Tag Archives: salvation

What Really Matters?

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For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life.  Who is sufficient for these things?  For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God’s word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ.        2 Corinthians 2:15-17

Watching the news can be traumatizing these days.  It seems the world is falling apart and no one has control over anything.  There is conflict everywhere.  War overseas, tensions amongst Americans, divorce between parents, millennials not knowing when adulthood begins, sexual confusion tearing at the seams of the fabric of creation, growing numbers of cases of disease and outright moral conflict between right and wrong.  Where in the world do we find peace and hope?  Is there any?

If you haven’t noticed, I have been out of the loop lately.  My blogging has been a bit sparse.  I blame it on quite a number of things, from loss, to health, to not knowing what to say in times of constant turmoil.  I mean, what I want to say and what I should say are not in conjunction with one another and finding the right words were not coming as easily as they normally do.  That is however, until today.  Well, that’s only partially true…I started stirring with “blogger” thoughts last week, today is the first day I’ve had time to sit down and put them on the board.

A friend and I began doing a book study together.  Something that we both were excited to start for a few months.  We finally began and I have to say, I am thrilled.  Anything that can bring me closer to the Lord in study is a joy.  It gets me out of the “what is happening in this world” mentality, and takes me to the “thank you Lord for saving me out of this world” mentality.  Those little reminders to thank the Lord for life, grace, and eternal salvation bring a smile to my face, hope in my thoughts, stamina to continue on and keep me grounded in purpose.

And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold.  But the one who endures to the end will be saved. Matthew 24:12-13

I often wonder what people think of when they consider their lives.  I mean, do they look at their lives and thank the Lord for what they have and for their future?  Or do they look at their lives and say, “I’m just not rich enough, happy enough, or wise enough so I need to make changes… so look out world here I come.  I don’t care who is in my way or who I destroy in the  mean time.  After all, my life is my life and I need to be happy and have it all.”  Crazy as that may sound, in my eyes, that is what I see in people when I look around.  I see it in relationships, in groups, in family, on TV and in movies.  I have wept, prayed, prayed some more and at times come close to shutting down, wanting to turn off all social media, electronics and lock the door from the world.   Right or wrong, it saddens me that the world is so brutal to human emotion.  That being said, as I write this it’s noticed that what was just said has one considering “I” and “me”.  This life isn’t about “me”, it’s about something greater than that.

The sadness I have felt over these issues however, has been overshadowed with joy in the last few weeks.  Why?  Well, its due to the simple fact that I am reminded,

For by grace you have been saved through faith.   And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.   Ephesians 2:8-10

In our study  we are reading about our purpose in this life.  Why were we created to be saved?  The answers are always present and sometimes it takes the nudge of the Lord during these times of distress to remind us of His plan for us and how we should be living.  Remembering this, takes the “me” out of living.

Am I speaking about you?  Do you have the hope needed to continue on in this life?  Consider it.  Consider where you are.  Consider how you are living.  Consider what could be holy vs. worldly.

Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, who saved us not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, and which now has been manifested through the appearing our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought  life and immortality to light through the gospel…  2 Timothy 8-11

Does suffering for the gospel mean that we are unhappy?  No.  We don’t have the need for the fancy car, the perfect spouse, the perfect house, perfect job, perfect health, etc. etc.  Looking at the fact that God called his people out of a life of sin brings joy to believers, and a peace that nothing can compare to.  Just as I said above, we may get sad over the thought of the destruction of this world that was created so beautifully by God, yet we have joy knowing that there is so much more.

Prayerfully, my thoughts will continue to swell with blog worthy writing and a sweeping message of hope will be captured for others to embrace.   Have a blessed week/weekend and enjoy the sun this summer day.

Rejected or Rejoicing?

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Wearily pulling myself out of self loathing yesterday, I had the opportunity to visit with a friend whom is no longer able to walk and is finishing out her young life knowing that she is fading away into the arms of her savior.  I was so blessed and refreshed by the visit, that I had to ask God’s forgiveness for the moments prior to our time together.   After all, I  had been questioning what good was going to come of such a visit when I was so tired from battling my pneumonia for the last 3 weeks.  I did not feel like smiling, I just wanted to sleep and rest in the comfort of my living room.  Venturing out into the cold was not appealing, even though I had an errand I had to run prior to the visit.  I pondered forgoing the errand and the visit.   It’s amazing how God uses times like those to touch our inner being, reminding us that there is so much to do and so little time for the joy of the Lord to be shared with others.  I came home physically tired, yet spiritually uplifted.   My original intention of visiting my friend was because I thought I was going to bless her, yet, God blessed me instead with a sustainable energy that kept me going for the rest of the night and He reminded me of the grace of humility.

There is no place for self loathing or a self serving attitude for Christians who know Him.

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.  Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.  You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.  I will be found by you declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you , declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.”      Jeremiah 29:11-14

For the last year, life has had it’s ups and downs with my diagnosis of Lyme Disease.  The loneliness of having a physical disability is only known by those who are also afflicted with such circumstances.  For this reason, I was determined that when I felt better, I was going to start weekly visits with my friend whom I had neglected prior to my own illness.   I remember having the need to visit her, however, I am embarrassed to admit that time was filled with so many other things to do that I never made the time.  I was just too busy, plain and simple.  Isn’t that so like our society today?  We spend so much time doing so many great things that have such little value.  Yet the things that mean so much, we brush aside thinking they are not of great significance.

I challenge you reader to consider your own life and ask yourself this question, “What have I done today that was not for my own gratification?”  If you ask yourself that question and find that you cannot come up with one thing, I challenge you to step out of your comfort zone and give it a try.  If you are only doing for others so that you will benefit, you have not challenged yourself enough.  Try taking time out of your day to do something for someone that will not have anything to do with benefiting yourself.   Let me explain.  If you partake on a mercy mission for someone else, make sure you are not thinking that it’s for your own benefit or self glorification that you are doing it.   True acts of kindness, love and humility do not come from knowledge, they come from the heart.  Outpouring unconditionally!

Last year there were several wonderful friends who took time out of their days to sit with me or write to me.  The fact that they thought of me and prayed for me was enough, but these women actually took the time out of their busy lives to let me know.  Unconditionally!  From guilt free quilting to those friday pizza nights where I would otherwise have sat here alone.  From e-cards of inspiration to the hand written notes mailed through the post, I was blessed by the giving of their time.  I can only hope that they too felt blessed by the love they shared with this lonely Christian in her time of need for fellowship.

My friend and I sat together yesterday and began reading a book.  Although my friend can no longer read and I am actually doing the reading, our discussions during and afterward were wonderful.  We began the first week with the first two chapters of the book and studying Psalm 13.

How long, O LORD?  Will you forget me forever?  How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day?  How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?  

Consider and answer me, O LORD my God; light up my eyes, lest I sleep and the sleep of death, lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him,” lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken.

But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.  I will sing to the LORD, because he has dealt bountifully with me.   Psalm 13

We both discussed how blessed we are knowing that we had the fellowship with one another, and the fellowship of the Lord Jesus Christ.  David, in writing this psalm, felt alone and abandoned by God, yet he trusted in His love.  He knew God was there or he would not have called out to him to begin with, but he cried out for the reassurance.   He just longed for the fellowship and comfort of the Lord to help with the loneliness  that was overtaking his physical being.  Is this any different than how we feel when we are going through trials?  As Christians we know God is ever present and we can trust in His love, yet we long for that physical fellowship.  It’s in our human nature to have that need, and yet, so many are left in their lonely state.

In both of my studies this week, the same question came up, “Why is it so important to establish a right view of God before adversity hits?”  (CBS JOB commentary)   Both my friend and I agree that in our circumstances we could not get through all that humanity and disease throws at us if we did not have trust in the Lord and trust in salvation.  In saying that, it does not mean we will not have tears and that we will not be discouraged at our current situation.  Just as David was discouraged, he still trusted in “steadfast love” which in turn allowed him to “rejoice in salvation”.   Rejoice…

Rejoicing in the everlasting love of a creator who has chosen us to be a part of his kingdom.  Rejoicing in his blessings of family and fellowship with other like minded brothers and sisters who will share in an eternal life.  Rejoicing in the blessing of vision to see that our sorrows are short lived in this world.  Rejoicing that Jesus Christ took upon himself the sins of mankind to save.  Rejoicing in the Hope and Faith of healing and God’s everlasting care in our lives on this earth.  Rejoicing in knowing Him!

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.  For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”    Romans 1:16-17