2017: Page 232

Page 232 was the 27th anniversary of my 27th birthday!  I was up early to write the previous day’s page, then I got cleaned up and headed to Sunday School and the morning worship gathering at church.  Our Sunday School class continued our effort in finishing our study of First Timothy.  It was a rather complicated topic and discussion, but through all of Paul’s writings, he continued to call people to live more Christ-like in whatever situation they were in.  I think Paul would still call each of us to be more Christ-like in our responses to one another and to our world.

After the Sunday School class, we had a great worship gathering where David continued a sermon series on what we believe as a church.  Today’s topic was “What We Believe About Salvation”.  Here’s the summary of what we believe, because it is what we believe the Bible teaches:

Salvation is . . . 

  • By Grace.  The Bible is very clear that all people have sinned and that the wages, or penalty, for sin is death — death being an eternal separation from God.  Salvation is offered to us, not because we deserve it nor because we have earned it in some way, but as an undeserved gift through the mercy of God.  In God’s mercy, He daily withholds the punishment we deserve.  In His grace, we receive the forgiveness of sin through the full payment of our punishment by Jesus on the cross.
  • Through Faith.  The Bible says that without faith it is impossible to please God because we must believe that He exists and rewards those who diligently seek Him.  Salvation comes through faith as we not only believe God exists and has paid our sin penalty, but we act on that belief as we look forward to an eternity with Him.  James says that faith without works is dead, so salvation through faith means we don’t earn our salvation by any amount of good deeds we may attempt, but that we do good works because we have been saved from the power of sin and selfishness.
  • At Baptism.  While the enemy has worked hard to muddy up the waters (no pun intended), Peter was very clear following his message that brought conviction to many people on the day of Pentecost.  The Bible says that the people were “cut to the heart” and asked what they should do.  Peter’s response was straightforward, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.  And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  This promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off — for all whom the Lord our God will call.”  (Acts 2:38-39 NIV)  God’s instructions, and promises, were not just for those assembled that day, but for all who would seek salvation through Jesus and ask the question, “what shall we do?”.

Following the worship gathering, I had lunch with my family and then spent much of the afternoon relaxing and going through photos from Saturday evening.  As evening approached, we headed down to Potato Creek to enjoy the outdoors and see what we could photograph.  When we arrived, a bald eagle was perched in a tree near where we parked and even after we had photographed him to our hearts content and was hoping he would fly off so we could capture some photos of him in flight, he just sat there.  As we waited, and hoped he would fly, I shot some lake photos as the sun did its best to break through a blanket of clouds.  Today’s photo was one of those peaceful scenes that was part of a good finish to a birthday day.  I kept wanting to come up with a poem for my birthday but could only come up with what will serve as my “thoughts and lessons from the day”:

Today’s the anniversary
of the date of my birth.
And I often wonder
why I’m still on earth.
Some days I’m tired
and don’t have a clue.
And in my despair,
I sure wish I knew.

Then there are days,
God gives me a glimpse.
And life with this purpose
makes a little more sense.
Always be faithful
to God and His Word.
And share it with others
in deed and in word.

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