Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

Sitting along side a family member as their body takes their last few breathes was a sad and yet amazing experience. My father in-law was a quiet though hard-working man. Fahr’s disease causes calcium to build up in the brain stem and gradually takes away the victim’s voluntary muscle control until after many years even the eyelids won’t close and swallowing is no longer possible. But dad was always determined to do as much as he could with what he had.

At the stroke of 9pm his breathing stopped while his children and grandchildren were gathered around his bed. His battle for this life was over and he gently fell asleep awaiting the next stage of his life. For 80 years his old body had been the vehicle of his growing and learning spirit. His faith in Jesus made his spirit live. His faith was simple and not confused with complex theological stuff. Jesus died on the cross for his sins and the rest was pretty much academic. In the last days of his life he loved going to church even when it meant being carried in his wheelchair up long flights of stairs and sitting was very painful. He taught us all many things about grace and hope and love. Yes, his spirit spoke volumes even after his voice was gone.

That’s our challenge. To take the gifts that our Creator has given us and return them to His service. To train and groom our spirits for the next stage of our lives, that may come at any moment. To learn from the lessons of life and build on a rich wealth of experience. To quell all those disappointments with a zeal and readiness to face each tomorrow with vigor of mind and soul.

As I approach the 60’s, I have become much more aware of how “fearfully” we are made. Falling is more painful now and so is loneliness. All those starry-eyed ambitions have faded and the reality of their emptiness has crept up on my consciousness. My spiritual life is pretty shabby after all these years. I can easily claim that I’ve believed in my Savior for the last 36 years, but with little to show for it.

Watched “Beyond the Gates of Splendor” last night again after a few years. It was amazing how much those young missionaries accomplished for eternity in just a few years. Their legacy has lived on in countless ways. Yes our lives are fragile, but our spirits endure and thrive in the hands of He who made us and gave His life for us. I know that as I yield this life to Jesus, my spirit will rise with “wings as the eagle”!

Wayne Hollyoak

Understanding Salvation

It’s probably the most important word in the English language and yet the meaning of the word, “salvation” is elusive though simple. In the most general sense you could say it’s a means of rescue from some serious consequence. In the most important sense salvation is the means of entering into life.

Our Creator uses His Spirit, the Holy Spirit to help us realize that we need His salvation in order to live, not just breathe and exist, but to gain that vital connection with the One that made us. Jesus said, “I stand at the door and knock, if anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and sup with him and he with Me.” So first, you must hear Jesus’ voice. That is, be able to listen to His teaching, respecting who He is and realizing it is He who created us. Then we must open our lives to Him and believe Him.

The Holy Spirit comes to “convince the world of sin, of righteousness and judgement to come.” If you think you are “good enough”, you are imposing your standards on your Creator, or you don’t realize that you are a creature, made with certain basic expectations that haven’t been met, like:

1. “Love the Lord you God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength.”
2. “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

The Holy Spirit helped me see just how far I was from being, “good enough” and that the only way to really live at peace with Him was by asking for His salvation. How did I receive His salvation? “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved. For with the heart man believes unto righteousness and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation”.

If this is hard for you to accept and believe, you should start reading the entire New Testament to get a more full picture on Jesus’ life and teaching. “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” Simply put, “He who knew no sin became sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him”. That’s salvation!

Wayne Hollyoak