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Archive for the tag “salvation”

A Eulogy Of Sorts

It’s been a long time since I’ve written anything, but something happened today that got my mind churning & made me want to share some thoughts. My uncle died today, and I’ve been dwelling on that as well as something my cousin posted on social media. Maybe this is my way of processing his death or maybe this is just a way for me to help organize my thoughts. Either way, I’ve been feeling the need to write this. 

A little background first: my uncle Dave was a wonderful guy to be around. He loved to kid around–poke you in that ticklish spot on your side just below the ribs, give you a cow bite on the thigh, make a good-natured joke about your height or hair or whatnot. When I picture him in my mind, I always see him with a smile on his face or asleep–he could nap just about anywhere. He was a large man, a bit rotund you might say. I can’t recall him being any other way, but it fit him if you know what I mean; he was jolly Uncle Dave. He loved to hunt & his home was filled with the trophies of his sport. But Uncle Dave had a heart condition, had had it since he was a child, a kind of congenital heart disease (CHD). He was having a heart procedure earlier today & didn’t survive it. I don’t know yet all the details, but they’re really not important right now anyway. 
CHD runs in his family, & my cousin has lost two daughters to it as well. After he passed away, my cousin posted [edited]: 

“I HATE CHD!! F— you heart defects!”

That post has been on mind since seeing it almost as much as my Uncle Dave, aunt, & cousins. Why? Because I believe the sentiment is correct. I think we can rightly hate diseases & defects of all kinds: CHD, cancer, asthma, allergies, & on & on & on ad nauseam. These are things that we know aren’t right, that we know deep down don’t belong in this world. And it can create a raw anger when a tragic event like this occurs. 
But what should be the effect of that anger? Or how should it be directed? There are likely a lot of possible responses; some of them harmful & some of them at least somewhat helpful. However, what I propose is the proper effect or what I hope it causes, especially in those closest to the tragedy, is a longing–a longing for something better, a better place, a place that doesn’t have any of this misery. 

If you feel that kind of longing, there’s a reason for it. And it’s not some ethereal floating on clouds, playing harps place the longing is for; that place isn’t real (& let’s face it, that sounds terribly boring; who would really want that?!). 

No, that longing is for something real, someplace tangible. It’s the longing for God’s good creation before sin’s effect began marring all of the created world. It’s harkening back to Eden & forward to the new Heaven & new Earth. It is a longing that can only be satisfied by following One Path. There is One Way to one day gain entrance to that real place in which all disease, all defect, all misery will be naught; all other paths lead to never-ending misery. The only Path that will satisfy your longing is reached through belief in Jesus the Christ: belief that He existed temporally (on this earth), that He exists eternally, that He fulfilled God’s law (lived a perfect life without sin), that He died & in that death took on the punishment for breaking God’s law that we deserve, & that He was resurrected from the dead (which provides the proof that He is who He says He is). 

“And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” – Acts 4:12

I am thankful for that longing & even that it intensifies during grief. And I am thankful for the hope that the longing will one day be satisfied. 

Please be praying for my family & especially for my aunt & cousins. Pray for comfort in the midst of their grief. Pray that hearts would be softened & not hardened toward Christ. And pray that no matter what, Christ would be glorified. 

Uncle Dave, you will be sorely missed. You were much loved by many people, & many will grieve bitterly over your passing. Though you will not see this, I would that you know I love you & I will miss you!

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I Want You

I have been thinking off and on lately about why I post the things that I do on Facebook/Twitter/this blog, and it seems to me that I ought to give a bit of an explanation. Obviously, my sports & other “entertainment” related posts are mostly just for kicks, and I don’t really have many (if any anymore) political posts (I pretty much try to avoid all these subjects for this blog). But what about what some might call my “religious” posts (which is exactly what this blog is for)?

Well, there are at least a couple of reasons. Some of what I post is directed specifically toward fellow Christians. These Bible verses, comments, & ideas are meant for the edification &/or comfort of fellow believers. They are meant to call them to action or increase their faith in Christ or comfort them in times of suffering. I hope that God uses my posts for these things.

More than that, though, many of the things that I post I do so in the hope that God will use them in some way to call sinners to Himself for their salvation & reconciliation to God through Jesus Christ. I often wonder if they have had or ever will have such an effect, but that is not up to me. I only (hopefully) plant the seed; God gives the increase.

So here are my desires for those of you who might read my posts who do not believe in Jesus Christ as the Savior of the world:
-I want you.
-I want you to know the love that God has for His children.
-I want you to be reconciled to God so that you might avoid the punishment that is due to you for your pride & rejection of Him as the sovereign ruler of all things.
-I want you to know the peace that surpasses all understanding; a peace that in the midst of otherwise unbearable trials can leave you still rejoicing with joy unspeakable.
-I want you to have the hope that I do that no matter what happens in this life, no matter how long or short my time is upon this earth, no matter what happens to this rapidly declining, degenerating body that I now inhabit, I will one day be resurrected to a new body to enjoy the presence of God on a new earth that is free from corruption & sadness & anything bad.
-I want you to be my brother or sister in Christ; in other words, I want you to be a part of my family & to be loved as family both by God and by those who would become your brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ.

We Are Sinners But God Is Compassionate

If you’re not familiar with the Old Testament nation of Israel & its history of being shown over & over again miraculous signs & wonders from God yet repeatedly rejecting Him, Psalm 78 is a good overview of that history. However, while I was reading it this evening 2 verses stuck out in the midst of the psalm:

In spite of all this, they still sinned;
despite his wonders, they did not believe.
[…]
Yet he, being compassionate,
atoned for their iniquity
and did not destroy them;
he restrained his anger often
and did not stir up all his wrath.
(Psalm 78:32, 38 ESV)

These verses are not only true in relation to the Old Testament nation of Israel; they are also true for us today in relation to Jesus the Christ. We see the wonders of God daily: the sunrises; the changing of the seasons; the growth of plants; the awesome variability of the flora & fauna; the growth of a human from the joining of sperm & egg into a little baby, small child, teenager, adult; and on and on and on. We also have the testimony of the Bible from the wonder of creation through the mighty works of God in the Old Testament to the miracles of the New Testament, & the ultimate of all wonders in God’s Word–the resurrection of Jesus from death!

In spite of all this, we still sin; despite all these wonders, we still do not believe!

And yet, God is compassionate! Even though we do not obey His Word. Even though we sin against Him. Even though we reject the Creator of all things. Even though we reject the Savior. Even though we do all these things to directly offend Him who is infinite & is perfect in all aspects of His character (which means He is infinite & perfect in both Love AND Justice among many other attributes). He desires to see His people saved!

The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. (2 Peter 3:9 ESV)

God’s most basic laws show us that we are sinners & should make us realize, merely by comparing our individual lives to His standard, that we are incapable of obeying His laws of our own accord:
1. We love other gods (This means we love other things above God Himself, not necessarily that we love specific gods such as those of other religions, though it definitely means that as well)
2. We serve images & idolize things above God.
3. We use God’s name flippantly.
4. We do not set aside a day for God. We do not rest from our worldly pursuits & focus purely on Him.
5. We do not honor our parents (while under their roof or once on our own)
6. We murder (if not literally, than by our anger with others–see Matthew 5:21-22)
7. We commit adultery (if not literally, than by our lust of others–see Matthew 5:27-28)
8. We steal (there is no qualification here of the worth of the object stolen)
9. We lie about others.
10. We desire things that others have.
[from Exodus 20:3-17]

And if that was not enough, look at what Jesus says in Mark 12

And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:28-31 ESV)

Do we manage to uphold even these 2 things?!

And yet, God is compassionate on us wretched sinners who deserve His Just Wrath for our transgressions against His infinite character! Jesus came to fulfill God’s law & accept the punishment we deserve in our place as only one who was fully God and fully man could possibly do. He willingly laid down His life, & if He had done only that, it would be of no eternal consequence; it would essentially be meaningless. He also rose from the dead. He defeated Death! Because of that, we have hope!

Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. (1 Corinthians 15:12-22 ESV)

Jesus is the good news to the bad news that we have sinned against God and are deserving of eternal punishment. How does this good news, this Gospel, become your hope? Repent, turn away, from your sinful ways; believe in Jesus the Christ and what He accomplished through His life, death, and resurrection.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. (John 3:16-18 ESV)

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6 ESV)

And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12 ESV)

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9 ESV)

because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. (Romans 10:9, 10 ESV)

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