Category Archives: Salvation
I recently shared with my family that my biggest regret as a mom was not helping our children learn to read and study the Bible. As a rather young mom and new Christian, it took me awhile before I realized the importance of daily Bible reading in my own life. This happened several years after receiving Jesus as my Savior.
Recalling Rev. Billy Graham’s message when he spoke at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, 2004. He had keen spiritual insight into the way our country was headed. And sadly, he was right.
Both Graham and his eldest son, fellow evangelist Franklin Graham, linked their religious messages to contemporary issues.
“There is a great move on in this country to take prayer out of the schools, take God out of the Pledge of Allegiance, and take down the Ten Commandments,” Billy Graham said from the Arrowhead Stadium platform. “As a nation it seems we are turning away from God. But Jesus Christ is coming back, and that is the future of this world.”
Recalling how Rev. Billy Graham personally touched our lives:
Rev. Billy Graham’s message of the loving and saving grace of Christ touched our lives, especially through Decision Magazine.
I’ll always remember how my husband read Decision magazine following his salvation in 1981. Decision magazine was delivered to our home back then in the form of a newspaper. Not being a Christian at the time, I started reading Decision to see what Jeff was so interested in. After seeing such a miraculous change in Jeff’s life and reading the wonderful accounts of God’s amazing love and transformational power in the lives of thousands, I surrendered my life to Jesus about six months after Jeff.
While looking for earlier publications of Decision magazine, I came across an article that touched my heart this morning. The article is titled Spiritual Heart Disease, a sermon preached by Billy Graham in 1957. I was gripped with the thought that this is truly what America is suffering from. It’s not an issue of gun control, it’s an issue of a nation’s diseased heart. And the only cure is Jesus. Our nation, once established and founded on the One True God and his guiding Scriptural principles has lost its way, and our children and our children’s children are paying a horrible price for our negligence and compromise.
May God raise up a people who will once again humbly repent of their sins (individually and as a nation), who will turn from their/our wicked and stubborn/prideful ways, and who will fully surrender their hearts to Christ our Savior and King.
We desperately need revival, a revival of the heart in America. But if not, “Jesus is coming back, and that is the future of this world.”
Rev. Billy Graham’s message, Spiritual Heart Disease, sermon preached May 23, 1957, at the historic New York crusade. (From Decision Magazine, February 6, 2018)
And do you know the greatest stumbling block to the Kingdom of God? Murder? No. Drunkenness? No. Adultery? No, pride. More people stay out of the Kingdom of God because they’re proud than any other reason. We don’t like to humble ourselves and come to the cross of Christ, and say, “O God, I’m a sinner.”
“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).
What if I begin the New Year with full assurance of God’s love?
What if I begin the New Year knowing I am in a right relationship with God?
What if I choose to look more like Jesus and less like the world in 2016?
What if I read and mediate on God’s Word every day?
What if I let go and let God?
Psalm 91 (NLT)
1 Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. 2 This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him. 3 For he will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease. 4 He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection. 5 Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night, nor the arrow that flies in the day. 6 Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness, nor the disaster that strikes at midday. 7 Though a thousand fall at your side, though ten thousand are dying around you, these evils will not touch you. 8 Just open your eyes, and see how the wicked are punished.
9 If you make the Lord your refuge, if you make the Most High your shelter, 10 no evil will conquer you; no plague will come near your home. 11 For he will order his angels to protect you wherever you go. 12 They will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone. 13 You will trample upon lions and cobras; you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet!
14 The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name. 15 When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them. 16 I will reward them with a long life and give them my salvation.”
God’s Word…Life and Truth
A Christmas card from a long-ago neighbor arrived with sad news.
Her beloved husband of fifty-seven years went home to be with Jesus.
Our family lived next to Bud and Iris for ten years.
Bud was kind and friendly to everyone, including our rambunctious children.
I think it appropriate, learning of Bud’s passing through a Christmas card.
He and his sweet wife know Jesus as their personal Savior.
There is joy in death, when we know our loved one is in the loving arms of Jesus.
May the Psalms draw you near to God.
“You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand” (Psalm 16:11).
“Worship the Lord in all his holy splendor” (Psalm 96:9).
Splendor: great and impressive beauty (Merriam-Webster)
My husband recently surprised me with a dozen red roses.
One of the twelve survived the shock of over-fertilizing.
Underserved, I’m now delighting in its beauty.
Analogy of Christ’s amazing grace:
8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
My Jesus is due all my honor and praise.
His holy splendor is displayed in all the nations.
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16 NIV).
Facebook friends: May the Psalms draw you near to God.
“1 Sing a new song to the Lord! Let the whole earth sing to the Lord! 2 Sing to the Lord; praise his name. Each day proclaim the good news that he saves. 3 Publish his glorious deeds among the nations. Tell everyone about the amazing things he does. 4 Great is the Lord! He is most worthy of praise! He is to be feared above all gods. 5 The gods of other nations are mere idols, but the Lord made the heavens! 6 Honor and majesty surround him; strength and beauty fill his sanctuary.
7 O nations of the world, recognize the Lord; recognize that the Lord is glorious and strong. 8 Give to the Lord the glory he deserves! Bring your offering and come into his courts. 9 Worship the Lord in all his holy splendor. Let all the earth tremble before him. 10 Tell all the nations, “The Lord reigns!” The world stands firm and cannot be shaken. He will judge all peoples fairly.
11 Let the heavens be glad, and the earth rejoice! Let the sea and everything in it shout his praise! 12 Let the fields and their crops burst out with joy! Let the trees of the forest sing for joy 13 before the Lord, for he is coming! He is coming to judge the earth. He will judge the world with justice, and the nations with his truth” (Psalm 96 NLT).
A crucifix (from Latin cruci fixus meaning “(one) fixed to a cross”) is an image of Jesus on the cross, as distinct from a bare cross. The representation of Jesus himself attached to the cross is referred to in English as the corpus (Latin for “body”) — Wikipedia
Several years ago, a friend made a ceramic crucifix for us. The crucifix depicts an image of Jesus bleeding from his side, while dying on the cross. Since that time, I set the crucifix out in our home during the Lenten season. It serves as a visual reminder of Christ’s sacrifice for me, our family, and for the entire world. Jesus suffered and died a horrible death, so that we could be reconciled into a loving relationship with our Heavenly Father.
“For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit” (1 Peter 3:18).
This year, I placed the crucifix on our kitchen hutch. I thought to myself, “This will be a good location for it, so the grandchildren won’t knock it over and break it, yet still at eye level so they can easily see it from a distance.”
The first week passed and nobody noticed it, or at least they didn’t mention it. A week later, our four-year-old grandson, Max, pointed to the crucifix and said somberly, “Nana, look, there’s blood on Jesus.” We walked toward the crucifix, and I said, “Yes, isn’t this sad?” We then dialogued about Jesus dying on the cross for our sins.
The following week Max asked his mother to come and see Jesus on the cross. As they walked over to the hutch Max said, “Look mom, Jesus is bleeding. He died on the cross.” There was a slight pause,–then the most beautiful declaration of “He is risen!” resounded from my precious grandson’s mouth: “But Jesus isn’t dead anymore!” My heart began to melt as Max realized the Easter message with such an exuberant simplistic faith.
I have to believe that this special encounter between our Savior and Max put a big smile on the face of God.
Each Easter my heart is full of thankfulness and gratitude to our LORD, who loved me, our family, and the entire world, enough to reconcile me (a sinner), to the One True God, through His (Jesus’) death and resurrection.
I encourage parents to display Christian symbols, especially the cross/crucifix, pictures, and other home décor inscribed with Scripture, around their homes. This is a simple, yet very effective way to share the love for Jesus with family and guests.
The Saturday before Easter morning, I will remove the crucifix and replace it with an empty cross or an empty tomb. Just like Max said, “Jesus isn’t dead anymore!”
The cross of Jesus Christ symbolizes the epitome of love and self-sacrifice. “Greater love has no man, than that he lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). Jesus’ death on the cross is the ultimate sacrifice of love that reconciles us to God. Crosses and crucifixes are powerful visual reminders of God’s love and serve as a witness of hope to the world.
I invite my friends to reflect upon God’s love while reading through the following Scripture and notations.
Peace and Hope (Romans 5: 1-11)
“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.”
The Crucifixion (Notation of Mark 15:15b-32) – From Bible Gateway:
The brevity of Mark’s report is striking. Jesus chose to endure death fully conscious rather than drink the sedative offered him (see Pr 31:6). The division of his garments (see Ps 22:18) underscores the humiliation of the Crucified One. The notice affixed to the cross, the taunts of the passersby, and the mockery of the chief priests and teachers of the law are all ironic. They communicate a fundamental truth that would not have been lost to the Christians of Mark’s day: In the suffering and weakness of the Cross, God’s power is manifest.
Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified” (Mark 15:15).
The Crucifixion of Jesus (Mark 15:21-32)
A certain man from Cyrene, Simon, the father of Alexander and Rufus, was passing by on his way in from the country, and they forced him to carry the cross. They brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha (which means “the place of the skull”). Then they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it. And they crucified him. Dividing up his clothes, they cast lots to see what each would get.
It was nine in the morning when they crucified him. The written notice of the charge against him read: the king of the Jews.
They crucified two rebels with him, one on his right and one on his left. Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “So! You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, come down from the cross and save yourself!” In the same way the chief priests and the teachers of the law mocked him among themselves. “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! Let this Messiah, this king of Israel, come down now from the cross, that we may see and believe.” Those crucified with him also heaped insults on him.
The Death of Jesus (Mark 15:33-39)
At noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).
When some of those standing near heard this, they said, “Listen, he’s calling Elijah.”
Someone ran, filled a sponge with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to take him down,” he said.
With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last.
The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, saw how he died, he said, “Surely this man was the Son of God!”
Jesus Has Risen! (Mark 16:1-6)
When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?”
But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.
“Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here.
For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.
In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
May the remembrance and affirmation of Christ’s death and resurrection bless you and your family this Easter.
He is risen!
All Scripture is NIV unless otherwise stated.