If you are a citizen of the United States of America, it’s time to get out and vote next Tuesday, October 8th. Maybe you already did early voting or posted an absenee ballot. If you did, thank you! I’ve heard that if every Christian exercised their right to vote, the outcome would truly change. Don’t believe the lie that your vote doesn’t count.
Getting back to my 2022 focus on forgiveness and adding the topic of faith, my devotional used the 11th chapter of Mark today. I’m reading it in ThePassion Translation and found some deeper clarity to the chapter.
Lessons of Faith
This begins with the morning after Jesus cursed the fig tree “… which was completely withered from the roots up.” Verse 20-21.
22-23: Jesus said, “Let the faith of God be in you!” He told them whoever has great faith and does not doubt… and believes that what he says will happen, it will be done.
Verse 24: “This is the reason I urge you to boldly believe for whatever you ask for in prayer-be convinced that you have received it and it will be yours.”
Now comes the forgiveness part:
Verse 25: when praying, “… if you find that you carry something in your heart against another person, release him and forgive him so that your Father in heaven will also release you and forgive you of your faults.”
Verse 26: BUT…” if you will not release forgiveness, don’t expect your Father in heaven to release you from your misdeeds.”
Have you noticed that when Jesus talks about praying, He adds the topic of forgiveness?
It is said that God is more than ready to move in His glory, but He needs willing vessels. If we don’t understand the power and authority we have in the name of Christ Jesus, His blood, and our faithful prayers and declarations, we will continue to ask for more power. We will continue to yearn for people to be saved, healed, and set free.
May we be the mighty army of manifest sons and daughters of God that Jesus paid the ultimate price for. Rise up sleepers and march forth in victory! I expect to hear wonderful testimonies of great exploits and glory as you contemplate the things I’ve shared today.
Forgive me for not having pictures today. I’m experimenting with the WordPress app on my phone and haven’t found how to do that yet. Shalom to you all, in the precious name of Jesus.
If you’re following my posts, you know God gave me the word forgiveness to concentrate on in 2022. This morning I listened to another of Randy Kay’s interviews with an NDE person and she gave me insight into forgiveness, putting together several things I’ve already discovered like thankfulness and release, in a way that’s easy to understand. Here’s the video link:
Imagine being a single mother of six children with no visible means of support. You have lots of people you don’t trust, including your ex-husband, and don’t know how to forgive. You are in a horrific accident, freed by the jaws of life, medevacked to a big hospital with a trauma unit, and slip into a coma. This woman met Jesus and experienced the true love contained in heaven. What is the main message she brought back from heaven? Forgive and be thankful and this will release you as well as those you forgive.
Muse with me about what life could be like if we spontaneously thanked God for everything. Thank You God, for my laptop so I can share Your great news with others through email and this blog. Thank You God, for the catchup I just processed from our bountiful garden. Thank You Father, for my husband John and thank You that he does not acknowledge You as Lord yet… Thank You God, for the hot, humid weather and that I have the ability to sweat. Thank You for the food I just ate and that You provided the dark chocolate treat! Thank You for my brother in the nursing home and all the people who care for him. Thank You…
I’m thankful for sweating because I have a friend who cannot sweat, and his wife has to keep an eye on him in hot weather. I’m thankful that my husband has not found a relationship with Jesus yet because God’s timing is perfect and it’s not quite time yet. While I wait, we are both learning many things about relationships. I’m thankful for the rain and that before it came, our well ran low and we’ve been working off a 500-gallon water tank for over a week. It’s giving us a chance to find creative ways to conserve water while I’ve been canning!
I forgive my husband, my brother, people who have made my life difficult and challenging, because I do not want to keep them away from the good things God has for them. I also realize it hurts me when I hold on to unforgiveness. Ignoring people or walking on eggshells around them puts stress on me and may be keeping me away from fulfilling God’s plan for my life and for His glory.
So, I choose to forgive, choose to be thankful, and find release for myself and those around me. It paves the way for me to experience more of the love of God in Christ Jesus and to walk in the light. As the light of love grows, I can’t help but let it shine! We are to dwell in Christ and shine the light to draw people to kingdom realities, including freedom, faith, and healing.
This week I also began a new 30-day devotional, Walking in the Miraculous by Chad Gonzales. Chad says, “Miracles are normal for the one who walks in their union with Christ.” These devotionals focus on renewing “…your mind to who you are in Christ and the powerful, victorious life God has designed for you to live.” The video I linked goes well with this book. I encourage you to watch it and get the first-hand account.
In closing, I pray you will find it in your heart to truly forgive others, to give thanks in all things, and find release for yourself and those around you. I offer you Shalom which comes from trusting that God’s got your back!
Welcome to another collection of my thoughts. By the way, my manuscript is in the hands of Zoe Life Christian Communications and projected to be published in December of 2022. I’ll keep you posted as my first book’s publishing progresses.
I have been listening to Destiny Image with Randy Kay interviewing people with near-death experiences (NDEs). Randy’s desire is that the things his guests share will convince you of the great love of God for all of us. Today I was intrigued when I read: “Three die in fatal crash – he sees his wife who speaks to him on the other side and his toddler-alive”. Since I was busy slicing and freezing sweet banana peppers from our garden, not realizing I need to wear gloves even with sweet peppers, and my fingers began burning as well as the end of my nose I must have rubbed, I enjoyed the company listening to Randy and Jeffery share about the love of God, free will, and no condemnation from the Lord’s side. I encourage you to listen to Jeffery’s message of hope, forgiveness, love and how we can live this life in light of Eternity, walking with Jesus here and now.
I am reminded of Romans 1:8, titled:
Free from Indwelling Sin
There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.
Then in John 3:17 Jesus said,
For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
So, if God does not condemn us and Jesus does not condemn us, then who does? The world and people in it, the devil and his minions, and we condemn ourselves to the point we believe there Is no forgiveness possible.
The Blessing of Returning to God
Deuteronomy 30:1“Now it shall come to pass, when all these things come upon you, the blessing and the curse which I have set before you, and you call them to mind among all the nations where the Lord your God drives you, 2 and you return to the Lord your God and obey His voice, according to all that I command you today, you and your children, with all your heart and with all your soul, 3 that the Lord your God will bring you back from captivity, and have compassion on you, and gather you again from all the nations where the Lord your God has scattered you.
God is gathering His people in Israel, showing His faithfulness in keeping His promises. So, what is the aim for this life on earth? To love God with all our heart, soul, mind, strength and understanding, and to love others as we love ourselves. You know, because of this ‘free will’ the Lord created us with, we carry heavy loads of condemnation and regret for things we’ve done, things others have done, things we have not done, things others have not done to/for/with us. God did not mean for us to live in condemnation, depression, addiction, or doubt. God has compassion on us and the love that brings that compassion is what God wants to share with us, so we can share it with others.
I have sticky notes hung on my wall above my desk. First one says, “Lord, what are You saying?” Second is: “Discernment… No Compromise and No Apologies!” Third is “Nobody owes me anything!” Then I see: “What happens in our lives is 1.5% our individual control, 16% our influence, and82.5% totally beyond our control or influence.
I cannot control another person [1 Samuel 15:23 for rebellion [control] is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.] Think about that! Jesus’ obedient, loving sacrifice left us with the fullness of Christ and Holy Spirit to indwell us, making the way for us to use the same power that raised Him from the dead and the same access to Father God He had here on earth. All this turns me back to Philippians chapter 4 where the Apostle Paul advised/commanded us:
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!
5 Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.
6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Do you trust that God is always good? That Father, Son, Spirit, angels and saints watching us from heaven have no thought of failure? God uses the choices we make with our free will to work things for good. I think that’s why Paul penned the next verses:
This life we live is all about learning how to love well. This means trusting God has good thoughts about you, great plans for your life and all that concerns you, and He has given you choices to make. Choice means we can choose to not worry or be anxious, that we can say as Jesus: “Father, forgive them for they don’t know what they are doing.” The joy of the Lord truly is your strength, so rejoice in the Lord all ways! Note: Faith actually means trust. See how the Roman Centurian trusted that Jesus would heal, even without Jesus physically going to the man’s home.
Meditate on These Things
8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. 9 The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.
I pray you grow in your relationship with our Savior and experience the peace and forgiveness found in His love.
I leave you with a picture of my granddaughter Ashlynn exploring the water creatures next to the wading beach at Beaver Camp in the Adirondacks. Her sister Nataleigh and I had a good time at Grandpaent & Grandchild camp at the end of July. Check out the website for more pictures and information.
A blessing on your head, Mazel Tove, Mazel Tove! Just thinking ahead to Passover beginning and Good Friday, Easter… the time to celebrate what the Lord has done for Jews, Christians and the Messianic. Mazel Tove is a blessing upon your head, which I pray for all my readers as Psalm 139:5 says.
I am thinking about how God set the times and seasons at the beginning of this world He made for us. Also, about boarding my flight from JFK to California, where I came upon a young Jewish boy with his black yarmulka on his head. I greeted him with “Shalom dear brother” while wearing my t-shirt that says,” Jesus is my happy place”. I proceeded to tell him I had a Jewish grandmother. Needless to say, I was not well received, although he didn’t say anything to me.
God established the rituals of Passover as a reminder of how He brought them out of Egypt-the term Seder actually means order-it revealed to me how much symbolism is part of the order of things. This meal was to remind the children of what a great and mighty God we have, telling and showing how the first Passover was celebrated. Children, even adults, need to have things acted out in a way they can remember, and this celebration is one of several in the Jewish calendar that do that.
In Christian society, we celebrate the Last Supper, remembering how Jesus Christ suffered and died as the perfect Passover Lamb. His agony and triumph mean we no longer have to pay for our own sins as long as we accept what He did as payment for all. When we celebrate communion, Jesus said it’s to remember what He did until He comes back. At this time in this universe, I believe the “fullness of the Amorites” sins are coming to a close, being exposed and dealt with, to make room for God’s glory to come down. Remember, God does not share His glory with anyone else, so hold on tight and stand in faith!
Which leads me back to my word for the year, forgiveness. I have not taken the time to research the word yet, so I will begin here with the dictionary definition.
the action or process of forgiving or being forgiven: “she is quick to ask forgiveness when she has overstepped the line:
Jesus, the spotless, sinless Lamb of God, tells us to forgive others, or He cannot forgive us. Many people have been healed physically, emotionally and spiritually by the act of forgiving those who wronged them. Unforgiveness is like a cancer that grows over time and corrupts your body, soul, and mind. Unforgiveness breaks apart relationships and damages many things. I have heard it likened to eating rat poison and waiting for the rat to die!
Matthew 6:14-15 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. (NIV)
“When you release the wrongdoer from the wrong, you cut a malignant tumor out of your inner life. You set a prisoner free, but you discover that the real prisoner was yourself.”
from Forgive and Forget by Louis Smedes
Ephesians 1:7–8 He [God] is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding. (NLT)
People ask how they are to deal with the person they have forgiven. Some people are so toxic that you cannot totally reconcile, cannot take them back into close fellowship. If you are being abused, get out and deal with things as the Lord gives you grace.
I watched a documentary called The Conductor on the plane. Marin Alsop was a pioneer in women conducting symphony orchestras. She shares how lonely it was growing up as an only child with two professional musicians as parents. Marin has accrued many hurts and disappointments over her life, but the last scene shows her putting flowers on her parents’ grave. She has finally forgiven and is thankful for the things they sowed into her life. She realizes the great love they had, dying close together, from a broken heart. I pray that you can forgive those who the Lord brings to mind, releasing them from the cage you’ve held them in. Shalom dear readers!
Luke 5:36Then He spoke a parable to them: “No one puts a piece from a new garment on an old one; otherwise the new makes a tear, and also the piece that was taken out of the new does not match the old. 37 And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; or else the new wine will burst the wineskins and be spilled, and the wineskins will be ruined. 38 But new wine must be put into new wineskins, and both are preserved.
They make wineskins from animal skins which become brittle as they age. New wine actively ferments in the skins, so a new skin will expand with the aging of the wine. If you try to use a wineskin for a second round of new wine, it will not expand with the fermentation, thus explode as the pressure increases.
We are in a new era, a new move of God. The Spirit impresses upon me this newness needs new wineskins. Seeking Him to figure what that looks like, I am reading the prophetic outlook for 2022 from Generals International, compiled by Cindy Jacobs. This evening, I realize these prophecies are part of the new wineskin process. There is a technology revolution beginning that is as great as the industrial revolution in the early 20th century. Many ‘Daniels’ and ‘Josephs’ are being raised up to move in the political and financial realms. We need to get used to AI, AR, crypto currency and similar things.
The church has a record of being wary of new technology, or new ways of doing church. We have spent years demonizing the internet explosion, technology, new ways of doing finance, and new ways to dress and to worship. Not to mention discouraging “Christian” young people from going into the film industry, politics, and other “worldly” professions, such as higher education.
As a new believer; I followed what my new brothers & sisters in the Lord were doing, trying to find rules to follow for living the Christian life. Stumbling along into legalism, one Christmas I got rid of anything to do with Santa when I was told he was evil, even throwing away Christmas books that had been in our family for a long time. I think it was necessary to stop listening to the music I’d grown up with in order to learn the songs of the Lord, but it was not my place to tell others not to listen or fault them for watching shows I would no longer watch. We fear what we can’t understand, what we can’t control. I discouraged my daughter’s interest in star gazing when I learned the Bible teaches against astrology, not being able to differentiate the nuances of Scripture. I was taught things such as men should not have long hair, tattoos were evil, and many other things that put parameters around our lives. Recently, I have found freedom from some of my legalism. I spend more time reading and studying the Bible, the Spirit expanding my understanding of the essence of true biblical law, which is love.
Matthew 22:37Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
God wants our hearts filled with His love, and to let Him handle other people’s hearts. Another part of the new wineskin is forgiveness. It is a choice Jesus commands us to make, to forgive others as He has forgiven us.
Matthew 6:12 And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors.
Jesus expanded on this with the parable of the unforgiving servant to further illustrate:
Matthew 18:32b ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. 33 Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?’ 34 And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him.
35 “So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.”
I share this link from last Sunday when Brother Len Mitchell preached on forgiveness, which is my word for 2022.
As we head into the near future, let us walk in love and forgiveness, being ready for what the Lord is doing. Help is on the way and changes are coming for our families, churches, neighborhoods and the nations. It will be a difficult, but glorious time! Seek the Lord, read the Word, pray and sing praise as you walk in the Spirit, testing the spirits and not making snap judgements of rejection. Prepare yourself to mentor and disciple new believers and people who have not been in church for many years. This new era requires the entire body of Christ to arise and engage to handle the influx, not just the leaders of the church. Onward Christian Soldiers!
Ephesians 6:10Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
Good day to you all, my faithful readers! Today I will share the word for the year that the Spirit impressed on me as well as what I am reading. This is day 7 of the 21-day fast and I am finding grace for the journey. I began with three days of liquids; mostly water, then began a small bowl of porridge in the morning and a small bowl of coleslaw in the evening [I made up a big batch of each so I wouldn’t be preparing food each day]. Last night, I shared some spaghetti squash noodles with homemade tomato sauce with John, but I did not have any meatballs. This morning the Lord prompted me to go back to liquids from now through the weekend. Our church is having a Spiritual Freedom weekend and I am on one of the prayer teams, so I want the best opportunity to deny my flesh and hear the Spirit.
I just watched Michelle Maggio of Michelle May ministries on YouTube and followed her suggestion to get quiet before the Lord and ask Him to give a word to concentrate on in the year 2022. Well, I got quiet and asked and the only word in my mind was forgiveness, so this is my word to concentrate on for this year. This is not surprising, as the Spirit is bringing people to mind that I need to release from my judgement.
I have been reading a lot, starting with The Prophet’s Devotional by Jennifer LeClaire, with forward by Cindy Jacobs. I plan to continue this devotional for all 365 days, Lord willing. If you are at all prophetic, which most Believers are, this is a great primer for what New Testament prophecy is and is not and how to walk in the way.
Last year in this blog, I shared Pastors Bill and Beni Johnson’s revelations on communion. When I saw an offer for this book, I jumped to buy it. I have the pre-made communion cups I bought last year and am taking communion with this devotional at a random time each day. It is excellent food for thought, teaching, and encouragement.
This is the third book I am working on. Kevin Zadai is letting Sister Ruth Carneal, who traveled for years with Sister Ruth Heflin, share her experiences with the glory of God through the years. Kevin comes in to add relative encouragement/challenge from his own experiences. This is the Scripture that’s been resonating in my spirit:
Isaiah 43:19 Behold, I will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.
We are in a time of testing that is concluding with glorious culmination! The Lord is doing a new thing. Can you see it springing up all around you? The Glory is the Lord, manifest in and through and around those who believe in Jesus and walk with Him in the Spirit. I recall stories from the Azusa Street Revival in California in the early 1900s. They said the glory came down as a cloud and filled the building. The children were running in and out of it playing hide-and-seek! We have entered a new era in God’s plan for the earth. The veil between heaven and earth is thinning, and He is raising up a people who are fearless to do great exploits as the Spirit leads. Mass salvations and healings are manifesting and shall increase. The evil is coming into the light and people are ratting on each other, so justice shall be done. What a great time to be here on this earth and part of this brilliant move of God! I heard the sound of the Shofar this morning; it was a snowmobile in the pastures behind us, going through the new snow that is over a foot deep, but the sound came across as a blast from the ram’s horn and I take it as a sign from God.
John has been watching a lot of programs about history and much about developments that could not have happened if certain things had not occurred. One of the shows is exposing lies we’ve believed about history. Many of what John and I have watched covers the second world war, the atrocities, war maneuvers, trials and aftermath. My son gave me the book The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris for Christmas. I finished that and am now reading the sequel, Cilka’s Journey, also by Heather Morris. Cilka is a character you meet in the first book and this second book fills out her character, taken from true stories from the era. Russian soldiers liberated the camp, and because the German officers used Cilka as a sexual toy, they count her as a collaborator and spy. They convicted her with no chance to defend herself, along with others who “aided and abetted” the Nazis, and the Russians transport them to a Siberian work camp.
I reference all of this to connect you with the word the Lord gave me for 2022: forgiveness. Through these portrayals of things that have happened in the past, I am seeing multiple accounts of forgiveness and unforgiveness. This brings me to the last book I will share:
God Is Absolutely Good by Robin D. Bullock. I finished this book just as I began the fast. It will truly expand your understanding of the Bible and creation. It may overwhelm your mind as parts of it did for me, but it’s a good overwhelming. I stopped for over a week to ponder something in the middle of the book, which is why it took almost a month to finish. The biggest thing I took away from it is that the three parts of God and the names of God used in the Bible: Elohim, Yahweh, Lord, LORD, God, GOD… stand for unique attributes. YHVH, which we usually spell Yahweh, is the one that creates all things, the justice that governs. All of life revolves around planting seeds and reaping the harvest, as The Lamb slain before the foundation of the world; death that triumphed in life because Jesus was the good seed. Plant good seed, reap good things and life. Plant evil seed, reap bad things and death. At the end of the book, Robin takes the book of Proverbs and delineates the seed and the blessings or curses of that seed. This is a book you can use as a guide to life for the rest of your life! I surely need to train myself to speak words of blessing that lead to life and stop speaking words of cursing that lead to death and this book will help. I end with this Scripture:
Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; 24 And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting.
Well dear readers, July 15th, 1983 is the day my eldest son was born. As he was growing up, two years in a row there were major events on his birthday. The microburst happened on July 15 and in 1996, Southern Mexico had an earthquake and a Belgian jet crashed.
Jul 15 Southern Mexico hit with 6.5 earthquake Jul 15 A Belgian Air Force C-130 Hercules carrying the Royal Netherlands Army marching band crashes on landing at Eindhoven Airport [from Bing search what happened July 15, 1996]
He wasn’t sure he wanted his birthday to come again! Most people have heard of “The Ides of March” but there’s also The Ides of July! Well, now his wedding anniversary is on his birthday, I think it redeems the date for him. this is his daughter enjoying her birthday!
Jumping off from this topic, I want to share a couple things that stuck out to me this week. The first I want to share is what Johnny and Elizabeth Enlow had to say about cleaning up the evil that’s crept into the church and what to be prepared for as things are exposed in the next days not only in the churches, but in all levels of society; not just in the U.S.A., but around the world. One example the Enlow’s used was the church they were first volunteer ministers in. The core of that ministry was led by a Pastor who had been abused as a child. Through mis-use of Scripture, he had a ‘secret doctrine’ of evil at the core of the ministry that hurt many. I remember one of the first charismatic churches in our area used this Scripture:
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
Many couples divorced and married others because “I’m a new creation; old things have passed away.” The devil loves it when the church descends into sexual sins. Most false religions involve child sacrifice and lewd sexual acts, but Christian churches are not exempt. God created marriage between one man and one woman so the union of flesh would be holy and godly children would be born for the Father’s plans to be accomplished. I wonder how many of God’s chosen ones have been aborted by the enemy trying to thwart God’s plans. If we don’t live by the Spirit, we die in the flesh like our original forbearers Adam and Eve.
Romans 8:13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.
On YouTube, look for JOHNNY AND ELIZABETH ENLOW: IT’S CLEAN-UP TIME! on Elijah Streams July 9, 2021
I am coming to the end of When Faith Is Forbidden; 40 Days on the front lines with persecuted Christians by Todd Nettleton. Days 34-35 told of a wife from North Korea who was put in prison for reading a Bible and sharing what she was learning. Mrs. Choi was terribly abused and beaten in prison, but would not reveal who gave her the Bible. Her hands were beaten with a lead pipe until they are no longer useable for her; when she went to trial, her face was so swollen from beatings, she could not speak in her own defense and they sentenced her to fifteen years in prison. Her husband finally sold their house and everything they owned and gathered money from anyone who would contribute to pay to have her released early. Mrs. Choi escaped to South Korea, but is having a hard time forgiving her abusers. This is not keeping her from giving her testimony on Christian radio programs that broadcast to North Korea and bringing salvation to many.
Mrs. Choi’s story brings two things to mind. First, how much should we share about our abuse when the Bible says not to even talk about the things done in darkness; about the things the evil one does? Second, I have never experienced abuse half as much as she has; what right do I have to withhold forgiveness toward anyone in my life?
Day 36 also spoke volumes to me. A man from a small village in Laos traveled to the capitol to experience life and find the jobs people told him were plentiful there. He found no work, no food, ended up living in the streets. Before he left home, he’d been told to find a building with a cross on it and he should find free rice. He had to be shown what a cross looked like! Well, he found a building with a cross, walked into the church, heard the gospel and went away rejoicing and sharing his faith gained from a single sermon! Todd didn’t find out if the man ever got rice, but he definitely got the gospel and the fire of God!
The question is: we have heard so many sermons, so many videos, read so many books; are we hearers of the Word and not doers? This man heard a single sermon and went out with joy to share what he’d heard with many. This is the prayer I wrote out:
Lord, we are as the fatted calf, content in all the provisions and comforts of this life. Help me not become complacent and waste all this fatness meant to feed those You put in my path. Holy Spirit, lead me into all truth and fill me with boldness and a passion to share what is invested in me. Don’t let it stagnate. Your love, Oh Lord, is life to the living. May I share it well as long as You sustain this life in me. Amen.
I read The Shepherd’s Voice, Robin Lee Hatcher’s 1934 depression era novel set in Ransom, Idaho. The heroine’s name is Akira, Scottish for anchor. Her grandfather wanted her to have a powerful name to make her not be afraid of life; he put a lot of stock in meaningful names. The man with a past’s name is Gabriel, which means a strong man of God. Akira has kept the sheep farm her grandfather left when he died, never thinking about marriage, satisfied with life on her grandfather’s farm. Gabe has come back from prison to see his Lumber Baron father, who not only put him in prison, but owns most of the town… except Akira’s farm! Akira is of strong faith, but can even her faith stand up to what’s ahead with this waif of a man whom she found unconscious from hunger under her thinking tree and his blood-thirsty, manipulative father? As usual, Robin has woven an exciting, thought-provoking story with many surprising twists, much history, and faith! I highly recommend this book.
Robin begins with the following dedication:
“To the Good Shepherd, My Lord and King, Who took me from where I was, brought me to where I am, and, praise the Lord, isn’t finished with me yet. May the stories I write please You, Jesus, for if they don’t. they are without merit of any kind.”
The gist of the story is redemption. Has anyone fallen so far that God, in His mercy, cannot save them? Gabe is not the only character in this story that has a past, has a future, and has a choice to make. It makes me think about some people in my own life. Have I got hope for their future to put before them?
I am also reading a new book from The Voice of the Martyrs called When Faith Is ForbiddenForty Days On The Front Lines With Persecuted Christians by Todd Nettleton.
Today I read Day 2 titled, “I Used To Beat Him”. The Scripture was 1 Timothy 1: 12-15
Glory to God for His Grace
12 And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry, 13 although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. 14 And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. 15 This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.
What Todd shared on page 25 truly hit home for me, putting Paul’s story in a new setting. A VOM contact in Colombia has a saying: “‘A race horse can run just as fast in either direction.’ One who is zealous for sin will often become zealous for Christ. One who beat Christians might eventually accept beatings with joy in service to his king.'”
I am prone to categorize people as soon as I see them. This keeps me from loving them as God does and hinders my prayers for them. I put this problem before the Lord today and heard the Spirit of Jesus say:
Love, love, love – My love through you is the key. Love! Let Me say again – Love! Give thanks with a grateful heart for everyone I’ve put in your life. Stop and let Me show you what I think of them. Speak blessing and not cursing. It only takes a moment’s pause – I will give you time for that if you let Me. Pause, My dear one.
I challenge you today to think of one person in your life who is hard to love. What steps can you take to establish a bridge by which you can share the gospel with that one? Remember, without love, we are nothing. Love is of God and everyone who belongs to God has His love, no excuse. In this I am shamed and challenged. Are you?