Knowing God Cares

Understanding Grace, Faith, and Foregiveness

What Can I Do To Be Saved?

Written By: Beverly Morrison-Wickwire - Jun• 22•16

If you spend much time talking about your faith and what you believe about Heaven, God, salvation, grace, etc., it is going to come up. You will be asked the question we, as Christians, all long to hear, “What can I do to be saved?” The problem is there that there continues to be a great divide among Christian scholars, ministers, and laymen about the answer to this question. Some of the division comes through denominational traditions and beliefs, while others come through misinterpretations. Whether these misunderstandings come from the pulpit, Bible readings, or word of mouth, it is wise for the Christian to remember some key facts when answering this kind of questions.

First things first. If we are going to be effective in our Christian ministry whose primary goal is to lead the lost to Christ, we must understand that we will have to cross the denominational divide. So what exactly does that mean? The denominational divide is all the beliefs, laws, bylaws, rules, regulations, and restrictions that separate Christians as individuals and force us to align with a particular group of same minded believers, further causing the world to raise their eyebrows. Because of the divide, when someone asks how to be saved, the answer differs depending upon the denominational value of the person asked. This array of answers include, “Stop drinking, smoking, and sleeping around, change your life, ask to be forgiven, get baptized, and join a church,” “Come to this specific church, at this specific time, pray this number of prayers, to this particular person, sign a contract to convert, and get your whole family to convert,” “Repent of your sins, ask Jesus to forgive you, change your life, and don’t turn back to your old ways because, if you do, you aren’t really saved,” and my personal favorite, “There is nothing you can do to be saved. You are either born saved or not, but until you find out, attend this church and follow these rules.”

The Bible is clear on many things. One is that if we are going to teach about faith and salvation, we better know what we are talking about. “Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment,” (James 3:1, New American Standard Bible). In fact, numerous Scriptures warn against teaching doctrine apart from the truth (1 Tim. 6:20, Gal. 1:8, Col. 2:8, Tit. 3:9, etc.) and remind us to resist the temptation to alter the Gospel to fit particular needs, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires,” (2 Tim. 4:3, NASB). This is evident in churches everywhere today as supposed pastors preach surface doctrine in order not to “step on the toes” of not only unbelievers, but also those who are members of the Body. Paul challenged the church to make sure of one thing, teach the same truth, “Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment, (1 Cor. 1:10, NASB). Therefore, as Christians, in order to be effective in ministry, we must be on the same team, teach the same rules, prove the same results, and live by the same standards.

Now we can prepare to find the real answer to that all important question, and the best place to look, of course, is in God’s Own Word. After all, He is the One Who knows the whole truth, and He is clear in this area. It is important to remember that the Bible is an instruction book for Christians. So, when we read of Christian behavior, right and wrong, what to do, and things such as these, the directions are for those already saved. In other words, you cannot tell a lost person that in order to be a Christian they must do these things, because many of them will be in direct conflict with their nature. Further, they have no impact on the way to salvation. In fact, there is only one way to salvation, and that comes through belief. If you think this is not true, take a look into what God has to say. When the teacher of the Law, Nicodemus, came to see Jesus, he wanted to know about Jesus’ teaching. Jesus responded with a message about belief and told Nicodemus that salvation would come only through belief (John 3:1-21). Jesus Himself said that whoever believes in Him would have eternal life (John 3:15-16, paraphrased). Numerous other times, Jesus told His followers that faith/belief equaled salvation, (Mark 5:34, Mark 5:36, Luke 17:19, John 8:11, etc., and perhaps the most commanding John 6:47.)

But is that the end? Just believe? Again, we go to the Text. As Jesus hung on the cross between two thieves, one ridiculed Him while the other confessed Who Jesus Was, asking Him to remember him (the thief). We all know Jesus’ response, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise,” (Luke 23:43, NASB). Earlier in the Text, one of the most beautiful depictions of faith is described. When Lazarus was sick, his sisters sent for Jesus, but He did not arrive until four days after Lazarus’ death (John 11). When Martha heard He was finally there, the Bible tells us that she “ran out to meet Him and cried out, ‘Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. Even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Your brother will rise again.’ Martha said to Him, ‘I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.’ Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?’

She said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord; I have believed that You are the Christ, the Son of God, even He who comes into the world,’” (John, 11:21-27, NASB). Jesus stated that salvation came through belief. Later, He reminded Martha as she protested about removing the stone from her brother’s tomb, “Did I not say to you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” (John 11:40, NASB).

 

There are so many references to salvation by belief that they are too numerous to discuss in one writing. However, each is clear in their own description. For example, in Paul’s letter to Rome he explains that salvation comes through belief, with the key verses stating, “’The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart,’” that is, the word of faith which we are preaching,  that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved;  for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation,” (Rom. 10:8-10, NASB). In other Scriptures, the Bible tells us to simply believe, as in the powerful messages of Acts 16:31, John 20:31, John 5:24, John 1:12, Mark, 1:15, Rom. 3:21-18, and more. Story after story tells of salvation coming through belief as when Philip preached Jesus to the Ethiopian Eunuch in Acts 8 and the incredible story of the jailer’s salvation in Acts 16. The message is so clear. The jailer was ready to take his own life for fear of what his commanders would do to him, but Paul called out to him to keep him safe. Afterwards, the jailer asked Paul and Silas, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” (Verse 30). How beautiful their reply, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your whole household,” (Acts 16:31, NASB).

Nowhere in the text are bylaws, laws, rules, restrictions, and regulations added to salvation. Over and over again the Bible says salvation comes through belief. So why do we insist on adding all kinds of conditions to salvation. Perhaps we are like Nicodemus. Jesus asked him how he (Nicodemus) could be a teacher of the Law and not understand what He was saying. Nicodemus was a Pharisee and was taught to follow the rigid rules of their “denomination.” But this did not come from God. In fact, Jesus abhorred all the rules that bogged people down and responded by saying telling us “His yoke is easy, and His burden is light,” (Matt. 11:30, NASB). He was explaining the simplicity of the Gospel to those who were burdened by the laws of the church which taught against simple belief.

As Christians, we must always be mindful that the fight for power, the laws and rituals of man, and the teaching of false doctrine are the very things that put our Lord on the cross. What is the answer then, and how must we respond when someone asks how to be saved? The truth of this is simple. Turn your back on the denomination divide. Offer the same mercy, compassion, and grace as did Jesus. Tell them the way to eternal life comes through belief and only belief. In other words, teach Jesus. God bless.

Miraculous Prayers of Faith

Written By: - Mar• 09•14

When my daughter, Ashley, was 15 years old, she was diagnosed with Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD). At that time, she was the youngest person in the state to be diagnosed with this and, because of that, the experience of arriving at the diagnosis was quite traumatic. Ashley had fallen during cheerleading practice and had landed on her hands and knees. She moved her wrist back and forth and, realizing she was not hurt, continued practice.

The next morning, she called me from school to tell me that she was in so much pain it was making her sick. I picked her up and drove straight to the doctor where she was treated for a sprain. Three weeks later, her pain level had increased, and she could barely move her wrist. After being referred to a specialist, they arrived at the conclusion that she had a severe sprain, and that all ligaments were torn loose. I was somewhat perplexed but assumed this must be correct. The doctor opted to put her arm in a cast for nine weeks. Her pain level intensified, and I called the doctor numerous times. He would always respond in the same way assuming that Ashley was weak and was just wanting pain medication. She would sit and cry for long periods of time, and it would tear at my heart.

RSD-complex-regional-pain-syndrome-disability-claimWhen the nine weeks were over, we went to see the doctor so that he could remove the cast. I will never forget the look on his face or his first words when he saw her arm. A look of total despair swept over his face, and he never looked up. “Oh,” a pause, then, “Oh, this is bad. This is RSD.” Ashley’s arm was cold and blue from the tips of her fingers to her shoulder. Her muscles were rigid, and she could not move her fingers or her wrist at all. Probably because he knew the implications of his earlier misdiagnosis and poor attitude, he looked at me with an ashen face and began to explain what RSD is, how it progresses, and the treatment process. There would be a series of shots placed in Ashley’s neck. Each shot would be life-threatening but, without them, she would lose use of her arm and likely the rest of her limbs.

The next several weeks were horrible. I had to drive Ashley an hour to and from the treatment center three times a week. We would make each trip knowing the risks. She would cry. I would cry. Her brothers would cry as well. We would pray that God would keep her safe, and He would. The toll it was taking on my daughter, however, was tremendous. She became withdrawn, quiet and shy, very reclusive, and very sad. I was losing her, and I could not bear the thought. Then came our triumph.

It was the night before a treatment, and Ashley was in bed. I went in to say goodnight. As I sat on the bed she said to me, “I really don’t want to go tomorrow; I am scared. Do you think there is any possibility I might be better in the morning?” I asked her if it was feeling any better and, with tears streaming down her face, she told me that it was really hurting. I put my arms around her and said as boldly as I could, “Anything is possible with God. Let’s pray about it, and we’ll see how you are tomorrow.” We prayed together, and I kissed her goodnight.

All through the night I could barely sleep. I kept hearing my beautiful daughter saying, “I am scared,” and I could not help her. When morning came I went into herpsalm4_1 room and sat quietly beside her. I picked up her arm and cradled it in mine. For the next few moments, I praised God, repented of my sin, and thanked Him for His protection. Then, through my tears, I softly whispered, “Father, please heal my child. She is afraid, and so am I. Please take this from her so that she does not have to go back for another shot. Please. Please.” I gently placed her arm back on the bed and got ready for the day.

In a little while, Ashley came into the kitchen and said, “Do I have to go get a shot if my arm isn’t hurting?” I turned around excitedly and asked her if it felt better. She began moving her wrist, something she normally could not do without a shot. “Look, she said,” as she was smiling. I could not believe it. Immediately, I picked up the phone and called the doctor’s office. I told his nurse what was going on, and she placed me on hold. About a minute later, the doctor came to the phone and, after hearing the story, told me that answered prayer would be the only thing that would keep her from having to come for the shot. He told me to call him back in a couple of hours. Before the time was up, he called me. Ashley was still doing well, and he was getting optimistic. He was obviously afraid for her to go the weekend without a shot in fear that it might attack abruptly. Still, he told me to wait.

Later that afternoon, the doctor called to check on Ashley. At this point, her arm had regained its natural color and she had complete, pain-free movement. We were all ecstatic, including the doctor. He gave me his cell phone number and told me to call if I saw the slightest hint of color or if she had any twinge of pain. Needless to say, we did not need his number. God had chosen to heal her!

In the years since, Ashley has had several bouts with RSD. Now, though, we have been educated in what to do when the symptoms begin. She has not had to be treated again with shots.

So why did God choose to heal her? Numerous times a day people cry out to Him for healing, but He does not heal. They weep and beg and make promises to God if He will only bring healing. But He does not. What makes Him sometimes say yes, and sometimes say no? Like you, I do not have the answer, but I have a couple of thoughts.

This is not the only time in my life that I have asked God to heal when the doctors had said there was no hope. Each time He healed, the situation seemed hopeless. Each time, I was always drawn to the examples in the Bible.

Luke 5:17-25 tells the story of Jesus healing a paralytic man, but what is key is not the fact that Jesus healed him. The lesson is found in verse 20, “And seeing their faith. . .” Whose faith? The faith of the man’s friends. They had carried him there and placed him before Jesus.

raising-of-jairus-daughter-vasiliy-polenov-1871Then there was the story of Jarius’ daughter. In Mark 5:21-43, we see the story of the synagogue official whose daughter had become sick. Keeping in mind that the members of the synagogue were seeking to put Jesus to death, this man came and fell at Jesus’ feet and begged Jesus to come and heal her. Jesus left with Jarius and along the way, a woman touched His robe. Jesus turned and asked, “Who touched my garment.” After she came forward, Jesus told her that because of her faith, she was made well. In the meanwhile, word came that Jarius’ daughter had died. In that moment, Jesus told Jarius to believe. He continued to Jarius’ home where his daughter was brought back to life. We can infer that Jarius believed as Jesus had told him and, as a result of Jarius’ faith, his daughter was healed.

While all the stories are unique and meaningful, the ultimate story of faith is found in John 11. It is the story of Lazarus. We all know how it goes. Lazarus had gotten sick and his sisters had sent for Jesus, but before He could get there, Lazarus died. What we find in this text is one of the most memorable moments of faith ever to be witnessed. When Jesus arrived, Martha ran out to meet him. (Vs. 20) Notice the next verse, “Martha therefore said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.” (Vs. 21) Then comes the amazing part, “Even now, I know that whatever you ask of God, God will give You.”(Vs. 22) As the story continued, Jesus told Martha that anyone who believed in Him would not die, and He asked Martha if she believed this. (Vs. 26) Martha openly confessed Who Jesus Is. “She said, ‘Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God.’” (Vs. 27) Jesus went forth and asked them to remove the stone, but Martha protested. At that point, Jesus reminded her of the conversation they had just finished. “Jesus said to her, ‘Did I not say to you, if you believe, you will see the glory of God?’” (Vs. 40) Though the text does not say this, I believe at that point, Martha stepped back and gave the okay to remove the stone, and because of Martha’s faith, Lazarus was raised, and God was glorified.

When and why does God choose to heal? Again, I do not have all the answers, and my heart breaks for those of us who have prayed earnestly and God said no. Is it because of a lack of faith? I think not. Probably, it has more to do with the fact that He had a different plan. What I do know is this. Any instance where He has chosen to say yes has been as a result of someone’s faith. Jesus told us repeatedly that we must have faith to accomplish anything. (Matt. 17:14-21; Matt 8:26) In fact, His entire ministry, the entire Gospel, the entire Bible is about faith. Since God has placed so much emphasis on faith, isn’t it time that we consider this principle? Faith is the solution to everything. This is the answer. Where is your faith? God Bless.

Thanks for Reading. I would LOVE your Questions or Comments.

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Blaming God?

Written By: Beverly Morrison-Wickwire - Mar• 02•14

Why do bad things happen to good people?

I hear this question all the time. Chances are, so do you, and not without cause. The fact is, everyone has suffered through some sort of trial or heartache in their lives which can range from an emotional to a personal loss. This can be

  • the tragic death of someone close
  • the end of an intimate relationship
  • the onset of a terminal or debilitating illness
  • the loss of a job or property
  • or anything in between these things

Regardless of whether it is you going through the trial or someone close to you, the first instinct is to wonder why. Comments like, “I didn’t do anything to deserve this,” or “They are such nice people. Why would God let that happen . . . .” and after a series of questions, the conversation will sometimes end up taking a turn towards blaming God.

Of course, this isn’t a new problem. Adam blamed God for giving him the woman who talked him into being disobedient by eating the fruit and, ultimately, led to the fall of man. The Israelites blamed God and Moses for keeping them wandering about in the desert, making them eat nothing but bread and water, causing them to lose their faith, and keeping them from seeing the Promised Land.

The next generation blamed God for causing them to be in bondage after He had delivered them from Egypt, even though He had kept them safe in spite of their disobedience through worshiping false gods.

I could go on, but the stories are all the same. Instinctively, when something bad happens, we start looking for answers. Many well-meaning Christians (scholars and lay people alike) will quote Romans 8:28, “For God causes all things to work together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.” Afterwards, they will try to use the verse to comfort but, instead, end up pointing some level of blame to God for “causing” the tragedy.

So, let’s visit a couple of ideas starting with Romans 8:28. While many people are content with blaming God for causing the tragic loss of a child, the fact is that God, in His infinite wisdom, is not to blame. How can I say that when the verse is so clear? I hold that to conclude that God causes the evils of this world is an incorrect interpretation of the verse . Here is something to consider. We live in a fallen world, therefore bad things happen.

blaming God

Blaming God?

Look at these examples. If someone decides to drink too much and gets behind the wheel of a car, then later causes the death of an innocent person, who is responsible? We all know the blame lies on the person who took the drink and chose to get behind the wheel. What if someone is gunned down by an armed robber who was attempting to make their getaway from the scene of the crime. Again, who is at fault? Of course, it is the person committing the crime. These scenarios are easy, but what if a child gets sick and dies. Who is at fault now? The answer is no one. No one is at fault. This beautiful, innocent child simply became terminally ill. Sadly, they did not survive.

Interestingly, humans have a desperate “need” to place blame when bad things happen, so the obvious choice is to blame God. And someone is always ready with Romans 8:28 and a misguided interpretation. What, then, does the verse actually say? Here is a paraphrased, but a more accurate interpretation. Remember, this is applicable to Christians. “Bad stuff happens, and that is just part of life. But, when the bad stuff happens, God takes the situation and uses the circumstance for the good of the those involved. In other words, He takes a tragic situation and brings something positive from it.” (Wickwire paraphrase) That is what the verse means. Not, God caused this terrible thing for your good.

Now, this does not mean that God has never caused dramatic events to get the attention of His children. Nor does it mean that God could not, at any given time, intercede. But what does it take for this intercession, or how could we keep God from causing the dramatic event? The answer is to ask Him. If you aren’t sure that you believe it, here are a few examples to consider:

Lazarus (who Jesus loved) died. He had been dead for four days when Jesus arrived. Mary and Martha had sent for Him days before, but He was teaching and healing others. He did head towards Bethany where Lazarus lived, but despite the fact He knew Lazarus was dying, He took several detours along the way. However, when Jesus arrived, notice Martha’s response, “Lord, if You had only been here, my brother would not have died, but even now, I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give it to You.” (John 11:21-22) We all know what happened next. Lazarus was raised from death back to life. Martha asked for mercy. Mercy was freely given. God was glorified.

How about the crippled man who remained nameless along with his four friends. Again, Jesus was teaching and the friends of the man went to extreme measures to bring him before Jesus and ask for healing. (Luke 5:17-20)

God is not in the habit of causing problems in our lives. In fact, God wants us to be in a relationship with Him so that when the bad things come our way, we have a solid foundation to sustain us.

So what is the context here? God loves us and when our heart is broken, so is His. The next time someone asks why this horrible thing happened, place your arms around them and let them cry, and pray that God will bring comfort as only He can. Over the course of time, God will restore them. In the meantime, ask God what you can do to help the process. God Bless.

Thanks for Reading. I would LOVE your Questions or Comments.

Can “I” Have Fellowship with God?

Written By: Beverly Morrison-Wickwire - Feb• 19•14
can I have fellowship with God

Can I have fellowship with God?

People ask me all the time, “Can I go to heaven if I have done . . . . . . . ?” Fill in the blank with almost anything you can imagine, and you will have one of the questions. Human beings are obsessed with the idea of eternity and getting to heaven, and not without cause. Since it is God’s desire that all men would come to know Him (1 Tim 2:3-5, 2 Pet. 3:9), it would make sense that He would put a desire in our hearts to know Him. If you are not sure you believe that, let’s put it in human perspective. If we have a desire to get someone’s attention, do we not show that person attention in order to gain theirs? If we are lacking friendship, do we not reach out in an attempt to attract a friend in order to share our free time? Think about it. If we want to be in a relationship, we have to do our part. So, has God given each of us a desire to know Him and to know about eternity? Of course He has and, because of that, we are drawn into the questions that I am asked on a regular basis. So, let’s visit a few of those.

Can I go to heaven if I have lied, cheated, stolen, gotten angry at God, hurt someone, been divorced, remarried, etc? Before I answer, let me make a statement. Some of you will not like it, and some of you will be relieved. The fact is that no matter what sin you have committed, you can still go to heaven (receive the gift of eternal life in Christ). How can I say that? The answer to that is simple. Sin does not keep us out of heaven, and it does not send us to hell. What sin does is break our fellowship with God. Now you may be asking, is that not the same thing? The answer is no. Fellowship and salvation are different.

can I have fellowship with God

Can I have fellowship with God

Fellowship with God is just like fellowship with anyone else. The very definition of “fellowship” is friendly companionship. If I am in fellowship with someone, I call him/her, we talk, engage in activities together, share meals, etc. All these things lead to spending time together and getting to know each other. We communicate our needs to one another along with our trials and triumphs. Fellowship with God is no different. When we are in fellowship with God, we communicate with Him in the same ways, and we share our hearts desires with Him. In turn, we gain a greater understanding of His heart and nature, as well. Now, let’s examine how sin interrupts fellowship with God.

We all know that God is holy (Lev. 11:45, Ps. 99:5, 1 Pet. 1:16) and therefore cannot look upon sin. When there is sin in our lives, it breaks our fellowship with God. In order for that fellowship to be restored, there has to be an offering to cover the sin. This is why there has always been a blood sacrifice offered to cover sin and restore people into a right fellowship/relationship with God. In Old Testament times, there would be a sacrifice offered to cover sin in order to return someone to that right fellowship with God. New Testament times were no different regarding the need for sacrifice to cover sin, however, Jesus’ death on the cross served as our one time offering to cover sin – all sin: past, present, and future. Now when we have sin in our lives and have broken our fellowship with God, we confess the sin to Him and the sacrifice of Christ covers that sin. After confession, we are restored in our fellowship.

It is vitally important that we understand this next point. We cannot be in fellowship with someone we do not know, therefore, if we are not Christians, we cannot be in fellowship with God. So what does that tell me? That tells me that sin keeps me out of fellowship with God, and before I can ever be in fellowship with Him, I have to become a Christian. The problem of sin relates to a Christian, not a lost person. Here, then, is a question to ponder. Can a Christian lose his/her salvation? In other words, is there anything a Christian can do that will cause him/her to lose their right to go to heaven? The answer to that is, absolutely not. Jesus assures us of this in John 10:25-30. “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The works I do in My Father’s name testify about Me, but you do not believe because you are not My sheep. My sheep listen to My voice; I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are One.”

can I have fellowship with God

Can I have fellowship with God?

We are His sheep. He holds us. Nothing or no one can change that. However, our fellowship can be broken and our relationship damaged. Let’s put this all in human perspective again. When God blesses us with a child, that child is ours forever. Nothing they nor anyone else can do will ever change that, and we love that child more than words can express. What happens, though, when that child does something wrong? Do they stop being our child? Do we throw them to the wolves? Of course not. No matter what they do, we are still going to love them, and they are still our child. However, our relationship/fellowship with them is broken until they come to us and apologize.

So if sin does not keep us from going to heaven, what does? I have answered this question hundreds of times. The same thing that gets us into heaven is the same thing that keeps us out – what we believe about Jesus. Notice these things with me:

John 3:16 – “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”

John 6:47 – “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life.”

Romans 10:8-13 – “But what does it say? ‘The Word is near you, in your heart and in your mouth,’—that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. For the Scripture says, ‘Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed.’ For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; for ‘Whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved.’”

John 11:25, “Jesus said unto her, I Am the Resurrection, and the Life: he that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.”

John 6:40, “And this is the will of Him that sent Me, that everyone which sees the Son, and believes in Him, will have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.”

Galatians 3:26, “For you are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.”

What, then, is the truth? No matter what we do in life, nothing will keep us out of heaven once we have been saved. So, if we do these things after we are saved, does that unsave us? No, it does not. Remember, whatever sin we commit is covered on the Cross: past, present, future. The difference is that once we are a Christian, we will desire to be more like Him; therefore, we will try to attain righteousness and flee sin.

Thanks for Reading. I would LOVE your Questions or Comments.

Effects of Social Media on Family

Written By: Beverly Morrison-Wickwire - Feb• 11•14

Recently I was pondering the effects of social media on the family. As I was doing so a humorous story came to mind.

A pastor wanted to share his opinion on a major doctrinal issue with his congregation.  Knowing that regardless of how much effort he put into his reasoning, many of them would not agree with him, he prayed over the message until he felt comfortable with how to present his case. As he stood in the pulpit reading the Text, he outlined the principles that God had wanted him to share, then he began walking back and forth across the stage as he did each week during his sermon.  The audience listened intently as he guided them into the study, carefully instructing them on the background of the content. No one paid much attention to the fact that he had slowly made his way down the steps and onto the floor level, or the that he was walking toward the side exit of the sanctuary.  As every eye in the building fixed upon him, and everyone in the room sat captivated by his words, he abruptly told them that he was now going to make a statement about his theology from which he knew dissension would come. Putting his hand on the exit bar of the door, he looked at the silent group and said, “Now, here is what God really says and what I truly believe about this.”  With that, he walked out the door.  The laughter and applause were still flowing freely as he re-entered from the front doors and made his way down the center aisle, but his point was made.  When we share a theological concept about which we know people are very passionate, we better take cover, because the backlash can be unyielding.

effect of social media on familyAs I share a biblical principle today, like the pastor just mentioned, I know that some may not agree.   However, I believe that we cannot remain silent on the major issues that we believe God wants us to share simply because they are not the popular opinion.

When I was a child, I sat in a church pew and heard a pastor speaking about the end times. He was outlining the scene of the second coming of Jesus and doing a great job painting a picture for us. However, when he started discussing the beast, I became somewhat perplexed. He explained to the group that the beast described in the book of The Revelation was, in fact, a computer.  He stressed that this device would one day deceive the world and begin to take control of the hearts and minds of people everywhere. Many people rolled their eyes and shuffled around, some even sighed in disagreement. Though as a child I had never even heard of a computer, I was intrigued by his words, and they have remained in my memory. Now as I watch what is happening all around us each day, I can see  that his message has some merit and validity. Here’s why:

No matter where you go, the scene repeats itself, as many people are engrossed in social media.  From the youngest to the oldest, the behavior is the same and now, I understand what that elderly pastor was saying so many years ago. Seemingly gone are the days when families would sit in a restaurant and tell stories as they shared a meal together. Instead, as they take their seats, many place their phones on the table so that they can see and hear when someone in the cyber world says something new. Rather than exchange ideas and laughter with those at the table with them, most will silently text responses to someone who is miles away.

effect of social media on family

Effect of Social Media

In countless households children will come home from school and rush to grab a tablet or hop on a computer and remain there until those dreaded words, “It’s bedtime.”  For literally hours, silence will abound with exception to an occasional snicker heard only by someone who is nearby.  A question I often ponder is, “Where are the parents while this is going on?” In many cases, they are in another room with their own tablet or laptop interacting with the “friends” made through social media.  The Sunday traditions allowing families to spend quality time together have been traded in for chats, tweets, texts, etc. And sadly, rather than sharing a concern with a trusted family member, acquaintances from the net stand at the ready with a resolution at their fingertips.

As I witness the phenomenon numerous times on a daily basis, my spirit is filled with fear as to what result will come of this.   Let your mind go back through the years, then look at the big picture and be honest about what you see.  Are our families growing distant? Are we missing out on our children’s lives?  Are we spending quality time with those we love while we have them with us?

Social media is not all bad.  In fact, it can be used to our advantage as we seek to share the Gospel with as many as possible. It is also a wonderful way to keep up with family and life-long friends. Thankfully many people do indeed use social media in these fun and beneficial ways.  However, like many major changes in our society, i.e. welfare, women’s lib, unemployment, etc., an idea is great and good for many people, unless it is taken too far.  Then these same ideas can easily become a nemeses to society and, as a result, society begins to break down.

effects of social mediaWhat is the solution, then? Well, it would be wise first to consider what God may think of the situation and ask ourselves if He would approve.  According to Ps. 127:3, children are a gift, a heritage, a treasure. Are we treating them as such, investing the time in them that is necessary to see that they grow into well-balanced adults? What do we do with a treasure? We guard it and make sure it is in safe keeping. Are we caring as much for our children? The book of Proverbs is filled with lessons on family life. There are literally too many to name (Prov. 2, 3, 4, 22, 31, and more). In Mark 10, Jesus tells us that, “ . . . The Kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” He was speaking about children. If the list of biblical references about relationships were printed, numerous Scriptures would fill several pages. God places great importance on the family which includes parents, children, grandparents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, etc. In fact, much of the Bible is about our relationships with one another.

Since social media is an ingenious concept, the solution is not to label it as though it were “the beast” and the enemy at our doorstep.  It would, however, seem the family needs to work towards a balance between the use of the net and time spent together. Maybe we could sit and play a game on the laptop, together. Or, we could consider setting aside a little time each day where all social media was silenced for a bit.  Anything would be acceptable as long as the goal was met: Communicate with our family.

effects of social media on familySatan is crafty. (Gen. 3:1) He always has been, and  always will be. If he can destroy us at our root, our family, he can destroy our world. The Bible reads, “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” (1 Pet. 5:8 NASB) It is imperative that we are on “alert” – like a Soldier in a watchtower – carefully guarding our home.

You may consider asking yourself, “Where is my family spiritually?” When we stand before God, we are going to be accountable for those closest to us.  Can we say with absolute assurance that we have shared Jesus with our family, and that we know we will all be together in Heaven? What if we put down our phones, our tablets, and our computers and make sure everything is as it should be.  God Bless.

Thanks for Reading. I would LOVE your Questions or Comments.