Praying like a Child

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Mar 292015
 

Recently I arrived at my sister’s house just as my niece and nephews were about to go to bed, and immediately the kids exclaimed they wanted me to tuck them in. So as they said good night to their parents and shuffled off to their beds, I tucked in and prayed with each one. Now the boys pray themselves while I hold their hand and bow my head, but my three year old niece often wants whoever is tucking her in to pray. So I asked if she wanted to pray, or wanted me to, and she requested I be the one to pray. I prayed, kissed her good night, and left her to go to sleep.

It was not until a couple of days later that I realized a detail about the way I had prayed with her that night. I had prayed from her point of view. I had prayed for “mommy and daddy” in speaking of her parents, and “grandma and papa” in referring to my parents. This realization brought to mind how the Holy Spirit prays for us when we do not have the words.

“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And He who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.” Romans 8:26-27 (ESV)

When I am too weak and worn to know what to pray, I can just humbly say that to Jesus in prayer and I know the Holy Spirit intercedes on my behalf. When I am too brokenhearted to even form that many words, Christ knows my heart and I can just go to Him and cry. Even when I am so elated and in awe of something He has done in my life, and I can only get out a thank you, He knows the words of my heart.

“About that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?” Jesus called a little child to him and put the child among them. Then he said, “I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven.  So anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.” Matthew 18:1-4 (NLT)

“But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children. And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, “Abba, Father.” Now you are no longer a slave but God’s own child. And since you are his child, God has made you his heir.” Galatians 4:4-7

John MacArthur wrote, “Abba is a diminutive of the Aramaic word for father. It was a term of endearment used by young children of their fathers and could be translated to “daddy” or “papa”. The Holy Spirit brings us into a personal, intimate relationship with our heavenly Father, whom we may approach at any time and under any circumstance, knowing that He always hears us and lovingly cares for us, because we are truly His own.”

Much like my niece trusted me to go to God in prayer on her behalf, God wants us to go to Him as a child goes to a loving father. What does an intimate and personal relationship with the Father through the Holy Spirit look like? Do you get the picture of a child running to its father, climbing into his lap and throwing their arms around his neck while burying their head in his shoulder? In either instance of elation or brokenness this illustration applies, there are only changes the child’s emotion, not the relationship to the father.

Miracle Provided!

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May 092013
 

In my blog post, Waiting for a Miracle, I reached out for a friend of mine who was looking for anyone who had remembered her children in their previous orphanage or had pictures of them there. The task was compared to finding a needle in a haystack. We included the oldest picture of the children their mom had and sent the info out to various ministries in and out of Haiti. In the end, while God did not provide the miracle through these ministries, this did lead to many people contacting us that they would be praying and many reached out to others within their ministry with the info and asking for prayers.

This was the update from my friend, Barbara, on Monday:

“After 9 long months I have provisional approval for Daniel, Edeline and Shelove to come to the US!!!!! Praising God for this victory and thankful for all those praying us through the battle!”

God provided the connection to the person who could provide testimony of how long the children had lived in an orphanage! It was not our efforts that brought the miracle, and rightly so, it was God.

“Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name;

    make known his deeds among the peoples!

Sing to him, sing praises to him;

    tell of all his wondrous works!

Glory in his holy name;

    let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice!

Seek the Lord and his strength;

    seek his presence continually!

Remember the wondrous works that he has done” Psalm 105:1-5a

Another post by Barbara: “It looked like we were going to have to start off the first two years living in Haiti as a family……if USCIS did not approve us, that was Plan B. Uncertain why all these delays, tears and money were needed, it seemed that God might have been preparing this mother’s heart for a different plan than what I’d envisioned for the past 33 months. We were told we’d never get the documents that we needed; that to find the evidence they wanted was like finding a needle in a haystack. I wasn’t doubting Him, but I was trying to be silent to listen for His will and be prepared for whatever His plan was. Still may not have a clear picture of what His plan is…..but preparing a life for us with a home and job in the US is a whole lot easier for this mamma.”

I spoke to Barbara and she agreed that I could update all those who may have read the original blog post. She wanted me to pass on her sincere thanks for all of the prayers and support. She wanted to share this wonderful testimony of God’s provision, His faithfulness, and His sovereignty!

Please continue praying that these last four steps will be accomplished so the children can come home according to God’s perfect timing!

Reflections

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Feb 022013
 

Two years ago, this week, I was surrounded by darkness, I was in a fog of hopelessness and had to force myself to get out of bed. Previous to that week, although I was saved, my relationship with Jesus was on my terms and therefore not what it should be. I had to be in control, and was unyielding to His sovereignty over my life. In the past I have used the analogy that I was like a house, that each wall had been demolished and rebuilt one at a time as I would go through a trial and reluctantly, and unhappily, give that area over to Christ. But my foundation was still just as cracked and unstable as when I started. He wasn’t my foundation, as I had made that my independence and my delusion of control.

Yet I knew something needed to change. That Christmas Eve I reflected on why I loved the Christmas season so much since becoming a Christian. Due to family being away or sick, I spent the evening by myself attending my church candlelight service and then watching Jesus of Nazareth by the lights of my Christmas tree. It gave me time to think. I realized that the reason I loved the Christmas season so much was because I had made Jesus the focus of my life in some aspects during that time. I was more intentional about my relationship with Him, although I now see how I was placing it on my terms. My Christmas tree had been decorated with ornaments that either told something about Jesus, about myself, or about my relationship with Jesus, therefore I decided I was keeping my tree up for the entire year as a reminder to stay focused on Him. It seems silly now, but I see how it was my independent and desperate attempt to hold on to even a little of that Christmas feeling. I wanted more of Him, I just didn’t know how to get it, and still maintain control.

Clearly, Jesus’ plan to keep my focus on Him was very different than mine. At the time, I would have not said it was superior to my way, as I was in the depths of despair, but now I see His faithfulness and goodness in it. I had to be broken. I had to be demolished down to my cracked and unstable foundation so that I could be rebuilt on Him.

While I do recount that time in a writing project that is almost complete (and  God-willing will be available in some form this year), let me just explain that it wasn’t solely the catalyst event that broke me. It was in my heart wanting more of Jesus and because of the event, and the lies the enemy was feeding me about it, feeling rejected and unloved by God. The lie was that Christ had never wanted me, never loved me, and I had deluded myself into believing He did or ever could, that this event showed His not protecting me, His indifference to me. I was beat down. I was broken. This time of being at the bottom of the pit, thankfully, only lasted a week before God broke through with His truth and showed the lies for what they were. Then it was a slow climb out of the pit, but then I was willing to start climbing. I could muster some strength after that.

Rose Marie Miller writes, in Nothing is Impossible with God, “Nothing is impossible with God. I had always heard this, but for a long time it didn’t seem true for me. For much of my life kept God at a distance, building walls of self-protection and self-reliance. I said I was a Christian, but my life said, “I can manage without God.” When crises came, the walls went higher. But there came a day when building walls did not work and I was left with, “I don’t believe God exists, or if He does exist, He is a dark cloud over my life- a cloud of fear, guilt, condemnation, and loneliness.” Into this dark cloud God spoke, not with an audible voice, but with life-giving words.”

I love this passage of her writing because it is like she is telling my story. The last two years during this anniversary, if you will, I have reflected back to what Jesus has done in my life since then. It is hard to believe how He has changed my life since that time, the way He has produced growth through relationship with Him. I will always be a work in progress, but I can see areas where He has changed my heart for what breaks His, I can see how He truly is my foundation now, and I can see how He has used His fruit in my life to direct me to His plan for my life. His faithfulness was there even when I was not faithful and tried to keep him at arms-length. His goodness was there even in allowing events to take place that would break me and ultimately bring me closer to Him. I can see how He allowed only enough to do what was necessary, not more than enough as discipline of which I deserved.

I do not reflect back every year to live in the past, but instead to reflect back in worship of His character and His love.

Be Still & Behold

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Dec 192012
 

The thing about being rendered helpless is that I get to see God’s provision. I am given the opportunity to stand back in watch in awe as He works around me. I am even more thankful for His provision as I know, beyond a doubt, it was nothing I accomplished. Moments like this not only lead me to worship, but to repentance that I am so apt to miss this when I do not feel helpless, even though I really always am. It is a deception that I can ever be in control, that I can ever be my own provider, or that I am anything but weak and helpless.

 “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” Psalm 46:10

It is never easy for me to be still and wait on God, but He commands me to it because it strengthens my trust in Him, therefore strengthening and illustrating our relationship. Our relationship of Creator and created, Redeemer and redeemed, Heavenly Father and child of God. He knows that no matter the outcome of the waiting on Him, be it my definition of good news or not, I will come out the other side of this wait more confident of His provision and at peace.

“Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?I will make a way in the wilderness  and rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:19

Behold means “Don’t miss this!” or “Be sure to see…”. Don’t miss this, don’t miss the work of His hands. Don’t miss resting in His embrace as He does all the work. When given this opportunity, don’t miss out on wholeheartedly trusting Him and the peace that surpasses all understanding. He will reveal His path for you in His perfect timing, but right now we wait in awe and wonder. We play the part of the wide-eyed child anticipating the Father’s gift. We get to live out our child-like faith.

This next scripture is one I love because of all of the phrases in it that points to our child-like role and His Fatherly love and care for us. Listen for them.

“But now thus says the Lord,

he who created you, O Jacob,

    he who formed you, O Israel:

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;

    I have called you by name, you are mine.

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;

    and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;

when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,

    and the flame shall not consume you.

For I am the Lord your God,

    the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.

I give Egypt as your ransom,

    Cush and Seba in exchange for you.

Because you are precious in my eyes,

    and honored, and I love you,

I give men in return for you,

    peoples in exchange for your life.

Fear not, for I am with you;

    I will bring your offspring from the east,

    and from the west I will gather you.

I will say to the north, Give up,

    and to the south, Do not withhold;

bring my sons from afar

    and my daughters from the end of the earth,

everyone who is called by my name,

    whom I created for my glory,

    whom I formed and made.” Isaiah 43:1-7

He who created you, He who formed you. I have redeemed you. I have called you by name. You are mine. I will be with you. I love you. 

 

Dec 022012
 

I don’t usually blog about the sermon that was preached at my church, but where God has my heart lately and the sermon preached by my pastor intersected, so I am going to blog it. My church has been going through the first three chapters of Revelation, through the seven churches, and I was especially looking forward to the seventh church, that of Laodicea. It addresses something I struggle with in my heart for those I love, for my culture. 

I have struggled with the salvation of those around me, so much so that I had studied decisional salvation and lordship salvation which is what sparked my previous blog post on that subject. While that answered a lot of questions that I had about the salvation of those closest to me, it also showed me how much our culture impacts our view of Christianity.

Laodicea is said to have been an affluent, wealthy society. It is said that the people were highly educated and influential. The homes that have been found in excavation have been huge for that time period (several thousand square feet) and had indoor plumbing. The city was highly developed and commerce driven. Sound like anywhere you know? It sounds similar to America to me. While most places surrounding them had houses of several hundred square feet, theirs were several thousand. While people in the areas around them were in need, they were rich. They were proud.

 “And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation. “‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot!  So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.  For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.  I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see.  Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent.  Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.  The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’” Revelation 3:14-22

I grew up believing I was a Christian. It was like it was part of the culture, most people considered themselves a Christian whether they attended a church or not. I have loved ones who do not attend a church, do not read the Bible, pray to make requests of God, and believe themselves to be a Christian. They believe they are going to heaven. I use the phrase that ‘they believe’ not in a way of insinuating that they are not, I have no way to know as I cannot know hearts as Jesus does. I am also not saying that being a Christian is about what you do, you cannot earn salvation through attending church, reading the Bible, or praying. It is about your heart, your heart being broken over your sin and turning to Jesus. Realizing that you can never be good enough and that it is by grace alone that He created a way for us to be a child of God through His sacrifice on the cross. What I do know is that I was the same way. I grew up believing that I was a Christian, it was as matter of fact, like that I am American. I see this same matter-of-factness in my loved ones association with Christianity. Now that I am a Christian I see that I was not before several years ago. Even though I believed in Jesus’ existence and prayed to ask things of Him, there was no relationship. The Bible says that even demons believe in Jesus, so what sets a Christian apart if even demons believe? Worship. When I first became a Christian I struggled with what was suddenly different. I had always considered myself a Christian, so why was this so new? I felt God whisper the answer to my heart when I read James 2:19, the difference was worship. The demons do not worship Christ, just as I had not been, but they know that He is real and therefore intellectually believe in Him. The other part of matter-of-factness “Christianity” is being lukewarm. When we intellectually assent to Christ’s existence and sacrifice but are not worshiping, then we are not cold (as in against Christianity or not believing in Christ) and we are not hot (on fire for Christ and seeking relationship with Him), we are lukewarm. The example was used today of coffee, people either like hot coffee or iced coffee, not lukewarm coffee. As a society overall we are rich, we can provide for ourselves and therefore pridefully do not recognize our need for Christ. Even if we spent our entire lives living in a beautiful house, having nice clothes and possessions, always having enough food, and being generous here and there with our wealth, we are still wretched, poor, blind, and pitiable to Jesus. We are wretched outside of Him. We are spiritually poor and blind. We are pitiable because He has so much more for us and yet we do not humble ourselves before Him in order that we may share in it. Lukewarmness, being on the fence, not worshiping, cultural Christianity is so repulsive to Jesus that He says He will spit us out of His mouth. And yet He still follows that with saying that He is still knocking on the door and anyone who hears His voice and opens the door, He will come in and have a relationship with. 

There are areas in my walk with Jesus where I am lukewarm, where I need Him to light a flame, and I believe there always will be until I am in heaven therefore I repent and ask Jesus to grow me. I believe one area of lukewarmness is American cultural Christianity. It is almost like the subject was too close to home to want to delve into, or maybe because it seems there are so many resources at our disposal in America, nonetheless a person void of a relationship with Jesus is heartbreaking  whether they are living in a mansion or in a hut in a third world country. But, my lukewarmness is not about my relationship with Him, I am not on the fence about whether or not I want Him or need Him in my life. I love Him and desperately want Him in my life. I recognize my need for Him. I pray for that same zealousness for Jesus in my loved ones. I want them to experience Him, to experience His love and His healing.

Oct 082012
 

I love the book of Esther. I do not know why, as I have loved it since I was a little girl. The idea of an orphan girl becoming Queen, a real portrayal of every little girl’s dream,  may have drawn me in but I also suspect that I have loved it for as long as I can remember because God placed it on my heart to teach me something specific according to His perfect timing. While studying it there have been several aspects of the story that have stuck out to me, I  wanted to blog about the one from today.

The entire book of Esther reads without a single mention of God, a message from God, anyone praying, anyone going to church or worshiping, and there are no miracles recorded in it. God was sovereign and in control, it is not to say otherwise, but in the telling of the account He is not mentioned. Do I live life this way? If a stranger wrote a book about me after I died, would God be in the forefront of the account? Do I live in such a way that my life points to Him and therefore His presence cannot be missed? Could those who don’t know Christ read the book and be unable to bypass Christ’s lead role in my life?

A life of private worship, or even semi-public worship, and attending a church is not evidence to a stranger of Christ’s undeniable presence. So often I keep what He has done in my life or is doing in my life private, or I separate it from the areas of my life shared with unbelievers. If I am going through daily routine life and not outwardly loving others, as He did, then strangers will not see a difference in me from the world. I am called to be a light in the darkness. I want my life to be one that is evidence of Christ’s sacrifice, victory over death, and His transforming power. This does not communicate to others unless I am boldly living for God in a way that even those who have not accepted Him know that I have given my life to Him and for His glory.

I am not a bold person, this takes conscious work for me, but He is worthy. It means not accepting deceptions of my identity, but clinging to my identity in Him. It means not allowing others to get me off track by their negativity and insults, but keeping my eyes focused on Him. It means wearing my faith like a crown, instead of hidden away in my pocket.

Sep 152012
 

Yesterday was Independence Day in Nicaragua. The patio of our house is shared with a church building that is directly in front of the house, so when they are having a service they have the doors open leading to the patio. I am sure we would be able to hear them even if the building was closed up, but with the door open, it is like we are there attending. The service started at 7pm and was still going on when I went to bed at 9:30pm (I haven’t completely adjusted to the time difference so it feels like 11:30pm to me by then). I woke up at 12:15am to them singing “Open the Eyes to my Heart” in Spanish, followed by” How Great Thou Art”, a song I did not recognize, and then a sermon. I remained awake until about 1am, so at that point they had been worshipping for six hours. And I have no idea what time they actually ended the service. On a holiday. On an ordinary Sunday, I have never heard of a church in America worshipping for six hours, even shorter on a holiday because people have plans with their families. While I laid awake during the midnight hour, I thought about how we should want to worship at great lengths as well. Not to keep up, not to brag, but out of a heart for Christ. After all, that is really a picture of Heaven- we are going to be worshipping.

“After this I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven! And the first voice, which I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet, said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.”  At once I was in the Spirit, and behold, a throne stood in heaven, with one seated on the throne.  And he who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian, and around the throne was a rainbow that had the appearance of an emerald. Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and seated on the thrones were twenty-four elders, clothed in white garments, with golden crowns on their heads. From the throne came flashes of lightning, and rumblings and peals of thunder, and before the throne were burning seven torches of fire, which are the seven spirits of God, and before the throne there was as it were a sea of glass, like crystal.

And around the throne, on each side of the throne, are four living creatures, full of eyes in front and behind:  the first living creature like a lion, the second living creature like an ox, the third living creature with the face of a man, and the fourth living creature like an eagle in flight.  And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say,

“Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty,
who was and is and is to come!”

And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to him who is seated on the throne, who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives forever and ever. They cast their crowns before the throne, saying,

“Worthy are you, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they existed and were created.” Revelation 4

Are we worshipping first and all else is second? Or are we fitting worship into our already busy schedule? I am praying to have more of a heart of worship. Open the eyes of my heart, Lord.

Sep 072012
 
resizeHisbeauty2

A child laughing. Sitting in a rocking chair, amongst tropical flowers, watching little girls jump rope and compete as to who can jump the greatest number of times. A little girl calling my name throughout the house to find me, then entering my room to show me pictures that have been taken in the last couple months. These are only some of the moments of the day that make me stop and just take it all in. The pace of life just feels so different here. Maybe that is one thing I love about coming here. At home everything feels so rushed, with hectic schedules and overall busy lifestyles. I know that I can easily get wrapped up in things I need to get done, appointments, meetings, and gatherings that I am just routinely going through the motions and pushing through getting through my list for the day. Just to get up the next day and do it all over again. Now, I’m not saying that there aren’t things in my schedule that I enjoy doing- I enjoy gathering with friends and family, I enjoy serving, I enjoy my work. But, if I am just doing a routine, just crossing things off my to-do list, then my focus is off. I am focusing on me, on my small world. I have tunnel vision.  I am not seeing the beauty of each moment because I am operating in a mode of getting through the day. I am not seeing the beauty of God’s creation around me because I am putting blinders on in order to only focus on my day, my life. Even the previous times I have been here with an intense schedule, it is not the same as having an intense schedule at home. I think it is a frame of mind. I am acutely aware when I am here that I am here to be a light for Christ. So why am I not as acutely aware at home? Why do I allow myself to become wrapped up in my own busyness? Most of my day at home is filled with things that cannot be cut out in order to be less busy, but I can consciously do a better job, in His strength, to stay focused on Him. To see each moment how He desires me to see it. With His beauty, His glory and His heart.

“When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!” Psalm 8:3-4,9

 

Jun 052012
 

Does true repentance lead to Lordship salvation, or making Jesus lord of your life? In other words, is it possible to come to a place of true repentance of your sins and a saving faith in Jesus without making Him Lord of your life? For clarification I do not mean simply acknowledging that He is the sovereign Lord but also a surrendering of your life to Him.
Or, is an “easy-believism”, intellectual belief and a repentance enough to be considered a saving faith?

Looking at only my journey through life it seems to be a head versus heart issue. I attended Sunday school for a few years as a child and so believed in a distant, intellectual way that Jesus came to die on the cross for my sins and was raised from the dead three days later according to scripture. It was head knowledge. I always assumed that I had a saving faith because I believed in Him. But is that enough? I have to say that a few years ago when something in my faith changed, I believed that all of those years I was not a Christian or therefore have a saving faith. At first I couldn’t pinpoint what was different. I still believed the same things. What had changed? Using a Bible study I was doing at the time, God showed me through a verse.

“You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe-and shudder!” James 2:19

I realized, through the Spirit, that I had believed and that’s where it ended. “Even the demons believe” so at that point in my life I did not have a saving faith. If demons believe, what don’t they do? In the moment when this verse spoke to me, the first thing that came to mind was worship. They don’t worship Him. And at that point I realized it was a heart issue. I had grown up with head knowledge of Him, I did not have heart knowledge. Which brings me back to the question, is it possible to have true repentance without making Him Lord of your life? Or first, can you have true repentance without some sort of heart knowledge? Meaning, is it really possible to be truly repentant without being broken and heart sick over your sins? And is it possible to be broken and heart sick over your sins without a true, worshiping realization of who He is and subsequently who you are in relation to Him?

“And Jesus answered them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” Luke 5:31-32

So wouldn’t it suffice to say that in order to come to repentance you have to truly see and accept that you are a sinner? And isn’t the only way to see that as heart knowledge, as opposed to just head knowledge that you have been taught, to have a glimpse of who He is and therefore your identity in relation to Him? I am not talking about your identity in Him as right now I am speaking of before an initial repentance. At the very least an acceptance of His character as the creator, the Sovereign and the Savior of the world, which shows, in the very least, in relation that we are His creation and sinners in need of a savior.

“Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?
But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.” Romans 2:4-5

By having a strictly intellectual belief or “easy-believism” aren’t we presuming on His kindness? That the knowledge only reaching our head would indicate an impenitent or remorseless heart?

Paul wrote, “As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us. For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.” 2 Corinthians 7:9-10

In order to feel a godly grief over your sin would require heart knowledge instead of just head knowledge, as grief is an emotion and requires our heart, as in our emotional center.

Jesus told the parable of the sheep, “So he told them this parable: “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.” Luke 15:3-7

In respect to the subject at hand, something hit me from this passage. Would someone arriving at an intellectual belief of Jesus, or “easy-believism”, which does not penetrate the heart leading to true repentance and eventual Lordship salvation, spur joy and rejoicing in heaven? Could the hosts of heaven look on and be joyful over someone accepting an intellectual belief?

Now I am in no way saying that making Jesus Lord of your life is an instant surrender when coming to Him in true repentance. I know I didn’t. But, that if you are coming to Him out of heart knowledge, or revelation of Him, and truly repenting, that from there progression and growth would lead to seeing Him even clearer, as you seek Him, and therefore a realization that He already is Sovereign over your life but a need to make Him lord of your life by surrendering it to Him and His will. One of my favorite passages when I need reminding that He is in control is Job 38, I won’t include the whole chapter here, but how is it possible to see God, with your heart, as the omnipotent Ruler and also the Savior of the world, as read in Matthew chapters 27 and 28 and not make Him lord over your life? So, if saving faith requires true repentance, and true repentance requires a heart knowledge of Him, does saving faith and true repentance lead to surrendering lordship over your life?

 

Do over. Since my last blog post I have been continuing to research the debate between lordship salvation and decisional salvation, or “easy-believism”. I believe through my further research that I was on the right path but somehow ended up just left of it and missed the mark. The problem was, in viewing in black and white, I agreed that one was not enough and therefore the opposite option must be correct. I never took into consideration that both options missed the mark. I was so against that decisional salvation was enough that I added works to His grace without realizing it.

“The good news is that Christ has done something about sin and that He lives today to offer His forgiveness to me. The direction is from Christ to me. It is never from me to Him. I do not offer Him anything. How could I? What could I possibly offer that would help meet my need? To offer the years of my life is to offer something very imperfect and something which can do nothing to forgive my sin. To vow my willingness to change is to affirm something I will not consistently keep; and even if I could, it would not remove the guilt of my sin. Of course, when I receive eternal life from His hand, I bow before an infinitely superior Person. But I bow as one totally unable to do anything about my sin. I bow as a recipient of His grace and never as one who donates anything to Him. In salvation I am always the recipient, the donee, never the donor. If I try to donate anything with respect to becoming a Christian, then I have added a work, and salvation is no longer solely and purely of grace. Keep the direction straight, and keep His grace unmixed with any work.”~Charles C Ryrie

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9

I still believe it is a head versus heart issue. Decisional salvation, or accepting a head knowledge of Christ is far from believing in Him with both your heart and your mind. Heart knowledge is infinitely different than head knowledge.

“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.”
Romans 10:9-10

Charles C. Ryrie posed a series of questions in response to lordship salvation that included the following:
“1. Can I accept Jesus as my Savior without acknowledging Him as the Lord God?
2. Can I accept Jesus as my Savior without acknowledging Him as Lord/Master of my life?
3. Can I accept Jesus as my Savior without being willing to place my life under His control?
4. Can a dedicated Christian take back part or all of his commitment?
5. If so, does he (or she) lose his salvation?”

Just in answering these questions in respect to my acceptance of Christ, I know that I did not acknowledge Him as lord or master of my life at the time of accepting Him as my Savior. And I was definitely not willing to relinquish control of my life to Him, that was actually a struggle that came a few years after my acceptance. And of course because I am a sinner I take back, in some form, my commitment to His will being supreme and obeying Him as lord of my life. Since the Bible teaches we are sealed at the time of our acceptance then I believe the Bible teaches we cannot lose our salvation.

“What makes the difference between those who believe and are not saved and those who believe and are saved? Apparently those who believe and are not saved know the facts of the Gospel and may even give assent to it’s truthfulness, but they are unwilling to trust the Savior for their personal salvation. Knowledge and assent without being willing to trust cannot in themselves save.” ~Charles C Ryrie

So in reference to my accepting lordship salvation, I believe it is because what I was saying was that there would be proof, or fruit, of someone genuinely accepting Christ. Where I missed the mark in this is that lordship salvation requires this proof, or fruit, before salvation, when really after our genuine acceptance we are given the Holy Spirit, which is truly what leads to fruit. We cannot produce fruit apart from God, therefore the fruit would be after the genuine acceptance of Christ versus being a prerequisite.

“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:4-5

“Today the Lord Jesus, the God-man, offers His feast of salvation freely, and He can do so because He is God who became man. The same Lord Jesus through many New Testament writers asks those who have believed to submit to His mastery over their lives. Some do to a great extent. No one does it fully and always. Some do to a lesser extent. But He was, is, and always will be Lord whether He is acknowledged as the God-man Savior or whether He is acknowledged as Master of the believer’s life. He is Lord.” ~Charles C Ryrie

All of this brings me back to the original start of this question and research, which was differentiating saved from unsaved. Granted, I have accepted that only God can truly know and it is not for us to judge, but to instead be a testimony for Him when He places someone before us and prompts. But, why is it possible for unsaved to believe they are saved, whether that is through decisional salvation or following religious legalism? Meaning, why isn’t there a noticeable difference between those who truly have salvation in Christ and belong to Him and those who do not? Why does the Spirit-led church not stand out more in contrast to a church of religious works and legalism, one that does not point to Christ as the way? Has Christ’s church become so internalized that it hinders the unsaved from recognizing the difference and causing a delusional belief they are saved?