Have you ever
wanted to go to a really nice place so badly you
could almost taste it, but stayed home because
you didn't think you would fit in? Or
didn't accept a friend's sincere invitation to a
great event because you were afraid that you
might not feel comfortable with the other people
that might be attending?
we allow that fear of stepping out of our
"comfort zone" to affect our life in
far more important ways. We remain in
relationships and keep habits that we know are
not in our best interest, because we are afraid
that we will not be accepted outside of that
circle... that we just aren't worthy of anything
or anyone better than we have now.
that is how you feel, then I have good news for
you. You have a friend that has sent you an
invitation to the most important event of your
life. And it is a
recently received a couple of things written by
someone that has accepted the same
invitation. The words of the poem are from
the heart and pen of Anna, but the invitation
comes straight from Jesus' word, the
Bible. As I share them with you, I hope
that you will listen with your heart, and not
refuse your invitation to the most important
event of your lifetime .... A New Beginning!
Come as you are because I love you.
Come as you are in all thy ways, for I will
Come as you are and I will lead you in path of
Come as you are for I am the potter and you are
the clay and I will shape you and change you.
Come as you are for the tears and suffering, and
things of this world I will take away.
Come my children as you are, for I will never
leave you or forsake you.
Only come as you are and I will show you my
Written by: Anna Arce
Inspired by God.
I shook my head in
disbelief. This couldn't be the right place. After all, I couldn't
possibly be welcome here. I had been given an invitation several
times, by several different people, and I had finally decided to see
what this place was all about. But, this just couldn't be the right
Quickly, I glanced
down at the invitation that I clutched in my hand. I scanned past
the words, "Come as you are. No jacket required" and found
the location. Yes, I was at the right place. I peered through the
window again and saw a room of people whose faces seemed to glow
with joy. All were neatly dressed, adorned in fine garments and
appeared strangely clean as they dined at this exquisite restaurant.
Ashamed, I looked
down at my own tattered and torn clothing, covered in stains. I was
dirty, in fact, filthy. A foul smell seemed to consume me and I
couldn't shake the grime that clung to my body. As I turned around
to leave, the words from the invitation seemed to leap out at
me..."Come as you are. No jacket required."
I decided to give
it a shot. Mustering up every bit of courage I could find, I opened
the door to this restaurant and walked up to a man standing behind a
podium. "Your name, sir?" he asked me with a smile.
Brown," I mumbled without looking up. I thrust my hands deep
into my pockets, hoping to conceal their stains.
He didn't seem to
notice the filth that I was covered in and he continued, "Very
good, sir. A table is reserved in your name. Would you like to be
I couldn't believe
what I heard! A grin broke out on my face and I said, "Yes, of
He led me to a
table and, sure enough, there was a placard with my name written on
it in a deep, dark red. As I browsed over a menu, I saw many
delightful items listed. There were things like, "peace,"
"joy," "blessings," "confidence,"
"assurance," "hope," "love,"
"faith," and "mercy." I realized that this was
no ordinary restaurant! I flipped the menu back to the front in
order to see where I was at..."God's Grace," was the name
of this place.
The man returned and
said, "I recommend the 'Special of the Day'. With it you are
entitled to heaping portions of everything on this menu."
You've got to be
kidding! I thought to myself. You mean, I can have ALL of this!
"What is the 'Special of the Day'?" I asked with
excitement ringing in my voice.
was his reply.
it," I practically cried out.
Then, as quickly as I
made that statement, the joy left my body. A sick painful ache
jerked through my stomach and tears filled my eyes. Between my sobs
I said... "Mister, look at me. I'm dirty and nasty. I am
unclean and unworthy of such things. I'd love to have all of this,
but, but, I just can't afford it."
Undaunted, the man
smiled again. "Sir, your check has already been taken care of
by that Gentleman over there," he said as he pointed to the
front of the room. "His name is Jesus."
Turning, I saw a man
whose very presence seemed to light the room. He was almost too much
to look at. I found myself walking towards Him and in a shaking
voice I whispered, "Sir, I'll wash the dishes or sweep the
floors or take out the trash. I'll do anything I can do to repay You
for all this."
He opened His arms
and said with a smile, "Son, all of this is yours if you just
come unto me. Ask me to clean you up and I will. Ask me to allow you
to feast at my table and you will eat. Remember, the table is
reserved in your name. All you must do is accept this gift that I
Astonished, I fell
at his feet and said, "Please, Jesus. Please clean up my life.
Please change me and sit me at your table and give me this new
Immediately, I heard
the words, "It is finished." I looked down and white robes
adorned my squeaky clean body. Something strange and wonderful had
happened. I felt new, like a weight had been lifted and I found
myself seated at His table. "The 'Special of the Day' has been
served," the Lord said to me.
We sat and talked
for a great while and I so enjoyed the time that I spent with Him.
He told me, me of all people, that He would like for me to come back
as often as I liked for another helping from God's Grace. He made it
clear that He wanted me to spend as much time with Him as possible.
As it drew near
time for me to go back outside into the "real world," He
whispered to me softly, "And Lo, I am with you always."
And then, He said something to me that I will never forget. He
said... "My child, do you see these empty tables throughout
"Yes, Lord. I
see them. What do they mean?" I replied.
reserved tables...but the individuals whose names are on each
placard have not accepted their invitation to dine. Would you be so
kind as to hand out these invitations to those who have not joined
us as yet?" Jesus asked.
course," I said with excitement as I picked up the invitations.
therefore into all nations," He said as I turned to leave.
I walked into God's
Grace dirty and hungry. Stained in sin. My righteousness as filthy
rags. And Jesus cleaned me up. I walked out a brand new man...robed
in white, His righteousness. And so, I'll keep my promise to my
Lord. I'll go. I'll spread the Word. I'll share the Gospel... I'll
hand out the invitations. And I'll start with you.
Have you been to
God's Grace? There's a table reserved in your name, and here's your
"Come as you are. No jacket required."
by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it
is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast."