Tag Archives: salvation

Light or Shadow

Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow. James 1:17 (NLT)

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A nine-year-old girl joined her mother and aunt for a week of camp at Forest Home Christian Conference Center, a first for all of them. One evening, during the course of the week, the young girl was introduced to Christ as her Savior by her counselor and as she prayed, she began to cry. The counselor shooed the rest of the girls into another room, hoping to find the cause for the tears. With a limited vocabulary, the young girl could only say that the story had gone deep into her heart and that she was so happy. That young girl was me and the story took place during one summer day, sixty years ago.

Some things may change but the story of my redemption is steadfast and sure. I was pondering changes of things that I miss—singing with the Blackhawk Chorus in California, singing in the 4th of July concert, Let Freedom Sing, here in Tucson, perfect vision with no thought of it ever being otherwise, moving away from family and friends to live in the Arizona desert. We can never go back but we can grow and change, step back and walk forward.

I love that God, our Father, never changes as a shifting shadow does. A shadow is defined as “an area of darkness, caused by light being blocked by something.” But, we don’t need to worry that God will turn away from us creating a shadow of uncertainty or fear. He won’t do that because He is light and in Him there is never any darkness. Remember — He doesn’t change. We can trust that His good and perfect gifts will flood our hearts with the light of His presence, hope for tomorrow, assurance of salvation, and peace in a stress-filled world.

Change? Embrace it. You’re not alone.

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Know-it-all

Jesus replied, “Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.”  John 4:13-14 (NLT)

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Our church has the tradition of greeting those around you. I spoke to a woman today who made me stop and think.

“I’m sorry,” she said. ” I have vision problems and can’t see you very well.”

“I do, too. Do you have macular degeneration?” I asked.

“Yes, in both eyes,” she answered.

“I do, too. Wet or dry? I have wet,” I replied.

“Both.”

“Are you getting shots in your eye?” I asked.

“Oh no. I had laser surgery 12 years ago and it really messed up my vision,” she answered quickly.

“But,” I said, “they have new methods and shots which really help! I get them in my eyes.”

She shook her head, no, and the music began. As I walked back to my seat, I thought of the good news available to her if she would only listen.

How typical is that in life? One of the sayings — no matter the context — that makes me lose it is, “we have always done it this way.”

I wonder what the woman at the well thought when Jesus asked her if she wanted water that would assure her of never being thirsty again. Was she satisfied with the way she currently retrieved water for her household? Maybe she wasn’t thirsty? Had she already tried one of those new “sparkling” waters and found it didn’t quench her thirst any better than regular water? Was she in such a rut that a new way looked too hard?

What area of your life is so routine but without much life and joy? You realize that options are available to make changes but it’s just too much effort, it may not work, and you’re OK with the way it is.

But what are you passing up? The woman heard something from Jesus that she wanted — and she didn’t even know what it was. The more he talked, the more intrigued she became. And to top it all off, He knew all about her.

His offer of living water was irresistable and she realized that this man was the Messiah. She opened her heart to His “water”and could hardly wait to tell her neighbors and bring them to meet Jesus so they could have it, too.

In a world filled with fear and frustration—we have that same Jesus. He offers hope and help to fill us up with joy and peace. Speak to those around you.

Don’t be a know-it-all. Be an I-want-to-know-it. Offer the Living Water as you meet those on your way. They may be very thirsty.

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Caucuses

But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.

I John 4:4 (NLT)

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You can’t escape the reporting on the Iowa Caucuses that are meeting tonight, especially if you’re a news junkie like I am. Each candidate is doing their best to get everyone to huddle and vote for them. Some have been working for months. One or two have moved into Iowa for the month to campaign. TV spots, flyers, door hangers, bumper stickers, and buttons seem to multiply each hour. Phone calls and emails flood my house, pleading for money and support.

It’s the primary season.

The weather forecast lends to the urgency as Iowans visit various campaign offices and rallies in preparation for tonight’s gatherings.

I live in Arizona and don’t vote today but it struck me, as I listened to the sermon yesterday, the comparison of this mad dash to the finish line by these candidates also applies to the body of Christ sharing the Good News to those who are lost. We sense an urgency as the world seems turned upside down by ISIS. Christians are beheaded for their faith. Ancient Biblical towns are demolished. Believers flee and become refugees in neighboring countries, unable to go home and bringing only what they can carry. Fear simmers as we wait for the next attack, because we know the Enemy is on the prowl.

The Pew Research Center reported in 2015:

In 2007, there were 227 million adults in the United States, and a little more than 78% of them – or roughly 178 million – identified as Christians. Between 2007 and 2014, the overall size of the U.S. adult population grew by about 18 million people, to nearly 245 million. But the share of adults who identify as Christians fell to just under 71%, or approximately 173 million Americans, a net decline of about 5 million. 

We can look at these numbers and become discouraged. Or we can redouble our efforts to meet people and offer a winsome example of the Gospel with answers of good news for the myriad of problems facing each one.

Politics is not the answer and a particular candidate won’t solve our problems. As you listen to candidates who promise to make a difference, remember that only One has the ability to really make a difference — Jesus Christ. Choose Him.

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