Pol Pot’s Dictatorship – a history lesson

It was 1975.  Little “Bona” was the youngest of five sons.  One night the Communist forces of the Khmer Rouge came to his village in Cambodia and took his father away, never to be heard from again.  Pol Pot’s vicious four-year dictatorship had begun.

Cities were evacuated, factories and schools closed.  Those believed to be intellectuals, such as teachers, medical doctors, those who spoke a foreign language, or in possession of eyeglasses or a wristwatch, were executed as enemies of the state.  Millions were herded into rural collective farms.  Between 1975 and 1978, nearly two million Cambodians died by execution, forced labor and famine.

Bona’s mother used a bicycle to provide for her family.  On the front end was a net to carry little Bona.  On either side of the bike she carried fish sauce she made and sold.  Behind the bicycle she carried cultivation tools to sell:  hoes, plows, machetes and sickles.

Thankfully, in 1979 Pol Pot was overthrown.  Food was scarce and Bona’s mother struggled to feed her sons.  After a few years Bona’s two older brothers escaped to Thailand to live in a refugee camp where they learned English. They returned three years later and began teaching English to their younger siblings.

When Bona was 16 he began working in a restaurant in hopes of practicing his English.  A tourist entered and a conversation ensued.  “John,” a schoolteacher from Brooklyn, told Bona he wanted to meet his mother.  Bona brought him home and when John saw their poverty, he said he wanted to help Bona get an education.

They went to the bank and John deposited $60 in an account and handed Bona his very own bank book.  Thus began five years of education for Bona.  Every month John would send $150.  This paid for Bona’s tuition, books, housing, clothes and food while he completed high school and four years at the university.  He graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in computer science and engineering.

Today Bona is married with children, has a successful career and still keeps in touch with his good friend John in Brooklyn.

  •  And do not forget to do good and to share with others,  for with such sacrifices God is pleased.  Hebrews 13:16
  • What are your thoughts?   Do you think John from Brooklyn has any regrets?
  • I KNOW HIM by Kathleen:

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    This life is temporary. This life is short.  When this life is over, our bodies will die and become empty shells, but our souls will continue to live forever.  Where will the “real you” live?  Will you live for all eternity separated from God?  Or will you spend eternity in the presence of God in heaven?   Learn more so you can make your most important decision:    http://www.whoisjesus-really.com/

 

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Teen Wants to Become a Father

A special memory from my years doing jail ministry:

I was having Bible study with a group of incarcerated teens when one 16-year-old asked if he could speak with me privately after we finished.

Later he told me he is considering getting a girl pregnant. He wanted my opinion, because he’d already talked with his parents. They both think he is at a good age to become a father.

I asked, “Who is going to support your child?”

He said,  “Ohhhh—It’ll all work out.”

I asked him if he was serious about the decision he’d made just 15 minutes earlier, to turn away from sin and to give his life to Jesus Christ.

He said, “Yes!  Absolutely!”

I said, “If you are serious about obeying God, then you need to wait until marriage before you start a family.”

His response, “Marriage?   But I’m too young to get married!”

I just looked at him.

He said, “Are you saying, you don’t think I should have a kid yet?”

I said, “God’s desire for you NOW,  is to grow into a mature man of God, who loves and serves the Lord Jesus.  Someday you will want to marry a woman who shares your faith. Your children are to come after your marriage, not before.”

He was quiet for a moment, then said, “OK. I’ll wait.”

  • The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man is he who listens to counsel. Proverbs 12:15
  •  Does this boy’s question surprise you?  Would you have responded differently?

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This life is temporary. This life is short.  When this life is over, our bodies will die and become an empty shell, but our souls will continue to live forever.  Where will the “real you” live?  Will you live for all eternity separated from God?  Or will you spend eternity in the presence of God in heaven?   Learn more so you can make your most important decision:    http://www.whoisjesus-really.com/

 
 

 

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What Are Indulgences?

I was raised Roman Catholic.  When I was 16, I used my babysitting money to purchase a Catholic Missal from the church bookstore–a prayer book of indulgences.

We learned in Catechism class that we were all sinners—I certainly knew I was!  We also learned we’d have our sins forgiven once we confessed them.  However, even with our sins forgiven, we’d still have to endure purgatory–a place of painful, fiery suffering to cleanse us from our sins–before we could enter heaven.

The missal I purchased would provide a way for me to reduce my time in purgatory.  I eagerly read through it and discovered hope at the end of each prayer!   It actually revealed the number of  weeks, months or years of indulgences I would gain each time I read that prayer!   That meant the number of weeks, months or years I would not have to spend in purgatory!

Upon further investigation,  I noted some prayers were long and some were short.  Then I discovered some long prayers only offered six weeks of indulgences, while a short prayer I found would give me seven years!   Wow! This was a great find!

But since it was unpredictable to know how many years I’d be required to spend in purgatory, it was difficult to know how many times I would need to say the seven-year prayer.  Nevertheless, I knew that short prayer was the only prayer I would ever need to say.

Years later at age 27,  I attended my first Bible study.   I still remember the day I learned there was no mention of purgatory in the Bible—that when Jesus died on the cross to purchase our salvation, He did it all!  No further punishment would be necessary!

Wait!  What?  I thought I was hearing things!  If this is true, why haven’t I heard this before?  I even felt some anger, to think I had carried the guilt of sin and the fear of the fires of purgatory all my life.  This was the most wonderful news I’d ever heard!  I was not going to keep it a secret!  People need the truth!

Thank you, Martin Luther!   You had it figured it out back in 1517!

  • Catholic Doctrine:  “Suffering in purgatory is greater than all suffering on earth.” Such is the doctrine of tradition, supported by theological reasoning. [402] http://www.catholictreasury.info/books/everlasting_life/ev24.php 
  • https://aleteia.org/2013/11/01/greater-than-any-pain-of-this-life-the-hard-truth-about-purgatory/
  • Biblical Doctrine:   If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.   1 John  1:9
  • The criminal hanging on the cross next to Jesus believed in Him.  He said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.   Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you,  today  you will be with me in paradise.”  Luke  23:42-43

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This life is temporary. This life is short.  When this life is over, our bodies will die and become empty shells, but our souls will continue to live forever.  Where will the “real you” live?  Will you live for all eternity separated from God?  Or will you spend eternity in the presence of God in heaven?   Learn more so you can make your most important decision:    http://www.whoisjesus-really.com/  and www.godlife.com

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May I See the Custodian?

Did you know?  When a good church 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 as well.

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

The man explained that his wife had left him and had taken the kids.  He was depressed and desperate for answers.  Then he asked permission to quietly 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 are 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

This life is temporary.  This life is short.  When this life is over, our bodies will die and become an empty shell, but our souls will continue to live forever.  Where will the “real you” live?  Will you live for all eternity separated from God?  Or will you spend eternity in the presence of God in heaven?   Learn more so you can make your most important decision:    http://www.whoisjesus-really.com/
 

 

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Muslim Student from Senegal

We were on a crowded train in France when I found an empty seat next to a university student from Senegal.

He ignored me until I said, “Bonjour!” I then offered him a “Good News” comic book in French.

He said, “Parlez-Vous Francais?”

I smiled, “Anglais.”

He quietly read the booklet. When he finished he said,  “This is important information!      I am a Muslim and we too believe in Jesus. This tells the importance of making ourselves ready for the next life.  This life we now live is only temporary.  Please!  I would like to send this to my wife in Senegal.”

I said, “Please do.”

With his permission, I wrote two websites on the back of the booklet: www.MuslimJourneytoHope.com   and Godlife.com .  Then he took out his wallet and showed me pictures of his new baby.

“Thank You, Lord, for arranging this meeting and giving this precious young man an open heart.”

  • Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.    Acts 4:12
  • The comic I shared with him was called “This Was Your Life” in the French language:  http://www.chick.com/reading/tracts/0001/0001_01.asp
  • ONE BUSINESS IN LIFE – Quote by John Wesley, circa 1780; remaining words and music by Kathleen
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This life is temporary. This life is short.  When this life is over, our bodies will die and become empty shells, but our souls will continue to live forever.  Where will the “real you” live?  Will you live for all eternity separated from God?  Or will you spend eternity in the presence of God in heaven?   Learn more so you can make your most important decision:    http://www.whoisjesus-really.com/

 

 

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Church at the Assisted Living Facility

I did a Sunday afternoon church service for a local assisted living facility.  Two friends came along to help.  I had my guitar so we could do some simple worship songs.

This establishment has some residents who are memory impaired. Only a few were singing along, while others watched with empty stares.  I decided to switch from hymns to the simple songs we do for children’s Sunday school.  Suddenly they seemed to come alive!  Several even participated in doing the hand motions to the songs!

We spent some time just talking with those who could talk and learning a little about their lives.  One elderly woman kept watching the door for her mother whom she believed was coming soon.   Suddenly I recognized the woman next to her!

Darla!  It’s me, Kathleen!  How good to see you!”  Blank stare.  No recognition and then her gaze fell to the floor.

Darla was an older friend whom I remember well as being active in civic affairs and the president of a community organization.  She was not one to be interested in Bible study or God.   She once said,  “There is plenty of time for that sort of thing later in life.”

I shared a simple message from the Bible and prayed with them.  I gave an opportunity to pray for those who had never before given their lives to Jesus and received His forgiveness.  Darla did not appear to comprehend any of it.  She quietly picked at the imaginary lint on her shirt or stared at nothing in particular.

I went away feeling sad for her.  I know that sometimes these patients have brief moments of clarity and clear thinking.  Next time I go I will pray that God will give her such a moment so she can recognize her need for the Savior and receive Jesus.

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I Can’t Forgive My Parents!

I was visiting with a sick, elderly friend. I never knew her to be a follower of Jesus,  yet she expected to go to heaven someday.  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. I can’t forgive them!”

Wow! What 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.  I reminded her that 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 risk giving up eternity in heaven because of them, then they are VERY important to you.”

She teared up,  “What should I do?”

“Jesus loves you.  He died for you. He wants you to be with Him in heaven someday.  He knows all the hurts and heartaches of your past. He knows it all. He also knows how difficult this is for you.  First you need to ask Him to forgive you for all your sins and to be your Savior. When you do that, you will receive God’s Holy Spirit and forgiving your parents will become easier.

“If you still have trouble forgiving them,  ask God to help you.  He will help you do it.  Once you forgive your parents you will then experience God’s peace, joy and love.  Would you like me to pray with you?”   She nodded.

[This life is temporary. This life is short.  When this life is over, our bodies will die and become an empty shell, but our souls will continue to live forever.  Where will the “real you” live?  Will you live for all eternity separated from God?  Or will you spend eternity in the presence of God in heaven?   Learn more so you can make your most important decision:    http://www.whoisjesus-really.com/
[Looking for SHARE buttons?  Wish to LEAVE A COMMENT or PRAYER REQUEST?   Go to: www.kathleensfaithwalk.com   and scroll to the bottom of page.]
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Anxiety Attack Solution

Eight-year-old Alex was experiencing anxieties. His mother asked him to bring a note pad and pencil and write some instructions for what to do when this happens.  She didn’t know what she would tell him to write, but she was praying and trusting God to direct her.

“1. Confess your sins and get right with God.  Even if you can’t think of a sin, tell God. He may bring to mind something you have forgotten. If He doesn’t,  that’s all right, too.”  She waited while Alex bowed his head and made a silent confession.

“2.  Ask God to remove your anxieties.  Be honest and tell Him you don’t like these feelings and you want them gone.

“3. Thank God for your anxieties. That’s right!  Now I want you to thank God for whatever is causing them. By thanking Him we show God that we are trusting Him. We are also being obedient because God’s Word tells us in Ephesians 5:20 to be thankful for everything. There may be times when you’ll have to grit your teeth to say thank you; but once you do it God will flood you with His peace.

“4. Claim some of God’s promises from the Bible. Those promises are ONLY for true believers—those who put their trust in Jesus.  God put them there for us to use.” She had recently purchased a “Box of Promises,” a small plastic box containing 100 little cards, each with a promise from God’s Word.  She asked Alex to pick a card and read it. The first one he chose was John 14:27,  “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” Perfect!  She suggested they claim that promise for Alex.  She prayed, “Thank You God for giving Alex peace at this very moment. Your peace is not a temporary peace, but Your peace is the giving of Yourself to us.  You ARE peace and You are permanent. Thank You for who You are.”  Alex picked another card and then another. All three seemed  an affirmation of God’s guidance in this.

“5.  Ask God to remove the desires you have for things that may not be good for you at this time. When we dwell on our wants, we just become more and more miserable.

“6.  Ask God to give you more love for Him.  None of us love God as much as we should. If you ask God to increase your love for Him, He will.  That is one prayer God delights in answering.

“Keep the list in a safe place near your Bible. The next time you get anxieties, don’t come to me.  Go to the list first. Since you’ve already done numbers 1 and 4, I want you now, to do numbers 2, 3, 5 and 6.”

He prayed aloud while his mother prayed silently. He closed his prayer with, “God, please help me love you more and more—‘cuz I just wanna to be your very best friend.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

A month later Alex’s mother asked him if he had any more problems with anxiety.  “Yeah, two or three times; but I always get the list out and by the time I’m finished doing the first thing on it, they’re gone.”

  • always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.    Ephesians 5:20
  • If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.    1 John 1:9
  • Have you tried these ideas in your life?  How have they helped you?
  • THESE INWARD TRIALS – Lyrics by John Newton – circa 1779; Music by Kathleen

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This life is temporary. This life is short.  When this life is over, our bodies will die and become empty shells, but our souls will continue to live forever.  Where will the “real you” live?  Will you live for all eternity separated from God?  Or will you spend eternity in the presence of God in heaven?   Learn more so you can make your most important decision:   http://www.godlife.com/gospel/

[To leave a comment or prayer request, simply click on the TITLE of this post and scroll to the bottom.]

Posted in DOCTRINE, ILLNESS or HOSPITAL, PRAYER WORKS, RAISING KIDS | Tagged , , , , , , | 14 Comments

University Student Finds Jesus

One November evening Spencer returned to his university apartment to discover one of his apartment-mates sitting on his bed.  He was reading Spencer’s Bible!

Jeff had questions and they stayed up late discussing God and the Bible.  Spencer then invited Jeff to come with him to InterVarsity Christian Fellowship.  Two days later they went together.  Jeff began attending Spencer’s small group Bible study and little by little Jeff’s life began to change.

At the end of the school year Spencer’s sister, also a member of IV, shared a story with me. She said at the last meeting of the year anyone who has experienced God in a profound way, may come up and share.  Jeff, who is normally quite shy, came forward and spoke before 700 InterVarsity students.

He said, “Last November I was going through a severe depression.  Yet I had one roommate who was different.  He was happy and seemed to have it all together.   One night when he was out I went into his room and discovered he had some Christian books and also a Bible.  I was reading his Bible when he came in. We talked until late and that night he offered to pray with me and I felt encouraged.

Earlier that day I had decided the solution for my desperation was suicide.  Spencer doesn’t know it, but he saved my life that night.  I want to thank God for using my roommate to introduce me to Christ and to this Christian fellowship. This year I have found God’s purpose for my life, His peace and joy.”

 

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Prisoners in Lockdown

A story from my years doing jail ministry:

One evening at the jail I discovered the prisoners in the women’s unit were in lockdown because of disorderly conduct.  Those wanting a Bible study would not be permitted out of their cells.

So I asked the guard if I might speak to all of them while they were inside their cells. She turned on their speakers and asked if anyone was interested in learning about Jesus.  We quickly heard two YES responses from each cell!

There were 12 upper cells and 12 lower cells, each with two inmates.  Each cell had a steel door with a small window.  Faces appeared at every window while I stood in the middle of the day room and introduced myself.  Then I introduced Jesus Christ.

I explained that He loves each of them very much. “There is nothing you have ever done that God does not want to forgive. That is why Jesus came—to live a sinless life so that He could become the perfect sacrifice to pay for the sins of the world.  When He hung on the cross, your sins and mine were poured into Him. Three days later He arose from the dead proving His deity and showing us He lives again—and so can we.  Today each one of us can receive forgiveness for our sins so that someday we can freely enter heaven.”

I told them about the two roads in life from Matthew 7:13-14.  “We’re all on that wide road that leads to destruction because we are all sinners. We all need a Savior and there’s only One.

“When we surrender our lives to Jesus Christ, it is more than a prayer. We must be willing to turn away from our sins. We must be willing to get off the wide road and get onto the narrow road and follow Jesus.  There must be change or it’s not real.

“Yet we are powerless to change and turn away from our sin without the Holy Spirit.  When we surrender our lives to Christ, that is when we receive the Holy Spirit who then supplies us with the fruit of the spirit:  love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  All followers of Jesus have the power to turn away from sin.  Why is that?  It’s because ALL followers of Jesus have the fruit of the spirit available to them – they just need to exercise it.”

When I finished the presentation I gave them an invitation to get off the wide road of sin and get on the narrow road to follow Jesus.  What a thrill for me to hear the voices of many women on both the upper and lower levels pray aloud to surrender their lives to Jesus Christ.

A few months later I was meeting with a group of prisoners when one said, “Wait!  I recognize your voice!  Awhile back someone talked to all the women in their cells.  It was you!  I gave my life to Jesus that night. You talked about getting off the wide road and getting on the narrow road; that there had to be change if it was real.  I can tell you now that Jesus IS real!  He has changed my life!  Thank you for coming.”

Her sweet testimony made me teary-eyed.  “Thank You precious Jesus for allowing me to serve You in this way.  I too know You are real.  Thank You for changing my life. Thank You for changing hers.”

  •  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23
  •  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
  • SONG: Only One Life – Author C.T. Studd, circa 1900; Music by Kathleen

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    This life is temporary. This life is short.  When this life is over, our bodies will die and become empty shells, but our souls will continue to live forever.  Where will the “real you” live?  Will you live for all eternity separated from God?  Or will you spend eternity in the presence of God in heaven?   Learn more so you can make your most important decision:   http://www.godlife.com/gospel/

    [To leave a comment or prayer request, simply click on the TITLE of this post and scroll to the bottom.]

     

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