New Saga Beginning Soon!

New Saga Beginning Soon!

Look for the New Saga to begin soon. This will be a continuing series of interwoven-short stories that will bring understanding and clarity about God’s WORD along with application to daily life situations. Don’t miss anything. Come back soon to read about and follow the different characters as they trust and believe in God and His WORD. You will be blessed!

I Want to be Free

I Want to be Free

She had arrived at her destination, but sat in her car across the street, not quite able to get out just yet. Rita felt very confused and her emotions were all over the place. Why was she even here at all? Why couldn’t she be more like her little brother, Jeff? She thought back to last month when she visited her little brother and his wife, Lisa. She had been in town for a personal matter and ended up staying the weekend with them, there in Ann Arbor where they’d grown up. She just always felt so good around Jeff. He had this way of making everything seem brighter, even after he suffered the stroke some months earlier. You would just feel that things would get better being around him and everything would be okay. It was hard for Rita to believe that they had grown up in the same family. Jeff seemed untouched by the trauma that he, Rita and their older sister, Lana had known growing up. Untouched by the fact that their mother had left them all when Rita was seven years old – Jeff would have been only three at the time. Maybe it was easier for him, being so young and not having many memories of how it used to be when mamma was around. She pushed back the memories of picnic lunches in the park, kisses to her forehead as she would be tucked into bed at night, birthday parties with pink frilly dresses, and that special name mamma had for her, and only her. Rita mouthed them now silently – “Pretty Little Princess.”

She blinked back tears as her thoughts sped forward to the years of living in foster care after their father passed away. Three horrible years of living with strangers. She’d been placed in four different homes in that three year period. She’d been labeled as “difficult”. Too many emotional issues, always running away. Rita could never bring herself to explain to anyone why she would always end up running away. She buried it deep inside along with all of her hurt and pain. She had her way of coping. She placed her hand on the inside handle of the car door, ready to get out, and hesitated. Rita knew her escape would only be temporary, but she could spend the weekend locked in her apartment numb to her inner pain and the outside world. All she had to do was get out of the car and go inside the little blue house across the road to get what she needed. She watched as a woman walked quickly down the dirt road. Rita knew immediately where the woman was headed. Being fairly new in town she didn’t know how well known the house was for it’s illegal activity. A guy she’d met when she first moved to Farmington Hills had scored for her once, and told her where it was and to use his name. However, there was only a small church and the little blue house on this stretch of road, and the church was back in the other direction so the little blue house was likely where the woman was headed. She had probably walked a good ways to get where she was going. Rita felt a little sick to her stomach as she pictured herself as that woman, doing whatever it took to get what she needed. As she approached the front of the house, the woman looked around nervously before opening the gate and heading up the steps to the front door.

Rita slid her hand off the door handle and did not get out of the car. She slumped back into the seat. Why was she still feeling this way? The need to escape into oblivion when the depression would come over her. She thought she would feel different now. Last month when she visited with Jeff and Lisa, she went to their little church that Sunday and ended up giving her life to Christ. She had not planned it – it just happened. She’d felt the depression lift off of her while she was in that church and she did not want the love she felt in that place to ever leave her. She wanted the same kind of joy and peace that was so evident in Jeff’s life, and if God could give that to her, she wanted in. She was feeling pretty good for awhile. She had even found a church here and was attending pretty regularly. Rita had moved to Farmington Hills because she had been trying to find her mother for several months now and thought she had located her. Only to find out she had moved again. It seemed her mother never stayed in one place for too long. Well, with no real leads to where her mother may have moved to, Rita began to feel the depression creeping back into her life. She’d been feeling this way for about a week and was trying to fight it with prayer and reading her Bible more. She had learned at her new church, Little Bethel, that her Spirit man had to be fed regularly to stay strong and grow in the knowledge of God and the love He had for her. It was hard sometimes though. Like now. Rita knew whenever her birthday was near she always drew into a deep depression. Something she has been dealing with every since she turned eight and spent the first of many birthdays without her mother. As she grew older, she found ways to cope with the pain. Ways that landed her in juvenile detention as a  teen, and more than a few times, in jail, as an adult. In two days Rita would be twenty-seven.

She couldn’t take it any longer, she broke down in the car and cried out to God. “Help me, please God! I don’t want to feel this way anymore. I want to feel the love I know that you have for me. I want to be free of the feelings of abandonment and rejection that threaten to suffocate the very life out of me.” Rita leaned back in her seat. Her shoulders shaking with her sobbing. After a while her sobbing began to subside and she felt an urgency to get away from where she sat parked. She started her car and pulled abruptly away, her tires spraying dirt. As she drove she remembered Pastor Hastings preaching a sermon on fasting and how prayer combined with fasting could bring about victory in areas in our lives where we struggled to overcome. She prayed aloud to God, committing to beginning a fast specifically to free her from her emotional pain, and for God to give her wisdom on how to handle her depression and what she had been through as a child. Rita also committed to making an appointment with her pastor’s wife for counseling. Something that she has put off for years because she didn’t trust anyone with her feelings. She felt drawn to Emma Hastings, though. Emma reminded Rita of Jeff with her quiet, loving spirit. She felt she could trust her. Rita began to feel the depression lifting as she made the decision, she was no longer going to live this way. She was making a choice to be healed emotionally, and was not going to spend another birthday locked away from the world. She even felt a smile creeping upon her lips. Rita’s car had just passed the little church on the road she had been driving when two police cars sped past her. No sirens but going very fast. She couldn’t help but wonder if they were headed to the little blue house. As she remembered how she felt an urgency to drive away from there just a short while ago, a knowing came over her. She thanked God aloud for watching over her tonight and for giving her hope for her future.

Father Truly Knows Best

Father Truly Knows Best

At the time, Lisa did not understand. Ten months ago she sat at her desk, tears stinging her eyes. She had just left her department head’s office, and his words echoed in her mind now. “Sorry Lisa, the position was given to Nina St. James.” Lisa had applied, along with Nina and another person in her department, for the account executive position that opened up when Emery Johnson was promoted to Manager of the Receivables department. Lisa’s three years at McGregor Flooring as a sales rep had more than qualified her for the position. Although the other candidates were just as qualified, and all three of them had roughly the same amount of time on the job at McGregor, Lisa had prayed endlessly for weeks that God bless her with this new job. The extra income and opportunity for monthly bonuses that came with the position would surely be a blessing. Her husband Jeff, due to a rare vascular disease, had recently suffered a light stroke and his income had been reduced to about sixty percent of his regular pay since he was on short term disability from work. In addition, they had opted for the health insurance through Lisa’s job because it was cheaper, but with the high deductibles and the out-of-pocket expenses, Jeff’s medical bills were pretty substantial. Lisa remembered being angry. Angry with God. How could He allow Nina to get the job. The job she felt, at the time, she needed so badly. Nina wasn’t even a Christian. To make matters even worse, it seemed to Lisa that Nina just gloated every time she was around her.

After a couple of weeks of being angry, and rarely finding the time or desire to pray at all, Lisa’s anger had slowly began changing to doubt. As she looked back, she knew now that her anger had opened a door to let a spirit of fear and unbelief creep in and she had started to wonder whether God really cared about she and Jeff’s finances at all. She even discussed with Jeff about not paying their tithes. At least until they were in a better situation financially. Thank God Jeff was more mature in his faith walk than she was. He had said absolutely not. He tried to explain to her that God had a plan, and the plan included tests and trials that would strengthen their faith if they would just trust and believe that He knew what was best. Jeff was believing in a full recovery from his stroke and also that God heal their finances. Lisa admired his spiritual strength and the love He had for God. It was amazing to her considering how he grew up with no real stability. His mother left the family when he was only three years old. Jeff doesn’t remember anything about her. He and his two older sisters were raised by their dad until he passed away when Jeff was just nine from the damage done to his body from alcohol abuse. His two older sisters were ages thirteen and fifteen at the time and all three of them were placed in foster care. When his oldest sister Lana turned eighteen she was able to gain custody of Jeff and their sister Rita. The three of them lived along with Lana’s boyfriend in a two bedroom apartment just scraping by. He didn’t become a born again Christian until about three 1/2 years ago when he joined New Love Church where she was already a member. They were married a year later. Lisa herself grew up in a very stable, Christian household where church was mandatory every Sunday. Nevertheless, she felt Jeff was so much more spiritually mature than she was.

Jeff was serious about them seeking God on a deeper level and praying together for God to bring about change in his health, their finances and their overall walk with God. He decided that as a couple they would come together in prayer each morning and every evening and begin seeking God for His plan for their lives. That was about ten months ago. Lisa marveled at the changes that had taken place in their lives in that short time. She thanked God for not allowing her to get that job she so desperately wanted , the one Nina was given. As it turns out, Nina was working about 60 hours a week, and always looked like she needed a long nap. She and Jeff would have never had the time together that they do now if she would have be given that position. Then just last month, Nina’s position was eliminated in order to cut back on administrative overhead and she ended up taking a position with the company in another state. Lisa knew that her faith was becoming stronger and stronger and she knew it all started with her receiving the love that God had been showering her with all along. She was so thankful to God for showing her that even though she desired something so desperately, that He loved her enough to say “No sweetheart, just trust Me. Father truly does know what is best for you.”

She and Jeff had continued to pay their tithes and God has worked miracles in their finances. It had been rough for a period. It seemed they were getting a disconnect or late notice on a bill every time she turned around. She doesn’t even know how now, but God always provided a way for the bills to get paid. They’d even managed to make somewhat of a dent in the medical bill from Jeff’s hospital stay. God showed them both that He was their source, not their jobs. Lisa found herself looking forward to her prayer time alone with God and the times she and Jeff came before Him together. She began to see the love God had for them individually and as a couple. As she studied the scriptures God would lay upon her heart, Lisa was able to pray with more confidence and expectation, knowing that she was praying the heart of God, not her own will. God had even led her to begin witnessing more to others. As His love filled her, she just felt the overwhelming need to share it. Lisa was especially blessed one day at work recently when one of her co-workers finally accepted her invitation to a Friday night service at New Love. Lisa had been asking Geneva to come to church with her for months now. She could sense that she was going through a tough time emotionally, and she wanted so badly for Geneva to experience God’s love. When Friday arrived, Lisa had prayed all day long that no weapon would prosper against Geneva coming out to church that evening. As it turned out her heart was ripe for the picking. She came with Lisa to church and God swept her up in His arms that night and it appears that Geneva is holding on for dear life.

Lisa smiled as she thought about Jeff and how he is walking around on clouds. He is always talking to anyone who will listen about the amazing changes that God has made and is making in them both and their spiritual walk with Him. While he has not recovered fully from the stroke, his health is getting stronger every day and he was able to return to work at Massey’s Lawn Care and Sales. Shortly after returning, Jeff ‘s boss became ill and Jeff had taken over the job of running the daily business for him. Lou Massey soon found out that his health would not allow him to return to the business he started from the ground up almost 45 years earlier. He had never married or had any children and he trusted Jeff like a son so he gave him a substantial raise and retired, allowing Jeff to run the business permanently. The two have even talked about Jeff purchasing the business from Lou one day.

In All the Wrong Places

In All the Wrong Places

Geneva was already awake when her cell phone began to buzz and vibrate. Lying on her stomach she slid her hand under the covers until her searching fingers found the silicone case that held her phone. While turning onto her back, she pulled the phone out from under the covers and pressed the big red “Dismiss”. Geneva smiled to herself as she thought about how not that long ago, she would have selected the “Snooze” option several times before deciding that she was ready to face the world yet another day. Today was different. In fact, every day for the past six weeks had been different. Six weeks ago, Geneva re-dedicated her life to Christ and she awakes now every morning with a smile and a desire to seek God and His will in her life. She had been lying awake for a good twenty minutes this morning before her alarm went off just thinking about how different her life was just a few months earlier. She knew the difference was because of the love of God in her life and the changes He is making in her thoughts and desires. The words “the mind is the battlefield” came to her and she said aloud “Thank you, Lord for giving me the mind of Christ.”

Only four months ago Geneva was in a very different place mentally. Her live-in boyfriend of the past year had decided that he did not want to be in a committed relationship any longer and had moved out. Well, he did not want to be in a committed relationship with her any way. He had begun seeing a girl that was supposedly one of Geneva’s friends. Geneva took it pretty hard. Her whole life for a year and a few months had revolved around Shane. When she initially found out that he had started seeing Tracy before he moved out, she was hurt and angry, and blamed Tracy for what had happened. Funny thing is, now that she is beginning to realize just how much God loves her, she realizes just how much she and Shane really didn’t love each other. She realizes that her need to love and be loved was the only reason why she agreed to share an apartment with him in the first place – not that she was so much in love with him. She just did not want to be alone. After he left, Geneva had spent nearly three months drinking way too much and eating far too little. Some weekends she only got out of bed to grab something really quick to put on her stomach so she wouldn’t throw up, or to make another run to get more alcohol. She, actually, got over Shane pretty quickly – she was used to guys coming and going in her life. But for some reason she could not jump back out into the dating scene this time like she had done so many times before. She was longing for something more. She just didn’t know what at the time.

Six weeks ago, one of Geneva’s co-workers had invited her to attend a Friday night service at her church. She had invited her the week before and Geneva had accepted only because she was tired of the girl asking her every week for about a month or so. Geneva was actually planning to back out at the last minute. She had no intention of giving up her ritual of beginning her weekend alcohol binge on Friday night, by attending church with a bunch of do-gooders. But something Lisa, her co-worker, said early that Friday morning as they were getting coffee from the break room, had stuck with her all day and she couldn’t shake it. Lisa had said, “I hope you are ready to bask in God’s love tonight, Geneva,” and she bounced out of the room. Well to make a short story a little shorter, Geneva somehow did not want to stay home alone that Friday night and went to church with Lisa, and the love she felt in that place from the presence of God and all of the members there has kept her going back every chance she gets.

Geneva learned that the need she felt so desperately to love and to be loved had been placed in her by God when He formed her and no one and nothing would satisfy that need but God Himself. She had been looking for that special person to love and to be loved by, in all the wrong places. God had been there all along He was just waiting on her to receive Him and His love. Geneva knew in her heart that someday God would send the right mate for her, but for now, He was all she needed. She was now a member at New Love Church and she was learning how to live her life the way God had intended her to. Geneva had accepted Christ as her Savior as a teenager during vacation Bible school one summer, but she had never received the teaching before that she was getting now at New Love, so she had grown into a young adult not really knowing the extent of God’s love for her and the life changing power that lies in His Word. So as she lay in bed this morning, her heart was so full of thanks for where God had brought her from just a few months earlier. He was showing her every day how much He loved her and she had no problem getting out of bed and beginning her day praising Him, reading His Word and praying. She wanted to make sure He knew how much she loved Him in return. Now that God is healing her heart, she has begun to pray and ask God to give her a love for others as well, because she knows that His Word says that this is important. Within the last week she has been able to sincerely pray for Shane and Tracy and that they both find Him. She has even reached out and invited them both to her new church. She truly wants both of them to experience the love of God in each of their lives.

Geneva got out of bed and spent her usual time with God before getting ready for work only to find that the warm fuzzies she felt in His presence continued to linger, and she just felt God pulling on her to stay a little while longer. When she finally felt a release that it was okay to move on and start getting ready for work, she was running a little later than usual. Nevertheless, she felt such a peace in her heart that she took her time and did not rush. She ended up leaving her apartment about 20 minutes later than she normally would. Geneva steered her car onto the highway and would be at work in about 15 minutes if there were no delays. She drove down the highway for a few miles then she noticed that the traffic had slowed to a crawl just up ahead and she could see several cars and a semi pulled off to the side of the road. Traffic on the four lane highway was being routed into the two far left lanes. As Geneva’s car crept closer and closer to where the vehicles were pulled off the road, she could see that it had been a bad accident and several cars were being towed away. After she finally arrived at work, she heard that a truck driver had fallen asleep and as a result, his semi had veered into other lanes of traffic causing several accidents. There was one fatality. Geneva got her morning coffee and her heart was heavy as she walked to her desk in silent prayer, lifting up the people and families whose lives would never be the same again. When she arrived at her desk, the little plaque that her co-worker Lisa had given to her just last week caught her eye. The plaque was oval in shape and was about four inches wide and seven inches high. It was a very bright shade of her favorite color, yellow, and it sat on a little black easel on her desk. Geneva froze for a minute as her eyes were drawn to the words; the first four verses of Psalm 91. She felt those warm fuzzies again and thanked God for keeping her a little while longer this morning, just loving on her.