Friday, April 15, 2005

Weekly Word for April 15 thru 22, 2005

Weekly Word - April 15, 2005

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.”
(John 3:16)

The other day I saw a sign outside of a church. The sign read: “Free trip to Heaven, for more information - see inside . . .” As I read the sign, I wondered why I had trouble with it. It was the truth - - - but it wasn’t the whole truth. I knew it would catch people’s attention - - - but there was more - - - much more . . .

“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life . . .” (John 5: 24)

When I was a little girl, I heard the stories about God and Jesus, and about Heaven from my minister and Sunday school teachers. I really didn’t understand all that they were saying, but loved playing with my friends at church! We had to memorize bible verses, and there were prizes for those who learned them the best. I always won lots of prizes! But still, I didn’t know what any of them meant! I would wonder - - - and then go back to playing . . .

By the time I was 14, I had some of the same struggles that every teen-ager feels. I was awkward and afraid, I had been hurt and was angry, and I wondered if I would ever be alright. And then I heard a man on the television. His name was Billy Graham. And he told about a God who loved us, and healed those who were hurt, and saved those who were lost. As I listened, I wanted what he was talking about! But had no idea how to find it . . .

“The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has, and buys that field.”
(Mathew 13: 44)

I was 16 when I met him, and by 18 I was married to the man. He seemed so strong and sure of himself, planning our marriage and our lives. But soon I found myself wondering what to do, as his anger seemed always to be coming at me. He wanted me to work full time, but I got pregnant. He planned on saving money and buying a nice house, but the baby changed all those plans. By the time we had two children, I wondered if there would ever be love in our home. Searching for answers, hoping that God would hear me, I went to a few area churches. At each, I would hope for a miracle. It was here, that I started to see glimpses of who God was, and what this all meant. I found myself praying everyday. And I would wonder if He really heard me. It felt like I was taking each prayer, tying it to a rock, and throwing it! I was trying with all my strength, hoping that somehow, my prayers had reached all the way up - to heaven . . .

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had, and bought it.”
(Mathew 13: 45 & 46)

It was 1986, and we had just moved to Connecticut. I hadn’t wanted to move, but again, his plans prevailed. We had a nine year old and a five year old, and I was babysitting my nephew, who was just 6 months old. I didn’t know anyone in the area, and was always lonely. On this particular day, I was trying to get everyone into the car to take them to school. Being normal kids, they did everything possible to make us late! Holding the baby on one hip, yelling at the kids to get into the car, I finally noticed that a strange woman was walking down the driveway. She had a big button on her jacket and papers in her hand. “I’m asking people to vote for me, on election day” she said, smiling. “I can’t vote” I said, “We just moved here from out of state.” Instead of turning and walking away, she looked at me and asked where we were from, and where was I going? I told her that we had moved from Massachusetts, and that I was taking the kids to school. “What school?” she asked, and I found myself telling her the name of the school. “I have a friend who also has children in that school, here’s her name and phone number” and she wrote something down on one of the papers, and reached out to hand it to me.

I must have looked quite shocked when she tried to give me that paper. “You can’t give me that!” I told her. “You don’t know me!” and she laughed and handed it to me anyways.

Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above - coming down from the Father . . . (James 1:17)

That piece of paper became a life-line. I put it on the refrigerator, and would look at it every time I was lonely, sad, or hurt. Finally, drawing all the courage I could muster, I dialed the phone.

She became a friend - and then my best friend. She was a wife and mother, and I liked her right away. She listened when I told her of my troubles, and then would have words of encouragement or hope. I knew she had faith in God, and I found myself drawn to her. Slowly, I learned of her life - one of loneliness and hurts. As a little girl, her parents had divorced and she was taken by her mother into a life of alcohol and drugs. As a teen-ager, she stood in the hospital - watching as her friend died of an overdose. She found herself struggling to survive, with her own little baby. And then, she found “the Lord”. My friend told me about her faith, about God’s healing, and about Jesus in her life. I listened and wondered . . .

My friend let me argue with her about religion. She smiled as I told her my thoughts. She never argued back, or told me I was wrong. She just listened. I was still struggling with my own life and troubles, and my friend got me to start going to a bible study. Here, I heard even more stories about faith and the Lord. And still, I wondered . . .

“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you . . .” (Mathew 6: 33)

One day, as I drove home from the bible study, I started to talk out loud in the car. Things had gotten even worse at home, and I felt battered and beaten down all the time. As I drove, I started to talk to God. I had heard what my friends had said, and soon, I was yelling at Him “If You are real, I need help! I can’t do this alone any more. I know that I have made mistakes, that I have sinned, please forgive me. If You are there, please come into my life, and into my heart . . .”

“And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.”
(Jeremiah 29: 13)

That day was the beginning - - - the beginning of my “relationship” with the Lord. And it is a relationship. It is walking each day with Him. It is saying “yes” to letting Him into everything in my life. It is knowing that He already knows all there is to know about me - - - and that I didn’t know anything - until He showed me. It is touching the hand of God, and bringing Heaven down here on earth - to change lives and bring healing and Life where there hadn’t been any before.

Now as I look back over my life, I realize that God was never very far away. He was always there, always loving me. He was just waiting for me to open the door, and ask Him to come inside. When I did, not only was my life changed , but Heaven and earth were changed - - - forever!

The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field; and this is smaller than all other seeds; but when it is full grown, it is larger than the garden plants, and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in it’s branches.” (Mathew 13: 33)

The other day, a friend called me. I listened and heard the fear and worry in her voice. She was facing a very serious operation, and things weren’t looking very good. My own fears and worries started to grow as I listened and thought about all she was facing. And then I asked her: “Can we pray?” I had never prayed with her, although she knew my faith in God. I wondered what she would say. “I don’t know how to” she said. “That’s OK” I told her, “I do”. As I started to pray - - - The Lord was there. He had been waiting, to be asked into her life as well . . .

“Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. And I will be found by you,” declares the Lord.
(Jeremiah 29: 12 - 14)

A free trip to Heaven? That isn’t quite right. There is a cost - and the cost is you! You have to say “yes” to opening the door - to letting Him into your life - and into your heart. He is waiting - - - just for you - - - will you believe?
I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me shall live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”
(John 11: 25 & 26)
God bless you in this coming week ahead!

In His Love,
Debbie & Ted Ayers


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fantastic job Debbie. Keep up the great work. You rock. :)

Love ya.

3:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just wanted to invite you to Top Blogs. Cheers.

4:48 PM  

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