How Can I Be Saved?

Weekly Sabbath Survey

How Can I Be Saved? —  3-17-2018


There are quite a few groups that call themselves Christian, but their understanding of salvation is contrary to good doctrine. Their plan for being saved is each person must ‘work’ themselves into it by doing good. This might seem to make sense, but it misses the mark of Truth. Christian Believers are for sure required to do ‘good works.’ But these works have never been about securing salvation, rather (according to the teachings of James the Lord’s brother, the works are the outward manifestation of our salvation. We are saved first, then the good we do matters in heaven. Doing good without being saved is a waste of our time! Think of wealthy people in the public eye who are decidedly NOT saved, may even publicly disdain the Living God, but are giving away a lot of money doing good all over. They profess weird theology, false gods, live immoral lives, and are trying to make themselves good through their good works. They help others, but that doesn’t make them GOOD.
Whether strictly in the context of Judaism or among the sect called Believers in The Way, it has always been recognized and taught that salvation is a GIFT from God the Father. The concept and the term “Born Again” was a Jewish thing, even before the Lord Jesus was born. A Jewish friend years ago told me that the rabbis still teach being Born Again. My surprise was so evident, he chuckled and said, “Billy Graham didn’t invent it, we did!” (It’s odd to me that some Jews know more about us than we have any idea about them! They live quietly among us, go to school with us, play bridge or golf with us, mostly keeping their spiritual lives a secret from us.)
So, we see Jesus in the New Testament in conversation with a Pharisee named Nicodemas. In response to questions from him, Jesus spoke concerning the Way of Salvation, saying, “You must be Born Again.”  Nicodemas replied, “How can a man enter again into his mother’s womb and be born again?” Jesus said, “You mean to tell me you are a Master Teacher in Israel and you don’t know what it means to be Born Again?!” In that day, Pharisees were teaching a concept of “salvation through circumcision.” They were teaching this ‘new thing’ to Gentile Believers, instead of the Born Again way. For this reason the Jerusalem Council was convened. (Acts 15) Paul was hoppin’ mad, wrote the Book of Galatians. He wasn’t objecting so much to Gentiles becoming Jews, but to his Gentile converts being taught ‘another way’ of salvation. (Jesus said, I AM THE WAY.)
Circumcision for those adult males was a choice, but it was not salvation. It was instituted by God with Abraham as a sign of belonging to Him. But it is an outward appearance. We can sprinkle a baby, put on “Christian” jewelry, give money to the church or the poor. But sooner or later, we must have an actual inward spiritual experience which is necessary for us to be in covenant with our Abba (Father God) and Jesus. Salvation is a spiritual transformation that occurs in the heart of a human being by understanding and accepting the work of Jesus at the cross. His blood shed for The World. Salvation must be understood before it can be obtained.
I have heard testimonies of people who were saved at age five. In their highly prized by Jesus childlike faith they KNEW they were saved. Later they learned more about it, but the seed of salvation was with them when they gave their life to Jesus. And it went with them all their lives until the time came to accept the adult version and understanding of our faith. There are older people who stubbornly refuse God’s plan, but they finally gave in and asked Him to accept and forgive their sins. These ‘better late than never’ folks are sometimes hard to understand, but if they are sincere, God never turns them away. We look on the outside, but the Lord sees the heart. It isn’t our place to even speculate. Just leave those late comers in God’s hands. He can sort the sheep from the goats in that great and terrible DAY when the time for sorting finally arrives.
When they heard [that Jesus was both Lord and Christ] they were pricked in their hearts and said, “What must we do to be saved?”  Peter said, “Repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.  Acts 2:36-39
 
Charlene Reams Manning, Believer in the Lord Jesus Messiah
copyright  July 2017
Advertisements

The Little Gate

Weekly Sabbath Survey
The Little Gate —  1-27-2018

   

In Bible times, wealthy people protected their homes with stone walls. (This is still the case in many countries around the world. In America we have ‘gated communities.’) The wall would have a tall entrance gate, opening onto a large courtyard in front of the house. It was kept closed both day and night. The wall provided privacy by day, and safety by night. Tradesmen and visitors would knock on the wooden gate and wait to be let in. These people might very well arrive riding a camel or with several camels carrying baggage or goods to sell.
A smaller gate or door would be built into the larger gate This gate kept unruly camels from charging in like crazy, stirring up dust and generally causing a ruckus. Many home owners required tradesmen and others to come through the small door. There would be a designated ‘stable’ area where animals were housed. This way the front courtyard was kept clean and free of animal ‘leavings.’
The small door or gate was narrow and low. In order for a camel to pass through, it had to have its back pack load removed. Once the burden was removed, a camel is still too tall to get in. It had to crawl through the opening on its knees. By this time, the camels would be all calmed down and could be quietly led away to their pen to get water and feed. Then the visitor or merchant could get their belongings into the courtyard for putting into the house or displaying in the courtyard for the family to shop.
There are many things in the Bible that we think we understand, but we don’t because we don’t know the culture or the lingo in which these words were spoken. Many of us have puzzled about how hard it is for a camel to go through the eye of a needle. Why would Jesus say something so impossible, concerning a rich man getting into heaven? Peter even said, “How then can anyone be saved?”
In Israel today and other places in the Middle East there still exists homes with a “little gate” built into the larger gate. For more centuries than anyone can remember, the little gate has been called The Eye Of The Needle by Jews and Arabs alike. Whether it was already called that or it was named that after Jesus said what He did, I wasn’t able to find out. But it sure makes sense to me now!
And, according to Jesus, people get into God’s Kingdom pretty much the same way a camel gets through The Eye Of The Needle:  by having their burdens (sins) taken away and by getting down on their knees!  
Do you wake up every day letting Jesus take your burden of sin?  Are you kneeling in quiet prayer beside Him each night, thanking Him that you have gotten through the Eye of the Needle and are part of His Kingdom?  Nothing else we will ever do can exceed the glorious and marvelous thing this is.
You must immediately enter through the narrow gate: because wide is the gate and broad is the way leading into destruction; many are those who enter through it.  How narrow the gate is, and the way that leads to life is constricted, and few are those who find it.  Matthew 7:13-14  The Power New Testament
              Residence in Old City Jerusalem (photo about 1935)
 
Charlene Reams Manning, Believer in the Lord Jesus Messiah
copyright July 2017
WSS’s are posted and archived for viewing at

Going Over The Wall

Weekly Sabbath Survey

Going Over The Wall —  12-9-2017
I was talking with a friend. She mentioned another of her friends who disagrees with her from time to time on some important doctrinal issues and false teaching floating around these days. Later I was thinking about that and the following “one liner” came to me: This Believer is really a good person, but is just too short to see over the wall she has come to.
We all travel along life’s road and once in a while we seem to get as far as we can go. We have hit a wall. It’s so tall we can’t see over it, let alone get over it. We may hear voices of our friends calling to us from the other side, but we are too fearful to listen. We sit, walk back and forth, run our hands along the wall. We sleep. We dream. We rest. We wait. But all the while, praying, staying in the Lord. Then, one day we stand up and wowzah!! We’re tall enough to see over the wall. That one look is “The End” for the wall. We are now thinking only of getting over that wall. We are also getting taller every day. We jump up, get a hand on the top. Then one day we give it all we’ve got and we are over! HOORAY and HALLELUJAH!!  Years ago  “Going Over The Wall” was slang in old gangster movies for escaping from prison.
For me, my very first wall was not the most difficult, but it was probably one of the most painful and maybe most significant: walking out of the denominational church I grew up in. I came to see it as a spiritual prison, keeping me from learning more. After that first challenge, in each new church I learned more things that I didn’t get at the last one. Every time I left a church (there were several), I was going over the wall. A couple of times the ‘wall’ I had to get over was a home group or ladies group I was part of. Years ago I escaped the last church and now my walls are ones of “Not Understanding.” I get to a place where I cannot see what comes next. Or, I see something in my Bible, but don’t understand it. My learning is not going forward. But I’m as impatient as I was in my younger days. I just keep walking back and forth, keeping up my strength, feeling the wall, stretching up now and then to see if it’s still too high. Then, somebody sends me an e-mail, says something to me in a phone call, I read something someone else wrote, or a dear friend says, “You need to read this book.”  And all of sudden, I’m climbing the wall, I’m over the wall and running wildly free through fields of green and beautiful forests. I’m learning and learning and getting confirmation for things I wondered about but didn’t say out loud because I wasn’t sure.  OH Happy Day! when we go over another wall.
Going over the wall is about getting to a new level of understanding in knowing the Lord or His word, His plan for our lives, and His plan for the world! I have come to a place of trying see the walls not as a hindrance to my progress, but a challenge for me to come up higher. Grow taller in Jesus. Get stronger with every victory. And every time, I make it over the wall, I get “Just a Closer Walk With Thee.”
I urge you, my friends, DO NOT just sit down at the wall telling yourself this is all there is. If you just lie there, you will be like the man at the pool who told Jesus he couldn’t get healed because nobody would help him into the water! You will lose your oomph, feel spiritually weak and not bringing your “A Game” to your life and ministry. We do not get to the stopping place on this Earth, because THAT is Heaven. The person I spoke of in the beginning here is in that awful very place of gone as far as she wants to go. In truth, it’s frightening, not knowing what all lies beyond the wall. Many good people stay put, and never find out. It takes real courage to keep jumping up to see, trying to climb out! And great faith to finally jump down on the other side.
God gave us leaders for maturing the congregation for the work of the ministry, and unity, so all KNOW the Son of God and have grown to the full measure of the height and the fullness of Messiah.
(Ephesians 4:11-13) paraphrased

Charlene Reams Manning, Believer in the Lord Jesus Messiah

copyright  May 2017
WSS’s are posted and archived for viewing at

Happiness for Real

Weekly Sabbath Survey
 Happiness For Real — 2-18-2017
“Bloom Where You’re Planted.”  Back 40 years ago, that was “code” for, “Now that you’ve been fired up in the Lord, stay in your same church and don’t mess up status quo, no matter how bad it is.”  You can guess this was a desperate attempt to keep newly Spirit-led denominational people from jumping ship. Some stayed, others left. Some went back, others went forward. Each had to figure out what was best for them and their family, and what made them happy.
But, this upheaval gave birth to a new denomination: The Non-Denominational (Charismatic) Church. In the beginning our services were REAL church!  The ‘new’ music was so beautiful and powerfully anointed, people got saved, healed and delivered during the worship! At times the anointing of Holy Spirit was thick as a cloud. God just did His thing as the people prayed for each other and needs were met. The preacher moved among the people ministering. There was no need for preaching on one of those days! But, eventually the leaders saw this free-for-all church caused some people to run out the door almost screaming. We learned that big challenges to Status Quo were counter productive to some people’s happiness. We needed to be more NORMAL. So, enter the ‘seeker friendly’ version of Charismatic Church. I know people who attended ‘charismatic’ churches for years and never knew it was full of tongue-talkers, including the pastor! This “church” no longer uses that term, and has become mostly the same old church we had before the Charismatic Renewal Church got plastic surgery!  Even most of the music has little anointing now. But, there are a lot of BIG churches now, and the people are “happy.”  
For some of us, happy means joyful. Life is good. For others it means attaining a certain goal. (Or holding on to Status Quo!) But when goals are reached, the happiness of that fades quickly. The Lord wants Believers to learn happiness is not something obtained from outside circumstances. It comes from the inside. True JOY is found in knowing the Lord, His Holy Spirit inside us, and the joy we get from the accomplishments of other people. This makes true happiness in our hearts. People who enjoy the achievements of others are as happy as if they had achieved it themselves. Counting our blessings is more than a song; it’s an exercise in thanksgiving. Tony made it through a bad cancer event. The grandchildren are healthy and growing up to be great kids. My two sons, daughter-in-law and step-daughter are a blessing! I have some good friends that I can trust. My life has been difficult at times, exciting at times, peaceful at times, but never boring! I am happy.
Joy also comes from small things around us. My patio plants I tend every day, my little dogs that I love. A good meal cooked for my family. A jar of pickled eggs I ‘put up’ myself. The smell of clean laundry as I fold it. Soaking in my hot tub. A mist that rises from my garden at sunup. My rooster crowing. The days I have energy, my mind feels bright, not much pain, and bodily systems seem to be working correctly. All this is contentment money cannot buy.
Do I have bad days? Who doesn’t ??  I lived in excellent health all my adult life until about 55. I began to have little things go wrong—little aches and pains that got bigger. And all the docs could offer was lots of bad drugs. I have kept that to a minimum by my own quest for relief in natural remedies. It has been an adventure but I’m still going. Not going too strong, but going. Outdoor activities in winter, that I like to do, are hard for me. It pains me to relinquish control. I want to do everything myself. Asking for help is a frustrating, humbling process. (God is working to make me ready for my last ‘trip’.) I try to be happy that there are those around me who are willing to help me! And I pray for Spring when my body will feel happier again, too!
We must do our best to be happy right where you are. On my worst days, I don’t like to complain to God or beg Him to help me (or just take me!). I want to tell Him I am glad that if I died right now, I KNOW I will be with Him. (“To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.” (2 Cor. 5:8)  Life is a simple matter of choosing to be as happy as we possibly can. It’s our decision to be happy. It’s as plain and easy as “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.”  Or, more Biblical, “Rejoice that your name is written in The Book of Life.”
           
The Lord takes care of me so I don’t want for anything. He gives me rest and makes the storms of life easier for me.  He sets a table for me with all of life’s goodness and pleasure to choose from.  He pours His Spirit over me. My happiness is running over the top!  Psalm 23  (paraphrased). 

 

Charlene Reams Manning, Believer in the Lord Jesus Messiah
Forward any WSS you feel has merit. (without changes, please)     August 2015
Comments are welcome. Subscribe or contact me at: RedHen1944@aol.com 
 
 
 
     
 
 

 

Lifter of My Head

Weekly Sabbath Survey
Lifter of My Head —  1-21-2017
Years ago I heard about a person who was really “down on their luck.’  From a good family, grew up in the Christian faith. Initial launch into adult life went well. But fortunes turned. This person was on the ropes, spiritually and every other way. And singing the “Somebody Done Me Wrong” song. (I know the words by heart!) There is only one counsel to give a Believer in this shape. It is a sort of ‘do or die’ prospect of giving God full control of our life. We must accept the blood of Calvary as a covering for our sins. This was told to this once faithful Christian. The miserable person flew into a tirade, blurting, “I am not an evil person who needs somebody else to die for my sins! I am in control of my own life. I don’t need help from anybody!”
A TV doc might say here, “How’s that working out for you?”  Or, maybe Sponge Bob, even more cruel with, “Well, good luck with that!”  It’s heart breaking to see people so overwhelmed and unable, even unwilling, to accept the honest truth of what the devil and their own willfulness is doing to their life. They press on and claim to be the master of their fate, the captain of their soul. They need no help—divine or otherwise. (Except when they “borrow” money from you.) They don’t need a Savior. They are adrift on a stormy sea in a leaky boat. No life preserver, no provisions for survival. Eventually they must forsake the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life. [1 John 2:16] They cannot stay in denial of their extreme circumstances. There’s a line in a Bob Dylan song: “When you gonna wake up and strengthen the things that remain?” Even if we do lose everything, we must strengthen our hope of heaven, our trust in Jesus!
We may learn the Good News as children, but at some point we need to HEAR the Bad News. Sometimes, possessed with only the Good News, we find it of little value and declare ourselves “The Boss of Me.” We put Jesus in chains, throw Him into a hidden place until later when we die and need Him to punch our ticket into Heaven. Meanwhile, we sail the seas of life in storms and weather fair, thinking we are OK because we still have our head above the water. Some of us are in the leaky boat and some are absolutely on the Titanic. Hear the Bad News: All have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory. There is none righteous, not even ONE. What can wash away my sin?  Nothing but the blood of Jesus!!!
He promised to take our heavy burdens. In Bible days, men walked along the dusty roads, some carrying large bundles on their backs, bent over under the weight their faces looking at the ground. There was no UPS, no delivery service. Rich people had camels. Poor people carried the load themselves. At the time, another person traveling light might offer to carry some of the load for another. The person would say with joy, “Friend, you are the lifter of my head!” Many times they didn’t even know each other. That line became a Jewish idiom for being a great help to another. Jesus wants to help us with the load we carry. He wants to be the Lifter of Our Head. He promised that His load is always lighter than ours.
It’s sometimes hard to TRUST God, even when we are saved. But when we finally do, it will change our life forever!! Your faith becomes trust, and your trust becomes grace, and your grace becomes PEACE, even in the storms. Faith is difficult. It is work. Trust is a simple surrender, but even then it takes a great push on our part to get there. Then, grace slips us into that wonderful peace. It comes fully as a gift God gives. We should never have to work for it. It is a Peace that passes understanding. A peace that given our circumstances, doesn’t make sense! These are lessons we learn over and over in life. We forget, and the Lord has to remind us of what we learned before. Life is school and will be until the day we “graduate.” All the while we are going back and forth between ‘we know it’ and ‘we forgot it,’ He is our protector, and our righteousness, and the bearer of all our burdens.

Lord, how things that trouble me are increased. Many say of me, “There is no help for him in God.” But Thou, O Lord, are a shield for me; my glory and the lifter of my head.  Psalm 3:1-3 

 

Charlene Reams Manning, Believer in the Lord Jesus Messiah                                                     
Copyright  July 2016
WSS’s are posted and archived for viewing

 

Stories & Lies

Weekly Sabbath Survey
Stories & Lies —  11-19-2016
Every culture has its story tellers. These people were/are the historians of cultures without written language. And what we might call tall tales are fun. Other stories provide a record of family experiences we pass on to our children and grandchildren. My kids and grandkids ask me to tell stories of my childhood or my boys growing up years. No matter how many times I tell a story, we all laugh very much every time. I have a longtime friend who is quite the story teller himself. He regales us at gatherings with his recollections. Once he told a “huntin’ camp” tale about how the guys pulled a practical joke on one of the group. We all shook with side-splitting guffaws as he went on and on. At the end, all of us laughing ’til we cried, he said, “Now, that may not be exactly how that happened, but if not, it should have been!” There was no doubt, an element of exaggeration at work! Another old timer story teller said, “Why ruin a really good story by stickin’ to the  facts when a little imagination can really entertain the folks?”  So, those who appreciate that sentiment have learned to expect a little touch of Pecos Bill, Davy Crockett, or Chupacabra from of our story tellers, while sittin’ around the camp fire. They don’t tell something to LIE, but to give people a good laugh. Authors write fiction, and sometimes, story tellers just tell it. It’s spinnin’ a yarn.
So, if story telling isn’t lying, what is? A lie is something told to cover up an evil deed or to protect the lying person from harm; or to enhance one’s standing with others like taking credit for something I didn’t do. It could also be something said to deceive or take advantage of another person, financially or otherwise. And sometimes a lie is said to do harm to another person, like spreading gossip that the speaker knows is not  true. In the Bible the words for lie and liar mean to deceive, to falsify. Number 9 on God’s Top Ten List is Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor. So, that would make lying about or against another person a SIN. Anything said to deliberately cheat someone or otherwise take advantage of them, is akin to The Father of Lies, which is, in fact, the devil.
Paul wrote “. . . put away lying, let every man speak the truth in love . . .”  There is a list of things that put a welcome mat for the devil. Lying is one of those. That ol’ snake is most assuredly very comfortable with lying, filthy (corrupt) communication, and slander (evil speaking, ugly gossip) coming out of our mouths. He finds a ‘place’ we make for him and brings along bad spiritual vibes that reverberate in our homes and our hearts, working to drive away the good things of God’s Spirit, like peace, harmony, joy, and even love.
There was a time in American society when lying was very frowned upon. Now, we’re hardly fazed by it. Ordinary, “good” people lie to each other in a pinch. I heard someone quote, “A lie is an abomination to the Lord, and a very present help in time of trouble.” That’s two very different Scriptures put together to say something the Bible doesn’t say!  Salesmen lie to make a sale. Preachers lie from the pulpit. Kids lie to avoid a whuppin’. Spouses lie to each other for a variety of reasons. And some of the most accomplished liars get themselves elected to public office, maybe even as President of the U.S.A.
One thing that our Lord God and Jesus are is TRUTH.  When we are not in the truth, not telling the truth, we are missing a key element of who we are supposed to be if we know salvation in Jesus. Christians DO NOT lie. Sadly, some of the slickest liars I ever knew or heard of said they were—Christians!
Some of us may think we are so free in Jesus we can do whatever we want because ‘we are not bound by the law.’ Christians are free from the LAW of sin and death. That means for Believers, it is no longer true that we are doomed to be sinners and to die eternally, as God said in the Garden of Eden. Once we are under the Blood of Jesus, this no longer applies to us. But that doesn’t mean we can run around doing what we want. The rest of The Law is still there! We cannot lie, steal, covet, murder, blaspheme God, etc. When we sin, if we repent we are restored to righteousness. But we must understand this: The blood of Jesus shed at Calvary is not a lucky charm, magic potion or Get Outta Jail Free card. And it certainly isn’t a license to sin without consequences. Truth or Consequences. Yessiree Bob!!!
. . . and, all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone:  Revelation 21:8 

 

Charlene Reams Manning, Believer in the Lord Jesus Messiah                                                     
Copyright  June 2016
WSS’s are posted and archived for viewing