From the Throne Room of Heaven

I hardly know where to begin on this “rainy day in Georgia” to explain a moment of enlightenment straight from the Throne Room of Heaven.

While watching the last few minutes of a Hallmark Christmas movie on the TV, my little dog, Sassy, insisted on joining me for a scratch and a warm place on my lap to curl up and sleep.   We enjoyed her request and my mind started remembering a statement given to me recently about this little dog.  “The bonding between you and that little dog is remarkable.”

Why was this comment profound in my mind?  You see, Sassy, is a little 8 ½ pound rescue dog.  No personal knowledge on our part of her life prior to her coming to be part of our family, but the results of that life was evident to all that came in contact with her.  She was a Survivor!!  She was skin and bones.  Had been given a good grooming and we were told she was matted to the skin, full of oil and grease.  She had a fondness for parked cars and hiding beneath them.  She snarled, and broke out in defense mode whenever there was any indication on her part she was about to be hurt.  Fearful of everything around her and she sharpened her teeth quite often on human flesh.  No one would have her, except us.  Several had tried, which is why she was groomed, but they ran out of time, and patience and she was discarded and the days were being counted off for her removal from this earth.  She was headed back to a shelter that would keep her only a short time.  She was very much in the snarl and bite mode, who would want her?

It took 3 years and today she is curled up in my lap, sleeping.  That statement about our bonding started rolling around in my head and a question came to mind. How, if said to me again, would I answer it today?  The one asking the question had observed our little bundle of fun in the beginning days and was making a today observation.

A today observation, hmmm, “Father how would I respond?”  My communication door had been opened and Father started speaking to me in that wonderful, calming, soft voice that I have grown to love.  “She, my child, is not unlike you humans.  You are all so loved by Me and yet such a daily challenge.  Just like she was hiding under cars, man hides behind many things not as obvious as her hiding places but hides just the same.  And the hiding places are a result of fear.  What, this day, are you fearing?  How are you any different than our little friend nestled in your lap?”

I thought about that question and He discussed my thoughts with me.  I agreed with the change in her and then was asked another question.  “What are you running from and where are you wanting to get to?”  Another question only He can ask and one I will listen to.  I don’t often ask that question of myself as I scurry from one needed project to another and try to care for those around me.  Little dog Sassy showed signs of doing a great deal of running.  She was very hungry, lost and not sure of a destination but running hard to find something different and hopefully better than where she was.  Initially she was watched to great lengths as we did not want to have her try to escape the home we were trying to provide because we had learned that she not only was needing shelter and love, food for her worn out body and soul, but she was also very sick.

Three days after she came to us, she started having serious Epileptic seizures and they were serious beyond anything we had ever seen.  A week in the doggie hospital resulted with a discharge of “Maybe.”  Doc, at the time, did not hold out much hope for her survival let alone her having years to function and be happy.  At this point all seemed so against her.  Personal tears flowed for something so small and innocent and so terribly abused by humans that were created to care for the animals.  Love, care, sharing and happy days had been taken from her and all she knew was pain, hurt, great grief and unbelievable fear.

Discussion continued between Father and me and answers on my part started coming forth.  Like all of us, there are pockets of lacking emotions in all of our lives that may have once been there and tragic moments in life either destroyed or were never recognized. Sometimes those hurts and lacking have a way of truly destroying today and tomorrow.  But, an example of something He was trying to tell me was curled up in my lap!!

I found myself being more and more quiet and more and more in the listening mode.  “Father, there is a message here in our discussion and I have a strong belief this is a message of importance, at least to me.”

His response back to me was slow coming and I determined that was preparation for my giving Him my full attention.  I waited and I listened.  He then spoke, “Child, what has happened between the then and now of this little dogs life?  Name steps along the way where you remember change in her and what was taking place to cause that change.”

Out came the Kleenex once again and I was beginning to see where I thought He was going with our conversation and I could not believe before my opening eyes what He was teaching me and the door He was opening before me.  His timing is so “on time” and I so want to sharpen my awareness edge in my life to not miss His timing.  Here I sat, in my own home, quiet and safe from the changing season outside and a cold rain to receiving a message straight out of the Throne Room of Heaven.

I chattered like a small child excited about a new direction and that child having a small piece of insight heads out with strong emotion and a lot of “I see, I see, Lord”.  Well, like that little child I quote, in His world “I see” little!

However, His grace gave me the freedom to tell Him what I was seeing and where He wanted me to go.  Of course I was pretty much wrong, but that was OK with Him because He was going to straighten my thinking out.  No time to waste with my personal insights I so easily grabbed and started telling Him about, with much wisdom and assurance, of myself.  As I said above, I was pretty much not as far on board as I thought.

He showed me patience and love.  Kind of like that Fatherly pat on the head.

Then we got down to the message for the day.  “Child, I too care, watch over, and love.  I love way beyond anything you can even imagine.  You have heard a statement for many years about being able to know My love for humankind and most particularly how much more love there is to tap when you are one of Mine. Now, True love requires abandonment.  True love requires trust, True love requires commitment.  True love wants to be with one another. True love wants to share.  Examples of True Love are many but are you starting to realize just a little what I am speaking to you about?”

“Yes, Lord, I do.”  “Sorry, child, not sure you do. I have not given you a beginning list of things necessary for you to have a relationship with Me.  Understand this!!  I am telling you the opposite.  These are some of the ways I LOVE YOU.  All that is necessary from you is acceptance.  Your little dog asleep on your lap has now accepted the love provided to her in her home.  Accept, child, that no matter where you are, no matter what you are confronted with, no matter what happens in this fallen world, you cannot get away from My love for you any more than that little dog can.  She is healing from her days of abuse.  She is being cared for and all she knows is she feels better and that the old days and her ugly past are not here today.  Your love for her is solid.  So is Mine!  She is accepting more and more each day the love provided to her in the home she lives in.  You and your husband show her what her life can really be while with you and I show what your life can be for Eternity with Me.  How is there any difference between relationship with that little dog and relationship with Me?  It all starts with Love and it all ends with Love.  There is no measure of dialed in acceptance of love and you are done.  No way to see that you measure up.  No way to cause you envy when you see others further down the path than you are.  All this Love thing needs to super charge your life is acceptance!!!  The defiled world about you can cause ugliness. I can give the very self-same world beauty and hope.  Sassy just accepts!”

It takes a bit of time to get over a gut wrenching.  I went back to the statement given to me by an observer.  “The bonding between you and that little dog is remarkable.”  Is bonding with the Almighty beyond your understanding?  Is it a foreign language to you?  Are the horrible cares of this world tearing at you and you find yourself wanting to scream, “God, where are You?”  Are you wanting to find a parked car of your own to hide under?  Are you so like me filled with “yes, but”?  And, oh, so many more mountains of questions.  How would I answer my question today.  I would gently scratch behind the ears of the little one asleep on my lap and smile and say,  “She just learned to accept.”

(Anonymous)

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The Remarkable Story of a Texas Man Sentenced to 495 Years in Prison Who Found God, Gained Parole, and Began Incredible Ministry

In a remarkable story of redemption and example of the healing power of God’s love and forgiveness, an ex-convict once sentenced to 500 years in jail is now spreading the word of the Lord and baptizing the prison population he used to live among. Furthermore, he has built a remarkable friendship with the judge who ordered his lock up.

As CBN News reported, Texas-native Ron Adkins received a 495-year prison sentence in 1997, after being found guilty of several home burglaries. The then 22-year-old received 99 years for each of the five counts on which he was charged and picked up an additional five-year sentence for possession of an unauthorized cell phone. A district judge at the time, Robert Newsom upheld Adkins conviction. Little did either man know, they would one day cross paths again.

With seemingly no hope of ever being a free man again, Adkins lashed out—joining a prison gang, racking up some 250 violations, and even ending up in solitary confinement for 13 years. He found himself alone and suicidal, but a worn-out Bible he had neglected for years ultimately became his saving grace.

“Half the pages were missing because I had been using it for rolling papers. I had been smoking cigarettes with Bible papers,” Adkins joked to CBN. “All that was left of the Bible was the New Testament.”

In reading those remaining pages, Adkins came to learn about God’s love and grace. He decided to quit the gang and instead join his prison’s Bible study group. He began taking ministry courses, and, after beginning to display “good behavior,” Adkins received surprise parole hearing, which was initially projected for 2095. In May 2015, Adkins was released from prison.

Once released, Adkins found a job continued to grow in his faith, sharing his powerful story with churches and criminal justice reform conferences. In doing so, he met his wife Dawn Knighton, a former felon turned Christian counselor. His return to church and faith also sparked another unexpected relationship—one with Newsom, the judge who presided over his case decades earlier.

“It dawned on me, I told pastor, ‘You know what? I think that’s the judge who sentenced me to five 99-year sentences,’” Adkins recalled of sitting in church one day listening to a guest speaker that happened to be Newsom.

The men were introduced soon after, and while the introduction was initially a little awkward, the two became fast friends, with the former felon telling CBN News that he never held a grudge against the judge.

“I never did go to prison. I never did do some of the things that Ron has done. But I’m a sinner saved by grace just like Ronnie is,” Newsom explained of the surprise friendship. “We’re brothers.”

Thanks to Newsom, Adkins now works with the local Hopkins County Sheriff’s Department to meet with inmates and share his redemption story. He and his wife have even baptized some of the prisoners and jail staff. Newsom believed the ministry has created a “mini-revival” in the community. Adkins, meanwhile, is just grateful for the second chance he has been given to rewrite his legacy and, through the mercy of God, the legacy of those he touches with his service.

“In the very place where I was sentenced to die in prison, God’s going to use us to bring dead things back to life,” Adkins told CBN News. “And that’s what he’s doing. In the jail, in the worship nights, in the prayer meetings: He’s just bringing dead things back to life.”

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Pen Tip -1997

Carry in your heart love and peace.

Not doubt and deception. 

Take with you His shield,

for Satan lurks in

unexpected places.

*

Hold close to your armor

for the truth is in

your sword.

*

Be not afraid of the enemy,

for Christ is the Power,

the Authority,

above and over

all.

*

Walk tall in His grace,

for it is by grace

you are free.

*

Wear His smile,

let His gleam sparkle

in your eyes.

Be His tongue

and voice

and let only

compassion

speak through you.

*

Join His army of believers,

for if you do not

believe,

You are the

opposition.

*

His wrath comes

upon those

who are

the enemy.

By the Holy Spirit 

Growing in Grace

Grace is everything God is. It is His Essence. Besides being unconditional love given to us as His free gift it is His power that indwells us through His Holy Spirit to give us everything we need to do anything He calls us to do. His power through His Holy Spirit gives us the ability to believe and have the faith to follow His Son, no matter where He leads us.

“This is to My Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourself to be My disciples.” John 15:8

“And this is my prayer, that your love many abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight.” Phil. 1:9

“Filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ – to the glory and praise of God.” Phil.1:11

“For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge.” 2Peter 1:5

“Nevertheless, the righteous will hold to their ways, and those with clean hands will grow stronger.” Job 17:9

“And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” 2 Cor. 3:18

“The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me; Your love, O Lord, endures forever – do not abandon the works of Your hands.” Ps. 138:8

“I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. Only let us live up to what we have already attained.” Phil. 3:14-16

“The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day.” Prov.4:18

~~~~~~

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Blessings to you.

A Wasted life – or was it?

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“Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted.” Matt.5:4

Looking at this scripture we often think of a widow or a widower mourning the loss of their loved one. But in this life we mourn many things. What do you mourn?

When that question was asked of me I couldn’t think of anything in particular. Yes, I had mourned the loss of my husband, I had mourned the loss of a childhood through abuse, I’ve mourned the loss of pets, and of friends. But when I asked the Lord, “Is there anything I’m mourning?” I was surprised and confused about His reply.

“You mourn a wasted life.” was His reply. What?

All day I have thought about that answer and have taken peeks back at my life from birth to adulthood. I went to school; elementary through college. I’ve been a “soda jerk,” a sales clerk at J.C. Penny’s and various clothing stores, I worked my way through college by working in a Psychiatric Hospital helping the mentally ill. I had a career flying the friendly skies.  So how can all of that and all of those years have been wasted?

Forty-nine years. Yes, for forty-nine years I was doing my own thing. But was I really? The years of schooling was preparing me for the world. The after-school jobs was teaching me the financial aspects of being a responsible adult. The Psych. Hospital was teaching me so many things I can’t begin to express them here. It was an experience like no other and that knowledge has been used in many different situations in my life along with, of course, paying my college tuition fees. The flight attendant career took me to places I would never have been able to go and meeting people I never would have met. In particular Christians! I didn’t realize there were so many flying around those friendly skies! They had their “prey” trapped in a cylindrical tube high up in the sky and continually tried to convert me.

Oh yes. Sue was not a Christian. Sue was doing her own thing. Sue didn’t think she needed God. Not the God that allowed all the bad stuff in her life. Not the God that sat on the sidelines and didn’t give a flip about what she did. Sue, who chewed up Christians and spit them out like sour milk. No, Sue didn’t need this so-called loving God.

How wrong Sue was!

My husband and I had retired and was enjoying the good life but suddenly my world was turned upside down and inside out. My comfortable world with my cherished husband, was left empty. My husband died, my home felt empty and I was alone with the silence within its walls. Family was gone because I told “the secret.” I crawled into the cave of grief. That dark place where no light will enter because the shutters of the heart is closed.

Then Christ stepped in.

I hear it all the time, “Forget the past!” Well I don’t want to forget the past! When I look at my past and the experiences I have had it humbles me to the point of tears because it is my past that the Lord brought me through. It is all those experiences of growing up in a dysfunctional, abusive home that the Lord has used to help other victims of abuse. It is those flight attendants that prayed fervently for this lost soul to find Christ and all the seeds they planted at 37,000 feet in the air.

It is a husband who showed me unconditional love. and yes, it is all those sin filled experiences that the Lord has shown His great mercy through. It is the fowl language that spewed from these lips, the indiscretions, the drunken parties, dirty jokes uproariously laughed about, the “I’ll burn that Bible if you don’t get it out of my face!” It is the forgiveness of all my sins; past, present, and future.

I don’t want to forget the past! If I forget the past then maybe I will shrug off the great things that Christ has done in my life; in me, through me, and for me. He transformed a lost soul to a victor. He has taken me out of the pit of hell and given me life.

So why did He say, “You mourn a wasted life?” Because I look at those first forty-nine years and see my feet on the edge of a fire filled abyss and wonder how I ever lived without Him. I look at those forty- nine years and regret that I didn’t know Him, I didn’t worship Him, I didn’t serve Him. I look at those forty-nine years and mourn the lost time I could have had with Him.

“Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted.” His comfort comes in that when I look back I can see His hand all along the way. I can see His mercy and grace hard at work as I did my own thing. I can see His shed blood on the cross and hear Him tell me over and over how much He loves me.

His comfort is in knowing I will not be spending eternity in a fire filled hell with Satan laughing at me for all my poor choices. His comfort comes in knowing that I have a Savior that cares so much for me that even though I was lost He never gave up on me. His comfort comes in knowing He used every opportunity to bring me step by step to Him. That’s the kind of comfort He gives to those of us that were lost and now are found.

~~~~~

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Blessings to you.