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April Newsletter Salvation

While I was a student I worked at one of the early chain department stores.  I was responsible for the shoe/men’s wear department.  Neighboring those was the sewing department which was overseen by Ruth Dunn.  When Ruth wasn’t there I covered for her.  She taught me an important thing to keep the ladies happy– always tear the material, never scissor cut the material.  The customers wanted me to snip and rip.  At first, that was uncomfortable for me.  It seemed to be the least caring way to separate the material. But as I learned quickly, it was the right way to do it.  Doing it that way, the cloth always tore along the true thread line and in sewing that seemed to be important to ladies that knew what they were doing.  So in reality, what felt uncomfortable at first turned out to be a good thing in the end.


‘I heard the bells on Christmas day, their old familiar carols play
And mild and sweet their songs repeat of peace on earth good will to men…
And in despair I bowed my head, There is no peace on earth I said
For hate is strong and mocks the song of peace on earth, good will to men …’


That’s a song we play each Christmas and a song that catches my attention each time we play it.  The song is Dianne Michelle’s and it’s a bit different than much of the music we rotate at Christmas. I always listen to that lyric because of the contrast between Peace on earth and ‘there is no peace on earth I said, for hate is strong and mocks the song…’  Truly, as Christians our words of Peace and the reality of the world in which we live don’t seem to echo the voice of the angels heard at Christ’s birth.


It reminds me of the contrast between our stance and our experience, the world lost and the world saved.  This month’s letter tweaks our thinking a bit about our Salvation and that reality in which we find ourselves.  The tweak is: our Salvation is not just eternal but practical.  Or, put another way, Salvation is not just about Heaven, not just about the future, but equally, about Life in this broken world now.  Our teaching and preaching shouldn’t only be about avoiding torment but also about what can make us more comfortable and functional in this broken world.  With this Salvation, we enter into His Life (that’s a life mixed with ours and His) experienced now and in the future.  This Salvation can empower us for whatever the world throws at us now.  The Gospel of Christ doesn’t simply place us at a train station waiting on an arrival for our final trip, but engages us in the daily Life that Christ has prepared for us both here and in our future.  This Salvation is the vehicle that delivers us to Freedom right here, right now, in the middle of this world’s crisis and stress.

Salvation isn’t a magic wand that makes our difficulties disappear.  Even the most sincere, fervent prayers sometimes don’t deliver exactly the outcomes we’ve prayed for. If we’re willing to admit it, you’ve experienced that in your own life, and you’ve probably known countless people that have experienced the same passion for God and simultaneously experienced stress and crisis in their lives. Yes, our Salvation does bring a promise of tomorrow, and just as importantly, a promise of Father, Son and Spirit being with us in our today.  This Salvation has the effect of moving us away from being focused so much on our purposes, into a new and broader focus of God’s purpose.  He does that from the inside, not necessarily from the outside.  God not only saved us from a wrong destination tomorrow, on a track away from Heaven, but also saved us to Peace, Joy and Wisdom in this world.  Saved us to relationship with Himself, our family, friends and others, rescuing us out of the isolation of the world and its self-centeredness.  With this Salvation God has moved ever closer to us, has moved from ‘out there’ to standing right inside us to meet this day’s circumstances.

This Salvation, applied to this present time, manifests itself as we follow Him.  According to Jesus, The Kingdom of God has come, is present now, not just in some future time.  It can, if permitted, rule in your Life now.  There’re no short cuts for that.  Instead, it’s found in encouraging others, in believing He is good, and trusting Him in bad and good times.  Following Him is more than a library full of books, videos and a collection of conference registrations.  It’s more than memorization of a favorite Scripture.  While those are all good things, they’re not simply what we turn to in times of trouble.  Following is inside us.  It must be more than images on our walls.  This Salvation is more real than what we see, what we feel.  When Jesus was on the cross he had stepped into a place that didn’t, at the time, depend on feeling God or seeing Him; it was a place where all he possessed of the Father was trusting in Him.  There’s a Truth more real than our imaginations, more than what we see or feel.  Following will not only get you through tough times but will change you along the way.  The contrast between Heavenly and earthly, between flesh and Spirit, the difference in foolishness and Wisdom comes in those moments and gives us a clear definition of what is True: He is Truth.
For sure, the world’s broken.  It’s always been broken, broken since the Garden of Eden incident.  If it were going to be changed into Paradise easily, it probably would have happened when the Son of God came the first time.  Rather, the world we have, the poverty, the sickness, the drugs, the hateful, the damaged, the confused, the unbelief, corruption, unfairness, the bullies, sadness, war, and many more did not and does not go away with this Salvation.  According to Christ, there’s a way to Live that creates Believers that are day by day walking in the middle of all that stuff.   Yet they’re successfully finding a Peace and a Joy that’s penetrating their lives.  Emotionally, we obviously are stunned occasionally into feeling the pressure of this place, but He has saved us and given us the ability to take a deep breath and respond with a Faith.  This Salvation is the rescue not simply from, but through trouble.

Tearing that cloth, in the long term, was exactly what needed to be done.  By tearing the cloth, patterns laid out straight on the material and the colors matched for the pockets and sleeves, well, they matched perfectly.  In the Wisdom of God, in the time between Christ’s tomb and now, the experiences of this world somehow play a purpose we don’t fully understand.  Certainly they make us uncomfortable much of the time.  I’m pretty sure that you, like me, get weary of the pressure of ‘in this world there will be tribulation.’  Those words of Jesus echo the actions of Adam and Eve, who had inherited a perfect world but left us with one of confusion and emptiness. Yet, just the same there’s a Peace that passes our understanding.  It’s not necessarily the peace that the world gives but one much more fulfilling.


There had to be a ‘heavenly Wisdom’ to why Jesus didn’t just roll everything up at his first coming but instead, settled on rolling it all up in His next. We know He had that kind of power, that it was possible for Him to have done that.  With just the words ‘I Am’ the Roman military of approximately 600 armed men, plus the temple police and the Jewish leaders and Judas fell to their knees in the garden where they had come looking for the Nazarene. (John 18:4-6)  Simply with Jesus’ words everything could have been changed in that moment.  Obviously, that’s not what he did– it’s not what was desired.  There must be a heavenly reason for what, to us, sometimes feels like the insurmountable.  There’s a reason to hope that even when this gets uncomfortable, just doing the right thing, the Jesus thing, is the only thing left to do.  The trouble stuff, it’s unavoidable; however, He’s overcome the world and He can Live that victory through us for whosoever will permit that to take place.

‘The Lord is my light and my salvation…the strength of my Life… I will not fear.’ (Psalm 27:1) was written about David’s now, not just his future.  Our salvation is simply hearing, believing and acting upon the Father saying: ‘I agape you and I will always be with you’.

Posted on by Laura Posted in Newsletters

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