Easter · Eternity · salvation

Why Easter?!

It’s almost here – Easter, my favorite holiday! Without Easter there is no reason to get out of bed. No reason to celebrate a birthday. No reason to hope for anything good to come to this difficult life. No hope for eternal life with God.

The result will be something delicious and beautiful, and you won’t be exhausted!

But there IS Easter! Why? Jesus arose from the dead! He is alive! He conquered death and hell. That means my I can live, truly live in this life, and live eternally. I have trusted in Christ – that His death on the cross was the penalty for my sin. He has rescued me! Oh, what reason to celebrate not just this Sunday, but every day!!

Today on Good Friday, we remember that Jesus died on the cross. We remember His pain and suffering as He hung between the thieves, though He had never sinned. We hear Him cry out in the darkness, “Forgive them, for they know not what they do,” and we know that the word, “them” includes you and me. We crucified Him. We were guilty. We remember that He was buried in a borrowed tomb, and three days later, He arose!

My heart is so thankful that He lives and He gives me purpose for every day! If you don’t have an assurance of eternal life, He loves you, and if you had been the only one born, He would have died just for you. Acknowledge that you are a sinner and put your faith in Him alone. He can rescue you from sin and eternal separation from Him in hell and fill your life with the joy of knowing Him now.

My church, Boones Creek Bible Church is having a Good Friday service today, April 15 at 4:00 in the afternoon. We would love to have you join us. It’s going to be a precious time of remembering His sacrifice on the cross.

Also, if you don’t have a church home, we’d love for you to come to our Easter service at 10:30 Sunday morning.

If you need a great object lesson to share with children about what Jesus’ death on the cross accomplished, you can watch this demonstration I did here on You Tube.

Happy Easter, friends! He lives!

Dealing with hard times · Grandparents · Parenting · salvation

The Perfect Treasure

Walking along the shoreline of the ocean begs for shell-seeking. As you walk along, you are blinded by glimmers of colors pressed into the sand. You hear the crunch of the buried bits under your feet and an inquisitive mind wonders what treasures could be revealed just under their sandalled foot.

We bend down and scour the sand. What are we looking for? The perfect shell. Not one that has been walked upon, like we just did moments before! No, we seek for one that is unbroken; one that is completely whole with nothing missing or cracked. Those finds are rare. They are discovered by the early morning seekers, donned in water boots, standing ankle deep in the ocean’s foam to make their find before the lazy beachcombers awaken.

As I surveyed the beach on a mid-morning walk last week, I saw a shell in all its beauty! It appeared perfect! I snapped a picture to document my perfect find!

As I bent down and inspected the shell, I was reminded of how we also seek perfection in the children that would enter our home. “As long as they’re healthy, that’s all that matters!” we say. And what do we do if we find that there is a problem – a crack, if you will?

  • What if a piece is missing, causing an illness or an unwanted diagnosis later on?
  • What if their make-up is strong-willed and stubborn?
  • What if there are special needs?
  • What happens if there is a learning disability?
  • What if rebellion comes with age and maturity?
  • What ever will we do with the brokenness that displays itself at the time when we are most embarrassed by it?

The truth is that every child is broken. It comes as a result of being born into a sinful, broken world that has put sin in their nature. That “crack” will be seen in each child in different ways and different times, but it’s there. The blessing isn’t from overlooking the imperfection, but acknowledging it, for then we can find the Hope needed to comfort and restore.

That hope is the grace of God that brings salvation. As sure as the ocean’s tide will cover that broken shell on the shoreline, God’s grace will cover our child as they hear the message of the Gospel. Their greatest need isn’t to be “fixed,” but to be saved. If their weakness, brokenness and imperfection will point them to Jesus as the Savior for their sins, would it not be a treasure for which we did not ask?

What about illnesses, weaknesses and deformities and struggles that put hardship on the parents? God’s grace is as deep as the ocean, and it is sufficient for each day’s burdens and struggles. As the grace of God is witnessed by His daily strength to help, His wisdom to know how to move forward, and His provision that supplies for needs, that weakness glorifies the God who made that child and formed them in the womb. Surely He also puts in our hearts that this is not forever. One Day wholeness will come.

As I watch the waves roll in, one at a time, the Lord reminds me that that is how grace is given to us – one need at a time – not before we need it, or less than we need, but when we need it, and in sufficient amounts.

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. II Corinthians 12:9

After careful examination, it turned out that the “perfect shell” I found wasn’t perfect after all. Lovely as they are, I also saw early on that my girls were also broken, just like their parents! Praise God for the saving grace that has been applied to their lives and that is continually working in each of us as we look forward to that day in heaven when we will be like Jesus! That’s when we will see perfection!

Oh, how God’s heart rejoices at those that go looking for the broken! That refers to those that need the Gospel. With whom are we sharing the Good News of Christ?
Are you pouring the Gospel message into your children every day, weaving its message into all of life? As parents, it’s your responsibility!
If you don’t have children in your home, are you teaching the Gospel to your grandchildren or to your friends, neighbors and the people with whom you interact?

Let’s not be looking for what our hearts think we need (perfection) and instead, purposefully look for the brokenness around us that needs the tidal wave of God’s saving grace! There is no greater Treasure!

Christian Life · salvation

Professor or Possessor?

I read about a man who wanted to be a doctor so badly that he decided to impersonate one, and was arrested for doing so! There’s a big difference between someone who says they are something and someone who really is what they claim.

When we read the fourth and fifth chapters of the book of Acts, we read words like, great faith and great power that came over the Christians.  I can just hear their joy as they had all things common and were laying their gifts at the apostles’ feet so that the ministry of the Gospel could press forward. 

How invigorating!  How exciting! 

But in my head, I can almost hear the music of the movie, Jaws beginning to play as Chapter 5 begins.  It’s that eerie music that tells you that something really bad is getting ready to happen.

Sure enough, you turn to chapter 5 and we meet Annanias and Sapphira, a husband and a wife.  The chapter starts with the word, BUT, which tells us that after the joy, fellowship and sacrifice that we read the believers had,  this couple is experiencing something completely different.  What did they experience?  They simply imitate what they saw.

“Oh, others are giving money from land they sold? We will, too!” 

But they connived together to only give part of what they received, but to say that they were giving it ALL. They each came, one at a time and told their lie to Peter.  They were both buried that same day.

Their sin was not that they didn’t give it all – their sin was that they lied about it.  Where did that sin get its root?  In their heart.  Why did they lie?  Because they only professed that they had the same thing these early Christians truly possessed. They didn’t have a true love for God and the risen Savior.

You and I can imitate this dead duo simply by saying with our mouths what is not truly in our heart.  I believe there are many people in the church who profess they are Christians, but they’ve never possessed Christ as their own personal Savior.

We can look at this couple and learn whether or not we are possessors or only professors of a true relationship with Christ  Let’s look at the differences between the two.

  1. Possessors pray.  Professors talk about prayer.  A relationship with the Lord begins with prayer. We confess our need for Christ.  We confess that we are sinful and unable to save ourselves.  We surrender our lives to Him.  People who don’t really know Christ can say a lot about praying, but they don’t have an intimate, close relationship with the Lord so that they are in constant communication with Him.
  2. Possessors give sacrificially.  Professors give sparingly. A true believer realizes that everything he owns came from the Lord, so he opens his hand and gives it back with a thankful, generous heart.  A professor is more concerned about looking like a giver and is fearful of giving away too much, so he gives what he thinks he can afford to give.
  3. Possessors love the fellowship of other believers. Professors isolate themselves. A true believer enjoys the fellowship of the saints.  Time to worship, pray and communicate with other believers invigorates and strengthens him!  A professor gets irritated at the length of time a church service goes.  They complain about “having to pray” in a group.  They can’t wait to get our the door.
  4. Possessors speak out of their own personal witness.  Professors can only say what they have heard someone else say. A true believer has a walk with God that is fresh.  They are constantly learning as they dig into God’s Word.  They share what God taught them today. A professor doesn’t have a continual understanding of the Word of God because He doesn’t have the Holy Spirit in him to teach the Truth.  Therefore, they can only echo things they’ve read or heard from others.
  5. Possessors operate with great grace. Professors operate out of the their flesh. A true believer has God’s grace to be able to give, to pray and to tell others what God has done for them.  A professor has to pull up from their flesh the willing and the doing.  
  6. Possessors have the evidence of spiritual life. Professors show evidence of spiritual death.  True believers produce good works out of the spiritual life – not to gain it, but their works prove their spiritual life.  Professors can only reveal dead works because they are dead people, just as we literally see in Ananias and Sapphira. 

We need to remember that a believer who is out of fellowship with God can imitate an unbeliever.  That means that if we are living with unconfessed sin, we haven’t lost our salvation, but we will look just like the professors that were just described.

I don’t want my “dead corpse” to be my testimony.  I long to live a life that is alive and vibrant, giving, praying, learning, and enjoying fellowship all with great grace! 

Which are you?  A possessor or a professor?  It’s your choice.

Easter · Eternity

Jesus’ Final Words To You

This week my husband pulled out a journal that he wrote in when his father was dying of cancer. On his death bed, my father-in-law spoke to each of us. With ears leaned down, straining and attentive, we wanted to hear every word he said to his family before he died. His words were precious. They were written down so we would not forget.

In John 17, we have Jesus’ final words to His disciples. This was His prayer for them as He was now facing the cross. But He didn’t just pray for those that followed Him during His time on earth, He also mentioned me and every other person who would trust Him and follow Him as their Savior! How amazing is that?!

Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;

Could we miss hearing His precious words? Would we turn away and not lean in to hear what He wanted to tell us before He died? Here’s what He prayed for us in His final hour:

  1. He wanted us to have unity as modeled by the Godhead. The Father and the Son were one. Unity among the Body of Christ is so important. Has the cross helped me to love others, or am I divisive in my spirit? Our love for others proves our love for God.
  2. He wanted us to be one in Christ. This is our position once we are saved – in Christ. We’re not one through church membership, good deeds, or our pastor, but in Christ. Is the cross work of Christ and my identification in Him my only hope of salvation? Nothing else will save me.
  3. He wanted us to be marked by glory. Jesus gave His glory to us through His presence, His Word, and His Spirit. It’s the manifestation of His presence. Can the world tell that I’ve been with the resurrected Christ?
  4. He is anxious to be with us! Jesus greatly desired for His people to be gathered to Him in heaven and to see His glory. Jesus longed for heaven’s completion of all things. Am I longing for heaven where I will be with my resurrected Savior and view His glory face-to-face?
  5. He wanted us to know the indwelling presence of Himself.I in them.” Am I abiding in Christ today?

One of the things my father-in-law said on his deathbed was, “I’m going to miss my family, but I get to see the Man I’ve been preaching about all my life!” It’s normal for us to think about our family members longing to see us, but to think that the Lord Jesus is anxious to see us in heaven is amazing, isn’t it?

Because of Easter, the celebration of our resurrected Savior – we can have the assurance that we can have Christ living in us now simply by putting our trust in Him alone for the forgiveness of our sins. Then, we have the solid assurance that we will see Him in all His glory one day when He brings us home, and we can see His glory by abiding in Him now.

If you’ve never read Jesus’ last words to His followers, or if it’s been a while, you can find them right here. Open your “journal” and be overwhelmed by what He wanted you to know before He died in your place!

Rejoice in His love letter to you,

death · Eternity

Death Is Not the End

Another birthday is approaching. Hmmmm, another year older. I’m pushing closer to the day when this life will be over. I could let myself get down about that, but then I let my mind remember that death is not the end for me! Let me share an illustration regarding this that the Lord recently made clear to me.

One of my daily summer tasks is to water the flower boxes in my upstairs windows. If I fail to get this chore done, it’s very obvious! When I look out the window, the poor impatiens are so withered it seems they will never revive. But I pour the cool water over their droopy heads with hopes they’ll perk back up. A few hours later when I take a peek at them, no longer are they parched! They’re plumped back up and showing off their glorious colors!

I love how God uses nature to remind us of Truth. I Peter 1, His Word says,

For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:

25 But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.

When I look at those droopy blooms, I remember that flesh (people) are like the grass, which refers to all grass, flowers and herbs – they wither, meaning we will die. Each birthday reminds us that not only are we a year older, but we’re a year weaker, a year closer to death. The “glory of man” is the things that we might boast in – our strength, our wealth, our wisdom, our position. It might look great at the moment, but that glory will also fall away at some point. But there is good news that follows this truth!

But the Word of the Lord endures forever! Peter reminds us that this is the Word by which we heard the Gospel! It came through the eternal Scriptures, the Words that will be true forever. This is a beautiful reminder that this also means our salvation that came through the Gospel will also be eternal. There’s no need to worry and wonder if I’m saved forever. We literally have God’s Word on it!

Let’s get a mental picture using my flower boxes again. When I water them, they “come back to life” so to speak. When you and I trust Christ as our Savior because we’ve heard the Gospel (that Jesus came, died for us and rose again, and we receive His gift of eternal life), though our flesh may die, we will live forever. Picture that water (the Gospel of the Word of God) being poured over us, reviving our dead bodies and translating us to heaven! We’ll be more alive there than we ever were here!

When you water your droopy flowers, I trust you’ll be able to rejoice in the fact that if you have received Christ, you will fade from this life, but you’ll live gloriously forever because of the eternal Word that gave you the Gospel!

If you don’t have this solid hope, I’d love for you to read this post or this one that tells you how you can be saved. If you are a believer, who could you “water” with this Truth today? There are people all around us who are dying that need this hope!