A Bar

A Bar – Poem by Darren Westbrook

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

A bar to manliness and wealth;

A door to want and broken health.

A bar to honor, pride and fame.

A door to grief and sin and shame.

A bar to joys that home imparts.

A door to tears and aching hearts.

A bar to heaven a door to hell,

Whoever named it named it well.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I Love you,

Joy

 

 

 

 

From Confusion to Consecration

Confused..Chaos..Commitment..

Conversion..Consecration..Changed.

This process is what happens to a person who comes to the end of himself and finds Jesus finding him or her.

“The life I now live I live by faith in (and of) the Son of God.”  “Without Him I can do nothing.”

“He came, He saw, He conquered” and because He did, I can.  His life, His death, His resurrection, His defeat of God’s enemy is imputed to me by faith, my faith.  I believed and I received and He changed me.  I did my part, He did His…the result? Conversion.

Now I can face life, whatever it brings, I am not alone any more, I belong to Him.  He has promised to be with me always.  He has promised never to leave me or forsake me.  I take Him at His word.  I have found Him to be one who keeps His word.

I have become a stranger and an alien to the world that I once knew.  I now have a destination, a place prepared for me.  I live with that in mind. Some day I will go home.

I want to tell others about this one who changed my life in hope that they too will meet Him.

I have never known love like this, acceptance like this…unconditional.

Amazing!  I am accepted in Him. God, who is love, accepts me as I am and still…He invites me to grow and tells me that He will help me.  I am not on my own.

In fact, He sent His Spirit to live in me to do just that.  He calls Him the Helper, the Teacher, the Comforter, the Counselor. That is pretty much what I need to traverse the darkness that I see around me.

I pray this prayer:  “All of you and none of me.  Live big in me.  Let me be that light set on a hill so that others may see and come to Him.”

How about you friend, are you tired of the darkness, tired of yourself, tired of striving?  Are you ready now to “taste and see that the Lord is good?”

You too can enter into His rest.

You too can find peace with God, the peace of God that surpasses human understanding.  He is our peace who became the bridge to God, to Heaven, to Home.

Who am I talking about?  “The Word” the creator, who was with God and was God and became flesh that we might have a way to “Our Father who art in Heaven”.  His name is Jesus.

Have you ever noticed that no one swears using the name of Buddha or Mohammed or any other god?  Have you ever considered why?  Who lives having died?  Only one man.

“For behold,the darkness shall cover the earth and gross darkness the people, but the Lord shall arise upon thee and His glory shall be seen upon thee.”

His glory is coming.  He promised. Ready or not it will come.

“And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh.”

Most of us have never seen His Glory, nor have we felt His presence.  But if you ever have, you will never be the same.

Come, come to the Father.  He wants you to know He loves you so much He was willing to suffer for your sake. Jesus is the way to the Father, there is no other way to get to God or to Heaven.

There are good people in Hell, because being good or living a good life will not take you to Heaven.  It is not the right road.

There are church people in Hell, because going to church, being involved in church or even being the pastor or priest of a church will not take you to Heaven. It is not the right road.

Jesus said:  “I am the way, the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father except by me.”

Either Jesus told the truth or He is the biggest liar that ever walked the planet.  You have been invited.  From this point on you cannot say you never heard.  The decision is now up to you.

“Choose this day whom you will serve, as for me and my house we will serve the Lord.”

Amen!

Meditation in the Morning

Are you going through stuff?  Many are right now.

Sometimes the sky is sunny and bright and all is well with the world. Emotions are riding high, the world is viewed through rose-colored glasses, as the old folks of my generation would say.

There are other days where you plod along without emotion, just doing the daily things because that is what you do.

At other times your emotions are bruised and you feel like you have been run over by a truck.

Welcome to the world of men, the natural world. A song from some years ago asks the question:  “Is that all there is?”

I have a friend in Israel whose home has been invaded twice by Arabs. She was robbed of her jewelry and some other things that meant a lot to her. But at least she has her life.  She feels quite numb. The police have no clues to go on and have closed the case. She asks me to pray for justice.

Can you fathom what she feels, what she is going through?  I cannot.  The closest thing to any shock I have experienced was a violent knocking on our door around two o’clock one morning with the demand from the police that we “Open up”.

They were searching for someone who attempted to rob the convenience store near us.  The dogs and the helicopters overhead with their search lights was interesting but not scary.

What is safety?  When you go to the doctor these days they ask you if you feel safe. If you are being abused you are not safe.  Do bars and locks keep you safe?  As my husband says they just keep out an honest thief.

Most of us in America have no clue what many people in the world face on a day to day basis.

In the country of South Sudan people are being terrorized because they are Christian.  In the Mideastern countries where extreme Islamists routinely round up and murder those who don’t share their beliefs, the people must flee for their lives.

There are those whom God has raised up to teach the Body of Christ a lost truth.  Namely, that it is we who have authority in the earth through Jesus.

For generations and centuries even, we have given the devil, aka satan, our authority, believing that his power is on par with God and we are no match for him.

Let us reread scripture with eyes open to this truth:  Jesus took everything back that the enemy gained from Adam in Eden, and when He left Earth He gave authority back to man. We have been deceived and held in bondage to a lie.

How many centuries has the church prayed: “Your will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven.”  That is a prayer that God wants to answer and not just during the millennial reign of Christ, but now.

Is there lack in Heaven?  Is there war in Heaven?  Is there any rebellion against the will of God in Heaven?

God is preparing the Bride of Christ. She is to be without spot or wrinkle. Now is the time of preparation. When God created man in His own image He gave him the power of choice.  It is your choice to submit to or resist that preparation.

Jesus, the sent one, is the Lord of hosts.  The host of Heaven are our help, our weapons as it were, it is they who pull down strongholds in response to our words. How foolish to go to war without our weapons.

Our words are powerful weapons.  We speak and as we do we empower demons or angels.  We have many words of God, they are written in His book the Bible.  They were written for us, to help us navigate through the minefield of the kingdom of darkness on the earth.  But they were also given to us so that we could take territory for the Kingdom of God.

God spoke and it was. We too are speaking spirits. The Word of God teaches that we have what we say.  Is it not time for us to align our words with His words?

It is time to stop playing church and get serious about taking back what is rightfully ours.  God never intended church to be an exclusive social club. One of the names for the church is an army.  Oh how much we have lost!

Jesus wants people set free from all bondage. God, our Father, wants His elect brought into the Kingdom of God…they are bound in many deceptions.  “For freedom Christ has set us free.”

The adage, “Bloom where you are planted.” applies. You don’t have to look far and wide or go to far away places.  There are people right by you that need what you have.  Reach out, touch them, love them to life in Jesus name.

Shalom, “nothing missing, nothing broken.”  “whole, complete”. This is my prayer for you.

Joy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LIfe

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jesus has never lost a case.

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

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

God loves you, so do I.  Joy

 

 

 

Answered Prayer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joy

 

 

 

Sorrow

Do not sorrow as those who have no hope.

Today my heart is heavy.  A young woman, Mary, with 5 children ages 1 to 12 lies in the hospital, overcome by cancer, the Doctors have given her husband no hope.  The human question is why?  That is followed by thoughts of who will care for the kids?

This story has been repeated times without number in the world.  Not long ago we heard the story of Joey, a beautiful young singer, who with her husband Rory were raising a little girl.  After a valiant fight she died from cancer.

My struggle is trying to understand how what appears to be a tragedy can work for good.  Children without their mother or father, some so young they will never know them until eternity.

If I did not know God, if I did not know that He is love, if I did not know that He has good plans for our lives here on earth, I would be drowned in despair.

He said, “I know the plans I have for you, for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

I think of the words of an old hymn…”Though the wrong seems oft so strong God is the ruler yet.”

My girl Kathy’s heart is being rung out right now as she watches her sister Mary dying before her eyes.  Yet there is hope still.  Even at the last minute many condemned to be executed have been given a stay of execution.  Could our dear Mary yet be touched by the Master?  I believe so.

Should our Father in Heaven choose to bring Mary Home, which to our eyes appears  to be premature, He has a plan for Chris and their children.  We will pray.

When we face hard things that to our eyes appear to be so wrong, so unjust, so unfair, we go to our Father for comfort, encouragement and hope.  He has promised to be with us in trouble, to deliver us and satisfy us with long life.

When we cannot understand His hand we must trust His heart.

 

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