Saving Sins

By Velma Amundson

This theological discussion took place between my two granddaughters and was overheard by their mother;
Katie: “Jesus saves sins.”
Miriam: “No He doesn’t”
Katie: “Yes He does”
Miriam: “No He doesn’t”
Katie: “Yes He does. Jesus saves sins.”
Miriam: “No, you have it wrong. Jesus saves us from our sins”.

So which girl are you like? Do you picture God, or Jesus up there somewhere with a huge book in which he records all your misdeeds? Then he uses the book to punish us for every infraction we ever did? Some people do see God like that. We certainly can do it ourselves,and do it to ourselves, keeping track of everything we have ever done (did) wrong and reliving or remembering it over and over.

But of course, Miriam has it right. The book of Romans has many verses concerning sin and salvation. I like these: Romans 5:8-9 ( ESV ) “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God”, and Romans 10:9 ( ESV ) “because, 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”.

What comfort it brings me to know that God loves me so much that He loved me before I was even born, that faith and repentance are (is) all that is required, and His Word also promises (adding to it is this): Hebrews 8:12 ( ESV ) “For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.” So, not only does Christ love me and forgive(s) me, He blots out my sins and does not remember them again.”

Praise God for His love and mercy.

Sin Spots

By Velma Amundson

I have psoriasis. When I get out of the tub, I can see these ugly, red blotches on my legs. I imagine that’s what sin looks like on my soul. These ugly red blotches that mar the purity that God planned. I’ve tried a lot of things to get rid of my psoriasis, and so far, nothing works. It’s the same way with the sin spots. No matter what I do, how hard I try I can’t get rid of the spots by myself. Fortunately, I don’t have to. I have a Savior who takes away the sin. In fact, John 3:17 says, “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.” In Psalm 51:7, the Psalmist says, “Purge me with hyssop and I shall be clean, wash me and I shall be whiter than snow”. Now I consider that this is GREAT news. My Savior, Jesus, can save me of my sins and wash the sins stains away, and make me pure. Even better, Ephesians 2:8 tells me this is the gift of God, not of my own doing so I can boast about it, but a free gift.

I see the spots, and think ugly. My husband sees the spots, I know he does, he’s not blind. But, in a way he is. All he sees is me. You see, he loves me with his whole heart and he loves me just the way I am. The same is true of God. John 3:16 says it all, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosever believeth in him shall not die but have eternal life”. If possible, Romans 5:8-9 says it even better, “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us. Since therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.”

I pray that if you are reading this and you do not know Christ as your Savior, that you will turn to Him today and ask His forgiveness. He will come in, forgive you and cleanse you.

It’s Not Because of the Work

by Sarah Langness

I’m not a big birthday person. I’m okay with your birthday and his birthday or her birthday. Just not mine. And it has nothing to do with the fact that a birthday means I’m older. It’s all the attention. What are you supposed to do when a group of people sings “Happy Birthday” to you? Opening up presents in front of other people? That’s one of my least favorite things to do. And really, it’s just my birthday. Frankly, I didn’t do anything. My mom did all the work; I was just . . . born.

Mother’s Day, on the other hand, I like. Yesterday I celebrated my second Mother’s Day (and my little man’s first birthday- hooray!). I suppose if you applied my same “anti-birthday” logic to Mother’s Day, you’d think I didn’t care for this May holiday much either. But it’s much different in my mind. Sure, there’s attention – but it’s not all on me. There are LOTS of people being celebrated on Mother’s Day. There’s no song in which you sit awkwardly in front of a cake and stack of presents. And Mother’s Day – I feel like I earned it. Like it’s a day of recognition and appreciation for all I do as a mom. And I think it’s a pretty great idea!

I guess, what it all boils down to is this: I didn’t work for my birthday, so the love and greetings I receive seem undeserved. But for Mother’s Day – yeah, I do a lot of work. So I guess I feel like I deserve to be appreciated and loved. Make sense?

As I was sorting this through in my head last night, I couldn’t help but compare my “anti-birthday” and “pro-Mother’s Day” stance to God’s love and His abundant grace and freely given salvation.

God loves us. But not because of anything we’ve done. His grace extended towards us is not a payment for deeds completed. Salvation is given not because of the hard work I’ve put in at the church or the long hours at the food packing facility. I do not work for His love, His grace, His mercy. I am given His love. I am given His grace. I am given His mercy.

He loves us because we are His (Isaiah 43:3-4).
In fact, He loved us when we hated Him (Romans 5:6, 8)
He saved me as a gift. Because of His grace. He gave that which I do not deserve (Ephesians 2:8-9)
Because of His love – not because of anything I have done – I am a child of God(1 John 3:1)

I think that’s pretty awesome.

“But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved usnot on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” – Titus 3:4-7 (NASB, emphasis mine)

Our Temporary Homes

by Sarah Nelson

“For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”  2 Corinthians 5:1

We’re a few days away from our house in Michigan being sold and a few weeks away from the closing on our new home here in Oregon.  The past few months we have set up house in a sweet but small rental home.  The pancake griddle is housed in the garage, the panini maker in the master bedroom, and boxes holding things we keep wondering about are tucked too far back in storage to get them out.  Living just a few minutes from a state park and the ocean, it truly feels like we’ve been camping out, (with the luxury of our own bed and bathroom).

As excited as I am that our house in Michigan (and it’s mortgage) will no longer be ours,  my heart wanes nostalgic when I think of all the memories that we made there and that as of the final sale, no more Nelson family get-togethers will be held under that roof.  While I am so very much looking forward to settling in to our new not too small, not too big house and making it our home, I realize that it too is a temporary dwelling.

As birthdays go by and health challenges have been added to my life’s resume, I’m reminded (and  sometimes painfully so), that my body is temporary.   While taking good care of it by nourishing it correctly, exercising it properly, medicating it as necessary, and resting it, my body and yours will wear out.   This past year because of a health crisis, a lot of my time, energy, and focus has been devoted towards taking care of my body.   Temporary efforts to improve the quality of life this side of eternity.

Houses, bodies, circumstances, they are all temporary dear sisters!  Does this mean they are not important?  No!  They are a reflection of God’s design and artistry, and are to be used for His glory and honor. We live lives of gratitude when we care for and cherish the bodies, homes, and temporal blessings God has given to us.   Sometimes though, we can all too quickly forget that the homes we live in, the bodies that we inhabit, and the possessions we count as ours, are not all there is.  Our real home is heaven where eternity will be made known in it’s fullness to us.  As we tend to all that He has given us during this earthly life, let us remember that we have a permanent and forever gift in our salvation.  A salvation that endures throughout eternity!