Breathe

I came across this short, but beautifully powerful poem several years ago and have been drawn back to it over and over. It is SO rich with meaning that I want to share it with you.

Breathe IN My Peace and Exhale Hurry
RUN to Me and Refuse Worry.
Luxuriate yourself in Me, as I DO LIVE and BREATHE in you!
– anonymous

Physical breathing is something we do voluntarily but sometimes we don’t breathe as deeply as we should. I recently found out that I am a shallow breather. I would not have thought that the case, since I have always been a runner and very active. ..but, I don’t use my diaphragm properly, thus making me a shallow breather.

In looking up how to breathe more deeply I learned it HAS to be a new habit I form. Using my diaphragm, breathe in to the count of 4… breathe out to the count of 4. …there is no other way to teach myself to breathe differently than to practice doing it. So, now I have periods of time set aside each day when I practice breathing this way. I don’t know how long it might take to form this new habit because I cannot possibly do this exercise in counting 24/7. However, it is important enough to me to work at it until it does become much more habitual than my shallow breathing.

As with every breathing exercise there is always an exhale associated with the inhale. Inhaling brings in the oxygen we must have to live and exhaling removes the carbon dioxide that moves from our blood to our lungs with each inhale. This process, called gas exchange, is essential to life.

Each of us know that if we do not, or cannot, breathe we won’t live. Breathing is an involuntary function but breathing deep enough to gain all the health benefits deep breathing offers us isn’t natural to many of us.

The task of forming this new physical habit has reminded of how I should make spiritual deep breathing a habit also… which took me right back to the poem. It focuses us on the truth that spiritual deep breathing should be a fundamental part of our spiritual lives. Spiritually deep breathing takes time and effort. Yet, the beautiful benefits of that time and effort are rest, peace, joy and hope. We breathe in God and He refreshes and rejuvenates our souls.

The “gas exchange” that is so important to physical breathing also applies spiritual exhaling because as we exhale spiritually, we are allowing hurry to leave us.

As we spend the time and effort to read, pray and deep breathe spiritually we automatically are drawn closer to our sweet savior. We run to him and he fills us with peace. This process is the result of developing a healthy spiritual breathing habit.

The word “luxuriate” the poet chooses to use in the last line offers such a rich word picture. It brings thoughts of delight, comfort, pleasure, relaxation and care. God offers us these as we luxuriate ourselves in Him. Think of luxuriate in this way. It is spending time basking, meditating and pondering spiritual truth, deep breathing and enjoying the luxury this habit affords us.

“…Luxuriate yourself in Me, as I do live and breathe in you”.
In Genesis 2:7 the Bible says “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul“. The Hebrew word for God is Yahweh. Try to imagine what it sounded like when God exhaled His breath into Adam’s nostrils. I can hear His breath making the sound “Yahweh” as He powerfully exhaled out of Himself and into Adam. One sweet, soft gushing sound of breath leaving God and life began in man.

Will you join me and continue the habit (or begin to form this habit) of daily spiritual breathing? Breathe in Yahweh… breath out hurry and worry.

I believe each of us truly need to have this habit in the current world situations we find ourselves in. Read and re-read the poem – or better yet, memorize it! That is what I have tasked myself with this week.

Sitting at the Feet of Jesus

Last week I was challenged by the question “When was the last time you sat at the feet of Jesus?” I must admit that although I spend time praying, reading the Bible and studying books with great spiritual truths… this question immediately brought me to tears.

Why? Because, I often forget that my time alone with God is best spent with a heart attitude of worship, bowed down at the feet of my maker, savior and comforter.

Too often I get caught up in my requests and my agenda based on what is currently happening in my life and the lives of those around me. …not that it is a bad thing to make requests and take my concerns to Jesus and find scripture to encourage and offer help and hope.

BUT, when I am bowed down before Jesus the posture of my heart is one of humble submission. It is a time to be still and allow all the clutter in my mind and heart to cease, because he is the ONE who gives rest. Bowed down at Jesus’ feet is safe… it is calm… and it is joyous because I am in the presence of God.

The natural progression following being bowed down in humble submission is to sit at Jesus’ feet and begin to commune with him. Again, it is a posture I don’t take often enough. Thus my tears as I was challenged with that simple question.

This posture of my heart is conversation with Jesus as I sit at his feet, eager to learn and lean into every word of the conversation. Not a monologue of me listing everything on my heart but a dialogue where I share and then open my heart to the Holy Spirit’s prompts, trusting completely in his wise instruction to begin or continue whatever work God has for me.

Bowing down and sitting at the feet of Jesus is my hearts desire and I dare not allow the hub-bub of life to steal these precious times. I can promise each of you that, if you will take time away to bow down and sit before our Lord Jesus, you too will long for more and more of these precious times.

AND, the great part of longing for more is that he always satisfies the longings of our hearts.

Reflecting the Image of God

I Corinthians 15:49  And as we bore the image of the earthy man, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man.

Today I was thinking back on a several tours my husband and I took of some beautiful historic homes in Savannah Georgia.  Each home was filled with beautifully crafted silver platters, trays and tea sets; brass-topped spindles on staircase banisters and gold-gilded mirror and picture frames dating from the mid to late 1800’s.  These pieces caught the light around them as we walked from one room to the next. 

Imagine how different my experience would have been if these pieces had been tarnished.  Not only would the light have not been reflected, the pieces would not have held the same beauty as they did brightly polished. 

We are members of the human race.  We bear the image of “earthly man”.    As women who have believed that Jesus is the Christ, we also bear the image of the “heavenly Man” – the God-Man, Christ Jesus.  Oh, we do not bear it like we will when these human bodies are thrown off and we are taken to heaven; nonetheless we have been adopted into the family of God and we bear God’s image.  Each day we are given the awesome privilege of reflecting the light of God into other’s lives.  What happens when we become tarnished?  …and how do we become tarnished?

Think about it: a silver dish doesn’t need to have had food or liquid in it to tarnish.  It is the air itself that fuels the process of tarnishing. …so it is with us; we don’t have to be involved in carnal, sinful things to become “tarnished”.  The “air” of the world in our daily lives is sufficient cause for becoming tarnished.  If we are to reflect the light of God; know that He will at times use human circumstances as our “tarnish remover”.  Just as we apply a little pressure to the silver dish using a cloth dipped in metal polish, so the Lord applies just the right amount of pressure with the exact quantity of polish necessary to restore our ability to reflect His light.   

Are you in the middle of a “polish job?”  Is God applying pressure through the “polish” of an uncomfortable circumstance, disease or relationship?  Our gracious, merciful savior is not vindictive, but He desires our lives to be as precious metal.   The situation(s) you find yourself in may be the only way you will grow, learn and once again reflect His light. 

–Open your heart to what He wants to accomplish today. Let Him complete His work, so that you will reflect His light. 

May I Be As It Becomes You

This may seem like an odd title, but hang with me and you will see how this double-entendre phrase is so rich and beautiful in meaning.

I have been pondering several ideas over the last couple of months regarding possessing or lacking hope, joy, peace, love. Times are difficult. In fact I believe I could argue that is it the hardest time in modern history, because our entire world seems to have gone amuck as it relates to decency, good and right. It often appears impossible to feel hopeful, possess joy or peace, and feel loving with the daily onslaught of things that attack our Christian faith.

At the foundation of hope, joy, peace and love is being satisfied with Jesus. We give lip service to him being all we need or want… but do we really mean it. Even more importantly, do we feel satisfied with him. If we are to be truly satisfied with anyone or anything only Jesus measures up. He must be our top priority or we will continue to run around like the rest of the world looking for what it cannot give us… ongoing full satisfaction.

So, how does one achieve the reality of satisfaction in Jesus? How do we “be” as it becomes, suits or flatters, our precious savior? We cannot do this in our own strength. Only through the power of the Holy Spirit coming alongside us and changing our hearts and minds through scripture, prayer and words of wisdom, truth and encouragement from others will we move toward Jesus having top priority. AND, as our top priority we find he is ALL we need no matter what is going on in our lives or our world.

I crave sugar, but I never cease to be amazed how unsatisfying eating sugary food is. I always want more immediately and never feel truly satiated. I also love color, style and fashion. But, there again, that latest outfit loses its charm quickly and I find myself eyeing another.

It is not so with Jesus. He always fills me to the brim with sweet satisfaction as I meditate on scripture, pray and ponder and have conversation with him. My deepest desire is become more like he who embraces me in hope, joy, peace and love.

Which leads to the double-entendre in the phrase I used for the title. Satisfaction in Jesus means we are becoming more like Jesus. Because being satisfied, being still, being humble and being anxious to grasp the hope, joy, peace and love only he offers to the fullest will transform us into being more like Jesus.

May I BE, the state of being [breathing or existing] as it becomes [suits or flatters] my Lord and savior and thus I will BE [breathing or existing] as it becomes [matures, develops/grows into] being more like this one I adore, worship and serve.

Another great way to explain this process is “to be set apart for holy use”. This is what sanctification is. And, this holy use is what every Christian is fully equipped and gifted to do as the process of sanctification is allowed to have it way in us.

“Lord Jesus, may I truly BE as it BECOMES YOU. AMEN.”

The five W’s of Living for Jesus

I have been thinking and praying a lot recently about what Jesus wants me to do right now with where our nation and world are. I have been reminded over and over that living my life in such a way as to leave a legacy for Jesus is counter-cultural and socially unacceptable, especially at this time in history. In the process I have come up with the following five W’s of how we, as followers of Jesus, must pray and rely on the Holy Spirit to stay strong and courageous in this way of living.

Remember… our role is only to point others to Jesus through these five W’s. It is God’s job to show up and let others see his glory. He always does his job perfectly!

Who? Everyone in your “world”. This includes your family, circle of friends, acquaintances and chance meetings. Every one of them could potentially need you to put them first at some time.

In a culture where the mantra is “do what is best for you” most people live their lives obsessed with “ME”. Living your life in a way that doesn’t put you first is hard for others to understand.

There is a simple children’s song that puts this in perspective for us.
Jesus and others and you, what a wonderful way to spell joy
Jesus and others and you, in the life of each girl and each boy
“J” is for Jesus for He has first place,
“O” is for others you meet face to face,
“Y” is for you, in whatever you do,
Put yourself third and spell JOY.
– Written by B. Metzger, 1951

What? Seeing the needs of those that are hurting around you and stepping into their lives to share yourself with them. We all live very busy lives and many times this seems too sacrificial in terms of time and energy. Our society is quick to see the needs of those who are less fortunate than them and rise up to help, which is wonderful… and we need to also. But living sacrificially often requires us to do things at inconvenient times that we really don’t want to do. It doesn’t always “feel good”.

Where? Wherever Jesus puts you… or sends you. For some this is full-time ministry locally or to the four-corners of the earth. However, for most of us… it is the everyday places we frequent where we cross paths with the lonely, broken person OR the coffee shop as our friend shares broken dreams and torn relationships OR the doctor’s office sitting next to a fellow patient who has received bad news.

When? Anytime is the simple answer. God says “be ready in season and out of season”. – II Timothy 4:2. The entire verse in the English Standard Version reads, “preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.”

I just finished a conversation with a long-time friend who shared that her supervisor asked her to stay a few minutes after work today. It was a hard day and my friend wanted to head straight home but instead she found herself having to extend her day… and perhaps for some not so good news. To her surprise the supervisor asked how she stays so calm and cheerful in the face of some trying times in that business, our state and country. My friend was able to share that it is knowing and accepting that she cannot control these situations but God can and indeed IS in control that gives her peace and joy.

She was ready to speak at any time…and God used her! How exciting it is to be available and ready in season and out of season.

Why? As Christians, we know the answer well, but it is always good to remind each other.

“Since God has created us for His glory, we are to glorify God in all that we do with our lives. “Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” – 1 Corinthians 10:31

BLESSINGS to each of you!

I

The Truth About America

I haven’t used this blog to talk about a political issue, however, I believe the time has come for me to do that. Below is a copy of an email I sent to five leaders of the Southern Baptist Conference about eight weeks ago. The president of the conference is J.D. Greears. He was one of the men who received this email. I have not altered the content.

In his talk Mr. Greears was touting the fact that they were adding people of color to their leadership ranks on an ongoing basis because “this is the way we need to operate to move forward with the times we are living in.” (That is a paraphrase.) Please do not misunderstand me. If God brings people of color into Christian organizations that is wonderful! However, to purposely seek out people of color to fall in step with the Woke movement is very concerning. God never asked us to do things like the world. In fact, quite the opposite is true because the Bible teaches that we are to be a light in the darkness… a peculiar people… and people whose hope is not earthly but eternal. Based on Romans 12:2 Paul was saying although we live in this world we are not of this world. We are called to an even higher standard than the world and we cannot adopt of things of this world as our mode of operation as Christian individuals or organizations.

I received no response from any of the men who received this email. This is very telling about where they stand… and IT IS NOT where they should be standing as Christian men who are in leadership. This is very concerning and makes me wonder how many other evangelical organizations across our nation are in sync with the Woke movement.

Here is what I wrote after introducing myself:

“Having been a Christian from a young age, I am deeply distressed to see all that is currently happening in our nation and world. One of those things is the alarming numbers of people, businesses and now churches supporting/adopting the Woke movement. 

I listened to J.D. Greears talk posted on gab.com earlier today. What I heard astounded me, so I want to ask as nicely as I can, why is the Southern Baptist Conference supporting the Woke movement? I am having a hard time wrapping my head around how you could be so deceived as to believe that this movement is one that ANY Christian organization should stand behind. We are to love one another, share the gospel and bring people into the kingdom. How is focusing on how many of one race you have within your organization part of being about the Father’s business? Jesus didn’t worry about political issues that took the focus off of his ministry. 

Ben Carson said this week in Iowa, “As we continue to be bombarded by racially charged narratives, there has been a subtle shift in the conversation: Its focus has moved from equality to equity. That is, instead of pursuing the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s ideal of judging people by the content of their character rather than the color of their skin, equity would reward and punish people because of the color of their skin. Rather than equality of opportunity, equity would mandate equality of outcome.”

There are two parts of his statement that I want to emphasize. 

The first is that equality and equity are not the same thing. Equity is not a sign of racism but rather of recognizing and using the abilities of a person, no matter the color of that person. 

The second is to point out the words “there has been a subtle shift”. That is how Satan and the world operates. It takes something that sounds good, and is perhaps even a good idea fundamentally – and then very subtly changes it. The subtle changes continue until before long the fundamental idea/ideal is lost and there is a completely different idea/ ideal. This is exactly what is happening with the Woke movement. There are indeed some racially prejudiced people in every walk of life, every color and every economic class. However, that truth has subtly over the last several decades until we are now being told that the truth is that every white is prejudiced against every black, or person of another color. Coca Cola is spending company time teaching their white employees to “try to be less white”! Do you hear the absurdity of that statement? Can you imagine what the fallout would be if you told a person of any other color but white to try to be less of what they are?

Would you also consider with me who are those that are advocating there is such widespread racism in our nation? 

1. People that believe the killing of black babies is ok.  They don’t talk about the fact that the black community is ravaged by more black children being aborted than any other race. Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood was all about population control. These words are from an article dated April 10, 2021 in Yahoo News. “Sanger was a foremost proponent of the eugenics movement in the U.S., motivated especially by her particular animus toward poor nonwhites. Her crusade to legalize birth control was motivated in large part by her desire to prevent the  “unfit” and “feeble-minded” from reproducing.” 

2. People who cry out against blacks being killed by police officers but never speak a word about blacks killing blacks on a daily basis on Chicago’s south side. 

3. People who decided to move the MLB All Stars game out of Georgia because it courageously voted to change election laws in order to ensure a fair vote in the next election. Their reason? They purport that those new laws would keep minorities from voting. Even though those accusations are a lie, more importantly – and sadly, minority owners of businesses will reap lost revenue from the game being moved from their city. After being hit very hard in 2020 with COVID every business in the area was looking forward to the money that would be spent by all those coming to the game. Moving the game because the state is “racist” will cause all business owners of every color to be hurt. They won’t talk about that.

The truth is, America is not a nation without discrimination. But also…

The truth is, America is not a nation primarily of white supremacists. 

The truth is, America is a nation that was founded on faith in God

The truth is, America has been a nation where people are free to pursue any walk of life regardless of race, color or creed  

AND, the truth is…  America needs Jesus!

We are ALL created in God’s image. Racial hate, unrest and prejudice is a result of sin. Nothing more. Those who are working to convince Americans that we can heal our nation of racism via intimidation, mandates, programs and curriculums are wrong about both the problem and the solution. They do not see that unless America returns to one nation under God, there is no way back to the nation we once knew. A nation that stood proud among the nations of the world. America needs leaders, preachers, teachers and evangelists that are telling the people about Jesus. That is the only fix. 

It is time to be about the Father’s business. It is inconceivable for me to imagine our heavenly father cares at all how many people of color you have within your ranks. What he does care about is how many souls you are winning for eternity. Time is short. Shorter than it has ever been before – simply because we are moving through history, and he will return. But, with all the events in our nation and world I believe the time of his return is very soon… in fact imminent! 

Please, I implore you, abandon this foolish movement and focus only on changing the souls of people, regardless of color, for now and eternity.” 

Show Us Your Glory, God!

I haven’t been writing for awhile, just because of life’s busyness. However, today I find myself snowbound because of a massive early spring snowstorm and am anxious to get to share with you again.

I have been praying Exodus 33:18 for a few years and more so in these last many tumultuous months in our world and nation. It is a prayer of Moses that simply says, “Please God show us your glory”!

What is the definition of glory? As a noun is defined as “a highly praiseworthy attribute”. For many months starting at the beginning of the pandemic and continuing until mid-summer, our pastor preached a series of messages on the names of Jesus. Each of those names were a highly praiseworthy attribute of God. Let me just mention a couple of them for you: Holy, Sovereign, Unchanging and Lord of Hosts. Think about it… the God of the universe and savior of your soul has GLORY streaming out of Him because EVERY attribute of God’s is highly praiseworthy.

To break down my prayer then, “Please God show us your glory”, is to petition God to be able to see each of His highly praiseworthy attributes every moment of every day.

About a month ago as I was walking east on my morning walk, I came to the crest of a hill just as the sun had poked up over the horizon. In that moment I found myself overwhelmed with joy. The sun scarcely visible became a word picture for the glory of God. It was the brightest thing before my eyes. Everything else seemed dark compared to its light. Still I could gaze at it because it was not yet too bright to hurt my eyes. Gaze means to fix ones eyes in a steady intent look – often with eagerness or studious attention. This takes time. Gazing isn’t something that can be done quickly. That is what we are to do spiritually… gaze at God’s glory by spending time thinking about Him and his attributes, pray about gaining more understanding of what His attributes mean for you and meditate on scripture to drive this knowledge down into our spirits.

I did gaze at the sun for a few minutes as I walked, prayed aloud and praised God for His highly praiseworthy attributes and for giving me such a vivid picture of His glory. That walk continued through many turns as I worked my way along my usual morning path and then as I again turned to the east another word picture was given to me.

By now, the sun was much higher and it was impossible for me to gaze at it, let alone glance at it directly. I realized that I was experiencing the physical effects for what spiritually happens when we “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus”. This old hymn offers an incredible truth. Just as staring at the sun would have permanently damaged my eyesight, so in the spiritual sense, our earthly eyesight is damaged when we really see God’s glory. The words in the chorus read: “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face… and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His GLORY and GRACE!” Yes, if we gaze at God and His glory our spiritual eyes will become dim and more dim to the things of this world because we will see God’s glory above all else.

If any of us intently desires to see God’s glory throughout the moments of every day, then we MUST make a practice of gazing at Him. The only way our earthly spiritual eyesight will grow dimmer is as our heavenly spiritual eyesight grows stronger.

Let me close with the lyrics to the first verse of this hymn. If these words describe where you are at in life, then I invite you to gaze upon God!

“Oh soul are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There’s light for a look at the Savior,
And life more abundant and free.” – Helen H Lemmel

Light Overcomes Darkness ALWAYS!

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. – John 1:5

We observe physical darkness being overcome by light every day, be it the dawning of a new day that slowly paints the black sky shades of crimson and orange or the light fixtures in our homes that dispel darkness at the flip of a switch. We easily become unimpressed by these happenings simply because we experience them so often.

Are we also unimpressed by spiritual darkness being overcome by spiritual light? I would venture to answer, “not many of us”, simply because we don’t experience it with our sense of sight. It is something we have to think about, meditate on, pray about and be awed at in our spirit!

There are a multitude of events and happenings in our world and many nations around the world that are the embodiment of spiritual darkness. I could make a long list, but you are aware of them just like I am. People that shake their finger, as it were, in the face of God as they go about their evil ways. Events that mock those that follow Judeo-Christian values and believe in Jesus. Happenings that are called good by many who have chosen to follow their own evil ways rather than Gods.

It is in these dark times that we can, and should, call on the God of the universe, the Lord God Almighty to dispel the darkness because He IS Light!

“God is light – What does that mean?

The phrase “God is light” appears in 1 John 1:5, where the apostle John is explaining that the message we have from Jesus Christ is that God is light and there is no darkness in Him at all. Light is the nature and character of God. He is not a light or a kind of light; He is light itself. All light comes from Him. At the beginning of time, He created the light to dispel the darkness and chaos that was over all the earth (Genesis 1:1–5). Then He created the lights in the sky, the sun, moon, and stars (Genesis 1:14–16). As light itself and the source of light, He had only to speak and light came into being.

Darkness represents everything that is anti-God.
…The light that is God is the opposite of the darkness that is evil. The light of God is His holiness, righteousness, and goodness, which is in contrast to the darkness of evil and sin. Light is part of the essence (nature) of God.” italics mine – from www.CompellingTruth.org

Light doesn’t cover up darkness. Darkness isn’t still lurking behind the veil of light. NO! Light does away with darkness. The two cannot coexist. I have been praying for several months now that God, who is light, would expose the spiritual darkness around us. His light can make evil people shrink away trying to find a dark corner to hide in – but to no avail because His light forces them to see their evil illuminated.

What GREAT NEWS! Light overcomes darkness! I love thinking about God bursting into the darkest places of our world and voile, the darkness is not just exposed, it is no more!

Spend some time meditating on the scriptures above and others that talk about God being light. As we get this way down in our spirits and feel a sense of awe for who God is, we are propelled forward in faith, hope and more power. Then would you, along with me, commit to praying God’s light over the nations of the world? We know that our ways are not always God’s way, thus we cannot be assured of the outcome. However, we know that we can trust Him and therefore we can boldly pray for God himself – the light of the world – to overcome darkness.

CAUTION: Offense Straight Ahead

I viewed a video a few weeks ago by a pastor warning against having a spirit of offense. I must admit, at first I was a bit stymied by what he meant. Over the next couple of days I mulled over and prayed about what this pastor said in his short 5 minute video.

I found this on lifehack.org. Although it is humorous, it is also a very true definition of what it means to have a spirit of offense.
” It’s called Offend-initis, a skin condition whereby the thickness of our skin melts away to the point where everything offends us. Symptoms may include: hurt feelings, indignation, irritability, disappointment, grumpiness and an all-around allergic reaction to anyone who says or does something we don’t like.”

Let’s face it… it is very easy to contract Offend-initis. Everywhere we turn there are individuals, groups, organizations and public officials who are saying and doing things that offend us as Christ followers. We are told our beliefs are narrow-minded at the very best, and downright absurd at the very worst. Our desire to defend our beliefs often makes us respond as offended people, but I would echo the pastor’s words that we need to stop having a spirit of offense.

Instead, think about who and what is really being maligned in our present culture/society.

It is the Lord God Almighty, and the truths taught in the Bible! Even though we find ourselves the target, we need to pray we will not be offended! I know this is counter to everything we feel in our spirits when we are targeted. But our underlying, ongoing desire is to see God lifted up as we pray for everyone who is on the offense trying to fight against the God of the universe and His ways.

Having a spirit of offense creates an ongoing atmosphere of animosity and stress for us and those around us. However, defending God and our beliefs, as given the opportunity, creates an atmosphere of possible change….change that will be God honoring and not offensive to God and His truth.

Thanks for letting me share my heart. Please let me know if I can pray for you in a specific way during this very difficult time in our nation and world. The best way to do that is to fill out a contact form on my website: www.caringhansen.com

HOPE For These Troubled Times

This year has been a year of great change, confusion, frustration, fear and uncertainty for the future. Every year has its challenges for us… whether personal, familial, financial or a host of other possibilities. However, 2020 has heaped challenge upon challenge on each of us, which at the very least, is exhausting. 

What if I said I had the answer to these questions and that there is hope in that answer… but, I didn’t share the answer? I wouldn’t be a good friend, would I? I am sure you are thinking, how can I be so prideful as to say I have the answer?! Well, let me rephrase the first part of that sentence.  – What if I said I thought I had the answer to these questions and that there is hope in that answer? The response is still the same, isn’t it? I wouldn’t be a good friend if I didn’t share what I thought was the answer.

I know that many, or even most, of you who read my blog are Christians, but the Lord has laid this on my heart and so, in this post I am going to share, as graciously as I can, the reason for the hope I have within me. Do you know what being a Christian really means? I doesn’t mean I am better than you, or that I think I am better than you. It doesn’t mean that I have to follow a list of do’s and don’ts. AND, it definitely doesn’t mean that I live perfectly – not even close! What it does mean is that I have believed what the Bible says about who Christ was and is, and that I have made a decision to live my life as a follower of Christ.

The “plan of salvation” are some scripture verses that explain who God is, who Jesus Christ was/is, who we are to God and how we can be saved unto eternal life by simply believing that Jesus is who the Bible says he was. Here are those verses.

John 3:16 “For this is how much God loved the world—he gave his one and only, unique Son as a gift.  So now everyone who believes in him will never perish but experience everlasting life.”

John 14:6 “Jesus explained, “I am the Way, I am the Truth, and I am the Life. No one comes next to the Fatherexcept through union with me.”

Romans 3:23 “…for we all have sinned and are in need of the glory of God.”

Romans 6:23 “For sin’s meager wages is death, but God’s lavish gift is life eternal, found in your union with our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One.”

Ephesians 2:8,9 “For it was only through this wonderful grace that we believed in him. Nothing we did could ever earn this salvation, for it was the gracious gift from God that brought us to Christ!

Romans 10:9,10 “And what is God’s “living message”? It is the revelation of faith for salvation, which is the message that we preach. For if you publicly declare with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will experience salvation. The heart that believes in him receives the gift of the righteousness of God—and then the mouth gives thanksto salvation.”

John 1:12 “But those who embraced him and took hold of his namewere given authority to become the children of God!”

I too have had many times of feeling hopeless and fearful of what is ahead of us as a nation and world during this time. I am not immune or somehow exempt from these feelings because of my faith. However, what I do have is a hope that I can draw back to each time I feel overwhelmed by life’s circumstances.

I do not want to alienate you or offend you. My sole purpose is for this post is to share what I feel is the most important thing I have ever shared with you. I will joyously answer questions if you want to ask me more about this “plan of salvation”.

I am praying for each of you who read this because, in this uncertain time, we can all use some prayer.