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Tag Archives: Salvation
This short poem is inspired by Psalm 124, which is also rather short but full of hope.
The Snare Is Broken
entangled in the snare
of the evil one
hopeless and dying
struggling to be free
my struggles tightened the snare
entangled me more
broke the snare
clearing the way
for me to escape
clinging to His side
my greatest hope is Christ alone
I am set free and alive
This poem is shared today at dVerse Poets Pub for Open Link Night.
While I was taking a break from blogging I missed a number of Form For All lessons at dVerse Poets Pub, so I decided yesterday to go check out the lessons I had missed to see if there was a new poetry form I could try. Sam Peralta—one of my favorite dVerse teachers—offered a lesson on the Japanese poetry form called the sedoka that consists of two tercets with lines of 5, 7, and 7 syllables each. Sam wrote, “The poem’s two verses usually provide two perspectives on the theme, with a sharp division after the third line, and a soft turn after line five, before the conclusion.” I decided to give it a try with one of my favorite themes.
Savior, then Lord
He died on the cross
Saving the souls of mankind
A free gift of salvation
We accept His gift
But this is not quite enough
For true change He must be Lord
shed with love
offering my soul salvation.
This short poem is an elfje. I followed the link of a blogger who liked one of my posts, and then followed a link on her site to another blogger who had posted a lesson on how to write this little gem of a poetry form. I decided to give it a try.
A new year begins today. It’s another year to live and work and play, and to make resolutions to be better than last year. It’s another year in which many will again strive to earn God’s grace and their own salvation by singing in the choir, volunteering for the altar guild, giving to the poor, attending church or mass each week, or any number of other good deeds.
But why do we work so hard to add to what Jesus has already done? Why do we try to earn what has been given as a gift from God? On Calvary Hill Jesus said, “It is finished.” John 19:30. Paul wrote that Jesus said to him, “My grace is sufficient for you.” 2 Corinthians 12:9. There is nothing more that we can or need to do for our salvation.
Even the act of believing in Jesus, the ability to have faith in His saving grace, is a gift from God: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9 (NIV).
So as you begin 2013, rest in the grace of Jesus assured of His mercy and your salvation.
Go forth and sing in the choir out of gratitude for what He has done, but do not fret if you miss a practice or are unable to sing for a Sunday service.
Help out with the altar guild to share the blessing of God’s grace with others, but do not allow yourself to grow weary with the work.
Give to the poor out of thankfulness for the bounty God has bestowed on you, but do not give out of mere obligation and with resentment.
Attend church or mass because you desire to fellowship with God and other believers, and to worship the Lord in community, but not because you think you will lose points with God if you do not.
Perform good deeds as the Spirit leads, in the power of Jesus, so that God might be glorified, but don’t be deceived into thinking such deeds are necessary for your salvation.
For centuries Satan has tried to strip the children of God of the peace of knowing His love and grace. The Accuser engenders fear and doubt in the minds of believers, trying to deceive us into believing that God hates us and requires us to pay for our own sins and earn our own salvation.
But God’s Word is clear on this point: It is finished. The atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ is the embodiment of God’s love and mercy; His grace is sufficient to cover every sin and grant us eternal life with Him. Nothing Satan says or does can change this truth.
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Hebrews 13:8.
The season of Advent is about anticipating our celebration of the coming of Christ into the world. But it is also about anticipating His second coming into the world at the end of time. For that reason, our pastor gave a sermon yesterday titled “End Times – A Lutheran Perspective.”
It was a very interesting and informative sermon. He talked about the many attempts of mankind and the church to predict the exact time when the end will come, even though Jesus clearly said, “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” Matthew 24:36, Mark 13:32.
He also talked about the various perspectives on the end times and the thousand-year reign of Jesus written about in Revelation. There is the pre-millennial view that the thousand-year reign hasn’t yet started. There is the post-millennial view that the thousand-year reign has already passed. And there is the amillennial view that the thousand years is a figurative timeframe instead of a literal one.
But the most important thing our pastor said during the whole sermon took up only six little words: “This is not a salvation issue.”
Whether you believe the rapture and tribulation are still to come, that the church is experiencing the tribulation now, or something else does not affect whether you have salvation in Christ. What matters is if you believe God came to this earth as Emmanuel and then died on a cross to pay for your sins.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 (NIV)
I graduated 7th in my class from high school, in the top 11% of my class at Whitman College, and cum laude from Lewis & Clark Law School. After law school, I passed the Oregon State Bar exam on the first try, and was offered a job before I graduated. I now have a great job making a decent living as a director of legal publications for the Oregon State Bar. Do all of these accomplishments make me a success? Some might say yes. Others might say I would really be a success if only I’d strived for a partnership track position in a big firm making a lot more money than I do now.
I’ve been married for 25 years, have one wonderful son, and live in a nice house in one of the better neighborhoods in my town. This year we improved our property by putting in a beautiful paver driveway, patio, and walkways, with additional landscaping. Our home is filled with nice furniture and I am blessed to have nice clothes to wear. Does all of this make me a success? Some would say yes. Others might say I would really be a success if I had 5 children who were all on honor roll, a house three times the size of my current home, and if I had a brand new Porsche parked on my paver driveway.
I’ve been involved in my church and my Christian faith in many ways. I’ve taught Sunday school, led or spoken at several women’s retreats, am in charge of the prayer ministry at my church, and am currently on our board of elders. I’ve read all the way through the Bible at least once, and some books of the Bible I’ve read multiple times. I’ve written over 600 faith-related posts on my blog and have had over 44,000 page views. Do all of these accomplishments make me successful? Some would say yes. Others might say that I’m not quite pious enough to be considered successful because I’ve never gone on an overseas mission trip, don’t give enough of my wealth to the church, and have wasted some of my blog posts on recipes.
In church this morning, our pastor reminded me that I am, in fact, a success. Even if some people might not consider me a success by the world’s standards, by God’s standard I am a success. In Luke, Jesus told his disciples the success they should rejoice over.
The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.”
He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” Luke 10:17-20 (NIV).
These disciples thought the fact that the demons submitted to them made their mission trips a success. But Jesus reminded them that they were a success because their names are written in heaven. I know that I am a success because I have put my trust in Jesus for my salvation, and my name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
I could lose my license to practice law and my job, even have my degrees taken from me. I could lose my family, my house, and all my material wealth. I could lose my church family and have my blog censored. I would still be a success because I know Jesus Christ, my Lord.
So how are you measuring your success? If you know Jesus, if your name is written in heaven, then all other measures of success are unimportant.
If you have read very much of my blog you will know that I love music! I even have a “Music and Bands I Like” page, though I haven’t added to it in a long time. Most of the time I listen to Christian rock because I love the rock genre – which is what I listened to most as a teenager – and I find encouragement and strength in the Christian themes of this music.
But I also listen to some non-Christian artists and to other genre’s of music. I even like some country music, though not a lot of the current top 40 stuff. One of my favorite country music artists is Dwight Yoakam. His style is not top 40 or Nashville style, but is what is called the Bakersfield sound. It has kind of a twang to it and was first made popular by Buck Owens (who I also like).
Most of Dwight’s music consists of what I call sad heartache songs. (I even have a playlist on my iPod called Sad Heartache Songs, and it is mostly Dwight). There is something about his voice and the lyrics of his music that really captures the varied emotions and heartache of lost love. He is also a lot of fun to watch in concert.
But Dwight has one song that I want to share today that is not of the sad heartache variety. It is a song that he apparently wrote for his mother, and it is called Hold on to God. It’s a wonderful song that reminds me to hold on to God’s everlasting Word and that Jesus is my lifeline in life’s storm-tossed sea of trials and tribulation.
For today’s Psalm I asked my husband to randomly pick a number between 29 and 150 (since I’ve already posted the first 28 Psalms). He picked 115. I searched my blog to see if I had posted it before and was surprised that I had not. It is one of my favorite Psalms. I love the first stanza because it is a reminder that all glory belongs to God, our Creator and Redeemer. This is consistent with the core of the Christian faith – that Christ died to save sinners because we cannot save ourselves. It is Jesus who gets all the glory for the gift of salvation that He has provided. It is God who was loving, faithful, and merciful at the cross to make a way for His people to be with Him for eternity. Nothing that man has ever done deserves the glory that belongs to God alone.
1 Not to us, O LORD, not to us
but to your name be the glory,
because of your love and faithfulness.
2 Why do the nations say,
“Where is their God?”
3 Our God is in heaven;
he does whatever pleases him.
4 But their idols are silver and gold,
made by the hands of men.
5 They have mouths, but cannot speak,
eyes, but they cannot see;
6 they have ears, but cannot hear,
noses, but they cannot smell;
7 they have hands, but cannot feel,
feet, but they cannot walk;
nor can they utter a sound with their throats.
8 Those who make them will be like them,
and so will all who trust in them.
9 O house of Israel, trust in the LORD—
he is their help and shield.
10 O house of Aaron, trust in the LORD—
he is their help and shield.
11 You who fear him, trust in the LORD—
he is their help and shield.
12 The LORD remembers us and will bless us:
He will bless the house of Israel,
he will bless the house of Aaron,
13 he will bless those who fear the LORD—
small and great alike.
14 May the LORD make you increase,
both you and your children.
15 May you be blessed by the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
16 The highest heavens belong to the LORD,
but the earth he has given to man.
17 It is not the dead who praise the LORD,
those who go down to silence;
18 it is we who extol the LORD,
both now and forevermore.
Praise the LORD.
I’m continuing on with the next Psalm in order that I haven’t previously posted, and that is Psalm 17, the first 9 verses of which I’ve posted here. As first blush, the Psalmist, in this case King David, seems a bit arrogant in calling himself righteous. But this Psalm may well have been written at the point in King David’s life that he had been through the wringer of sin and repentance with God and had finally come out knowing what was right and doing it.
My favorite verse of this Psalm is verse 7 because King David recognizes that it is only God’s right hand that can save him, or any of us. We all face the evil one as our foe, but if we take refuge in Jesus, who sits at the right hand of the Father, then we will be saved.
A prayer of David.
1 Hear, O LORD, my righteous plea;
listen to my cry.
Give ear to my prayer—
it does not rise from deceitful lips.
2 May my vindication come from you;
may your eyes see what is right.
3 Though you probe my heart and examine me at night,
though you test me, you will find nothing;
I have resolved that my mouth will not sin.
4 As for the deeds of men—
by the word of your lips
I have kept myself
from the ways of the violent.
5 My steps have held to your paths;
my feet have not slipped.
6 I call on you, O God, for you will answer me;
give ear to me and hear my prayer.
7 Show the wonder of your great love,
you who save by your right hand
those who take refuge in you from their foes.
8 Keep me as the apple of your eye;
hide me in the shadow of your wings
9 from the wicked who assail me,
from my mortal enemies who surround me.