Continued Bio: My 30’s with God.

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My husband and I wanted to send our children to church school so we moved to a city called, Kelowna, which was a small city then. My husband got a job at the gas company and we have lived here ever since, except for 5 years when we lived in Vancouver because of his work.

We joined a church and I would say my 30s were full of a lot of happiness with some problems. My husband was active in the church in many roles. I taught the little children. Our daughters loved living in Kelowna because it has a large lake to swim in and mountains all around  for hiking and camping.

We did have some problems in our marriage off and on, like most people, I would guess. My husband had been physically abused by his father and step-father as a child. He had not been raised in a loving family. But a wonderful thing happened after he became a Christian. He went home and told everyone what God had done for him and almost all his family became Christians as well. His mother embraced Christ and they are all still walking with God.

We had many Christian friends from our church. We really enjoyed their fellowship. We would have a meeting every Friday night at our house and would talk about God and sing songs. We did a lot with our girls. We took them to Disneyland twice. We had just enough money to drive down there, stay two or three nights and drive straight back home, but it was so much fun. Mostly, we took them camping, which they still love doing in their 40s.

At 37, my husband became sick. It took a year for the doctors to find out what was wrong. He had a carcinoid tumor on his bile duct. They operated, but there was hardly any of the bile duct left and they said he may have 10 years to live at most. After the operation, he never got his original strength back. They found he had Carcinoid Symdrome, which is chemicals coming out of the tumors and making one tired, nauseous and debilitated. He decided to try to keep working in spite of feeling sick and he has done that for 30 years. He has had many opportunities to tell people about God, because many people at work asked him why he wasn’t angry and bitter about being sick. He would then share his faith in God and how this is not the only life we have.

His bile duct did give out, but there was a new invention to replace it with a stent. That is why he is still alive and I am grateful to God and also to those who invented it. He has had two other stents put in, I think in his intestines.

When my husband became sick, he stopped going to church and going camping etc. He didn’t want to see our friends any longer.  It took all his energy to go to work. On his vacations, he wasn’t as tired, so we would drive to the U.S. to visit my sisters and see the sights.  He would still feel tired and pain, but he took pills and we didn’t walk far.

I am so thankful to God for helping my husband all these years. He loved his job, and he has been happy working there. For myself, I loved raising our daughters. I’m so thankful God gave them to us. They are such a blessing and joy. Of course, we did have trouble when they were teens. I want to thank God for helping us through all that. Neither of them wanted to be a Christian, which was a heartache, but we kept hoping and praying and they are both Christians now.

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Short Bio of My Late 20’s. How God Helped Me in Spite of Me.

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“…If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.”   Romans 10:9-11

My last post was the beginning of a short bio of my life and how God has helped me through everything. It is also about how people change, how my conception of God has changed over the years. In fact, it is still changing.

Late 20s:   After my divorce, I was very lonely. I went to church each week, but there were no single men there. After three years, I met a man through my job. He was the best friend of one of my co-workers. We started dating and I liked him a lot. He was fun, seemed kind and really liked my daughters. He started going to church with us.

One day, I asked God if it was okay if I married this man. I knew he had already bought a ring and was planning on asking me. The Lord spoke to me, which I did not expect, and quoted a verse that was in the Bible, “What agreement does Satan have with God?”

So, God was saying my boyfriend was an unbeliever and would stay that way. I was rebellious and kept dating him. I was so afraid of being alone again, and I hadn’t yet learned to trust God. But a few things happened that showed me the man was indeed evil. One of those things had to do with my oldest daughter. He didn’t do anything, but he said something about her that was sexual. I broke up with him immediately.

I told God then that I would quit looking and hoping for a man. I decided not to date again. The next day my cousin, Bonnie, called. She asked me to go to a Bible study with her. I went and enjoyed it very much. Afterwards, we went to have coffee with two of her friends, two Christian men.

We had a good chat and I got up to leave. I didn’t think I would ever see those guys again. But as I was leaving, one of them asked me what I was doing the next day, a Sunday. I told him my mom and dad had a table at a flea market and I was going to help them. He asked where it was and I told him. I was clueless that he wanted to see me.

He came to the flea market and spent the day with me. Then he asked me to go to a church songfest with him and I said okay. We started dating and he was a total gentleman, which I wasn’t used to. We eventually married and are still married 40 years later. The Lord gave me a Christian husband when I was least expecting one and when I had given up trying myself! I have since learned that God is like that. He wants us to rely on him completely and not on ourselves. He waits till we try all our various ways of making things happen and when we turn to him in defeat, well, that’s when he works. I’ve found it is better just to go to him first, telling him we will accept whatever he wants for us; it saves a considerable amount of time.

Just before I met my husband, a new preacher came to our church and taught us all about having righteousness by faith alone. After learning this, I was no longer afraid God would kill me for the least infraction. I had my first inkling that God might actually loved me.

My new husband, who had only recently become a Christian and had never gone to church before, kept teaching me this. He had a strong faith in God, he still does, and I also learned from him about feelings. The first night I met him I said, “I don’t feel like God loves me.”  He said, “Well, it’s a good thing we don’t rely on our feelings, isn’t it?”  I was stunned at this thought. I think I had always been guided by my feelings. It still took many years for me to get over doing this, but that night I did believe what he said. As far as my relationship with God went, I quit relying on my feelings.

So during these years, the Lord kept me from marrying the wrong man, in spite of my rebellion. He gave me a Christian husband who helped me spiritually and I learned we are saved by God’s grace alone, not by anything we’ve done.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”   Ephesians 2:8,9

God is Always with Us.

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I am the little girl on the right, my older sister is on the left. My mother is behind me and the other lady is one of her best friends.

“O God, from my youth you have taught me, and I still proclaim your wondrous deeds.   And even when I am old and gray, O God, do not forsake me, Until I declare Your strength to this generation, Your power to all who are to come.”    Psalm 71:17,18

Because I am 67, and been a Christian since I was 19, I sometimes think of all God has done for me through the years and I thought it might encourage someone who reads this post.

As a little child: My parents took us to church each week. There, I learned there is a God. I learned that God sees everything we do, that he made the earth and everything on it. This has helped me all my life, because I see many people think God doesn’t hear them. I know he always hears everyone. I know he is there for me whenever I need him.

 

A teenager: God did not let me die as a teen. It could have happened many times while driving drunk or being in the car with drunk drivers. I remember one time I was driving a bunch of my friends down a mountain. It started to snow and became very cold. I had never driven in that kind of weather. We were in California, and had gone to Big Bear Lake. We had stayed at a cabin, smoked pot and drank that day.

As I came along a curve, I could feel the car moving towards the oncoming lane. I braked, but kept sliding. We started heading toward the edge of the road and the cliff. There were no guardrails. We were going to go over the edge; I had no control of the car whatsoever.

But the car suddenly moved back into my lane. I believe it was a miracle, and I thank God for it. I can still see myself that day in the car, terrified at what was going to happen.

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Me, at 16.

My 20s:  After I gave myself to the Lord, I was happy and excited. I had no idea how little I knew about him. Because the church I had been raised in stressed keeping the Commandments and never sinning, I eventually became afraid of Him. When I would sin or just make a mistake, I figured God would send lightening and kill me. I couldn’t believe God could love a person like me.

When your belief in God is like this, you become judgemental because you also think all other Christians should be perfect and never sin or make mistakes. Well, that is not reality, so I became critical of people.

I was married at this time to a non-believer. He was angry I became a Christian. I have to admit, I don’t blame him since he married a girl who loved parties and drinking. Now he had this self-righteous person on his hands. I refused to go to parties and I quit drinking.

Eventually, we separated and were divorced. I was devastated, because I loved him so much. He and his mother tried to talk me into giving up being a Christian because it was ruining our marriage. I remember his mother asking, “Why do you want to be a Christian?” I looked at her like she was crazy, “Because I want eternal life.”  I could not understand how anyone would not want that. I could not understand these people who were not afraid to die unsaved.

I didn’t know God in the right way, so I didn’t answer, “Because I love God.” I didn’t love God, I was afraid of him. But I wanted my daughters and myself to live in heaven together forever. I wouldn’t give up the dream of that for anything.

Well, I was going to write about my whole life in one post. Lol  Yeah, that’s not going to happen. So, I will close with this thought, God was with me during this terrible time of my family breaking apart and seeing my husband fall in love with another woman. It was very painful, but God was with me. I’ll continue with my story in my next post.

The World is a Hot Mess. (a person or thing that is spectacularly unsuccessful or disordered, especially one that is a source of peculiar fascination.)

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Photo by NASA.

I’m reading, “The 100 Most Encouraging Verses in the Bible,” by Troy Schmidt. It is an excellent book. Chapter 84 begins with the verse:

“Set your mind on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.”  Colossians 3:2

This is a timely verse. I am 67 years old, and I don’t remember the world ever being in such a mess as it is now. I lived through the time of Vietnam War when there were protests and marches. I lived through all the race riots and the assassinations of my heroes. I’ve seen the towers fall and wars in the Middle East, yet the world is far worse now, in my opinion.

My mother lived through the time of World War II. She said she would have nightmares about armies of Germans coming towards her town. But I don’t think it was as bad as now. Back then there was a good side and a bad side. The good stuck together and won the war. The sides aren’t so clear now.

I see hatred everywhere. Hatred towards an opposite political party. Hatred towards those who voted a certain way. Hatred between races. Hatred between religions. Hatred towards Gay people. Hatred towards immigrants.

Of course there is love in the world too, but it isn’t the driving force behind the nations. So, I thought I’d reprint here what Troy Schmidt wrote about the Bible verse.

“It’s easy to be frustrated by this world. It’s what we see. It presents itself to us all the time on the news, on social media posts and in conversation. What we constantly see influences our mood. We are bombarded with the world.

Don’t focus on the earthly; look to the heavenly. Something terrible happens here on earth; look to heaven for the wonderful. Confused on earth…look to heaven for clarity. Hopeless here…look up there. Bad news…see the good news.

This world is discouraging, but you don’t have to fix your mind on it. You can choose where your attention ultimately will dwell. Set your mind on God in heaven. The view is much better from there.”

God Inside Our Grief.

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Yesterday morning, I was thinking about my grandson, Criag, who died 6 years ago at age 21. We all think of him around this time of year. October is Thanksgiving in Canada. Craig loved Thanksgiving, because he loved turkey. He once asked his mom why they didn’t make all turkeys to be dark meat. We would play games after a terrific meal, and he loved games. His favorite was Gestures. We had to act things out, like Charades, and we would all be laughing long and loud.

November 20th is Craig’s birthday. His mom went and stayed with his brother, Jordan, for the weekend. Jordan misses Craig terribly. They were inseparable as they grew up. Jordan was like a puppy following Craig around, doing everything he did. They loved scooters, hockey, swimming, bike tricks, paint ball and skate boarding.

I was thinking of Craig yesterday morning. Usually, when I think of him, I am okay. I think of how I will see him in heaven. But yesterday, I just felt pain at the thought of his death – pain in my heart and soul. I said to God, “Oh Lord, pour your peace over my pain.”  Immediately, I felt the pain leave and had peace. My body felt relaxed and I was thankful for God’s comfort. 

God loves Craig more than I do, more than his mother or brother. God died for Criag, and on the resurrection day they will meet face to face. We will all meet together in a joyful reunion. Well, these are my beliefs. I know other people believe differently.

These verses from the Bible, which I read last night before going to sleep, describe what God does for me and for those who ask him.

“The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles.

The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit.

Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.”     Psalm 34:17-19

 “I sought the Lord, and he heard me and delivered me from all my fears. They looked to him and were radiant; their faces were not ashamed. This poor man cried out and the Lord heard him and saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear him and delivers them.”  Psalm 34:4-7

Some pictures of Craig and Jordan.

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Our Picture of God.

 

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I was reading the story of the 10 talents the other day. It was a story Jesus told. A master of 3 servants gave them each some talents. He told them to use them while he went away. When he came back, the first two servants had used their talents to make more. The master praised them. The third man, however, had buried his talent in the ground. He held it out to the master, but the called him lazy, took the one talent and gave it to the man with 10. The master said the third servant would be thrown out.

Whenever I read about this story in a book or commentary, the authors say the talents represent our abilities and well, talents. In the story the talent is a sum of money. Quite a large sum.

I was meditating on this story and I think the talents represent faith. The man who buried his talent is lost in the end. We are saved through faith and not works, lest any man should boast, the Bible says; any good we do cannot save us.

I think the story points this out in the excuse the man had for why he decided to dig a hole in the ground and throw the money in there. He said, “Master, I knew you were a harsh man, harvesting crops you didn’t plant and gathering crops you didn’t cultivate.”

“I knew you were a harsh man.”  Is God harsh? Does he hover over us waiting for us to mess up so he can keep us out of heaven? No. He is not like that. He is hovering to see how many he can get into heaven. (Right here I could quote hundreds of Bible verses on God’s love, but I hope you will look them up yourself.)

The man said, “I know you reap where you did not sow.” What kind of farmer would expect his crop to grow if he sowed nothing in the field? Hmm, a crazy farmer, that’s for sure. This man seemed to be saying God asked the impossible from people. Is that true? No. God says we can do all things through Christ, who gives us strength. Jesus said, “Nothing will be impossible for you.” And, “My yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

This man did not know who God was. And his basic problem is he didn’t try to find out. He put his head in a hole in the ground. He didn’t want to hear the gospel and he didn’t try to seek God. He didn’t ask for God’s strength or for Jesus’ righteousness to cover him.

The Bible says we will find God when we seek him with all our hearts. Jesus said eternal life means knowing him and his Father in heaven. Jesus also said he will say to many at the judgement, “I never knew you.”

There is a reason it is vital to know God; He is the way, the truth and the life. Our picture of God will determine how we act and how we treat others. If we see God as harsh, we may think it is fine for us to be harsh. But if we see God as someone who forgives us 70 x 7 times a day, then we will forgive also.

The best reason to know God is to understand the plan of salvation. We were lost, but through Jesus’ death, we are found. We can never be perfect and sinless; Jesus was perfect and sinless. As a man, he took our place; he stood in the breech between us and God. God’s law says the penalty for sin is death. He could not change his law, but he could die in our place and satisfy the justice his law demands. We are covered by Jesus’ life and death. He is called, “The Lord, our righteousness.”

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.