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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trophy – looking for love in all the wrong places.

Born in 1948, he was Nin’s 5th child.  Her Mother was not happy.  Yet one more baby for her to worry about.

Kenny was a happy baby.  He gurgled and cooed, smiled with his eyes, and charmed everyone who met him.

Nothing much changed about Kenny as he got older.  He still smiled with his eyes; he was active, always moving, doing something, testing her patience.

Then she became pregnant again, this time another boy.  They were close together, these two sons of hers, so close that many people thought they were twins.  The little brother was a follower.  He mimicked everything his big brother did.  Together Kenny and Larrie made quite a team.

Baby number 7 was born when Nin was 42 years of age.  She was a Down’s syndrome child, at that time called Mongoloid.  The extended family was quick to blame J.B.’s alcoholism.  Nin didn’t care what they thought, she loved her little one.  She gave me the privilege of naming her, I called her Cynthia Kay.  I thought she was beautiful.

Cindy was about 18 months old when Kenny and Larrie took her for a ride in the baby stroller.  Some of the neighborhood children gathered around and made very hurtful remarks about her looks.  Coming home, they asked Nin what was wrong with her, why did the children make fun of her.  The innocence of childhood and the love of family; they didn’t know she was different, she was just Cindy and she was their sister.

People are people the world over, we judge and criticize what we do not understand.  We still do it when we become adults, we are just more covert about it than children are.  How often do we say things to others that if said to us would cut deeply?  We don’t even think about that.  We should.

Kenny and Larrie got into a lot of trouble.  Mostly Kenny leading the way.  They were so cute, it was hard to be angry with them, but Nin did not let things go by.  Sometimes, she made them go to the tree in the back yard and pick the switch that she would use to swat them; but Kenny was a runner and he would take off, laughing as he ran away from her.

One day  a policeman showed up at the door.  It seems someone had seen the boys deface public property and reported it to the police.  Kenny heard him talking to her, ran upstairs and crawled under the bed, getting as close to the wall as he could.  That didn’t phase Nin, she got a broom and went after him.  He had to face the music.  He spent time cleaning up the mess.

When the boys became teen-agers, the issues became problems and heartaches for Nin.  Fast cars, fast girls, drinking and smoking, seemingly following in their father’s  footsteps.  By now Kenny was a very handsome young man.  He had no problem having a girl friend. Close calls driving drunk could have taken Kenny’s life, but God had a plan.

Nin saw to it that the boys had a strong work ethic, so when they were old enough they had to get a job.  Of course, it took money to live the lifestyle they wanted, and with J.B.’s alcoholism getting worse so that he couldn’t work, it was up to them to get it themselves.

Kenny had drive.  He wanted the finer things of life as he got older.  He saw what others had and he wanted it for himself.  He pushed ahead.  Military service side-lined his plans temporarily, but once he was back home he began his pursuit of things.

God brought him a wife, the perfect mate.  Though the ensuing years brought struggle and turmoil, God had a plan.  He lived a double life for quite a few years.  On the surface, he was a happily married man with two daughters, but he was sinning really well in private.

Trophy:  The apostle Paul said that he was the chief of sinners because he had persecuted Christians, though he said that he was ignorant, and that is why God could apprehend him.  Paul was one of God’s trophies.

As I thought about Paul today, I began to think of my brother Ken and wanted to share a piece of his story with you; I believe that Ken is one of God’s trophies.  Oh by the way, when he got older we had to stop calling him Kenny, he was now Ken.  (smile)

These days, Ken serves God as well as he served the devil, the world and his own flesh.  He is in love with Jesus and brings the good news of salvation to any who will hear.  He ministers love with his smiling eyes and kind words.  He is a trophy of the love of God.

I have no doubt that if God has a trophy room, Ken’s smiling face is there.

Love you my brother!

Joy

 

 

 

The Story of Stanley Smith

The following story is purely fictional, but it is based on truth.  Consider what happened to Stanley Smith.

My name is Stanley Smith.  I want you to know that Hell is real and so is Heaven.  I have been to both places.  Now, where is that found in the Bible you may ask.  Well, my answer is that it is found in several places either directly or indirectly.  If you really care to know, you can search it out.  I am not the source of easy answers nor am I going to argue with your unbelief.  I am simply a witness.  You will either believe what I am about to tell you or you will not, but that will not alter what I experienced and was commissioned to tell.

I am 45 years of age; a faithful husband and a loving father to our two sons.  I am a good son to my parents and I am a good friend to a couple of guys.  My parents raised me in a Christian home and when the kids came along my wife and I decided we needed to get involved in church.  I saw myself as a good person.

I was driving home from my office on the night of September 15, 2016; I had worked extra long hours that day because of changes that took place in the company I work for.  It had been bought out by a larger firm and transition was underway necessitating that management spend extra time making sure that it went smoothly.

Our place is out in the country near a town of about 10,000 people, we have a hobby farm of 5 acres.  I had a pole barn built to house the horses.  My wife and I each have a horse and our two sons share one.  We love taking in the horse shows at the county fair and have participated in many of the local equestrian activities.

We sit at the tail end of a state park system, nestled in a grove of trees; it provides a measure of privacy, but also enjoyment as we see deer, wild turkeys, and other wild life, on a regular basis.  There was an outbreak of tent caterpillars last year and they sprayed our grove to stop it from spreading further into the park.  We appreciated that.

My wife has a vegetable garden, from it we get fresh veggies for summer eating, and enough to do some canning for winter cooking.  We keep a few chickens for eggs and occasional eating.  It’s a good life.

Anyway, I was heading home that late September night when a 12 point buck darted into the road in front of my car.  The last thing I remember is crashing into the deer.

The next thing that I remember is that I began to go down into utter darkness, I thought, “There must be some mistake, I am supposed to go up.”  As I began to descend I smelled a horrible odor like the worst rotten eggs you every smelled in your life.  I heard people screaming; I was terrified.  The realization that I was on my way to Hell impacted all my senses, I yelled, “Jesus, help me.”

Suddenly, a light as bright as the sun shone upon me and yanked me out of that horrible place.  I found myself standing before Jesus.

“Why was I going to Hell?  I don’t understand, I believe in you.”  With great sorrow in His eyes, He told me that I had not belonged to Him, He could not stop me from going there; I had made the choice.  “But,” I said, “I am a good Christian, I go to church and I help people, I am not a sinner like some of the people I know that have affairs, cheat and lie.”

He replied, “It is written in My Word that all men are sinners and no one can come to the Father except through Me.  I am the Way.”  “I spoke to the Pharisee that the only way here is to be born again.  Like the Pharisees, you trusted in your own goodness, your own works; that is not the way here.”, He said. “You chose your own way and that is what sent you to Hell.”

Tears ran down His cheeks as He told me that the only reason I was with Him now was because my mother had said she would not allow me to go to Hell and Father had heard her prayers.  He told me that when I cried out to Him, I came into agreement with her prayers and He was able to rescue me from Hell.  I fell at His feet and cried out for Him to save me.  “I believe Lord, forgive me.”

I trembled to think how close I came to being lost forever.  His love flooded by whole being, all the things of earth left me at that moment and all I could do was worship Him.

He lifted me up to stand before Him.  His eyes were pools of liquid love.  I knew at that moment the joy of the Lord that I had only heard about.

“I am going to give you a choice.”  He said.  “You can stay here, enter into the city, and meet your loved ones who have gone on before or you can go back and be a witness for Me.”

I could see my grand-parents, some aunts and uncles and others I knew who had passed on.  They were waving and beckoning me to come.  It was hard to choose.  Heaven is indescribably beautiful and the peace and love are tangible; but I chose to come back.  You may wonder why.  It made perfect sense to me there, but in the months that followed I too wondered why I had made that decision.

Instantly, I found myself back in my body with searing pain shooting through my legs.  My head felt like it weighed a ton.  I was aware that there were people all around my vehicle because I could hear them talking.  They thought I was dead.  I tried to tell them that I was very much alive, but my mouth didn’t work.  I don’t remember what happened next.

I was told that I was in the hospital for two months before I woke up.  My injuries were so severe that there were moments when my family despaired for my life.  I so wanted to tell them I would be okay and that I had seen Jesus, but it would be a year before I was able to do so, it was just too sacred to me.

I am fully recovered today.  In His mercy, God healed several parts of my body, but much the same way that Jacob was left with a limp after wrestling with the angel of the Lord as it is recorded in the Bible, I was left a paraplegic.  I thank God every day for my life, for my family, and for all the blessings I have been given.  I do not in any way feel angry about my lot in life.  I know that in Heaven I will walk again.

God has opened up doors for me to share my testimony and I have seen many come to Him as a result.  If you are one who thinks that your own goodness or your knowledge of God, Jesus, or Heaven will get you there, please accept my experience; repent of your sin and receive what Jesus did for you in His death and resurrection.  You will be eternally grateful that you did.

 

I received this story early one morning.  It was written and put into a folder in my Word account.  God is trying to reach out to many people with the message from Heaven.  I trust you will consider His message, turn from sin and embrace the cross of Christ if you have not already done so.  Dying to self is not easy, but the result is out of this world.  Heaven awaits the sons of God.

You are loved by Jesus and me. (Joy)

 

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America

I want to speak to those of you who are careless in the things of God, who take for granted that everything is going to continue as it always has.  Perry Stone says that there are Christians that are awake and those that are asleep.  It is past time to awaken from sleep.  The enemy has come into the house and he is robbing us of our heritage.

Where are the intercessors? Where are those who stand in the gap for the land so that it does not get destroyed? Derek Prince suggests that we believers are salt that has lost its savor.

I had a dream many years ago about the bride of Jesus, the organized church of Jesus Christ.  She became old and fat and had to be put with caretakers; she didn’t care about the Lord’s garden and would not go to work in it, she just wanted to sit and read the Bible.

Can I tell you that not only do God’s people want to be in their religious social clubs called church, but they also are imbibing of the world’s wine and getting drunk on the world’s way of doing and being. She is part of the problem when God’s intent is that she be the solution.

No longer is the church alive and vibrant with the love of God and the joy of the Lord.  She is divided into many parts and each part is proud, ignorant of the desire of Jesus that she be united in love so that the world may know that He came and that He loves them.

Naturally speaking, If all you ever do is eat and eat and don’t exercise you may get fat.  The same thing holds true spiritually.  The church has a history, she is fat with knowledge and information, but she is pathetically weak because she does not have God’s wisdom and understanding and she is turned in on herself.  The world has a term for it, it’s called narcissism.

The Bible says, “These people honor me with their lips but their heart is far from me.”

How many of us go to church, read the Bible, in effect, do all the “right” things, but care little for our neighbor.  Do we care about the fact that America is becoming a post Christian nation?  Do we realize that we are descending into the same scenario that others have prior to their complete destruction?

America used to send missionaries to other countries, now the world is sending missionaries here.  Because most of us don’t pray, God is raising up intercessors in other countries to pray for us.

Why is it that the only faith that is being attacked is the Christian faith?  When you are strong a bully doesn’t bother you.  How could it happen that bakeries and flower shops have closed their doors because a marginal group has attacked them?  Where is the church in all this, where are the pastors and leaders?  Is there no fight left?

Perry Stone was contacted by some government people and told to tone it down, stop the prophecy teaching; he was told to just smile and preach, in other words just be like the smiling preacher who does not address issues, then he would have millions of followers.  I am happy to say he refused.

I am not advocating fighting with guns and bullets.  The Bible says if you live by the sword you will die by the sword.  We have a way to fight, it is called prayer.  But, the enemy of our God has convinced us that our “little prayers won’t make a difference.”

How do you convince a million people that God is dead, asleep, or in any case not relevant to our modern day world?  You lie to them!  How many Americans place their trust in newspapers, magazines and TV?  These are a reed upon which they lean…in God’s time, it will break!

Andy Andrews wrote a book about the holocaust and how the people were deceived by a lie.  How many Americans think that it won’t happen here?

Why is the adversary of God called the devil?  Because devil means accuser.  He accuses us day and night.  How many reading this can say that they have never felt “less than” or at the extreme ” a piece of trash”.

We have all experienced rejection and accusation, but how many of us have questioned the lie.  We humans have been created in the image of God.  We are not faulty, we are loved by God, our creator.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ, His life, His death, His burial and His resurrection for humankind is The Good News.  To know this one who came into our world to be our Savior is available to anyone, but it means humbling ourselves and recognizing that we are sinners and we need a Savior.  Wholeness is what Jesus died for us to have.

Believers in Jesus should be strong, vibrant, loving, kind people.  The Bible says that we are more than conquerors through what Jesus did for us.  We are living way below our privilege.

Our pastor challenged us recently to get up, go out and reach out. I happen to believe that “the pen is mightier than the sword.”  Some of us can go to the mall, some of us can go to places where a lot of people gather, some of us can support those who go, and some of us can pray, but all of us can do something.

What are you going to do?

Prayer, Possession, Position and Priority

Good Morning, it has been an hour now since I woke up.  It is about 5:30.  When I wake up in the early morning hours, I wake up wide awake and I know that I must get up and get with God.  I don’t feel Him, I don’t see Him, but I know I am with Him.  And, I know that He has something that I am to pray about.

Normally, I sleep peacefully through the night and awaken after approximately eight hours.  I wake up happy, thinking about the Lord and ready for the day.

Recently, there are several things that have happened to those I care about.  A few years ago I would have been worried, even fearful for them.  Today, I know that my Father in Heaven holds them in His hand and I can trust that He knows what is needed to bring them to full dependence upon Him.  That is His goal.

My mind wanders around as I pray for my loved ones.  I see them in my mind’s eye.  I see characteristics, pitfalls they may have fallen into and I pray that God will set them free.  The Bible says that in this world there will be trouble; we could all say AMEN to that.  If it stopped there we would have every right as believers in Jesus to feel wretched.  However, that is not the end of the story.

Peter the apostle, tells us that God gave us great and precious promises so that we could escape the lust that is in the world.  In our American Christian mindset we most often think of lust in terms of sex.  It is more than that. Lust takes many forms.

In Eden Adam and Eve lusted to be like God as they listened to the lie of the snake.  They felt that there was something God had denied them.  The evil one accused God to them saying, “God knows that in the day that you eat of the fruit you will be like God.”

Why is this a lie?  Because Adam had been created “in the image and likeness of God”.  Adam looked just like God.  The same authority that God had over Heaven, Adam had over Eden.  He lacked nothing…except one thing, a companion like himself, so God made Eve from one of Adam’s ribs.

Eve also bore the image and likeness of God since she was created by God from Adam’s rib.  They had a perfect environment.  They lived in perfect relationship with God.  It was like Heaven on earth, that is until the adversary sowed doubt and introduced lust into the picture.  Paradise was lost.

The result of Adam’s choice is called sin.  It happens every time someone listens to the accuser and chooses lust instead of life.

What do you lust after?  Power, fame, fortune, a good reputation?  Some lust after food, some lust after knowledge.  Lust is nothing more than idolatry and it can take many forms.  It is a “sneaky” spirit that first must deceive the mind before it possesses the soul.

When I was a young married woman I lusted after my husband.  I wanted to be with him all the time.  Though I did not see it at the time I wanted to possess him.  I cried if he wanted to go outside and I made him miserable if he wanted to be alone.  I “needed” him.

Thank God He did not allow my husband to fulfill my lust!  I had an emotional deficit that I wanted him to fill.  I did not know at that time that I was created with a God-sized vacuum and only God could fill it.  It would be many miserable years before my eyes were opened to the truth and I trusted Jesus to be Lord of my life.

I have shared this in the hope that I might help you see that you can be a believer in Jesus and be a “soulish” Christian who is led by lust instead of being led by the Holy Spirit as the sons of God are to be.

Man is a spirit and when a person comes into relationship with God through Jesus we say that he is saved or born-again.  Since man is a spiritual being the Bible says that we become “a new creature in Christ Jesus.”  The essence of meaning is “something that never existed before.”  This  transformation is immediate.  The Bible says that a believer is “seated with Christ in Heavenly places”.  That is in the spiritual realm.  It is a legal position.  It carries with it Heaven’s authority.

The church is called the “Body of Christ” and each person likened to a member of the Body.  Thus each person has a part to play in the well-being of the Body.  When one part of your body is in distress your whole being feels distressed.  This is why God leads us to pray for one another.

The soul and body of a believer is that part of our being that relates to the natural world, the world around us.

The soul houses the mind (not your brain), the will and the emotions, including your affections, and when your are born-again it enters into a process called salvation.  You are saved from your past sins, being saved presently and will be saved in the future.   Depending on your former lifestyle, this can be messy and you need to be patient with yourself and others as God crafts you into the image He has of you.

It is essential that one who comes to Jesus must commit himself to the Lord with all that he knows of himself at that point in time.  It is absolutely essential that he get a Bible that he can understand so he will read it.  By the way, do not be pressured that you must devour the whole thing at once.  Just start a regular program of Bible reading.  There are many fine Bibles and Bible studies that will help you grow spiritually.

Prayer is the conversation of a believing heart with God. If you want a relationship with someone you spend time with them, you talk to them about yourself and they talk to you about themselves.  It is called, “Getting to know you”.  (smile)

Take some time every day to be with Him.  God wants you to know Him and though He knows you more than you know yourself, He wants you to bring everything to Him.  He loves you so much.

You have a blessed day today.  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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Case of the Grandfather Clock

The grandfather clock in the hall was chiming 7:00 A.M. when Nicholas walked out the door to go to his office.  Mary’s mother had given them the clock when her father died.  He and Mary’s uncle had made it back in 1954 when Mary was still at home.  She had always loved it and was thrilled that she had it in their home.

The day began just like any other, but it was not to end that way.  Life would never be the same when this day was over.

Mary was raised in the Midwest along with her three siblings. Mary’s father, John Carlson was a second generation Norwegian and a shopkeeper by trade.  He and Mary’s mother, Anna, had a little grocery store in the neighborhood where they lived.  The locals all frequented the store and became friends of the family.

When Mary graduated from high school she took a job at the local bank.  She worked in bookkeeping along with two other girls, it was fun and challenging.  She enjoyed being with people and soon was promoted to teller.  Her job provided her with enough income to be able to help the “little kids”, the ones still at home.

Mary and her friend Eleanor took a vacation to California and fell in love with the San Francisco Bay area.  Within the year they loaded their meager belongings into Eleanor’s ’49 Ford and headed west.

Mary was hired to work in the accounting department for Security Mutual Insurance Company.  She got the job right away and was so grateful to not have to go any further.  Nicholas Strousky worked for the company as an underwriter.  He had started when he was just out of college; he graduated from the University of California, Berkeley; his goal was to manage the company’s branch office by the time he was forty, a very ambitious goal.

Nicholas and Mary discovered each other in the company lunchroom and it was love at first sight.  Nine months later they were married, he was 27 and she was 25.

They were unlike most couples in their circle in that Nicholas came to America from Russia with his parents when he was sixteen  They had won the lottery to come to America and were able to do so immediately due to the fact that his uncle was already a citizen and could verify his ability to support them.

Life went along pretty peacefully for several years, promotions came on a regular basis for Nicholas, he was moving up the corporate ladder.  His superiors had only positive comments for him at review time.  His income was commensurate with the promotions and he and Mary lived pretty well.

Up until this time they had lived in a condominium, but the desire for a home of their own was strong.  They wanted to have a dog and could not where they lived.  They were also considering having a family.  The agreement was that Mary would be a stay at home Mom at that point.  As you can see they were goal setters and they pressed forward toward their goals with diligence.

Last Sunday afternoon, Uncle “D”, as Mary called him. came over to their place for Dinner.  Mary made his favorite meal, beef roast, borscht, boiled potatoes and cabbage.   They had a nice visit and he left around nine o’clock.

Walking out of the house that Monday, Nicholas got into his car and headed for the office, Mary had started a new job with a decorating company called “Inventive Designs”, they went into a client’s home, working with them on room design, color, furniture, furnishings etc.  Mary loved it as it gave her creativity an outlet.

At 5:00 P.M. the local TV station, KSGN, broadcast the news that Dominic Strousky had been arrested as a Russian Spy, further reporting that he had been taking kick backs from Russia for years.  The FBI began an investigation.

Nicholas had just gotten into his car when the announcement was made over the car radio of Dominic’s arrest.  He sat in stunned silence.  How could this be?  Uncle D” had always been a favorite, he even felt that he was more than family, he was a close personal friend to he and Mary.  He called Mary and asked if she had heard, she hadn’t.  She too was absolutely flabbergasted.  This was incomprehensible.

As the investigation played out, it was noted that Dominic had received $50,000 in cash for taking pictures of a sealed off area known as “Area C”, it was in the Nevada desert.  The money however, was nowhere to be found.

Nicholas and Mary were heartbroken over the events that unfolded.  They still found it hard to believe.  Because of the close relationship to Dominic, the FBI was investigating them as well.  It was very unnerving, even painful to have your loyalty to America questioned.  Nicholas had long ago become a citizen and was so grateful to his chosen country.  They both loved America.

If it wasn’t bad enough being questioned by agents who assumed your guilt without proof of wrong-doing, or the FBI prying into their finances, and the continual stake outs watching their every move; the San Francisco Bay area shook, rattled and rolled to a 6.5 earthquake. “What next?” They asked each other.

When Nicholas arrived home that night, he found the grandfather clock face down; when he set it up he could not believe his eyes.  The door on the bottom had sprung open, in it and spilling out was $50,000 American dollars, the exact amount that Dominic was accused of taking.

When Mary arrived home she found him sitting on the sofa staring at the money on their coffee table.  “What on earth do we do now?”, he asked Mary.  “If we go to the police and tell them, they will think that we were complicit.”  “But we can’t keep it.”, Mary said.” Nicholas had contemplated when Dominic had put it there.  “He had to have put there on Sunday when he was here for dinner.  What do we do Mary?”, he asked.

They got little sleep that night.  They agreed they could not keep the money, that was a given.  The only option that seemed reasonable was to take it to the police and let them contact the FBI.  So they did.

The next several months were like Hell on earth.  Their employers questioned their loyalty, their friends were suspicious and the government assumed guilt by association.  They had no choice but to hire a lawyer.

Rudy Langford was the best lawyer of the best.  His law firm had managed to get a high profile Basketball player free, even though most people believed he was guilty.  Their hopes to purchase a home went out the window, the money eaten up in lawyer’s fees.

The trial of Dominic Strousky for treason lasted four weeks.  The government proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that he was involved with the Russian mafia, and was extorting money from people, as well as spying on the American government for Russia.  He was convicted and sentenced to death for treason.

Rudy Langford’s presentation, maintaining the innocence of Nicholas and Mary Strousky, convinced the jury that they were above reproach.  There was no incrimination, they were exonerated.  But the cost to Nicholas and Mary was much more than just money, their lives would never be the same again.

In the ensuing year, they both quit their jobs, moved back to the Midwest and began a new life, putting behind them the case of the grandfather clock.

-finis-