Words of Wisdom (Hopefully LOL) By Valerie Caylor

October 22, 2020

Witches, Wizards, Sorcerers, Horoscopes, Halloween,Magic, etc.-What place do they have in the life of a Christian?

As a young child I participated in Halloween with all the trappings of the day and attended seances. I allowed my palm to be read, played with a Oiaja Board,  and read my horoscope. But the Lord began to deal with me that these things have no place in the life a of truly born-again Christian. This was not a sermon from a pastor, but rather God dealing with me personally. I began to study God’s Word to see what it really had to say about such things. From Genesis to Revelations, the Word is full of admonitions against such things-charms, charmers, enchantments, witches, wizards, sorcerers, magicians, astrology, magic, etc., and against those who participate in such things.  Many times such sins were linked or compared to adultery, whoredom, murder, and lying. There are many scriptures that include “causing their children to pass through fire” when talking about such matters, suggesting that those who so participate cause their children to do the same. The scriptures teach us not to be “double minded”- spliting our affections between the things of this world and those of God. Such a person is considered unstable in God’s eyes.  (James 1:8 & 4:8) And the question is posed, ” …for what fellowship has righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communication has light with darkness? ( II Cor. 6:14)

I will walk you through the Bible and give scripture references for each point. My prayer is that God will deal with each of you concerning these practices. And as I tell my students, “I didn’t write the rule book, I just have to follow it.” Allow God’s Spirit to speak to you about these matters in your life and ask Him to guide you in reading this.  Remember, these are not my words (though I have written this in modern English and paraphrased as needed.) And please research the scripture references for yourself to assure that this is not MY word, but God’s.

The first book of the Bible deals with the subject.

In Genesis, we see that magicians were called upon to interpret the dreams of Pharoah, but only a true man of God, Joseph, could understand the meaning of the dream. (Gen 41:8 & 24)

Exodus The magicians tried to copy the miracles performed by Moses, but though they could do a few tricks, they had to admit that “the God of Moses” was more powerful than they were. (Ex. 7:11) Exodus further tells us that witches were not to be allowed to live (Ex. 22:18)

Leviticus tells us that us that we are not to use enchantments or observer times (zodiac), nor are we to seek after wizards to be defiled by them. (Lev.19:26 & 31) Additionally we are told that if we seek after wizards, we will be cut off (Lev. 20:6) and wizards or those with “familiar spirits” are to be put to death. (Lev. 20:27).

Deuteronomy tells us that enchanters, wizards, witches, observers of times, and consulters with familiar spirits are not to be found among God’s people. All who do these things shall be an abomination to the Lord. (Deut. 18:10 & 11)

I Samuel states that to obey God is better than sacrifice and compares rebellion to the sin of witchcraft. (I Sam. 15:22 & 23) We also see that when Saul was cut off from God, he sought out a witch to give him guidance. (I Sam. chapter 28)

II Kings Witchcraft and whoredoms were lumped together and “no peace” was promised to those who partake of these. (II Kings 9:22) We also see in this book that those who “used enchantments and divinations” sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the Lord. (II Kings 17:17) Those who used enchantments, observed times, dealt with familiar spirits and wizards provoked the Lord to anger. (II Kings 21:6 & II Chronicles 33:6) Workers with familiar spirits, wizards, image and idol worshipers were all called an abomination. (II Kings 23:24)

Isaiah tells us that those who seek familiar spirits, wizards, and those who talk to the dead instead of God do not have light in them. (Isa. 8:19 & 20) Jesus said that HE is the light, and those who follow Him shall not “walk in darkness. (John 8:12) Isaiah further tells us that the Egyptians sought familiar spirits, wizards, and charmers and God gave them over to a “cruel lord.” (Isa. 19: 3 & 4) Those who practice sorceries and enchantments were promised “loss of children and widowhood.” (Isa. 49:9) Astrologers, stargazers, prognosticators from their youth were told that “none shall save thee” and that they “are as stubble and fire shall burn them.” (Isa. 49:12-15) The offspring of sorcerers, whores, and adulterers were all considered the same. ( Isa. 57:3)

Jeremiah warns that we should not harken to diviners, dreamers, enchanters, or sorcerers “for they prophesy a lie.” (Jer. 27: 9 & 10)

Daniel tells us that Daniel and his companions (true men of God) were able to interpret the dreams of the king ten times better than the magicians, astrologers, and sorcerers, because only God could reveal the dreams. (Dan. 1:20; 2:2, 10, 27 & 28; 4:7-9)

Micah says that God will cut off witchcraft and that the people should have no more soothsayers. (Mic. 5:12)

Nahum God promises to bring shame and filth upon the nation that participates in witchcraft and whoredom. (Nah. 3:4-7)

Malachi God promised to be a “swift witness against” such as participate in these acts. (Mal. 3:4-7)

But that is all “Old Testament” you are telling yourself. You’re a “New Testament Christian,” so what does all that have to do with you? Let’s explore what the New Testament has to say on the matter.

Acts Simon had bewitched the people with sorcery and they believed him to be a great man of God, but when Phillip preached “the name of Jesus Christ,” the people believed and were baptized-even Simon. (Acts 8:9-13) We also see that Barjesus (Elymas) the sorcerer sought to turn Sergius Paulus from faith, but Paul, being full of the Holy Ghost, told Barjesus that he was full of subtility and mischief, a child of the devil, and an enemy of all righteousness. Paul then called for blindness to fall on Barjesus and it did. (Acts 13: 6-12)

Galatians lists witchcraft and emulations among the works of the flesh along with hatred, murder, drunkenness, adultery, etc. (Gal. 5:19-21)

II Timothy warns that in the last days there would be those who have a form of godliness but deny the power thereof. They will creep into houses and lead away captive silly women . . . ever learning but never coming to the knowledge of the truth (which I feel refers to many modern day televangelists). These people are compared to the magicians that Pharoah called upon to withstand Moses and trying to emulate the miracles that Moses performed at the hand of God. (II Tim. 3:1-9)

And finally we come to the last book of the Bible, and still we find warnings against such practices.

Revelation found a nation “unrepentant of sorceries” (Rev. 9:21). Furthermore, all nations will be deceived by sorceries and the “light shall shine no more” and the “voice of the bride and bridegroom shall not be heard.” (Rev. 18:23) Sorcerers, murderers, whoremongers, and liars are all called abominations and “shall have a part in the lake of fire and brimstone which is the second death.” These people will be “left out of the gates of the city (New Jerusalem) and have no right to the tree of life.” (Rev. 22:14 & 15)

So there you have it. From Genesis to Revelation the scripture make it clear that these things have no place in the life of a born-again Christian. 

April 17, 2019

What My Salad Taught Me

Filed under: Uncategorized — MSBeach @ 8:59 pm

I had carefully selected the ingredients for my salad…mixed baby greens and baby spinach…bright hues of greens, reds, and purples…about 3 day’s worth of salads. I meticulously felt each Roma Tomato for firmness, assuring that they were without blemishes, and chose 3…one for each salad. I would add other things that I already had and make a different salad each day.

For the first salad, I cleaned the greens and tomato. I carefully sliced the tomato to preserve as much juice as possible. I added some chopped slices of roasted turkey breast, Mexican seasoned shredded cheese, and some Cheetos White Cheddar Clouds…bite size little puffs of cheese that add a little crunch. I chose Skinny Girl Balsamic Vinegarette to toss in. The flavors mingled well.

The next day, I washed my greens and Roma Tomato, and decided to add a Granny Smith apple from the bag in the refrigerator. I looked at the little apple that I had chosen and thought, ” I am sure that I can get at least some of this apple in my salad,” as I looked sadly at the blemishes on the round, fat, unattractive fruit in my hand. I stated with the tomato, proud that I had chosen such a firm, thin, long tomato. But I was immediately shocked to find that what appeared from the outside to be a perfect tomato, exactly what I wanted, was in fact, entirely rotten on the inside. The exterior gave no hint to the rot that lay within that tomato! I had to throw it out and use the other tomato.

I then cleaned the apple and began to remove the blemishes. I was surprised to find that nearly all of the blemishes were merely skin deep! I was able to use nearly all of that sad little apple. I added the fruits to the greens , tossed them in Skinny Girl  Honey Dijon dressing, and added the Cheetos Clouds. My sa

The lesson? Just because the exterior is beautiful, it doesn’t mean that the heart is not rotten. I also learned that sometimes, the least attractive and most bruised can actually be exactly what you were looking for!

 

October 9, 2016

A Message to Christians Concerning the Upcoming Election

I am addressing this post to those who claim to be followers of Jesus….Christians. If this post does not apply to you, you may know someone to whom it does apply. Please share it with them. I have seen several say that, since the stupid 11 year old tape of Trump using foul language when speaking about women was released, that this is the last straw for them and they cannot, “as a Christian,” vote for such a man! I am going to point out a few things for you to consider, and then end with an eye opening statement that EVERY Christian should KNOW but very few believe, else there would not be so much confusion about for whom to vote. And I am not saying that if you don’t vote for Trump you are not a Christian. I am saying that after reading this, I ask you to search your heart, read the Scriptures to prove if my points come from God’s Word, and then get alone with God…unplug…and ask God to speak to YOU and tell you for whom YOU should vote.

 

So lets look at a few of the men that God used in some of the most memorable and remarkable ways. I am sure that most of you are familiar with Moses. Moses is referred to often throughout the Bible, from his very birth and being spared death as an infant to leading the Hebrews out of captivity in Egypt. And it was to Moses that God chose to give the Ten Commandments. It was Moses to whom God showed Himself, if only from the backside. It was Moses to whom God spoke through the burning bush. I could go on, but the point is, God used Moses in mighty and wonderful ways. But many forget that before God used him, Moses was a murderer! He killed an Egyptian that he felt was mistreating a fellow Hebrew. This was not self-defense. This was an angry murder. Yet, God STILL used this man to save his people and to give US His commandments!

 

There was another man you might remember named David. David killed the mighty giant Goliath and to this day this story is referred to when people speak of the little guy going against the giant in their lives. David wrote psalms that are sung to this day. David was even referred to as a man after God’s own heart! Yet David committed adultery, got a married woman pregnant, and then had the woman’s husband brought back from war so that the husband could sleep with his wife, and they could claim that the baby was the husband’s. But when the man refused to lie with his wife while his fellow soldiers could not sleep with their wives, David was so enraged that he sent the man to the front lines where he was SURE to be killed! David was an adulterer, a deceiver, and a murderer, but God STILL used him!

 

So why would God use such horrible men to fulfill His will? Because these men trusted God, and when confronted with their sins, were truly repentant and asked for God’s forgiveness. And in case you missed it, as soon as the tape of his horrible words was released, Trump owned up to what he had done and apologized, asking that he be forgiven for his own stupidity.

 

But many still say, “I just can’t vote for him. I will vote for someone else and trust God that this other person will win.” It sounds like a wonderful idea, but in our system, unless a third party candidate is doing as well in the polls and is at least as well known as the candidates from the two major parties, there is ZERO chance that the electoral college will elect that person. Therefore, a vote for a thrid party candidate (or a write in vote) is a wasted vote and will assure that Hillary will be president. And trust me, she is COUNTING on all you who plan to vote for a third party to help her win, because she KNOWS that she CANNOT win without the third party votes!

 

So let me make one last statement for you to consider. During the temptation of Christ after He had fasted for 40 days and 40 nights in the wilderness, Satan tempted Jesus with food and with His safety…to prove that God would really protect Him if Jesus got hurt. But then there was the third temptation and this one is VERY relevant to us today and in this election, but it is so often overlooked and only mentioned momentarily in a sermon. However, the third temptation explains so many things that people have failed to understand for the 2,000 plus years since the temptation!

 

You see, for the third temptation (in Matthew and Luke, both in the 4th chapter, though only Luke goes into this important detail), we see WHY people like Hitler were allowed to be in power. In the following Scripture, I have added the parenthesis for clarification and all caps to add emphasis to the statement that is crutial. In Luke 4:5-7 (King James Version) “And the devil, taking Him (Jesus) up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said unto Him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of the them: FOR THAT IS GIVEN UNTO ME; AND TO WHOMSOEVER I WILL I GIVE IT. If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine.”

 

WHOA!!! That means that it has been given to Satan to put into power whomever he chooses! That would explain many things, wouldn’t it?. But what does that mean to us? First and foremost, though Satan can put in power anyone that he chooses, we MUST remember that he can ONLY act within the will of God. Do you recall that Satan thought that by killing Jesus, he had spoiled God’s plan for our salvation? But the death of Jesus, which lead to His resurrection, actually GAVE us salvation!

 

So what are we to do then? If Satan can put into power whomever he will, why should we even vote? I will explain why. We KNOW that God knows our needs before we even pray. So why should we pray? Prayer is an exercise in faith. God does not need us to tell Him our needs nor is He incapable of providing our needs if we don’t pray. But prayer shows God that we believe Him, we trust Him, and we are obedient to Him be following His instructions to pray. So what does that have to do with us voting. Quite simply, God has given us the opportunity to exercise our faith in His faithfulness by voting. . .an opportunity that most people throughout the history of mankind have not had. Because we were born in an age and live in a country where we have this opportunity, our vote shows God that we trust Him to only allow to be put into power the person who will ultimately bring about His will!

 

So PLEASE, study the Scriptures, get alone with God…unplugged…and seek HIS direction for your vote, remembering that God used men who were NOT perfect, but they WERE the men that GOD had chosen for those very specific situations. Then after praying, studying God’s Word, and listening to what He has to say to you, GO OUT AND VOTE!

March 9, 2015

In What Condition is YOUR Spiritual Armor?

Some may find this question odd, as they have never heard of  “Spiritual Armor.” Others have heard of “Spiritual Armor,” but have no idea what is meant by the phrase. Some know what “Spiritual Armor” is, but have no idea how to use it. Yet others have used their “Spiritual Armor” in the past, but have allowed it to fall into disrepair. I will discuss our Spiritual Armor and why it must be kept in top shape!

So what is Spiritual Armor, why do we need it, and how do we use it? Ephesians 6:11-17 tells us why we need Spiritual Armor and gives a detailed description of it. I will  use the King James Version for this reference: “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and having your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.”

So our armor consists of a girdle, a breastplate, a foot covering, a shield, a helmet, and a sword. After you have read this, I hope that you will check to make sure that you indeed have each piece of your armor and that they are in good shape. After all, going into battle without all of the needed armor or with armor that is in less than perfect shape can lead to your being wounded or killed! A soldier would not go into battle without a sword to fight the enemy, or he will be doing nothing more than running and hiding from the enemy all the time, never effectively able to fend off the enemy or destroy him. Likewise, a soldier whose footwear has holes in the soles will not be able effectively traverse the terrain of the battlefield.

So let’s look at each piece of armor-what does it look like and how is it used?  We will look at them in the order they were given in Ephesians 6.

1) The first thing that we need is the girdle of truth. A modern example of the girdle of old would be a large belt used to hold the breastplate in place, as well as a place to carry your sword until it is time to wield it. So then what is a “girdle of truth”—or “what is truth?”

John 14:6 “Jesus said unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” Jesus said that HE is the TRUTH. We are to wrap Jesus around our lives-around the very core of our being. He will hold our breastplate of righteousness in place, as well as keep our Sword of the Spirit at the ready for use in battle.

Since the girdle of Truth holds the breastplate of righteousness and keeps your Sword at the ready, it must be well fitting. If your girdle is too loose, your breastplate will not adequately protect you and you could lose your Sword. If your girdle is too tight, you will not be able to breath properly or move about as needed, and it will be difficult to draw your Sword when needed.

How do you know if your girdle of Truth fits just right? A correctly fitting girdle of Truth is one that keeps Jesus as the center of your daily life-not just someone you sing about at Sunday (or whatever day you worship) service. Someone with a lose fitting girdle will make excuses for sins in their life. They accept sins in others around them without sharing Jesus for fear of losing friends. On the other hand, one with a girdle that is too tight is one who has no joy in the Lord because they think that everything is a sin. They have no peace because they live in constant fear of their name being erased from the Book of Life. Between those two extremes is the Christian who has matured in their walk with the Lord and has learned that they must strive to walk with the Lord daily, realizing that they are not yet perfected, but they are working on it-allowing the Spirit of God to direct them, correct them, and fill them with joy and peace.

2) Let’s look at the Breastplate of Righteousness. What exactly is that? Righteousness is right doing, right actions, and right ways. Our breastplate covers our heart and protects it from attacks of the enemy. When we are doing right-in actions, thoughts, and words-we protect our hearts from attacks that may cause us serious spiritual injury or death. Conversely, when we are not living right-in actions, thoughts, or words-our hearts are left unprotected and we are vulnerable to attack.

3) What does it mean to have our “feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace?” While we know that the first four books of the New Testament are called the “Gospels,” this reference to the Gospel is used in the broader sense of “the teachings of Jesus, the kingdom of Heaven, and the way of Salvation.” Our feet carry us where we need to go. They are our “mode of transportation” For example, you have heard the saying, “I just walked into that one.” Of course, the person did not actually walk anywhere, they simply found themselves in a certain situation, much like we do daily in our walk with the Lord. Therefore, we must protect our “feet” with a covering to prevent injury so that we will be able to traverse any terrain in which we must fight the battle. The preparation referred to here means that we must study the Word of God-not just memorizing verses, but actually coming to an understanding of all that is contained therein. Phillipians 4:7 tells us, “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” When we have covered our feet with preparation through study of God’s Word, we can have peace even in the heat of seemingly unbearable battles!

4) The shield of faith is to be taken “above all.” Why is the shield so important? The girdle, the breastplate, and the shoes all protect certain body parts, but the shield can be used to protect the entire body, and also deflect the “fiery darts of the wicked.” Faith is complete confidence and trust in God and His promises. In order to protect our being, we must have complete and total faith that God IS Who He says that He is and trust that He WILL see us through this battle. Romans 10:17 “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” John 1:14 tells us “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” In order to “hear” faith, we must receive The Word of God-Jesus-into our hearts. As we grow in our relationship with Jesus, and continue to study His Word, our faith grows and our shield becomes strong enough to defend us against any attack that the enemy may send our way.

5) The helmet of salvation protects our head-our minds and our thoughts. Without this helmet, our minds are subject to the lies of the enemy. Satan will tell you that you are too far gone for God to forgive you now-LIE. Satan will tell you that he (Satan) doesn’t exist-LIE. Satan will tell you that your situation is hopeless-LIE. But when we have our minds protected by the knowledge that we are INDEED saved by the work that Jesus did on the cross, we are able to keep our minds safe from such attacks.

6) So far we have discussed defensive weapons-the ones that protect us in battle. But we are told to take an OFFENSIVE weapon as well, in order to fight against our enemy when we are under attack. The Sword of the Spirit, which IS the Word of God, is ours to turn back the enemy and defeat him. This powerful weapon is available to all who believe, but we must be trained in the use of the Sword of the Spirit. While Jesus is the Word made flesh, we have been given the written Word to use as well. So how do we wield this powerful weapon?

Just as one learning to use any sword, you must be trained to use the Sword of the Spirit. In Genesis, we see that God created the entire world and all that is contained therein by simply SPEAKING everything into being. Jesus, the Son of God and “THE WORD,” spoke and people were raised from the dead, healed, and many other miracles occurred simply by the spoken WORD. Further, John 14:12 (Jesus speaking, said,) “Verily, verily I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do, because I go unto my Father.”

In other words, Jesus promised that we would be able to speak and things would happen. How awesome is that? That does not mean that we can go around telling the rain to cease because we don’t want our hair to get wet or to tell someone to fall in love with us when they are already married to another. Certainly not! What we CAN do is speak the Word of God to a situation, in faith, and (if we are speaking this in God’s will, not our own) it will be. I will give you an example.

 

Isaiah 54:17 states “No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment, thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord.” When I have been under an unwarranted attack from someone, I have taken God at His Word, and proclaimed His Word aloud in prayer thusly: “No weapon that is formed against ME shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against ME in judgment, I shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord (of whom I am one),  and MY righteousness is of the Lord, saith the Lord.” I proclaim HIS Word in MY life. I leave the situation in God’s hands and continue to believe and say the Word of God aloud concerning the situation. And the Lord has NEVER failed to handle the situation.

When you are facing a battle with the enemy, begin to practice wielding the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. So how will you know what scriptures to use and when? Jesus speaking in John 14:26 tells us “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”

This is why it SO very important to KNOW the Word of God. I don’t mean in the sense of memorizing, but in the sense of coming to an intimate knowledge of God’s Word. When we are under an attack by the enemy, we have been given this mightiest of weapons to win the battle!

So I ask again, in what condition is YOUR Spiritual Armor? Because whether we know it or not, and whether we like it or not, we ARE in a spiritual battle daily! Just take a look at the attack on Christians around the world. Do you not realize that we are in the heat of the battle? Even though we may not know them by name and have never met them, our brothers and sisters in Christ are counting on us to join the battle for their lives!

Here is a promise of God from 2 Chronicles 7:14  “If My people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from Heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” We need to proclaim this for our country daily by speaking God’s Word aloud-“Lord, you promised that if I (your child), which is called by YOUR name (Christian-a follower of Jesus Christ), would humble MYSELF, and pray, and seek YOUR face, and turn from MY wicked ways; then will YOU hear from Heaven, and forgive MY sin, and heal MY land.”

December 30, 2014

Hearing the Voice of God

Many people claim that God told them to do something or that He has enlightened them in some way, but have they really heard the voice of God? Does God even talk to people today the way he did in Biblical times? If so, who hears the voice of God? Of course, if you don’t believe that God exists, you won’t believe that people have ever heard His voice, so I will not try to prove God’s existence to that audience. This blog is aimed at those who DO believe that God exists, but have asked themselves the questions above.
We must first answer the question of whether or not God speaks to people today as He did in Biblical times. Many people claim to believe in God, the Bible, Jesus–all things Holy. Yet there is a great divide among the various “Christian” faiths as to the meanings of the scriptures and whether they were written for people of long ago or for all generations. For the purpose of this blog, I will take the position that all scripture is relevant today.
Taking that stance, I will explore what the scriptures have to say on the subject of God speaking to people today. Let’s take a look at the character of God as it concerns His unvariedness. James 1:17 states, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” In John 10:30, Jesus said, “I and my Father are one.”  Additionally, in Hebrews 13:8, we are told that Jesus is “the same yesterday, today, and forever.”  Therefore, we have established that God has not changed in His character, in His love, or His mode of communication with humanity.

So how do we know if someone has TRULY heard the voice of God, as so many claim? We have to compare messages that God gave in scripture to what one is claiming to have heard from God. God will never tell anyone to do any act that is contrary to His Word or His character. Additionally, when someone proclaims that God told them a future event will happen at a certain time or in a certain way and it does not happen, you know that person has NOT heard the voice of God. In contrast, if someone states that God has given them a prophecy for the future and it is fulfilled EXACTLY as that person claims, you can believe that they had heard the voice of God.

I will go into more details on false prophets and other such persons who claim to hear from God, but are not truly hearing from Our Father, in a future blog.

So who DOES hear the voice of God today? Scripture tells us in Matthew 22:14 “For many are called, but few are chosen.” God wants to save everyone, though not all will come to the knowledge of truth. However, many WILL come to God (the called), but for whatever reason God sees fit, He has CHOSEN a few to whom He speaks with special messages. We know from John 6:44 “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him…” God will speak to your heart by His Holy Spirit and draw you to Him. John 16:13 tells us, “Howbeit, when He, the Spirit of Truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak; and He will show you things to come.”  He will speak to your heart by His Holy Spirit and convict you of your sins when you stray. God will speak to your heart by His Holy Spirit and guide you in your walk of faith. Every true believer hears the voice of God, or they could not be saved. But there are some with whom the Father has chosen to have a depth of conversation that not many will ever know in this lifetime.

Understand that no one CHOOSES to be among the “chosen” to whom God speaks with special messages. No one can bargain, barter, or beg God to be one of “the chosen few.” God does not always choose someone that the world would consider worthy of this awesome privilege, as we see throughout scripture. Before God spoke to Abraham, Noah, Moses, etc, they were just ordinary people. If they had not harkened to God’s voice, we likely would not know them today. But God chose to speak to these great people because He KNEW that they WOULD listen and heed His Words. Of course, we know that none of the people to whom God chose to speak were perfect-even after they heard the voice of God. But their HEARTS were after God. In other words, they may have fallen to human frailties, but they were quick to repent and truly sorry for the error of their ways. Their desire was to serve and please God, even if they stumbled along the way.

Does God only speak to adults? 1 Samuel 3 tells the story of Samuel, as a very young child, hearing the voice of God. At first, he thought that Eli was calling to him. But after the third time that Samuel went to Eli saying, “here I am, for you called me,” Eli realized that it was indeed God Himself who was calling upon Samuel. So even as a child, God can speak to us.

Having said all of this, I will now share with you that God has spoken to me throughout my life. Yes, I have failed Him miserably. No, I am not (at least in my own opinion) anyone special to whom God should choose to speak. However, God HAS chosen to speak to me and I will now share with you my experiences in hearing God’s voice.

The first time that I can remember hearing God’s voice (though I certainly didn’t know it at the time, much like Samuel in 1 Samuel 3,) I was about 7 years old. I can remember the exact spot where I was at that time- in the sitting area of the dining room. I was sitting on a couch beneath an open window with the Mimosa trees in full bloom. God spoke to me and said, “You are special.” At that time, we were not a “church” family. We only attended on special occasions, if then. However, our mother had taught us to pray when we were very young and I had a great faith in God.

I was certainly not learned in the ways of the Lord nor in hearing the voice of God, so I looked around to see who had spoken to me. There was no one around. I was there alone and yet, as clear as I had heard anyone else, I heard this “Voice” speaking to me. The message was simple and I did not understand it at the time. I didn’t think of myself as anything special or certainly worthy of any extra attention by the Creator of all that is. However, in the future, I would hear this message again and again.

I suffered great abuse as a child and this message came to me either just before or just after the abuse began-I’m not quite certain, except that it was about the same time. Because of the abuse, I had a very low self-esteem so that I would never really feel very special-even when I would hear this message. As most children do, I thought the abuse was somehow my fault and I felt dirty and unlovable-yet this Voice would continue to tell me that I was special.  It would be many years before I would begin to understand the message.

I was not special because of anything that I had done, but rather because God SAID that I was special. He did not say, “You are perfect. You will never make mistakes. You are better than others.” He simply said, “You are special.” I am sure that there are many who would argue that I am certainly nothing special, but I will not attempt to change their minds. I will simply stand by the statement from the Lord.

So how do I know that I wasn’t simply talking to myself? For one thing, I would have said to myself, “I am special”-not “You”. Additionally, I certainly wasn’t vain enough to think of myself as special in any way. I knew that I was hearing a voice not my own, but not human either. In John 10:27, Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice…” I cannot explain this to anyone who has not heard the voice that I have heard, but I eventually knew that it was the voice of God.

My Aunt Imogene, a great woman of faith and faithfulness, often heard the Voice of God and I was in awe of her connection with the Lord. When she prayed, her prayers were answered. She never doubted (or at least never let anyone know if she did). One day she was visiting us here in South Mississippi when, as we were riding down Highway 90 along the beach, she shuttered and proclaimed, “God is going to send a great judgment upon this place.” I don’t remember if she elaborated, except that there was going to be a great destruction. A few months later, Hurricane Camille hit this area and it was the most devastating hurricane in the area to that date. I do believe that my Aunt Imogene heard the Voice of God.

Shortly after Hurricane Camille struck this area, a gentleman came to our door to discuss some roofing repairs-the only loss we had even though we only lived a few blocks from the beach! Because my mother has worn 2 hearing aids since I was a very young child, she had difficulty understanding what the man was saying. The man asked her if she believed that God could heal her hearing. He asked if he could pray with her. After praying with her, he invited us to attend his church, where they prayed for healing regularly. (My mother still wears hearing aids-healing will be the topic of another blog-but, yes, I absolutely believe in healing!)

At this time, we were visiting churches looking for a church home. Having been raised Congregationalist in the North East, my mother was not particular as to what church we attended since there were no Congregationalist churches in this area. We had visited churches including Baptist, Nazarene, and Church of Christ, but had not found a church home. This gentleman invited us to an Assemblies of God church in Gulfport (Mississippi). This was a Pentecostal church where they shouted, raised their hands, and spoke in tongues. The women wore long dresses and no makeup and little jewelry. My Aunt Imogene was Pentecostal, though I was not familiar with exactly how the services were carried out.

As we began to attend this church, there was a great emphasis on “speaking in tongues” as a symbol that you have been filled with the Spirit of God. I began to study this and though some of my family members began to speak in tongues, I was not quite sure about the practice. I wanted to understand it all to be sure that this was really something from God and not a man-made situation. I would often find myself at the alter with people grasping my jaw and shaking my face, as if somehow I would begin to speak in tongues if they just moved my mouth in the right way. But in my spirit, I knew this was not God’s way. None the less, one day, deep in prayer, I began to pray in a language that I did not know. I cannot explain it to someone who has not experienced it, but I knew that my spirit was communicating with God in a way that was deeper than prayers that I could utter of my own understanding. A friend from high school visited church with me once and while we were in the choir room praying , she said that an aura of light was shining around me! I have never seen this myself, but she was a very sober and somber person and not prone to making such statements if they were not true. Again, I am far from perfect, but I know that I have a measure of faith that says, “Though I may fail Him, God will NEVER fail me!”

Remember that Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Having said that, Jesus said, in Mark 16:17 “And these signs shall follow them that believe; in my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues.” Unfortunately, many Pentecostal churches have put too much emphasis on the act of “speaking in tongues” above all else. There is a time and a place for speaking in tongues. Some are given the gift to speak in tongues within a group and there should be someone there to whom God has given an interpretation-lest there be confusion. However, to date, my gift has be a personal prayer language between God and me. I have not felt compelled to speak out in tongues in front of others, though some may have heard me praying in tongues in my personal prayers. I do not always pray in tongues. It is not something that I can switch off and on. But frequently when I am personally praising God or in desperate prayer, a beautiful language comes forth from my lips. Should God tell me to do so, I  would speak out in tongues. But for now, I have this gift for my own personal edification.

It was shortly after I began to pray in tongues-a deep, meditative prayer beyond what I could utter on my own-that I had the following incident. I was struggling with trying to serve God and wanting to live a holy life, yet knowing how dirty I was because of the abuse that I was still enduring at home, I never felt worthy of God’s grace. In fact, as I drew closer to the Lord, my father would tell me, “Now go and ask Jesus to forgive you,” when he would finish with me. I was in mental torment and in great fear of being cut off from God because I was a “dirty sinner,” no matter how hard I tried to be and do good.

One afternoon as I left the high school cafeteria to sit outside on a bench waiting for lunch break to be finished, I literally saw a battle going on in my mind! I could see demons and angles fighting for control of my mind. Satan spoke to me and said, “I will take your mind.” It was not the first time that I would hear Satan’s voice, but I had learned by this time whose voice this was and it wasn’t God’s. I had also learned to rebuke Satan in Jesus name (just as someone with the power of attorney has the authority to speak in someone else’s name) and that is exactly what I did. I began to pray that God would keep my mind sound and deliver me from the forces of Satan. I immediately received the peace that passes all understanding. I later began to realize that the statement, “I will take your mind,” did not necessarily mean that I was going to go crazy, but that Satan would do all that he could to “take my mind” away from God. I needed to be on constant guard against that attack of my mind-but I would not always succeed. Not because God had somehow failed to keep my mind, but because I had allowed things to enter into my mind that had no business there-fear, lust, hatred, etc. We must ALL guard our minds DAILY against the “wiles of the devil.” Thus we are instructed in Ephesians 6 to put on the whole armor of God-including the helmet of salvation-the protection of our mind!

After high school, I attended the local junior college and had begun dating a young man that I had admired in high school. He was very popular and was a year older than me, so I never expected to see him much less date him after high school. I was thrilled to be dating him, but for some reason, he seemed to have no romantic feelings for me. He was a perfect gentleman, but I didn’t think that he was very interested in me. One night, after Christmas and after attending church that night, when I was at dinner with this young man, I heard the Voice of God again. “I want you to go to Southeastern,” God told me. I was surprised that God was telling me to go off to Florida to a college in which I had no interest. I had been hoping that if I continued to see this young man, things would change. After all, he was quite a catch!  Additionally, I was desperate to get married (the only way I knew to escape the abuse at home.) I had never planned to go so far from home to college because I was still very close to my little siblings and I knew nothing about this college except that it was sponsored by our church and a few of the young people from our youth group had gone there.  Howbeit,  I KNEW this was the Voice of God and I had to tell this young man that I would be going to Florida for college, though I was not sure how he would react if I told him that GOD had spoken to me, so I kept it to myself.

I went home and told my mother that I wanted to go to Southeastern Bible College in Lakeland, FL. I didn’t even know where Lakeland, FL was, but I knew that I was supposed to go there! Since it was already after Christmas, and the new semester would begin on January 4, it was pretty much impossible to think that I would be able to get all of the paperwork done and be accepted for that term, but when God tells you to do something, He makes the way! I began classes at Southeastern on January 4, 1975!

I would only be there for one semester because near the end of the semester, my father, who had not been happy about me going off to Florida, called me to inform me that I would NOT be going back. In a panic, I jokingly said to the a young man, also a student at the Bible college, who I was just beginning to date, “You wouldn’t want to marry me, would you?” (It was April 1, so many couples on campus “got engaged” that day…it was a campus April fools tradition.) I knew that my father meant what he said about me never leaving again! Since the young man was trying to get away from a bad situation in his own home, the young man said, “Sure!” I thought it was just a joke until he gave me an engagement ring a few days later. I knew that I did not love this young man, but I was desperate to get away from my parents’ home. However, God had a plan that I could not possibly see at that time.

I had no idea what marriage was all about, but I didn’t think it could be any worse than what I was enduring at home. I can remember getting dressed at the back of the church, and asked my mother, “What happens if you marry someone that you don’t love?” Instead of stopping the wedding,  my mother said, “You can learn to love anyone.”

Our marriage was rocky from the start, but I would be blessed with my three sons, and for that I will be forever grateful. In fact, I had been in labor for nearly 24 hours with our second son when I would hear the Voice of God again. My husband was not a patient man and my hours of crying out in pain were irritating him. He was basically telling me to hurry up and get this over with-as if I had some control over what was going on. The pain was unbearable and I didn’t think that I could last another minute. My husband’s complaining only made me feel worse. I began to pray that I would NEVER have to go through this again! I had wanted many children, but by now had figured out that my husband was not a very good father or husband and that it was probably not a good idea to have a bunch of children with him. However, as I lay there in labor, the Lord spoke to me and said, “You have another son coming.” I wasn’t sure what that meant, since my mother had given birth to twins and didn’t know until after the first one was delivered that another one was on the way. Was I having twins? No.

I would become pregnant again when my second son was only 9 months old. I couldn’t imagine going through labor again, but I was not able to take birth control pills, so I knew that I could become pregnant again. At that time, you could not have your tubes tied if you were under 25 years old unless it was deemed medically necessary. But by God’s good grace, my doctor would agree with me. I had to have a C-section due to the baby’s size (over 9 lbs and 24 inches…2ft long). Since I am only 5’2″ myself, this baby was taking up nearly half my height! While they were doing the C-section, I opted to have my tubes tied. While I was pregnant with this baby, I discovered that my husband was now smoking pot in addition to getting drunk. I didn’t want to bring another baby into the world with a father who was on drugs. I prayed before the surgery and told the Lord that I was acting in good faith that if He indeed intended for me to have more children, a little thing like tying my tubes couldn’t prevent it from happening. When I shared my concerns about my husband with my Dr., he agreed to tie my tubes.

Seven years into our marriage, I would hear the Voice of God again. I had never told anyone except my mother about the abuse that I had endured from my father, but she never did anything about it, so I didn’t tell anyone else. However, one day the Lord spoke to me and told me that the whole ugly story was about to come out in the family and that I needed to share this with my husband. When I told him what my father had done to me, my husband’s reply was, “You mean you were USED when I got you?” I was crushed at his reply, but about a month later, my parents announced that they were divorcing and the whole ugly story came out to the family!

Within a few months, my husband began having an affair with another woman. He simply came home one day and said, “I don’t want to be married anymore. I love someone else and I’m leaving.” Our sons were 6, 4, and 2 years old at the time and I was a stay-at-home mom. How would I take care of our children? How would I pay the bills and feed them? I felt like my entire world had just imploded! I went about my daily chores catatonically. I knew what had to be done and I did it, but I was completely numb. My father was quite wealthy, and though I had gotten away from my parents, I was still close to my younger siblings, so I would still visit on occasion. I could go to my father for financial support, but at what cost? I could lose the 10 pounds that I still had in baby weight, but if this woman was so much more beautiful than me, I could never win my husband back. I was completely lost and had no idea what to do.

As the boys sat at the dining room table eating lunch a few days after my husband walked out, I was folding clothes and found myself lying on the floor in a fetal position, crying into a blanket.  The Lord spoke to me and said, “Love him home.” Love him home??? How could God tell me to love someone who was committing adultery and had abandoned his family. Then it suddenly dawned on me! All of my life I had feared being rejected of God because I knew that I was far less than perfect, yet God was telling me to show this man HIS love. The Lord showed me that no amount of my father’s money, nor any beauty that I might attain could possibly bring my husband back. But forgiveness-unconditional love-would win him back! And the Lord also showed me that if He could forgive my husband and love him still—He could forgive and love me!

I immediately got up and the Lord began to show me things to come. For example, I saw my husband coming home. He would be in a truck and would come to the side door carrying his lunch box and thermos, as if he were simply returning home from work. I wrote that down on my calendar.

It was during my husband’s absence that I grew closer to God than I ever knew possible. He would reveal truths from His Word that I had read many times and never understood. I would learn to walk by sheer faith alone—trusting God for each meal, each bill, and every need. I was able to get food stamps to provide for my children and one day as I was heading to the store on my bike (since my husband had taken the car) with one child sitting in the basket, one in the child seat on the back, and one on the seat as I stood up to pedal, I was singing “We bring the sacrifice of praise into the house of our God!” I was completely at peace and happy for the first time in my life! It was the worst time of my life and the BEST time of my life, all at the same time. A friend commented to me, as I pedaled and sang, “They are going to put you in Whitfield (the state mental hospital). How can anyone be that happy with all that you are going through?” (Years later, that same friend would end up in Whitfield from a nervous breakdown.)

During those several months that my husband was gone, I grew in the Lord more than I knew possible and I had a wonderful prayer warrior as a mentor. One day she said to me, “Are you going to take him back before he gets right with God?” I was shocked! Of COURSE I was going to take my husband back, no matter what state he was in. After all, God had told me to love him home and that is what I was going to do. I thought I was so close to God that I could never fall away, so when she told me that taking him back before he got his life right with God could pull me away from the Lord, I arrogantly said, “That will never happen!”

Boy, was I wrong!!! It wasn’t long before my husband came home. A friend brought him home in a pickup and when he got out, the first two things that he grabbed where his lunch box and his thermos! He came in at the side door to the house! Exactly as the Lord had shown me!

But I was soon compromising my faith in order to keep my husband happy and to keep him with us. The Lord began to tell me that my oldest son, Andy, “would be as if he were an only child.” That message upset me, but I KNEW the Voice and I knew that God does not make mistakes! I pleaded with God and begged that He not take my other two sons. I would hear this message again and again over the next several years and each time I would beg God not to take my other two sons.

As I said, by trying to appease my husband, I began to allow things into my life that I never imagined that I could do. Though he did start out going to church with us, it wasn’t long before he quit going, and we quit going as well. Just like the children of Israel began to fall away and lose faith after all of the miracles that God had done for them in delivering them from Egypt, I too, began to lose faith. I didn’t turn my back on God, but I simply starting trying to fix things myself instead of leaving them in God’s hands.

Remember the friend who told me that I would end up in Whitfield if I didn’t stop praising God in the midst of my troubles? The Lord spoke to me and told me to stop hanging around with her. I couldn’t understand it. She had been my friend through out all of my troubles with my husband and she was an emotionally needy person. She didn’t have many friends and I understood her. I argued with the Lord about it,  but He was clear in what He told me. I wish that I had listened to Him! However, remaining friends with her led me to a gambling addiction that I will discuss a little later, but it started innocently with joining her at a church bingo game.

I finally left my husband’s abuse and moved to Georgia to live with a boyfriend. My prayer warrior friend was right! Allowing my husband to come home without making sure that he was right with GOD had indeed pulled me away from the LORD! I had been living with my boyfriend for about a year when my husband, who had by now moved back in with his mother in Orlando, came to get the boys for a summer visit. I didn’t want to let them go, but since he had refused to finalize the divorce and we were still legally married, I didn’t have much choice. When he brought them back to me, he told me that he had a loaded gun under the front seat (and I knew he did-he always did). He said that he was taking our oldest son, Andy-now 13- to live with him in Orlando. He wanted to get on welfare and he had to have a child living with him to do so. He told me that if I tried to stop him from taking Andy, that he would just kill me and take all of the boys-and I KNEW he meant it!

As soon as they left, I went straight to the police. I told them what had happened, but they informed me that since the divorce was filed but not finalized, they could not do anything. Since I had not actually SEEN the gun (even though I knew he never went anywhere without a loaded gun), they said that there was no proof that he had really threatened me! I was not where I should be with God. I had not turned my back on God or quit believing, I had simply allowed the world to enter in and was not living a life pleasing to my Father. But in His infinite love, God spoke to me even then and reminded me that He had told me that “Andy would be ‘as if he was an only child’.” Andy was now living with his father in Orlando-as if he were an only child!

When my husband’s girlfriend became pregnant about a year and a half later, he no longer needed Andy in order to stay on welfare, so he allowed Andy to return to me-but this time on MY terms. In order to stay in his mother’s home, my husband had to be married to his pregnant girlfriend-but he was still married to me. I told him that I would sign the final divorce papers-when he returned Andy to me and did not try to take him again! He agreed and he never again came to see our sons until they were grown men.

I moved back to Mississippi with my sons and my boyfriend, and though I knew that it was a mistake, I married my boyfriend. Yet, the Lord would still speak to me. We had moved back to the Mississippi Gulf Coast the same month that Casinos opened here. I had never believed in gambling, but it was after the Lord had spoken to me to quit hanging around with my friend, and to which I did not obey, that I began going to church bingo games with her, reasoning that it was not really gambling, but giving money to charity. That opened the door for me to later become addicted to gambling.

I didn’t mind going to bingo, as it was raising money for charities. But I always felt a little funny about it (conviction). Then when the casinos opened, I was invited to go with friends and family members. I didn’t see the fun in putting a five dollar bill in a machine and within a matter of minutes, walking away with nothing. However, when friends came to town, they wanted to go and would usually pay my way if I would show them around. On one such trip, I actually hit a small jackpot and began to realize that this might just be fun. I reasoned that the money was going to education, and being that I was back in college to complete my degree to teach, I would actually be reimbursed the money when I began teaching, as teachers’ salaries began to rise with the influx of casinos.

It wasn’t long before I was gambling on a regular basis-only small amounts at first-but as I began to win more and more, I found myself addicted. I would ask friends to pray for me to quit going and would read scriptures that indicated why I shouldn’t gamble-such as Isaiah 55:2 “Wherefore do you spend money for that which is not bread? and your labor for that which satisfies not?” But I would continue to gamble. I finally realized that I was addicted when I could hardly concentrate on work on Fridays, knowing that on Saturday morning I would be in the casino.

I would pray for the Lord to deliver me, but I would go right back to the casinos. Then one Friday night, as I lay in bed imagining how much I might win the next morning, the Lord spoke to me and said, “Don’t go.” I began to argue with the Lord-you would think I would have learned my lesson about listening to the Lord by now-but no. I argued, “But, Lord, I will only spend $20.” “Don’t go,” I heard. “But, Lord, I don’t go to movies, or eat out, or spend money on myself. This is the only selfish thing I do for me.” “Don’t go,” He said again. By now, I had gotten out of bed, sometime after midnight, and was pacing the kitchen floor, arguing with God. As I paced back and forth making excuses to go, the Lord finally said to me, “Do you NEVER want to hear my voice again?” I was instantly snapped back to reality~~~and instantly delivered from gambling!

I will not even buy a raffle ticket for a charity. My current fiance plays the lottery and says that he will give me half the money if he wins, and that is fine if that is what he chooses to do, but I have shared my story with him and he knows that I will not pay for gambling of any kind.

The Lord has spoken to me since about other things and again I have not always obeyed-and again regretted my failure. However, I know that God is long-suffering, forgiving, and still talks to me, though I know that I am far from perfect.

Recently, I was reading something on my cell phone while it was charging, being plugged into an electrical outlet. A storm began, and I could see the lightening and hear the thunder. The Lord to me to put the phone down. But I was intent on finishing what I was reading, so I did not obey. Again, I was told to put the phone down, but only had a little more to read. Finally I heard, “PUT IT DOWN NOW!” The very second that I put the phone down, lightening struck the house! Night lights were blown out of the sockets and my printer and the internet modem were fried! I would very possibly have been killed or seriously injured if I had not obeyed the Lord!

So to answer the question, “Does God still talk to people today?” the answer is a clear YES! Who hears the Voice of God? Though we are all drawn by God’s Spirit, a few are chosen to hear special messages from God. How many is “a few?” I have no idea. It is NOT for me to know.  But I do know that when God speaks to you, you WILL know that it is HIS voice!

 

 

 

December 10, 2014

For Those Who Saved Christmas

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December 10, 1967 was a very cold morning in the country about 20 miles east of Tulsa, OK. The recently fallen snow created a picturesque scene on the acres and acres of soybean fields across the street from our house as they stretched up to the foot hills in the distance. Christmas was in the air and it looked like it was going to be a wonderful, white Christmas that people of dream of but don’t often get to see.

That morning my mother had taken my older brother, David, into town (Catoosa, OK) for a Boy Scout meeting.  My little brothers and sisters and I stretched out on the floor of the living room watching cartoons as our father prepared breakfast for us. He told us that we needed to go upstairs and change out of our pajamas. It may have been a Saturday morning, but there were chores to be done on the farm.

I helped my little brothers, 3 year old twins, get dressed and sent them down stairs. Then I made sure that my little sisters, 9 and 6 years old, were getting dressed. I finished dressing and made sure that everyone else was down stairs. Our father let us watch a few more cartoons before we had to start on our chores, as this was an especially cold morning-crisp and clear, but a hard freeze the night before left everything outside frozen.

As I sat down, my father placed another log on the roaring fire in the fireplace-a beautiful structure made from sandstones brought up from the Verdigris River that ran across the back of our property. Glass doors opened into both the living room and the den, creating an open, warm feeling throughout that entire side of the house.

A minute or two later, I said, “Daddy, I smell smoke.”

My father chuckled and said, “Well of course you smell smoke. I just put another log on the fire.”

“No, Daddy,” I protested. “I smell ‘funny’ smoke.”

Just then my father looked up and saw black smoke billowing across the ceiling like a thunderous wave crashing on the shores. “The house is on fire,” my father yelled. “Get the kids out of the house!” I hurried my little brothers and sisters outside and into the freezing cold as we looked back to see where our father was. He rushed out of the burning house and opened his truck so that my little siblings would have a warm place of safety.

As my father rushed to get a hose and try to douse the flames, he told me to run to the neighbor’s home and call for help. Our nearest neighbor was about a quarter of a mile down the road. I was always known for being quite a runner, but that day, I may have set a record! As I ran barefoot on the frozen dirt, all I could think about was the safety of my family and wishing that my mother was there! Why did this have to happen at the time that she wasn’t there? Who would watch the little ones while my father tried to save the house? I knew that they had to be just as afraid and confused as I was. I wanted to stay there with them to watch over them so that my father could fight the fire. But I also knew that I would be able to get help faster than any of them and I surely didn’t want any of them having to make this run for help.

By the time that I got to the neighbor’s house, they had already seen the smoke and called for help. I wanted to go back to be with my siblings, to watch over them, but the woman wouldn’t let me. She held me back and I can remember well the horror of seeing the smoke and watching my father trying in vain to save the house. Soon someone brought my little brothers and sisters to our neighbor’s house and at least I knew that they were safe.

We would later learn that squirrels had made a nest in the wiring beneath the house, just under the staircase-the staircase that my siblings and I had JUST come down minutes before they ignited in flames! I also learned that our property sat in two different counties and there had been a debate about which county should respond—as our house burned!

My mother was returning from town with David when she saw the smoke. She said that somehow she “knew” that it was our house on fire. I can’t even imagine what was going through her mind, not knowing if her children and husband were burning with the house! That had to be terrifying for her!

The heat of the flames had thawed the water enough that my father was able to get the hoses going and by some miracle, the house was not a complete loss. However, it would be months before it could be rebuilt.

We spent that first night with the neighbor’s and then help began flooding in. The Tulsa newspaper ran the story of a family with 6 children who had lost all of their Christmas (much of it hidden in that closet beneath the stairs) as well as their home. It was only a day or two after the fire when we stood in a huge room filled with toys, clothes, bikes, and everything a family would need to start over again. So many people had come forward to help us, that we had more than we could possibly want or use!

I learned a very valuable lesson, even at the tender age of 11. Christmas is not a day or even a season-it is the unselfish act of giving to others. The joy those people derived from helping us and giving us back a stolen Christmas had a great  impact on my life.

Christ willing left all of the Glory of Heaven to come to Earth. He did not come as a grown man, but as a completely dependent infant. He did not come as a wealthy business man, but as the son of a lowly carpenter. He did not come in an age of cell phones, cars, electricity, and all of the many luxuries that we consider necessities today, but in an age when survival was difficult even for the greatest men. Knowing what the future would hold for him-abandoned by EVERY man, beaten, scorned, and finally crucified for our sins-not His own-yet he came! Jesus gave of Himself, unselfishly and willingly.

Though we said thank you for all of the gifts that we received that year, I don’t think that “thank you” was quite enough to convey my gratitude for ALL that I was given that year. More than the material things that I acquired that Christmas, I still had my family, and I had learned a lesson that would be with me for the rest of my life.

Each year, I try to make at least some, if not all, of my Christmas gifts for others. It is that “giving of myself” that makes it Christmas for me. I also try to give to others in need as much as I can. It is my way of thanking those precious souls who saved Christmas for us that year!

 

November 28, 2014

Being Thankful

It’s that time of year when everyone begins to think about the things for which they are thankful. Of course, we are all thankful for family and friends, good food, a warm home, and the list goes on. I am not saying that you cannot be truly thankful for all that you have if you have never been without. But I think that when you HAVE been without, you are maybe just a little more thankful for all of the blessings in your life when they come your way.

If you have never driven a car that had rusted through the roof and you had to wear a garbage bag on your lap to keep from getting soaked as you drove in the rain, watching the highway go by under the car through the rusted out holes in the floor, stopping every 50 miles to add water and oil, then you probably aren’t quite as thankful as I am to have, paid in full, a very nice van with a tv in the ceiling that drops down for the grandbabies to watch their favorite movies as we take trips. I am thankful that I don’t have to drive with a garbage bag on my lap, see the road go by under my feet, and stop to add oil and water every 50 miles. The tv? That was just icing on the cake that I didn’t even expect or dream of when I prayed for a car that was safe, sound, and didn’t look like a piece of trash rolling down the road.

If you have never had to wonder where you and your children would sleep tonight, then you probably aren’t quite as thankful as I am to have a nice home to sleep in every night and that my children have homes for them and their families to sleep in.

If you have never been down to a single potato to feed your children, then you may not be quite as thankful as I am to have a bountiful meal not only for me and my family to eat, but to be able to share with others.

If you have never been down to a single pair of sneakers and your little toe sticking out of each shoe, wearing a single pair of jeans that have holes in the knees, then you may not be as overwhelmed as I am when I look at my walk-in closet full of clothes, with shoes in various colors and styles to match various outfits, and the jewelry to match as well.

If you have never been told by the doctors that you will never have children, and with each pregnancy being told that you won’t be able to have another, then you may not be in awe each time you look at not just your 3 sons, but the beautiful women they have married and with whom they have given you 8 beautiful grandbabies!

If you have never had your 13 year old son taken from you at gunpoint in the midst of your divorce, whisked off to Florida by his father, and being told by the police that there is nothing they can do since the divorce isn’t finalized yet, then not being able to get him back for a year and a half, only to have him enter the military and serve in Iraq a few years later, you may not be as humbled as I am that my son is still here and has given me beautiful grandchildren to love as well!

If you have never had to search the couch cushions, sell cans you have picked up along the roadside, and checked pay phones and vending machines for enough change to buy a single roll of toilet tissue, then you may not appreciate your regular check as much as I do.

If you have never had a loaded gun put to your head by your husband or had your children threatened at gunpoint by their own father, never had your face punched as you drove down the road, never had cat liter dumped over your head and smeared into your hair, (all as the man who is supposed to love, honor, and cherish you is drunk as a skunk), then perhaps you can’t understand how much it means to me to be loved by a man who not only doesn’t drink, but won’t hurt me, and who goes out of his way to SHOW his love to me.

If you have never been a sinner, never done things that disgust you-things that you would condemn others for doing, never realized that you are NOTHING without Christ, never understood that it was YOUR sins that kept Jesus on the cross of Calvary-realizing that He could have cried out to the Father to relieve Him of the horror that was happening to Him, and realizing how much you still fail Him, then you won’t be able to understand that being thankful isn’t enough. You can’t see that His love for us is unconditional, without end, and so very undeserved. Yet, He loves us still.  You can’t see that no matter how many good works we do, we will never “earn” His love, because His love for us is a gift-freely given and freely accepted. You will never know that through all of the things we have been through, all of the things we have been without, and all of the blessings that we now have-He has been there with us all along-never leaving us, never failing us, and never turning us away.

So you see, I AM thankful! I am humbled, I am awe-struck, and I am without any further words to express how blessed I am!

June 8, 2014

What if….a unique idea that could change our country for the better!

Once upon a time, I was proud to be an American! I thought that this was the greatest country on earth. I couldn’t imagine wanting to live anywhere else on the planet. We WERE the land of the FREE and the home of the BRAVE-people who were not afraid to fight for the right to BE free. One could speak what they truly thought without fear of government reprisal, whether it was a popular thought or not. People cared about others, people shared, not just with their own, but with others. People did the right thing, not to be rewarded, but because it was the right thing. We had powerful leaders who had tasted of war and KNEW what they were talking about when they passed laws. But not today.
Today America is a weak country full of selfish, self-concerned people who only do for others when they can get something out of it-recognition, money, or some other reward. Our leaders-both of celebrity status and lawmakers-are sniveling babies who cry when they break a nail! If things don’t go their way, they cry about inequalities and unfairness. We have raised up a generation of “ME” babies who were taught that ALL kids have the same chances and rewards, regardless of how much effort they put out.
Life doesn’t work that way. We are NOT all born equally. Some are born into poverty or with disabilities and they WILL have to work harder to make it—but those with TRUE heart WILL make it! They will not be stopped by the inequalities that were handed them, but will become strong BECAUSE of them! On the shoulders of such people was our country built!
So here’s a unique idea that I think should be implemented to make the playing field a little more even and help to bring our country back to a world power to be feared and admired-not mocked and threatened. We should pass a law that before a person can serve in a political position above the local level, they MUST serve at least 2 years in the military or some other service organization, such as AmericCorp, Peace Corp, USO or any of the organizations listed at title=”US Dept. of State”>http://www.state.gov/m/fsi/tc/79984.htm Additionally, before a person can collect a pay check over $1,000,000 (be it a CEO, movie star, music star, or professional athlete) they should have to serve at least 2 years in the military or one of the service organizations listed above, or a local organization such as the local chapter of the Cancer Society or the Red Cross. These persons should not be given “desk jobs” and be kept state-side, but should have to be in the thick of things and in countries that don’t afford the comforts of home.
Then, and ONLY THEN, should these people be allowed to serve our country in political positions or be allowed paychecks that make them forget how the rest of the world struggles. By doing this 2 years of service (much like service required of all young adults in Israel), these people would have a real idea about the needs of others and how to govern or how to lead by celebrity.
There would be exceptions, of course. For example, if one is born into poverty and by their own efforts (not the work or connection of their parents) has been able to rise above poverty to become gainfully employed, they would be exempt from this requirement. The reason that the parents’ effort would not count towards service is because the PARENT has made the effort, not the child. Another example would be someone with a physical disability who overcomes it to become a leader. These persons would have already “done their time.”
If such a law were passed, we could begin to be the world power that we once were because we would be raising up generations that EXPECT to serve others, EXPECT to work hard for what they want, and EXPECT to be compensated FOR THEIR EFFORTS-not just because they are good looking, well connected, or have a certain talent.
I am QUITE sure that this will NOT be a popular idea among the rich and famous, though there are a few among the rich and famous who HAVE served their time. However, the rest of the people of this once great nation would likely support just such a law. What think ye?

May 22, 2014

Judging Others-The Vision God Showed Me

Filed under: My thoughts — MSBeach @ 7:19 am
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Growing up, we only attended church on occasion and then it was mostly Baptist churches, with visits to the Church of the Nazarene and the Church of Christ near our home. It wasn’t until Hurricane Camille hit the Mississippi Gulf Coast that we began attending church in earnest. Shortly after the hurricane, a gentleman came to give my parents an estimate to have the roof repaired, as our home received very little damage save some missing shingles from the roof. As the gentleman was explaining the estimate, my mother kept asking him to speak up because her hearing aids were not working well. The man asked my mother if she believed in healing. She said that she did and he asked if he could pray for her. They prayed, and then the man invited us to attend his church in Gulfport. It was a Pentecostal church (Assembly of God) and since my father’s family practiced the Pentecostal faith, my mother had some idea of how different this church would be. I, however, didn’t have a clue about how these services would be.
I was accustomed to sedate church services with the congregation basically sitting quietly as one would in a classroom as the teacher gives a lesson. This church was quite different! The people yelled out “Praise the Lord!” or “Amen!” as the preacher, pacing back and forth and sweating, delivered “Hell fire and brimstone” messages. The congregation would clap their hands and some would stand up and speak in foreign languages, after which they or someone else would interpret what had been said. Some even ran around the sanctuary or danced. I have to honestly say that it was quite frightening to me, since I had no idea WHY all of this was going on.
BUT I felt a presence in those services that I had never felt in church before, and I KNEW it was the presence of God. It would take me some time to understand the depth of all that went on in the services, but the church had some “rules” to live by that I did not quite understand nor agree. I wanted to be right with God, but I questioned some of the rules.
One rule was that you could not wear shorts-it would cause others to lust after your body. Now, at this time, I DID have a nice body (though I didn’t think so at the time), but I was wearing shorts because it was hot outside and I spent a lot of time outside. Additionally, I usually wore culottes-a pair of shorts covered with a skirt. As I said, I wanted to be right with God, but I didn’t think I was sinning by wearing shorts. This would trouble me to the point that I believed that I was doomed to Hell if I kept wearing shorts. One night, after leaving a youth session at someone’s home to which I had worn knee-length culottes, and for which I had been admonished that I was going STRAIGHT to Hell, I fell asleep with a troubled heart.
I had a vision that night. It was more than JUST a dream, as it was more real than I had ever dreamed and it has stayed with me for over 40 years, just as clear as the night I saw it. In my vision, I was sitting in our front yard on a glider swing. The swing faced the southeast and as I sat there reading, suddenly there was a loud trumpet sound and the sky burst open with the Lord standing in the clouds, hands outstretched. It was the “rapture” of the church-“For the Lord Himself shall descend from Haven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17.
All around me, bodies began to rise from the ground (though it was not at all frightening-as I knew what this was). My parents (and if you have read my previous blog on May 11,2014 you know that the next thing was not expected) who were working on the roof behind me, began to go up. My mother was very involved in church, so I was not too surprised that she rose, but my father, whom I KNEW was not living for God, began to rise as well. As he rose up, all the filthy language in his mouth began to fall to the ground–I actually saw the words coming out of his mouth. The cigarette fell from one hand and a beer fell from the other. Then I went up as well.
Once we were in Haven, times ceased to exist. We were simply there. When people say that words cannot describe Heaven, they are correct. I can use words that I know, but they are just shadows of a description. Everyone got a chance to walk with Jesus and discuss questions that we had. I was with a group of people that I didn’t know-yet I knew them. We were sitting beneath a huge weeping willow beside a crystal blue creek on grass of green velvet. Everyone was asking their questions and I wasn’t paying much attention, as I was looking around at the people that I never thought I’d see in Heaven, and I DIDN’T see people that I EXPECTED to see there.
When it was my turn to ask a question, I said, “Lord, I don’t understand how my father and others are here and the deacon and his wife, my Sunday School teacher, aren’t.” Jesus smiled at me in a knowing way, as He knew exactly what I meant. He reached His had out over the edge of Heaven into utter darkness and lifted up the deacon. He pulled the deacon’s chest open and it was full of nasty, darkness. There were cobwebs and all sorts of icky things. The Lord closed him back up gently and placed him back over into the darkness. Then He then did the same with the Sunday School teacher. After He had shown them to me, he took my father and did the same with him, gently opening his chest. A blinding light shot out so that I had to turn my head. The Lord closed my father’s chest and said to me, “Because I judge the heart, not the outward appearance.”
I am not saying that my father is in Heaven and the deacon and his wife, now passed, are in Hell. I don’t know their hearts-that is the Lord’s territory. What I AM saying is that the Lord revealed to me that He is concerned with WHY I dress like I do, WHY I act like I do, etc. While others may judge me by how I dress, how I wear my hair, etc., the Lord is only concerned with WHY. I am wearing this to attract a man’s attention? I am dressing like this to make someone jealous? Do I look like this because I think I am better than someone else? I am dressing like this JUST to rebel against the norm? THOSE are the concerns of the Lord. Regardless of what other may THINK they know about me or why they THINK I am doing something, ONLY God Himself knows my heart and ONLY God Himself can judge me.
Yes, the Bible DOES tell us to go to a brother or sister in Christ if we see them overcome in a fault. BUT we are to make SURE that our hearts are right when we do this-not in judgment lest we fall to the SAME fault ourselves. We are to go with a humble heart, in love, and after much prayer. For example, if I know a sister in Christ is having an affair, I am to go to her and let her know that she is endangering her soul. If I go in a humble way, with a pure heart, and true concern for her spiritual well-being, I am NOT judging her. HOWEVER, if I go to her with an attitude that “I would never do that,” I am not only judging her, I am in danger of falling to the same sin. Be sure, that whatever set of standards we hold other to, God will hold us to the same standard. That is why it is so important that we not judge others.
Pointing out a fault that GOD Himself says is a sin is NOT judging another. We are simply sharing GOD’s Word. We are judging when we state our own opinions separate from God’s Word or when we think that WE would never commit THAT sin!
I pray that I will not judge others. I pray that those whom I have judged (yes, I have been guilty of this sin) will forgive me for my judgments. I pray that this post will touch your heart and help you to see the difference between judging others and sharing God’s Word.

May 16, 2014

Taking a Godly Stand Against the Homosexual Agenda

Filed under: My thoughts — MSBeach @ 12:49 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

I ask that my praying friends lift me up as I make this post. I KNOW it will not be easy and I KNOW it will lead to many ugly comments. I did not know why I have felt so compelled lately to speak out against the “gay agenda.” What someone does in their own bedroom IS between them and God. But when you try to force upon society that your way of life is ok with God when He clearly says it is not, THEN I must speak up, because to keep silent (though it would be SO much easier for me if I did) would be to agree. We are being FLOODED with images of gay couples in all walks of life. IF you want to be gay and simply live you life, then that is between you and God. He will be your judge. But when you FORCE me to partake by openly flaunting your lifestyle in my face when you know that it offends me, then it DOES become my business. FAR TOO MANY who call themselves Godly men and women are keeping silent on the issue for fear of losing jobs, friends, and status. The ONLY status that I am concerned with is my status with GOD! I have sincerely prayed about this, as I simply can’t remain silent in the face of this issue and I needed to be sure that this was NOT just my opinion, but God’s working through me. FIRST let me say that under NO circumstances do I feel that ANYONE should mistreated because of who or what they are. God wants us to love everyone. BUT He does NOT want us to condone what HE calls SIN! I am JUST as offended by someone openly committing adultery—and I HAVE committed adultery myself! BUT the difference is, I recognized my sin, repented, and STOPPED what I was doing because I knew that it was hurting my Lord, the other person, and my loved ones. I can’t undo what I have done, but I do NOT have to continue in that sin, no matter how I felt about the other person with whom I was involved. Many of my friends and family who are homosexual, bisexual, etc. claim that they are “right with God.” They are deceived. When I was living in sin, I WANTED to be right with God. I WISHED what I was doing was right with God. I would have LIKED what I was doing to be right with God. But the truth was and IS that God called it sin, JUST as He called homosexuality sin. Having said this, as I prayed about the matter, the Lord gave me this Scripture to read. NO, I didn’t go looking up Scriptures about the subject. I just kept hearing this over and over in my heart, “Having a form of Godliness, but denying the power thereof…” 2 Timothy 3:5
I looked up the verse because I wanted to read it in context (in other words, what had brought the apostle to the point that he made this statement?) So I began from the first verse of the chapter. Here is what Paul was talking about when he wrote those words: 2 Timothy 3:1-9″ This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers *showing contempt or lack of reverence for God and His Word*, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection *here many say that this refers to men loving men, and women loving women, BUT the actual translation refers to persons who do not have loving affections towards their kin*, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, *lacking in self-control or moderation, especially when referring to sexual desires*, fierce, despisers of those who are good. Traitors, heady *impulsive and rash in behavior*, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form *external appearance* of Godliness, but denying *to state that something declared is not true* the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort * the aforementioned persons*are they which creep into houses *via television, internet, etc*, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts *statistically advertisers-and thus those who make shows and internet content-target women because they spend more time watching tv and on the internet as per many, many studies* Ever learning but never coming to the knowledge of the truth. * such as women (and men) who blindly and faithfully follow certain ministers, religions, or ideals, but do NOT have an understanding of what it’s all about*. Now as Jannes and Jambres* the magicians who stood agaisnt Moses in Exodus 7-9* withstood Moses, so do these* those aforementioned* resist the truth; men of corrupt minds, reprobate*morally depraved, unprincipaled, bad* concerning the faith. But they shall proceed no further; for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs *Jannes and Jambres* was also.” Then Paul further said, in 2 Timothy 12 & 13. “Yea, and all that will live Godly in Christ Jesus *following His Word and His guidance regardless of what others may say* shall suffer persecution. But evil men and seducers shall wax* increase gradually in size, number, strength, and intensity* worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.” (NOTE: information provided between * * are either from Dictionary.com, or translations from the original languages with the exception of a very few remarks such as about tv and following God’s Word

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