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,

8e63c63ac0bc189bf1c68b03c74dbb5f (1)

When Your Life Bumps Into Sin

bumper cars

Bumper cars are one of the carnival rides at Dollywood’s amusement park near us.  The fun of the ride is doing exactly what its name says – bumping – into another car, into the walls and the poles around the structure.  The cars are equipped with soft bumpers so the “crashes” don’t hurt you or anything you hit (Wouldn’t that be helpful at those drive-in’s where scratches and bumps are inevitable?!). Anyway…

It’s fun to go in with a group and get an eye on your target car and head for them as quickly as that little electronic car will let you travel.  Their car goes reeling and you speed off, laughing that you got the first “hit!”

That fun scene isn’t so pleasant when the “bumping” happens when your life crashes into a situation that is sinful.  I recently had an alarming experience when I slammed right into a lifestyle that is not only different from anything I’ve ever been close to, but one that the Bible renounces.  I didn’t know how to respond.  I was blown away.  I was burdened for those involved.  And honestly, I felt offended by the bruise it gave my soul.

For days I could not shake the disturbance this scene caused.  I prayed about it.  I pondered my response, and then I turned to God’s Word and dug in, looking for what God wanted me to learn.  If I wanted to know how believers are to respond when their life bumps into sinful situations, I needed to be reminded of how Jesus responded.  I turned to John, Chapters 2 and 4.

In John 2 we find Jesus overturning the tables of the money-changers in the Temple.

In John 4 Jesus meets the Woman at the well – the lady who had been married multiple times, and was now living with a man to whom she was not married.

The way He responded to the sins of both of these people taught me how He expects me to respond as well.

When my life bumps into sinners ~

  1. Consider the location
    • At church – Sin shouldn’t be practiced in this place.  The money-changer was selling in the Temple, the place where worship and the teaching of God’s Word was to occur.
    • In the world – We should expect it!  There’s no reason to be surprised by sin here; these dear people don’t know the Redeemer (yet!).
  2. Consider the person
    • Money-Changers sold for a religious occasion out of a greedy heart.  They were making merchandise of this Holy custom.
    • The Samaritan woman married five times to fill a void in her life.  She knew no better!
  3. Consider the need
    • The Money-Changers were making a living by abusing the Passover.
    • The Samaritan Woman lived this way due to her sinful nature.  She didn’t know better (yet!).

Application for you and me:

  • Sin is never to be overlooked, ignored or tolerated.  That sin that I bumped into was in the world, a place where I shouldn’t be surprised at seeing it, but that doesn’t mean I can accept it – it’s still an offence against a holy God.
  • Sin should be answered through the Scripture.  We mustn’t  argue or debate the truth – we share it with the love that Christ showed the Samaritan Woman.  We engage in the sinner’s life and ask good questions that will give us the opportunity to give God’s Word as the answer their hungry hearts are seeking.
  • Sinners should be introduced to Jesus – John 4:29
  • Share and live the Truth, then allow sinners to make up their own mind – to turn to Jesus or not. John 4:42
  • My response – 
    • In the world:
      • Love the sinner
      • Point to Jesus
      • Live out the life of a believer
      • Go my way looking for other sinners.
    • In the church:
      • Remember your own sin first!   If it were not for God’s grace, we, too, could be overcome with sin.
      • With a humble heart, point out the sin to those that claim Christ.
      • Use God’s Word, not my standard.
      • Ask questions.
      • Pray for change and then let the Holy Spirit do the convicting (we cannot change anyone).

Though I didn’t especially enjoy the bumper car experience when I banged up against sin in the world, I’m so thankful for what God taught me after the crash!  I pray that my response will be biblical, both in the world and in my church from here on out.

Oh, and if I ever see you across the arena of the Bumper Car course, look out!Image result for emoji images

 

Have you struggled with how to respond to blatant sin in the world?  How about at church?

Denise Signature 150 px

The Resale Value of Your Christian Life

car

After over 200,000 miles on the road, even a favorite automobile has to be laid to rest and replaced with newer wheels, a stronger engine and less numbers on the odometer.  That is the story of our dearly loved and used Toyota Highlander.  It served us well, but there were issues that needed to be addressed – and so as we prayed, we began looking for its replacement.

No matter what we chose, any car we sat in was definitely going to be an improvement. We would never choose one with more miles than our Toyota.  The upholstery would be newer and the accessories in the dashboard would surely be an upgrade, maybe even including a back-up camera or navigational system!  But the blessing was that Toyota Highlanders seem to hold their value and have a good resale.  So, we had planned to trade the car in, which would, of course, help us purchase a car that was a newer/better model.

When most people shop for a car, they’re looking for the real deal – something that will be dependable and road-worthy.    However, if I’ve learned anything, I have come to understand the importance of buying one that has good resale value (I’m a typical girl-y girl who usually goes for what looks good! I’m learning!!).  Resale is really important in the long-run.  If others want what you own, it will profit you and them!

That is also true in the life of a genuine Christian –  a person who has put their complete trust in the cross-work of Christ on behalf of their sins.  A Christian should be like a “New model” of the “old” sinner they were.  Like that old car, they have gotten an upgrade!  Old things are passed away and all things are become new!

People will look at that kind of Christian and want what they have because:

  •  They don’t do the things they used to do.  Their motivation is eternal rather than temporal.  Their longing is for a heavenly reward, rather than the praise of men.
  • They don’t grind away at their job, complaining and grunting their way through their day!  They work hard.  They serve others with a smile and a sweet spirit.
  • They have purpose now – they’re living with the Holy Spirit of God inside them, and longing to be more like their Savior every day they live!
  • They’re constantly being changed by the conviction of the Spirit of God.  Though they fall, they will rise up and keep going, with God’s help.
  • Their life has purpose and meaning.  Even though the tears may fall in times of trial, they have an inner peace, because they know the One Who is triumphant over sin, death and the grave.

A true believer who lives out the Christian life makes others want what they have!

Does that describe you?  Can the world tell the difference between you and an unsaved person?  There are many Christians “on the lot” that are just your standard, no-frills-added believers.  They “got saved one day” but they:

  • Don’t tell others about Jesus, or about their own salvation.
  • Don’t live out the Gospel in their every day life.
    They fail to ~

    • Love people – especially the “hard to love”
    • Forgive those who hurt them
    • Serve as Christ did
  • Don’t separate from the world.
    • They do what everyone else does.
    • They succumb to peer pressures and the World’s philosophy.
    • They look and act like everyone else.
      • This doesn’t mean you have to wear culottes and tennis shoes!  Nor does it mean you can be careless about necklines and hemlines.
      • If the world says ballgames are on Sunday, they go!  If teams have practice on Sunday, they practice.  If they’re too tired to attend services, they listen to their flesh instead of depending on the Spirit to help them.
  • Their lives look just like everyone else on their street.

Friends, I’m not talking about us being perfect Christians any more than I think we’ll ever find a perfect car.  But what I’m begging us to consider is, Do others want our life as a Christian because they see its value, its power, and its transforming work going on in our lives every day of the week?

It’s time for each of us to be the best model of a Christian so that others will look at us and know that what we have is what their empty hearts need, too!  Let’s live up to the precious resale value that we truly possess!

How are you living out your Christian life today in a way that makes it desirable to others?

Lovingly,

Denise Signature 150 px

Bringing People To Jesus

grocery store.jpg

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,

Denise Signature 150 px

Keep the Appointment

wp-1485980281146.jpg

My husband had an appointment at an eye clinic this week. It had been scheduled for the week before, but he needed to cancel. As a child of God, we know that there are no accidents or coincidences in our life. Our sovereign God directs our steps and puts us where He wants us and at the right time.So, in God’s timing his appointment was rescheduled for yesterday.

While my husband was back having his scheduled laser treatment, my daughter and son-in-law waited with me in the waiting area. I got up to use the ladies’ room, and in the few minutes I was gone, an elderly woman came and sat down beside my daughter. Opening her flip phone, she asked Alli if she could find the number for her son, Ricky, and then call him for her, stating that she had never used a cell phone before. Alli went clicking through the contacts and found the name requested. She hit “dial” and handed the phone to the woman beside her. There was no answer, so a message was left for the recipient stating that she was finished with her appointment and ready for him to pick her up.

My son-in-law sweetly told the woman that she could sit right there by us while she waited. I began chatting with her, wondering if this wasn’t an appointment of another kind – a God-sized, God-ordained one. After some initial friendly conversation, I narrowed the topic to ask if she attended church anywhere. Her answer was curt – firm, “No,” and made me think she was wishing she had chosen to sit elsewhere.

“Who is Jesus to you?” I continued.

“A Savior. A teacher.”

I told her that we had recently visited Israel and saw some places where Jesus would have indeed taught crowds of people.

She nodded, then began to stand.

“I’m going to go wait outside for my son,” she stated.

I reached into my purse, looking for a Gospel tract. I pulled one out, and handed it to my son-in-law, asking if he would take it out to her. He happily did so, and also went through it with her, explaining that Jesus had come to exchange her sin for a relationship with Him. After he gave a brief explanation and invitation to attend our church, he asked if he could pray for her.

“No, I don’t think so”

was her reply as she pulled her coat around her frail, chilled body. She shut out the breeze that blew by, but also the Truth that could give her eternal life.

The blessing of this scenario is that she may have read that tract after going home. The Spirit of God could open her spiritual eyes to make her realize that this meeting was no accident; it was appointed by God. It is the way the Lord gives to every man the opportunity to be saved. There are none shut out, none for whom Jesus did not die. He came to seek every man – For God so loved the world.

I’m so thankful for the opportunity to share. I’m grateful for a son-in-law who has a heart for the lost, and for a sovereign God who makes appointments so that all can be saved.

Have you had an “appointment” in which you heard the Gospel? Did you respond positively? Don’t turn Him away, Friend. Even this simple post is another appointment with the God Who loves you.

Have you been given the blessing of sharing the Truth with others? There’s no greater joy than to share with others how they can have eternal life. And if they reject the message, remember that they’re not rejecting you, they’re rejecting the person of Christ.

Be faithful. Be a witness. Keep the appointment.

With love,

Denise Signature 150 px

Family Friday – A Mom’s Greatest Privilege

bible-a

January is a busy birthday month for our family. Our son-in-law celebrated his a couple weeks ago. My husband’s is on the 22nd.  Today we celebrate my mom’s 80th!!   What a blessing she is with her love for the Lord, her family and her home.She has been a blessing to all that know her, and I am thankful to call her my mom!   Happy Birthday, Mom!

Our oldest daughter, Whitney celebrated a special birthday last week – it was her 28th spiritual birthday. When she was three and a half she trusted Christ as her Savior. You may be thinking, “Three and a half? How could a child that young understand how to be saved?” I don’t know how the Lord works in a sinner’s heart, but I know that He does.

From the moment she was born, we told her of God’s love, of Jesus dying on the cross, that sin was what we say or do that doesn’t please God, etc. One evening after she’d been listening to a Patch the Pirate tape about a little boy trusting Christ as his Savior, she told me she wanted to do that too. I wasn’t sure how much she understood, but after talking with her, I knew she wouldn’t be satisfied until she prayed. Her prayer was simple and sincere, trusting as a child can.

As she grew up I didn’t want to keep reminding her of her decision at that early age. If there was ever a doubt in her heart, I wanted her to feel free to make it sure. However, she never doubted what God did for her on that day!

Our responsibility and privilege as moms is to keep telling our children about the Lord, His love and Christ’s sacrifice for them in terms they can understand. We do it as Deuteronomy 6:4-7 admonishes us – while we sit, when we rise, when we lie down, when we get up. This means all through the day in the activities you find yourself doing, make it a natural part of your conversation to talk about the Lord.

Ask the Lord to help you make spiritual applications using the snow, bath bubbles, gardening – whatever you’re doing. It will be a natural conversation, not something that is forced, and when your child understands and is ready to receive Christ, it will probably be at one of those very informal times. When both of my girls trusted Christ, we were at home, doing things we do each day. The Lord may touch your child’s heart when they are at church, but your home can also be the sanctuary in which they are saved.

One year Whitney wrote me on her spiritual birthday and said,

“Thank you for introducing me to Jesus.”

I read that and wept, as I also do at this moment. Is there any privilege any greater than that? She and her sister are two treasures that by God’s grace I get to take to heaven with me! How sweet eternity will be!

To all you young moms – just keep telling the story. Tell it. Sing it. Share it. You may have another birthday at your house as a result!

How old were you when you got saved?

Denise Signature 150 px

Friday Favorites- Countdown To Christmas

In this week before Christmas, I was blessed to do some things that I LOVE.  Let’s start with the pictures in the left column below:

161222_214702_collage-1.jpg

  1.  My husband and I got to go to Abington, VA to the Barter Theatre to see A Christmas Carol.  Before the play, we went to a favorite restaurant, Rain.  We shared a bowl of their fabulous Butternut Squash Soup, and their Grilled Chicken Sandwich.  Outstanding.
  2. We picked up our tickets and made our way to the play. Abington is a charming town!
  3. This fountain is across the street from the theatre.  What a fun date this was!  My husband, who isn’t a book or movie fan, really wasn’t sure he’d ever read or seen the story we were about to see, so he saw it all through new eyes.  One of the young actors is a member of our church, so it was especially fun to see him on stage!  He did a wonderful job!
  4. Having a daughter who lives in my town and goes to my church is a blessing!  Sometimes our lives are so busy that we don’t get to spend a great deal of time together.  We made a lunch date this week in our little town and caught up on one another’s lives.  She makes me laugh.  She encourages my heart, and she always picks the best desserts for us to share!
    Now the pictures on the right side:
  5.  Liza cuddled up on my lap one morning this week while I was having my Bible study.  That’s a special treat from a normally not-so-cuddly kitty!
  6.  I had a baking day that included making these Cream Cheese Danishes.  The recipe makes four at a time, plenty for us and for sharing.  The dough is soft and sweet and the filling makes them irresistible.  I like to also add a little bit of fruit preserves to the cream cheese filling.  Mmmm, these will be good for breakfast this Christmas weekend!  You could ask my husband who already enjoyed a couple slices when they were warm from the oven.  He washes most all of my baking dishes, so I’m happy to give him a taste of anything I’ve baked!
  7. We went caroling Wednesday night.  It’s a blessing to sing the songs of Christ’s birth and wish the folks at the door a Merry Christmas.  We are singing the Gospel and it doesn’t get any better than that!

1221161129.jpg

The last picture above is a weekly event at my house- Bible Club.  What a blessing to pull out my flannel graph (yes, it’s an antiquated teaching tool, but the kids love it!) and remind the children of the reason for Christmas, starting with the fall of man.  They had fun adding the flannel graph pieces as I told the story.  My heart is full as I pour into my young pupils each week the Truth of God’s Word.  They are like sponges, listening, asking questions and responding with tender hearts.  I thank the Lord for this rich privilege!

Now here we are at the end of the week, just days away from Christmas.  Our whole family will be together, and I’m excited to celebrate with my girls and their husbands! There will be worship together, lots of good food, laughter, more laughter and probably some music!

I pray that your Christmas will be simple, special, and full of talking about and worshiping the Savior.  He came to die for each of us, and that makes every day worth celebrating!

John 1:29 Behold the Lamb of God,

which taketh away the sin of the world.

Merry Christmas!

Denise Signature 150 px