Bad News, Good News

Care to join me for a steaming latte? It’s 12 degrees fahrenheit in my neck of the woods. Brrr. Reason enough to enjoy the crackling fire with a hot drink within reach.

As I mentioned in my earlier post, God’s first call in our lives deals with salvation. In fact, most of the Bible centers around John 3:16 (NIV), “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

The word salvation appears 164 times in the Bible. According to Strong’s Concordance, salvation is “mattâth” in Hebrew and Aramaic, which means “a present: ― gift; reward.” The Greek translation “soteria” means “rescue or safety.”

Salvation can be summarized as follows: deliverance from the power or penalty of sin.

Whose sin? Both yours and mine. We’ve all done wrong things and failed to obey God’s laws (Romans 3:23; 5:12).

The result? Separation from holy God, our Creator. This separation―the penalty of our sin―is eternal death (Romans 6:23; Revelation 20:10-15). Our best efforts–moralism–fall short in our attempts to unite with God (Isaiah 64:6). That’s the bad news.

The good news: Jesus–God’s unique Son–never sinned (Hebrews 5:9). He alone bridged the gap between sinless God and sinful mankind when He freely died on the cross (1 Timothy 2:5-6; 1 John 5:9-12). He took our place in order to save us from sin’s consequences―including God’s judgment and death (2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 2:24; Romans 5:8-11).

The result? We can have new life because Jesus took our past, present, and future sins upon Himself, forgiving all our wrongdoing (Hebrews 10:5-18). Thus, He reconciles us to God (1 Peter 3:18; Hebrews 10:19-22). Jesus’ resurrection from the dead is the proof that His substitutionary sacrifice on the cross was acceptable to God. His resurrection has become the source of new life for whoever believes Jesus is the Son of God (John 11:25; Romans 10:9). He grants eternal life, giving union with God to those who believe and receive Him (Ephesians 2:4-7; John 1:12).

Do you believe Jesus is God’s Son? If so, have you confessed your sins to Him and asked Him for the gift of eternal life and forgiveness?

*This article is also posted in the Gospel Blog by FEBC at http://bit.ly/17RG5UK.

Day Three of 2013

Mmm…sparkling red grape juice cocktail. This sweet bubbly, packaged in red with white confetti, reminds me it’s New Year’s. Congrats, we’ve reached 2013! I’m so glad to meet you at this intersection. Life certainly is an adventure―twists, turns, detours and all.

The following sums up my “Out” and “In” list.

Out with: worn socks; stained pillows; spoiled food in the fridge; cluttered drawers; stacks of magazines; VHS tapes; clothes I haven’t worn in a year; my lime green kitchen sink (strange, but I hardly think about it anymore, at least not as often as when my husband and three children moved into our 1968 ranch style home seven years ago—I even have a quaint, little teapot that matches—hmm, not sure if that’s a blessing or a curse); excess sugar and fat (belly fat); gray, frizzy hairs―oops, now you know I’m forty­-something; kids who talk back; and flu germs. I promise not to send virtual germs, although they are virtually everywhere.

In with: good health; excellent physical condition; clean, organized home and clothes; lavender scented bedding and pillows; kids who appreciate menial household tasks; delicious low-fat meals; a larger kitchen table (maybe I’ll take that before my new sink); sleek, shiny hair; learning two new art skills: blogging and outdoor photography; and two new husband relational skills: dirt biking and mechanics.

Alright, you have me pegged. I’m an idealist. Maybe that’s why I’m so drawn to God. He’s perfect in every way, unlike me and my current condition. And I wonder, why or how God might use ordinary me?

My seven year-old helped take down Christmas ornaments. They’re strewn across the living room. Our kitchen faucet decided to spring a leak today, probably because I fixed a big breakfast with lots of dishes, which are soaking in the laundry room’s sink. My laundry pile is competing with my dish pile as I struggle to keep up with exterminating my husband’s and kids’ flu germs. And, my head feels full. I still declare: “I will not get sick!”

Yes, I’ve posted two days past my intended date. But it’s okay. I’m learning to loosen my grip on my ideals: me, family, dream home, etc. When I invest my time to read the Bible, God meets me there. His truth and presence bring rest and newness of life. I’m reminded God is not only extraordinary, but He also never grows weary. He has good plans for me (Jeremiah 29:11). I’m reminded the army of angels’ Commander stands in front, behind, and beside me (Psalm 139).

I love 2 Corinthians 5:17, NIV: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he [she] is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”

Okay, drawing near to God through prayer and Bible reading is my number one priority. Thanks for reading and allowing me to sort that out.

As you sort through your “In’s,” “Out’s,” “Up’s,” and “Down’s,” I pray you’ll find time to communicate with our Creator. May you find refreshment and fulfillment this New Year. I hope we can share our journeys together as I plan to post updates weekly.

Blessings,

K.D.