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The Kidnapper

Under cover of darkness the evil one comes.  Doing the work of his evil father, he is:    The Kidnapper.

 

 

Manual and Rosita Rodriguez had saved enough money to come to the resort on a family vacation. They were so excited to be there at last.

 

Manny, that’s what Rosita called her husband, worked with the street department in Anaconda, California.  He had come with his family from Mexico when he was just five years old.  Manny’s father worked hard to provide for his family and when he became an American citizen he was committed to raise his children to be good citizens, and they were.

 

The Rodriguez family had been raised in the Catholic tradition but through the kindness, love and compassion of their neighbor, they came to know Jesus personally and began attending the local Pentecostal church she attended, though neither of them took religion or God too seriously.  They thought that going to church on Sunday was good enough, the rest of the week they pretty much did what they wanted to.

 

When Manny was twenty five years old he met Rosita. He went to a Fiesta with a friend and there she was.  She was small with a slight build, her hair fell in waves over her shoulders and her dark eyes were rimmed with long lashes.  She captured Manny’s heart.  It was love at first sight for Manny.  It took some doing to win Rosita’s heart, but eventually he did.  They had been married now for ten years and had three children.

 

The oldest child, a girl they named Manuela, after her father, was nine. Their second child was a boy named Jorge, he was seven.  The baby, Carmelita, was just three months old.

 

Life had its ups and downs for the Rodriguez family as it does for all of us.

 

Manny had worked as a grounds keeper for a wealthy family.  It was a good job and he was able to provide nicely for his family.  But the security that they had hoped for was not to be.

 

A property developer wanted the property to build a multi story apartment complex with shops on the lower level, as the area was expanding and he could see dollar signs in the future.  The family was more than ready to let go of it because they were past retirement age and ready to move into something smaller.

 

After a six month struggle without work, Manny got a job with the Anaconda street maintenance department. Life went well in the ensuing years.  They were able to save a little and had plans to buy a house the following year.

 

God had a plan for this family, it was a good plan, but the events that took place certainly didn’t make it look that way.  Sometimes the plans He has for us look like defeat, but from His view He sees great victory.  That is how He saw His son’s death and resurrection.

 

Arvad Cheminsky was a bell boy at the resort, though he was no longer a boy.  He was born and raised in Moldova to a poor family, but he had grand dreams, dreams of lots of money  He hated being poor and vowed the day would come when he would never be poor again.  When he was sixteen he left home and went to Russia.

 

Times were tough and he found whatever work he could, sweeping floors, loading trucks and loading cargo on the docks.  It was on the docks that he met Boraas Plenovich.  Like himself Boraas was young and ambitious. They became friends.  In time Boraas told Arvad that there was a lot of money to be made if he was interested. Boraas said he had connections.

 

Arvad was fond of a certain bar that was operated by a young couple.  The wife was a sturdy, well built girl and the husband was a nice-looking man with a big mustache and a deep voice.  They became friends.  Boraas came with Arvad a few times and saw a money making scheme that would pay big.  He suggested to Arvad that he ask the husband if his wife could accompany him to Thailand where they would meet up with a man who could provide an opening for a bar in the city of Pattaya, Thailand.  He assured him that it was quite lucrative and would be a great investment.  The husband gave his permission.

 

He never saw his wife again.  He searched for years trying to find her or Arvad to no avail.  After many years and lots of money and heartache, he learned that Arvad had sold her to human traffickers in Thailand.

 

Arvad and Boraas worked with the Russian mafia. Though they never met anyone higher than their local contact, they didn’t care, they didn’t want to know, as long as they got paid, and they got paid well for a good specimen.  They made a lot of money and all they had to do was deliver the goods to their contact.  It was a nice clean operation.  They had what they wanted.  There was no shortage of drink and women as long as the money flowed.

 

When the Rodriguez family checked in at the front desk, Arvad was there.  He took their bags up to their rooms paying special attention to their conversation and observing the children carefully.

 

The two older children were slight in build like their mother.  The contact wanted specimens that would last awhile, so Arvad always looked for ones that were more sturdy.  In this case the baby was promising, besides the contact said that her contact wanted something different and this baby might just be the thing that would bring a higher price.  He dallied, moving a chair here and some flowers over there, as the family excitedly examined their quarters.

 

The older children were excited to get into their swim suits and go to the pool. The woman wanted to get her baby to bed as she was fussy and tired.  Arvad watched where she took the child and after receiving his tip he left.  All he had to do now was watch for an opportunity.

 

His next assignment was the pool area. Fortunately for him, the Rodriguez family was at the pool.  Manuela and Jorge were playing and splashing in the pool while Rosita held Carmelita and Manny took pictures.

 

Bringing a pitcher of lemonade over to their table he heard Manny suggest to Rosita that they put the children to bed after supper and when they were asleep they could go for a stroll in the gardens.  It sounded so romantic and it had been a long time since they had time alone together, and in such a beautiful setting.  Though she had some hesitation about leaving the children alone, Rosita consented.

 

They walked in the flower lined garden, stopped to admire a beautiful orchid growing on a tree, and sat down on a bench.  The night air was beginning to cool off from the heat of the day. The sky turned a beautiful orange, then pink leading into shades of night gray.  They reluctantly returned to their rooms as the sun was beginning to set.

 

Rosita went into the room where Manuela and Jorge were sleeping.  She paused a moment to reflect on what a wonderful day it had been.  Going into their room to the crib where she had laid Carmelita, she was horrified to find that she was not there.  She screamed. Manny came running into the room to see what had happened.  Their baby was gone.

 

Arvad saw that the Rodriguez’s had gone out of the room.  What wonderful timing!  He alerted his contact to be ready as he would hand off the baby to her.  She posted a watch on the Rodriguez’s to make sure they were not surprised before they snatched the child.

 

Carefully letting himself into the room with the master key that he had stolen, he went to the room where the baby was. Picking her up he placed a rag soaked in a drug solution over her nose and mouth to keep her sedated so she wouldn’t cry.

 

Opening the door to the adjoining room where his contact waited, he gave her the baby, she would take it to the next contact.  Arvad would get paid handsomely for this one, he was sure of that.  She was plump with rosy cheeks, someone would pay big for her.

 

Every step along the way was carefully planned.  There were no clues left behind, no trace of anything for the police to go by.  The kidnapping made the papers and the news media was all over the resort. Arvad hung around long enough to not arouse suspicion when he left.  He went back to Russia with a lot of money in his pocket.

 

Devastation is the best word to describe the Rodriguez family. Manny blamed himself, Rosita blamed Manny and herself.  The children were inconsolable.  The request for prayer went throughout the world. The only hope was a miracle.  Manny and Rosita turned to God with all of their hearts, begging for the return of their daughter.

 

Pattaya, Thailand, a man walked into a cleaning establishment.  He asked about their laundry and cleaning facility and mentioned that he had some needs and wondered if they knew where these needs could be met.  Eyeing him carefully, the owner asked if he had any preference for his needs to be met and when he said that he didn’t the owner lead him into a back room.

 

“I have something very special for you.”  He said.  “I am sure your needs will be taken care of.”  They agreed on a price; it was paid and the shopkeeper opened the door to a dimly lit room.  Entering the room the man saw a baby.  His stomach turned.  He thanked the shopkeeper and closed the door.

 

When he was brought into the back room, he noticed a door with an exit sign. Scooping up the baby in his arms, he carefully opened the door a crack to make sure no one was outside.  The coast was clear, running as fast as he could out the door and down the street, he came to the place where his friend was waiting for him.

 

The newspapers and TV carried a picture of three month old Carmelita Rodriguez as she was returned to her family with the caption:  “God does a Miracle, baby returned to her parents!”

 

 

When I was in Chicago a few years ago, I was at the Union train station waiting for my train to come.  I was totally unaware that bus stations and train stations are used by pimps and prostitutes to get easy money.  They prey upon unsuspecting, gullible people.  No doubt they saw me as their “pigeon”.  I have learned since then that these places are favorites for pimps to pick up girls fresh from the country who appear lost or lonely.

 

I had purchased some lunch and was sitting in a designated eating area.  A girl, solidly built, loud and coarse, sat down at a table next to  me.  She began to speak into her phone to her father.  She was telling him that she wanted to come home but that a guy was watching her and she was scared.  She asked him to wire her some money she could catch a bus home.  I felt so sorry for her.  I walked past her and put $20.00 into her hand.  She immediately got up and took off, very quickly followed by a black man.

 

I had been had!

 

I wrote this story today to make people aware of what is going on in the seamy world of human trafficking.  I don’t know a lot about it, but I do know some.  The story about the baby and the bar owner are true stories that I embellished with my imagination.

 

Parents and caregivers to pray for protection for the children in your care.  Educate yourself in the ways of those who deal in human souls for profit.

 

My sister left her two little girls by a jewelry counter in Walmart several years ago.  She told them to stay there, that she would be right back.  A man approached them, getting close he punched the older one in the stomach so she couldn’t cry out.  He began to take them toward the door as my sister came around the corner and saw him.  She yelled so loudly he got scared, dropped the girls and ran from the building.  Many years earlier I had a vision in which I saw that attempt and prayed for them.  God was merciful.  We cannot be too careful.  There are predators who think nothing of taking your precious treasures.   Be alert and aware.

 

It is written:

 

“Whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.”  Matthew 18:6

 

“It is not the will of your Father which is in Heaven that one of these little ones should perish.

Matthew 18:14

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Bar

A Bar – Poem by Darren Westbrook

Sometimes it’s called a bar,
A bar to heaven a door to hell.
Whoever named it named it well.

A bar to manliness and wealth;

A door to want and broken health.

A bar to honor, pride and fame.

A door to grief and sin and shame.

A bar to joys that home imparts.

A door to tears and aching hearts.

A bar to heaven a door to hell,

Whoever named it named it well.

 

“Awww, come on Johnny, just one drink won’t hurt. You can take just one. Come on down to the bar with me.” Alfred said.

He had been sober for two years.  He was feeling pretty good about himself, proud of the fact that he had kept his promise to her.

“Why not,” he thought.  “I can handle this, I have done great for two years, just one drink and then I”ll go home.”

She waited and worried.  “What had happened to him.” she thought.”  He had not been late for supper for two years. They had been so happy.

Nin had no idea when she married J.B. that alcoholism would threaten her marriage.  They were in love, he was her prince and she was sure that all would be well.

“Two years, two great years and now this.”  she said to herself.

It was 1:00 when he came home. “Drunk as a skunk”, she told her mother. The nightmare started all over again and it ended many years later in divorce.

Everyone of the “rellies” was affected. All who knew him were saddened that such a nice man could end up like this…no job, no family, no home, homeless and penniless, that is what happened to J.B. because he took just one drink.

 

J.B. was born into what could be described as a moderately wealthy family by comparison to others in the depression era.  His father owned a successful business and the family had a nice home.  They had come to America seeking a better life and had found it.
There were many “strikes” against J.B. The biggest of which was that his mother died when he was at a vulnerable age and his father remarried.  The step-mother and he did not get along so he moved out. He did not finish high school and so his job opportunities were limited.
His dad took him into the business and he learned to weld. He was good at it, so I have been told.  But, he had wanderlust in his soul.
As a young man he “hopped a freight” and headed south. He rode the rails, trying to stay a step ahead of the “dics” who would sometimes beat up the “bums” if they caught them.  If you didn’t have a job you were considered a bum, a good for nothing.
He started hanging around the gyms, watching the boxers as they sparred with one another.  He was scrappy and asked to be considered for Golden Gloves training.  He never went very far, but well into his years he loved a good boxing match.
As a young man, he could handle his liquor, or so he thought.  Many times he would get paid, go to the bar and when he was sober wonder where his money went.
He met Nin when he was 25.  She was not like the other women he kept company with.  She was pure and she was pretty.  He was taken with her.
When she moved to be near him, they went to the bars together.  This was a new world to her. It was exciting at first, but when they married and the children came, she no longer wanted to be part of it.  Her upbringing kicked in.
A mother was to be at home and take care of her children.
It was seven children and many years later when they divorced. They loved each other, but the alcoholism colored their world and she could not do it anymore.
I am the oldest of seven.  As I get close to the end of my sojourn here, I think more seriously about life, love and faith.
I see and I have seen first hand what alcoholism can do to a family.  Like many with my experience, I hate alcohol!
My youngest son has walked my Dad’s path almost exactly.  Each of us makes his own decisions.  In spite of much prayer and the faith of those who pray for us, it is our decisions that dictate our path in life.
My oldest son does not have the “weakness”.  He likes “a cold beer on a hot day after mowing the yard.” He is not addicted.
Why does one become addicted and another does not? I don’t know the answer.
This I do know, without alcohol my Dad was kind, generous and an interesting man. I had the good pleasure of getting to know him for several years before he died.
Alcoholism changes a man into another person. My Dad was a mean drunk. He was stubborn, blasphemous, and a womanizer under the influence of alcohol.
Inhibitions go, walls come down and a man will do things drunk that he would never do sober.
I am happy to tell you that my Dad came to Jesus, reconciled with my Mom, and in general turned from sin to the Lord before he died. Thank you Lord!
Wherever you are in your relation to alcohol, please consider my story.
If you are young, you may be able to “handle it” for awhile. Youth can do many things that age cannot, and you too are aging every day.
Life is a process, everything we do is a process. There is a beginning and there is an end. Often, the beginning determines the end.
Why start something that is detrimental, that does not help you be a better person, or provide a lasting benefit?
Pause and calmly consider is what I am asking.
God loves you and has a great plan for your life. You hold the key in your hand. What is that key for you?

An Open Letter to Michelle

Can we establish up front that every human being was created by God for God?  Every human being will seek to fill the void in their soul with something or someone.

We were created by God to have relationship with Him, to worship Him and receive our life needs from Him.

When we come to faith in God, through Jesus the sent one, the greatest challenge we face is discerning who is speaking to us.

We desire to relate to God, to know that we are loved and accepted by Him. We want to know what life is all about and why we are here.

Rules versus relationship is key to understanding how to walk through this mine infested world. Identifying the source of what is coming at you will help you. The sources are these:  God, the world, your flesh and the devil, which means accuser.

It is fairly easy to keep the rules when you make up your mind to do so. People can be religious rule keepers and be quite satisfied that they are fine and in tune with God expects of them.

Organized church rules that you should only go to that church and no other.  If you are a rule follower, you will feel guilty if you set foot in the door of another church, even if it were only for the funeral of a relative.

You are also taught to avoid getting too close to anyone of another religion; you certainly shall not marry anyone who is not of your religion.

Some religions go so far as to say that if you are not of their religion you will, by force, be made to follow their religion, or you must pay them to follow your religion or you will be murdered if you don’t follow their religion.

Religion controls your life while Relationship with God sets you free to be the best person you can possibly be, and not on your own, but with the help of His Holy Spirit.

So, let’s look at John 10:10 KJV…Jesus said:  “The thief comes to kill, steal and destroy..”

Who is the thief?  He is the one called the devil and satan; translated these words mean “accuser” and  “adversary.

But, he was not always this. There was a time when he was called “Lucifer”, meaning light bearer. He was basically the worship leader of Heaven.  He was one of the most beautiful of all of God’s creations.

The Word teaches us that He began to look at himself and he became deceived by his own beauty.  Pride entered his heart and he began to covet the worship that was God’s.

He began to say to other created beings that he would exalt his throne above the stars, that he would ascend above the heights of the clouds, that he would be like the Most High.

One third of the angels listened to him, agreed with him and became his followers.  God gave him enough rope and he hung himself.  When his iniquity was full, God kicked him out of Heaven.

There is more to his story, how he became the god of this world system, but I want to focus upon his method of operation in the earth now.

Here are some words that describe his M.O.: deceiver, thief, liar, murderer, destroyer, accuser, adversary, enemy…there is more, but you get the idea.  He is the source of all that is evil in this world.

It is he who deceives the masses of people in the world to follow and worship anything but God.

He hates God, but he cannot touch him.  He has legal authority to do as he pleases with anyone who does not belong to God’s family.

He lies to them that God does not want them because of what they have done.  He tells them that they are different than anyone else and they were meant to be something other than what they are.

He steals their good name, he steals their health, he steals their children, he steals their marriage, he steals their quality of life, all the while telling them that it is God who is doing it.

In the relationship of man and woman he leads them to to exercise their feelings and emotions as needs that must be filled by another person and when that person does not meet the need it is time to move on to someone else. This he calls freedom and all the while it is bondage to the flesh.

Children are especially targeted when they enter their teen-age years.  He accuses the ignorant, innocent teen of their faults and their flaws; no one and nothing about them is right or good enough

Some teens are pressured to blame their parents, the authorities, or anyone for all that is wrong in the world, In their 20’s they become cause oriented protesters against society.

Rebelliousness and hopelessness causes some children to shut down, cutting off relationship with their parents, or anyone that could help. Then the enemy moves in for the kill.  Teen suicide is the result.

Every evil, diabolical work in the world bears his footprint.  He is not redeemable.  His fate is sealed.  Hell was created for him and his followers.

There is a high road to Hell and there is a low road to Hell.  It is paved with good intentions. Those traveling these roads intend to do what is good and right, but without God they are not able.  You cannot “see straight” without God.

The adversary is a counterfeiter.  Government programs that are put in place to “help” people enslave them to the system, become entitlements, moving them from working to provide for themselves and their family as God intended, thus making them dependent upon government not God.

Please understand I am not against helping those in need, we should, it is the responsibility of God’s people to do so.

People walking the high road to Hell have what the world and satan can offer; money, position, possessions, power, fame, authority to name a few. Those who walk the low road to Hell are strung out on drugs, alcoholics, users and abusers of themselves and others.  These two camps scorn each other as the demon spirits who empower them fight among themselves.  The people are pawns in this chess game of the enemy.

Let me give you some examples of the adversaries operation against people

A husband is cheating on his wife with a neighbor.  He comes home and accusers her of having a man in the house while he was gone.  The very thing he is doing, he accuses her of doing.

You and your spouse are having a conversation.  You hear him say something and you get angry that he would say that to you.  You accuse him and he says,  “I didn’t say that.” You say, “I know what I heard.”

You have just been the victims of the prince of the power of the air.  This spirit takes the words from one person’s mouth twists them and when another person hears it, it is not what was said but what that spirit knows will cause strife and division in the relationship.

Anger is a favorite spirit of the enemy.  It will cause the one who is the victim untold heartache as it hurts and wounds the people in his life and drives them from him, but it will torment the one who is influenced by this spirit and would him even greater.

Pornography is a tool that the enemy employs successfully.  Many men, even devout religious men, are caught in the snare of pornography.  It destroys the person sexually as it increases its hold upon them.  Thus a man who is married cannot relate to his wife as he should and a single man will not find a woman who will accept the perversity he wants.

One of the favorite tools that the enemy uses to enslave people is fear.  The scope of this is broad.  Fear raises its head in many areas of our lives, perhaps all areas of our lives.  I dare say that there is not one person alive that has never been afflicted by a spirit of fear.

Fear is a spirit that uses other spirits to blind and bind people so they will not fulfill their God-given destiny.  A few examples are:

Fear of failure…you will not attempt anything because you are afraid you will fail.

Fear of water…you won’t get into a boat or go swimming because you are afraid you will drown.

Fear that no one can love you because you don’t look the way you think you should.

Perhaps the biggest fear of all is being alone.  We fill our hours and days with T.V., pets, people and activities so we won’t be alone.  I am not saying these things are wrong in and of themselves, but if you have the Lord you will never truly be alone.  There is a place of rest and peace in Him.  We need to have our priorities in place.

More and more lies of the enemy, piled high and deep, keep us bound up, all the while Jesus came that we might be free.  It is our choice.  We must make a decision and then receive the freedom.

“I am come that they may have life and have it abundantly.”  John 10:10 KJV

When you receive Jesus as your Savior and Lord, your spirit man becomes new, the old you is gone, washed away in Jesus blood, you were born of water in natural birth and now you are born of the Spirit.  Your sins are forgiven, blotted out, and now you will live forever with God your father.

You have been transferred from the kingdom of darkness into God’s kingdom which is light.  You have a new father, a father who loves you, who will take care of you, who will always be with you, who will never leave you.

You have a soul as well as a spirit, your soul is the heart of you, the center of who you are.  Your will, your emotions, you affections, your mind [intellect] are part of your soul.

Your soul and spirit are entwined and since you have received Jesus, the Holy Spirit has been given to you to help you, to teach you, to comfort you and to counsel you.

You live in a human body on this earth.  This is temporary.  Your body will die, it is made of dirt.  This body is afflicted by earthly things. It is subject to the things of the world and the accuser, and beside that your own flesh will give you trouble.

One last thought:  When you are born of the Spirit of God your spirit is instantly transformed, but the Word teaches us that the soul begins a process, religion calls it sanctification, it simply means that you are set apart and now you will be taught and trained by the Holy Spirit.  He begins to work into you what is pleasing to your Father in Heaven.  He is making you ready for Heaven, for the day when you will see your Father face to face.

If a thing is of God it will bring peace, rest and joy; it will “feel” right in your spirit.  If it is accusing, condemning or hurtful it is of the enemy of God and you do not have to accept it.

Michelle…My thoughts and prayers are with you this morning.  Our conversation yesterday brought great joy to my heart as I heard you say that you are born-again, that you found Jesus.  I thought of these word of Jesus:  “He who is forgiven much loves much.”

May the path that you have begun to walk with the Lord be filled with moments of joy and wonder as you learn who your are, how valuable you are to your Father and how worthy He is to receive your worship.

I Love you,

Joy

 

 

 

 

LIfe

This morning I am thinking of Mary. She has been on the hearts of so many people, due to the fact that she almost died. (January 17, 2017) Miraculously she was given the gift of life.

Today Mary goes home from the hospital.  This is how her friend put it on Caring Bridge:

“Mary will be restored to her home (and her children) tomorrow. Yes, HOME!!  We can all share in her joy.  Praise God!!! After her return home (and I am sure countless hugs and kisses) she will be visited by Home Health Care to determine need for level of care. Please continue to pray for Mary’s healing, their family, and God’s blessing on this next big step in Mary’s healing.”

I think so often people get confused about miracles and healing. What Mary experienced at the hospital when she could breathe without the help of a breathing tube was a miracle.  (see previous posts)

The doctors thought she would more than likely die.  The breath in her lungs was instant, the moment the tube came out she could breathe on her own, and she began to recover. That miracle was the beginning of Mary’s healing.

Her lungs began to immediately respond and get better and better. The healing process is still going on, which is why prayer for complete healing is necessary.  Mary has had several treatments of chemotherapy and will continue to do so.  Our continued prayer stand is that Mary be completely delivered from cancer, that “she will not die but live and declare the works of the Lord.” Psalm 118:17

How often do we pray and ask but do not believe we receive.  In the gospel of Mark Jesus said, “Therefore I say unto you, What things soever you desire when you pray, believe that you receive them and you shall have them.”   Mark 11:24 KJV  To see we must believe and receive.

Faith is the necessary ingredient for miracles and healing.  It is not hoping or wishing that the thing you desire is yours because you want it to be.  It is not mental assent to what the Bible says is true, or even that Jesus died for you to have it.

Faith is knowing that healing is part of the new covenant in Jesus blood, that God wants you whole body, soul and spirit; you believe and receive it.

There are times when you must stand in faith to recover. There are times when healing does not manifest right away, then you must know that you have been heard and God will do everything He can do.  Sometimes timing is an issue.

God gave each of us a will.  We can choose.  When a person has been battling against sickness or disease and they are tired and don’t want to fight anymore, your will and prayers will not be imposed upon them. God will give them what they want, He will take them home to Heaven, if they are His children.

In our day in America, every source is embalmed with unbelief and doubt…except one…the Bible.   A person may be strong in the Lord in one area but weak in another because of doubt or unbelief. There is no perfect human being.

The Jewish people have a word that incorporates the wholeness that God wants His people to walk in, it is the word Shalom.  I heard someone say that it means, “nothing missing and nothing broken.”

How do we get to that place of wholeness?  Jesus is the answer.

The Bible says, “Except you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.” Matthew 18:5 KJV

Jesus taught that we are to be like little children. The hallmark of a child is trust. Implicit in childhood is total trust in their parent. They don’t question where their next meal is coming from, whether they will have clothes or shoes to wear or a place to sleep.  (Yes, I know that there are aberrations)

If a loving parent provides for the needs of his children, how much more will our loving Heavenly Father provide for our needs.  We are His family.

There are some things that come upon all mankind, like rain, natural things, earthly things, but there are some things that are only for family.

Jesus taught that God is Our Father in Heaven, that He loves His children and wants to see us succeed in every area of life.

He wants us to be whole, so much so that He sent The Word made flesh, Jesus, to live here on earth for approximately 30 years to identify with us and pay the price for sin that we could not, so that we could have access to our Father.

When Jesus finished His assignment, He declared: “I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.”  John 17:4 KJV

We can trust our Father in Heaven. We can trust Jesus our advocate and His Spirit our helper, comforter, teacher and guide.

Each of us has been assigned a specific time to be here on planet earth.  For such a time as this we have come. God has a plan and a purpose for each of us.  It is for us to discover what that plan is.

It is written in Psalm 139:16 KJV “Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.”

Kat Kerr says that we were all little spirits with the Father and when the time came for us to come to earth, He knit our little spirit to that dot of flesh in our mother’s womb and we became a living soul. Your life began at conception.

Mary has been given a new lease on life, a new opportunity.  She has fought, her family has fought, extended family has fought, friends and God’s family have fought against the cancer that the enemy sent to kill her and steal her from her husband and children. He did not win!

In the court of Heaven God the righteous judge sat down on the bench.  The advocate for Mary (Jesus Christ the Righteous) presented His case, the enemy (formerly known as Lucifer) presented his case.

Jesus said, “I paid the price required for Mary to be healed. My blood was shed; I was whipped with a cat of nine tails, my blood flowed out on the ground, the bones in my back could be seen.  Only then did they stop. I did this out of love for Mary, to satisfy the demands of the law. I ask the court for acquittal.”

The enemy arose with great pomp to make his case against Mary.  He dragged up every little thing that she had done from the time she was able to make her own decisions.  It was not a pretty picture.

He said, “Your honor knows that I am nothing if not fair.  I have shown the court that Mary is deserving of death. I ask for conviction.”  He sat down, smugly sure that he had won.  He could not wait to get his hands on her. He had plans.

God stood up.  The enemy trembled, that was not a good sign.  He had seen Him do that before and it did not bode well for him.

Turning to Lucifer, the fallen one, He said, “I have heard you out.  You have accused Mary of heinous crimes.  You have belittled her, you have laid out before me a picture accusing her of things she has not even done.  Fair? no, never since your fall have you ever been fair.  There is no justice in you at all.”

Turning to Jesus He said, “I have heard the case that you have made for Mary.  You have done everything possible to secure her healing.  I have seen that Mary wants to be healed and I have heard the many prayers for her life.  Mary gave me her life when she was 12 years of age.  She is my child.  I have made my decision.”

The gavel went down.  “Decision made for the plaintiff.”  Case dismissed.

Jesus has never lost a case.

What about you friend?  If you stood in the courts of Heaven would there be enough evidence to convict you?

Today is the day of salvation.  Turn from sin and give your heart to Jesus, all of the old life will be washed away in Jesus blood, you will become a new man.  A new life will begin.  Ask Jesus to immerse you in the Holy Spirit and He will bring you power to live that new life.

God loves you, so do I.  Joy

 

 

 

Answered Prayer

I wrote the other day how I hurt for my daughter Kathy as she watched her dear sister, Mary, dying in front of her eyes.

Well, today I can bring you a report of Praise to the God of Heaven and Earth.

Mary and all of Kathy’s family are Roman/American Catholic.  They strongly hold to the tradition and doctrines of the church.  They are lovely, caring people.

Our family believes and lives the born-again, spirit-filled, loving Jesus with all of our hearts lives.  The Bible is our guide book and as such we do not pray to saints, nor do we believe that water from a certain place is holy.

Having said that, we respect their family and know that they are as loved by God as we are and that He hears our prayers.

During this whole ordeal all of us, and more, have prayed for Mary. Well, I want to shout it, God heard and a miracle happened.  Here is how it came down.

When Kathy came to the hospital, the prognosis was that death was not far off because Mary’s lungs were in such bad shape.  She was on a ventilator and hope seemed gone.

So many people prayed and sent their love to Mary, but it seemed as though God did not hear and the end was near.

A simple prayer from a heart of love, filled with faith that God is good, made a plea.   That prayer caused the tipping point, the cup filled to overflowing, and God in His mercy made a decision, Mary would live.

Kathy asked the doctor what needed to happen for Mary to be able to begin Chemotherapy, the response was that she breathe on her own and her lungs be improved.

Kathy and the others in the room went to God with the request.  The next day the decision was made to remove the ventilator and see what would happen.

That is when the miracle happened.  Mary began to recover.  By the end of the day she was sitting up smiling and breathing on her own. The oncologist called it miraculous.  We call it a miracle.  Thank you Father, our Lord and our God!

The oncologist is saying that Chemo will begin tomorrow and Mary can possibly go home on Tuesday.

Our prayer now is that the chemo target every spot of cancer and kill it, but there be no destruction to surrounding tissue.

Focused death to cancer, that is what I am calling it!

Continuing to stand in the gap for Mary until the cancer is completely destroyed.

Joy

 

 

 

Change

What do you do when life circumstances are suddenly changed, never to be the same again?

Almost everyone reacts.  Few act.  The difference between reacting and acting is like the difference between night and day.

Change is a big word.  It can mean something different to everyone.

What does change mean to you?

When Barak Obama became president under the banner of change, America was excited. The first black president sat in the White House, expectations were high.  Eight years later many were disappointed others were pleased.

This past November Donald Trump became president.  America was excited.  The first successful billionaire business man sits in the White House, expectations are high.  He too ran on promises of change.  Some were angry and others rejoiced.

The map of America after the election was mostly red.  In California and the major big cities of the nation the map was blue.  America as a whole wanted change.

As usual most of America looks to the coasts to set the tone and the media is the standard bearer for that tone.

I recall sitting with my mother many years ago, watching T.V.  The ads would come on and she would ask to go to the store so she could buy the product she saw.  If it was on T.V. it must be good, i.e. it must be true.

Media still has a big influence on the American public. Faith in the media may even have become more pronounced in news programs in particular.

Americans watch “the talking heads” of the media talk and debate, asking themselves what they think.  Opinion is what matters to them…your opinion, my opinion, their opinion. Every opinion except the one opinion that matters, God’s.

For the most part, the American people would say that they believe in the Judeo-Christian God. They may not go to church or believe that Jesus is the Son of God who came into the world to bring people to God the Father, but they profess belief in God.

In the Christian church of today, many doctrines that were held true for centuries are no longer accepted as truth.  It is a time when each does what is right in his own eyes, the Bible calls this an evil day.  The love of money, position and power move many.

But for some of us, this is a new day, a day of awakening. We have prayed for years:   “God, May your Kingdom come and your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven!”  We believe that now is the time, God has heard our prayers, and He is going to get involved.  As someone said, “God is going to show up and show out.” 

A few years ago I was reading Isaiah 60…it read: “Darkness shall cover the earth and gross darkness the people, but the light shall rise upon thee and nations and kings shall come to the brightness of your rising..”

I have heard many proclaiming this truth:  God will move when it is very dark.  Jesus is called the light of the world in the Bible and the contrast between darkness and light is seen over and over again in scripture.

We know that when it is dark, even the smallest amount of light brightens the darkness.  That is not to say that everyone likes the light, because as the Bible says it shows that their deeds are evil. So, there will be those who react to light, to change, by anarchy. They become violent in their anger, lashing out at whoever happens to come close to them.

The Bible tells us that the anger of man accomplishes no good thing. It cannot be perpetuated, it will always deteriorate into hatred which will destroy the person who harbors it, eventually leading to death and destruction.

My pastor and her friend, along with many other Christian people went to Washington D.C. for the inauguration of Donald J. Trump as the 45th president of the United States of America.  They were there to celebrate and support.  It was a joyful time for them.

There was one dark spot where some angry people spit at some celebrants, called them names and would not let them pass through where they were standing.  It made them sad and they prayed that they might know the love God had for them.

Peaceful protest is part of the American landscape. We are a diverse people and have the right to stand up for our beliefs.  But, looting, burning, pushing and shoving, even sometimes beating up someone you disagree with is not the American way.

May God have mercy upon us and restore America to His vision. May His will be done and His opinion be sought after.

Christians and Jews are among the most tolerant people that I know.  In Israel and America a Christian church, a Jewish synagogue and a mosque can stand in the same area. Their people can work side by side without conflict.

When radical factions enter in to any of these groups who believe in one God, there will be trouble and eventually there will be war.

Something must be said about the enemies of America who have an agenda to take her down and make her a subservient country to a one world government.  God will not allow it until the time He has set on His time line.

It is vain to fight against God, you cannot prevail.  Unbelief does not affect God.  He is the great I AM, the one who has always been and always will be.  His will is going to be done.

As we embark upon the four year term of Donald Trump as president.  Let us set aside radicalization and work together in Unity to make America a better place for our children and our grand-children.  Unity in diversity is a wonderful thing.

We live in a country where we can make our requests known.  I write to my congressman and representatives when I disagree with what is being done.  No one comes to put me in jail for being a dissident.  I have the right of free speech.

You can write to your local newspaper, you can produce a program on Public T.V., (for free), you can set up a peaceful protest, there are many ways to communicate your opinion and try to influence others.

Change can be good, it depends on whether you react to the change in a negative way or respond with a construction action.  It is your choice.

God Bless you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Divorce

Divorce is a cancer upon the world.  There is no good that can come of it because it always divides and subtracts from the people involved.  Children pay the heaviest price.  This subject is heavy on my heart this morning.

Having said that, God can make a mess into a message and a test into a testimony.  I have heard and read many stories affirming this truth and my own marriage is a testimony of it.  I have friends for whom this is also true.

Please take some time to look up these scriptures in the Bible.  I suggest the Message Bible as a very readable, understandable version.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.  Genesis 1:1

Let us make man after our own image in our likeness.  Genesis 1:26

From the dust of the ground God made man and breathed into him the breath of life. Genesis 2:6-7

No suitable helper was found. God put man into a deep sleep, making a woman for the man out of his side.  Genesis 2:18

For the hardness of your hearts man was allowed to divorce his wife.  Matthew 19:1-12  Romans 7:3

Jesus said, “From the beginning it was not so.”  Matthew 19:8  I Corinthians 7:2

Man was created first, then woman.  I Corinthians 11:3, 8-12     I Peter 3:17

Submit one to another in the fear of the Lord.  Ephesians 5: 21-33

Divorce happens because of self-centeredness.  Each person doing what is right in his or her own eyes.  Proverbs 30:12

Does that mean that there are no reasons for divorce.  Certainly not.

God allows divorce because of adultery.  Though not clearly spoken in scripture, God does not condone one person abusing another.  But, that does not mean that in every case of abuse or adultery God wants a woman or man to depart.  God treats every person as an individual.

Define abuse.  Abuse can be physical, mental or spiritual.  When would God have you stay, when depart?  If your life is in danger, depart.  If your children are in danger, depart.

A friend of mine has stayed with a husband who is verbally abusive and now she has been diagnosed as mentally ill.  She left once and went back, in my opinion she should have never gone back.  I believe it was fear that gripped her and this opened a door to the dark side.  Though she claimed to be a Christian her husband became her idol.

My sister has been with a verbally abusive man for over 50 years.  He has little education but an outgoing personality that has gotten him by in life.  His weakness is putting her down to lift himself up.  In spite of this she loves him and believes that God has told her to stay.  The words he uses have caused her to turn to the Lord for comfort and strength, and He gives it to her.  He also blesses her in many other ways for staying the course.                  I Corinthians 7:16

The Bible tells us that a wife may win her husband to the Lord by her godly respectful behavior.  Surely God puts up with irreverent, ungodly sinners, sometimes for many years before they are won over by His love.  Earth life is short compared to eternity.

At this moment one of my sons is involved in divorce proceedings.  I believe that God chose this woman for my son.  That being said, the Bible says this:   “Many are called but few are chosen.”  I know that is not talking specifically about marriage and divorce, but the principle is there.  God calls some to be married, they can choose to do so or not.  Once married they are called to stay married to their spouse.

God has given each person a will.  We make decisions every day that affect our destiny.  God will never superimpose His will upon anyone, though He has the power and authority to do so.  God is love, and true love thinks of what is best for the loved one.  God often allows what He does not condone.

Self-centeredness:  “It is all about what I want.  Others exist to do my will.  If you don’t do what I want, I have the right to throw you away.  Life is about me being happy.  If I am not happy then you won’t be either.”  Plainly put:  God is not in it, it is idolatry, you are sitting on the throne of your life, you are your own god.

God has a way for marriage that transcends the world’s way of doing and being.  Like the salvation of a soul, it requires a death, death to selfishness, for God’s way of doing is loving your mate, giving of yourself, your time, to be a blessing to him or her.  In so doing, you will receive the blessing of the Lord yourself.

Someone said that God puts people in marriage to kill them.  I agree, because if you don’t die to self-will, you cannot stay married long.

The world’s way of marriage looks like this:  Each person finds someone who will make them feel good, feel completed.  Some want their spouse to do what they do, like what they like or go where they go.  In other words, to be just like them.  God did not create Adam and Adama.  He created man and wom(b)man for the purpose of taking care of the earth, populating it, enjoying each other and enjoying being in His presence.

God, in His written word, specifically tells a believer not to marry someone who does not believe in Jesus as the way of salvation, the way to God, the way to Heaven at death.  Why?  Because they are two different operating systems.

Does this mean then that if two people are Christians and they marry that they will not have any problem.  Absolutely not!  There may, in fact, be more.  The reason is that we live in a fallen world, a world where every man does what is right in his own eyes, a world where God has been put on the shelf or shoved out of His rightful place, thus the adversary of God will target the true believer, he will attack anything of God that looks like it may be successful.

Divorce in the church today is nearly equal to that of the world.  It ought not to be.  The handbook for believers, the Bible, clearly spells out God’s will for marriage.  Then why is divorce accepted among Christians?  My simple answer is because the Bible is not relevant to them or their lives.

As I said, we have arrived at the time when Truth has become irrelevant because each man is doing what is right in his own eyes.  This opens the door for all manner of evil to prevail.  Wrong becomes right, light becomes dark and good becomes evil.

What then shall we say of these things?  God have mercy upon us, forgive us for our self-centered way of doing and being and lead us into your truth, your way of doing and being right!  Amen.

Friend, please know that I bring no condemnation to you or upon you.  It’s just that I am grieved over the hardness of heart that I see around me.  God forgives any who call upon the name of Jesus.  I have a personal knowledge of this.  If you have been divorced, put away, God loves you and there is healing in Him.  Run to Him, He will receive you and love you to life.

This spring my husband and I will have been married for 53 years.  My husband’s first wife divorced him, put him away, for another man, and I had never been married, nor had I ever had a relationship with a man.  We did not know how to be married; we were flawed people who wanted to be loved and accepted, but neither of us was equipped.  We lived together for 35 years walking on parallel paths. I rejoice to tell you that we learned that only in relationship with Jesus are we loved and accepted.  This has brought us contentment with and happiness with each other.

Marriage is mixing everything together so that you cannot find the separate entity anymore.  Somehow you become one and yet retain your individuality.  It is a mystery when it is done God’s way.  And, it is wonderful.  Is it a piece of cake?  No!  You have to work at it.

We “keep short accounts”.  We don’t let offenses go and allow them to fester, we don’t allow divisive thoughts to continue, we communicate and solve issues.  We don’t speak evil to each other or of each other to another person.  We don’t focus on each others shortcomings, we focus on those things that we do well, or for each other.  As I was taught in Lutheran confirmation regarding others:  “Put the best construction on all that he does.”

My prayer for you if you have experienced the pain of divorce is healing in Jesus.  I also hope this has provided some food for thought.

God bless you, Joy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roots

Roots, how important are they?

I woke up this morning at 3:33.  The number three stands for trinity, it is the number of God.  This led me to my subject today: Roots.  What are our roots, where do we come from?

We are body, soul and spirit.  God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  God created mankind, He made us man and woman and out of that union comes a child.  Three, in God’s economy a beautiful number.

As I lay there, I began to meditate on last night’s experience.  The church is having Vacation Bible School this week for the children.  They are brought to church where they are taught that God created them, that He loves them, that they are special and He has a good plan for their lives.  I noticed that there were children of many ethnicities there.  How wonderful, how delightful and how unique each child is.

Some children are outgoing, energetic and fun-loving, others are quiet and observant.  Some children love to raise their hand to answer every question and others never make a move, afraid they will be called on to answer a question.  There are children who are taller than others of the same age, or one may be more “fluffy” than another, but they all are learning how to live, how to be a person ever moving toward being an adult.

My friend, Jeri, has struggled with weight all of her life, as we were talking one day she told me that she decided to agree with something she had read; she decided to call herself “fluffy” not fat. Somehow that helped ease the condemnation she felt.

There are many reasons why people are unhappy with themselves or others.  One very good reason is that some of us are taught to hate when we are very little people.  Rejection is perhaps one of the biggest issues that most of us face.  Some of us don’t feel we measure up to someone’s standards of perfection and so we hate ourselves and cannot come to the place of acceptance and peace with who we are.

There are others who hate people who are different in some way than they are, perhaps it is the color of skin, religion or some other prejudice.  I recall a song from “The Mikado” about children being taught to hate.  “You have to be taught, you have to be carefully taught.”  There are organizations whose whole base is hate, they teach their children to hate, perpetuating the work of the adversary of God.

Acceptance of ourselves as we are and acceptance of each other is necessary, mandatory, if we are to be like our Father in Heaven.  He loves and we must love; love the person God created, in spite of “flaws” that may be obvious to our eyes, or the eyes of someone else.

I think it must be said that blind acceptance of what is sin in God’s eyes, taught as tolerance, is not what God teaches in His Word.  God hates sin because it separates us from Him.  He loves family and like any good father He wants to be with His kids. God’s Spirit is always reaching out to draw us closer to Him in order that we might be forgiven and be in relationship with our Father.  God convicts never condemns His children.

Are we not all flawed in one way or another?  After all, we live in a fallen world; there is no Utopia anywhere on earth, and there has only been one perfect person that ever lived on planet Earth, the God-man, Yeshua.

The theme for this year’s VBS is Norway: a fishing village.  Since I am Scandinavian by my roots, I thought it would be an especially unique time.  Well, it was, but not as I thought it would be.  I was looking for teaching about the roots of the Norwegian people, but it was about modern Norway.

I think that understanding where we came from is a major part of coming into relationship with each other.  Children need to be taught their roots, naturally and spiritually and if we have come to adulthood and don’t know where our ancestry came from then perhaps we need to search it out.

Today there are many interested in genealogy, the search for your roots.  Sources abound where you can find out about your ancestry.

I recall a series on the local PBS TV station called “Roots”, I believe by Alex Haley.  According to some this was not an accurate picture of slave trade to Europe and America, it was said that slave trade went on in Africa years before the Europeans showed up.

I am reminded of Englishman John Newton who wrote the song “Amazing Grace” and his part as a slave trader in destroying many African people before he came to faith in God.  People capturing and using people, selling people, is not new.  It proves that there is evil in the world and it accentuates the goodness and love of God.

There is a certain amount of pride that comes with identifying with an ethnic group.  My husband is 100% Norwegian by background and his family is proud of it.  But, it is finding ourselves in the family of God that changes our life and makes us contributing members of society.

We can find our family origin, our roots.  We can find our place in history and still not find ourselves and our part in the world in which we live.  God created man.  Our original roots are in Him.  He is the designer, the manufacturer and when the product needed to be recalled, redeemed, He came to earth as the God-man, Yeshua from the town of Nazareth in Israel to do the job.

Apart from God you are defective.  Come to God through Yeshua (Jesus), He is the manufacturers representative.  He is The Way.  You will find your roots in Him and you will grow up to be the man or woman of God that Father planned for from the beginning.  The way is open to whoever will come.  You will be changed.  You will find yourself in Him; real life will begin.  Will you come today?

We love you, Jesus and me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where Fear Walks

Mary was a tall slim woman of thirty five years.  She had never married, much to the chagrin of her family.  People had described her as plain, but when they got to know her they found that she had a delightful personality, everyone was better for knowing her.

Dan Archer was new in town, he had moved to Washington from the Midwest.  Jobs were hard to find as the economy was in a downturn, so he took the only job available, The Moton Pet Store.

Harry and Alice Moton owned a pet store in the town of Jethro, Washington.  They were animal lovers so when Harry retired from the business world they decided to open a pet store to do what they loved.  It was going well, so much so in fact that they needed to hire an employee.  Harry worked long hours and this would free up some of his time, so he could relax.

Mary Pierce worked for a local insurance agency as receptionist and secretary.  She loved her job.  Working with people was what she loved to do best.  She had been trained to be a helper since she was a child.  Her mother had been active in church and taught Mary to reach out to others, especially those less fortunate than herself.

There was a new pastor at the 1st Baptist church in Moton.  He came from California where he had pastored a church of fifteen hundred people.  Pastor David Melvin was well known in the evangelical stream of Christianity for his sermons on revival.  He had a large following on Facebook; mostly it was people who knew him or those who found him there and liked what he had to say.

Mary was a loyal member of the congregation since her youth.  Her mother Agnes was a founding member.  Agnes had raised Mary alone as Mary’s father had left her when she found she was pregnant.  He told her, “I didn’t sign on for this.”  Not to be daunted, Agnes turned to Jesus for help and He was her faithful partner.  Mary turned out good!

The Saturday before the fourth of July, Mary decided that she wanted to have a pet.  Agnes had died the year before and though Mary had an active busy life, she wanted a companion at home.

As it happened, Dan was working at the pet store when Mary walked in.  Dan had not married after he got out of college because every girl he met was shallow and vain.  Not one to dwell on the negative he took it in stride and moved on filling his life with friends and fun.

Mary asked to see the dogs, she was particularly fond of the Black Labrador breed.  Harry got pets for the store from several sources.  He had only recently acquired the Lab puppies from a source in a small town near them.  They were so cute and lively.  She fell in love with a male who seemed to be the most gregarious of the litter.

As she was paying for her dog, Dan asked if she knew what she was going to name him.  She replied, “Alphonso The Great”.  “Interesting name for a dog.”, Dan replied.  “Yes, I think so too.”  Mary responded.  “I will call him “Fonzie” for short.” Mary said.  “Oh, like on the old TV program, “Happy Days”? Dan asked.  “Yes, because “Fonzie” always wore a black leather jacket and my new dog is black, I think it is appropriate, don’t you?”  Mary said.  Dan agreed.

Dan thought, “Interesting girl.  Not much to look at, but she seemed to have a great personality and a sense of humor.”

Mary and Fonzie settled into what would become a routine over the next year.  He grew to be a full sized Lab and could take Mary for a walk instead of the other way around.  He was headstrong and wilful.  She decided he needed some training, so once again she went to the Moton Pet Store to get a lead.

Walking in, she noticed the man behind the counter was the one who had sold her the dog a year ago.  He remembered her and asked how “Fonzie” was doing.  Explaining her problem Dan told her about a man in town that had trained dogs for the United States Army.  He was highly recommended.  Mary contacted him and he worked with Fonzie and her to teach them how to work together.  Teaching Fonzie that she was the top dog was no easy task.

When Dan smiled, Mary noticed that he had a dimple in his right cheek.  “Mmmm nice, she thought to herself.”  Dan could not help but notice that Mary, who was wearing shorts that day, had beautiful legs. “The old-time movie star, Lana Turner, whose legs were insured for a million dollars, had nothing on Mary Pierce.” He mused.

As it happened, the Baptist church was having a revival the coming week-end; there were signs all around town announcing it.  A tent was to be set up on the vacant lot at the back of the church.  A famous evangelist was to hold the revival along with Pastor Melton.

Mary was looking forward to the meetings.  She asked Dan if he would be interested in coming to the meetings.  He wanted to get to know Mary, so he said he would be delighted to come.

Rain was threatening for the Revival week-end, but it was no match for the praying women.  The storm parted and went right around town.

Dan had never been to a revival.  He was not a believer, in fact, in his youth he had told his parents that he did not believe in a god he could not see or prove existed.  Naturally, his parents, who were believers, were devastated.  He had gone to church at their insistence,  but, since high school days Dan had not gone to church.  He had mellowed a bit and was not as dogmatic and argumentative as he had been then, but he still did not believe in God.  He believed in being rational and reasonable.  If it could be seen and explained, he was all over it.

Pastor David Melvin had brought his young daughter into the store to purchase a parakeet.  She was a sweet little girl with red hair that her mother had put into pigtails.  So adorable.  Dan loved little kids and hoped that someday he would have his own, though at age thirty, time was flying.

Dan saw Mary sitting up front; noticing a chair next to her he ventured forward.  “Hi, may I sit here?”  he asked.  “Yes, of course you may.  Good to see you again, I am so glad that you came.”  “I am glad to see you again, Mary.  I don’t know anything about this sort of thing.  What is the format?”  Dan asked.  Mary explained the general pattern of service, but offered that they just needed to be open to what God wanted to do.  Dan wasn’t thrilled with that remark, but chose to let it go.  He just wanted to get to know Mary better.

What followed for Dan Archer was nothing short of life changing.  In one night he experienced God’s power, a power that he had denied existed.

The visiting evangelist told the congregation about the love of God for them.  He explained that God was not mad at them.  “He loves you and wants you, just the way your are.  He wants you to come to Him, to know him.”  He told them that through the sacrifice of the Son of God for them, as if they were the only one who needed to be rescued from their miserable life, they could come to know this loving God, this Father.

Something was stirring in Dan, he felt very uncomfortable.  He wanted to leave, but he was sitting up front and would not make a scene.  He had heard this message before, but it had never touched him. “What is going?” He thought.  “I am a reasonable person, I don’t do emotional.”

Thankfully, it was over and Dan asked Mary if they could spend a little time together.  Mary suggested that they stop by her house and pick up Fonzie for a walk in the park.  He liked that idea and agreed.  He felt so comfortable with Mary, she was intelligent and could carry on a stimulating conversation.  He liked that.  A woman with a good mind was hard to find.

The next day was Sunday and the revival services continued at the tent on the grounds of First Baptist.  Monday morning Dan heard that a woman who had been hard of hearing was healed at the Sunday night meeting, so Pastor Melton decided to continue the meetings to see what God would do.

The praying woman in the community had been meeting together for over a year, asking God to move upon their town and revive it.  Now, it appeared that He was doing just that.

Dan called Mary to ask if she would like to have supper with him, this was Monday night.  Mary said she was going to the tent meeting, but Harry and Alice were having a get together at their house at noon, which he also had been invited to, and could they meet there?  The answer, of course, was, ” Yes!”

Dan loved picnics and Bar B Q’s, he loved the outdoors, so this was right up his alley, as they say.  He was delighted.  Mary arrived shortly after Dan did, she was wearing his favorite color: blue, and had on shorts again, showing her best asset, in his opinion.  He was finding himself increasingly attracted to Mary Pierce.  And, he liked it.

He watched Mary as she interacted with people.  He thought to himself, “How could I have ever thought she was plain, she is beautiful.”

Mary stood at the sink washing dishes and chatting with some ladies.  Dan watched her from the couch.  She seemed to be in her element when she was helping others.  What a great quality in a woman.

Mary noticed that Dan was watching her, she wondered what he was thinking.  He was so handsome and she wondered why no woman had snatched him up.  Feelings began to rise in her that she had not experienced before with any man.  She liked to be with Dan.  He was so interesting, but he was not a believer and she knew that she could not be joined to a man who was not of like mind and faith.

The food was eaten, the dishes were done and it was starting to get on toward late afternoon.  She had to get home, take Fonzie for a short walk and get ready for the meeting.  She hoped Dan would want to come, but he didn’t seem interested.

That night there were several people that were healed of long standing illnesses and diseases, as well as old Silas Crup who had been in a wheel chair for twenty years of his seventy years.  When all paralysis left his body, he got up and began to jump up and down like he was twenty.  The people were stunned to say the least.  No one had seen anything like it before.

Tuesday morning the town was a buzz about the healings that had taken place.  People called their relatives and they told others and suddenly the town was full of people coming from the surrounding communities to attend the revival meetings.

Several people came into the pet store to talk with Harry and Alice about the revival.  “Were you there when my cousin Sadie was healed of cancer?” Leta Carpenter asked Alice.  “Yes.” she replied, “We could hardly believe it; if we had not seen that deep hole in her cheek fill in right before our very eyes, we would not have believed it could happen.”  “But with God, of course.” she added.

Dan heard all of this and wondered what was happening.  “Could it be true?  Does God really exist?  Could I have been wrong all these years?  No, I have studied this thing out, there is no such thing as God.  I know I am right.  This is just hocus-pocus.” He thought.  But the crack in his armor had taken place and Spirit of God was drawing him.

When the revival was over that evening Dan was waiting for Mary.  She came to get in her car and he asked if they could talk.  Reluctantly, she agreed, but said she had to go get Fonzie and take him for a walk.

Arriving at Mary’s house, he put Fonzie in the back seat of his car. Dan wanted to talk.  She didn’t know what was on his mind, but she agreed.  He headed downtown toward the pet store.  Dan turned into the lot behind the store, Mary saw the community service officer’s car hesitate as she saw them, but then recognized Dan’s car and kept going.

He stopped the car and they got out with Fonzie.  Dan had the leash in his hand, intending to walk him along the grassy area behind the store.  Fonzie suddenly reared up, showing his teeth and began to attack Dan.  Mary stood dumbfounded at what she saw happening, she was paralyzed with fear.  Dan yelled at her to get back and call for help.

Incredibly, when the story was told later, they realized an angel, sent from God, came and seemed to get in front of or into Dan as he wrestled with the dog.  Fonzie fell to the ground, apparently dead, and what stood before them could only be described as a satanic presence.  It was the ugliest evil thing either of them had ever seen.  It bared its teeth and growled that it was going to kill them.

That’s when I woke up and realized I had a dream.

Days are coming when God is going to show up and so is satan.  Maybe you don’t know it, but there is a war going on and to the victor belongs the spoils.  The spoils these warring kingdoms are after is the souls of mankind.  I have read the back of the book and I can tell you, God wins, satan is defeated and sent to Hell.  End of story!

Which side are you on?  Think!