Photography and Article by Norma Beaird
“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
The picture above is our newly decorated coffee corner. It was time for a change. After we wake up, the first thing that we do is go to the coffee corner, unless we decide to go outside first and check on the plants. Curtis likes his coffee. I like my coffee. Regular or Decaf, coffee helps to get us in gear. Sometimes, it puts us in Drive, or gets us out of Neutral. Coffee helps us to focus on the day ahead. No, we’re not addicted, but we’re not 21 anymore. We need a little assistance.
In the wilderness of life, evil attempts to steal our focus.
The world. Well, what can I say? It doesn’t matter where you’re living. Our communities, towns and cities are experiencing chaos on a widespread scale. To turn on the news is to fall into a ditch of despair and to be exposed to unending propaganda. Therefore, we decided that it was time to be reminded every single morning of what is important. Each morning, when I go to make coffee, I see the Eastern Bluebird picture and the three crosses. Each morning, I am reminded of what Jesus did for me on Calvary. So, before I get too discouraged over shootings, wars and upheavals, I am reminded that God is still in control.
For the last few posts, I’ve kinda had a theme going, “Manna in the Wilderness…..”, “…..Finding Peace on a Front Porch”. Sometimes, life is just difficult. The world around all of us refuses to make it any easier. In many ways, it always has been difficult, especially if you’re a Christian. At times, you feel like a fish out of water and wish that you could find the right river to swim in. You always feel that you’re swimming upstream, while everyone else is happily tubing downstream, catching the rays and drinking their favorite carbonated beverage of choice. You continue to swim upstream, tired and worn out, hoping that someone will throw you a life preserver attached to a rope to pull you back to the river bank.
Does this mean that we’re unhappy, pining away in this world, drowning our sorrows in Eight O’clock coffee and Chocolate Chip Cookies? Of course not! However, as Christians, if we think for one minute that this world is not becoming more spiritually wicked, then we haven’t been paying attention to the signs and people all around us. Have you noticed the constant anger in people? The rudeness? The bad attitudes? Have you paid attention to the number of people who are lost in a world of chemical enhancements? You attempt to pay for your items at the store and the clerk is so stoned that they can barely count the money back to you. Heartbreaking, to say the least.
Sin will keep us in the wilderness.
The number one problem with the world that surrounds us falls under the category of “Spiritual Wickedness”. Everywhere we look, we find people who are living in opposition to the Holy Scriptures. They are living in sin. There, I said it. It’s called SIN. We find people who live life, not before a holy God, but they live a life bowing down to the god of “self”. Anything that you worship more than Almighty God is an idol. People bow to the gods of materialism, narcissism, selfishness, drunkenness, lasciviousness and desire. They bow to greed, lust and envy. They bow to their careers and put their family last on the list. They bow to everything and everyone but God. And, they can’t figure out why they’re so incredibly miserable.
Some people bow to these gods and still go to church. They may outwardly do and say the right things, but all that they have is a head knowledge of family tradition, a tradition of “every once in a while” church attendance. They know about God, they know about the Christian holidays and events, but they don’t know God on a deep, personal level. They don’t pray and listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit. They don’t talk to God because they're busy.
Their prayers are reserved for when they get into trouble, physically or financially. They may pray if they sense that a relationship is in trouble. But, they don’t seek God on a daily basis and praise Him for His many blessings. Unfortunately, many people don’t want to know God on a deep, personal level. He may reveal some things that they need to change. And….change is not always negative. Our lives constantly need the positive change that only God can bring.
Going to church does not spiritually save a person. Only Jesus can save people and forgive them of their sins. Good works and generous contributions won’t buy a ticket into Heaven. Confessing Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior and repenting of your sins will pave the way to peace and eternal life in Glory. Salvation is not a tradition, it’s an experience with God. Traditions are nice, but they’re not life-changing. Tradition can enhance family relationships and make a holiday more fun, but a tradition will not save your soul. Going to church encourages the congregation in their Christian faith, but church must be about the worship of God, not a family tradition.
Right now, we are living in a spiritual desert, a wilderness, wooded acreage with buried sins. Some people live in a high-rise of sin. The city beats them up every single day. It’s much easier to pretend that sin doesn’t exist, to ignore it, to look the other way. Because, with admission of sin comes a burden of necessity, the necessity to ask for forgiveness and to make a change. Why change when you can just cover it up with pretense?
1 Peter 5: 6 - 10
Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God,
that he may exalt you in due time:
Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion,
walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
Whom resist stedfast in the faith,
knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.
But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus,
after that ye have suffered a while,
make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.
We’re living in very dangerous times. People have an agenda; and today, most agendas are rooted in selfishness. Everywhere we look, we find unhappy, discouraged and depressed people. They don’t lean on God for help, they lean on prescription medications, alcohol, and illegal drugs. They are angry and stressed. They scrap and fight every day to make another dollar to buy another gadget or item that they believe will bring them happiness and satisfaction.
About satisfaction……we are all born with a spiritual void that can only be filled with Jesus Christ. You will never find peace and satisfaction until you find Jesus. There is a reason that He came to Earth in human form as a baby, endured ridicule and scorn and then died a horrible death on the cross of Calvary. He knew that all of us come into this life born in sin. He knew that we needed a loving Savior to rescue us from eternal damnation. He knew that we needed to feel the true love that only a loving Savior can give. Jesus loves us like no one else can love us. He always has and He always will.
Turn to Jesus. Confess Him as your Lord and Savior. Repent of your sins before Him. Lay your burdens at the cross. As the old hymn says, “Leave them there….” Don’t try to carry what God has already carried for you. Lay down the substances and pick up the Bible. Start reading. Start praying. Find a place of prayer and call upon the Lord. Make your prayer requests known to God. He hears your prayer.
In the wilderness of life, you can find the cross.
"That is thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus,
and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the sea,
thou shalt be saved."
Copyright 2017, Curtis and Norma Beaird. All rights reserved.