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Showing posts with label Jesus. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jesus. Show all posts

Monday, October 12, 2015

The Last Shall Be First

 Last week, I posted this Facebook status:

I know that's not what Jesus was talking about in Matthew 20. It's just that crazy, random thoughts pop into my head, and if they make me giggle, I tend to share them. But seriously, this is one of my favorite passages of Scripture. You see, I'm one of those workers who were hired in the ninth hour. I didn't make that journey down the aisle to the altar until my forties. February 2001. Right before I married the tall guy.

I know ladies in my church that have been devoted followers of Jesus since they were young children. They have spent their entire lives living for Christ, sharing the Gospel message, and laboring for His kingdom. The time I've spent mentoring children and teens, serving meals to homeless people, etc. is but a drop in the ocean when compared to their service. Yet, when the day comes that I stand before God, I will be their equal. I will receive a denarius. The same eternal reward as these Godly women.

I looked up the dictionary definition of salvation:

When a weather advisory tells us of an approaching storm, we protect what we care about—what we say is valuable enough. Worth saving. Worth protecting from harm. To God, we are worth saving from destruction.

All of us.

The joy in my heart from this promise is especially strong today. My friend's husband received Christ. In his eleventh hour. Short of a miracle, this man's time with us is just that—short. He is battling that dreaded disease that takes so many before their time.

I also have a favorite passage that talks about  another man short on time...

Jesus answered him,

“I tell you the truth, today you will

be with me in paradise.”

Luke 23:43
Do you know to whom Jesus was speaking? The criminal next to him on another cross. A condemned man. A sinner. A dying sinner. Why would Jesus promise the reward of paradise to this horrible man?

He asked.

Then he said, "Jesus, remember me
when you come into your kingdom."
Luke 23:42

Did Jesus ask, "Are you truly sincere?"  Did He ask, "How are you going to prove it?" Nope. That's not how it works.

It is simple. 
You ask. 
He forgives.

No matter where you are, what you've done, who you've been...
None of it matters.

If you've never accepted Christ as your Savior, it's not too late.
Don't wait. We aren't promised tomorrow.

If you have any questions about salvation
through Jesus Christ, ask me.

The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard
1 "For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire men to work in his vineyard.  2 He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard.  3 "About the third hour he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing.  4 He told them, 'You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.'  5 So they went. "He went out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour and did the same thing.  6 About the eleventh hour he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, 'Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?'  7 " 'Because no one has hired us,' they answered. "He said to them, 'You also go and work in my vineyard.'  8 "When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, 'Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.'  9 "The workers who were hired about the eleventh hour came and each received a denarius.  10 So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius.  11 When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner.  12 'These men who were hired last worked only one hour,' they said, 'and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.'  13 "But he answered one of them, 'Friend, I am not being unfair to you. Didn't you agree to work for a denarius?  14 Take your pay and go. I want to give the man who was hired last the same as I gave you.  15 Don't I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?'  16 "So the last will be first, and the first will be last."

Monday, December 20, 2010

My Christmas Gift to You

Our church played this video Sunday morning.  It touched me.  I just had to share!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Holding Back the Claws

I want to always trust God the way my mama cat trusts me. My best friend has commented more than once about how tame my cats are. Her cats are tame, too. They are loving. They purr when petted. What's so different about mine? Trust... Total trust.

I thought about it this morning when I cradled Little Bear. She is a farm cat and lives outside, hunting mice and other varmints while escaping whatever larger predators may lurk in the darkness. Yet, with all the natural instinct a cat can possess, she is not the tiniest bit 'cat' when I hold her in my arms. A lot of cats won't let you turn them upside down (especially if they grew up with little kids!), but that's how I always hold Little Bear. I lift her with one hand under her belly and roll her into my waiting cradle. She falls back into the comfort of my arms peacefully and begins to purr. She doesn't struggle to upright herself. She doesn't reach out with her claws to secure a hold on my shirt. I can walk around with her, bend over, stoop... It doesn't matter what I do; she purrs with contentment for she is in her mommy's arms.

She was days old and orphaned when we found her. She was one of a litter of five – one dead, four barely alive, crying, their bodies cold, their eyes barely open. We took the four sickly kittens home, stopping along the way for kitten formula and the other necessities. Don King (should have seen his hair) was the worst. He survived a few days, but never seemed likely to make it. The other three flourished. Chubbers, with his unquenchable appetite, appeared to have swallowed two ping-pong balls. Paint Girl’s fur looked as if a loaded brush had touched her in places on her back. And Little Bear… so deep black, with golden eyes, claws that always seemed too long to withdraw into their hidden place. (see photo) And we became their parents.

Before the DOG came along, the three of them walked the lane with us to the mailbox and back. They followed our lead everywhere. They were devoted to us because we saved them! We saved them from death. We saved them from a hard life with no one to guide them. We provided them with everything they needed. We loved them and nurtured them. They know the sound of our voices.

I was barely alive when Jesus found me. My heart was cold. My eyes were not open. I faced certain death. I was struggling to survive. I needed His guidance and His love. God is now my Father. He saved me from certain death. He guides me daily, giving me wisdom to make the right choices. He provides me with everything I need and more. He loves me and nurtures me. And I know the sound of His voice.

He tries to pick me up, to cradle me, to give me comfort. Sometimes I let Him. Sometimes I bring out the claws. I reach to cling to something… control. I am afraid to let go. Why? Has He not always cared for me with the greatest tenderness? Don’t I trust Him with my life? Of course I do! But instinct tells me to bring out the claws, at least until my reasoning takes over.

Little Bear knows that she doesn’t need her instinct with me. I don’t know how she turns it off, but I’m going to learn. It will probably take a lot of practice and patience, but, hopefully, with time I too will no longer pull out the claws when my Father takes me into His arms.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Cardboard Testimonies

I was thrilled to open an e-mail from my church just now. It had a link to the youtube broadcast of last Sunday's special service. You'll find the link at the bottom...

Everybody has a story, and usually it can be told in just a few words. That is the basis for cardboard testimonies. People write their 'before' story on one side of a piece of cardboard and their 'after' story on the other.

Hubby is in this video; He's the tall guy wearing a peach-colored golf shirt. Pastor Gumm starts out the clip with his personal testimony. It was definitely a tear-jerker for me and my prego D-i-L! Yes, everybody has a story...

I was looking for love and acceptance in all the wrong places. One Mr. Wrong after another. I tried washing my troubles and loniness away with booze. It didn't help. It only made me more depressed. Then one night I looked in the mirror and was so ashamed of what I saw. I dropped to my knees and prayed to Jesus. I told Him that I'd messed up my life and I needed Him to show me the way. That very moment, I suddenly felt His presence and have never felt alone since! My life changed in such a humongous way! I don't even resemble that person.

Do you have a story to share?

Cardboard Testimonies

Friday, April 10, 2009

Good Friday

I just got home from our Good Friday service at church. It was humbling... Humbling to think of what Jesus went through for me, for us. To spend any block of time with only that focus is an experience that really draws us closer to God.

The sanctuary was dimly lit with candles across a table in front. Right behind the table was a rustic cross holding a crown of thorns and draped in a black cloth. The music pastor and his wife who led the singing with him, were off to the side and dressed in black. The mood was solemn as we heard scripture and sang songs about the cross and the crucifixion.

This was not an Easter celebration. There was no mention of the joy of the resurrection. The purpose was to focus on the sacrifice that Jesus offered for us. As each speaker read their scripture and said a prayer, they blew out a candle until there remained only one. The last scripture was read by the principal of our Nazarene school. As he exited the platform and walked to the remaining lit candle, we all expected him to lean and blow it out. But instead, he picked up the candle and carried it down the aisle and out of the sanctuary. I felt the symbolism was that our Light had left us, although temporary.

Most of the time I contemplate the crucifixion, I think about the physical pain that Jesus endured. But what about His followers' pain? Can you imagine how they felt? Here was a man whom they believed was God in the flesh, Who spoke of eternal life, and yet He was now dead!

Jesus gives us strength and holds us up. What if we suddenly felt that He was gone? What if the whole foundation of our faith was pulled out from under our feet? I can't imagine the anguish I would feel if Jesus was taken from me. Yet, that is what His early followers went through on that terrible day. I can understand... To watch someone hanging, nailed to a cross, seeing Him breathe His last breath, would we, at that moment, understand His promise to rise on the third day? Could we fathom the reality of that?