Sermons We See

http://ChristiansAreUs.com #ChristiansAreUs

“I’d rather see a sermon
than hear one any day;
I’d rather one should walk with me
than merely tell the way.
The eye’s a better pupil
and more willing than the ear,
Fine counsel is confusing,
but example’s always clear;
And the best of all preachers
are the men who live their creeds,
For to see good put in action
is what everybody needs.

I soon can learn to do it
if you’ll let me see it done;
I can watch your hands in action,
but your tongue too fast may run.
And the lecture you deliver
may be very wise and true,
But I’d rather get my lessons
by observing what you do;
For I might misunderstand you
and the high advice you give,
But there’s no misunderstanding
how you act and how you live.”

by: Edgar A. Guest
From: Collected Verse of Edgar Guest
NY: Buccaneer Books, 1976, pg. 599

 

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Time For Some Spring Cleaning

Spring Cleaning

Since it is getting to be Spring right now, I thought that this article would be fitting:

Do you remember that picture that you forwarded (SHARED) in Facebook, you know the one that had that inspirational quote on it that looked very positive that you thought that you could relate with. You felt that you could SHARE it with no worries of it coming back on you – as a Christian, it wouldn’t tarnish your testimony in front of your unsaved friends.

Part of being a Christian is forwarding a good Christian testimony in everything that we do. Some of us have many unsaved friends in our social networks; you know the ones – they are the ones that were your partying buddies from before you were saved and you never “cleaned house” after you were saved, thinking that you might be able to influence them to be able to see Christ in your life and you could be a good witness to them.

Or, they could be family members who are watching you to see if you are for real – to see if Jesus is for real – to see if they might want what you have, now that you are saved.

They could be your co-workers that might be offended if you weren’t their friend any longer…

I think you get the idea about your friends.

I have been noticing, lately, quite a few of my friends on Facebook (and other social media accounts that I hold, but don’t pay much attention to), that post those seemingly harmless pictures that feature a nice quote or picture that, on the surface, looked like it might be a good thing to SHARE with your friend-base.

Did you happen to notice who it was that you are promoting with that “harmless” SHARE? What do I mean?

In Facebook, at the top of the picture, next to your name, we see whose photo it is that you are SHARING. Sometimes you might even see a website mentioned on the photo that “advertises” a site and/or organization that may, or may not, be something good (or harmless) – so you think.

We owe it to ourselves, in fact, moreover, we owe it to God, to check things out a little closer – to dig into it and see what you really are promoting when you SHARE these pictures (or statuses) – or for that matter, even LIKE-ing them will show up on your friend’s walls, now.

Put your mouse over that person’s name (or organization’s name) and it will pop up a mini version of the person’s home photo and you can read just a little bit about who/what they are, if you don’t know them personally. If there is still a question, actually click on that link and see some of the posts that they have on their wall – see what they represent and stand for. If it is God-glorifying, then proceed.

Recently, I looked at a photo that a friend of mine had posted that mentioned praying (seemed like something Christian, right? Proceed…). I looked at whose picture it was (as I showed above) and I didn’t recognize them. I proceeded to their page. I saw some things that I didn’t agree with, and I knew that God could not be glorified with. I saw a picture of a man that was standing there, nude, with his hands covering certain parts of his anatomy – I’m sure that God loved that one!

Another friend, last week, shared a quote that sounded pretty harmless and even seemed to have a God-glorifying theme to it. Again, I followed the links and found that it was promoting a wicken/witchcraft site. I privately messaged the person and they promptly unliked/unshared the photo. Not because I told them that it wasn’t good to have on their wall, but because they hadn’t realized where the picture actually came from. They thanked me for alerting them to the error.

Where am I going with all of this?

What most people don’t realize is, these things are not harmless or irrelevant.  When you post something, you are making that “thing” your own.  You are identifying yourself with anything/everything that is underneath that picture/quote.  It is as if you are the one actually saying what is on that post.

I am not trying to tell you what to do. I’m not saying that you can’t have interests that are not directly related to Christianity – I know I do (as hard as that might be to picture). But what I am saying is that we need to be very attentive to where these pictures are coming from and where they are suggesting to your friends to go – maybe because YOU suggested it by re-SHARING that picture.

Maybe you need to go back through your social accounts and see what I’m talking about. You might have some that are questionable that you really should take down.

Remember, you may be the only Bible that your friends might ever read. Make sure that you are portraying the same thing that the Bible would say, so that you, by your actions, might show them the way to their saving realization of Jesus Christ and His free gift of salvation/eternal life.

In Colossians 3:8, Paul tells us; “But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.” You might not be “saying” these things but by having them on your wall, you are “saying” everything that you might have ever posted – and, your friends (and you) can go back in time and see things that you have done, all the way back to when you first started posting things online (on that site). And you may have totally forgotten some of those things that you said… they didn’t!

In Ephesians 4:29, it says, “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.” When we hear this it sounds like it is talking about only those things that come out of our mouths, right? Wrong!

The concept behind this verse is, anything that you do and say that others can observe. “Edifying” means, ministering to or educational to the hearer (something that someone can learn something from) or even building up.

“…That it may minister grace unto the hearers”, means literally, “edify profitably”. That means, in the context of this verse, that the contents of your “speech” needs to be promoting (profiting) things that would lead people to God. Whatever you “say” needs to be something that would not only be “harmless”, but actually push people in the direction of God.

1 Corinthians 15:33 “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.” 1 Corinthians 15:50 “Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.”

In verse 33, we are told to NOT be deceived – this is happening, whether we realize it or not; whether we want it to happen or not – evil – whether intended (by you) to be evil or not – CORRUPTS good manners – in other words: Whatever communication (of any sort – written, spoken or any other type) that we “promote” or say that is “evil” WILL corrupt those that are hearing/seeing it.

People! You CAN’T UN-see something! Once it has passed your retina, it is in your brain and once it is there, Satan can/will use it to corrupt you! If you are pushing it out in front of your friends, you are corrupting them!

Look at verse 50: “flesh and blood” doesn’t inherit the kingdom of God – isn’t able to get into heaven; “flesh and blood” means “things of earth” or “worldly things” – things that are worldly or, to break it down even further, un-Godly things – are not going to make it into heaven!

If something is “corrupt”, we think of it as “dirty” or “unclean” – worldly things are unclean! Thus, “incorruption” is referring to “the presence of God” or “heaven”.

Let’s put it all together now, if you haven’t already: Worldly things (un-Godly things) will not make it into heaven! Putting it into our model here: the things that we say/do/promote to others that are un-Godly will not influence others to want to go to the presence of God or heaven.

God cannot bless us for pushing out in front of others, things that are not Godly – not to mention the scars that we are imposing on others by putting these things in front of them to see before they have the ability to accept or reject them for themselves.  They can’t UN-see it!

We, as Christians, are responsible for spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ in all that we say and do. And, for everything that we say and do, we will be responsible before God – whether it is good or evil! (2 Corinthians 5: 10)

Christians, take my suggestions and take some time to go through your social media pages and delete out those things that are unclean, contain any level of profanity, have questionable pictures or even promote un-Godly websites. Then, as we go forward, before you SHARE or repost those sayings or pictures, take a little time and investigate to see who it is that is promoting such a picture.

Then:

Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

Repost, or SHARE, these things…

 ©2014 Mark Davis

Continued Reading:

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

 

Continued Reading:

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

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?

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