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Growing Closer to God

In all my years of working in and around many types of ministry, I have found one thing to be true and that is love. Love is the hub of any ministry and the reason we serve one another and serve the Lord like we do. No matter what church or ministry we serve in or on what position, love is the key that makes it all possible.

Beginning in the early 2000’s, I had the great privilege of serving as part of the Bread of Life Ministries. This ministry was formed with the purpose of showing people who Jesus Christ is, not only in word but in deed. We provided food, prayer, clothing and friendship to all we served. Much like now, there were so many who were desperate and we did all we could to help and show them that they are loved and cared for. Even if they felt the rest of the world was against them, our goal was to show them that they were truly loved and had friends within our body of believers. Through the years, I picked up and delivered the food we served and eventually became senior pastor and director of this wonderful ministry.

Through many trials, countless ups and downs, service to others remained central to my life, both personally and professionally. The main ingredient to all of this was my love for God and for people.

Through a sound relationship with Christ Jesus, I discovered the true meaning of love and why love is vital to all of us for our very survival. When someone asks me why I followed the Lord’s guidance into ministry, I just say it is all about love. I can honestly say that love is what makes the world go around, not money, not time, not anything else in the world that one might think of as important, but love and only love.

When I was a young man I learned about love from my grandparents. Their home is where all of us kids wanted to spend all of our time. Why? Because in our eyes, that is where the love was. As we grew older, life took all of us to different parts of the country and far from my grandparents’ home and far from where the love was. All of us spent less and less time there and we seemingly placed less importance on spending time with them. As is with everyone, grandpa passed away at what I would consider a young age. He was 77 years old and it nearly destroyed all of us kids, filling each one with regret for not spending more time with him. Granny lived on and was three days shy of her 91st birthday when she went home to be with the Lord. When that happened there was a real change in my life, an epiphany you could say. The realization that they were both gone permanently hit home like a ton of bricks.

What I discovered is this—life is really very short. We shouldn’t waste a single second chasing after money, fame or anything else at the expense of time lost with those we love. Because of all the time I spent away from home chasing after financial freedom, I have a great deal of regret. The regret I feel is not that I never became famous or never made all the money I wanted to, but something much more profound. It is all those lost moments, lost time that could have been spent with my grandparents, immersed in their love for me. If I could go back and change things, I would. But alas, we cannot change time, we cannot go back and we do not get a re-do in this life. Lost time is time we can never get back.

After Granny’s passing in 2004, I was awakened by the realization that the only thing that matters in this life is love and the time we spend with those we love. From that time until present, I have devoted my life to being there for those I love.

Growing up in my grandparents’ home, I watched them closely, I saw them on many occasions give abundantly to anyone in need. Stranger or family, they would not, could not stand to see anyone go hungry. Though I may not have known it then, I certainly know it now. It was their love for God that gave them the love they had for others. Jesus Christ had an enormous effect of them, it was like a bright light shining in the darkness that I only recognized after they were gone.

As a young adult, even knowing Jesus as Savior, I strayed far from Him and as I said, far from my grandparent’s home. It was only when I tasted lost love and rejection that I sought out Jesus for solace and comfort. Jesus, accepting my surrender, started me on a new journey that ultimately saved me from myself and the destructive behavior that had become my life at that time. In 2002, my new journey began and my dear Granny lived long enough to see me return to Christ Jesus which is something she had prayed for daily.

My grandparents set an example for me to follow of their love for God, for God’s Holy Word, and their love for people. And because of that, I follow Jesus with the entirety of who I am. What’s more, I love Jesus and I know without a doubt that He loves me. The relationship I have with Jesus is by far the best part of my life and is more important to me than anything else. Through my very personal relationship, I am the man I am today. He, the Lord Jesus, changed me from the selfish, lost, and often very alone person I was, to a person who values family, friends and anyone I meet. He has given my life meaning, purpose and something that I wouldn’t trade for any amount of money, love.

I share all of this because I want others to know that life, or more specifically a new life, is waiting for you. It does not matter where you come from, what you have done or how bad you think you are. Jesus loves you! He will never leave you, He will never let you down and if you give Him the chance, He will give you a new life, better than one you could ever make for yourself.

As a pastor I can give you tons of information about life with Christ. I can share with you tons of scripture verses that may or may not convince you to turn your life over to Jesus. As a man, I can tell you from experience, Jesus changes people. In fact, I think it is that daily growth that He enjoys more than anything. Watching us grow into the man or woman that He wants us to be. I know first-hand how a life can be changed because I have experienced it for myself. I have seen what the Lord does in the lives of those who believe.

I came from nothing to everything, including from homelessness to a wonderful home. All of the desires of my heart have been given me, the farm I always dreamed of, a wife and family that loves me and wants to spend time with me and a very real and love filled relationship with my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

There is one thing that made all of this possible, a simple decision to accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior. It’s very simple but still there is so much more to it than the initial decision. I spend time with Jesus. I spend time in prayer, I spend time reading and studying the Word of God and I spend time just talking with Him. Talking to Him like He is my best friend. People even used to think me crazy for talking to my friend, my invisible friend, LOL. Eventually, people started to realize that my invisible friend was not so invisible. Though we may not see Him, we can see all that He is doing and can see how much of a difference He has made in the lives of those who love Him.

All the things I have been through in my life, the good and even the bad, are a gift. The bad times make me appreciate the good and the good things are icing on the cake. The love I have for people came from one place and is also a gift from God. My life is what I would call a complete success story.

I want to say this to you and hope that you will take it to heart. Love should be central to your life. In every relationship you have, love should be the main ingredient and if it is not, misery follows close behind. The love I speak of is not of ourselves, it only come from a relationship with God. If there is any hope for any of us, it is the love of Jesus Christ that will make the difference. It is not about being perfect, none of us are. It is not about what people think about you or even what you think about yourself. It is not complicated and should never be. The love of God is what gives us the ability to love others and His love is never complicated. We are the ones who make things complicated where a relationship with him is concerned.

My recommendation is this:

Keep it simple. Try reading the Bible and letting it soak in a bit. Try just talking to Jesus like you would a friend. Give Jesus a chance to show you all he can do in your life if allowed. Make a decision to live each day with Jesus in the middle and see for yourself what He will do. This is not about being perfect or right, it’s not about what denomination you think is right, it’s not about some theological ideals, it’s about a relationship.

You do not have to clean yourself up in an attempt to make yourself presentable to Jesus, He loves you just the way you are. All of your sin, cussing, lying, bad behavior or the bad things you have done, Jesus loves you right where you are and just how you are. The only thing He asks is that you open the door, allow him to come in and visit with you for a while. And I will tell you that there is no time like right now to invite Him in.

Take a chance, brothers and sisters, don’t let past issues keep you from a life filled with love. Don’t let the sins of even Christians keep you from your relationship with Jesus. Like I said, none of us are perfect, not one Christian in this world is perfect or has all the answers. Don’t let the sins of others determine where you will spend your eternity.

You are so much more valuable to the Lord that you could imagine and if allowed, Jesus will come into your life and make you into “a new creation”.

If you want to grow in your relationship with the Lord, if you have questions or if you have never made that decision and want help, I am here to help you, answer your questions and help you to understand that there is nothing more valuable to the Lord than YOU.

I am here for you, I love you and I care about you and all you are going through. Love my friends is the answer to all of your issues not matter how big or how small and I want you to know that God will deliver you from whatever it is that is keeping you down. He did it for me and that was a huge undertaking, even for God…

May the LORD bless you and keep you, may the LORD smile on you and be gracious unto you. May the LORD show you His favor and give you His peace, both now and forever”

Love Always

Rev. Pastor Ron Simon

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