“The purpose of life is a life of purpose.”– Robert Byrne
Foundations of My Faith
The following five truths became foundation stones of my life in Jesus Christ, the Lord, and footholds for my earthly sojourn as a full-time employee. They continue to hold true now in the winter of my life, as a speaker, writer, and full-time homemaker.
1. It takes more than believing in God to get to heaven.
New in my faith at the age of 16, I recall my shock in reading James 2:19. “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that–and shudder.” (NIV) The demons believe in God! I knew the demons were not going to heaven, so what was the difference between me and them? I grew up going to church and believing in God, but there came a time when I learned nothing I did would get me into heaven. I could not stack my good works up high enough to reach a holy, perfect God. Jesus took my place and did that for me. Jesus is the only way to heaven (John 14:6, John 3:16). I chose to live in submission to Him and His Word, the Bible. The demons know OF Jesus, but they do not KNOW Him as Savior. They have not repented of sin, nor submitted to His Lordship. There is an eternal difference. From that I learned the need for
INTENTIONAL BELIEF IN CHRIST.
2. “Everything you’ll ever need is in the Bible.”
As a new Christian, I heard a preacher make that statement, so I believed it and took it to heart. This started me on a path of reading the Bible thoughtfully, seeing how it related to daily life and how I could apply it to mine. Whenever I had a problem or question about faith and life, I read my Bible and asked God to show me answers. It’s a big book, so I am still reading it and learning from it, but I even found the colors for my wedding while reading in the Old Testament. This was particularly meaningful to me, because as an artist, I loved all the colors and could not decide which ones to use for my wedding. I believe everything I fundamentally need for life is in the Bible. In 50+ years, it has never let me down. From that I learned the need for
INTENTIONAL BIBLE READING.
3. Prayer changes things.
I received a necklace with the famous “Praying Hands” on it by the German Renaissance artist, Albrecht Durer. About two years later when I was attending a small Bible college in Wisconsin, I noticed three small words engraved on the back of the necklace: “God answers prayer.” At that moment I was wandering the hallway outside the library stressed about having to create a large pastel portrait for a senior’s upcoming speech recital. I soon surmised it was a task far beyond my artistic capability. What was I thinking volunteering to draw a pastel chalk portrait? I wandered the halls late one evening pondering how to tell the senior I did not complete the task.
A freshman mopping floors noticed my furrowed brow and asked what was wrong. I explained how I had bitten off more than I was capable of, and the deadline was immediate. He simply chimed, “Pray about it!” I felt humiliated that a freshman had rebuffed me-an upper classman-and with such a simple solution, one of the basics of faith. After muttering, “like that’s going to help” under my breath, my heart was pricked to do just that.
So, I stopped in a dark, secluded corner and prayed. I entered the library and found a postage stamp-sized black and white photograph of the portrait I needed, and sat down to draw it that very evening (folk hero of the American Old West, “Wild Bill” Hickock, if you must know). Like the golden calf in Exodus 32:24, it seemed to appear out of nowhere. I have never drawn another pastel portrait since, but from that I learned the power of
4. “Let your light so shine among men that they may see your good works and glorify the Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16, KJV
I share stories of how God works in my life in order to shine the spotlight on Him. He shows up in every day situations and answers prayers that help provide our needs. My heart’s desire is to draw others to Christ and toward salvation and to serve God’s kingdom work in this world. For this, I practice
5. Death is the bridge to eternal heaven or hell–for the true believer, it is the bridge to a joyous eternal life.
When I was brand new in my faith, a classmate invited me to a funeral. I do not know why she invited me; I hardly knew her, but she knew I was a new Christian. At the funeral of a ten-year old boy who loved Jesus, I witnessed the physical and emotional pain of the boy’s father’s loss. His loss was mixed with the true hope and joy that his son was now healed and whole and happy. When the father spoke of his son and the milestones of growth both he and his son would never see, the father wept with grief. When the father spoke of his son’s pain-free body in heaven with Jesus, he wept for joy. And I got it! This was, hands down, the best reason to come to Jesus–a resurrection to heaven for all believers. I learned by that father’s example to not fear death and to take advantage of every day on earth living a meaningful life. From that I learned the joy and purpose of
“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”-Ephesians 2:10, NIV
“Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.”-1 Peter 4:10, NIV