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!