Whether you call them divine appointments, chance encounters, miracles or coincidences you know when you have had one, it is that moment that seemed surreal, that either changed the direction of your life or someone else’s, that unexplained happening that you just cannot wrap your analytical mind around and leaves you shaking your head. I have had many, and wanted to be able to share with you, as I start putting them all to paper. For me, as a follower of the Way, I call them miracles and divine appointments. The memory fades, but stories live longer. So, today I want to share one that really stands out in my mind, and to this day I am in awe of the happenings of that cold afternoon, as I was working in the Happy Thoughts clothing store on Mooney Boulevard, in the small town of Visalia, Ca. It had been a very slow day, and not many customers had come into our gently used clothing store. I was training one of the young ladies from the Thunderbolt youth program skills on how to work in retail, to help her in her job quest. It was towards the end of the day when a young man walked into the store. He looked rough, like gang style rough. He smelled of smoke and meth, and was dirty, as if he was living on the streets.  I heard a whisper in my ear to send the young girl working in the store home, NOW! Since it was the end of the day, I told the worker to go ahead and call it a day, she would get full credit. As the young man wandered aimlessly throughout the store, the worker’s ride arrived to pick her up. As soon as she was gone, this young man got my full attention. I sized him up and took him to the men’s clothing area. I noticed his shoes had holes and he had no jacket in this cold weather. We found the perfect fit in both for him. One of our stores policies were if we saw a need, fill it. We went through the gently worn clothes looking for his treasures. As we talked, I learned he was from Tulare, had gotten out of jail a month before, had just found a place to live and had no job. He took his finds and went to change his clothes in the bathroom. As he was changing in the bathroom, I was impressed to gather some of the new toys we had gotten in, unopened, for a toddler. I stacked these together and wrapped a beautiful ribbon around them, placing a bow on top, all ready to give to a little one. A few moments later he came out of the bathroom, and the transformation was amazing. He had washed his face and hands and wet back his hair. He could not have been more than 18. He mentioned only having a dollar or two. I told him there was no charge for today. He looked totally surprised and then suspicious. I asked him if he had any children. He said yes and that was the reason he came in, to find something for his child. He looked over at what I had on the counter and said something to the effect of if I had the money that is what I would like to get. I told him that the Lord had already put on my heart to gather together the toys and put a ribbon and a bow on them, so he could give the gift to his child. His eyes got real big and he trembled. He said well I can take the shoes but was acting real cagey. I do not remember him ever telling me his name, but at that moment I knew it and called him by it and told him there was no charge for the clothes he had on, the jacket or the toys, that they were a gift from Jesus. That boy broke and started crying, said he was addicted to drugs and had come in to rob me to buy drugs and buy his baby a gift. He wanted to know who was this person that cared about him enough to get his baby a present and give him clothes. He said he wanted to be free. I told him about Jesus, how he had taken our sins upon himself and died and rose again and sits by His Father in heaven, so that we could be free and live a life with Him. That young man repented from his sins and asked the Lord Jesus into his heart and asked him to set him free from drugs. As he opened his eyes, he smiled and said I feel like I can breathe and so light, like there is nothing on my shoulders. We laughed and hugged and celebrated his decision. He asked if I could please throw away all his old things, he was a new man. I assured him I would. We had an extra bible, so I gave him that and contacts in Tulare at a church I knew who would love him and help him in his new walk. As I locked the door of the business that night it hit me, this young man was going to rob me and maybe kill me (no money taken in that day, $20 in the till). Instead, God had a plan that was so much bigger than even I could imagine. God allowed me to be a tiny part in the eternity of another person’s soul.   God is not concerned about what we did yesterday as much as He is about this moment, today.  Nothing is too big, too bad, or too unforgivable for God.

Do you know Jesus?  You can experience that same freedom and new life this young man did.  You can have real, lasting peace today through a relationship with Jesus Christ.

God loves you and has a plan for you, a plan for your life.  The Bible says, “God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, [Jesus Christ], that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16). Jesus said, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly”—a complete life full of purpose (John 10:10). But here’s the problem, man is sinful and separated from God.  We have all done, thought or said bad things, which the Bible calls “sin.” And says, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23) and that the result of sin is death, spiritual separation from God (Romans 6:23).

The good news is that God sent His Son to die for your sins.  Jesus died in our place, so we could have a relationship with God and be with Him forever. “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). But it didn’t end with His death on the cross. He rose again and still lives! “Christ died for our sins. … He was buried. … He was raised on the third day, according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). Jesus is the only way to God. Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me” (John 14:6).

We can’t earn salvation; we are saved by God’s grace when we have faith in His Son, Jesus Christ. All you must do is believe you are a sinner, that Christ died for your sins, and ask His forgiveness. Then turn from your sins, don’t do them anymore—that’s called repentance. Jesus Christ knows you and loves you. What matters to Him is the attitude of your heart, your honesty.   If you would like to Know this Jesus and accept Him as your Savior, right where you are, pray this prayer:

 

“Dear God,
I know I’m a sinner, and I ask for your forgiveness.
I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died
for my sin and that you raised Him to life.
I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord,
from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do your will.
I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.”

 

Did you pray this prayer? Do you have questions? You can reach me at radiantscribes@gmail.com

As we begin 2018, with some of the biggest issues that face us as humanity and as a nation, I have heard nothing but negativity from all the major news networks. It makes me question, where is the good news, those things that are happening all around us, that show the consideration and kindness of man to each other. Why is the news so hell-bent on painting glum and gloomy reports with their own political slants, instead of giving us balanced news and views? What can we gather from all of this? Is there hope and peace amid chaos?

I believe it depends on what our perception is, and whether we choose to live in an attitude of gratitude or complaint. It is proven, through science, that our attitude is 100% controlled by us, how we choose to look at things is also our choice. We choose how we will process the news. We choose whether to believe in God or not. We choose whether to believe the Bible or not. We choose whether to judge others by our standards or love. I am not saying everyone will accept one another’s choices. I believe it is up to us to leave that judgement with the only One who has the right to, and that is not us. Whatever choice we make, it is a free choice. I will not demand someone must see things my way. Not that I didn’t try for so many years. That is, until it dawned on me, I need to live my life to the best of my ability, to choose wisely and to share what I have learned throughout my journey.

So today, with all this gloomy reporting. I choose to have an attitude of gratitude. I choose to share on my blog, what I have found to be relevant and helpful in my life, in the hope it may bring some cheer, hope or joy to another. I choose, to share from my perspective, to anyone who might be interested.

So, where was I? Ahhh, yes…
Today, the New Year has arrived, it is 2018 on the west coast of North America. I am curious and have a question for you. Did you make that one all-important New Year’s resolution you thought about for the past three months? You know the ones, to lose weight, to get healthy, to start fresh… To be honest, I really did not know where to start with myself and I needed a revelation as to which area needed more work than another, because there are so many areas.  Last year, I was determined not to make one, that way I did not have to feel guilty about not doing it!!! So, be honest, how many of you just laughed or snickered silently to yourself? Yeah, me too. I thought, before I started sharing, I probably should check what the words resolution and revelation really meant before making a resolution. So many times, I have had what I understood a word to mean to find I was way off.

So, I went to Webster’s Dictionary to find the meanings. For the word “resolution”, Webster’s includes: to make an announcement or declaration, determination, boldness, courage, pluck, guts, fortitude, moxie, heart, purposefulness, spunk, spirit, tenacity, stubbornness, willpower, dedication, earnestness, to stand firm and perseverance. I had no idea that this word carried so many meanings. The word “revelation”, according to Webster’s Dictionary, also has many meanings. It is defined as: a special Divine direction, a special order from Heaven, a bringing to light that which was previously hidden, an enlightening or astonishing disclosure, divine truth and making something evident. Wow, if I put both these two words meanings together I get some amazing combinations like: perseverance in Divine truth, moxy and pluck in bringing to light what was previously hidden, standing firm in a Divine direction, using willpower and having purposefulness when faced with an astonishing disclosure, or courage, boldness and dedication in following a heavenly order.

I was raised in religion, from the age of 6 until 18.  I went to church every week, and had no clue who Jesus really was other than the stories. Being saved was you joined the church. There was nothing about relationships. The words above had no real impact on me as a teenager. When I graduated high school, because of the untruths I had been taught in Bible class, I ran as hard and as fast as I could in the other direction. I was going to make up for lost time for some perceived missed life adventures. As I look back on that time, what did I really miss? Drinking, drugging, sleeping around, which is what all my friends not at my school were doing. So, yes, I ran full at it, drinking as much as I could, passing out more often than not, not really enjoying it. I would party the hardest, with whatever was available in our group and I didn’t care. I would yell at the sky and tell God He could just go take a leap.

I got married, had two children, divorced and decided, fine I cannot have happiness, I am going to party. I would wait till the kids went to their dads for the weekend, and it was on. To this day, I am surprised I did not die, so many times I should have. On one of those party weekends, I was at a park with some friends and we were drinking a couple of kegs and making fun of tele-evangelists and religion. A tall man, with long hair, dressed in dirty clothes and worn shoes made a bee-line for our group. Ignoring everyone else in the group he looked me right in the eyes and said, “I have been sent to tell you, it is time”.  There was something about him,  I listened to him.  His eyes were soft, yet showed so much pain and he spoke gently, like someone begging a child to come home. Then he walked off. We all laughed about it, yet the whole thing just kept nagging at me. What the heck was that all about. The next day as I was cleaning house, I headed upstairs and threw the remote on the couch. I got to about the 4th step when the remote changed the channel and suddenly this pink haired lady, with the most unbelievable makeup, pointed at me and yelled, “This is your last chance, He will not keep asking, it is your choice”. It made no sense to me at the time, but I thought what if it was true? What if the guy yesterday was an angel? What if I was wrong in the way I looked at life and was living? So right there, I knelt and asked Jesus into my heart and asked Him to forgive me as the person on tv said to. The weight just seemed to lift off my shoulders. An old friend called the next day and she asked if she could come over. She spent about two hours and shared her story how she met Jesus.

I have always been more of a realist in viewpoint, so it was hard for me to grasp the reality of belief of what could not be seen, tasted, or felt. However, I was intrigued by Jesus, by His life and death and wanted to know more. This set me on a path of researching everything I could about Jesus, the bible, history, all the pieces. I concluded, after seeing all the historical evidence that proved the basis of the biblical story of Jesus, that He was indeed real and who He said He was.  I knew, factually, Jesus Christ is indeed the Son of God and did indeed die for me. I wanted so badly for my heart to embrace what my head knew. It is the shortest distance, and yet one of the most difficult journeys to make. I wanted my heart to feel what He feels, and eyes to see what He sees. What is that old saying, be careful what you ask for?

As I was praying one day, I was overcome with sobbing for no reason. Suddenly, in my mind’s eye, I could see many people who were without hope, who knew about God, but chose to deny Him and His free gift, being dropped into fire and they screamed and screamed. As I looked over, I saw a Father, who wept so hard as each one chose not to receive what He had given, for He had given His Only Son to pay the price required by His laws for the forgiveness of sin, a blood sacrifice. I was overcome by the scene, by the abject loss of life, by the broken heart of the Father and by the amazing and unearned gift that had been given to me through the death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ. At that moment, I knew that my spirit could show my heart how to embrace God’s heart, how to have His eyes to see.  It was not something my mind could figure out. It was not something easily explained or explained away. I chose to embrace the experience and find an explanation. I do not know about you, but there is no way in anything in creation, I would give my children, my grandchildren or my great grandson over to die for you, or anyone else, for that fact. Don’t judge me, I am just being honest with you. My capacity for love, is in process because of His gift to me, and nowhere near what it probably should be.

I continue my journey, day by day, as an imperfect, in process, follower of The Way. Life is not easy, or charmed, or without it’s challenges and trials. Yet, as I look at the definitions of the words resolution and revelation, I am again encouraged. And, once again, I am reminded of one of the stories that impacts me almost every day. It is the story of Abraham and Sarah. They are one of many examples that help me to choose to stand firm in my belief regardless of what comes at me and try my best to not help God.  Jesus spoke highly of Abraham and Sarah, and I thought, if I could have an example, maybe I could discover my path.

Sarah had received a revelation from God’s messenger that she was going to have a son in her old age. You can read that story about God’s promise to Abraham in Genesis 15. Like Sarah’s hidden laugh at a promise of a son because of the circumstances with her age, I think we start questioning if the promise given to us by revelation, or special Divine direction, is ever going to come to pass because of circumstances. Many of us have waited 10, 20, 30 or 40 years for the promise to come to pass. I am sure I am not alone when I say that in the passing of time, as we wait, a slight edge of mistrust tries to sneak in, as we lose some of the sparkle and excitement that was evident when the promise was first spoken so long ago.

To me the examples that we are given through characters in the Bible are meant to be like school lessons, if you will.  Sarah eventually does believe her husband, that he will have a son, but she really doesn’t trust God, so she tries to help God by convincing her husband to have a child with her servant. Have you ever found that every time you try to help God things sure become a mess? I know I have.

If God spoke a promise, He will orchestrate it to come to pass. It will take tenacity and patience (resolution) to wait on God.  So, we just need to relax and realize He spoke it, He must do it, it is not our job. Everything has a season and a time under heaven.

We all walk through various tests and trials, firestorms and times of wilderness. Yet, in the midst, when you can take no more, there is the sweet presence of the Lord, if we ask.  I am sure we have all made many resolutions and taken many stands, determined to believe, to hope. We do well, until that storm hits one more time. In the midst of the tears, the shattered dreams, the unbelievable challenges and the broken pieces we find ourselves questioning, did God really say that, did He really promise that? The very next thing that insidiously creeps in is fear; fear of the future, of our circumstances, of failure and of pain. Jesus came to encourage us and give us a revelation of divine truth, for He did not give us this spirit of fear trying to destroy us, but He gave us power, love and a sound mind, for He knows His own and they know Him. (2Tim 2:7, John 10:4). So, kick out that fear that wants to tell you there is no hope because of circumstances, and banish every fear and doubt for His ways are not ours, He has this, He has us. When God makes a promise, He keeps it for he is not a man that He should lie. His covenant promise is established in Jesus, it is a free gift.  All that is required, is to accept it and with it every promise that He has made to us.  For His Word goes out to accomplish everything it was sent to do. Just remember the free gift, it is available to anyone who wants it.  That free gift is this: God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that Whosoever (that’s us) believeth on Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life, for He (the Father) did not send His Son into the world to condemn it, but that that through Him they shall be saved (John 3:16,17).

We must get into our hearts that God is for us, and not against us. We have a very real enemy when we follow Jesus Christ and we must be aware of his tactics and remain fully armed with God’s armor (Eph 6:10-13). You would not go into a gun fight with a knife, unless of course you have a death wish. This battle is no less real or different. Ask any soldier in the military. They understand the enemy has a plan of attack, and he must be able to counter attack to win the war. The plan of the enemy has not changed since the garden of Eden. It is still the same lie; it is still the same question “Has God Said?” Satan asked this of Eve and her response brought destruction and sin into this world because of disobedience and being unaware of the enemy’s plan. Satan wants to hurt the Father’s heart by destroying His creation, that is you and me. In your life, what has God said? What promises are you holding onto, no matter what it looks like or how long it takes? Those broken and shattered dreams that look like they will never be, they are pieces that God will use to build a firm foundation in Him, if you will allow Him to be the Builder, in His timing.

Jesus gave us revelation, the divine truth about His promises and His will for us so that we can go out in joy and peace with great hope. We know the plan of attack, we have been armed and we have the beauty of the revelation. However, this all means nothing without resolution. Are you familiar with the term, “no guts, no glory”? There is another phrase that more clearly defines how we can have a journey, that despite tumultuous times, trials, and challenges, is cushioned by peace, enveloped in trust and crowned with hope. That phrase is “No revelation, no resolution”. We must first ask for, and then determine to obey, divine guidance in our daily lives. We must be courageous and stand firm with tenacity to hold onto that revelation. What we speak does make a difference. It is not about manipulating God, but lining ourselves in agreement with the word. We become what we say and think about most. We have a choice to make, whether to stand firm or fold, to whine or to get determined. We must choose life or death, the power of it is in the tongue. Hold on to what He promised you. Trust Him and believe, for hope is in Him.