(Trussville, AL USA)
"Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God."(Romans 5:1-2)
This fiction blog commences as a result of our fictional character we shall call "Sam" apparently having an encounter at work, which he could not shake. It seems that one day during lunch break, the gang were all sitting around eating, when the subject of the existence of God came up. Apparently, Sam was the only one in the group who intrinsically did not believe in God. According to the grapevine, Sam had been the victim of some sort of church hypnotic behavior early in his life, that he could not get over.
But this dialogue didn't end there, thank God. What an unusual, awesome experience Sam had recently! He just couldn't wait till Monday's lunch gathering to tell the gang all about it.
You see, it was Sunday and Sam was sleeping in, when all of a sudden he was awakened from his deep sleep by a fierce thunderstorm dancing outside his bedroom window.
Suddenly, and without warning, his Mom's vacant chair, which he had placed in the corner of the bedroom for safe keeping, appeared to have come alive, as it danced around the room.
Then the strangest thing happened. A finger of lightning bolt reached through the window and burned an etching in the chair. When the smoke cleared, a burnt engraving of "It is finished" could be seen on the chair.
"What is going on here?" he silently questioned. But there was no response from outside the window. He then yelled out desperately the same question, only with a few added choice x-rated additives. This time, however, a voice which seemed to be coming from the outside suddenly spoke.
"Why are you so upset?" the voice softly whispered.
"What's happening here? Am I dreaming? Is this real, and if so, what is the meaning of it all?" he answered.
"Do you not remember that conversation you had with your co-workers at work the other day, about whether God was real or not?" the voice replied.
"I surely do. I was the only one of the group that argued against the existence of God. I was very proud of my logical stand."
The conversation then just seemed to stop for what seemed to be an eternity as if this voice was giving Sam time to recant his work conversation with the gang. Sam continued his examination of the phrase that was left etched in his Mother's favorite chair.
"Wow, 'It Is Finished.' What is finished? Are you still here, Mr. Voice? I need your help, please," Sam proclaimed. But no answer followed. "Now, what am I to do?" he shouted. You see, his patience seemed to be wearing thin, at this point.
Then as if by divine command, the lightning finger appeared again, but this time it added a Scripture reference of (John 19:30) to the impression.
"OK, now I get it, I'll just look up this Scripture in Mom's old family Bible." And he hastily did. Lo and behold, written beside this particular Scripture verse was a simple handwritten note left by his Mother which read, 'Praying For Sam.'
Although Sam failed to understand the chair etching, the Bible note moved him to the point of tears. Sam just had to find out more about this saying, 'It Is Finished.' What did his Mom mean, and what exactly was she praying for? So he continued to read the study notes associated with this scripture passage.
"'It is finished' is an accounting term that means 'paid in full.' When Jesus uttered those words on the cross, He was declaring the debt owed to His Father was wiped away completely and forever. Not that Jesus wiped away any debt that He owed to the Father; rather, Jesus eliminated the debt owed by mankind—the debt of sin that originated in Man's fall in the Garden of Eden." (Genesis 3:15)
"This work Jesus was sent to do was to 'seek and save that which is lost' (Luke 19:10), to provide atonement for the sins of all who would ever believe in Him (Romans 3:23-25), and to reconcile sinful men to a holy God. “All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:18-19). None other but God in the flesh could accomplish such a task."
After reading the study notes, Sam's eyes seemed to light up. "Wow, now I really get it! God did all this for little old me. No wonder my fellow co-workers were so excited the other day. It's all free from God, if I will only take His free grace, by faith, and believe in this work of His Son's cruel cross. (Ephesians 2:8-9) Thank you, Mom, I now know I'll join you someday up in Heaven. Thank you." And the tears continued to flow.
Immediately Sam fell to his knees in an effort to simply touch the etching left on his Mom's chair, but the etching was now gone. Wiped completely clean was Mom's chair.
"It was finished for me! It was finished for me!" Sam cried out over and over. "Like Mom's chair, my life is now wiped clean. Amen!”
Author's Postscript (Taken from jaredstory.com)
THE EMPTY CHAIR
A man's daughter had asked the local pastor to come and pray with her father. When the pastor arrived, he found the man lying in bed with his head propped up on two pillows and an empty chair beside his bed. The pastor assumed that the old fellow had been informed of his visit.
"I guess you were expecting me," he said.
"No, who are you?"
"I'm the new associate at your local church," the pastor replied. "When I saw the empty chair, I figured you knew I was going to show up."
"Oh yeah, the chair," said the bedridden man. "Would you mind closing the door?" Puzzled, the pastor shut the door.
"I've never told anyone this, not even my daughter," said the man. "But all of my life I have never known how to pray. At church, I used to hear the pastor talk about prayer, but it always went right over my head."
"I abandoned any attempt at prayer," the old man continued, "until one day about four years ago my best friend said to me, 'Joe, prayer is just a simple matter of having a conversation with Jesus. Here's what I suggest. Sit down on a chair; place an empty chair in front of you, and in faith see Jesus on the chair. It's not spooky because he promised, 'I'll be with you always.' Then just speak to Him and listen in the same way you're doing with me right now."
"So, I tried it and I've liked it so much that I do it a couple of hours every day. I'm careful, though. If my daughter saw me talking to an empty chair, she'd either have a nervous breakdown or send me off to the funny farm."
The pastor was deeply moved by the story and encouraged the old guy to continue on the journey. Then he prayed with him and returned to the church.
Two nights later the daughter called to tell the pastor that her daddy had died that afternoon. "Did he seem to die in peace?" he asked.
"Yes, when I left the house around two o'clock, he called me over to his bedside, told me one of his corny jokes, and kissed me on the cheek. When I got back from the store an hour later, I found him dead. But there was something strange, in fact, beyond strange -- kinda weird. Apparently, just before Daddy died, he leaned over and rested his head on a chair beside the bed."
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