Zoe Ann’s Story

This is an unabridged version first published in the Book “When Heaven Shakes The Earth” copywrite 2005 © Living Hope Fellowship, Inc. Aloha, Oregon.  I have the right to publish this story here in by blog simply because I am the author of the previously published version.  However I do plan to re-write a digested version soon for Stevens Gospel.  So here goes and Enjoy… THIS IS A TRUE STORY…

…Turning off the ignition and picking up my purse from the passenger seat of my red Toyota, I reached for the door handle with my left hand and realized…I could not move.  I was overwhelmed with fear.

Fear was not anything new to me.  It had slowly started to influence my life six months earlier when I began a daily walking routine with my daughter. I was finding it more and more difficult to keep pace with her, as the distance we walked got shorter and shorter. 

“I used to be able to clean my house in a single day,” I told her that first morning.  “Now, I feel exhausted all the time.  It takes me a week to do what I used to do in one day.”  “I really don’t like the sound of that,” my daughter said. “Please, Mom, you’ve got to see a doctor.”

The symptoms continued to worsen and I knew she was right.  Climbing the stairs drained  me so much that I had to sit down on the bottom stair and scoot myself up one stair at a time to go to bed at night.  One morning, I awoke  with numbness in my thumb.  I thought a spider bit me.  Yet, over the following few weeks, the numbing and tingling took over my hand, my arm, and then, finally, the entire left side of my torso.  Distressed, I went to see a doctor.  He referred me to a neurologist.

“What’s happening to me?” I asked. “I’ve never felt so afraid.” 

“I’m scheduling you for an MRI.”…

“An MRI? Is that really necessary?  I’m afraid of closed spaces.” 

“I wouldn’t schedule it if it wasn’t absolutely necessary,” he said gently. “You will be fine.  By the way…make sure your health insurance doesn’t lapse.”

Those were dark days filled with fear.  Yet, I often felt God’s presence.  I knew the MRI tube was going to be a challenge.  Upon entering the tube, I was overcome with claustrophobia.

“Mrs. Cook, how are you doing?” the technician asked.

“I am so afraid,” I cried. “I know God is with me, but this is so scary.”

“Are you a Christian?” he asked.

“Yes,” I said softly.

“So am I,” the technician said. “Let’s pray together.”

Tears of relief filled my eyes as his prayer comforted me.

“Holy God,” he said.  “Be with us right now.  You are so big and we are so small.  Be the Comforter for Zoe Ann.  Give her the peace that passes understanding.  Cover her with Your love and Your healing light. Amen.”

God comforted me through the technician. He told me of his faith in Jesus Christ, bestowed words upon me of encouragement and prayers, and helped me receive the peace and courage I needed to get through my attack of claustrophobia…

Later that week, as I sat in my cube at work, the phone call came.

“Mrs. Cook?”

“Yes,” I said.

“Your diagnosis is multiple sclerosis,” the nurse proceeded.  “The MRI results show visible sclerosis scar tissue on your spinal cord.”

I could have fallen through a cement floor.  As hard as it was to hear this news, the diagnosis was just the beginning.  The consultation with my physician came next.

He explained that MS is a disease capable of destroying the nervous system and that it could result in partial or complete paralysis, blindness, and a whole list of other debilitating effects.  His final words that day were, “Zoe Ann, if you have an episode of paralysis that lasts longer than 24 hours, call me.  Then we can prescribe medication.”

TWENTY-FOUR HOURS… Paralysis… Blindness… Debilitating… Wheel Chairs… 

I know people with MS. I do not want this, God! No, I do not want this!  The news that I have this disease, this MS, this multiple sclerosis, this is not real, it cannot be true!

And it didn’t seem true…until the day I found myself sitting in my red Toyota outside my office building, unable to move.  It was as if my limbs were no longer mine.  There I was, all by myself, immobile and overwhelmed.  Six months of fear turned into horrible reality right there.  Suddenly, it was very real and very true. I had MS!

Tears streamed down my face and onto my cell phone as I struggled to call my husband Steve.  When he finally answered, I could hardly speak.  Hysteria slurred my words and the tears would not stop coming.  Somehow, Steve began to understand what was happening to me.  Yet when He tried to comfort me with his voice and with his words, he realized they were not enough.  Then my wonderful husband realized that only God could fix this pain and he began to pray.

In my heart, I was taken back to a night many years ago when we were new Christians.  Our oldest daughter, then almost 4 years old, sat on the arm of an old, green, overstuffed chair and played with a toy American flag.  Little ones seem to put everything in their mouths, and so it was with Tracy.  I can still hear her scream as she fell from the chair arm with that flag in her mouth and hit the family room floor.  The flag impaled her deep in the back of her throat.  We swept her into our arms, dislodged the dowel from the back of her bloody mouth, and rushed for the door.  I saw the blood and the puncture wound, and I can still remember our fear!

“We have got to get her to the hospital, now,” Steve said.

…Then he stopped, looked into my tear-filled eyes, and repeated aloud the thought that seemed trapped in his head,

“Do they even know how to fix this?”

“I don’t know,” I replied.

Together, we realized at the same time that only God could fix this.  As we knelt and prayed, little Tracy miraculously stopped crying.  The blood went away, and the hole in the back of her throat…the hole I had seen with my own eyes…just minutes before… the hole from which I had dislodged the flag, was gone!

Today the same realization took place.  We understood that only God could fix my paralysis.  Alone and trapped in my car, I was helpless.  Tethered to my husband through the telephone, Steve prayed with me for over 20 minutes without any changes in my condition.  Then slowly the paralysis subsided and I was able to move my arm and leg again.

However, I was not healed,  Over the next few months, I had many more episodes like this one and I even began to believe I had the disease.  Yet, God continued to provide relief through Steve’s prayers.

Then my sister-in law, Linda, invited me to a class at her church…the topic was “Healing.” It was impeccable timing.  Through attending this class I came to understand that I could read God’s Word, the Bible, as if I were taking a dose of medicine.  I could take His encouragement two, three, four, or as many times per day as I needed it to keep me focused on His promises.  It seems that this is the only medicine anyone cannot take too much of.

Doctors and people I knew with MS encouraged me to read pamphlets and literature about multiple sclerosis so I could become aware of what to expect, and learn strategies for…Living With It… Someone even invited me to an MS support group.  However, my husband and many others helped me understand that God did not want me to see myself as a person with MS, nor to embrace this as “my MS.” The words we speak are vital to our health and well-being.

The exhaustion and  tingling numbness I felt did not improve, but as I read the Bible, I found comfort and hope in the promises of God.  This is the best medicine and it is available to everyone.  Steve and I decided to believe those promises and I put myself on regular doses of scriptural medicine.  Over the next several months, every time I experienced an episode, I immediately called Steve and we prayed together until the immobility subsided.  Sometimes it took 15 minutes, sometime 30 minutes or longer… But never 24 hours.  We saw these as attacks from Satan because he wants to harm us and ruin our lives.  MS was his way of trying to control and destroy my life.  By then, I was having weekly episodes.  Every time an attack came, we prayed and allowed Jesus to take over the fight for us.  We could not win, but He could.

Then one day at a special church service about nine months after the whole ordeal began, our pastor called three people forward by name.  I was one of them.  He prayed for each of us specifically, and when he got to me, he said a word that stuck in my mind.  He said, “LIVE!” loudly and with authority. “LIVE!”

After he prayed a bit more for me, I returned to my seat.  Physically, I did not feel any different.  Even while the pastor prayed for me, I had not felt anything special take place.  Nevertheless, after that healing prayer, I never had another episode of paralysis again!  Although I continued to have symptoms for a time, God started a miraculous healing process that very day.

Gradually, my energy level increased.  Soon I could walk, and even run up the stairs.  I could clean my house in one day again.  The tingling and numbness in my body receded just as it had come; first, it cleared from my mid-torso and chest, then my neck and shoulder, and finally left my arm and my hand.  this happened in a slow progression until the only lingering numbness was in my fingers.

Sometimes I would question God, “Why do I still have the numbness in my fingers?” Every time I asked, He told me, “Yes, you are still having some symptoms, but believe in Me.”  He reminded me to review the promises in the Bible…is was my medicine.  I read them to myself again and again.  I trusted Him and thanked Him for all that He had done so far.  Two years later, the last of the tingling left my fingertips.  I have been completely symptom free for nearly twelve years now…God has indeed healed me!

Thanks for Listening…

 

Old & New Covenants

Did you know that there are      614 laws given in the                 Old Testament..?

The Old Covenant was established on the Law…failure to live up to this Law was sin and always led to death…usually the life of a sacrificed perfect lamb and it’s shed blood… but according to these laws…with out a sacrifice…all must die.

The New covenant was ushered in with Jesus Christ…One Lamb…God’s Lamb…His Son…the perfect sacrifice…once and for all…Jesus Christ…the Lamb that was slain for us all…His blood, shed for the World.

The Old Covenant…of Law and Bondage…leading to death was written in stone.

The New Covenant…of Spirit and Freedom…leading to eternal life…is written on our Hearts…

The Old Covenant is like a man taking a dog for a walk on a leash…The dog on the leash is like one living under the Law…controlled by the length of the leash.  when this dog continually pulls against the leash…both dog and master have an unpleasant walk.

The New Covenant is like one taking his dog for a walk without a leash…The unleashed dog lives as one lives in the Spirit…controlled by the voice of his master.  when this dog responds to his master’s voice…and comes when he is called…then they enjoy many walks together.  However if this dog ceases to respond and does not come when called…the master picks out another dog and the old dog becomes a stray.

The Good News is…we get to decide what kind of dog we want to be!

Presented in loving memory of Abednego…our once upon a time dog…regal and elegant and as fast as the wind…yet he would never come back when called.

Jeremiah 31:31-34 Hebrews 8:8-10

 

“Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah– “not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the LORD.  “But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. “No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.” – Jeremiah 31:31-34 NKJV

Thanks for Listening… 

 

Megan’s Story

My outer growing-up-world was privileged.  Large family, front row pew, matching dresses, community leader parents, all physical needs met…  My inner world was lonely.

Looking back I see God was there all along, but then I only saw Him in snippets – in the confessional at church, in summer camp led by spirit-filled nuns, when I begged for healing of tummy aches. I remember lying alone in the dark, the last one awake, wishing I had someone with me behind my closed eyes.

I realized young that no relationship was permanent.  A best friend today could be an enemy tomorrow. People moved away. Died.

To create bonds I became what people wanted, like a human chameleon. That led to teen-aged pregnancy…  My parents arranged for me to sneak to Portland, attend all girls’ school, give baby away, and return with a new wardrobe to pretend nothing happened.  It didn’t work.

My outer world had changed.  I didn’t fit.  My inner world had changed also.  An infection ate at my heart, creating a cavern to fill.  I consumed New Age Cults, witchcraft, drugs and countless relationships, but each bite tore the hole bigger.

Drugs fragmented my mind. God came again, speaking simply.  Did I want goodness or evil?  I chose goodness, and He arranged connections to draw me in.

  • My mom directed me to a priest.  He told me about the Holy Spirit and made sure I spoke in tongues before I left. He said Romans 8 tells God had adopted me and I should call Him Abba.
  • A druggie friend said the Bible was truth. I carried one everywhere, reading at bus stops and between classes. I found out I was the harlot boys in Proverbs should run from.
  • A guy on parole invited me to Faith Center.  I discovered it wasn’t a mall but a church, even though it wasn’t named after a saint.
  • Mom got me in Catholic new converts’ class.  They kicked me out for asking too many questions.

        I just couldn’t buy that Jesus was God.  God’s son, yes.  God, no…

  • Another ex-con told me about Jesus Northwest, a huge outdoor festival.  I hitchhiked with backpack, sleeping bag, $5.00 for food, a sign that said “Jesus Northwest”…  4 teens in a VW-bug squeezed me in and left me at the gate.
  • That night Keith Green, who’d also been raised Catholic, answered my questions about Jesus being God and why I needed to give Him my life.  I did, and God met me there.

Rom 8:15  says I received God’s Spirit when He adopted me as His own child. Now I call Him “Daddy God.”  I will never be alone again because He fused Himself into me.

Bit by bit He’s giving me a new inner world so I want to do what pleases Him, to love people and do brave, hard things.  When He adopted me, He gave a new outer world, with wonderful husband, kids, grandkids and you.  Those that follow Him are my family now because He adopted us all… Megan

 

All Things Are Possible

Are All Things Really Possible?  “We have the ability within us to do that which is impossible, or at least that which is thought to be impossible.  Our own being has the potential to make seemingly impossible things happen.  What was once impossible…has now become possible!     It never was impossible, only impossible for that day or time.  Men through out time have dreamed or visualized things thought to be impossible.  An inventor is someone brave or foolish enough to turn the impossible into the possible, to turn a dream into a reality.”  [Steven 10-28-1982]

“Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”   Hebrews 11:1

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”   Matthew 19:26

Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.” Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!”  Mark 9: 23-24

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Beyond Belief

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.  This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe.  He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that light. John 1:6-8  

Belief in God is just the beginning…a beginning to a new relationship.  When I finally decided that I really did believe, it was like I simply opened the door and said… “Okay God, it’s okay with me, you can come on in.”

That is the day I started arguing less and listening more…however, before that day… any conversation with me about God was the beginning of an argument. …no matter what side you were on…I was on the arguing side.  Why?  It’s simple enough…I had absolutely no idea what I was talking about.  My favorite target for an argument was my sister-in-law.  She was always talking Jesus this and Jesus that, but I was so caught up in myself…I couldn’t see her Jesus.  I guess you could say I was hardpan soil…

Like the soils described in this parable in Mark’s Gospel.. …there went out a sower to sow: and it came to pass, as he sowed, some fell by the way side, and the fowls of the air came and devoured it up.  And some fell on stony ground… and some fell among thorns…and others fell on good ground…And He said to them, he that has ears to hear, let him hear…The sower soweth the word. Mark 4:3-9 & 14

I was more like asphalt…hard and stoney and near impenetrable…like a concrete sidewalk along the wayside on my road to nowhere.  That was me…pretty much oblivious to what was going on outside my little world…until I invited Him In!  And then the first crack appeared in my protective shell… on the day I finally said;

“Yes, I believe in you God”

…and in my believing, my hard ground started to become His good ground..!

Soon after…God sent an emissary in the form of a child.  A little girl just three years old,  as His special secret agent.  My little girl, curious about whose picture was hanging on the wall at daycare asks…

“mommy, who is that?”  In passing…her mother replys.”that’s Jesus honey.”   “mommy…where does Jesus live?”  following a pause… she answers “honey…he lives at church.”  …”mommy, I want to go where Jesus lives…I want to go to His house..!”

From the very last row of a balcony in a little church in Aloha Oregon…my wife says she found something and wanted to go back…and my little one…she just wanted to pray all the time…everywhere.  That’s what she learned at Jesus House.  Oh, and my sister-in-law…well they were becoming a lot like her… Jesus this and Jesus that..!  Belief in God was one thing…but I didn’t sign up for all this…a life with Jesus freaks…”come on”…plus praying in public was, to say the least, a little uncomfortable…and a lot embarrassing..!

So…in defense…and sure that my family had joined a cult…I sought some help. . . 

The owner of The Dove Bookstore listened…then suggested a book… “The parallel Bible”…It didn’t look like a bible…it was a big paperback.  He said; It was like a Bible… except contained four different translations…that way, I could be sure to know the truth and hopefully set my family free.  He suggested, It might be best to begin my reading at The Book of John, and showed me the page…so thats what I did… At first reading… ‘The Amplified’ version seemed best…however…reading every verse in every chapeter in all four translations…well that proved most helpful in my quest for truth…

The Amplified Bible…The Gospel According to John…starts out reading like this… 1. In the beginning [before all time] was the Word [Christ], and the Word was with God, and the Word was God Himself.  2. He was present originally with God.  3. All things were made and came into existence through Him; and without Him was not even one thing made that has come into being.  4. In Him was Life and the Life was the Light of men.  5. And the Light shines on in the darkness, for the darkness has never over-powered it – darkness has never put it out, has not absorbed it, has not appropriated it, and is unreceptive to it.

which brings us back where we started today’s blog… There came a man, sent from God, whose name was John.   This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. John 1:6

Those very first few verses captured me…I could not put this book down.  I read the book at home…I read the book at the office…everywhere I went…I read the book.  For thirty days I read this book…everyday.  I read the book so much…that my dad thought I might have lost my mind.  And then suddenly something happened…I knelt down behind my desk… and began to talk to God…saying…”God…all this makes sense…more sense than anything I have ever heard before…God…I want to be your son…I want your Jesus in my life…I want you to be my God…please forgive me for not seeing you before..!”  And it was so…And I was beyond belief.  My hard soil was being broken.

Read the Word of God…I believe it will change your life…

Thanks for Listening…

Resolution “I want a better year”

Okay…it is here…it is finally here…out with the old and in with the new…the new year… is here…Happy New Year…Happy Happy Happy New Year… now what..?

Maybe I need to resolve to do better this new year. 

Let’s see…what can I do?  Okay…I am over-weight…I could resolve to weigh less…Um…     I’ll eat less and exercise more, how about that……or I know… I owe to much Money…so I will resolve to spend less and work harder…and just maybe I will earn more…

One thing is certain…If I want a better year…I am going to need something to Change.

 Perhaps a New Year’s Resolution..!  The Babylonians made promises to their gods at the start of each year that they would return borrowed objects and pay their debts.   The Romans began each year by making promises to the god janus, for whom the month of January is named.   In Medieval times, the knights took the “peacock vow” at the end on the Christmas season each year to re-affirm their commitment to chivalry.  And even today about 45 percent of Americans make ‘New Years Resolutions” …However recent studies show that only about 52% of those making a resolution have confidence that they will actually succeed and only about 12% actually do.

That is not going to work for me…I said I needed Change not Chance..!

Webster defines Resolution as follows; 3a: something that is resolved as in <I made a resolution to mend my ways> I may need to mend my ways…but a 12% chance is just not good enough for me…I think what I need is another WORD..!  So I am going to change the word RESOLUTION like this…I ‘ll remove the S like this…RE_ OLUTION… and replace it with a V like this…and there it is…my new word… REVOLUTION…that’s it… I want a revolution in my life…a New Year’s Revolution… I want a changed life…

Webster basically says it like this…Revolution is a sudden, radical, or complete change… a fundamental change in my way of thinking… out with the old and in with the new… so to speak…a leadership change…a new decision maker change…Hmmm…

THIS NEWS JUST IN…I have been stuck right here…unable to finish this blog for days. Writers block I guess.  I could not find the words to say what I knew that I wanted to say…and I was frustrated.  After all…this is a New Year’s Blog and it is already the 10th of January.  It’s time to get er done..!

Then this morning about 10 o’clock a friend asked me to come pray with him and a man who had just minutes before…re-accepted and re-invited Jesus Christ back into his life.

He had good parents that believed in God…he first accepted Christ when he was a teenager…and then he lost his way in rebellion, alcohol, drugs among many other things…then today after some twenty years of trying to fight his way back…TODAY he gave up his fight and asked a friend for help…and today it is as if he has been Born Again…

Today he did’nt make a resolution to mend his ways…He had already tried and failed at that at least a hundred…maybe even a thousand times before.

Today he started a Revolution…Today he surrendered his personal government to God…not in some obscure private secret way…but publicly…and in front of witnesses..!

And because he has asked the Lord of Lords to be his King…he is being born again Today…he has new life right now…and new hope for tomorrow.  Already God is telling him “I Love You”…

Today a man was Born Again into the Kingdom of God…a man of great value…a man Jesus agreed to die for…a man created with purpose…for the Glory of The Lord..!

…Today at 10 o’clock He called me and I answered..!

Now that is what I call a REVOLUTION..!

Now a child of God

In Christ, we are no longer orphans…Father God understands the importance of fathers…and …He knows most of us have been orphaned in some way sometime in our lives…So He sent us a Helper and that Helper is His Spirit…[the Holy Ghost/Holy Spirit].

The Holy Spirit is… the Lord’s Spirit…the Lord’s Presence…the Lord’s Breath…and God’s Prophetic promise as proclaimed to us by the prophet Joel [Joel 2:28-29]…

Through the Holy Spirit… God Reveals Himself & His purpose to us…

By the Holy Spirit… He Empowers us to fulfill His purpose…

The fulfilling of the promise of the Gift of the Holy Spirit took place on the day of Pentecost…and is described by the Apostle Peter in Act chapter 2:38…Peter says…People of all nations…repent… repent means “to change your mind”… so Peter is saying…”change your mind and be baptized…every one… in the name of Jesus Christ…for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” In order for us to receive the Holy Spirit…Jesus had to die first for the forgiveness of our sins…with our sins now forgiven…we can receive the Holy Spirit…Gods’ Spirit..!

Q.  What is it that we need to change our mind about..?

A. We need to change our mind about who we say Jesus is…We need to decide…Jesus is the Christ…the one who came to die in our place for our sins.  Jesus is the one we crucified…

Acts 2:36 [just 2 verses earlier Peter says]…”Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.” … ESV

So Peter says…”Change your mind…then be baptized…every one…in the name of Jesus Christ…then…your sin is forgiven…and you receive the gift of the Holy Spirit…the Helper..!”

The entire world changed that day…on the Day of Pentecost…Just a day or so earlier in Acts 1:15 the word says…”And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples (altogether the number of names was about a hundred and twenty)…” – Acts 1:15 NKJV… and then the Holy Spirit comes in Acts 2 and the word says in verse 42 …those who received his [Peters’] word…were baptized, and were added that day about three thousand souls…Acts 2:41 ESV

WOW…the Spirit of God can do…even greater things…

What Changed…? …from this day Pentecost and forever more… sin would no longer be failure to keep and fulfill the Law…sin was now simply “not having Jesus Christ at the center of your life”…and it is still the same today…by changing our mind about who Jesus is and being baptized in His name…our sins are forgiven…and because our sins are forgiven…we can once again enter into a relationship with Father God…and His Holy Spirit can become our Helper…

Now a little Definition and History lesson…someone asked me “when is Pentecost..?”

Pentecost literally means “The Fiftieth Day” pente-fiftieth and cost-day [the fiftieth day] in Greek…

And the History…For Ancient Israel “Pentecost”, and the Jewish holiday, called Shavuot commemorates the anniversary of the day God gave the Torah [the Law] to the entire Israelite nation assembled at Mount Sinai, The date of Shavuot is directly linked to that of Passover.  Shavuot is always fifty days after Passover…and is celebrated either as Shavuot if your Jewish or as Pentecost if your Christian, but always fifty days after Passover. Passover dates back to Egypt and the blood of the lamb spread upon the door posts to be passed over by death…

So Father God chose to pour out His Holy Spirit [our helper] over all the earth on the very day that His Israelite nation…already celebrated “the day God gave Moses the Law at Mount Sinai… So we get to choose…  Shavuot or Pentecost… Law or Spirit…

Choose the Spirit & there will no longer be a knotty or nice list& that is called Liberty or Freedom.

Many people have chosen the Law rather than the Spirit as it says in 2 Corinthians 3:14-18

14 But their minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. 15 Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. 16 But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. – 2 Corinthians 3:14-18 ESV

Everybody’s story is the same but different…different details…same circumstances… somewhere someone abandoned me…someone didn’t protect me…someone deprived me of my God given advantages and stole my opportunities and now I am all alone…and there is no hope.

Simply put…I am damaged goods…God knows this…life has taken its toll on me…and I am no longer the person He created me to be…the good news is…He has a plan to restore me to whom I was created to be…I can’t do it myself…I have tried and failed and tried and failed over and over again…So he made a way through Jesus to send a helper to help me…and now there is hope…and I am a son of God.

I want to show you this in His word…in John Gospel 1:12-13 first in the English Stantard Version and then in the Kings James Version…

But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,   who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. – John 1:12-13 ESV

12 But as many as received him, to them gave the power to become the sons of God, [even] to them that believe on his name: – John 1:12 KJV

It is right here in His word…He gave the right…He gave the power…to become…children of God…the sons of God…

…in John 3 Jesus tells Nicodemus…you must be born again to see the kingdom of God…and then says…unless one is born of water & the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God…  BE BORN AGAIN..!

It is through these words that I now can see more clearly this picture of born again…

John the Baptist says in John 1 …but as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name… the King James says “He gave the power to become the sons of God” …the power is in the Holy Spirit and with the Holy Spirit [the Helper] we can become the sons of God..!

John the Baptist prophesied it…to be reborn…not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

Jesus Christ proclaimed it and died for it…that which is born of flesh is flesh and that which is born of spirit is Spirit…he who believes in the Son has everlasting life…

The Holy Ghost delivered it…On the day of Pentecost…

and Peter proclaimed it in Acts 2…

Q. Will we receive this life God has for us or not..?

In the Kingdom of Godthe helper is the one who knows what I need before I even ask…He is the one who hands me the tools I need to finish His work…He is the one who supplies whatever I need whenever I need it…He even lets me know what it is that I need… sometimes even before I know that I need it.

The True Story of Christmas

It is Christmas time…and we are all about decorating and shopping and doing advent with our kids and stuff. And of course…family…and plans for a very large dinner…and presents…and disagreements with family over politics and sports and old grudges and first and second hand offences and disputes over whether Christmas is a pagan holiday and whether we should have Christmas trees or not…and then there is the Christmas story…with Santa, his sleigh full of toys and eight tiny reindeer…and don’t forget Rudolph with his red nose so bright…and Frosty the Snowman…and of course The Grinch who stole Christmas…and all the Christmas songs on the radio and Christmas moves…and if you type “Christmas Movies” into your Google search window…you will find over 250 titles…Elf is my favorite…and of course we can’t forget the knotty and nice list…but wait…wait just a minute…woe dancer and dasher and donnor and blitzen…didn’t I hear someone say the Christmas Story…what about the Christmas Story…the real Christmas Story…stop the presses…

 

Somewhere in all this hustle and bustle…we flew right by the reason for Christmas…so let us set aside our commercialized Christmas Stories…our Elf, and Home Alone, and Yes Virginia There is a Santa Clause, and Miracle on 34th Street, and It’s a Wonderful Life, and White Christmas, and yes even Rudolph and Frosty…and let’s take a minute to refocus those Christmas eyes all filled with visions of sugar plums…and again take a look at the rest of the story…

 

Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: which is to say…the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way: When as his mother Mary was espoused [meaning that she was betrothed, or promised in marriage] to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband, being a just [man], and not willing to make her a publick example [as a just man he was unwilling to put her to shame], was minded to put her away privily [considered quietly divorcing her]. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, [in the book of Isaiah chapter 7 verse 14] saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel [or Immanuel], which being interpreted is, God with us. Then Joseph being raised [woke] from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden [commanded] him, and took unto him his wife: And knew her not till she had brought forth [given birth] her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS. – Mat 1:18-25 KJV

So what is the true Christmas Story..?

We all know that this story goes on to tell of how Mary and Joseph traveled to Bethlehem for the census for tax purposes…and how the wise men from the east came bearing gifts…and how they had followed the star in the sky…and traveled great distance to find this baby…this promised one…and how they worshiped Him when they found this baby born in a stable…waiting their arrival…swaddled and lying in a manger…no crib for a bed…as the song goes…

Almost all of the Christmas Jesus stories seem to be about that little baby in that manger with no crib for a bed…But that is not the purpose of Christmas…for the ‘True Story of Christmas’ is this…

For God So loved the world that on the very first Christmas…He gave to all…His only begotten Son so that His Son could die for us all on a cross…so that we could once again be Gods sons & daughters…as it says in Acts chapeter 2…we have changed our mind about who Jesus is…been baptized in His name and received the Holy Spirit along with all the gifts that come into our life through His Spirit…we have received the right…the very power…to become children of God…

That is the gift…The true Christmas Story is…God with us..!