Salvation Coin

 

download

Jesus knew what they were thinking, and said, “Why this gossipy whispering? Which do you think is simpler: to say, ‘I forgive your sins,’ or, ‘Get up and walk’?

Well, just so it’s clear that I’m the Son of Man and authorized to do either, or both. . . .”

At this he turned to the paraplegic and said, “Get up. Take your bed and go home.”

And the man did it.

The crowd was awestruck, amazed and pleased that God had authorized Jesus to work among them this way.

Matthew 9:5 – 13  MSG

This is Jesus speaking. The crowds had witnessed Him healing countless people of physical afflictions and delivering so many people of the demons that tormented them.

But this was new and they couldn’t get their minds around it.

Jesus the healer.  Yes.

Jesus the Son of Man who has authority to forgive sins?  No.

I have been in churches almost all my 62 years and I am convinced that many churches have reversed that.  I have heard churches offer the salvation message and seldom does that invitation include physical healing for our bodies.  Often times, even communion is offered with no reference to the body beaten for our healing represented by the bread at the communion table.  This is not a criticism, just an observation. I didn’t think too much of that until recently when God gave me this image.

Pretend that I have laid a silver dollar in your outstretched hand.

Would it make any difference if that coin were placed heads up or tails up?

Would it spend any differently?

Of course, we know the answer is no.

But, imagine for a moment God placing a coin in your hand.

A coin He referred to as a Salvation Coin.

On one side is engraved the word “Saved”.

 On the other side, “Healed” is written.

Would it matter which side of that coin landed face up?

Would it spend any differently?

Again, the answer is no.

It wouldn’t matter.

The word sozo translated in our New Testament means “to save, deliver, protect, heal, preserve, do well, and be made whole”  according to Strong’s Concordance.

Jesus showed us the Kingdom of God while He walked on this earth. That kingdom includes the salvation of our souls but it also provides for the healing of our bodies.

Different sides of the same coin.

I have heard it said many times, if you have the faith to believe your sins are forgiven, you have the faith to be healed.

Thank you Father, that your salvation is all inclusive.  Thank you for the love that sent Jesus to the cross on my behalf that I may be healed and saved and preserved and made whole.  In the times when I  don’t feel these provisions, help me to remember that the price has been paid, my salvation is a done deal. I receive by faith all that Jesus’ sacrifice purchased for me.  Praise Your holy name.  Amen. 

pic credit:  gcastd.org

Advertisements

Who’s Job Is It?

images (5)

 It wasn’t so long ago that you were mired in that old stagnant life of sin.

You let the world, which doesn’t know the first thing about living, tell you how to live.

You filled your lungs with polluted unbelief, and then exhaled disobedience.

We all did it, all of us doing what we felt like doing, when we felt like doing it, all of us in the same boat.

It’s a wonder God didn’t lose his temper and do away with the whole lot of us.

Instead, immense in mercy and with an incredible love, he embraced us.

He took our sin-dead lives and made us alive in Christ. He did all this on his own, with no help from us!

Then he picked us up and set us down in highest heaven in company with Jesus, our Messiah.

 Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus.

Saving is all his idea, and all his work.

All we do is trust him enough to let him do it.

It’s God’s gift from start to finish!

We don’t play the major role.

If we did, we’d probably go around bragging that we’d done the whole thing!

No, we neither make nor save ourselves.

God does both the making and saving.

He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing.

Ephesians 2: 4-7  Message Bible

Left to my own devices, I could be a stagnant mess, a worrier, a control freak, a hyper-vigilant fix-it-all person. One look in the mirror, one honest look tells me that I couldn’t fix myself much less anyone or anything else around me. It’s good to know I don’t have to play the major role in fixing my life or anyone else’s for that matter. Jesus took that role; He saw me when I was a terrible mess and reached out a hand and I have been clinging to that hand ever since. Well, mostly ever since. Ok, actually only when I find myself stumbling and know I can’t get up on my own. In spite of what I know about my failings and His grace, I still let go of His hand way more than I should, thinking I’ve got this when in actuality, I don’t. I never did. I never will. I need His grace every minute of every hour of every day and I am so grateful that His grace is available to me and that He showers it upon me and there is still plenty left over to shower upon you in spite of the fact that we don’t deserve it? Isn’t that awesome?

pic credit: tabernaclefortoday.org

The End From The Beginning

CAM00946

I make known the end from the beginning…

Isaiah 46:10

I breed dogs. People that are considering adopting a puppy ask the same questions – what about genetic testing?  What kind of health guarantee do you offer? What if they get this disease or that one?  What they are looking for are reassurances that this puppy won’t become a financial or emotional burden to them over the next 15 years. I do the best I can to weed out these possibilities but I can’t really guarantee that no disease will befall their dog; I can’t see the end from the beginning.

But this verse in Isaiah tells us that God does. He knows how things will play out; there are no surprise endings for Him.

If we possessed that power, how much easier would major decisions become – do I marry this person, is this the right time to have a child, should I leave this job, start this business, should I have this surgery, etc.  But we don’t have that power; we can’t see the end from the beginning.

This makes me marvel all the more about God. On the day, some thirty years ago, when I asked Jesus to come into my life and into my heart, I didn’t know what I was getting into. But He did. He knew the times my love for Him would burn passionately and the times it would only smolder. He knew that my affections towards Him would wax and wane. He knew the times I would be so angry at Him that I couldn’t talk to Him for days and weeks and even months.  He knew the times I would grieve His Holy Spirit, the times I would hurt another child of His, the times I would hurt myself, and yet, He came in. He willingly entered into a relationship with me knowing He would be hurt, neglected and misunderstood. 

I don’t understand that kind of love. I marvel at that. He knew me, not just the now me, but the all the way into the future me, the past me, the me you don’t get to see, the me I’d rather not see and still He said yes at my invitation.

Jesus, I am humbled at the thought of Your response to my invitation. Knowing what You know about me, you still chose to come and live in me. What can I say to a love like that? Thank You, thank You, thank You  and please, please, please help me to be a place where You are pleased to dwell. Help me to be a habitation fit for a King, a Saviour or the very best friend a person could ever ask for. Thank You for loving me in spite of my unworthiness. Amen.

The Lord Is Ready To Help

10168104_774519575947190_4487592174217352925_n

The Lord is ready to help all those who call out to him.
    He helps those who really mean it when they call out to him.
 He satisfies the needs of those who have respect for him.
    He hears their cry and saves them.

Psalm 145: 18-19

My husband’s surgery went really well. The surgeon found no cancer, but is still convinced there is some.  Bruce is recovering very nicely and making good progress towards coming home.  We all breathed a collective sigh of relief. The doctors had prepared us for the worst, sometimes even graphically. God gave Bruce an amazing peace the day before the surgery and he spent the day with our son John. They went to a movie and had a great time. The peace was such a wonderful pre-op gift.

We were blessed to have so many people pray for Bruce.  Friends from our church, family members, and these three friends who showed up to pray for him in the hospital room. The Lord heard the prayers and saved Bruce from so much invasive surgery.   And we are so grateful.

We serve an awesome God, a God who is ready to help ALL who call out to Him, all who really mean it, all who have respect for Him.  He hears and He saves. What an awesome God!

Are you in need? Have you cried out to God? Do you respect Him? If you need prayer, I would be happy to join my faith with yours in prayer, please let me know.

Father God, thank You for hearing our prayers, for responding to our prayers, for being ready to help, ready, willing and able. We are so blessed to have the friends we have and the doctors and nurses who have taken such good care of Bruce, thank You. Truly, You are an awesome God.  Amen.

Salvation Garden

Salvation_Mountain_002

In simple humility, let our gardener,

God,

landscape you with the Word,

making a salvation-garden of your life.

James 1:21

Learning the things of God requires humility; a desire to know the Lord requires meekness. Humility involves teachability. Taken as such, God’s word has the power to make a salvation-garden of our life!

God’s word has the power to save us from ourselves, our sins, our pain, our sense of unworthiness and bless us in so many ways but only if we come to it with a humble, teachable spirit. Too many times though, we come to the Bible with preconceived ideas of who God is, of what He means, of how He operates in people’s lives and rather than let the word of God speak to us as it will, we hear what we want, we accept what makes sense, reject what doesn’t, try to complicate it, try to overlook the parts we don’t like and twist the ones we do.

What would happen though, if we wiped clean the ideas we have of God and His word and look at it afresh with a teachable spirit? What kind of seeds would be planted in the salvation-garden of our lives?

Seeds of hope

Seeds of forgiveness

Seeds of love

Seeds of healing

Seeds of deliverance from habits

Seeds of mercy

Seeds of grace

Seeds of joy

Seeds of acceptance

Seeds of belonging

Seeds of adoption

Seeds of freedom from everything that enslaves us

Seeds of provision for our journey

Seeds of value

Seeds of significance

Seeds of vision

What an amazing garden that would be!

imagesK047AZIH

And all we have to do is approach the word of God with humility, let God plant the seeds, and stand back and watch as He produces a harvest in our lives that will amaze us and bless others.

Let my heart be fallow ground; may I always approach Your word with humility and a sincere desire to be taught by You. Thank You for the salvation garden You are growing in my life. I see evidence of new life, Your life, springing up all around me and in me and I am humbled by that. Open my eyes to the preconceived ideas I have of You, misconceptions that blind me from the truth of Your word and help me to be teachable. Bring a harvest in my life, I pray, that will bless others, I ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.

picture credit: Wikipedia.com and blueeyedenaissiempre.blogspot.com

 

Is This A 1 to 10 On The Hardness Scale?

untitled (3)

“I am the Lord. I am the God of all people. Is anything too hard for me?”

Jeremiah 32:27

In our homeschool journey, we recently studied Mohs Hardness Scale. This scale is used to identify mineral specimens by comparing their hardness to  the ten minerals on the scale. Talc is the least hard with diamonds being the hardest and knife-blades and fingernails and copper pennies and other minerals falling somewhere in between.

A scale like this apparently works for mineral identification but I think there is a tendency to put God’s ability to perform a miracle on our behalf on a hardness scale. Things like healing from a headache may be a one, healing from cancer a 10, saving a loved one, maybe a 7 and so on.

This verse tells us, though, and this would be God speaking, that nothing is too hard for Him. Nothing. Not cancer, not a marriage that seems to be falling apart, not turning an ugly financial picture around, not bringing home that wayward child, not releasing one from an addiction. Nothing. Nothing is too big to believe for and nothing is so small that we can’t “bother” God with it. He cares about the headaches and the cancers and the addictions that would rob of us a blessed journey.

I think a tremendously great miracle is that the Lord, the God of all people, cares about you and me and knows the situation we find ourselves in. And because of His great love for us, He steps in. He intervenes. He sent Jesus to show us the way to Him, and when Jesus was crucified, dead and buried, God raised Him up and seated Him at His own right hand where Jesus lives to intercede for us.  What a tremendous miracle that the God of all people cares that much about even one person, me. And you.

If God would give us that great a miracle, why would anything less be too difficult for Him?  Why would He withhold anything from us when He has already given us His best?

Whatever the difficulty you are going through, know that God hasn’t forgotten you, He hasn’t abandoned you, He still has great plans for your life and nothing, absolutely nothing is too hard for Him to take care of.

You are the Lord, the God of all people, and yet You hear me when I cry out to You. You are intimately acquainted with all my ways and You know the best way to help me through this time. Nothing is too hard for you, and my concerns aren’t too little for You. Thank You for seeing me, knowing me, loving me, and taking care of me. Forgive me please, for the times I have seen an obstacle as too hard, too insurmountable and felt despair instead of faith and hope, forgive me for ranking Your abilities according to my definition of hard. Open the eyes of my heart that I might see You bigger than anything that can come against me. In Jesus’ name. Amen. 

picture credit: amazon.com

All Inclusive

imagesCA1Z6UR3

Six years ago, when we moved into this neighborhood, the lots across the street were mostly bare.  Homes have been built-in the intervening years.  Large 5 bedroom houses with very little yards and they all look-alike.  One day, out of curiosity, I read a flyer put out by a realtor.  This home had a list price of $300,000. and the list of features was standard issue stuff, but what stood out to me was that, although the house had the duct work installed for air conditioning, the air conditioning unit was an add-on.  It wasn’t included in the price.  That struck me as a rip-off.  A $300,000 house with no air-conditioning!

Recently, I heard a sermon entitled “Pain and Suffering”.  The pastor presented reasons why mankind suffers and why good people suffer and what to do about suffering.  And it was good stuff.  But the hope he offered about suffering was somewhat limited to our future in heaven.   And that struck me as limiting the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ to simply a ticket out of hell and into heaven, even though, that’s no small thing.  Certainly not standard issue stuff, to be sure, but His atonement was for so much more.  He took our sins so we could live our lives here on earth without condemnation.  He broke down the barrier between us and God so that we could have a relationship with Him.  He took our sicknesses and our pains so that we wouldn’t have to carry them – here on earth.  Remember when Jesus prayed that God’s will would be done here on earth as it is in heaven?  That’s huge.  There is no sin, sickness, pain and disease in heaven.

Jesus saved us.  The word saved is the Greek word “sozo” which meant to be whole-physically, mentally and spiritually”.  It includes healing for our bodies as well as forgiveness for our sins.  All inclusive, if you will.   Here and now on earth with a future eternity in heaven.  I won’t need physical and mental and spiritual healing when I get to heaven, I will be whole there, I need those things here on earth.  And Jesus provided for them by taking them on Himself when He went to the cross.  It’s the total package; healing is not an add-on, it’s included in salvation. I believe this salvation gives us hope here on earth.  Hope that though pain may last for a season, it’s not meant to be a permanent guest.  Though sickness may come, the price for my healing, the price for your healing has been paid in full.  All inclusive.

What can I say Jesus except Thank You; those words seem so small in comparison to what You have done for me.  I am so grateful for the promise of heaven and all that it offers me.  I am so grateful that You were willing to take upon Yourself, not only my sins, but my sickness and diseases as well.  Thank You for the hope that offers me here on earth.   I look forward to the day I spend eternity with You in heaven and I look forward to the day my healing comes here on earth.  May Your will be done in my life on earth as it is in heaven. Amen.