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The Romans Road

 

I heard about the Romans Road to Salvation many years ago, but had not taken the time to read the corresponding scriptures until recently. My personal salvation story is a little different. I will go into that in another post, but in this one I want to say that I absolutely love the straight forward approach of the Romans Road! I discovered that God had wisely placed in the Bible a road map for leading someone to Christ. It shouldn’t have surprised me, the Bible is full of wisdom for just about any situation we will ever face. Below is the Romans Road to Salvation:

The Problem:

Romans 3:23

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

Romans 3:10

As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one;

These verses give us a bleak scenario on the human condition. Paul makes it pretty clear, we have ALL sinned. We ALL fall short of the glory of God and NONE of us is righteous, NOT EVEN ONE! There is not one person on this earth that is living without some sin in his/her life. In some way, shape or form we ALL sin against God. Not one of us is perfect and not one of us will ever be able to say that we are sin free.

The Consequences:

Romans 5:12

Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned

Romans 6:23

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

We learned in the verses above that we all have sin in our lives. The consequences of that sin is death. BUT God gives us the GIFT of eternal life through His Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

No Excuses:

Romans 1:20

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

God has shown and continues to show us His eternal power and and divine nature. Look around you; the beautiful sunset over the ocean, trees decked out in their Fall finest, skyscrapers that seem to touch the clouds, the list goes on and on. God has shown us His power. There is no excuse for living in sin, but in His grace God gave us a way out:

The Solution:

Romans 5:8

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

God sent His only son, Jesus Christ, to pay the price for our sins. Christ died for us, so that we may live eternally. God loved us that much!

The Response:

Romans 10:9-10

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. 10 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.

We CAN have eternal life in Heaven after this life is over. We have to believe that God raised Jesus from the dead and it is only through Him that we be saved from our sin and the eternal fires of Hell. We have to declare with our mouth that Jesus is Lord. It is when we profess our faith and share our faith with others that God works in our hearts and transforms our lives.

The Assurance:

Romans 10:13

for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

God promised that when we profess Jesus as our Savior and call on the name of the Lord we WILL be saved! How reassuring to know that even though life may one struggle after another, but if we call on God, we WILL be saved and spend eternal life in Heaven.

The Promise:

Romans 5:1

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,

Romans 8:1

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,

Romans 8:38-39

38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

God promises three things in these verses if we believe that Jesus was raised from the dead to save us from our sins and if we profess with our mouth that Jesus is Lord:

  1. We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
  2. We are no longer condemned in our sin.
  3. Nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God.

If you are someone who has been wondering what a life in Christ is all about or you are ready to take the next step, the Romans Road is a great place to start and you are always invited to contact me and we can go through it together. I am always here to share how God has worked in my heart and my life and to walk with you as you discover Jesus in your own life. God Bless!

JESUS IS LORD!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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After months of gathering documentation, attorney meetings and court appearances, our prayers were answered, but not in the way we wanted or expected. My daughter, Cherokee and Son-in-law, Chris were fighting for permanent custody of Chris’s two sons; 9 year old Haydon and 4 year old Keaton. He shares 50/50 custody with his ex-wife and the arrangement has been stressful and is not in the best interest of the boys. Cherokee and Chris were given the news this past Thursday that permanent custody would NOT be granted. We were all disappointed, sad and angry at the judge’s decision.

I then found myself asking God, “WHY?” I prayed! Others prayed! This was not some attempt to get back at an ex. This was sincerely for the health and well-being of the boys. Why would God not give Chris custody of his sons? Why would justice and safety for the boys not be God’s will? Why would God leave these young children in an unsafe situation when we love them so much and can make sure they are safe and cared for?

All questions I may never have answers for. I have come to understand that God doesn’t owe us any explanations on anything He does. We may never know the ultimate reasoning for this decision. Sometimes we pray and are still heartbroken by the outcome.

THEN WHY DO WE PRAY?

I’m not even going to pretend to know why prayers that seem to be reasonable and appropriate are answered with a resounding NO! I am just as confused by God’s actions as everyone else. However, I can say this:

I will NEVER stop praying!

and

I will NEVER stop believing!

Why do I continue to pray? Why do I continue to believe? It’s simple really. Even in a life of struggle, I have seen the manifestation of the goodness of God. I have seen the answers to unspoken prayers and the protection of my children when the only answer could be: THAT WAS GOD! He continues to work good into my life even when He answers no. Without God, there is no hope. No hope in the goodness of people. No hope that all things will work out for the better. No hope that death was defeated and the enemy crushed forever.

When we stop praying the enemy laughs. When we stop believing the enemy wins. Did God answer NO! to your prayer? Are you confused? Are you angry? I urge you to keep praying. We can only see what’s in front of us. God can see the whole picture. He knows what is coming and He knows what is best for us. I know that God loves Haydon and Keaton even more than we ever could. He has every hair on their heads numbered and He will protect them and keep them safe. We have to choose to believe. I WILL continue to pray that God reveals His will in this situation. I choose to believe that this is not over. He is still at work and will bring good where we only see injustice and sadness.

If God has NO! to your prayer and you are struggling to make sense of it, please contact me. I don’t know all the answers, but maybe together we can continue to pray and find the hope that is buried underneath the confusion, anger and sadness. God IS good and He continues to have our best interest at heart. NEVER STOP PRAYING! NEVER STOP BELIEVING!

 

Day 9: The Wrap Up

 

God makes it clear in the Bible that we are to live in community. There are several verses in the New Testament that give us direction on doing life with ONE ANOTHER. In the previous eight days I have given some ways that God gives us to do life together:

Day 1: Love One Another

Day 2: Pray For One Another

Day 3: Agree With One Another

Day 4: Accept One Another

Day 5: Serve One Another

Day 6: Encourage One Another

Day 7: Live In Harmony And Peace With One Another

Day 8: Teach One Another

As Christians, we are to do life in community. Community looks different for each of us. For some it may mean the traditional church on Sundays and actively participating in other events as they come up. For some it may mean living in an intentional christian community who live together and are intimately involved in each other’s lives. Still, for others it might mean belonging to an organic house church community who share life through meals, Bible studies and other life events. Each of us is called to live out community in our own unique way. What is right for one person may not be right for someone else. As long as we are actively participating in a christian community that is intentional about following Jesus, we are living out God’s call for us to live in community. I personally believe that church should be an extension of the family. I have had my own personal struggles with the Church, but I can’t deny that longing that God has placed in my heart for community with other believers. We are stronger together. That is the way God intended it to be. Even Jesus was called to live in community and if it was right for Jesus, it has to be right for us.

 

Romans 15:14

I myself am convinced, my brothers and sisters, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with knowledge and competent to instruct one another.

Colossians 3:16

Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.

1 Timothy 4:13

Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching.

Matthew 28:16-20

16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

In Matthew 28:19 Jesus tells us to go and make disciples of all nations. In verse 20, He tells us how. Jesus tells us to make disciples by teaching them to obey everything He has commanded us. Jesus, Himself made disciples by teaching others to obey God’s commands. He was the master teacher. He was the ultimate role model in how to teach and make disciples. Below I list five things that Jesus did in teaching and making disciples:

  1. Build Relationships– Jesus spent from one to three years teaching the disciples. They were together all the time. They traveled and did life together. In this time, Jesus came to know the disciples intimately and they came to know Him intimately. Jesus was building relationships with these disciples that He would later send out into the world to teach and multiply. Building relationships is important in the teaching relationship. In today’s world spending every moment with each other probably isn’t feasible, but if we are going to teach others what it means to obey and follow Jesus, we need to invest the time in building the relationship. It may take one to three years of spending quality time with someone to make a disciple that is ready to go out and make disciples of their own, but that time invested will never be wasted.
  2. Practiced Patience– I’m sure there were times when Jesus shook His head in frustration with the twelve. They didn’t always understand the parables and needed Jesus to break it down for them. They weren’t all educated. Some of them were blue collar fishermen who needed everything spelled out for them. Jesus did not yell at them and call them dummies. he was patient in His teaching and broke things down for them when needed. We need to be patient when we are teaching and making disciples. We all have different learning styles and we need to be willing to adapt our teaching style to the person we are teaching.
  3. Admonish in Love– Admonish means to reprimand, rebuke or scold. Jesus did occasionally have to reprimand the disciples. They didn’t always get things right and He had to set them straight, but He admonished them in love. He never made them feel bad about making mistakes or messing things up. Jesus corrected the disciples from a place of love, building them up instead of tearing them down. No one is perfect. Those that we teach or disciple WILL make mistakes. Be careful to admonish from a place of love. Make sure you are building up and not tearing down.
  4. Encouraged– Jesus was an encourager. When He confronted a person who was living in sin, He did not condemn, but encouraged them to sin no more. Jesus never made the disciples feel like they would never make it as a disciple. He encouraged them in their God-given purpose and sent them out believing in themselves. We will all stumble in our relationship with God. We will all stray from the path as we follow Jesus. We need to remember to encourage those we are teaching because we ourselves are imperfect. We all need to be encouraged, especially when we are learning something new. We need to send our students out believing in themselves and the message they are sent out to share.
  5. Equipped– Jesus made sure that the twelve were ready to be sent out to teach and make disciples of their own. He made sure they were prepared to answer the hard questions of being a disciple and following Jesus. Jesus made sure they were ready to give the Gospel message clearly so that others would understand. Jesus took the time making sure that the faith of the twelve was strong enough to handle the attacks of the enemy and those who opposed Jesus. He took the time to make sure that the twelve were ready to give an answer as to why they believed in Jesus. He sent them out prepared, ready to face whatever situations they encountered. We need to make sure that those we are teaching are equipped to answer the hard questions. We need to make sure that they are ready to share their own testimony of how Jesus has worked in their lives. We need to make sure that they are ready to share the Gospel message in a way that others will understand. Our students need to be sent out prepared to face whatever Satan throws at them, with a faith strong enough to face whatever they encounter.

Jesus told us to teach others to obey His commands. We are to teach new Christians how to be a disciple. Jesus gave us a blue print for teaching and discipling. There are those around us that we can be teaching right now. Our family members, co-workers, neighbors, and friends all need to know the Gospel message. We need to be ready to teach those around us how to follow Jesus and be disciples that glorify and multiply. It won’t always be easy. There will be challenging times that make you want to quit, but don’t give up! Remember that Jesus never gives up on us and He expects us to always follow His example.

 

 

 

Romans 12:16-21

16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. 17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 On the contrary:

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
    if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”

21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

2 Corinthians 13:11

Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.

Romans 14:19

Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.

1 Peter 3:11

They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it.

God makes it clear through His Word that we are to live in peace and harmony with others. It isn’t always easy to seek peace. We live in a time when anger is the go to emotion for most of us and I will admit that I have too quickly turned to anger in many situations when I should have tried harder to seek peace. Most of us rush around in a hurry and our tempers flare whenever anyone gets in our way. We are so “me” focused that we have no compassion or patience for anyone else. This isn’t the way we are supposed to live. Fortunately for us, God doesn’t tell us to live in peace without telling us HOW to live in peace. Below, I have listed five ways that we can live at peace with those around us:

  1. Romans 14:13– Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister.
  2. 1 Corinthians 12:25– so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other.
  3. Galatians 6:2– Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
  4. James 5:9– Don’t grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!
  5. 1 Peter 4:9– Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.

I think God spells it out pretty clearly without any further explanation from me on how He expects us to live. If we live as God is telling us than living at peace with others will be so much easier.

The Challenge: Ask yourself these questions; Is there anyone I am living in judgement of? Why do I judge that person and how can I help them instead of judging them? Is there someone in my life that needs some help carrying their burden? How can I help to ease that person’s burden? Do I have concern for others who may be struggling? If not, Why? How can I show my concern for those who need a helping hand? How can I show concern for those who need Jesus? Do I go about my day grumbling? Why? How can I find the blessings in my day instead of grumbling about the things that irritate me? Do I have the opportunity to show hospitality to anyone? How can I show hospitality with a gracious attitude, instead of grumbling and making that person feel unwelcome? What other ways can I find to live in harmony with those around me? What ways can I bring peace to my community?

 

Living in harmony with EVERYONE is not always easy. People get on our nerves and the last thing we want is to make peace with them. But, if we want to live as God instructs us to then we MUST find a way to live in harmony and peace with those we live with and whose lives our lives touch. When we each do our part to bring peace to the world, Satan loses ground. When we reach out to create harmony in our communities, Satan loses a battle. Satan wants to keep us wrapped up in our anger, hurt feelings, selfishness, and busyness. As long as we are wrapped up in negativity, we can not accomplish anything for God. God is a God of peace and harmony. Why would we want to continue to live in our anger? Why would we want to continue to live in a world of chaos and fear? Why do we continue to allow Satan to keep us tied up in our selfishness? Why are we blind to the fact that living in peace is so much better for ALL of us? Why do we refuse to allow the peace of God to abide in us? Questions we ALL need to reflect on and answer for ourselves. Let me leave you with the following promises of God:

Proverbs 16:7

When the Lord takes pleasure in anyone’s way, he causes their enemies to make peace with them.

Philippians 4:6-7

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

James 3:18

Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.

Seek Peace in ALL you do and God will bless you! Peace be with you!

 

 

 

 

 

Who Is Your Shelter?

 

Psalm 91:9-13

If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,” and you make the Most High your dwelling, 10 no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent. 11 For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; 12 they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. 13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

Psalm 27:5

For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock.

Psalm 31:20

In the shelter of your presence you hide them from all human intrigues; you keep them safe in your dwelling from accusing tongues.

One of the first things Cherokee and Chris did when they bought the new house in July was buy Chickens. We have 24 chickens and they have their own space in the yard and a safe, comfortable coop. On the first day the chickens were big enough to run free in their yard, I asked Chris how long it would take to round up all 24 chickens every evening and get them back in the coop. Chris told me that they would go back in the coop on their own as the sun went down. He was right. I watched as the sun went down and one by one they headed for the coop and huddled together inside the door waiting for Cherokee or Chris to tuck them in safely for the night. I was amazed that they knew somehow that they needed to be tucked in for the night to keep them safe from predators of the night (okay, maybe they didn’t “think” all that, but somehow they knew they needed to be tucked in for the night).

Watching the chickens as they headed for the shelter of the coop reminded me how we, as humans, sometimes need shelter from the dark moments of our lives. In life, we will come upon predators who may want to harm us. We will experience the storms of life and need to seek refuge. where is our shelter? The chickens know that they have a coop to keep them safe, but where do we go when the night starts to fall and we are surrounded by darkness and evil? 

We go to God. We need to find shelter in God. Psalm 91:11 says that God commands His angels concerning us to guard us in ALL our ways. Psalm 27:5 says that when the day of trouble comes that God will keep us safe in His dwelling. Psalm 31:20 reminds us that God keeps us safe in His dwelling from accusing tongues.

Life is full of problems, heartache and pain. The reality is that there IS evil in the world. We can’t escape that fact. We can’t run from the hardships of life. It wouldn’t matter where we run to, the hardships will only follow us. The only thing that we can do is seek shelter under the wings of the Almighty God. God promises us in His word that He IS our shelter and that He WILL protect us. God does not break His promises. We need to trust that when the pain of the world hits us in the gut, that God will be our shelter and in Him we will find refuge and safety.

 

 

The hardest thing for me as a mom has been to see my kids grow into adults and struggle with their relationship with God. We were active in a local church at one time, but left due to some personal issues. After we left, we all struggled in our relationship with God. The kids struggled the most. It was hard for me to see them fall away from their faith. I felt guilty for taking them away from something that had meant so much to them at one time. In the end it was only causing them pain and they were considered in the decision to leave. We have attended different churches. My relationship with God has actually grown in the mean time, but the kids still struggle. I hate to see them struggle in the most important aspect of their lives. I try to force God on them and I know that this doesn’t work. I just want them to “get it”! I want them to embrace this Jesus that I live and breathe. God has finally convinced me to back off a bit and to give the Holy Spirit time to work in the lives of my kids.

YOU MEAN I AM NOT ACTUALLY IN CONTROL OF THEIR WHOLEHEARTEDLY ACCEPTING JESUS?

Reality sinking in. No, I am not in control of how they think or act or what they believe. As much as I would like to force them to accept my beliefs, I can’t. I can’t force Jesus on them. It just turns them away. They have to figure it out on their own the same way I had to figure it out on my own. They have to come to the realization that life with Jesus is so much better than life without Jesus. So, what do we do while they are figuring things out?

  1. Pray: We pray, pray and pray some more. We pray that the Holy Spirit will fill them with a burning desire to accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior. We pray that they will be filled with a deep desire to do God’s will in EVERY aspect of their lives. We pray through until all of our children have accepted Jesus and then we pray that they will grow in their Christian walk. The most important thing is to pray.
  2. Set a Godly example: No one is perfect. We aren’t going to get it completely right all of the time, but if our kids see us reading the Bible, praying, living our lives with integrity, serving others, and loving those around us then they will know Jesus through our actions. Don’t ever think that our kids aren’t watching how we live our lives. They are and they are deciding how they want to live.
  3. Never Judge: Our kids get enough judgement in the world, they don’t need it from their parents too. No one is perfect and our kids are learning how the world works. We all fumble. We all make mistakes. Our kids need to know that they have a safe place to fall where help will be given without judgement.
  4. Love unconditionally: God loves us no matter what and He expects us to love our kids no matter what. We need to love our kids regardless of how they choose to live. We need to continue to build our relationships with our kids. We need to continue to be that support system they so need in this world. In a place of so much hate, they need our love.
  5. Allow the Holy Spirit to work: We need to step back and allow the Holy Spirit to work in our children’s lives. Trying to force Jesus on them only pushes them away. We need to surrender our kids to God and trust Him to work in their lives in His timing. I know how hard that is, but take it from a mom who has been there, we can’t force our kids to believe. We are not in control. God is.

I have had to learn to surrender my kids to God. It has not been easy. I see them struggle with wrong choices and living life styles that are contrary to my Christian beliefs and my heart breaks for them. Life will never be free from pain, but it can be so much better when we live according to God’s will for us. My one desire in this life is that all five of my kids will know and follow Jesus Christ. I can’t make this happen. Only God can. It is now my job to get out of the way.