God Speaks…if we’re willing to listen!

I’ve had the privilege of meeting a few believers who are able to proclaim that they knew when the Lord revealed his purpose for their life. Without a doubt, I’m completely aware of when He revealed what His purpose was for my life.
Over the past several years I felt an inward tug to somehow share what the Lord did, and is still doing, with my life and with our hurting world. I didn’t know if I would be conscious of how God would orchestrate it, or if I would even be aware of any of the details surrounding it.
October 30, 2011, my husband and I enjoyed the last morning of a whirlwind four-week trip through California, Oregon, and Washington. We planned to visit a newly planted church where old friends were attending, but, for some unknown reason, that particular morning we felt more compelled to stay inside our cozy cottage snuggled together on the sofa watching In Touch with Dr. Charles Stanley.
Dr. Stanley’s forty-minute message centered on our lives being used for the glory of God. He ended his sermon with a question that radically changed my life, “One day you will stand before the Lord your God. All-knowing God will look you eye to eye and heart to heart, and ask, “What did you do with the life that has brought glory and honor to me?” He’ll continue, “What did you do with the spiritual gifts I so generously gave to you, my child? Who did you tell the Good News of the gospel, possibly leading another precious soul to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ? What will be your answer when He asks that all-important and soul- searching question?”
Suddenly, I heard God’s voice, the words pounding deep in my heart, loud and clear. “Have I not blessed you with a firsthand knowledge of my forgiveness, by my grace and mercy? I’m sending you to tell others about the forgiveness I offer to each one of my children. And that it is I alone who can and do forgive your past, present, and future sins!”
Wow! It was as if I had been hit with a two-by-four! I immediately knew the answer. A loud, reverberating, voice inside of me screamed out, “Write this book, telling others about events of my life and how today I’m able to see that my Lord was with me along every step of my journey. Talk about how deep my pain was, including the answer to the essential question for someone who has been abused, ‘How do I possibly forgive the person, especially somebody who abused me so deeply?’
Throughout the last few years, I’ve discovered that I can truly trust what God’s word promises to those who call him Savior; namely, that Jesus does love his children unconditionally. He knows that we’re sinners in need of His mercy and grace, and without him, we’re lost.
Following Jesus’ encounter with the rich young ruler in Matthew 19: 26: Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible!”
Most of us have heard the poem, Footprints, when a child of God asks, “God, why, during the hardest and most difficult times of my life and during my most painful experiences are there only one set of footprints, and not two?” God lovingly answered, “Because, that’s when I carried you.”
Go back to those years with me as I recollect a tragic, heart-wrenching journey, as well as many celebratory moments, when I was Made New.

I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me. Phil. 4:13

Joan began attending another Baptist church, near Caruthers, and we quickly followed. We were attending this church when our son was born in 1980. I became very involved in the young married couples’ group and made several lifelong friends. Another married couple, Bob and Bernice Pierce, began mentoring me in my spiritual growth. This godly couple proved to be a true blessing throughout the next few years of my life.
Although I don’t recall specifically what I was going through emotionally at the time, one evening I found myself crying near the church parking lot, having my first conversation with Bob. He was such a loving and tender man. His height, thin build, and gentle tone of speech reminded me of Abraham Lincoln. He put one long arm around me and said, “Judy, I don’t know what you’re going through right now. But, I want you to know that we have a promise from the Lord that we can lean on when times are tough. It’s Philippians 4:13, I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.”
“Okay. Thank you, but I’m not good at remembering verses, but I’ll try to memorize it.” Not trusting in myself.
“If you can memorize it, you’ll always have a verse that you can cling too, when times aren’t so good.”
I’ve never forgotten the impact this verse has had on my spiritual journey through the years. Up to that point in my life no one outside of my family had had such a profound impact on my spiritual life as this couple did. Bernice Pierce was just as precious as her husband was. Shortly after we met, she told me that she was a breast cancer survivor, not once, but twice. I knew that this woman truly knew Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior. She seemed to have God’s Holy Spirit emanating from deep within her heart and it manifested itself in the way she spoke and in the way she prayed. Any time I had the privilege to be with her was a memorable one. Those times left an imprint in my heart and they were beautiful representations of Christ’s love for me.
My last memory of Bernice centers on a warm and breezy afternoon as I drove my ‘69 Corvette convertible towards Fresno Community Hospital to say my final good-byes to my dear friend. I walked into her hospital room, and as I entered her smile and the precious glow of her face, gave me a peace in knowing that she knew she would be making her journey to heaven soon. Though her skin was pale and she wore a covering over her head because of what the chemotherapy treatments had taken from her.
“Oh, Judy. Come here and let me hug you.”
Crying, I said, “Bernice, I had to come and see you one last time.”
Other close friends were present, as well, and we talked about old times; social get-togethers, swimming parties, Bible studies, Mary Kay parties, and Mexican feasts at Sal’s in Selma, California after church on Sundays.
She said, “Some day, we’ll all be in heaven together having the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, at one long table, big enough for all of us, and Jesus will be at the head of the table!”
I said, “Eating Sal’s Mexican food!”
Everyone laughingly agreed especially Bernice.
Bernice and I hugged and cried together. We knew that we wouldn’t see each other again on this side of heaven, and we both knew that she was ready to meet the Lord. Within a week, she did.

Excerpt from Made New: A Hippie Chick’s Journey From Abuse to Forgiveness

Life in the Lord is part of His Tapestry

Life in the Lord is part of His Tapestry.

Life in the Lord is part of His Tapestry

Recently, I finished reading Heaven, by famous Christian author Randy Alcorn. Along with the Bible, it made an extremely profound impact on my spiritual journey with the Lord. I became keenly aware that out of all God’s promises we can’t begin to fathom or have any idea of the eternal and unfailing love He has for us.

My eyes, and the doors of my heart opened to receive more of His promises and the glorious eternity He has prepared for us. It’s hard to begin, or comprehend, what life will be like when I step over into eternity.

One important fact that we need to focus on is that our lives are but a vapor, here today and gone tomorrow. I fully believe that there will come a day, when I’ll be able to look back on my life as the Lord lovingly guides me, allowing me to see how both tragedy and joyous events unfolded from an eternal perspective.

We should look forward to the end of our lives, praying daily, seeking God’s will. His desire is for us to serve Him, showing Christ’s love to a hurting world, in the process, continually mending broken relationships through forgiveness.

That takes faith! Yet, remember, Romans 8:28? ‘We know that all things work for the good to those who love the Lord, those who have been called according to his purpose.
Years ago, I read Why do bad things happen to good people?
I don’t recall the name of the author, but he had an intriguing way of describing events that occur throughout our lives.
To paraphrase, our lives are like part of a tapestry, we only see the threads closest to us, each thread woven in alongside and beside us, but God sees the full picture of a beautifully complete tapestry, every thread carefully placed, and sewn in, by our Creator.

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