Tag Archives: salvation

Is this the day?

Mortality looms in the shadows of every day. It’s there and we try to not see it or simply assume it will have a long wait before stepping into our life. Until we fall suddenly ill!

In the past 24hrs I went from felling discomfort that I assumed was work related to preparing for death. Sounds dramatic, I know, but having been in a place of sudden sharp chest pain and other symptoms typically associated with a heart attack was startling. The uncertainty caused me to draw on my faith. I prayed that I was ready. I prayed for my wife. I prayed that I might make it thru this trial so as to take care of unfinished business. In a way I also, selfishly, wanted to go home.

Thankfully or unfortunately I am fine and still here and will be for a long time – at least my doctor said so. I did in fact hurt myself at work picking up a desk. I strained muscles in my chest. My heart is strong and I’ll recover. No heavy lifting for the near future. 

But, the experience was like no other. I mean sure I’ve been scared before. Even had some bad health issues. But there’s a difference between having the flu and wanting to die just to feel better and thinking you’re about to die and having time enough to consider the concept.

Paul tells us to “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” Phillipians 2:12 NKJV

Work it out. To me that means self examination. Where am I in my walk with God? How close am I with Jesus? Am I being honest with me? With Him? 

Is today the day? Well, for me this day. This 24hour period is over and I’m still here. Today is not the day that I leave here. 

Today is not the day…..but one day will be the day for me ….and for you….work it out before that day ends!

Thanks and be blessed, Al

Can I get a Witness?!

OK, show of hands, who cringes at the idea of going door-to-door for Jesus?

OK, now those of you who didn’t raise your hands don’t worry, the rest of us will pray for you.

   Seriously, When it comes to street evangelism I always feel uncomfortable – until I get out there. The idea of knocking on a strangers door or stopping someone in the street is challenging at best. When I first started going out with my church group I realized what it must be like to be one of those cold-callers that get hung up all the time. At best you get a door slammed in your face or ignored. At worst you get threatened, cursed at or duck a punch. But it’s worth it.

   Once, while walking from one house to another, a car parked on the street and a family stepped out of the car. I was talking to one of the people in my group while the family exited the vehicle. A young man stepped onto the sidewalk, not watching where he was going either, and we bumped into each other. We grabbed each other instinctual to catch ourselves from falling. If appearances count for anything this young man and I were as opposite as two people could be. The shock and surprise on his face quickly turned to anger as he looked at me in my “Jesus is Lord” T-shirt and my Bible in hand. Without thinking I put my hand on his shoulder and to this day can not tell you what I said to him. All I do remember is finally getting around to asking him if I could pray with him. He said yes and began to cry. We prayed and he accepted Jesus as Lord right there. His mother thanked me and I never saw any of them again.

   The point is that I bumped into that young man but I didn’t speak to him. God used me to touch him. I am certain that he had heard of Jesus many many times before that day. But I was blessed to be the one God used to bring him home. You see it isn’t about me, or you, or any of us. Paul addressed this when he found that there were those who claimed to be part of Paul’s group and others who claimed to belong to Apollos, causing prideful division in the Corinthian church.

For since there is envy and strife among you, are you not fleshly and living like unbelievers? For whenever someone says, “I’m with Paul,” and another, “I’m with Apollos, are you not unspiritual people? What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? They are servants through whom you believed, and each has the role the Lord has given. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. Now the one planting and the one watering are one in purpose, and each will receive his own reward according to his own labor.For we are God’s coworkers1 Cor 3:3-9 HCSb

   What a relief! I am not responsible for leading anyone to Christ. If they reject me, threaten me, ignore me, it doesn’t count against me. The pressure is off. Right?

Sort of. You see I am still called to go.

I am called to go because I have no idea if I will be planting a seed or watering a seed planted or harvesting that which others have labored for. It does help me to know that I may never see those who I witness to again. It also helps that they don’t know me. The anonymity is a safe place for me to speak from because it gives me room to be a fool for God so to speak. It also helps me not take the rejection personally. If they reject me they are actually rejecting Jesus and that is sad knowing what we know.

Regardless, I am called to go.

Called because Jesus said Go.

And if I go, in obedience and humility,

He will go with me and

if Jesus is with me anything is possible.

  Go, in the power of the Holy Spirit, and see what happens.

You might be pleasantly surprised.

Side note – Just in case you feel I was being a bit boastful in this post I have to say that there are,  regrettably,  far too many times when I felt lead to tell someone about Jesus and held my tongue.

Be blessed, Al

Look back but don’t stare…

Look back but don’t stare.

This is an expression I heard a long time ago and the older I get the more I understand it.

Recently I had one of those days where my mind went on a trip down memory lane. I wish that I could say it was a pleasant trip. It wasn’t.  Frank Sinatra used to sing – “Regrets. I’ve made a few. But then again too few to mention.” I can mention more then a few – I should have stayed in college, I should have studied more, I should have saved more money, I should have exercised more self control, I should have done this and not done that.  Regrets, I think, are a way we say sorry to ourselves. When I look back, excuse me, when I stare back at the road I traveled I don’t want to say “Sorry” to me – I want to punch myself.

But I don’t.

The reason that I don’t punch myself is that, well, it wouldn’t change anything and more importantly,  I have been forgiven by God for my past. If God has forgiven me than who am I to not forgive myself? It is hard though. The affects of poor judgement and bad behavior can be irreversible. Life does go on. Life will be different but it does go on.

Seize the Day Pana

Moving on can be tough. The people around us may never forget the harm we have done and may even remind us of just how far we fell. We fell. But we got up. Isn’t that what really matters?

The Word says –

Rejoice not against me, oh my enemies, for when I fall I shall arise. When i sit in darkness the Lord shall be a light unto me.     Micah 7:8  KJV

When I fall I shall arise. I will not stay down. I will not beat myself up. I will not stare back in anger and regret. The past is not only the past but it has been forgiven and forgotten and thrown in a sea of forgetfulness never to be brought up to me again. At least not by God. One of the names of the devil is the accuser of the brethren (Rev. 12:10 KJV). He will remind us and use others to remind us.

Another old expression suitable for this topic is – “The next time the devil reminds you of your past just remind him of his future!”

I started this post by telling you how I spent a sad day staring regretfully back at my past. So I am not trying to over simplify putting the past behind us. My goal was, however, to remind myself and those of you that this may apply to, that we have every good reason to stand tall with our heads up as we walk confidently into our tomorrows. If Jesus is our Lord – We are children of the King. Forgiven. Loved. Saved. A new creation. Heaven-bound. No matter what was it’s what will be that’s important.

Thanks for letting me share that even if I was the only one that needed to hear it.

Be Blessed, Al

Similar post on forgiveness – But If You Don’t Forgive

Start at the very beginning….

A Very Good Place to Start

As a contractor with 30 years of experience I have learned a lot about my trade and others around me. Its safe to say that I have seen my share of mistakes made during those early years. But I give my thanks to a good teacher. One, who may not have always been patient but always thorough in his explanations of how to do something and why.

In my years I have had the opportunity to train helpers to work beside me and always observed one thing. Teaching is the best way to keep things fresh in my own mind. Somewhere in the relating of the process there is a reliving that revives me. I am taken back to where I was when I learned it and can relate the truth of the process to another with passion.

It is this reason that I want my first post of the year to be about “contending for the faith” that was first inside of us all at conversion. Jude tells us that he wanted to write about the shared salvation of the saints but was moved to respond to false teachers and ungodly people.

But lets review the Basics that we all do know –

Very simply put – Christ came to save sinners of which we are all (1 Timothy 1:15 and Romans 3:23). If we repent and trust in Jesus we will be saved (Romans 10:9-13)

I guess the only question now is – Have you been saved? If not. Why Not?

All you have to do is believe you are a sinner, that Christ died for your sins, and ask His forgiveness. He knows you and loves you. What matters to Him is the attitude of your heart and your honesty. Although there’s no special way to ask to be saved we suggest praying the following prayer to accept Christ as your Savior:

“Dear Lord Jesus,

I know I am a sinner, and I ask for your forgiveness. I believe you died for my sins and rose from the dead.  I trust and follow you as my Lord and Savior. Guide my life and help me to do your will.

In Jesus name, amen.”

If you prayed this prayer congratulations, you are a Child of God now and your sins have been forgiven, never to be remembered. We encourage you , if you do not already attend a church, to find one that believes in Bible study. One that teaches the whole Word of God and proclaims the Good News that Salvation is available to all. We encourage you to get a Bible and begin reading it. If you don’t know where to start we suggest you read the Gospel of John first but you can find many Bible study reading lists online also. Consider Bible Gateway or some of the other links from our home page.

Whatever you do read the Bible daily and pray to our Lord for guidance because He is not dead but alive and ready to talk with you. Congratulations as you start a new life in this new year! Be blessed. Al and Betty

 

He’s Making a List…..

As the song says,

He’s making a list

checking it twice

gonna find out

whose naughty and nice

This may be true for good old Santa Claus. We are told he keeps a list in hopes of manipulating us into toeing a line of good behavior. His list is supposed to have the names of the naughty and nice children but I have never heard of any naughty ones. Have you? Perhaps there were naughty children who got coal for Christmas in a land long ago and far away but to my knowledge every one gets on the “Nice” list these days.

Sadly, this mind set has carried over into the secular thoughts about God and Heaven. Some people see God as a Santa in the sky Who they can make a wish to when they want something.  Furthermore, there is the belief that all the world will eventually be seen as “nice” or just and therefore will be saved. There’s never a thought of whether or not they are naughty or nice. If there is any guilt about bad behavior they simply bargain the consequences away promising to do better if He will only just come threw this time for them.

God is concerned with whether or not we do the right thing although His idea of “Nice” is not the same as ours. We can try to live a good life and be a good person but by whose standards do we see “Good”? God gave us the Ten Commandments to show us what is expected of us and to open our eyes to the fact that we can never live up to them. At least not by ourselves. He is ready willing and able to help us live that victorious life. This is the very reason we have this holiday season. It’s a very well known passage of scripture but always bears repeating –

 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.  For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. John 3:16-17 NKJV

Our in ability to live up to Gods Standard of righteousness (otherwise referred to as Sin), is the very reason we needed a Savior. God Almighty sent the answer to our sin problem. Rather than just let us wallow in our inability He freely chose to come to us and take on our fragile form and pay the penalty for our sins. There is, however, one very simple condition that is left for us. We have to accept that this was done for us because we are sinners and repent of our sinfulness. Once we do this we can honor His sacrifice by letting Him lead us down a path of righteousness – His righteousness.

For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” John 18:37 NKJV

But this salvation the Savior brings requires an action on our part. It isn’t just given to us the day we are born. we have to accept this gift by recognizing our need and asking Jesus to be our Lord as well as Savior. It really is that simple. Thankfully!

But although he made the world, the world didn’t recognize him when he came. Even in his own land and among his own people, the Jews, he was not accepted. Only a few would welcome and receive him. But to all who received him, he gave the right to become children of God. All they needed to do was to trust him to save them.  All those who believe this are reborn!—not a physical rebirth resulting from human passion or plan—but from the will of God. John 1:10-13 LB

 The Reason 1

He’s making a list and I hope your name is on it because one day there will be a reading of the lists and a separating of the naughty and the nice – Jesus told us about that day several times –

 “Just as in this story the thistles are separated and burned, so shall it be at the end of the world: I[will send my angels, and they will separate out of the Kingdom every temptation and all who are evil,  and throw them into the furnace and burn them. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.  Then the godly shall shine as the sun in their Father’s Kingdom. Let those with ears, listen!  Mat 13:40-43

“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.”Acts 16:29-31 LB

This may not be the usual or politically correct Christmas message but the truth can be hard to hear sometimes but nevertheless needs to be stated………

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL OUR FRIENDS

and God Bless you in the New Year, Al and Betty

"Santa Claus Is Coming to Town" is a Christmas song. 
It was written by John Frederick Coots and Haven Gillespie

HE’S ALIVE!

 He’s Alive! He’s Alive! He’s Alive and I am forgiven!

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  And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins.   1 Cor 15:17 HCSB

But He did rise and when He died the veil in the Temple was torn in half from top to bottom signifying that we can boldly go directly to God because of the life-changing work that Jesus did that day.

Truly, He is alive and we are forgiven – Heavens gates are open wide.

He is alive! No great mystery. No Doctrinal dissertation. No religious dogma. No rules and regulations. No fees to be paid or tolls to pass threw.

Just open up your heart and let Him Love You!

 Listen! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and have dinner with him, and he with Me.  Rev 3:20 HSCB

 Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.   Matthew 11:28 KJV

I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.  John 1:23 KJV

This is an old song but a good one which speaks to the joy of that early morning. Please take a minute (or 4:51) to be blessed by it

Happy Resurrection Sunday

He’s Alive – by Don Francisco presented here on YouTube

But what if it were an easy thing to do?

But his servants approached and said to him, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it?

2 Kings 5:13 HCSB

Oh, sorry, I almost skipped ahead to the end of the story. Let me go back to the beginning and please, read along if you like (2Kings 5:1-14). Naaman, a commander of the Syrian army was a leaper. As a result of his many raids into Israel, he had a maid servant for his wife. This girl, who was taken from her home against her will, to be a salve in this mans home, took pity on him and suggested that he travel to see the prophet Elisha. (talk about love your enemies! but that was the point of last post not this one).

So, Naaman went to his King and told him what the servant girl said. The King told Naaman to go and even wrote a letter to the King of Israel for Naaman to take on the trip along with a great deal of Silver and Gold and other gifts. When Naaman arrived at the home of the Prophet Elisha he was met by Elisha messenger who told him – “Go wash seven times in the Jordan and your flesh will be restored and you will be clean.”

Well! How dare he!?!? Naaman was angry and insulted. He expected the Prophet to come out and perform some intense prayer or sacrifice or something. Additionally, the Prophet didn’t even come out to greet Naaman – he sent a messenger! Finally, Naaman believed that there were several “better” rivers in Damascus compared to the Jordan. Rejected, Naaman was determined to ignore the Prophets instructions and go home. His servants approached and said to him, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great (difficult) thing, would you not have done it? Reluctantly Naaman yields and dips seven times in the Jordan River. When he finishes his skin looks fresh as a new born baby.

The moral of the story is this – Naaman went to the Prophet with an expectation of what would happen and how he would be healed. He was prepared to pay a large sum of money and do whatever was asked of him (assuming it was logical to him to do it). When faced with the humiliation of having an errand boy address him and instruct him to do such a seemingly simple task Naaman balked. In the end what was expected of Naaman wasn’t difficult to do – only humbling.

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Isn’t that just like so many people? We expect to have to pay our way. Some recite endless strings of prayers or abstain from certain foods at special times. Some believe that they must punish themselves physically so as to be purged of sins or deprive themselves of companionship to get closer to God. There’s a need inside us to feel that we “earned” what we have. Unfortunately, or fortunately, God’s ways are not our ways.

In the book of Acts chapter 16 we see Paul and Silas in jail and singing songs of praise. When a great earthquake shook their doors open and their shackles free. The jailer thinking that Paul and Silas had escaped was going to fall on his sword but they stopped him. The jailer asked them – Sirs, what must I do to be saved?

 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved

It really is that easy. No Penance, No flogging. No Fasting. No Pilgrimages. Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zero!

Have Faith in God. Trust in the Lord. Call out to Jesus.