Surprise Evening Visitor

Two years ago  I met Elena, an adorable college student who stopped by our Bible table at the beach. She was from the big city, but vacationing here with family.

She hung out with us for quite a while and asked if she could return with a friend and work with us.  A few months later she brought Jenny and they proved to be true evangelists, sharing the message of Jesus and praying with those in need.

Recently at 8:30 PM I received a text from Elena“I know this is last-minute, but what are you doing tonight?”

“Just working on my Bible lesson. Why?”

“I decided to take a little drive to clear my mind.  Now I realize I’m only a half hour away from you.  I would love to see you.”

I wrote, “I would love to see you too, but we are not late night people. We’ll be heading to bed around 10 PM.”

“I can be there by 9 and won’t stay long.”

I put on water for tea and brought out the cookies. A few minutes later I opened the door to bubbly Elena. She told me about her classes, her two jobs and then her boyfriend.

“We’ve been dating a year. He’s 24, attends Bible college and someday wants to teach the Bible.”

I was familiar with the school he attends—one of the best.  My immediate impression was favorable.

She explained that their parents are from the same country in the Middle East. They’ve attended the same church all their lives and knew each other as kids. They both love the Lord and want to serve Him together. They plan to become engaged in a year since they both need to complete their studies.  She showed me his picture and I could see them serving God together.

I suggested it might become difficult to maintain a God-honoring courtship for such a long period. She explained for that reason they avoid spending much time together alone. Rather, they intentionally spend time together with groups of friends with whom they do ministry.

I gave my blessing and we prayed together before she headed back.  She left before 10 PM.

Thank You, Lord, for the privilege and the joy of knowing precious Elena. Keep her close to You. Guide and direct her ways and help her to love You more and more each day. I pray in the matchless name of Jesus, Amen.

  •  The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”    Genesis 2:18
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A 15-Year-Old Wants Jesus

I was leading Bible study for incarcerated teens when I noticed a boy sitting alone two tables away. He was looking the other direction, but his ear was toward me. After awhile he moved to a closer table, still looking another direction, but his ear was toward me.

Toward the end of the lesson he looked at me directly and I motioned for him to come over.  I said, “I’m just finishing with these guys, but I’d like to talk with you.”

I spent nearly an hour with this precious, fearful 15-year-old who poured out his sad story, and then opened his heart to Jesus. He went to his room with hope,  a smile and  a new awareness of God’s love and forgiveness.

Thank you God for healing hearts!

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Fraternity Party

When I was an 18-year-old college freshman, I was able to live at home.  A guy I’d dated briefly invited me to a fraternity party at his state university two hours away.

I invited a girlfriend to come along—we were so excited!  We made plans to take the bus and then we’d spend the night somewhere. We had no specific plans, but we knew it would all work out.

I was shocked at my parents’ reaction—they were against it!  Mom said, “It’s inappropriate and you’re not going!”

“What? I AM going!  I’m 18 and I can make my own decisions!” I packed a suitcase and headed for the front door.

My mother met me at the door.  “Go ahead if you must, but you cannot take my suitcase.” She opened the bag and dumped my clothes on the floor.

She won.  I stayed home and sulked.

Looking back, I thank God for giving me wise parents.  Only He knows how much grief they saved me from that day. Not to mention the grief I must have caused them!

  • Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.   Exodus 20:12
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Lie Detector Test at the Beach

There was a crowd of walkers and surfers on the beach promenade today.  We were nearly overwhelmed with people stopping at our Bible table asking for prayer or wanting to talk about God.  Several walked away with a free new or used Bible.

Trevor said he was 20. “I used to be an atheist. Now I’m an agnostic. But I’m a good person and if there’s a heaven, I’m sure I’ll go there.”

I challenged him to take our Lie Detector Test. It’s a little box that asks the question: “Are you a good person?”  The test-taker is to place a small metal cube on the YES or NO. Trevor confidently placed the cube on the YES and it immediately jumped to the NO. His eyes grew big and questioning. He laughed when I explained there was a magnet under the NO.

I said, “We all fail the test when we claim to be good. “I’m sure in many ways you are a good person. Yet none of us is good enough for heaven.  The Bible tells us we are all sinners. We all need a Savior and there is only One.”

Just then,  a man pulled up on his bicycle. He said, “You may not remember me, but my wife and I stopped by your table last May. You talked to us about God and I was not persuaded. Two days later I was arrested and spent two months in jail.  The experience made me reflect on what you said about God.  I talked to the chaplain and he placed me in a Bible study. It was a life-changing experience.  I want you to know that your words prepared me to seek God.  My life has forever changed. Thank you.”

Trevor listened to his story and said to me, “Can I give you my email address?  I’m going to have more questions.”

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More on Disciplining Children

Every child is different. Time-out is effective for some.  We had one child who rarely needed that!  I would simply give her  “the look” and she would immediately obey.  We had another child who went by the calendar—every six weeks he seemed to be asking for discipline.

When our son was four,  he had just received a spanking when a little friend came to play.

She asked me,  “Why did you spank Mark?”

I said, “Mark can answer that question himself. Why don’t you ask him.”

Mark said, “She spanked me because she loves me. If she didn’t spank me I might keep on and keep on doing bad things and then I might grow up to be a robber.”

Really? I said that?

The little girl’s pensive response astounded me:  “I wish my mother spanked me.”

That little girls’ mother once told me she didn’t believe in spankings. Instead, she would not allow her child to watch TV for a week.

The whole week?  So the entire family suffers?  Moreover, tension hangs in the air all week while the child is reminded of her bad behavior.

In Malachi 3:5 there is reference to “swift” judgment—it is the healthy way.

  • A rod and a reprimand impart wisdom,  but a child left undisciplined disgraces its mother.   Proverbs 29:15
  • My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline,  and do not resent his rebuke,  because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.   Proverbs 3:11-12
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To Discipline Children

Many parents today are afraid to discipline their children.  Yet it worked for my parents and it worked for me.

I was strong on love. I loved our kids to pieces and they knew it.  Sometimes I’d just grab one of them and smother his/her face with kisses—just as my mother did with us.  And just as my mother was, I was also strict.  I used a big, wide wooden spoon for spankings. Just as my mother did, I made the kids fetch the spoon and bring it to me when they needed to be disciplined—which was very effective.

I used the Ken Poure method of discipline. I was blessed to hear the late Ken Poure (former director of Hume Lake Christian Camps) speak on discipline when our children were small.  He said you must never discipline in anger.  Send the child to his room until you cool off. Then when you’re ready to talk, you do it in private, in his room. First you discuss his disobedience. He must understand what he did wrong.

Then together you agree on the punishment, which is between 1 – 5  swats on the bum. Make sure he’s only wearing his underwear. You don’t want to spank through thick jeans. If it doesn’t hurt, it’s not effective.

Once you agree on how many swats—and the kids usually know if it’s worth four swats or two—they know. Once you agree, you pray with your child. You thank God that He loves Tommy and wants what is best for him:  “Lord, I love Tommy and I don’t want to spank him, but I want to do what is right for him.  I also need to be obedient to You, Lord. You want me to raise Tommy properly because You love him so much. Help me to give him a good spanking so that he will want to obey.  Thank You for loving us and giving us good rules to live by.  I pray in Jesus’ name, Amen.”

Then you have him bend over the bed so you’re sure you hit the right spot. You don’t want to miss and get his legs or back. The large wooden spoon works well, also something with a wider, flat surface—like a ping pong paddle.

Give him his swats and then tell him you want to see him when he’s ready to come out of his room. Leave him alone to cry for a few minutes. When he comes out, take him in your arms and hold him, kiss him and love him. It’s over. It’s forgiven. No need to talk about it again. That’s healthy.

Moreover, that is how God is when we go to Him with our sin. He forgives and forgets.

  • Whoever spares the rod hates their children,  but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.   Proverbs 13:24
  •  Their sins and lawless acts  I will remember no more.   Hebrews 10:17          

  • MORE ON DISCIPLINED continued next time! 

    SONG: ONLY ONE LIFE – click to listen:

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An Inmate Gets Released

I used to visit Dan,  a young man at the county jail who had suicidal tendencies. We would study the Bible and pray together and soon he had given his life to Jesus Christ. The changes were real.  He had genuine peace and his thoughts of suicide disappeared.  He had a new purpose in life, and that was to please and honor God.  Then he was transferred to a state prison.

I gave him the address to my P.O. Box and he wrote that he was attending the prison Bible study.  I urged him to enroll with Crossroad Bible Institute, an in-depth Bible correspondent course for prisoners. He did.  A year later he was leading the prison Bible study!  Last Easter he sent me his sermon notes for the message he gave to the other inmates. It was scholarly and profound, yet simple enough to bless others. It has been seven years and Dan will soon be released.

He wrote yesterday, “I’ve never been more grateful or happy.  I have peace, strength and a confidence that I’ve never had before. It is a complete testimony to God’s transforming power. I cannot begin to express what it has meant to me to have your support and encouragement through this ordeal. When I was on the brink of despair and self-destruction, you were there as an obedient servant of the Most High God. God used you and others like you to bring me back, to restore me.  It is my story,  and God alone will receive the glory.”

I read his letter with tears. Is there anything more important than this?  Is there anything that can bring more joy?   I can think of nothing else.

  • 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
  • You may know a prisoner who would benefit from Crossroad Bible Institute: http://cbi.fm/

 

 

Posted in JAIL & COUNTY JUVENILE FACILITY, PEOPLE | Tagged , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

A Grandmother’s Love

Our daughter had married and moved to a distant city.  Two years later the first grandchild arrived and then the second. How we loved them!

One day while visiting I said,   “Do you know how much you love your children?”

“Yes, why?”

“I think I love them as much as you do.”

“Mom, why are you telling me this? Don’t make me feel guilty. You know we can’t move closer yet.”

“I’m telling you this because I never knew I would feel this way.  I want you to know that I am grateful they are in a loving home with two parents who love each other and who also love God.  If they were not in a good home it would break my heart.  As it is, I can go home in peace, praising God and thanking Him that He has placed them in the very best care.”

I added, “Many believe that a child’s deepest need is to know he is loved. Yet in some ways, I believe there is greater security for a child in knowing his parents love each other. In fact, it may be the most important love for a child.  The love I see in this home blesses me.”

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The Hug

While traveling we learned that a famous author was in our tour group. We had the privilege of meeting him and later having dinner with James and his wife. They were delightful.

When we returned home I received an email from James. It more than friendly, it was flirtatious.  I was puzzled but decided to use the situation for the Lord.  I told him I was glad to know such a well-known author.  I asked if I might get his opinion on my blog. Perhaps he could give me some writing tips.  I knew if he read my blog he would read about Jesus’ love and His power to transform lives.

He responded with compliments on my blog and said my stories were “compelling.” His next comment stunned me:  “I cannot forget the lovely hug we had on that last night! You wore a blue blouse, so I was pressed against it and for a few moments the hug remained with me.  Now whenever I see  a blue blouse, I remember our hug with delight!”

I decided not to write back and instead shared the email with my husband.  His comment surprised me.  He said, “You should write him back.  He needs to be evangelized.”

So I did. I briefly shared my story of how Christ came into my life at the age of 27 and changed me from inside out.  Then… “How about you, James?  Do you have a faith background?  Do you believe in a heaven or hell?  If so, how do you believe one can get to heaven? Many believe we go to heaven by being good.  Yet the Bible tells us nobody is good enough. We all need a Savior and there’s only one.”  I gave him some helpful websites including www.godlife.com .

He responded, “Just answer this question.  Why did you hug me that last night?”

I wrote, “I don’t believe I hugged you, it must have been someone else. I’m sorry.  You may be disappointed, but I don’t believe your letter to me was  a mistake.  You see, there is a God. He loves you and desires that you know Him. He wants to satisfy you and fill you with His peace and joy.  I do sense your lack of interest. Nevertheless, I’m feeling God nudging me to pursue you for Him…”

He wrote back mentioning the hypocrisy he sees in religion and wants no part of it.

I responded, “Hey James, there are phonies everywhere.  Simply look at the life of Jesus. There was nothing phony about Him.  If you continue to look for excuses, you will miss out on the most important relationship of all.  NOTHING else will satisfy! You might find a woman to hug, but the joy and fulfillment will not be lasting.  Come to Jesus and REALLY live.”

I decided against signing, “Hugs, Kathleen.”

We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves.  Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up. Romans 15:1-2

Posted in Love & Romance, PEOPLE, TRAVELING | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

I’m Disabled—Why Am I Still Alive?

As an online missionary for Global Media Outreach, most of my contacts are from overseas, but not all.  A Christian man wrote from Texas.  He said he was disabled and on disability.  He wondered why he was still alive, and what could possibly be his purpose for living.

I wrote back:  “As long as you have breath, you have life to live and to share.  God can use you, even if you’re disabled.  You can obviously send emails.  Why not send an encouraging email to a friend?  You could send a Bible verse—one that has blessed you.  You could say, ‘I’m thinking about you today and wondering how you’re doing. I was encouraged by this Bible verse and I hope it blesses you.’ You might add, ‘I have time on my hands these days. Please let me know how I can pray for you.’

“Or, if you’re able to get out of the house you could volunteer in some capacity to help others in need. Perhaps you could simply read to them from God’s Word or listen to them and pray for them.”

He emailed a week later.  “Thanks for your ideas. You’re right! I need to get my mind off myself and reach out to others.  I have decided to take a hospice course to become a volunteer hospice worker.

A few weeks later he wrote again:  “I finished the hospice training and I have started working with hospice patients. Thanks for encouraging me.  I LOVE what I’m doing!  I know God is using me.”

  • Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.   1 Peter 4:10  
  • For more information on Global Media Outreach: http://gmo.globalmediaoutreach.com/stories/  
  • and especially:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bHjNBWxjLG0
  • SONG: THE PARALYTIC  – Click to listen:
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