Tag Archives: salvation

All Inclusive

So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit. John 19:30

Our family has always loved amusement parks.  As the children have grown older, braver and taller we have enjoyed sharing with them the exhilarating thrill of roller coasters and other fast twirl-y rides that take your breath and equilibrium away all at the same time.  I think strapping ourselves into the metal monsters of amusement is the closest any of us will ever get to “living on the edge.”  It makes us feel like risk takers, it makes us feel alive, it makes us feel carefree!

What I have not always liked about amusement parks is that they make you pay to park.  This does, and has always just seemed completely ridiculous to me.  Call it a strong sense of justice, but it just doesn’t seem fair.   Firstly, the rates of admission are usually so pricey, it seems that parking should be included.  Secondly, charging to park implies that there is an alternative choice available. What alternative choice do we really have?  The enormity and isolation of the parking lot as well as the isolation factor of most amusements parks ensure that pretty much, everyone who drives a car to the park is going to end up paying this extra $10.00 fee for parking.  For me, I think it would be better if they just increased the price of the admission and offered FREE parking.

I guess the opposite of this kind of experience would be one that was “all inclusive.”  Our family was blessed recently by a ministry in Myrtle beach that provides week long all-expenses-paid vacations to families of children battling cancer.  It was amazing to have everything taken care of from the moment we got there until the moment we left.  We felt absolutely spoiled.  Not having to worry about anything made everything seem like an extravagant gift!

Yep, in my book, all inclusive is the way to go.

This is just one of the things I love about Jesus.  He was an “all-inclusive” kind of guy.  When on the cross, dying for our sin, His last word was “Tetelestai.”  In our English Bible, this word is literally translated “It is Finished.”  This phrase however doesn’t quite relay the tremendous magnitude and power of what He was saying.  In the Greek, Tetelestai implies that something has come to an end, it has been completed, perfected and accomplished in full and that the consequences of that very thing will carry on and on.

Indeed.  It was finished on the cross.  The debt and eternal consequence of my sin.  The power of death, hell and the grave.  Any separation from God the Father as a result of my falling short of His glory and perfection.  Taken care of…finished…in all its completeness- It was all included!  And the consequences of what Jesus did for me and for you on that day on the cross will live on and on for the remainder of eternity.

Our righteousness, peace, provision, comfort, protection and healing; wrapped up in that all inclusive gift of love presented to us by the Father, through the Son.

Psalm 103:1-5

Bless the LORD, O my soul,
And all that is within me, bless His holy name.

Bless the LORD, O my soul,
And forget none of His benefits;

Who pardons all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases;

Who redeems your life from the pit,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion;

Who satisfies your years with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle.

Father, thank you for the gift of Your Son.  My heart is grateful for all that His death on the cross provided for me.   

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Filed under Jesus

Vitals

The grass withers and the flowers fall,  but the word of our God endures forever.

Isaiah 40:8 (NIV) 

Recently, I traveled to speak at a conference.  Having not been on a plane for awhile, I was very obedient when the stewardess stood in the front of the plane before take-off instructing us to pull out our white information cards and read the poorly illustrated safety instructions.

I looked at the pictures, read the words and watched her demonstration of proper use of the seatbelt and air in “case of emergency.”  Upon glancing up I noticed that none of the other passengers were paying attention to the flight attendant, but instead were consumed in their own worlds of either technology or print.

It amazed me that vital, life saving information was being freely given and everyone was just too consumed in what they were doing to pay any attention.  I was betting on the inside however that if “in case of” emergency was suddenly be upon us, everyone would have wished that that which they had casually dismissed had been fresh in their brain.

By the time I returned home I had had four opportunities to hear a stewardess share safety instructions with me.  And, like all the others, I did not take the time to pull out the white safety instruction card.  Instead I just watched this woman talk to a group of people who were completely uninterested in what she was saying and say it anyways, because it was her job.

How many people are so consumed in their own lives that they aren’t taking time to listen to the safety instructions laid out by God or to read the “white safety instruction card” that is His word?

Many people believe that God lays out instruction to try to control us, limit our freedom or to keep us from “enjoying” life.  What they don’t understand however is that His Word and truth  all originate from His abundant love for us.

There are many who find themselves too consumed with their own lives to really pay attention and take advantage of what God has to say.  They simply don’t understand the freedom, life and liberty that lies within His truth.

Just like the stewardess, God does not share these truths with us for Himself.  He already knows the truth, He IS the truth.  These are the very things however, the only things, that can really help us “in case of emergency” here on this earth- and after.

I would have to say that the highlight of my weekend was having the opportunity to share God’s message of salvation with one of the women who attended the conference.  I was so thankful that in this situation God chose to use me to share vital and yet simple truth with this woman that she had never known before.

God loves you.  He sent His son to die for you.  Romans 10:9 says that if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  I have never been one to just throw these words at people.  I have found that when you throw things at people they usually duck!  I am thankful however when the timing is right and God chooses to use me in this way.

I was amazed that this sweet and beautiful woman who was well into her 50’s had never really heard the truth of the Gospel laid out before her.  What an honor to have the opportunity to introduce her to my King, Lord and Daddy.  Because you know, (sorry I can’t resist) I am My Father’s Daughter.

Father, Thank you for your Word which brings truth and life.

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True Love

And you shall love the Lord your God with all your [mind and] heart and with your entire being and with all your might. (Deut 6:5)

I didn’t love my husband when we got married.  It sounds horrible to say but it is true.  After a year of dating, including three months of engagement we stood at the altar, said sacred vows before both God and man and committed our till death do we part love to one another.

Looking back I realize that even though I thought I loved him, really what I was in love with was the idea of being chosen to be loved by him.  I was desperate to be above all others in his heart and life, for the remainder of mine.  I was nineteen; my frame of reference regarding love was limited at best and tainted at worst.

Fifteen years later I believe that I have now at least begun to understand the deep intertwinings of  what love is.  I found and pieced various aspects of it together along the way to offer a clearer yet still incomplete picture.  As we live out the rest of our lives together, I pray that perhaps one day I will know the fullness of what it means to truly love another human being with all that you are, to the very depths of your soul, for your whole life.

Although I know now that it has taken place, there is not a specific time that I am able to pinpoint that transition from not really loving to loving.

I do know where it didn’t happen though.  It wasn’t the result of  beautiful flowers sent, decadent chocolates presented or even  memorable romantic weekend getaways.  As well, it wasn’t found in quaint candlelight dinners, or soft satin sheets amidst the throes of passion. Although all of those things have been wonderfully splendid parts of our marriage, this is not where I discovered love.

Instead, I believe it was stolen from and accumulated in many different kinds of moments.  Moments of commitment through heartache, communication so difficult it demanded tears and forgiveness which lacked an “I told you so.”

This is where I found love.

My relationship with my husband serves as an adequate metaphor for my relationship with my Lord.  In my teens I confessed with my mouth and believed in my heart that Jesus was my Lord…. but I didn’t really love Him.  I was thankful for the security of eternal salvation, daily renewed grace and a robe of righteousness to replace my rags of filth, but the truth is, I was primarily focused on Him loving and saving me and thought very little about the reciprocal.

A selfish, self-serving love isn’t really love at all.

I cannot pinpoint the exact moment of transition but know that it has occurred.  It wasn’t found in the moments of abundant blessings, exuberant celebrations of His goodness or mountaintop experiences of favor poured out.  My heart remains so thankful and yet; those are not the places where my love for Him became real.

Instead, it has accumulated in many different kinds of moments.  Moments of undeniably undeserved grace. Moments of commitment through heartache, communication so difficult it demanded tears and forgiveness which lacked an “I told you so.”

My love for both my God and my husband became most real within me when my heart’s focus shifted from what they could do for me to what I could do for them.

True love requires an unwavering commitment, sacrifice and willingness to serve wholeheartedly.

True love is demanding requiring that the giver hold nothing back.

True love never disappoints because it is in the giving that you receive

Father… your love for me is unwavering, abundant and faithful… help me to love you in that same way. 

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Filed under Christian Growth, love, Relationship