Tag Archive | salvation

Lazarus Story

‭‭John‬ ‭12:9-11‬ ‭KJV‬‬ – “Much people of the Jews therefore knew that he was there: and they came not for Jesus’ sake only, but that they might see Lazarus also, whom he had raised from the dead. But the chief priests consulted that they might put Lazarus also to death; Because that by reason of him many of the Jews went away, and believed on Jesus.”

It is always good to be in the house of the Lord. Yesterday was no exception. 

Lazarus. He was the dead man that Jesus brought back to life. He was the brother of Mary and Martha, the infamous sisters with two different viewpoints. Yet, he was one that loved Jesus and Jesus loved him. In fact, when he was dead, “Jesus wept.” (John 11:35). 

Lazarus had a story. He had a story of friendship. He had a story of love. He had a story of learning from Jesus. He had a story that made other people perk up and take notice. They wanted to come and see this man that had once been dead and in the grave, yet now here he was, sitting at a table eating with Jesus. How could this be?

As followers of Christ, we all have a Lazarus story. We all have a story of walking in darkness and then walking in the Light. The people we are around might know that we are followers of Christ, but do they know how we got there? Do they know why we stay there?

This was the question posed to me during the message last night at church. It really struck a chord with me. People know that I go to church and read my Bible and try to live like the Lord wants me to live. I don’t curse. I don’t drink. I try to treat people with respect even when I disagree with them. But do I make an effort to tell them my Lazarus story?

Just so it is out there, here it is –

I was just a girl, maybe 9 or 10, when I heard Jesus whispering to my heart. I had been to church my whole life. I knew the stories. I had heard the sermons. I knew Jesus. But I had never invited Him to be the Lord of my life and Savior of my soul. My uncle was a pastor. One night, my mom, brother, grandma and I were visiting him and the family. It was a Wednesday night. I don’t remember the message at all. I just remember that I couldn’t sit still and something wasn’t right. I remember going back to my aunt and uncle’s house and going into the bathroom with my mom and telling her, “Momma, I think Jesus is speaking to my heart.” She said, “Let’s go find your uncle.” And we did. And he took me down the road to salvation. I prayed and asked Jesus into my heart that night. I remember that feeling in my heart so very well. I felt as if the weight of the world had been lifted from my shoulders. I remember how excited I was and how excited everyone around me was. It was a good night. And every since that day, I try my hardest to treasure that feeling of being completely and totally loved no matter what circumstance I find myself in that day. Looking back on my life, I can truly and honestly say that making that decision that night was the best thing I have ever done. I have never been alone since. I have had struggles and challenges and trials, joy and laughter and friendships, tears and questions and ponderings – but never have I doubted God’s love for me and His acceptance of my repentance. 

I didn’t live a life of deep, dark sin before I was saved. My Lazarus story happened pretty early in life. But my Lazarus story is one of life long love and faithfulness. Mine is a story of walking. Jesus and I have been walking together for well over 30 years. He has been working on me for that long. He has a lot to do. Have you ever heard that song “He’s still working on me”? Well, that pretty much sums up my life. 

You see, each Lazarus story is different. Each one has a different starting point and a unique set of circumstances that led that person to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. And every person who has made that decision has a different path that has brought him/her this far. Yet, despite the differences, we are all headed to the same place – a eternity with Jesus. 

The purpose and goal of telling our Lazarus story should be to bring along as many people as we can. Ours is a story of redemption and love and relationship that provides others with the opportunity to experience the same thing, no matter their backstory. 

So I want to encourage you this week to share your Lazarus story. People may know that you are a follower of Christ and that you are not like everyone else around them. But do they know how you got there and why you stay there? Tell them! Listen, this is just as much for me as it is for you. 

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Part of a story

‭‭Luke‬ ‭15:7‬ ‭KJV‬‬ – “I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.”
We had junior church on Sunday. My husband and I always enjoy those Sundays because it gives us an opportunity to interact with the younger ones. They are so fun. They have great stories. They love to giggle. They get excited over the smallest things. And they have a heart for others that fills the room.

We were studying about Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch. We were talking about getting out of you comfort zone and talking to others about Jesus. We were talking about being obedient even when we don’t understand what God is telling us to do. 

And then, someone encouraged one young man to tell us what he was doing on that Sunday. He shyly admitted that he was going forward to let everyone know that he had accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior. We were all so very excited! This young man has been coming to church for some time. He has been attending junior church for as long as he has been coming. 

The way this really touched me was that God whispered to my heart that part of this joy was mine. It really belongs to all of us who have spoken Jesus to this young man in any way, shape or form. We rejoice. We know that it is God working in his heart. We know that we helped plant the seeds. We know that God drew him to His side. And we rejoice.

I love that God gives me the opportunity to be a part of someone’s story. I know in my own life, I can look back at friends and family members who demonstrated Jesus and taught me the lessons of the Bible in so many different places and at so many different times in my life. Our journey to Christ and with Christ is one of people and relationships. It is learning from others by their words and actions. These experiences help to write our story in such a manner that each one is unique and extraordinarily special. 

I don’t necessarily have any deep, spiritual advice or words of wisdom on this subject. I just want you to be aware that you never know how God is going to use you in someone else’s story. Each story is beautiful and unique and each story is longing to have Jesus be the Author.

Free Coffee!!

Romans 5:14-19 – “Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ. Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.”

It is National Coffee Day! Yeah!!! 

Coffee and I have a special relationship. It’s like a warm little blanket for me early in the morning. It wakes me up and just tastes good – with cream and sugar, of course. 

But today, oh happy day, is Friday AND free coffee day at some places! Does life get any better?? You can bet I’m headed to Wawa after I drop the kids off at school for a delightful cup of joe.

When we get the opportunity for something free, we jump all over it. Buy one, get one free deals at the grocery store are hard to pass up. Free samples at stores are just icing on the cake. We love free. 

These verses have the two words that most people love to hear – “free” and “gift”. So, why is it so hard to get people to listen and consider when you talk about the two things that most everyone loves? I think it is because they have to first admit they are wrong to accept this “free gift”. In order to be saved, you first have to be lost. And to be lost, you have to come to the realization that you are a sinner. There is nothing that you can do on your own, in and of yourself, to gain salvation. The only thing you can do is admit that you are a sinner, believe that Jesus Christ is who He says He is and did what He said He did, and accept that “free gift” of salvation. Ask, Believe and Confess. ABC. 

Salvation is as easy as walking into Wawa on National Coffee Day and accepting that free cup of coffee. No strings attached. No guilt in taking it. Wawa opened it’s doors today and started making coffee, lots and lots of coffee. Jesus has opened the doors of Heaven to each and every person, offering them the opportunity to accept His free gift of salvation. 

What are you waiting for? What is keeping you from sharing that Wonderful News? I would guess that you will tell someone today that it is National Coffee Day and inform them that they need to look up a place close to them that will have free coffee. But why is that so easy to share yet sharing the Good News of Christ that will change their eternity so difficult?

Happy Friday and Happy National Coffee Day.

Extra Icing

John 10:27,28 – “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.”

I had an amazing experience yesterday.

I was seeing a client and this client told me, out of the blue, that they thought their death was close. This client has multiple medical issues but seems to be functioning fairly well. I probed a bit and found out more information but nothing that would necessarily substantiate the fears that were expressed. 

Yet, I felt the Holy Spirit impress upon my heart that I needed to confirm and/or present the plan of salvation to this person. And I did. It was amazing. I told my client very bluntly and candidly about what it takes to KNOW that death is not the end. And my client confirmed that they had the free gift of salvation in their heart. 

I’m a nobody. I love what I do. I love being in contact with people and helping them and walking through all sorts of situations and problems with them. But when I get the opportunity to speak to someone I have grown close to about Jesus and His free gift of salvation- well, that’s just extra icing on the cupcake. I don’t push it but I don’t hide it. And when God was speaking to my heart yesterday, for once, I listened. And it was beautiful!

So I want to encourage you to live it out. We never know how long we have or how long the person across from us has. Yesterday, I heard His voice and I followed and it was truly a blessing in my life. I encourage you to do the same. Happy Wednesday. 

Blessings of a Godly Family

Jeremiah 35:12-17 – “Then came the word of the LORD unto Jeremiah, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Go and tell the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, Will ye not receive instruction to hearken to my words? saith the LORD. The words of Jonadab the son of Rechab, that he commanded his sons not to drink wine, are performed; for unto this day they drink none, but obey their father’s commandment: notwithstanding I have spoken unto you, rising early and speaking; but ye hearkened not unto me. I have sent also unto you all my servants the prophets, rising up early and sending them, saying, Return ye now every man from his evil way, and amend your doings, and go not after other gods to serve them, and ye shall dwell in the land which I have given to you and to your fathers: but ye have not inclined your ear, nor hearkened unto me. Because the sons of Jonadab the son of Rechab have performed the commandment of their father, which he commanded them; but this people hath not hearkened unto me: Therefore thus saith the LORD God of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will bring upon Judah and upon all the inhabitants of Jerusalem all the evil that I have pronounced against them: because I have spoken unto them, but they have not heard; and I have called unto them, but they have not answered.”

Sorry. I know the reading was long, but I wanted you to get the full picture. 

Oftentimes, God uses living, breathing examples for us to understand what He is trying to tell us. Here, He wanted the people of Israel to see that it can be done – you can follow after age, old commands without compromising. These people, the Rechabites, had followed after the commands of their forefathers for many generations. They chose not to drink wine. (They chose not to do other things everyone else did as well. Check out Jeremiah 35.)   

The important lesson here for the children of Israel was that they needed to repent and follow after the commands that God had given their forefathers. But this didn’t fit what they wanted to do. It interfered with their life. They had chosen a different path. 

That’s the thing here – we all have to choose our path. The Rechabites chose to follow after the commands of their forefathers. The children of Israel chose the path of everyone around them; they wanted to be like everyone else. 

I have been blessed with a beautiful spiritual background. Both sides of my family accepted Jesus as their Savior. My mom’s side was a bit more recent than my dad’s, but nonetheless, it was there. My husband’s family knows the Lord as well. Not all the distance relatives, but some. The ones with the greatest effect on his life knew the Lord. What a blessing for my children! An heritage of the Lord. 

But what I want you to understand is this – just because your family loved and served the Lord doesn’t automatically make you a child of the King. No, it’s your choice. You have to choose your own path. You have to make your own decision. Heritage will not get you to Heaven. Only the accepted blood of Jesus Christ can do that. 

A Godly family is a blessing, indeed. But don’t be fooled into thinking that’s what you need for salvation. The choice is yours and yours alone. You can’t ride in on someone else’s skirt tail. 

Joy in obedience 

Psalm 35:9 – “And my soul shall be joyful in the LORD: it shall rejoice in his salvation.” 

My daughter had believed she was saved for quite sometime- that is, until last summer. During VBS, she came to me and told me that she thought she had just prayed the prayer and did not mean it in her heart. We talked about what that meant and before our chat was over, she was a true blue Princess. She truly and completely accepted Jesus as her Savior. 

Sunday night, our church observed the Lord’s Supper. It’s a very somber and reverent time for our little congregation, yet so very sweet. We observe this ordinance twice a year. I’m not sure where we were when we observed it in the fall, but we must not have been there because my daughter said this was her first “real” observance of this ordinance. 

She said, “Mom, I used to smile through it. But tonight, I couldn’t. It just reminded me so much of what Jesus did for me. But now, all I can do is smile because this time I did it for real.”

Joy. Real, honest joy in being obedient. Have you ever experienced that? Have you ever been so overflowing with joy just because you have done what Jesus asked you to do?

It is an amazing feeling. It makes me smile just thinking about it. 

We should experience joy when we are obedient to God. It shouldn’t be burdensome and weary. It should be joyful and energizing and rewarding. 

Matthew 11:30 – “For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” 

How many of us feel like this at the end of the day? We have done all that God has called us to do and what do we do? Complain. Moan. Groan. Whine. 

Some days, His yoke doesn’t feel light. Why is that? I know in my case, it’s a “me” problem. I’m so busy being focused on me and my problems that I forget to see the joy in being obedient. 

So let me encourage you today to choose to see the joy in doing what God has called you to do – whether it be serving on the mission field or serving dinner to the family. Find joy in all you do, especially in your obedience to Him. 

A New Song

Psalm 40:3-5 – “And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD. Blessed is that man that maketh the LORD his trust, and respecteth not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies. Many, O LORD my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered.”

Yesterday was a good day. My daughter accepted Jesus as her Savior August 12. Yesterday, she was baptized. You see, we had thought that she was saved. But she came to me on the night of the 12th and said to me that she didn’t think she was saved. She said that she thought that when she was little, that she just said the prayer and did what she needed to do just because she wanted to make her dad and I proud of her. But on this night, she understood that she had said that prayer for the wrong reasons and that because of that, she wasn’t saved. I asked her if she wanted to take care of that right then and there. She responded, “yes”. So, that night as we sat on the couch in the front room, my sweet little girl confessed her sin, asked for forgiveness and asked Jesus to come and live in her heart as her Savior to lead her and guide her the rest of her days. She confessed that she believed Him to be her one and only Savior and Redeemer. It was beautiful. 

On the way to church yesterday, her favorite song came on the radio, well, one of her favorites, and she began to sing. We love to listen to contemporary Christian music while in the car, especially on the way to church and school. It helps us to get our focus where it needs to be. The song she was singing was “How He loves” by the David Crowder Band. And when she sang this song in the car yesterday, it almost brought me to tears – she was singing a “new song”. It was the first time she had sang it since her new birthday. She had a whole new perspective on His love and forgiveness and understanding. 

Jesus doesn’t care who you are, how old you are, what you have done in the past or anything like that – He is concerned about the future. He wants you to spend it with Him. And yes, you have made mistakes. You may have asked Him into your heart a long time ago, but did you mean it? Did you do it just to please others or did you do it because you truly believed? It’s okay if this is you. The MOST important thing is that you get it right, right now! Don’t wait another second. Don’t be ashamed. Don’t be embarrassed. Jesus never gave up on my daughter. I had no clue that she was thinking about this. I had no clue that her salvation was not secure. But Jesus knew the state of her heart and He never stopped pursuing her. He never stopped pricking her heart. And for that I am so grateful. 

Do you have a new song? Are you singing in your heart the praises of His name? 

Let me encourage you today to have a heart check. Make sure that your salvation is secure in Him. Life is too short to wait and eternity is too long to toy with. Get it right today.