Tag Archive | Pain

The Kidnapper

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

I had been had!

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

It is written:

 

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

 

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

Matthew 18:14

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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When I Was A Child

I Corinthians 13:11

“When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child.  When I became a man, I put aside childish things.”

As young child I did not reason, I simply lived.  I did not know that I was trusting my parents to provide for me.  My elders told me what was acceptable behavior and I either obeyed them or resisted what they said, depending on how I felt at the time.

I did not worry about my next meal.  I did not concern myself about whether I would have clothes and shoes to wear, nor did I even think that I might not have a place to sleep.  I moved with the rhythm of life without so much as a thought.

I played, that was what I did.  Oh yes, sometimes I was aware of others in my world, but mostly my total concern was myself.  Mom and Dad were there, but they lived to care for me and when I didn’t get my way, I let them know.

As I grew older I began to notice the world I lived in.  I watched in fascination as the old Boxelder tree in the front yard bowed its head to the ground when a stormy wind blew through the farm.  My Grandma said that it did not break because it had a strong root system.  Isn’t that how we are to be when the storms of life come upon us?

Another storm came through that easily blew down the windmill .  It had nothing to hold it steady in a strong wind. The well that was below the ground was not affected by the wind on the surface, even as strength of character, schooled by the Holy Spirit, will keep us when the temptations and the winds of life blow.

I spent many happy hours in my elementary years watching people on a Saturday night in town.  I observed nature in the field behind Grandpa’s machine shed.  As I lay on the ground leaning on my elbow, I watched ants working on their sand hill and bunnies playing leap frog.  I looked up at the clouds imagining I saw horses and other fanciful shapes.  I dreamed of my future and wondered where I would be when I grew up and left the farm.

Then I became a teen-ager and life changed dramatically.  My body began to change when I was in the ninth grade.  I grew taller than the other girls, and the boys.  Awareness of my surroundings, the people in my life, became a measure of my worth, my value.  Life became more complicated and I became more melancholy.  I was now in the process of becoming an adult.  Your story may be similar to mine and yet is not the same.

A little baby looks so innocent and yet is tainted by a sin nature.  This is clearly revealed as we observe a child going from baby to toddler, from preschool to elementary school,    finally to become a teen-ager.  Self is at the center of childhood.” It’s all about me, it’s all about me.”

How does a parent deal with a child at these levels?  How do you help each child to grow to maturity when there are many children in the family?  Some parents abdicate their role simply because they never grew up emotionally themselves.  To have a baby does not mean that you will be a good parent.  There are many dysfunctional families in America.  You can see the results every day.  Have you ever tried to fix someone who is as unstable as water?  Instability begets instability.  Only God can fix people.

A strong willed child will resist correction and must be dealt with in a stronger way than a compliant child, often needing greater forcefulness on the part of the parent.   If not handled right this can result in resentment even leading to estrangement as the child bolts from the excessive restraint or anger in the home.

Much has been written and said about the teen years, probably because it is the most difficult and dangerous time in a person’s life.  I believe it to be the time when the child enters into the war for his soul.  The battlefield is filled with traps, snares and pits he can walk or fall into.  The enemy of our souls begins to shoot his arrows and blow his poison darts at our minds.  It is his goal to separate us from anyone or anything that could nurture us or give us the direction and strength we need to make it through to adulthood.

This is the time when a child begins to reason.  He begins to experiment with thoughts and ideas beyond what his parents have taught or allowed.  His peers influence becomes more important than his parents and many teens reject their parents altogether.  This, of course, makes them open season for the adversary.

Some children push against their boundaries, seeking, unknowingly, to establish how far his parents will let him go.  Teens need boundaries even though they chafe and push hard against them.  It is especially important at this time for parents to be persistently consistent.

As the teen experiments, tries on these different ideas and ways, parents need to be loving, calm and thoughtful, they must be prayerful and ask God for wisdom.  If you do your job to the best of your ability, your child will pass from childhood to adulthood with only a few battle scars.

Life provides us with decisions to be made every day.  We must choose to get out of bed every morning.  Those with jobs must choose to go to work and give the company the best they have.  Coming home after work, a decision must be made to do what needs to be done to keep house and home together. Priorities will be set and life will be lived accordingly.

Volition rests with man.  God made us that way.  Adam was created in the image of God.  He was given a command, it was his decision to obey or disobey, God gave him a will.  His choice cost the human race the image of God, for the scripture tells us that Adam was created in the image of God. After the fall, when Adam had a son, that son was born in the image of Adam.  By the way, the finger pointing began in Eden as Adam blamed Eve and Eve blamed the serpent.  In fact, they were all to blame because of their choices.

Paradise…Lost.  Relationship with God…lost.  Every child born after that bore the sin nature of Adam and Eve as witness of the fact that the first two humans argued with each other and Cain murdered his brother Abel.

Right and Wrong, Good and Bad, Black and White these are the choices!

Where is the gray, where is the middle ground that so many want to walk in?  With one foot in the world and one in the Kingdom of God, some believers nourish their flesh, placating it, satisfying it, petting it and they think that is okay with God, that He understands  because He is love.  God is also just, He hates sin all the while He loves the sinner.  He grieves because He has made a way for any who will to come to Him to be set free from the pressure of the flesh.

These carnal Christians subscribe to the world’s way of thinking such as,   “That’s the way I am, I can’t help it.”  “If it feels good do it.”   “Get all you can and can all you get.”  “It’s my way or the highway.”  There seems to be a need to have the world’s approval.  They seem to have the mentality that they will get as close as they can to sin, but not go all the way, as if sin is qualitative or quantitative.  Someone described sin in a believer as walking along a riverbank, getting as close to the river as you can without falling in.

Is it okay with God that you “take a walk on the wild side”,  or “sow your wild oats” while you are young, after all “boys will be boys”?  No, it is not okay with God.  God paid a high price for you believer, the loss of His Son to sin and death.  The suffering and pain of Jesus is beyond comprehension, the blood of His body poured out of every wound.  The Bible says that He was wounded for our transgression, the iniquity of us all was put on Him and by His stripes we are healed. The invitation for deliverance is to who ever will, again it is choice.  Jesus made the way.

God is faithful.  Invitations come, warnings come, and decisions are made.

I have heard:  “I’ll think about it, maybe later I will ask Jesus in to my life, but not today.”

I have heard:  “I am as good as you are, who do you think you are to tell me that I need Jesus, I am a good person, I have helped a lot of people.”

I have heard:  “I have been a good church member for many years.  I have taught Sunday School, sang in the choir and been part of helping provide money or food for those who have lost loved ones. I love God.”

I have heard:  ” My father was a Christian, so that makes me a Christian too.”

Many are called but few choose to humble themselves, repent for their sinful, selfish heart and receive Jesus as their Savior and Lord.

“Young John Jones was killed in a car truck accident today at the corner of State Hwy 2 and Thorn Hill Road, he was 23 year old.  The driver of a gravel truck ran a red light, he said the sun was in his eyes, he did not see the light or the Jones car.  Jones leaves behind a wife of six months.”

Can I tell you that John Jones did not expect to die.  He was young, he had his whole life ahead of him.  He and his wife planned to put religion off until they had children, in the meantime they wanted to enjoy life.

“Mary Smith died on Saturday at the age of 86.  She had been given a large inheritance by her father, which no one in Hebersville knew of, as Mary lived a rather frugal life.  This information only became known to the community as the gift was left to the Historical Society with the instructions that it was to be used to repair the local library and put it on the National Historical Register.  Mary was active in the local church which she faithfully attended every Sunday.

Mary was told that all she needed to do to have a Christian burial was be a faithful church member who took communion once a month.  This she did.  One dollar was placed in the offering plate every Sunday, Mary did not miss one.  There was a time when a plea went out for financial help for a hurting family, but Mary did not feel it was “her job” to support someone who was too lazy to work.  Of course, that was her take on it, not the truth.

What do you think was John Jones and Mary Smith’s destination at death?

The day will come when every person will stand before the righteous judge, the books will be opened and all will be judged by what is written there.  When the decision is handed out, as recorded in Matthew 25:40, Jesus said these words:  “In as much as you have done it to the least of these my brethren you have done it unto Me.”  So that’s the standard for the judgment of  works.  The love of God reaches out to the poor, the hurting, the downtrodden and what you do to and for them is noted.

I have been talking about outward things for the most part, but lest there be a misunderstanding, the scenarios above have to do with salvation and the name of a person being written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, which is the Family Album.  If your name is not there, you don’t get into the Kingdom of Heaven.  Goodness will not get you in, membership in a church will not get you in, who you know will not get you in and putting it off until a more opportune time will not get you in.  The way in is narrow, there is only one way and that way is through Jesus.

If you have a rebellion problem you will probably not hear and thus not come in.  As plainly as I can put it, you are on your way to destruction.

Let him who has ears to hear, hear!  Today is the day of salvation.  Come to Jesus, come into the Kingdom of God where there is liberty and freedom from the weight and burden of sin, where there is deliverance from the adversary, where there is healing, provision and protection.  Come to Jesus, Come on home, Father is waiting to welcome you!

In the battle for your soul,

Joy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Can you identify?

If I went by what I feel, I wouldn’t get out of bed in the morning some days. Paper bag days is what I call them, days when I cannot see past the end of my nose. Can you identify?

Life has a way of throwing curve balls at you when you are expecting and prepared for a slider. It is the unexpected that causes us to get off track. Can you identify?

In the last six months two people from my fellowship have been bereaved of their spouses, these folks had no clue that this was going to happen; it was sudden and unexpected. They are not there to share life with you any more. How do you recover from something so permanent? Can you identify?

Some spouses are living their lives, raising their children, doing the best they can, when one day their spouse announces, “I don’t love you and I want a divorce.” They did not see that coning and their world falls apart. Can you identify?

Your son is a patriot; because of his love for and commitment to America, he joined the armed forces to defend her. One day a soldier walks up to your door and tells you he was killed in battle. Memories flood your soul. He won’t be coming home. Can you identify?

Jesus said, “In this world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer for I have overcome the world.”

Unless you know that you know that God is good and there is no darkness in Him, you will not be able to overcome the dark emotions that flood your soul. The loss of a spouse or a child will seem like the end of the world…unless your trust is in God through Jesus. It is only through Him that you can reconcile the tragedy, the tribulation, the testing and the trouble that comes your way in this world.

We forget so quickly the peace, the joy, and the pleasures God provides for us when one of the big T’s come upon us and overtakes us. We are weak and prone to wander away from Him.

We humans are the same from the beginning in Eden and will be until the end when the Kingdom of God comes on earth as it is in Heaven. We need a Savior. Thank God for Jesus.

“Amazing love and can it be that you my God should die for me.”

Do we deny the hardship of betrayal or death? Absolutely not! Nor do we deny the hurt, the pain, and the grief that comes to all, the difference for those of us who are His sons and daughters is that we are not alone when we go through these things, we can choose to lean on, rely on and depend on the one who loved us so much that He gave His life for us.

“In this world…”, We are in this world, we will go through things because this world is not perfect, nor will it ever be perfect because everything here is only temporary. We will all die, we are all unfaithful to God our creator…but He is never unfaithful to us.

The confession of the Body of Messiah: “I believe in God the Father, the creator of the world and all things in it, I believe in God the Son, my Savior, who gave His life that I might have eternal life with Him, I believe in the Spirit of Jesus, the Holy Spirit, who has come to earth to make His home in me.”

I believe this, and as I meditate on it and confess it, my focus shifts from the natural to the spiritual. I am comforted because I am cared for, I can rest in His love for me and I am helped.

How about you? Can you identify? If you can’t, won’t you consider Jesus who left the splendor of Heaven, was born into a world torn by strife, who went about doing good, healing all who came to him oppressed by the devil; He was murdered, buried, descended into Hell and on the third day rose from the dead, He ascended into Heaven where He lives to intercede for His Body on the earth. He will return again to earth at the time set by the Father and those who are His will be gathered together and brought to Heaven.

Consider Jesus. He loves you. He cares what you are going through.

Great tribulation will begin once the people of God are removed. Scripture teaches it. It is the truth. The Great Tribulation will be a time of trouble upon the earth, such as has never been nor will ever be again, because the wrath of God will be poured out upon those who refuse to acknowledge that He is God. Is the fear of God in you? If it is not now it will be then.

Today is the day of salvation, if you have not received the greatest gift ever given why not now, why not today? He will hear your cry to Him and you will be changed in a moment, you will become a son of God. Reach out to Him, He is reaching out to you. Give Him all, He gave all for you.

Praying for you today…Joy

Joanna’s Song

Joanna does not have a voice and cannot tell her story, but I believe that it should be told.  I do not know of anyone with a similar story to hers and I think it would please her for you to know.

“I was a dream within God’s heart before the world was created…because He has a Father’s heart.  He had a plan for my life, and when He created Adam He saw those who would come from his loins; I was among them.  When the world became so wicked, when all men hated God, “Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord” and he and his family were spared the deluge; I was in his loins.   My father Abraham was told that his “seed” would be as the sands of the sea; I was in his loins.  And, when the “fulness of time” had come, I was conceived in my mother’s womb from the seed of my father’s loins.  But…….I never came to birth.”

You are probably thinking that this child was aborted and if so you would be wrong.  Nor was she a product of SIDS, some disease or illness.  I was Joanna’s mother, my husband was her father and the true story, up until now, was known only to a few.

My husband and I married when we were in our mid twenties during the time of the Viet Nam war.  When my husband returned from Viet Nam our intention was to start a family, however, conception did not come.  It was a very distressing time.

From the time I can remember, as a young girl, I wanted nothing more than to be married and have babies.  I had very few “boyfriends” while I was in high school, and for many years after high school I saw no one.  There was a short period of time when I dated, but again nothing that lasted.

When I met my future husband there was something that happened in my heart, I came to realize he was the one I had been waiting for, and now almost 50 years later, that spark is still there.  In fact, I love him more today than I ever have.

We desired a family, but conception did not happen and so there were fertility tests, much sorrow, grief and pain until finally the miracle of conception came.

To our union God brought two sons….God’s gracious gift and Truth teller.  We were blessed to have them.

Joanna’s story begins when our boys were eight and ten.  I am from a family of seven, and though I was not raised in my parents home, I loved a big family and wanted at least six children.  My husband and I did not agree on the number, and as it turned out there were just the two boys….until I became pregnant for the third time.

I am what some would call a “girly girl”.  I love ribbons, lace, fixing hair, etc…the whole dresses, shoes, purses thing.  I wanted a daughter to do all of those things with.  That was the desire of my heart and Scripture says that God gives us the desire of our heart.  I believe He puts the desire in our hearts and then fulfills it.  Others may disagree and that is their prerogative.

When I knew that I was pregnant for the third time I was excited and afraid at the same time because my husband did not want any more children.  As it turned out he was accepting of it.  That, however, is also not the end of the story, for early one morning when I woke up, the Lord put a very serious question to me.

I heard these words:  “Do you want to have this natural child or would you like to have spiritual children.”  You might say, “Why can’t you have both.” , and for some that is possible, very possible and probable, but not for me.

Do you know that God is so personal with each of us that His plan is tailor-made just for us?  In fact, one day He made this statement to me:  “If you had been the only one who needed to be saved I would have died just for you.”  That is almost beyond belief.  There is no earthly love like that!

I asked for a day to think about God’s question and I was given that time.   For some reason, probably only known to God, I am a one track-minded person.  When I do something, that thing is what consumes my heart, my thoughts and actions,  I really cannot explain the process that went on inside of me, but in the end, I chose spiritual children.

The next morning, the Lord came for my decision.  I laid my desire for a daughter on the altar of the Lord and I received future spiritual children by faith.

I made breakfast for my boys and saw them out the door, when I closed the door the cramping came.  Joanna had been two months in my womb when she went home to be with the Lord.  A visit to the doctor confirmed the pregnancy and his statement was, “Normally, when a woman loses a baby we have to do a D&C, but your uterus is clean so we won’t have to.”

Today I am the joyful mother of two handsome sons, who have brought me two beautiful daughters-in-love and ten grand-children.  To this number God has added many spiritual children.   It is a privilege and a responsiblity that I cherish.

The end of this story, this song, is that Joanna awaits her family in Heaven, where she is now thirty-three years earth age.  How I look forward to meeting her and hearing her side of the story.

Pastor Steve Poe tells “The Story” as having  two stories, the Upper Story and the Lower Story.  While John Eldredge tells of the Inner Story and the Outer Story.  The Bible is God’s story, the story of His love as seen through His Son, Yahshua.

This morning I was thinking of John 3:16 where God tells us about His love, His heart for people.  He loved so much that out of that love He gave the ultimate sacrifice, He sent His Son to earth where He was horribly mistreated and ultimately crucified by the Romans.  Jesus died and was buried in a borrowed tomb.  Again not the end of the story, because on the third day He arose.  Today He is with our Father.

Joanna returned to her creator and now you have heard her story, her song.  I pray that it has blessed you, dear reader, or at least caused you to think on these things.

Joy

Forgiveness

“Forgive as I have forgiven you.”  Luke 11:4

That is a command not a suggestion.

“For if you do not forgive your brother then neither can my Heavenly Father forgive you.”  Matthew 8:14-15

There are conditions.

Who ever said that being a Christian was a riparian delight or a walk in the park?  Depending on where you live, it can get you murdered.

But, let’s be honest, American Christianity has not been tested and I fear if it was, it would not pass muster, not at this point anyway.

There are standards, some would call them laws, and this issue of forgiveness is one of those.  It is serious!

We can gloss over it, as many do, with all kinds of reasons why it is impossible to keep this command, such as, “I can never forgive him, you don’t know what he did to me.”  No, well then, why should God forgive you for what you have done to Him?  Is not the greater sin your telling God you won’t do what He asks of you.  Disobedience, my friend, is outright rebellion, in case you didn’t know.

We can say that God does not really mean that He won’t forgive us if we don’t forgive our brother, because He  loves us and He accepts us in Jesus just as we are.  That is a half-truth.  Half-truths are no different from lies.  A little bit of dog poop in a brownie still makes it inedible.

I can just hear someone say that I am being legalistic.  Really?  Have a glance at the Proverbs of Solomon and see how often he uses point and counter-point to show how God looks at things.  There is the Law and there is the Gospel.  There is the Old Testament and there is the New Testament.  These are Covenants, made by God.  He takes them pretty serious.  I think He means what He says.

Offense comes to every one.  There are no exceptions, we live in a fallen world.  Again, choices are made.  We either decide we will forgive or we decide we won’t.  No decision is a no decision, simple!  Is it easy to forgive?  Absolutely not!  It is probably one of the hardest things to do.  “A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city.”  Proverbs 18:19

So, my friends, the challenge today is this:  Have a look at your heart before the Lord.  Are you offended by someone, by something said or something someone has done?  You better deal with it, because the repercussions are great.

God is a righteous judge.  This is how fine it gets:  “But I say unto you, (Jesus speaking) that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.  for by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.

Matthew 18: 23-35 Jesus tells the story of a steward who worked for a King.  He owed the King a huge sum and could not pay.  So the king commanded that he be sold, with all that he had, until he could pay off the debt.  He begged for his life and the king had compassion on him and forgave him.  However, the servant found a fellow-servant who owed him a small amount and told him to pay up or else.  The poor fellow begged for patience and he would pay, but he would not hear of it and had the fellow thrown into prison.  This really irritated the other servants and they complained to the King, who when he heard addressed this unjust steward with these words:  “You are a wicked servant, I forgave you all your debt, could you not have compassion and pity upon your fellow-servant as I had upon you.”  And, then He handed him over to the tormentors, “till he should pay all that was due unto him.”

Here is the kicker:  Verse 35  “So likewise shall my Heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.”

I guess that pretty much sums it up for me.  I have no choice.  Either I forgive the one who offends me or I won’t be forgiven.  And, if I won’t forgive the tormentors come, guess who they are…  I choose to forgive, for my own sake.  I like freedom and peace….don’t need tormentors, no thanks.  How about you?

Reflectively His,

Joy

Hannah’s Song

You have a story

Everyone has a story.

I’ve come from somewhere

and so have you.

Rescued, He rescued me.

Lost, I was so lost.

Time and time again

I cred in the night.

Pain, such pain!

I felt hurt, aching emptiness.

And then He came,

He reached out His hand.

He pulled me up.

He spoke such words,

As I ‘d never heard.

I was used up, broken

And spilled out,

Dirty, unclean,

And yet He came, He spoke,

He touched me, me…

How could it be?

Such love –

“I forgive you, He said.”

“If you only needed rescue
I would have died just for you.”

Then you wonder why I broke

my alabaster box.

You wonder why I cry

And wipe his feet with my hair.

You don’t know the price of the oil.

No, you don’t know the price of my oil.

But He does, He does.

Thank you Lord!

Have you been used up, broken and spilled out?

Did Jesus find you, lift you up out of darkness and despair?  He will if you will ask.

Hannah’s song could be anyone’s song.   We all have a song in the night, what is yours?   We were created by a loving God, a Father.  Jesus is the reflection of His Father, sent to us so we could see what He was like.  One look and that is  all it takes to fall in love with Him.

Don Moen says, “I will sing, I will praise, even in my darkest hour, through the sorrow and the pain.  I will sing,  I will praise, lift my hands to honor You, because Your Word is true, I will sing.”

Jesus is the Word, He is the Truth; I would rather have Jesus in the painful times than be without Him and bear it alone.

You are loved, no matter how you feel right now, no matter what you have done, you are loved.  Jesus love heals all wounds, but only if you come to Him for healing.

I am joyfully His,  Joy

Agape and Truth

In 2012 I had one major request:  “God, I want to love like you love.”   This post is a warning to anyone who asks anything from the Lord God, be aware that He may give you the desires of your heart, and that may not be what you thought it would be.

To love as God loves is to love without condition.  For, you see, He pours out His “rain on the just and the unjust.”, upon those who are good and those who are evil.  He loves the good person and He loves the evil person.  Natural human love cannot do that.

The night that Yeshua was born, God stretched out His hand and declared:  “Peace, good will toward men with whom He is well pleased.”  Really?  Well-pleased?  It was one of the worst times in history, the Romans ruled the known world.  They were decadent, self-gratifying, cruel.and very religious.  The emperor of Rome had complete authority and was worshiped as a god.  If you know anything about the creator God and the Bible, you know that one of the things He hates is idolatry.  How then could He say through His messengers, the angels, who sang and spoke to the shepherds that night, that He was well-pleased with men?  

I think this is the reason:  At the foundation of the world that we live in, the beginning of it all, He had a plan, a plan that included this Babe, born in an animal stable in Bethlehem.   He looked ahead with the eyes of Agape, the eyes of unconditional love, He looked at His Son and the price that He had agreed to pay to buy back man-kind, knowing, that out of the billions of people that would be born into the world, as a result of what Yeshua would do, there would be a remnant who would return His love, and He was well pleased. 

It has been said by some that the world we are living in today is not unlike the time that Rome began to gain control of the world.  America has been likened to Rome by some commentators that I have read.  Whether it is or not I will leave to them.  However, as I observe the world around me I do see a world without direction with each person doing what is right in their own eyes.  There appears to be no absolute.

Is that because there is no absolute?  Not in my opinion and certainly, it is not what is taught in the Bible.  Yeshua, Himself taught His disciples that He was truth personified.  When He was examined by the Roman, Pontius Pilate, Yeshua declared:  “Every one that is of the truth hears my voice.”  Pilate’s response: “What is truth.”  That sounds like today to me.

I said all of that to say this:  Truth is a person and that person is Yeshua, the man that English speakers call Jesus. He was not sent into the earth for any other reason than to reveal God’s unconditional love for man-kind.  

I am joyfully His and He is mine, and my heart’s desire is to be like Him, to love what He loves and hate what He hates.  He fully loves people and He fully hates sin.  When I asked  to love like He loved, I was not prepared to experience what He does from the people He loves so much.  Silly me!  Short-sighted me!  I just wanted to be like my Papa, I didn’t know the hurt and pain of rejection from the people He loves so much.

I know now that there are some people who, when loved with Agape, because of the condition of their own heart, their own filters, the walls they have erected because of hurts and wounds suffered, are not able to receive the God kind of love, which is the very thing that could set them free to be the person they desire to be.  So sad!

Rejection is hard, no matter the source, and so I turn to the only one who understands, who experiences rejection constantly.  He comforts me, I forgive, I give it to Him, I give the person who rejected me to Him and love is made whole in me once more, Peace comes and I am so grateful!

Restored, I once more sit at the feet of the Good Shepherd and learn from Him.  He is good!  I love, He loves, we love.

Joyfully His, I am His Joy

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