How Jesus Came Into My Life

The story of Philip’s conversion and consequent enthusiasm to share his faith is precious to me because it reminds me of my own experience. Many Americans grow up learning John 3:16 by heart (“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), but that was not true of me! In fact, my mother wrote in my baby book—in her list of funny sayings I’d uttered as a toddler—that I thought I should learn something about the Bible. My father was an atheist and my mother agnostic, so the only time I heard God’s name in our home was as part of an angry outburst if my father was upset.

For whatever reason, I never thought about God at all as a child and never had philosophical debates over whether or not He existed. I was totally ignorant and totally thoughtless. All that changed when my older sister won a trip to Washington D.C. and heard Billy Graham preach back in 1962. My sister was as irreligious as I was, but she’d never been to D.C. so entered a Bible verse memory contest with the prize being a free trip to Washington D.C.

She came home utterly transformed. Instead of fighting all the time (as we were wont to do), she became supportive and kind, even offering me use of her favored jewelry if she thought it would look pretty with my outfit, etc. The crowning confusion to me was that she stopped dating her current boyfriend, who was a minister’s son, because he didn’t believe the “gospel.” I wasn’t sure what the “gospel” was, but I figured you couldn’t get any more religious than being a minister’s son, so I was completely baffled by some of her decisions.

She couldn’t really explain things to me, either, at least in a way that penetrated my heart, so she invited me to attend a Youth for Christ rally with her. That evening I heard for the first time in my life that there is a God! That was news to me, but it rang true in my heart, and I believed it. Further, this God who created us and the world, loves us all . . .  including me! I was overjoyed! But, God wants us to be good, not bad, and all of us intentionally choose to do evil sometimes. (That was easy for me to admit as true of myself.) God so ordained life on this earth that “the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23). God (the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit together) had provided a remedy for sin so that all of us could “come clean” and be reconciled to God through accepting the death of Christ as payment for our sins and asking the resurrected Christ to reign within our hearts.  I was mesmerized, and when the invitation was given to come down to the front to learn more or pray with somebody, I practically flew down the aisle, crying tears of joy to know that God loved me and that Jesus died for me. I never stopped to wonder if it was true. It was like a light turned on in my heart and brain, and I was all in! I asked God to forgive me for my sins and for Jesus to be my Lord and Savior. I was flooded with joy and light!

Like my sister, I was full of enthusiasm but not very able to explain the transformation in my heart. My father (an extremely liberal professor), patted me on the head (not literally) and declared it was just a passing phase, pontificating that no thinking adult believed in God.

I’ve had many “adventures” in sharing the good news of Jesus since, but I don’t think I’ve ever become the excellent “fisher of men” that some are. Nevertheless, I will keep sharing my faith wherever I go, not because I’m a thoughtless (or thinking) adult, but because I’ve experienced the love of God, and it is better than anything else in the world to me. The power of God’s love is even better than a cure for cancer, and to know Jesus is to be born again into eternal life that will never end, not even when our physical bodies die!

If you’ve never come face to face with God, I invite you to “Come and see,” just as Philip encouraged Nathanael. Come and see for yourself! Read the Bible. Visit a church where they believe the Bible is true and teach from it. Talk to friends who believe in Jesus. Ask God to forgive your sins, and ask Jesus to save you and make you into a new creation: “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5;17).

O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.”
(Psalm 34:8)Since Jesus Came Into My Heart
(by Rufus H. McDaniel, 1914)

  1. What a wonderful change in my life has been wrought
    Since Jesus came into my heart;
    I have light in my soul for which long I have sought,
    Since Jesus came into my heart.

    • Refrain:
      Since Jesus came into my heart,
      Since Jesus came into my heart;
      Floods of joy o’er my soul like the sea billows roll,
      Since Jesus came into my heart.
  2. I have ceased from my wand’ring and going astray,
    Since Jesus came into my heart;
    And my sins which were many are all washed away,
    Since Jesus came into my heart.
  3. I’m possessed of a hope that is steadfast and sure,
    Since Jesus came into my heart;
    And no dark clouds of doubt now my pathway obscure,
    Since Jesus came into my heart.
  4. There’s a light in the valley of death now for me,
    Since Jesus came into my heart;
    And the gates of the City beyond I can see,
    Since Jesus came into my heart.
  5. I shall go there to dwell in that City I know,
    Since Jesus came into my heart;
    And I’m happy, so happy as onward I go,
    Since Jesus came into my heart.

 

 

Messages to Magnificent Kyoto

Osaka Castle 2Osaka Castle Osaka Castle  3  Stands tall against the moonlight. Girls trying to scale Osaka Castle  Fear no one but God.Scaling Osaka Castle

Kyoto 4.16.14Two thousand temples.  Kyoto City Scape+ Cherry Blossoms Kyoto, have you heard of Budhhist Worshipper 4.16.14  The God who loves you? Girls with Cherry Blossoms“The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.”
(The Bible, Jeremiah 31:3) Buddhist Temple
“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.”
(The Bible, John 3:16)

What Wondrous Love Is This?
An American Folk Hymn

What wondrous love is this, O my soul, O my soul!
What wondrous love is this, O my soul!
What wondrous love is this
That caused the Lord of bliss
To bear the dreadful curse for my soul, for my soul,
To bear the dreadful curse for my soul!

When I was sinking down, sinking down, sinking down,
When I was sinking down, sinking down,
When I was sinking down
Beneath God’s righteous frown,
Christ laid aside His crown for my soul for my soul,
Christ laid aside His crown for my soul.

To God and to the Lamb I will sing, I will sing;
To God and to the Lamb I will sing;
To God and to the Lamb,
Who is the great I AM,
While millions join the theme, I will sing, I will sing,
While millions join the theme, I will sing.

And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on;
And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on.
And when from death I’m free
I’ll sing His love for me,
And through eternity I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on,
And through eternity I’ll sing on.

Accepting Eternal Life in Christ Prayer

Rose. Red. From Emerald NecklaceTwice a year I like to give an update on what’s been happening with my blog—once on the anniversary of my very first post back in April of 2008, and then 6 months later…which is just about now. I remember last April praying about the upcoming year and wondering if I should be content to finish out 7 years and then try something different—such as a book—or just keep on keepin’ on. Last April, I felt that the Lord might be urging me to just keep writing my heart out on this blog for as long as I’m able, but as a bit of a fleece, I asked God if He’d be willing to answer by giving me 500 followers and 250,000 views by April 8, 2015 as affirmation. To date, I have 536 followers, Summer Setting has been viewed nearly 224,000 times and is averaging 250 views per day this month so far, so it looks like my prayers for affirmation may indeed be answered by next April. As an added delight, people from 187 countries have found Summer Setting, including many countries where Christians are not allowed to share their faith. That in itself brings me no end of encouragement, and then I noticed some of the Google searches that had brought people to my blog over the past few days. Probably the most common searches are related to travel, such as “Oahu secret spots” or “St. Petersburg top sites,” but there are also many that relate to other topics. Here are a few that particularly touch my heart: “draw me nearer quotes,” “enjoying God’s presence,” “beauties of love,”  “Heaven is for real setting,” “I sat down under His shadow,” “Last Lecture,” “learn to laugh at yourself,” and “overcoming addictions verse.” However, the real heart-stopper for me was this one:  “accepting eternal life in Christ prayer.”

I don’t know who this person is, or from which country, but I’m glad that typing that search into Google led this precious soul to my blog, and I hope she/he found what they were looking for! Whoever you are, you certainly helped me find what I was looking for…which is a sense for whether or not my blog is really lifting up Jesus and drawing people to the love of God for them. That’s my goal!

For anybody out there who doesn’t know for sure how to become a child of God or what it means to be “born again” or to “become a Christian,” may I offer this explanation and prayer? The “gospel” (“good news”) is that—although we’ve all sinned and deserve to die—God became a man in the person of Jesus Christ (“Emmanuel”=”God with us”), came to earth, lived a perfect, sinless life, and died in our place, so that if we repent (agree with God that we’ve sinned and are sorry for sinning…not that everything we’ve ever done has been a failure, but that we acknowledge not being perfect and that we’ve done some things intentionally even though we knew they were wrong) and put our faith and trust in Jesus as our Lord and Savior, He will “save” us, making us new creations in Christ, giving us spiritual rebirth and eternal life. Christ’s resurrection from the grave is THE cornerstone of our faith, because it was His resurrection that proves what He said was true, and it proves that He can also give us eternal life, resurrecting us from the dead just as He was resurrected.

That’s the good news! The other good news is: God loves us so much that He’s waiting for us with outstretched arms, ready to forgive and make us all His children. There is no magic formulaic prayer that saves us. We’re saved by our faith. But, if you’re wondering what such a prayer of faith might sound like, here’s one offering:

“Dear God,

I have heard and believe that Jesus died for my sins and rose again. I acknowledge that I have sinned and failed to live a perfect life, and that I do not deserve an eternal life of bliss with you in heaven. But, I’ve also heard that you are a merciful, compassionate God who loves us, your created humans, so much that you sent Jesus to die in our place, as an atonement for the sins of everyone who ever lived, so that every person who believes in Jesus will be forgiven and become Your child, inheriting eternal life in Christ. I do ask for your forgiveness, based not on my merit but on the sacrifice of Christ in my place, and I entrust myself to you—body, soul, and spirit—forever. Please redeem me from sin and make me your child through faith in Christ so that I receive eternal life and live forever in your love and presence. Thank you, my dear heavenly Father. Amen.”

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
“And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son” (1 John 5:11).
“These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God” (1 John 5:13).

 

 

D.U.I. of the D.I.A.

           aka “Dazzled Under the Influence of the Detroit Institute of Art” 🙂 13Aaron cut his teeth on the exquisite masterpieces at the Detroit Institute of Art. 17Alan was in medical school and Aaron was just learning how to talk when we 21moved to the DeRoy Apts. on the campus of Wayne State University. Before 12long I discovered that Detroit’s incredible children’s library, the natural history 20museum, and the art museum were just three blocks from our front door and 21FREE! On many a sunny day, Aaron and I would take our morning stroll over to 13one of these great institutions and stand in awe of the priceless treasures stored 16 within their walls. So, when Aaron was in town last weekend with the Twitter 08team for U.M.’s commencement, it seemed all too natural that he’d opt to spend In Nature's Wonderland some time reminiscing our way through the D.I.A. Many of the pictures were 15familiar to him…some because they’re famous, but probably others because I  11 taught him vocabulary by studying the paintings: “Man!” 06“Horse!”  “Lady riding horse…” 18“Mountain!” “River.” “Rock.” “Trees.” “Men.” “Boat.” “Clouds…”19I’d lift him up into my arms, point to something and tell him the name. Pretty soon, he’d point at something for me to name! “Waterfall…bird…canyon!” 02By the time Michael was born and had joined the game, their favorite exhibit was03the hall lined with the shining armor of knights from days of old! Oh, the stories that we shared about the bravery of those noble knights! Museums are bursting  05with fuel for the imagination, and every picture tells a story! I have always been especially drawn to the beauty of Renaissance art, and the most common theme Fleeing from Sodom Benjamin West of their paintings are Bible stories, like this gorgeous depiction of Lot’s family fleeing from Sodom by Benjamin West 09or this ornate composition envisioning what it might have looked like when Jacob defended Rachel and Leah so they could water their father’s flocks. 10My very favorite paintings tell the gospel story—how Jesus died on the cross so that we can have forgiveness for our sins. Truly, an art museum us a wonderful place to take your child! Kids are never too young to enjoy great art, great history, great stories, and stories of great love!

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

Joy in Sorrow

My heart is very full tonight, but too full to share. We had a wonderful day with Jan and Frank, plus both their kids and all the grand kids as well as Alan’s brother, Terry. Thank you to each of you who has been praying. God does wonderful things for those who ask. I am praying that the Lord would relieve her terrible headaches so that she can find joy in whatever time she has left. God is good!

“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” (John 3:16)