Yes, I am in a Relationship

“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith…”  Hebrews 12:2

Growing up I was so afraid of hell, that I actually wished I’d never been born. Daily, I was tormented with the thought of the rapture, and being left behind.  

I knew God’s promises but for some reason they didn’t apply to me.  It was none of God’s fault but all of mine.  I knew and believed what God said about salvation, and about his promise of eternal life. 

And yet, I felt sure I would, somehow and some way, mess up my part of receiving His free gift.  What if I believed too hard thus turning my faith into work?  For God says, “It is by grace you have been saved, through faith…NOT by works…” 

So, what if I put my trust in my faith instead of Jesus?

What would happen then?

Would I be saved?

I was religiously taught the Roman’s Road to Salvation.  This step by step process is found in the book of Romans (of course).  This Road begins with chapter 3 and verse 10 and continues as follows:  Romans 3:23, Romans 5:12, Romans 6:23, Romans 5:8, Romans 10:9-10, and Romans 10:13.  After each step has been faithfully taken, the sinner, saved by grace, is taken to I John 5:13 to seal the deal. 

I was so afraid I’d screw up one of the steps, and if I did would I be condemned to hell?  

I’m not saying the Roman’s Road is wrong, and if you have come know Christ through this path, I say a hearty Amen!   But for people like myself there is a danger in teaching the Roman’s Road. 

For us salvation does not equate to, “take these steps and get a ‘Get out of Hell Free’ card.”

For those like me there is no wrong or right way to salvation.  We come to know Christ through many paths, and for us salvation is a relationship, and any faith that we have is given to us by Christ.  Therefore, in essence, our salvation depends upon nothing we do but all in what Christ has done.  

So, the question could be asked… “At what point does salvation actually occur?”

To that I say, “I don’t know, and not knowing is okay.”  

I don’t have to know if I’ve dotted all my I’s or crossed all my T’s because I have nothing to do with my salvation…it belongs to God.  

And in that I rest. 

receive love. give love. repeat. 

***

Indulge yourself in Peace.

Heavenly Conversations

Psalms 2:8-12

Ask of Me, and I will give You
The nations for Your inheritance,
And the ends of the earth for Your possession.
 You shall break, them with a rod of iron;
You shall dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel.

 Now therefore, be wise, O kings;
Be instructed, you judges of the earth.
 Serve the Lord with fear,
And rejoice with trembling.
 Kiss the Son, lest He be angry,
And you perish in the way,
When His wrath is kindled but a little.
Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.

god-seesDo you ever wonder what our conversations will be like in heaven?  I mean, what will we talk about?  Will we spend eternity only talking of religious matters?

As a kid, I use to think heaven would be boring.  Don’t get me wrong, I definitely wanted to go there, because the other place (A-hem)scared the hell out of me, but I had this silly little picture in my head of floating on clouds and playing harps.  While, that would be fun for a while, especially if I could play the guitar, after a few thousand years I’m sure I’d be snoring.

Now, as an adult, I know there will be limitless topics to dissect and discuss, once we get to heaven.  For instance, I would be completely happy to spend the first ten thousand years learning of science and the universe…the planets…the stars…black holes…life on “other” planets….and on and on…

I’m a huge fan of space!  I’m also a huge fan of science, and so when I get to heaven, after I’ve hugged Jesus and spent a couple thousand years with friends and family, I want to learn everything there is to know about space!  I’ve got my fingers crossed that God will actually allow us to visit all the planets within all the universes.

Throughout the Bible, we read about many heavenly conversations.  I think it would make a fascinating study, However, my present study is taking me on a walk through the book of Psalms.  I’ve walked as far as Psalms chapter 2 and  it’s in this chapter I hear a conversation between God the Father and his Son, Jesus.  Now, of course, historically, this passage is in reference to King David and his rule over the children of Israel;  but prophetically, it is about a heavenly conversation-waiting to occur between God and his Son.  It will play out something like this:

God the Father is in heaven sitting upon his throne, and Jesus, the son, is seated by his side.  

      Looking down from heaven they survey a scene taking place within a valley called            Armageddon.  Psalms 2:1 states that all the evil kings have gathered their armies with the         intent to wage a war against God.  In essence, the scene portrays the last battle between good and evil.   The evil kings are confident they will when this battle because the devil and the beast (Antichrist)(the devil’s “son”) are fighting for them.  The devil’s army is in an uproar, and they rage, perhaps, like a roaring lion, pacing back and forth, taunting God to send them his son, Jesus.

Observing the rant, God, the Father, says to Jesus, 

“Ask of Me, and I will assuredly give [You] the nations as Your inheritance, and the ends of the earth as Your Possession…You shall break them with a rod of iron, You shall shatter them [in pieces] like earthenware (pottery).”  

How does Jesus answer his Father?

Well, we don’t know because, as recorded here in Psalms, the conversation ends, without Jesus giving his answer.  Lucky for us, this same scene can be found the book of Revelations.

In Revelations 16:16 the story continues as, John, the writer, takes up where Psalms left off:

The Father and the Son are right where we left them in Psalms.  God is on his throne and Jesus, seated beside, has just heard his Father’s proposition.  [Psalms 2:8-9]  

John writes from Revelation,

“…the evil spirits gathered the rulers together to the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon.”

 Then I [John] saw heaven open…  

“There before me was a white horse.  The rider on the horse was called Faithful and True [Jesus]  He was dressed in a robe dipped in blood and was called the Word of God [Jesus].  A sharp sword came out of the rider’s mouth, a sword that he would use to defeat the nations.  And he will rule the nations with a rod of iron.”

And so, according to John, Jesus accepts his Father’s proposition by descending from heaven on a white horse to face and to fight the devil and evil.  John continues the story:

 “Then I [John] saw the beast and the rulers of the earth. Their armies were gathered together to make war against the rider on the horse (Jesus)…  Their armies were killed with the sword that came out of the mouth of the rider on the horse. All the birds ate these bodies until they were full.

In the end, the war is won by Jesus and all the fowls of the air are invited to feast upon the dead bodies.  Quite a bloody picture, John paints!  Will the last battle between good and evil play out as such?  Well, you have to remember that visions and dreams are full of imagery, but God, always…always…has an important truth he wants us learn.

So what can we take from this vision, God has allowed us to witness?  Several things:

  1. There will be a day of reckoning.
  2. Good will win over evil.
  3. Those who have tortured and hurt the innocents will receive their just reward.
  4. Jesus will make all things right.
  5. Finally, peace will reign on earth just as it does in heaven.

I believe the message of King David and John, the Revelator.   I believe God will do what he promises.  However, in-the-mean-time, we live in a world where  evil, often, trumps good.

When I see, hear and even experience the hurts of such injustice I have to cling to the words of the Psalmist to keep my sanity.  For sanity’s sake, I  have to believe the words of John that Jesus will bring peace.

Until that day, we are all called to follow the example of Christ.  We are all called to walk in the very footsteps of Jesus…to do everything we can to make a difference in this world. We are called to remember that we can do all things through Christ.  There are many in this world who have no voice…we are called to speak for them.

Even if it be but one…at least that one will be better from having known us.

My prayer:  Lord, the armies of hate have gathered and they seek to bring hurt to us and to so many others.  Our hearts are broken and sometimes we fall to our knees in the despair. Please fill us with the very spirit of Jesus so we can stand and so we can be Jesus to all that are hurting. Thank you that one day you will bring everlasting peace.  Lord, hasten that day.  Amen.