The grace of God

  • I have studied out of several bibles in my gulliver's travels as a Christian.  I had finally settled in on the NKJV after a dear friend admonished me for using the NIV, which a dear aunt had given me in childhood with the intent that I might read the scripture if I could better understand it.

    (On a side note here, I have wondered if the language a person learns molds their brain in any specific way to be more inclined to this way of thinking or that?)

    One day I was reading the NKJV where the disciples are with the Lord during the last supper and Jesus says to Peter, "Satan has asked for you to sift you as wheat, but I have prayed for your faith and when you have returned to me, strengthen the brethren."  I paused and thought, that can't be right because it seems to promote a religious agenda.  So I opened the regular KJV and it read, "when you are CONVERTED, strengthen the brethren."  This also gave me pause.

    Here was Peter, he had traveled with the Lord, had done miracles in his name, had walked on the water to him and had declared that he knew Jesus was the son of God.  What was he lacking?

    Then I thought about it as I read the rest.  Peter was looking for a conquering king, not a weakened savior.  The scripture says even the demons know who Jesus is and tremble.  

    Knowing who Jesus is is not enough to get you saved in the FIRST place.  In the absence of repentance and a love for the Lord there is no salvation.  The difference is having a head knowledge and having a heart conversion.  Jesus knew Peter had not yet had a heart conversion even though he knew perfectly well who Jesus was.  The NKJV would have you believe your salvation comes and goes, presumably, I guess, on your level of outward sin and confession of it as so many religions teach.  Many of them teach that you confess your sins one to another.  My guess is that means to the one you sinned against but I can imagine lot's of religious people would love to know all your sins for various reasons.  I only confess my sins to God.......unless I'm really, really in the wrong to the point that it affects someone's life and only then if it REALLY affected their life.

    I am the oldest of four in the family I grew up with, I'm also the runt of the litter.  All my life I wanted to be close to my mother so that I might have her approval and favor.  I was the child she trusted to clean the house and watch my siblings and prepare the meals and clean up after.  I got awesome grades but mom didn't care.  I think my main problem was that I didn't approve of every attitude that mom had, nor did I go along with the program.  Hating my dad's mother was out of the question, I loved Alma, my grandmother.  My sister Michelle, on the other hand, could do no wrong.  No amount of rebellion or talking back could change how much mom loved that child.  She always commented on Michelle's big beautiful eyes.  It didn't seem enough for Michelle to be mom's favorite, if I had a boyfriend she had to prove she could take them and sometimes she did.  It got to the point I would introduce her to my intended to see how the fella reacted.  If she could take him, she could have him.  No harm, no foul.  It saved me a lot of trouble on down the line so far as I was concerned.

    Then one day I was watching Joyce and she said that if God wanted you to have something, you would have it and not to be covetous about it.  Then it dawned on me, I was jealous of my mom and my sister, I wanted what my sister had.  When I applied that principle to what I'd been doing my whole life, badmouthing Michelle all the time every chance I got to anyone who would listen, I felt convicted and sorry for the way I had been.  I called my sister and apologized profusely to her for my behavior over the years.  She started to apologize to me but I wouldn't let her, there had been times in her life when she needed me and I'd let her down and wasn't there for her.

    It's a situation like that when I'd feel the need to confess my sins to a person.  You see, even though she had mom's approval and I didn't, the thing was, I had the sympathy and approval of all the rest of the family when sometimes she didn't.  Often they felt that mom gave me too much responsibility for my age.

    nevertheless, I digress.  Did my unrepentance in that regard mean that had I died without repenting I'd have gone to hell?  Some people would have you believe that.

    I had a boyfriend my junior year.  His name was Charlie and he was cute as a bug's ear.  We even got into trouble for the way we interacted with each other at school, we even had our picture in the front of the yearbook so everyone could remember it.  The principal was chewing us out in that picture.  Then along came Terry and wanted me to wake him up one morning.  He and his friend from Ft. Hood were in for the weekend and were sleeping in the camper.  I stopped in to wake them up and apparently Michelle had seen this and made it to school in time to tell Charlie who then wrote me a break up note.

    Folks, I was supposed to sing the theme from Ice Castles in the talent show that day.  "Since I found you.......looking through the eyes of love........Please.......don't let this feeling end, it's everything I am, everything I be.........I can see what's mine now........"

    Oh the irony.

    The curtain opened and the teacher struck the beginning of the song and there, center of the room and slightly to the back sat my sister Michelle cuddled up with Charlie who, until that morning, had been MY boyfriend.  I was going to have to get through this with dignity and grace and frankly I wasn't sure if my spine was up to it.

    My first date had been with a fella named Jamie.  She lost her virginity to him on mom's water bed.......

    Just little things like that.

    None of it was an excuse to feel toward her what I felt due to MOM's favoritism.  And why wouldn't mom have Shell for a favorite?  She supported mom on who to hate and who to love unlike me, desperately loving my grandma simply because my grandma loved me.

    Once my grandma insisted I stay the night with her and Peggy.  I was on the fence about it but she really wanted me to and had everything from popcorn planned to coke ("I used to really like coke," she'd said, "until they took the good out of it.").  That night she did something she never did before.  Grandma turned out the lights to watch a movie with popcorn and coke.  The movie was, "It's a mad, mad, mad, mad world."

    Now I don't know if you ever saw that movie but it's hilarious.  A big rush on to find a poop-load of money that a dead guy told some travelers about that was buried under a big "W".  Turns out the big W was made out of palm trees.  We laughed at that movie and I was so glad my grandma had me stay that see, Michelle didn't have that kind of clout with grandma.

    Anyway........salvation is built on the foundation of repentance as I said in my last blog.  Head knowledge won't save you, only a heart conversion.  Peter didn't receive that until he heard that rooster crow the third time and he remembered what the Lord had said.  Peter was looking to drive Rome out of Israel, but Jesus was looking to redeem the souls of everyone who'd ever lived to everyone who ever would live.  That's why scripture says that his ways are higher than our ways and his thoughts are higher than our thoughts.

    Are you wondering about Michelle now?  Do I talk to her?  Well........she don't talk to me.  It seems that her and mom making fun of me at our last Thanksgiving together by repeatedly saying "A-loooooooom-in-um foil" to each other and laughing at my mental state in my presence was an okay thing to do.  But later in life me letting some guy know how tough my sister is with all her tattoos and piercings so that he might want to date her was unacceptable.  I didn't mean to hurt her feelings, quite the contrary, I was kind of hoping she'd move back to our childhood nest like the rest of us did and figured if they hit it off, maybe she would.  He'd looked at her facebook page and handed me the phone in mid conversation.  She hasn't spoken to me since.  So that's how it is with me and Michelle.  I regret that but it's alright.  I wouldn't have anyone speak to me unless they really wanted to anyway.