Dying for God.

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Jeffrey Roasario

I was listening to a sermon by Jeffrey Rosario, one of my favorite preachers. He was speaking on why a person would die for their beliefs. He spoke about the men who were tortured and burned to death during the Dark Ages. To save themselves, all they had to do was say they were wrong about what they believed and say the Mother Church was right.

Why did they think the different beliefs they held were worth dying for? Jeffrey said a beautiful thing. He said they weren’t dying for a belief; they were dying for a person. Their beliefs weren’t a thing, they were a person. I love that.

Some things Christians disagree about are not very important. But when it comes to who God is, that is important. God is the only God, he is worthy of our praise and worship.

The early Christians were told to worship the Emperor of Rome or die. Some chose to die. In the Dark Ages, Christians were told to accept the Roman Christian Church, and if they didn’t they would die. Some chose to die. They could not say they agreed with what the church was teaching about God.

When I was in university, a guest professor came into our class. Someone asked him why Christians would die for their faith. He said he thought they were like suicide bombers and no one could understand them.

“They were nothing like that!” I said.

He asked me what they were like then. I said, “If a German during WWII didn’t want to become a Nazi, wasn’t that worth dying for?

He said there were some Germans who did that. Then he looked at my professor in exasperation and she said the discussion was over. I wish I had thought of something better to say than what I did, but it all happened so quickly.

Many Christians have been killed by ISIS because they would not renounce their belief in Jesus. They are being killed in the Sudan and many other countries. One day, persecution will come to the West. One day there will be religious people who will want to arrest and kill those who disagree with their concept of who God is.

But we need not be concerned; if we stick close to God through faith and prayer, he will give us the strength at the right time to stand with him. Jesus told us we didn’t even have to worry about what to say but that the Holy Spirit would give us the words.

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A Refugee’s Story and How God Helped Her.

I’ve been following Akello Nancy Ongom for quite awhile. I’m so happy for her for graduating with a Bachelor Degree of Laws. She shares the story of her journey from being a refugee from war, living in a refugee camp and then going to school.

So the 4 years of studying bachelor degree of laws was completed successfully n it was a colourful n memorable day even though there was no after party in particular, I had a blast. Thanks be to God almighty.

via Grad pics n moments — nancyongom

The Winner’s Circle.

I’m reading a book called, “The 100 Most Encouraging Verses in the Bible,” by Troy Schmidt. I like what he said here:

“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”    Romans 8:31

If God is for you, on your side, cheering you on, what opponent could possibly overcome Him? We want life to be like a blowout in sports. A blowout occurs when one team scores in the opening seconds and continues to pound the opponents with more points, blocking the opponents from ever scoring. 48–0. 76–0. 102–0. 

Life isn’t like that. We face forces that push back and get ahead at times. We’ll score big in a relationship, then lose a job. Or we’ll ace our exam, only to have our car stolen. We’ll see a prayer answered, then get bad news from the doctor. 

During those times we think God has lost His edge, that the enemy found His weakness and we’re doomed to lose. As long as we live on earth, the score will go up and down.

All God promises is that at the final buzzer, all those who believe in Him will win. It might seem like a close game, but it’s not. No matter how difficult life may have been, a believer in Christ will stand in the winner’s circle with Jesus, holding His hand high. You will win because God is eternally for you.

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Recently, my mother had a bad day and I shared that with my sister. She called and asked why this happened after so many good days. All I could think of to say was, “Because this is life. This is what is happening all over the world to everyone.”

I think all North Americans  (including me) expect or want life to be on an even keel – all the time. I’m not sure where we all get this crazy idea. Certainly not from life itself! From books? Movies? TV? Maybe, I don’t know. “Happily ever after.”  I actually believed that.  It didn’t prepare me for real life.

Real life is days of happiness, days of sadness with a little terror thrown in once in awhile just to keep us on our toes. I like the words from a song called, “Lord You are Good,” by Don Moen,

“Where would I be if you had not been by my side? 

How could I rise to meet the morning of the day?

Your tender mercy always calling from behind.

At times I could not see you,

even though you were close by.”  

 

A Message from God in A Book.

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I just finished reading, “Hiking Through: One Man’s Journey to Peace and Freedom on the Appalachian Trail, by Paul Stutzman. After his wife died, Mr. Stutzman decided to walk the whole of the Appaachian Trail. It’s a wonderful book of his walk. He saw great beauty, met wonderful people and went through dangerous and difficult days.

One of his aims was to get closer to God and try to understand why his wife had died. I don’t think he will mind if I share the account of his meeting with God near the end of his trek. Here is the excerpt:

As I had done countless times before, I asked God why he had taken Mary. “Do you realize the loneliness, the grief, the hurt we’ve endured without her?” A soft voice spoke in my spirit. Paul, I’m coming soon.

 “What? What are you saying?” I asked in bewilderment.  I am coming soon.

“You’re coming soon,” I repeated. “Yes, I’ve read that in the Bible and many people have said that for many years, and nothing has happened.”  My tears started. “Did you take my wife away from me and ask me to give up my job so you and I could meet on this mountaintop and you could tell me this?”

If that were true, then God truly was in control of my life. He had been there all the time during Mary’s sickness.

“But why are you giving me this message? Scriptures say no human can know the actual time you’ll be returning, and your ‘soon’ in Scriptures has already been several thousand years. Why are you telling me this now?”

Paul, I want you to take this message to others. I am coming soon.

“Oh no, not me, God! You’ve got the wrong man. That’s not for me to do. That’s a message for ministers to deliver,” I argued. “I’m a scoundrel. Don’t you remember that silly naked hike?”

But you are my scoundrel. You’ll reach people that ministers will never reach.

“How’s that going to work? How am I going to reach anyone?”

You’re writing a book aren’t you? Put this message in your book.

“Oh my goodness, God. Now you’re messing with my book too!”

I’ll get it into the hands of people who need to hear my message.

“But everyone will think I’m crazy,” I sputtered.

Yet I could not ignore everything God had been teaching me on this hike. Did I really believe the things I said I believed? Did I believe God told Pilgrim to let his hair grow long? Wasn’t I telling folks that God would speak? Hadn’t I admired the bravery of those farmers in Shay’s Rebellion? What about my courage? In the face of probable ridicule, would I sink into cowardice?

 So, I was a scoundrel; I might as well also be a fool for God.

Our conversation had brought me to the top of Eph’s Lookout. I dropped my pack and fell facedown on the rocks, weeping. “God, if that’s the message you want delivered, I’ll do it.”

I stood up, picked up my pack, and took in the surrounding views. Four little words brought me freedom, like new life breathed into me. I am coming soon. It is a message from God that assures me he is in control. There is so much anger and hatred everywhere, and greed and corruption are out of control. But nothing that happens is a surprise to God; He is right on schedule – his schedule.

To everyone who wonders what this world is coming to, God says, I am coming soon.

God is not telling us to sit around and waste our time waiting. He doesn’t operate on our timetable. I am coming soon is a message to live, a message of healing and a message of peace. When all around you is despair and chaos, God is in control and will be your refuge and fortress if you trust him.

I am coming soon. That message gave me new hope. When I was a teenager, those words struck me with fear and despair whenever I heard them; now they filled me with comfort and peace. I knew I was free at last from my guilty bondage to dos and don’ts. I knew Mary was okay, and I knew I was going to be okay. It was almost as if I could hear her say, “Paul, live!”

Your Prayers For Me.

Thank you very much for your prayers for me. I woke up this morning and I felt better. The clouds had lifted by the power of God.

This morning, I woke from a dream. In the dream there was a large round table. There were about 10 people sitting around the table with playing cards in their hands. I sat down in an empty chair. My cards were face down in front of me. I could see the cards of the other players. Everyone had a 3 in their hand. I looked down at my cards and thought, “I need to have a 3 also so I will be like all the others.” I picked up my cards and I did have a 3. I felt happy, then I woke up.

I would guess the dream represents how I feel around people, even family. I need to be like them to fit in. Everything I do should match up with other people so they will love me. I don’t want to be different. I want to fit in. I want to please people, and if I don’t, I feel devastated.

I’ve known this about myself, but I guess I need to face it and pray about it. It was frightening to make a mistake when I was young because my father could become very angry. He never believed me if I said I didn’t know something was wrong. He would say, “Don’t give me that. You know better.” I didn’t really. He always thought I was lying about things and when I was a teen he called me a slut. I had not had sex with any boy at the time, but after that I decided I didn’t care anymore because he already thought I was having lots of sex. The only kind of sex I’d ever had was with him when I was younger.

Joyce Meyer says, “The only way out is through.” She said that about her sexual abuse. She didn’t want to deal with it, but God showed her she needed to. I’ve dealt with mine too, I think. But there are always going to be after-effects of our childhoods. No one gets completely away from that. It is a large part of who we are.

Thankfully, God tells us, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”

I am a new person compared to the person I was before I met Jesus. Giving my life to him was the best decision I ever made. He has made many parts of my life so beautiful. My most precious dream was to have children. He gave me two daughters and now 7 grandchildren. I feel most blessed, my dream came true and he multiplied it. One day I will live with God in heaven – my most precious dream now. 

He never sleeps

He never slumbers

He never tires of hearing our prayers

When we are weak

He becomes stronger

So rest in his love

Cast all of your cares on him.

From “He Never Sleeps,” by Don Moen.

Jack-in-the-Box.

My brain feels broken. I can’t believe this is happening. I’ve had so many weeks of coping well since my mom broke her hip. Mental illness is like a Jack-in-the-box. The music plays, I am coping well, I dance to the music, then, without warning, the evil clown pops up. The music stops and I’m afraid.

I thought the clown was gone.  I thought I had dealt with him and found the secret to happiness and coping well with life in a consistent manner.  I thought God and I had this at last.

The problem is my brain beats me up any time I make a mistake. As an example, this morning I poured myself some coffee and remembered the time I made some coffee for my daughter and it was terrible and she poured it down the sink.

This happens to me daily. Something happens and it reminds me of a mistake I have made. When I have made a lot of mistakes in a row, I start losing it. I listen to good music, but it doesn’t help as much as it usually does. I’m praying, yes. But prayer feels different. I’m too full of myself and not enough of God. I go from prayer to thinking sad thoughts. Sad thoughts move into despair. I shake them and they come back.

The one thought that helps me is that I have been through this before and worse. By God encouraging me, I have made it out of darkness into the light. I know this will happen again. I cling to this thought.

Meanwhile, I am cleaning the house, taking care of my mother and making dinners (my nemesis). I don’t share how shaky I feel, because there is no point. No one but God can help me and I know that. I don’t need to make everyone else feel bad.

One small thing that bothers me is not knowing if I can make it to the dentist next week. Will I be able to leave the house?  I’m getting more and more afraid of leaving the house unless someone comes with me. I feel like just giving up and canceling the appointment like I have done over the last year and a half.

It has been a hard 6 months. My mother fell, broke her hip and then all the trouble with the hospitals and rehab facility. Then my sweet nephew died. My husband is not happy lately about his life. Nothing I say helps him. I guess it is a miracle I am still coping – sort of. If you can call this coping.

Well, enough of that. I’ve been wanting to write about a beautiful verse on how God makes his footsteps a path for us to walk.

“Righteousness will go before Him and will make His footsteps into a way.”  Psalm 85:13

“Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; Loving-kindness and truth go before You.”  Psalm 89:14

The lyrics from the song, “Feel Your Love,” by Don Moen and Frank Edwards have helped me too.

It’s in your name that I found love.
I give you praise for all you’ve done.
You call me by my name, I wll trust in you.

I feel your love surround me.

Where I Buy My Books.

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Hello Everyone, 

I wanted to share with you where I get the books I read. I don’t have enough money to go to a Christian book store and buy those lovely books I write about.

When e-books first came out, they were cheaper than paperbacks or hardcovers. That made sense, because with e-books the publisher has little cost involved in putting it on the internet. No paper, no binding etc.  But as with a lot of products, e-books were cheap at first and then went up and up. I decided not to buy them anymore because of this. I went back to buying used books, either at a book store or online.

But then I joined BookBub. It is a place where you can get books at very low prices, or sometimes just borrow and read. I also joined, at $10 per month, Kindle Unlimited at Amazon. Kindle books can now be downloaded to any device you have by using their free app. I have found many Christian books there that are wonderful. I love memoirs, and Kindle has a lot of memoirs to choose from.

I think most cities have e-libraries. I used to borrow from our local library through the internet. When the due date comes around, the book just disappears from your computer. All you need is a library card number.

I also get free books from Project Gutenberg.  (www.gutenberg.org)  They let you download any books for free; they do ask for donations, if you can do it. They deal in old books that have no copyright any longer. There are books of sermons that I enjoyed very much.

There is a wonderful book store online called, Abe Books.  (abebooks.com)  They deal in used books and ship free. The books themselves cost anywhere from $1 and up. The books I order from them are usually $4 – $6. That is a terrific price for a book. It works very well and it is pretty exciting to get a book in the mailbox. They ship all over the world. Most of my books come from England.

So, these are the places I buy Christian books. I just wanted to help some of you out in case you didn’t know about these places.