Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. (James 4:8)

Posts tagged ‘salvation’

Walls Come Down

Brokenwall

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

By Lisa Nordell-Detres

One of the first things Jesus did when He began His ministry on earth was to break down the existing social, cultural and economic barriers of His time. When Jesus revealed His Divinity to the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4, He broke through several barriers:

• Racism: the Samaritans were descendants of the Jews who had married Babylonians and others during the Captivity. They were hated by the Jews and considered less than human. Racism was never a value taught by Jesus, but the church somehow missed that queue. We need to make sure to correct our wrong attitudes towards people different from ourselves so that we can do our part to carry out the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20)

• Sexism: By simply speaking with this woman, Jesus demonstrated the importance of women in His kingdom to a world that considered women to be chattel. As we continue reading through the New Testament, we will see how several women were counted as Jesus’ friends. There is a clear leadership hierarchy set up within the Church, but don’t ever think that teaching children or serving the aged members is any less important to the overall mission of the Gospel than preaching from the pulpit or being an elder. The most important characteristic of a follower of Christ is to be willing to serve Him in any way that brings Him glory and honor. Remember, it’s all about Jesus!

• Judgment/elitism: This Samaritan woman was an outcast even among her own outcast people because of her life choices. In verses 16-18, Jesus spoke truth into her life without condemnation. What resulted from this conversation is that many in a town of outcasts came to a saving knowledge of the Savior even before the religious elites. We need to see people in every walk of life as Jesus sees them: precious in His eyes, valuable creations who need to know the truth of His love and salvation. Telling them about the loving Savior and what He did for us is our job; judgment is reserved for God alone.

In just one conversation with one person, Jesus showed His church how we should treat those with whom we come into contact. Take some time to reflect on your own feelings towards other races, lifestyles and the other gender (including those who claim alternate genders) and then read John 4 and picture how He would interact with them in person. That is how Jesus wants us to treat others.

Lisa Nordell-Detres is a mother of four, grandma to three boys, a pastor’s wife and has worked in the garment and customer service industries in southern California. Besides writing, Lisa enjoys cooking, sewing, organic gardening, hiking, skiing and doing most anything outside. Lisa is a member of the Central Oregon Writers Guild.

Lisa was born and raised in Denver, Colorado, studied Christian Apologetics at Simon Greenleaf University, holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Fashion Design from Woodbury University and an MBA from California State University at Northridge. Lisa, her husband and their youngest child now live in central Oregon. 

Truth

By Lisa Nordell-Detres

There is a notion in our culture that there is no absolute truth. My first question in response is, “Do you know that to be absolutely true (that there is no absolute truth)?” My second question follows, “Is there a possibility that you could be wrong, thus allowing for the possibility that there is an absolute truth?” Once you wrap your head around this concept, the door is now open to introduce you to God, whose Word is truth (John 17:17).

People often speak of the truth when it benefits them, but try to hide from the truth when it hurts or puts them into uncomfortable situations. The interesting thing about the truth is that living a life of truth and honesty is so much freer than constantly trying to remember what lies you told and coming up with new lies to paper over the old stories.

Jesus told His followers in John 8:32, “You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.” Who doesn’t want to be free? Most of us think that we are already free, but the freedom that comes when the heart and mind are opened up to the things of God is really quite remarkable.

The Bible says that we were all created with a purpose by a loving God (Psalm 139:13-16). That frees us from wondering where we came from and why we are here. The Bible says that even though we are imperfect and have done wrong in our lives, Jesus still chose to save us (Romans 5:8). If we verbally acknowledge Jesus and believe that God raised Him from the dead, we will be saved (Romans 10:9). This frees us from needing to figure out how to redeem ourselves, and frees us to live out a life of love and goodness for the sake of Jesus Christ. “If the Son (Jesus) makes you free, you shall be free indeed (John 8:36).”

Now, go out and enjoy your new found freedom!

Lisa Nordell-Detres is a mother of four, grandma to two boys, a pastor’s wife and has worked in the garment and customer service industries in southern California. Besides writing, Lisa enjoys cooking, sewing, organic gardening, hiking, skiing and doing most anything outside.

Lisa was born and raised in Denver, Colorado, holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Fashion Design from Woodbury University and an MBA from California State University at Northridge. Lisa, her husband and their youngest child now live in central Oregon.

The Judge

By Lisa Nordell-Detres

It is quite intimidating to think that the Creator of the Universe is both our Lawgiver and our Judge. God expects perfection from us all, even though He knows that we are incapable of living up to His standards. That is the ultimate problem of humanity. We stand guilty in front of the perfect Judge, with no way to redeem ourselves. Why would a loving God intentionally set humanity up for failure? That question is answered in the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Galatians, where he explains that the Law was like a tutor intended to reveal humanity’s need for a Savior, Jesus Christ. (Galatians 3:24)

Humanity’s response to this problem goes in one of three directions: atheists decide to deny the existence of God. This settles the problem in their minds for the time being, as long as the pesky Christians leave them alone. Unfortunately, denial of the truth does not change it at all, but rather leaves them in the position of trying to stamp out all evidence of God around them.

Another response is to try to redeem oneself through religious experience or good works. This is a popular belief these days; that our good works and bad actions are held in some cosmic balance and if we just have more good than bad, we will get to go to heaven. The big dilemma here is that by whose standards are the good and bad balanced? Most people compare themselves to those whom they judge to be really bad, thus creating a scale skewed in their favor.

In Romans 3:23, Paul states that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” God’s expectations are not a slightly unbalanced scale on the side of good, but perfection. Fortunately, He made a way for us to find salvation even in our imperfection, as Paul goes on to show in the next verse: ”being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”

The final response to the human problem of sin is to embrace Jesus the Savior that God himself sent to bear the penalty of our sin. Although the Lawgiver and the Judge, He is also the most loving redeemer who welcomes all who accept Him as their Savior. There is no better time than now to ask for God’s redeeming grace to bless your life!

Lisa Nordell-Detres is a mother or four, pastor’s wife and has worked in the garment and customer service industries in southern California. Besides writing, Lisa enjoys cooking, sewing, organic gardening, hiking, skiing and doing most anything outside.

Lisa was born and raised in Denver, Colorado, holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Fashion Design from Woodbury University and an MBA from California State University at Northridge. Lisa, her husband and their youngest child now live in central Oregon.

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