Baptisms

Reblogged from As Seen Through the Eyes of Faith.

I so appreciate my bloggy friends and what they write to inspire and bless us. A couple of weeks ago I shared a great post—What must I do to be saved?—from Raymond Gary Candy at As Seen Through the Eyes of Faith. Today’s post, Baptisms – The First Steps with Christ,  is a great followup.

Once again Raymond, thank you for blessing us with your writing!

Baptisms

The First Steps with Christ-

Someone might say, “I’ve just accepted Jesus Christ and been born again. What do I do next?”

If you have recently asked Christ into your heart and confessed Him as Lord of your life, then you are no doubt feeling a great joy and thankfulness to the Lord for washing away all of your sins, saving your soul, and giving you a new life in Christ.

I’m sure that you are feeling a great love for God because of His mercy and grace that He has bestowed upon you.

“We love him, because he first loved us.” (1John 4:19)

You have been, as Jesus said, “born again”, and as such you are like a new born infant in the eyes of God.

And just like a new born baby, you have been washed (in the cleansing blood of Christ), swaddled (in the fresh linen of the righteousness of God in Christ), and all God asks of you for now is to be nurtured by Him (through prayer and reading His word), grow, and do as He asks.

“Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.” (John 14:23)

“If ye love me, keep my commandments.” (John 14:15)

Read the rest here.

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Thank You Challenge 2015

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Would you believe that I haven’t always been the most thankful person? Oh, I did thank people out of politeness every so often. But God worked on my heart for many years before I realized the need to express thanks more often.

When I first met Rick, he took me to dinner and I thanked him for that afterwards. The next day we had lunch together and I thanked him for that too. I recall him being very surprised and pleased that I would thank him for such simple gestures and that spoke to my heart as I realized I needed to do this more often.

After we were married, I began my campaign to thank Rick for the smallest things he did for me, from carrying out the trash to his offer to help with the dishes—even though I always turn him down. :-) The great thing is that it has led him to do the same. A day does not go by when he does not thank me for many little things I do for him.

ThankYouBlackboard--AMPThe point is that if you truly thank an individual for doing or providing something, it causes that person to feel as if what they did really matters. Not only that, being thankful breeds more thankfulness and results in a mutually loving attitude that colors your whole relationship. And your life!

So, here’s the challenge: make the effort to thank those around you regularly and wholeheartedly for even the smallest, most seemingly insignificant things. It may take time, but you’ll see a difference in the people in your life because a thankful attitude rubs off on others. And blessing other people this way ultimately blesses you!

As you start being thankful for even the little things, you’ll start seeing God’s hand in so much of your life that you were not so aware of before. And you’ll recognize how much God has blessed you, and that will lead you to thank Him for every single thing in your life. Every. Single. Thing.

Take my word for this. It really works!

And you will say in that day:
“Give thanks to the Lord, call upon his name,
make known his deeds among the peoples,
proclaim that his name is exalted.
Sing praises to the Lord, for he has done gloriously;
let this be made known in all the earth.”
—Isaiah 12:4-5

 

And now we thank you, our God, and praise your glorious name.
—1 Chronicles 29:13

 

Be thankful and joyful.
Be content with life.
Make the most of every situation.”
― Lailah Gifty Akita

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Cataclysm Missions International

Beloved, this post is about a project I think is very needed right now. I am sharing this for Nikole Hahn, a friend of mine who is the editor of The Relevant Christion” (TRC), an online magazine for which I write.
 
Nikki recently started a new venture called Cataclysm Missions International (CMI). The mission statement is:
…..
Real Life + Online Life = One Voice
To connect the online world with local churches
and local churches to the online world.
To focus on the story of missions and to equip and educate
the Christian to engage the culture.
…..
Please forward this to your Christian friends who you believe would be interested in either passing it on to their Christian friends, or who might be interested in becoming a part of this great venture, or both! Also, if any of you are interested in becoming involved with CMI, the contact info is below.

CMI-Graphic

 

Please consider becoming a part of CMI. Also, please feel free to share this post with your friends. Thank you!

Copyright © 2015 Cataclysm Missions International. All rights reserved.

Cataclysm Missions International 
P.O. Box 3175 
Chino Valley, AZ 86323 

http://www.cataclysmmissionsintl.com/

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Happy Birthday to Us!

Happy birthday to us!

Today is my birthday, tomorrow is Rick’s. I’ve shared the story here before of our meeting onlineThe fact that our birthdays are one day apart was the main reason Rick and I met. Definitely a God-incidence! When I saw how close together our birthdays are, I knew I had to write to him.

This photo is a blast from the past, taken on Cannery Row while we were on our honeymoon in Monterey, California. We recently enjoyed the blessing of celebrating our 16th anniversary.

So, happy birthday to my sweetie and me! ♥

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A Son is Given

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For to us a child is born, to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders. 
And he will be called    
Wonderful Counselor,  

Mighty God, 

Everlasting Father, 

Prince of Peace.  

Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. 
He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, 
establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness 
from that time on and forever. 
The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this. 
—Isaiah 9:6-7

 

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Christmas Greetings

Rick and I would like to wish all of you a wonderful Christmas
and abundant blessings in 2015!

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Praise be to the God and Father
of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who has blessed us in the heavenly realms
with every spiritual blessing in Christ.
—Ephesians 1:3

 

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A Child is Born [Repost]

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For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. —Isaiah 9:6

I’m sure most of us have been the recipients of birth announcements from friends and family. We get excited when we read the good news, but have any of those been as exciting or answered such a deep need as this one from Isaiah?

We announce the birth of our sweet, cuddly and cute newborns with clever sayings amid pastel colors and pictures of bunnies, kittens, teddy bears, and the like. But just look at how Jesus’ birth is described by the prophet Isaiah:

WonderfulCounselor

Wonderful Counselor … Mighty God … Everlasting Father … Prince of Peace

Beloved, this is not a mere birth announcement. It is a heavenly proclamation!

I cannot think of any other gift that means more to us than God’s special gift to mankind: His Son, Jesus Christ. All over the world, people exchange presents in commemoration of this ultimate gift, which is the only means of rescue from our sins.

Before we realize the need for Jesus in our lives, we are in a deep darkness of doubt and anxiety. After we ask Jesus to come into our hearts as our Savior, we leap from that lonely, dark void into a glorious and joyful anticipation of eternal life with Him at our side.

Just as Jesus’ death on the cross changes our darkness into the radiant light of eternal joy, a close relationship with Him is the only thing that can help us find joy and thankfulness amidst our daily struggles and pain. Jesus understands what we’re going through and wants us to lean on Him for comfort, support and spiritual nourishment. His birth fulfilled Isaiah’s prophetic message of hope and in the same way, we can look forward to this realization:

our ultimate hope is a perfect heaven in which there will be no pain or suffering

HopeWasBorn…..

Beloved, I’m thinking that after going through this earthly time of pain and anguish, we will be dancing with joy and delight as we step into that glorious heavenly light! This is what we should be celebrating as Christmas approaches!

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What Must I Do To Be Saved?

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We often ask ourselves why we’re doing what we do:

  • What is our purpose in life?
  • What’s the point of working so many hours each day?
  • Why strive so hard to advance ourselves?
  • What good will any of this be when we die?
  • Are we living each day thinking that we’re going nowhere?
  • Do we go on with no hope in this life, wondering if there’s anything else after we die?

People have described this empty place in our hearts as a “God-shaped vacuum” that can’t be filled with work or through buying more clothes and other things. It is something that can’t even be filled with our personal relationships. What we really need can only be found in a relationship with God.

Our Sin Problem

We read in the Bible that we are sinful people—not just because of the bad things we do but because of who we are. We aren’t sinners just because we sin. We sin because we’re sinners, and that’s what separates us from God.

The Good News!

What if there was a way to bridge the gap that separates us from God? Wouldn’t you be interested in the assurance of being able to have everlasting life with God?

Well, there is a way—the only way—and that is through faith and belief in Jesus Christ as the one who died for our sins.

That’s what He did, you know. He died on that cross at Calvary so that you and I could live with Him forever. That’s the Good News!

It’s difficult to believe how much God loves us! After all, we’re nothing but sinners. In First John 4:9-10, we see the evidence of His great love for us:

God showed how much he loved us
by sending his one and only Son into the world
so that we might have eternal life through him.
This is real love—not that we loved God,
but that he loved us and sent his Son
as a sacrifice to take away our sins.

You might be asking yourself how that is possible. Well, here are a few verses from the Bible that give us the answer:

God loved the world so much
that he gave his one and only Son
so that whoever believes in him
may not be lost, but have eternal life.
God did not send his Son into the world
to judge the world guilty,
but to save the world through him.
—John 3:16-17

 

Those who believe in the Son have eternal life,
but those who do not obey the Son
will never have life.
God’s anger stays upon them.
—John 3:36

 

Those who see the Son
and believe in him have eternal life,
and I will raise them on the last day.
This is what my Father wants.
—John 6:40

 

. . . I am the resurrection and the life.
Those who believe in me
will have life even if they die.
And everyone who lives and believes
in me will never die.
—John 11:25-26

Why would Jesus die for our sins? Because He loves us and desires our company forever! Imagine that! We also read in the Bible that “The reason Christ died and rose from the dead to live again was so he would be Lord over both the dead and the living.” —Romans 14:9

A Living Hope

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There is hope for all of us through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. We can do nothing in our own strength to guarantee us everlasting life. It is only through the sacrifice which Jesus Christ made on our behalf that we have the privilege of living with Him forever:

I mean that you have been saved
by grace through believing.
You did not save yourselves; it was a gift from God.
It was not the result of your own efforts,
so you cannot brag about it.
—Ephesians 2:8-9

The amazing thing about this gift of eternal life is that it is a gift! Jesus Christ, God’s Son, paid the price for our sins, once for all time:

But God shows his great love for us in this way:
Christ died for us while we were still sinners.
—Romans 5:8

How We Can Receive the Gift of Everlasting Life

We have done nothing to deserve the gift of everlasting life, yet it is freely given to us and very easy to obtain. All we need to do is:

  • admit that we are sinners, repent of our sins, and then ask God to forgive us;
  • believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, that He die for our sins and then was resurrected from the dead: “The reason Christ died and rose from the dead to live again was so he would be Lord over both the dead and the living.” —Romans 14:9;
  • ask Jesus Christ to come into our hearts as our Savior and help us as the Lord of our lives.

You can do this right now in the quiet of your room. It’s between you and the Lord Jesus Christ. Here’s an example of how you can pray to receive Jesus Christ as your Savior:

Heavenly Father, I’m so sorry for my sins. Right now, I’m turning from my sins and asking You to forgive me. Thank you for the gift of Your Son, Jesus Christ, who died for my sins on the cross. Jesus, I ask You to come into my heart and my life, and be my Savior, Lord, and Friend. Thank You for forgiving me and giving me the gift of everlasting life. Amen.

That’s it! That’s all you have to do. Now there will be Someone you can turn to with all of your problems, cares and concerns—and that is Jesus Christ. Just knowing that He is in your corner is the greatest comfort of all.

. . . but now we are also very happy in God
through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Through him we are now God’s friends again.
—Romans 5:11

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Beloved, welcome to the family of God!  If you have any questions about any of this, please write to me at faithlhj777 at gmail dot com.

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Note: All emphasis in these Bible passages is added by me.

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Sea of Distress

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Sea of Distress

And they will pass through the sea of distress 
and He will strike the waves in the sea, 
so that all the depths of the Nile will dry up; 
and the pride of Assyria will be brought down 
and the scepter of Egypt will depart.
“And I will strengthen them in the Lord
and in His name they will walk,” declares the Lord
—Zechariah 10:11-12

Almost daily we are inundated with devastating news of earthquakes, wildfires, tornadoes, hurricanes, tropical storms and severe flooding. Many lives are lost or affected in some way by these tragedies. Even heavy rains can cause everything from roof leaks and power outages to high winds and massive mud slides. Many times these rain storms come one upon another with no time in between to allow the over-saturated earth to dry out. And just when we think we have survived a storm, a mudslide occurs days and sometimes weeks later.

In these dire situations, we are learning a tough fact of life: there is only so much we can do to protect ourselves and our property from the raging storm. Oftentimes we find our property completely gone. How do we start all over again?

In verse 11 above, God parted the Red Sea—the sea of distress—to deliver the Israelites safely from the Egyptians. This miracle was a perfect example of how the Israelites could not save themselves, but had to rely on God for protection.

In the same way, God is here to walk each of us through our own sea of distress, whether that be devastating weather, illness, job loss, or the death of a loved one. Doesn’t it sometimes seem as if we’ll never be able to cross that sea?

We find ourselves feeling as if we’re floundering and treading water for all we’re worth, until we finally sink into our own personal and familiar sea of distress. Each day is a continuation of the pain and anxiety of the previous day, until we finally can’t feel one day ending before the next begins. The frustration and trouble are ever with us.

It doesn’t have to be that way if we have God on our side. He is the only one Who cares for us enough to strengthen us on our earthly journey. We only need to trust Him to do so. The more we lean on Him each day, the closer our walk with Him will be. And the closer that walk, the more we’ll be able to put off the cloak of despair and instead put on a garment of joy in our circumstances.

Yes, we will still be surrounded by the pain of our individual situation, but when we trust and rely on God during those times, we can rest in the assurance that He will enable us to cross our own sea of distress each day, confident in His love and care. That’s the kind of relationship that will bring glory to God.

And in the end, that’s all that matters anyway.

…..

Turn to me and be gracious to me,
for I am lonely and afflicted.
The troubles of my heart are enlarged;
bring me out of my distresses.
Look upon my affliction and my trouble,
and forgive all my sins.
—Psalm 25:16-18

 …..

“I love men who can smile in trouble,
who can gather strength from distress,
and grow brave by reflection.”
—Thomas Paine

 

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Jesus is the Rock

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For You are my rock and my fortress; therefore,
for Your name’s sake, lead me and guide me.
—Psalm 31:3

I’m glad I keep notes on things that greatly impact me because I recently found one about this song. The first time I ever heard or sang “Rock of Ages (Jesus is the Rock)” was when we lived in California years ago. The first time we sang this at church, I was greatly moved. The lyrics are simple yet very powerful:

There is no rock
There is no god like our God
No other name worthy of all our praise
The Rock of Salvation that cannot be moved
He’s moving Himself to be faithful and true
There is no rock
There is no God like ours.

It wasn’t the first time (nor the last) that we have worshiped the Lord with this song. Each time I sing it, the words never fail to make my eyes leak. Imagine being someone who is “faithful and true” and who “cannot be moved”! Of course my eyes leak! Although it is hard to keep singing through the tears, I continued to sing in my heart and mind.

I suspect there are many of us who are very susceptible to our emotions. Some days, in the midst of the storms in our lives, we feel confident that God is holding our hand to guide us through it. On other days, we may despair that He’s even there. Maybe He’s forgotten about us because, after all, He has so many of us to look after.

Beloved, God is always with us, no matter what! His love for us is so vast and constant, completely unchanging—unlike our own inconsistent emotions. We have the confidence of knowing this to be true because He tells us over and over again in His Word how much He loves and cares for us. It’s the one thing in this ever-changing world we can always count on!

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I can’t number how many times I’ve almost given up on You and instead tried to do things in my own strength. But You have this way of reminding me of Your immense love for me, and sometimes a little nudge is from You is all I need to get me back on the right track. Thank you for being my Rock, the One Who will always be there for me, no matter what.

If for any reason you cannot view this video, please go here for the lyrics.

P.S. Some of you native Californians or those who have lived at or visited California’s central coast will recognize that the top photo is of Morro Rock. Rick and I spent many special times camping in Morro Bay and along that section of the coast. 

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