By Joan McCartney
I was at the grocery store this morning and heard a loud crash and something shattering. Being nosy, I walked towards the sound and saw some people whispering and looking back to the end of the next aisle. When I walked down that aisle, I saw an older lady had hit a shelf containing dishes with her cart and many had fallen to the ground and broke. She was kneeling on the floor embarrassed, frantically picking up the shattered pieces, while her husband was peeling off the bar code from each broken dish saying “Now we will have to pay for all this!”
I felt so bad for her, and everyone was just standing there staring at her!! I went and knelt beside her and told her not to worry and started helping her pick up the broken pieces. After about a minute, the store manager came and knelt beside us and said, “Leave it, we will clean this up. Let’s get your information so you can go to the hospital and have that cut on your hand looked at.”
The lady, totally embarrassed said, “I need to pay for all this first.” The manager smiled, helped her to her feet and said, “No ma’am, we have insurance for this, you do not have to pay anything!”
For you who have read this so far, I would like you to give me a minute. Wherever you are, close your eyes, and imagine God doing the same for you!
Collect the pieces of your broken heart from all the blows life has thrown at you. God will heal all your wounds, and I assure you that your sins and mistakes will be forgiven.
You see, we all have the same insurance, and it’s called Grace. When you accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior and ask for forgiveness, the Manager of the universe, GOD, will say to you “Everything has already been paid for, now go on your way, all is forgiven!”
I AM – Devotional Style Short Stories – “Little But Tough”
Little But Tough
The skate board flies out from under his feet and lands several feet away. The boy picks himself up off the ground, crying and rubbing his knees.
A Man standing nearby watching slowly walks to the boy and asks, “Are you okay?” The boy stiffens his shoulders and pulls himself up to a full stance and exclaims, “Yeah. I’m little but I’m tough!”
The Man laughs and walks over to pick up the skate board. As He hands it back to the boy He says, “The wheel is broken. Maybe your Dad can fix it.”
The boy bursts out crying.
The Man places an arm around the boy’s shoulder and pulls him close as the boy sobs.
“I know you don’t have a Dad.” The Man gently states.
The boy jerks away, swipes roughly at his tears and demands, “How do you know that!?”
“I am the I Am and I know everything about you. There’s an ice cream stand over there. Would you like an ice cream cone? Strawberry, I presume.” The Man smiles broadly.
The boy accepts and while eating their ice cream the Man explains to the boy that even though his father walked out on them when he was a baby that he still has a Father. They talk long after the ice cream has been eaten.
He walks the boy to a nearby shop and has the broken wheel fixed. The boy grabs the newly repaired skateboard and rushes out the door. He jumps on the skate board and as he pushes off he turns to thank the Man.
But the Man is gone.
Psalm 27:10 “When my mother and father forsake me, then the Lord will take care of me.”
There are many ways that a parent or parents can forsake their children. It can be that one or both abandon us physically, leaving the child an orphan. Other ways are emotional abandonment; the parent/s is physically present but has little or no interest in the child leaving the child deprived of a mother or father’s love. Forsaking can also come through physical, emotional, sexual, and psychological abuse. The parent/s has forsaken their God-given responsibilities to raise the child in the ways of the Lord. Many of us may have experienced being forsaken by a parent/s and if that has happened we have Someone who will guide us, care for us, teach us, and love us as no other can. His name is Jehovah Avinu – Lord, our Father. He promised to never leave us or forsake us so we have a Father who loves us more than any human being can. Reach out to Him and lean on Him. He will heal our broken hearts.
Tears of a Saint
My heart hurts. The tears flow. I don’t know how to stop the evil in our world. I have begun to doubt that God is really in control. How can He be when the most innocent of innocent are slaughtered at the hands of the most evil and vile of what is known as human beings? How can the Highest of Highest stand by and allow these monsters called intelligent beings rip from the womb the most innocent of His?
My heart cries and there seems to be no answers. I scream, “Come Lord Jesus, come and stop this madness!” Yet I see Him not on the clouds of heaven racing toward earth to save us from the insanity that has crossed this land.
Is He in control? I have to remind myself through faith because He died on the cross to save us. I have to hang onto the faith that He has instilled within me through His Holy Spirit and the trials and tribulations that He has brought me through. I have to hang on to His promises.
Can I finish this race with confidence that I will see Him in Paradise? Can I rest assured that He will greet me with open arms because my thoughts are so confused and the enemy invades. The doubts, the fears, the anger, and the hope, are all intermingled with the tears streaming down my cheeks.
There is a Rock and a Life line that I must cling to or drown in this sea of evil, pure unadulterated evil! Can I make it that long? Can I hang on long enough to hear the trumpet sound?
I hope so.
I have to.
Psalm 46:1 – “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”
In every Christian’s life there will be times when we just cannot understand what is taking place within our world. Doubts can and will arise and it is then that the enemy will invade and convince us, or try to convince us, that all we have believed is wrong. That we have been fed a pack of lies and we can no longer trust what is truth. If we allow those thoughts to take root we will lose all hope. We will lose the strength and perseverance that the Lord gives us. We must cling to the Word of God and cling to His promises. Don’t allow a lack of understanding to squelch the truth of God and all that He is and all of Who He is. Stand strong on the faith that has been instilled through the Holy Spirit and lean not on your own understanding.
I AM – Devotional Style Short Stories – “The Heavenly Courtroom”
The Heavenly Courtroom
No jury sits in this court room. No spectators fill the room. You won’t hear whispers echoing across the aisle. The silence is almost deafening.
Only four people will be in this trial. At one table, facing the Judge is the Defense Attorney and the accused. To their left stands another table with the prosecutor facing the Judge. He has a stack of papers lain neatly in front of him. The Defense attorney’s table is bare.
The Judge sits high above the rest of the room. His eyes focus on the defendant. The defendant’s hands are locked together in front of her and her knees knock together slightly. Her Attorney leans over and gently bumps her shoulder with His. He gives here a wink and then focuses back on the Judge.
The accuser stands straight, cocky like. His eyes are fire and his hand rests on the stack of papers. He glances over at the defendant and shivers shoot up her spine. With an evil smirk he has an expression of confidence.
A voice booms across the room, coming from the Judges bench. “State your case Satan!” God’s voice is so powerful the defendant’s knees almost give out from under her. Jesus gently takes her by the elbow to steady her.
Satan picks up the stack of papers and begins reading the accusations. “This is a contract her grandfather signed! Before she was born she was mine!” He slaps it on the table and raises another. “This is the promise her father made before she was even out of the womb!” He slams it down and rattles yet another.
She nervously glances at her Attorney.
Satan doesn’t stop. One paper after another he waves in the air and shouts what his claim to her is that’s stated on each of the contracts.
This is more than she can bear. She had no idea that people make contracts with the devil and literally give him and his demons legal rights to control that person. She needs to sit down!
Her Attorney listens quietly. He’s as cool as a cucumber. He leans toward her and whispers, “Trust Me.” Trust Him? Oh she does, but she also wants to climb right up under those long white robes and hide.
Satan is screaming and demanding that she is his. “Here are the contracts to prove it,” he hollers as drool and slobber splatter out of his mouth. The Judge looks intensely at the defendant. Her mouth goes dry.
Satan begins to yell, “She’s mine!” Jesus leans a bit in front of her and points his long index finger at Satan, “Enough!” She wants to hug Him, She wants to cheer and dance over to Satan and slap him! The Judge looks at her and compassionately says, “What do you have to say about all this My child?”
She swallows at least 10 times in order to get the words to come up out of her throat. Finally a squeak comes out and she clears her throat and speaks. “Father God, Your Majesty, on Oct.3, 1993 I gave my life to Jesus. I believe He shed His blood for my sins, I believe He died and arose and is Your Son. I asked Him to be my Savior and to come into my heart and my life. I have tried to be as obedient as I can be. You said that if we confess our sins and believe in our heart that Jesus is Your Son then we are saved. I believe that Father, I mean God, I mean your Honor.”
She swallows hard and takes a deep breath then continues. “I didn’t just ask Him to be my Savior I gave Him my whole life to do with as He pleases. I gave Him me! I know I still sin and I’m sorry but I…” She senses her Lawyer looking at her and when she looks up His radiant smile and the compassion and the love shining in His eyes leave the rest of her words stuck in her throat. She shuts her mouth.
Looking at her Attorney, hoping she hasn’t screwed up her case by babbling, tears stream down her face. Jesus reaches over and with His thumb gently wipes the tears off her cheeks. Satan has started dancing from one foot then the other. Then he begins waving the stacks of papers and begins sputtering unintelligible words. He begins accusing Jesus.
The Judge holds out His massive hand and says, “Give those papers to me!” He commands. Apparently Satan thinks he’s won. He fairly scoots across the floor happily to the Judges bench and hands them to Him. Father God holds the stack of contracts out in front of Him and without looking at them, begins ripping them in half then ripping them again and again. Satan is screaming. He’s going ballistic.
Father God commands him to back off and shut up. Satan does. The Almighty Judge looks at His Son, “My Son, do you have anything to say?” Jesus looks at His client, smiles, places an arm around her shoulder, and replies, “My child is not guilty by reason of I love her more than she’ll ever know. My blood was poured out for her. My blood washed her sins away. She is in Me and I am in her. There is no question she has been redeemed.” Jesus gives her shoulder a soft squeeze.
God leans forward. His eyes are intense. He first looks at Jesus, then at Satan, and finally at her. He picks up the large gavel and suddenly slams it down. “Not Guilty!” booms across the room rattling the windows. Satan goes into a fit of rage but as soon as Jesus turns toward him and points that index finger at him Satan stops hollering and slinks out the door.
Job 1:6 – “One day the members of the heavenly court came to present themselves before the Lord, and the Accuser, Satan, came with them.”
There really is a spiritual heavenly court. I have been in it three different times with Jesus defending me against the legal rights my grandfather gave to Satan before I was conceived. Almighty God is the Judge. Jesus Christ is my Defender and Satan is the accuser. If you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, Father God will find you not guilty every time Satan accuses you!
I AM – Devotional Style Short Stories – “With Me or Without Me”
With Me or Without Me
The city lights have dimmed and the crowds have gathered. The people have been protesting and groups for one side of the controversy gather on one side of the street while others on the other side of the controversy gather across from them. Signs are painted, faces painted, children hug their mothers legs.
The police line along the center of the street. It looks like there could be trouble. Curse words have started being shouted, some have a sack of rocks in their hands. Their signs spew filth.
People on the other side have their signs painted also and instead of rocks in sacks, they hold their Bible close. Prayers are lifted and small groups gather in a circle to pray for Divine intervention. There are no shouts, no accusations, and their signs speak love.
A speaker steps out from the rowdy crowd and steps up to a makeshift podium and begins yelling into the microphone. Cheers rise as the speaker praises the killing of innocent children and proclaiming it is the women’s rights.
A Man walks to the podium when the speaker has wound down a bit and gently asks if He may say a few words. She starts to object but steps aside.
The Man looks out across the crowd and silence fills the air. He doesn’t shout but calmly states, “I am the I Am and I knew each of you before you were ever formed in your mother’s womb. I am who formed you and I have given each of you a divine purpose.”
Some boo’s are heard and are quickly hushed when the Man states, a little louder. “I love each of you and the child that is within the womb is mine! If you choose to rid your body of what I have created, you rid yourself of me. For I am in you and you in Me.”
The speaker quickly steps to His side and tries to push Him aside and grab the microphone. He looks at her with a look that only He can give and she quickly steps back.
He stands quietly looking out over the crowd and then speaks.
“I ask that each of you reconsider your position. Eternity is at stake. Live it with Me or live it without Me. Your choice.”
He then steps aside and disappears.
Silence permeates the air and slowly the crowds quietly disperse.
Jeremiah 1:5 – “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you.”
Pick any seed and hold it in your hand. At first it looks inconsequential but look closer. If we could see within the outer shell of that seed we would see that everything, yes everything, that God created it for is there, be it a giant Oak tree or a tiny delicate flower. It’s total purpose is encased within that shell. All that is needed is for it to be planted and nurtured. The same is true within man’s seed. It is planted within a womb and contains everything that is needed to grow into a human being. It is alive, not a “blob of cells” that can be discarded. It is a human being that God created! That seeds destiny was given before that seed ever entered the womb. Every child is created by God and for His good purposes. There are no “accidents” or unwanted children by God. Every life is precious! It is a travesty that there are those who are more than willing to end these precious lives before they can be born into what God created them to be. Forgive those who have sinned against God and His creation, and pray for those who are considering it, that their eyes will be opened before they commit this heinous crime of premeditated murder.
The child stands at the edge of heaven. She’s curious about what goes on below and stands quietly while pondering all that she sees.
Waves of strife waffle up to her, streaks of stress zip past, anger thunders through the clouds, and as she is about to turn and walk away, The Man appears beside her.
She looks up at His face and with furrowed brows asks, “Is there no love there?” He kneels down beside and places His arm around her small shoulders. She nuzzles up closer to Him.
“Listen with your heart,” He tells her. She cocks her head a little and scrunches up her face as though that helps her to tune into her heart.
“I don’t hear anything” she finally states.
“Close out the sounds of anger, hate, and dissension.” He whispers.
She tries again.
A sweet aroma engulfs her and she suddenly jumps away from Him and excitedly shouts, “I hear it. I feel it, I can smell love!”
“When we focus on God’s aroma we will escape the foul smell of sin.” He replies.
He leans over and gently kisses her on the cheek.
(Sue’s version) 2Cor. 2:15
The beach is crowded on this bright sunny day. Families are on vacation and slathered with suntan lotion they sprawl out on lounge chairs and blankets. Umbrella’s are opened protecting from the sun’s bright rays.
Children’s laughter and innocent screams are heard as they romp in the shallow water. Men and women splash each other as their laughter rings out. Gentle waves caress the sandy beach as they splash and play.
Parents watch attentively from their blankets under the umbrellas. Snacks are in baskets and drinks cooling in coolers. The day is perfect, or so it seems.
Suddenly a scream is heard and people run to the water’s edge. A Man appears and wades out into the chest deep water and dives under the wave reaching a lifeless, limp gentleman that has gotten sucked into the undertow.
The Man pulls the lifeless body to the surface and leans forward breathing a life-giving breath into him. With that one breath the gentleman spurts water and begins to thrash about violently.
“Be still and know that I am God,” the Man states.
The gentleman relaxes and stops thrashing.
Peace and tranquility has returned to an almost perfect day.
(Sue’s version) Psalm 46:10
The young lady giggles as she swings her boyfriends hand back and forth as they leave the sandy beach walking side by side. They stop at a window in the side of a building and buy a slice of pizza each. Finding a bench under a tall Palm tree the young man says a quick thank you to the Lord for their food and they take big bites out of their pizza.
Sitting in the shade they chat about the world’s problems and finish eating their pizza. “There isn’t much we can do about what’s going on in the world,” the girl says.
“Sure there is!” the boy replies.
“What? We’re only two people, how can we solve the world’s problems?”
“Well, we can’t solve the world’s problems but we can take a stand with others. You know the Lord said ‘where two or three are gathered in His name, He is present.”‘
The boy cuts her off. “If we got a bunch of kids together at school and started a prayer group I’ll bet we could make a difference.”
“But what would we pray about?” The girl wipes her face with a napkin.
“I don’t know. Maybe angels around our school. God has warring angels, I’ll bet they’d guard us!”
The girl laughs and stands. “The school won’t let us do that, silly!”
“But don’t you see? That’s where we can make a difference!” The boy states enthusiastically.
She looks at him for a long moment, and begins walking toward the beach.
“Well, what do you think?” He asks and quickly walks up beside her.
“Whatever,” she states and keeps walking.
“God said we have guardian angels and I don’t know about you, but I’m going to be asking around and see if we can get enough kids to join in.”
Reaching the water, the girl laughs, shoves her boyfriend playfully and darts out into the water “You do that,” she yells, and dives into a wave.
A Man has heard them and grins His approval.
(Sue’s version) Psalm 91:11 – Matthew 18:20
She walks down the street seemingly without a care in the world. Her blonde hair swishing down her tanned back and the flip-flops on her feet make a slapping sound on the pavement.
Her heart is full and with a glint in her eyes and a smile on her face she faces the day with a heart filled with hope and joy. In the distance she hears the sounds of seagulls as they swoop and dive near the oceans waters. She is anticipating the cool water on this hot summer day.
She throws her blanket on the hot sand while slipping the flip-flops off and pulls the “Love God – Love people” T-shirt over her head and tosses it onto the blanket. She heads for the cool water.
The waves crash against her back and she laughs. She splashes happily in the salty waves and glances up at the sun. Oh what joy she feels as the worries, concerns, and frustrations of the past week are washed out to sea as the waves strip them from her.
Standing waist deep in the water she sees a Man approaching her. His dark skin glints in the sun and his beard drips with water. He dives under the water as a large wave crashes down over them and upon rising when the wave has passed He laughs joyfully.
She laughs and says hello as he shakes the water out of His long hair. She stretches out her arms wide, throws her head back, and shouts, “How can anyone not believe in God?”
The Man smiles broadly.
(Sue’s version) Psalm 146:6 – Romans 1:20
A Hidden Agenda
The trees are full, the flowers are in bloom, the birds are chirping their happy songs and off in the distance one can hear the sound of a woman in pain.
The neighbors have complained because of her raucous behavior. The police have been called numerous times but no one seems to be able to stop the woman from her rantings.
She stands in her yard and screams at people as they pass. Children are ushered quickly into their homes, and the adults shake their head in disgust and frustration. Hospitalization helps for a time. The medications render her a zombie leaving her walking in a daze. She stops taking them.
The diagnosis has been deemed to be a mental illness and with proper medication she seems fine. But beneath the surface something else is at fault but no one wants to address it.
She stands at the edge of her yard and screams profanities and suddenly stops when she sees a Man approach. He looks at her intently. Her ranting ceases.
The Man takes a step closer to her, she fearfully steps back. A hidden part of her knows who this Man is and is afraid. The hidden part is what causes her problems.
The Man addresses the hidden part and with all Authority given to Him by the Father, He commands, “Come out of her!”
Her mouth opens and the evil spirit pleads with the Man. “We know who You are. Don’t make us leave.”
“Come out!” The Man forcibly demands and the woman is suddenly shaking violently and drops to the ground.
(Sue’s Version) Matthew 9:32, Matthew 8:28, Luke 9:37-42, Luke 8:29