Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Understand that things happen for a reason and “JESUS IS THE REASON FOR THE SEASON”

The brand new pastor and his wife, newly assigned to their first ministry, to reopen a church in suburban Brooklyn, arrived in early October excited about their opportunities. When they saw their church, it was very run down and needed much work. They set a goal to have everything done in time to have their first service on Christmas Eve.

They worked hard, repairing pews, plastering walls, painting, etc, and on December 18th were ahead of schedule and just about finished.

On December 19 a terrible tempest - a driving rainstorm hit the area and lasted for two days.

On the 21st, the pastor went over to the church. His heart sank when he saw that the roof had leaked, causing a large area of plaster about 20 feet by 8 feet to fall off the front wall of the sanctuary just behind the pulpit, beginning about head high.

The pastor cleaned up the mess on the floor, and not knowing what else to do but postpone the Christmas Eve service, headed home. On the way he noticed that a local business was having a flea market type sale for charity, so he stopped in. One of the items was a beautiful, handmade, ivory colored, crocheted tablecloth with exquisite work, fine colors and a Cross embroidered right in the center. It was just the right size to cover the hole in the front wall. He bought it and headed back to the church.

By this time it had started to snow. An older woman running from the opposite direction was trying to catch the bus. She missed it. The pastor invited her to wait in the warm church for the next bus 45 minutes later.

She sat in a pew and paid no attention to the pastor while he got a ladder, hangers, etc., to put up the tablecloth as a wall tapestry. The pastor could hardly believe how beautiful it looked and it covered up the entire problem area.

Then he noticed the woman walking down the center aisle. Her face was like a sheet. "Pastor," she asked, "where did you get that tablecloth?" The pastor explained. The woman asked him to check the lower right corner to see if the initials, EBG were crocheted into it there. They were. These were the initials of the woman, and she had made this tablecloth 35 years before, in Austria.

The woman could hardly believe it as the pastor told how he had just gotten "The Tablecloth". The woman explained that before the war she and her husband were well-to-do people in Austria.

When the Nazis came, she was forced to leave. Her husband was going to follow her the next week.  He was captured, sent to prison and never saw her husband or her home again.

The pastor wanted to give her the tablecloth; but she made the pastor keep it for the church. The pastor insisted on driving her home. That was the least he could do. She lived on the other side of Staten Island and was only in Brooklyn for the day for a housecleaning job.

What a wonderful service they had on Christmas Eve. The church was almost full. The music and the spirit were great. At the end of the service, the pastor and his wife greeted everyone at the door and many said that they would return.

One older man, whom the pastor recognized from the neighborhood continued to sit in one of the pews and stare, and the pastor wondered why he wasn't leaving.

The man asked him where he got the tablecloth on the front wall because it was identical to one that his wife had made years ago when they lived in Austria before the war and how could there be two tablecloths so much alike.

He told the pastor how the Nazis came, how he forced his wife to flee for her safety and he was supposed to follow her, but he was arrested and put in a prison. He never saw his wife or his home again all the 35 years between.

The pastor asked him if he would allow him to take him for a little ride. They drove to Staten Island and to the same house where the pastor had taken the woman three days earlier.

He helped the man climb the three flights of stairs to the woman's apartment, knocked on the door and he saw the greatest Christmas reunion he could ever imagine.

True Story - submitted by Pastor Rob Reid who says God does work in mysterious ways. I asked the Lord to bless you as I prayed for you today, to guide you and protect you as you go along your way. His love is always with you. His promises are true, and when we give Him all our cares we know He will see us through.

So when the road you're traveling seems difficult at best, just remember I'm here praying and God will do the rest. Pass this on to those you want God to bless.

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Father

By Chet Nowlen

Once upon a time there was a man that took a young bride to share his life. The wife bore the man sons and he is now referred to as “Father”. One day a terrible thing happened. The wife betrayed the “Father” as she had been seduced by another. The betrayal broke the “Father’s heart, and separation and divorce hurt the “Father” even more.

The wife married the seducer and they became as one. The sons followed their mother’s direction and one of the sons accepted his new step-father as if he were his natural father. The “Father” came to visit his sons, but one of the sons ignored him as if he were not even there. The other son honored the “Father” and gave him honor and respect. One son could not find anything good that the “Father” had ever done for him, so he ignored him and hoped he would go away. The other son honored his “Father” and him his time and attention. This son gave the “Father” thanks for all he had ever done for him.

This story may sound like someone you know and it is. The “Father” in this story is God. The wife is the world and the seducer is of course Satan. The world and the worldly system are married to Satan. Satan is the illegal step-father to sons. The sons are all the children born all over the world since the creation of man.

Notice the parallel of the two sons and first two sons in the Bible, Cain and Abel. Even though Adam and Eve were kicked out of the Garden of Eden, because of their disobedience, God still came to visit His family. Adam taught his children to honor God, because He was their creator, by giving back to God. Cain and Abel were the first to tithe to God.

Cain gave 10% of his crop to God as a tithe, but Cain dishonored God by holding back his best for himself. He only gave to God from the third picking, which is the poorest quality of the harvest. You see Cain dishonored God by only giving poor quality, whereas Abel honored God by giving Him his very best first.

The two sons represent two classes of people on the earth. The first is the people that ignore God and hope He will go away. The second is the people that love God and honor Him in all that they do. They give him thanks and praise Him. “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” I Thessalonians 5:18

Note: The greatest gift you can give you Heavenly Father is to thank Him and give Him praise for all His blessings He has given you.  Sometimes we take our earthly father’s for granted too.  One of the Ten Commandments is to “Honor your Father and Mother”.  The greatest gift you can give your parent is your respect and honor them with thanks for the many sacrifices they made for you.  Praise them for what they did right and forgive them for what they did wrong.  Take the time to praise them, with your words, as you will not always have your parents. 

If you’ve hurt or disappointed your parents don’t tell your parents to “Get over it!”  That does not heal the wound.  Tell them you are sorry for your selfishness.  Ask them to forgive you and when you do you will heal their hurt and their pain of your selfish words.  Words are a very powerful force.  Words used the wrong way can cause much damage to another person body and spirit.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

The Trail

By Chet Nowlen

Last weekend my wife and I took a trip to Montgomery Bell State Park here in Tennessee. We had a wonderful buffet lunch at the hotel in the park and then took a hike on Wild Cat Trail. We had our camera with us and we were like little kids as we were having the best time looking at limbs, broken branches, rocks or whatever we could find that had the shapes of the letters in the alphabet. We found and took pictures of some very interesting letters.

We then drove around the park looking for another great place to hike and we discovered M.B. Trail and Ore Pit Loop trails. We must have walked up and down the hilly trail for about five or six miles and I remember beginning to feel very tired.

I knew we should be getting close to where the vehicle was parked because I could see it in the distance. I remember feeling concerned because the trail was leading us away from our vehicle. I remember the thought came to my mind that we are on the wrong trail and we should go back. Then I heard my spirit speak to my mind, will, and emotion, “don’t be afraid, stay focused on the trail and you will reach your destination.” Then I realized that our mind, will and emotions can cause us to get off track and cause us to miss out on the things we desire. Our mind will and emotions can cause us to give up on our journey and turn around and go back the way we came never reaching our destination.

The mind, will, and emotions is how the enemy comes against us. He uses trickery and deception to cause us to get off track by whispering thoughts of fear or with words like these; “You are not going to make it, you’d better turn around and give up on your dream, your goal, your desire, your destination.”

Jesus said that we can have whatsoever we say:

22 So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God. 23 For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. 24 Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.
Mark 11: 22-24 New King James Version

Notice the key words; “and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.” Satan hates us so much he wants to destroy us. He cannot physically do it because he is a spirit therefore cannot operate in the physical world without the use of a body. He can only accomplish his goal of destroying you and me through the use of suggestions to our mind will and emotions. He used his trickery on Adam and Eve and he succeeded because he was able to convenience them to relinquish their dominion and authority on the earth to him.

Jesus said, “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” John 10:10 New King James version - Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil and he did just that. What Jesus did on the cross took the dominion and authority away from Satan and gave the dominion an authority back to us. Every word that Jesus said was for us to use and defeating the works of the evil one and to be an over-comer in every area of our life.

He came so that we can live life and to live it more abundantly. The enemy does not want to you know this so he keeps whispering in your subconscious thoughts of your past failures and mistakes. He whispers thought of inadequacy, selfishness, and self consciousness.

The Holy Spirit whispers thoughts to your spirit too, but we cannot hear him if our minds are full fear doubt and unbelief. The secret is to listen to your thoughts and your words and if they do not line up with what Jesus would says then rebuke those thoughts and those words in the Name of Jesus. Resist the devil and he will flee from you just as he fled from Jesus when Jesus was tempted by Satan. Jesus set Satan to running because Jesus on replied to Satan’s temptations with a quote from what God had already said.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Remembering remember 911 - September 11, 2020

By Chet Nowlen

I remember 911, do you? Do you remember we were attacked? Do you remember CNN airing the Iraqi women and children jumping up and down shouting for joy the day of the attack? Do you remember the Iraqi men shooting their rifles up in the air and rejoicing because America has been attacked? I thought it strange that the news media shopped showing the footage of Iraqi women and children dancing for joy over the death of thousands. They usually replay clips for days on end. I suspect they feared it would cause Americans to retaliate against the muslim community here in America.

A holy war of Jihad has been declared against America because she is so hated. She is hated because of the freedoms we have been afforded in our constitution. The extremist Islam movement got its start in the 1950's with the trip of one man's trip to America. He was so shocked by our freedoms he vowed to destroy America. His hatred spread all across Islam and thousands have joined his holy war cause.

I do not condone the burning of a religion's holy book as a way of showing revenge for 911, nor do I condone the burning of the Holy Bible or the American Flag. According to our constitution Americans have the right to protest as a part of our freedoms, however, there are people from other religions do not understand our freedoms and constitutional rights, nor do they care to understand when it comes to the burning of their holy book.

The pastors in Florida and Murfreesboro, Tennessee have the right, according to our constitution, to protest in the way they have said they would, but is it the right thing to do? We have rights according to our constitution, but just because we have the right to do something does not make it right or responsible for us to do whatever we want to do. I say the pastors should stick to preaching to good news of Jesus Christ and forget about the protest they have in mind. We are in fact in a war, but not a war of flesh and blood. Our war is against principalities and powers and rulers of darkness. These enemies are spiritual enemies that influence people to hatred and murder of innocent people for what they believe will please their god.

I am not suggesting this for fear of what the Jihadist may do, but rather as a matter of the Christian responsibility of doing what is right. I am concerned however, that Christians today have become so passive we do not know how to fight against the darkness that is trying to destroy our nation. Why is this so? It’s because the church no longer teaches God’s word. Many Christians do not know God’s word because their church has not taught them the importance of studying the word, meditating on the word, and speaking the word. The passive church has taught that much of the Bible as history and does not need to be read and believed. Where do you think that kind of thinking came from?

Immediately after 911 America, and the world, prayed to our God, but now many people have forgotten and have stopped praying. In just nine short years many American have turned their back on God and no longer think they need Him. Just the opposite is true. There is a movement of a few that are hell bent on destroying our country from within and many American's are so naïve they do not see, nor understand, what is happening right before their eyes. These few are hell bent on converting America to socialism / communism. These forms of government destroy freedom and place the people in slavery. Who do you think is behind this radical change? Is it the Democrats or the Republicans? There are people of both parties that are supporting this conversion, but who is driving them? You guessed it, Satan himself!

I declare that now, more than ever, is the time for American Christians are to put on their spiritual armor and pray for American to be delivered from what enemy is trying to do to our country. America is the only country in the world that holds the rest of the world together. If America falls then the rest of the world does not have a chance. The world will fall into chaos, which what the enemy wants. He is pushing this in order for a one world leader (his servant) to rule the world.

The enemy will not destroy America if American’s will fight for our country with the only weapons that will defeat the enemy – our prayers – our faith – and our words. When you waste your time listening to the words of doom and gloom of the mainstream news media, TV shows, and movies you are listening to the world’s words of fear doubt and unbelief spun by the enemy himself. What makes matters worse is most Americans, even Christians, are listening to the enemy’s words and saying what the enemy says. When you repeat the words of the enemy you are expressing that you have a stronger trust in your in fear than in your faith that God will protect and deliver you from the snares of the enemy. Faith is based on trust in God and fear is based on what enemy says which may or may not ever happen.

The two are opposing forces to each other and do not work together at all. When you speak what God’s word says about a particular thing you are expressing your trust in God that He will do what He said He will do. You are using the God kind of faith in that you are speaking of things that are not as though they are. When you speak words of fear you are using that same principle of speaking of things that are not as though they are. However, whichever words you speak you are releasing a creative force that causes your words to come to pass. If you speak words of fear then the things that you have feared will come to pass. If you speak words of faith based on what God said then the things that you have said in faith will come to pass.

The enemy cannot do anything of himself as he is a defeated foe. His time is short and he is turning up the heat in order to drag more people with him where the fire never burns out. There is not a day that goes by when I don’t hear someone say, “People are acting crazy, I do not ever remember at time when people behaved so badly.” In my line of work I am exposed people every day that are on edge and become very angry over the least little thing. What’s making these people so unhappy? I believe subconsciously they have lost their hope because of listening to negative comments of the media.

The enemy is a spirit and can do nothing in this physical world except for what he can talk you into doing for him. The enemy is able to whisper his deception in the hearts of man through his thoughts. When a person takes the enemy’s thoughts and expresses those thoughts out loud they have become that persons thought words and those words are the creative force that the enemy uses against us. This is how he influences people to do the things they do. The enemy was able to trick Adam and Eve with the use of half truths and persuasion. He persuaded them to receive the thoughts that God didn’t tell them the whole story and that God didn’t really mean what He said. The couple took the enemy’s thought as their own and willfully committed the act disobedience which caused the curse to come upon them.

Adam could have taken control of the situation and put a stop to the tricks of the enemy, but instead he entertained the thoughts the enemy had planted in him because he wanted what the enemy told him he could have had. Adam did get what the enemy had promised, but it was not as good what he thought it would be. The enemy can plant a pretty picture in your mind and lure you into believing a lie. It’s never as good as he says it will be.

So what is the solution? The answer is found in the heart of every individual. What’s planted in your heart comes out of you by the words you speak. Listen to yourself talk and pay close attention to what you are saying as out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. If you are speaking words of fear, doubt and unbelief (the enemy’s words) then you have to change what’s in your heart. The only way to change what’s in your heart is to meditated on God’s word and speak what God’s word has to say about you. Faith comes by hearing and by hearing the word of God. The more you hear yourself say God’s word the deeper His word is planted in your heart and whatever is planted in your heart is what will come out of your mouth. The answer lies if our getting to know God by meditating on His words and by saying and doing what He says (expressing His words) and not what the enemy says. Matthew 7:24 (read the whole chapter)

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Prayer Request from Sarah

Several months ago, I believe I may have contacted your website in regard to a man whose name is William ("Bill"). If I am correct about having previously contacted your site, I thank you for your prayers and ask that you please continue to pray with me for this man's salvation (also, for those in his life who don’t know Jesus). I am not in a position to witness to this man personally, but others have been contacted to this regard. Please ask the Lord to extend His spirit to facilitate and lead a conversational witness through anyone whom He may choose. Please ask God to extend His grace toward Bill, doing everything needed to chase him, overcome his pride, lift the veil from his eyes, bring conviction to his heart and show him his need for a Savior. Like us all, Bill has made some mistakes, and has unfortunately had some tragic things to happen in his life. At this time, he is struggling with. Please also ask God to sober him, to protect him, to purify his mind, to work on his heart with His spirit; that He’ll place him in the company of believing friends, and that He will not only save Bill, but will use his testimony to bring others to Christ and further the kingdom.

I’ve been praying for this man for a long time, now. Regardless of what His will may be, please ask the Lord to uphold my faith in Him; to keep my faith strong in knowing that His word will not return to me void.

In Him for His glory and with sincere thanks,

Sarah S

1 Timothy 2:1-4, Romans 8:31-32;8:37
Chet's Reply to Sarah's Prayer Request

Hi Sarah S,

Thank you for your request for prayer. I will be glad to join in agreement with you for Bill to come to know Jesus in a real and personal way. When you said, " . . . ask God to sober him . . ." reminded me of my Dad's miracle story. My Dad was a lot like Bill. He was a good man, but there were some horrible mistakes in his past that haunted him, and he spent most of his life hiding in a bottle. In case you haven't read the story on my BLOG just click on the link below:

The Lord Heard My Prayer For My Dad

Sarah your prayers for Bill will come to pass just as you say it will and because Jesus said, ". . . Have faith in God. For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsover he saith. Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive (the correction interpetion of this word is received - past tense) them, and ye shall have them." Now the key to answered prayer is found in the next verse, "And when you stand praying, forgive, if you have an ought against any; that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses, But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses. Mark 11:22-26

It looked impossible for my Dad to change because he hated Christians. He had been badly hurt by a Christian and swore he would never be like them. On the surface my Dad looked like a mountain that was impossible to move, but I kept on believing for him without preaching to him. I let the Holy Spirit have His way and He dealt with my Dad's heart in a miraculous way. He was able to do what no amount of witnessing or preaching could do.

Notice Jesus said that whosoever shall say - that means you have to talk to the mountain and tell it to be removed. This mountain that Bill has is not a rock but rather a stone heart. So Jesus is saying for you to speak to that stone heart of Bill's and tell it to be gone. The next step is called faith. Jesus said you are to believe the thing you have just said has already come to pass. Believe in your mind's eye that it's a done deal, your prayer is already answered. Use your mind's eye and see Bill already changed based on what you have said. You do not have to keep praying the same prayer if its already happened, so there is no need to keep praying for the same issue. Just believe and it shall come to pass just as you have said! If may not have manifested itself right now, but by faith it has and it will come to pass in the Holy Spirits timing, not ours.

As long as there is no unforgiveness in your heart, your words the thing that you have said for Bill is already happened. It's like planting a seed. It takes time for the seed to germinate before it bursts through the soil and eventually you will see the harvest of your faith.

Now after you have planted your seeds of faith, by the words you have spoken, your job is to relax and let the Holy Spirit go to work on that stony heart. Your words now are past tense words, i.e., "Thank God Bill has accepted Jesus as his Lord and savior." You do not say these words directly to Bill until it has manifested, but you can say them out loud while you are praying or just driving down the road all by yourself. Give God thanks out loud for delivering Bill. Thank God for cleansing Bill's heart. Thank God for delivering Bill from alcohol. Thank God for hearing your prayer and answering them. Thank God that you do not have to keep praying for Bill because He has already answered your prayer.

Let's pray together, "Father in Heaven" I give you thanks for being such a loving Father. Thank you for hearing our prayers and answering them in Your timing and in your ways as Your ways are much better than our ways.

Lord God I pray for Sarah and give thanks for her as she has cared enough for Bill to request prayer for him. Lord I join Sarah in prayer for Bill to come to know Jesus and I thank you Father because it has already happened because Sarah has spoken to the mountain and has cast it in the sea. She has spoken to the mountain and has cast the image of problem out of her mind because now she sees the answer to her prayer instead. She sees Bill as a new man in Christ Jesus and she see him living for You and serving You. Sarah now speaks words of faith that what she has prayed for she has also believed will come to pass in its own timing just like a seed planted in good soil. Sarah knows her prayer will come to pass because she has not doubted in her heart and because your Word says that whatever things we desire when we pray we believe we have received them and we shall have them. Sarah speaks whatever your words are and her prayers are answered based on your words.

Lord thank you for bringing our words, spoken in faith for Bill, to pass. Lord thank you that we see the harvest already happened in our mind's eye and we will also see the physical manifestation take place in your timing.

Lord I give thanks for Sarah ask Your blessing upon her life and her ministry. We are all called to be ministers of the gospel by the words we speak and I pray that her words will be a blessing to everyone that comes in contact with her."

In Jesus Name,

Sarah the Word of God is His Will. His will is that all be saved and that none shall be lost. God has given His Will (His Words) to use in reaching the lost. Jesus said that we shall know that we are His when we follow his sayings and do what He said. When we say and do what He said then we have His will working to accomplish what He wants to happen. His calling is for a people that will stand in the gap using the power of His words - this is what will prepare the world for His soon coming. You are called to be a minister of the gospel and are called by His Word, His will to declare the good news. To everyone you come in contact with.

Sarah, I would like your permission to post your prayer request and our prayer on my BLOG. Please advise if I have your permission. Please also feel free to add any comments or questions.

Chet Nowlen
Sarah's Reply

Thank you, Chet. I very much appreciate your help to pray for this man. I've taken what you've written to heart, have prayed the prayers you posted, and am giving thanks to God for what He is already doing and will do, because He said so. Thank you, for the encouragement and counsel that help to strengthen my faith.

You asked if it will be alright to place this prayer request on your blog. I would be pleased for you to do that, and will certainly write again to update when I have good news to share. It will be a praise report, but I have begun giving praise today.

in Him for His glory and with sincere thanks,

Sarah S.
Please feel free to e-mail your prayer requests to Chet at welldone@comcast.net
Please visit my other BLOGs:
http://storyofgijoe.blogspot.com/ More about my Dad
http://www.winningthewarondebt.com/ Please feel free to request a free copy of my eBook "How to Win the War on Debt".

Monday, July 26, 2010

Glass Of Milk

One day, a poor boy who was selling goods from door to door to pay his way through school, found he had only one thin dime left, and he was hungry.

He decided he would ask for a meal at the next house. However, he lost his nerve when a lovely young woman opened the door.

Instead of a meal he asked for a drink of water! . She thought he looked hungry so brought him a large glass of milk. He drank it so slowly, and then asked, How much do I owe you?"

You don't owe me anything," she replied. "Mother has taught us never to accept pay for a kindness."

He said ... "Then I thank you from my heart."

As Howard Kelly left that house, he not only felt stronger physically, but his faith in God and man was strong also. He had been ready to give up and quit.

Many year's later that same young woman became critically ill. The local doctors were baffled. They finally sent her to the big city, where they called in specialists to study her rare disease.

Dr. Howard Kelly was called in for the consultation. When he heard the name of the town she came from, a strange light filled his eyes.

Immediately he rose and went down the hall of the hospital to her room.

Dressed in his doctor's gown he went in to see her. He recognized her at once.

He went back to the consultation room determined to do his best to save her life. From that day he gave special attention to her case.

After a long struggle, the battle was won.

Dr. Kelly requested the business office to pass the final bill to him for approval. He looked at it, then wrote something on the edge, and the bill was sent to her room. She feared to open it, for she was sure it would take the rest of her life to pay for it all. Finally she looked, and something caught her attention on the side of the bill. She read these words ...

"Paid in full with one glass of milk"

(Signed) Dr. Howard Kelly.

Tears of joy flooded her eyes as her happy heart prayed: "Thank You,
God, that Your love has spread broad through human hearts and hands."

There's a saying which goes something like this: Bread cast on the water comes back to you. The good deed you do today may benefit you or someone you love at the least expected time. If you never see the deed again at least you will have made the world a better place - And, after all, isn't that what life is all about?

Now you have two choices.

1. You can send this page on and spread a positive message.

2. Or ignore it and pretend it never touched your heart.

The hardest thing to learn in life is which bridge to cross and which -- to burn.

This really touched my heart, I hope yours will be touched as well.

Who wrote Precious Lord?

I did not know and it is one of my favorite hymns.

Who wrote the song "Precious Lord"? I was very surprised to find out who it was.


Back in 1932, I was a fairly new husband. My wife, Nettie and I were living in a little apartment on Chicago 's south side. One hot August afternoon I had to go to St. Louis where I was to be the featured soloist at a large revival meeting. I didn't want to go; Nettie was in the last month of pregnancy with our first child, but a lot of people were expecting me in St. Louis . I kissed Nettie goodbye, clattered downstairs to our Model A and, in a fresh Lake Michigan breeze, chugged out of Chicago
on Route 66.

However, outside the city, I discovered that in my anxiety at leaving, I had forgotten my music case. I wheeled around and headed back.

I found Nettie sleeping peacefully. I hesitated by her bed; something was strongly telling me to stay. But eager to get on my way, and not wanting
to disturb Nettie, I shrugged off the feeling and quietly slipped out of the room with my music.

The next night, in the steaming St. Louis heat, the crowd called on me to sing again and again. When I finally sat down, a messenger boy ran up with a Western Union telegram. I ripped open the envelope....Pasted on the yellow sheet were the words: YOUR WIFE JUST DIED.

People were happily singing and clapping around me, but I could hardly keep from crying out. I rushed to a phone and called home. All I could
hear on the other end was "Nettie is dead. Nettie is dead.'"

When I got back, I learned that Nettie had given birth to a boy. I swung between grief and joy. Yet that same night, the baby died. I buried Nettie and our little boy together, in the same casket. Then I fell apart.
For days I closeted myself. I felt that God had done me an injustice. I didn't want to serve Him anymore or write gospel songs I just wanted to go back to that jazz world I once knew so well. But then, as I hunched alone in that dark apartment those first sad days, I thought back to the afternoon I went to St. Louis . Something kept telling me to stay with Nettie.

Was that something God? Oh, if I had paid more attention to Him that day, I would have stayed and been with Nettie when she died.

From that moment on I vowed to listen more closely to Him. But still I was lost in grief. Everyone was kind to me, especially one friend. The following Saturday evening he took me up to Maloney's Poro College, a neighborhood music school. It was quiet; the late evening sun crept through the curtained windows.

I sat down at the piano, and my hands began to browse over the keys. Something happened to me then. I felt at peace. I felt as though I could reach out and touch God. I found myself playing a melody. Once in my head they just seemed to fall into place: 'Precious Lord, take my hand, lead me on,let me stand, I am tired, I am weak, I am worn, through the storm, through the night, lead me on to the light, take my hand, precious Lord, lead me home.'

The Lord gave me these words and melody, He also healed my spirit. I learned that when we are in our deepest grief, when we feel farthest from God, this is when He is closest, and when we are most open to His restoring power.

And so I go on living for God willingly and joyfully, until that day comes when He will take me and gently lead me home.

- - - -Tommy Dorsey

For those too young to know who he is, Tommy Dorsey was a well-known band leader in the 1930's and 40's.

Did you know that Tommy Dorsey wrote this song? I surely didn't. What a wonderful story of how God CAN heal the brokenhearted! Beautiful, isn't it?

Worth the reading, wasn't it? Think on the message for a while. Thought you might like to share this, I just did.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Passive Church

The following is from a conversation on FaceBook:

Are you surprised that it is politically correct to allow anti-Semitism in our colleges, but its not politically correct to disagree with allowing these people to spread this propaganda in the USA. Christians and Jews are not allowed the same freedom of speach on the campus. What has happened to "US" as a nation? We the church have failed as we have become too passive and allowed the enemy of our souls to weaken the strength and foundation principles of what this country was formed upon.

Crossing the line exclusive clip - posted by Hiei Hiei (Hiei15) - tangle.com


Crossing the line exclusive clip - Crossing the line the intifada comes to campus. AntiZionism or/anti Semitism. Watch and find out whats happening on college campuses. Crossing,the,line,exclusive,clip

Russ - The anti-semitism shown in the video is appalling, as is any violent prejudice (racist or otherwise). I didn't however, see anything that said it's not politically correct to disagree with the racists or that others weren't given the same freedom. Did I miss it, or is that info somewhere else? (in fact, it showed a headline in which Harvard's ... See More president lamented the anti-semitism -- that doesn't seem consistent with it being a preferred political correctness). This ancient conflict, like most religious ones, breeds extremists.

Chet - Political Correctness was not mentioned the clip, however, Political Correctness has become a social disease that cause fear and passiveness. Fear to speak out against this type of thing because of retaliation. It is more prevalent in Europe right now, but is spreading to the USA.

The Passivism I'm speaking of is against the church because the church is . . . well I'd better not get into that right now because that's another can of worms that I'm not ready to open just yet.

Russ - Use the can opener whenever you feel comfortable. We all would like to hear from you about it, when you're ready.

Chet - I do not consider myself to be denominational as I have attended and have been members of several different evangelical denominations. I am amazed at the different levels of theology among denominations and within particular denominations. Unfortunately the different denominations have turned the "Church" into religions and I do not believe this is what the early church was designed for.

The churches are not all on the same page so to speak. Some denominations teach that only their denomination will go to heaven. They teach that all other denomination will go to hell. It’s not a denomination, church membership or affiliation, not anyone's good works that grants one to heaven. It is only the shed blood of Jesus and our personal relationship with God the Father that grants our membership in the heavenly church. There is only one way to a relationship with the Father and that is through Jesus.

Some mistakenly teach there are many ways to earn heaven. No one can earn membership in the heavenly church. It is a free gift that is offered without works or good deeds.

I can tell you some stories of some of the conversations I've had with various people that want to argue with me. This is a very sensitive subject some therefore I will tread carefully and say more about this as time permits.

Russ - I do appreciate your comments! What you've laid out here is essentially the same as I've come to understand (that should make you worry!!). Happy to have more of your comments as they're available.

The "church" the Bible refers to is not a brick and mortar building nor is it a particular denomination. The church is not even a religion. The church is the body of believers with Christ as the head of the body. The Bible also teaches that the church is also known as "The Bride of Christ". Israel is the wife or bride of God, and the church is the bride of Christ.

Chet - If you are "In Christ" you are a member of the church, not a member of a particular church building or denomination. I'm not saying that going to a church building is a bad thing. I am saying that just because you belong to a particular denomination or attend a particular church building every time the doors are open does not guarantee that you are a member of the body of the church that Jesus is the head of.

My scripture I base this teaching on is found in Matthew 7:21-23 (King James Version)

"21Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

22Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

23And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity."

On the surface I would say these people sound like "churchy" people. Can you imagine just how horrible it would be to stand before Jesus and hear Him say, "...I never knew you..." I look forward to hearing Him say to me, "Well Done good and faithful servant. You have been faithful...Come you blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world..." from Matthew 25:14-46

Why is there so much confusion and differences among the different denominations? God is not the author of confusion then who is? Satan is the enemy of our Heavenly Father and he hates the church so much therefore he is the author of the confusion among denominations and the creator of denominational religion.

More on that later if you want to hear more.

Chet - One more thing! The people described in Matthew 7:22 are likened to the parable of the sower found in Mark 4. The parable of the sower is a representation of word sown in four different kind of soil conditions, meaning four different kinds of conditions of a man's heart. The first condition is of a person that welcomes the word when he hears it, but the word is quickly stollen from him therefore it never has time to take root.

The second condition of the heart is full of rocks which are preconceived notions and negative thinking. They have no root in themselves and are easily offended when trouble arises because of the word. The word is sown in the heart, but only very shallow. These people have head knowledge about the word, but they do not care to take the time to get to know the word therefore they become displeased, indignant, resentful when things aren't going their way and they fall away.

The next soil condition is sown among thorns. This is the group that I think is most like the people mentioned in Matthew 7:22. These people are probably active in their local church and may be an outstanding member of the church. They may even be a part of the worship service. They are so involved in the business and activities of their church they get distracted with cares and anxieties of the world. They are distracted by the false glamour, glory, and attention they receive from other church members. They find themselves craving wealth and pleasure rather than growing in the knowledge of the word.

The last group is the people that will hear Jesus say, "Well Done" ...more on that later

Chet - More on the second soil type, the stony soil. This group is usually very intelligent and well educated. They are very logical and realistic. They don't accept ideas that are beyond their ability to rationalize. It's difficult for them to trust anything that they cannot see, touch, for feel. An example of this personality is the disciple is Thomas. Thomas was with the WORD daily and heard the WORD every day, but yet he did not fully trust and believe what he heard. His faith was hindered by his logical mind which affected the condition of his heart.

More on the third soil type, the thorny soil. This condition accepts the WORD and it takes root. These people are very active and very busy all the time. They are easily distracted by the circumstances around them that interfere with their goals. They like to make things happen and they like to do it their own way. They are impatient and if things are not going their way they tend to do things to make it happen. An example of this soil type is Judas.

Judas was an active disciple and in charge of the treasury for Jesus and the other disciples. He controlled the money and managing the money was very important to him. He complained of waste when the woman poured the expensive oil on Jesus' feet and washed His feet with her hair. Judas was more concerned with the waste than the act of worship.

Judas also had it in his head that Jesus was going to cause a revolution, an uprising against the Romans. Judas was more concerned with the political affairs of life than he was the affairs of the kingdom of God. Judas because impatient when he realized that Jesus was not going the cause the revolt he wanted. Judas planned to force it to happen by betraying Jesus. He thought that Jesus would rise up, take charge and lead a revolt against the Romans. Judas was seduced by Satan and believed a lie. Why? Because he was not listening and understanding what Jesus was here to accomplish. All Judas cared about was the overthrow of the Roman occupation.

After Jesus was arrested Judas realized that his plan to force Jesus to take action failed. Judas could have repented and asked God for forgiveness, but he didn't. He repented alright, but not to God. He repented to himself and then hung himself. The WORD was choked in Judas' life by the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches.

Chet - One more thing about Judas, Judas will someday soon appear at the Great White Throne of Judgment. All the Judas' of the world will one day stand before Jesus and they will say, "Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?" and Jesus will say, "I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." I like the way the Amplified Bible says it; "23And then I will say to them openly (publically), I never knew you; depart from Me, you who act wickedly [disregarding My commands]."

Chet – Now back to my earlier comment about the church being too passive. I am not that the church be political activist like Judas was. What I am saying is that the church has lost its identity, its value in America. Jesus was not a political activist and spoke very little of politics. He did have a lot to say about religious leaders and their hypocrisy, but most of his words were to train and inspire us to be over-comers in life. In short, His words were about how to overcome the works of flesh and Satan’s influence in our lives.

My position is Satan has been successful in weakening the church through religious divisions. Therefore the church has been too silent or passive regarding its job of ministering to the needs of people. The church, as a whole, is divided instead of being united. Some teach from the pulpit that part of the Bible as truth and the other part died with the apostles. Some teach that the stories in the Bible are just stories and never really happened. Some teach that God is a good God and would never send anyone one to hell therefore they deny the existence of hell. Some teach that not all prophecy in the Bible is real or will eventually happen.

Pastors have an awesome responsibility to teach and to train its flock what the WORD says and there are some pastors that are doing just that. There also other pastors that teach man made theology that is not based on scripture at all. There are also pastors that teach doctrines of socialism and communism from their pulpits. Their congregation has no root in the WORD (soil type number one) and does not even realize their minds are being feed with religious propaganda. If your church is not teaching what the WORD actually says then you need to go to any other church.

In Revelations Chapters 1 thru 4 there are seven letters to seven churches. In these letters to the churches Jesus commented on the things the church was doing right and also if he had anything against them. Just as the letters to the seven churches in Revelations Jesus knows the things today’s church as done right, but He also has some things against the church just as He had to say in Revelations 1-4. Read those chapters and you will see what I mean.

In conclusion, I believe that if the church was united in teaching the truth from the WORD and not a man made theology (rooted from the doctrine of demons) then there would not be any anti-semitic protesters on our college campuses. There would not be any Americans willfully converting to Islam. There would not be any political corruption because the politicians would have a firm foundation based on the WORD.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Stubborn and Rebellious Nature - Part 3

By Chet Nowlen

The following is one of many of my favorite scriptures, but yet it is controversial for some of my friends.  In my various jobs I have had the opportunity to work with and made friends with gay men.  I remember talking with one of my gay friends and I was about to discuss the following scripture with him and he because very angry and walked away.  He would not speak to me for two weeks after that.  He assumed I was going to condemn him because he was gay and he did not want to hear and preaching on the subject.  He knew I attended a Baptist church as the time and he assumed I was about to bring hell fire and damnation upon him.

What I was about to explain was that the church has been quick to condemn those that homosexual because of this scripture, but the word homosexual is only one of the descriptive words that are used to describe those that will not share in the kingdom of God.  Notice the all the words: impure, immoral, idolaters, adulters, homosexuality, cheats, greedy, drunkards, foulmouthed, slanders, extortioners, and robbers.  The church has caused an isolation and division for the homosexuals based on this scripture, but the church has failed to teach the whole truth about this scripture.  The truth is all of us are guilty of one or more of these descriptive words, therefore none of us (not just homosexuals) are worth to share in the kingdom of God.

Thank God HE sent Jesus to deliver us from "ALL" our sins and to forgive us from "ALL" unrighteousness.  Even after we have accepted the free gift of salvation and are cleansed by the blood of Jesus we still find ourselves being guilty again of one or more of those descriptive words.  Thank God HE allows us to confess our sins and forgives us when we fail.  It is impossible for us to be righteous on our own because we still live in a body that still carnal, but because of the Blood of Jesus we are made righteous "IN HIM".

1 Corinthians 6:9-19 Amplified Bible (AMP) 9Do you not know that the unrighteous and the wrongdoers will not inherit or have any share in the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived (misled): neither the impure and immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor those who participate in homosexuality, 

10Nor cheats (swindlers and thieves), nor greedy graspers, nor drunkards, nor foulmouthed revilers and slanderers, nor extortioners and robbers will inherit or have any share in the kingdom of God.

11And such some of you were [once]. But you were washed clean (purified by a complete atonement for sin and made free from the guilt of sin), and you were consecrated (set apart, hallowed), and you were justified [pronounced righteous, by trusting] in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the [Holy] Spirit of our God.

12Everything is permissible (allowable and lawful) for me; but not all things are helpful (good for me to do, expedient and profitable when considered with other things). Everything is lawful for me, but I will not become the slave of anything or be brought under its power.

13Food [is intended] for the stomach and the stomach for food, but God will finally end [the functions of] both and bring them to nothing. The body is not intended for sexual immorality, but [is intended] for the Lord, and the Lord [is intended] for the body [[a]to save, sanctify, and raise it again].

14And God both raised the Lord to life and will also raise us up by His power.

15Do you not see and know that your bodies are members (bodily parts) of Christ (the Messiah)? Am I therefore to take the parts of Christ and make [them] parts of a prostitute? Never! Never!

16Or do you not know and realize that when a man joins himself to a prostitute, he becomes one body with her? The two, it is written, shall become one flesh.(A)

17But the person who is united to the Lord becomes one spirit with Him.

18Shun immorality and all sexual looseness [flee from impurity in thought, word, or deed]. Any other sin which a man commits is one outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body.

19Do you not know that your body is the temple (the very sanctuary) of the Holy Spirit Who lives within you, Whom you have received [as a Gift] from God? You are not your own,

Read Matthew Henry’s Commentary on this scripture - Sins which, if lived and died in, shut out from the kingdom of God.

"The Corinthians are warned against many great evils, of which they had formerly been guilty. There is much force in these inquiries, when we consider that they were addressed to a people puffed up with a fancy of their being above others in wisdom and knowledge. All unrighteousness is sin; all reigning sin, nay, every actual sin, committed with design, and not repented of, shuts out of the kingdom of heaven. Be not deceived. Men are very much inclined to flatter themselves that they may live in sin, yet die in Christ, and go to heaven. But we cannot hope to sow to the flesh, and reap everlasting life. They are reminded what a change the gospel and grace of God had made in them. The blood of Christ, and the washing of regeneration, can take away all guilt. Our justification is owing to the suffering and merit of Christ; our sanctification to the working of the Holy Spirit; but both go together. All who are made righteous in the sight of God, are made holy by the grace of God." 
(1Co 6:12-20)"

Notice verse 12 above - I believe that now that I'm "IN CHRIST" Jesus all things are permissable to me, but not all things are beneficial for me.  All food is permissable but not all food is good for me to eat.  The Old Testiment law of clean and unclean foods is still the best guide at to what foods we should eat and not eat.  More on that in a later segment.

If too are battling the bulge caused by over eating I would like to hear from you.  Please write to me via e-Mail at mywelldone@me.com

Stubborn and Rebellious Nature - Part 2

By Chet Nowlen

I asked the Lord last year, "Lord, why have you had me have so many different jobs?  I feel like such a failure, unstable, and unreliable."  He said, "You need the experience."  I said, "But Lord, at everyone of these different jobs I've seen the worst in people and I've been so hurt and disappointed by how people behave."  He said, "I know, I have been very hurt and disappointed in the way my children behave too."  I asked, "Why did you want me to experience this?  He said, "I will be sending someone to you that needs to learn from you because you have experienced these things."  I felt ashamed that I had even asked, but now I'm glad that I have sufferered through what I thought was a horrible experience.  It turns out it was part of my education.

Romans 13:13 Amplified Bible (AMP) 13Let us live and conduct ourselves honorably and becomingly as in the [open light of] day, not in reveling (carousing) and drunkenness, not in immorality and debauchery (sensuality and licentiousness), not in quarreling and jealousy.

I love Matthew Henry’s commentary on this scripture - To temperance and sobriety.

Four things are here taught, as a Christian's directory for his day's work. When to awake; Now; and to awake out of the sleep of carnal security, sloth, and negligence; out of the sleep of spiritual death, and out of the sleep of spiritual deadness. Considering the time; a busy time; a perilous time. Also the salvation nigh at hand. Let us mind our way, and mend our pace, we are nearer our journey's end. Also to make ourselves ready. The night is far spent, the day is at hand; therefore it is time to dress ourselves. Observe what we must put off; clothes worn in the night. Cast off the sinful works of darkness. Observe what we must put on; how we should dress our souls. Put on the armour of light. A Christian must reckon himself undressed, if unarmed. The graces of the Spirit are this armour, to secure the soul from Satan's temptations, and the assaults of this present evil world. Put on Christ; that includes all. Put on righteousness of Christ, for justification.

Put on the Spirit and grace of Christ, for sanctification. The Lord Jesus Christ must be put on as Lord to rule you as Jesus to save you; and in both, as Christ anointed and appointed by the Father to this ruling, saving work. And how to walk. When we are up and ready, we are not to sit still, but to appear abroad; let us walk. Christianity teaches us how to walk so as to please God, who ever sees us. Walk honestly as in the day; avoiding the works of darkness. Where there are riot and drunkenness, there usually are chambering and wantonness, and strife and envy. Solomon puts these all together, Pr 23:29 to 35. See what provision to make. Our great care must be to provide for our souls: but must we take no care about our bodies? Yes; but two things are forbidden. Perplexing ourselves with anxious, encumbering care; and indulging ourselves in irregular desires. Natural wants are to be answered, but evil appetites must be checked and denied. To ask meat for our necessities, is our duty, we are taught to pray for daily bread; but to ask meat for our lusts, is provoking God, Ps 78:18.

Ephesians 5:18 - 18And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but ever be filled and stimulated with the [Holy] Spirit.(A)

Matthew Henry’s Commentary - Directions to a contrary behaviour, and to relative duties.

Another remedy against sin, is care, or caution, it being impossible else to maintain purity of heart and life. Time is a talent given us by God, and it is misspent and lost when not employed according to his design. If we have lost our time heretofore, we must double our diligence for the future. Of that time which thousands on a dying bed would gladly redeem at the price of the whole world, how little do men think, and to what trifles they daily sacrifice it! People are very apt to complain of bad times; it were well if that stirred them more to redeem time. Be not unwise. Ignorance of our duty, and neglect of our souls, show the greatest folly. Drunkenness is a sin that never goes alone, but carries men into other evils; it is a sin very provoking to God. The drunkard holds out to his family and to the world the sad spectacle of a sinner hardened beyond what is common, and hastening to perdition. When afflicted or weary, let us not seek to raise our spirits by strong drink, which is hateful and hurtful, and only ends in making sorrows more felt. But by fervent prayer let us seek to be filled with the Spirit, and to avoid whatever may grieve our gracious Comforter. All God's people have reason to sing for joy. Though we are not always singing, we should be always giving thanks; we should never want disposition for this duty, as we never want matter for it, through the whole course of our lives. Always, even in trials and afflictions, and for all things; being satisfied of their loving intent, and good tendency. God keeps believers from sinning against him, and engages them to submit one to another in all he has commanded, to promote his glory, and to fulfil their duties to each other. (Eph 5:22-33)

Proverbs 28:7 Amplified Bible (AMP) 7Whoever keeps the law [of God and man] is a wise son, but he who is a companion of gluttons and the carousing, self-indulgent, and extravagant shames his father.

See Matthew Henry’s Commentary - Companions of riotous men not only grieve their parents, but shame them. (Pr 28:8)

Speaking of shame, obesity brings shame to our selves. As an obese person I’ve experienced shame by the way people look at me. I have even been guilty of looking at others and subconsciously thinking to myself that the obese person I’m looking at cannot be trusted, they are weak, they are lazy. If that’s what I see when I look at other obese people then others see that when they look at me. There is no telling how many job interviews I was unsuccessful in because of my excess weight. I hang my head in shame, but I will not let the cares of this weigh me down and feel sorry for myself. I have confessed my sin to God and HE is faithful and just to forgive my sin. HE is dealing with me and helping me overcome my lust for excess. Amen

Stubborn and Rebellious Nature - Part 1

By Chet Nowlen

In my last article I confessed my sin of “Gluttony” and today we will find out what the Bible has to say about the subject. Webster defines the word “Glutton” used as a noun means - as one who eats too much, one eager for anything in excess, e.g. work, books, etc.; When used as a verb it means to eat to excess or beyond full. When you think about it anything we do to excess is gluttony.

Deuteronomy 21:20 (Amplified Bible) “20 And they shall say to the elders of his city, This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious. He will not obey our voice. He is a glutton and a drunkard.”

By this scripture I see reason I tend to overeat is because I have a stubborn and rebellious nature. That’s my carnal nature, my fleshly nature.

Proverbs 23:20-22 (Amplified Bible) “20Do not associate with winebibbers; be not among them nor among gluttonous eaters of meat,(A) 21For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty, and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags. 22Hearken to your father, who begot you, and despise not your mother when she is old.

The key words that hit home to me are “For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty . . .” Wow! My dad was a drunkard and I am a glutton and is this why I grew up in poverty and why I have continued to struggle financially? This morning while I was placing my daily doses of medications in my pill pack and the Lord spoke to my heart. He revealed to me that I have suffered financially because of my dependence on doctors and medication to keep me from dying prematurely. He also reminded me of the amount of money I have wasted paying medical bills and high insurance premiums because of my not overcoming my stubborn and rebellious nature. I said, “Lord, how can I overcome this natural nature that I was born with.” He said, “You cannot overcome this on your own. You cannot overcome this without my help.” I ask, “Lord, what do I do?” He said, “Quit struggling and trying to do it yourself. Trust me and let me show you how.” I asked, “Lord, how will you show me what I need to do?” He said, “I will enlighten your mind every time you renew your mind through the study of my WORDs.”

Luke 21:34 34 "But take heed to yourselves and be on your guard, lest your hearts be overburdened and depressed (weighed down) with the [a]giddiness and headache and [b]nausea of self-indulgence, drunkenness, and worldly worries and cares pertaining to [the [c]business of] this life, and [lest] that day come upon you suddenly like a trap or a noose;"

This scripture has always bothered me because I do feel sluggish and sleepy whenever I eat too much. I then feel guilty and depressed because I know I have not exercised any control. I confess that the pressures and stress of life cause me to use food, like an alcoholic uses drink, to drown my anxieties. My job is so stressful and the horrible things people say to me on the phone causes me to come home depressed and overburdened with the cares pertaining to the business of making a living. I have asked the Lord many times as to why He gave me this job and the many other jobs that I’ve had. He said, “I want you to experience the different personalities of my children and understand why I need you to teach my children. I said, “Lord, I have failed so miserably how could you use me as a teacher?” He said, “Do not worry, I will bring those to you that need to know and understand what you have learned.” The Lord said to me, “Your job is to have faith in me in everything you do and I will bring those to you that need to hear what I have to say through you.”

Wow! I never thought about it like this before – “MY JOB” God has given me a job to do. HE is my primary employer – HE is the one that supplies all my needs when I put my trust in HIM instead of my earthly employer, my insurance company, my doctors, and my pharmacy.

Read Matthew Henry’s commentary on Luke 21 - Christ exhorts to watchfulness.

Christ tells his disciples to observe the signs of the times, which they might judge by. He charges them to look upon the ruin of the Jewish nation as near. Yet this race and family of Abraham shall not be rooted out; it shall survive as a nation, and be found as prophesied, when the Son of man shall be revealed. He cautions them against being secure and sensual. This command is given to all Christ's disciples, Take heed to yourselves, that ye be not overpowered by temptations, nor betrayed by your own corruptions. We cannot be safe, if we are carnally secure. Our danger is, lest the day of death and of judgment should come upon us when we are not prepared. Lest, when we are called to meet our Lord, that be the furthest from our thoughts, which ought to be nearest our hearts. For so it will come upon the most of men, who dwell upon the earth, and mind earthly things only, and have no converse with heaven. It will be a terror and a destruction to them. Here see what should be our aim, that we may be accounted worthy to escape all those things; that when the judgements of God are abroad, we may not be in the common calamity, or it may not be that to us which it is to others. Do you ask how you may be found worthy to stand before Christ at that day? Those who never yet sought Christ, let them now go unto him; those who never yet were humbled for their sins, let them now begin; those who have already begun, let them go forward and be kept humbled.

Watch therefore, and pray always. Watch against sin; watch in every duty, and make the most of every opportunity to do good. Pray always: those shall be accounted worthy to live a life of praise in the other world, who live a life of prayer in this world. May we begin, employ, and conclude each day attending to Christ's word, obeying his precepts, and following his example, that whenever he comes we may be found watching.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

I'm A Recovering Food Addict

A week or two ago Glen Beck was the keynote speaker at the CPAC convention and he publically announced that he is a recovering alcoholic. I was impressed that he was brave enough to admit that he had an addiction problem and then the Holy Spirit impressed on me that I have an addiction problem too. My father had an alcoholic addiction, but that’s not my addiction. My addiction is to eating too much food.

I have been over weight since I was about ten years old. I remember it started with an addiction to chocolate milk and then ice cream. By the time I was twelve or thirteen I was taller and heavier than everyone else in my class. Because my father was an alcoholic I turned to food as a way of coping with the stress of being around a drunk that never stopped talking.

When I was thirteen a doctor diagnosed me with high blood pressure and advised my mother that I need to watch what I eat and lose some weight, but that fell on deaf ears. When I graduated high school I was 6’ tall and weighed 175 lbs. That sounds like an ideal weight, but I was still fat around the middle as I was not athletic at all.

When I was about twenty seven years of age my doctor told me I had three strikes against me; one I was overweight, two I smoked, and three, my cholesterol was too high. At the time I weighed 202 lbs. The doctor’s words shocked me into reality and went on a lipid lowering regime of 1,000 calories per day. I lost down to 165 lbs in about three months. My wife, now ex, complained to the doctor and asked him to take me off the diet as my hip bones were hurting her during sex. What a lame excuse! Anyway I listened to the doctor and stopped the diet and the weight gradually crept back and more so. It took several years but the weight did come back and I was no longer able to get back on the lipid lowing regime and stay with it. I had allowed the enemy to crush my will, my drive, and my desire to be thin.

As the year go by I always intended to get serious about my weight because my doctors regularly check my cholesterol, blood sugar levels, and blood pressure. I have been border line diabetic for several years. Some doctors say that there is no such thing as border line diabetic. They say you either have it or you don’t have it and the 6.0 level says you have it. This condition is brought on by excess weight and in activity and this condition is reversible if you can only get serious and watch what you eat and exercise regularly.

When I was in my early 50’s my doctor did a stress tests to see the condition of my heart. I passed the stress test but doctor stated that he’s has patients pass the stress test and then shortly thereafter have a heart attack. My doctor had me schedule a cobalt imaging of my heart and found that there was calcification in my heart. He then scheduled me to meet with a cardiologist. The cardiologist scheduled me for a heart catheterization and 75% to 80% blockage was discovered and I needed a quadrulple by-pass. Although I did not have any symptoms of heart problems I agreed to have the surgery for preventive measures.

Even before the diagnosis of calcification in my heart I had started walking everyday and then worked up to running every day. I lost about 10 lbs and my cholesterol had dropped from around 300 to 150 and my blood pressure was down too. I almost feel like I was too hasty in having the by-pass because the cholesterol numbers had dropped significantly with the exercise and diet. My cardiologist wanted me to have the surgery to make sure we prevent a heart attack, but I think it was because she did not think I would stick with the exercise or diet.

After the surgery I was advised to continue walking and dieting and to get the weight off to prevent a recurrence. I lost another 10 lbs. while in the hospital, but sadly to say I lost my drive again to continue with the diet and exercise program. I knew I needed to do it, but for some reason I just could not stay with it.

I would exercise from time to time and would do well for a while, but then I started having knee problems. I could no longer run on the tread mill without my left knee hurting. I went to an orthopedic surgeon and he advised me that I had some arthritis in my knee and needed a scope done to get that arthritis scraped out. After the surgery the doctor told me I had a stretched ACL and a meniscus tear. He advised me to never get on the tread mill again. Later I started having terrible pain in right wrist and the doctor told me I would have to have my hand and wrist fused together to eliminate the pain.

With all this pain in my left leg and right wrist I felt I was no longer to exercise at the gym. The doctors told me I needed to do my exercise at the pool every day, but exercising in the pool with a bunch of old people has never appealed to me.

A couple of years ago I went on a self developed low carbohydrate diet and lost 20 lbs and about in about 6-weeks. The way I did it was by eliminating drinking soft drinks, bread, and dairy. Every day I listed all of my foods in my www.sparkpeople.com food counter and kept my calories between 1000 and 1500 per day. All of my blood profile numbers were normal again, but my doctor sent me to a dietician to make sure the foods I’m eating are balanced. This was a big mistake as the dietician told me I need to back off on restricting me carbohydrates. Well I did as she suggested, but lost my drive, my direction, and my will again. I got discouraged and gave up again.

After watching Glen Beck’s speech I realized that my health and weight problems all these years is because I am addicted to eating too much food, or a Biblical term known as gluttony, meaning one of the forms of carnal self gratification.

More on this tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Folded Napkin - A Truck Stop Story

If this doesn't light your fire, your wood is wet!

I try not to be biased, but I had my doubts about hiring Stevie. His placement counsellor assured me that he would be a good, reliable busboy. But I had never had a mentally handicapped employee and wasn't sure I wanted one. I wasn't sure how my customers would react to Stevie.

He was short, a little dumpy with the smooth facial features and thick-tongued speech of Downs Syndrome. I wasn't worried about most of my trucker customers because truckers don't generally care who buses tables as long as the meatloaf platter is good and the pies are homemade.

The ones who concerned me were the mouthy college kids traveling to school; the yuppie snobs who secretly polish their silverware with their napkins for fear of catching some dreaded 'truck stop germ'; the pairs of white-shirted business men on expense accounts who think every truck stop waitress wants to be flirted with. I knew those people would be uncomfortable around Stevie so I closely watched him for the first few weeks..

I shouldn't have worried. After the first week, Stevie had my staff wrapped around his stubby little finger, and within a month my truck regulars had adopted him as their official truck stop mascot.

After that, I really didn't care what the rest of the customers' thought of him. He was like a 21-year-old in blue jeans and Nikes, eager to laugh and eager to please, but fierce in his attention to his duties. Every salt and peppershaker was exactly in its place, not a breadcrumb or coffee spill was visible when Stevie got done with the table. Our only problem was persuading him to wait to clean a table until after the customers were finished. He would hover in the background, shifting his weight from one foot to the other, scanning the dining room until a table was empty. Then he would scurry to the empty table and carefully bus dishes and glasses onto his cart and meticulously wipe the table up with a practiced flourish of his rag.

If he thought a customer was watching, his brow would pucker with added concentration. He took pride in doing his job exactly right, and you had to love how hard he tried to please each and every person he met.

Over time, we learned that he lived with his mother, a widow who was disabled after repeated surgeries for cancer. They lived on their Social Security benefits in public housing two miles from the truck stop. Their social worker, who stopped to check on him every so often, admitted they had fallen between the cracks. Money was tight, and what I paid him was probably the difference between them being able to live together and Stevie being sent to a group home. That's why the restaurant was a gloomy place that morning last August, the first morning in three years that Stevie missed work.

He was at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester getting a new valve or something put in his heart. His social worker said that people with Downs Syndrome often have heart problems at an early age so this wasn't unexpected, and there was a good chance he would come through the surgery in good shape and be back at work in a few months.

A ripple of excitement ran through the staff later that morning when word came that he was out of surgery, in recovery, and doing fine.

Frannie, the head waitress, let out a war hoop and did a little dance in the aisle when she heard the good news.

Belle Ringer, one of our regular trucker customers, stared at the sight of this 50-year-old grandmother of four doing a victory shimmy beside his table.

Frannie blushed, smoothed her apron and shot Belle Ringer a withering look.

He grinned. 'OK, Frannie , what was that all about?' he asked..

'We just got word that Stevie is out of surgery and going to be okay.'

'I was wondering where he was. I had a new joke to tell him. What was the surgery about?'

Frannie quickly told Belle Ringer and the other two drivers sitting at his booth about Stevie's surgery, then sighed: 'Yeah, I'm glad he is going to be OK,' she said. 'But I don't know how he and his Mom are going to handle all the bills. From what I hear, they're barely getting by as it is.' Belle Ringer nodded thoughtfully, and Frannie hurried off to wait on the rest of her tables. Since I hadn't had time to round up a busboy to replace Stevie and really didn't want to replace him, the girls were busing their own tables that day until we decided what to do.

After the morning rush, Frannie walked into my office. She had a couple of paper napkins in her hand and a funny look on her face.

'What's up?' I asked.

'I didn't get that table where Belle Ringer and his friends were sitting cleared off after they left, and Pony Pete and Tony Tipper were sitting there when I got back to clean it off,' she said. 'This was folded and tucked under a coffee cup.'

She handed the napkin to me, and three $20 bills fell onto my desk when I opened it. On the outside, in big, bold letters, was printed 'Something For Stevie'.

'Pony Pete asked me what that was all about,' she said, 'so I told him about Stevie and his Mom and everything, and Pete looked at Tony and Tony looked at Pete, and they ended up giving me this.' She handed me another paper napkin that had 'Something For Stevie' scrawled on its outside. Two $50 bills were tucked within its folds. Frannie looked at me with wet, shiny eyes, shook her head and said simply: 'truckers.'

That was three months ago. Today is Thanksgiving, the first day Stevie is supposed to be back to work.

His replacement worker said he's been counting the days until the doctor said he could work, and it didn't matter at all that it was a holiday. He called 10 times in the past week, making sure we knew he was coming, fearful that we had forgotten him or that his job was in jeopardy. I arranged to have his mother bring him to work. I then met them in the parking lot and invited them both to celebrate his day back.

Stevie was thinner and paler, but couldn't stop grinning as he pushed through the doors and headed for the back room where his apron and busing cart were waiting.

'Hold up there, Stevie, not so fast,' I said. I took him and his mother by their arms. 'Work can wait for a minute. To celebrate you coming back, breakfast for you and your mother is on me!' I led them toward a large corner booth at the rear of the room.

I could feel and hear the rest of the staff following behind as we marched through the dining room. Glancing over my shoulder, I saw booth after booth of grinning truckers empty and join the procession. We stopped in front of the big table. Its surface was covered with coffee cups, saucers and dinner plates, all sitting slightly crooked on dozens of folded paper napkins 'First thing you have to do, Stevie, is clean up this mess,' I said. I tried to sound stern.

Stevie looked at me, and then at his mother, then pulled out one of the napkins. It had 'Something for Stevie' printed on the outside. As he picked it up, two $10 bills fell onto the table.

Stevie stared at the money, then at all the napkins peeking from beneath the tableware, each with his name printed or scrawled on it. I turned to his mother. 'There's more than $10,000 in cash and checks on that table, all from truckers and trucking companies that heard about your problems. 'Happy Thanksgiving.'

Well, it got real noisy about that time, with everybody hollering and shouting, and there were a few tears, as well.

But you know what's funny?
While everybody else was busy shaking hands and hugging each other, Stevie, with a big, big smile on his face, was busy clearing all the cups and dishes from the table..

Best worker I ever hired.

Plant a seed and watch it grow.

At this point, you can bury this inspirational message or forward it fulfilling the need!

If you shed a tear, hug yourself, because you are a compassionate person.