Before & After

This week I was introduced to Pinterest.  The amount of talent and creative ideas that flow through the minds of people just amaze me.  The home decorating pictures are my favorite and if they involve organization, even better.  I also love looking at before and after pictures, especially room makeovers.  While I am not typically a very imaginative person I do have a few before and after pictures to show of things our family has recently worked on.  Hope you enjoy them.

This is the boys’ room right after we moved here this last summer.  Notice anything missing?  That’s right.  They were without a bed.  So, Dana and Aaron worked on building them one.

It took just a couple of hours to build.  This is before we stained it.

Here is our after picture. We do not have it yet but plan on getting Andrew a twin trundle for underneath the bed.

My mother gave me this bedroom suite.  It was a little old fashioned for Abigail.

 So, a few hours later and a little black paint it was as good as new.

This is a picture of her desk before.

Here it is after….

This lemonade stand was given to our church.  My husband decided that we could turn it into a coffee bar.

A new counter top, some paint, and a lot of help transformed a lemonade stand into this.

Don’t you just love before and after pictures.

I believe the most beautiful transformation is a before and after picture of salvation.  Take a look at what the Bible says about mankind before God intervenes.

As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: Their feet are swift to shed blood: Destruction and misery are in their ways: And the way of peace have they not known: There is no fear of God before their eyes. (Rom 3:10-18)

But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Rom 5:8)

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (2Co 5:17)


Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you…


but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.   (1Co 6:9-11)


Do you have a before and after picture?

The Unbalanced Gospel

It was an interesting conversation.  My husband and I were talking with a pastor who was sharing with us about the ministry of an evangelist he knew.  This man made the statement that the evangelist had claimed to win hundreds of thousands of people to the Lord during his ministry.  In defense of his ministry the evangelist said, “If only 50% of the conversions are true conversions, that’s still a lot of people.  And if only 25% are true conversions or even only 10% are true conversions that is still more people won to the Lord than most.”  I said to this pastor, “This may be true but my question is, What about the other 90% who live under a false sense of security?  That is a lot of people who believe that they are saved and unless they repent they will die and go to hell.” 

Judgment is a reality.  And as a child of God and a disciple of Christ who is commanded to “go into all the world…” I sure do not want to be responsible in leading people astray.  In talking with people about eternal life, I have found that it is easier to talk to ungodly people who do not claim any religion than to people who believe they are saved yet live unregenerate, unholy lives. These people are blinded because at one time they made a profession of faith, prayed a prayer, and joined a church.  Now they rest alone in that false security.

Studies show that 80% of Americans will say they are Christian.  Yet the same studies show that of those 80% only 20% believe that Jesus is the only true way to God.   What is the problem?   If we look deeper we would probably find that even less of those are living Christ-like.  Our churches are filled with people who claim salvation yet have never repented.  This fact plays out in their lives (Matthew 7:20).  Again I ask, what is the problem?  Jesus said, “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity (or practice lawlessness),” Matthew 7:22-23.  Jesus is saying that you live as though I have never given you a law to obey.  A few statements before this one Jesus said that strait and narrow is the gate that leads to life and very few will find it (Matthew 7:14).

 It seems as though the modern evangelical movement is facing a crisis.  What makes it worse is that few are willing to acknowledge it.    Part of the problem can be attributed to the unbalanced gospel that is so often proclaimed.  What I mean by unbalanced is that only half the truth is taught.  The modern message is that God is love, Heaven is waiting, and Christ wants to bring you joy, fulfillment, and happiness in this life.  It appears as if fewer and fewer pastors, preachers, and evangelist will share the whole, unadulterated gospel anymore.  While God is love; He is also perfectly Holy and Just.  All sin must be accounted for.  And while Heaven is waiting for the redeemed; judgment is waiting for the unrepentant.  And while Christ does give peace and joy unspeakable to the saved; He also promises trials, troubles, and tribulation in this world.  The unbalanced gospel is at best a misrepresentation and thus becomes man-centered and not God-centered.

  The worse part of this out of balance gospel is that repentance is completely left out.  The gospel has been reduced down to ABC’s of accept, believe, and confess.  How many thousands have been told that if they would just believe in Jesus and repeat a sinner’s prayer that they would be saved?  The problem is that belief will not save anyone.  The devils believe (James 2:19) and they tremble before God.  In addition, you cannot find the “sinner’s prayer” in Scripture.  Interesting enough when the rich young ruler came to Christ (Luke 18) and asked, “What must I do to be saved?” Jesus did not give him the ABC’s of salvation.  Some would say, what about being sorry for your sins.  Isn’t that enough to save you?  Try that in a court of law.  “Judge, I know I robbed a bank 20 years ago but that was a very long time ago and I haven’t done it since.  Plus, I’m really, really sorry.  I believe that you are a good judge and I’m hoping you will let me go.”  God is the perfect Judge and just being sorry is not enough.  Listen to what the Apostle Paul said about being sorry.  “Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing. For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death,” 2 Corinthians 7:9-10.

 Sorrow brings repentance which leads to salvation.  A person cannot be saved without repentance.  Repentance involves a turning.  To repent of sin is to turn from it and to turn to God.  A truly repentant person will seek God, accept His grace, and strive to follow His will.  “And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him,” 1John 2:3-4. 

Why is it then that so many leave repentance out of the gospel message?  John the Baptist’s sermon was, “REPENT.”  (“In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand,” Matthew 3:1-2.) Perhaps, we should not worry about the prophet’s message and focus on what Christ said.  But wait, His message was the same.  “From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand,” Matthew 4:17.   When Jesus sent out his disciples he instructed them to preach repentance.  “And they went out, and preached that men should repent,” Mark 6:12.  And after His resurrection, one of the last messages Christ gave to His disciples was how they should preach repentance.  “And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem,” Luke 24:47.

 Why is it that we think man’s plan of evangelizing the world is better than God’s?  I believe the Enemy is rather satisfied when the unbalanced gospel is preached and false professions of faith are made.  When our churches become filled with the unsaved they lose their effectiveness.   They become powerless organizations that have been relegated to the corner of society.  This gospel will produce numbers, but numbers can be very deceiving.  On Judgment Day, just ask those 90%, who think they are saved, how deceiving numbers are.

A 360 Degree Turn

 One of my favorite verses is found in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” It truly is an amazing concept. From the moment of salvation we become completely different creatures. Old things are passed away and all things become new. I believe the Bible. I know many of you reading this make the same claim. We believe that God has opened our eyes, turned us from darkness to light, and made us sons and daughters of the Most High. Being crucified with Christ, we no longer serve sin but righteousness (Romans 6:6-18). We are not the same as before.

So tell me, how is it possible for a person who claims salvation to sit in church their entire life and never change? How is it that year after year they never spiritually grow? How can a person who was saved 20, 30, or 40 years ago not know more Scripture, Bible doctrine, or Christian principles than when they were first saved? How is it, that in some cases, they are actually worse off spiritually than before?

Time and time again I have seen this. The sad thing is that in some places it has become so commonplace that no one even recognizes it anymore. We have accepted the fact that “some Christians” will never change. I believe that if we would take a deep look at the message that we have been giving people for the last 50 years we would see the problem. It all begins with “Easy Believe-ism”. People have reduced the gospel down to…

“The ABC’s of salvation”

“Raise your hand if you want to go to heaven.”

“Sign this card and join our church”


“Repeat this sinner’s prayer after me.”

Perhaps at the moment of salvation you did one of these things. And you are thinking, “I know I’m saved.” However, true salvation was not because of this but in spite of it. Easy Believe-ism says that God loves you and wants you to live in Heaven with Him, so if you will just believe in your heart than you will be saved. But it takes more than belief. The devils believe and they tremble. “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble,” (James 2:19). I have seen people who claim salvation but have never shown any type of filial (reverential or holy) fear toward God.

You see, the problem with this belief is that it completely removes repentance from the equation. Without repentance there cannot be salvation. A friend shared with me about a little girl at her church that had recently been “saved.” Someone asked the little girl if she was happy that she would not have to spend eternity in hell. The little girl said, “I don’t know what you are talking about.” No one had told her about hell. They simply asked her if she wanted to go to Heaven and be with Jesus when she died. They told her to repeat a prayer and then declared her saved. When I heard this my heart broke; because the truth is that if this little girl did not know about hell, she knew nothing about judgment. And if she knew nothing about judgment, than she could not repent of her sins. And without repentance there is never salvation. Now this girl will go through life with a false sense of security. She is worse off than before. She will think she is saved but it will be impossible for her to grow spiritually. She is still in darkness.

Most people have very good intentions when they are trying to win someone to the Lord. But if we are not careful we will sell people a “bill of goods” and not present to them the whole gospel.   The whole gospel requires repentance.  The whole gospel creates completely new creatures.  The whole gospel presents Lordship.  In Luke 14 Jesus said a man should count the cost before becoming a disciple. Yes, salvation is offered free, but once a person is truly saved they will follow their Lord. And being a disciple of Christ will cost everything. “So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple,” (Luke 14:33).

Many times this Easy Believe-ism leads to someone thinking they are saved and getting “on fire for the Lord” only to turn away after some time. It looks as though they have made a 180 degree turn in their life. They are faithful, they read their Bible, they do good works, and they might even witness. But all of a sudden the cares of this world enter in and choke out the word. They drop out of church and go back to their old lifestyle. Their 180 degree turn changes into a 360 degree turn. And they are worse off than before. Consider what II Peter 2:20-21 says, “For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.”

I believe in the security of the believer. Once saved – always saved. It is just that there are many people who are deceived into believing they were once saved. They might sit in church their whole life and never change. Or, they might be faithful for a while. They make that 180 degree turn on their own only to keep on going until they are back around to 360 degrees. But it is important, for the sake of souls, that we understand that the latter end is worse than the beginning.


I’m always amazed at how few people care about what is going on in the world.  While I must admit, following the news can be rather depressing.  However, we should be responsible enough to stay up-to-date on what is going on in the world.  Why?  You ask.  Because, as believers in Christ, we have an obligation to warn those without of the coming judgment.  Am I gloom and doom today?   Reading the news, it would be easy to be so.   According to today’s Drudge Report, Israel has ‘8 Days’ to hit Iran nuclear site.    Why is it that a nation as small and insignificant as Israel is always in the forefront of the news?  I believe the scriptures bear out the answer.  Yes, the last days are here.  Second Timothy three gives a description of the last days.  Man will be…

-lovers of their own selves       -trucebreakers

-covetous                                 -false accusers

-boasters                                  -incontinent (without self-control)

-proud                                     -fierce

-blasphemers                           -despisers of those that are good

-disobedient to parents            -traitors

– unthankful                             -heady

-unholy                                    -highminded

-without natural affection                 -lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God

Does this sound like today’s society?  The passage goes on to say that people will have a form of godliness but deny the power thereof.  (Just how many American’s claim to be religious today and live ungodly lives?)  But this next attribute is what gets my attention.  Second Timothy 3:7 says, “Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.”  We live in the information age.  Technology is at its peak, yet still exceeding.  People are very smart and learning more and more everyday but very few know the truth.  Let me prove it.  Just ask someone if “truth is relative” and see what they say.  Statistics prove over and over again that very few “born again Christians” acknowledge that truth is absolute.  How sad!

 So, am I gloom and doom?  Yes and no. 

 Yes, the world is ending.  Read 2 Peter 3:4-7, 12, 11 Cor. 5:10-11, Rev. 20:11-15.

 No, because the ending of the world means for every believer the beginning of eternity.  Christ is coming soon.  The heavens will soon be mine.  My affections are already there.  How exciting!  It thrills me to see prophecy fulfilled. 

 If you do nothing else today, I pray that you will …

Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. (2Co 13:5a)   For the times that we are living in are becoming gloriously dark!