Monday, November 25, 2019

Does God Really Help Widows?

Does God Really Help Widows?

     Logan Davis had inherited a lucrative business and managed it well.  He was well liked in the beach town and had the Midas touch when it came to making a profit.  Then he became a Christian.  A really earnest Christian.

     He sold the business and moved across state with his wife and two little toe heads.  “I’m going to become a Minister.”

     He and I became close friends and often studied together in the library.  Our families grew close also.  When Homiletics class began Logan quickly took the bull by the horns and became a good speaker... his fervor to convert the lost was an inspiration to each of us students.

     One day, as we studied Logan excused himself and said he had a doctor’s appointment.  He asked for prayers for good news.  He had noticed lumps in a couple of his lymph nodes.

     Logan was there bright and early the next day.  He said the doctor took a biopsy as he didn’t like the look of the growths.  A bunch of us began praying for good test results.  But I confess, thinking back, I was such a worrywart I was inwardly very unsettled.

     I still remember the day he sat beside me and said, “The news wasn’t very good.  The doctor says that I have Hodgkin’s disease.”

     I was stunned.  I prayed.  The whole Bible College and faculty did as well.  Logan kept studying with me in the library, but he started losing weight and energy.  We had many heart-to-heart discussions.  The weaker he felt the more he became deeply concerned about his family.  His little boys were close to starting school and his dear wife was heartbroken.  They both trusted that the Lord would work it out as He promised: “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”  (Romans 8:28, NLT)

     We were in a college class when someone disputed the meaning of a certain Scripture.  Logan electrified everyone when he stood and slammed his Bible on his desk, shouting, “Don’t try to tell me the Bible isn’t accurate.  You must repent of your doubt.”  You could have heard the proverbial pin hit the floor for a long time before anyone spoke again.

     Logan began standing on busy corners and urging passersby to become Christians.  He wasn’t able to continue for many more days though as he was weakening and his life’s calendar flipped pages like a high-speed fan.

     One of the Bible College teachers ministered to a nearby church.  He called to invite Logan to preach the next Sunday.  His wife, knowing how sick he was and napping said, “Oh.  I’m sorry but he’s not up to it.”

     Logan overheard the conversation and curtly asked, “Why did you say that?  God wants me to preach until I can’t.  Call him back and say I will be there to preach.”  She did so.  And he preached.

     As he and I met one day his blue eyes filled with tears, sobbing he asked, “How can I care for my family if I’m going to die?”

     I spoke softly as the lump in my throat felt like a stone.  “Logan, I promise you I’ll do everything I can to help your wife and boys.”  Our eyes met and I think he wanted to believe it, but both of us knew it was just an emotional response to my friend’s trauma.

     Logan’s Memorial Service was a full house... just over 300 people.  Several had driven the many miles from his hometown.  Before the day was concluded several of his friends and two relatives became Christians when hearing the testimonials about him.

     A while after he was gone I helped Dana a few times.  She seemed to be doing pretty well and the boys were spitting images of their Dad and well behaved.

     A few months later I was asked to preach at a small church.  The Lord laid on my heart to preach about Hell.  When the sermon was done a young visitor responded.  Philip said, “I never believed in Hell before ~ but now you’ve got me nervous.”  He asked if we had time to discuss it.

     Before long Philip decided he needed and wanted to become a Christian.  It was so joyful seeing him as he expressed his faith saying: “I believe Jesus is the Son of God, my Master and my Lord...and most of all He’s my Savior.”  He firmly committed to turn from sin and turn to God and was immersed that very night.

     Sadly, though Philip gave it his best, his girlfriend would not yield to the Lord.  Eventually, they were walking down different paths with different goals and grew apart.  She asked Philip to quit the church and travel with her through life.  Philip, instead, broke off their relationship.

     Philip grew in the faith like a heavily-limed field of alfalfa. I heard frequent praise of his steady transformation.  Perhaps a year later he attended a large inter-church rally.  He noticed an elegant and gracious woman.  He learned she wasn’t married and decided to ask her out on a date.

     I was living nearly 70 miles away and never learned about his new interest until he called me.  “Larry I’m engaged and I’d like you to meet my fiance.

     When I showed up for dinner I began weeping uncontrollably.  Philip's fiance was Logan's widow, Dana.  The sovereign Lord of the Universe had answered Logan's desperate concern.

“Our God, from your sacred home you take care of orphans and protect widows. You find families  for those who are lonely.” (Ps. 68:5, 6a, CEV)

     Better yet. Philip decided he wanted to preach.  I never will ever understand how the Lord’s timing and actions are so much higher and greater than any human could comprehend, imagine, dream, speculate wish, plan or predict.  Human tongues and human minds are incapable of beginning to express how great and awesome is our God.

     So don’t ever credit Abracadabra - Credit God!

     Father, You are Indescribable!

Chris Tomlin

Please comment by clicking "Comments" below.

Monday, November 18, 2019

The Saddest Room In Heaven

The Saddest Room In Heaven

     When Peter nodded an angel came from the side of the open-pearly gate.  With a warm smile he stepped forward and greeted Loretta.  “Let me show you around...there’s a lot to see.”

     The pair walked by the Concert Stadium, the Creation History Library, the Pavillion that contained the Lamb’s Book of Life and a jeweled edifice that had the original manuscripts of the Old and New testaments.

     They continued on and came to a gigantic room with a dining table without end.  The angel said this is for the Lamb’s Wedding Feast when all of His children have come home.  They paused as Loretta was nearly breathless as she was so thrilled with so much to see.

     “Could we maybe stop and spend time looking at…” as she gestured back up the trail.  But the angel reminded her that time no longer’re here for all eternity...without an end.  You can visit all you want as it never gets dark.  The Father is Heaven’s light and Jesus is the lamp.

     They continued through the gates and stepped on the hill next to the river of life.  She couldn’t believe the Tree of Life that hung over both sides of the river.  It was loaded with delicious-looking fruit.  Then she had to shield her eyes from the pure gold courtyard and street.

     Loretta stopped and had a peculiar look on her face.  “What are you curious about Loretta?”

     “I saw what looked like a huge shed that was kind of dark with cobwebs hanging from covered windows and an angel asleep on a chair leaned against the door.  Everything else you’ve shown me is brilliantly light.”

     He said “Loretta we’ll head that way but may I ask you a couple of questions?  There was a woman in the Bible that often went to the door-post of the temple to pray.  Who was it and what did she pray for?”

     Loretta said, “It was Hannah and she was barren and prayed that God would let her give birth to a son.”

     “You’re exactly right Loretta.  ‘For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition which I asked of Him.’ (1 Samuel 1:27, NKJV)  God has answered that same prayer over and over for those who asked him for a miracle.”

     “In fact, The Holy Spirit assigns some angels to grant the prayer request of many who ask for a miracle ~ believing He will provide it.”

     “Loretta can you think of any Bible story where people prayed but doubted God would answer their request?”

     “I kind of do.  Wasn’t there an apostle in jail and a group prayed that he’d be released?”

     “Again you’re right on, it happened shortly after the church began on the day of Pentecost in Jerusalem.  Wicked Herod had Peter locked up in a jail outside the city.  So the church held a prayer meeting with a lot of Christians asking the Lord to release him.  So the Father sent an angel who walked Peter out of the locked room and took him back into the city.”

     “At first Peter thought he was having a vision and then he realized it wasn’t a vision.  He was miraculously free.  So Peter went to Mary’s house (she was John Mark’s Mom) and knocked and knocked and finally a servant girl, Rhoda answered the door.”

     “Do you know what happened when Rhoda answered the door, Loretta?”

     “I think so.  Didn’t the disciples think she had seen a ghost?”

     “Yes,” said the angel, “and do you know why they thought it was a ghost?”

     “Please tell me.”

     “Because they were like many people throughout time who prayed but didn’t believe their prayer was heard, nor that it would be answered.”

     “Yet God is so good He answered their prayer, even though many doubted, to teach the early church that He is the Sovereign God of the Universe and hungers to provide for those who trust in Him.

     One man years ago said, “Some people think God does not like to be troubled with our constant coming and asking.  The way to trouble God is not to come at all.”

     “God really does want us to trouble Him with any and everything.  It isn’t trouble to Him it is our trust in and reliance on Him that brings Him great joy.”

     “Loretta here are some other examples of God answering prayers:”

     “Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion.

"For the Lord is a God of justice.  Blessed are all who wait for him! People of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more.  How gracious he will be when you cry for help! As soon as he hears, he will answer you.” (Isaiah 30:18-19, NIV)

“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” (James 1:5, NIV)

“My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” (Psalm 121:2, NIV)

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7, NIV)

“And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.  You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.”  (John 14:13-14, NIV)

“For he will deliver the needy who cry out, the afflicted who have no one to help.” (Psalms 72:12, NIV)

“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” (Mark 11:24, NIV)

“Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and he brought them out of their distress.  He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed.  They were glad when it grew calm, and he guided them to their desired haven.” (Psalm 107:28-30, NIV)

“Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.” (Matthew 18:19, NIV)

“So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:11, NIV)

“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6, NIV)

“Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37:4, NIV)

     Loretta, just before we check out the cobwebbed building look at this special verse:
“Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear.” (Isaiah 65:24, NIV)

     Many don’t know how great is their Almighty God.  This verse clearly shows that before His people even ask Him for help He sends the answer.

     They had arrived at the mysterious building about which Loretta had inquired.  “Are you ready to go inside Loretta?”

     “Yes, I sure am curious.”

     When they entered she couldn’t believe her eyes.  “Why this is full of gifts.  From wall to wall and floor to ceiling.  I even see upper balconies with gifts hanging off the rails.  And I can’t see the end of the room ~ it looks endless!”

     “Do you have any idea who these gifts are for, Loretta?”

     “I can’t possibly imagine.  Who are the gifts for?”

     These are gifts that the Lord had his angels prepare for people He loves when he knew their needy situation  ~  but  ~ they  ~ didn’t  ~ ask.

     So they were never sent.

     That is why this giant gift warehouse is Heaven’s Saddest room.

     This is a “what if” message designed to help God’s children pray and rely on Him for His answer.

Joey Feek
"See You There"

Please comment by clicking "Comments" below.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

The Black Handkerchief

 The Black Handkerchief

     The claim that cats have several lives is found in many cultures.  Shakespeare said cats have 9 lives.  Arabic legends say 6 lives.  Spain says 7.  An old adage says:  "A cat has nine lives.  For three he plays, for three he strays, and for the last three he stays".

     Though nimble, quick, cunning and part wild this claim is obviously false.  Falling cats usually do land on their feet and even from a great height seem unhurt.  But they only have one life.

     How about people?  Do any of us have 9 lives?  The Bible is very clear, “We die only once, and then we are judged.”  (Hebrews 9:27, CEV)

     Yet for some people, Guardian Angels work extra hard to prevent them from dying multiple times.  Let me introduce you to Rocky... he kept his Guardian Angel working overtime.

     It was a while before I met Rocky.  His wife, Molly, and daughter regularly attended the services.  In fact, Rocky’s Dad was also active in the Church.  He and I meshed.  He would give the proverbial shirt off his back to any needy person.  I learned that Rocky had quit coming to church because he believed he found God when he was out in the woods.  He thought that was all the religion anyone needed.

     He ignored the pleas from his family.

     After church one Sunday Molly told what had happened to her husband that week.

     “Near a logging town, a log truck crossed the center line and smashed into his VW bug.  The logger, fearing the worst, stepped down from the cab and ran to the bug.   But when he pried the door open Rocky got out unscathed.”  Molly continued, “None of us could figure out how anyone could survive in that smashed VW.”  She asked for special prayers that Rocky would thank the Lord that he was spared and come back to church.

     Was he in Church that next Sunday?  No.

     Later in the Summer Rocky was setting choke for a log company when his boss screamed "Look out there's a log coming down the hill."  Rocky was only able to fall flat on his face awaiting the deadly crush, when he heard a loud thud and then something flew right over him.  His boss said, "I thought you were dead as a doorknob.  But that log hit that boulder and flipped it right over you.  You must be doing something right."

     That evening Rocky’s Dad said, "Son...God is talking to you.  You need to repent and return to Him."   Was he in Church that next Sunday?  No.  So Rocky's minister dropped by the house and urged him to make a u-turn and give his life back to the Lord.  But Rocky was stubbornly ignoring the Grim Reaper.

     His Mom stopped by early Sunday and asked Rocky to please bring his family to church that day.  After she left he began loading his car... not with his family but with outdoor gear.  Molly begged him to go to church with her and their daughter.  Instead he said, "It's a beautiful day... I'm going fishing."

     When he got to his favorite spot he was irked as someone else had grabbed it.  He went back to his car and drove a short distance before parking.  Pulling his hip boots out of the trunk he hiked through the thick brush.  He found a place with a sandy beach island a few yards away from land.  He slipped his hip boots on and stepped into the frigid river.  Feeling his way gingerly he suddenly lost his step and fell backwards which allowed the swift river to fill his hip boots and tumble him down the, rock strewn river.  Over and over he fiercely was knocked from rock to rock.  Blood ran from his battered arms and head.  Had it not been for an overhanging tree branch he would have been a goner.

     At midweek Prayer Meeting I heard the most jaw-dropping prayer request made by Rocky's Mom.  "Dear Heavenly Father, please do whatever it takes to get my Son to repent and come back to you."

     Four days later my heart raced when Rocky’s Dad stood behind the pulpit.  He held up a small grocery-type paper bag.  From the bag he pulled out a black shriveled up piece of material that was about the size of a large handkerchief.  Grief stricken he said, "Yesterday my Son went to his brother's place to fly model airplanes.  They were laughing and partying as Rocky said, ‘Look at how high my plane can…’”

     “But … but... he never finished as his model airplane struck a high voltage wire... and a crack of lightning-like bolt knocked him to the ground... stopping his heart and scorching his body.  He was burned so severely it looked like a giant blow torch had burnt him.”

     “His brother screamed for help and tried administering first aid.  But pieces of Rocky's skin came off in his hands.  Still his brother kept trying to bring him back to life.  When the ambulance arrived Rocky had a pulse... but it was weak and very erratic.”

     Dad choked up trying to say more, so our Minister took the sack and said: “Bystanders said there was a thunderous clap and a lightning bolt.  They couldn't believe their eyes.  They saw Rocky sizzled on the ground. "This," as he held up the black-looking hanky, "is all that remains of the jeans he was wearing."

     After church the Minister asked me to go to the hospital with him.  I had never seen anything like it.  Rocky was covered in some type of medication and the color was horribly indescribable.  I was mute and overwhelmed seeing such a wounded body.  The Minister said, “Well Rocky I hoped you'd come to your senses.  But, now look at you.”

     Rocky couldn’t open his eyes and his mouth was swollen beyond recognition.  Yet he whispered, "I am returning to Jesus... I don't want to burn forever as I am now.”

     The doctor wouldn't give the family much hope that he'd survive the horrid trauma… ”He has second and third-degree burns over 70% of his body.”

     I later was told 15% of people who were electrocuted by a high voltage power line died instantly.  And nearly 40% of the survivors had damaged organs, heart arrhythmia and required multiple skin grafts.

     Several years later, Rocky kept his vow and enrolled in Bible College and, the last I knew, he stayed true to the Lord from that moment on.

     Rocky had refused every opportunity to turn back to the Lord.  The consequences of his stubbornness could have been death.  “Whoever remains stiff-necked after many rebukes will suddenly be destroyed—without remedy.”  (Proverbs 29:1, NIV)

     However, God gave him another chance to yield because, “The Lord is not slow about keeping His promise as some people think.  He is waiting for you.  The Lord does not want any person to be punished forever.  He wants all people to be sorry for their sins and turn from them.”  (2 Peter 3:9, NLV)

     Along life’s way I’ve met other Rockys.  Some of them changed before it was too late.  But others made foolish, life-costing choices.  This is proof that Satan is active at his work to destroy us anyway he can get it done.

     Each of us needs to deeply appreciate that our God tries incalculable ways to bring us back to Him.  “All of us must die eventually.  Our lives are like water spilled out on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again.  But God does not just sweep life away; instead, he devises ways to bring us back when we have been separated from him.”  (2 Samuel 14:14, NLT)

     Rocky’s Guardian Angel saved him from dying in his VW Bug, from the log crushing him, from the raging river and from electrocution.  How true is that oft-quoted verse: “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God,...” (Romans 8:28a, NASB) 

     Rocky’s scars will one day be removed and he and his family will be reunited where there is no pain, tears or dying.  Thank you Rocky for finally turning tenderly back to the Lord.

     “Yes, this is our God, our great God forever.  He will lead us onward until the end, through all time, beyond death, and into eternity!”  (Ps 48:14, TPT) 

Softly and Tenderly
by Selah

Please comment by clicking "Comments" below.

Sunday, November 3, 2019

The Greatest Homecoming Event In All History

The Greatest Homecoming Event In All History

     If you were asked to name the Greatest Homecoming Event In All of History what would you say?  Probably if a questionnaire was given to every person on earth it would take a super computer to tally the diverse results.  Some would scratch their heads trying to pick the right answer.  Others would smugly laugh it off as an  unanswerable query.

     But the question has absolutely one and only one correct answer.  One specific and unmistakable answer.  Just one.

     The solution to this question needs to be unpeeled like an onion... one layer (step) at a time.  Let's take one historical step at a time.  Bear with me - you'll never forget the answer.  I guarantee it.


     Let's travel to Europe in the late 1800s and to a Polish man, Jan Styka.  Jan was a devout believer and world-renown painter.

     In 1884 he was commissioned to paint  "Golgotha".  He traveled to the Holy Land and made sketches and then traveled home to begin his work.

     His painting took years to complete and you'll soon understand why.  His completed painting was larger than the average Imax screen.  This gigantic work was 195 feet long and 45 feet high.

     It received the highest accolades in his beloved Poland, Italy and throughout Europe.


     But Jan Styka had his sights on an even greater location.  He sought backers to pay for sending "Golgotha" to the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis in 1904.  But for unforeseen reasons he was not able to display it and his financial backers could not pay the duty and shipping to return it to Poland.

     Heartbroken, Jan returned to Poland where he died in 1925 never knowing what happened to his masterpiece.  The Crucifixion, as he had renamed it, was kept in various warehouses for 18 years.


     Forest Lawn Cemetery Founder Dr. Hubert Eaton dug it out of a dark room at the Chicago Civic Opera company in 1943.  It was wrapped around a telephone pole and somewhat damaged.  Styka's son was hired to repair the canvas.

     Forest Lawn Memorial Park ~ Hollywood Hills, California purchased it after World War II and built The Hall of the Crucifixion for the express purpose of displaying Styka’s work.  The Crucifixion is the largest mounted canvas on display in the entire world.  It opened on Good Friday in 1951.

     Heart-touchingly, Dr. Eaton had Jan Sytka's body brought to Forest Lawn and, along with his son Tadeusz, was buried.  Their gravesides are in the Immortal's Quarters section of Forest Lawn Cemetery very close to the Hall which displays The Crucifixion.

     In 1961 I was privileged to attend an hour-long showing of the incredible masterpiece.  The showing was done brilliantly but also reverently.  The auditorium was dark and then portions of the screen were spotlighted and audio came from giant speakers.  The gigantic panorama was slowly lighted and the audience hushed when the entire 195' wide canvas became visible.

The Hall of the Crucifixion

Here are three small segments of the Crucifixion:

 And the whole thing:


     Dr. Eaton had desired for many years to have a second painting to complete the trilogy: Crucifixion, Resurrection and Ascension.

     American Robert Clark was selected to paint The Resurrection featuring Christ outside his tomb looking towards the heavens where the faithful throughout the years were gathered.

     Though Clark's work was completed in 1965 Dr. Eaton was too ill to witness it and passed a way a year later.  He was 85.

     The Resurrection is now displayed along side of the Crucifixion and as the spotlights reveal it ~ gasps are heard throughout the room. The showing of the Crucifixion along with the Resurrection is the most riveting scene ever displayed.

     Below is a panorama of the Resurrection and a close up of the Holy Lord Jesus looking into Heaven's open arms into which he ascended to the Greatest Homecoming Celebration Ever.

     In 1987 I took my family to visit Forest Lawn again.  When the spotlights began lighting the Resurrection, goose bumps danced up and down our spines.  After the showing we spent time in the Museum Gift Shop where many of Jan Styka's works are still for sale.  We could not stop talking about this experience.  It is not possible to describe the lasting impact that it has.


     The greatest homecoming event in history is not Jan Styka's Crucifixion painting.  Nor is it Robert Clark's The Resurrection painting.  The Greatest homecoming event ever is what these two paintings depict: Jesus Died, Was Buried, Rose From the grave, and 40 days later ascended to the Greatest Homecoming Celebration in all of eternity.
     "But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep.  For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man.  For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.  But each in turn: Christ, the first-fruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him."  (1 Corinthians 15:20-23, NIV)

     "For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.  For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality.  When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”  (1 Corinthians 15:52-54, NIV)

     The World has seen massive crowds, celebrations, homecomings and standing ovations.  But I am indisputably certain that the Ascension of Jesus was the greatest event ever.  Jesus' ascension completed our hope of eternal salvation.  Since He arose from the grave and rode on a cloud to Heaven, we will arise from the dead and rise to meet him in the air.


     The most important question on this whole page is "How will you respond to this story?"  I faced that question many years ago.  My faith humbly submitted to God's offer to forgive me.  I confessed and made a u-turn from a life of shame to the sweetness of living with my Savior.  When I was immersed I re-enacted His death, burial and resurrection as I came up out of the water.  I finally had a new life thanks to God's unfathomable Grace.

     When you make that choice I know some future time you'll give a similar report to what I joyfully share today... He has never failed me yet.

“Where, O death, is your victory?  Where, O death, is your sting?”  (Corinthians 15:55, NIV)

Old Man Death
Performed by J D Sumner
(Quality is only fair, but unforgettable.)

Grave Robber
Performed by Petra

Please comment by clicking "Comments" below.