Tag Archive | salvation

With Child-like Faith

With child-like faith and wonder,
My soul hears my Father’s voice,
That emptiness I’d been feeling,
Abba God had for me a choice.
Do I believe He is the I Am?
The Father, Son and Holy Spirit?
Do I believe He willingly died for me?
For sins He didn’t commit?
With child-like faith and wonder,
Will I turn everything over to Him?
Then understand my value,
When life circumstances are grim?
Will I pick up my cross and follow,
Consume His Word like life’s bread?
Being about my Father’s service,
Maturing spiritually as He has lead?
With child-like faith and wonder,
Will I willingly connect my story to His?
We can all be part of God’s people,
When the salvation we accept is His.
           dfav 10/25/16

—Donna

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Never a Stale Relationship

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Photo by Cyn Carpenter. All rights reserved public & private. Used by permission. Blogger/poet added photographers name to photo only using PhotoGrid.

“Our experience with God will never grow stale.”
Regardless of length, regardless the tale.
Whether it be one of worldly acclaim or fame,
Or if we see it as unimpressive, God knows our name.
The thing most important, that must be done,
That each of us as individuals, separate, one by one,
Answer Jesus’ knock at our hearts door,
Have we asked Him for His forgiveness and more?
Does He walk with us now every earth mile?
Have each of us reached agreement on eternity’s smile?
Do we accept Christ died, literally, upon a cross,
That it was violent and bloody and the winds rose and tossed?
The curtain in the temple, from top to bottom was torn apart,
And Jesus died there, willingly, a sacrifice from His heart.
Then lain in a borrowed tomb all by Himself,
A human body grown cold laying on somewhat of a shelf.
Then in three days what He said would be true,
He rose from that grave, defeating Satan and death for me and you.
Have we trusted our eternal future to His nail scarred hands?
Do we look forward to our trip into Heaven’s lands?
Our relationship with God will be many things but never boring, or stale.
We only think these things when we take over the trail.
If we leave it in God’s hand we will never be bored,
For He is the I Am, Alpha, Omega, God Everlasting and more.
               d.f.a.v. 7/20/15
—Donna

Quote from Heaven by Randy Alcorn, published 2004.

Sunday Came

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The cross is dark,
Against the dawn.
Just the long beam
Stands guard alone.
The dew is wet,
Atop the lawn.
Soul weary women,
Plod on and on.
Garden tombs dark,
Shadows up ahead,
The stone, who will move?
It’s the task they dread.
A brilliant light,
An angel within said,
“Why seek the living,
Among the dead?
Chrisit has risen,
Just like He said.
Go tell the others
He lives instead.”
An empty cross,
An empty grave,
An invitation,
The gift He gave.
Will you accept it?
The sacrifice made?
For your redemption,
The price is paid.
Come one and all,
Kneel, confess, receive
The sacrifice given,
Do you believe?
             -d.f.a.v.  4/6/15
—-Donna

The Piece That’s Missing

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A yearning deep within me,
An ache I can’t explain.
If I could only look and see
The source of the pain.
As if a hole existed
Deep within my heart,
The plug’s address is listed
That Jesus is that part.
Life is beauty and ugly
Laughter and bitter tears,
In Him all things can be endured
For His love casts out our fears.
Yet, I cling to the comfortable,
Though I know it is wrong,
Jesus though draws me closer
He sings to me my souls song.
When I ask Christ to enter
In my heart to take His place
Faith in Him lets me see Him
Though I don’t see His face.
Jesus fits the hole exactly
The ache for the missing gone
Thank You Lord for saving me
I no longer face this life alone.
Is there an ache within you?
A yearning you can’t explain?
Then turn right now to Jesus,
You’ll never again be the same.
He is strength for the hour,
Courage for each and every day,
Follow close His teachings
He walks with You every way.
Expect your ordinary living
Christianity is no free pass pill
But to the joys and sorrows
He is grace to cling to if you will.
d.f.a.v. 7-21-14
–Donna

An Epidemic?

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Our church has experienced something of an epidemic since October of last year. More than a few people, men, women and youth have come to the altar requesting Believer’s Baptism. Not because they have all come to that point of realization that they did not have the personal relationship with Jesus that they thought they did, although some have come because of that, but because they got the baptism before the salvation. (Or the point of beginning that personal relationship.) It has personally impacted our family but there have been a lot more people than our family members.

Does this concern me? Yes and no.

Yes because of the number of children who have now entered their “tween” or teenage years who have come forward explaining they weren’t really having a personal relationship with Christ before because they didn’t understand what that meant. They didn’t understand the cost of discipleship, the daily taking up of their cross to follow Jesus, or what following Jesus in this world with its viewpoints could or would entail.

When our own daughter experienced this I remembered how her father and I talked about whether to encourage or allow her to be baptized at a young age (she was nine) or not. We both know personally, people who make this decision at ages as young as five and it is genuine. We both know personally, people who have made this decision at ages well above the childhood years and it wasn’t genuine. Since a personal relationship with Jesus is personal it isn’t for anyone else to tell you whether what you’re experiencing is genuine or not. So you proceed in prayer.

In time God is going to reveal misguided decisions. In time God will make it right. IF you are willing to listen. IF you obey. That’s why no.

Here’s the most important part of becoming a Christian, a Believer, a Follower of Jesus Christ, a Disciple of the One True and Living God – you have to decide. When God reveals the truth you have to be willing to admit the truth, decide to accept his offer of a personal relationship with him and, in our denomination, that means setting following through with believer’s baptism.

Believer’s baptism occurs after one becomes a believer, after one enters into a personal relationship with God.

Regardless of whether your baptism was before or after your salvation, the most important thing is you have a personal relationship with Christ on his terms. Baptism in itself means little more than you got wet if it wasn’t a believer’s baptism. So my question to you is simple I think. Do you have a personal relationship with Christ?

I’ve laid the plan of salvation out before on my blog but today I do so again below.

–Donna

“I’m not asking you if you go to church, belong to a church, were baptized as a baby, have been baptized as an adult but not as a true Believer in Jesus Christ. I’m asking you have you been born again? When your earthly life is over, where will your spirit reside? Heaven or hell. In the presence of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit or in Hades in the presence of Satan? Do you KNOW Jesus personally, intimately, deeply, truthfully?

If you aren’t sure, please read the following scriptures. If you do not have a Bible (and if you don’t and you would like one please leave me a comment) there are multiple on-line sources you can utilize to find these scriptures yourself and I encourage you to do so. Be sure what I quote to you is what these scriptures read in the Bible. I’ve used the New International Version (NIV) if you look these passages up in a Bible of another translation (King James, New King James, English Standard Version, The Living Bible – for example) the words won’t be the same but the meaning should be.

These first eight scripture passages are sometimes referred to as the Roman Road. They will walk you through the steps to becoming born again, and help explain why and how that happens. The Gospel of John is my suggestion for your first venture into reading and understanding the Word of God. It is one of my personal favorites in the New Testament.

Romans 1:20-21 “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.”

Romans 3:23 “…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”

Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Romans 10:9-10 “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.”

Romans 10:13 “…for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Romans 11:36 “For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.”

Acts 2:38 “Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

The Gospel of John 3:16-18
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”

Salvation is Free, Discipleship is Not

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Salvation is a free gift.  When sin entered the world through Adam and Eve the plan for the ultimate innocent sacrifice was already in place.  God would send His Son, Jesus, to be that blood sacrifice.  Jesus literally paid the highest of physical, emotional, mental and spiritual costs to provide a way for all to be reconciled to God  because separation was the cost of our sin.

Salvation, the gift of eternal reconciliation with God is FREE.  Yet, it’s not easy to get people to take the gift. You don’t need a coupon or to wait out in the ice and snow all night in the church parking lot to get it.

Romans 3:23 tells us that we all have sinned, not just a few people, or the majority of people, but all people. When you recognize that, when the Holy Spirit is speaking to your heart and YOU INVITE God into your heart and life, that’s free. Jesus paid our sin debt 2000 plus years ago. All we need is God calling us to come to Him, and our saying yes.

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Ending 2013

There is a wisdom saying that there are two things in life that are certain. Death and taxes. This may have to be altered a bit as I learned recently that somehow 50% of American’s avoid paying taxes. Hmm…that’s another post! So this leaves us with death, death is certain.

For many people death is the ultimate ending. Your body ceases to operate, your heart stops pumping, your brain stops functioning, your body no longer lives. You’re gone. You no longer exist. Immediately our bodies begin the process of returning to the earth. Dust to dust. Ashes to ashes.

“Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.” Hebrews 9:27-28 (NIV)

According to God’s Word death is not the end. We do not cease to exist when our earthly bodies fail us for the last time.

In life on earth our death is a certainty. In the afterlife judgment is the certainty. In judgment one thing is essential, a certainty, a must, an absolute and that is whether or not your name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

 

“Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” Revelation 20:11-15 (NIV)

“In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” “How can a man be born when he is old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!” Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying ‘You must be born again.'” John 3:3-7 (NIV)

Being born again doesn’t protect your body housing your soul or your spirit from physical death. Being born again involves the soul (spirit) and Jesus.

As the year 2013 tick-tocks to an end we tend to reflect on the past 365 days, plan for the future. Ending and beginning.

My suggestion to you is to be sure you have taken care of the most important thing in your life, the ending of the physical and the continuation of the spiritual. Have you been born again?

I’m not asking you if you go to church, belong to a church, were baptized as a baby, have been baptized as an adult but not as a true Believer in Jesus Christ. I’m asking you have you been born again? When your earthly life is over, where will your spirit reside? Heaven or hell. In the presence of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit or in Hades in the presence of Satan? Do you KNOW Jesus personally, intimately, deeply, truthfully?

If you aren’t sure, please read the following scriptures. If you do not have a Bible (and if you don’t and you would like one please leave me a comment) there are multiple on-line sources you can utilize to find these scriptures yourself and I encourage you to do so. Be sure what I quote to you is what these scriptures read in the Bible. I’ve used the New International Version (NIV) if you look these passages up in a Bible of another translation (King James, New King James, English Standard Version, The Living Bible – for example) the words won’t be the same but the meaning should be.

These first eight scripture passages are sometimes referred to as the Roman Road. They will walk you through the steps to becoming born again, and help explain why and how that happens. The Gospel of John is my suggestion for your first venture into reading and understanding the Word of God. It is one of my personal favorites in the New Testament.

Romans 1:20-21 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.  For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.”

Romans 3:23  “…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in[b] Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Romans 10:9-10 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.”

Romans 10:13 “…for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Romans 11:36 “For from him and through him and for him are all things.  To him be the glory forever! Amen.”

Acts 2:38 “Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the  forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

The Gospel of John but especially 3:16-18 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the  world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not  condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in  the name of God’s one and only Son.”

Your future depends on the decisions you make right now. If you are making a decision for Christ, to ask Him into your heart to be Lord of your life, accepting His AMAZING GIFT OF ETERNITY WITH GOD please tell someone. Find a church that teaches the Word of God and become a disciple of Christ.

No better way to bring in the New Year than to walk into it holding tight to the hand of God.

–Faye


 

Hogwash to Whitewash!

Quite some time ago I learned of a movement to eliminate certain phrases in the language “lingo” of churches.  The word “blood”, for example, created a bad impression for a non-Christian coming into the church setting and hearing songs such as “There is Power in the Blood” and “Are You Washed in the Blood?”, it was gross imagery. 

Well, that of course led to ” cleaning up” the events leading to and of Christ’s crucifixion.  Oh, and let’s not mention the old-fashioned words like sin, salvation, repentance, hell or Satan. A little whitewash here, a fudging of reality there, and we could bring a lot more people into the church by just making things more pleasant and pleasing to the ear and mind.

Paul said, in 2 Timothy 4:2-4:“Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage–with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.”

I can put it much plainer. The time has long begun to pass where mankind has whitewashed our sin stained souls with pleasant thoughts, good intentions, pretty words and “feel good” mentalities.

I’m all for presenting the truth by new methods! I’m so grateful Christian films have finally moved out of the “cheesy” category. I think the use of media, blogs, books, music with drums, guitars and a beat and human videos, puppets and dramas are fantastic. I love to see, sing and create them.

But hogwash to whitewash!

Recently as I’ve twisted and mourned my way through having to go on disability one of the saving events of my peace of mind has been my container garden.  Our back porch is a spot of growth and life, green healthy vegetable and herb plants, colorful flowers and tiny buds of tomatoes, squash and bell peppers. I find enormous satisfaction each day as I water, weed, pinch off dying blooms and leaves in the evidence of my “farm”.  There is a connection with my parents, grandparents and great-grandparents who were gardeners or full fledged farmers.  It’s in my blood to enjoy growing food and flowers.

As is my love of reading, my skin tone, eye and hair color, body size and build, the shape of my face.  I look at my hands and foot and I see my mother.  I look at my eyes and see my father.  I look at my body and face and see my paternal grandmother.  These things, these characteristics, body or heart, are in my blood, in my DNA.

We can’t “clean up” the legacy of our Christian family either.  The crucifixion and the trail and punishments beforehand for Jesus Christ were gory, bloody, inhumane, and it is by every single wound and drop of blood we are forgiven of our sins.  It is by Christ’s sacrifice of Himself and His death and resurrection we are restored to a personal relationship with God, our Creator.

The power, majesty, love, redemption, salvation and eternity are in the blood.. Don’t forget who you are, it’s in your blood because it is by His blood we are grafted into the family of God.

Faye

Poured Out – The Conclusion

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It’s the time of night Rebecca King loves.  At 24 she is the youngest resident at Heaven’s Haven, even with her disabilities that require her to have help for day-to-day living, she finds herself awake often in the hours most residents are asleep.  She is in bed though strangely worn out, as if all her physical energy was drained out of her. The bedside lamp provides a soft warm light in the draped darkness.  Her Bible open on her lap, her notes on the bedside tray, her head laid back and her heart and mind focused on praying.

The visit from her father nearly a month ago has increased her prayers for him.  Sam King was still fighting God, still trapped by booze, bad memories and bad decisions.  But for the first time Rebecca considered the type of offering she’d asked to be before God to help show her father the way to his personal savior, to Jesus.

In her mind she was asking to be poured out, for God to use all of her to show her father how much he needed God.  She’d envisioned herself a clay water pitcher God poured out, emptied, even allowed destroyed. 

The Biblical definition was far different, connected to the fellowship offering it was a drink offering of gratitude as best she could understand. Rebecca wondered if she was learning this too late, but she clung to her to original image.

“Pour me out Lord God! Empty me…reduce me to dust beneath Your feet! I am Yours to command, to use as You will. My father is a bitter, hard-shelled man who cannot love others because he cannot love himself. Show him Your love. O Father I plea with You the Almighty for my daddy’s soul. You know him Lord! You knit him together in his mother’s womb, You set his days on earth, he is one of Your sons and I know You are waiting to welcome Him into Your fold. Someone, You have given Someone the divine appointment of pointing Daddy to You. Someone has the words, the life, the example Daddy needs. Your Word is ready for him to receive, please ready Daddy’s heart. Amen.”

Across town the halfway house where Sam now resided had rules. He didn’t like them but until his parole was over he had to play by the state’s rules which included graduating from the program here. So, since Sam was smart enough to know being here beat prison he played nice.

Curfew was 10:00, unless you worked second or third shift at the fire extinguisher manufacturer. Sam did not. He worked for a landscaper and as exhausting as the work was, Sam often found sleep hard to fall into.

Tomorrow was Saturday and he was off. He planned to sleep as late as he could which meant 8:00 if he wanted to eat before he cut the grass here which was one of his “house chores”.

But images of Becca floated through his mind. Ethan, who had found him in the gazebo when he’d first seen Becca where he’d nearly crawled being unable to outrun himself anymore, had kept his word to Sam. He had driven him to check in with his parole officer then to the halfway house. Now he called Sam regularly but without telling Rebecca because neither man wanted her to know. Sam didn’t want her thinking she got to him. Ethan not wanting to crush her hopes.

Sam turned over. The Bible Ethan had given him lay open. He realized a lot of things. He wanted to turn his mind off. He was none to happy with the realizations. Sam was sick of thinking. What was Becca was doing when she made that offer to God?

No one offered to be on the line like that for someone like him and Sam knew it. No matter how many times Ethan explained it to Sam he couldn’t except it. No matter how many verses in that Bible Sam read it never made sense.

But he willed himself to shut his mind off. He needed some sleep and if he was still awake when his roommate Carson got in from work he’d never get to sleep for the snoring.

The phone ringing woke Ethan at 4:11 in the morning. Instantly awake he answered before the first ring completed. By 4:17 he was backing out of his driveway. Heaven’s Haven was a 12 minute drive from his house, he made it in 5 and just as the ambulance pulled up.

Before the paramedics were out of their doors Ethan was running down the hallway to Rebecca’s room. It seemed as if time slowed as Ethan tried to reach the bed where Rebecca lay while the staff fought to keep her breathing. He didn’t want to know what happened, he just wanted to be close to her.

The paramedics were right behind him and Ethan was shoved aside as the doctor, nurses and the paramedics jostled for room to get to Rebecca.

As a doctor Ethan understood what they were saying. Part of him grasped the physical reasons Rebecca was dying. Another part, the part who was just a man in love with her fought the truth. How could she die? He hadn’t managed to get her to agree to marry him yet.

Ethan stood there, head back, eyes closed praying hard. But the medical reasoning would reveal a massive blood clot had gotten to Rebecca’s heart and stopped her heart.

No one from his family would speak to Sam. His ex-wife and their kids never acknowledging his presence. Only Ethan made any attempt to reach out to Rebecca’s father. Long after the services and the grave had been covered Sam returned to his daughter’s graveside.

He sat down heavily, tears streaming down his face, and in his hands he held a bottle of whiskey. He stared at it, wishing it could speak, wishing it held answers.

Ethan’s voice was hoarse with his own tears. “Sam? Sam, how are you holding up?”

“What was it she asked Him? To pour her out? To pour her out to reach me?”

“Yes Sam.”

“I sure don’t git it. She was a hell of a lot smarter than to ruin her life fer the likes of me. I sure ain’t worth it. No, I sure as hell ain’t.” Sam said through thick veils of tears and years of pain.

At one point Ethan would have agreed but he understood better now. “She loved you Sam.”

“Loved me? Why? I am a rotten no good drunk who never done nothin but hurt her. Hit her and her Mama and the other youngins too. Good god I stomped on her whiles she was a tellin me about God! What kind of man deserves what she offered?

“The same one Jesus died for.” Ethan whispered.

Samuel King twisted the cap off the bottle of cheap rot-gut whiskey and brought it up to his mouth. Then slowly he turned it, lowered his arm and poured it out.

THE END