A Ten-Fold Plea for Faith

Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!”  (Mark 9:24 ESV).

It can be hard to believe God when we feel hurt, disappointed, or maligned by those that we have trusted. Here is a ten-fold plea for faith for unexpected seasons of suffering and affliction of this kind.

  1. Please, Lord, give me faith to believe your promises. Lord, may I never stop believing your promises- no matter what. Your promises were sealed with the precious blood-of my Savior and Lord, the King Jesus Christ. “For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory” (2 Corinthians 1:20 ESV).
  2. Please, Lord, give me faith to believe that You alone declare the end from the beginning. Please do not let me ever forget that You have and that You alone can say, “…I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,’… …I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass; I have purposed, and I will do it”  (Isaiah 46:8-11 ESV).
  3. Please, Lord, let me never forget that you are not unjust. Oh Lord, may I never forget that by inspiration of Your blessed Holy Spirit, You have told us that You are not “…unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do” (Hebrews 6:10 ESV).
  4. Please, Lord, let me believe that you will take into account every careless word of man. May I remember that you will render a judgment that is accurate and true. For you have said, “I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned” (Matthew 12:36). Lord, let me remember this that I might not sin against another in carelessness of my own words. And, please, let me remember this so that when I am hurt by the careless words of others, I do not seek to avenge myself by repeating their foolish words to others.
  5. Please Lord, give me faith to believe that you will show mercy to the merciful. Please, Lord, do not let me forget that You will measure out mercy towards me in equal proportion to the mercy that I have used towards others. Give me faith to believe these words, and to be merciful, especially, with those that have not shown me kindness, and to those who have not loved mercy and fidelity in their own words and deeds towards me. As the Scripture has said, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy,” (Matthew 5:7 ESV) and also, “So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty. For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment”  (James 2:12-13 ESV).
  6. Please, oh Lord, give me faith to never seek revenge. For you have comforted me with these words, “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord” (Romans 12: 19).
  7. Please, oh my Lord, give me faith to forgive. May I not hold it to charge against those that have harmed or spoken of ill of me or those that I love. For you have taught us to pray, “…Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us” (Luke 11:4). And, you have given me power to forgive as I have been forgiven: “And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld”  (John 20:22-23 ESV). And, for this reason, you have warned us  “…but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matthew 6:15 ESV).
  8. Please, Lord, give me faith to pray for those that have hurt me. For you have said, “Bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you” (Luke 6:28). And, also, you have said, “Do to others as you would have them do to you” (Luke 6:320).
  9. Please, Lord, give me faith to receive your comfort when I have been hurt. Lord, this is perhaps the hardest one for me. I feel so hurt and it can be painful to be vulnerable- but you have said, “I, I am he who comforts you; who are you that you are afraid of man who dies, of the son of man who is made like grass” (Isaiah 51:12). And, also, You are blessed by the holy apostle when He rightly says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too” (2 Corinthians 1:3-5 ESV).
  10. Finally, Lord, give me faith that overcomes my unbelief that by my belief I might please you. For Your Holy Word says, “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him…  (Hebrews 11:6 ESV). So, Lord, I do believe you, but with the man of Mark 9:24, I cry out to You: “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!”

Quote

My Deepest Desire

… As a woman created in the image of God, redeemed by the precious blood of Jesus Christ, indwelt by the Holy Spirit and instructed in the Word of God; I would ‘bear much fruit’ for the glory of God the Father, for the praise of Christ the Son, and in everlasting gratitude to the gracious indwelling, Holy Spirit.

Genesis 1:27, 2:18-22; 1 Samuel 12:24; Job 5:8-9, 23:13-14; Psalm 105:1-4; Matthew 10:32-39, 24:9-14; Mark 8:34-38; Luke 7:36-50; John 15:8; Acts 2:38; Romans 13:8; Philippians 3:7-11; 1 Thessalonians 5:24;  Revelation 4:11, 14:6-7

St. Patrick’s Breastplate

12“The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,
my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies.” Psalm 18:2-3

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The following invocation is commonly referred to as “Saint Patrick’s Breastplate”. It is supposed that Patrick wrote it and prayed it for himself on his missionary endeavor to Ireland around A.D. 433. I often pray through his ‘breastplate’ on behalf of myself and my family as I start my day. I think that it is a great reminder that although we are at war in this world, we are not alone in this war. We are just one small band of soldiers in a vast trans-generational army that has been called to serve the King of Kings and Lord of Lords in this place and time. We are advancing an everlasting kingdom on behalf of the most beautiful and glorious King that has ever or could ever exist, King Jesus! I think that this is a great prayer for spiritual warfare because it reminds me of the truth that “The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies.”

St. Patrick’s Breastplate

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness
of the Creator of creation.

I arise today
Through the strength of Christ’s birth with His baptism,
Through the strength of His crucifixion with His burial,
Through the strength of His resurrection with His ascension,
Through the strength of His descent for the judgment of doom.

I arise today
Through the strength of the love of cherubim,
In the obedience of angels,
In the service of archangels,
In the hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
In the prayers of patriarchs,
In the predictions of prophets,
In the preaching of apostles,
In the faith of confessors,
In the innocence of holy virgins,
In the deeds of righteous men.

I arise today, through
The strength of heaven,
The light of the sun,
The radiance of the moon,
The splendor of fire,
The speed of lightning,
The swiftness of wind,
The depth of the sea,
The stability of the earth,
The firmness of rock.

I arise today, through
God’s strength to pilot me,
God’s might to uphold me,
God’s wisdom to guide me,
God’s eye to look before me,
God’s ear to hear me,
God’s word to speak for me,
God’s hand to guard me,
God’s shield to protect me,
God’s host to save me
From snares of devils,
From temptation of vices,
From everyone who shall wish me ill,
afar and near.

I summon today
All these powers between me and those evils,
Against every cruel and merciless power
that may oppose my body and soul,
Against incantations of false prophets,
Against black laws of pagandom,
Against false laws of heretics,
Against craft of idolatry,
Against spells of witches and smiths and wizards,
Against every knowledge that corrupts man’s body and soul;
Christ to shield me today
Against poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against wounding,
So that there may come to me an abundance of reward.

Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness
of the Creator of creation.

 

Seven Pillars of Prayer

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“Wisdom has built her house; she has hewn her seven pillars.” Proverbs 9:1

Lady Wisdom has set an example for us: she has built her house; she has hewn out her seven pillars. In following her lead, I have hewn my own seven pillars out of the Word of God, and I have been prayerfully building my house (my life) and my home (my family life) upon them since.

It was interesting to me to learn that the word hewn has two meanings- both of which served me well as I attempted to practically apply this Proverb to my life. The first meaning is to ‘chop or cut out something with a tool.’ The second meaning is ‘to conform to, adhere to’. As you read through these seven pillars, you can know that I prayerfully cut these seven pillars out of the rock of the Word of God. And, now each morning, as I pray through them, I ask the Lord to give me the ability to recognize these pillars at work in my daily life. I also ask Him to conform my desires, will, and actions to them, so that I gladly and willingly adhere to Him and His will in all things.

Although pillars in our day might primarily serve as a decorative aspect in house construction, there was a time in architectural history that pillars functioned as key load-bearing components in a building’s (space’s) structure. Likewise, these seven prayer-pillars are not superfluous appendages to the design of my house- they are seven essential doctrines upon which I am building my life.

  1. The glory of God – for which all things exist and is His perfect will (Leviticus 10:3, Exodus 33:17-23; Isaiah 43:6-7; Colossians 1:16).
  2. The sovereignty of God – a proper acknowledgment and acceptance of this brings an appropriate love for, respect of, and obedience to God (Proverbs 16:33, 21:1; Isaiah 45:5-7; Acts 2:23-241 Timothy 6:11-16).
  3. The faithfulness of God – which strengthens, comforts, and assures me of His love, especially in the midst of adversity (Lamentations 3: 22-24; 1 Corinthians 13:12-13; 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24; 2 Timothy 1:12).
  4. The promises of God – upon which I can stake my life and gain guidance for every decision that I must make (Isaiah 55:10-11; John 17:17; 2 Corinthians 1: 17-22).
  5. The fear of God – which is the beginning of wisdom and the confidence of my life (Job 28:28; Proverbs 14:33, Ecclesiastes 12:13-14).
  6. The hope of the kingdom of God and of His Christ – which is surely to come soon (Luke 11:2; Titus 2:11-14; Philippians 1:6; Colossians 1:13-14; Revelation 11:15).
  7. The meekness of wisdom– which is supported by every other pillar in my life and is  the proof that I am building my home like the wise woman of Proverbs 14:1. (Luke 7:35; Philippians 2:1-7; James 3:13).

Bettie’s Testimony

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“And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.” Revelation 12:11

The testimony of God’s work in the lives of His dear children is a source of great encouragement to me- especially, the testimonies of the older saints that have walked with God for a long time. I love to listen to His beloved ones testify to God’s faithfulness to them through the decades. Bettie is one of those older saints who has walked with God for many years. Her story is one of the most remarkable testimonies of God’s sustaining grace that I have ever heard in my life.

Here, Bettie shares the hard truth about her painful marriage. She tells about the decades of her life that were full of rejection, loneliness, and longing. She even shares about her own personal struggle with the temptation to find some way out of her marriage commitment- either by suicide or divorce. And, then she shares about the abounding grace and the astounding providence of God that kept her from both of these things. She shares about how after 58 years of marriage, God answered her prayers and gave her the desires of her heart by blessing her relationship with her husband beyond her wildest imagination. Most importantly, Bettie shares how God used the severe mercy of a painful marriage to conform her into the image of Christ, teach her to love her husband selflessly, and trust God with her marriage, her emotional needs, her very life.

At this time, Bettie is a model of beauty, elegance, and dignity. When I met her, her husband had come to the faith, and their marriage was a testimony of God’s abounding grace for all to see. Bettie shared this testimony at a woman’s retreat that I was part of last year- I share it with her permission. I wanted to post this testimony here because I believe with all my heart that as Christian women we need to be assured of God’s abounding grace to us in the midst of adversity. Really, this testimony is for every believer that would be reminded of the sovereign abounding grace of God. It is, especially, for every Christian woman that needs to know that God is working in her life for her greatest joy and His greatest glory, even through the severe mercy of a difficult marriage.

God’s Grace Abounds in My Life-To God be the Glory

“I became born again a Billy Graham crusade in 1952. Shortly after that, I met my husband, fell in love, and became a Catholic in order to marry him. During our courtship, he was very attentive to me. We married in 1953. I loved my husband more than I loved Jesus.

From the very beginning of marriage, God took me by the hand and led me on a life changing journey. I did not realize it at the time, for many times did I say, “But Father, I do not understand.” In due time God showed me and I now understand. It took my life time to do it.

My husband changed after we married. He would not look at me, talk to me or even say my name. When he came into a room where I was, he acted as though I was not there. There did not seem to be any way that I could please my husband. He always seemed angry. I became a non-person. When I confronted him and asked him why he was treating me that way, he denied he was doing so.

I began to read everything that I could on how to have a happy marriage. I was told on the one hand that if I was not happy in marriage- it was up to me to change it. I was also told not to accuse, but to express how being treated like that made me feel. My husband’s reply was usually, “Why should that bother you? It would not bother me.” He wanted me to live my life, he would live his life, and we would just be friendly with each other.”

As time went on and four children later, I thought of suicide. I remember driving and coming into town at the top of the hill and thinking I could just drive over the cliff with the four children (because I knew that my husband would not care for them). Suicide- the thought gave me energy. For a whole week I tried to decide how to do it. By the end of the week, I knew that I could not and would not do it. (God’s grace!)

Years went by, and somewhere about the fifteenth or sixteenth year of our marriage, God led me to a Bible study. (God’s grace, yeah!). I knew attending the Catholic Church something was seriously wrong. I did not know what it was. I found out by studying the Bible. The Bible, the precious Word of God, was like (and still is) sweet, sweet water to my parched soul and spirit. I felt like a dry sponge soaking it up.

I began to search the word for a way out of my marriage commitment. NO WAY! What I found were two very important commands for me. I was to be submissive and respectful to my husband. There were no pre-existing conditions, such as a loving husband. No. Those commands were from me from God. I did my best to obey.

Time went by. By this time, we had 8 children. We went for counseling. The counselor at this time, wanted to see us separately. First, he saw me, then he saw my husband. The counselor called me and said that I should divorce my husband. The counselor asked if I had a lawyer. I said, “No.” He said that he would help me get one. I said that I had to think about it. I sat for a long time thinking, going back and forth in my mind, weeping over the whole situation. I did not really want a divorce, but I did not want to continue to live as we were, either. That night there was a fire in the house where the counselor lived. The house burned down and he died in that fire. Thoughts of divorce were gone (God’s grace!) I do not mean to imply that this was God’s grace- that the man died in the fire. It happened, you must take it for what it is. I only know, from then on, I did not think of divorce again.

I continued in Bible studies every week. I learned that we are to pray for our enemies. So, I thought, if I am to pray for my enemies, then I most assuredly had to pray for my husband. I started praying for my husband.

We went to counseling again, together, to a Christian this time, for several months, then stopped. Things did not change, in our marriage. We started again, and stopped, but our marriage remained the same.

I continued to pray for wisdom and guidance for myself, and I continued to pray for my husband.

In Bible study, I was learning that my life, as a Christian, is a struggle; a constant battle between my old nature and my life in Christ. Through all of this, God was helping me to get my priorities straight. I began to want to be more like Jesus. Over time God would reveal my besetting sins- sins of self-pity, bitterness, and the terrible sin of envy. I envied other people’s marriages that I thought were happy. Over and over again, I had to run to God and cry out, “Lord, help me!”

God was teaching me how to be obedient, how to persevere and endure, how to forgive, and how much He loved me. I slowly began to realize that it did not matter if my marriage was happy or not. What began to matter to me was my relationship with God.

By this time, I knew my marriage was not going to change.

I submitted the last vestige of myself to God, and said, “It’s okay. I except this, if this is to be my life, then it’s okay. Help me to be the woman You want me to be.” (God’s grace.)

But wait! God had something more wonderful than I could have imagined for me. By this time, I am 77 years old, and my husband is 80 years old.

God led my husband and me to another Christian counselor. It started out as we were attending counseling for one of our grand-daughters, who was struggling with behavior issues. God led this counselor to see that something was seriously wrong with our marriage relationship. In this Godly man’s counseling, my husband began to see things differently. My husband began to change. He now treats me with love and respect.

I know that were it not for my marriage situation, it would have been something else that God would have used to each me and correct me. Jesus says in John 15:5, “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” Also in John 14:14, “If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.” I asked God to renew my love for my husband, and He did it! After 58 years of marriage, I did not expect this. (Grace abounds in my life.)

I thank God for my life, and the lives of my children that I did not destroy. I thank Him for not allowing me to destroy our family. I thank God for not allowing some other man to come into my life. I was so vulnerable, so lonely, so starving for love, if someone had treated me with the least bit of kindness, I would have succumb, I believe. Thank God, He spared me that temptation!

Through this whole marriage God has become more and more BIG! And, I have become more and more small.

I cannot stress enough how important God’s Word is to me. God’s Word is food for my soul, my very being. I see my own sins. When they were revealed to me, (thank the Lord, not all at once!), the struggle to overcome them made me realize I could not do anything apart from Jesus in my life.

I began to see that I did not really need my husband’s love. I want my husband’s love, but I now know that I am loved far, far greater than I can even put my mind to. This, God’s love for me, truly is everything to me. Jesus does meet all my needs. Through what God has done in my life through Jesus, my love for my husband is different now. My love for him is cleaner, more pure, and unselfish.

This weeding out and fine-tuning that God does takes its time, sometimes a long time, but for me, it was worth it- the suffering, the obedience, and waiting! I like the way Spurgeon worded it- “No, our master’s experience teaches us that suffering is necessary, and the true-born child of God must not, would not escape it if he might.”

On Boasting, Emotional Wholeness, and the Doctrine of God

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 “…Let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.”  (Jeremiah 9:24 ESV)

Emotional wholeness is the result of having one’s soul rightly anchored in the grace of God. Knowing the Lord – knowing that He is righteous, kind, and steadfastly-loving gives hope to the hopelessly messed-up. If we want to be well, as the Lord counts wellness- a good place to start is with understanding Who God is and who we are in relationship to Him.  That is how we can have hope that our lives are not an accident that must be cleaned up- but a perfectly designed masterpiece created by God- for His glory. By seeing our lives against the backdrop of God’s sovereignty, holiness, wisdom, and love we begin to see ourselves as we really are- creatures created to image forth our Creator and reveal the excellency of His redeeming grace (Ephesians 1:6-10, 2:4-10).

Emotional wholeness is nothing short of experiencing the resurrection power of God in sanctification. Sanctification is the process of becoming or being made holy, conformed into the image of Christ. It is in the process of sanctification that God conforms us into His image, by making us like Jesus; and it is in that process that He brings about emotional health and holy wholeness. He does this through His  resurrection power- raising the dead in us, and giving us joy and grace as we walk by faith in His amazing promises. As we walk in faith- believing Him for the promise of newness of life- we begin to leave behind the characteristics and behaviors that developed as a result of the past and the result of sin, and we are increasingly transformed into the holy image of Christ. This comes about as we see God in the face of Christ (2 Corinthians 3:18-5:21).

Throughout this process, we need to know Who God is if we are to rightly respond to Him in His sanctifying work in our lives. For instance, we need to know that God is holy, good, wise, and loving- so that we can trust Him despite the experiences of perplexing evil that He has ordained into our lives. We need to know that God is sovereign over all things, capable of causing even the worst of events to be for our ultimate good and His greatest glory. We need to know that God is perfectly good, that God  is absolutely sovereign, and yet, He is never the author of any evil which comes to pass (Acts 2:23; James 1:12-15). We also need to know that God is wise enough to order our days perfectly- to the end that our souls will be well with Him for all the millennia to come. And, finally, we need to experientially know the perfect love of God that is most abundantly manifested in the cross of Christ. We can begin to know our God personally by boasting with faith in His perfect work in our lives- that is, by trusting Him with everything in us and in our pasts. This is part of walking by faith in His amazing promises and rejoicing in those things in which He, Himself, most rejoices and delights in: His steadfast love, His justice, and His righteousness. We can walk in faith by intentionally remembering that our sin and brokenness is not lost on God- it is all part of His perfect plan to sanctify us completely- to conform us into the image of His Son, so that we rightly image forth our great Creator and reveal the excellency of His redeeming grace.

Hence, the Holy Spirit has said,  “...Let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.”  (Jeremiah 9:24 ESV). 

Barbara’s Testimony

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And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.”   (Revelation 12:11 ESV).

When I met Barbara seven years ago, she shared her testimony with me. Although, until recently, I had not seen her for about four years, I had never forgotten what she had shared with me that night. How God had sovereignly intervened in her life through her children’s involvement with a local youth ministry. How at a time of great difficulty in dealing with her first husband’s addiction and subsequent death, God was working for her salvation and her joy. And, how God brought her husband Michael and her together for a long joyful marriage of service to God. Barbara came to know the Lord 44 years ago, and yet her love and exuberance for Jesus is as contagious as if she just came to know Him. The Lord has carried her through years of difficulty and living life in a fallen world. Her testimony can and, I believe, will encourage any woman who needs to be reminded that the Lord is sovereign. And, that for those that love Him, He is working all things together- (all things including the addictions of loved ones, widowhood, single parent child-rearing, church ministry)- for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.   (Romans 8:28 ESV)

Barbara’s Testimony

“I was born and raised in the Roman Catholic church faith from 1931 to 1972 when Jesus changed my life. I attended Sacred Heart School in Yonkers, NY from kindergarten through high school graduation in 1948. I received First Communion at age 8, and Confirmation at age 12, attended all Novena services, sang in the choir, and prayed the Rosary novenas. One of my uncles was a Roman Catholic priest, and my Father was a St. LaSalle teaching brother at Manhattan College until he had to leave the order to take care of his mother and sisters when his father died. My mother’s family also were strong Roman Catholics.

In 1953 I was married in the Catholic Church. God gave us four boys and four girls. In 1974, my oldest daughter was invited to a service in a Baptist church, and I gave her my permission to go there.

My husband had a problem with alcohol and our family was suffering from the results of his addiction, but he was unwilling to get help. After being out of work as an accountant for a company involved with hotels and motels he finally, after a year at home, went for a job interview and, as I found out later, he was hired. On the train coming home, he had been talking with people in the bar-car and got off at the wrong station. When he realized his mistake he tried to get on the moving train, but people tried to pull him off. When they let go of him- he lost his grip and went under the wheels. He died an hour later at the hospital. That was November 6, 1970.

I started to notice my daughter who had gone to the Baptist church taking her Bible and notebook to her favorite spot every day and sharing with her brothers things that she was learning. I went to see my parish priest and asked him what he thought about the Baptists. The only answer he gave me was, “Keep yourself and your children away from them.”

My daughter was telling her brothers about the things she was learning and I started to notice a change in their behavior. To satisfy my curiosity, I invited the youth group to have choir practice in my home. I heard the messages of love for the Lord and reaching out to people with the message of God’s love that changes lives. I found out the reason why Jesus had to die a horrible death. When Adam and Eve disobeyed God and ate the forbidden fruit, the stain of their sin of disobedience was passed on to every person who was born. Baby baptism does not remove the stain of sin. The person being baptized has to acknowledge their separation from God, as they are put under the water to be buried with Christ in His death, and brought up out of the water to be raised out of death to walk with Jesus in newness of life.

On October 30, 1972 at 10:00 A.M. I went into my bedroom to pray the prayer of the rosary devotions. After saying a few Hail Marys my mind turned toward remembering the messages of the songs. One song says, “All to Jesus I surrender, all to Him I freely give, I will ever love and trust him, in His presence daily live. I surrender all, all to thee my blessed Savior, I surrender all.” With tears rolling down my cheeks, I surrendered my life to my Lord Jesus Christ. I gathered my children around and shared my experience with them. I prayed the sinner’s prayer with each of them, but at different times the Lord gave each one their own experience.”

At one time the Pastor at Calvary Baptist Church needed a secretary and asked me if my daughter Joan could come for an interview and would I be present with her. While Pastor was gathering information from Joan, in my mind the Lord was impressing on me that “This is my job.” In my mind, I told the Lord that Joan was the one being interviewed, not me. Three times the Lord impressed on me that this was my job.

After two years as Pastor’s secretary Joan was offered a job at Rug Works which was owned and operated by members in the congregation. And so, Pastor was, again, without a secretary. Three weeks after Joan left, I asked Pastor if he needed a secretary. His answer to me was, “When can you start?” The next day I began my career as a church secretary, which lasted until my retirement in 2006.

My children Anne, George, and I were baptized by immersion in 1973.

I served the Lord under Pastors Haire, Farber, and the present Pastor Pandolfi.

While I was secretary I was involved with the youth group, and for three summers my two-week vacation was used traveling with the youth group to churches, sharing the Gospel message. My brother and sister-in-law stayed with the children while I was away.

On November 6, 1974, Billy Graham had a crusade on television ministering to young people and my future husband Michael listened to the message. In the course of his life, he had traveled around and worked at Yellowstone national park. He had met some people who shared the gospel with him. As he listened to the message, he remembered the things that had been shared with him in his travels. When the invitation was given, he poured his heart out to invite Jesus to take control of his life. He prayed asking the Lord where he should go to church. He remembered seeing a church being built not far from where he was staying.

The first person he saw was the minister of youth. Michael said to him, “Is this where you find Jesus?” Of course the answer was, “Yes, Sir, you’re in the right place.”

After about a year of observing how involved I was with the youth group and gathering information from church members, Mike found out that I was a widow with 8 children, a church secretary, a piano teacher for children of two families who were church members, a Sunday school teacher (4th grade students), leader of ladies Bible studies, sang special music in some of the services, and had traveled with the “Agape” youth group for two weeks, two summers (to Georgia one year and Niagara Falls another year). Mike went to a family in the church and expressed to them his desire to ask me for a date. They encouraged him to ask me. I agreed to do Bible Studies with him. We waited three years before we got engaged and three years before we got married.

My husband and I now live in an apartment complex in Port Jervis, New York, with 49 other families; and we share the Gospel message as the Lord leads. My eight children, Anne. James, Robert, Joan, George, Kathleen, William, and Maryan have their own families and live in different states.

As a side note, When I was still searching for answers, and had gone to the priest and asked him what he thought about the Baptist church, the only answer that got from him was “Keep yourself and your children away from the Baptists.” I also wrote to the Bishop of Rockville center, New York City, and I asked him if her knew if he would go to heaven. His secretary sent me a short note saying, “We have to leave that up to the Lord.”

I remained a Catholic for about one year after I accepted the Lord, and I left tracks regarding the Lord’s message of salvation where people might find them. Before I was saved, I had been elected ‘Corresponding Secretary’ of the Rosary Society; but, because I had given my life to the Lord, I gave back all the materials they gave me. I also took my daughter’s best friend to one of the ladies homes to witness to her. I never saw that lady again. Some nights I stayed up all night reading the Bible, and when the children left for school I would go to bed for a few hours.”

Becky’s Testimony

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And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.”  (Revelation 12:11 ESV)

I have heard people that were raised in  Christian homes claim that they don’t have exciting testimonies. I don’t agree, at all. I have often thought anyone who thinks that about their own testimony does not understand how sinful or how needful of God’s grace they really are. Here is a great testimony of God’s grace to a young woman who was raised in a Christian home. Her name is Becky, and I love her dearly- I especially love her tenacious love for God. Here is her testimony, I am sure that it will greatly encourage you- especially, if you think that your own testimony is boring because you were raised in a Christian home.

Becky’s Testimony

Ever since the first time my parents held me in the hospital I have been privileged to hear the gospel but it wasn’t until I was about twelve years old that the Lord started working the miracle of salvation in my heart.

Before I came to know the Lord I had a constant thirst for sin. I often meditated on sinful thoughts and I enjoyed watching things that I knew where sinful and God would not be pleased with. However, what God was pleased with made no difference to me, I did whatever would “gratify the desires of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16), i.e. whatever made me feel good at whatever time I wanted it, I chose not to think about the possibility that what I was doing was only storing up wrath for me. Whatever made me feel and/or look good was what I set my mind to do. I read the Bible daily and quickly prayed before I started my day, but I saw devotional time only as a duty. I didn’t think, whatsoever, about the Word in depth, and I never even paused to think about who I was praying to. There was no joy in spending time with God. As long as I could check it off my to-do list, I was set. I wouldn’t say I thought I was a good person, I knew everyone was a sinner and I knew God hated sin, but I never stopped to think about myself personally. I assumed I was already a believer, at least until I was about eleven. Around that time, I went into about eight months or so of a spiritual depression. I can’t remember exactly when it started, but I began to have terrible thoughts about the Lord Jesus come into my mind. I tried fighting them with all my might-  but I couldn’t seem to get them out of my mind. It was because of this that I thought God hated me. Worse than that, I thought He detested me. I tried over and over again to beg for his forgiveness, but no matter what I did I felt filthier and more depressed as the days wore on. I felt a heavy, heavy burden on my soul that was far more weight than anything I could ever explain. I thought for sure God would not forgive me, I was His one exception. No one else could ever be as wicked as me and my thoughts were. It was because I knew God was perfect and He demanded perfection that I thought He would most definitely reject me, for I had ruined my only hope. I constantly bore the overwhelming feeling of what I thought was God’s anger and rage towards me, it was as though it were a thick fog, always all around me and all I could see in front of me. I can remember times just lying awake at night crying myself to sleep, thinking about what my eternity would be like. But God never ordains anything without a purpose. My weakness and helplessness before a holy and almighty God led me to finally bring my depression to my sister. She encouraged me to go to God- to get up early to daily read the Scripture and have a prayer time- not to just do devotions for the sake of checking it off my to do list, but to really spend time with God. So I did.

I was also able to finally bring my depression to my parents and specifically, my mom.  God used these things mightily to bring me to Himself. The Lord used many people and things to lead me to see Him as He really is, not how my puny, sinful mind portrayed Him to be. I came to realize first that God will save anyone He wants to, you can’t out-sin God’s grace. As Daniel 4:25 says, “All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and He does according to His will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and no one can stay His hand or say to Him, ‘what have you done?’” I also realized that He is the One that places the desire to know Him in us. I came to realize I was hopeless, wretched and deserving of eternal torment, and that was exactly what I was going to get, except for one reason and one reason only – Jesus Christ. He is everything to the believer, He is everything to me. He is the only one that took away my sin and wicked deeds on the Cross. He died because He loves me, not because of me- but because of Himself. And He rose again so that I can have new life, eternal life, in Him. I also came to realize a little bit about spiritual warfare. The Scriptures say in Ephesians 6:12, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” The Enemy is really at work in this present darkness and the only One who can defend us is God, we are indeed weak.

Through all of this I’m not exactly sure what moment God changed my heart from loving me to loving Him, but I know I started to see a lot of changes in my life, mind, and heart. I started enjoying my time with the Lord first of all. I now look forward to being able to pour out my heart to Him and thank Him for His work. I love reading Scripture and I get excited when God gives me an insight in His Word. During those prayer times I started confessing sins and bringing them to the Cross. I started being able to actually encourage and talk to others about the Lord from my own experience with Him. I started meditating on the Lord instead of immorality. One of the most joyful things for me was when I found myself actually joyfully anticipating the second coming of The Lord Jesus. These things didn’t come simultaneously but God did work and He is definitely still working.

Since coming to know Christ I have had sustained, immovable joy in God. The joy I have in Him is sustained and immovable because He is the one who saved me. I can and could do absolutely nothing to save myself I was dead. But Christ raises the dead. He saved me and “He who began a good work will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6) The more I think about it, the more overwhelmed I am at God’s kindness to me, He is so good. Now, I have a joyful eternity in front of me because of Jesus. Luke 11:20 says, “Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”. I can now be a part of bringing glory to God – that is perhaps the best gift of all that we receive in Christ. To sum it all up, Ephesians 1:11-12 says, “In Him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the council of His will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of His glory.”

 

 

Easy to make Gluten-Free, Leaven-Free Communion Bread

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“Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.”  (1 Corinthians 10:17 ESV)

There are several believers in our church fellowship that are gluten-free. So, a few nights ago my husband asked me to find a gluten-free bread recipe to prepare for this Sunday’s communion service. He not only wanted the bread to be gluten-free for our GF brothers and sisters, but he also wanted it to be a one-loaf, leaven-free bread that all of the believers in the church could have. The following is a link to the GFJules’ Gluten-Free Pita or Naan Bread recipe that I found. This recipe is EXTREMELY EASY to prepare, tastes great (not that it matters a whole lot), and best of all it is gluten-free, leaven-free, and easy to make as one loaf.

http://gfjules.com/recipes/easy-gluten-free-flatbreads-pita-or-naan-bread/

FYI: I didn’t have any of the recommended GF flour on hand, so I used what I had. And, instead of making five mini-loafs, I made one loaf. In order to do this and not have any issues with the bread, I greased the parchment paper and spread the dough out with a greased a pie roller (much like I would have if I was making a pie crust). I then baked it for ten minutes at 425 degrees on convection bake, flipped it, and gave it four minutes more on the other side. Baking this bread takes like twenty minutes from start to finish. If you have a need for a gluten-free, leaven-free, one-loaf type of communion bread- this recipe is perfect. Thanks to GF Jules- your bread is just what I was looking for.

An Updated 20th Anniversary Picture Journey For My Husband

Happy 20th Dan!! I put this little picture journey together for you… complete with our wedding song!

First, our roots…

Your Mom and Dad on their wedding day, my Mom and Dad honey-mooning in Nova Scotia…

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Not too many years later for either of them, little Danny and little Beth come along (preschool pictures).

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In time we would meet- I was 19 and you were 27….IMG_2451

IMG_2421   I fell in love you, watching you share the Gospel on the streets of Boston. You were so bold- and steadfast in your faith. You still are. Ten days before we were engaged we went to a missions conference at FBC and recognized God’s ownership of our lives- HiIMG_2419s will: whatever, whenever, wherever.

Four months later we were married.

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I remember our pastor saying that I was one of the happiest brides that he had ever seen. I was filled with joy overflowing that day.

Today, I have even more joy, having shared these short 20  years with you.

IMG_2431After the wedding it, it was off to Sainte Foi (Holy Faith), Canada.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Three years later, the Lord started blessing us with children… …from one baby to five babies in less than fivIMG_2430e years.

We have really been blessed.

 

 

 

We have had  superheroes and princesses…

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Cowboys and movie stars…

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Little shoppers, little shavers, and little nappers…

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What grace is ours; thank you King Jesus.

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Happy Anniversary Dan. I love you. I always will. b.