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Power For Living, Ephesians 1:19

Buddy resting after a long trip.

Buddy and I recently drove down HWY101 on our return trip to Arizona. We stopped for a few nights at Seaside, Oregon and then for a night at Gold Beach, Oregon so that Buddy would have some ocean beach time before returning to the desert. The entire trip lasted 6 nights as I avoided I-5.* Apparently, fussing for several days in the car and attempting multiple times to get onto my lap exhausted the little guy; he ran out of energy.

Like many Americans, I celebrated the successful launch of the SpaceX spacecraft, Dragon. Pastor Ben Davis of Hope Fellowship, Maple Valley, Washington compared the rocket that sent the two crew members to the International Space Station to the Holy Spirit: Just as it took a massive amount of power to transport astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley into outer space, so there exists a mighty force to empower the body and soul of the human race.

One of the most vital components of being a Christian was totally unknown to me as an ubeliever: that a person becomes born again when the Holy Spirit indwells their inner being. No one had ever told me what being born again meant, not even the Christians who had tried to convert me. So it was a total shock when the Holy Spirit entered into me after I’d given my life to Christ via a volunteer phone counselor during a Billy Graham Crusade TV program.

God created people to be triune beings: body, soul and His Spirit. When Adam and Eve rebelled against God’s authority, wanting to be their own gods and decide for themselves what was good and evil (Genesis 3:5-6), God’s Spirit left them. Therefore, all of their offspring–the human race–was, and is, born devoid of God’s presence within their inner being.

There is great power available to transform a person’s life, but they are usually unaware of it.

As I was.

Therefore, the problem with humanity is not that we sin, but that we are sinners.

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”–Apostle Paul, Romans 3:23

We are sinners because the human race is separated from God Almighty, who is the source of all life. He created us, gives us a soul and a personality. But we have no spiritual power because we are incomplete, devoid of the Holy Spirit.

I believe that at some point in their lives, every person becomes aware of this inner emptiness, but most try to ignore it or don’t understand why it exists and just limp along, living with the awareness that something is wrong in their soul.

Or attempt to quiet the distress of their souls through “enlightenment” or politics or other compulsive behaviors.

The true cure for this inner emptiness is a relationship with Jesus Christ of Nazareth, the One through Whom all things were created (Colossians 1:16) and Who is our life (Colossians 3:4).

“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know…the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.”–Apostle Paul, Colossians 1:19

With the help of God, my energy level is improving, despite some chronic health issues. When I choose to forgive, I can literally feel a heavy weight lift off of my mind and soul. Loving, grateful and kind thoughts are slowly pushing out the bitter, selfish and unkind thoughts that once characterized most of my thinking.

Letting go of these heavy anchors of sinful thoughts…

My soul feels lighter!

And like a Dragon, I can soar toward the heavens!

***

Do you want to experience the power of Christ in your life? Please pray this simple prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, I’ve done things that grieve you because I’m spiritually dead. I want to repent of my sinful, unloving and selfish behavior, and invite you to be my Lord and Savior. I believe that Jesus died for my sins, taking the punishment I deserve for my wrongdoing, because you love me and want me to spend eternity with You. You don’t want me to suffer the consequences of dying for my own sins, separated from You, the source of all life and power. Jesus rose bodily from the dead, conquering death and proving that He is God. I humbly ask the Holy Spirit to come into my life and make me a new Creation. Thank you in Jesus’ great name. Amen

Please start reading the Bible daily. Before you begin to read, ask the Holy Spirit to guide you into understanding what you are reading and how to apply it to your life. And, if possible, please attend a church or Bible Study where the people truly believe in the Bible. It is much easier to withstand the pull of our ungodly culture when you are not walking alone. If COVID19 is preventing you from going to a church, there are great ministries on YouTube, the TV or radio. I highly recommend Dr Charles Stanley’s ministry at In Touch (www.InTouch.org).

*Sorry to state this but the landscape in Nevada was generally pretty boring. I recommend a different path heading South. It appeared to me that God dumped the rubble from digging out the Grand Canyon into the Nevada desert. (Don’t take me too literally! I’m being a little facetious here!)

The Holy Spirit, Your Ticket to Heaven, Ephesians 1:13-14

Buddy looking over the impassable path.

Buddy is examining the branch which is one of many blocking his path around the lake in our old neighborhood. As he could not navigate through each obstacle, I had to pick him up and climb over the branches or move them out of our way.

Jesus is the good Shepherd Who came to earth to help us out, to pick us up and carry us over that impassable divide to Heaven. Like Buddy, we have an obstacle in our path that is preventing us from getting to Heaven without assistance: sin. God hates evil: even the tiniest lie separates us from Him. Our wickedness prevents us from fellowshipping with Him.

But the problem is even worse: We are “dead in our trespasses and sins,” Ephesians 2:1. Jesus came in order to give us life.

“I came that they might have life, and have it abundantly.” Jesus, John 10:10

You see, we were designed to reflect God, Who is a Triune being. We are supposed to be Triune beings, also: body, soul and Spirit. But when Adam and Eve rebelled against God, declaring that they wanted to decide what was good and evil for themselves and not have God tell them, the Holy Spirit left humanity. As a result, all of their offspring are born incomplete, broken: no longer triune beings but only soul and spirit.

The way to become complete once again is to receive the Holy Spirit back into our lives. But that is impossible to achieve in our own strength: We can never be good enough to earn God’s presence and blessing. The path is impassable. Jesus said to enter the kingdom of heaven, “you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Jesus, Matthew 5:48

Everyone is imperfect, no matter how sweet and kind we think they are. No one can earn their way into heaven, because “the person who sins will die” (Ezekiel 19:20). Everyone must die for their sin to pay the penalty for not living a perfectly loving life.

So humanity was in a terrible bind. God hates sin and must punish it, but loves us and doesn’t want to be separated from us. So He sent Jesus, God in the flesh (Matthew 1:23), to live the perfect life that is impossible for us to live. Because Jesus did not have to die for His own sins, having none, He was able to die to take the penalty for our sins instead.

All we have to do is reverse the curse of Adam and Eve by admitting we’ve grieved God by sinning against Him and humbly ask Him to be our Lord, that we want to follow His ways instead of our own. That we believe that Jesus is the Lord and died in place for our sins. And that He was resurrected bodily to give us eternal life.

And then you receive your ticket to heaven: The indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit who will change your heart and make you a new Creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). You will become whole again, a triune being: Body, soul and Spirit of God.

“After listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation–having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, Who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.” Ephesians 1:13-14

The Holy Spirit seals you as God’s promise that you have eternal life with Him. Without this indwelling presence of God, you cannot get into Heaven. You will still be incomplete, separated from God.

The Holy Spirit is your ticket to Heaven.

And it’s a ticket you cannot earn, but to receive as a gift of grace by casting aside your pride and humbly asking for His salvation.

God bless you in this time of crisis.

Love from Dawn and Buddy

***

If you’d like to get that ticket to Heaven, please pray the following: Dear Lord, I’ve sinned and grieved You. I no longer want to decide what is right and wrong for myself but follow You as my Good Shepherd, Who knows perfectly the correct path to follow. Please forgive my sin. I believe that Jesus is the Christ, who died for my sin and was resurrected bodily and returned to Heaven. Please grant me the Holy Spirit to lead and guide me into all righteousness.

If you prayed this prayer, congratulations. May God bless you richly. Please ask the Holy Spirit to guide your understanding as you read the Holy Bible. I suggest starting with the book of Matthew in the New Testament as it is easy to understand. And please find a godly, Bible-based church because it is hard to stand strong alone in our ungodly culture. There is strength, and encouragement, in numbers.

Take care!

What Is Salvation? Ephesians 2:1

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Last Wednesday my family celebrated Buddy’s 11th birthday. I don’t know his true birthday, only that he was a summertime puppy. However, a little over 8 years ago on August 21st, 2011, I picked up Buddy from Barbara, who was working with Silky Terrier Rescue as a foster mom, so that’s his unofficial birthday. He’s been a great little pal and I’m very thankful to them both for rescuing and fostering Buddy till he came into my life. And am praying that Buddy will have many more happy and healthy years.

It’s my belief that many people don’t understand what salvation is, not only nonbelievers, but also many people who claim to be Christians. I agree with the Basic Gospel ministry that many preachers teach only “half a gospel”, i.e. that to become a Christian you repent of your sin. True enough.

But the problem with humanity is not that we sin, but that we are sinners. We sin as a result of who we are: fallen humanity. Whether you believe in Adam or Eve or not, the point of the story is that humanity chose to believe satan, rather than God. They chose to be their own gods and choose for themselves right and wrong, rejecting God as their Lord Who defines right and wrong.

We were created in God’s image (Genesis 1:26). God is a triune being–Father, Son and Holy Spirit. So, we too, were once triune beings–body, soul and filled with God’s Spirit. When our human ancestors rejected God, the Holy Spirit left the human race. As a result, we are all born incomplete: body and soul only. Everyone is born spiritually dead. That is why everyone feels incomplete and tries to fill that emptiness with food, drugs, alcohol, pleasure, sex, whatever, to make that wrong feeling go away. But it never works because that hole in your soul was meant to be filled with God’s Spirit only. Nothing else will satisfy and make you feel complete.

What that means is that, as Apostle Paul explained to the Ephesians who lived in a culture steeped in the occult:

“You were dead in your trespasses and sins,…” Ephesians 2:1

Doing good works or being good or knowing enough or being wise isn’t going to give you life. The problem isn’t just that you are bad and God is good; the problem is that you’re dead in your sin and need spiritual life.

And only Jesus Christ can give you life.

That’s the problem that unbelievers don’t understand. And what many Christians don’t understand, either. It’s not about a list of rules to obey. Christianity isn’t just a religious system: It’s about your soul being resurrected spiritually from the dead so that you can interact with God. Only spiritually alive people can enter heaven; only spiritually alive people can relate to God the Father.

It is the reason why, after Adam and Eve listened to satan and rejected God’s authority, that they ran and hid from Him. And God was walking around asking, “Where are you?” It wasn’t that God isn’t omniscient and didn’t know where they were physically; it was because they were no longer connected to Him spiritually (Genesis 3:9).

Jesus died for our sins; He took the punishment we deserved to satisfy God’s wrath for our sinful behavior.

But Jesus was also resurrected from the dead, proving He was God in the Flesh (Immanuel, Matthew 1:23). When we put our faith in Him, we are also resurrected from the dead with Him and seated in the heavenly places with Christ. Which is the symbol of baptism: having our sins washed away and then resurrected to a new life.

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surprising riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.”–Ephesians 2:4-9

So the main point I’m trying to get across is: your works don’t make you right with God because you’re spiritually dead without the Holy Spirit indwelling you. You have to become spiritually alive and trying to be good doesn’t cut it. You can never be good enough to earn the Holy Spirit. You receive Him by asking in faith, admitting that you are sinful, i.e. cannot meet God’s standards and need Him to change you through His resurrection power.

It takes away all boasting before God because you cannot stand before Him and say, “Look how good I am. God is really pleased with me.” That’s what Christians call “legalism”: thinking that you can follow God’s rules to be right with Him. And those people are usually mean and judgmental. It may not be that they are not saved but that no one properly explained to them what salvation is after they accepted Jesus by faith.

Jesus said, “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?”–Luke 11:13

After accepting Christ, you’ll once again be whole: body, soul and Spirit.

Much love from Dawn and Buddy

***

There is much more that could be said to clarify, but, hopefully, I’ve laid the foundation for a greater understanding of why we need Jesus in our life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The #1 Error NonChristians Make, Genesis 3:9

LookingUp.wp

My first sight of Buddy was at pet fair in Enumclaw, Washington. He sat in a cage stacked on top of other cages housing Silkies that his foster mother was exhibiting at the show. I took one look at Buddy and thought, “Well, I don’t know you now but I’ll learn to love you.”

The number one mistake nonChristians make is believing that Christianity is just another religion. Therefore, it doesn’t matter what religion you believe in if it teaches wisdom and how to be a good person.

Christianity is not just another of many religions teaching right living and how to treat others or a self-improvement program. It is about reuniting in a love relationship with the living God Who created us.

Five thousand years ago, Adam and Eve had a perfect love relationship with God. He would walk about in the garden of Eden and fellowship with them. Their lives, gorgeous environment, nutritious food and animals as friends were freely given to them to enjoy. When they rejected God’s authority by believing Satan’s lies that God didn’t really loved them, didn’t have their best interests at heart and was holding out on them, their relationship with God fell apart.

By rejecting God’s authority, the Holy Spirit left the human race.

So we all become incomplete beings at birth, souls and bodies but no Spirit of God indwelling us.

In Genesis 3:9, you can almost hear the anguish in God’s voice as He walks the garden, looking for His companions, “Where are you?” He cries out.

But Adam and Eve are hiding from God. “I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid…so I hid myself,” Adam answers in verse 10.

Humankind has been fleeing from God’s presence ever since, making up their own rules of how to get back into relationship with Him. Most people sense that something is wrong, that they are incomplete, but, just like Adam and Eve, they don’t want to approach the God of the Bible because they know that they fall short of His expectations, His standards. Humanity’s solution is religion, a system of reaching up to God.

Christianity is about God reaching down to us, the second part of the Trinity becoming flesh and dwelling among us (John 1:14). Not us reaching up to Him. When Jesus came to earth to live among us, He didn’t sit on a throne in the temple of Jerusalem (aka Herod’s temple), announce His deity and demand that people approach Him with fear and trepidation, present gifts and bow down to Him. No. He sought out people and showed that He loved them by healing them, encouraging them, feeding them, comforting them and even resurrecting their loved ones from the dead. Jesus likely walked over three thousand miles during his three years of public ministry, seeking and saving His lost sheep, inviting people to follow Him and enter into fellowship with the Triune God.

Jesus explained why He came to earth: “For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost. (Matthew 18:11) Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:13) No one has ascended into Heaven, but He who descended from heaven: the Son of Man…For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. (John 3:13, 16-17)”

My pastor, Ben Davis of Hope Fellowship, frequently quotes this verse from the last book of the Bible, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.”–Revelation 3:20

If you don’t have a relationship with Jesus, He is knocking at the door of your heart, waiting for You to invite Him into your life. Why not ask Him now? Tell Him you’re sorry for your sins, for falling short of His holy expectations, and want Him to guide Your life and open up your eyes and heart to understand how much He loves you.

“Casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.”–Apostle Peter, 1 Peter 5:7

And enter into the greatest love relationship you will ever experience with the true and living Triune God who created you, loves you and wants you to know that you are special. You are not an accident of the universe: You were planned (Psalm 139), your life has a purpose, and He wants to be your Lord, Wonderful Counselor (Isaiah 9:6) and best friend.

“If you being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?”–Jesus, Luke 11:13

Love from Dawn and my best little Buddy