Beautiful Karamursel

Subtitle

 

Redemption & Peace

       We have the privilege of living in an astounding generation.  My how things have changed since Beth and I were in Turkey.  The generation that dealt with WWII has been nicknamed “The Greatest Generation”.  But even they did not have to deal with the type of issues that us “Baby Boomers” contend with.  Today knowledge is increasing exponentially, meaning it is increasing at an ever faster and faster rate.  With the advent of the personal computer in the late seventies, the parabolic curve of increasing knowledge has turned the corner and is climbing almost strait up. The bottom leg of this curve was almost flat for thousands of years.  On the computer we can look as deep into a subject as we wish.  Just think; mathematics, biology, medicine, and mechanics can be accessed and shared at almost any place in the world just by typing on a keyboard and looking at a screen.
       This tremendous rate of change that is thrust upon us can be very unsettling.  The rate of change is so fast that we are stressed to keep up.  Just think, before 4 years of college are up, knowledge in a field of interest has increased substantially and passed us by.  This is one reason why so many fields are being fragmented into areas of specializing.  One begins to feel almost like he is floundering in the water and is about to go under.  Research scientist  are becoming paranoid with fear about misuse of some of the new discoveries because of their far reaching power and consequences.
 
What to do?  Is there any hope? Is there rest, stability, or peace to be found?

Yes!


       There will always be those individuals with an open mind that are searching for the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.  They may be sidetracked, delayed, or mislead for awhile, but as they persevere they come upon and discover real truth.  Absolute truth cannot be undone.  It is reality, it is what has actually taken place, and it will stand the test of time. It will exist eternally.  Some people are caught up in some practices that are not based on absolute truth. When they come upon truth they balk, making a conscious choice to turn away and go another route.  It is amazing what directions people will go in, and what practices people will participate in; just because they refuse to recognize reality. 

What is truth?
Where are contentment, security, satisfaction, and fulfillment in life found?


God!


Where are forgiveness, mercy, acceptance, and redemption found?


God’s Son Jesus Christ!


       Real love rejoices in the truth.  It is an eternal law.

       It is defined as follows: "Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrong.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trust, always hopes, always perservers." 1 Cor 13

      There is no real love without a relationship with the God who created us.  People wonder about this vacuum in their lives, yet all they have to do is turn to Jesus Christ to fill it.

      Colossians 2:2&3 "My purpose is that their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgment of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge."

       I challenge you.  Just look at people who have filed across the stage of time who had or who are living changed lives.  Some have made terrible mistakes in life, but through a relationship with Jesus Christ have been forgiven and redeemed. Now they live fulfilled adventurous lives.  The compassions of the Lord Jesus Christ are new every morning; each new day is lived in anticipation of serving the creator who made us.  He knows what we need and He knows how we tick.

       As one goes deeper into Christianity; believers become more aware each day of the love, mercy, and grace of God in their lives.  The presence of the Holy Spirit in their lives gives them confidence and awareness of God’s acceptance and love for them.  Even in death, believers are more than conquerors.  Because Jesus Christ overcame death and rose after 3 days, all those who place their trust in Him will overcome death also.  Without Christ unbelievers are more aware each day of their failures and shortcomings, and are alarmed because as an individual they are aware if their own limitations.  This breeds a lack of hope, anxiety, and insecurity.

As Joshua said in chapter 24 “Choose you this day whom ye will serve”.

Mark 8:36 For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?

The choice is up to you!

Jesus Christ is God’s son.  He left heaven; chose to become a man and then show us what God is like.  He was crucified on a cross; then He arose from the dead 3 days later and returned to heaven.  2000 years ago he came as the suffering servant to save us from our sins.  Soon he will come back as King of Kings and Lords of Lords and will judge the living and the dead.

Do you want to embrace him as your savior?  Call upon Him and confess your sins.  Ask him to forgive you, save you and help you to live a life pleasing to him.  He will!  Then find a Bible and read it, and fellowship with other Christian believers.

John 14:27 Jesus said “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

Psalm 119:165 Great peace have those who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble.

Proverbs 3:5&6 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him and he shall direct thy paths.

After calling upon the Lord, tell others about Jesus your Savior; and then experience the life that the Lord has in store for you whom God loves.


To read more go to “Conclusion” at the bottom of the 7 Churches web page.  There are also more comments at the bottoms of the other web pages.

 Erwin Lutzer speaks of this wonderful redemption through Jesus Christ in the following 15 minute messages.  Click on the arrow on the left of the boxes to listen.

He speaks of the victory over any situation, no matter how terrible, that we are given though faith in God's son Jesus Christ.

Christian music has a presence, a vibrancy,  a joy that no other can approach.  It touches our inmost fiber, and soothes our soul. The Lord Himself accents this.  Examples follow:

The Hoppers are a wonderful singing group; some of their videos are below: Click on the lines below to see and listen.

 We Are America

 Grace Greater than Sin

 Jerusalem - City of God

Yahweh

Adonai

Mary Did You Know?

Yes I Am

Testimony of Kim

Peace in the Midst of the Storm

 What happened to the Cross

 But for the Blood

 The Cross Said It All

 The Hoppers Interviewed

 Kim Hopper Interviewed

 

Below are two riveting testimonies showing God's ability to change lives and give purpose!

 

Forgiveness and peace …                 by Raul A. Ries             Taken from Decision Magazine

    I made up my mind to kill my wife, Sharon, and our two children.  It was April, 1972, and Sharon and the children were at church.
    When I came home from spending the day with my friends, I found suitcases waiting in the hallway, and I went into a rage.  I knew that Sharon was going to leave me.  The best way to handle it, I was convinced, would be to execute her and the children, then shoot it out with the police.  In the end, no one would win.
    As a child in Mexico City, Mexico, the last thing that I had wanted to become was an abuser.  Throughout my childhood my father abused my mother, my grandmother and me.  He was an alcoholic and often forced me to go with him to bars where he got into drunken brawls.  By the time I was eight or nine years old, I had so much hatred.
    As a teenager I had frequent confrontations with him, and I took my anger out on others.  Because of my father’s drinking and abuse, we moved to Los Angeles, California, where the following year, when I was 17, I learned martial arts.  By my senior year in high school I had been in and out of jail but was never booked on any charges.  Then one night at a party I saw my girlfriend with another guy, I beat the young man almost to death.
    I was arrested and given a choice: the military, or jail.  This was in 1966 during the Vietnam War.  I’ll just go Vietnam, I thought. It’s a license to kill.
    After joining the U.S. Marine Corps and going to boot camp, I was sent to Vietnam.  I was assigned to a reconnaissance team.  We would surround Viet Cong villages and wait for the men to come out of their homes.  We would kill all the men, then kill the women and the children.  We never took prisoners.
    After 10 months in Vietnam, I became overwhelmed by the constant terror of war.  I threatened to kill my captain if he sent me out on one more mission.  The military shipped me to Oakland Naval Hospital, in Oakland, California, where I was put into a psychiatric program.
    In spite of this, I was honorably discharged in 1968.  Just before I left the Marines, I married Sharon Farrel, a young woman I had dated in high school and had been writing to during my time in Vietnam.  But the violence of Vietnam still haunted me.  I went back to studying martial arts and eventually opened by own studio.  Now I was more dangerous than ever because Vietnam had removed from me any fear of killing.  Throughout this time, Sharon loved me and showed me God’s love by how she lived her life.
    It wasn’t long before I was fighting in bars and cheating on Sharon.  Before I knew what was happening, I was as abusive to my wife as my father had been to me.
    In 1972, after suffering almost four years of abuse, Sharon decided to leave me.  She wanted to help me overcome my problems, but now we had two sons.  She didn’t want them to grow up to be abusers.  She knew that to save them, she had to leave me.
    That was the evening that I went home and found the suitcases and realized that Sharon was going to leave me.  So I decided that I had to kill her.
    I pulled my rifle from the closet and loaded it with 18  rounds.  While I waited for my family to come back from church services, I punched holes in the walls, shattered picture frames and knocked over shelves.  I wanted to destroy everything.
    As I stood in front of the television set, I was seething.  I hit the television with the rifle but, but instead of breaking the front of the TV, I hit a button and turned on the TV.
    There was a man, a pastor, talking about Jesus and His love.  I listened, but it made me angry.  The last thing I wanted was to listen to some preacher.  I tried to shoot the television, but I couldn’t pull the trigger.  I kept listening to the man talk about the love of God.  It seemed as if he were speaking directly to me, and I realized that what he said was my last chance and only hope for life.
    I began to cry uncontrollably.  I knelt and prayed, “God, if You’re real, and if You are a God who is able to save people I want You to come into my life tonight.”
    When I stood, I knew that something had happened.  Jesus had taken away my anger and hatred, and He had given me His love and peace.
    I wiped the tears from my face and put away my rifle.  Then I drove to the church to find Sharon and tell her what had happened.
    When I arrived, the pastor was giving an alter call.  I couldn’t find Sharon, so I went to the altar where someone prayed with me before I drove home.
    The lights were already on when I parked in front of our house.  As I walked closer to the house, I could hear Sharon crying.
    I called out, “Sharon, open the door.”
    Sharon had put the chain across the door, but she opened the door a crack and asked, “What do you want?”
    “I accepted Jesus Christ,” I told her.  She shut the door in my face.  She didn’t believe me.  I finally convinced here to let me in the house.  It took months for her to believe that I had truly changed and to forgive me for the pain that I had caused her.
    I began to attend church in Costa Mesa and to read my Bible.  In the fall of 1972 I sensed that God was calling me to proclaim the Gospel at my former high school.  For two months I visited the school regularly and talked with students.  One day, about six months later, I stood on a bench and explained salvation through Jesus Christ.  Several hundred students responded.  Other schools invited me to speak to their students.  Soon I was visiting eight high schools a week.
    At the same time, in the evening, I was leading a Bible study at my martial arts studio.  I was ordained in 1975.  Since then, the Bible study has grown to become a large church that supports several ministries.
    God also healed my relationship with Sharon.  When I began visiting the schools, she knew that God had truly changed me.  In 1976 we had another son.
    God forgave me and removed the anger, hatred and bitterness that had been consuming me.  Now I have the privilege to reach out to others with God’s message of grace and forgiveness through Jesus Christ.

Raul A. Ries served as senior pastor at Calvary Chapel Golden Springs, in Diamond Bar, California.

 

Hating, Killing - Is There Forgiveness?      By Ruth Bell Graham               Taken from Decision Magazine

    In 1900 the Boxer Rebellion erupted in china, Orders went out that all Westerners were to proceed to Shanghai or Peking to find safety or to provincial capitals to seek political asylum from the governor of the province.
    There were daily reports of a missionary here, a family there, some faithful Chinese Christians in another town, all brutally murdered by the Boxers.
    Then came the blackest day of all.  Between 46 and 100 missionaries had sought refuge in the courtyard of the Shansi governor, not knowing that the governor was a leader in the Boxer uprising.  The missionaries were all executed.
    The question “why?” trembled on the lips of more than one missionary.  The need had been so great, and now this waste.
    Weeks dragged past.  Gradually the fury of the storm spent itself, and in the grim stillness following, one missionary returned to his home 300 miles north.
    Shortly after his arrival a stranger visited him.  The stranger, with his hard face and authoritative bearing, asked,” Do you remember the foreigners who sought protection from the governor of Shansi Province?”
    “I have heard.”
    The stranger sat silent a few minutes. “I was there,” he said.
    “You saw them die?”
    “I am captain of the bodyguard. I was in charge.”
    “You were responsible?” The missionary could have lashed out at the captain.  But something in the captain’s face stopped him.
    The captain continued, “To me, it was nothing. I am accustomed to killing.  Another life - 10, 20, 100.
    “The governor of Shansi Province does not like foreigners.  When they gathered at his door asking for protection, he replied, ‘I can protect you only by putting you in the prison.’
    “So he put them in prison.  For several days his hatred grew.  Then he gave me my orders.  I am trained to obey.
    “We led them out into the prison courtyard and lined them up.  The governor told them they were all to be killed.”  The captain paused.
    Scarcely breathing, the missionary urged, “What happened next?”
    “The strangest sight I have ever witnessed.  Husbands and wives turned and kissed one another.  The parents, smiling, spoke to their children of ‘Yesu,’ and pointed toward heaven. There was no fear.
    “They faced their executioners and began singing. And singing they died.
    “When I saw how they faced death,” the captain continued, “I knew that this ‘Yesu” of whom they spoke truly must be God.
    “Can God forgive my so-great sin?”
    The missionary thought of his close friend who had been among those killed.  He thought of others.
    Again the captain spoke; ‘Is there nothing I might do to atone for my wrong? Is there nothing?”
    The missionary reached for his worn Chinese Bible and said, “Our God, whom we serve, is a merciful God.  Your sin is great.  But God’s mercy is greater.  This Jesus is His Son.  He came to earth to die for sinners like you.  I too am a sinner.  Because Jesus died for you, God can forgive you.”
    The captain listened closely.  Strange words these, to a mind schooled to hate, to kill: “Love … Forgive … Life.”  What he understood, he accepted.
    It was late when the missionary escorted the captain to the gate.  For a long time the missionary sat thinking.  Fresh in his mind were hundreds of new graves strewn across China.
    But no more was he asking the anguished, “Lord, why this great waste?”
    The harvest had begun.

Taken from Decision Magazine March 2001 by Ruth Bell Graham.