There are many different ideas about what ‘salvation’ really is. Each of the world’s religions has its own prescribed methods of which they promise, if followed diligently, will result in an eternal utopian existence. Even the various Christian denominations can vary greatly in their teachings concerning the meaning of, as well as how to become a partaker of, ’salvation’. Some focus on the idea that salvation is based upon faith alone, while others propagate the fact that faith without works is dead. Some insist that water baptism is essential, while others consider it unnecessary, or an act of works. Some believe that our eternal fate is already predestined while others maintain that people determine their own destiny by their choices. This comparison could go on and on, but the point is that there seems to be much confusion about the subject of salvation, and what a person must do or believe to be saved.
To understand what salvation is, we need to look at exactly what we are ’saved’ from! The fall of man in the Garden of Eden is the event that made redemption a necessity. The first Adam lost the light and life of God in his soul, and was left in a state of disorder. God created man with a two-fold state of life….the creaturely and the heavenly. The fallen soul has lost the heavenly properties and is left with only the creaturely, which leaves him incomplete, full of unsatisfied desire, and separated from God. So the ONLY thing that could possibly be our salvation is a restoration of that which was lost — the light and life of God in our soul! Salvation is an inward work of God in the heart, and if it doesn’t occur there, it doesn’t occur anywhere. Mankind gets so focused on outward forms, ordinances, and a million other matters, while neglecting the ONE essential thing that will return him to his first right state with the heavenly properties (the spiritual fire of God, the light of His love, and the continual inspiration of the Holy Spirit) restored to his soul! However, this can not and will not occur unless a person repents of a godly sorrow and truly believes that the gospel is the power of God to accomplish this work in him. The whole heart must turn away from self-love, self-will, and self-seeking. Not because God is angry and demanding and will have it no other way, but because it is the only way God can have place to do His redeeming work in the soul.
This message has been preached many places over the past few months as our summer was full of opportunities to minister. In June, we returned to Shady Dale, GA which was nostalgic for us because it was the location of our first rodeo Bible meeting 19 years ago. A good crowd gathered under the shade trees and the Word was carefully sown in their hearts. Our next meeting was with the Agape Church near Atlanta. Young people had gathered there from all over the Untied States for a month of leadership training and we were privileged to spend the morning with them imparting spiritual words of life. Then it was on to the R Ranch rodeo in Dahlonega, GA before speaking at New Testament Baptist Church in Loganville on Sunday evening. In July, we traveled to Wedowee, AL Savannah, TN, and Ringgold, GA with the 4L Rodeo company, our ‘family’ on the road. On the last Sunday of the month, we were back in the sale barn in Lake City, FL with the Circle Cross Cowboy Church.
The first of August was somewhat strange for us because we were actually home much more than usual. But the days were used to be still (which is always a challenge) and seek God’s face — never, ever a waste of time. We hit the road again, refreshed and renewed for excellent meetings at the rodeo in Villa Rica, GA, and made it back to Lake City, FL the next day for another meeting with the cowboy church. Our September schedule began in Dalton, GA with upcoming rodeos in Hamilton and Loganville, GA. The last Sunday of the month, we will be ministering at the Morrow Christian Church where our wedding ceremony was held over 31 years ago.
On the home front, we will become grandparents in April! Jared, and his precious wife Rebekah, are expecting their first child, and we are looking forward to all the joy that will bring! Carson broke from his usual gypsy pattern and spent the summer in Florida. His gifted horse training abilities are being recognized, and his business is thriving. Butch and I continue to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord and are confident that He will keep and preserve that which we have committed to Him.