Saint or Sinner?

Perhaps I have your attention already when you saw the title of this blog. Saint or sinner? Are you nervous just thinking about it? I wonder if the first thought that came to you was “Oh, yes I am a sinner for sure!” You are already concerned that if you even dare think the opposite that you have dug yourself into a deeper hole because of your arrogance. Well, let me share some good news with you. If you have acknowledged your need for a Savior, recognized that you can do nothing on your own to bridge the broken relationship between you and God, you chose to believe that Jesus was the sacrifice for your sin through His death on the Cross then you had a heart change!

Your name changed from sinner to saint! Okay, don’t have a heart attack or anything like that but the truth is your identity has changed.  The word “saint” is derived from the Greek verb (hagiazo) whose basic meaning is “to set apart,” “sanctify,” or “make holy,”. When you became a Christian your name changed. God recognizes that your spirit man is now occupied by His Holy Spirit and you are sealed until the day of redemption which is when we are forever changed when we get our resurrected bodies. When God sees us He sees the blood and sees a new creation!

In the Isaiah 1:18 the scriptures says this, “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool.” So if in the Old Covenant an offering presented on the altar once a year can cause our sins to be covered how much more for a believer today. We truly have an everlasting covenant and a sacrifice for sin that is everlasting! “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” 2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT. “My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.” Galatians 2:20.

Does this now mean that you never make a wrong choice? Does this mean when you choose your way over God’s way you change from saint to sinner? Of course not! Your identity does not change because your behavior does. You are still in process. This process is called sanctification which is the daily habit of devoting your life for the pleasure of the Lord. Your heart and life belong to Jesus and your purpose is to become more and more like him until your days are complete on earth.

Your spirit is completely clean but the walking out of your salvation is your part. Your old habits, thoughts and choices are changed as you make choices in line with salvation. “Throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God-truly righteous and holy.” Ephesians 4:22-24 NLT.

It is not arrogant to say you are not a sinner. You were a sinner but now you are a child of God, a new creation! Now work out your own salvation. “Dear friends, you always followed my instructions when I was with you. And now that I am away, it is even more important. Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.” Philipians 2:12-13. NLT. Now, it is your job to read your Bible, spend time in prayer, gather with other believers and make choices that are pleasing to the Lord. He loves you and He will empower you by His Spirit to walk out your salvation.

We are saved by grace not by anything we did. It was the amazing gift of God sending Jesus as the payment for our sin to redeem us and then to dwell in us as we do life here on earth as His kids. We have had a heart change and we are no longer a sinners but saints! So in complete humility let us remember that without Him we can do nothing!

 

Living by the brook,

Marilyn

Is September 23, 2017 Our Doomsday?

Well, are you all ready for the planet named Nibiru to collide with the earth this Saturday? A self-proclaimed numerologist David Meade says it is so. Well, if you are so inclined to believe that our doomsday is this Saturday, September 23rd. I surely hope you are ready! Truthfully, if indeed this Saturday is truly the end of the world as we know it I would say that it is time to make a choice.  Jesus or not Jesus? Do you believe in heaven and hell? Do you realize that there is one path to heaven? One path and one path only! Buddha won’t cut it, Allah won’t be enough, your favorite Shaman is not the answer.  Jesus is the only answer. “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6. If heaven is where you hope to spend eternity then you have to choose to go there. You have to make a decision that you alone are not good enough to make it into heaven. You are not perfect and you need a savior. There was a great separation between God and man and Jesus gave His life so that you and I would not have to spend eternity without him. The choice is yours! I hope you will choose Jesus. I hope you choose Jesus whether Saturday is doomsday or not. He is worthy of the choice and He is the only answer to the darkness in every man’s heart.

Now concerning Saturday. If it is the last day I spend on earth I will be ready! If tomorrow is really the day before doomsday here is my plan. I have one client in the morning, then I must drive out to Collierville, Tennessee to return a cleaning product to a client that I accidentally put in my cleaning caddy, run by the tax collector’s office to make an address change and then I am done with errands. Then I suppose I will finish my chores around the house, have all my clothes washed and put away. take a quick shower because I surely don’t want to meet Jesus smelling bad. Then I think Mike and I will go out to eat dinner and have all the bad things to eat that I normally stay away from. I may have pasta, lots of carbs, and a least two desserts. Oh yeah and have a Pyro’s Pyroccino to top the night off! Hey, since it is my last day on the planet I plan on going out in style! Oh yeah I hope I can drink coffee in heaven too.

Do I have a contingency plan? Yes, I do! If I am still here on Sunday morning then I will keep doing what I have been doing for most of my days since 1970. I will rise early in the morning ready for another day loving Jesus. I will live my life worthy of being a Christian. I will do the best job I can for my clients, being a wife, mom, friend and Christian. I will live here on this earth but look toward heaven with expectation. Yes, Jesus did say He was coming back to earth one day but contrary to the false teachings of those who say they know when we will not know that day. The Bible says “Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will never disappear. However, no one knows the day or the hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows.” Matthew 24:35-36.

So, you can go to sleep Friday night expecting earth’s last day is Saturday but before you do take inventory of your life. Make sure your heart belongs to Jesus. I have no doubt that when I go to sleep Friday night my destination is heaven. I hope you do to! And for all those who wake up terribly disappointed if that doomsday did not come you should be thankful that you have one more day to turn you heart towards heaven. What Jesus really wants is a love relationship with you not a fear relationship. If a threat of doomsday causes someone to consider Jesus that is great but He wants us to come because we are truly wanting a heart change and we desire to live our lives as a living testimony of God’s amazing grace.

I tell you one thing I do want to see on Sunday morning if we are still here, and I expect we will, is a news conference from David Meade saying…….oops I was wrong! It is the least he could do. Let the false prophet be exposed and all those who follow him realize when someone says they know the day and hour of earth’s final day they are WRONG! But there will be signs in the heavens and Jesus will break through the eastern sky. “It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye, when the last trumpet sounds, those who have died will be raised to live forever. And we who are living will also be transformed.” I Corinthians 15:52. Yes, what a glorious day His return will be! We wait in hope for our heavenly home. Come Lord Jesus come!

Living by the brook,

Marilyn

 

 

We’re Not Beggars in the Presence of the King

Yesterday as I was driving to a client”s house I had my Sirius XM turned on to the Christian music station The Message. I was listening to a song when suddenly I heard the words “Now I’m just a beggar in the presence of the King.” I opened my mouth and said quite loudly “NO I’M NOT!” I certainly mean no disrespect but as a Christian I am not a beggar and neither are you. I understand that not all Christians have a revelation of what happened when Jesus said “It is finished!” A lot of churches do not teach the finished work of Christ. They still communicate our great unworthiness to approach God. However, that is contrary to scripture.

Ephesians 3:12 says, “Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence.” He took down the dividing wall that separated us when he died on the Cross. Then when we accepted Christ as our savior our positional relationship changed. We went from being alienated from God and we became his child. We are no longer slaves but friends. “I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me”. John 15:15.  A beggar is not brought into the loop of being a close friend who is told all the family business but we are as children of God. “And since we are his children, we are his heirs.” Romans 8:17.

You and I don’t crawl to the throne of God with an attitude of shame and unworthiness once we are redeemed.  We come with confidence as his children. “So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most”. Heb. 4:16. Our relationship with our heavenly Father is one of love and trust. We don’t hang down our heads when we approach our Daddy God like a beggar would but we come to him like a child to a loving, giving daddy. Yes, the attitude of our heart is humility when we approach but we come with confidence because of what He has done for us. “But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children.” Gal. 4:4-7.

I want you to understand we are not arrogant and proud because we did not do anything to deserve the gift of grace provided to us through Christ. But when we  declared our need for a savior and asked Jesus to be our Lord we changed addresses. We were slaves whose freedom was purchased by the blood of Jesus and we became his kids. There is a song by Bethel Music called No Longer Slaves. One of the verses says “I’m no longer a slave to fear, I am a child of God.” Yes, that is what we are! We have all the benefits our Heavenly Father has given to us through the sacrifice of his Son Jesus. We are loved, we are free, we have the key to the throne room and we can come with a humble heart but with a spirit of confidence knowing we are not beggars in the presence of our King!

Living by the brook,

Marilyn

Does Your Trust Have Borders?

There is a song by Hillsong United called Oceans. There is a chorus in the song that says “Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders, let me walk upon the water wherever You would call me, Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander and my faith will be made stronger in the presence of my Savior.” I have heard so many different views on the message of the words in this chorus. But what has been gnawing at me is this; I think we can be super spiritual many times when we sing this song in our corporate gatherings but for most of us our faith has borders. Many times BIG borders. We have drawn a line in the sand that says this is as far as we can go. We can trust as long as what we are trusting God for is something we see and understand.

The definition of trust is firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability or strength of someone or something. We say that we trust God but when the boat starts rocking and the waves begin to appear we begin to question God’s ability to deliver. We begin to think He is not reliable because trouble has come our way and disturbed the peace we were experiencing. The odd thing about trust is it must be tested! You don’t learn how to trust when everything is running perfectly smooth. Life has a way of presenting us all with opportunity to live out what we sing about on Sunday mornings or when we are singing along with the worship song as we are driving down the road. In a moment life can take a turn and this is where the proverbial rubber meets the road. Is your faith without borders?

In Genesis 12 we have a story of Abram. He was minding his own business and all of a sudden God spoke, “Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you. I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others. I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you.” So Abram departed as the Lord instructed, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he left Haran.

Wow! Life is interrupted. Absolutely no forewarning and his life is going to change. We read that Abram departed as the Lord instructed. What, no arguments? No, “Hey wait a minute things are going just fine around here, Lord and how do I know I can trust You?” He departed……no borders! I am pretty sure I would have had a conversation that would have been full of questions and concerns. But we know the story. Time and time again Abram was tested and he trusted. He had to have the test to learn to trust.

Moses had a pretty cushy life being raised by Pharaoh’s daughter. He never had need of anything. Never suffered lack. Next thing you know he has to flee his country, lives in the desert as a runaway Egyptian whom would become the deliverer of his real family the Hebrews. In Hebrews 11:27 we read, “It was by faith that Moses left the land of Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger. He kept right on going because he kept his eyes on the one who is invisible.” He did not understand it all but he put his trust in the God he could not see.

None of us knows what tomorrow holds. We cannot even rehearse for an interruption in our life that may occur. We have no plan for the things of life that can happen. Will our trust have borders? Have we not yet learned through the trials we have already endured that God is trustworthy, reliable, and more than capable to take us through? If we want to walk upon the waters there can be no borders. We must allow the water to cross that line in the sand and wash it away. We must do as Peter did and when Jesus calls us to step out into unknown, untested waters that we will not drown. Has He not kept us afloat before? Will He not do it again? He is the same yesterday, today and forever. He changes not!

His arms reach across the line that we create when we take that first step. When that step of faith occurs He has a grip on our hand and He proves to us each and every time that our faith in Him makes us stronger. That border around your trust may be there for many reasons but God is bigger than your reason. He can keep you in the storm of loss, grief, fear and even death. You can trust Him without borders. Take that first step and you will most assuredly find Him there!

Living by the brook,

Marilyn

Hate Is Like Kudzu

For those of us who live in the southern region of the United States we are quite familiar with the kudzu vine. It is everywhere!  Kudzu is called “The vine that ate the south.” How true this is. It is a prolific plant.

Kudzu was introduced into the United States in the late 1880’s. The Civilian Conservation Corp wanted to use it as a preventive measure for soil erosion during the dust bowl. So the Asian plant had its full introduction in the U. S. However, after World War 2 there was a huge boll weevil infestation and consequently a failure of the cotton crop.  This crop failure caused farmers to abandon their crops which allowed the kudzu vine to take over. It grew far faster than they could kill it. Today there are approximately 7,400,000 acres of this green vine in the south.

In recent weeks we have seen such horrible acts of violence in our nation. The fierce animosity between political parties, conservatives versus liberals, blacks against whites, left against right. It has become the north against the south and the civil war has been over 150 years!! I have not seen this type of disdain and out right hate since the mid sixties. I liken this prolific attitude of hate like the kudzu vine. Once it starts to grow it consumes everything.

Luke 6:31 says, “Do to others what you would like them to do to you.” NLT . Galatians 6:7, “Don’t be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.” ESV.  Surely, we are seeing this vindictive, self-entitled, hate spewing culture grow like the detested green vine that ate the South! Martin Luther King was correct when he said, “Hate can’t drive out hate, only love can do that!”

I do know that if a person has not reconciled in their heart their personal need for Jesus Christ they do not have the capacity to love like Jesus. However, they can choose right over wrong, being kind over being rude, and simply doing unto others what you would like them to do you. It is just simple respect and courtesy.

The division that we have seen displayed in our nation in scenario after scenario plastered on every tv screen, internet story, twitter, Facebook is shameful! It is sickening to see this side of humanity. Hate like the kudzu vine will choke out everything that is good. When left unchecked it will take over and it will take something greater to stop it. That something greater is LOVE!  Love for God and love for each other.

Since the devastating tragedy of Hurricane Harvey the nation’s focus has been diverted from tearing down statues, cancelling federally noted holidays and throwing nearly everything that offends you under the bus because you disagree with it. The pictures have been people helping people regardless of their color, politics and opinions. Who cares if they are left, right, moderate, conservative, pro Trump, pro Clinton, east coast, west coast. They are men and women reaching out to help those in need. When your drowning in the water you don’t ask about their beliefs your reach up and say “thank you!”

My heart has been so deeply touched by what I see going on in Texas and I am heartbroken as well. I don’t want to see such destruction. As always though when things subside we will most likely see the stupid side of humanity return. People acting out their hatred through their actions. If only they could see that they are the problem not the solution. We accomplish more with reason than irrational thinking and we always win when we choose love over hate.

Living by the brook,

Marilyn