Feeling OK Today

This is the result of holding my phone’s camera up to the “eye” of my kaleidoscope.

A few months ago, in July, I wrote a post called “Broken”.

I’d like to say right now that — surprise, surprise — life didn’t remain exactly as it was. This is a reminder of that fact, to myself and to anyone else reading who may be struggling.

I feel better today than I did then. I’m not leaping for joy or anything too crazy, but I am vertical. Well, semi-vertical. I’m sitting at my desk. Coffee is in my stomach and permeating throughout my cells, doing the thing it does to make me feel a little better than I felt before I drank it. Sunlight is sparkling on the snow outside. My children and animals are all occupied and quiet.

The unpredictable map of life always has its mountains to climb, sometimes painfully, but often with a beautiful view at the top, unless it’s covered by cloud. From my experience, those clouds do eventually part and lovely scenes show up again. And, in my vision, knowing what I do about what God has planned for my eternity, from what I have read in the Bible, I know that even if the clouds never do clear for me here before my time to go, there IS a clear place to which I am headed.

Although some days might seem mundane and repetitive, nothing really remains the same from one day to the next. Daily my eyes see something different, depending on what’s new, what’s placed where, and what my perspective is. Even if I were in a prison cell (heaven forbid!) with nothing but four stone walls, the sights in my mind continue to swirl and light up like a kaleidoscope.

A family member enjoying my kaleidoscope

 

Day 2 of Just Write – Stove Cleaning, Dog Cones, and Stringed Instruments

A guitar-playing son, a resting girl cat, and an alert boy dog

Well, hello there, WordPress page! I love seeing your peaceful blank slate that awaits new words.

Here we are on day 2 of my “Just Write Challenge”. Since I’m the only one being challenged, I am sure I will succeed no matter how long or short my run time ends up being.

Today, I will make this blog page less blank by talking about my morning. Who knows, maybe someone will read it and relate. That’s always in my mind when I write. I love stumbling across words of others that make me nod inwardly with recognition of some of its notes.

Last night, I planned to clean the wood cookstove today. Our wood is pretty wet, due to so much rain this past summer and also because of our still-incomplete pallet woodshed. As a result of the wet wood, I have to clean the stove once every week or two, which means waiting till it cools enough to take the heavy iron plates off the cooktop so I can remove the creosote.

But when I woke up, the stove was too warm. Coals were in the firebox and the heat-activated fan was still spinning. It’s a sunny day, though, so although it is around the freezing point outside, there’s enough sunlight through the windows and stored heat in the house to wait for the stove to cool down and we won’t all have to put on ski pants and parkas in the meantime – which we would have to do on some days if we were in the basement where there is no heat and no insulation.

I am taking this time to enjoy WordPress, waiting for the stove to cool down. I sit at my desk with a red-with-white-snowflake woolly scarf around my neck; my hair piled into a bun on top of my head with a wooden hair fork; all-black clothing of cotton 3/4 sleeve top, weird bootcut yoga pants with a short skirt attached, and Uggs slipper boots (with dog and cat hair adding a splash of colour to all this black); and a camo apron, in readiness for the stove cleaning. I didn’t actually think about it when I chose what to wear this morning, but black is wise for stove-cleaning day, for less chance of soot stains showing up.

My beloved wood cookstove

This classy cookstove might make it look like we are wealthy and live in a fancy house, but, truth be known, the stove was a huge investment for us, we are relatively poor in this country, and our house is far from fancy. This stove is hands-down the most beautiful non-breathing item in it. The coveted spot to sit for our family members is in a wooden rocking chair in front of that stove. If our kitchen were huge, I’d set up a bunch of rocking chairs around the stove for everyone. (I’d like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony, too. One can dream, eh?)

My kitchen is crowded. And that’s okay. I am so grateful for the house we have. I’ve lived in far less.

One more little blip of my morning is the picture I posted at the top of this blog entry. You will see a long-haired chihuahua puppy in a kennel, a grey striped cat on top of the kennel, and one of my sons in the top left preparing to practice his guitar.

Why the cone on the dog’s head, and why is he in a kennel? Well, this little guy is my oldest daughter’s dog. My “grand-dog”, if you will. They are staying with us for a few weeks. The puppy, Pedro, has a bit of mange on his face, and so putting a cone on helps him not scratch the itchy spots down to bare skin.

Pedro is only seven months old and too young to trust having free roam of the house without finding a secret new potty spot on say a closet floor or behind the couch. So, unless he is within reach of a human family member, he hangs out in his comfortably appointed kennel, right in the heart of the home yet cordoned off so he has a sense of being in his own little cave where none of the four cats or the Pom-Chi can bother him while he gets his beauty sleep.

And, ahh, my son’s guitar playing. I dearly love the sound of stringed instruments, especially when played right in my own house. I wish I could play like him, but, alas, I can only strum a few chords. Maybe someday in a new body…
“…with the music of stringed instruments
and with melody on the harp.
Your mighty deeds, O Lord, make me glad;
because of what you have done, I sing for joy.” (Psalm 92:3-5, TLB)

Ramble session done for this day. Off I go to pursue other things.

Maranatha!

Day 1 of Just Write Challenge

It popped into my head while this morning’s coffee was sinking in: “I should just write, even a little bit, in my blog each day.”

I miss blogging. I miss reading the blogs of the handful of fellow writers I follow. I miss WordPress.

This challenge to myself does not have a time limit, but thirty days is a nice goal because WordPress gives that bit of encouragement through its congratulatory comments every time you reach a milestone number of posts, such as three in a row, or a week, or a month. I will see how long I can make a daily blog entry, even if to say something simple like “It’s sunny today.”

It IS sunny right now, with clouds, and a comfortable zero degrees Celsius outside, here in the Cariboo region of BC, Canada (that’s 32 Fahrenheit for any American readers). Inside is cozy. I woke up to find the heat-activated fan on the woodstove still spinning slowly, thanks to a nice bed of coals. It’s a cookstove, so the firebox isn’t as big as a dedicated heat stove. The most we can expect from it to burn when it’s fully stoked at bedtime is around six hours, depending on the wood.

But back to the thought of my writing challenge. I write every day, one way or another, but not always in a blog post. Don’t you? Can you imagine life without writing? Aside from manuscript works in progress, there is so much more: Grocery notes, items on your to-do list, text messages, social media comments, email, addresses on an envelope, filling in a cheque (there are still people who only accept cash or cheque in my small community), etc.

How awful it would be to lose the ability to write! If I lost my vision and my hands… But, no, I don’t want to think about that.

Suddenly a song by Cat Stevens comes to mind. Have you guessed it before you scroll down to see which one I mean?

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Yes, that’s right: Moonshadow.

I don’t know what tomorrow holds, or if I will even take another breath after this one, so I will see how it goes with this writing challenge.

“Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” (James 4:14)

Maranatha!

Contented Folk

I would love to be so content, even when I lose my truck keys.

Maybe not until heaven.

His eye is on the sparrow

Here is honored the folk of whom is said to be the glue that holds civilizations together, intact. ~g.w.

IN PRAISE OF SOLID PEOPLE

Thank God that there are solid folk

Who water flowers and roll the lawn,

And sit and sew and talk and smoke,

And snore all through the summer dawn.

Who pass untroubled nights and days

Full-fed and sleepily content,

Rejoicing in each other’s praise,

Respectable and innocent.

Who feel the things that all men feel,

And think in well-worn grooves of thought,

Whose honest spirits never reel

Before man’s mystery, overwrought.

O happy people! I have seen

No verse yet written in your praise,

And, truth to tell, the time has been

I would have scorned your easy ways.

Then I do envy solid folk

Who sit of evenings by the fire,

After their work and doze and smoke,

And are not fretted by desire.

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1 Corinthians 15

Slowly rereading the words of this chapter comforted me tonight.

It is not the here and now that gives me hope. Other than the Word of God, more often than not the things I see bring discouragement.

1

Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;
2
By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
3
For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
4
And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
5
And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:
6
After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.
7
After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles.
8
And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.
9
For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.
But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.
Therefore whether it were I or they, so we preach, and so ye believed.
Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?
But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen:
And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.
Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not.
For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised:
And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.
Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.
If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.
But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.
For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.
For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.
Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.
For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.
The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.
For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him.
And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.
Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?
And why stand we in jeopardy every hour?
I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.
If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? let us eat and drink; for to morrow we die.
Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.
Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.
But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come?
Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die:
And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain:
But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body.
All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds.
There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another.
There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory.
So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption:
It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power:
It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.
And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.
Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.
The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven.
As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly.
And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.
Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.
Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.
O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.
But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.

Matthew Henry Rocks!

Photo that has nothing to do with the post: One of my cats chilling in a mess.

In case you aren’t familiar with Matthew Henry, he was a noncomformist Christian who wrote a Bible commentary of great detail and depth but which is easy to read, at least for me. The flow is good and he doesn’t bog me down with words I don’t know, even though he was born in 1662.

“Noncomformist” is a bonus word that I like in general, though its meaning is broad. I shy away from writers who have a specific affiliation with one denomination or another.

Here is a sample of Matthew Henry’s commentary, this one being on Hebrews 12:1-11, the first two verses of which say: “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

12:1-11 The persevering obedience of faith in Christ, was the race set before the Hebrews, wherein they must either win the crown of glory, or have everlasting misery for their portion; and it is set before us. By the sin that does so easily beset us, understand that sin to which we are most prone, or to which we are most exposed, from habit, age, or circumstances. This is a most important exhortation; for while a man’s darling sin, be it what it will, remains unsubdued, it will hinder him from running the Christian race, as it takes from him every motive for running, and gives power to every discouragement. When weary and faint in their minds, let them recollect that the holy Jesus suffered, to save them from eternal misery. By stedfastly looking to Jesus, their thoughts would strengthen holy affections, and keep under their carnal desires. Let us then frequently consider him. What are our little trials to his agonies, or even to our deserts? What are they to the sufferings of many others? There is a proneness in believers to grow weary, and to faint under trials and afflictions; this is from the imperfection of grace and the remains of corruption. Christians should not faint under their trials. Though their enemies and persecutors may be instruments to inflict sufferings, yet they are Divine chastisements; their heavenly Father has his hand in all, and his wise end to answer by all. They must not make light of afflictions, and be without feeling under them, for they are the hand and rod of God, and are his rebukes for sin. They must not despond and sink under trials, nor fret and repine, but bear up with faith and patience. God may let others alone in their sins, but he will correct sin in his own children. In this he acts as becomes a father. Our earthly parents sometimes may chasten us, to gratify their passion, rather than to reform our manners. But the Father of our souls never willingly grieves nor afflicts his children. It is always for our profit. Our whole life here is a state of childhood, and imperfect as to spiritual things; therefore we must submit to the discipline of such a state. When we come to a perfect state, we shall be fully reconciled to all God’s chastisement of us now. God’s correction is not condemnation; the chastening may be borne with patience, and greatly promote holiness. Let us then learn to consider the afflictions brought on us by the malice of men, as corrections sent by our wise and gracious Father, for our spiritual good.

In case you’d like to read more of Matthew Henry’s commentary, one place I highly recommend to find it is on Bible Hub, a free site for some helpful Bible study tools. In a search engine, type in whatever passage of Scripture you are wanting, add the words “Bible Hub” to it, and “commentary”, and you’ll find the pertinent sections from his studies there.

Alternatively, you could buy the books, but I’ve become fond of internet tools myself, and my bookshelves all but bleedeth from the weight of many bound pages of thought, so I have to curb my purchases in that regard.

Of course, Mr. Henry is not God, and his writing is not Scripture. His words are merely assists in helping me understand the Bible from the vantage point of one man who has studied it. No man, nor any organization of humans, has all the answers, but I do believe the Word of God to have all I need to know for where I need to go.

As 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says:

16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

Maranatha!

 

 

Did Jesus Die On Good Friday?

An unrelated picture of the Thompson River at Spences Bridge, BC

The photo I put in this blog entry has nothing to do with what I’m about to write. It was shot at a place called Spences Bridge, and for the life of me I cannot find out why it is named that. It’s not Spence’s with an apostrophe. It is “Spences”.

Anyway…

For years, I wondered how to mathematically connect Good Friday to Easter Sunday, knowing the Bible says Jesus was crucified and died, and then THREE DAYS later He came back from the dead. I’ve heard explanations, even from followers of Christ, but they did not compute for me.

Here are a few links to help clarify this, for anyone else who may wonder.

First, some Bible verses on the death and resurrection of Christ. They are in the New International Version, but I strongly recommend that if you are going to do word studies to dig deeper, you should use the King James Version, as it is closer to the original languages. Verses on Christ’s death and resurrection

And this one goes into more detail about what was happening for those three days when the followers of Jesus at that time figured He was gone for good: GotQuestions: Where Jesus Was

And, lastly, the page across which I stumbled while reading something else, which prompted me to make this blog post: Did Jesus Die On Good Friday?

Here is an excerpt from that last link:

Jesus did not die on Good Friday. He was crucified on Wednesday afternoon (the day before the High Sabbath of Passover), buried by 6 p.m., in the tomb for Thursday, Friday and Saturday (including Wednesday, Thursday and Friday nights), and rose from the dead at or by Saturday evening at 6 p.m. It all fits together perfectly – and makes sense. If we don’t understand it, the problem is with us and with our preconceived traditions/beliefs; not with the text.

Soon, we who have accepted that Jesus Christ is the one and only Savior offered to the world will be with Him face to face. Whatever day of the week on which that happens won’t matter to me.

Maranatha!

Meaning Of Life?

Sunset on Thompson River, Kamloops, BC

The beauty of this world, such as this sunset on Thompson River in Kamloops, BC, will pale in comparison to what we will see with the Lord Jesus

The meaning of life seems to be a tough thing to try to define, but the way I see it is that we were put on this earth as part of God’s plan to weed out who really will belong with Him because they make the choice to be with Him: the ones with the child-like faith in Him. Perhaps even the ones who died before they had a chance to make a choice if they were too young to know about Him or never heard of Him.

I think God put mankind into motion, starting with Adam and Eve, to create His family – a family who WANTS to be with Him, not just a bunch of robots He could have created. I can tell you that when my children do something for me because they want to, it fills my heart with joy and appreciation. I feel the love! But when they are merely obeying something I told them to do, although I appreciate it, it just feels like “OK, good, you’re cooperating with the plan”. It doesn’t feel like friendship. It feels like they are doing it because they have to. I think God just might have that same kind of feeling. After all, we humans were created in His image, and that’s not just a visage in a mirror.

Being in this world full of temptations and pain, it can be easy to just give up and not get to know the One who loves us and longs for our love in return. It is them who will not be in the fold. We don’t need a bunch of hateful humans spoiling the unity when we are in that perfect place He has created for us, which is NOT this world. Look what happened to Lucifer when he rebelled. He was thrown to earth. Eww, earth!

This world is not our home. I really believe that. As the Bible says, this is our temporary tent from which we are groaning to be free.

Too many times, I see and hear people talking glibly about how God can make things better for them here on this earth. I don’t know what Scriptural basis there is for that. Look at all the awful things that were recorded in the Bible that happened to the people who are now with Jesus, to whom at the time they looked forward as their coming Messiah. Look at how King David lost his son. Look at Elijah being so depressed that he ran off to the wilderness and stayed there being fed by crows. Look at Jeremiah who wished he were never born. Look at Jonah running from God. All these humans were being used by God, looking toward the coming of Jesus as Messiah (see here), as part of the plan. Now Jesus has come, and we by faith in Him look forward to eternity with Him.

The stuff we see in this world is often bad. Very bad. We even sometimes are guilty of the bad stuff ourselves, all being sinners with the tendency to do what we want, even if it’s not good for us. Darn free will, eh? But the beauty in that free will is that we can also choose Jesus. And in choosing Him, we have assurance of salvation. I’m definitely going to be with Him in the end of my earthly timeline, off to begin life the way He intended it in the garden of Eden – perfect.

We will only be disappointed if we expect to find God’s perfect kingdom on earth, even though there are preachers out there who are saying His kingdom is already here. Nope. Look around. This is not God’s kingdom. This is still a place under Satan’s influence. No matter how hard we try here, we are not going to make this dying world into the perfect place God has prepared for us with mansions, where gold is something so common that it paves the streets like asphalt, a crystal clear river of life, the tree of life with its twelve different fruits, no need for lamp or light because the Lord God is the light there, and things I cannot even imagine, but the best part is that there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain. I could dance just thinking of that part!

I often remind myself that without the hard times on earth, I might not have such a longing for heaven. If life were perfect here, who’d realize their need for a Savior?

Dear Lady

No stairway built by man can assuredly carry us to God.

“Dear Lady can you hear the wind blow
And did you know
Your stairway lies on the whispering wind?”

The music of Led Zeppelin has moved me deeply since my early teens. I have, however, gone through years of trying not to love it, having assumed it to be “wrong” and “unGodly”. But it was what I felt I needed to do at that time.

Knowing that Led Zeppelin’s guitarist, Jimmy Page, bought the former castle of Satanist, Aleister Crowley, gave me an unpleasant self-righteous jolt that I shouldn’t associate myself with such people.

I don’t want to know about what Aleister Crowley believed or what he did. I read a bit about him and it was enough.

But who am I to say that anyone else’s evil is worse than my own? I myself was born as a sinner like the rest of mankind ever since Adam and Eve. I, like anyone else, had the choice to believe what I heard and read about Jesus or to refuse.

Who of us is without sin?  Who of us is without need for reconciliation with God?  Some make that reconciliation – which only happens through Christ. Some haven’t yet.  Many have died without it and that is eternally sad.

I pray that the remaining members who participated in the band called Led Zeppelin accept Christ, if they haven’t already. And who knows, maybe the drummer who already died believed in his heart, maybe even in his final moments like the thief on the cross next to my Lord, that God has raised Jesus from the dead. Maybe John “Bonzo” Bonham is with Him. Maybe he’s playing the drums before Him. Maybe he’s jamming with Him! He who created us and our ability to excel in our skills must surely be the master of all the arts! I believe I will find out someday.

Even the most pious-seeming song-writers may have deep, dark, hidden wickedness in their lives. As Scripture points out, all our righteousness is as filthy rags. Even if we seem to be pure and good and clean, our good works are not what reconcile us with God: it’s Jesus who does that, and all we need do is accept that fact.

Sometimes music is the only thing that comes close to soothing me.  If it takes the recordings of Led Zeppelin to cause even a fleeting smile within me when I’m in the depths of despair and heartache, well, it’s a medicine that at this point I feel safe to take, regardless of what is or isn’t in the lives of the humans who orchestrated it.

I’ll close with some music from someone else’s interpretation of Blind Willie Johnson’s “Nobody’s Fault But Mine”, which Led Zeppelin covered nicely, too. Here is Glenn Kaiser’s version. I like how he adds this:

“Jesus, He taught me how to walk
If I don’t walk what Jesus taught
Nobody’s fault but mine”

(This post is from a pile of drafts that has accumulated over the years. It was originally started in January of 2013. I have a few other posts to do with Led Zeppelin, which may eventually show up in this blog.)

 

A Good Sign!

This is the sweetest billboard I have ever seen. It always made me smile as I drove past it on Highway 97 when heading south out of Prince George, BC.

Sadly, as of a few months ago, that sign is no longer there. If I knew who to ask, I’d inquire as to its disappearance, and as to whether or not there is a plan for its return.

Wooden printed sign or not, though, I know God loves me, and His Son Jesus, who gave His life for me, WILL return. I hope you will be with us.

Here’s a chunk of Scripture from God’s word to consider if you are not sure you’re saved:

9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.

13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

(Romans 10:9-13)