Happy Resurrection Day!!!

TERRY'S BLUE TREES WITH SUNRISE & BURST

We don’t have to do anything to earn acceptance and love from the Creator of the universe.

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemned the world; but that the world through Him might be saved. He that believes on Him is not condemned.”  (John 3:16-18).

“Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ.  … God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them.  … For He has made Him [Jesus Christ] to be sin for us … that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.”  (2 Corinthians 5:17-21).

Jesus Christ already paid for the whole package with His perfect life, his sacrificial death, and His victorious resurrection.

All we need to do is acknowledge that He has done it all for us and make Him our Lord.

Will we change?    Yes.

Will we need to struggle to do so?    No.

Will life become an instant bed of roses with no thorns?    No.

Will we be filled with a peace and joy like we’ve never known before?     Yes.

Will the Lord then hear us when we pray and rush to help us?   Yes.

Will we have the security of knowing our eternity in His glorious presence is guaranteed?  Yes, absolutely.

Overall, it’s the best deal  we’ll ever be offered.  If you haven’t taken Him up on it yet, my advice is  DO IT!

 

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Focus

STAR, PATH, TEXT

During the last five months, beginning with the death of my father at the end of July, I have lost five precious people from my life — either family members or personal friends. During that time, my life has read like the obituary column of a newspaper. It goes without saying that I am sad and discouraged beyond words, and the celebration of this Christmas season has been seriously clouded by these events.

I am comforted to some degree by the assurance that every one of these people has moved on into the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ. Knowing them as well as I did, I have no doubts about their faith and their personal relationship to Jesus. So I am certain that they are rejoicing and reaping well-deserved rewards. And, without a doubt, Heaven is richer.

But the simple truth is that my life is poorer. The community in which they lived is poorer. The whole world is poorer. There is no substitute for any one of those loving individuals in the lives of the people who were close to them. 

Now, I will not live my days in overt grief over my losses, and I will continue to love and serve the Lord with the joy that only He can give. But in the midst of that effort, I will be constantly aware that there are too many lights missing from my life, there are too many voices of love and blessing that I no longer hear, and there are too many smiles of comfort and appreciation that I no longer see. And I am sad.

So it is with the greatest of efforts that I must force my own soul to keep its focus on His star. And it is my prayer that any of my readers who have also suffered intolerable losses of any kind this past year will make the effort to do the same. The Word of God says that God has set eternity in man’s heart. And in the face of so much earthly loss, it is of paramount importance that we focus on eternity and on the One who has no beginning and no end, and who loves us with an everlasting love.

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WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Infinite

I decided to have some fun with a little graphic art for this week’s photo challenge.  This is my take on “Infinite.”

SWIRLED RED, GREEN

Hop over to the WP site and learn how to take part.
http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/10/11/photo-challenge-infinite/

June Writing Challenge: More Graphic Art From Terry

Terry Valley had such a great time reading all of your stories from the last writing challenge based on his graphic art that he has sent me another picture – the result of further graphic art work by him. But he wants me to make it clear that he did not actually draw this picture. Rather, he took portions of other works and put them together to create this composite picture. One of his favorite artists is Gustave Dore, whose work is now in public domain in the U. S., and the main characters in this picture come from Dore’s work.

Terry also shared his original intent for the picture and explained what it means to him, but I have posted that well below the picture itself. That way, any of you who want to try your hand at responding to the writing challenge can be free to process what the picture inspires in you and write your story before you read Terry’s purpose and meaning behind it. Or – feel free to read his explanation first.

 If you’d like to accept the challenge and write a story, just post it on your blog, come over here, and post your link in the “Comments” section below.

Word Limit is 100-500 words.

No time limit: Write when you feel inspired.

Take your liberty with ideas, but please remember this is a “G” rated blog, so all stories must adhere to that rating. I hope we have a lot of response, and I’m eager to read all the stories. Also, I guess I’d better try to write one as well.

Here’s Terry’s artwork:

TERRY'S GATES OF HELL - CREDITS - LARGER

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Terry’s Explanation of What the Picture Means to Him:

“The picture is meant to portray the seriousness of our existence. We are not our own, despite the human pride that says otherwise. We belong to God who created us. If we do not realize this in this life, it will become terrifyingly clear to us at death. The scene shows a human being after his death at the portal to his eternal destiny, represented by a gate set in the unbounded vastness of eternity.

He is on his knees, hands raised in desperate terror, pleading with the giant spiritual being before him who guards the gate to eternity and is pointing at the formerly complacent human being who now realizes – too late –that his complacency has doomed him to eternal fire – which is perilously close and licks all around him and the Angel of the Gate, the Death Angel.

To make the man’s grief and predicament all the worse, in the far distance, behind him, can be seen a single bright star, which represents the glorious and joyous destiny that could have been his. The star is behind him, as is his life on earth; he turned his back on the glorious future that could have been his, if he had not wasted his life on himself instead of living for the One — Jesus — who created him for Himself.

This is the moment of moments in his entire life, the one, last moment that decides his destiny for all eternity. But in truth, that destiny was decided long before, while he was still alive on earth. Now it is too late. Judgment has been set – and it cannot be changed.

That may sound like a lot to see in a single picture, but that is why it was created and what I hope it portrays and communicates.”

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No Other Name

CROSS & CROWN

Jesus the Christ: “… There is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved.” (Acts 3:12).

There is no other “religion” on the face of the earth — no other religious leader — no other dogma — no other doctrine — no other system of belief — that offers man the guarantee of salvation from his own sinfulness and from this cursed world — into a life of eternal joy and freedom from all that harms and destroys.

Every other system of religion offers man a life of working, struggling, straining, following rules, and sacrificing in an effort to earn an eternity on a higher plane. But even in the midst of the working and sacrificing, the disciple of those religions is never confident of his eternal rewards. He has a hope that he may get those rewards if he’s good enough — but he has no guarantee — no promise.

Only Jesus — Yeshuah — the Christ — the Messiah — offers man a guaranteed eternal salvation that is a free gift. “God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son (Jesus), that whosoever believeth in Him should … have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world, through Him, might be saved.” (John 3:16-17).

Only Jesus offers His own perfectly-lived life, His own suffering, His own sacrifice, His own death, and His own resurrection for the sake of those who follow Him. He paid the price; He won the reward: That reward was eternal life with the Creator of the universe and the right to impart that life to anyone who would receive Him and the work He accomplished on their behalf.

The price was paid by Him alone. So the reward of eternal life with God is in His name alone. If any of the other religious leaders of the world had paid the price for us, we could be saved by following them. But the simple truth is that they did not. And that’s why all those religions can do is tell us we need to live better lives and follow a bunch of rules and make continual sacrifices of one kind or another in the hope of finding a better eternity after we die.

Why would anyone follow after the teachings, the dogmas, the doctrines of a belief system that requires them to struggle and strain and perfect themselves in order to have a slim hope of something better, when Jesus the Christ stretches out His nail-pierced hands and offers eternity with the God of the universe for free?

Perhaps it’s our ego — our self-righteous belief that we can ultimately be our own savior — that makes some of us choose a belief system that forces us to try to do all the work ourselves — to “earn” the hope of a better eternity. But what a waste. When we could be living a life free from the fear of missing the mark somehow. We could be living a life filled with the joy of knowing for sure that we are moving toward a glorious eternity and amazing rewards and blessings from the Creator of the universe. Knowing that the end of the race is guaranteed makes running it so much easier.

Jesus the Christ is risen. He’s alive. And He’s offering the guarantee of eternity with God to every human being on the face of the earth — paid for by Him. That is why “there is no other name under heaven, that has been given among men, by which we must be saved.”

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