Tag Archives: salvation

Jesus is Risen!

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“He is not here; He has risen, just like He said.”  ~  Matthew 28:6

The resurrection of Jesus was prophesied by the prophets of old, but for those alive at the time of its fulfillment, it seemingly took everyone by surprise.

First of all, Jesus didn’t exactly meet their expectations of how he would enter into humanity’s realm.  Following this pattern, his death certainly did not come as they imagined it might unfold.  But it occurred nonetheless…  On God’s terms and meeting heaven’s demands that the sinless Lamb of God would take on the sin of mankind, taking our place on that cruel Cross so that you and I could spend eternity with Him.  Jesus bridged the gap that sin created and that you and I could never repay.  He paid for our ransom!

I am so grateful that God had a plan of redemption!  What love the Father has for us!

Isn’t it wonderful that God’s plan didn’t end on the Cross of Calvary?!

No, death would not have its final say.  Not this time.  For despite the humanity Jesus bore, residing on the inside of Him was Resurrection Power this world had never known!!

“Up from the grave He arose, with a mighty triumph o’er His foes!  He arose!  Hallelujah, Christ arose!”

Through Jesus’ death and resurrection, death was defeated and sin’s curse was broken.  Now, we are free to choose to accept this precious gift of salvation through Jesus Christ.

“I am the way, the truth and the life.  No man comes to the Father but by me.”  ~ John 14:6

Happy Resurrection Day!  Jesus is alive!

 

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It’s Less About Us & More About Him

The message of the Cross is more about Jesus and less about us (in terms of qualifications or assets we may bring to the table).  The central theme of the Cross is God’s overwhelming and extravagant love for humanity. Hinged on that love, Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice was displayed for all of the world.

The compelling truth regarding the Cross is that you or I do not have to be “good” enough, as if that were even possible, to become sons and daughters of God.  In fact, we know that the Bible says that our righteousness (if there’s anything remotely good about us) is equal to that of filthy rags.  Wow.  Way to deflate the human ego.  But it’s true.  I think most of us already know that, if we are honest with ourselves anyway.

No, the message of the Cross is less about us and all about Jesus.  His character is compassionate, loving, kind, good, thoughtful, patient, longsuffering.

“The Lord is compassionate and merciful, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.”  ~ Psalm 103:8

If we can just grasp those attributes and dwell on those for a moment…It’s overwhelming to consider that the Great God of the Universe thinks about you and me … and prays for us daily.  The Bible says He daily makes intercession for us!  (Romans 8:34)  That is a humbling thought right there, my friend.  He has time for me?  Well, the reality is that God transcends time and space.  His reality is not the same as the confines we, humans, operate in.  He is All Powerful and His power knows no limits, no boundaries.  That is something that is difficult for our finite minds to process.  We must simply believe.

The truth is that none of us are qualified to become followers of Jesus Christ.  Equally true, God calls the unqualified.  That right there should be a liberating thought, my friend.  Grace beckons to our soul to receive such an unattainable and unearned gift.  And because of this great gift, we are then able to show others such grace.  Not that we would become hoarders of God’s gift, but a sieve for it to then flow through.

There is room at the Cross for you today.  It doesn’t matter what your past is.  God can rewrite your life story and create a brand new future for you.  That’s what I love so much about God and the redemptive power of the Cross — It is transformational!

If you fully accept God’s gift of grace, it is impossible to remain the same.  Once you’ve accepted God’s love and understand the sacrifice of His Son, it makes you want to change!

The message of the Cross is all about the love of our Heavenly Father, poured out through Jesus Christ, to reconcile a lost world back to Him.  His message is still the same today.  He is Jehovah, “I Am”, the One Who is the Self-Existent One.  He never changes.  His promises never fail.  When we are faithless, He is faithful.  (Psalm 102)

Rather than focus on your own shortcomings, set your eyes on the unchanging character of God through His Word.  When we study God’s Word, it causes things to fall into the proper perspective.  It sheds light on our darkness.  It gives us wisdom to know which path to pursue.

No, we are not the message of the Cross.  We are merely the objects of God’s unending affection.  In that regard, it makes us kind of special.  But, it’s all about Him.  We are God’s creation and He is the Creator.  May we never allow pride to confuse the two.

“God saved you by His grace when you believed.  And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.  Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.  For we are God’s masterpiece.  He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.”  ~ Ephesians 2:8-9  NLT

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It’s Friday but Sunday’s Coming

On Good Friday we observe the death of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, who was crucified on a cruel cross to take away the sins of the world!  That is a transformational truth, my friend!

Because of Adam’s sin in the Garden of Eden, we were all born with a sin nature in need of redemption.  God provided a bridge when He sent Jesus into this lost world, a bridge that would lead us back into full fellowship or right relationship with Him once again.  The gift of grace and redemption is available to all.  In fact, the Bible says in John:

“For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.  God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.” ~ John 3:16-17

Such amazing and lavish love Jesus displayed for mankind as He took on our sins and sickness on Golgotha’s Hill!

There’s a song by Kathryn Scott entitled At the Foot of the Cross that really speaks to me.  It has a line that goes like this:

“At the foot of the Cross where grace and suffering meet…  At the foot of the Cross where I am made complete…Yes, you’ve won my heart.  Now I can trade these ashes in for beauty and wear forgiveness like a crown.  I lay every burden down.”

If you’d like to take a listen –

The sky grew dark in the middle of the afternoon as they crucified the Lamb of God who took away the sins of the world.  They wrapped His body and placed Him in a borrowed tomb, but, ah, the story doesn’t end there!  It’s just the beginning.  For, you see, the tomb is empty.  He is no longer there.  Three days later He would rise again!  Therein lies the hope of humanity, the great hope of the world!!

 “Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.” ~ John 11:25

It’s Friday but Sunday’s coming …

“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” ~ Romans 10:9-10

 

Bonus song:

 

Extra Bonus:  (You won’t regret watching this one!  In fact, it may become one of your favorites!!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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My Neighbor, Joe

Joe is an interesting kind of fella.  He’s in his early 70’s and is a retired federal government employee.  Very smart, but kind of quirky too.  Sadly, Joe’s wife passed away last July and since then, we’ve taken him under our wings of care.  Before her passing, we’d only spoken briefly in our coming and going.  A few days after she passed, he came over to give us a copy of his house keys should anything happen and he began to cry.  There’s nothing quite like watching an almost 7′ man overcome with grief, weep so openly.  We almost cried with him.  It was the beginning of a friendship that grief forged.

They had no children in their nearly fifty years of marriage and only a handful of extended family members.  It’s the saddest thing in the world, I think.  His house is his possession of pride and joy.  They led a very secluded life, not allowing anyone into their bubble.  Now that she’s gone, I can only imagine how lost he must feel.  She was very domineering.  I’m not sure he had a thought to call his own.

We’ve been praying that he will accept Jesus as his personal Lord and Savior.  If you asked him what religion he is, he’d answer Jewish; but he does not practice that faith necessarily.  It’s just the faith he was raised with.  We have all shared Jesus and the plan of salvation with him.

… This leads me up to the other day –

My 16 year old daughter was on the way back home from visiting another neighbor across the street when Joe happened to be outside checking his mail.  He walked over to our driveway where she was and they exchanged greetings.  Then he asked her what book she was holding in her arms.  Well, our other neighbor (such a nice Christian family!) let her borrow a thick Bible Commentary.  (We have about 3 or 4 so I’m not sure why, but it was a nice gesture.)  Joe was curious about this big book and he’s lonely, so he struck up a conversation about it.

I happened to be looking out the living room window and saw the two of them talking for quite a while.  My first thought was, ‘Oh, I hope she doesn’t lay it on too strong witnessing.’  (Because I knew my little evangelist would be sharing Jesus!  We all have such a burden for him.)

My second thought was almost correcting my first thought, ‘Jesus loves him so!’.  Jesus loves Joe so much that He’s extending yet another opportunity to come to know Him in a personal way and spend eternity (whenever that should begin for him) with Him!  Oh, he loves Joe so.

Let me first say how proud I am of my little evangelist.  She really was led by the Holy Spirit because she said how she knew Joe was most familiar with the Old Testament since he is Jewish and that’s what she primarily shared with him.  I thought that was a very smart strategy.  We both prayed that the seed she sowed will take root and bring forth a spiritual harvest.  She just finished up a course on “Bible Doctrines” that was especially helpful in what she shared with him.  Yay, homeschooling!  🙂

Last night, Joe called to check in.  We’ve established a weekly “check in” phone call if we don’t speak in person.  It’s to let us know he’s okay and he appreciates our concern.  Joe was telling my husband how intelligent our daughter is and how much he appreciated speaking with her.  He viewed it as an intellectual discussion, I’m sure, but my prayer is that God will reveal His love to Joe in a real way.  And that Joe will call on Jesus as His Savior.

From every indication, Joe has not experienced much love in his life, outside of his marriage.  He has been touched beyond words by any measure of care or concern that many might overlook.  It is the saddest thing to me to live a life devoid of love.  Perhaps I’ve been more blessed than I ever knew.  For, despite the many trials and tribulations I’ve endured, I’ve also lived a life full of love over my 40+ years.

Would you join me in praying for Joe today?  And all the Joe’s of the world?  Jesus loves them so.

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Blessings & Curses … Choose Life

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The Old Testament is replete with stories of the children of Israel worshipping idols, living in direct opposition to God’s plan and then returning to God once again.  It is a vicious cycle.  Reading the accounts of many hundreds of years can leave one a little befuddled as to why they never seemed to learn their lesson.  Even as Moses was on Mt. Sinai receiving the Ten Commandments inscribed by God, the people were building an idol.  (Exodus 31) What were they thinking?  And what in the world was Aaron, Moses’ right hand man, thinking?

Every word of the Bible is there for a reason and stands as a lesson for the ages.  The sinful plight of man remains today.  It is easy for us to observe and critique how the Israelites, God’s chosen people, failed Him and messed up at every turn.  But the truth is, is that you and I are not that different from the Israelites in that we have the propensity to sin as well.  The option is there.  And many times we take it.  There’s an old saying that goes like this:

“Sin will take you farther than you want to go; keep you longer than you want to stay and cost you more than you want to pay.”

Isn’t that the truth, my friend?  Some choices we have made have cost a great price, much more than we ever dreamed.  They were seemingly harmless decisions at the time, but little did we realize their consequences.

“The pleasures of sin are but for a season, and in the end destruction comes.”

“The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life.”  ~ Romans 6:23

The only thing that can separate you or I from God is sin.  God cannot look on sin.  It is the chasm that disconnects us from the perfect will of God.  We see in John 3:16-18 what His will is:

“This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him.”  (The Message Bible)

God’s will is that all (that’s you and me) would turn to Him and accept His love and plan for our lives.  God’s love is unending, never failing and unconditional.  There is nothing you or I can do to earn His love.  It is a gift.  It is the very essence of Who He is.

There is nothing you or I can do to make God love us any more or any less.  That’s a freeing thought, isn’t it?  There are no hopeless cases with God.  If you think you’ve messed up too badly to accept the gift of His love, think again.  You are not beyond the scope of the grace He offers.  He’s reaching out to you today, friend.

Will you receive God’s love today?  If you’ve already made Jesus the Lord and Savior of your life, will you choose life and blessing in every area of your life today?

“Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!” ~ Deuteronomy 30:19

Read Deuteronomy 28 to see all the benefits of obeying God and choosing life:

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=deuteronomy+28&version=NLT

Blessings and curses … Choose Life.  Choose wisely, my friend, because eternity is hanging in the balance.  Life on this earth is so temporary.  The Bible describes our lives as a mere vapor – here today, gone tomorrow.  Or as a flower in the field which fades quickly.  It’s true.  We think we’re somehow these invincible creatures, but the truth is, our time in this fleshly condition is indeed fading.  We fight it with endless anti-aging treatments, exercise, nutrition (all of which can be good); but the fact remains, this mortal body will die at the appointed time.  It is our souls that will live forever.

“If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved.” ~ Romans 10:9-10  NLT

It is the single most important decision you will ever make in your entire life.  Choose wisely.  Choose life.  Choose the God who took your place so that you may live eternally with Him.  He loves you so, my friend.

Prayer:  “Dear God, please forgive me of all my sins.  I’m turning my back on them today.  Make me new.  I receive Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior this day.  Help me to live for you, I pray.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”

It’s that simple.  Get in the Word of God.  Read and study it.  The Gospel of John is an excellent place to begin:

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+1&version=NLT

It’s also important to get in a Bible believing church that preaches the salvation message loud and clear, and one that can disciple and help you to grow in your walk with the Lord.  Many blessings, my friend!  And, if you’ve just prayed that prayer, welcome to the family of God!

And, if you’ve prayed that prayer before and you’re walking with the Lord, I challenge you to choose life every day so that you will reap all the blessings God has for you! (Deut. 28)

Lastly, if you’re not sure about anything you’ve read here and this is all completely new to you, I challenge you to give God a try.  Talk to him like you would a friend sitting next to you.  Ask Him to make Himself real to you.  I know He will.  He loves you so.

“Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.  Little ones to Him belong. They are weak but He is strong.  Yes, Jesus loves me.  Yes, Jesus loves me.  Yes, Jesus loves me, for the Bible tells me so.” ~ Anna Bartlett Warner, 1860

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