Oh Happy Day!!!
He gives us good gifts…
(Names have been changed to protect the guilty… 🙂
I woke up sicker than the day before. Throat burning, congested chest, wheezing…
It was early, my youngest son told me in tears that the man who does some handiwork occasionally at our house, had opened the door and our little dog Scarlet had escaped and run and run. He tried to follow her in his car, but he couldn’t catch up. My daughter went looking and I silently prayed. “Lord, if you will, protect that little dog from being hit, and if someone finds her, and doesn’t return her, let it be a good home”. (I’ve been wanting to find a good home for her, she is far, far too active. The people who sold her to my daughter, completely lied about her age and breed. She is not a teacup Chihuahua, although when they gave her to us, she was tiny, we were soon to realize they lied about her age too (said she was 17 weeks), when she was likely about 6-7 weeks old according to our vet, a Jack Russell Terrier mix with Chihuahua. She is so active, friendly, but so much work with everything else in my life, and this is the second time she has escaped and run away.
I told my son, to go tell his sister (the owner), so she too could go search for Scarlet. And I laid my sore and weary head back down, as I hacked up the top two halves of my lungs. On the way home, my daughter found five horses loose and she had tried to get out to gather them up, but there was evidently a herd dog that wouldn’t let her near. He had them neatly lined up, probably guarding them, as a good Shepherd would and does.
I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep. John 10:11-13
My friend who does some work for me in the house at times, knocked on my door. He apologized profusely for opening the gate, and her slipping past him. He said he was so sorry Scarlet was lost. I assured him it could have happened to any of us, and I had prayed for her, and we’d just have to trust God now. We’d do what we could and then we need to leave it in God’s hands. He asked if he could take the garbage out. As he was emptying the garbage and putting new bags in, he spoke of a study book I had given him a while back, to study sections of the Bible. (He evidently must have been in Revelation 6 as he began to talk about the horses in the Bible and was scared, thinking were about at number 4). I spoke a little of Matt 24, and how before these things started, the church would be gathered to Him, as they were not appointed to wrath. I shared about this time lasting 7 years, but before then I explained some of the birth pangs.
He wanted to know if he could ask me some questions.
Now, I’m in my robe, saggy and weepy eyes, bronchitis cough, can barely talk or breathe without wheezing — so you can probably figure out, I didn’t think I was quite up to it. But I said a silent prayer and told him “sure”. Now I am not going to get this all right with my foggy and fuzzy head, but this is pretty close.
He began by asking me how he could KNOW that he was saved or not, whether he was doing the right thing or not in God’s sight. I have shared the gospel with him many times, in many ways. I believe he was still looking to his performance for assurance. He brought up how he just didn’t know sometimes, because of not being good enough. He wanted to know exactly what he needed to ‘do’ in order to be sure he was going to heaven.
So I began to take him through different things that might help him understand. Explaining about how the law in the beginning was just one thing we had to obey. Do not eat of this tree (of the knowledge of good and evil), or you will surely die. I explained how it was just one thing, and all else they could eat of freely. But Adam still disobeyed, and Eve was deceived….. We all have sinned, and fallen short of God’s glory. That has separated us from Him eternally, but God promised a way out from that first sin.
I explained how he could know for sure that he was saved, starting at John 20:31, explaining the purpose of the book of John, why it was written. I then took him to John 3:14-18 and when I explained that, I went to vs. 36 next.
English is not his first language, so I would explain what it meant (when Moses lifted up the bronze serpent, that even then man could either look and live, or not believe in what God’s way of offering to save them, refusing to look, and in so doing — die). That Jesus being lifted up on the cross, a tree, was similar to that serpent Moses lifted up, the offering, the only way to live.
That curse was upon us, but Jesus in such great love, took it upon Him instead, as the Father laid all of our sins on Jesus at the cross. And our part was to believe upon Him. Jesus Christ and Him crucified in our place.
And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him. John 3:14-16, 36
He asked me more questions, which I took him through Scriptures, I cannot remember all. Again he asked, “Yes, but how can I KNOW?”
I took him to 1 Cor 15:3-4 and explained, THIS is the gospel. Everything you need to believe in order to be saved. Christ died for YOUR sins, He was buried for YOU, and He rose again, proving He was God, and had the power to take His life up again (as He had said in John 10). I asked him if he believed this, he said he did. But he asked “how would he know if he was doing right?”
I explained to him for salvation we can do nothing. We believe the truth of the gospel, and I took him to Rom 1:16-17 and 1 Cor 1:17-18, to explain that the gospel itself, is the power of God unto salvation. And I asked him if he believed that. He nodded. I also read John 5:24 to him.
He brought up how he sometimes didn’t know if he was doing right, in the best words he could describe. I explained none of us do right in the sight of God, one sin and we’re done. And people tend to think certain sins are better, easier to believe God can forgive than others. After believing, people somehow go back under the law, trying to finish on their own, in the flesh, and as Paul told us, it just makes us sin more, and breaks our fellowship with the Lord.
So we went over to Romans 7:13-25 and discussed how if the apostle Paul struggled, we certainly will. It helped him understand the evil that is still in our flesh, since we live in this body of death (or dead, sinful flesh). But that God has delivered us from the penalty of death, and has passed us from darkness into life, death unto life. That however wretched we are (which we find out the more we humble ourselves under His mighty hand — explaining that God resists the proud), we get cleaned up by being in His Word and prayer. At some point I don’t know when, he had knelt down, and was eager to know more.
I took him to 1 John 5:9-13 and explained in believing, we could know we have eternal life that will never be lost. I explained the meaning of echo (Greek for hath), it is possess or own, or the marriage vows even of to have, to hold. We are now His. We now and forever have eternal life. We are already seated in heavenly places, citizens of heaven.
We know ourselves whether we believe or if we didn’t believe. And even if we don’t quite believe or understand, all of the gospel, the Word can give us the answers to make us ‘wise unto salvation’ (2 Tim 3:15).
I told him again what he need to know, reiterating Jesus is Lord (God, the Messiah) and Savior, who came in the flesh, to offer Himself in our place. To pay the price in full for our sins, to die for us, be risen again, as He will bring us with Him one day.
I, even I, am the Lord; and beside me there is no saviour. Is 43:11
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:11
I quoted John 14:6, and asked him if he believed Jesus was the only way to the Father, the only truth whereby we can be given the free gift of eternal life. He said “yes he believed”, so then I explained that is all he needed to do, and he had eternal life now forever, forever perfected in God’s sight (he was beaming).
And I shared what he needed to do next in order to live and walk with the Lord, not to earn salvation or to keep it, but to fellowship with His Savior. He should thank God for having given Him the free gift of eternal life. That the prayer didn’t save, but that might be a good response for such a great gift, explaining praying is just talking to Him. I explained over and over, eternal means just that, eternal, and starts the moment we believe.
What came next, was learning how to be a good disciple. That a disciple or follower didn’t necessarily believe, and if not, they weren’t saved. I told him in John 6, Jesus knew which one of His disciples would not believe, and which one would betray Him (Judas).
What is Repentance?
I talked to him about how we all needed to repent and explained the meaning. Think differently than we did before about what saved us. I told him different people needed to have a change of mind about different things. So we turned to Acts 17, and I spoke to him about the Philosophers at Mar’s Hill, and explained a little about where they were, and what it was like.
I told about how God in His great love for all His offspring (everyone knit together in the womb, created by Him), had even set us in certain times and places, (like he and I), so it is more likely that we might seek Him, grope for Him and find Him.
I continued to assure Him the Bible tells us that God in His great love wants all men to be saved (1 Tim 2:1-6). That Christ laid down His life, died for all (even the false prophets who would deny Him — 2 Pet 2:1). That He loved us first and He desired that none should perish (be condemned) — John 3:18, 2 Pet 3:9 — but wanted us to live (in Him). I told him that these men needed to think differently about believing their gods could save them and believe upon Jesus Christ instead. And the Jewish Pharisees needed to think differently about believing being a physical son of Abraham could save them, and understand/believe that Jesus was the only way to be saved. A Roman Catholic needed to repent (have a change of mind) regarding their seven sacraments saving, or being a Catholic is the truth, or being prayed for after they are dead — none of these works will change. Mormons need to change their thinking regarding who Jesus is (He is not Satan’s half brother) and Jehovah’s Witnesses to to think differently about who Jesus is, He is God… Muslims need to believe on Jesus not Allah who cannot save them.
All need to change their thinking from something, even not believing here is a God at all, or that being good will save, or that even doing good works like ‘repenting from sin’ or ‘turning from sin’ etc., was adding the gospel and could not save. We need to believe that Jesus is the ONLY way to be saved, without any works of our own. Christ and Him crucified and put to death in our place. Taking the penalty upon Him, and perfecting forever with that sacrifice, once for all, those who have believed (Heb 10:10, 14).
He was happy, so I explained his next step now that he was saved. That he needed to remember where the gospel is found (1 Cor 15:3-4) so he can now go share with his 3 kids and with his wife (they have started Bible study previously).
I flipped over to Colossians 2, and explained how the Holy Spirit circumcises or seals our hearts as a sign or the new Covenant. That He dwells in our hearts forever when we believe (Rom 8:9). That He nailed the law (which was against us) to the cross, and forgave us all our sins, triumphing over the enemy, having victory over death.
I talked about how Jesus prayed that we would be cleansed, or cleaned up by the truth, so we need His Word every day. We also need the guidance of the Holy Spirit who seals us until the day of redemption, the day our new bodies are given to us. That is when we are delivered from the presence of sin, as our old body is shed. Flesh and blood will not inherit the kingdom of God, but because Christ has saved us, we have a garment of Salvation on us forever.
I told him that Satan lives to accuse believers daily, so we need to be ready like Jesus in Matthew 4, and answer ‘it is written’, believing and knowing God is not a liar, we do not go by our feelings, or performance, but we keep short accounts with the Lord, and in order to keep our fellowship together, we needed to confess our sins as we thought of them. That He is always faithful to forgive us and cleanse us from our sins.
I again reminded him, being a disciple is part of being a good student or pupil, which in turn, helps us be cleaned up, learn right from wrong, and grow stronger. I told him about asking God to help him pray for more things and gave him Proverbs 3:5-6, explaining not to trust feelings, but trust God and His Word. Abide in Jesus and Abide in His Word.
Several times he said he believed during this time, in the middle at some point, my leg got a Charlie horse, so I prayed about that, spoke some more, he was happy. Then my youngest came to interrupt, someone he said had stopped by. Turned out my friend and her mom were running errands, so I told her stay away and go back outside, since I was sick, and her mom certainly didn’t need to get sick. I said hello to her mom from a distance (who was sitting in the car), and then shared about our dog Scarlet being missing. She was understanding and said she’d look on the way out. So she called me a couple minutes later and had found a dog loose, but it wasn’t mine, it was a dark standard poodle. I thought I knew where it belonged so they knocked on the door, and they weren’t home. So I started calling neighbors, the first neighbor had no idea. So I thought also of the horses, and called my other neighbor with horses, and told her about them and the lost poodle. She said no, she had all of her horses, but she had seen a little dog out earlier. I said, “Oh no, she is mine, did you happen to catch her”?
She told me that she was sitting with her right then, how friendly and bouncy she was. When she was loose, she had taken a picture, in case she couldn’t coax her to come to her. She sent it to her friend, but Scarlet finally relented and came to trust her.
She sent the picture to her friend because she thought she was so cute, and the friend said she wanted her. Naturally my neighbor said that she told her, she first had to try to find the owners. I then explained to her, that we had been looking for a good home for Scarlet, for someone with a fenced yard where she could run. For someone who possibly had another small dog to play with.
She related her friend’s situation. She had a miniature long-haired Chihuahua, (and I instantly thought of a precious friend who breeds them), and my heart started to beat thinking of what was to come…. Her other dog, had died 4 months prior. And she was ready for another dog, and so was her little Chihuahua. She was home a lot, and comes over to my neighbor often because they are good friends.
I asked her to call her friend to see if she would like the dog. So all has been arranged, Lord willing, my daughter is meeting her as I type this.
I thought of a new life brought into this world today.
I thought of a saved life, both my friend, and my ‘Scarlet’ dog.
I explained to my neighbor how she got her name (Rahab and the scarlet thread of redemption) so perhaps, another seed was planted.
In the meantime, my daughter, my friend and her mother, in trying to chase down the dark wooly Standard poodle (made me think of the Black Sheep), and in trying to corral it, made it run to a home, and stand by a gate, which they opened up, the dog went straight in (the strait gate). So another happy ending <3
As I wrote this, a peach-faced Love bird, landed in my patio, on my humming bird feeder. It was quite large. For a while it was upside down, trying to figure out where the food might be. I snuck up slowly to get a picture with my phone, before he/she realized someone was there. It reminded me of these two passages.
Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: and yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Matt 6:26-30
Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows. Matt 10:29-31
I am very weak, but He is strong.
His Word is powerful. His Gospel is the power of God unto salvation. What a blessing of a gift today. I am so thankful to the Lord for His Word, for His saving gospel, for His sacrifice for me. What a loving Savior.
Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. Isaiah 1:18
SCARLET GOT HER NEW HOME!