Thursday’s Pen Tip #14

Rejoice in Him

As the pain filled memories flow for they are memories not actual acts of today.

Rejoice in Him

When the pain swells to tidal waves within it is pain that is being brought to land; sand filters, cleans.

Rejoice in Him

for He who loves you removes the old within a damaged soul. Rejoice, for He fills those area’s that have been left vacant of those hurtful things.

Rejoice in Him

for He is filling, giving of Himself to bring you to a place where you can rejoice in Him.

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Thursday’s Pen Tips #10

For you who believe there is no end. For others who do not believe in the Son of God Almighty, there is end to joy that you think you have now.

For those who scoff and follow the one not of Christ – hell fires will deliver you into the coals of hell.

Lift thy hands, thy heart, towards the heavenlies for your Father who art in heaven waits.

He who is on high awaits your plea for His grace. If you do not succumb unto Him, may He who was born this day have mercy on your soul.

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Billy Graham: Judas is a ‘Warning’

By Michael W. Chapman | March 22, 2016 | 3:27 PM EDT

Pastor Billy Graham (Photo: BGEA)

World-renowned pastor Billy Graham said that Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus Christ for 30 pieces of silver because of his “unbelief” and interest only in himself,  and that because of his self-inflicted death, whereby he lost everything, Judas “stands forever as a warning of the dangers of stubborn unbelief.”

In a Q&A section on faith, published in the Kansas City Star, a reader asked Rev. Graham, “I’ve never really understood why Judas betrayed Jesus. After all, he witnessed Jesus’ miracles and heard his teaching just like the other disciples, and yet he ended up turning against him. It just doesn’t make sense.”

Billy Graham said, “No, it doesn’t make sense, just as most evil doesn’t make sense. Why deliberately do something we know is wrong, when — if we’d only stop to think about it — we also know it will destroy us? The Bible says, ‘Do not … be envious of the wicked, for the evildoer has no future'” (Proverbs 24:19-20).

“Judas’ real problem was that he was interested only in himself and what he could gain by following Jesus,” said Rev. Graham.  “Instead of committing his life to Jesus, he allowed greed and envy to rule his heart and mind. His unbelief fed his greed, and his greed fed his unbelief.”

“When Jesus’ enemies offered 30 pieces of silver to anyone who would disclose where Jesus was staying so they could arrest him secretly, Judas readily agreed,” said the pastor.

“Judas stands forever as a warning of the dangers of stubborn unbelief,” said Rev. Graham.  “And in the end, Judas lost everything, even his life.”

Artist’s illustration of Judas

betraying Jesus with a kiss. 

(Public Domain.) 

Billy Graham continued,  “Some of the most tragic words in the Bible are these, ‘So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself’ (Matthew 27:5). Make sure of your commitment to Jesus, for he alone is worthy of your life.”

Billy Graham, 97, is one of the most well known and respected evangelical preachers of the last 60 years.  His gospel preaching reportedly has reached about 2.2 billion people worldwide over the years. He has five children and lives, now retired, at his home in Montreat, N.C. His wife, Ruth Bell Graham, died in 2007.

This Q&A on the Bible can also be read at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

Michael W. Chapman
Michael W. Chapman
Michael W. Chapman

What’s with all this Suffering?

I don’t think there is a human being alive that hasn’t questioned the reason we humans suffer. Many have given the very simplistic answer that, “Well, it’s just God’s will.” Others go into all sorts of long exasperating explanations that make no more sense than the simplistic answer.

Can any of us ever really understand why we humans suffer? I don’t think so! God is so far above us in all aspects that there are just some things that we will never fully understand until we are standing before Him and He’s explaining some of it to us. Personally I like the idea that I have all of eternity to question Him.

I am no different from someone else who questions why did my husband die in the prime of his life? Or why do children suffer abuse from the hands of those who are supposed to love them? Or why did so and so die after I prayed fervently healing over them? Why did this happen or that happen? We all have questions and there seems to be no satisfying answer coming. Yes, some will turn their suffering into bitterness and turn from God. Others, that truly are close to the Lord and more mature in their faith may find strength through their suffering. We all react to suffering in various ways.

Well, today I got an answer that has encouraged me and has helped me to better understand what all this suffering is about. It came from the Holy Spirit and I hope it can be an encouragement to you, the reader as well. It has certainly shed new light and has given me a new perspective on why we suffer.

We have to think about God’s glory. Isn’t that what all of this Christianity stuff is about? Doing, praising, worshipping, all for His glory? God’s glory is so far above anything we can even imagine! Our lives on this earth in no way can come close to His glory. There is absolutely nothing that we suffer that can come close in comparison to His glory. No matter what has been done to us, no matter what hurt we have suffered, no matter what physical, emotional, financial, or even spiritual pain we have gone through or will go through comes remotely near His phenomenal and awesome glory.

We are like a baby in the womb. That baby struggles to live. It fights for every breath, it kicks, stomps, and maybe even screams and cries. It fights for life and waits and struggles for the day it will be expelled from the present world it is in. We’re like that baby in the womb fighting the umbilical cord waiting to be expelled from this our temporary home. We struggle daily, we suffer in a variety of ways, and we fight, sometimes for just the next breath, to make it the end.

The day we take our last breath and leave this earth is our birth. All this time on earth is as though we are in the womb. Suddenly we take our last breath and are expelled from our temporary world into the full glory of the Lord. ALL of His glory is within us, around us, above us and beneath us. We are encapsulated in glory!

That is what all this suffering is about! It is our time of preparation for the day we will be born into the full glory of God. Our suffering is over. No more tears, no more sorrows. Only the full and complete awesome glory of our Almighty God is now our new home.  We have left the womb of suffering, heartaches, and sorrow and Jesus says, “Welcome home.”

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Can Light Penetrate a Black Heart?

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My child sized heart pumped fiercely as I ran away. Fear filled me. I felt like the devil himself was close behind breathing down my neck. “If he catches me I’ll never survive.” I scream out, “Jesus save me” but He didn’t appear at my door. (I thought He would come to my house and save me from the abuse.)

That’s when the devil got his foothold. The anger at God for rejecting my plea intertwined with the fear. The roots of disappointment and a lack of understanding was transformed into a bitterness that grew deeper. With each injustice, betrayal, hurtful word, and rejection another black spot replaced what God created. Hatred filled spaces unknown within a normal pulsating heart that was created to love. Instead of the red blood of Christ filling a beautiful, pumping pink organ, the enemies blackness was trying to fill it to the brim.

Life continued with struggles and the bitterness against man and God continued to grow. God’s light would try to penetrate my darkening heart but with snarled lips and vehement words God was rejected. “If there’s a God then why……..?” “Don’t talk to me about this so-called loving God!” was spewed out from a heart filled with pain, rejection, bitterness, and a hatred so deep it seemed no light could penetrate. God would step in but the door was quickly slammed shut.

God is a persistent God! He never gives up pursuing the lost. He didn’t give up then and He hasn’t now. He continued to chase me down and at my lowest point was standing there to pick me up. I accepted Him and He taught me much. With much love and patience He began healing the heart wounds from all the years of hurt and betrayal and gradually I learned who I am in Him. The blackening of my heart began turning grey. Some of the black spots of evil dissipated. But with a news report I learned it was still filled with hatred. The roots of hatred and bitterness still ran deep. I desperately needed surgery! The kind only Christ can do.

God’s light broke through the darkness within a dream. In the dream the flames within the cage roared about the body of man while ISIS stood watching with vile, wicked grins and slapping each other on the back for a job well done, I screamed out, “Jesus! Jesus! Jesus!” It wasn’t the man being burned alive, it was me! Just before I awoke, I glared at the evil men and said, “If Mohammed was here I would spit in his face!” I awoke suddenly with my chest filled so full of hatred that I thought I was having a heart attack.

The hatred grew within me until I thought my chest would burst. I prayed in English, I prayed in tongues, I asked God what was happening to me. At one point I felt I wanted to jump out of bed and scream at the top of my lungs. I didn’t because it would wake the whole subdivision. I couldn’t move. The chest pain continued until I thought my chest would explode right there in my bed. I prayed some more. I rebuked the devil to no avail.

Confusion swirled around in my head, “Was I feeling what Christ must feel?” I told the Lord I know He loves those people but, “Forgive me, I want them to suffer every scream, every cry for help, every pleading agonized breath and feel every pain that every person and every child felt, for all of eternity in hell!”

My chest grew, the hatred increased. It was vile, it was ugly. I could barely breath. I could taste the wickedness of it. I prayed some more. I cried out for understanding and even threw out the fact that Jesus got mad and threw tables around the Temple. “I can’t ask You to forgive them because You will if they ask, but they won’t!” And, “I won’t pray their heart be changed! They are Satan’s incarnates! That’s like transforming Satan’s heart! It ain’t going to happen!” My thoughts whirled around like a balloon skittering around a room when suddenly released of its air. One minute I was thinking like Jesus might want me to and the next I was lashing out with hatred.

I don’t know how long I spewed the vile hatred I felt for what is going on in this world. The evil that surrounds us all. I confessed, I quoted a couple of scriptures, I did everything I could to try to rationalize and try to understand what was happening to me. Had I not been wide awake I would have thought I was in the middle of a horrible nightmare.

Suddenly a thought dropped into the midst of all the praying, all the arguing and expounding on why I should hate these people,“You have hurt people, too.” That shut my mouth for a moment but then of course my first response was, “I haven’t chopped off anyone’s head! I’ve burned no-one alive! I’m not robbing and stealing and raping!” Then the realization took hold, I have hurt people with my words, some deliberately and some not. I have rejected others, and above all, I rejected God and His Son for many years.

The pain in my chest began to slowly dissipate as that realization took hold. A calming began to replace the pain of hatred. It seemed as though my chest was deflating slowly and as that realization of my own sin penetrated my heart I realized that maybe, just maybe, it was my heart that needed to be changed.

There was no glowing translucent light filling the room. No angels appeared in white robes. No heavenly choir songs rang out from heaven. There was only a hushed silence as I whispered, “Is it my heart that needs changing, Lord?” The pain suddenly vanished! I was left limp and exhausted.

Many of us have prayed, “Search my heart O’Lord.” He takes that seriously and in my case He used the evil of ISIS on a T.V. newscast to reveal the depth of hatred in my heart and not only to expose it and make me aware of its depth but to taste the vile bitterness of it. “Love the sinner, hate the sin.” I was hating the sinner as well as the sin.

We’ve all suffered pain of some sort. We all have areas of hurt. There are no pure hearts in humanity and He’s still working on mine. By His grace I am saved, not perfect.

“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.”

Ps. 139:23

~~~~~~

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The Road to Life

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At first I saw God as my observer, my judge, keeping track of the things I did wrong so as to know whether I merited heaven or hell when I die. He was out there sort of like a president. I recognized His picture when I saw it, but really didn’t know Him. But later on when I met Christ, it seemed as though life were rather like a bike ride, but it was a tandem bike, and I noticed that Christ was in the back helping me to petal. I don’t know just when it was that He suggested we change places, but life has not been the same since.

When I had control, I knew the way. It was rather boring, but predictable, it was the shortest distance between two points. But when He took the lead He knew delightful long cuts, up mountains, through rocky places at breakneck speeds. It was all I could do to hang on!

Even though it looked like madness, He said, “Petal!” I worried and was anxious and asked, “Where are You taking me?” He laughed and didn’t answer, and I started to learn to trust. I forgot my boring life and entered into an adventure, and when I say, “I’m scared,” He’d lean back and touch my hand. I gained love, peace, acceptance, and joy; gifts to take on my journey, my Lord’s and mine. And we were off again.

He said, “Give the gifts away. They’re extra baggage, too much weight.” So I did, to the people we met, and I found that in giving I received, and still our burden was light.

I did not trust Him, at first, in control of my life. I thought He’d wreck it. But He knows bike secrets, knows how to bend to take the sharp corners, knows how to jump to clear high rocks, knows how to fly to shorten scary passages. And I am learning to shut up and petal in the strangest places, and I’m beginning to enjoy the view and the cool breeze in my face with my delightful constant companion, Jesus Christ.

And when I’m sure I just can’t do it anymore, He just smiles and says…”Petal!”

Name withheld – Angels by Grace – April 2003

~~~~~

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Taking care of legalities – True story

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No jury sits in this court room. No spectators fill the room. You won’t hear whispers echoing across the isle. 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. My hands are locked together in front of me and my knees knock together slightly. My Attorney leans over and gently bumps my shoulder with His. He gives me 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 me and shivers shoot up my 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 my knees almost give out from under me. Jesus gently takes me by the elbow to steady me.

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. I nervously glance at my Attorney. Satan doesn’t stop. One paper after another he waves in the air and shouts what his claim to me  is that’s stated on each of the contracts.

This is more than I can bear. I had no idea that people make contracts with the devil and literally give him and his demons legal rights to control that person. I need to sit down! My Attorney listens quietly, He’s as cool as a cucumber. He leans toward me and whispers, “Trust Me.” Trust Him? Oh I do, but I also want to climb right up under those long white robes and hide. Satan is screaming and demanding that I am his. “Here’s the contracts to prove it”, he hollers as drool and slobber splatter out of his mouth.

The Judge looks intensely at me. My mouth goes dry. Satan begins to yell, “She’s mine!” Jesus leans a bit in front of me and points his long index finger at Satan, “Enough!” I want to hug Him, I want to cheer. I want to dance over to Satan and slap him! The Judge, looks at me and compassionately says, “What do you have to say about all this My child?”

I must have swallowed 10 times in order to get the words to come up out of my throat. Finally a squeak comes out and I clear my throat and speak. “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. I swallow hard and take a deep breath then continue. 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 – I sense Jesus looking at me and when I look up His radiant smile and the compassion and love shining in His eyes leave the rest of my words stuck in my throat. I shut my mouth.

Looking at Jesus, hoping I haven’t screwed up my case by babbling, tears stream down my face. Jesus reaches over and with His thumb gently wipes the tears off my 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 scoot’s 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 me, smiles, places an arm around my 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 my shoulder a soft squeeze.

God leans forward. His eyes are intense. He first looks at Jesus, then at Satan, and finally at me. 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.

~~~~~

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.

~~~~~

“One day the members of the heavenly court

came to present themselves before the Lord,

and the Accuser, Satan, came with them.” 

Job 1:6


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