Posts Tagged ‘trust’

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Gospel means, simply, “good news.” There are numerous so-called gospels in the world proclaiming good news to those who would listen, and these gospels come in any number of forms—from the gospel of wealth and power to the gospel of health and beauty. These gospels, however, do not address the most basic problem that all men and women have—the problem of sin and guilt; that is, spiritual deadness.

Put simply, the Gospel is the good news of Jesus Christ. It is good news because, without it, we stand condemned as sinners before a holy and just God, deserving His wrath. In Isaiah’s vision of the throne room of God, seraphim (angelic beings) cry out continually, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!” Isaiah, overwhelmed in the presence of God, cries out in despair: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!” (Isa. 6:3, 5)

Yet, in God’s perfect holiness—and this is the good news—God has, in His good pleasure, made a way for sinners to be reconciled to Himself through His Son Jesus Christ. John 3:16-17 says,

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him.

Jesus Christ lived a righteous life and then died a terrible death on a Roman cross for His people. “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all” (Isa. 53:6). Thus, Jesus Christ satisfied the holy and just requirements of God. God then raised Him from the dead, vindicating Christ’s work.

Sinners are called to repent and believe the Gospel and to trust in Christ for salvation. Sinners receive this free gift of salvation from God through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone and are thereby counted righteous before God. Romans 10:9-13 states,

If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in Him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing His riches on all who call on Him. For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Having been justified, Christians are called to walk as “living sacrifices” unto Him through the Holy Spirit because they are not their own, but were “bought with a price” (Rom. 12:1; 1 Cor. 6:20). Just as God raised Jesus Christ, so Christians await a resurrection of their own bodies, Christ being the “first fruits” of the new creation (1 Cor. 15:20). Ultimately, this is their hope—that God has begun His work of “making all things new” in the work of Jesus Christ and in the continued sanctification of His saints (Rev. 21:5). They await the new heavens and new earth in which there will be no more sin, pain, or sorrow (Rev. 21:4).

~ from St. Andrews (A Reformed Congregation)

July 2008

I stayed awake last night after about 0130 AM, just thinking about my situation.  Here I am looking about my home from the cushions from my couch, as my wife lay next to me in a hospital bed furnished by Hospice of the Valley.  I hear the whooshing of the oxygen concentrator as it pumps fresh oxygen into my wife’s lungs at 4 liters per minute or second, whatever it is.  I look about in the semi darkness and hear her labored breathing.  I think about the bills I have to pay, the rent that is very past due, and everything else one thinks about when his wife tells him the hour is near.  We have until July 9th to come up with $2153.76.  We have exhausted various local resources for help.  They are either out of money or ask us to wait a few months.  We can’t wait.  I can’t wait, and my wife and child can’t wait either.  Yes, I was working a job, but when I told them about my wife’s Dream Foundation vacation they approved, they weren’t very happy with it, but approved it.  When I returned from the vacation and told them my wife’s condition has declined since leaving, and that I needed 5 more days to find someone to come into my home to watch her, they weren’t happy about that either.  Above all that, I had to drive 40 miles to work every day.  I loved that position, but it is realistically too far to travel because, a) don’t want to be that far away from my sick wife, b) at $4.30 a gallon I was paying almost $100 a week in gas!  The company wouldn’t compensate for any of the travel.  So now, I am without a job.  I will start looking Monday, for something very close.  I need to find something that will bring in some money.

It is sad, that the state of the financial situation of many people in our country is pretty bad.  For one reason or another, a lot of Americans are robbing peter to pay paul in their life to survive!  I was laid off last May of 2007.  I was on unemployment until the end of November.  I couldn’t get a job until like February.  Things started to fall behind.  I had to take out a couple of loans from Army Emergency Relief (thank God for them!) to catch up.  But, it was only temporary.  I have never really caught up.  Now my rent is due…..it’s July and very hot, and I am NOT going to leave this house!  God must supply ALL of my needs according to His riches in glory!  Why?  Because I believe He will, and I am praying very hard, with tears, as to why He is testing us so!!  With all that is going on, why must we have to go through so much more?  I am feeling like Job again.

What to do, what to do.  The clock ticks the minutes, and hours and the days go by, one by one getting closer to THE day ~ when the rent is due, and when the lights will be turned off, etc., etc.  Life is hard.  For the young out there, it is NOT a cakewalk.  You have no one except family to care ABOUT you, and not always care FOR you.  They have their own responsibilities and expenses.  It isn’t required in the complicated world we live in today.  Oh for the days when several generations would live in one big home, like the Walton’s (sorry for the reference)!!  When we could enjoy our brothers and sisters, and grandparents all under one roof!

Today I look at the icons of Jesus Christ and pray, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy upon my family.”  I am threatened of life on the street and no place to stay, and yet my wife says she isn’t going anywhere.  Does she know something I don’t?  I have relatives staying with me from North Carolina, a daughter and granddaughter.  I was so relieved to see them, to have family near and dear, which I have missed so much.  My family is spread all over the country,  Florida, Michigan, California, North Carolina, and Arizona.  Why do families and children want to be so far from each other?  What has society done to these precious relationships?

God wants me to build His church, but then His church starts with my family, then it grows from there.  As a married Orthodox priest, I see how family is related to the Church and the Church to family.  The Church has helped us, but is unable to help us completely.  Thank God for what they could do!

Is this a plea for help?  Or is this an observation of someone in need maybe too proud to ask or to afraid of rejection?  It is probably both.  Some of you are subscribed to my blog and others aren’t.  I wish all my friends were subscribed to my blog.  Not just for this piece I am writing now, but for the instruction and writing that I have done to teach you the teachings of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

In conclusion, I fell asleep last night thinking on all these things.  I dreamt weird dreams, about raging rivers, and ragged rock faces, treacherous roads, and strangers hindering me.  I feel as though I am facing doom, but I know my Savior is near me and loves me, and will not let me down…..it’s just the process that really sucks!

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

My wife passed away July 29th 2008.

baptism

1 Peter 3:20-21, “which aforetime were disobedient, when the long suffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water: which also after a true likeness doth now save you, even baptism, not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the interrogation of a good conscience toward God, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ…”

Baptism – the water of baptism, symbolizing the regeneration of the Holy Spirit, is the means of salvation to all those who receive the Holy Spirit in His quickening, cleansing efficacy. Now as the waters of the flood could not have saved Noah and his family, had they not made use of the ark; so the water of baptism saves no man, but as it is the means of his getting his heart purified by the Holy Spirit through faith in Jesus Christ, and illustrates to him that purification.

John 3:5, “Jesus answered, “Truly, truly I say to you, unless someone is born of water and spirit, he is not able to enter into the kingdom of God.”

Jesus asserted the obligation of (baptism) the outward rite, He asserted likewise, as its necessary complement, the presence and creating and informing energy of the Spirit with which John had promised that the coming one should baptize (Matthew 3:11). That as John’s baptism had been unto repentance, for the remission of sins, so the new life must include the real no less than the symbolic cleansing of the old, sinful life, and the infusion by the Spirit of a new and divine principle of life. Thus Jesus’ words included a prophetic reference to the complete ideal of Christian baptism – “the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Ghost” (Tit. 3:5; Eph. 5:26); according to which the two factors are inseparably blended (not the one swallowed up by the other), and the new life is inaugurated both symbolically in the baptism with water, and actually in the renewing by the Holy Spirit, yet so as that the rite, through its association with the Spirit’s energy, is more than a mere symbol: is a veritable vehicle of grace to the recipient, and acquires a substantial part in the inauguration of the new life. Baptism, considered merely as a rite, and apart from the operation of the Spirit, does not and cannot impart the new life. Without the Spirit it is a lie. It is a truthful sign only as the sign of an inward and spiritual grace. ~ M. R. Vincent

Titus 3:4-5, “But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit…”

“The washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,” literally means “the laver of regeneration and the renewal of the Holy Spirit.” It does not mean the act of bathing, but the bath, the laver. The phrase laver of regeneration distinctly refers to baptism, in connection with which and through which as a medium regeneration is conceived as taking place. It is true that nothing is said of faith; but baptism implies faith on the part of its recipient. It has no regenerating effect apart from faith; and the renewing of the Holy Spirit is not bestowed if faith be wanting. ~ M. R. Vincent

Ephesians 5:26, “having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word…”

“To be connected with having cleansed it by the laver of water: with the word describes that which accompanies the sacrament and which is the peculiar element of baptismal purification. Compare John 15:3, “You are already clean because of the word that I have spoken to you.” St. Augustine says: “Take away the word, and what is the water but water?” ~ M. R. Vincent

When someone desires baptism, they are asked whether or not they have repented of their sins and placed their faith and trust in God through Jesus Christ. This is the “inquiry” spoken of in 1 Peter 3:21, and the answer is given, “I do repent of my sins, and I have placed my faith and trust in God through Jesus Christ…I believe that Jesus Christ is my Savior and Lord.”

Therefore, it is clarified of what St. Peter said in Acts 2:38-39, “And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized, each one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children, and for all those who are far away, as many as the Lord our God calls to himself.”