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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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Foundations

The sky is overcast…again.  We have had many overcast days so far this year.  There was a break in the clouds that lasted for several minutes and the sun shone brightly upon my little piece of earth.  It was a joy!

As I peruse the different sources for information that come to my computer each day, it would be so easy to become discouraged.  Yet, God reaches out with words of hope and comfort.  They lift my spirit and focus my sight, once more, upon what really matters.

Jesus, talking to His disciples, said, “Be careful that no one misleads you.  You will hear of wars and rumors of wars…nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom…there will be famines and earthquakes in place after place…all of this is but the beginning of the early pains of intolerable anguish.”  Matthew 24:13-14

When you read the newspapers, watch TV news or see news on the internet, it sounds like these words of Jesus.

There is a verse recorded in Psalm 11:3 that says, “If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?” Foundations matter.  Without a foundation that goes down to bedrock, a building shaken by a strong earthquake will rarely stand.

It has been recorded in Hebrews 12:27, that “Everything that can be shaken will be shaken until only what can not be shaken remains.”

When the shaking comes, and it will, where will you and I be?  I don’t mean a literal spot on earth, I mean spiritually, mentally, emotionally etc.  There is no safe place on earth, when judgment comes, there will be no place to hide.  When things suddenly go haywire we tend to panic.  When there is nothing that brings us the security we need, what then?

I had a picture come to mind of a swimmer crying out to be rescued, but when someone tried to rescue him, he pulled that person down with him.  People can’t help.

I was thinking of those who are addicted to something, and how trying to go it alone is impossible unless they exchange one habit for another.  Will power only goes so far.

One thing about earthquakes, nothing man made will stand unless it has a solid, deep foundation. Faith in Jesus is the solid and deep foundation we are bonded to, it will weather any storm, any earthquake, any hurricane, anything that happens around us.

I think of a story about a few soldiers during WWII, who during the bombing of a building took refuge under a library table.  One of the soldiers knew Psalm 91 and began to quote it from memory.  When the shelling stopped, the building was fallen down around them but they came out from under the library table safe.  It certainly was not the table that saved them, but rather one who knew the word of God concerning safety in the midst of crisis.

Do you believe in angels?  I do. Many times I have been saved or directed by these unseen helpers sent by our Father in Heaven.

Faith is man reaching out to God while God is reaching down to man, bringing him into His Kingdom, making him a Son with all of the rights, responsibilities and benefits of Kingdom living.

Of course, one can have inherited a fortune and never benefit from it if he does not follow the rules laid out to receive it.  I believe there are many believers who don’t know their rights and therefore do not receive the benefits.

God has declared that the rights of the Sons of God are, to name just a few, righteousness (God’s way of doing and being right), peace (That settled state of mind with nothing missing, nothing broken) and joy. (a settled state of contentment, confidence and hope; a source of happiness)  I don’t know anyone who has apprehended what is available, I certainly haven’t.  But I am pressing toward that goal.

If you are not in God’s family today, I suggest that you do so, because you need to be ready for the time that lies ahead.  World War III looms on the horizon.  It will not be like the other wars, life will not be the same in America or the world when the dust settles.

... 15, April 21~2 Nephi 15-19 or Pages 85-90 Jesus with Outstretched Arms

Prepare for your future by coming home to the Father’s house.  Your foundation will be set upon the Rock, Jesus the Messiah, He is the only righteous man that ever lived on planet earth.  He is the only foundation that will take you through what lies ahead.  He is the door into the Kingdom of God, it is written that no man comes to the Father, except by Him.  John 14:6

Come home to the Father, repent of rebellion against His will for your life, give Him your heart and invite Him to be your Savior and Lord.  As Him to fill you with His Spirit, get a Bible if you don’t have one and begin reading in the book of John.  John loved Jesus and you can hear and see it in the book he wrote.  Ask God to lead you to a church that believes that the Bible is God’s love letter to you, the instruction manual for a believer, and go, get with like-minded people, tell them your story and enlist their prayers.

A warning:  Church is full of flawed people just like you.  No one is perfect, just forgiven.  Don’t judge,  Ask God for a mentor.  You have a lot to learn and He has someone who can teach you.  May the Lord bless you on your journey.

I heard a few words of the old hymn Softly and Tenderly this morning and I want to leave them with you.  Be encouraged today, friend, God is on the throne, you are loved and you are safe in His arms, if you belong to Him.

 

 

 

 

JALYN’S JOURNEY

Father had a plan, He had a purpose.  All of Heaven was excited because it would not be long and a little spirit would be sent to the earth.

Tom and Laura had been spending time together for some time now.  They both had been led to go to State University, the angels that Father had assigned to each of them had been working toward that end and now it was in Tom’s heart to make Laura his bride.

When Father dreamed of the family He wanted, when He planned the who, what, where when and why of it, Tom and Laura were part of that plan.  He had a purpose in the creation of those who were to be part of His plan, unfortunately, not everyone that He planned for was allowed to come into the earth, some people refused His plan, they aborted it and it sorely grieved Him.

I present to you a plan that proceeded to fruition, and I think that you will be pleased, as Father was, because this story has a happy ending.  I will warn you though, as the story unfolds it looks for a time like the happy ending will not happen.

Come along with me on Jalyn’s Journey.

Tom was raised in the city that hosted State University, called by the locals S.U.  Because of the strong Science department and its professor, Tom chose to attend S.U., plus it was less expensive than other universities he looked at.

Laura was raised on a farm near a larger city.  When her family was making the decision where she should go to school they were more inclined that she should attend a school more in line with the faith that she was raised in, but Father had a plan and in the end she was sent to S.U.

Tom and Laura were in their senior year at S.U. when they decided to be married.  It was an exciting time for them.  The future ahead seemed bright with possibilities and they were eager to embrace it.  They began to dream and to plan.

After graduation the wedding took place, family and friends met each other, rejoiced with the happy couple and wished them well.

One thing about the future that we humans don’t think about is the possibility that things may not turn out the way we planned.  Life has a way of bringing disappointments into our lives that throw us out of kilter, mess with our minds and lead us into the dark night of the soul.  When this happens we are forced to think outside the box we have made for ourselves and if we allow it, this will lead us to our creator.

In our story, Tom and Laura flowed into Father’s plan for their lives; each of them individually had come to a place of decision, what I like to call “the fork in the road” , where a choice was made to go down the narrow path, through the narrow gate that leads to life.  And, while life on planet earth was not easy and they were dealt some blows, they always turned to Father for help and help was given.

In the course of their lives four daughters were born to their union.  Jalisa was the first born, the other girls called her “the fair-haired child” because she seemed to be perfect in every thing she tried to do and it left them feeling like they could never measure up to that standard.  But Father had a plan.

Next was Jalyn, after her Justina and lastly Janora.  The girls resembled their mother in appearance having her beautiful blue eyes and blond hair.  When they were little and Laura would take them shopping, people would stop her and comment how beautiful her little girls were.

As the girls grew up, the angels were busy, they listened for Father’s word and moved according to it.  There were times when Laura and Tom got so busy living life that they did not give the angels much to work with.  Angels don’t like to be idle and they wonder why humans don’t speak the Word so they can fulfill the assignment Father has given them.

Jalisa had left home for college and was ready to graduate in the spring and move into her career.  She had met Lance and they were making plans to marry when she finished her schooling.  In the mean time Jalyn was in her junior year of high school and doing very well.  She sang in the school choir, led in the debate club and taught Sunday school, or should I say she taught Sunday school until she was interred with.

Up to now I have not directly mentioned the enemy.  You know, of course, that Father has an adversary who seeks to destroy His plan for every human being.  And, while each human is special to Father, not each has the same calling in life and it is just there that the enemy seeks to destroy Father’s plan.

Let me take you back to the beginning…

All of the little spirits with Father wanted to come to earth, their sense of destiny and  purpose was strong and they asked Him if it was time.  Finally, it was Jalyn’s time.  She  was so excited.

Jalyn was born into the earth to Tom and Laura.  Second born.  Tom desired to have a boy  that he could take hunting and fishing, but because their hearts were right with Father, they thanked him for their new daughter and life moved on.

Jalyn was a curious, outgoing little girl with a sensitive streak, she liked to be with people, like to watch them and talk to them.  As she grew her dry sense of humor was a delight, not only to her family, but also to her friends, which were many.

As she approached the “fork in the road” on the path of life, the evil angel who had been assigned to her by the adversary of God called satan, advised him that there were some weak spots in Jalyn’s make up that could be exploited and he intended to take advantage of them.  The evil one said, “Then do it!”

Since the adversary is the father of lies, he is an expert at deception.  “If you tell them a lie often enough, the fools will believe it is the truth.”, he told the evil angel.  So, that was the assignment, tell Jalyn “‘The Lie’, tell her God does not exist and even if He did what makes you think He would love you?  You are not like your sisters, you are different, you don’t fit in this family.”.  He did it with vehemence and it worked as you will see.

Jalyn was going down the adolescent road, for the most part enjoying it.  In the distance she began to see something but though she was curious about it, she couldn’t quite make it out.

Slowly, she began to change, her body began to do things that were new and different.  And she was confused a lot about the feelings and the thoughts she had.  Her friends started talking about sex, drugs and alcohol and some of them had experimented with them.  Jalyn had been taught that these things were wrong and she should not do them, but she was curious.  It was this curiosity that led her into the enemy trap.

She was being set up.

There is an old saying, “Curiosity killed the cat” and sometimes that can be true.  In any case, for Jalyn, while it did not kill her, it left her with a scarred memory.  It was her weak place and because she yielded to it, she was trapped by the adversary and spent many wasted years.

“God does not exist, you can’t prove it!”, her friend said.  As Jalyn sat at her computer doing a term paper, she thought, “That is true, I can’t prove it.”  That was how it started, Jalyn began to entertain “the lie” and the road to apostasy began.  So, by the time Jalyn reached the “fork in the road” she was well on her way to denial of God’s existence.

There is always a day, a time, when a decision is made, but one is conditioned well before that day, and Jalyn was no exception.  Discouragement, depression, despair prepare the way for taking the wrong road.  As Jalyn approached the decision point, she saw clearly that there were two roads.  She could see that she must make a decision which one she would take.

Ahead lay the broad road.  There were neon signs flashing, music blaring and people milling around, smiling, looking happy.  There was all kinds of “stuff” that could be had,  there were promises of the “good life” if you took that road.  You could have it all, everything the world had to offer, all it took was a simple choice, after all you had been told you could go anywhere, do anything and you believed it.

“My parents are holding me back.”  Jalyn thought.  “I don’t want to be like them.”  “You can be free to be yourself and do what you want to do, they never let you be yourself.” she heard.  “Who can compete with Jalisa anyway, who wants to be like her, I don’t.”, she thought.

Such were the thoughts the evil angel whispered in her ear.  She took them as her own and the more she thought about it the more angry and bitter her soul became.  She could not wait to get away from home.  Oh, she would use her parents to provide for her college tuition alright, but she would be free of their influence once she was in college.

She stood at the “fork in the road”.  She looked to the right.  The road narrowed.  It seemed unappealing, unattractive to her,  it seemed dark and foreboding.  “Who would want to go that way.”, she thought.  “I know my parents have talked to me about the narrow way, but I don’t believe them.”  She looked at broad road to her left and it appealed to her greatly.  Her decision was made, she moved forward.  She was not going to go the narrow way, she would go on the broad road.

The decision Jalyn made was a decision of her own will.  The angel assigned to Jalyn when she came into the earth and the evil angel could only influence her.  The decision was hers.

God the Father has put the power to choose in each one of us.  No one chooses for us, we choose for ourselves which path through life we will take and the consequences of our decision rests with us.  Each of us faces a Garden of Eden decision as Adam and Eve did.  Each of us chooses which kingdom we want to be in.

When Jesus came into this earth He perfectly fulfilled the plan and purpose of the Father, so that anyone who would choose to go down the narrow road would find the door; He is the gate to life, and anyone who will can come in through the door and enter into the Kingdom of God, which is Light, Love, Life and Laughter.  There is salvation in no other, there is deliverance from enemies, healing, protection and provision to name just a few of the benefits of being a citizen of the Kingdom of Light.

It is written:  “In your presence is fullness of joy and at your right hand are pleasure forevermore.”  Psalm 16:11

Jalyn finished high school and enrolled in a very liberal college.  It was there that she was further influenced to follow the path of the kingdom of darkness that she had chosen.  She was enticed to take a glass of wine to calm herself down as she prepared for her finals, after all her family drank wine from time to time so she justified it.  She found that it relaxed her and she was able to finish her assignment without stress.  From that point on each time she felt stressed she drank, unaware that she had been set up, baited and trapped in addiction.  It was not her intent, but it was the result of her choice.

Jalyn married a man she met in college.  He became a successful entrepreneur businessman.  Her beauty attracted him to her, but he was not a faithful husband and had many affairs.  Jalyn was aware of this, but she didn’t care.  They had a beautiful home and she had all the money she wanted.  She was living her dream.  She smiled and pretended that all was well as her addiction deepened.

Two children were born to Jalyn and her husband.  One of the children was a Down’s syndrome child and as the stress increased, the money, the prestige of position, the entertaining that was necessary to maintain their lifestyle, all weighed heavy on her and she turned to wine more and more.

Pay day came.  Her husband was found shot to death in a sleazy motel.  As the finances were sorted out it was found that he had defrauded many of his customers and by the time that mess was finished everything they owned was taken and she was left with little, not even self-respect.  Once more the familiar path she had chosen to take many years before was paved with disappointment, depression and despair.

She was at the end of herself.  There did not seem to be a way out.  Everything she had lived for was stripped away.  Her looks, her reputation, her status in the community, her lifestyle, all were affected.  She knew now that she had made the wrong decision and that decision had brought her to where she was today.  Her Mother’s words came back to her.  “Jalyn, when you come to the place where you realize that you made the wrong decision, and you will because I have prayed for you, turn back to God and He will welcome you home.”

Turning around, she headed back to the “fork in the road”.  She started down the narrow road looking for the door.  The gateway was covered with vines on which hung beautiful purple grapes.  The door itself was narrow, weathered, but there was a handle.  She reached her hand out, turned the handle, the door opened to an incredible world.  The light was beautiful,  she was welcomed to come inside, to “taste and see that the Lord is good”.

Even now, she was hesitant, she had been so deceived.  She had rejected the Kingdom of God and its King, how could He want her in her condition.

As she had that thought, suddenly there He was, King Jesus, standing before her with His arms outstretched inviting her to come to Him.  She ran into His arms and the sin, the heaviness, and all of the ugliness that she had become, melted away and she felt light, free, for the first time in her life.  She was home!

Each of us has a path through life on planet earth.  Each of us makes decisions every day that influence the path we are on.  When a child reaches what we in America call the teen years, he comes to a place where he is no longer a little child, he now “sees” and begins to make decisions apart from his parents.  It is a part of the natural process of becoming a mature adult.  It is also one of the most dangerous times in our life.

As you have followed Jalyn’s story, you no doubt have identified in some way with her.  We all come to the “fork in the road”.  Some of us ask Jesus to come into our heart and lives as little children, but when we come to the place where the road splits into two roads, we must choose to follow the narrow road that leads to life.  If we do not then we will go down the broad road that leads to destruction.

As I have written before, there are two kingdoms, two kings and two roads.  We decide why we will go, who we will go with, when we will go, where we will go and how we will go, and we bear the consequences of our choices.

It is written in the Word that some men’s sins go before them to judgement and some men’s sins follow after.  There is always fruit…good and bad.   Sin has a payday and righteousness (God’s way of doing and being right) has a payday and that payday is either now or at the judgment seat of God, but there is a pay day.

Friend, are you ready?  I pray that you are.  There are stormy waters ahead according to those who can see.  When the floods come you must be sure that your house will not fall.  The only sure foundation is Jesus the Messiah, the only Kingdom that God will bless is the Kingdom of Light.  You can be transferred from the Kingdom of darkness by going through the door to the Kingdom of light, Jesus is the door.

If you have not received Jesus as your Savior and Lord, today is the day of salvation.  Repent to Father God for rejecting Him and His Kingdom, for disobeying what has been there before you all the time, but which you have been too blind to see because you believed “the lie”.

God is not dead!  He waits to receive “the precious fruit of the earth”, the souls of men who turn to Him in repentance.  He longs, as any good father does, to pour out blessings upon His children.  But, you have to come into “The House” to be a child of the Father.

God has created, is creating and will create many more people, but not all of them will come to Him and learn of His love.  He could have made us robots who worshiped Him without a will to do so or not, but He didn’t.  He waits for us to love Him for who He is, “our Father who art in Heaven”, that is who Jesus taught His disciples that He is, Father.

You are loved by Father.

Psalm 139: 13-16:  You did form my inward parts; You did knit me together in my mother;’s womb.  I will confess and praise You for You are fearful and wonderful and for the awful wonder of my birth!  Wonderful are Your works, and that my inner self know right well.  My frame was not hidden from you when I was being formed in secret [and] intricately and curiously wrought [as if embroidered with various colors] in the depths of the earth [a region of darkness and mystery]  (the womb)  Your eyes saw my unformed substance, and in Your book all the days [of my life] were written before ever they took shape, when as yet there was none of them.

You are special, you are called but the choosing is up to you.  How do you respond?

I am one with Him, I am loved, I chose Him, will you choose Him today?

Joy

 

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Kingdoms Clashing

Kingdoms…there are two.  In my previous post I spoke to you  about them.  The Kingdom of Light, of God, of Heaven, whose King is Jesus, and the kingdom of darkness, the world system, whose king is the fallen angel Lucifer, the adversary, the accuser, called satan and the devil.

“I do not believe in a God I cannot see.”  Two kingdoms, two roads and a choice.  Every human being will make a decision which kingdom they want to be in and which king they choose to follow.

A little girl was born, she was a preemie.  She spent many months in the hospital.  During that time her parents worried; they prayed and asked others to pray.  She survived and finally came home.

One day she and her parents were at a Little League baseball game where her brother was playing.  The little girl was playing with her dolls and some of the other children.

As the game progressed it became obvious that a storm was brewing and the coaches were talking about postponing  the game to a later date.  The parents called the little girl to come back sit by them.  “It smells like rain.”, they said.  She was playing with a doll and seemingly paying little attention to the conversation, so when she said, in an almost offhanded way, “It smells like Him.”, they were astonished.

When questioned about what she said, the little girl told her mother it smelled like God.  In those months when her life hung in the balance God held her close to Himself.

This is a true story.  I am sorry to say that I heard it so long ago that I cannot document it for you.

Every person is a spirit who came from God the Father.  Every person has a soul who lives in a body made of earth.  Ever been to a funeral and heard the words, “From dust you came to dust you will return.”?  We have an earth suit and when it dies the soul and spirit are released to the god/God whom it has served on earth.

God is the creator.  It is He who planned it all with purpose.  He has a purpose for every person.  I asked Him if He wanted children who are born of rape.  His response was that the means, though not His, the child conceived was His, came from Him and is loved by Him.  He wants them to live, come to know Him as an adult and have an abundant life.

A child is born.  He or she comes into the earth, a spirit from Our Father in Heaven, sent into the womb of a woman at the moment of conception.  I refer you to Psalm 139 for an example.  (The Bible is the instruction manual; I am amazed at how many who call themselves Christian do not read it or believe it is the Word of God.)

The child enters into the life cycle.  The world says you are born to die, God says you are born to live.  Two kingdoms.

As the child grows in his physical body the parents are charged with the responsibility to teach, correct and protect that child.  If they are believers in Jesus they will teach their children about God and bring them to the point of receiving Jesus into their lives.

There are different doctrines about that process, but what came from the mouth of Jesus as recorded in the gospel of John is, ” You must be born-again”.  I refer you to the Word of God.  John chapter three, Nicodemus, a religious leader who came to Jesus with the question, “We know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do miracles that you do unless God is with him.”  They could not refute the miracles that they saw.

Jesus, knowing the real issue, told Nicodemus that a person must be born of water (natural birth) and born of the Spirit of God (supernatural birth) to see the Kingdom of God.  In the original language of Hebrew the word “see” in this passage means “to perceive, notice, discern, discover, observe, examine, experience, to know”, to name a few.

The Kingdom of God is not discerned, discovered, observed, examined, experienced, or known by the natural mind.  You will not “see” it, you will not “get” it with your natural mind.

When you as a believing parent have done all you are charged to do with and for your children, knowing that you are not perfect, must rest in the fact that God loves your children more than you do, He is perfect and He is able to do exceedingly, abundantly, above all that we can ask or even think.

When a child reaches a certain age, called the age of accountability by some in the church, he will come to the fork in the road where the road divides and he must chose which road he will go down.  Because of inexperience, perhaps rebellion or stubbornness, he may choose the broad, well-traveled road that leads to hell instead of the narrow road that leads to Heaven.  What are you as a parent and a believer to do?

“If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?  The Lord is in His holy temple, the Lord’s throne is in heaven; his eyes behold, his eyelids try, the children of men, the Lord tries the righteous.”  Psalm 11:3-4    “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.”  Proverbs 3:5

It may appear that the foundation that you laid for your child has been destroyed, but take heart, Acts 16:31 gives you scriptural ground for faith for your household.  Jeremiah the prophet spoke these words many years ago, but they hold true today as well:  “Your work will be rewarded, the Lord says, your children will return from the enemy’s land.  There is hope for your future, this is the Lord’s declaration:  Your children will return to their own country.”  Jeremiah 31:16-17

The kingdom of darkness has opened its mouth wide to devour godly seed.  The prophet Isaiah spoke these words:  “Shall the prey be taken from the mighty or the lawful captive be delivered?  Yes, says the Lord, even the captives of the mighty will be taken away, and the prey of the terrible be delivered.  For I will contend with him who contends with you and I will save your children.”  Isaiah 49:24-25  Numbers 23:19  “God is not a man, He does not lie.”  Believe God’s word!

The kingdoms are clashing as they have since the defeat of the adversary when Jesus rose in victory over death, hell and the grave, He has the keys.  He sat down when He got back home and began to intercede for the children, now He awaits the word of the Father as to the time for the judgement of all things.  He will return to earth a second time, not as the suffering Messiah, but as the “Conquering King”.

Stand, having done all stand on God’s word!  Pray, trust, rest, speak, act, follow Holy Spirits leading.  See Jeremiah 23:29 and Psalm 103:20 and Ephesians 6:12

My prayers go forth for you today as I post this; I believe for my household and I trust you do for yours.  When we are not faithful we can know that God is faithful.  May He bless you today with abundant life and peace is my prayer as you wait upon Him for the fulfillment of His promises.  Amen!

In Him,

Joy

The Problem of Evil

“The world is going to Hell in a hand basket.”,  my friend Mary Alice used to say.  There is always bad news and good news, it is the same old thing day after day.  There are many approaches to how you view the world.  I choose a Biblical world view.

Years ago a Catholic priest taught the world the power in thinking positively.  The problem was that it did not change the bad news, people still got murdered, robbed and had their property destroyed.  The government still was corrupt, though perhaps more covertly than it is now, and even though the 1950’s was a time of “God, mother and country”, in a lot of places evil reared its ugly head, especially on the coasts and  in the big cities.  It is worse now than then.

A child is born into a family.  In most cases, the family rejoices in the birth and looks forward to growth, celebrating each milestone along the way.  In our family the oldest grandson and his fiance have announced that they will be married in the near future.  Jordan and Ali have been “going together” for several years now.  It has been the natural expectation in our family that our children will find a mate and marry.  Not too long after the marriage we expect that children will be born to the couple.  The older family members die and children are born, it is the cycle of life.

Another thought….have you noticed that you don’t have to teach a child to do what is wrong?  Just tell him not to touch the stove because it is hot, and it is the very thing he will do, however, once he has touched it he won’t do it again, for then he will know what hot is.

As a person ages, he learns that he can cross the line his parents set and not die or be punished, so he begins to explore his boundaries.  He pushes hard against them and unless his parents push back, he keeps expanding the boundaries farther and farther past the mores of his parents, and each generation after him does the same until evil prevails over good.  The Bible speaks of a time when good is seen as evil and evil is seen as good.  Are we there yet?  Good and evil are cumulative, did you know that?

All of this points us to the need of a savior.  Someone who will rescue us, our world, from the miasma that we find ourselves in.  If you think the world is in sad shape today, just wait five years.  The world is looking for a superman, someone to fix it.  The opinion of some is that they don’t have long to wait.

It is written:  “I have been young and now I am old, but I have never seen the righteous forsaken or his children begging for bread.” Psalm 37:25

Have you ever wondered why most people don’t think about death or dying until it comes close to home?  Why are we so surprised when a young child dies of cancer, or a mother of five children is killed in a car accident or the husband of a newly married couple is killed in Afghanistan?   We are shocked because when God created us He put eternity in our hearts.  We “feel” like we will live forever, and we will, just not on planet earth.  The question is where will we live after death of the body?  In order to get the correct answer you have to ask the right question.

The big God Story concerning human beings began in a garden.  God had a plan and He implemented it.  Two people, a man and a woman, were created.  The man was formed out of dirt.  He was created first; his body lay lifeless upon the ground until God blew the breath of life into him and he became a living being.  Soon after, God took bone from the man and made a woman, a human with a womb for the purpose of bearing the fruit of their union, children.  God had a plan and He had a purpose.

God wasn’t lonely, but He loved to come into the garden where the man and his wife lived; and as we in the Midwest say, visit with them.  It was lovely until the day that evil crept in, for in that day everything changed forever.  Suggestions were made by the evil one.  “Did God say you couldn’t eat it?”  “God knows that when you eat it you will be like Him.” In other words, “God is holding out on you.  He doesn’t want you to be wise like He is.”  Well, she took the bait.  She was deceived.  Her man was standing right there, He should have thrown that snake out of the garden, but he didn’t.  He took the fruit and he ate.  Paradise lost.

Remember what I said about the child and the stove?  This is where it all began.  We think we know what is best for us.  We choose to do what we know is wrong and then blame someone else because everything fell apart.  The man and his woman pushed against the will of God and when stuff happened, as God said it would, they pointed the finger at someone else and refused to take responsibility.  The curse came upon them and the whole earth because of sin.

The very thing God said would happen if they ate of the forbidden fruit is what happened.  They lost paradise.  Cast out and the way into the garden barred, they were forced to make their own way in a hostile world.  So it has been ever since.  If the story ended there it would be a tragedy; thankfully that is not the end of the story.  Many, many years went by. and then…..

On a hill far away there stood a cross.  It was at an intersection where many people passed to go into the city.  On that Roman cross there hung a man named Yeshua.  The sign above his head read…”King of the Jews”.  The governor had it written that way to irritate the leaders who pushed him to crucify this man who claimed to be the son of God.  His wife warned him, “Don’t have anything to do with that righteous man, I have been warned in a dream about him.”  He washed his hands in a bowl of water, like that would wash away the guilt of innocent bloodshed.

In a place called Sheol the murderous adversary of God rejoiced, he had seen to it that the High Priest and his cronies carried out his wishes, murdering Yeshua by crucifixion; the Son of God was now in his domain and under his control, it was party time.  He had finally touched God where it hurt the most, His own Son.  His victory was short-lived however, for in three days a light brighter than a thousand suns filled that cavern as God’s Spirit came into Yeshua.  Satan was shocked, the torment he was inflicting upon Yeshua was now turned upon him, as the victim became the victor.

Yeshua fulfilled the plan of God, He bruised the head, the power, of the evil one and took him captive.  From that moment on, any human being who would reach out and take that victory as his own, would nevermore be terrified of death or dying for upon his death he would bypass Hell, go directly to Heaven and collect the full inheritance that Yeshua provided with His life, death and resurrection from the dead.

Though “the beat goes on” and on and on….There is an end, a stopping place.  There is a time when God, the righteous judge, will stop time.  Thrones will be set, people will be gathered and judgment will begin.  No one will be excused for any reason.  The books will be opened.  The most important book, the “Book of Life”  will be opened, and if your name is not in the family album, you will not make it into Heaven.  Your destination will be Hell.

The gathering judgment is for “all the marbles”, forever, no end.

Those who find themselves in Hell will not be having a party, and they will not be with their friends, they will be alone in darkness so deep you cannot see you hand in front of your face.  There are some who have been taken there that they may come back and tell the people not to go there.  They have described putrid odors that sicken you, the screams of the damned who realize that they will be there forever, every soul tormented constantly with no end, forever.

God’s children serve Him in obedience because they love Him.  He gives them peace, joy, harmony and family.  When the separation is made between the sheep and the goats, the sheep whose names are written in the family album will be told, “Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.     Matthew 25:34

God calls the people who have chosen not to follow Him goats, and as we know goats butt.  God permits no buts.  The first commandment makes it plain, “You shall have no other gods before me”.  He is God and there is no other.  He commands obedience to His will.  In the hour of judgment He will say to these who chose to go the way of the devil, the world or their own flesh:  “Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels.”   Matthew 25:41

According to the written word of God, sheep hear the voice of the Good Shepherd and they follow Him because they know His voice.  He leads them and provides for their needs.  They are blessed with relationship, with fellowship, as were the man and his woman in the garden.  God is their God and they are His people, the sheep of His pasture. Paradise was restored and is the place you come into when you get to Heaven.

Two kingdoms exist.  The kingdom of light and the the kingdom of darkness.  You belong to one or the other.  The kingdom of light, also called the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Heaven, has a king and His name is Yeshua. (English: Jesus) He is also the door to the Kingdom of light, and no one gets by the door or comes into heaven by any other means.  “All roads lead to Rome”, does not apply to the Kingdom of God, There is only one way and that way is Yeshua.  “The way is narrow and few there be that find it.”

It would be well for you to consider where you are headed.  Where will you spend eternity?

There are benefits for those who are part of the Kingdom of light.  Not the least of which is “glorious liberty”.  When the burden of sin is removed from your soul you feel lighter, you are free at last.  You become part of a great family.  You have a Father in Heaven who is crazy about you; He truly desires to bless you.  You learn His right way of living and being, and peace and joy fill your soul.  Following this road will take you to Heaven.

The Kingdom of darkness has a low road and a high road, with Hell as its destination.  Money, power, and fame has lead many to debauchery, defilement and suicide.  These are only some of the benefits of the high road to Hell.  Addiction, disease, loneliness, abandonment, rejection and suicide are the payoffs on the low road to Hell, to name a few.  Hopelessness, despair and depression are part of this kingdom, and that is just the beginning of the torment you will experience…forever.

There is really no comparison of the two kingdoms.  The head of one is a liar and a murderer.  The head of the other is the Savior who is the way, the truth and the life.  It seems like the choice is clear.  You can choose blessing or you can choose a life where you are under wrath, under the curse of sin.   Life or death, your choice!

“As for me and my house we will serve the Lord.”   Joshua 24:15

I choose life and blessing sixty two years ago.  Life is better and better as the days go by because God is faithful!  Yeshua said that we would have tribulation in this world, but we were not to concern ourselves with it, rather we are to turn to Him for He has overcome the world.  We receive what He did as though we did it ourselves.  That is imputing to us His righteousness, we become right with God through what He did for us.  Praise God!

Someone wrote this song:

“He paid a debt He did not owe, I owed a debt I could not pay.  I needed someone to wash my sins away.  And now I sing a brand new song “Amazing Grace” the whole day long.  Christ Jesus paid a debt that I could never pay.”

How about you friend, have you chosen the Kingdom of Light and its King, Yeshua?   If not, today would be a good day to do so.

Blessings!

Joy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Broken and Poured Out

As I was awakening this morning I heard the words “Broken and Spilled Out”, I immediately thought of Rebecca Pippert’s book of the same title.  I read it many years ago; it had a profound effect on my soul.  At the time I was struggling with something and having a very hard time with it.

I had no idea what was happening to me during that interlude, all I knew was that I felt miserable.  I was in a place in my walk with the Lord Jesus where I thought I should be happy.  I had no idea that I was on the potter’s wheel.

Isaiah the prophet said this:  But now, O Lord, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.  Isaiah 64:8

There is a poem called, “The Tea-cup”, I don’t know who wrote it, but it is appropriate to the idea that I just mentioned.  Essentially, the story goes that a couple went into a store, saw a tea-cup and when it was handed to the lady, it began to talk to her about the process it went through to be the beautiful cup it was.

The tea-cup begins to explain:  “There was a time when I was red clay.  My master took me and rolled me and patted me over and over and I yelled out.  “Let me alone,” but he only smiled, “Not yet!”

As each verse goes on the tea-cup tells of the process it went through.  it was put into an oven, taken out and brushed all over, put back into the oven, brushed and painted all over and put into the fire again, finally it was placed on a shelf.  An hour later the tea-cup was shown what it looked like, it said “That’s not me; that couldn’t be me.  It’s beautiful.  I’m beautiful.”

The master replied, “I want you to remember, I know it hurts, I know it made you dizzy, I know the fumes were bad.”  He explains why the process, why the oven, the fire was necessary, then he closes with these words:  “Now you are a finished product  You are what I had in mind when I first began with you.”

Each of us is at some stage of the process.  God knows what He wants, He alone has the picture, the plan, for each of our lives, our part is to yield to His way.  He is the potter and we are the clay.  There must be brokenness, a willingness to allow Him to mold us, there must be a yielding to the will of God so that He can complete that good work in us that He has begun when we received Jesus as our Lord and Savior.  Philippians 1:6

God is love!  Whatever He does is because of love.  When we go through hard times, it is because we are in the preparation process, there cannot be a resistance to the will of the potter and have the outcome that He planned for our lives.  Our self-centered willfulness must be broken, without it we will never be the container for His Glory that He has planned.  There is only one true and living God, we must yield the throne of our lives to Him.

Broken, yes, not to harm us, but in order that the plan of God for our lives may be completed, that we might be ready to be a vessel through which He can pour out His love and blessing upon others.

Each of us has been given a valuable and precious gift, the right to choose.  People and circumstances can influence, but we choose what we will do with our lives.  I remind us again that no choice is a choice.  Going with “the flow”, will take us down the path of “the devil, the world and the flesh.”, the Bible calls this worldly wisdom.  God always stands ready to give us His wisdom, but we don’t have when we don’t ask.  James 4:2

God desires that each of us be a Masterpiece.  There can be no Masterpiece without a Master craftsman.  Will you yield your will to God today and allow Him to make of you what He wills?

God bless you as you go through the process.

If you have not yet received Jesus as your Savior and Lord, today is the day of salvation.  Come on home, the Father is waiting to welcome you into His Kingdom, there is a special place reserved just for you.  Welcome Home!

Love in Jesus, Joy

 

 

Perspective

We are all a work in progress.  We will not be finished here until our life on earth ends.  We come to earth through a woman.  After our birth, we grow in every way, physically, mentally, emotionally etc.  This process is without effort on our part.  We walk through life as if we were on a moving walkway.  Some people seem to run and some people decide to sit life out; others rebel against the process and still others go with the flow, but no one can stop the process.

I have been thinking this morning about my sons and how they perceive who I am.  If I wrote a letter to them, I would tell them that how they see me is not who I really am.   I am the sum total of all of my experiences to date.  Everything that has happened to me has made me who I am today.  I am not the Mom that raised them.  That person was left behind long ago.  I am more fully Joy today than I have ever been.

I was a legalistic parent.  It was my way or else.  I raised them by what I perceived were Biblical standards.  I did not know that God is not legalistic, He has laws and obeying them brings blessing.  Disobeying them bring a curse.  We can choose to obey and be blessed and we can choose to disobey and reap the consequences.  God is not angry with us, He loves us intensely, passionately.  Everything He does is for our good.  He is a good Father.

I reached a point where I cared about my parents, and though both of them lived with me, I wished I had sat down with them and asked more questions about their lives so I would know who they really were.  But by the time I cared, they were gone and it was too late.  I have read stories of people in trouble crying out for their Mom, needing her comfort.  I don’t believe it ever leaves your soul.

A friend of mine, in her 80’s, shared a memory of being in the kitchen with her mother as a little girl. She remembered how bright the kitchen was and the smell of bread baking.  She was happy; she had no fear or anxiety.   Yesterday she told me that her doctor says she should not drive on the freeway and her kids are talking about moving her to assisted living.  Another friend is having major health issues and has given power of attorney to a family member.  Each of these women is struggling to maintain their independence while realizing that eventually they will have to have help.

You have to be very brave to go through old age, because you eventually lose the right to be you anymore as volition is transferred to your children or a caregiver.

Americans have an independent mentality.  It is the foundation of our country, one of the major documents of America being The Declaration of Independence.

Parents look forward to their children being “independent”, moving out and beginning life on their own.  As we walk through life, we gather people and things along the way.  We get a job, marry and have children, buy a house, a car etc.  When the kids move out and we are left with the house and the things we adjust to the new reality. Old age comes and a spouse dies and another adjustment is made.  Life is a series of adjustments and adaptations.

There was an elderly gentleman who was hospitalized, he never said very much to the staff.  When he died and they were gathering his things to give to the family they found a poem that he had written in which he spoke about how they cared for him day after day, but they never really saw him.

This brought to mind what I came to know as reality, the spirit of a person does not grow old, only the body ages and dies.  The body goes into the grave and returns to dust.  The spirit, which is eternal, goes to Heaven or Hell; depending on who or what you served during your sojourn on the Earth.

We look at the body of a person and think that is who they are.  Not true!  The spirit within is young.  Some have said perhaps around 30 years of age.

How others see you is only one perspective.  There is another perspective and that is how you see yourself.  If we look at ourselves based upon what someone thinks of us, we will always be striving to please them.  It is a bottomless pit that leads to misery.  “You can please some of the people some of the time but, you cannot please all of the people all of the time.”  People who strive to please others are miserable and they are miserable to be around.

Of course, if you see yourself as superior to others you will be a controlling, miserable wretch to be around and sooner or later, you will be abandoned.  “Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.”

Lastly, there is the real perspective and that is how God sees you, which is the only one that carries weight for all eternity.  This is the only true view.  After all, the Word of God says that He looks at the heart while men look at the outward things.  It is written:  “Out of the heart are the issues of life.”  It is God that we are to please, living by His standards brings many blessings.

I pray that you will be blessed today.  God’s Word says that we are “accepted in the Beloved.” Ephesian 1:6  Let us press our flesh to agree with the Word, not what we think or feel and not what another person thinks of us, good or bad.  To be able to walk in that is freedom indeed.

Joy

Almost, But Not Quite.

Today a guest writer will bring a message that has been “burning” in her heart.  She is a dear friend of mine for over thirty years; she is passionate about God and I asked if she would share this message with you.  DeAnne, you have the floor, or page.  LOL!

My husband and I like to walk around a lake near us, especially on a beautiful summer morning.  As we walk we enjoy the beauty of nature, greet the people we meet along the way and in general enjoy God’s handiwork.

Recently, as we were on our way to the lake, while driving there, I happened to notice some drivers who sort of “fudged” a bit on the traffic rules.  It set me to thinking and I want to share those thoughts with you in hopes that it will challenge you.

When we first learn to drive we are very careful and very diligent to obey all of the rules, but familiarity brings with it laxity.  We exceed the speed limit by just five miles because we know we won’t be stopped, we sort of roll through the stop sign instead of coming to a full stop, we may not use a turn signal because no one is around, and how many of us approach an intersection, the light is yellow and you know it will be red before you clear it, but you go through it anyway.  Some people have even taken to going through a light when it turns red.  What we are really saying is, “The rules don’t apply to me.”  Really?

How about spiritually?  We meet Jesus, we are born-again, we are hungry, hungry, hungry.  We can’t get enough Word, enough Bible Study, enough talk about Jesus and God’s Kingdom.  We go to church. We go to meetings. We attend Bible Studies.  We so much want to learn about this amazing God who died for us, who gave His life that we might really live.  We can’t wait to share what we are learning with others.

But in time something happens.  We miss a service here and there.  We start finding fault with the people in our Bible Study, and church does not seem to draw us like it once did.  We don’t take time to read the Bible, listen to teachings or have “God” conversations.  Our hearts start growing cold.

There are many ways that we justify ourselves.  We may think: “God loves me, I know that, but He knows I can’t spend all of my time in church.  I have other commitments too.”  “I have grown a lot over the years, I am actually doing pretty good.  How much more do I have to grow?”  “I am not so bad, I go to church most Sundays.  I am not the pastor or Bible teacher, I am just a homemaker, a mother and now I am a grandma.  I need a break.”

“The other day I was walking through the family room and I heard a TV preacher say, “God misses His time with you.”,  “I thought, come on, I am no one special.  But that thought nagged me, He misses me?  Could it be….maybe it is true.  Could that be why my children aren’t living so great.  Could I be backslidden?  Does God really miss me when I don’t spend time with Him?”

“I am somewhat of a church goer.  I give some in the offering baskets.  I am not a freeloader with God, am I?  Well, our finances aren’t as good as they used to be, things are getting a little tight.  I haven’t talked to my godly friends in a long time.  Hmmm, maybe God is trying to tell me something.”

“A few months ago my believing friend said something that offended me, maybe I needed to hear that rebuke. Lord, are you trying to help me to listen?  Maybe I need to have a talk with Jesus; my knees probably could stand to get a few callouses.”

“I wonder where I put my Bible.  Oh my, when was the last time I read it?  God, forgive me it’s been a long time, maybe that is why my life is in such a mess, it is a “BIG” mess.  Jesus, I need you, bring me back to the center and be my main focus again.  Today I say, “Yes”, to you.  I will search for You with my whole heart, like I used to.  Thank you God for never giving up on me.  Oh Lord, don’t ever let me go backwards again.  You are so good, so kind, so merciful and precious.  Thank you for never leaving me or forsaking me.  I love you Lord.”

The person in this scenario realized before it was too late that she had let her relationship with the Lord slip away.  You cannot be almost saved, but not quite, you are either saved or you are not.  You can’t have a relationship with someone without communication.  Let us remember we are Children of the Most High God and members of the Royal household, our Brother is the King.  Let’s visit with our family on earth, our Father in Heaven, our Brother, Jesus, and let’s welcome the Spirit of the Lord into every part of our lives.

Deuteronomy 8: 2-3; 11-16 NKJV

“And you shall remember that the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.  “So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone, but by every Word that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord.

Beware that you do not forget the Lord you God by not keeping His commandments, His judgments, and His statues which I command you today, lest, when you have eaten and are full, and have built beautiful houses and dwell in them; and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and your gold are multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied; when your heart is lifted up, and you forget the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt from the house of bondage; who led you through that great and terrible wilderness, in which were fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty land where there was no water; who brought water for you out of the flinty rock;’ who fed you in the wilderness with manna, which your fathers did not know, that He might humble you and that He might test you, to do you good in the end.”

God loves you!  It has been a privilege to share with you.  DeAnne

Ivy’s Story

I had the most unusual experience today, it was serendipitous for sure!

As you walk through life you meet people every day, some of them you greet with a, “Hi, how are you?”.  There are other people who you just smile at in passing and others you don’t even see because you are preoccupied with your own thoughts.  And then, there are a few where meeting them causes something in you to “click”; and you are immediately comfortable with them.

Today began pretty much as a Sunday does except that I was feeling pretty heavy laden in spirit.  Yesterday I kept Shabbat.  I really needed it.  Since Christmas I feel like I have had an incredibly full calendar, so much so that time to just rest or read was a luxury.  If it wasn’t the daily chores of keeping up a home and keeping my husband happy, I was reaching out to others and doing the extra-curricular things I do.

So, yesterday I began reading a book that I got from my cousin.  It is called, “Dispatches from the Front” and is written by Tim Keese.  Years ago I attempted to read Foxe’s Book of Martyrs and could not make it through.  I decided in order to make it through Keese’s book I would lace it with a little of Jase Robertson’s book “Good Call”.  And that was helpful, however, I came across a story in Keese’s book of a Mom and seven sons who were murdered, but not just murdered, tortured, incredibly tortured.  It was too much.  I think grief just came and sat on my shoulder.

I know that there is persecution, torture and martyrdom going on in real-time, not just what is in Keese’s book, but I have chosen not to look upon these things because of the torment I feel for the people, sometimes you have to protect your heart

I said all of that to say this:  It was with a heavy heart I started this day but by the end of the day my heart was singing and rejoicing and declaring:  “This is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it!”

After church my usual habit is to go to lunch with friends.  We have such a wonderful relationship and are comfortable with one another, so it becomes very enjoyable.  Today was no exception.

As I was heading for home I felt prompted to see if I could find the home of a lady I had met at church that morning.  I will call her Ivy.  She told me the general vicinity where she lived and had mentioned the street name.  That was all I knew.  I did not even know her last name, but when you have a divine appointment and are trusting Holy Spirit He will lead you, and lead He did…right to her.

For about an hour and a half we talked like we had known each other for years.  We found much in common, including the fact that we each have a son who is not walking with God as he should.  We acknowledged that they were in the Lord’s hands; He is good and faithful and will keep His Word to us for their salvation and deliverance.  Praise Him!

Ivy told me of her youth in Louisiana, her early marriage and the troubles with her husband and his untimely death as a very young man at a time when they were separated.  She spoke of moving to the north country, first to a major city by a Lake and then to Twin Cities farther north.  She wanted to be near her daughter and this made her daughter happy, as she missed her Mom.  Soon her son was with them and things were not so good with him.  How hard it is for a Christian Mom to see her children in the far country knowing what peace and joy there is in the Father’s house.  Ivy’s heart longs for her boy to be free to love Jesus, to know Him as His own Savior and Lord.

As Ivy and I talked together, we began to see that we had a lot in common.  She is a prayer like I am.  Her love for Jesus is strong, like mine and we have both had some very difficult things to deal with in our lives.  Yet, in all that we spoke of there is a deep abiding peace and joy that can only come in relationship with our Lord Jesus.

As I got out of my car, I noticed a book in the door pocket, I reached in to pick it up and just sensed I should bring it with me into the building.  The incredible timing of the Lord is amazing.  The time was getting close to the supper hour and I knew our time together was winding down.  I reached over and handed the book to Ivy, she looked at the title and saw the word, “Restored” and clasped it to her breast.  She told me that she had placed her hand upon her son’s head and told him that he needed to be restored and now here was this book.  She was in awe of God’s perfect timing.

The next thing that happened was that her son walked into the room where we were talking, we chatted for a moment and I gave him the book, telling him that this book was the story of Maurice Sklar who was a Jewish man who played the violin, had attended Juliard School of Music, had a promising career in the secular world and gave it all up to follow Jesus.  He received the book with interest.  When he left the room she told me that in prison he had been given the holy book of those who are now beheading people who won’t follow their religion, and he had been reading it.  We prayed together for our sons and it was powerful.

To say that Ivy and I were quite overwhelmed by everything that had just taken place is an understatement.  As I drove away from her apartment building all I could say was, “WOW!”

I don’t know if this event of meeting with Ivy is the beginning of a “forever friend” relationship or not, but I do know that it was a God appointment, of that I have no doubt.

I hope you enjoyed Ivy’s story.  It has been a blessing to me.

love to you dear ones,

Joy