Happy 50th post to me!
Ok, to be totally truthful, while this is the 50th post I wrote, I wrote then published 5 others after I wrote this one, so it isn’t the 50th post I published!
I started my blog at the end of August with a vague idea that I would write eclectic poems in a blog format, as I had a story to tell that I thought might be of interest to others. I had a large cache of poems, so I figured it wouldn’t be too hard to do. Turns out, I still have much of the same large cache, I just keep thinking of other and more interesting stuff to write about. Blog Security, if you will. Having a large number of posts in one’s “posting bank” is a relief when my personal “posting pay-day” arrives. So, for special number 50, I figured I would write about my Christian faith and how it has impacted my life.
I was blessed with a Christian mother who loved my brother and I with all her heart, and she took us to church faithfully every Sunday. Thanks to her, I grew up in a very Christian based world. I was very young when I accepted the salvation that God offered through Jesus. I clearly remember the whole scene, even though I was barely old enough to take clothes out the dryer. My mom was making pudding and I was asking question after question about Jesus. She asked me to go get the clothes out of the dryer and I opened the door both literally and figuratively. As I looked at the clothes, I made a decision, and folding my hands, simply prayed the sentence that changed my life, stating, “Lord Jesus please come into my heart”.
Ahhh, the LEAP OF JOY that filled my heart!!!!! I have never known its’ like since. I remember running upstairs to my mom and telling her that I had asked Jesus into my heart. Unfortunately she does not remember this, a fact that has undermined my salvation memory.
As I grew older, I wondered if that little sentence was enough. After all, it just seemed too simple after eons of sin. Was it the right sentence? Did I say all I need to say? As I learned the A-B-C’s of salvation (Acknowledge your sinful state–Believe that God sent his son Jesus “the Messiah” to die for these sins–Confess your sin), I thought that there was no way my simple prayer was enough, for I hadn’t done any of that. So over the years I have prayed ever more elaborate prayers, hoping that it would satisfy the necessary scope of salvation that I wanted. I was stuck on the beginning of salvation and I just couldn’t move on. And that is what concerns me about the “ABC” method. It seems to be more focused on what to say and not on what salvation means both now and throughout a person’s life. And then what? Will God not accept a simple prayer like mine if I didn’t follow the “code”?
So I believe I was mistaken to search for all the right words and get all the right stuff in my prayer. Jesus said “Believe in Me and you will be saved”. A simple statement, but the most powerful statement in the Universe. We have added to that statement, making salvation ever more elaborate because we believe that just believing cannot be enough. Eventually I realized that I was trying to force salvation on myself though my words. It was about what I could do to save myself. So I stopped. Belief is enough and I needed to feel secure and move on. I think Jesus was as pleased with my simple prayer as a 5-year-old than any elaborate supplication to him. And we must understand the difference between “know” and “believe”. To know is a certain fact but has no emotion behind it. The devil knows that Jesus is the Messiah. But he doesn’t believe that he needs salvation. To believe is to take a step in faith.
Personally I think the A-B-C’s of salvation leave much to be desired. Jesus always said to believe that he is the Messiah and you will be saved. But he always adds “go and sin no more”. Simple belief that Jesus is the Messiah is salvation. But was it meant from the heart? Only the test of time will tell that. True salvation will make you want to turn away from sin, dedicate your life to Jesus and develop a relationship with Him. And if that doesn’t happen than the salvation event may not be genuine. Jesus tells a parable that I feel underscores this theme in Matthew. He talks about four types of people who hear of God’s salvation plan for them. One hears it with joy but that quickly fades when any adversity comes their way. And that first one is what I fear happens to some people who have a salvation experience without knowing what the Christian life really means.
So I propose a B-T-D-D, not just for salvation, but of a Christian life: Believe that Jesus was the Messiah–Turn away from sin–Dedicate your life and Develop a relationship with Jesus. Salvation is just a personal experience that I don’t think there should be a “salvation vowbook”. Be simple and sincere. It’s giving the heart over to Him and turning away from sin and devoting your life to Jesus that is the important part. My Pastor rarely gives the call to salvation from the pulpit. And I agree.
“Salvation is free but it isn’t cheap”.
People need to know what they are getting into, they need to be prepared, for the Christian life is not an easy one. And the new type of salvation touted in large churches, that God will bless you and give you a “level up” (in gaming terms), is dangerous and deceitful. Christians are persecuted all over the world. At some point Americans will take part in this. And I wonder how many of the newly saved Christians who believe it is a way to live on easy street will continue their course.
So have I been a perfect Christian? No, I have been a horrible one. I have turned away from God more than once. I hardly entered the church in college and I only went fitfully from the age of 24-39. I have committed terrible sins. And when I say terrible, I don’t say the typical stealing or even murder. I committed sins that turned people away from God. On Judgment Day, I will receive no crowns of glory, no “Well Done Thou Good And Faithful Servant” praise. I, who love to please, will hang my head in shame. I just hope for a small space in the back in a little pup tent.
I was going on my own sinful way until-BAM-I was hit with cancer. Cancer is a wake up call like no other. So I have repented and God has renewed my dead spiritual life. All I can do now is to tell my story and urge others to turn from their sin, read the Bible, pray continuously and develop a strong relationship with Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE. The Kingdom of God is at hand, and you don’t need to be a Bible scholar to read even a few of the massive written prophetic discussions to realize that God was warning us of events that even 15 years ago not thought to be possible. Go look up Chuck Missler–I don’t care what you believe you will be absolutely floored by his research. Read the blog “The Beginning and the End”, a storehouse of Bible prophesy happening now. Look up Pastor JD Farag and listen to his fascinating insight on what is happening in the middle east and where it all came from. NOW is the time to make up your mind; your eternal future depends on it.
I this passionate post to each of you with a humble spirit, with love, fear and concern. I am blessed to have you, may I be a blessing to you as well.