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Archive for the ‘Salvation’ Category

“And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria)…” Luke 2.

The reading of the nativity narrative from Luke has been a part of my every Christmas Eve dinner since I was born. This is one of our enduring family traditions, giving focus to why our family is gathered, what the celebration is about, and beginning our worship cycle for the year.

The family sits gathered at the Christmas table and my father’s basso voice deeply enriches the Word as he reads from the Gospel of St. Luke. We listen, and give thanks for family and friends gathered near and far. Those with us and those separated from us are remembered in prayer. We pray fervently for our nation and her leaders, and continue to petition that His peace be spread on earth, and that we continue to have good will toward all men.

We pray our thanks for the blessings of each other, and our own, asking for each of our family and friends to remain safe and finally concluding our pre-meal devotion in simple praise for the events of a little over 2000 years ago.

We then go to church and watch the Christmas pageant, hearing and seeing those words, still fresh on our minds, acted out on stage.

For me, and my family, this is the way Christmas should be – a day focused on our Savior deigning to become human and dwell on earth with us for a while.

The Gospel of St. Luke is all about what happens to common people in a world that is dark and then suddenly the glory of the Lord is revealed. Like the characters in Luke, the players in a church Christmas pageant are common. Common children and basic costumes, replete with forgotten lines, stage fright, and funny bloopers.  But, what a story these children tell. In all that is common, a quite extraordinary story is told. In all that is commonplace about that quiet night, and extraordinary moment occurs. The Christmas program reveals God coming to earth as an infant. The quiet night reveals to us that the world will be no longer silent.

God meets us. God is revealed to us. All this glory through a baby that Mary and Joseph called Jesus.

Max Lucado says it best in his book, “The Glory of Christmas.” He writes,

“There is one word that describes the night he came – ordinary.

The sky was ordinary. An occasional gust stirred the leaves and chilled the air. The stars were diamonds sparkling on black velvet.

The sheep were ordinary. Some fat. Some scrawny. Common animals. No history makers. No blue-ribbon winners.

And the shepherds. Peasants they were. Probably wearing all the clothes they owned. Smelling like sheep and looking just as wooly.

An ordinary night with ordinary sheep and ordinary shepherds. And were it not for God who loves to hook an “extra” on the front of the ordinary, the night would have passed relatively unnoticed. The sheep would have been forgotten, and the shepherds would have slept the night away.

But God dances amidst the common. And that night He did a waltz.

The black sky exploded with brightness. Trees that had been shadows jumped into clarity. Sheep that had been silent became a chorus of curiosity. One minute the shepherd was dead asleep; the next he was rubbing his eyes and staring into the face of an alien.

The night was ordinary no more.

The announcement went first to the shepherds. Had the angel gone to the theologians, they would have first consulted their commentaries. Had he gone to the elite, they would have looked around to see if anyone was watching.

So he went to the shepherds. Men who didn’t know enough to tell God that angels don’t sing to sheep and that messiahs aren’t found wrapped in rags and sleeping in a feed trough.”

God didn’t come for the perfect. God didn’t come for those of us that have it all together. He didn’t come for those of us who can go through life on our own. God came for the clumsy. For the meek. For the frightened and the lost. God came as the most helpless of all creatures – an infant – to show us that we need not be rich or famous or special for God to love us.

Isn’t it funny that these little Christmas pageants that we have year after year, appear to be so mediocre compared to what really happened that night? What if we tried to recreate here, the spectacular events that unfolded the night Jesus was born?

To start, it could begin fairly simple. Just some shepherds resting on a Judean hillside, watching their flocks of sheep. Our shepherds could just be standing over to the side, tending to a few of the younger children wearing sheep ears.

But then, what would we do next? How could we portray the next scenes that play out? Suddenly the scene is filled with the light of glory. This light of glory is beyond anything we can ever imagine. How would we portray that? No lights we have could do that. We’d have to have a million deer shining lights for that.

And then the matter of the angel, and another and another, until there becomes a heavenly host, and the shepherds become terrified. We’d have to have 500 people playing the parts of angels, strung up on the ceiling, singing the most beautiful music you have ever heard in order to try to recreate that event! And that would not come close to doing it justice.

Maybe the point isn’t to see how spectacular one can make a Christmas pageant. Decorations and costumes and technology isn’t what Christmas is all about. Christmas is about welcoming the baby Jesus with an open heart. It is about believing that God has done a wonderful and special thing by coming down into our world.

It is about wanting to make room for a Savior to be born. Only for us, the Savior will be born in our hearts. What in your life needs that newly born Savior? Where are you hurting the most? What needs to change for you this year?

Remember that we are told, “With God anything is possible!” (Phil 4:13) With God, we can be comforted in our grief. With God, we can overcome depression. With God, we can pursue long-held dreams. With God, we can reach out to serve others in ways we never imagined.

I pray that each one of us can be moved with the gift of Christmas. May each one of us, in our own ways be filled with the gift of grace that came in the form of a baby.

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Zephaniah 3:14-20

14 Sing, O Daughter of Zion;
shout aloud, O Israel!
Be glad and rejoice with all your heart,
O Daughter of Jerusalem!

15 The LORD has taken away your punishment,
he has turned back your enemy.
The LORD, the King of Israel, is with you;
never again will you fear any harm.

16 On that day they will say to Jerusalem,
“Do not fear, O Zion;
do not let your hands hang limp.

17 The LORD your God is with you,
he is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
he will quiet you with his love,
he will rejoice over you with singing.”

18 “The sorrows for the appointed feasts
I will remove from you;
they are a burden and a reproach to you.

19 At that time I will deal
with all who oppressed you;
I will rescue the lame
and gather those who have been scattered.
I will give them praise and honor
in every land where they were put to shame.

20 At that time I will gather you;
at that time I will bring you home.
I will give you honor and praise
among all the peoples of the earth
when I restore your fortunes
before your very eyes,”
says the LORD.

Canticle 9

Surely, it is God who saves me; *
I will trust in him and not be afraid.

For the Lord is my stronghold and my sure defense, *
and he will be my Savior.

Therefore you shall draw water with rejoicing *
from the springs of salvation.

And on that day you shall say, *
Give thanks to the Lord and call upon his Name;

Make his deeds known among the peoples; *
see that they remember that his Name is exalted.

Sing the praises of the Lord, for he has done great things, *
and this is known in all the world.

Cry aloud, inhabitants of Zion, ring out your joy, *
for the great one in the midst of you is the Holy One of Israel.

Philippians 4:4-7

4Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Luke 3:7-18

7John said to the crowds coming out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? 8Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. 9The axe is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.”

10“What should we do then?” the crowd asked.

11John answered, “The man with two tunics should share with him who has none, and the one who has food should do the same.”

12Tax collectors also came to be baptized. “Teacher,” they asked, “what should we do?”

13“Don’t collect any more than you are required to,” he told

them. 14Then some soldiers asked him, “And what should we do?”
He replied, “Don’t extort money and don’t accuse people falsely—be content with your pay.”

15The people were waiting expectantly and were all wondering in their hearts if John might possibly be the Christ.16John answered them all, “I baptize you with water. But one more powerful than I will come, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. 17His winnowing fork is in his hand to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” 18And with many other words John exhorted the people and preached the good news to them.

Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know”? Networking has been an established social function in society for as long as there have been people. We often use our connections to get us into social circles and places we might have difficulty getting into alone, or feel awkward if going alone, as I would have this morning when I went to a friend’s church with her.

On television shows and in the media we see people getting things they want because of their family connections or social circles. Most of us have probably done the something like that too. For example, we would rather go to someone we know or to someone recommended than go to a stranger for a haircut or to get our car fixed. That sort of networking is harmless, right?

But when does it cross the line? What about when we find ourselves connected to an individual or a group that demands respect when, in fact, they are driven by arrogance and a misplaced sense of entitlement? Have you ever heard someone say, “Don’t you know who I am?” Have you ever witnessed someone being excused from what would normally be inexcusable behavior because of their connections to a family, a community, or even a belief system?

It doesn’t just happen on TV; it happens anywhere there are people. And it isn’t just a modern day issue.

We hear John the Baptist in our gospel today chastising the crowds before him for this very thing. “You brood of vipers!” he accuses.

“Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruit worthy of repentance. Do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our ancestor’; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham.”

What vivid imagery! What a dire warning. But most of all, what a reminder of the power of God.

John is telling the crowd and telling us that what our ancestors have done in the past doesn’t matter now. It is what we do in the present that matters. There is an immediacy in John’s declarations. God’s power is being stirred up, and we don’t know what form it is going to take or what the outcome will be. We are powerless before the mystery of God.

Like anyone who feels threatened, the people in the crowd listening to John wanted to avoid judgment, avoid God’s wrath, and avoid pain. They panicked. Human nature hasn’t changed much over the centuries. We still feel the same way in the face of the unknown. We want to control it, we want to analyze it, and we want to have power over it. When we can’t do that, we transmit our anxieties to others who we think we can control and have power over. Exploitation makes us feel better.

It seems as if greed, accumulation of material things, and apathy toward others can create a protective shield around the fearful trembling of our distorted hearts. Like the strange, frightening picture in Oscar Wilde’s story of Dorian Gray, our true selves, our inner selves that should be turning to God, end up atrophied and diseased as we slowly become monsters of our own making, while everything on the outside seems to be going along swimmingly.

“What then should we do?” We ask with the despairing crowds.

John tells us we must bear fruits worthy of repentance. We must turn to God – our hope and our salvation.

This calls us as individuals to decide how we will open our hearts, tearing down our useless shields, to let the love of God, through righteousness and justice, bear our fruits of repentance. It is through righteousness that we restore the relationship between us and God, as well as the relationship between each other; and through justice that we restore our relationship with material things – being good stewards of all that we have.

John, in essence, tells the crowds, the tax collectors, and soldiers that the first step to a restored community as God intended is to redistribute wealth and stop exploitation.

Each individual’s decision is key – it is the idea we have today of thinking globally, but acting locally. Systems don’t change all at once, but through one person at a time. This may be something as small as being honest if a cashier gives you too much change back or going through your closet to give away clothes that another can use. Every small action leads to a larger transformation, not just of ourselves, but of the world around us.

We are to prepare our hearts for the coming of the Lord. Our hearts are filled with expectation and questioning.

We know the answer to the crowd’s question of “Who is the Messiah?” because we have heard this gospel story before. Yet, even though we know that God is about to do something new by being with us in the flesh – Immanuel “God with us” – and we claim to believe that God is still doing something new – revealing, redeeming, sustaining, and moving in the present time – what are the fruits of our repentance? How are we living our lives with righteousness and justice?

We hear the prophet Zephaniah and the prophet Isaiah proclaiming the goodness of the Lord in our Scriptures today; what hope they hold! “The Lord is in your midst,” Zephaniah exults. How then, do our hearts respond? Are we living as if we believe this?

Sometimes it seems that since the gospels were written in a different time and different place, they are not applicable to the world we live in today. What we often forget is that the same God that came among us back then is in our midst now, stirring up power, doing new things. The God of the gospels is the God of the twenty-first century, and He is still calling us to transformation.

If a doctor diagnosed someone with heart disease or diabetes and then gave that person instructions on how to keep it from getting worse, we’d hope that person would follow the doctor’s advice. After all, we trust doctors to prescribe the right diet and medication. But if we ignore our doctor’s advice and adopted the attitude of “this can’t happen to me,” then we are just asking for trouble.

So, too, with our spiritual lives. John the Baptist is helping us prepare a way in our hearts for the Lord to come.

This is an exciting time. We do not know how God will stir things up – but we do know that God’s work always comes to good. If we don’t clear a path, then how will we be able to respond with joy when the Lord is in our midst? How will we be able to hear the call for transformation in our lives and in the community around us if our shields are up?

We have the choice to allow God to come afresh into our lives, giving us new eyes, deeper wisdom, and profound compassion. We have the ability to repent anew and to affirm the covenant made in our baptism, proclaiming the good news to all people. This is no longer our parents’ choice, or our grandparents’ choice, or our ancestors’ choice – we cannot rest on their laurels. The choice is ours. May we choose wisely.

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God made it simple for a person to become a Christian.

But by using vague clichés and by embracing misconceptions of the steps one must take to become a Christian, some make salvation seem to be something that is difficult…even complex. Some infer that becoming a Christian is the result of a person’s having done something. This is not a new problem. Since the days of the early church false teachers have made salvation seem to be something much more difficult than it really is. The Apostle Paul dealt with this problem repeatedly.

False teachers in the church of Paul’s day were proclaiming a “gospel” that said that genuine salvation was something that had to be earned through rigid obedience to a complex system of religious laws. Listen to Paul’s response to this erroneous teaching in the church in Galatia:

“I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel…which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to distort the gospel of Christ.”

This problem also popped up in the church in Ephesus. Here is Paul’s response:

“It is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast.”

These passages tell us that in the days of Paul’s ministry there was a great deal of confusion over what had to happen in order for a person to be come a Christian. And even today, almost 2,000 years later, there are those who twist the truth of scripture and make salvation appear difficult or complex. So I want  to correct some misconceptions about salvation by taking a basic look at what Salvation is not and what it is.

Let’s begin by looking at what salvation is not:

1. First of all, salvation, becoming a Christian is NOT related to physical birth

In other words, I was not born a Christian. Now my parents are Christians and they took me to church all my life. They even taught me Christian principles. But that did not make me a Christian. A person does not become a Christian as a result of being born in a Christian home, because salvation is not related to physical birth. You cannot be BORN a Christian. In fact, Jesus taught that you must be RE-BORN a Christian!

2. Secondly, salvation is NOT reformation.

It is not turning over a new leaf — acting like a Christian — trying to do better. Don’t get my wrong here, everyone should try to live a moral life. We should be good people. And this should be a result of the new birth that we experience when we become Christians. But turning over a new leaf and trying to do the right thing… simply trying to live a moral life…these efforts do not make you a Christian.

3. Then, thirdly, salvation does NOT come by way of any external religious action….such as partaking of communion, adherance to dietary laws, or church membership.

Please understand–church membership is important. All Christians should publicly join a local church and get involved in its ministry, but church membership is not salvation. You can join a church and follow all its rituals faithfully, but church membership is for people who have already become Christians. And, the ordinances of Baptism and Communion are also important. They are object lessons that Jesus commanded us to observe so that we would never forget some vital truths. Whenever we partake of Communion we are reminded that Christ died for us. And whenever a believer is immersed he or she is using this experience as a way to proclaim that they are committed to making Christ Lord of their lives. So of course we should follow Jesus in baptism…we should regularly observe communion…but participation in these precious symbols does not make you a child of God. These observances are tools God gave us to teach. They are not actions that save us or make us more pure and blameless in God’s sight. Becoming a Christian is not ever the result of anything we do. It is our simple act of faith in what God has done.

But enough of the negative. What IS salvation?

Well, first of all, salvation IS a personal experience. YOU decide. You respond to God. No one does this for you. Remember the third chapter of John records that Jesus said to Nicodemus “YOU must be born again!” Salvation is a personal experience. Your parents can’t do this for you. Your deacon can’t do this for you. Your pastor can’t do this for you. NO ONE CAN! You have to respond to God personally!

Secondly, Salvation IS a transforming experience. Becoming a Christian makes a new person out of you! The word “CONVERSION” literally means “a turned-around life”. When you are converted, you turn from going one way and go the opposite. And this is what salvation is. Your life is transformed. You become a new person. Your goals are changed. As it says in II Corinthians 5:17 : “If any one is in Christ he is a new creation….old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” Becoming a Christian is not reformation, but transformation. You do not change, but you ARE changed from within through the power of God.

Thirdly, and most importantly, Salvation IS an act of God’s grace. Grace means that salvation is something we are given that we could never hope to deserve or earn. And maybe that is the hardest thing for us to swallow. We would expect to have to do something to make ourselves somehow worthy of God’s love. But this is a misconception. The Bible clearly teaches that salvation comes from heaven downward–not from earth upward. God’s gift of salvation was God-given, God-driven, God-empowered, and God-originated.

The gift is not from man to God through our efforts. It is from God to man.

4. I John 4:10 helps us realize our need to keep this straight. Listen to what it says,

“It is not our love for God; it is God’s love for us in sending His Son to be the way to take away our sins.” On the basis of this point alone, Christianity is set apart from any other religion in the world.”

No other system, ideology, or religion proclaims a free forgiveness and a new life to those who have done nothing to deserve it but deserve judgment instead. All of us were bankrupt before God. Our sin separated us from Him. So out of His gracious love, He sent His only Son to die for us on the cross of Calvary. And in doing that, He took our sin upon Himself. When we confess our sin and ask for God’s forgiveness through Jesus Christ we are saved.

It’s as simple as that! Salvation is not something complex. Becoming a Christian is so simple that even a child can do it.

Becoming a Christian is as simple as ABC…

* Admit you are a sinner separated from God.

* Believe that Jesus Christ was God’s only Son…that He died on the cross for your sins and rose from the dead on the third day…

* Commit your life to Him. Make Him your Lord.

A, B, C…It’s easy as 1, 2, 3… what could be simpler?

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47 And while He was still speaking, behold, Judas, one of the twelve, with a great multitude with swords and clubs, came from the chief priests and elders of the people.
48 Now His betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “Whomever I kiss, He is the One; seize Him.” 49 Immediately he went up to Jesus and said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed Him. Matthew 26:47-49

In Oberammergau, Germany, there is a famous Passion Play, and it wonderfully portrays the life and death of Jesus. One day I was relating to a  ministry team member what the play is like, having been lucky enough to be able to attend on two seperate occasions. That conversation brought back some memories of a similar play he’d been in some years ago. I asked him what part he played, and he answered a little sheepishly, “I think maybe I was typecast. I played Judas.” Then he went on to explain what an eerie feeling it was to play the one who betrayed our Lord. But, then, haven’t we all?

It’s an unsettling thought to consider that you or I might ever play Judas in our relationship with Christ; unsettling, but sometimes all too true. Our word for today from the Word of God focuses again on what it can look like to sell out the Son of God.

Matthew 26:14 records it this way,

“Then one of the Twelve – the one called Judas Iscariot – went to the chief priests and asked, ‘What are you willing to give me if I hand Him over to you?’ So they counted out for him thirty silver coins. From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand Him over.”

The first thing that bothers me about this is that the one who betrays Jesus is one who is really close to Him. And most of us Christians would like to think that we’re close to Jesus. We sing the psalms, and the hymns, we say the prayers, and profess that we believe. But that closeness, the piousness, the actions, are no guarantee that you won’t sell out your Savior when the price seems right. I’m sure if you had told Judas a few months before his betrayal that he was going to do this, he would have reacted the same way you and I do, “No way I’d ever betray Jesus.” But he did.

And it’s convicting to see the value judgment that led to Judas’ betrayal. There was something that seemed worth more to him than Jesus did; something he couldn’t have and also remain true to the Lord. In his case, some silver coins. Some of us have sold out Jesus for a lot less.

I wonder what your sellout price might be; the thing that you would allow to displace Jesus – the thing you would leave Jesus’ way to get? Would you push Jesus aside to have a relationship you know He doesn’t want? Or to get ahead? To get some friends or to keep your friends? Would you betray Jesus to have more money? To get married? To keep your image? Would you sell out Jesus for a little pleasure? A little relief from your pain? Would you shove Jesus aside to have your own way? More importantly, are you betraying Jesus for anything you cannot have and still remain true to Him?

Judas betrayed Jesus and he never came back. While there’s a Judas, there’s also a Peter; one close to Jesus who turned his back on Jesus. But Peter is living proof that a denier, a betrayer, can come back! In fact, when Peter repented with all his heart, all Jesus wanted to know (He asked him three times) was this, “Do you love Me?” Peter did, and Jesus entrusted major spiritual leadership to this one who had once turned his back on Him. You know, he’ll do the same for you. With Jesus, failure doesn’t ever have to be final.

The ugliest role in any story about Jesus is playing Judas. Are you?

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I was running across some email that had been sent to me from various people for a myriad of reasons, and had been sent this video as an attachment… I think the video pretty much speaks for itself.

In the video, Daniel Beaty transforms himself and his audience into the little boys and girls we used to be, and then asks the difficult questions that arise from time to time.

In the poem Daniel’s father is a loving, involved father. Talking to his child every night, tucking him in, keeping him safe, assuring his child knows his father while growing up. One night, his father doesn’t come to tuck him in. He doesn’t come the next night, or the next… Daniel’s father has been separated from him. Daniel grows up missing those moments with his father that he should have had. These weren’t the fault of the child, but the fault of the father for the choices that he made that caused the separation between the two.

In the same way as Daniel’s father, we make decisions, take actions, say words, or neglect to make decisions, fail to take action, or refuse to say the words that cause us to enter into a state of sin. It is this state of sin that causes our separation from our Heavenly Father. Knock, knock…

In the same way as Daniel Beaty, we can imagine God sitting in His house, wondering whatever became of us. We used to come around, used to talk to him, and used to listen as well. We have separated ourselves, allowed our hearts to be hardened, and closed the door to our souls through sin. Knock, knock…

Today, I heard someone blaming God for the separation between us and Him. I spent time thinking about it, time praying about it, and time composing a blog entry on the topic in my head. At this moment I’m writing from a stream of consciousness, letting the blog entry write itself. While I’m doing so, I’m hearing a sound, a familiar one, one that I hold dear. Knock, knock…

I ended up approaching the person that sounded like they were blaming God for our separation from Him. I explained that WE are the ones responsible for our actions. WE are to blame through our sins against the laws of God. However, even as much as WE deserve to be forever separated from God, as much as WE have truly earned the wages of our sins – Just as Daniel Beaty doesn’t forget his father, God does not forget us. He does not fail.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” – John 3:16

How much He must love us! Not only to continually forgive us, to reach out to us, but to send the means of our salvation and reconciliation to Him. And sending His Son, knowing that nothing short of the sacrifice of His Son’s very life would suffice to pay the debt WE incurred.

Oh, that sound? It is the sound that I hope each of my brothers and sisters here on World-Prayer, and you my reader, hear as well. It is the sound of Him, knocking on the door to our hearts. Closed by sin, opened by His sacrifice.

Knock, knock!

014-0582Knock-at-the-Door-Posters

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with them, and they with me. Revelation 3:20

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I wrote this blog entry several years ago, while I was in a different relationship and struggling with all things worldly. I was having angst in my professional career, difficulties with athletes I was coaching, sometimes even having doubts regarding my faith. Today, as I was rereading some of these posts (as one would reread a journal or diary), I was struck by the powerful message that a simple email can contain, and pass on to others. Many of you reading my blog today haven’t gone back to read what I posted so many years ago, and I’m not suggesting you should, but I do want to share the message that I was conveying in this one with you:

Today I got an e-mail from a friend that kind of struck me strangely.

The reason for this reaction is because I was feeling rather down today and when I read this, it put life into perspective for the most part. My situation is one that involves a girl that I have been friends with for a long time. Lately we have been having difficulty talking to each other. I have been getting more frustrated as the situation has gone on, wondering if it was some change I was going through, or one that she was, or one that we both were, or even if it was just a perceptual change in the dynamics of the relationship.

While the two of us are working through these things I have been depressed, daily wondering if I had lost her as a friend since I hadn’t treated her very well for about the last month.

I have been praying hard. I have thanked God that she has had patience with me and forgiven me when I needed to be. I have also asked for guidence from Him so that I would feel inspired. I have been feeling lately that my prayers were not being heard.

How wrong a man can be!

Today (back to the e-mail) I received this e-mail from another friend.

It brought me to the realization that God is watching, waiting, and loving all of us. He has knocked, and through the noise of my own ego, I hadn’t heard Him. This e-mail was like a pounding.

He was telling me that He is here, and that He is waiting for me to trust.

Blind trust.

Here is that e-mail:

This is good to hear. The bible talks about a door also and it says “I stand at the door and I knock. If any one hear my voice and open the door I will come in and feast with him and him with me.” Revelations 3:20

Jesus knows what is on the other side – us!

A sick man turned to his doctor, as he was preparing to leave the examination room and said, “Doctor, I am afraid to die. Tell me what lies on the other side.”

Very quietly, the doctor said, “I don’t know.”

“You don’t know? You, a Christian man, do not know what is on the other side?”

The doctor was holding the handle of the door; on the other side came a sound of scratching and whining, and as he opened the door, a dog sprang into the room and leaped on him with an eager show of gladness.

Turning to the patient, the doctor said, “Did you notice my dog? He’s never been in this room before. He didn’t know what was inside. He knew nothing except that his master was here, and when the door opened, he sprang in without fear. I know little of what is on the other side of death, but I do know one thing… I know my Master is there and that is enough.”

I read that e-mail and all of the sudden I felt a sense of peace. I resolved to let Him guide my life. I would try, with His help, to become a better friend to the girl I have felt angst with lately. Hopefully, she will understand the difficulty that I have been having and continue to be my best friend in the entire world.

To her – Thank you for everything! I’ll be here for you just as you have been here for me.

To HIM – Thank you Jesus for loving me, for forgiving my wretched sins, for sacrificing yourself so that I might live in and for you. Please continue to guide my path with the Light of your Holiness.

To YOU (reader) – Thank you for reading. It is an inspiration to be able to share with you my thoughts on our Lord Jesus Christ and have you walk with me as I journey on my faith-walk.

Prayer for Reflection:

Holy Trinity; I thank you for everything you do for me. You are the Most High God, who came to Earth as a man in Jesus, and continues to be our Comfort, our Guide, our Paraclete through the Holy Spirit. I confess that I am a wretched sinner, and without your grace I am lost. I have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed. I am seperated from you by this sin, and nothing except your grace, your compassion, your gift to me that I have any hope of redemption. Thank you for sending the Son to wash away my sins. Thank you for sending the Spirit to comfort me in times of need. Thank you for your gift of grace. I ask you to take my words of long ago, and help me to continue to be inspired by them, and to bless those that read them so that they also might be inspired to carry out your will for them on Earth. Help us to do your will until the time that “every knee shall bow, and tongue confess that Jesus is LORD“. Amen.

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For me, to live is Christ.

Is it possible to sum up an entire existence with one word?

The word – Jesus?

He is the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. The one who is, who was, and who is to come.

Jesus, who is he to me?

He is the Prince of Peace, who calms my soul.

He is the Good Shepard, who guards my soul.

He is the Great High Priest, who redeems my soul.

He is the King of Kings, who governs my soul.

He is the Great Prophet, who illuminates my soul.

He is the Beloved, who loves my soul.

He is the Judge of the Living and the Dead, who vindicates my soul.

He is the Resurrection and the Life, who preserves my soul.

He is the Great I AM, who assures my soul.

Jesus – King of Glory.

King of the Ages.

King of all the Earth.

King of Kings.

My King.

Jesus.

Enough? More than enough!

When I am hungry, He is the Bread of Life that feeds me.

When I am lost He is the Way that leads home.

When I am trapped, He is the Door to freedom.

When I am uncertain, He is the Rock.

When I am speechless, He is the Word.

When I am in despair, He is the Bright and Morning Star.

When I am soiled, He is the Lamb of God that washes away my sin.

When I am afraid, He is the Lion of the tribe of Judah.

When I am impoverished, He is the Unspeakable Gift.

When I am in darkness, He is the Light.

Lord of Glory.

Lord of Hosts.

Lord of ALL.

My Lord.

To Him alone belongs the name above all names…

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