How do you say ‘goodbye’ to someone who was always there? I wonder what that must be like for my home church, Unity Baptist Church, located in Prince George, Virginia, USA. In a few hours you all will celebrate the life of “Mrs. Ellen” or “Mrs. Zaborsky” and I do desire to also be there with you right now in person. I shared the news with my children a few days ago here in our new home in South Korea and they remember Mrs. Ellen and her husband consistently giving out lollipops right after service when we were there. Mike would always come around with their ziplock bag of dum-dums and let the children choose their flavor for the day.
My most recent memory of serving with Ellen was co-starring alongside her for the 2017 Dramatic Christmas Musical production our church put on called “Shepherds and Kings.” It was a packed event and most importantly, we shared a great message of True Hope in the Lord. I remember Ellen saying when it was over that that would be the last time she would do such a thing. It was getting harder and harder for her to remember lines and whatnot these days, she said.
I know that Mrs. Ellen and her husband served everywhere. They drove for hours to northern Virginia and back just to ensure that another church would have a Bible message for their ‘English is not their first language’ Sunday school for the children there. Mrs. Ellen was a retired public school science teacher and her testimony of how she came to believe and trust in Jesus as her Savior was a reminder to me that God is also very personal to each of us. He knows our hearts and He knows how to get our attention. Because Mrs. Ellen had a history with children and was a great storyteller and was WILLING to be used in any way to spread the gospel of Christ, you’d often see her demonstrating various experiments with crowds around her as she shows the greatness of our Lord. We served together in Good News Club and Vacation Bible School.
She presented to the Unity Home school Group as well, which is when I first saw her outside of the regular Sunday services after moving to Virginia back in 2016. I have seen Mrs. Ellen talk about sharing the gospel story during hay rides at Unity’s Fall Festival each year. Again, I know her heart was burdened for the lost and she desired that others would be burdened too to act and help share the Good News of Jesus Christ with others too.
35 And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; 38 therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” Matthew 9:35-38 ESV
Now I know that it is NOT about what you DO that gets you into heaven (to spend eternity with God verses eternally separated from God) but a sincere faith and trust in the Lord Jesus as your Savior.
8 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); 9 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. 11 For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. 13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” 14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard?[c] And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” Romans 10:8-15 ESV
Assurance of Salvation
I like this quote by David Platt found in an online article,
“Assurance of salvation is not found in a prayer we prayed or a decision we made however many years ago as much as it is found in trusting in the sacrifice of Christ for us, experiencing the Spirit of Christ in us, obeying the commands of Christ to us, and expressing the love of Christ to others.
“Ultimately, however, I don’t want people to look to me or even to a ‘prayer they prayed’ for assurance of salvation. I want them to look to Christ for this. Assurance of salvation is always based on His work, not ours.”
So to just expound on that a little, Platt said that assurance of salvation is found in (be sure to take time and read through the Bible verses linked below if you can):
“Trusting Christ’s sacrifice”
This only requires faith (Romans 5:1-11) that Jesus fulfilled all that is/was required. This means there is no more WE have to do (or CAN do) in order to be saved. Jesus paid it all, already. (Galatians 3) I am so grateful He did what I could never do. Thank you God!!
“Experiencing the Spirit of Christ in us”
The Holy Spirit works in and through our lives provided we don’t squelch His work in us. Hebrews 10
“Obeying God’s commands”
We know that no one here on Earth is perfect and without sin (Romans 3:23 ESV). So, instead of running away hiding when we fall short we respond to God desiring to come clean (Psalm 51 is a great example of what this can look like). In order to ‘obey God’s commands’ we must know what they are. In order to be familiar with who God truly is and what He desires for our life, we read His word, the Bible, regularly and spend time with Him. Read https://sejanashines.com/2017/08/02/how-do-i-study-gods-word/ for more on that!
“Expressing the love…to others“
This takes sacrifice on our part because we have to use self-control and deny ourselves what we might want to react and do. I mean sometimes it is easy but many times it is hard to love some people. (Matthew 5:43-48) But when I think of what Jesus did for me, especially because I didn’t deserve it, I repent and ask God to help me to deny my selfish ways (Daniel 9:3-19) and to help me give up my life just as He did for me and for you. (Philippians 1:18 b-30)
Ellen supported me in my creative “I’m following God” endeavors… such as https://sejanashines.com/category/womens-growth-fellowship/ back in summer 2017. This meant a lot to me that older women could encourage me through their participation. I knew she had a busy life but she made the time. Thank you so much Ellen.
A tribute to the loved ones of those who have served
So, as a tribute to Ellen and her love for Christ, I leave you these words. May they be of comfort to you as you reflect on the lives of those like Ellen and Mike who (will) give all they’ve got until the day that God calls us who are His adopted children home.
To Live is Christ
18 What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice. Yes, and I will rejoice, 19 for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance,20 as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 22 If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. 23 I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. 24 But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account. 25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith, 26 so that in me you may have ample cause to glory in Christ Jesus, because of my coming to you again. 27 Only let your manner of life be worthy[a] of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, 28 and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God. 29 For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake, 30 engaged in the same conflict that you saw I had and now hear that I still have. Philippians 1:18-30
You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, 2 and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men,[a] who will be able to teach others also. 3 Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4 No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him. 5 An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. 6 It is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops. 7 Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything. 2 Timothy 2:1-7
19 Open to me the gates of righteousness,
that I may enter through them
and give thanks to the Lord.
20 This is the gate of the Lord;
the righteous shall enter through it.
21 I thank you that you have answered me
and have become my salvation.
22 The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone.[b]
23 This is the Lord’s doing;
it is marvelous in our eyes.
24 This is the day that the Lord has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118
Dearest Unity Family, It is with a heavy yet joyful heart that we announce earlier this morning our sister in Christ, Ellen Zaborsky, made her long awaited entrance into the presence of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. She, certainly, ran the the race God set before her well and has set a challenging example of what true followship of Christ looks like. Services will be conducted by JT Morriss Hopewell, details will follow. Her Sunday School Class (Brack and Laura Dunns’) will be coordinating family meals when/as needed. Please, be in prayer for Mike and Family during this time. Per Ellen’s instructions, today is not a day of sadness but joy, celebration and praise to Jesus! Psalm 116:15 – “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his faithful servants.” – Pastor Chris Jenkins
At PWOC this week, Feb 2019, I wore my Good News Club shirt in tribute of Ellen.
Here is another article about “To Live is Christ” by GotQuestions.
You can read more from my blog here https://sejanashines.com/blog/.