“Have You Been Saved?”

I offer this post here on my own blog because it has received criticism elsewhere.

Basically, the objection as I understand it, is based on the basic thought that there might be more than one way to come to God.

Jesus words, “I am the way, the truth and the life. (John 14:6) . No one comes to the Father but by me.” are the basis of the objection.

What exactly did Jesus mean by this statement?

Was he saying that only Christians who claim Jesus as Lord would inherit eternal life? Was he saying that everyone else is going to hell or will be left out?

Please read the post and then make your comment. I need your thoughts.

 

“Have you been saved?”

By Janet Stobie

Over the years, I have often been confronted with the question, “Have you been saved?” Usually I ask them to explain what they mean. Too often, I hear:

  1. Our amazing God, whose creation contains infinite variety, has only ONE way to “save” people.
  2. Our unconditionally loving God has created us all with a basic flaw that is leading us to eternal damnation.
  3. Our generous God, who offers blessings tamped down and overflowing, has limited the number of God’s creation to be saved, to just a tiny portion of the millions in this world.

I know I don’t have a complete and total understanding of God. Therefore, 

I see no value in putting limitations on God.

Over my lifetime, God has constantly surprised me.

Just when I think I have this faith thing figured out, God gives me yet another revelation.

Here are my thoughts and experiences for the moment.

I have experienced the beauty and goodness of a young man committed to the Muslim faith. I have discovered that the Koran and our Bible both speak about God’s endless unconditional love. Solid in my heart comes the realization that God is the source of all human beings, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu and many more about whom I know nothing. Of course, God has more than one way to teach us about loving one another. Of course, God has more than one way to give us guidance, strength, comfort and courage. God must have more than one way to teach us how to live.

Every time I hold a baby, child or animal, I know again that we are all created for joy, love and goodness. I wonder why we are so worried about eternal damnation. Surely, God is stronger than any evil we can create. God certainly illustrated God’s power when God rose from death in Jesus, the Christ. In Jesus God triumphed over the worst we can do.

Actually, I’m beginning to wonder if what God is doing is saving us from ourselves. God creates and declares that creation is good. Maybe our world would take another step towards God’s realm if we gave up trying to decide who is in and who is out, in God’s eyes. I believe God calls us to focus on the goodness of God’s creation.

My question is:

How have you experienced God’s goodness today?

 Please post a Comment. Thank you.

 

 

God’s Variety Is Wonderful

God’s Variety Is Wonderful!

by Janet Stobie

Gorgeous
Gorgeous

When I got home from North Carolina, a dozen gorgeous gladioli greeted me. Gladioli are ostentatious and colorful. They grab my attention.

Gladioli remind me of my wonderful husband Tom. He’s tall and hard to miss. His large personality can take over a room. And, he is handsome, and loving. When I cuddle up to him I enjoy his warmth and his size. When I’m feeling that someone is not being respectful, I’m grateful to have my Tom at my side.

Some of you may prefer smaller flowers, quieter flowers. Roses have an aristocratic beauty. Daisies are dainty. These flowers don’t shout out their beauty like gladioli. These flowers feel more sedate. They’re easier to accept. Some may prefer quieter friends and partners. It’s easier to deal with those who remain in the background, who offer opinions only when asked.

God’s creation of both flowers and people has infinite variety. St. Paul says that if the whole body were an eye we wouldn’t be able to hear. Today as I enjoy Tom’s gift of gladioli, I’m glad there are roses, and chrysanthemums and buttercups and more. I’m particularly glad that people come in so many different shapes, sizes and personalities. I’m glad that God loves variety.  God even created me, unique, loving and even beautiful warts and all, at least in Tom’s eyes. And that’s all that matters.

 

“And God saw everything God had made and behold, it was very good.”  Genesis 1:31

 

 

 

Prayer Projects for This School Year.

Prayer Projects for This School Year

by Janet Stobie

Don't Forget to Pray
Don’t Forget to Pray

I received an email from my friends. Attached to it were pictures of proud great grand-parents holding baby Rina, healthy and strong. Three days later, our family surrounded grandson, Ben, with love as we said goodbye. His dad drove him to Thunder Bay to begin university, a huge step in growing up.

This week children across our nation have returned to school. Most are sent with love and hugs. Some go to new friends and strange schools; some return to old friends and a familiar place. All of them need support. Sometimes, support entails saying, “No.” Sometimes, support means applause.  Our goal is to love them well. That’s not always easy.

Parents have a huge job today. Torn by competing loyalties to work and family, they strive to do all that is required for their school age child. Homework, projects, free time, meals, clean clothes, guidance, and taxi service all require a parent’s time, energy and commitment. Whether you are a parent, grandparent, relative, or neighbor, you have a role to play.

This fall, I suggest you choose several families, some who are relatives and some who are strangers. Make these families your prayer projects. Each day, name them. Hold them in your love. Give God thanks for them. Open your hearts and minds to anything these families might need. Be God’s Good News for them.

St. Paul says: “And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment… “ (Philippians 1:9)

 

 

Expect Great Things of God!

Expect Great Things From God

By Janet Stobie

God's Strenght
God’s Strength

 

Whether you’re a member of a big city church or a small rural church, I’m sure you’ve heard some version of:

“Surely God isn’t calling us to begin a breakfast program in our local school. We’re only a tiny congregation of thirty on our best Sunday.”

“That’s not the way we’ve always done it.”

“We can’t do that. We don’t have the money, or the leadership.”

Yet, we’ve heard stories of God’s people in the Bible and in modern day – amazing stories of ordinary people accomplishing wonderful projects. What is the difference?

I believe John’s gospel has the answer. “Whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do, and greater works than these will he do…” (John 14:12) John is telling us to expect great things of God. Too often our expectations are small. We think God’s goodness, God’s blessings, God’s strength, God’s power are so scarce that God has to ration it.

Every day we witness the extravagance of God. At sunset, the sky, ablaze with colour for fifteen minutes, provides beauty beyond compare. Hidden deep in the woods, a mass of trilliums bring light to the darkness with no one to see them. Scraggly blueberry plants struggle to maintain life on the rocks of Canada’s northern shield country, and yet produce masses of succulent berries. Nature tells us that God believes in abundance.

We need to remember that God is generous and loving. We can step out to do God’s work because Jesus sent us God’s Spirit to strengthen us. We can have courage because God is with us. We can expect great things of God.