Category Archives: grace

32 Years Ago Today

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In 1985, my life smashed into a brick wall. I needed thousands of dollars to start a publishing company and bail my family out of debt. My sources were all maxed out and the hope level in my reservoir was hovering at empty. I was finished.

The only untouched asset I had was a $125,000 life insurance policy. So, my solution seemed obvious: suicide.

As for taking my life, I had no problems with it because I was an agnostic. No God equals no problems with eternal judgment, right? It wasn’t personal, just a business solution for my family and me.

My plan was uncomplicated. I figured on enjoying one last weekend with my family and then committing suicide on that Monday evening.

Thus, on May 20, 1985, I spent the day finishing up loose ends. Then, for some reason, I stopped at an insurance agent’s office. Although we knew each other, Bill and I were not intimate friends and had never really talked to each other before that day.

Bill invited me into his office. We discussed baseball. Then in the middle of our conversation, he stared at me and said, “You’re thinking about committing suicide, aren’t you?”

His words hit me like a sledgehammer. How did he know? I told no one. It was my secret $125,000 payday. I was speechless. As I sat there, a vision played across my mind about my car ramming into a viaduct and killing me.

I wept and although I tried to regain my composure, I could not. “How did you know?” I asked.

“Oh,” said Bill, “the Lord told me while we were talking to each other.”

His words shattered my unbelief. God was alive and He cared about me. We continued talking and he finally gave me a book to read: Power in Praise by Merlin Carothers.

When I arrived home, I began reading the book. After a few pages, I walked into the bathroom, closed the door and knelt in front of the sink. Looking into the mirror, I prayed, “Jesus, I’ve tried everything else and nothing has worked. I guess I’ll give You a try.”

Instantly, I was changed. Fear and shame were no longer a part of me, but instead, joy and hope filled my heart. Bowing and worshipping my new King, I promised to never let go of His hand.

If my story were a fictional Hollywood movie, perhaps it would resemble It’s A Wonderful Life. Jimmy Stewart would play me and Donna Reed my wife. The angel would get his wings and everyone would live happily ever after. The end.

But sadly, my life has not been a work of fiction. It has been a day to day journey, filled with a few good experiences, but also many mistakes, false starts and failures. Divorce. Loss of friends. Numerous firings from sales positions. Low-paying jobs. Poverty. Rejection. Loneliness. Not exactly, a picture perfect Christian life.

And yet, it has been in the deepest valleys where the Lord has truly revealed Himself to me. It was there He became my loving Father and I learned His grace was sufficient for me.

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Memories Pizza, Indiana, Christianity, and How Not to Win Spiritual Battles? (Part 1)

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Conservative leader Patrick Buchanan, author of Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025, in an interview for WND, urged Christians to fight the “LGBT fanatics” who are demanding they betray their faith, even if it means civil disobedience.

Buchanan stated:

“This battle can be won, but it cannot be won if we do not stand our ground and fight against this moral onslaught from the left,” he said. “The hill to stand on and fight on is the God-given natural right and the constitutional principle that people of faith may choose not to associate with those whose actions are abhorrent and whose lifestyle is insulting and offensive to that faith…

“The LGBT militants are not asking to be left alone,” he said. “They are demanding that we accept the morality of homosexuality and same-sex marriages, and manifest that acceptance, under pain of law and sanctions, in our daily lives.”

“As the Romans demanded of the Christians, the LGBT fanatics want us to burn incense to their gods. The answer is no. If it comes to civil disobedience, so be it.” (Full article on interview can be seen here.)

James Dobson of Family Talk Radio, Rick Scarborough of Vision America Action, Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel, James Robison of Life Today, and Dr. Michael L. Brown are also mentioned in the article as supporting Buchanan’s hypothesis of possible civil disobedience. Dobson was quoted as saying:

“Are we going to sit on our reputations and go to our graves without having played a role? This is Roe v. Wade all over again. I am standing shoulder to shoulder with all who will stand up for God’s Word concerning marriage. We don’t know all of the steps that must be taken, but God will reveal His will. To the extent that I am able to influence anybody, I will do it with passion.

Dr. Michael Brown added:

“We will treat everyone with civility and respect, but the government or the media or popular pressure will not force us to violate our convictions and beliefs. You will not steal our religious freedoms.” 

So, should we listen to Patrick Buchanan and the others and follow their lead down the slippery slope to possible civil disobedience? And is this how to win the spiritual battle?

(Continued in Part 2)

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8 Exchanges at the Cross

 

My Aussie friend, Roger Williams, at Reality Revelations had the above video on his blog site. The video is 5 minutes long and well worth viewing, but what caught my attention was when Derek Prince spoke about the 8 exchanges which happened at the cross.

Prince said:

The cross is the center of the whole Christian faith. All the evil that was due us was thrust on Jesus. All the good that was due Jesus was made available to us. At the cross, 8 exchanges took place.

1. Jesus was punished that we might be forgiven.

2. Jesus was wounded that we might be healed.

3. Jesus was made sin with our sinfulness that we might be righteous with His righteousness.

4. Jesus died our death that we might receive His life.

5. Jesus endured our poverty that we might endure His abundance.

6. Jesus bore our shame that we might share His glory.

7. Jesus endured our rejection that we might have His acceptance with God the Father.

8. Jesus was made a curse that we might receive the blessing.

(This is a rerun from May 28, 2013)

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Learning How to Pray Effectively in 59 Seconds or Less (Part 9)

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Charlie Peace was a criminal. Laws of God or man curbed him not. Finally the law caught up with him, and he was condemned to death. On the fatal morning in Armley Jail, Leeds, England, he was taken on the death-walk. Before him went the prison chaplain, routinely and sleepily reading some Bible verses.

The criminal touched the preacher and asked what he was reading. “The Consolations of Religion,” was the reply.

Charlie Peace was shocked at the way he professionally read about hell. Could a man be so unmoved under the very shadow of the scaffold as to lead a fellow-human there and yet, dry-eyed, read of a pit that has no bottom into which this fellow must fall? Could this preacher believe the words that there is an eternal fire that never consumes its victims, and yet slide over the phrase without a tremor? Is a man human at all who can say with no tears, “You will be eternally dying and yet never know the relief that death brings”? All this was too much for Charlie Peace. So he preached. Listen to his on-the-eve-of-hell sermon:

“Sir,” addressing the preacher, “if I believed what you and the church of God say that you believe, even if England were covered with broken glass from coast to coast, I would walk over it, if need be, on hands and knees and think it worthwhile living, just to save one soul from an eternal hell like that! (Why Revival Tarries, Leonard Ravenhill, p. 32)

Like the prison chaplain, we American believers are hindered by our own apathy. Oh yes! We may toss a few prayer darts toward heaven for our children and family, but that’s about it. Our neighbors, friends, fellow citizens, people in foreign nations− they’re on their own. God helps those who help themselves, right?

Even though we are under grace, there are spiritual laws. One of them is:

Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. (Galatians 6:7)

In the years ahead, when tough times slam America, we will each reap what we sow. If we have sown prayerlessness and apathy, we will reap the same in our desperate hours of need. But if we have been zealous and prayed for others, we will reap the prayers of many when we need them the most.

Make up your mind what you want to reap in the future now.

What are other hindrances?

(Continued in Part 10)

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Friday’s Prayers for Prisoners (4/25/2014)

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After a person has committed a horrible crime, the media normally interviews the criminal’s neighbors. What do the neighbors invariably say?

“Hey, he was a nice guy. We just can’t believe he has committed a horrible crime like that.”

Why do the neighbors generally say this?

The answer is simple: they did not know the man. Period.

Sadly, we American Christians do not know our neighbors. Oh, hallelujah, we love driving ten miles to a church where we worship with believers who agree with us on doctrines. But Lord knows, we won’t walk fifty feet to knock on our neighbors’ doors, introducing ourselves and asking if we can serve them in any way.

You know, we might as well live in a prison cell block for all the good we’re doing in our own neighborhoods.

Today, I prayed:

Lord, help us Americans to love our neighbors as ourselves so that we can help our neighbors bear all things, believe all things, hope all things, and endure all things. (Based on Mark 12:31 and 1 Corinthians 13:7)

What do you think and has the Lord spoken to you?

Join with me on Fridays to fast and pray for prisoners, according to Hebrews 13:3.

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Inside Israel

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Once again, it’s time to hear from our sister in Jerusalem about what she is witnessing there as a believer in Yeshua.  Put your prayer shawls on and pray for Israel and Sister J. Now here she is …

Blessings from quiet Jerusalem on a beautiful shabat in springtime.  May The Lord Yeshua be blessed and glorified and may you be blessed and edified.  Together may we be encouraged deeper, deeper into Him.

A couple of weeks ago, as my husband and I were out for our Shabat walk in the mountains surrounding Jerusalem, we had to laugh with joy at the wonder of the spring carpet of nearly microscopic flowers.  This isn’t the first time that I’ve seen them, nor is it the first place.  The first time I saw them was back in 1975 in California in the large horse pasture in front of our so-called cabin.  I was so knew in knowing Him, but His tender voice called me to join Him outside for a walk.

As we walked that very early spring morning, I felt Him tell me to look down. So I did.  I could barely discern the tiny white flowers.  I got down on my knees to look, and there before me was a literal carpet of these itty bitty white flowers stretching as far as my eye could see.  When I stood up, it all looked green again, but now I was aware of the flowers so that my eyes could pick them out. I worshipped Him for His beauty.

Later that evening, around sunset, He seemed to call me outside again and repeat the walk, so I went.  Again I felt Him tell me to look down.  As I did this time I saw a different carpet, for the evening, there were tiny diamonds of purple in the grass.  They looked the same and they were just as abundant, but as different as, well, sunrise and sunset.  As I worshipped Him for such beauty and thought about how billions of flowers are hidden from human eyes, blooming in remote corners of the earth for a day or an hour or even a minute, I felt that I heard His Voice speaking to me. He said, “You are on your path and someday you will meet The Artist Who created all of this.”

I’m sorry that I can’t capture for you the true wonder of the moment, but such a shiver of anticipation and longing went through me. I recall that day whenever I see again the tiny hidden joyful wonders.

This past Monday I stood outside of work waiting for someone.  I looked up.  My mouth dropped open and my heart leapt for flying over my head were the migrating storks coming from Africa.  Now, if you haven’t seen them, these storks are BIG.  They darkened the sky as they flew over.  I’ve had the great privilege of living near and often seeing great flights of the California Condor, bald eagles in huge number, the migration of the trumpeter swans, snow geese, and others, but you can only see them when you look up.

I called to a young woman passing by, telling her excitedly, “Look,  look up,” but she had her iPhone stuck in her ears and couldn’t hear me. She missed it.

And that got me praying and thinking as I stood there waiting, about how we have to have eyes to see and ears to hear or we miss it in the Spirit as well as the flesh.  I thought, “There He is when I look down, and there He is when I look up.”  I began to meditate on His ABSOLUTE FAITHFULNESS when I look at WHO is behind it all.  All around me are His Fingerprints and my faith received the boost that I had been praying for. But OF COURSE He already is in the future, which my brain knows, but perhaps it is only me who finds themselves of little faith.

Israel is one of the world’s centers for bird watching, by the way.  Situated in the fertile crescent, at the corner of Africa, Europe and the Orient, the bird migrations are wonderful. The country has cultivated areas to make it both safe and inviting to God’s creatures as they carry out their mysterious pattern.  There is just so much of His character illustrated in the creatures, but I guess, in all creation and particularly in man, all are created in His Image.

Now, THAT is the lesson that I have found so hard to learn.

When I left NYC in my late teens, early twenties, it was because I never LIKED people, and NYC was FULL of them. Noisy,   demanding PEOPLE.  They didn’t understand me and I didn’t understand them and that was that.  I am pretty sure that I told you that very shortly after I was saved, while living in the same house with the horse pasture I mentioned above, a difficult thing had happened. I went running up the mountain behind my house and pressed into Him until I was worshipping Him and enjoying the stillness of the trees and the beauty that seemed to worship all around me.  I said to Him, “Oh it is so wonderful.  I will just stay in the woods and worship You with all of nature.”

He answered me with a sad tinge in His Voice, calling me by name, “I did not die for the trees.”

And I knew that He was not going to allow me to live in remote areas forever and it scared me.  However in His mercy, He allowed me so many years of learning in those hot houses that He has, undisturbed by noise and the demands of hustle and bustle.

In this new apartment I am finding that I have to finally face this battle with my flesh once and for all.

I think that is why that above faith lesson was so critical for me just now.  My CONFESSION can be right on and I DO believe what I confess, but my EMOTIONS have been in utter rebellion.  I grump to The Lord that I want the leeks and garlic of Egypt . It gives me the shivers just to think of it that way.

I ride the noisy uncomfortable train, the bus, work in a high demand noisy doctor’s office, ride the noisy bus and train again and then come home. And at home, there is MORE noise and people shouting in front of my apartment and yet you are telling me to PRAY for them and, even worse, to LOVE them and I DON’T.

Oh I can love and pray for people in nice small portions, bouquets’ of people, but ALL OF THESE?  HELP!

And He is.  Slowly slowly I am going out on to our “merepesset” (balcony) and praying for all of the people below me.  I WANT to love them as He loves them and see each one as an individual.  I WANT to care about their eternity.  And I WANT to pray for them in earnest and with His passion.  He IS faithful.

So, those are my observations for today. ..and some confessions.  God bless and keep you close to Him for His glory and the furtherance of His kingdom.

Lovingly,

your sis in Jerusalem J

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Lord, Help me Love Democrats (Part 4)

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In the late 1980’s, Charisma Magazine published an interview of Dr. David Yonggi Cho, pastor and founder of Yoido Full Gospel Church in Seoul, Korea. Cho stated the simple reason Yoido had 1,000,000 members was prayer. He went on to say that he and his four hundred assistant pastors averaged three hours per day in prayer. The church’s prayer team consisted of 250,000 members, each averaging between two and three hours per day in prayer.

Cho felt everything accomplished by his church began in prayer and finished with prayer.

“Dr. Cho, will America ever have a church like Yoido Full Gospel Church?” asked the interviewer.

“No,” replied David Yonggi Cho, “Americans aren’t willing to pay the price it costs to pray enough to make such a church happen.”

The accuracy of Cho’s words bugged me then and still does today.

But interestingly enough, Yoido Full Gospel began in 1973, the exact year Roe vs. Wade became law and also when Rev. Jerry Falwell noticed the moral decline in America.

For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. (2 Corinthians 10:3)

Rev. Jerry Falwell was first of all a speaker, as in preacher and teacher. His radio and television programs afforded him speaking outlets. The megachurch membership at Thomas Road Baptist Church was built on his speaking abilities.

I’m not insinuating Falwell did not pray because I’m sure he did, but his main tool, as with most American pastors, was speaking.

And what is the main tool of politicians? Of course, it’s speaking.

Why do you think the conservatives and Republicans asked Falwell to co-found Moral Majority, along with Paul Weyrich? Falwell was the dynamic speaker who had a base of followers and Weyrich understood grassroots politics.

All of this makes logical sense to fight bad laws and policies with a dynamic Christian political speaker and super-activist political organizer, but spiritual battles are not won with logic.

For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:4-5)

I believe one of Rev. Falwell’s main mistakes was fighting a spiritual battle with fleshly weapons, much like politicians do. Sadly, this mistake continues today.

(Continued in Part 4)

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