My Mother’s Dying

A middle-aged man approached our Bible table at the beach. Said his name was Ray and he’d noticed our PRAYER sign. “Would you pray for my mother?  She’s dying of cancer.”

I asked, “Does she have a faith background?”                                                                             “She was raised Catholic but she hasn’t been inside a church for years.”

We immediately gathered around him and prayed for his mother.  When we finished he wiped his eyes. “I can’t tell you how much this means to me. I’ve been so worried.”

I said, “Listen, we are nothing on our own. We simply approach God the Father through Jesus Christ and present our requests. It’s now in God’s hands. I think your mother is blessed to have a son who loves her as you do.  May I ask you a personal question?”          He nodded.

“If you were to die today, do you know where you’d go?”
“Truthfully, I don’t.  I do believe in God, but that’s all.”

I invited him to sit with me on a nearby bench. “Ray, do you know why Jesus Christ came to earth?”

“To die for us?”

“That’s right! Jesus said, ‘I came to seek and to save the lost.’ The Bible tells us we are all lost because we are all sinners and deserve hell. Do you believe that’s true?”

He said, “I do—and I know I’m a sinner!”

“Would you like to know how to receive God’s forgiveness and be saved so you will know you’re going to heaven?”  He nodded.

“Jesus has paid for your salvation already. All you need to do is receive that free gift and be willing to turn away from your sins and follow Him. Is this something you want to do?”

“Yes it is.”

As a strong wind picked up he prayed from his heart right on the beach promenade. Through tears he asked God to forgive his sins and to give him the power to turn away from future sin.

“Ray, you’ve not only received Jesus Christ’s forgiveness, you have also received the Holy Spirit’s power so that you will now have the desire and the ability to resist future sin. It’s your choice to exercise that power.”  I invited him to church and suggested he get himself baptized as soon as possible.

Before he left I gave him a booklet by Bill Bright called Would You Like to Know God Personally?  ( http://www.cru.org/training-and-growth/classics/would-you-like-to-know-god-personally/index.htm ) I suggested he go through it with his mother so that she too can have the assurance salvation.

He walked away happy, grateful and eager to share the good news with his mother.

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May I See the Custodian?

Did you know?  In a good church that teaches from the Bible, it’s not just the pastor who has a strong faith in God. The other workers, even the custodians are committed to Jesus Christ.

One late afternoon a man walked into a church office asking to see the pastor.
The secretary said the pastor had already left for the day.  Would he like to schedule an appointment?

The man explained that his wife left him and had taken the kids.  He was depressed and desperate for answers.  Then he asked permission to sit in the sanctuary for a few minutes.

The custodian was working in the sanctuary when he noticed the man enter. He gave a friendly wave and smiled from a distance. The man sat quietly for awhile.  Finally the custodian went over and asked if he could sit with him. The man nodded and they sat quietly together.

Little by little the man began to tell his sad story while the custodian listened.  He didn’t have answers, but he did tell him about the love of Jesus. He said, “You’re going through a crisis and I believe that a crisis never leaves us where it finds us. We either pull away from God or we draw nearer to Him. I believe you’re here because God is drawing you to Himself.”

The next day the man returned to the church. The secretary asked if he’d like to see the pastor. He said, “No thank you.  But if it’s possible, may I see the custodian?  He was a great encouragement to me yesterday.”

  •  Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.     Colossians 3:12
  • No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day.    John 6:44

 

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Former Hindu Shares Jesus!

I’ve been mentoring a 26-year-old man in India via Global Media Outreach: www.globalmediaoutreach.com/.  He’s a former Hindu, who now loves the Lord Jesus.     He recently completed the online Bible study that GMO offers.

He told me he is grateful that God has forgiven his sins and has given him a peace that he’s never before known.  He told me he wants to share Jesus with his friends. He wants them to be saved from the penalty of their sins and also know this peace.  Yet he cannot do it.

I asked, “Why not? Is it dangerous?”

“No, I live in the south of India where there is much freedom. My problem is I don’t know enough about the Bible because I’m still a new Christian.”

I said, “You can tell your friends that you are a new Christian and you still don’t know much about the Bible, but you do know that Jesus has forgiven your sins and has given you peace.”

The next day he wrote, “I did it! I told my friends that I don’t know much about the Bible because I’m still a new Christian. But I do know Jesus has forgiven my sins and has given me peace.  They were happy for me and asked me questions I could answer!  I am happy that I had the boldness to tell them about Christ.”

 

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Why is Good Friday Good?

It was Easter week and I was fishing off the pier with our eight-year-old grandson. We untangled the lines, baited the hooks, then sat on the bench to wait for a catch.  I’m thinking to myself, “This is going to be a long morning.”

Then, “Isn’t this fun Grandma? I mean, even if we don’t catch anything, it’s just fun, isn’t it!”

“It sure is, Brad!  But the best part is being with you!  Tell me something. Do you know what day tomorrow is?”

“It’s Good Friday, Grandma. It’s the day we remember Jesus died on the cross.”

“That’s right!  But if it’s the day Jesus died, then why is it called GOOD?”

“It’s good Grandma, because Jesus died for our sins so that someday we can go to heaven. If He had never died for us, then we would still be in our sins—and we’d go to hell.”

“You are absolutely right, Brad.  I’m glad you know this. God has given you parents who love you enough to teach you the most important story in the history of the world.”

Just then I noticed a seagull walking toward our small bait bucket.

“Brad! Quick! Put the lid on the bucket! That seagull is after our bait!”

Brad scrambled to secure the lid. Whew!  That was close.

Then, “Grandma, the seagull is still walking toward the bait bucket.”

“It’s okay, Brad.  The lid is tight.”

“GRANDMA!  OUR BAIT!”

We watched in shocking disbelief as the seagull flew high in the sky carrying off our bucket of bait—in his beak!

  • Teach [God’s Words] to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.             Deuteronomy 11:18-19
  • God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.    2 Corinthians 5:21

 

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Leprosy – Jesus Does it Again!

Dr.  Abigail is a medical doctor serving as a missionary in a remote jungle in a developing country.  She recently spent a week in a village where the bush people rarely have an opportunity to see a doctor.

There were many people with leprosy but she only had a few drugs for leprosy at her disposal.  She began praying about what to do and how to ration the drugs. Should she use the drugs on a few patients—only the most severe? Or perhaps she should not start any new patients on treatment until more supply is available.

As she prayed asking for God’s direction, she remembered the story of the feeding of the 5000.  Jesus had taken five loaves and two fish and fed everyone! She felt the Lord leading her to do the same!

She announced to her assistants that they would trust God to provide. They would treat every leprosy patient until the drugs ran out.

They did just that—and they treated every last patient! By the end of the week, there was enough medication left over to treat six additional patients when the need arises!

  • “We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered.  “Bring them here to me,” he said.  And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. They all ate and were satisfied and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.     Matthew 14: 17-21
  • Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.     Hebrews 13:8
  • Mark 2 put to music – Click here to listen:   
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Girl Meets Boy at 15

Alabama, a 15-year-old girl in Zimbabwe,  Africa, wrote the following letter via http://www.globalmediaoutreach.com/.

“Dear Kathleen, I want to know if this is a sin:  There is this white guy in my class. I admire him so much that each time I look at him,  I wish he felt the same way about me. I wonder if we are made for each other. I even had a dream about him. Is it wrong in front of God to feel something real for him? I keep asking myself if liking him so much is wrong. Please help me with an answer for this.”

“Dear Alabama, You are attracted to a guy. This is normal. These temptations will likely occur your entire life.  As long as there are good-looking, desirable guys around, there will be temptation. Yet as Christians, we have boundaries. We also have the Holy Spirit who provides us with wisdom and self-control.

“If this guy does feel the same way toward you as you do toward him, it could lead to trouble at your young age. As a Christian, you will want to wait until marriage before having any sexual contact with a guy. This is difficult, especially today when everyone seems to be having sex outside marriage, even on TV!  Many people today believe premarital sex is okay. It is not.

“Read Revelation 21: 8 and you can see what the Bible says about sexual immorality. The Bible has not changed. God has not changed. Someday after you marry, you may still see other guys you are attracted to. What will you do then?

“You will choose NOT to spend any more time with them than necessary. The more time you spend with someone you’re attracted to, the more difficult it will be not to sin.

“My suggestion for you is to give thanks to God that He has created you normally. Thank God that you can trust Him to put a godly man into your life someday, someone whom you will marry and together will serve God.”

Then I wrote out this prayer for Alabama: “Lord God, I lift up my friend Alabama before Your throne of grace. You know her heart yearns to do right. She wants to please You with her life. Please give her great wisdom. Give her Your self-control to do the right thing. Give her Your patience to wait for the right godly young man to marry someday. Meanwhile, help her draw closer to You. Help her get involved in a Christian youth group or small group Bible study where people can pray and be accountable to one another. I thank You, in advance, for what You are going to do in Alabama’s life. I pray in the precious name of Jesus, Amen.”

“Alabama, I have a two websites you might find helpful: www.everystudent.com  and
http://www.412teens.org/qna  / Check them out and let me know what you think.             ~ Kathleen”

Alabama wrote back: “OK, I understand. I will pray to God to help me overcome this temptation and do the right thing. I like the websites you sent. They’re cool.”

  • 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
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Muslim Goes to Mecca

While traveling in Southeast Asia I was seated on a plane next to Miriam, a woman dressed in full Muslim apparel. Only her face and hands were exposed. She told me she was on her way to Mecca in Saudi Arabia!

I was curious to learn more. She explained that every Muslim must make a pilgrimage to Mecca one time during their life, if they are financially able. She told me she had saved and sacrificed for years to make this momentous trip. Her clothes and her bags were new. She was traveling with 100 happy and excited Muslims. They expected to be gone 40 days during which they would walk around the “Holy Kaaba” seven times and visit many holy places.

Then she asked me an interesting question. “You are from the United States.  Are you a Christian or a Catholic?”

I said, “I was raised Roman Catholic but at the age of 27 I began studying the Bible for the first time. I then surrendered my life to Jesus Christ. I am no longer Catholic. However, Catholics do consider themselves Christian because their faith is centered on Jesus Christ.”

She said, “Please, can you explain to me the difference?”
I said, “Bible believing Christians have their faith based on the Bible alone.
The Roman Catholic Church has a three-fold foundation: The Bible, the authority of the Pope and bishops and the sacred traditions of the church.*

I went on to tell her how Christ had changed my life after I had surrendered my life to Him. I knew all my sins were forgiven. I knew I was now going to heaven. I knew God’s Holy Spirit was now indwelling me because I immediately began experiencing the fruit of the Holy Spirit: the love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. My life was so changed that even my husband and friends noticed a difference. That was many years ago and the peace and joy have remained even until now.

She continued to ask questions until our plane landed. I told her I had some information in my purse I’d like to give her. It will explain the Christian life in her native language! She was eager and happy to receive it!  I felt we had bonded during that trip. When we said goodbye we hugged and she let me take a photo of her. What a precious experience!

“Lord God, guide and lead dear Miriam into Your truth. She is seeking Your ways. Please open her eyes and draw her to Jesus. I pray in the mighty name of Jesus, Amen.”

  •  Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”      John 6:68
  • Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.     John 14:6

[* from Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1995, page 34]

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Children Quarreling

My preschoolers would sometimes get into quarrels and spats.

Typically, I’d say, “Okay! I think we need to talk to Jesus about this.”  I’d gather them together and go to prayer.

Afterward, I’d require the guilty person do two things:
1.  Apologize to the person he/she hurt.
2.  Ask forgiveness from the person he/she hurt.
The offended person needed to learn to say, “I forgive you.”
I did the same thing whether they were playing alone or had their friends over.

I believe this in important in training children. Most people today will apologize, but will not ask for forgiveness. It has become unfamiliar in our culture. Yet I wanted my children to be comfortable doing this because God wants us to be a forgiving people. He wants us to learn to seek forgiveness. It’s the healthy thing to do.

I had been working on memorizing 2 Corinthians 10:5 “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

Whatever the problem, I wanted to focus on bringing my thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ. I wanted my children to learn to do the same.

  • Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.    Proverbs 22:6
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I Can’t Forgive My Parents!

I visited a sick, elderly friend. She told me the two people she did not look forward to seeing in heaven were her parents! They were abusive and unloving.  “I hated them when they were alive.” Such strong language! I asked if she knew how they were raised.  She didn’t.  I suggested that perhaps they both grew up in difficult circumstances and then raised their children the only way they knew.  “Jesus once said we must forgive others, if we want God to forgive us.” She held firm—she would not forgive them.                                   I asked, “How long do you think heaven will last?”                                                                       “Forever.”                                                                                                                                     “And how long do you think this life will last?”                                                                               “Not much longer now.”                                                                                                            “Then your parents must be very important to you.”                                                            “No they’re not!”                                                                                                                                “I think they are.  If you are willing to give up eternal life in heaven because of them, they are VERY important to you.”                                                                                                       She teared up,  “What can I do?” “Jesus loves you.  He died for you and wants you to be with Him in heaven someday.  He knows all the hurts and heartaches of your past. He knows how difficult this is for you.  Ask Him to help you forgive.  He will.  Once you forgive your parents you will then experience God’s peace, joy and love.”

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How Far Can We Go and Not Sin?

John from Kentucky sent an email via Global Media Outreach. [www.globalmediaoutreach.com]

His question: “My girlfriend and I are Christians and we want to wait until marriage for sex.  How far can we go and not sin?  We are both 16.”

“Dear John,  Wrong question! You should not be asking how far into temptation you can go before it becomes sin. Your question should be “How can we avoid temptation?”

If you and your girlfriend are true followers of Jesus, then this is a good time to mature in your walk with Christ. One way to avoid temptation is to avoid spending much time together alone. Group activities are best. It would be good for you to be involved in a church youth group and Bible study. Youth group activities are fun and spiritually healthy.”

John wrote back, “Our church does not have a youth group.”
I wrote, “Go to a church that does.”
“My mom won’t let me go to a different church.”
“Ask your pastor if he can start a youth group in your church.”

John wrote a few days later: “Pray for me. I have an appointment with the pastor on Monday.”
“That’s good news! I’ll pray! Let me know what happens.”

John wrote after the meeting: “Hey! The pastor said we can have a youth group and a Bible study! I’m stoked!”

Two weeks later John wrote, “I’m helping the pastor lead the Bible study. I love what I’m doing.”

A few weeks later John wrote again, “The youth group Bible study is going great and I’m learning a lot. Guess what! Our church is gonna start a youth orchestra. I’m gonna play violin!”

“That’s wonderful, John!  I’m glad to hear it.  How’s your girlfriend?”

John: “I don’t know.  She goes to a different church.  I don’t see her anymore.”

Whew!

“Thank You Lord, for directing our conversations.  Please keep John close to You and guide him in all his ways.”

  • And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.     Matthew 6:13
  • Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.     Matthew 7:13-14

 

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