Saturday, June 29, 2024



NOAA Photo of Turbulent Skies 2019

As the 2024 hurricane season in the US has officially begun, many are concerned with property insurance to cover potential damage, particularly as the season intensifies. In many states, insurers have left without covering claims or drastically hiked premiums, even as many are still reeling from wind and flood damage in recent years. I therefore thought it would be fitting to repost the article below. Praying for all our readers and their homes to stay safe, by God's protection and provision.

In 2019, we went on a cruise to Cuba to celebrate our anniversary, and praise the Lord, He blessed us with a wonderful vacation and an opportunity to grow closer to each other and to Him!

Before we left, we decided to forego the cost of travel insurance to reimburse us if we had to cancel our trip, as well as medical insurance in case we got sick in Cuba or while at sea. But we did purchase and bring with us “poor man’s insurance,” namely bracelets to prevent seasickness, anti-nausea and antidiarrheal medication, and antibiotics in case we caught the local version of Montezuma’s revenge!

As is the case with most insurance, we prayed that we would never have to use it, and God answered that prayer. Our monetary outlay was small, and in return we received some peace of mind that we were to some extent covered if we became ill, as well as items that could prove to be useful at a future time (although we hope not!)

But most insurance that many of us are required or feel obligated to purchase carries a hefty price tag – life insurance, medical insurance, homeowner’s insurance, disability insurance, long-term care insurance, car insurance, and even umbrella policies in the event of disaster not covered by the above. These often account for a large proportion of our budget, yet unless a covered event occurs, they reap no tangible benefit other than peace of mind, or for some forms of insurance, the privilege of doing something like driving a vehicle. 

Is it wrong to insure our assets and abilities rather than relying on God (Psalm 144:2) to protect us from disaster? I don’t believe that the first negates the second, for He wants us to be good stewards over all He has entrusted to us (Matthew 25:14-30). We should use common sense to protect ourselves and our households from danger and loss (Proverbs 22:3).

When we spend money on clothing, food, shelter, transportation, education, and other needs and wants, our expectation is that we will not only use them, but enjoy them, and perhaps even pass them on to our heirs. But insurance is a recurring, costly expense that we pay for while praying we will never have to use it!

Seventeenth-century French philosopher, mathematician and physicist Blaise Pascal had a vastly different view of insurance, not of the types described above, but rather of the spiritual variety. In his essay, “The Wager,” he proposed that every person, knowingly or unwittingly, makes a bet with their lives that God either exists or that He does not. This wager is not optional, for everyone must either accept God or reject Him.

My paraphrase is that those who believe in God have a form of spiritual insurance, for if their belief turns out to be true, they will live eternally in Heaven with Him and with their fellow believers. But those who reject God lack such insurance, for if God exists and condemns to eternal hell those who do not trust in Him, they have lost everything.

If we have no homeowners’ insurance and our house burns to the ground, that is a terrible tragedy, yet one from which we can ultimately recover, through God's grace, if our life was preserved. But if the Bible is true (2 Timothy 3:16), and Jesus Christ is the only Way (John 14:6) to Heaven through faith in His death, burial and resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:1-4), then those who die without such faith will spend eternity in hell (John 3:18; Mark 9:43-47).

Scripture tells us that the narrow path to salvation is through Jesus Christ alone (Matthew 7:13-14); that we are saved by God’s grace through our faith alone, and not by works (Ephesians 2:8-9); and that life is eternal, either in heaven (John 3:16) or in hell (Luke 16:20-31). Let’s suppose for a moment that the Bible is not true, and that people who believe in other gods, or in no god at all, can go to heaven if their good deeds outweigh their bad. Or let’s imagine the even more extreme position that there is no afterlife, and that once our heart stops beating, our soul and spirit are no more.

What are the consequences for the believer in Jesus Christ if either of the above scenarios are true? In comparison to those who reject Christ, the believer in Him has lost nothing. In this life he may have given up worldly pleasures, such as illicit sex, drugs, or alcohol, yet abstaining from these has physical and mental health benefits and prolongs life. He may face earthly persecution for his beliefs, yet he has faith that he will be rewarded for these in Heaven (1 Peter 4:12-19).

Even if his belief in Christ were misplaced, he would gain peace that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7), joy in his Lord (Nehemiah 8:10), hope that God is working all things together for good (Romans 8:28), and abundant life (John 10:10). His belief would likely improve his relationships with others (Galatians 6:2) and benefit society as a whole.

So Pascal concluded that the only rational decision is to believe in God and live as though He exists. In so doing, the person “betting” on God loses essentially nothing, leads a better earthly life, and receives infinite, eternal gains in Heaven, while avoiding infinite, eternal losses in hell.

Not for a moment do I intend to imply that we are gambling by trusting in Jesus Christ, for only He can save our souls from eternal damnation! (Acts 4:12). Even the apostle Paul wrote that if Christ did not rise from the dead, then we as Christians should be most miserable, and we might as well party as if there is no tomorrow (1 Corinthians 15:12-32).

But praise God, Jesus Christ is risen from the dead  (1 Corinthians 15:4), and by trusting in Him, we are clothed in His righteousness (Isaiah 61:10), our sins are forgiven (1 John 1:9), we are God’s children and joint heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17), we are His ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20) and fellow workers (1 Corinthians 3:9), and we will live forever with Him in glorified bodies (1 Corinthians 15:35-54) and in mansions (John 14:1-3) He has specially designed for each of us!

We spend vast sums of money to insure our physical life and belongings, while hoping that we never need that insurance. Why would each of us not take out spiritual insurance that costs us nothing? By trusting Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we can know through God’s Word and prayer that we can have the assurance of eternal life in Heaven with Him and our loved ones in Him, as well as untold blessings here below.

To summarize: If we trust God and He is not real, we have lost nothing. If we trust God and He is real, we have gained everything. If we reject God and He is not real, we have lost joy, peace, hope and a sense of purpose in this life. If we reject God and He is real, we have lost everything throughout all eternity.

Seems like a no-brainer to me.

© 2019 Laurie Collett
Edited, expanded and reposted from the archives

Saturday, June 22, 2024

What Are You Running From?


I had a dream in which I was home at night, working in my study while my husband Richard was in the family room. Suddenly I heard him cry out, “There’s a strange man in the house – run!”

I quickly tried to get up but snapped back into my seat. I was strapped into my office chair by a seat belt-like contraption going across the right side of my neck and shoulder all the way to my left hip. Frantically I struggled with the buckle until it released me and then I ran out the front door, leaving it wide open.

Although it was dark, I immediately realized that I was not on the street where we currently live, but on the street where I grew up. While running as fast as I could, I berated myself for not having dialed 911 before I left. Then I realized that I was running the wrong direction – not toward a busier intersection where I would be more likely to flag down help, but toward another quiet, dark, residential neighborhood.

I decided to change course, but as I turned around, I spotted a dark figure lurking in the shadows. Should I call out for his help? Or was this more likely to be the intruder who had broken into our home and was now pursuing me?

So I kept running, as fast as I could, away from the stranger. When I awoke, my heart was pounding and my breathing was so fast and shallow that I thought I might pass out.

I finally calmed myself enough to lapse back into a fitful sleep, interrupted by another dream. In this dream, one of the ladies in the Bible study that I teach and I were working at an emergency medical facility. She raced into my office to tell me that one of the patients had fainted and to ask what we should do next.

As we rushed down the hall to see the patient, I asked my student many questions about the patient’s medical history, medications, recent labs, other recent symptoms, and what she was doing before she passed out. Finally I asked her, “Did you call 911?”   

When I awoke and considered the significance of the dreams, I realized that the prominent theme was running – away from danger in the first dream and toward assistance in the second dream.

In the first dream, my husband yelled for me to run away. Thankfully, our marriage is strong, centered in our faith in Jesus Christ and in His death, burial and resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) as the only way to Heaven (John 14:6). But the dream may represent a general warning that some relationships, particularly with unsaved people (2 Corinthians 6:14), can hinder exclusive reliance on our Savior. We must run from such relationships as we would from any idols (1 John 5:21), defined as anything that gets in the way of our devotion to Christ and usurps His pre-eminence in our lives (Colossians 1:18).

Although I immediately wanted to obey my husband’s command to run away, I was delayed by being strapped into my office chair. This may represent the hold that work, as a means to power, prestige or excessive wealth, may have on some people. As Scripture confirms, all who are able need to work to meet our physical needs and those of our family (2 Thessalonians 3:10). But when excessive time at work becomes more important than God or family, workaholics are serving their job or career as an idol and should run from it.

The main reason I was running away in the dream was because there was an intruder in our house. Danger, defined as anything that separates us from God and His perfect plan for us, is seldom as obvious as a terrifying devil with horns, tail and a pitchfork; or a roaring lion seeking to devour us; or even an armed home invader.

As responsible stewards of the time, talents, treasure, ministries and relationships God has entrusted to us, we should hide ourselves from evil (Proverbs 22:3; 27:12) by screening who and what we allow into our home. We may have alarms, security systems and doorbell cameras to keep out criminals, but the dangerous home intruders we face may be more subtle.

Beginning in the 1950s, the ubiquitous television has diverted time and attention away from worship, prayer and family time to meaningless or even harmful “entertainment” promoting filthy language, sexual immorality, violence and substance abuse. Around-the-clock news channels may rob us of our peace and joy.

The Internet can be a valuable source of information on virtually any topic, but it can also promulgate misinformation and false doctrine. Social media can foster virtual friendships among like-minded individuals and can be a means to share the Gospel. But these can also expose even children to dangers including bullying, body shaming, lowering self-esteem, triggering depression or anxiety, and even fostering hookups with cultists, drug pushers or sexual predators.

Sadly, “how-to” sites can teach depressed individuals how to end their own life and can provide criminals with instruction manuals for violence, breaking and entering, procuring weapons, building bombs, murder, and even terrorism. We must therefore guard our homes and our lives from these dangerous intruders.

In the dream, once I ran away from the threat within my home, I began fleeing my past, symbolized by suddenly finding myself on the street where I grew up, running away from my childhood home. There I needed to change direction, which brought me nearly face-to-face with a shadowy figure. Was this a potential source of help, or the home invader I sought to escape?

God endowed each of us with a unique history specifically suited to the mission He has planned for us. Our past experiences, even if there were trials we had to endure, equip us with compassion and wisdom to help those going through similar trials (2 Corinthians 1:4-6). But when Satan mocks and belittles us with past mistakes, inadequacies, or sins, we must flee from the danger of believing his lies (John 8:44) and becoming trapped in our history rather than moving on to our future. We can’t outrun the devil, but if we resist Him by submitting to God, he will flee from us (James 4:7). To avoid confronting Satan in the first place, we must flee temptation (2 Timothy 2:22).

Once we elude intruders into our God-given peace and joy and resist the devil and his lies (which are ongoing struggles in the Christian life overcome only by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit), we may more fruitfully pursue God’s work. In the second dream, my supervision of a friend in Christ, in the role of a medical coworker, may represent the mentorship opportunity I have in teaching a ladies’ Bible study. Just as a medical facility is the best place to obtain physical healing, a local church and its fellowship and study groups is often the ideal setting for spiritual healing and ongoing growth in our Christian walk.

In the dream, the woman from my class ran into my office for help with another’s healing, and then we both ran to the aid of the one in distress. Strangely, I asked her whether she had called 9-1-1, which is odd, because we were in a facility delivering emergency care.

In my first Bible after being saved, I kept a list of “9-1-1” verses I had printed up from the Internet – verses to consult in times of need, whether physical danger, temptation, sadness, grief, sin, failure, or loss of fellowship with God. I believe the second dream was a reminder that without Christ we can do nothing (John 15:5), and that attempting to do His work without the direction of His Spirit and His Word is doomed to end in failure.

May we have Spirit-empowered strength to run away from physical and spiritual dangers, and to run with patience the race He has set before us (Hebrews 12:1), running toward the mark for the prize (Philippians 3:14) of victory in Christ!

© 2024 Laurie Collett

Saturday, June 15, 2024

A Father’s Legacy of Faith


When we consider the story of how God commanded Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac to God on Mount Moriah (Genesis 22:1-19), we typically view it as an example of Abraham’s great faith. Yet this test proved Isaac’s faith to be just as strong.

Isaac was the child of promise, whom God had promised to Abram and Sarah when they were very old and had no children. Even more amazing, this would be the child through whom Abraham (his new name) would be the father of a great nation, in whom all would be blessed (Genesis 12:2-3), with descendants as innumerable as grains of sand on the seashore or stars in the sky (Genesis 22:17).

Sarah laughed when she heard that they would have a child, for she was aged and barren (Genesis 18:10-15). She had grown weary of waiting for God to allow her to conceive and took matters into her own hands by persuading Abraham to have relations with her handmaid Hagar (Genesis 16:1-8).

Sadly, Abraham acquiesced, and Ishmael was born from that illicit union. This lapse in faith proved not only that Abraham was human, subject to the same weaknesses as all of us (Romans 3:23), but also that God can and will use those who love and trust him, even when they have gone astray as Abram had done several times before (Genesis 12:10-20).

But every choice has its consequences. The birth of Ishmael caused strife not only in Abram’s own household, particularly after Isaac was born to Sarah as God had promised, but also engendered constant warring between the great nations born of Abraham’s offspring – Israel and the Muslim nations (Genesis 16:8-12).

Nonetheless, Abraham was a man of great faith in the One True God, which I believe is the greatest legacy a father can pass on to his children (Ephesians 6:4). His faith began when God first spoke to him, asking him to leave behind his home, pagan beliefs, and seat of power to journey through the wilderness (Genesis 12:1-3). God spoke of the Promised Land and said he would lead Abram there and make of him a great nation (Genesis 12:1-7).

What amazing faith it took to trust God to do this when Abram had no idea where he was going or how long it would take to get there! But even that faith pales in comparison with what happened later. God tested Abraham’s faith by asking him to take his only son Isaac, whom he loved, and to offer him as a burnt offering on a mountain of Moriah that God would later specify (Genesis 22:1-19).

What must have raced through Abraham’s mind, and how must his heart have ached as he heard this! There was no mistaking God’s command. He specified “his only son” Isaac, making it clear that he referred to the child of His promise, and not the illegitimate son born through the weakness of Abraham’s flesh.

God clearly knew how much Abraham loved Isaac, making His command all the more repugnant and incomprehensible. Any loving parent would rebel at sacrificing their child, and most would even be willing to sacrifice their own life to spare that of their child, if they had the opportunity. Yet God was asking Abraham to lay Isaac on the altar, slay him with a knife, and then set his body on fire!

God’s command seemed to fly in the face of His very nature, which cannot change (Hebrews 13:8), as He later would forbid child sacrifice (Leviticus 18:21; 20:2-5). His own Son loved little children and held them up as an example of the type of faith needed to enter His kingdom (Matthew 19:14; 18:3). Abraham did not have the benefit of knowing this, yet he believed that God would keep His promise to make him the father of a great nation, which could only happen through Isaac.

Abraham’s faith is clear in his detailed obedience by getting up early for the journey, saddling and loading his ass, taking two companions for the trip, and bringing the wood for the burnt offering. He traveled for three days and must have had to silence whatever doubts and fears gnawed at his soul as he resolutely headed for the mountain (Genesis 22:1-4).

At the base of the mountain, Abraham told his companions to stay there with the ass and reassured them that he – and Isaac – would return after they had worshipped God (v. 5). What faith he showed to trust that God would somehow spare Isaac’s life!

Then it was only Abraham and Isaac ascending the mountain. The father carried the fire and knife, and the son bore the heavy burden of the wood to be used for his own funeral pyre. It foreshadowed Jesus struggling under the weight of the cross that would be the cruel instrument of His death (John 19:17).

Finally Isaac voiced the question that must have been troubling him, and to which he already knew the answer – where is the lamb for the burnt offering? (v. 6-7).

At this point Isaac was a strong young man, and his feeble father more than a centenarian. Isaac’s faith must have been just as great as Abraham’s faith, to obey God to the point of death, just as God’s only begotten Son Jesus would millennia later (Philippians 2:8). That type of faith is not born in a vacuum (2 Timothy 1:5), but from the living faith Isaac saw daily in his father Abraham.

Almost as if trying to convince himself, Abraham told Isaac that God Himself would provide the burnt offering. A man of lesser faith than Isaac would no doubt be tempted to escape as Abraham prepared the altar and wood, or to wrestle free as his father laid him on the altar and then raised the knife to slay Him (Genesis 22:8-10).

Yet Isaac held fast without complaint or struggle, submitting himself to God’s mercy, just as Jesus did when He was led as a sheep to the slaughter to pay the debt for our sin (Isaiah 53:5-7).

God rewarded the faith of father and son by sparing Isaac’s life, sending the angel of the Lord to keep Abraham from harming Isaac (Genesis 22:11-19). This test proved through their obedience and submission to God’s will that not only Abraham, but also Isaac, feared and trusted God. This came as no surprise to God, Who knows all things (Psalm 139:1-6), but it must have been an amazing confirmation to both men of God’s faithfulness and of their own faith.

God rewarded them further by providing a ram for the offering and by expanding upon His promise:

That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.”  (Genesis 22:17-18).

All nations would be blessed through Jesus Christ, Who would be born to the house of Abraham (Matthew 1:1-17) and be the Savior of all who trust in His death, burial and resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) as the only Way Heaven (John 14:6).

But Abraham’s legacy of faith did not stop with Isaac. His firstborn son Jacob, later renamed Israel because his faith was so great that he spent all night wrestling with God until He promised to bless him (Genesis 32:24-30), gave rise to the great nation of the same name, God’s chosen people. When Isaac was on his deathbed, Jacob acknowledged that his God was the God of his father Isaac and his grandfather Abraham (Genesis 32:9).

Similarly, when Israel was on his deathbed, he blessed each of his twelve sons, progenitors of each of the twelve tribes of Israel. These included Joseph, himself a great example of faith in God working all things together for good (Genesis 50:20; Romans 8:28). Israel described Joseph as blessed “by the God of thy father, who shall help thee; and by the Almighty, who shall bless thee with blessings of heaven above” (Genesis 49:25).

As God had promised, the lineage of the Messiah would stem from Abraham’s seed, namely through Israel’s son Judah, direct ancestor of Jesus, Lion of the tribe of Judah (Revelation 5:5), from whom the scepter of kingship and the lawgiverlawgiver would not depart (Genesis 49:10).

On Father’s Day, we honor our earthly fathers and thank our Heavenly Father for their Godly influence and other blessings on our life. May our earthly fathers bless their children with the greatest legacy – the gift of faith in our  Lord Jesus Christ!

© 2021 Laurie Collett

Reposted from the archives 

Saturday, June 8, 2024

Transitions: Triplets of Workmanship - God’s Enemies to His Ambassadors


Few transitions depicted in the Bible are as dramatic as that of Saul, Rabbinical scholar who thought he was doing God's work by persecuting and imprisoning Christians and even participating in their death by stoning. Yet on the road to Damascus, the Lord Jesus Christ appeared to him, struck him blind, and asked why he was persecuting Him.

From that moment on, Saul became a devout follower of Christ, meriting a change of name to the apostle Paul, who would not only win converts on his missionary journeys, but also plant churches and write many books of the New Testament

Once we are saved, we are to serve Christ, although few may be as fruitful as Paul. Nonetheless, our Christian walk should be marked by spiritual growth, following God’s lead, and knowing when to act and when to wait. The first step of spiritual growth is being born again (John 3) which transforms us instantly from enemies of God (Romans 5:10; James 4:4) to His children (1 John 3:1-2).

In our unsaved state, the apostle Paul describes us as being Gentiles in the flesh (Ephesians 2:11), The Jews were circumcised in obedience to God as a remembrance of the covenant He made with them and as an outward sign to those who were not God’s chosen people (Genesis 17:9-14). When Paul refers to unsaved Gentiles as uncircumcision, he is not describing their physical condition, but rather their state of separation from God. Unsaved souls are without Christaliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise (Ephesians 2:12).

But once we trust Christ, we are reconciled in peace by the fleshblood and cross of Christ not only to God, but to all His children, whether Jew or Gentile (v. 13-17). Through Jesus Christ, all believers in Him have access by one Spirit to the Father (v.18). This transformation changes us from strangers and foreigners to fellow citizens with the saints, or others who have placed their faith solely in God (v.19).

We then become an integral part of the church, or “household of God,” (v.19), which Paul describes in three ways. We are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Jesus Himself as the chief corner stone; we are soundly framed together in a building that becomes a temple to worship Him; and we are built together as a dwelling for the Spirit to inhabit (v.20-22).

What is the ultimate purpose of this transformation? We are saved not only to “get out of hell free,” for if that were the case, God would take us to Heaven the moment we accepted His Son as Lord and Savior. We are saved by grace through faith and not by works (Ephesians 2:9), but we are His workmanship, created in Christ to do good works, which God has appointed to us since before we were even saved (v.11).

What kind of works will He do through us, if we yield to His Spirit? We are transformed from enemies of God to His children and to ambassadors for Christ! Being His ambassador (2 Corinthians 5:20) means that we represent Him to others through our witnesslifestyle, and teaching.

From the moment we are saved, we can witness to others about His transforming power, as did the Samaritan woman at the well once she realized He was the promised Messiah (John 4:28-30;39). This involves telling others that Jesus Christ is God (John 1:1); that He has lifted our burden of sin (Romans 3:25; 1 John 2:2; 4:10); and that He has given us eternal life (John 3:16).

Over time, our changed lifestyle is a testimony that we are a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). This includes turning away from sin (2 Corinthians 7:1Ephesians 5:4James 1:21); worshipping Him by obeying His general will for our lives (Ephesians 6:6; Colossians 4:12); and doing good works for others by putting their needs before our own (James 2:16-18; 1:27).

Worship includes studying His Word (2 Timothy 3:15-17), praying in private (Matthew 6:6; Romans 1:9; 1 Thessalonians 5:17), and assembling together for corporate worship (Hebrews 10:25), as well as giving tithesgifts and offerings (Malachi 3:10; Matthew 5:23-24; Luke 21:1-4) Corporate worship includes preaching God’s word (2 Timothy 4:2), prayer for one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2), and praise through spoken wordmusic, and dance (Psalm 150).

As we mature in our Christian walk and in learning His Word, we should be able to teach others (Hebrews 5:12) what the Spirit has shown us. This might include formal teaching of Bible study or Sunday School, preaching, and/or Christian counseling from God’s Word, or simply a willingness to learn and share with others Biblical wisdom appropriate to their given situation.

We never know when God might arrange a divine appointment in which He wants us to be salt and light (Matthew 5:13-14), illuminating another person’s path with truth we have gleaned from His Word (2 Timothy 4:2).  Surely every believer is called to teach their children in God’s Word, and many may be blessed to have that same opportunity with grandchildren (2 Timothy 1:5) or friends who meet for informal Bible fellowship.

When I was a medical intern, the principle regarding how we were to learn to perform medical procedures was “See onedo oneteach one.” This baptism by fire was a little scary at the time, not only for the interns but especially for our patients, and even more so in retrospect. Yet this strategy was surprisingly effective. A similar principle should apply to our Christian walk: see God’s goodness (be saved); tell others about how He has changed you (witness); and disciple others, teaching them Bible truths based on our own study of the Word (Matthew 28:19).

Solomon speaks of the transitions from planting to harvesting (Ecclesiastes 3:3), with a long period of growth in between. Much of this process is invisible to the farmer as the seed germinates in the earth, until finally a tender shoot appears above ground, and then the plant matures until it bears grain or fruit ripe for harvest. So the farmer has faith in the miracle of the harvest even though he has no visible proof (Hebrews 11:1), he has confirmation of his faith when the first visible shoot appears, even though the plant at this stage is of no practical value, and finally he has fulfillment of the promise when the plant bears fruit that is ready to harvest.

Parallel transitions appear in our spiritual service: we plant the seed of the Word; there may follow a long dormant period during which we see little if any signs of change; and then finally we or another lead the soul to Christ as he accepts Him as Lord and Savior (Matthew 13:1-43). We can witness of God’s goodness, pray for salvation of the soul to whom we witness, and encourage that soul to accept Christ. But it is the work of the Holy Spirit to harvest as He changes the sinner into a new creation in Christ.

When I was a little girl I remember planting seeds in the garden and being so impatient at their apparent lack of growth that I was tempted to dig them up just to see what was happening! Yet even adult Christians may be equally impatient after we plant the seed of God’s Word and of our own testimony, and we may get discouraged when our efforts seem not to bear fruit immediately.

Thankfully, Scripture warns not to get weary in obeying Him, for in His perfect timing, we will see the fruit of our labor if we don’t give up.(Galatians 6:9; 1 Corinthians 15:58). This may not happen during our earthly lifetime, but when we see Christ face-to-face, He will reward us with the crown of rejoicing for every soul led to Him through our efforts (1 Thessalonians 2:19).

Even if we did not personally lead that soul to say the Sinner’s Prayer and call on the name of Jesus to be saved (Romans 10:13), we will take part in the reward if we witnessed to them, prayed for their salvation, or even encouraged them indirectly or unknowingly by distributing tractsposting messages from God’s Word online or in print, or supporting missionaries (Philippians 4:10-17).

Praise God for the many opportunities He gives believers to work together with Him in the ultimate endeavor of soul-winning! When we place our faith in the deathburial and resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) as the only Wayonly Way to Heaven (John 14:6), praise God that He transforms us from His enemies to His children and even to His ambassadors

Copyright 2014 Laurie Collett 
Edited, expanded and reposted from the archives

Saturday, June 1, 2024

Transitions: Triplets of Change from Death to Life


Jesus Raises Jairus' Daughter from the Dead

As we are made in the image of the Triune God (Genesis 1:26-27), it is not surprising that our physical and spiritual being, our relationships, and our life path reflect His three-part nature. Our lives unfold and transform according to His perfect plan, with triplets of change marking our transitions along that path (Jeremiah 29:11).

Solomon speaks of God making everything beautiful in His time. He speaks of the times and seasons of life, beginning with a time to be born and a time to die (Ecclesiastes 3:1-2,11). Yet sandwiched between these two events is the span of our time here on earth. In 1966, Linda Elllis wrote a poem called “The Dash,” referring to that tiny line on the gravestone between the birth year and the year of death – that tiny line that represents all we do with our allotted time in this life (Psalm 90:10). In the scheme of eternity, that time is like a vapor, disappearing like the puff of air we exhale on a frosty day (James 4:14).

So life on earth is the transition from birth to death, and even before that is gestation, during which the baby lives in its mother’s womb during the transition from conception to birth. When we are born, we as children depend on others to provide for our physical needs; then we are self-sufficient as mature adults; but then as elderly we begin to deteriorate physically, once again requiring support from others. God therefore commands us to honor our parents, not only when we are children and their care prolongs our life (Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy 5:16), but also as adults when the tables are turned and we provide for them (Mark 7:10-12).

Since Adam and Eve fell and sin and death entered this world (Genesis 2:17; 3), our bodies have been doomed to age. The process of physical maturation and decay is marked by transitions in posture and stance – horizontal in infancy as the baby spends most of its time sleeping and then crawling; upright in childhood, adolescence and adulthood; then stooped and ultimately bedridden due to the ravages of old age.

Yet physical aging need not mean the end of our usefulness to others and service to God, as was the case with Caleb (Joshua 14:9-14), Moses (Deuteronomy 34:7), Naomi (Ruth 4:14-17) and others. Our church is blessed by our elderly pastor and his wife, in leadership at our church for over half a century, as well as by faithful teachers and missionaries who have continued to serve God throughout their long lives.  

Before puberty we cannot have children; then we become sexually mature and capable of parenting; but as we age, we become infertile and lose our reproductive potential. Of course, nothing is impossiblenothing is impossible with God, and He blessed Sarah (Genesis 17:15-19) and Elizabeth (Luke 1:13-18) with children at a very old age even though they had been barren). 

Even more important than the physical transitions every person must undergo are the spiritual transitions God freely offers to whosoever desires them (Revelation 22:17). When we seek God, and search for Him with all our heart, we shall find Him. Then we can call upon Him, and pray to Him, and He will listen to our prayers (Jeremiah 29:12-13). Jeremiah, the weeping prophet, later paraphrased this by saying, “Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not (Jeremiah 33:3).

Jesus Himself promised us the greatest possible life changes if we are willing to undergo three transitions or steps of obedience: “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” (Matthew 7:7).

Sadly, many reject Christ’s offer of eternal life. These unsaved people must transition from life to three kinds of death: not only physical death (Hebrews 9:27) that all of us face unless we are still alive at the Rapture (1 Corinthians 15:50-54) but also spiritual death, or separation from God during their earthly life (Ephesians 2:1; Colossians 2:13), and eternal death with everlasting punishment in Hell (Mark 3:29; John 5:29).

By calling on the Name of Jesus, we can go from death in sin to being born again (John 3:3-8), followed by spiritual growth as we are progressively conformed to His image (Philippians 3:10-14). When we are born again, we are transformed from a natural man (unsaved), ideally to a spiritual Christian yielded to the Spirit, but sometimes we act as a carnal Christian when the old sin nature wins the daily battle against the Holy Spirit (Romans 7:13-23; 8:6; 1 Corinthians 2:14-16).

At the moment of salvation, we are justified (just as if we’d never sinned), meaning that God no longer sees our sins, but only the perfect righteousness of Christ that now clothes us by His grace through our faith (Romans 3:24-28). Throughout our Christian walk, we are gradually sanctified, or made more like Christ, until He takes us home (1 Corinthians 1:30; 6:11). Then, at the Rapture, we are instantly glorified, becoming as He is (Romans 8:17-30).

One of the most important transitions of our life involves how we deal with sin, for all of us are sinners in need of a Savior (Romans 3:23). First we must ask His forgiveness of our sins (1 John 1:8-10), then we must repent or turn away from willful sin (1 John 2:1-6), and then we must forgive others who have sinned against us (Matthew 6:14-15; Luke 17:4). All of our sins nailed Jesus to the tree, yet He forgave us (Colossians 2:13), so how much more should we be willing to forgive others? (Matthew 18:21-35) To whom much is given, much is required (Luke 12:48).  

Praise God that He allows whosoever will to transition from death to abundant life (John 10:10) here and now and to eternal life in His presence! May we place our faith in His death, burial and resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) as the only Way to Heaven and spend our short time here on earth by praising, worshipping and following Him!

 © 2014 Laurie Collett

Edited, expanded and reposted from the archives