Thursday, June 17, 2010

Because, Because, Because

Because God loves me…

He sent His only Son to shed His blood, die on the cross, pay my sin debt, and purchase my pardon so that I could have eternal life!

He sealed my salvation with the Holy Spirit – that dwells in me to comfort me, teach me, prompt me, interpret my prayers to God on my behalf, fill me so that I can be used of God.

He gave me the Word of God – a love letter from God Himself! A guide map to show me the way I should go, and which ways I should avoid and the history lessons that help me to learn from other’s triumphs and mistakes.

He gives me love, joy, peace, understanding, wisdom, knowledge, strength, health, air to breathe, water to drink, a means to get food to eat, to earn money, basically – He Gave and continues to give Everything!

Because I love God…

I want to spend time with Him – in His Word, in prayer, in His house!

I show my appreciation to Him for all He has done for me

He died for me, I live for Him

I try as best I can to do what pleases Him

Because I love you…

I want you to be able to have the salvation that Jesus purchased for you

I want you to experience the joy, love, peace, blessed hope and assurance that God has for you.

I want you to have everlasting life – not everlasting death…here’s how:

The Bible Way to Heaven

First, realize God loves you. John 3:16 says, “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.” The Bible teaches that regardless of your background, age, race, or any other factor, God loves you and desires a genuine, personal relationship with you.

Second, realize everyone is a sinner. The Bible says in Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” No one is perfect. We have all broken God’s commandments. This is called sin, and it separates us from God.

Third, realize sin has a price that must be paid. Romans 6:23 tells us, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” The “wage” or payment for our sin is death, which according to the Bible is eternal separation from God in a place called Hell.

Fourth, realize Jesus Christ died to pay the price for your sin. Romans 5:8 says, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” If we choose to accept Christ, we do not have to pay the price of death and Hell for our sins because Jesus paid for our sins when He died on the cross and rose again three days later!

Finally, pray and ask Jesus Christ to be your Saviour, and claim His promise of eternal life. In Romans 10:13 the Bible says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” That is a promise directly from God that if you will pray to Him, confess that you are a sinner, ask Him to forgive your sins, and accept Him as your Saviour; He promises to save you and give you the free gift of eternal life.

There is no requirement for “religion” it is an offer to receive the gift Christ purchased on the cross. If you’ll notice in John 3:16 the only “condition” is to believe in Him, not to simply believe that He exists. That means to trust Christ to receive everlasting life. There is no mention of sacraments or steps to take – it is an offer that you can accept or reject. My prayer is that you will accept His offer and His provision…John 14:6 says, “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” God offered it to “whosoever believeth” because He loves us. I love Him because He first loved me; and because I love you I want you to receive His gift as well. Won’t you trust Christ today? You never have to tell me, but it would be a blessing if you did. I hope to see you in heaven. I love you.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

This is Done Because...

On May 9, I celebrated the 25th anniversary of my salvation date. I remember that day so clearly – I remember the fear I felt when my friend started telling me about what the Bible says, and then the calm that came over me as “a still, small voice said, “its okay to listen Terrie, it’s the Bible.” I remember the “joy unspeakable” I felt as I was driving home from my friend’s house KNOWING I was on my way to heaven. So much has happened since that time – so many changes have occurred in my life and my family.

Some of the changes that have occurred obviously would have happened anyway because of time; but there are so many changes that happened specifically because of what Christ did in my life. Some of the changes the Lord has made in me – some things I have changed by decision after being convicted by the Holy Spirit. The Lord has worked and created a new heart in me; He has made me a new creature in Christ.

This morning as I was reading my Bible I read the following verse, “And thou shalt shew thy son in that day, saying, This is done because of that which the LORD did unto me when I came forth out of Egypt.” Exodus 13:8. After reading from that verse I thought of the many times I have been asked about why I live the way I do, why I dress the way I dress, and why I avoid things that many people embrace…and I have given the answer that I live the way I live because of what the Lord has done for me over and over through the years.

Egypt is symbolic of the “world” and when the Lord brought them out of Egypt it is a picture of salvation. God provided the salvation and those that did not believe could not enter the Promised Land, but instead wandered in the wilderness until they died. “But with whom was he grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness? And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.” Hebrews 3:17-19. These people were all saved out of Egypt (from the world), but they refused to trust God enough to rest in Him.

Similarly today, salvation has been purchased by the blood of Christ, and those that truly believe are saved as were the children of Israel when God brought them out of Egypt. The ones that could not enter "into His rest" didn’t believe God enough to allow Him to make changes in their lives. They were the ones that didn’t trust God to give them the victory; they murmured when they couldn’t see an easy answer to their problems…they had no faith and it was evidenced by their lack of trust in God. They had just witnessed all the miracles God had done in Egypt, at the Red Sea, and yet they wanted to go back to being slaves because of the food they enjoyed and the security they had in their jobs and homes. They didn’t like the changes; they were “uncomfortable.”

Many new Christians fear the changes that Salvation may bring because they are just like the children of Israel – they want to hold on to things they have enjoyed even if it means they are in bondage. If that is you, may I say that in Christ there is fulness of joy. I don’t regret a single change that the Lord has made in our lives – I have peace that passes understanding and yes, joy unspeakable, I can rest in God's promises. I can guarantee that living a life resting in God is much more pleasant than wandering in a wilderness.

So my question and challenge to you today ladies, is what things in your life is the Lord asking you to change? What changes in your life will you say, “This is done because of that which the Lord did unto me…?” Ladies, I love you and desire that you may enjoy all that God has for you. “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” Jeremiah 29:11

Have a wonderful day!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Feel Cool or Be Full

A couple of weeks ago we were able to visit with one of our sons on the occasion of his son’s K5 graduation, as well as our son’s birthday. While visiting we were treated to a day of fun at Disneyland! We were not exactly prepared for that type of day trip so we did not have the right kind of shoes for a day of walking. We tried as best we could to rush to the store and get what we needed so that we could be on our way.

On our way out of town we stopped to get gas for the 1.5 hour drive. We waited in the car while my husband was filling the tank. After a couple of moments he opened the door of the car to grab a Gospel tract, and then a minute later he grabbed another – this did not surprise me as my husband is an avid soulwinner:) Several moments later we watched as my husband lead the woman at the gas station to bow her head and heart in prayer asking the Lord to save her soul – Praise the Lord!

When my husband got back in the car we discussed the transaction that was made and he said that the woman told him she had heard of salvation, and wanted to know how to be saved, but that no one had taken the time to tell her. She had visited churches and had been “hungry” for the truth – and yet never satisfied:(

Today in my Bible reading I read Matthew 21:18 which says, “Now in the morning as he returned into the city, he hungered. And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away.” After reading that I thought of the woman at the gas station and realized that perhaps she had gone to many “fig trees” due to hunger and kept finding “nothing but leaves.” All too often we get too busy going about our own business and forget to consider those that are hungry and needy. We make sure we look good, and may even work at making people feel cool about themselves, but in fact that offers nothing that truly satisfies.

As I pondered that idea I decided to look up some facts about fig trees to see what would make the difference between a fig tree that produces fruit and one that has nothing but leaves; I can’t say I found a definitive answer or solution, but I did find one snippet of information that is very interesting.

“Figs are well suited to containers, which restrict their root growth and, in turn, make them more fruitful. In containers, figs will experience less vegetative growth and have more energy for the production of fruit. They will need to be watered more often though.”

So, what does that teach me? I’m glad you asked:)

1. Figs will produce more fruit when they are grown in an atmosphere with boundaries. To me this translates to mean that if we want to produce fruit we should live a holy, consecrated life.

2. These boundaries will restrict root growth (the root is a part of the body of a plant that develops, anchoring the plant and absorbing nutriment and moisture). Growth in a controlled environment hinders the outward (worldly) growth and secures what nutrients and moisture are being absorbed to anchor the plant. As Christians we do better when we are absorbing the nutrients within a holy and consecrated environment.

3. When the vegetative growth is hindered there is more energy to produce fruit. “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.” Galatians 5:16

4. Growing to produce fruit in a controlled environment requires more frequent watering. As Christians we should be “watered” with the Word of God daily so that we will be holy. “That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word.” Ephesians 5:26

Sure having leaves may provide shade, (make people feel cool) but bearing fruit sustains life (be full)! Ladies, today why not make sure that you are keeping yourself in an environment that gives you more energy to produce fruit - you might just meet someone that is hungry today!

Have a wonderful day!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Hallelujah Anyhow!

Today as I sit to write this blog, I am praying that I may be able to convey to everyone that might read this all that God has placed in my heart. As you know this past six months has been indeed a life changing experience for me...and I am not talking about the "change" that occurs to women in my age group. I am talking about this wonderful adventure that we are experiencing by the grace of God.

My husband was called to plant a church in Oakdale, CA, and so here we are! We moved here believing that God would take care of us and meet our needs and He has miraculously provided exceeding, abundantly ABOVE ALL that we have asked or even thought He would do!

Right now I am sitting in my new home - at the time of my last writing I knew that God was going to provide it - at the right time - and He certainly did...without a minute to lose! We moved on a Friday morning - and as of the Thursday morning before our move, the house we hoped for (and also the only one available at the time we needed to move) was not secured. The landlord was unsure if she wanted to rent her home to a pastor that had a church of less than 3 months old. I must admit I went through a grueling afternoon on Thursday, crying and asking God what I was supposed to do...and He wasn't giving me an answer...(which was His answer)"do nothing; wait!" Finally after 5:00 pm on Thursday afternoon we received the call that the house was ours! Praise the Lord!

Yesterday we held a baptism service and we had 14 potential people that had agreed to be baptized; perhaps it was a lack of faith on my part, but I was praying that God would bless us and give us 7 baptisms (I already knew of a few folks that were unable to get baptized yesterday), and 40 in attendance for our morning service. Well, we had 35 in attendance and 1 baptism...so does that mean God didn't answer my prayer? I don't think so, and here's why.

Well, let me first start by telling you a little about the day yesterday. It started off with the phone ringing...for those of you in the ministry I am sure you know that when the phone rings on a Sunday morning - it is not usually good news:) It is normally someone letting you know that they can't be in church - discouraging to say the least. Then ladies, you'll be able to understand the "pain" I suffered when after doing one side of my hair - my flat iron died! I have very curly, frizzy, hair - and my flat iron died! on Sunday morning...ugh! Fortunately, I had an old flat iron that worked well enough to finish my hair - though it did not turn out quite as I would have liked. To top that off the hose that leads to the water softener in our garage slipped out of the pipe and flooded the garage! Satan was definitely camping out on our doorstep. Well after all those things we recognized who was attacking us, praised the Lord singing "Hallelujah Anyhow...I never let my troubles get me down; When the trials come my way, I hold my head up high and say, "Hallelujah Anyhow!"

Now, after such a morning it would seem that by not having the attendance I hoped for both in the service and in the baptism tank that I would be discouraged and even charge God for not answering the way I hoped...but that is not the case at all. Philippians 4:4-7 says, "Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."

Perhaps I didn't get the exact "number" I was praying for, but I had asked that God bless us, and that He did! I am rejoicing in the Lord - He blessed us yesterday with a great service, a sweet spirit, visitors, and a baptism. If you'll notice the commandment is to rejoice, show moderation (meaning calm, patience, temperance), then we are reminded that God is "at hand," so...don't worry about anything, pray letting God know you will be thankful with the outcome He gives, and then He will give you peace to accept what you get. I am rejoicing in the many blessings He has provided, and He has given me tremendous peace:)

Some might call it a "Pollyanna" attitude, but I believe that we should pray and then trust that God's outcome is best regardless of what we think...Romans 8:28 "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." Haven't discovered what good will come out of a broken flat iron yet, but I'll keep you posted...but as the song says, when your troubles come your way, hold your head us high and say, "hallelujah anyhow!" love you ladies!

Have a wonderful day!