Church for the Crew

Recently my husband and I were blessed with a cruise vacation.  I was happy to again be able to do the church service on the ship.  But this time I had a new idea—I would also ask to do a church service for the crew—the workers on the ship!

The cruise director consented!  The only drawback was that it had to wait until after their workday ended—at 10:45 PM!   Sure enough, they began arriving at 10:45 PM and were still walking in at 11:15 PM!

I had brought a supply of two little booklets to share with those who wanted to grow in their faith:  (1) Would You Like to Know God Personally?    (2)  Have You Made the Wonderful Discovery of the Spirit-Filled Life?  Both written by the late Dr. Bill Bright.

When the service ended, it was late and yet the people didn’t leave!  They remained seated asking questions about the Bible.  Later they came forward asking for prayer for their specific needs. Then several wanted to take selfies with me—to send home!  One man said with tears in his eyes:   “This is the first time anyone has ever come to teach us.”

Honestly, this was the best part of our vacation!  I find nothing more rewarding than sharing the message of Jesus and then watching hungry souls receive it with gladness.  And to think—all I did was ask permission!

Some of you may be planning a cruise vacation.  I started out by simply asking the cruise director if I could do a little interdenominational Bible study and end with a time of prayer.  He would assign me a room and the people would come!

Perhaps your family enjoys camping.  You might introduce yourself to the people camping nearby.  Tell them you plan to have a little sing-along around the campfire and a short Bible reading.  Invite them to come!  Pray and watch what God does through you!  How exciting is that!

  • He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.”         Mark 16:15
  • But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord.  Always be ready to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.  1 Peter 3:15
  • You may read the booklets I used here: (1)  https://www.cru.org/us/en/how-to-know-god/would-you-like-to-know-god-personally.html    (2) https://www.cru.org/us/en/train-and-grow/spiritual-growth/the-spirit-filled-life.html

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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/  and  http://www.godlife.com/en/about-christianity

 

Posted in Holidays, PEOPLE, TRAVELING | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Suicide and Hopelessness

Suicide in the U.S. is on the increase. We know it.  I just read that 20 veterans per day committed suicide in 2017. That’s huge!  What brings people to the point of suicide? I believe it’s depression and a sense of hopelessness.

There was a short period in my life when I too contemplated suicide. I was in a depression and without purpose in my life.  Fortunately it was short-lived and I was introduced to Jesus Christ in a way I had never before known.  I surrendered my life to Him at age 27.  There was an instant sense of peace, joy and purpose.  All depression, hopelessness and thoughts of suicide disappeared–never to return.

Last week at the gym, I overheard two men talking.  One said he hadn’t been coming to the gym lately because he’d been feeling too lazy to work out.  A few seconds later he admitted  the real reason he hadn’t come was because he was depressed.  The other man said, “I know what you mean.  I have problems with depression myself.”

I overheard enough to know in my heart they both need Jesus.  I thought to myself,  I have a little booklet in my purse I could share with them. Perhaps I could enter into their discussion and say, Excuse me, I couldn’t help but overhear your conversation.  I too went through depression once. The message in this little booklet changed my life and gave me hope.  My depression left me instantly and was replaced with joy and peace. May I share it with you?”

Instead I said nothing and walked away feeling guilty.  I felt it would be inappropriate–perhaps it was best I didn’t say anything at the time.   Actually, I am acquainted with one of those men and I believe the Lord is prompting me to bring my booklet tomorrow and share it with him.

“Lord God, give me Your wisdom and tact tomorrow, that I may speak boldly and with love.  I ask in the strong name of Jesus, Amen.” 

  • May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.   Romans 15:13
  • The booklet I will share:  Would You Like To Know God Personally? by Dr. Bill Bright. You may read it here:  https://www.cru.org/us/en/how-to-know-god/would-you-like-to-know-god-personally.html

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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/  and  http://www.godlife.com/en/about-christianity
Posted in DOCTRINE, ILLNESS or HOSPITAL, PEOPLE | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Christians in Vietnam

A worker teaching Christian leaders in Vietnam shares this experience:

I immediately realized that not one of these pastors owned a Bible and that they were waiting to hear from Scripture. As I started sharing, one pastor raised his hand. “Excuse me brother, is that the Bible or is that you?”

“This is Scripture,” I answered and immediately the leaders took out a notebook and eagerly started writing every word down. I then understood that this was the only way that they could collect Scripture verses. I wanted to cry.

As I continued the teaching, the same question came once again. “Excuse me brother, is that the Bible or is that you?”

“This time it’s me,” I answered and suddenly everybody put their “Bibles” down and took out a different notebook and once again wrote down every word I said. Then came lunch break and the leading pastor stood up. “We will now have a time to test our Bible knowledge,” he announced.

I wondered how my Bible knowledge, with more than ten Bibles at my disposal, would measure up with these leaders who do not have their own copies. The leader asked the first question. “What does it say in Obadiah 2:4?”

I shrank in my chair.  Please don’t look at me, I thought.  I know there is a book of Obadiah but I must confess it has been some time since I read it. The pastors started laughing and then one raised his hand.

“Obadiah only has one chapter, brother!” I felt so ashamed. How is it possible I did not know this and these believers without their own Bibles knew.

Then came the second question. “What does the Bible teach in Nahum 1:7?”

An elderly pastor in the front row raised his hand like an eager school child. He then started quoting the Scripture: “The Lord is good, a strength in the day of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him.”

“Well done brother,” said the leader. “You may sit down now.” But the elderly pastor was not finished yet. “Please,” he asked, “may I continue?” After a nod, he quoted the whole book of Nahum faultlessly.

I was also later introduced to another believer who came to know the Lord only during recent years. His passion for the Word of God is displayed in the fact that he has already memorized seventy-eight chapters of the Bible.

  • Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.    Joshua 1:8
  • The above story is from Open Doors – serving persecuted Christians worldwide.  Learn more at: https://www.opendoors.org/
  • Song: Please Hug Them; Lyrics by Liana Wendy Howarth; 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/  and  http://www.godlife.com/en/about-christianity
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Love Advice in a Restaurant

While eating in a restaurant Lauria and Del noticed a young woman sitting alone.  Soon a young man arrived and she hurried to his embrace. They returned to the table holding hands and smiling.

It was hard not to notice their mutual affection as they bubbled with excitement holding hands across the table.

Del and Lauria watched from a distance and before leaving the restaurant stopped at their table.  Del said, “It delights us see your happiness. When love is abundant it shows. My wife and I can testify that married life is very special.”

The young man said, “Thank you for your nice gesture.  It’s sort of a serendipity for you to say that because we’ve been discussing marriage.”

Del smiled, “If you spell serendipity G-O-D it would be accurate.”  They smiled but didn’t acknowledge a faith.

Del and Lauria left the restaurant, drove about six blocks and turned around.  He said,  “I want to let them know that counseling is a good idea at this stage of a relationship.”  He returned to the couple and handed them his contact information, inviting them to contact him if they have further questions or just want to share.

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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/  and  http://www.godlife.com/en/about-christianity

 

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Man With Terminal Cancer

We attended an out-of-town function and were seated with a younger couple.  We visited awhile and learned that Jim had terminal cancer.  Neither he nor his girlfriend had any religious affiliation, but Jim was clearly disturbed about his condition. Whenever he spoke of his illness he’d become teary-eyed.

I was scheduled to speak that evening on the love of Christ and the comfort only He can give when we surrender to His control. I invited them to attend.  Jim wanted to come.  His girlfriend was not interested. Unfortunately, they did not show.

The next morning before departing, I prayed asking God to give me one more chance to speak with Jim. We walked outside and there they were with their luggage—waiting for a taxi!

I hurried over, “Jim! I was hoping to see you again. I have something for you!”  I handed him my CD. “There may be times when you feel a little bit depressed.”

He said, “Yes, yes!”

“The words to the songs on this CD will bring you comfort.  I also want you to have this little booklet that will provide you with peace.”  I handed him, Would You Like to Know God Personally? by Bill Bright. I gave him my email address and encouraged him to write if he had questions. I also gave him the website: www.godlife.com and told him this is a place where he could receive a free online mentor to pray for him and answer his questions. He seemed immensely grateful.

I walked away praising God for answering my prayer and putting Jim in my path. “Lord God, speak to Jim’s heart as he listens to the CD.  Give him a desire to email me or contact godlife.com for spiritual guidance. Save him and give him Your peace. I pray in the precious name of Jesus, Amen.”

Posted in DOCTRINE, ILLNESS or HOSPITAL, PEOPLE, PRAYER WORKS, TRAVELING | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Teen With Death Wish Finds Jesus

Jimmy,  a 17 y.o. incarcerated youth, said he was never before interested in God or the Bible.  “Tonight something happened. I was playing basketball and I heard the call for Bible study.  It was strange, but I felt as if something inside was pulling at me. I dropped the basketball and came.”

I said, “It could be that the pulling you felt was God calling you to Himself. I’m sure He’s glad you came.  I am too.”

Tears welled up as he shared that his grandma had recently died.  “She was the only person who ever talked to me about God. She used to watch Christian TV and pray for me. She had something that I need.”

He asked me, “What is the first thing you think about when you wake up in the morning?”

“My first thought is often of Jesus and how thankful I am to have Him in my life.”

He said, “My first thought is that I wish I would never wake up.”

That changed a few minutes later when I was privileged to lead Jimmy and his friend to Jesus.  He said he felt a weight had been lifted from him. They were both eager to begin the Bible homework I assigned. We did the first question together.

When I left he asked, “When can you come again?”

  • 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
  • I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.      Ezekiel 36:26  
  • SONG: ONE BUSINESS IN LIFE – Click 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/  and  http://www.godlife.com/en/about-christianity

 

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Superhuman Forgiveness: The Cross

This story comes from a Chinese house church pastor who was arrested and held for three weeks.  He says his experience was going with Christ to the Garden and to the Cross.  Today he explains The Cross:

This is what amazed me the most. Whenever I was beaten up (and that was quite often during those three weeks), I would first feel searing pain, and then another feeling would flood in, almost wiping the pain away. It was pity.  Pity for the man who was beating me.

I kept seeing my interrogator as a man gone wrong. I felt sorry for his mother, who would be so ashamed of him. I wondered what kind of father he must have had, to turn him into such a monster. I felt sad to be in the presence of one of God’s creatures that could treat another human so badly with so little concern.

Then I would get amazed at myself. Through the pain I would think, “I should be angry, but I’m not. All I want is for this man to be saved.” I had three ribs and a wrist broken, two teeth knocked out, my kidneys were malfunctioning, and yet all I could wish for was for the man beating me to find Christ and forgiveness.

It sounds very strange. It doesn’t even ring true. It’s more human to be angry, or to be afraid. But I can only say this was not myself making me feel that way, but Christ within me. It was superhuman. It was Divine. And to this day, it serves as the greatest assurance I have that I am saved.

Again, this is also the way of Christ. In Luke 23:34, He says from the Cross itself, in the midst of excruciating pain, “Father forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”  I tell you, it gives you such a thrill to know that you feel as Christ felt. That’s why suffering is counted such a joy, such a privilege. It confirms to the sufferers that they are Christ’s, and He lives in them. We don’t have to trust a word that this is so. We feel it in our very breastbones.

God, fill me with Your superhuman forgiveness so that I may walk today as Jesus did in forgiving those harming Him. Help me also feel pity and compassion for those who so easily treat others badly.

  • Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.   Ephesians 4:32
  • Copyright ©2018 Open Doors USA
  • To learn more about Open Doors: https://go.opendoorsusa.org/sarahs-story/?df_id=10793&gclid=CjwKCAjwlIvXBRBjEiwATWAQIjHgWAL826nJmxh74LrY3Jw020mQK7MS1CpLA3toKdr4ZkRYAagjBBoClk4QAvD_BwE
  • SONG:  HUG THEMLyrics by Liana Wendy Howarth; Music by Kathleen

 

Posted in Persecution | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 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 the Midwest.  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: www.godlife.com
  • and especially:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bHjNBWxjLG0
  • SONG: THE PARALYTIC  – Words from Mark 2:3, 5-12; Music by Kathleen
Posted in GLOBAL MEDIA OUTREACH | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

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,  “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… “What 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.  But if you 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!  Oh, 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 it, “Hugs, 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/  and  http://www.godlife.com/en/about-christianity

 

Posted in Love & Romance, PEOPLE, TRAVELING | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

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 also urged him to enroll in a Crossroad Prison Ministries’ Bible study, 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 Prison Ministries: https://cpministries.org/   

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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/  and  http://www.godlife.com/en/about-christianity

 

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