Scripture Memorization, Week 24

This week we continue looking at The Roman Road, as it has been called, a brief walk through the book of Romans, that when combined, can help a person process through what it means to be saved; to be a follower of Christ. If you missed any of these, go back to LAST WEEK and follow back from there.

Here is this week’s memory verse:

What thoughts come to mind when you read this verse?

That Sacred Place…for a Sacred Moment

There is a special moment of worship that happens occasionally where I sense so strongly the presence of God that all the troubles of the world disappear. I don’t have a care in the world except the glory of God. I call it a sacred place…for a sacred moment… It doesn’t last long, but it lasts long enough that it changes me in that moment! It certainly renews my faith and strengthens me for the journey of life. I find myself filled with tears of joy, resolved that God is more real than I imagined, and determined to serve Him more faithfully. I’ve also learned, through experience, that when these times are more frequent, it often leads to God doing something new in my life, challenging me in a new area, giving me a new passion, even bringing me through a time of testing. (Wow, that’s scary to type, but it’s true.)

I’ll be honest, it doesn’t happen often, but it happened several times this week.

It doesn’t seem to be something I can plan. If it were, I’d stay in that place and moment, but I’ve discovered there are a few things that might trigger such a time:

  • Listening to a special song that was meaningful…
  • Studying a favorite passage of Scripture that has impacted my life…
  • Disciplining myself to be totally removed from the chaos of life…
  • Meditating on one thought…of grace…of His love…of His provisions…
  • When I’m sitting at the beach…or looking at a sunset…or the stars…

Have you ever been in that sacred place and sacred moment as I describe? Have you been there lately?

What triggers those moments for you?

My Last Blog Post Ever?

Will this be my last post ever? It will be according to a recent prediction. It’s been the buzz all week, so perhaps you heard it.

Christian radio host Harold Camping states that the Rapture (the taking up into heaven of God’s elect people) will take place on May 21, 2011 at 6 p.m. local time.  The rapture will sweep the globe time zone by time zone) and that the end of the world as we know it will take place five months later on October 21, 2011. (This according to a Wikipedia article.)

It’s been the subject of jokes, and teasing, and possibly some concern. What if it were the end?

I’m not jumping on a bandwagon of people making fun of Camping, nor am I going to assume no one is impacted by Camping’s prediction. The issue of End Times is serious business. It’s a sobering subject for some, as the subject should be.

I’m reminded of the concern of Jesus’ disciples following the resurrection. Consider Jesus’ answer in this passage from Acts 1:6-8:

So when the apostles were with Jesus, they kept asking him, “Lord, has the time come for you to free Israel and restore our kingdom?” He replied, “The Father alone has the authority to set those dates and times, and they are not for you to know. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

For the believer, this should never be a time of stress. I’m leery of anyone claiming to know a date, but Jesus said it would be soon and we would know the signs. He also reminded us, however, that we should not be afraid, that we could cast all our burdens on Him, and that He was with us to the ends of the earth. I’m not stressed today, not because I don’t believe Camping, even though I don’t, but because I have a faith in the person of Jesus Christ, who raised from the dead!

If you are not a believer; a follower of Christ, let this moment soon to pass cause you to question where you stand with your Creator. Eternity is not a laughing matter. Call on God now and ask Him to save you. Place your faith in the risen Christ! I would refer you to another verse in Acts 2:21: “But everyone who calls on the name of the Lordwill be saved.”

If you serve a risen Savior, let me hear a hearty AMEN!

Friday Discussion: Eternal Security

A recent college graduate from our church sent me an email recently. She’s struggled with her spiritual past. She became a believer early in life, got off track for a while, and now she’s on fire for God, Her dilemma is whether she lost her salvation during that time. She wonders what would have happened to her eternally had she died during her time of wandering. She wanted to know why I believe in eternal security.

I realize I’m stepping in dangerous territory with this discussion question. This issue divides people theologically as much as any other. Some of my closest believing friends would disagree with me here, believing that one can lose their salvation, but I believe in eternal security. I am not a theologian so I look for simple answers.

Here is my quick answer to my friend:

Dear _______,

These are standard questions most people wrestle with at some point in life. Great questions.

Here’s a short answer. I believe in eternal security, because:

  • The Bible says “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you SHALL be saved”…not you might be saved…

  • The Bible says “Do not worry”…How could you not worry if you were constantly wondering if you’ve gone too far…if you had lost your salvation?

  • It takes grace to be saved, why would it take works to remain saved?

  • Works are the result of salvation, not to earn or keep salvation…

  • Was there ever a time when you were “living in sin” when you didn’t “believe”? I’d say probably not…you may not have looked like a believer…but Jesus looks at the heart, not the outward appearance…

  • If we start drawing lines of how to lose salvation, where does the line stop? Could we ever remain saved? It’s just like the law…Jesus even added higher standards…one bad thought…one lust…one hatred…one dishonoring of parents…one idol placed in front of God…and we’re doomed…who then could be saved? Read the rich young ruler story…”What’s impossible for man is possible with God”…

The bottom line though is what difference does it make about what could have happened then? The bottom line is, are you saved now? Which, from watching your heart and life, I believe you are indeed.

Rejoice in your salvation!

Love your heart!

Hope this helps!

God bless,

Ron

There is so much more to this issue, but I suspect many others, including me, have wrestled with this same issue.

How would you have answered?

What questions do you have about eternal security?

Does this testimony resemble your own?

Share your thoughts!

Easter Reminder: Look for the Living among the Dead

And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you Luke 24: 5-6

Easter reminds me that I often make the mistake of those who were seeking the crucified Christ.

I look for the living among the dead…

I look at my past mistakes and think I can’t do better…

I look at my failures and think I’m defeated…

I look at those who cast doubt upon me and think they speak truth…

I look at my inadequacies and think I’m limited…

I look at my problems and forget that His mercies are new every morning…

I look for the living among the dead…

Are you looking for the living among the dead?

Let Easter remind you we serve a RISEN Savior!

The tomb is empty!

Live that way!

My Thoughts: It’s Friday…but Sunday’s Coming!

When they had crucified Him, they divided up His clothes by casting lots. Matthew 27:35

The baby was born. It seems we just celebrated His birth a few months ago. He was laid in a borrowed manger. He grew in wisdom and stature. He fulfilled all prophecy that was written about Him.

He performed many miracles. He did only the will of His Father. He never sinned. He cared for the sick. He loved the poor.

He taught the disciples. He baptized many.

But…

He was betrayed. He was arrested. He was given a phony trial. He was mocked.

He was beaten. He was whipped. He was bruised. He was bloodied. He had a crown of thorns placed tightly on His head. He was made to carry His own cross as far as He could. As He walked, blood and sweat dropped into His eyes and mouth.

His hands and feet had spikes driven into them. The bones must have cracked more with each blow. He was spit on. He was stripped naked in front of all. He was placed between two criminals. He was left to die.

He could hardly breathe on the cross. The lack of oxygen caused Him to gasp. He could barely get His words out. The pain was so intense. Soon His earthly life would all be over.

And all He had left, the clothes on His back, were distributed by the casting of lots. They gambled for His last possessions.

It’s Friday…

But Sunday’s coming…

My friend Artie Davis shares this same concept in a powerful video. Check it out HERE.

What are your thoughts about Christ on this Good Friday?

President Obama at National Day of Prayer

Sadly, I didn’t see this in the news, but I did see it on Ed Stetzer‘s blog and thought is was worth sharing here as well. I’ve asked before about the role of believers in politics. My personal opinion is that Christians need to be influencers in our culture…at every level. Therefore, I think this type speech is important for us to hear. I’m not offering commentary on what was said, but I do believe we should know what the president is saying in these matters.

Watch the video, then share your thoughts:

How Can I Be Sure I’m Saved?

A common email for me is one where someone is questioning their salvation. The typical person is one who has been in the church for a number of years, perhaps even growing up in the church, but, for whatever reason, never quite feels they are saved. Recently I had this kind of question and decided others may have the same struggle. I’m not pretending I have the best answer, but perhaps you need to read it.

Here is my email reply:

Thank you for your email. I don’t know if I can help or not, but I’ll try. I think though, that this may be less complicated than you are making it.

The Bible is fairly clear to me what is required to be a follower of Christ…to be a Christian…to be saved…

John 6:29, John 3:16, Ephesians 2:8-9, Romans 10:9, Romans 10:13….

It takes believing that Jesus is the Son of God, that He lived and died on a cross and rose from the grave, and that Jesus is the only way for a sinner such as you and me to be right with a Holy God.

Do you believe that?

If so, you are saved. Not because I said so or you said so, or even because you feel you are saved or you do not feel you are saved, but because God said so. In my experience, many times when a person doesn’t feel saved, it’s because they are looking too closely at what they have done or haven’t done instead of at what Christ has done. Salvation hangs completely on the finished work of Christ, not on the efforts of man.

I seldom meet non-believers who even question their faith. That seems to be something the devil loves to use against believers…causing us to doubt our salvation. The key may be to accept truth…and convince yourself that what God said is true!  (It is by the way.)  You may have to remind yourself of that truth many times until it sticks.

I’m praying God speaks clearly to your heart that you are saved…that your heart has been changed…and that you are in a right relationship with Him, not by your efforts, but by the grace of Jesus Christ, in whom you believe. Remember also, God looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7). He measures and weighs our motivation.  If you truly are desiring to be saved, I’d say you have a saving kind of faith…

From what you are telling me, I think you’re in! I don’t believe it takes special words or a special prayer to be saved. I believe it’s what happens when a heart chooses to simply, without reservation, follow Christ alone. There’s nothing wrong, however, with saying a simple prayer if it makes you feel more certain in your decision.

You might pray, “Dear God, I know you love me. I know I’ve done things wrong…I’m a sinner. I believe Jesus died for my sins and rose from the grave, paving the only way for me to get to you. Forgive me of my sins, come into my heart, and save me. I want to follow Christ with my life. Thank you for saving me.”

Again, use your own words, but be certain your heart is fully open to Jesus!

God bless,
Ron

Have you ever doubted your salvation? Are you doubting now?

Scripture Memorization: Week 12

I hope you are continuing to memorize these verses.  About this time, gyms empty out because many with a resolution to exercise have fallen out of the habit…or never gained a habit…as the case may be. The same is true here. Now is not the time to give up, but to press forward until a habit fully forms.

Here is this week’s memory verse:

I hope you and I will live by this verse this week and always…

When your “Gospel” is the risen Christ…you can face anything that comes your way.