’ve learned about this from the Bible. John 3:16-17 tells me, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”
The Bible is God’s Word to us. It’s not like any other book because it wasn’t written by just anyone. The Bible is inspired writing, meaning that God wrote through people. The people wrote in their time and place and style and God made sure that what God wanted to say was written. 2 Timothy 3:16 tells me, “All Scripture is God-breathed …” Through the Bible God has revealed God’s self to people. God tells us that God loves us and wants us to love God in return. 
Even though God loves me, I turned away from God. I did this because I wanted God to be God on my terms. I wanted to make my own decisions about life and what would be good for me. I thought I knew better than God did. So I didn’t listen to God. Romans 3:23 tells me, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God …” That got me into trouble because I separated myself from God.
Once I separated myself from God I found that I couldn’t get back to God on my own. Satan had a claim on me. There wasn’t anything I could do, that would be good enough, for God to forgive me and bring me back. I had put myself on a death row that I couldn’t get off of. The first part of Romans 6:23 tells me, “The wages of sin is death …”
That’s where Jesus comes in. Jesus took my sin, my turning away from God, and took my punishment for me in my place on the cross of his crucifixion. Jesus through his resurrection offers me forgiveness. 
All I have to do to receive this forgiveness is to follow Jesus as my Lord and Savior. After I did, then God no longer saw me as a rebel but rather as God’s long lost child on my way back home. The second part of Romans 6:23 tells me, “but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” How wonderful it is that I’m no longer separated from God.
I don’t always follow Jesus as I should but I try to “love the Lord my God with all my passion and prayer and intelligence (Matthew 22:37). I know that I’m loved by God. May you also know that God loves you and wants you to love God in return.

Rev. Douglas Hileman, Pastor
First United Presbyterian Church at Fairbury, Nebraska