Tag Archives: Salvation

Whispers of Love

I love foggy mornings.  The world is enveloped in such softness, like a gentle presence has descended and embraced her.  The fog reminds me of my life, of the reality that the Glory of God in Jesus Christ, in the person of the Holy Spirit, has come to me – that He is in me and I am in Him.  I live wrapped up in His Love, the way the morning fog hugs the earth.

One of the many blessings of this intimate relationship is our tender, confidential conversation. When difficulties come, He gives me visions and words that are tailor made for me and my circumstances – personal messages just for me from Him.

Recently I had some symptoms that were highly suspicious for cancer.  I went to see my doctor and had several diagnostic tests.  In the midst of that stress, my Lord whispered and revealed truth.  I leaned in to listen and be comforted, and I responded.

He breathed, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?  You are not your own; you were bought at a price…”  (Romans 6:19-20)

I sighed, “That is true.  My body is yours. Whatever the outcome, Lord, I trust you.”

He opened up Revelation Chapter One, and I saw Him – the One with a face as brilliant as the sun and hair as white as snow – the One with a sharp double edged sword coming out of His mouth and feet like bronze glowing in a furnace – the One whose voice is like the sound of rushing waters – the One whose eyes are like blazing fire.

I said, “Even though you are beautiful to me, Jesus, you are fierce and frightening. I am grateful that I am hidden behind you and that my enemies have to deal with you!”

My enemy symptoms disappeared and all my tests came back normal.  I said thank you to the Lover of my soul, and I praised His Holy Name.

The One, who shed His blood for me, shed it for you as well.  He wants to share an intimate relationship with you.  You are One of A Kind, and no one knows that better than your Creator and Redeemer.  No one loves you like He does.  No one will ever have the conversation with Him that He wants to have with you alone.  Come.  He calls you.

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The Fear That Is Wisdom

Disaster and destruction follows disaster and destruction in the world we live in, hurricane upon hurricane, earthquake upon earthquake, and wildfire upon wildfire. The news also carries stories of the tensions between nations and the dangers of nuclear proliferation or attack. We wonder when the terrorists will strike again. We wonder when the war in Syria will finally end.  Anxiety and fear are rampant.

Jesus teaches His disciples what signs will signal the end times and His return. (See Matthew 24)  He tells of unequaled distress on earth, such distress that all would die, if those days were not shortened. He tells of the sun being darkened and the moon not giving its light. He warns of a day during that historic, monumental distress, a day that no one but His father knows. On that day, He will come on the clouds in the sky with great glory and all those who have believed in Him will be caught up with Him to escape the horrors of earth.  “…That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.” Does this teaching inspire fear?  It well ought.

We learn in Psalm 111:10 that: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”  Let fear send you running to God to learn how to escape His just judgment on mankind. John Newton’s ageless hymn, Amazing Grace, says, “Twas Grace that taught my heart to fear, and Grace my fears relieved.”

God is Love.  Love is warning us, and Love is reminding us that He has made a way of escape.  All of us have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.  All of us are unclean and powerless before the Mighty God of the Universe.  See a man upon a cross.  His name is Jesus, the Son of God, the Lamb of God.  His shed blood can wash away your sin and make you clean.  Believe in Him.

Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;  the end of fear is love.  The apostle John tells us in I John 4:18, “There is no fear in love. Perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”

When Love Incarnate, Jesus Christ, washes us clean, we are relieved of fear.  For those of us who have believed in that love, we listen to the news and watch the times with a growing sense that our Lord’s return is closer than when we first believed.  We are comforted knowing the day is coming when there will be no more sorrow and no more tears.  The One who gave Himself for us will dry away our final tears as He welcomes us home to be with Him forever.

Be afraid; it’s right and appropriate. But don’t stop at fear; go on to Love.  Run to Him. Now. Don’t slow down and don’t stop until you are safe in His arms.

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Keys and Doors

I have a new friend.  Her name is Lona.  When she came for dinner on Easter, she brought me this kitchen towel as a hostess gift.   It reminds me of her, not only because it was a present from her, but because she does open big doors with little keys.  I know because I pray with her every week.

In Matthew 6:19, Jesus told Simon, “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”  Simon had just made his confession of faith, telling Jesus, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”   Jesus had replied by calling him Peter, which means rock, and saying, “On this rock I will build my church.”

The church is the living fellowship of all those who believe that Jesus is the The Christ, The Son of God. Jesus is the chief cornerstone of the church.  Peter, the Rock, was the first man to understand and believe that Jesus was the The Christ, the Son of God, and as such, he was the first living stone ( see I Peter 2: 4) placed upon the cornerstone of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Church is built upon the belief and confession that Jesus is The Christ, The Son of God.  That is the door that opens the Kingdom of heaven up to anyone who would believe.   All of us who share this faith are living stones built up over the centuries upon the Rock of our Salvation, Jesus Christ.

Like Peter, every believer is given the keys to the Kingdom of heaven.  The keys are to bind and to loose. To forbid and to allow.  To close and to open.  What do we bind, forbid, and close?  What do we loose, allow and open?  We loose, allow and open when we share the truth of the good news of Jesus Christ.  We bind, forbid and close when we deny the lies of the evil one.  We bind and loose whenever we exercise this authority in prayer.  We speak and believe the word of God given us in the Scriptures and apply them to the lives of our families, churches, and communities.

Lona has beautiful brown eyes that sparkle with the life of Jesus.  She comes to prayer expectantly.  She uses her keys, exercising her authority to bind and loose confidently when she prays.  I hear her.  I learn from her.  Sometimes during our hours of praying with Jesus, He shows her what He is doing, and she giggles with delight. I hear that laughter and I know bad things are being locked up and good doors are opening for those we pray for.

Thank you, Lord Jesus, for giving us the keys to the kingdom of heaven.  We are humbled and grateful.  Open our eyes to see doors that need to be opened and to doors that need to be closed.

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My Father

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My Father said:  “I will give them singleness of heart and action, so that they will always fear me for their own good and the good of their children after them.  I will make an everlasting covenant with them; I will never stop doing good to them and I will inspire them to fear me, so that they will never turn away from me.  I will rejoice in doing them good and will assuredly plant them in this land with all my heart and soul.”  Jeremiah 32:39-41

This Father, my Father,  wants to be your father.   He wants to give you a heart to love and reverence Him.  He wants to make an everlasting covenant with you.  He wants to inspire you with such awe over the beauty and goodness of His character that you would never turn back from His Presence.  He wants to do you good;  in fact, doing you good makes Him happy!  He wants to plant you in His everlasting Kingdom.

He is pursuing you.  He is calling you home.  He is your destiny.   Your creator is your redeemer.

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An Exchanged Life

One of my dear friends, who has long been in Christian ministry, told me that she and her husband have changed the way they present the gospel.  Their daughter had believed in Jesus as a child and had long called him Savior, but she has dated her salvation to the day when, as an adult, she surrendered the Lordship of her life to Jesus.

What is salvation?  Is it not forgiveness and the way into an everlasting relationship with the Lord of Heaven, the Savior God, through the redemptive work of his son, the Lord Jesus Christ?  What is it we need forgiveness for?  Is it not the breaking of the first commandment – you shall have no other Gods before me?  Do we not break that law every time, as rebellious children, we say to God, I am the boss of me?  Is that attitude not evidence self is God?

I am currently reading Watchman Nee’s book, The Normal Christian Life.  In it he writes, “How good it is to have the consciousness that we belong to the Lord and are not our own! There is nothing more precious in the world. It is that which brings the awareness of his continual presence, and the reason is obvious. I must first have the sense of God’s possession of me before I can have the sense of his presence with me. When once his ownership is established, then I dare do nothing in my own interests, for I am his exclusive property…The trouble with many Christians today is that they have an insufficient idea of what God is asking of them…Do you not know that God is asking of you your very life? …Not until we take the place of a servant can he take his place as Lord.”

Jesus said that God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son so that whosoever believed in him might have everlasting life.  (John 3;16)

Are we too familiar with the word believe?  Do we use it glibly?    If God is God, then I am not my own Lord. I can say I believe Jesus Christ is God, but I deny my own espoused belief every time I choose my way, instead of his.  I think the result of genuine belief is death, my own life nailed to the cross with Jesus, as I yield all rights to the One who gave his life for my salvation.

When Jesus said we must be born again to see the kingdom of God (John 3:3), didn’t he mean this glorious exchange – my death for his resurrected life in me – my life for his?

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The Root Of Repentance

I have long pondered how one who says he believes in Jesus can also say he does not know how to forgive.   For the Lord Jesus taught that his Father in Heaven would not forgive men their sins unless those men forgave other men their sins toward them.

Recently I read the fictional trilogy, Flight From Stonewycke, by Michael Phillips and Judith Pella.  In the story an old man named Elijah spoke to a younger man, ” …all people, Dermott, must humbly come to the point of being able to forgive others the wrongs they have done them, forgive themselves for their own sin, and even forgive God for what we perceive as the cruel hand of fate working against us….Elijah paused and looked intently at the his young friend.  It is this forgiveness which lies at the root of repentance and opens the way for the life He would give us.”

What grabbed me most was the well articulated thought that forgiveness is the root of the repentance that leads to the gift of LIFE EVERLASTING.

Of what must we repent?  Certainly,  our rights, including our right to demand justice, our right to revenge, our right to withhold mercy and forgiveness.  Giving these rights up is easier when we realize our desperate need for God’s forgiveness, when we realize, that no matter how good we are, we still fall short of God’s Glory, his standard of holiness.

Repentance leads to death, our lives are nailed to the cross with Jesus Christ.  We give up own lives with all our rights, in order that He might rise again in us with his new life.  My life for his.  Your life for his.

In his book, The Normal Christian Life, Watchman Nee says, “We think of the Christian life as a ‘changed life’ but it is not that.  What God offers us is an ‘exchanged life’, a ‘substituted life’, and Christ is our Substitute within.”

Christ forgives.   If Christ lives in me,  then I forgive.   For the life I live is no longer my own but his.  Praise God.

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Good Enough

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The old man both welcomed and feared death.   As he became further debilitated with pneumonia, he knew he had no will to live.  He told our mutual neighbor, his  friend of thirty years,  “I just hope, I’ve been good enough for heaven.”

The prophet Isaiah  declares that all our righteous acts are like filty rags.  ( Isaiah 64:6).   The apostle Paul tells us, “…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”  (Romans 3:23)   After delivering the bad news, Paul gives us the good news that Jesus, the Son of God, died to justify us.  He concludes in Romans 5: 1-2, “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access into this grace in which we now stand.  And we rejoice in the hope of the Glory of God.”

My husband Howard is staring down death in his fight with lymphoma.   He is confident that he has a ticket to the everlasting party in heaven, not because he is good enough, but because he believes Jesus is good enough and died and rose again to purchase his ticket.  This confidence gives us sweet peace and hope as we face the unknown.   I write this blog because I long for all to know this sweet peace and hope in the midst of their sufferings.

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Starting Over

The difficulty in starting over in restoring broken relationships or recovering from addictions is power.   The cliche, just do it, sounds good but denies the truth that we humans often find ourselves powerless to accomplish what we believe is best for ourselves.

Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, said,  “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.”  (Romans 1:16)  In Romans 10:9 he explained, “”If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.””

God doesn’t just forgive us, when we believe in the death and resurrection of Jesus on our behalf, he gives us the same power that raised Christ back to life – the power that saves, the power to change, the power to make new.  As I reflect on that good news this morning, I rejoice that Christ Followers are blessed with glorious hope for the here and now, as well as, the certainty of a home in heaven.

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