Salvation, God’s Idea, Plan & Purpose

For it is by grace [God’s remarkable compassion and favor drawing you to Christ] that you have been saved [actually delivered from judgment and given eternal life] through faith. And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [not through your own effort], but it is the [undeserved, gracious] gift of God;
EPHESIANS 2:8 AMP

http://bible.com/1588/eph.2.8.AMP

Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all his idea, and all his work. 

All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. 

It’s God’s gift from start to finish! We don’t play the major role. If we did, we’d probably go around bragging that we’d done the whole thing! 

No, we neither make nor save ourselves. 

God does both the making and saving. 

He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing.

Ephesians 2:7‭-‬10 MSG

http://bible.com/97/eph.2.7-10.MSG

The “S” on each sholder or lapel of The Salvation Army uniform stand for Saved To Serve.


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Empathy, Strength in Numbers

Watch “How to Fight Empathy Burnout | The Science of Empathy” on YouTube

Sometimes you can feel alone. Sometimes you don’t have the strength or skills (ability) to do things that you know need to be done and you even desire to accomplish them but just can’t. That is when you realize you are just part of a bigger picture, part of the body of Christ and the foot or ear or hand doesn’t do it on their own, they need the whole body working aling with them.

Since I’ve been partially paralyzed I realize I can only do certain things and others have to pick up where I can’t. I also realize that there are somethings that I can not do at all and others have to do what I can not even begin.

Here is what God’s Word says,

“For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.

 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit. 

For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell?

 But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? 

As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.

 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, which our more presentable parts do not require. 

But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. 

If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. 

Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.

1 Corinthians 12:12‭-‬27 ESV

http://bible.com/59/1co.12.12-27.ESV

One Day The Texts Stopped Coming…(on dealing with my son’s death)

Give a listen to John Mehler – “There Will Come a Time” on YouTube

As I listened to this it took me back to when I was 22, the age my son made it to before his poor mental health claimed his life.

I remember struggling with metal health issues, I still do from time to time.

As believers we know we’ll be better off when we die and sometimes the craziness inside our heads becomes so strong it causes us to do things that we wouldn’t normally do, even attempt suicide.

My son was in great physical health & great spiritual health. He even sent a text two times per day with a Bible verse & a few words on what that verse meant to him. One day those texts stopped coming. Because I (along with over 50 other people) got them so faithfully, when it stopped I took notice and thought something was wrong with my phone or that Alexx (my son) had lost his or just gotten behind, rare and unlikely but it could happen, plus it was the holiday (4th of July) so I didn’t bother him or panic, and gave him space. The last text I got said “Sorry I haven’t been in touch I’ve just been very busy, in a good way.”

Another day passed, life’s craziness went on but after not hearing from him for 2 days I knew I needed to call his work & those who lived near him to check on him…

That is when he was found. My newfew & his grandfather entered his apartment and found him unconscious on his bed. There was a full investigation, notes given to us later and the toxology report showed high levels of his bipolar medication that were so high it was ruled a suicide. The hand written note, in the margin of his bible confirmed it. Alexx wrote, “I’m sorry, I know it was selfish but don’t hate me.”  

I am still very sad over his loss. It doesn’t seem real. I keep thinking he is on a trip and will return soon. The fact is, my son is away but he is not coming back, rather I will be going to him.

The loss of a child is very, very difficult. The Bible offers hope & my faith in Christ assures me I’ll be there some day, but while here on earth I see the importance of things I can’t do if I am dead too. More than just what I do I see the deeper purpose of my life, to simply be here for my children, family, friends and the few strangers that cross my path. 

King David lost a son. His response was a perfect example of all that I am trying to say here.

KING DAVID’S SON WAS SICK AND DIED…                                                         He reacted mournful when his son was sick, before he died, but after his son died he reacted different.  As I mourn my own son’s death I consider this account of King David…

His servants asked him, “What’s going on with you? While the child was alive you fasted and wept and stayed up all night. Now that he’s dead, you get up and eat.” 

“While the child was alive,” he said, “I fasted and wept, thinking God might have mercy on me and the child would live. But now that he’s dead, why fast? Can I bring him back now?

 I can go to him, but he can’t come to me.” 

Hear what David said,

“I can go to him, but he can’t come to me.” 


David went and comforted his wife (the mother of their child) Bathsheba. And when he slept with her, they conceived a son. When he was born they named him Solomon…

And so life goes on

(2 Samuel 12:21‭-‬25 MSG)

LINK: http://bible.com/97/2sa.12.21-25.MSG

Some day I’ll see my son again. He can’t come to me but I can go to him. By faith I believe we’ll both be with Jesus forever…in saying all that, as I said, I realize the importance of my life while I am here and I’ll do my best to keep my mental health in check so that it doesn’t claim my life. 

For another blog post on a similar subject (2 Samuel 12:21‭-‬25 & the death of King David’s child)  go to: Funeral For A Child

Thanks for reading & letting me share my faith, Beetle

Extras-

Witnessing, Even A Baby Can Do it.

I have always felt compelled to give witness to what God has done in my life and it has never really been a burden or something I felt akward about; however I know some have expressed how they struggle with it. I remember one person saying, “I want to tell others but I am very shy and get…well, stage fright.” If all the wrold is a stage and we are merely players and you are a more reserve and quiet character then give God glory through the way you are. In your quietness, your shyness, your silence you can give Him glory just as much, if not more than the outspoken, loud and boisterous person standing on a street corner with a megaphone. 

As I read Psalm 8 this morning The Lord drove this point home to me.  Also, as I considered the parable Jesus told about a Master who past out talents and was pleased by how His servants invested those talents but was upset when one did nothing with what they were given (Matt. 25:14-30) I realized what we do is all relative to what we are given & able to do.

First, in Psalm 8, this stood out…

Nursing infants gurgle choruses about you; toddlers shout the songs That drown out enemy talk, and silence atheist babble.
Psalm 8:2 MSG

http://bible.com/97/psa.8.2.MSG 

Another version says,

You have taught children and infants to tell of your strength, silencing your enemies and all who oppose you.

Psalms 8:2 NLT

http://bible.com/116/psa.8.2.NLT

Even a baby can reflect God and give glory to Him. So also with things He created that are lifeless, like a mountain or gem. God’s creation gives glory to the creator without a spoken word. 

Now, the verse that stood out from the “parable of the talents” from Matt. 25…

Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest.

Matthew 25:27 ESV

http://bible.com/59/mat.25.27.ESV

Note…”invested my money with the banker.” Linking up with those who are able to do God’s work can be very benificial & produce intrest. Maybe you don’t have the skill to physically help children with cancer but you can still visit them, do a puppet show for them or contribtue money to St. Jude’s. Maybe you don’t run the homeless shelter but you donate mittens or help serve a meal or in someway encourage those who do. 

So, you are not that person who talks about Jesus & how great God is with every person you meet or go door to door, that is okay. Perhaps God needs you to be that sincere friend who doesn’t come across like an over religious person to help someone see how God speaks through simple kindness.

Just a thought, be who God wants you to be, the way He has made you to be.

If you are His child then the way you are to testify to others will come naturally. Others will witness His Glory whether  you are like a “Nursing infants gurgle choruses about Him or a toddlers shouting the songs.” God will be glorified if you are the banker or the one going to the bank.


Two Sides

Without hard times would we fully appreciate easier times? Without darkness would we desire the light? With life we try to stay balanced but have you ever thought about how things become balanced? With a scale you have to have weights on both ends for it to be balanced. For a magnet to be able to pick something up that something needs to posses in it what that magnet is attracted to (metal). For a battery to work you need both the negative & positive sides.

Today’s verse gives us both sides of life, the negative & the positive. 

Jesus says,

“The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.”
John 10:10 NLT

Christ points out & tells us about the problem, the enemy, but He also tells us about the solution & the results of tapping into that solution.

Too many times people focus on the negative; however, may that negative force us to look for & toward the positive.

There is a chorus from the musical “Godspell” and it goes like this:

“Day by day, day by day oh dear Lord 3 things i pray…To see thee more clearly, love thee more dearly, follow thee more nearly,  day by day…”

With our eyes turned upon Him, the solution, the only one with the right answers, we will make it through what ever comes. He will help us as we open up to Him & allow Him to fill us with His Spirit, who’s pupose is clear, to give them a rich and satisfying life.”

I’m trusting Him to protect me from the killjoy theif. 

http://bible.com/116/jhn.10.10.NLT

For another great devoted thought on this go to day 2 of the @YouVersion Plan “Overcomer”. Check it out here: http://bible.com/r/150

The Gap Is Filled

For I am convinced [and continue to be convinced–beyond any doubt] that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present and threatening, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the [unlimited] love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
ROMANS 8:38‭-‬39 AMP

http://bible.com/1588/rom.8.38-39.AMP

 Christ has built the bridge to close the great divide that seperates us from Himself. Now the threat of sin & death is gone.

The hole in our heart can be filled by Christ. Regardless of how we feel, what we’ve done or not done in our past, Christ is our bridge over troubled waters. 

Nothing can stop or change the fact that Jesus paid the ransom for our souls.

Next time you feel unworthy remember these verses (Romans 8:38‭-‬39 NLT). What ever struggle you have or monster you face remember Christ superceeds it all.

“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Romans 8:38‭-‬39 NLT

http://bible.com/116/rom.8.38-39.NLT

“For everyone born of God is victorious and overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has conquered and overcome the world–our [continuing, persistent] faith [in Jesus the Son of God]. Who is the one who is victorious and overcomes the world? It is the one who believes and recognizes the fact that Jesus is the Son of God.” 1 JOHN 5:4‭-‬5 AMP

http://bible.com/1588/1jn.5.4-5.AMP

Cynical Minds Want & Need To Know

recall a magazine called “The National Enquirer”. It was filled with trash about well known people. Some common folk enjoyed reading the juicy details that may have had some truth to them but were more cold hard fiction than warm hearted fact.

You may notice that the older one gets the more they contemplate things and more often than not I find myself becoming more & more cynical. The negative seems to sometimes out weigh the positive when weighed down by the world and the shape it is in.

I recall some lyrics by John Mehler that went a little something like this…

Cruising down the highway late one night, thinkin’ bout the world & the shape its in….thankful for the peace that I have within…The world is 

in such a mess….too many people love to hate each other. The love of plenty is growing cold. We should be honoring our mother and mother as it was written in all of old….

Too many dollars shot into space, not enough food for the human race. 

-John Mehler

I recall for years hearing  the older generation saying, “The world is going to hell in a hand basket!!!” Well, yeah, it has been since the beginning when Adam & Eve disobeyed God. 

History has a tendency to repeat itself. One definition of insanity is doing the same thing over & over again, expecting a different result. If we continue to act & react according to our nature the results will always & forever be disobedience to God (sin) and death (separation from God).

Because world around us is in such a poor state we could easily become bitter and just plan crouchey!

I’m no great scholar, philosepher, prophet or king. I’ve got a serious learning disability that tries to hold me back from accomplishing greater things. More recently I am dealing with a physical disability that tries to hold me down & hold me back from moving at all; however, Christ is my Lord and in Him I am made new and my Spirit, belonging to Him, inherits so much more than this world or anyone in it can offer. I possess a living hope because The Living hope possesses me. 

I recall Scripture assuring me,

This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?” 

God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. 

We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children. 

And we know we are going to get what’s coming to us—an unbelievable inheritance! 

We go through exactly what Christ goes through. If we go through the hard times with him, then we’re certainly going to go through the good times with him! 

That’s why I don’t think there’s any comparison between the present hard times and the coming good times. 

The created world itself can hardly wait for what’s coming next. 

Everything in creation is being more or less held back. God reins it in until both creation and all the creatures are ready and can be released at the same moment into the glorious times ahead. 

Meanwhile, the joyful anticipation deepens. Romans 8:15‭-‬21 MSG

In God’s hands I know that every little thing is going to be alright.

John Mehler was a Christian rock artist who stood on The Word of God and encouraged me when I was new to the faith. Here is one of his songs that ties in well with what The Holy Spirit is saying to my heart as I write this:

(Some of the Lyrics – Cruising down the highway late one night, thinkin’ bout the world & the shape its in….thankful for the peace that I have within…

The world is 

in such a mess….too many people love to hate each other. The love of plenty is growing cold. We should be honoring our father and mother as it was written in all of old….

Too many dollars shot into space, not enough food for the human race. But it’s alright, Jesus is coming, He’s coming for me…He’s gonna pick me up in His arms, gonna set me free. Alright! 

-John Mehler

Extra- 


Timing

So I never lose sight of your love, But keep in step with you, never missing a beat.
Psalm 26:3 MSG

http://bible.com/97/psa.26.3.MSG

In music, especially the rhythm section, timing is everything.

This verse (Psalm 26:3) is written on my drum heads. As the drummer of the band it is up to me to keep time. If there is a conductor I must watch his every move and keep the orchestra in time.

When the conductor is not seen for some reason, or I’m playing with a small group with no conductor, the rest of the bands ears are tuned into my time keeping.

I’ve played with some groups while a metronome or set tempo is clicking away in my ear. I follow that and the rest of the band stays in time. It is not an easy task but as long as I focus on that tempo everyone around me will be in time too.

Real life is not the same as a song. Regardless of the way I walk (live, keep in step) others are going to play their own tune….”March to the beat of a different Drum”.

When you are around people who desire to live in harmony & march to the beat of the same drum it is an amazing thing. May God, who gives this patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus. Then all of you can join together with one voice, giving praise and glory to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 15:5‭-‬6 NLT)

http://bible.com/116/rom.15.5-6.NLT 

Surrounded by Love

When they saw him, they worshiped him—but some of them doubted! Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Matthew 28:17‭-‬20 NLT

http://bible.com/116/mat.28.17-20.NLT

“God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other.”

1 John 4:9‭-‬11 NLT

http://bible.com/116/1jn.4.9-11.NLT

“For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”

Zephaniah 3:17 NLT

http://bible.com/116/zep.3.17.NLT

He will renew you with His love.

Note: 

LOVE SURROUNDS

Throughout our lives God is at work all around us. Whether we feel Him or not, whether we’re even paying attention or not, He is near. 

Through every season His love surrounds us. 

We were never promised an easy life. 

In several places in Scripture Jesus calls attention to the hardships that we will face if we decide to follow after Him. But before His ascension, He leaves us with the assurance that we can confidently carry through any circumstance. “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Note from day 2 of the @YouVersion Plan Breaking The Silence [Magenta]. Check it out here:

http://bible.com/r/mV

Find out more about Life.Church Worship at www.life.church/worship.

 

Backed by The Bible

God leads us, it is up to us to follow. He walks beside us, we hold His hand. And, during our journey He also gets behind us, picks us up and will carry us completely.

 With His Word, ever in our ear, we can be reminded of how He goes before us and defends us. Is always by our side as a friend, as well as carries us throught it all.

The Lord is a shelter for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. Psalms 9:9 NLT

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed. The righteous person faces many troubles, but the Lord comes to the rescue each time. Psalms 34:18‭-‬19 NLT

God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. Psalms 46:1 NLT

This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you.  There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.  You are my friends if you do what I command.  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.  You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name.  This is my command: Love each other. John 15:12‭-‬17 NLT

“I Can Be Friends With You” by Petra