God Is In Control

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Photo courtesy of Pixabay

Today is an important day in US history. Today Donald Trump becomes President.

Some people are happy. Others are not.

Accusations and rumors abound.

Fake news runs rampant through social media and often appears on major new outlets.

How can we know the truth?

We can’t. Only God knows all of the truths, and that should give us hope as Christians.

So, what are we to do?

Remember the following from Romans 8:31-39:

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?  He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?  Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:

“For your sake we face death all day long;
    we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,  neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

If you skimmed over those verses, then please go back and read the last few, the ones I underlined. We may disagree on what is right and good for this country. We may not know which sources to believe. We definitely do not know the future. BUT, we do know that God is in control.

And remember as you go throughout your days that we live in a very different world than the one when these words of encouragement were first written. Persecution was an every day fact, but even then, Paul reminded them of the power of God.

May you find peace from these words and may it follow you through this day and the year to come. And remember, we are commanded to pray for our leaders. Prayer  can move mountains!

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Seeds of Faith

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Seeds fell on my soul for years before I began to understand the message of salvation and grace.  I can look back through my story and find seeds planted by a variety of people throughout my life.  For many years, the seeds lay dormant, waiting for water and fertilizer to make them grow.

He also said, “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how.  All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head.  As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.” Mark 4:26-29

I’ve attributed a lot of my salvation to the church I attended in my early twenties, but it’s not the church that saved me.  The church embraced me so I could accept the water and fertilizer and sunshine needed to help those seeds sprout and grow.  My revelations during the singles retreat  allowed the seeds to crack open, bits of green pushing against the soil.

From that point on, I chose to expose myself to the teaching and study of the Bible.  Even doing this, it took another year before I truly understood the crucifixion and resurrection. I had begun to study the Bible through other books as well as reading scripture.  One of the books I read was Max Lucado’s book about the time Jesus spent on the cross, Six Hours One Friday.

I remember vividly the moment I understood.  I often  read before bedtime and had reached the part where Lucado explains how Christ took on our sins and God, his father, could not look on him while he did this. This is why he cried out:

“Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).  Matthew 27:46

For the first time ever, God left Jesus.  He was completely separated from the father.

As a child I thought the point of the cross was to show that Jesus could return from the dead thus proving he was the son of God.  I did not understand that he took on all of the sins of the world. No one explained it to me before.  No one.  I guess everyone assumed that as a Christian I knew this.  I didn’t.

What a revelation!  Now, everything began to fall into place.  My little seedling pushed through the crust of the soil and reached toward the son in humility and joy.

I wonder how many people have seeds just waiting for those first drops of water, for that one point when the life inside their shell pushes forward to blossom  into a life of grace?

A Piece of My Salvation Puzzle

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© Barbara V. Evers, All rights reserved.

I tell my story because I have to.  I feel the need to reach out to others and provide some hope where it might be lost.

Even though I share this journey for any one in the world to see, my story has not been an easy one to tell.  Some posts led me down agonizing hallways of memory.  God led me through those dark days, and, in writing these posts, I’ve discovered more ways He guided me than I ever realized before.

Through it all, God was with me.

My awareness of this didn’t happen overnight.  It happened over many years, one step at a time.

My first awakening to the truth came during a singles retreat.  Our speaker taught from Ecclesiastes.  I listened to this man’s teaching unaware of what was to come.  I wish I could tell you the verses that hit me in the gut, the passage that changed my world, but I can’t.

One moment, I was fine, a person in the crowd, the next, an overwhelming awareness engulfed me. God could love me in spite of the stains on my life.  I was worthy of His love and forgiveness.

I can point to many reasons why I didn’t understand this before.  The first, and most obvious, stems from those who first taught me salvation.  They preached living right.  They told me God was not a respecter of persons (whatever that means).  In the next breath, they told me no one can be perfect, but we have to try to be, but we will never succeed.  They described to me a vengeful God.  One who wanted our perfection and punished us if we didn’t make the grade.  Their understanding of salvation missed the boat.  They saw Him sitting in judgment of our failures.

Is there any wonder that I didn’t think my life worthwhile?  How could I ever measure up?

Yes, we should strive to live as Christ. No, we will never succeed.  That’s the point.  They missed it.

When this point hit me, I ran out of the session.  It didn’t take long for the singles minister to follow me. I’ll never forget how he sat down on the curb beside me, a look of concern on his face.  I tried to tell him, through my tears, what I felt.  He nodded, then first told me he had been keeping a close eye on two other single moms in the crowd, aware of the emotional trauma they had experienced.  He never thought to watch me.  He never suspected how I felt.  I had become so good at being present without grace that no one knew my struggle.  (This is one reason my story amazed so many people when I started sharing it.)

We talked for a while and then again later.  But I had the most important piece of the puzzle: I could be blameless and whole before God.  I would screw up, but I could have the salvation I wanted.  I could have grace.  I just needed to seek to do His will and accept His grace when I fell.

Alleluia!