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It was the first week we had not had doctor’s appointments, tests, scans, treatment, kids sporting events et al… so we had a second to think and process what is actually going on. You have to make a million important decisions and orchestrate a lot of events and you have about a minute to make it happen. You don’t get to make many choices and all your choices are along the lines of “would you rather be able to stand up tomorrow and have more permanent damage or feel worse tomorrow and have less permanent damage” and either way you are going to feel horrible and be permanently damaged…

So I was not doing well mentally as early as Wednesday and by Friday neither of us were mentally in a good place. We phoned around for someone to keep the boys alive so we could have some conversations and find ourselves and each other and work through what’s happened and what’s coming up.

And Emily jumped in her car and headed over before I could finish saying we need someone to come over.

When you need rescued, you need rescued.

This isn’t the first time in my life I realized I needed rescued . . .

Bless us, Oh Lord,
and these thy gifts which
we are about to receive from thy bounty,
through Christ, Our Lord.

Is a prayer I said frequently growing up before meals… and it is a good prayer, or it would have been had I thought about anything I was saying. I didn’t. I had the words memorized and they came out of my mouth before meals automatically, almost without my permission. Meal after meal, same prayer.

I had a vast store of prayers, for other occasions, and of Bible knowledge in general.

I believed in God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit… but I did not have a correct idea of who they are. God, Creator of the everything – true – but He is much more than that. Jesus – God’s son, died for our sins, rose from the dead and resides in Heaven. True – but died because of and for MY sins, is a friend of sinners… I didn’t know about that. The idea of a personal relationship with Jesus, a guy that died thousands of years ago and now resides in heaven – not on earth – was not only lost on me, it was never brought up.

“Take out the trash or you’ll go to hell,” and ,”stop hiding under your sister’s bed and grabbing her foot or you’ll go to hell,” were things I could relate to.

And that is where the problem was. How good was good enough to get in to heaven?

Exactly how many do this and don’t do that’s did I have to do?

I could never figure it out. I didn’t like to think about it. It made me uneasy. It drove me crazy.

Can I know that I am going to heaven?

God has a plan though. John 15:15 says, “I do not call you slaves anymore, because a slave doesn’t know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything I have heard from My Father.”

God didn’t want me doing things as his minion. He wanted me to be doing things WITH HIM because I am a friend of His.

I wasn’t there yet though. I would say, perhaps I was the opposite. In college I acquired Christian friends that had what I now call “a better understanding of God and the Bible”, but a lesser knowledge of the text of the Bible. They had convictions but could not back them up with the Bible.

We were messing with serious stuff here, the beliefs we centered our entire lives around. This lead to discussions, heated
arguments and a few thrown punches! I was of the opinion that the first person to throw a punch already lost…and I was destroying worlds and collecting bruises.

“Hey, I truly admire that you have such conviction that you are willing to hit me, also I cannot at all respect you since you don’t have anything to base your convictions on”

I didn’t take pleasure in “Bible beating” these people. I desperately wanted what they said to be true. I also desperately needed to know they were right. They had belief down for sure. And as it turns out many of them had a correct belief. But they didn’t know the scripture to back it. Because of that, they couldn’t convince me.

It turns out, they did not have to. The more we discussed, argued, and I got bruised, the more of the Bible I read.

The more I read, the more answers I found to those uneasy questions, the better understanding I had of who God is, and of who I am. The more I read, the friendlier and more productive the discussions became. My circle of Christian friends expanded and I was basically pretending to be a Christian – and at the time I thought I was one. But I was not one, I did not have the peace of God or an assurance that I was going to Heaven.

Isaiah 55:11 “so My word that comes from My mouth will not return to Me empty, but it will accomplish what I please and will prosper in what I send it to do.”

One day while reading the Bible I found more than a great need for a savior. I found the savior!

Romans 3
10 There is no one righteous, not even one.
11  There is no one who understands;
there is no one who seeks God.
12  All have turned away;
all alike have become useless.
There is no one who does what is good,
not even one.
23  For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

Romans 6
23  For the wages of sin is death,

This is where I was… a sinner, and dead only perfect is good enough.

but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord

Romans 5
8  But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us!

Ephesians 2
8  For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s
gift— 9  not from works, so that no one can boast.

How freeing and what great news! It isn’t up to me to do this or not do that in order to be saved. God saves us not because of who we are. He saves us because of who He is! God is loves. God loves me.

Romans 10
9  If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God
raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10  One believes with the heart, resulting in
righteousness, and one confesses with the mouth, resulting in salvation. 13  For everyone
who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

Romans 8
38  For I am persuaded that not even death or life,
angels or rulers,
things present or things to come, hostile powers,
39  height or depth, or any other created thing
will have the power to separate us
from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord!
1 Therefore, no condemnation now exists for those in Christ Jesus,

Romans 5
1 Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God
through our Lord Jesus Christ.

No more nagging “how good do I have to be?”

If you read the Bible, it will change you! That is not my take on it. I’m not saying that because it worked for me. That is was God says about it. The Bible is the word of God written down for us. Isaiah 55:11 “so My word that comes from My mouth will not return to Me empty, but it will accomplish what I please and will prosper in what I send it to do.” He sends it to show you His love and save you and invite you back into relationship with Him.

If you do not want to be changed, do not read the Bible. If you want the best life, read it. You don’t have to be miserable where you are at. You might have a good life now. You might have a great life. Read the Bible, and you can have The Best life! The more you read it, the more God will speak to you through it; the more you will be changed. If you’ve read through it once, start reading through it again. See what new things God wants to say to you.

God didn’t make me perfect, not yet, probably isn’t going to happen this side of heaven… I screw up all the time. And He still makes me uneasy when I get out of line, daily. But He doesn’t make me uneasy about whether or not I am His, whether or not I am going to Heaven. When the devil asks me, “how good is good enough?” I have peace in knowing salvation was a gift that I accepted. A gift I could never earn, and thankfully one I never needed to.

If you don’t know if you are going to Heaven or Hell, you can take care of that right now, where you are, as you are. You can admit to God that you are a sinner. You can admin there is nothing you can do to earn heaven. You can acknowledge that you need rescued. You can call on Jesus to rescue you.

Romans 10
9  If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God
raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10  One believes with the heart, resulting in
righteousness, and one confesses with the mouth, resulting in salvation. 13  For everyone
who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

I found plenty of people in the Bible choosing to be baptized after they accepted the gift of salvation. Not because it gained them entrance into Heaven. You’ll find precisely nothing in the Bible about infant baptism or sprinkling of holy water or removal of original sin or washing away sin or going to heaven because you were baptized. This is what I am talking about when I say destroying worlds and collecting bruises. I was raised in the Catholic church. They told me I was baptized as a baby so I’m good for heaven and have nothing to worry about… except if I’m not good enough… it is most confusing. And I wanted to know, am I good for heaven or not? And maybe you want tp believe you are going to heaven because your parents had you baptized. In the Bible, you will find baptism as a way to show the world you have chosen Jesus as the Lord of your life and you are trusting Him to save you from hell and to save you into the family of God. Baptism publicly shows what God had done in your life. Baby washing as a way to heaven? There is nothing in the Bible about it. It doesn’t say it washed away my sin. It doesn’t say it saved me. It doesn’t say anything about baptism as a way to heaven. And when I couldn’t find it in the Bible, II was mad. My parents had lied to me – out of believing what they had been told. The church had lied to me. And when you tell other people, “hey, you believe something with no basis, you were lied to” – they get mad. Sometimes they get real mad. Sometimes they throw a punch.

When I read the Bible and saw what it said about Jesus inviting everyone to heaven that calls on Him, I did that. And when I saw the example of people that call on Jesus being baptized, and Jesus being baptized, to show they are set apart to God – I wanted to be baptized of my own volition.

One day I was at the baptism of a friend, being conducted by their pastor, in a pool in the pastor’s back yard.

This was a celebration indeed! Not because the baptism was sealing the deal for my friend, but more of a birthday party –
she was remembering what God had already done for her, Free from sin! Adopted into the family of God!

Whoa, that is exciting stuff! And showing everyone God was still working on her! She came up out of that water like a kid at
Christmas! Then the pastor said, “Who else here needs to be baptized, you can get in the water right now!” It was all I could do to not jump over the side of the pool!

But I didn’t want to steal my friend’s day… and I didn’t have a change of clothes… and I wasn’t the one who drove so someone else’s car was going to be soaked…

A few weeks later I was baptized at the church I attend. If you haven’t been baptized, or you were baptized but it was not your choice… and you want to show the world what God has done for you, find some water!

If you want to know why I believe the Bible is true, ask me.