Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Quite often I watch a television show on a Christian channel called "Ask the Pastor," and people call in questions for a panel of pastors ready to offer their interpretation of scripture regarding answers.  The question that seems to get asked more than any other is "Can one lose their salvation?"  It's asked frequently, phrased in different ways but with the same concern:  "Can it happen?"  "Did it happen to me?"  The emotion behind that question is very real and I've heard some asking the question with the sound of such distress they can hardly get the question out.  In considering that question, allow me to offer my interpretation of God's word and also the viewpoint I've seen given on the show from various pastors.

Please understand: If it were possible that you had lost your salvation that would not concern you in the least.  You would be so far from God, it wouldn't matter to you. There may have been a confused time in your life when you walked away from God, but listen, He has called you back.  When you feel that tug - that pull inside your heart saying,  "I want to get back to God."  "How do I do that?  Will God hear me?"  that is God, dear friend, calling you - drawing you back.  Jesus said we don't come to God unless He draws us.  His Spirit is working to bring you back, to remind you of the truth of God's love and grace that He has for you.

Jesus spoke of the assurance that He will never turn us away.  When we come to Christ with the knowledge inside of us of the cleansing power of Christ's blood, shed for us, we stand before God forgiven.  When Jesus referred to forgiving a brother seventy times seven, I believe He was referencing it in that way because that is God's response to our ongoing need for forgiveness.  It does not end at some point.  When Jesus spoke of going off to find the one sheep gone astray, I believe we are given to understand that God's Spirit will seek to find and bring us back from wherever we have gone.  When Jesus spoke the parable of the Prodigal Son, that story symbolizes The Father, standing with arms open ready to receive us back, with joy. Believe me, God doesn't want us out in the world wandering in the wrong direction.  He wants us with Him forever.  But don't allow your heart to get hardened because therein lies the danger.  Pay attention to God's Spirit speaking to you of love, mercy and forgiveness.  Dear friend, know it with assurance:  God is calling you home.

Saturday, February 18, 2012


I remember that once years ago my mother and I were going somewhere together and she was doing the driving and up ahead was a man on a bicycle.  He was trying to stay to the outside of the road but it was a chilly windy day and he was obviously having difficulty.  It was a main road and congested with traffic.   Consequently everyone on the road was slowing down and I made the comment, "Couldn't he find some other place to ride his bike?"  to which my mother replied, "Maybe that's his only means of transportation.  He might be going to or from work."  My immediate thought was, "Why didn't that occur to me?" 

In thinking the situation over many things come to mind having to do with the sometimes frequent quick assumptions we tend to make in life.  I think at times we do fail to stop and consider the possible circumstances others are coping with in life.  For instance, on occasion we meet people who are difficult to tolerate and it could be that we make many assumptions based on that.  It could be that we make harsh judgments or we're just downright critical.  Or, that we choose to walk the other way and not care one way or the other.  Any one of those is - pretty bad.

I believe that what Jesus said is if we choose to only love those we consider good or those who love us, what does that prove?  We are called to love everyone.  We don't get to pick and choose - it's everyone. And yet we don't have to rely on our own ability to love.  God's love comes to us, from His spirit to our spirit, and we can either embrace that love and choose God's path or return to or continue on thinking and reacting as the world does.  As long as life endures it will remain a choice, and though we would love to feel that as Christians we will make the right choice it doesn't always happen that way because we may follow a wrong way of thinking at times. 

"Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another," the Apostle Paul wrote.  That helps us to understand - God wants us to look at others and use some understanding - and to remember that while we may not know their circumstances, He does.  And one way we can show God that we're paying attention is by way of sincere prayer.  It's good to show our concern for others and to take those concerns to God in prayer.  My mother gave me some insight that day we saw the man struggling with his bicycle on a blustery day, and I've wanted to remember it always.  And I like to keep in mind that whatever the situation, it is God's point of view that's important in life - in all things.

Saturday, February 4, 2012


It's a pretty bold question, isn't it?  But it does bring to mind important things.  Do we sometimes forget to look around and see that others may have needs and realize there may be a way for us to help?  Jesus brought the subject up several times during the period of his ministry.  And He strengthened His words by way of a powerful message.  Remember this, that when we've done something good for another, Jesus is aware and he considers it as a gift in His honor as well.

I believe with all my heart that God wants us to learn how to love during the time of our walk on this earth.  And the reason I believe that is for two reasons: because Jesus said it, and because of God's Spirit within me that speaks to me of the truth of that.  God not only expects it of us, but He gives us the way to do it.  His love comes to us through His Spirit, and when we receive and embrace that love, then we have something of great value to offer.  It's with new eyes we see and with a new heart we feel - good, clean and full, when we stay within God's presence.

Is there another way?  Is there a better way?  Really, the answer is no, because it's impossible for us to reach the level God wants us to be at apart from His Spirit.  We can work all day, helping people right and left, and that's good, but Jesus pointed out that love is still God's highest priority.  Jesus showed love for us by giving His life on our behalf and our gratitude for that should run deep.  And so, let's do things for others with love in our hearts remembering it's because "He has loved us first."  He will not forget our efforts.