Easter · eternal · salvation

Our Best Efforts

Yesterday was a challenging day in my 4’9″ world!  When I ran into the grocery to buy a container of sour cream, it was inside a cooler refrigerator on the TOP shelf…and the front of the box was empty!  That meant I had to R-E-A-C-H on my tip toes, pull the box forward and hope that a sour cream container in the back would slide into my hand.

It worked!

Then on to look at some fresh flowers.  On the TOP shelf was a pot of greenery I was interested in.  Using my resourceful short-person-skills, I got as tall as I could, pulled the green stem towards me and then the rest of the pot followed behind.  Mission accomplished.

I left the store and moved on to do some decorating at church.  When I got up to the storage place where our spring wreaths were hung, they were hanging as high as they could be, dangling from nails like a loose  tooth in a kindergartner’s mouth. No amount of stretching was going to get those wreaths down!  I looked around me for something long, and found a piece of metal  that I knew would do the trick.  I slid the metal under the top part of the wreath, lifted it and then lowered it into my waiting hands.

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As I thought back to each of those scenarios, I remembered that I had been offered help in each of those situations, but it came at the wrong time.  This short lady had already made her move and gotten the job taken care of!

All these efforts reminded me of a truth connected to Good Friday.  This is a day that reminds us of the death of Christ on the cross.  He died to take our place, paying in full the payment due our sins.  Before He died he uttered,

It is finished.

You see, He did everything necessary for us to be forgiven and to give to us eternal life.  Nothing is left for us to complete in order to gain salvation.  It was all done on the cross by the Lord Jesus.

Just as I refused the help from those who offered to assist me, people often ignore Christ’s perfect solution to their sin problem.  Many ignore His plea to take care of their sin debt, and reach up on tip toes for their best efforts – good works, humanitarian deeds or kind acts, thinking that will allow them to reach up to God’s high standard.  But their efforts are far less fruitful than a short person’s attempts to grasp out-of-reach items.  They will never attain God’s standard because it is holiness.  Only Christ was without sin.  He alone could reach what is necessary for us to be forgiven.  And when He steps in, He is always on time.

If you’ve never accepted His sacrifice for your sin, stop trying to step in with your best efforts, and realize that He’s done it all.  Your salvation is complete.  All you have to do is receive what has been accomplished on your behalf by acknowledging your sinfulness, and your need for Christ. Then turn your back on your sin and receive Him. 

Because of Him salvation is at hand!

Rejoicing in Good Friday and Easter morning,

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Christian Life · eternal · Heaven

He’s Coming! How Will He Find Us?

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When my husband and I were dating, we lived several hours apart and the loneliness for him was prevalent every day!  But then an occasional weekend would come up that would allow him to be able to travel home to visit with me for a day and half, and my heart would literally be in my throat as I waited and watched for his Chevy Impala to come barreling down the lane to my home!

I kept my eyes peeled out the window, but only after I had prepared myself to greet him.  I made sure I was cleaned up  and ready for his arrival.  I also straightened up the living room for his visit.  I knew he was on his way, and I had to have everything ready!

Because of my faith in Jesus Christ, I have a promise that Christ is coming again to take His children to heaven.  Christ made the promise the He would return again.  We’re waiting for the shout, the voice and the trump of God.  We also know that no one knows when He will return.  He is coming like a thief in the night.  So what does that mean for us as His followers?  It means we must be ready.  We won’t have time when He comes to go get ourselves clean and fit to meet Him.

I heard a story this week that I’ll share not word for word, but you’ll get the point.  There was a family who learned that their son was coming home.  He’d been gone a long time and the family was anxiously expecting his return.  But on the day of his arrival, the family was found squabbling and fighting.  It seems that they were having a disagreement about how the son was coming – one said by plane, another by train, and someone else said he was bringing others with him.  When he returned, he found them in this quarreling state.  Is that how we want the Lord to find us when He comes?  Will all our trivialities really matter on that Day?  I hardly think so.

So, how will He find us if He were to come in fifteen minutes?

  • Will we have clean hearts?
  • Will we be doing His work at that moment?
  • Will we have others that are going to heaven with us because we shared the Gospel with them?
  • Will we be happy to see Him?

Or

  • Will we be squabbling over the things that others are doing that we don’t like?
  • Will we have bitter spirits?
  • Will we hang our heads because we got busy doing Satan’s work instead of Christ’s?

I John 3:2,3 says,

Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.
And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.

Just like I got cleaned up when I knew my boyfriend was going to be coming, if we have the assurance of salvation, God’s Word says we’ll be making sure we’re clean.  Not because we’re afraid we won’t go to heaven, but because we ARE His child and we know He’s on His way!  We don’t want to be ashamed at His coming.

Friend, are you indeed God’s child?  Have you taken Christ as your Savior because you realize you are a sinner separated from a holy God?  All you need to do is receive the gift of eternal life through the person of Christ.  Tell Him you know you’re a sinner and that  you want to receive His gift of salvation that He purchased through His death, on the cross.

Are you looking for Christ to return today?  He could come…oh I pray He will come today!

Will I be ready and clean?  Will you?

Lovingly,

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Christian Life · Encouragement · eternal · trials

Change Your View

wp-1516731367120-1058527903.jpgBecause my husband had a birthday this week, we took a couple of days to go on a trip to Hot Springs, Virginia to celebrate!  Oh, the blessing this change of view has given our busy lives! We loved the gorgeous setting of the Homestead Resort, sitting in sun-filled lobbies, window seats, and also the love seat in our own room.  The change of view has been a blessing.

There are times that our spiritual eyes need a change of view, too.  Discouragements come to all of us.  It’s part of living in a sinful world with sinful words, responses and actions.  Sometimes those all belong to our own heart; sometimes they come from others.  I’m never surprised at my own wrong actions/reactions, but though I shouldn’t be surprised when it comes from others (because others are sinners, just like me), it does come as a blow.

Have you been there?

Someone does or says something that you just weren’t expectitng and it’s a hard pill to swallow.  But as a believer of the Lord Jesus Christ, we are reminded that we don’t wrestle with flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers, against rulers of the darkness of this world.  My enemy is deeper than the person from whom the blow came. Ephesians 6 reminds of this truth. It’s no surprise to me that after having recently hearing my husband preach on these verses, and after having taught this passage afterwards in my Adult Bible Fellowship, that soon after the battle became very apparent.  Then, oh, the wrestling in my own heart through the night!  The “Why?”  “How could they” thoughts pierced my sleep, leaving me to toss and turn in the darkness of the room and also in my mind.

But when morning came, I went to that very passage in Ephesians 6 and repeated the armor that I wear –

  • The Belt of Truth – What Truth would I meditate on today?
  • The Breastplate of Righteousness – How would I respond towards this that would show a righteous heart?
  • Feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel of Peace – Would I be ready today to share the Gospel, or will I dwell on the war around me instead?
  • The Shield of Faith – What promises of God’s Word could I claim today?
  • The Helmet of Salvation – Will I remember all I am in Christ because I’m His child?  How will this change the way I respond?
  • The Sword of the Spirit – What verses will I meditate on to remind myself (and my enemy, Satan) of the victory Christ has won for me? 

Choosing to meditate on that passage gave me a whole different view!  It was like the sunshine that was pouring into the library in which I was blessed to sit! It refreshed me in the battle because I was dressed properly to fight it!

If discouragement is your view today, do yourself the blessing of changing your view to all that is yours if you are a child of God.  It will give you an eternal perspective that will equip you to live in victory today!

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children · eternal · evangelism · Family life · Heaven · Motherhood · salvation

What’s Wrong With With Waiting Until a Child Is Older To Be Saved?

“My five year-old has been asking us so many questions about salvation, and about asking Jesus to forgive their sins, but we’re putting him off right now, because we want to make sure he’s ready.”

I have heard that statement so many times and I can’t tell you how it saddens my heart.  I understand that the parent is fearful that the child won’t remember what he has done, and may have doubts later on, but as I mentioned in an earlier post here, I don’t have a problem with that at all.  Read the post to understand why.

However, I have three reasons why I believe it IS right to allow a child to pray to be saved when they bring up the need to you.

  1. Jesus said, Suffer the children to come unto me and forbid them not. Can it get any clearer?  Don’t hinder them from coming to Christ!  Bring them!  Encourage them to do so. You will be obeying Christ’s command.
  2. A child’s heart is soft when they ask to be saved, but it will harden as they get older.  Why run the risk of them turning away from the Lord?  What a tragedy it would be for a parent to put a child off who is asking to be saved, and then the becomes desensitized towards their spiritual need!
  3. The sooner a person comes to Christ the longer they have to serve Him!

Image result for animation of a long and short candle

Think of two candles, one very long and the other very short.  The long candle represents a child and the short, an elderly person.  Often when we have an older person saved in a service we have a huge time of rejoicing, which is definitely worthy of joy to see this heart finally yielded to Christ!  But when a little child gets saved, it’s often given a little nod.  But think of those two candles.  That short candle, representing the older person only has a little time left to “burn” for Christ.  The child, however, has their whole life to make a difference for the Lord in this world!  That reason in itself should make us realize the urgency in bringing little ones to the Savior!

I trust this helps every adult who can influence a child to have a heart for little ones coming while they’re young!  Let’s obey Christ’s command, do it while their heart is soft, so they can use their whole life to serve God!

If you know a parent with little ones who might need this encouragement, feel free to share this article on your Facebook account or Twitter.

Lovingly,

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Christian Life · Christian love · eternal · evangelism · Heaven · joy · Life · obedience

Bringing People To Jesus

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I’m one of those strange people who enjoy grocery shopping.  I love to walk the aisles and see new items and also find the best deals on the things I’ve written on my list.  Sometimes, though, it can be difficult when you’re trying to find something you don’t usually buy.

Such was the case this week when I went looking for Gluten Free tortillas.  Would they be in the Organic section?  No.  How about the Ethnic food aisle?  Not there.  An employee at the Kroger store where I was shopping must’ve seen my desperate searching and came to ask me if I was finding everything I needed.  I explained that I was looking for Gluten-free tortillas, to which she said,

“I think they’re over in the dairy (I would’ve never looked there!).  Follow me and I’ll take you there.”

I told her she could just point me in the right direction, but she insisted that she was happy to walk over with me to be sure they were really there.

As my cart and I shadowed her steps across the store, the Lord brought to my mind that this is exactly how my life should tell others of Christ!  It’s not enough to just give an explanation of who He is and what He did!  They need someone (me) to say, “Follow me and I’ll show you where you’ll find Him!”

How and when does that happen since He’s not simply on the other side of the building?

  • At home –  I engage in people’s lives and have a hospitable heart so that I can invite others into my home where I can share the Gospel.
  • In my neighborhood – I invite my neighbors to my church and church activities.
  • In my social contacts – I give them a Gospel tract and a testimony of God’s goodness to all of us.
  • At church – I engage in conversation with visitors at church and I look for a opportunity to ask them about their relationship with Christ.
  • At the grocery store, bank, doctor’s office – I learn the names of the people who work there and build relationships so that I can share the Gospel.

It’s such a privilege to share Jesus with others.  Why? Our lives are empty and searching for something and He is the answer!  He came to die for the sins of the entire world, yet each person individually.  He came to take our place on the cross.  He took the punishment that should have been ours so that we could have a relationship with God and go to heaven when we die. He’s the only way to heaven.   Having a relationship with God now makes life’s trials have purpose, and makes this life here abundant and purposeful!   This is a message that every person needs to hear, and it has to come from people who know the Truth!

I love Kroger for lots of reasons, but their personal touch is one thing that always stands out when I’m there.  As a believer in Jesus Christ, others should constantly be receiving a personal invitation from me to come to my Savior.  It happens when I invite them into my life and ask them to follow me.  “Oh, Lord, open my life and my lips to bring others to You!”

It’s my duty, but it’s also my highest privilege!

I struggle with this – I really do, but I so want to bring people to my Savior!  Are you inviting others to follow you so you could take them to Jesus? How are you accomplishing that?

Lovingly,

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eternal · Family life · home · Husband · joy · Marriage · memories · Refreshment · refreshment at home · Refreshment in marriage · Speech

Ten Stress-Reducers for Marriage

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For my Family Friday post today, I’m going to share my husband’s great thoughts from his message series of Putting Hope in Your Marriage.  These are practical for every marriage – stress or no stress!

  1. Refresh daily with God’s Word.  Only His Word can help YOU be what you need to be.
  2. Always put your spouse first.  This requires humility…see point #1!
  3. Build together time into your schedule.  If you don’t put it in, it likely won’t happen.
  4. Learn to say “NO.” This means you’re saying, “Yes” to more important things!
  5. Cut out ministries that are burdensome and stale.  If you’re plugging away at a ministry at church with no heart, it’s better to give it up and get refreshed.  This will also allow you time to pour into your marriage, which is your FIRST ministry!
  6. Serve together!  Aquila and Priscilla served as a husband/wife team.  Where could you serve with your spouse rather than away from him?
  7. Communicate clearly and respectfully. Don’t use your words to punish!
  8. Plan ahead. The anticipation of a fun date or time together is half the fun to me!  If you plan it ahead of time, it will help you get through the stress-filled days of life!
  9. Be “touchy.” Hold hands, hug, love with touch.  It’s amazing what a loving hug will do after a hard time, isn’t it?!
  10. Trust God.  That means trust Him together.  Stop together and pray about that stress.  Read a passage of Scripture to your husband that encouraged your heart in the midst of your difficult day.

Thank the Lord for a marriage that can give one another hope in stressful times!  Add some encouragement to your spouse today!

I’m excitedly heading to Michigan today for a Ladies’ Retreat!  It’s cold and snowy up there, but I’m looking so forward to sharing time in God’s Word together!  His Word is like an oasis in the midst of a blizzard, but I’m packing lots of warm layers anyway!!!  I pray you have a refreshing weekend!

Refresh your marriage with hope!

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eternal · salvation

I Was The Reason Jesus Suffered

 

judgment-hall

About eight years ago, I got the call most citizens dread – Jury Duty.  Not only was I called in for my turn to serve, I happened to be called in to serve on the Grand Jury.  I wasn’t really sure what my responsibilities would be, but they definitely let us know when we reported in.

One item on our “To-Do” list was to tour the local prisons.  It was pretty creepy, to be honest. Being stared at by inmates wearing orange jumpsuits was a bit unnerving.  But I also realized that our jails are pretty “cushy” in comparison to years ago.  With basketball courts and televisions, I was surprised at what luxuries they really had.

When you visit the Holy Land and walk in the steps of Christ as He was on the way to Calvary to die for the sins of the world, you are shown the judgment halls where He was questioned and tried -nothing like the prison cells I visited!  Even these preliminary places were dismal and frightening.

After His trial, He was taken to Caiaphas’ house where there were cells underground.

No light.

Dampness.

Filth.

Cold.

Solitude.

Here He was beaten and left alone.  Matthew 25:56 reminds us that Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled.

While our group was down in this cell, we sang,

Man of sorrows what a name
for the Son of God, who came
ruined sinners to reclaim:
Hallelujah, what a Savior!

2 Bearing shame and scoffing rude,
in my place condemned he stood,
sealed my pardon with his blood:
Hallelujah, what a Savior!

3 Guilty, helpless, lost were we;
blameless Lamb of God was he,
sacrificed to set us free:
Hallelujah, what a Savior!

4 He was lifted up to die;
“It is finished” was his cry;
now in heaven exalted high:
Hallelujah, what a Savior!

5 When he comes, our glorious King,
all his ransomed home to bring,
then anew this song we’ll sing:
Hallelujah, what a Savior!

To stand and try to sing that song through the emotion of all Christ did for us, was overwhelming, to say the least.  I watched as one man standing near me buried his face in his hands and wept, unashamedly.  I think we all did.  It was so much to take in that Christ endured THIS and much more for me – no, because of me!

I wiped my tears, and we headed out of that cold, damp cell.  I stepped up and out into…

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the beautiful, warm sunshine!  The picture above was my immediate view.  A rose.  I wept again.  I was going free.  I was in the warmth of sunshine.  I could see the beauty of this creation – His creation.  But Jesus, the Rose of Sharon, chose to suffer.  He chose to allow the soldiers to beat Him.  He chose to lay His life down so that I could be free.  Free from sin.  Free from death and hell.

What amazing love!  What a Savior!  How I praise His name.

I’ve shared this before, but I love this song that sums it all up so beautifully…

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Caiaphas’ House

It would all be for naught if we do not receive His sacrifice for our sins.  You must receive His free gift of salvation as the only means to have your sins forgive and to go to heaven.  He did it all. He died for you, my friend.  He loves you.  You, too, were the reason He suffered.

Have you trusted in Christ as your Savior?  When was the last time you really considered all He suffered on your behalf?  When was the last time you thanked Him, really thanked Him for dying on the cross for you?  You’re free if you know Christ; aren’t you GLAD?!

Rejoicing in my Savior,

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