Kimberly Dawn Nyborg – Reconciling Your Past

Wrestling with unforgiveness of the past sins that I have committed has taken me on such an interesting journey.  It seems odd that I came to understand God’s forgiveness even before I was capable of forgiving myself.

How many of you have done some stuff in your past that has been unlovely, corrupt, ugly, even despicable?

On my journey I have found it quite interesting to see that God does not place sins on a scale of 1-10.  A simple look at the Ten Commandments makes that rather clear.  You can stretch them as far as you want and the bottom line is that without the shed blood of Jesus Christ, we have all fallen short of all of the Commandments.

That is why our righteousness is considered as filthy rags as it says in Isaiah 64:6.  But that being said, I will admit that it seems that the ‘uglier’ the sin we commit, the harder it is to reconcile, perhaps because our tendency is to rate sin.

Looking back at myself as a fifteen year old, on my own, revisiting the stuff that I let myself get into, made it very difficult to believe that God could and had forgiven my sin.  Thankfully, and after much study in the Word, the truth prevailed and with a huge step of faith I received His forgiveness.  I was then left to struggle with forgiving myself for what I had done!  I knew what I had done and had been involved with were wrong and that I was completely rebellious in my actions.

It is here that I would like to put in a plug for Dr. Neil Anderson’s ministry, Freedom in Christ.  This is just one of the ministries out there that focuses on our identity in Christ.  I absorbed myself in his book Victory Over Darkness and God used it to change the way I saw myself.  I can give credit to a ‘book’ because in this book were the many Scriptures that assured me that I was accepted by Him, secure in Him and significant to Him.  I was able to believe that if God could forgive me, I had to be able to forgive myself.

You may have said to yourself, “How am I worthy of God’s love?”

  • I got pregnant out of wedlock and the father of the child convinced me that we did not know each other well enough to get married.  He decided that I would have an abortion to solve the predicament in which we found ourselves.
  • When my first marriage was on the verge of divorce, a “Christian” counselor once asked me, “Do you believe that you are ‘good enough’ to marry a pastor?”  My reaction was that no pastor would ever want me for a wife, not with all that I had done in my past!  I was not a born again believer at that time but was attending church and seeing a church counselor to try to save my marriage.
  • One of my loved ones believes he is a ‘good man’ because he does lots of ‘good things’.  He also believes that he is not good when he does not do good.  His belief is that to be a part of the kingdom of God you have to do lots of good things and keep your “nose clean” (so to speak).

My thoughts toward myself were that I certainly could never be used in God’s work because of all my past failures.  Who would want what I had to offer especially if they knew what I had done?

I wonder just how many folks out there are letting their past rule instead of willingly making the decision to say, “If God can, then I must“?  When I do not forgive my past, I am saying that God is not able to see me through the shed blood of His Son, Jesus.

I am not saying that you cannot have Christ in your heart if you are unable to forgive yourself of past sins.  But, what I am saying is that it is a hurdle that, once leaped and internalized, will literally thrust you to the next level.  Why walk around with a debility that is not necessary and that can be healed?

Too many of us with bad stuff in our past have simply skewed the truth, having a very shallow view of who we truly are as children of God.

My friend Peggy, who has spent years studying the Jewish roots of the faith, once shared the analogy of our identity in Christ like this: If you take a piece of white wool and dip it into a dye, it absorbs that dye and becomes that dye’s color.  Now ‘color’ is not quite the same thing as our identity but the principle is the same.  In essence, we have been dipped in the shed blood of Christ and we are now covered to the point that God sees us absorbed in Christ’s blood.  We have now absorbed His very essence.  Ephesians 1:7 says, “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace”.

When we become born-again Christians, it is so vital that we make the decision to embrace the Word (God’s truth) and all it has to say to us. In doing so, we can eventually get to the place where we see that we can forgive ourselves for our jaded past because it is first and foremost washed under the blood of Christ.

The following list of verses are only a few that will help us to forgive ourselves because we have made the choice to believe them.

I am accepted…

John 1: 12 — God gave us the right to be His child.
Romans 5: 1 — We have been justified by faith.
1 Corinthians 6: 19, 20 — The Holy Spirit lives in me… I have been bought with Christ’s precious blood.
Ephesians 1:5 — I am now adopted as His child.
Colossians 1:14 — I have redemption through Christ’s blood and my sins are forgiven.

I am secure…

Romans 8: 1 — I am no longer under condemnation, free from the law of sin and death.
Romans 8: 2 — I no longer walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
Hebrews 4: 16 — I am now able to boldly ask of God Himself having mercy and grace in my time of need.

I am significant…

John 15: 5 — I am a branch of the true vine and I abide in Him.
1 Corinthians 3: 16 — I am God’s temple and filled with the Holy Spirit.
Ephesians 2: 10 — I am created in Christ Jesus for good works.
Ephesians 3: 12 — I am free to boldly come before God without fear.

Oh, my friend, there is nothing that you can do to make yourself clean, good and usable to the King.  Only by admitting your need of the Savior and accepting Jesus’ death on your behalf, then becoming crucified with Christ because it is no longer you who live but Christ who lives in you!

“Jesus, my Lord, my Savior and my Friend, I thank you for showing me that I can forgive myself as You have already done, of every unlovely thing in my past, present and future.  It is because of Your amazing love for me that I can walk with a much lighter step as I live my life and serve You for the rest of my days.  I will praise You, for Your Word tells me that I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  I cannot even express my gratefulness for Your shed blood.  Let me live my life in worship and wonder of Your majesty. Amen.”

Much of what has been shared in dealing with this stronghold of forgiving myself will tie in with our next one, “Walking in the Truth”, so we can believe what God says about who we are!  Too many of us struggle with these issues, especially when coming from a self-debasing past.

From the Editor:Kimberly Dawn Nyborg

Thank you so much for your contribution Kimberly.  It really is awesome to see how God works in and through us if we allow Him too.  If you would like to read more of Kimberly’s writings on this blog you can find them here:

“The Gift of Contentment”

Kimberly thoroughly enjoys sharing her gift of encouragement by sharing her heart and story at various types of speaking engagements.  She has been guest speaker at retreats, camps, many women’s events, as a guest speaker in church and as a representative for Psalm FM Radio station for many years.  In radio rallies she has also served as worship leader.  You can contact her through her website.

Readers, please leave a comment below to let Kimberly know what you think of her story, especially if it has touched your heart somehow.

You can also read more from Kimberly in her new blog and her website.

©2013 Mark Davis

Leave Your Comment Here

 

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Kimberly Dawn Nyborg – The Gift of Contentment

by: Kimberly Dawn Nyborg
Kimberly Nyborg

Kimberly Nyborg

Have you ever thought of how a racehorse might feel when it is in the chute awaiting the noise of the gun and the gates to fling open for the race to begin?  Well, I have felt what that must be like and it is nerve wracking to me when you think that the time is now but…that gate will not open!  Or the familiar expression “chomping at the bit,” which says it the way I feel it, exhibiting impatience or frustration when delayed.  You see, I am a now kinda girl and I have really struggled with waiting and waiting and waiting!

My guess is that there are a lot of us who have a picture of what it is that we are supposed to be doing in this life.  For me, it was my dream to be a teacher.  After all, it stemmed from way back as a little girl playing school with my stuffed animals and dolls.  I would line them all up as if in a classroom and teach them to read and count.  When I was waylaid as an adult because of so many poor choices, that dream disappeared.

It did not return until my youngest son was having trouble in school and was removed from his school setting.  I purposed to try home schooling him in an effort to see if it would help his predicament.  While engrossed in looking for curriculum, my desire to teach was again stirred up.  Wow, the dream came back to life! I only home-schooled my son for a year or so, but with this renewed interest in teaching I decided to try college, hoping that I could be a teacher one day.

Some years before, since I never did graduate (having left home at 15), I received my GED in 1985.  The instructor told me there was no reason I could not continue on to college if that were my desire.  Being a mom put that on hold, especially with a troubled child.  But in 1992 I gave it a shot when that teaching desire was once again stirred in my heart.  My dream, however, was once again shelved when more difficulties arose with my son and my husband did not think it wise traveling so far on a daily basis from Int’l Falls to BSU, especially in the winter.  Well, the teaching aspirations were once again tabled and I kind of gave up on my dream.

As you wonder where the ‘contentment’ comes in, let me assure you that God sure knows the desires of our heart!  It was not long after my teaching bubble was burst that I was impressed and given the okay to lead women’s Bible studies at my church.  Over the years, I have gone through various Bible studies, which have allowed me to engage my teaching abilities.

Isn’t God good to me?  Although it is a different picture than what I thought, I am blessed to use a gift He has given me to build others and build myself in my times of preparation.

I would have to say that God is teaching me that contentment is being satisfied where I am!  And that He also uses me right where I am.

But when He begins to open up different avenues of ministry, then what?  If you are like me, you are anxious to get going and ready to jump in and get your feet wet but…hold on.  There is perfecting that has to take place, some lessons to be learned, and some observations to be made before the time is right.  That is where I have struggled the most — in the waiting.  After all, you cannot hurry drying paint or varnish, aging cheese or wine, or whatever it is that needs time to season and perfect that finished product.

Preparation takes place through a period of time and circumstance and the God-given release will come when He knows we are ready to accomplish all that He has for us!  In the meantime, while the seasoning is taking place, I am learning to be content right where I am.  The Message paraphrase of Deuteronomy 28:12 references the timing thing here.  ‘God will throw open the doors of his sky vaults and pour rain on your land on schedule and bless the work you take in hand. You will lend to many nations but you yourself won’t have to take out a loan.’  I think that is such a wonderful example of right timing!  The rains came at just the right time to bless the people’s efforts so that they would become the lenders and not the borrowers!

So, friend, whatever it is that we put our hand to do for the Lord, we must rest in being content!  Know that His timing is perfect and if or while waiting on Him, know that we are in process — for it is not about us but all about Him.  We are being seasoned so that we will be that salty, shining light God will use for His glory!

From the Editor:

Thank you so much for your contribution Kimberly.  It really is awesome to see how God works in and through us if we allow Him too.

Kimberly thoroughly enjoys sharing her gift of encouragement by sharing her heart and story at various types of speaking engagements.  She has been guest speaker at retreats, camps, many women’s events, as a guest speaker in church and as a representative for Psalm FM Radio station for many years.  In radio rallies she has also served as worship leader.  You can contact her through her website.

Readers, please leave a comment below to let Kimberly know what you think of her story, especially if it has touched your heart somehow.

You can also read more from Kimberly in her new blog and her website.

Other Articles from Kimberly:

Kimberly Dawn Nyborg – Reconciling Your Past

©2013 Mark Davis

Leave Your Comments Here

 

Continued Reading:

Rebecca MacPherson – Our Story…

Hollywood, Are You Listening?
Dwight and Rebecca MacPherson Wedding

Dwight and Rebecca MacPherson Wedding

So many people have asked me to share how Dwight and I met that I decided to write an entry about our journey. It is such a testament to how God has our story written, and if we just listen to Him and wait on His perfect timing, He gives us the desires of our heart.

Back in the fall of 2007, I was enjoying a day off when a thought came in my head to go see if  any new pirate-themed comics had hit the comic shop shelves. So I walked to my local shop (Props out to Meltdown Comics!) and looked around. It turns out that the store had a large pirate-themed section set up with old and new comics. This was around the same time as the whole Pirates of the Carribean craze, so I was very happy to find quite a few interesting books. Among them was one that caught my eye: Dead Men Tell No Tales by a writer named Dwight L. MacPherson. The cover art was incredible, so I decided to give it chance, and I bought all available issues. I went home and read through them in one sitting. I loved how he put a Christian spin on a historical fiction tale chronicling the quest for the Holy Grail.

At the time I read the mini-series, I was living in Los Angeles and working in the film/tv/theatre production world. I had several theatre productions under my belt and I was thinking (as most people in Hollywood think) that, hey, I can produce a big budget film. And so I decided to contact the publisher for Dead Men Tell No Tales to see if I could get contact information for the writer. After several back and forth emails, I got Dwight’s address, and sent him a quick email asking if the rights had been sold to his property because it would make a fantastic film.

Fast forward two years and a million Google chats (Thanks, Google and Gmail) later, Dwight and I got engaged. Our relationship grew over time and a thousand plus miles. We did not have the convenience of meeting up for coffee or dates. We had to get to know each other in nightly two-hour talks. I remember the first thing he asked me was if I went to church. This was important to him because he felt that we needed to be on the same lane of the freeway spiritually. Neither of us were looking for mates at the time, so everything happened organically–us becoming friends, close friends, to committed adults. Some people would think that having a long distance relationship is hard, strange, etc., and I imagine it would be if it were the wrong person. I never second guessed anything because we both knew it was turning out to be perfectly ordered.

When I say that God gives us the desires of our hearts, I need to explain my side of the whole instant family thing. Anyone who knows me knows I never really wanted to “birth” children. I wanted the opportunity to raise a child, but the whole idea of pushing a bowling ball through a small hole never quite appealed to me. As God would have it, Dwight had three boys–all in need of a mother. Can you see how good God is, and how perfect His plans for our lives are? I can, and I realized how blessed I was because this wonderful chance came to me. Not one child, but three! Both Dwight and I wanted to be sure I knew what I was getting into, and he respected his sons enough to not only ask my mom for my hand in marriage, but he also asked the boys if he could marry me. Their feelings were just as important to us as our own desires.

This May, Dwight and I will celebrate our fourth year of marriage. I read all the time about how marriages take a lot of work and you have to sacrifice and bla, bla, bla. Well, call me strange, but none of this seems to apply to us. And it is not because we are still in some sort of honeymoon phase.  It has just never been a struggle. Sure, there have been adjustments–I went from being a single woman to being a wife, mother of three boys, and moved clear across the country. I think that is three out of the five most stressful events in life, right?! But, like I said earlier, when you are with the soulmate God has created you for, all of these seemingly stressful moments take a back seat to the awesomeness that is our God. Despite our undeserved wretched selves, He gives us helpmates to help us through this journey called life.

So there you have it. Two people from different walks in life with similiar interests and spiritual walks doing their thing until God in His infinite grace puts them together against all odds. I know that the random idea to go buy a book was not a coincidence. It was God writing my story–and you know what? I am content to let Him finish the book.

In His Perfect Love,

Rebecca

P.S. Hollywood, our story rights are available for purchase. ;)

“For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lod. Plans to prosper you and plans to to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

© 2013 Mark Davis

Recommended Reading:

Rebecca and Dwight MacPherson’s Blog – www.sonofaparson.com

Doris Pt. 1: How I Traded Fear For Peace

Doris Pt. 2: How God Led Me To Work With Children

A Letter To A Young “Bride-To-Be”

Larry Bronsing – My Journey

A Letter To A Young “Bride-To-Be”

From A Wife Of 54 Years

Wedding Rings

Dearest Patricia*,

If I remember right, you were in your mid-teens when I first met you: we worked together in DVBS (Daily Vacation Bible School).  I thought very highly of you then, and still do.

I saw you as a young lady who was kind and thoughtful, desiring to be a help wherever possible.

I was so pleased when I observed a friendship beginning to develop between you and your future fiancée.  I quietly hoped things would work out as they eventually did.  I think you will be a good wife to him, and he a good husband for you.

A marriage can be something beautiful; God planned that it should be that way.  I am convinced that a husband is a gift from God.  He is a treasure to be cherished and honored all the days of his life.

There are some things I have learned through my 54 years of marriage.  I wish I had pages to tell you about them all, but I will just share some of what God has taught me.

  • To be a successful wife, you must be a “prayer warrior”.  Read Phil 4:6, 7. Learn to pray, and to trust the Lord in everything: Pray as you cook, as you approach difficult tasks, as you teach and discipline your children, and in everything.  Oh, what peace we have in our hearts when we learn to pray and trust.

Jesus said that without Him, we can do nothing.  He speaks to us through His Word – read it daily; memorize verses and passages, especially those that are most meaningful to you. The portion of the Bible that is in your memory bank is the part of God’s Word that is always with you.

  • Continually practice Ephesians 4:32 in your relationship with your husband, and your children.  This is a must.  Somehow, in the daily grind of life, we have a tendency to forget to practice that admonition, especially at home – it is so very important.
  • We must remember to always practice kindness, thoughtfulness, and courtesy with each other. And don’t forget forgiveness. All of this is essential to good relationships. And, it is true, “what goes around, comes around”
  • Maybe you don’t need this, but I’ll add it anyway:  Keep your house neat and tidy.  I have learned from personal experience, that family relationships are better when things are neat than when the house is messy and disorganized.
  • Be careful to continue keeping yourself attractive for your husband.  He will appreciate that.
  • Remember, you don’t always have to be right.  Let your husband be the leader. He can’t be the leader if you don’t follow. And pray for him. God tells us to pray for those who are in authority over us, and surely that would include a husband.
  • Remember, he hasn’t walked this path before, he is just learning, even as you are.  It’s okay for you to tell him how you feel about things, and what you think is right. Then leave it there, and go to your prayer closet and let the Lord guide your husband into right decisions.

In our marriage, there were times when I was sure I was right, then found that I was wrong.  At those times I was glad that I had left the working out of the situation to the Lord, instead of me insisting on having my own way.

  • Keep your husband’s confidences private, and don’t tell others his faults.  We know that no one is perfect but let other people think he is.  Words are strong. If you say derogatory things about him, you will find yourself thinking less of him, and so will others.  Focus on his qualities and pray about those things that you are disappointed in.

Go to Proverbs 31:10-31.  This woman is my favorite woman in the Bible. It is a wise choice to follow her example.

May the Lord richly bless you and your ”soon–to–be husband”.  I desire every good thing for the two of you.

D. S.

*Name has been changed to protect the guilty.

From the Editor – The previous letter was written to be placed into a keepsake scrapbook for the wedding.  Select women from her church were asked to add things like favorite Bible verses, recipes, words of encouragement and things of that nature.  This was the letter that Doris Swartz wrote to be placed into that scrapbook.  Doris had been widowed 11 years prior to this and added to me, “Some things are learned after you lose your mate that you wish you would have understood while he was still alive”.  — Mark

Other submissions from Doris Swartz:

Doris Swartz Pt. 1 – How I Traded Fear For Peace
Doris Swartz Pt. 2 – How God Led Me To Work With Children

Doris Swartz Pt. 1 – How I Traded Fear For Peace

 

HOW I TRADED FEAR FOR PEACE

I was born into a hard working farm family in the early 1930’s.  My parents took my sister and me to church until a new baby was born into the family.  I was six years old when she came.  After that, we rarely went to church.

My parents were religious, moral, decent people.  But that is a far cry from being Christian.  When my Mom was deeply concerned about some circumstance in her life, she would gather us girls about her on the bed, and she would read the Bible to us.  That was about the only time the Bible was taught in our home by my parents.

I appreciate one thing my Dad did though:  he would turn on the radio on Sunday, (maybe not every Sunday) and we heard Bible preaching.  My parents let us go to Daily Vacation Bible School, but that wasn’t every year. I don’t remember much of what I was taught there, if I was taught the Gospel message, it didn’t penetrate my understanding.

Even though there was not much Bible teaching in our home, my parents did their best to teach us to be diligent workers, to be honest, truthful, and also to fear God.  Somehow, I knew about Jesus and that there was a God. I knew that He died on the cross for us.  I also knew that there was a heaven and a hell.  I knew that some people were not ready to meet God, and that I was one of them.  I also knew that Jesus would come someday, and that it could happen at any time.

My parents did not have much Bible understanding – they probably were not taught it, though my Dad’s parents were somewhat religious.  I don’t know about my Mom’s parents.  I know now that being religious is not the same as having put one’s hope in Jesus for salvation, but back at that time, I thought a person had to be good and do good things in order to be saved. There were times I wondered, “Why did Jesus have to die on the cross when we had to be good in order to go to heaven”?

I was about eight when the Jews began to migrate back into their homeland.  My Mom said that soon the end of the world would come. When she told me this, I knew I was not ready for Jesus to come back.  I knew that I was a sinner, and that I would go to hell.  That caused great anguish of soul for me.  Many nights, before going to sleep, I would pray, “Jesus, please don’t come back tonight”.

About this time, when I was somewhere between 6 and 8 years old, I had a dream.  In my dream, I was swinging on a tire swing hung from a tree in the orchard that was north of our house.  I looked toward the east, and there was Jesus coming across the field towards me.  He was coming to take me to heaven.  I said to him that I hadn’t done anything; meaning that I had not done anything to make me ready for heaven.   In my dream, Jesus said to me, “You don’t have to”.

I didn’t know it at that time, but that is the truth.  I didn’t have to do any good thing to be ready for Jesus to take me to heaven, because Jesus did it for me.  He paid for all my sins when he gave His blood as He died on the cross, taking all of my punishment for all the sins I have and will yet commit.  I would only have to put my trust in Him.

I remember one night, about this same time, I came downstairs from my attic bedroom.  I wanted my Mom to help me get saved.  She knew what I wanted, but did not know how to help me.

Some years passed.  I got married at the age of 17, and I was still burdened about my lost condition.  Sometimes I would cry to my husband about it. One time he told me that he was going to hell.

He wasn’t saved either.  That fear of not being saved never left me.  Fear is an awful thing to live with.

On one occasion, my husband and I went to a family reunion.  There was a missionary there (a third cousin), who had gone to Africa.  He was the speaker at that gathering.  He preached a very convicting message about salvation.  But, I still didn’t know how to get saved.  I still thought I had to be good – which I knew I wasn’t.  I remember going to bed at night and not being able to sleep well.

Three little girls were born to our family, our first one lived only 24 hours. Still both my husband and I were in our lost condition.  I remember one day as I was running to the mailbox at the roadway, a chilling thought came to me, if I don’t get saved, all my descendants will go to hell.

God has a way of working things out for His glory and our good.

A country church, about 20 miles away, had some money designated for missions.  There was a man in that church who thought it would be good to start a church in Wichita, Kansas with that money.  The plan was that after the church was established, the membership would be missions minded, and eventually the amount of money used to build the new church would be given to missions.  That was a good plan.

So the piece of property was bought, and the work began.  First, the men had to prepare the ground for the building.  Then, my Dad was contacted to help because he had some heavy equipment.  He told them about his daughter that lived near there. One of the men responsible for starting the new church visited me and invited us to come to their new church.  I don’t remember my response, but I think I didn’t take the invitation very seriously.

Later, after the church was built, they called a young man to serve as pastor.  This new church was a Bible church, there was no denominational affiliation.  One evening the young pastor and his wife came to call on us and invited us to come to church.

We promised that we would come the next Sunday.  But, the next Sunday our two little girls had whooping cough.  We didn’t go to church.  It was about six weeks later that I saw the pastor’s wife in the grocery store.  I told her that we still planned to come to church.  What I didn’t know was that during these weeks, the people of that church were fervently praying for us, and for our salvation.

Finally, the day came that I actually went to that little church, taking my 3 year old daughter with me.  My husband stayed at home with the other little girl who was only about a year old.  I think it was the second Sunday that I went to the church that I was so convicted of my need that I cried. One of the hymns sung was, “T’is so Sweet to Trust in Jesus”.  I thought to my self, “Yes, it would be sweet to trust in Jesus”.  After church, as I was leaving, the pastor’s wife met me and wanted to talk to me.  She understood what my need was without my telling her.  I didn’t want to talk to her, I gave the excuse that I needed to get my little girl home.

After lunch that day, my husband decided to take a hog to the market. That was so unlike him to do such a thing on Sunday.  I had one fear that if I made this decision to become a Christian, my husband would be so displeased that he would leave me.

After the little girls had been put to bed for their afternoon nap, I made my choice. . . I knew I was a sinner, I had to be saved.  I knelt beside my bed and prayed.  I still didn’t know how to get saved, but I surrendered my heart to God for salvation.  I prayed the only thing I knew.  I asked the Lord to make me His vessel.  I got up from my knees, and picked up my Bible, one that my husband had given me as a gift on our first wedding anniversary.  I turned to the concordance in the back of the Bible and looked up the word, “salvation”.  I found that salvation is of the Lord.  I thought that maybe I was saved, but wasn’t certain.  I still don’t know for sure that I was saved at that time.

Very soon after that I learned that there is only one way to be saved from the punishment we deserve for having sinned. Salvation comes only when one puts all of his trust in the Lord Jesus Christ who paid the penalty for our sin when He shed His blood, and died on the cross.

I Corinthians 15:3, 4; “. . . how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.”  

Whether I was saved at that time or not, God knows, but I do know this. The Lord took me at my word, that I wanted to be His vessel, and led me to understand the way of salvation in the days that followed.

The next Sunday our little family went to church.  I told the pastor’s wife what I had done, about my uncertainty about my salvation, and about what I had found in the Scriptures.  She said that she believed that I really was saved.  On that day the pastor and his wife invited our little family to come to their house for dinner on the following Friday.  I was delighted for us to accept that invitation, I had many questions that needed answers.

During that week many changes happened in my life.  The next day after that prayer of surrender, I felt that my world was like an oasis after having been in the desert.  My mouth got cleaned up.  No more minced oaths, no foul language of any kind.  My radio became “sanctified”, no more soap operas, just preaching and Christian music.

Through the preaching which I heard on the radio, many of my questions were answered.  But one question was heavy on my mind, and when we were at dinner at the pastor’s home I asked, “Now that I am saved, can I lose my salvation”?  I wanted to know if I had to work to keep my salvation by doing good deeds, or could I work for Jesus just to please Him. The answer was in the form of a parable.  I was told that when I was saved, the heavenly Father was now my Father.

God has chosen that analogy of His relationship with His children.  A man who is the father of a child, can disown the child, abandon him, or whatever, but he can never deny the fact that he is still that child’s father. That fact of fatherhood cannot be changed.  Since God is my Father now, He will always be my father.

The truth that God will always be the Father of those who have trusted Jesus for their salvation, is a good analogy.  However, I would rather depend on the Scriptures.  These especially:

Romans 6:23; “. . . the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Eternal life is life that endures forever.  If I have eternal life, I can not lose it since it is eternal.  If I could lose it, then obviously I never had it.

Here is another passage that showed me that our salvation is an eternal one:

I John 5:11,12;  “And this is the record that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son [Jesus Christ]. He that hath the Son hath life: and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.” 

If you have Jesus, you have eternal life.  If you don’t have eternal life it is because you do not have Jesus.

I have been a joyfully born-again Christian going on sixty years now.  It has been so wonderful to be free of that awful fear that plagued me all those early years.  The peace and joy that Jesus has given me has been priceless.

Dear reader, do you have this same joy and confidence?  It can be yours, too.

Respectively,

Doris Swartz
©2013 Mark Davis

Related Articles:

A Letter To A Young “Bride-To-Be”

Doris Swartz Pt. 2 – How God Led Me To Work With Children

Suggested Reading:

If You’re Dead – Now What?

How Many Ways Are There To Get To Heaven?

Doris Swartz Pt. 2 – How God Led Me To Work With Children

How God Led Me To Work With Children

Immediately following my salvation experience, my pastor’s wife asked me to take her to a Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF) teachers training class.  We met every week during the school year.  This training has been invaluable to me in my Christian walk with the Lord Jesus Christ.

This class was divided into two parts.  First, we were taught how to take the Bible, and develop a good Bible lesson and we were taught how to show someone how to be saved.  We memorized Bible verses so that we had Scripture in our minds to pass on to others so that they could be saved.  It is the Word of God that the Holy Spirit uses to change people’s lives.  We were taught to always give the salvation message in every lesson, as well as those truths that would help a saved child to grow in confidence in his/her salvation and how to live a life pleasing to God.  We were taught that in every class, most likely, there are both saved and unsaved children.  Each child has a need to be given those Bible truths that will help them at their point of need.  The saved child needs to know how to live pleasing to his Lord, the Lord Jesus Christ.  The unsaved child needs to know what Jesus has done for him so the child can put his trust in Jesus for his salvation.

The other half of the session was a Good News Club.  Here, a Bible lesson was taught, and we adults were the “children” in the class.  The idea was that we would go out and teach that lesson in a Good News Club in our community.

After my husband had become a born-again believer, we had a club in our home.  One day, our second daughter, about 5, raised her hand at the invitation to receive Jesus, and her Daddy counseled her, and she put her trust in Jesus to save her at that time.  She is a grandmother now, and dates her salvation to that day.

Because of his work, my husband was not able to be a part of a Good News Club after that year.  That was sad, because it is hard to find a better team than  a husband and wife  as teachers in a Good News Club.  Though my husband could not help, I continued teaching a club, either in our home or a friend’s home for many years.  I continued to teach even after my children had grown up and left the nest.

Maybe you are wondering what a Good News Club is.  Children from the neighborhood are invited to come to the home for an hour, usually immediately after school.  During that hour, refreshments are given.  The children are taught songs, a Bible verse to memorize which they are encouraged to recite the next week, and they are taught a Bible lesson. There  are visuals for the songs, verses, and the lesson.  At the end of the lesson, an invitation is given for those who want to, to come and talk to us so that we could help them make the decision to receive Jesus as their Savior.  No pressure is to be put on the children; this is to be a choice they would make for themselves.   These classes meet once a week through most of the school year.

In recent years, we have been allowed to hold a Good News in the school. Bible clubs are allowed with he same rules and restrictions as secular clubs have. I have been a part of a Good News Club in a local grade school for the past 5 or 6 years.  Last year we averaged about 30 students, and so far this year we have had about 20.

For more information about a “Good News Club”

It has been such a privilege to be doing the work that I believe God has called me to do.  My joy and delight is to teach children.  It would be a great joy to teach persons of any age,  but I believe God has called me to teach children.  When I am in front of a class of precious boys and girls I am truly happy.

Has my life always reflected Jesus?  Sorry to say, “No”.  I have failed Him miserably so many times.   But my Lord Jesus Christ has never failed me.  He has been there in my times of need.  He has answered so many of my prayers, even though I have not deserved such goodness from Him.  I am so thankful for such verses as; John 6:37, “…him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out”  and Hebrews 13:5, “. . . I will never leave thee nor forsake thee”.   I am so thankful that someone came to me with the gospel message.

 What is the GOSPEL message ??

It could be that someone who reads this is in similar circumstances as I was for the first 23 years of my life . . . in confusion and fearing God’s eternal judgment.  Such a person does not have to continue in that fear.  I would have been spared a lot of misery if I had learned these truths as a child.   The Gospel is simply the “GOOD NEWS”  that God has provided the Way for us to know that we can be forgiven of our sins and to know that we will, one day, be in God’s heaven.

The following is a  presentation of  that wonderful gospel message: To do this,  I will use the  letters A through D to help with that presentation.

A.     Admit . . . that you have sinned against a holy God.

God tells us that we have all sinned:

Romans 3:23 — “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” 

You need to know that sin has consequences, and that is death – forever separated from God. 

Romans 6:23 — “For the wages of sin is death. . .”

That death is an eternal death, that the one who dies without Jesus will be in a terrible place called hell . . . forever. The Bible says that it is a place where “the fire is not quenched”.  That fact is so awful that we find it hard to comprehend.

B.     Believe . . . that Jesus took your place — your punishment — for sin when He died on the cross.

II Corinthians 5:21 — “For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin: that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.”

We could read this verse this way:

For He (God the Father) hath made Him (the Lord Jesus Christ) to be sin for us (you and me, the sinners), who knew no sin (Jesus is perfectly good, no sin in Him) that we might be made the righteous of God (perfectly good in God’s sight) in Him (in the Lord Jesus Christ)”.

We need to understand that Jesus died, but didn’t stay dead.  He was buried and rose again.   

I Corinthians 15:3,4 — “. . . how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures: and that      He was buried, and that He rose again the third day, according to the scriptures”.  

We must understand that we cannot do anything to save ourselves, Jesus did it all for us.

Ephesians 2:8,9 — “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:  Not of works, lest any man should boast.”  

Because Jesus took our place – took all of our punishment for sin – we can be forgiven for all our sin.

Ephesians 1:7 — “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace”.

C.     Choose, Confess (or Call) . . . upon Jesus, trusting Him, and asking Him to save you.

Romans 10:13 — “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

When we believe, then we can ask.  Prayer does not save us.  Prayer is the means of communication between God and us.  Believing in what the Lord Jesus did for us, does.

Romans 10:9,10 — “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.  For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness: and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation”.  

Another promise verse is this:

Acts 16:31 — “And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved and thy house”.

Do you believe God when He says that you have sinned and that you are a sinner?  Do you believe that Jesus is the Lord?  Do you believe that Jesus took your punishment and completely paid your sin debt when He gave His blood and died on the cross? Do you believe that he died, was buried, and three days later rose again and is alive?  Do you believe God’s promise that when you believe, you are saved simply because you believe?  If your answer to all these questions is “Yes”, tell it to the Lord Jesus and ask Him to save you so that you will never be punished in hell for your sin, and that one day you will be in God’s heaven.    

D.     Depend . . . on God’s Word to know that you are saved.  The question is, do you know for sure that you are  saved?  If you say, “Yes”, the next question is, “How do you know that?” You can know for sure when you depend on what God has promised.

Both Romans 10:9, 10, 13 and Acts 16:31 are promise and condition verses.  That is, they give you God’s promise, and what you must do to receive that promise.

In Romans 10: 9,10,13  What is God’s promise?  That you would be saved.

What is the condition you must meet so that you are saved?  You must believe.

Did you do your part?  If you say, “Yes, I did my part.  I believed.”

Then the next question is, “Did God do his part”? Obviously, there is no doubt that God will do what He has promised.  When we fulfill the condition part of the promise, then God will do the promise part.  We simply trust God’s Word, that He will do everything He has promised.

If you did your part, then God kept His promise, and you are saved; all your sins, past, present, and future, are forgiven.

Colossians 2:13 — “And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses”.

Forgiveness of sins is the most wonderful gift anyone could ever receive. It is also the most costly gift ever given.  Jesus has commanded us to “Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.”  There is no higher calling for us who have trusted Jesus for our salvation,  than this, to show sinners how they can receive that precious gift of eternal life.

How about you, dear reader, have your sins been forgiven?  It is written in II Peter 3:9, the Lord is “. . . longsuffering, not willing that any should perish.”  

The Lord loves you and is not willing for you to spend eternity in hell. Today is the day of salvation.  Even though God loves you, there will come a day when it is too late.

Hebrews 9:22, — “. . . it is appointed for man once to die, but after this the judgment. . .”

If there is any doubt about your salvation, please, make that choice today while there is yet time.

 ©2013 Mark Davis

Other Submissions by Doris Swartz:

A Letter To A Young “Bride-To-Be”
Doris Swartz Pt. 1 – How I Traded Fear For Peace

Recommended Reading:

Your Spiritual Wages

Still Excited? or Dead?

The Spiritually Dormant Life

Larry Bronsing – My Journey

PREAMBLE:

I wrote my testimony printed below for the First Baptist Church of Frederic Michigan News Letter back in 1973.  The Pastor there, Brother Robert Taylor, is my personal hero. My convictions were set in concrete under his ministry through preaching, teaching and by his example. After forty years he still has a vital part in my Christian growth and, knowing that, the KJV Bible is God’s final authority for EVERYTHING, those convictions have seen me through to my 72 years of life.

Why do I tell you this?  Because it is vital that Christians recognize Godly friends that God sends their way.  I wish I could get every new-born believer into a solid KJV believing, teaching and preaching church whose pastor is tender-hearted with the wisdom of God, as Pastor Taylor’s church was.

Right after I was saved, I was so on fire and could immediately quote a great many Bible verses, but as a new-born 33-year-old baby, I needed lots of “spiritual milk” which Pastor Taylor provided so well.

A thought . . . Why does someone study to be a surgeon, and he gets respect for that, but God’s man, who has put in as much or more in studying theology, is disrespected by every “on-fire”, “get-out-of-my-way”, “I know what’s happening”, new-born Christian?  Because they, like me, get blinded by their flesh.

The following letter proves how spiritually immature I was.  I suppose Pastor Taylor never corrected anything I wrote because he had TOTAL FAITH in the Holy Spirit to do His job.

Pastor Taylor taught me how to pray publicly; how to win souls; its importance and how a pastor should conduct himself. He gave me opportunities to preach when I was actually kind of like Don Knots while thinking myself to be a Spurgeon (I told you I was spiritually stupid).

One day in heaven I will see Pastor Taylor again, and I look forward to telling him how much I love him.  BUT, I ROB HIM because I never became the soul winner, teacher and preacher that I should have.

Have you ever thought about that?  “What if I would have been the man God wanted me to be; then Pastor Taylor would have received extra rewards because of my faithfulness to the Saviour.”

I grew into an immature, spiritual cry-baby, feeling sorry for myself and, after I spent years struggling to get back spiritually where I was in Frederic, God moved me into Bethany Baptist Church in Clawson, Michigan.

Pastor Howe was not even close to being a “Pastor” when he took the pastor-ship because no one else would.  That was when I started attending. I have a great respect for Church authority and never looked at Pastor Howe as anything but God’s chosen vessel as the pastor of His Church, Bethany Baptist Church, in Clawson, Michigan.  Pastor Howe, most likely, was glad I was there, but I got more than he did.  He is the perfect example of how God can use a man whose heart is soft and has strong convictions.  He was/became another “Pastor Taylor”.  Anyone could talk with Pastor Howe and he would never get uppity if they disagreed with him. He was another one who trusted God’s Holy Ghost for the results.

Thank you, God, for giving Your grace and mercy to Pastor Taylor, Howie and me.

TESTIMONY:

The following is very poor writing and the theology is shaky if you don’t read between the lines and take it in context.  I have a blog where anyone can read in detail what I have always believed about salvation and baptism: donoterr.wordpress.com.  If you struggle through this letter, I hope you will at least see the truth of God working in an ugly me and the redeeming power of Jesus, but, again, keep in mind I was not long saved when I wrote it.

This is what I wrote 33 years ago:

Dear reader:

I would like to tell you a little of my past life.  I am doing this because I know there is someone reading this who can identify with what I am going to write.  God is going to speak to you through this poorly written, but love sent letter.

It is not that I was so bad, although I did almost everything: having hitchhiked across the states, been in a few jails, and have taken a few pills.  I could tell joke upon joke with a very vivid imagination for colorful language, and after many years of training I could drink with the best.

Many times I would have a lonesomeness deep inside.  I wouldn’t compare it with anything.  I would just say –  “there has to be something more”.  I don’t want to be on my death-bed, an old man, look back and say- “It was for nothing”, so I would try another experience.  Sometime the experience I tried was God.

I read a lot and one thing I knew Jesus wanted was bold unashamed men: men to stand and fight for Him.  I was also aware that Jesus said, ”be hot or be cold but do not be lukewarm or I will spew you out of my mouth,” ( Revelation 3:15,16) so I would get hot.  I would stop drinking and swearing, and this and that.  Then for a short time I would witness and praise God.  I really would feel great.  Then my old self would gradually sneak back a little at a time and there I would be right back to my sinfully selfish self.

As it says in the Bible, “Oh wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death,” (Romans 7:24)   you see, I had really never let Jesus into my life.

What I was doing was working to please God or trying to win His favor.  Oh I wanted Jesus; I knew what I had read, how Jesus changes lives and gives life.  I wanted this, but I wanted Jesus on my terms.  I wanted to buy Jesus instead of Him buying me, although at the time I really didn’t understand that I had never really let Jesus into my own heart.

Time and time again I would tell people about the power of Jesus: how that if they asked Jesus into their lives and repent of their sin, Jesus would cleanse them and be with them.  They would have a new life, a life filled with power and excitement, love, joy, and peace.  How could anyone refuse?  But no one really paid much attention; they had heard it from me many times before.   In a week or two I would be my old self — again.

Then there came a time in my life when I knew I was powerless to stop drinking and carrying on.  I was depressed; I had let Jesus down so many times.  I begged God for forgiveness – told Him I was a failure and deserved Hell.  Then I said, “Jesus, I will never stop drinking again, even if I feel the urge to stop.  I will continue to drink for I am powerless to stop, but I will never stop telling people about You.”

I was aware that Jesus wanted me and it took years for me to realize it, but it could have taken only ten seconds if I would have only gotten me out of the way and then I would have finally understood and believed God.

Soon after I made this decision, I was miraculously shown what I needed to do through the Scriptural teaching on baptism.  I had been baptized as an infant, but now I knew what I was doing, I could speak for myself.

I wish space would permit me to write some of the miracles of God that changed my life.  I knew that I must surrender my life completely to the Lord because the ordinance of baptism is a picture and a type of death, burial and resurrection.  It is a picture of the new birth which is necessary to become a child of God (John 3:3).  After baptism, I felt a power; I knew I would walk with Jesus for an eternity.

[I must add this:  Baptism doesn’t save, faith in Christ alone saves. I have a post on my blog that explains what I believed then and now.  Also, certain words that I call “magic words” don’t save either — It is a heart thing. Romans 10:10, lpb added 2013]

Well, am I still drinking?  No! Jesus took away that desire.  I would have to force myself and I am not going to do that.  Am I saying I have no temptations and everything is down hill?  No, I am still like everyone else living in a world controlled by Satan, but now I have Jesus and, though some sins cause me to stumble, I really never fall; you see, Jesus catches me on the way down and helps me back to my feet.”

©2013 Mark Davis

About Larry Bronsing

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