Friday, June 17, 2005

Weekly Word for June 17 - 24, 2005

Weekly Word - June 17, 2005

“Let not your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. . .”
“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”
(John 14: 1 & 3)

As I went into the Post Office, I said hello to the girls behind the counter. I still liked coming to this little post office, even though I had moved into the city - with it’s big post office downtown. “Oh Deb, I put a letter into your box - instead of forwarding it” Donna told me. I had a post office box for the ministry, but everything else went to the house. I wondered what the letter was about - and quickly finished buying my stamps. Then, I turned to the box. I could see it was a long white envelope, as I started turning the combination. An uneasiness started to fill me - and I wondered why. At the last number, I turned the key and opened the box. It was addressed to me, with flowery writing on the envelope. I didn’t recognize the name and address - - - or even the writing. God’s blessings! it told me - but I wasn’t so sure about it . . .

“If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him, and make our abode with him.”
(John 14: 23)

My hands were shaking as I opened the envelope. As I pulled out the paper, the dark red words hit me first. “Jesus is coming!” “Get Ready!” the words seemed to scream at right me. As I looked at the paper, I could feel my anger growing! “Can you believe this?” I asked (to no one in particular). And then I realized that both girls were looking at me a little strangely. I took the letter over to the window, showing them why I was so angry. “Oh, it’s like one of those Armageddon warnings” Donna said. As I looked at each of them - I wondered if they thought all Christians felt this way. And then I realized how differently I felt about my faith - about my friend - the Lord. This paper was all about fear - all about dire warnings - if people didn’t obey . . .

“The fear of the Lord is to hate evil; Pride and arrogance and the evil way, . . .”
(Proverbs 8:13)

I had lived my life being afraid - - - for so many years! Fear had gone into my being - not from God - but from people. They were people who for all sorts of reasons - hurt me. Each wound, each betrayal - left their mark - and I lived in fear. That is, until God came into my life - - - and taught me to trust. He taught me about love - - - and healed my heart. He taught me about faith - - - and how to listen to Him . . .

“But for you who fear My name - the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings; and you will go forth . . .”
(Mal. 4:2)

It was 1999, and everyone was getting ready for the “Millenium”. We were going into the year 2000 - and none of us knew what to expect. At the time, I was working in the counseling ministry. My friend, who was head of the ministry, watched mostly Christian programs on television. On quite a few of these programs, the ministers were warning Christians to “Get Ready” . . . For “Y-2K”! That was the term used for when 1999 would become 2000. The ministers were sure that something terrible would happen when the clock struck midnight on New Year’s Eve. Power was going to go out - - - computers would crash - - - and our country as well as the world would be in chaos . . .

My friend asked me what I thought about what the preachers were saying, and I have to admit, I didn’t know. But I did wonder why God didn’t seem to be telling us what to do. There were lists put out - with everything from food - to gasoline - to generators to be used, when disaster struck. There were so many people afraid at the time. And then I heard a preacher say: “Well, if we are wrong - it won’t matter, people can use the supplies later on.”

None of it seemed right, but I wanted to ask God. So we prayed and prayed - and still it didn’t seem like the Lord was telling us to “Get Ready!” Finally, I told my friend that I believed that God would tell us - - - if we needed to do something. And so we didn’t do anything - except to keep on working - and keep on trusting . . .

“From now on I am telling you before it comes to pass, so that when it does occur, you may believe that I am He.”
(John 13: 19)

Quite a few years ago, early 1995 to be exact, I had a dream. In the dream I saw myself as a reporter. I had a camera and a microphone, and I was walking through a very large building talking to different people. In the building, there were families. There were children playing and adults walking and working everywhere. Everyone was very busy, living their lives. I liked them all, very much. And then in the dream, I left the building. But I had somehow left my camera inside, so that I could still watch the people. As the dream continued, I was in my bedroom watching the people on my television. I somehow knew that something bad was going to happen - but I wasn’t sure what. So I kept watching, and that’s when the explosion happened. I could see these beautiful children and families - and they were in this horrible explosion! It was as if I could look directly at this beautiful little girl - - - and then I knew she was gone . . .

When I woke up, I was shaking from head to toe! It had all felt so real, and I didn’t know what to do about it. I went to my friend, and told her all about the dream - hoping she would know what it all meant. But she didn’t. We prayed together, and wondered - trying to figure out what the dream meant.

“See, I have set before you today - life and prosperity, and death and adversity;”
(Deuteronomy 30: 15)

“in that I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways and keep His commandments”
(Deuteronomy 30: 16)

It was April 19, 1995 - and a man by the name of Timothy McVeigh drove a van to the federal building in Oklahoma City. He parked the van, and left. As children played in the daycare overlooking the road, adults bustled inside doing their jobs. When the explosion happened, the entire building shook - and children and adults - lost their lives . . .

As I watched the news on my television, I again found myself shaking! It was just like my dream, and I watched as one of the fireman carried the little girl out in his arms. The sobs started deep inside, as I asked Him why it had to happen - - - and then I realized it didn’t - it was one man’s choice - and he had chosen death . . .

“I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live . . .”
(Deuteronomy 20:19)

To this day, I am not sure why the Lord told me about the Oklahoma City bombing. What I do know is: He tells us about the important things in our lives! He shows us what is good - - - as well as what is deadly. And if we ask Him to - - - He walks with us - and talks with us - for the rest of our lives . . .

“by loving the Lord your God, by obeying His voice, and by holding fast to Him; for this is your life - and the length of your days, . . .”
(Deuteronomy 20: 20)

A few years ago, when Ted and I were first falling in love, we weren’t sure what God wanted each of us to do. We both had been told by our pastor that the other needed something different for their lives. Both of us wanted to do what was “right” for the other person. We each loved that strongly, wanting the very best for the other . . .

“Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.”
(John 15: 13)

We loved each other so much - - - and we loved the Lord as well. We prayed - we hoped - and we asked the Lord what to do . . .

“You are My friends, if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father - I have made known to you.”
(John 15: 14 & 15)

We prayed - we hoped - we asked God what to do . . . And then I had a dream. In the dream I saw both Ted and myself. I knew that I loved him so much. And then I saw a pool that was full of what looked like jelly! I stood there looking at it, wondering what to do next. And then I heard it: “Jump in” - and so I did! It was so sweet and so wonderful - and I knew that this was Ted. He is sweet and wonderful, and God was telling me it was alright to love him - to “jump in”. When I woke up from the dream, I started to laugh. It was OK to love Ted - to marry him. From that moment on, I knew that God was showing us what to do - telling us that He would be there - in our lives and in our marriage.
“for all things . . . I have made known to you.”

He tells us about everything, showing us what is good as well as what is deadly. That is the Lord that I have come to learn about - the God who is in my life. Have there been times when He has given us warnings? Yes. He told us when prayer was needed for my daughter - as she and friends were being chased by men who could have killed them. He warned when a friend was in danger - and Ted and I prayed. Later we found out that she had gotten lost on a foggy night - and nearly died when she made a wrong turn - and a truck was coming toward her.

God loves us! He talks to us, and warns us - so that we can make choices - for life! He is not the God of fear - but of Love. So when I looked at the sheet of paper that was mailed to me - I knew that it was meant to bring fear to those who read it. The person wanted people to “choose God” - by making them afraid. But that wasn’t the Lord who I knew - the God who walked and talked with me - everyday! He took my fear - and replaced it with Life . . .

God is love, and the one who abides in love - abides in God, and God abides in him. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear . . .
(1 John 4: 16 & 18)

God is love - He loves you! The Lord is just waiting for you - to heal your heart and to take your fears. He knows just what will bring you alive - what is sweet and good - and full of Life forever . . .

“But now I come to Thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy made full in themselves.” (John 17: 13)

God bless you in the coming week ahead!

In His Abiding Love,
Debbie & Ted Ayers


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