Baby Number Four

The couple was expecting baby number four.  The ultrasound indicated a girl!  They already had two boys, and a second daughter would round out their family perfectly!

The nursery was decorated in feminine colors and her name,  Ava Elizabeth, was embroidered, framed and hanging on the wall near the crib.

When it was time to deliver, Grandma came to stay with the three older children.  Late that night the expected call came, but the message was unexpected!  “Mother and baby are doing fine…but it’s NOT a girl!  We have a perfect seven-pound boy!”

Early the next morning the kids came running into Grandma’s room. “Is our sister here yet?”

“Yes, the baby is here, but it’s not a girl.  You have a baby brother.”

“What?  Oh No!”  The boys had disappointed frowns. Their sister was fighting back tears.

“Listen closely.  We expected a girl.  We wanted a girl.  But God knows what is best.  God has decided the best thing for this family now is a wonderful baby boy.  God knows what He is doing.  Let’s go to the hospital and see your new brother!”

An hour later they were all smiles as each took a turn sitting on the sofa holding their new brother.  During the drive home the six-year-old said, “Baby Alex doesn’t know anything about Jesus.  We will have to teach him!”

Addendum:  The family DID eventually get their girl.  Her name?  Ava Elizabeth,  of course!

  •  I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.         3 John 1:4
  • Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him.    Psalm 127:3

I LOVE THE LORDBy Kathleen


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/

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Standing before her was Jesus!

My friend Jenny looked up and standing before her was Jesus!  But wait, let me back up to the beginning.

Jenny’s mother was a party girl.  She had boyfriends and husbands, owned a bar and loved to drink.  Meanwhile, Jenny came to know the Lord Jesus.  She shared her new faith with her mom who said,  “Jenny, I’m happy for you.  But it’s not for me.”

Jenny and her husband raised their children to know and love Jesus.  Years later, her mother–elderly, alone and in poor health–came to live with Jenny.

Jenny would turn on Christian TV before leaving for work in the mornings,  and encourage her mother to watch.  She did!   One evening she told Jenny that something wonderful had happened.  She had prayed with a television pastor to receive Jesus into her life.  Jesus had forgiven her sins.  She felt like a new person.

As the weeks passed, Jenny observed her mother’s life markedly change.  She began reading the Bible and praying with Jenny.  Daily she eagerly watched and learned from the pastor-teachers on Christian television.  There was a new peace she had never before known. She began to love Christian music and would sing with Jenny, songs and hymns to Jesus.  Such joy!

Jenny became her caregiver as her health continued to decline.  On the last day of her life, Jenny sat by her mother’s bed stroking her forehead and praying quietly over her.  Her breathing became more labored and Jenny knew the end was near.

Suddenly Jenny looked up and saw Jesus standing at the foot of the bed!  His arms were outstretched. He said nothing but looked directly at Jenny with a gentle smile.

Just then her mother let out one last breath.  Jenny looked down at her mother and saw immediately that she had expired.  She looked up at Jesus and He was gone.

There was no doubt in Jenny’s mind:  Jesus had come to receive her mother into His arms and take her to heaven.  Jenny began to weep with joy.  She fell to her knees, lifting her hands to heaven and praised God.  He had shown her mother great love, mercy and grace.  “Thank You, Jesus!  Thank You, Thank You!”

  • Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.   Psalm 116:15 KJV
  • And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.  1 John 5:11-12
  • GOD IS READY Words & Music by Kathleen; Poem by E. Cheney, circa 1931
    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/

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An Extraordinary Life

Precious Sue lived an extraordinary life for 89 years.  She had been the mother of one of my favorite friends from high school.

When I was a teenager Sue talked to me about Jesus.  Unfortunately, her words fell on deaf ears.  It wasn’t until years after my marriage that her words began to make sense.  I then surrendered my life to Jesus Christ while attending my first Bible study.  Such joy!  Sue was one of the first persons I wanted to tell.  She would understand and be oh so happy.

Sue and Bob raised their six children to love the Lord Jesus and placed the two youngest in the Carden School.  Sue, not having a higher education, began working there as a teacher’s aide and became interested in their reading program.  Mrs. Carden herself trained Sue in the Carden method and later asked her to teach second grade.  She did so for ten years.

Later she and her daughter, a teacher by profession, opened a preschool in her home–for six children.  Their little school grew rapidly and they purchased property to expand. Their mission was to teach children about Christ, and secondly to teach reading with the “Simply Phonics” program.  The school continued to grow as they hired more teachers. Eventually they were graduating children from eighth grade!

Sue founded her school at age 62, when most people are thinking of retirement.  She taught until her late 80’s.  I visited her at the school two years ago.  She could no longer teach, but she would come to listen to the children read and recite Bible verses.

What an impressive crowd for her memorial service!  Her pastor asked the people to stand who had been taught by Sue 30 years ago.  Then he asked ALL her former students to stand. While all were standing, he announced there would now be a “test.”   He then asked them to recite from memory the ABC memory verses through the letter “G.”

They began with “A – All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God – Romans 3:23.
B – Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved – Acts 16:31.”
How precious to watch these former students recite verse after verse.

I last visited Sue two months ago.  She was excited to tell me about her recent 89th birthday party with her family.   There were now 19 grandchildren and 30 great-grandchildren.  Even though her children had been raised to love Jesus,  she was not sure all of them were following Jesus with their lives.

She wanted her party to be a church service!  She gave the sermon herself, sharing the Gospel message from the booklet, Would You Like to Know God Personally?  by Bill Bright.  She even invited everyone to pray with her as she read the prayer of salvation at the end of the booklet.  When she finished telling me about it,  I could see she was satisfied.  Her work on earth was now complete.

It reminded me of Jesus’ words on the cross. When He said, “It is finished,” He was referring to the work God sent Him to do.  It was finished.

Sue and I had a sweet time of prayer before we parted.  When we hugged goodbye I sensed this would be the last time I’d see her this side of heaven.

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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/

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John 3:16 in a Surrey Cycle

A friend and I were doing a power walk along the beach promenade when along came four people riding a surrey cycle.  As they slowly peddled by I overheard one of them reciting John 3:16 aloud.  She stumbled through it, stopped and started over.

My friend called to her, “Sounds good!  You almost have it!”

They circled around and pulled to a stop.  “I’m trying to learn a Bible verse.” She looked at me and said, “Hey! I remember you!  I stopped at your Bible table yesterday and you gave me a Bible!  I want you to meet my daughter,  her fiance’ and my son.  They were just baptized and we are celebrating!”

I said, “I do remember you!  Congratulations on your baptisms!  I’m glad to see you’re memorizing John 3:16.  But don’t forget verses 17 and 18 as well!  You know the Bible tells us to teach our children God’s word and I started teaching John 3:16-18 to my babies when they were newborn.  I looked at the engaged couple:  “Someday you may have a baby in your life. Would you like to hear how I did it?”  They smiled and nodded.

I said, “Changing diapers was my favorite time to recite Scripture to my babies. I’d speak with lots of expression:  ‘For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son. YES!  That whosoever believes on Him should not perish, NO!  But should have everlasting life. YES!  God did not send His son into the world to condemn the world, NO!  But that the world might be saved through Him, YES!  He who believes in Him is not condemned, NO!  But he who does not believe is condemned already. WHY?  Because he has not believed on the NAME of the only begotten son of God.  John 3:16,17 and 18.’

“Even though babies don’t understand the words, when they are just a few weeks old they will become very still and listen.  Some months later they will begin to say ‘YES’ and ‘NO’ at just the right time.  By the time they are talking they will also be reciting these verses along with other Scripture you teach them, such as Proverbs 3:5-6 and the Lord’s Prayer.  Our kids are now grown, but they still know the value of keeping God’s Word in their hearts.”

The mother looked at the engaged couple and said, “Isn’t that great?  We’re gonna remember that, aren’t we!”  They thanked us.  With smiles and waves they said goodbye.  We could hear her reciting John 3:16 as they pedaled away.

  • Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.  Teach them 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
  • JOHN 3:16-18 put to music – Click here to listen: 

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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/

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Has Following Jesus Changed You?

“Has following Jesus Christ changed you?  If so, how?”  As an online missionary with Global Media Outreach (GMO), this question was directed to a contact.  Her response:

“I used to stress about my life, money and relationships. I used to feel lonely, blaming myself, easily tempted, angry and judgmental.  I was thinner—very thin with stress.   My family saw that something was wrong as I had lost so much weight but I didn’t share my problems with anyone.  I was going to church physically but not spiritually. My focus was on fleshly things and evil desires.

“But gratefully,  God changed me into a new person.  Since I began to follow Jesus Christ,  I consult Him on everything.  I love Him and I trust Him. He delivered me, saved me, and removed my burdens from me.  I feel relieved. He made me humble, patient and caring. I have love for everyone and I thank God for delivering and saving me.  I don’t deserve it. I disobeyed Him. I am nothing without Him. Thank you Lord, and thank You for Your Holy Spirit who guides me every day.”

Wow!  What a wonderful, supernatural change in this young woman’s life!  I remember many years ago when Jesus Christ changed my own life in a most dramatic way.  Her story is similar to mine.

How about you? Has following Jesus Christ been life-changing for you?  If so, how?

  • For more information on Global Media Outreach:   https://www.godlife.com/look-to-jesus

  • The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.   Romans 8:16
  • We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love each other.  Anyone who does not love remains in death.   1 John 3:14

GOD IS READYWords & Music by Kathleen; Robin poem by E. Cheney, circa 1931 

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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/

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Former Muslim Wants to Talk

We were visiting with several Muslim friends when Miriam,  a medical doctor, came up. She took me by the arm and whispered in my ear, “Can we talk?”

We walked to another room and sat down.  She began, “You may not know this, but I am no longer Muslim.  In fact, I don’t even believe in God anymore.  But recently I attended the funeral of one of my patients. This is not something I usually do, but she was special.

“I thought it very strange that the people did not seem sad.  Instead, they were joyful and happy that this woman was now in heaven.  They were even singing!  I had never witnessed anything like it!  I thought it was wonderful their faith was so strong.  Yet I don’t believe any of it for myself because I don’t believe in ANY religion. ”

I said, “I don’t believe in any religion either.  I don’t believe any religion can save us for all eternity.  Only Jesus can save us.  But I do understand the joy these people were experiencing.

“Miriam, there is something you don’t know about me.  I grew up with terrible fears, anxieties and panic attacks.  They stayed with me all my growing up years until I was 27.  That was the year someone invited me to my first Bible study.  It was after a few weeks of studying the Bible, that I fell in love with God.  I made a decision to surrender my life to Jesus Christ and God changed me.  The fears and panic attacks disappeared immediately and were replaced with God’s love, His joy and peace.  That peace has remained with me all these years.”

She said, “I’m glad for you. But I want my mind to be free. I don’t want to think about guilt, sin and hell.”

“Hey! When Jesus forgives our sins, we no longer have guilt!  We don’t have to worry about sin and hell.  Jesus has promised us eternal life with Him in heaven. We are free from worry!”

“I tell you, I can’t think about it!  I just want my mind to be free. I don’t believe it!”

She was not hearing me.  It was as if Satan had closed her ears and her mind.  She changed the subject.

“LORD GOD, I believe Miriam is under conviction. I believe she recognizes her needs. Please draw her to Yourself, and remove her fear of coming to You.  Give me more opportunities to share with her and give me Your wisdom when I do so.  I pray in the precious name of Jesus, Amen.”

  • For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.    John 3:16
  •  Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.   John 8:36

SONG:  JOHN 3:16 – 18  – Music by Kathleen

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/

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Buying Fruit Trees

I recently purchased two fruit trees from the nursery.  Silly me—I didn’t think to ask assistance to load them into my car.  When I arrived at the car, I stood there looking at my trees, wondering how I would do this alone.

Suddenly a young employee came sprinting over.   I told him how happy I was to see him.

He said, “I saw you—and God told me to go help that lady.  So I came.”

“Wow!  You believe in God, and you also obey Him!  I like that!”

Then he began telling me how much he loves God!

Suddenly I felt like giving him something. I looked around and spotted a Christian tract in the seat pocket entitled Promises for Fathers.  I asked him if he had children. He did.   “I’d like to give you something.  This little paper contains Bible promises from God to fathers like you.”

“Wow! I would love that!”

He was so appreciative that I wanted to give him something else.  There in the back seat was a Christian CD!  I offered it to him explaining,  “It’s the gospel message put to music.”

He said, “That is so cool!”

As I drove off I noticed he was reading the tract.  I began thanking God that sometimes being a Christian is such fun!



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/

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The Tree Trimmers & The Titanic

We had two brothers trimming our trees.  One was telling me he had lived with a girl for a several months, and then they broke up.  “It was wrong and I knew it.  So I confessed to God and now I’m starting over.  I’ve moved back home with my parents.  I want to do the right thing.  Someday I’d like to get married, but I need to find the right girl.”

I told him it’s important to marry a woman who loves Jesus and wants to obey Him.  I had given him a Bible the last time he worked for us.  He said he’d been reading it.  This time I suggested a Bible church near his home. He and his brother both said they’d try it.

Before they left I told them I wanted to share an exciting story with them about the Titanic that sank back in 1912.  They knew the story, how there weren’t enough lifeboats for everyone.  I said, “There was a preacher onboard named John Harper, and when the ship hit the iceberg,  he began shouting:  “Women, children and the unsaved into the lifeboats!” Harper knew the souls of the unsaved were not ready to face death, whereas believers were eternally prepared to lose their lives.  On the deck of the ship, he prayed with passengers, leading them to salvation by praying to receive Christ.

“As the ship broke apart and plunged into the sea, he jumped into the icy waters. Witnesses said they could hear him preaching the gospel to  those who were slipping into death.  One man who survived said he was drifting along on a piece of the wreck when the tide brought Mr. Harper near him and he asked him if he was saved.  This man said he was not.  Harper replied, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.’  The waves moved him away;  but  a little later Harper returned. ‘Are you saved now?’

“‘No, I cannot honestly say that I am.’ Harper again said, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved,’ and shortly after that he went down; and there, alone in the night, the man BELIEVED.  He was John Harper’s last convert.”

Both young men listened intently.

I said. “There is a verse in the Bible in John 3:16 that says, ‘ For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.‘  The Christian life boils down to that one thing:  believing in the Lord Jesus.  When a person truly believes, he will trust Jesus completely–and his life will show it.”

Both guys nodded in thoughtful agreement.

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/

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Posted in DOCTRINE, HERE & THERE, Love & Romance, PEOPLE, People Helping People | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Sexual Abuse

A special memory from my days doing jail ministry:

One evening after Bible study at the jail, an inmate asked if she could talk with me privately.

Judy told me her 15-year-old son had experienced repeated sexual abuse by the assistant manager of an establishment where teenagers frequent.  She named the establishment and the offender’s name.  The experience left her son confused, angry and embarrassed.  He didn’t want his mother to cause trouble and she didn’t know what to do.

We prayed together—for her son and for her. We asked God to give me direction and wisdom in what to do with this information.

I went home and prayed about it.  I waited two days and then felt God leading me to take action.  Her story may not be true, but perhaps it is! The matter cannot be ignored.  I made an appointment with the manager of the establishment in question.

He was gracious and listened.  He knew the boy I referenced and his mother.  He said Judy has a known history of drugs and alcohol. He questioned her integrity and doubted her story. Yet he said, “If what she said is true, then it needs to be dealt with.” He thanked me and assured me that he would take care of the matter from here on.

A week later Judy was waiting for me with a big smile.  She said the manager had come to visit her in jail and she’d explained to him the situation.

Some weeks later I again saw Judy.  She told me the assistant manager had confessed and was now in jail!

“Thank You Lord God, for helping Judy, for helping me, for helping the manager do the right thing.  Please heal Judy’s son from harmful memories.  Help him follow You all the days of his life.  Oh. And the perpetrator?  He needs You, Lord, to cleanse him and turn his life around.  He too is a victim of the Evil One. Show him Your ways and Your power to live a life honoring to you.  I pray in the strong name of Jesus, Amen.”

  • He will defend the oppressed among the people; he will deliver the children of the poor and crush the oppressor.      Psalm 72:4 (NET)
  • Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.         Philippians 4:6-7
  • SONG: HUG THEM –  Lyrics by Liana Wendy Howarth; Music by Kathleen

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/

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Posted in JAIL & COUNTY JUVENILE FACILITY, PEOPLE, RAISING KIDS | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

What IS a Bible, Anyway?

One day on the college campus a student walked by our Bible table and didn’t seem to notice us.  It was as if we were invisible.  He had passed our table when I did something I don’t usually do.  I yelled:  “Hey!”
He turned around and pointed to himself,  “Me?”

I said, “Yes!  Come on over and see what we have on our table.  We’re actually giving away free books and Bibles.”

He walked over and asked, “What IS a Bible, anyway?”

“The Bible is God’s Word. It’s the only book in the world that’s alive, powerful and completely true.  When you read it God will speak to your heart and give you direction and guidance.”

“Really? I did not know that.”

I said, “Before I became a Christian I didn’t know that either.”

He said, “Wait!  You mean this is a Christian book?  Then I’m not interested.” He turned and walked away.

Moments later he returned… “You know, I really should be more open.  So yes, I’ll take the Bible.”

I pointed to a building across the quad.  “Do you see that door over there? That room is where you’ll find a study in the book of John starting up in 10 minutes.”

“Really?  Do you have one of those?”

I said, “The book of John is part of the Bible.”

“Cool!”  I watched him walk over to the building, open the door and go inside.


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/

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Posted in COLLEGE CAMPUS, DOCTRINE, RAISING KIDS | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments