Divorce: Two Selfish People

My friend Roxanne saw a lawyer and filed for divorce!  “We are two selfish people who never should have married. Greg no longer attends church and is more and more difficult to live with.”

Married ten years, there are no children. Roxanne is a Christian and knows from the Bible that God hates divorce.

I asked, “Do the problems you have with Greg cause you to spend more time on your knees, to draw closer to God and depend on Him more?”                                                                “Yes, definitely.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          “I know a pastor with a sign on his wall that says, ‘For THIS I have Jesus.’   It’s to remind him that when life gets difficult, he’s to trust in Jesus.  Our goal in life is not to strive for happiness.  We’re to strive to be holy.

“Greg needs a godly wife.  Why don’t you try praising God and thanking God that He is sufficient for your needs. Thank Him for what you DO have. He rewards us when we’re obedient.”

Roxanne began questioning herself:  “Was I really walking with Jesus in my marriage? Could Greg see Jesus in me?   According to 1 Corinthians 7:14, a husband is sanctified by his Christian wife. Was I behaving as a Christian wife?  It’s easy for me to get selfish and critical, to focus on who I think He should be.  He won’t love my Lord unless he can know Him!  I have humbly asked God to forgive me. I’m turning myself around.”

Roxanne went shopping for a birthday present for Greg and became fast friends with the saleslady. They discovered they were both Christians and both in difficult marriages.

While they were visiting, Roxanne’s cell phone rang. It was the lawyer. She told him confidently, “It’s off!  I’m going to work on my marriage instead. I believe God is in the business of taking two selfish people and changing them, one at a time.”

The saleslady smiled and said, “It DOES get better. Keep trusting Jesus.”

Posted in DOCTRINE, Love & Romance, PEOPLE | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Nine-Year-Old Wants a Bible

This afternoon we had our Bible table set up on the beach promenade. Nine-year-old Andrew rode up on his scooter and asked, “How much are your Bibles?”

“They’re free.”

“They’re free? Are they for anyone?”

“Yes, they are. Just take your pick.  Are you here with your parents?”

“My mom’s in the bar having a beer. Wow! I don’t know which one to choose!  Is this one real leather?  I kinda like this other one because it has maps. But here’s one with gold on the edge of the pages.  Hmmm. Maybe I’ll just choose one by saying Eenie Meenie Miney Mo.”  And he did.

I asked him some questions.  He said he sometimes attends church with his mom. “I know the Bible is God’s Word and that’s important to me.”

He seemed to think he was already good enough to enter heaven until I explained that nobody is good enough.  “The Bible tells us we are all sinners and we need a Savior. That’s why Jesus came. He wanted to pay for our sins on the cross so that someday we can be freely admitted to heaven.”  I went through a couple booklets for children that explained God’s plan of salvation and he listened closely.

Later he brought his mother to meet us.  I said, “It has been a pleasure meeting Andrew. He is a remarkable young man with a heart for God.”  She smiled in agreement and thanked us.

Posted in BEACH, PEOPLE, RAISING KIDS | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Church on a Cruise Ship

So my husband has us on another cruise ship. The dear man is not yet a follower of Jesus, but I praise God that he respects my faith. He understands that when we travel, I not only enjoy our time together, but I am also on another mission trip.

I typically wait one day before calling for an appointment with the cruise director. Will I be permitted to do the church service on Sunday? I pray. Two days later he has not returned my call.  I pray and attempt to see him without an appointment. He’s out. I’m told I’ll need to track him down on Deck 5.  I’m praying as I go. “Lord, help me bring honor to Your name. Use me.”

I find him and he tells me he’s been meaning to return my call.  “The church service is something I’m uncomfortable doing. I’m happy if anyone else is willing to take over. However, I’ll need to see your sermon notes.”

His secretary copies my sermon notes and three days later I have heard nothing from the cruise director.  I’m getting stressed. I’m praying. “Lord this cruise will be over on Monday!  Is this Your will or not?  Perhaps my sermon was too Christ-centered to meet with his approval.” I again pray as I walk to his office without an appointment.

He’s in!  He says, “I’m glad to see you!  Let’s get that church service scheduled!  I’ll put it in the Saturday night bulletin. BTW, your sermon notes were fine.”

I walk out of his office rejoicing. It’s going to happen!  “Thank You Lord!  You are working this out!  Please prepare the hearts of those You want to come. Draw them to Yourself. Anoint my words and use me to save souls. It’s all for You Lord Jesus, Amen.”

Postscript:  It could not have gone better!  I had Good News booklets for those who wanted to grow in their relationship with Christ—several came forward to receive them. One lady said she was a school principal: “I was trying to memorize everything you said. Perhaps I should have one of your booklets.”  A man who identified himself as Buddhist asked for a booklet. He said,  “Never in all my life have I ever heard anything like this.”

THANK YOU LORD!

  • He [Jesus] said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.   Mark 6:15
  • The booklet I used is Would You Like to Know God Personally?  by Bill Bright: http://www.cru.org/how-to-know-god/would-you-like-to-know-god-personally.html  On the back of the booklets I had written the website for Global Media Outreach for those who want to learn more about Christ and also obtain a free online mentor: http://www.godlife.com
Posted in PEOPLE, PRAYER WORKS, TRAVELING | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Nobody is Born a Christian!

Today our power walk took us out on the pier where there were fishermen to meet. We watched one guy haul in a baby sting ray!  Another pulled up his crab basket with a small catch.

We enjoyed our chat with three young people: the two guys fishing said the fish were stealing their bait!  The young woman with them was putting her well-worn Bible into her purse, so I asked about her faith background. She said she was a Christian and all three of them attended the same Korean Church. We told them we were both Christians as well. She asked if we had been born Christians.

I said,  “Nobody is born a Christian. I grew up going to church, but didn’t begin studying the Bible until I was 27.  That’s when I surrendered my life to Jesus Christ. That’s when I was born again.”

She said, “I too grew up in a Christian home, but Christ didn’t become my Lord until a few years ago.”

The guys both reeled in their lines and joined the conversation. One said he was an engineer with NASA and grew up in a Christian home, but didn’t make Jesus the Lord of his life until five years ago.  It was after he saw a friend change from being a quiet church-goer to an on-fire evangelist for Christ. He investigated and soon he too was born again. The second guy, a university student, had a similar story: grew up in a Christian home, but two years ago Jesus became real to him and changed his life.

Nobody is born a Christian.  Becoming a Christian only occurs after one is born again.

  •  Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again   John 3:3
  • [Jesus speaking:] Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.  You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’   John 3:6-7
  • SONG:  ONLY ONE LIFE:
Posted in BEACH, HERE & THERE, PEOPLE | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

“I’m Bisexual”

As an online missionary for Global Media Outreach, I’ve been mentoring 20-year-old Mary  from the Philippines for several months.  Recently, she admitted something new: “Even though I’m a Christian, I need to tell you that I’m bisexual. I’ve never had a sexual relationship with a male or female, but I’m attracted to both men and women.  What should I do?”

I prayerfully responded, “You say you are bisexual.  That means you are both. That means it should not be too difficult for you to eliminate the type of relationship that offends God and cling to the one that honors God.

“In Romans 1:21-28  we read that God considers it sin when two people of the same sex engage in sexual activity. Sex is only to be expressed between a man and a woman who are married to each other. That is the way God designed it.

“The Bible tells us to wait until marriage for sex.  The Bible has not changed. God has not changed. Read Revelation 21: 8 and see what happens to those who are sexually immoral.

“Mary, you are a follower of Jesus. That means you have received the Holy Spirit and all the fruit of the Spirit as found in Galatians 5:22-23: ‘But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.’  You have received ALL of that, not some of it.  That even means you have self-control–you just need to exercise it!

“God will help you do the right thing. Obedience to God is not always easy. But God rewards us when we obey. You have started down the correct path by asking for help. This is a good beginning. You may have to distance yourself from any girlfriend you find yourself attracted to.

“Please be careful what movies you watch. Much is not good and can cause unnecessary sexual arousal and confusion. Do not look at any type of pornography. Porn is addicting, progressive and destructive. It can also lead to sexual confusion.

“In 1 Corinthians 6: 9-11 it says,  ‘Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.’

“What this means Mary, is that even 2000 years ago when these words were penned, it didn’t matter which sins people were steeped in. When they surrendered their lives to Jesus Christ they changed. The Holy Spirit began to indwell them and gave them the desire to change and also the power to change.  He is still doing that today.

“Here is a website that will give you some answers on sexual purity: http://www.settingcaptivesfree.com/  

Here is a website from a convert to Jesus out of lesbianism:                     http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/the-dead-end-of-sexual-sin

“Godlife.com  has a specialty group of online volunteers who are former homosexuals. They each found freedom from their same-sex attractions when they came to Christ. They are now dedicated to helping others who struggle in this area.”

I closed by writing out a prayer for Mary:  “… fill her anew with Your Holy Spirit so she will have the power to do the right thing.  Give her Your patience to wait until You provide a godly man for her, so they can honor You with their lives together. I pray in the strong name of Jesus, Amen.”

  •  But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.    Revelation 21:8
  • For more information on Global Media Outreach:  http://www.globalmediaoutreach.com/
Posted in DOCTRINE, GLOBAL MEDIA OUTREACH, Love & Romance | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Nobody Wants Bible Study Tonight?

One evening I walked into the day room at the juvenile hall and discovered that none of the guys had requested Bible study that night. Not even one!

So I walked among the minors and asked them myself.  It was true.  Nobody wanted to attend Bible study.

I decided to leave, but first I raised my voice and asked,  “If you don’t want Bible study, then is there anyone who would like special prayer?”

Suddenly one hand went up, “Yes! I need prayer!”
Immediately three more hands went up.
Then five hands went up.

They followed me into the classroom and one said,  “This is the first time in my life that I have ever been to anything religious.”

I said, “Well you haven’t come to anything religious tonight either.  Jesus will be our focus, not religion.”

I prayed for each of them, as I said I would, but then they all wanted to stay and hear the good news about Jesus.

Forty-five minutes later all but one wanted to give his life to Jesus.

Posted in JAIL & COUNTY JUVENILE FACILITY, PRAYER WORKS | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Spirit House

We were privileged to travel to Cambodia and actually visit some private homes. I noticed the homes in the villages each had small spirit houses outside, usually perched on a pedestal, facing the front of the house.

Some of the spirit houses were painted gold and beautifully carved with ornate curlicues. Their fronts were open or had large porches where people offered fresh fruit, rice and flowers. Most had burning candles and incense.  We were told the purpose of a spirit house was to protect the home from evil spirits.

The people of Cambodia are 95% Buddhist.  Those we met were lovely. They were kind. Yet in talking with some, it seemed there was an underlying fear.  Their lives seem to be dictated by their beliefs in reincarnation and karma. We learned about the many superstitions that control them.  They seek advice from fortune tellers before every important decision, even purchasing a motorbike.  If the stars do not indicate a good marriage match, they don’t marry.

Since Buddhists don’t believe in a personal God, I asked our guide about their many prayers. If they don’t pray to God, then to whom do they pray? He couldn’t give me a direct answer except to say that they meditate on positive thoughts. Often their prayers go out to the universe, to no particular thing or god. They may pray “that all people be happy or cured or enlightened.”  He said it was another way to look at Karma: “The positive thoughts toward others will bring positive thoughts to the one praying.”

He said that most of the people in Cambodia suffer and are poor.  “We believe we were born in Cambodia because we were evil in our previous lives. My own personal goal is to be so very good, that in my next life I’ll be born in America.”  He was serious.

These precious people have no assurance of salvation, no Savior from sin and no promise of heaven. Instead, they are trusting their spirit houses to protect them.

I found it heartbreaking.  My Christian booklets were well-received, but I didn’t bring enough.

  • People are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment.  Hebrews 9:27
  •  ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”   Revelation 21:4
Posted in DOCTRINE, PEOPLE, TRAVELING | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Killing Christians

I just read Killing Christians: Living the Faith Where It’s Not Safe to Believe  by Tom Doyle…http://www.killingchristiansbook.com/  He also wrote Dreams and Visions. 

He begins by explaining that the Church in America is not strong because the Church in America is not under persecution. Persecution is what grows the Church.

His stories are about Muslims in the Middle East today who have unique introductions to Christ, most by dreams and visions.  It can be a death sentence for those who share their faith with others. We in the West cannot imagine the oppression these believers experience. They prefer torture or martyrdom over denying their faith.

Doyle suggests we ask ourselves two questions:  “Am I willing to suffer for Jesus?  Am I willing to die for Jesus? …From now until Jesus returns, persecution will increase and so will martyrdom.”

Doyle challenges us to pray for our brothers and sisters who live in danger. We all have good intentions, but we get busy.  He suggests the 8thirty8 challenge.  Set your watch or phone to 8:38 PM and when the alarm goes off, pray for those who, because of their faith in Christ, are in prison, persecution, or danger.  Your prayers can be current and strategic, rather than the anemic Lord-bless-everyone-in-danger kind of prayers. Simply link to  https://www.facebook.com/8thirty8  to learn specific needs. The page posts daily SOS prayer alerts for Jesus followers worldwide.

Doyle says, “The timing is significant. As nighttime falls on us in the West, daytime is just beginning in the Middle East, North Africa and Asia. And what will they face today? It could be persecution or maybe even death. By praying each evening, you send believers there into the day with a prayer of blessing and hope–and with the promise found in Romans.  Stand with your family.”

Where did 8thirty8 originate?  It’s from Romans 8:38-39  “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

  •  Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.    Hebrews 13:3
  • Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.    Matthew 10:28
  • https://www.facebook.com/8thirty8  
  • SONG: GOD IS READY  

 

 

 

Posted in DOCTRINE, HERE & THERE, PEOPLE | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Seeing Clearly Through the Smog

It was on a smoggy day that I received an unexpected letter from someone I loved. I wasn’t prepared for its disturbing contents which hurt deeply.

It was a letter of anger and bottled-up emotions, being vented in one huge explosion. Granted, some of the accusations were valid, but most were not. The ones that were, I felt, were merely careless oversights, the result of my insensitivity. The accusations that were not valid left me feeling confused and angry.

Why hadn’t I been told long ago? Why did she harbor her ill feelings to the point of becoming enraged? My initial response was that of self-pity and tears. Soon I’d gathered my thoughts and purposed to write a letter. I knew I needed to pray first, but I had to make it quick, because the letter had to be written now!

“Lord guide me,” was the extent of my prayer.  Then I began by explaining my side, and then perceiving that she was in need of counseling (mine), I proceeded to instruct her on the fruit of the Spirit, particularly self-control, patience and gentleness.  After a time, I had to leave for an appointment.

While driving, I experienced blurry eyes, not only from my tears, but from the smog.  “Oh Lord!” I prayed. “I feel so low, and this smog is awful!  Lord, Your Word says to come before Your presence with thanksgiving, so I suppose I should be thankful. Okay, Lord, thank You for this day, even for the smog.”  And then it hit me.  “Lord, do I have to thank You for the letter too? Okay, Lord, thank You for the letter.  And the writer? Lord, You mean it?

I thought for a moment. “Yes, of course! Thank You, Jesus, for showing me so clearly…through the smog.”

That evening I began my letter anew. This time the Lord would be in control:  “Dear _____, Thank you for your letter. It was what I needed to bring me back down to earth. Much of what you said is true. I’m sorry for being flippant and disrespectful. Please forgive me for being insensitive. I love you.”

What peace flooded my dreams that night! Would the letter resolve the problems and rekindle our special relationship? I didn’t know. But I did know I had listened to God, and with obedience came peace.

Thank You, Jesus,  for even honoring my teeth-gritting thankfulness. I love You. Amen.

  • Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.                  1 Thessalonians 5:18
Posted in DOCTRINE, PEOPLE, PRAYER WORKS | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Easter is About Candy!

We met 10-year-old Cora at our Bible table on Sunday.  She and her family were riding their bicycles. Cora saw our signs “Free Gift” and “God Talk”  and wanted to stop.

I shared the Evangecube with her.  It’s a cube that illustrates the story of Jesus as it opens up. She said she attends church weekly, so I thought the story would be familiar to her. We talked about sin and Jesus’ death on the cross that paid for our sin. I showed her the picture of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead and asked, “Do you know what happened three days after Jesus died?”  She didn’t know.

I explained that Jesus raised from the dead on the third day.  Do you know what holiday we celebrate next Sunday?”

“Yes, Easter!”

“Do you know what Easter is about?”

Her eyes lit up, “Easter is about candy!”

I smiled. “Do you think there might also be another important reason we celebrate Easter?”

She just looked at me and shook her head.

I said, “Easter is the day we celebrate Jesus’ resurrection from the dead.  Did you know that?”  She didn’t.

“Many people call Easter Resurrection Sunday! Candy and Easter Egg Hunts are fun, but the real reason we celebrate Easter is to remember the day Jesus rose from the dead. It’s because He rose from the dead, that we know someday we too will be raised from the dead. If we are followers of Jesus and love Him, then we can know that we will be with Him in heaven after we die.

“Cora, if God were to ask you, ‘Why should I let you into my heaven?’  How would you answer Him?”

“I’d say, ‘Because I believe in Jesus!'”

(She got that right!)

  • Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved…   Acts 16:31
  • For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,  that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.    1 Corinthians 15:3-4
  • Learn more about the Evangecube:                             https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GhVldzsGEck
  • SONG:  I KNOW HIM  by Kathleen

 

Posted in BEACH, DOCTRINE, RAISING KIDS | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments