I have a few friends who are not Christians. I have a few friends who are not born again.
Yesterday I heard the most sweet life story. It was given by my good friend at our church. Her eloquent testimony of God changing her life inspired me to write this morning.
First, her story (briefly):
Raised in a Catholic home, catholic girls' school, New York City, C. always thought that to get to heaven you had to be good. Her mom died when she was quite young, and she came to live in Minnesota. Then she attended a Presbyterian church, going to youth group, etc.. In college her friend bugged her to receive Christ, so she "prayed the prayer" that so many people have prayed----"Jesus come into my heart...."
Then heartache, divorce, drugs, fornication, loss.
Where was the evidence of Christ?
She re-married. Her husband was a liar and a drug user. (His story is amazing) He became a Christian, and life changed.
C. was NOT happy about the change in her husband. It took the Lord and her husband, plus circumstances, to show her that she was a sinner. She was lost. She couldn't do it on her own.
She became a believer, and her life transformed.
Evidence. C. is a glowing woman of God now. She is a dear friend. God has changed her into a shining spirit. This is power. God's power!
Being born again is a real experience.
You know how you know if you are born again?
You get this insatiable desire to READ THE BIBLE. The Word of God. You know you are a believer when you can't get enough of Scripture, and you actually begin to understand what it is saying!----and it applies in your life!
You know you are going to heaven when the Holy Spirit has released you from vile habits----you are convicted that certain things ARE sin----fornication, (that's having sex outside of marriage), vile language, vulgarity, lying, cheating, addictions.....
We all know that we still sin, even when we are "saved." There is that phrase----"Christians aren't perfect, just forgiven!"
That is true. But there really is a change, and that is where we should focus our lives.
It's not about "me." It's not about "you." It's about Christ Jesus, and His purposes.
Are you born again? Jesus says in John 3: "You must be born again to enter the Kingdom of God."
Dear reader, the Scriptures give the message of hope in a world that is soon to be unfriendly to those who believe in Jesus.
America, and Europe, since the time of Rome, have always been Christianity-friendly. That is changing. The Bible prophecies this!
One third of mankind will be wiped out soon. How do I know this? It's in Revelation. You don't want to be around for that.
You want to be with the Lord for eternity. This life is nothing, incredibly brief, compared to eternity. Eternal separation from God------or eternal joy with Him------those are your choices. There are no other choices. Choose today.
----Acknowledge your sin.
----Acknowledge you are lost without Christ.
---Ask for God's forgiveness.
----Turn away from your current path. That is repentance.
---Believe Jesus died for you, to take the punishment for your sin, your separation from God. God is holy.
----Ask for the Holy Spirit to fill you with His power and understanding.
----Tell someone. Tell me! The Bible says "If you confess with your mouth and believe in your heart, YOU SHALL BE SAVED!"
----Get into your Bible, NOW! Start reading in John, or Psalms, or Genesis, or where-ever! For me Galatians came to life. It became so precious to me! See where the Holy Spirit leads you in His word.
I want to be in heaven with Christ, more than anything, but we have a duty here. We must spread this good news---this Gospel of salvation.
I love Bible prophecy. I probably know a little more about it than the average person. I consider myself to be a "watchman." As a "watchman" I am bound by the duty to WARN.
Let this be a gentle warning: Look at your life. Do you desire to know the Word of God more than anything? Are you telling people about Christ every chance you get? Are you waiting for His return with joy and expectation? ARE YOU SAVED?
If you aren't, you'd better get right with God. The prophetic signs are so clear. The 'birth pangs' are getting much closer. Time is short before 'the Tribulation'------the seven year period (see Daniel) where God pours out his wrath on the earth-----is coming sooner than ever!
Those who are born again, saved, are saved from God's wrath. WE are the ones to be snatched away----to a banquet with Christ Jesus!
"Don't you know? I go to prepare a place for you...and if I go I will come again, and receive you unto myself, that where I am, there you may be also" John, Chapter 14. Jesus promises us that we will be with Him.
The last time God poured out His wrath was in a flood. He destroyed
the earth. He's going to do it again, but it will be fire this time.
It's all there in the Word.
Daniel 11 prophecies that we will be in a safe place during this terrible time of tribulation. What comfort for believers!
There is some evidence in Scripture that the Holy Spirit will be no longer present on earth during the tribulation, but people will come to Christ, believing and confessing Him as savior. With the powers of evil unleashed they will probably be persecuted, beheaded, killed, yet they will go to be with the Lord.
So come to Christ now. Today. You have nothing to fear then. The Lord Jesus tells us NOT TO FEAR!
I confess that I "fear" for those of you I love, who are not saved.
Please, please, please. For 2014-------believe. Be filled with the Holy Spirit. Come to Christ. Confess you are a sinner, that you can't do it, or be good enough (like C. thought) to get to heaven.
Believe in heaven. Believe in Hell.
Believe in God's grand and glorious plan, all there in the Bible.
Blessings. May 2014 be your most wonderful year ever.
True believers will only see another attempt to completely miss the truth. Fascinating that we are being driven to no longer care about the charge of "hypocrisy" in living our lives for the Lord. It's like a forging of true believers to Christ Himself, not worrying or caring about what non-believers judge us with.
The blind will be blind, the deaf, deaf.
If your conscience condemns you, abstain!
Freedom in Christ Jesus is our walk, our joy.
WE obey Him, and His commands.
Really, this is an interesting development. People openly condemning Christians for not adhering to their faith.
Saint Olaf choir sang this in their Trondheim Christmas Special. It was lovely. I just had to find the song on YouTube and share it here. What a great little choir! Saint Olaf's concert was stellar. So fun to see the Nidaros cathedral in Trondheim again. Trondheim is one of those places you REALLY want to visit if you get there. Since my Norwegian roots stem from there I did make that effort years ago.
The memory of the light there that September will never leave me. Heaven must have light like that.
It was fun to discover "Kristin Lavransdatter" years later, and her ties to Trondheim too. Lovely city. Lovely memories. Lovely concert.
Apparently Kiwi, our majestic black cat, has taken a liking to our corgi's crate. He curls up in there on cold days. I have found him there on occasion.
Tonight, in our haste to get away for the Christmas Eve feast at Grandpa and Grandma's house, I put Misty in the crate WITH Kiwi!!!! I shut the door and off I went.
Hours later, upon returning home, I opened the door of the crate. Out came Misty. Out came Kiwi, stretching and yawning!
Must check more closely next time!!!!
Apparently no harm done. Misty likes
to herd the cats exuberantly sometimes, but the crate was a little tight for that!
It was such a cold day (Woke up to -19º F) that they probably enjoyed the snuggle.
By the way, the meatballs, rice pudding, fruit soup, beans and potato sausage were wonderful. I spent the day baking pumpkin cookies for our neighbors. The dinner by Grandma was a welcome relaxing treat.
Right: This where I found Misty one morning this week. On a dining room chair. She looks sheepish to me. Now I'm wondering if Kiwi had anything to do with this....?
As a believer, I love to celebrate anything that has to do with my faith. As I've grown older I've learned the discrepancies between actual dates and the Gregorian calendar/pseudo Christian celebrations---yet it does not deter me from the festive nature of this time of year.
No, Jesus wasn't born around the solstice. Since we may not know the exact date of His birth, we can use this dark time of year as a setting for the Light of the world to come.
That's what I celebrate.
Jesus came. He was born as a little baby boy.
'Prepare me one body. Prepare me one body like man. I'll go down, I'll go down. Prepare me one body like man----I'll go down and die.'---Old Spiritual
God prepared Himself a body like man. He became man.
So mankind could know Him, understand Him, love Him, and believe on Him.
How can an ant understand human beings? How can humans understand God?
God became antlike-----man, so we could know.
That is the message of this holiday. I celebrate what I know about God, but I can only imagine everything I don't know.
Give grace this Christmas. Be patient with those who aren't on the same level as you are spiritually, whether closer to God or further from Him. Be loving. Be grateful.
Be light. Time is so short!
Think about reading through the Word of God this upcoming year. I always think of my New Year's Resolutions this week between Christmas and New Years. Reading the Bible through is a great resolution!
It's so much more fun and worthwhile than the same old "lose weight" resolution (which I make every year, too :)).
Really, by now I've learned that when the going gets tough.....you count your blessings.
There is a lot going on around here. I seem to have met my impasse on Christmas preparations, but they ARE happening. I'm just really poky this year. For those of you that usually get a proper Christmas card from us, you may have to wait until after Christmas!!
I am sure enjoying the cards coming every day. So many wonderful things in your lives! It's lovely to see the photos and read the news. Blessings.
This year we've been blessed with being a part of an organics buying club. I can't tell you how much good it has been doing in our family, helping us to replace GMO food with a more plant-based diet. The added produce has been wonderful for our family diet. Yesterday Ed ate TWO heads of fresh, cooked broccoli. Exactly what he needs----green leafy vegetables!
Added time with my Ed. This fall I've been with Ed pretty much constantly. His condition requires ongoing surveillance, so I've been the one to do it. Yes I get tired. I'm an introvert and I value my time alone, but Ed is a joy to be with most of the time. I'm thankful for this task. I love him.
Those of you who have been reading this blog for several years now remember the pain of joblessness that we endured. I continue to thank God for my husband's new and wonderful job---with meetings in Indiana several times a year---that we can accompany him on if we like.....
Home schooling. It is simply a blessing. With the medical needs of this fall, the doctors and we agree that keeping Ed home has been a true Godsend. Cherie has been able to pursue her own course, and we've loved being a part of the older college students' schedules too. What a blessing!
Music. I've kept you up on so many of our musical pursuits this fall. It's been SO enriching. We love music, we love making music. What a blessing and joy to have music.
Family. You know it is GROWING! Wedding in two weeks! I thank God. Blessings.
I'm off to a Christmas party right now with friends. They are the most lovely and wonderful blessing of this year. God has given me friends. I can't imagine anyone in the Universe with friends as nice as mine.
Lincoln Del's Meaty Cabbage Borscht Serves 6.
Note: Sour salt is also called citric acid; tester found it in the kosher food section of the supermarket.
Nonstick cooking spray
½ lb. beef shank bones
½ lb. beef bottom round steak
5 c. beef stock or broth
2 medium tomatoes, cut up
2/3 c. ketchup
¼ c. sugar
½ tsp. sour salt (see Note)
2 lb. cabbage, cut into bite-size pieces
a 4-quart Dutch oven or pot with nonstick cooking spray. Brown shank
bones and round steak in a pot. Carefully add beef stock, tomatoes,
ketchup, sugar and sour salt to meat in pot; stir. Bring to boiling;
reduce heat. Cover; simmer for 1 hour.
Remove meat and bones from the mixture; cool slightly. Remove and
discard the skin, bones and any fat from the meat. Cut the meat into
bite-size pieces. Return the meat to the pot.
Stir in the cabbage. Bring the mixture to boil; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes or until cabbage is crisp-tender.