Sunday, September 20, 2015

Passport Required

Last summer my hubby went on his annual canoe trip into the wilds of Canada.  Besides the wonderful scenery and physical challenges, an additional benefit has been the forging of these male friendships for the past 11 summers.

Every year Charlie has come home with yet another invite (from his canoe buddies) for us, as a couple, to head to Canada for a visit.  We discussed it but it ever seemed to end up a priority….until this year.

This has been a watershed year…. a year when we, and many of our friends, have turned the “I-am-undeniably-considered-old” year.  Birthday celebrations have been especially significant and it was one of those events that signaled it was time for us to head to Toronto.  We got an invite to (friend) Dave’s 70th birthday party; that came hand-in-hand with an invitation from another member of the canoe crew and his wife.  Now we had a party to attend and another couple to house and entertain us.  Done deal!

When we made this decision in August, I realized my passport had expired and looking at the calendar, figured I’d better get that application turned in ASAP.  I headed over to the appropriate governmental office (only a block from my house…don’t you love small town living?!) and picked up the application form.  The questions were endless, many inquiring about my legal status (had I committed any crimes or ever been arrested?) and my citizenship.

I filled it out, updated my photo and sent it off.  I hoped it would arrive in time; all of our travel plans hinged on receiving approval from the “powers-that-be”. Thankfully, my passport did arrive, with time to spare, and my husband affirmed to our Canadian friends that we would, indeed, be joining them.

On the actual day of travel we got an early start, hoping we would get through the border easily.  On the way out the door….and again as we were pulling down the driveway, I checked on that passport, making certain it was not sitting in the house somewhere.  Yes, indeed it was in my possession!

Several hours later we arrived at the US/Canadian border where we were asked a few questions and sent on our way.  Yay!  The return trip, same experience.  More yay!  I breathed a sigh of relief that the process was so easy.

What if….what if we had headed for Canada and arrived at the border, only to discover we had no passports?  I think it’s pretty obvious we would not have been allowed to cross over only to have our travel plans thwarted.

The day is coming for all of us when we will be reaching a time of “crossing over”…leaving our home on earth.  It will probably not be a time of our choosing and could come on us rather suddenly.  Like this border crossing between the 2 countries, where passports were required to complete our journey, we also will need a “passport” if we want to “cross the border into heaven” one day.

But here is the really, really great news!  Unlike all the paperwork I needed to complete to renew my passport, there is NOTHING like that needed for my entrance into heaven.  You see, Jesus did all the work for meand for you!  He bridged the gap for us; you know, the gap created by our sin that separates us from God. He did the hard work required for our entrance into heaven at the end of this earthly journey.

So why do we make this so complicated when all we have to do is accept the blood sacrifice Jesus made on the cross?  I John 5:11 tells us God has given us eternal life in His Son.  Jesus says in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.”  Peter tells us in Acts 4: 12, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name (Jesus) under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”

There are not multiple ways where we hope we choose the right one; there are no hoops to jump through; there is no specifically worded script or lengthy form to fill out; there is no secret ceremony.  Just believe in Jesus, confess your sin, ask Jesus to be Lord of your life and then watch and see what He does!  That’s the only “passport” any of us needs to confidently reach the end of this life’s road and joyfully cross the “border”. 

“[That] if you confess with your mouth, Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.”  Romans 10: 9 & 10

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