Don’t Die This Semester!

My college economics professor let it be known on the first day that there would be no excused absences in his class.   He stated that being absent was an automatic course drop and therefore an incomplete grade – a horror in 1969.

Of course there are always the exceptions …

“I have heard every phony excuse there is for missing my class.  Don’t do it!  There are only two legitimate reasons for missing my class per semester:”

  1. “You got married”
  2. “You died”

Naturally, about two weeks later I missed class.  As I approached him timidly about it, he said, “WELL, I SEE YOU AREN’T DEAD, SO BRING ME YOUR MARRIAGE CERTIFICATE.”

I felt like saluting as I said, “YES SIR!” and hurriedly escaped to obey his command (Yes, I was just married).

Strike One!

Over the coming months all went well, even though it soon became painfully obvious that econ was not my forte.  However, one fateful day I missed class again. I was terrified to approach his desk.  Did I mention that I was diligently striving for at least a 3.5 GPA; and this problem was not supposed to be part of the picture?

As I opened my mouth to blurt my excuse he cut me off with, “I SEE YOU ARE NOT DEAD AND YOU ARE ONLY ALLOWED TO GET MARRIED ONCE PER SEMESTER.  YOU ARE NOT EXCUSED!!!”

I instantly teared up and flushed beet red.  I backed up and headed for the open doorway …

“ER … HOWEVER, I HAVE HEARD IT ALL, BUT TELL ME.  IF I’VE NEVER HEARD YOURS, IT MAY EARN YOU AN EXCUSED ABSENCE.”

Did I hear him right?  I could possibly get a reprieve?  I blew my nose and tried to talk, but nothing came out.  I cleared my throat and managed, “My clothes were stolen.”

“WHAT?” he roared.  He was glaring, and then his eyes widened in disbelief.

“TELL ME ABOUT IT RIGHT NOW!”

Jesus, help me!  I was about to collapse from fear or heat stroke on the linoleum floor.  Remember the old kind with square linoleum tiles the janitors used to mop with chlorine bleach-water and then wax and buff with that big machine every night?  Yes, that floor.  I was hot and tired from an hour of gym class; running downhill to go home to change; and running back uphill in temperature of 100+F.

He had kindled hope, so I rallied with the truth.

“I have gym class before econ and when I went back to my locker after showering my clothes were gone – stolen.  I had to run home in my gym shorts; change; and by the time I got back, class was over.  So here I am – dressed but missed class,” I stammered.

“I am so sorry,” I trailed off as I realized I was not that sorry.  Had he heard this before?   Locker thieves were evidently on the loose.  Had this happened to anyone else yet?  I was thirsty.  I searched his face … no reaction.  Nothing.  His face was frozen in a peculiar questioning grimace.  I hung my head.

All of a sudden he belly-laughed.  He roared out, “I CAN’T BELIEVE IT!  THAT’S A FIRST.”

“ABSENCE IS EXCUSED!”Sherron College Photo

Strike two!

I was about to faint from thirst and relief.

“SHERRON!”

“Yes?”

“DON’T DIE THIS SEMESTER!”

Seriously?  So now you know why I couldn’t die that semester.

Over time I realize that our Heavenly Father doesn’t appreciate excuses for not showing up for class either.  He has generously given life, clothing, and our beautiful earth to sustain us.  We can repent from sin; marry Jesus once this semester; and escape the everlasting death part.

“So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.” ~ Romans 14:12 NKJV

Enjoy the holidays and remember:  DON’T DIE THIS SEMESTER!

Thank you for following

Old Timers Cemetery
Importantstuff.Live

Clinging to Good

canstockphoto40134124

The season of giving and thankfulness is upon us – My favorite time of the year!

9bCling to what is good. 10Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; ~ Romans 12:9b-10 NKJV

Is that even possible in our society today?

Of course it is.  And no better time than now.  Tis the season to invite friends over for food, drink, and conversation by the fire.  Give cheerfully – not expensively.  Bake cookies.  Be kind.  Mend fences.

Some folks suffer from depression during the holidays and my heart goes out to them.  It isn’t easy to be cheerful when your heart is heavy or the budget does not allow for much gift giving.  Toss the materialism and enjoy giving the most valuable gifts:  Time, love, laughter and hope.  God does not want any to suffer pain or fear.

Be of the same mind to one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion. ~ Romans 12:16 NKJV

Continue to pray for God’s strength while clinging to good.  He is faithful and your example will bless others.

Thank you for following

importantstuff.live
importantstuff.live

PC: Can Stock Photo Inc/liveslow

Measuring Faith

Siberian Larch 2018
Splendorous Siberian Larch

Do I have enough faith to serve God?  Absolutely!  Am I being conceited to make such a statement?  NO! – For God gave each believer just the right amount of faith.

3For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. ~ Romans 12:3 NKJV

No believer is greater or lesser than another brother or sister in Christ.  To think so WOULD BE conceited.  Our Father in Heaven has given each of us a calling, or gift of the Spirit, or any one of a myriad of special assignments in order to serve Him during our life here on earth.  What is important is that we serve humbly and that we bear fruit – and not compare spiritual fruits within the Church.

There have been many times that I felt intimidated instead of encouraged by the exemplary service of other believers.  The Holy Spirit is quick to remind me that’s stinkin’ thinkin‘!

The reality is that Jesus has done it all and simply allowed His followers to participate in His victory.  He supplies redemption, transformation, divine purpose, and a customized, perfectly individualized measure of faith to each one of us.  For without faith, there is no hope; prayer isn’t answered; and we are still disconnected in our relationship to Him.  So faith has very little to do with us and everything to do with Him.  Mostly, it seems that we just need to be willing to show up for duty and be ready to do our part.

4For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, 5so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. ~ Romans 12:4-5 NKJV

Hey, I have no idea how much faith exists in the universe.  But I don’t need to know.  All that matters is that God knows, and that in love and grace He measured out just the right amount of faith to get me through – and you, too.

Thank You, LORD!

And thank you for following

importantstuff.live
importantstuff.live
Image

Conformed vs. Transformed

This year is my 60th birthday in Christ Jesus!  I wish I could testify that my life was powerfully transformed the moment I accepted Yeshua as my personal Savior and that I lived according to His perfect will this past 60 years.

Truthfully, I have been more conformed than transformed.

1I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. ~ Romans 12:1-2 NKJV

Most of my life was not spent serving God, but in serving myself.  As a new believer, I was eager to learn God’s ways, but my enthusiasm waned as I progressed through childhood and on into adult life.  I became primarily focused on personal achievement, starting a family, and “the cares of this life” took over.  Focusing on the cares of life became such a priority that I slowly conformed to cultural “norms” of this world.  My body was not a living sacrifice to God.  I sporadically walked out my faith by thinking I was keeping the Ten Commandments, but for the most part I was “missing in action”.

Encouraged by the Apostle Paul, my focus now is to finish my faith race much stronger than I began.  To know the heart of God, read Romans 12.  The whole chapter spells out in plain language how to live a life that is pleasing to Our Holy Father God.  He states what our reasonable service should look like:

We should be transformed by the renewing of our minds.  How do we do that?  – By reading His Holy Word, the Bible.  We are to live, serve, and forgive fervently by the power of His love and Spirit.  So praying the sinner’s prayer puts our names in The Book of Life, but real transformation requires more from us.  We must draw close to Him and learn His ways.  That, dear friend, is accomplished through the daily reading of His “Good Book”.  There is no short cut to learning how to behave like a Christian.  Don’t waste valuable time missing the mark like I did.  Jump into Romans 12 with me and next time we will continue studying what God says about finding His perfect will in our lives.

Until then, HAPPY 60th BORN-AGAIN BIRTHDAY TO ME! and thank you for following

importantstuff.live
importantstuff.live

The Most Important Book

Of all the books in the modern world (almost 130 million), The Lamb’s Book of Life is the most important book – at least as far as it relates to every person who has ever lived.  And why would that be?

Read Revelation 20-21

Notice the events of the Great White Throne Judgement, which takes place at the end of Christ’s Millennial Reign on this earth:

11And I saw a great white throne, and Him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.  12And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works . . .  15And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.  (Emphasis added) ~Rev. 20 KJV

The scripture is meant to grab our attention.  It is nearly impossible to read that verse and just move on without experiencing a strong reaction to the horrifying finality of verse 15 – a pang; likely followed by fearful thoughts, “Is my name written there?”  And, “How can I know?”

1And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea . . . 9aAnd there came to me one of the seven angels . . .  10And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God.  27And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life. (Emphasis added)  ~ Revelation 21 KJV

Exactly who are they who are already written in the Lamb’s Book of Life?

  1. Believers that Jesus (Yeshua) is the only way of salvation  ~John 14:6, Acts 4:10-12
  2. Fellow laborers in God’s fields of harvest of souls  ~Philippians 4:3
  3. Witnesses to the Gospel of Jesus  ~ Luke 10
  4. Overcomers  ~Rev. 3:5
  5. Tribulation Saints  ~Daniel 12:1

Whose names WILL NOT be found written in the Lamb’s Book of Life?

  1. Unbelievers, and those who rely on their own “works” to be judged holy before God  ~Rev. 21:8, Rev. 20:12,15
  2. Those whose names have been blotted out! – Shocking, but true  ~ Rev. 3:5, Rev. 22:19, Exodus 32:31-33
  3. Worshippers of the Antichrist  ~Rev. 13:8
  4. Those who wonder after the Beast in the Great Tribulation  ~Rev. 17:8
  5. Those who accept the mark of the Beast and worship his image  ~Rev. 14:9-11
  6. Those who grieve the Holy Spirit of God (A whole other subject!)  ~Ephesians 4:30

Someday all dead people of the earth will be resurrected to stand before The Lamb, Jesus Christ, at the Great White Throne Judgement.  But we can know TODAY what our individual outcome of judgement for sin will be.

Today is the day of salvationToday is the day to make a decision on where we will spend eternity.  No one knows if life tomorrow will be granted.  There is no opportunity to change the outcome after death.  God loves us and has sent His Only Begotten Son, Jesus, to die in our place.  Our Heavenly Father doesn’t want anyone to perish in the lake of fire.

For the Son of Man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.  ~Luke 9:56a KJV

If you have never made a decision about this, take care of spiritual business right now.  Prayerfully ask Jesus to come into your life; to reign and to rule; to be your Sovereign Lord:

  1. Accept that Jesus is the Son of the Almighty God (Jehovah), Who came to earth to offer Himself as a sacrifice on a bloody cross for our sins.
  2. Repent now and ask Jesus to forgive you for sin; and believe on His Name for salvation.
  3. Give your life to Jesus and ask that your name be written in His Book of Life!  The world will say that redemption cannot be that simple.  Well, God chose to make it simple for us and hard for Him!  Jesus was beaten, tortured, and crucified for our sin – He Who had no sin.  Our works will never be good enough to save ourselves.  All we have to do is to make the right choice.  Doing nothing about this dilemma is making the wrong choice.
  4. If you just trusted Jesus to redeem your life by His Truth, Congratulations!  Welcome to God’s everlasting kingdom!  You are saved!  The angels in heaven are singing praises to God for your decision!  One angel is now writing your name in that most important Lamb’s Book of Life!
  5. Thank Him and rejoice for delivering you from eternal damnation to the lake of fire!
  6. It is very important that you confess your decision to someone else.  Profess by faith your confidence that you are sealed to Jesus and are redeemed by His innocent blood which was shed at the cross of Calvary for your sins:

Whosoever therefore shall confess Me before men, him will I confess also before My Father which is in heaven.  ~Matthew 10:32 KJV

Email me to share your decision for Christ.  That counts as confessing Jesus before men, yes!  I will pray for you as you begin your new life in Christ.  Find a Bible and begin reading in the New Testament, Book of John.  Search out a Bible-believing-teaching-preaching local church and be obedient by following our Lord Jesus in baptism.  You now have a ready-made witness to share with others about where your name is written!

Are there any other special privileges or rights associated with having our name written in The Lamb’s Book of Life?  Definitely!

  1. Only those whose names are found written in The Lamb’s Book of Life will be granted entrance into the New Jerusalem.  ~Rev. 21:27
  2. Only those found in The Lamb’s Book of Life have the right to eat the fruit of The Tree of Life (yes, that’s eternal life!).  ~Rev. 22:14

God bless you, and thank you for following

importantstuff.live
importantstuff.live

Where is Wisdom?

Skip to the back of the Book for the answer, right?

I would recommend reading the Epistle of James for a “let’s cut to the chase” approach to finding Biblical truth.  This is the “Be ye doers of the Word, and not hearers only” book of the Bible.  The letter is written by the brother of Jesus, known as James (traditionally).  He must have been a “shoot from the hip” sorta guy, as he wastes few words and makes his points clear, verse by verse.

Whenever I feel that I am losing myself in my Christian walk, I often end up with James.  His approach to testing and temptation is so practical:

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. ~ James 1:5 NKJV

See what I mean?  Wisdom is not elusive to those whose faith is being tested.  But here is the key:

But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. ~ James 1:6-8 NKJV (emphasis added)

So when I am feeling at a loss during trials of life, that means I forgot to humble myself and ask my Father in Heaven for the answers – Then thank Him for answering my prayer – and leave it there.

I once heard of a follower of Christ who prayed only once about any request or need.  When asked why he didn’t pray longer, or repeatedly for the same need, his answer was, “Why bother to pray at all if I don’t have faith that God heard me the first time and will certainly answer?”

I tend to agree.

Recommend:  Read James to get wised up on how the “Implanted Word is able to save your souls”.  James is a short book of the Bible; just five brief chapters, but it packs a wallop on how to live a faith-filled life for God.

Thank you for following

importantstuff.live
importantstuff.live