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Sentenced to Die

April 3, 2015 — Leave a comment

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Ernest Gordon was a prisoner held by the Japanese during WW2. The captors in his camp were forced to build a railroad through the jungle and over the River Kwai. The prisoners were treated inhumanely and soon fell into living the law of the jungle where every man was out for himself.

At the end of each day, the tools were counted. One day, it was discovered a shovel was missing. A guard became enraged and demanded to know who had stolen it. When nobody confessed, he screamed, “All die! All die!” He raised his gun to shoot the first man in line when suddenly, a man stepped out of the ranks and said, “I did it.”

The guard began furiously kicking and beating the man. He eventually brought down the butt of his rifle on the man’s head. As the man fell motionless to the ground, the guard continued to kick him. After the violence stopped, the prisoners carried the man’s body back to the camp.

That evening, the tools were recounted and it was discovered there were no missing shovels.  There had been a miscount. The man was innocent and sacrificed his life to save his fellow prisoners.

The man’s selfless sacrifice changed the attitude in the camp. Everyone began looking out for their fellow prisoner. Hatred was still present but there was also love. Death did not stop but there was also life. (Gordon, Ernest. Miracle on the River Kwai. Collins Publishers, 1963.)

This story reminds me of Jesus’ sacrifice. If you’ve ever wondered about this sacrifice, the following are some questions I’ve received along with answers.

Why does God hate sin?

  • Because sin separates us from Him.

“But the trouble is that your sins have cut you off from God. Because of sin he has turned his face away from you and will not listen anymore.” Isaiah 59:2

So there’s punishment for sin?

  • The punishment for sin is death. I don’t like it any more than you but we don’t make the rules. God does. So yes, there is punishment and it’s harsh.

“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23

“Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.” Revelation 20:15

Is there a way to get out of this punishment?

  • Absolutely! And it is so easy! Through Jesus!

I don’t get it! How does Jesus make a difference?

  • Just as the man stepped out of ranks to take the punishment for the missing shovel, Jesus steps in front of us and takes our death sentence for us.

“He personally carried the load of our sins in his own body when he died on the cross so that we can be finished with sin and live a good life from now on. For his wounds have healed ours!” 1 Peter 2:24

We all die. So I don’t understand how this saves me from death.

  • We do not avoid death in this life. But death is just a doorway to spending eternity in heaven with God or in hell without Him. God loves us and wants our eternity to be spent with Him so He provided the ultimate sacrifice. I would die for my children but I wouldn’t sacrifice them for anybody. My love has a limit. God’s love doesn’t.

“For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son so that anyone who believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

So what exactly do I have to do to be saved?

  1. Believe Jesus is the Son of God, He came to live as a man on this earth, He died for your sins, and overcame the bonds of death by rising again on the 3rd

 “He then brought them out and asked, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’ They replied, ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.’” Acts 16:30-31

  1. Confess with your mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord.

“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:9

Simply pray: “Lord Jesus, I believe that you are the son of God and that you came to earth and died for my sins and rose again on the 3rd day. I confess that I am a sinner and in need of your salvation. I come to you now and ask that you will come into my life, be my Lord and savior, and forgive me of my sins. In Jesus’ name, amen!”

It’s that simple. Next week I’ll explain the next steps and changes that occur with this decision. Meanwhile, I would LOVE for you to message me if you prayed this prayer.

 

© 2015 Connie Davis Johnson

 

 

Billy Sunday quote graphic

© 2014 Connie Davis Johnson

Praying Kids are Scary!

September 3, 2013 — 6 Comments

One night during family prayer, our 3 year old daughter, Calan, asked God to give her a brother named George. Kneeling nearby with our 13 month old daughter, Cauriana, I stole a glance at my husband, Craig.  He was looking at me with wide eyes and we both chuckled.

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When Cauriana was born, she came into the world demanding a manicure and a massage.  High maintenance was her calling card.  She would only take twenty minute naps and scream during the rest of our waking hours.  If I wasn’t holding her, I was feeding her.  And if I wasn’t feeding her, I was changing her diaper.  And if I wasn’t changing her diaper, I was trying to figure out what was causing her ear splitting screams.

While I tended to Cauriana, I also tried to give proper attention to Calan by reading to and playing with her.  I was exhausted!  All the time!

So when Calan prayed for a brother, I decided to help God out.  After all, this prayer would not be answered in the way she hoped so I was a bit concerned that it would crush her childlike-size-of-Texas faith.

I gently explained although God is in control of all things, He does let us have a bit of control over some things.  And her dad and I definitely had some control over whether or not she would have a little brother and it wasn’t going to happen, nope, no way, no how, nada, not happening!  Okay, maybe it wasn’t so gentle.  But I was panic-stricken.

Calan didn’t seem to notice or care so I felt we dodged a bullet.

The next day, I began to feel strange.  In the early afternoon, I stopped in my tracks as I realized the only times I had felt this way was when I was pregnant.  I immediately looked up toward the sky and said/yelled, “NO WAY!!”

I sped to the store and bought a home pregnancy test.  By this time, you’ve already finished this story in your head.  And you would be right.  The stick turned pink.  I was pregnant.

I was shocked.  Craig was shocked.  Calan was not.  Calan said, “Of course you have a baby in your tummy.  It’s a boy named George.”

During the entire pregnancy, she never deterred from, “It’s a boy named George.”  Even when we tried to reason with her saying it could be a girl, she would respond, “Nope!  It’s a boy named George.”

When delivery day came, lo and behold, we had a boy.  I was shocked.  Craig was shocked.  Calan was not.

We called Craig’s parents house where the girls were staying to give them the good news.  I said to Calan, “You were right!  We had a boy!  But honey, his name isn’t George.  It’s Colby.”  She said, “No it’s not!  It’s George!”

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She had been right about everything else so I was ready to rip the birth certificate from the nurse’s hand to ensure I had named our little boy Colby and not George.

Calan insisted on calling Colby, “George,” for the first week of his life.  She finally conceded after that and began calling him, “Colby George.”

Today is Colby’s 12th birthday.  And we are extremely blessed God answered Calan’s prayer.  At least the “brother” part.  And Calan has finally dropped the “George” from his name.

Colby on horse

Calan’s special prayer taught me I never need to try to “explain” God.  And I definitely don’t take credit for having control of things I do not.

So now when the kids pray for outrageous things that scare us, we let them.

Then Craig and I pray against them.  It’s the “battle of the prayers” at the Johnson household.

Yep, praying kids are scary!  But it just adds to this adventure we call life.

This post is part of the following link-ups:

whimsical-wednesdays_edited-1 

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©2013 Connie Davis Johnson

Impact Your World

July 31, 2013 — Leave a comment

Impact your world quote

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©2013 Connie Davis Johnson

Calan and I

After coming through the gate for our local High School’s football game on a clear and cool Friday evening, people from our small town began asking my husband and me if we had seen our daughter, Calan, yet.

Being 15 years old, Calan had asked to go to a friend’s house after school.  From there, she went straight to the game.  Therefore, I had not seen her since that morning.  So the repeated question made me wonder what she had done.

As we made our way to our seats, many friends smiled and simply shook their heads.  Whatever Calan had done was obviously entertaining.  My interest and curiosity mounted.

Suddenly our attention turned toward the field as our team scored a touchdown.  The cheerleaders began to cheer loudly and the band struck up a triumphant tune.  It was then I spotted her.

Running down the sideline carrying a gigantic school flag was Calan.  Her entire face was painted red and white and she wore red pants with vertical black stripes.  I couldn’t believe my eyes.

CAlan facepaint

My kid!

MY kid?!

A face-painting, wacky-dressing, super fan?!

This was not what I expected.  I wasn’t sure how to feel.  What would her peers think?  What would my friends think?  What would the teachers and administrators think?

A friend sitting nearby read the emotions on my face and said, “She’s a great girl who is very well liked.  She hangs out with a great group of girls and she is her own person unafraid of what others think.  Other parents would love to be in your shoes.”

Wisdom just when I needed it most.

I thought of my daily prayers for her.  Each day of her life I’ve asked God to give her confidence and boldness.  I’ve prayed for her to be well liked and not to lose her self-assurance when someone dislikes her.

However, my expectations in those prayers included her standing up for her convictions when challenged, wearing modest clothes rather than racy styles, liking what she sees in the mirror, and being thankful for the person God made her to be.  Not this display of super fan craziness in front of me.

As I sat there contemplating, I realized she is confident and not only stands up for her convictions but does it respectfully.  Sweatpants and t-shirts are her preferable clothing rather than anything revealing.  She doesn’t feel the need to wear makeup to increase her likability and embraces the personality qualities God gave her.

My eyes wandered back to the girl running up and down the field looking like a lunatic.  My heart swelled with the love I felt for her.

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I couldn’t deny the fun Calan was having while being confident and bold.  Cheerleaders and football players were giving her high fives as she ran past.  Students were cheering her on as well as the parents.  Teachers and parents alike were laughing and complimenting her courage.  Everyone was having fun!

When my daughter does not live up to my expectations I have to stop and reflect.  Many times, I come to the realization it isn’t my daughter who needs to change but my own desires.

When I truly consider the person God created, Calan far exceeds any of my own expectations.

This post is part of Jill Savage’s Third Thursday Blog Hop.  To read more about today’s topic, “No More Perfect Kids,” click here

If you’ve liked what you’ve read here, please follow me by clicking the “Follow” button on the left.  You can also follow me on Facebook, TwitterLinkedIn, or by RSS feed.

UPDATE: This post is featured in Jill Savage’s book, No More Perfect Moms. Order your copy here

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©2013 Connie Davis Johnson

stk33345binI have very little faith.  My default setting is worry.  It would be reasonable to think I would have unshakable faith after recording pages and pages of answers to prayer in my prayer journal.  However I always seem to wonder if God is going to fail me “this time.”

In a recent post, I wrote about God clearly speaking to me at a retreat where I decided I was no longer going to speak.  Playing bible roulette landed me at a passage meant specifically to say “keep at it.”  The retreat was a success and I left the weekend feeling elated.

As I made the long drive home, my euphoria quickly turned to apprehension as I thought of how much money still needed to be raised for mine and my daughter’s upcoming mission trip with a group from our church to Ecuador.  We still had $2640 out of $3200 to raise.

Although support letters were sent, we didn’t have many people to send them to and most had already contributed.  The only other possibility on the horizon was the garage sale we planned in which all proceeds would go toward our mission trip.  But in all reality, I knew a simple garage sale would not bring in all the funds needed.

I prayed half-heartedly and wondered how in the world God could come through.  Two days later, I received a call from the church secretary.  She informed me a check came in for our trip.  It was from a couple we are friends with but haven’t seen in 2 years.  They have 3 young children.  When I inquired how much it was for, she nonchalantly said, $2000.  I was stunned speechless.

I asked her to repeat herself and then immediately began arguing it must be a mistake.  To convince me, the secretary sent a picture of the check to my phone.  It took about 10 minutes for the reality to sink in and then I just melted to the floor.

So many emotions were warring within me.  Deeply moved by our friend’s generosity, I felt shame that I’m not that giving.  I was also feeling serious regret for doubting God.  At the same time, I was incredibly relieved at the weight taken off my shoulders.  All these emotions became so overwhelming I ended up bawling.  And once I started crying I could not stop.  I cried all day long.

Before the week was over, another donation came in bringing our need down to $615.  I no longer doubted the rest of the money would be raised for our trip.

Blessings always follow obedience.

Psalm 24:4-5, “He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully.  He will receive blessing from the Lord and righteousness from the God of his salvation.”

Is there an area where you are fearful God will fail you?  Allow us to encourage you by sharing in the comments below.

Stay tuned when I share the story of our amazing garage sale tomorrow.

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©2013 Connie Davis Johnson

But I Don’t Wanna!

May 13, 2013 — 3 Comments

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I’m a Christian Women’s Speaker.  God called me to this profession 17 years ago but I argued with Him for 14 years before agreeing.  I tried to appease Him by teaching Sunday school, bible study, kid’s clubs, and emceeing events but it wasn’t exactly what God had in mind.  So I finally threw up my hands and said, “Fine!”

Desiring to be “real” I share much that makes me extremely vulnerable.  Opening up and sharing personal stories can be scary and sometimes gets the best of my emotions, making me nervous.

So was the case when I spoke recently.  After speaking the first night of a retreat, I became so nervous about speaking again the next day, I made myself sick.  So I did what I always do when I’m scared.  I called my husband, Craig.

I informed Craig that I had no idea why I was doing this speaking thing and I must have heard God wrong.  After all, He wouldn’t call me to do something I hated so much.  And I just wasn’t going to do it anymore after this weekend.  My emotions were obviously in overdrive.  Although I felt the need to share my feelings with Craig, I think he got the idea from the shaky inflections, short and breathless words, and just general panic in my voice.  Continuing on, I filled him in on my plan of calling and cancelling all speaking engagements on my calendar and removing my speaking information from my blog.

Craig’s response?  A very flat, “Uh huh.  Whatever you think God is telling you.”  He’s obviously heard this many times before and doesn’t realize just how serious I am.  This time!

After saying goodbye to Craig, I picked up my bible hoping God would calm my heart enough to be able to sleep.  I just opened my bible and it fell to Psalm 40:8-10;

“I delight to do your will, O my God, and your law is within my heart.’  I have proclaimed the good news of righteousness in the great assembly; Indeed, I do not restrain my lips, O Lord, you yourself know.  I have not hidden your righteousness within my heart; I have declared your faithfulness and your salvation; I have not concealed your loving-kindness and your truth from the great assembly.”

105643580Seriously???  This bible roulette thing wasn’t working out too well.  I was tempted to let it fall open again.  However, I knew God had already said what I was supposed to hear.  He really knows how to rain on my parade and my plans.

I texted Craig the verses I read.  He wrote back, “So I guess you won’t be cancelling any speaking engagements then?”   My response?  A very succinct, “Well, duh!”

By the end of the weekend retreat, I left extremely blessed meeting so many wonderful women, hearing their stories and what phrases touched them, and filling my car with the gifts of chocolate (there are definitely some benefits to this speaking thing).

So I continue to speak.  Unfortunately, I’m sure I will quit many more times in the future but these verses are ingrained in my brain now.  God is in the business of stretching us.  And although I may threaten my husband with quitting, he will not listen, God will continue to speak, and I will continue to obey.

Am I alone?  Are you scared to do something because it will stretch you out of your comfort zone?  I would love to hear about it if you’re willing to share in the comments below.

Blessings always follow obedience.  Be sure to visit on Thursday when I share the unmistakable blessing that followed this particular time of obedience.

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©2013 Connie Davis Johnson