The Telephone

The phone rang again.  Another solicitor.  It’s DAILY!   Perhaps the Lord wants me to minister to these callers!  One man asked if I needed a handy man.

“No, I’m sorry, not at this time. But may I ask you a personal question?”

“Sure.”

“If you were to die today, do you know where you’d go?”

It was quiet on the other end.  Then, “What about plumbing. Do you have any plumbing needs?”

I said, “Hey! You didn’t answer my question.”

He became quiet again—and then he hung up.

Next day same thing: “If you were to die today, do you know where you’d go?”

“What is this, a religious thing?”

I said, “No it’s not religious. This is a life issue and an important one.”

He said, “Yes I suppose it is a life issue and it IS important.  Let’s see…I suppose I’d go to heaven because I’ve been a good person.”

I said, “I’m sure you are a good person. But the Bible tells us nobody is good enough. We all need a Savior—and there’s only One.  Have you ever received Jesus as your Savior?”

“As a matter of fact I have, but it was a long time ago.  It’s something I’ve ignored and I’ve sort of wandered away.  Wow!  I suppose I should thank you.”

I took his name and number and told him I’d be sure and contact him the next I need a home repair.

Today it happened again: “If you were to die today, do you know where you’d go?”

“Absolutely! I’d go to heaven! Jesus is my Lord and Savior—He died for my sins and purchased my salvation. He is everything I live for!”

I said, “Hey! I’m happy to hear this. Do you attend a good church that teaches the Bible?”

She told me the name of her church and asked about mine. She told me she teaches the Bible in her church and for years was a missionary. Then she said, “You’re the most delightful person I’ve talked with all day!”

I said, “And I can say the same about you. I’m glad to have met another saint!”

That was fun!  Think I’ll do it again!

  • The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him.  Lamentations 3:25
  • This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.     1 John 4:10
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I’m Bad – God Doesn’t Want Me

I am still rejoicing over 17-year-old Rosemary, a precious new friend.

She was incarcerated for six weeks and refused to come to Bible study during that time. Why?  She said she had never been to church, was not religious, and didn’t think God wanted her.  Last week the other Christian girls in her unit had all been released. Rosemary decided to come to Bible study.  She came alone.

She was fearful and timid. I asked why she had come.  She said, “I have done so many bad things. God doesn’t want me, but I’m scared of going to hell.”

I said, “Rosemary, you may have done bad things, but the Bible tells us that we have ALL done bad things. Nobody is good enough for heaven. That is why we all need a Savior and there is only One.  You have come to the right place.”

She listened carefully as I presented the good news about what Jesus had already done for her.  Then I told her the wonderful things Jesus wants to do in her future. She asked appropriate questions.

When I went through my Junk List with her—that is, my list of activities that would pull her away from God and back into the world, she was ready to give it all up for Jesus.  She was so eager to make Him Lord! Yet she said she had trouble forgiving the man who had raped her, even though he has since died. I told her that forgiving the man is very important. “I know you want to please God. God will help you forgive him. You will see.”

Rosemary prayed and surrendered her life to Jesus Christ. I asked her how she felt afterward.  She said, “Relieved and happy.”

That was one week ago. Last night I met with several new girls, who also wanted to come to Christ; then Rosemary returned from a meeting and joined us.  She was radiant! I asked her how her first week as a Christian had been.

She smiled as she spoke, “It’s been the best week! I have been reading my Bible and praying every day and thanking God for blessing me. He has given me peace and joy. My mother needs God in her life. I can’t wait to go home and tell her about Jesus!”

 

 

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Sunday Morning & Another Cruise Ship

It was a Princess Cruise.  As I’d done in the past, I approached the cruise director asking permission to lead an interdenominational Bible study.

He was enthusiastic! He said I could do it Sunday morning and he would give me the theater! I thought to myself, “Hmm…the theater holds at least a thousand people.  Oh well, I suppose I could gather the usual 30-50 people over in a corner.”

Sunday morning I arrived ten minutes early and was shocked to discover the theater was already half full.  Each entrance had a table with stacks of hymnals!  The stage had been converted to an altar with a large brass cross, tall electric candles and a podium.

I started to panic.  My little study in Colossians was not going to work.  My first thought was to quietly back up and disappear.  Instead, I picked up a hymnal and walked down the center aisle, praying like crazy.  I greeted those in front and tried to act confident.

I stepped to the podium at exactly 9AM and suggested we open our hymnals to Amazing Grace—a song familiar to both Protestants and Catholics.  Next I opened in prayer. Then I introduced myself.

“I am not a pastor, nor a minister. I’m simply a guest, as you are. However, for several years I have been a volunteer chaplain in our county jail back home.” For some reason, that comment brought a peal of laughter.

During the laughter God spoke to me.  I didn’t actually hear Him, but I felt Him direct me to speak to the people as if they were inmates.  So I did. I was winging it, and yet I wasn’t. It was almost as if God was speaking through me.

I began, “Let me ask you a question that I often ask inmates.  That is, ‘Who is Jesus Christ to you, personally?’”

People from all over the theater began calling out answers. I repeated the answers as I heard them and told them these are the same types of answers I often hear from inmates: “Jesus was a great teacher. Jesus was the ultimate role model. Jesus was a good person, an historical figure. He was the Son of God.” These are all true statements, but they don’t answer my question, “Who is Jesus to you, personally?”

There were two couples sitting together down in the front that called out, “My personal Lord and Savior!” I instantly felt a connection with them. Somehow I knew they were praying for me.  Later I discovered I was right.

I said, “When inmates tell me, ‘Jesus is my personal Savior.  He is everything to me,’ they are letting me know that Jesus Christ has personally impacted their lives.

“Another question I might ask is, ‘If you were to die today, do you know where you’d go?’ Often inmates say they are pretty confident they’d go to heaven because a few years ago they prayed a prayer and got saved.  It doesn’t seem to concern them that they have continued to live a life of sin.

“Recently an inmate said, ‘I think I deserve heaven because I’m a good person. I’ve never really done anything wrong.’ I wanted to say ‘HELLO! Do you know where you are?’”

Somehow I filled 25 minutes and the response from passengers amazed me.  Several actually requested we meet again mid-week!  The cruise director was again pleased.

Since then I have led several on board church services—adding altar calls.  But now I come with a prepared message—it makes it much easier!

  • Wherever we go there are people who need the Lord.  God wants to use us to be His light to a lost world.  Have you ever considered leading a church service on a cruise ship?  Would you?
  • You are the light of the world.  A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.     Matthew 5:14

 

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She HAD to Get an Abortion

We were on the college campus when a student stopped by our table.   He asked about the small Precious Feet Lapel Pin we had on display.  

I explained, “These little feet are the exact size and shape of a baby’s feet at ten weeks after conception.”

He was quiet, so I continued:  “It’s interesting that babies are commonly aborted at ten weeks. One student was told her ten-week pregnancy was just a blob of tissue. What do you think? Does this look like a blob of tissue to you?”

He said, “No, it’s a baby.”

He was thoughtful for a moment then said softly, “My girlfriend had an abortion—but she HAD to!”

“She HAD to get an abortion? Why?

“It made her sick!  She even threw up!”

I said, “Did you know it’s normal to experience nausea and vomiting during pregnancy? It’s especially common to feel sick during the first three months.”

“It is?”  Then he became quiet and pensive. “I didn’t know.”

  • Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter. If you say, “But we knew nothing about this,” does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who guards your life know it? Will he not repay everyone according to what they have done?    Proverbs 24:11-12
  • You can order your own Precious Feet Lapel Pin here:                           http://www.hh76.org/default.aspx?GroupID=141
  • SONG: SEVEN TIMES A DAYBy Kathleen

     

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Hiccups Cured!

One night at the juvenile facility, an incarcerated girl in my Bible study had the hiccups. I excused her to get a drink of water. Then she told me she’d had the hiccups since morning!  She had already tried drinking water, eating and holding her breath, but still they persisted.

So I suggested we pray—but instantly I had doubts!  What if God doesn’t stop the hiccups?  Then no one in the group will believe in prayer!

I stepped out in faith and asked all the girls to pray along silently with me as I pray for her hiccups.   My prayer was simple, that in the name of Jesus the hiccups would stop right now.

They stopped!  I asked her 10 minutes later how she was doing.  No hiccups.  I asked her 45 minutes later.  Still no hiccups!  The girls were all amazed to see God work so quickly!

Truthfully, I was shocked!  After that, all the girls said they wanted to give their lives to Jesus.  I walked to my car that evening singing praises to God for His faithfulness.

 

 

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Repent? What’s Repent?

Years ago a friend invited me to Bible study.  I said, “No thanks, I’m not interested.”

She persisted. “We’ll get lunch afterward and we’ll have a good time!  I’ll be at your house at 8:30 tomorrow, so be ready!”

I thought to myself, “She’s becoming obnoxious!” I said, “I am not going!”

The next morning she was at my house at 8:30!  I was grumbling, but I went.  Sometimes persistence can be good.  It was during the second week of this Bible study that I learned about God’s love and forgiveness for the first time in my life, and I fell in love with God.

I learned the most basic teaching in the Bible is that God loves us, even though we are ALL sinners. It does not matter who has sinned the most or the least. The Bible says if we’re guilty of only one sin, we are not clean enough to enter heaven.

Next I learned what sin is.  Sin is not simply robbing a bank or committing murder, it’s deeper.  Sin is living our lives independent of God’s control. Sin is an attitude of rebellion toward God, by saying “I will live my life—my good citizen life—my way.  That is what I had been doing.

I still remember my initial reaction when I learned Jesus had paid the full price for my past and even my future sins.  He was willing to forgive me and I would not have to endure hell or pay for any of my sins in any way. I thought I was hearing things!  This was astonishing news!

Jesus wanted to be my Savior and my Lord.  It was easy to take Jesus as my Savior.  It would cost me nothing. Actually, it’s priceless. We all want to know our sins are forever forgiven. We all want to know we have a free pass to heaven.

Yet it was different to make Jesus Lord of my life. That would not be so easy—it would cost. I learned the word repent means to turn around and go the other way.  I would have to step off the wide road of life and start walking the narrow road. There would have to be change.

Jesus once talked about the two roads in life:  The wide road has many people on it, yet it leads to destruction. The narrow road leads to life, but He said, “only a few find it.”  Only a few!

I realize now that we all start out in life on the wide road, because we all have that tendency to sin.  If we truly desire to follow Jesus and someday end up in heaven, we must get off the wide road. We must turn around and go the other way. We must follow Jesus.

  • 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
  • They went out and preached that people should repent.    Mark 6:12
  • For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.   Romans 3:23
  • For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.    James 2:10

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Teen Deported to Mexico – to Become Missionary?

Thomas is 17-years-old and incarcerated. Because of his criminal background he’s to be deported to Mexico.  He came to the U.S. when he was six months old—this is his home. His family is here.  He has an uncle in Mexico whom he’s never met—he’ll be living with him.

Thomas gave his life to Jesus Christ several months ago and insists he is not the same person he was before.  The peace and joy God has given him is real. He’s reading the Bible and memorizing portions of it on his own.

Thomas read the book of Daniel in the Old Testament and was re-telling the highlights to the others in our Bible study group. His accuracy and his ability to tell the story so clearly were impressive. Thomas does not speak much, but when he speaks the others listen. Recently I asked him to explain the gospel message to the new arrivals who joined our group.  He explained it with clarity and wisdom.

Last week he was lamenting over his situation—feeling sad and fearful over the news of his upcoming deportation.

I said, “Thomas, didn’t you tell me that your heart’s desire is to tell others about Jesus Christ so they can be saved?”

“Yes.”

“Then why don’t you return to Mexico as a missionary? There are some unreached people groups in remote places in Mexico—they have never heard about Jesus. You are not too young to begin serving the Lord.”

His face lit up. “Do you think so?”

“Thomas, you would be perfect!  Remember Daniel? He was about fourteen when he was taken captive to Babylon, never to see his homeland again. He trusted God his entire life and became a mighty man of God. Think of yourself as a modern-day Daniel.”

I went home and did an online search. I found a church and contact information for the region where Thomas will be living.

He was so encouraged to receive it.  He said, “I have been thinking about this all week! I’m so excited about going to Mexico now!  I’ll probably be emailing you with lots of questions. Is that okay?”

“Please do. I will count it a privilege to try to answer your questions and to pray for you in your important work for the Lord.”

  • For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.     Jeremiah 29:11  

Addendum:  A reader of this blog contacted me about a ministry in Mexico that helps deportees. They provide temporary room and board, Christian counseling, job counseling and transportation to the deportees’ final city of destination.  I was able to put them in touch with Thomas and they are now expecting him.  How good is our God to put together the pieces of this puzzle!   

SONG: JOHN 3:16-17Music and Arrangement by Kathleen

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Traveling Missionaries

We were traveling in Eastern Europe as river cruise missionaries. Well actually, I was the missionary, while my husband who still is not YET a believer, was kind enough to accompany me.  My plan was to reach out to lost and lonely people with the good news of Jesus.

I was handing out Jesus booklets in the Bulgarian language when I ran out!  We were in a walking mall near a major university with crowds of students moving around us. I hated to miss the opportunity to reach these young people for Jesus, so I found a bench and sat down.

Opening my purse, I pulled out a piece of typing paper, a pen and my fold-up scissors. I began writing two websites over and over and up and down the paper in three rows. One was www.everystudent.com and the other was www.whoisJesus-really.com  (which is also offered in Bulgarian).

I then cut out the little pieces of paper with the two websites on them, put them in my big pocket and we started walking.  I’d simply approach someone with a smile and say, “Excuse me, do you speak English? I’m from America and I have two websites to share with you—they’re about Jesus. I think you’ll like them.”

Most people I approached would smile back, look at the little piece of paper, tell me they’d check it out, thank me and put it in their pocket. They were friendly. They seemed appreciative. There was only one man who said he did not believe in such things and wanted to argue.  I quickly said goodbye and moved on.

It wasn’t long before all my little papers were gone, so it was time for us to return to our ship.

I praised God that I was able to get about 50 pieces of paper out of one piece of typing paper. Fifty young people over and above those who received my booklets had an opportunity to come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ!  How exciting is that!

What a thrill for me to reach so many! Even my dear husband was helpful. At one point he said, “See that guy over there? He looks kind of needy—why don’t you give him one.”

“Thank You Lord, for giving me favor and joy as I serve You—in just a simple way.”

  •  Remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins.     James 5:20
  •  Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.     Mark 16:16
  • For more information on Global Media Outreach: www.godlife.com  and www.globalmediaoutreach.com

 

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Sunday Morning Church via Laptop?

It was Sunday morning and we were vacationing with our son’s family.  He had done an online search for a good Bible-centered church and found one 45-minutes away.

But wait.  Did we want to drive 45 minutes? We soon discovered that said church could be watched LIVE via the internet!  So that’s what we did!  We attended church right in our rental house with the laptop on the center of the dining table.

The worship was excellent—even the grand kids were singing along to the familiar lyrics!

The Calvary Chapel pastor was doing an in-depth study on the book of Daniel.  It was a powerful message we could all apply to our lives.

When the service ended we discovered over 1400 people had watched the same service LIVE, worldwide! Demographics showed the highest concentration of viewers were in the US, the Caribbean and Western Europe. We read the comments and questions from viewers, and the responses from church-appointed moderators!  How interesting was that!

“Thank You, God, for modern technology that takes Your Word worldwide!”

 

 

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Why College Students Lose Their Faith

Our local community college changed their rules.  Those people who wished to come onto the campus to give away Bibles and talk to students about God,  were now required to be students!  I decided to enroll in an English Literature class.

The required reading involved short stories. I noticed that many of the stories portrayed Bible believing Christians in a negative light. Following our reading, we’d listen to the instructor lecture us on the foolishness and ignorance of people who actually believe in God.

One day after class I went to see him privately. I told him it was becoming obvious to me that he had an apparent agenda, and that was to undermine the faith of his students.  He immediately became nervous, defensive and denied the allegation. He assured me he had no such intention.

Yet after our meeting, the reading assignments changed. The subject matter improved. Never again did he speak disparagingly about Christians.  That is, as long as I was in his class.

Unfortunately, I believe many young people today are too intimidated to speak up. But not all!  I remember a high school senior who did the same thing.  She was president of the senior class and exuded confidence and poise.  She stood up in class, spoke loudly so all could hear, and said she could no longer remain in a class where her faith was insulted and threatened, and walked out. Her action effected change.

Have you experienced a similar situation? How did you handle it?

  • Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,  not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.   Philippians 2:3-4
  • Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.     Proverbs 31:8
  • SONG: GOD IS READYby Kathleen
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