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Rapture

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Rapture

Rapture1Here is the 50 million dollar question – will there be a Rapture of God’s saints before the Tribulation, or will all of God’s people living at that time have to go through the Tribulation and possibly be martyred for their faith?
I am going to go ahead and give you the main verses from Scripture that deal with the possibility of a Rapture. There is major divided opinion in the Body of Christ right now as to whether or not there is going to be a Rapture.

Each one of you will have to come to your own conclusion on this issue per your own interpretation of the Scripture verses I will list below. I will give you my opinion on this subject, along with pointing out key words and phrases in the following verses.

As you will see in the following verses, I believe there is very strong evidence from Scripture that there will be a Rapture – and that it will occur before the Antichrist starts the persecution of God’s saints, and before God starts to pour out His wrath upon the earth during the 7 year Tribulation. In other words, it will be a pre-tribulation Rapture.

1. This first verse is very interesting. You already know that one of the names of the Antichrist is the “lawless one” per the Scripture verse I gave you in my first article. This verse is definitely talking about the Antichrist. Here is the verse:

“And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming.” (2 Thessalonians 2:6-8)

You know the lawless one is referring to the Antichrist because then the verse says that Jesus will destroy him when He comes back for the second time.
But look very closely at the phrase, “only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed …” The “H” in the word “He” is a capital H in the New King James Version of the Bible. This means “He” is either referring to God, Jesus, or the Holy Spirit.
Since God and Jesus are in heaven right now, the “He” has to be referring to the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit has always been referred to as the One who restrains evil from getting out of control on this earth.

It says that the Antichrist cannot be revealed until “He” is taken out of the way. Since we know the Holy Spirit still has to be down here even if there is a Rapture, then who is “He” referring to?
If there is a Rapture, there still will be a multitude of people who are going to get saved and then martyred. If they are saved, then they are sealed with the Holy Spirit, which means the Holy Spirit is living on the inside of them like He is with us.

I believe the “He” may be referring to the “Holy Spirit operating through the Church.” This means that the Body of Christ, the Church, will be what is taken out before the Antichrist can be revealed.
Think about this. The Antichrist is going to be very easy to spot once he starts to enter onto the world scene. All of the Scripture verses I gave you on the Antichrist and 7 year Tribulation spell out exactly what is going to occur, and there will be more than enough astute Christians out there who are going to be able to pick up who he is once all of these events start to occur.

With some of the powerful TV ministries that we now have in place, I am sure that the Body of Christ will be shouting from the rooftops once the Antichrist is spotted.
The word would be spread very quickly and it would then become very hard for the Antichrist to rise to the kind of power that the Bible is foretelling.

I believe the Church has to be taken out as the above verse is stating before the Antichrist can be revealed to the rest of the world. And the above verse states that the Antichrist will not be revealed until “He” who is restraining him is taken out of the way!
Once the Body of real believers are raptured off the face of the earth, there will nothing left that will be able to stop the Antichrist from rising to full power. The rest of the world is going to be easily duped into believing in this man – especially with all of the false signs and wonders that will be performed on his behalf by the False Prophet.

I believe the above verse alone is very strong Scriptural evidence that there will be a Rapture of God’s saints before the Antichrist actually rises to full power.
2. This next verse talks about those who are “alive” will be “caught up” to meet the Lord in the “air.” Here is the verse:
“For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be CAUGHT UP together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17)

This verse really seems to be implying that there will be a group of saints who are going to “caught up” or pulled up to meet the Lord in the air while we are still alive! These words spell possible Rapture to me.

3. The next verse tells us of a “mystery” – that not all of God’s saints are going to “sleep” – and that this group is going to be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, and that this event will occur at the last trumpet.

I believe the Last Trumpet is God’s last call to His people, and that it implies that whoever is saved and born again when this trumpet sounds off will be raptured and spared from having to go through the horrors of the 7 year Tribulation.

I believe the word “mystery” is being used to let us know that God is keeping the possibility of a Rapture a secret and a mystery to the rest of the world. This is why many of the Scripture verses pertaining to this event do not perfectly spell it out. However, there is enough of a hint in these verses for God’s own people to pick it up, but not the rest of the unbelieving world. Here is the verse:
“Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall be changed – in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.” (1 Corinthians 15:51)
I believe the words “last trumpet” tells us this event will occur at the end of times. The words “shall be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye,” really do describe what could be a Rapture – the immediate vanishing and disappearance of God’s people from the face of the earth in the snap of a finger.

4. This next verse is coming direct from Jesus Himself out of the Book of Revelation. Here is the verse:
“Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.” (Revelation 3:10)
This verse could be literal interpretation – that Jesus will keep His Body of believers who are living at this time out of the hands of the Antichrist. He obviously will do it by either rapturing them off the face of the earth, or by providing them with some kind of physical protection if there will be no Rapture. My guess is that He will do this by rapturing them off the face of this earth.

5. Here is another verse from Jesus stating that we watch and pray that we be counted worthy to escape all the things that may be coming our way in the end times.
“Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.” (Luke 21:36)
This verse really seems to be implying once again that God is going to allow His own to escape or be prevented from having to go through the horrific events of the Tribulation.

6. Now here are some additional verses that are not quite as strong as the above verses, but do suggest the possibility that God will keep us from these horrific events.
“… and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.” (1 Thessalonians 1:10)
This verse either means Jesus will deliver us before the wrath comes, which would line up with a Rapture, or it may mean when He comes down for the second time at the battle of Armageddon to put an end to all of the carnage with the Antichrist.
“For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thessalonians 5:9)
This verse could be implying that His Body will not be appointed or be subject to the events of the Tribulation – or the wrath could simply be pointing to people going to hell for refusing to accept Jesus and His gift of eternal salvation.

Conclusion
If there is going to be a Rapture, I believe that God will rapture His believers off this earth sometime before the start of the 7 year Tribulation.
I do not think He will wait to the midpoint of the Tribulation where the Antichrist seats himself in the Temple proclaiming himself to be God and then starts the persecution of God’s saints.
I believe the Antichrist will be fully revealed to the world near the beginning of the 7 year Tribulation when he enters into a peace treaty and covenant with Israel, and then allows them to start rebuilding their Temple so he can eventually get into it at the midpoint of the Tribulation to proclaim himself to be God.

And remember the very first verse above, that the Antichrist cannot be revealed until “He” is taken out of the way. And when “He” is taken out of the way, then the Antichrist can be fully revealed to the rest of the world. And the “He” in my opinion may be the main Body of believers who are living at the time of these events.

The other reason I think the Rapture will occur sometime before the start of the 7 year Tribulation is that the Antichrist is going to need some time to set things up.
Once the Church is taken out, he will be free to start operating at full throttle.
The first thing he is going to do is convince and persuade the rest of the world to follow him, and I feel he will first do this by trickery and deception. If he starts the mass persecution too early on those who will not accept and take his mark, he will risk not being able to gain full control of everything.

I believe he will first suck everyone in by peace and diplomacy and the promise of a better world.
Then once he has enough of the nations on his side and the Jewish Temple has once more rebuilt, that will be the time he will then go for all of the marbles. He will seat himself up in the Temple at the midpoint of the Tribulation, proclaim himself to be God, kill anyone who will not accept his mark, and will then seek total world domination and control.

Think about this. This one man, through the power of Satan, will get a chance to have more power and more control over the entire world than any other man has ever had during the entire course of our human history. This will be the ultimate ego trip for a power hungry human being.
I believe that the last three and half years of the Tribulation are going to be the last and final history lesson from God to us.

With the Church being taken out of the way so Satan and the Antichrist can operate at full throttle, I believe that God is going to show all of us how much terror, death, and destruction humans and demons are capable of committing if given half the chance without God directly intervening.
In three and half years, Satan and the Antichrist are going to cause so much death and destruction on this earth, that Jesus Himself says that had these days not been shortened by God the Father Himself – that no flesh would have been saved! I really feel that Satan, if he knew he had the chance, would set up the entire scenario with the Antichrist to destroy the entire world through nuclear weaponry.
Satan already knows he is defeated. He already knows he will eventually end up in the Lake of Fire and Brimstone for all of eternity. He knows that this will be his last chance for mass destruction and terror.

If God would allow Satan anymore time than these three and half years, I really believe Satan would set the world up for mass destruction through nuclear weapons. He would then have the satisfaction that he literally destroyed the entire world before he goes to his final fate.

But thank our God, He will not allow this scenario to go this far. But God is going to allow it to go far enough to teach all of us a lesson that we will never, ever forget.
He is going to show us how quickly humans can be deceived by Satan and his demons, and the only thing that has kept this world in one piece throughout human history has simply been the power and restraining force of God the Father Himself operating through the Holy Spirit.
Bottom line – there is only maximum life with God or maximum death without Him.

The last three and half years of the Tribulation will show us what maximum death will really be like when God removes His Church off the face of this earth, and then allows the Devil and the Antichrist to do what they want with the power that will be given to them.

After we watch and see all of these horrific events unfold, we will never, ever want to forsake our God again. We will come to the full realization that without God in our lives – we can never have true happiness, joy, love, peace, or fulfillment in our lives.

Without God in our lives, there is only eventual maximum death – and the last three and half years of this Tribulation is going to prove that point once and for all to all of us. It will be the greatest history lesson that the world will ever receive – and something that we will never, ever forget for the rest of our eternal lives.

Will there be a Rapture? rapture2

You will each have to decide for yourselves on the way the above Scripture verses are being worded. My own personal conclusion, after putting all the above verses together like pieces to a jigsaw puzzle, is that there will be a Rapture, and that it will occur sometime before the beginning of the 7 year Tribulation.

I believe the Rapture is a “mystery” from God and that it is “hidden” in the above verses. God does not want the rest of the unbelieving world to have full access to this mystery, otherwise people will be accepting His gift of eternal salvation for the wrong reasons – to escape the coming horrors of the Tribulation and not with a true, repentant heart to want to accept Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior for the sinners that we all truly are.

Again, you may want to put this article on the shelf in the event that we start to fast approach end time events in our lifetime. This article will make for good debate with other Christians who may not believe in the Rapture.

Are You Thankful?

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bigstock-Man-holding-arms-up-in-praise--14031791“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” Oprah Winfrey. From the online dictionary thank·ful

Adjective
  1. Pleased and relieved: “they were thankful that the war was finally over”; “I was very thankful to be alive”.
  2. Expressing gratitude and relief: “a thankful prayer”.
Synonyms
grateful – appreciative – beholden
Most of us are now working to achieve our desires. Jim Rohn, inspirational speaker said his key phrase is “Learn to be Thankful for what you already have, while you pursue all that you want.” We must learn the lesson of being thankful for what we have if we are to be a success in our life.  Without being thankful no doors or windows will open for you. I am a beleiver in God and without thankfullness, I truely beleive that no blessings can come our way.
Think about what you have to be grateful for, your parents, your spouse, your children, your job, your car ect. ect. Even those that think they have very little can find something to feel grateful about. Do you have good health? Are you thankful for your health? What would it be like if you didn’t have it. Maybe you are very ill, you can be thankful you have another day with your family and friends.
The Bible says, “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18
This is an article by Jim Rohn that sums up thankfulness for him. If nothing else it should give us all something to think about.

To appreciate the uniqueness of our own experiences that has brought us all here, together. For the countries we represent; we have freedom and liberty. These are extraordinary times, about eleven years ago the walls came tumbling down, in Germany, and it started a wave of democracy and freedom like the world has never seen before. We as a country and as a world have so much to be thankful for. Always start with thanksgiving; be thankful for what you already have and see the miracles that come from this one simple act.

Now thankfulness is just the beginning; next, you’ve got to challenge yourself to produce. Produce more ideas than you need for yourself so you can share and give your ideas away. That is called fruitfulness and abundance. Here’s what I think fruitfulness and abundance mean – to go to work on producing more than you need for yourself so you can begin blessing others, blessing your nation and blessing your enterprise. Once abundance starts to come, once someone becomes incredibly productive, it’s amazing what the numbers turn out to be. But to begin this incredible process of blessing, it often starts with the act of thanksgiving and gratitude, being thankful for what you already have and for what you’ve already done. Begin the act of thanksgiving today and watch the miracles flow your way.

The video is Where are you Christmas? with some tough pictures to look at, but it is a reminder of how thankful we should be for the life we have.

Year End: A Reflection

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Happy new year with fireworks.It’s hard to believe this is the last day of 2012. This year has gone by so fast for me. My mother told me many years ago that it would happen. At the time I didn’t believe her but I have since learned she knew exactly what she was talking about.  The older you get the faster the time goes.

I think back when I was small and would ask how old I would be when I got out of school and just when that was going to happen. Then I couldn’t wait to turn 16 so I could drive a car legally. Since I lived in a very rural area, I started driving dirt roads when I was twelve. I was really big stuff once I got my licence. Then the next time I couldn’t wait for, was turning twenty-one. I wanted to be old enough to party with my friends.

Once I made it past twenty-one things began to speed up. I was married with two kids and time began to pass by too quickly. My children grew up at a great rate of speed.  Now my grand and great-grand children are doing they same thing, but it seems even faster.

I now know that each second we have on this earth is precious. I may not be here in twenty-five years or as far as that goes, I may not be here tomorrow. The New Year makes me very reflective of my life and all of my blessings. I’ve met a lot of very friendly, kind and wonderful people through WordPress. I’ve been able to share my writings as well as my thoughts on different topics. It has been a blessing to me to be able to share a part of me and my life as it is now.

I’ve also figured out that bad times happen, but it’s what we do during and after those times that matter.  Through the grace of God I’ve made it so far and I’m going to see another New Year, if God leaves me here one more day.  My hope and prayer is for everyone to have a safe, healthy, and Happy New Year.  Until next year.   Shirley

Good Friday

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As  Christian’s, today is the day we call Good Friday.  It is the day chosen to observe the cruisifiction of our Lord, Jesus Christ. When I was growing up I couldn’t grasp the concept of why it was called Good Friday when it represented a man being nailed to a cross and tortured until he died.  In my young eyes, there was nothing good about that. I knew killing was wrong so why did we celebrate a man dying.

Now in my later years I praise God every day for sending his son to this earth to die for my sins, so I can sit at the right hand of my father and praise him. I wrote a poem this morning called Easter Holiday which I would like to share with you.  I hope each one of you have a wonderful Holiday remembering our Lord and Savior.  Blessings to you and yours.

Easter Holiday

Easter holiday celebrated

Remember our Lord’s sacrifice

Taking the sins of mankind

While hanging on the cross

Forgive them Father

Last words spoken

Forgiveness

For all

SAVED

To Each His Own (Short Story)

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I missed my deadline yesterday, but I have a good excuse. I was painting all day.  I’m painting a house I’m moving out of in a couple of months.  We just bought a new home in Sapulpa and it is gorgeous.  Out in the country with a cellar on the back porch.  Anyway, I thought I would post a short story today that’s not really that short.  I hope you like it.  Enjoy the read and let me know what you think.

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She walked to the edge of a small lake. She didn’t notice the color of the water, or that it didn’t reflect the blue sky above her. Her mind focused on how she and Bill spoke to each other the last time she saw him. She didn’t feel upset, or unhappy, just very content. I should talk to him and let him know why I left. His life wasn’t for me.

Bill was so handsome. He stood six-foot tall in his stocking feet, almost platinum hair with striking blue eyes.  Her inner core melted every time he gave her one of his sultry looks. His eyebrows were soft brown with long brown eyelashes. Between his eyebrows, platinum hair and his Jesus eyes, she knew he was always going to have girls chasing after him, and she would have to deal with it.

He’d been born and raised on a farm about five miles outside of Harvestonville, Nebraska and Joanie was a city girl from Chicago. She met him in Chicago fresh off the farm. He was attending the Cattlemen’s National Convention as a delegate from Nebraska. Joanie worked as a cleaning maid in the hotel where he stayed. A smile touched her lips for a second, as she remembered their first meeting.

“Excuse me sir, I didn’t know you had returned. I’ll be out of here in just a minute. I’m almost done.”

“You don’t have to hurry on my account. What ‘s your name?”

“My name is Joan, but my friends call me Joanie.”

“All right, Joanie, you can count me as one of your friends. Would you like to get a cup of coffee or a drink when you get off work?”

“You want me to have coffee, with you?”

“Yep, I sure do. Will you join me? What time do you get off?”

“I get off at 3:00 PM, but I’m afraid I’ll have to pass on the invitation. My mom is picking me up today, so I can’t stay late. How about a rain check?”

“I’m leaving day after tomorrow”, Bill said. “Let’s plan on having coffee tomorrow.”

Joanie thought for a minute about how nice it would be to have coffee with such a handsome man. “Okay, I’ll meet you in the coffee shop on 5th floor at 3:15.” She gathered up her cleaning supplies and headed out the door.

“Good-by Joanie, I’ll see you tomorrow.” Bill yelled as she shut the door behind her.

That was the beginning. One cup of coffee and Joanie’s world was never the same again.

***

Bill left Joanie, the day after their coffee date, which went on for fourteen hours. He had to catch his flight to return home. Joan didn’t think she would ever see him again. As soon as Bill’s plane landed, he called to tell Joanie how much their coffee date meant to him.

“I miss you, and I’ll find a way for us to be together. That is, if that is what you want to Joanie. I felt as if I had met the person holding my heart.”

“Bill, I’m in Chicago and you live in Nebraska. A relationship won’t work long distance, and you know that as well as I do. We talked about it and we both agreed it wouldn’t work.”

“I’ve changed my mind. I’m going to find a way to make it work, Joanie. Give me a few days and I’ll come up with a plan.”

Joanie went through her days as usual, but Bill was always on her mind. She’d wonder what he was doing or what kind of a plan he’d come up with. She’d already made up her mind she would do whatever he planned. What kind of life do I have? I’m thirty-four years old, living with my mother, with no bright prospects for my future. 

Thirty days passed without a word from Bill. Joanie thought he’d changed his mind. I knew it was too good to be true. I’m never going to leave this hotel and mama. I thought the Lord had finally sent something good into my life.

After enough time passed, she kept Bill out of her thinking most of the time. The hardest part was at night after she went to bed. Her mind was full of questions and she couldn’t shut it down. She’d finally reach for her Bible and start reading. Once she started reading it was as if God reached into her mind and calmed it, letting her sleep.

The following Saturday morning, Joanie was doing the dishes. Looking out the kitchen window, she watched the cardinals, and bright yellow finches at the bird feeders. It gave her peace to watch the bright colors flit around and hear them sing their songs as they wait for space at the feed ports.

The doorbell rang a couple of times. I wonder who that is, she thought. Her mom had gone to see her Aunt Jerry so she knew she’d have to get the door. She dried her hands on the dish towel and went to the door. When she opened the door, she couldn’t move or speak for a few seconds.

“Bill, what are you doing here?”

“I told you the last time we talked I’d figure out a way for us to be together.”

Yes you did, but I haven’t heard a word from you since that conversation. I’d given up on you ever contacting me, much less showing up at my door”.

“Are you going to ask me inside?”

“I’m sorry, please come in.” She opened the door wide enough for him to come in. He bent down and kissed her on the cheek as he stepped by her.

“Come into the living room and have a seat. Would you like something to drink?”

“Do you have any coffee made?”

“No, but it won’t take me a minute to get you a cup. We’ve got one of those Krups coffee makers that does one cup at a time.”

Joanie went to the kitchen and made his coffee. She put it on a tray and carried it back into the room. “Here’s your coffee, Bill, just the way you like it, with cream and sugar.”

A smile spread across Joanie’s face as she thought about how they had the love of coffee in common.

“Remember I told you I had my own cattle ranch in the country.”

“Yes, I remember.”

“I want you to come back to Nebraska with me and share my home with me.”

“Bill, are you asking me to marry you?”

“Yah, I guess I am. We’ll get you back there and settled, and then we’ll talk about a wedding. What do you think?”

“I think you’ve made me the happiest woman in Chicago. The only down side is telling my mother. Maybe we could tell her together this evening.”

“I think you should tell her yourself tonight, without having someone she doesn’t know around. I have me a room at a hotel not too far from here to stay. Can we leave tomorrow?”

“You want me to leave tomorrow. What about my job?”
“Honey, don’t worry about your job. You’re not going to be needing the job. You won’t ever need a job again. Just call someone and tell them you won’t be back.”

“All right Bill, I’ll leave with you tomorrow. I’m so excited to see my new home, and for us to start our life together.”

Joanie and Bill sat and talked about an hour making their plans. Bill got up and said he needed to go to the hotel so he could check in. They would be leaving about six in the morning, so Joanie had a lot to do before then. They walked to the door hand in hand, and Bill bent down and softly kissed Joanie’s lips. She thought she would explode with happiness, but she kept everything in check. Bill left and she headed for the attic to get her trunk and a couple of suitcases.

She was so busy packing her belongings she didn’t hear Mom come through the front door. Her mother stood at her bedroom door watching her pack her things in the trunk.

“What are you doing, Joanie?”

“Oh Mom, I didn’t hear you come in.”

“What are you doing?”

“I’m packing my things.”

“I can see that, but why?”

“I’m going to Nebraska with Bill in the morning. He came back for me Mama and I’m going. This is a chance for me to make a wonderful life for him and me.”

“Don’t do this, Joanie. You haven’t known this man long enough to know what kind of a man he is.”

Her mom began to cry. Joanie went to her, put her arms around her, and kissed her cheek. “Please don’t worry mom, I’m going to be fine. Bill and I have talked for many hours and we both want the same things out of life. He’s a Christian and he told me he’d be right beside me in church every Sunday. He’s a decent man mama. I feel so lucky to have finally found someone to love, and who loves me back. I just know God sent him to me.

“Please, honey, I’m begging you not to leave with this man.”

“Mama, I’m going and that’s final. Please don’t make this harder on both of us than it has to be. You know I love you and nothing will ever change that.”

“Don’t you think it’s funny he hasn’t made an attempt to meet your mother or other family members?”

“He’s just shy mama, but you will get to meet him in the morning before we leave. I know you’re going to like him.”

Joanie’s mother opened her mouth to say something, but turned around and left the bedroom. Her heart was heavy with sadness, but she was angry with Joanie for being so naive. She went into the kitchen to fix herself a cup of coffee. Her agitation kept her walking the kitchen in circles. She felt like a wild animal pacing around a cage. I have to think of something to stop her from leaving with that man. I know something isn’t right, but what can I do.

Joanie’s mother’s bedroom door closed with a bang. Joanie thought, I know she’s upset with me, but at least she has gone to bed. Maybe in the morning she’ll feel better about me leaving with Bill. I think a mother should be happy her daughter has found happiness. Joanie kept herself busy for another hour getting her things together. She placed everything in the dining room for easy access to the front door. She didn’t want anything to delay the departure in the morning.

Walking back to her room, Joanie thought she would look in at her mother. Usually her snoring was shaking the rafters of the house, but she didn’t hear a sound. She opened her mother’s door a crack where she could see her mother’s form turned on her side away from the door. I hope she rests well. Maybe I can get her to come to Nebraska after we get settled. That way she won’t be alone for very long. Joanie pulled the door closed and walked back to her room and climbed in bed.

She had a tough time going to sleep because she was excited about the morning. She was ready to get on with her new life. When her eyes finally closed, she slept soundly and peaceful. The night went by very fast. It seems as if she just closed her eyes and the alarm was sounding. She jumped from her bed and hurriedly took a shower and got dressed.

She needed some coffee. She knew her mother would want to see her off so she went to her mother’s door and knocked. She listened and didn’t hear a response, so she knocked louder. She finally opened the door and looked in. Her mother was still on her right side, facing away from the door. Joanie walked over and touched her mother’s shoulder, or what she thought was her shoulder. What is going on? Where are you mom? The bed was empty except for some rolled pillows to make it look as if someone was asleep in the bed.

***

Joanie’s mother, Irene, decided she would handle this situation. She fixed her bed so it looked as if she was there sound asleep. She exited her room through the double doors to the deck in her back yard. It’s a good thing Joanie told me he was staying close by because there is only one hotel that is close. I’m going to have a talk with that fellow.

Irene walked to the hotel, a couple of blocks from her house. She walked with determination in each step and thought about what she was going to say. She’d brought her checkbook, just in case money was needed.

“Can I help you?” The desk clerk asked.

“Yes, sir, you certainly can. I need the room number of a Mr. Bill Douglas.”

“I’m sorry; we are not allowed to give out room numbers without permission from the guest. I can call his room and see if he would like to see you.”

“Ok, go ahead and give him a call. Just tell him Joanie’s mother is here to see him.”

The desk clerk called Bill’s number. Bill picked up the phone on the first ring. “Hello” who did you say was here? Sure, let her come up. Thanks.”

“Ma’am, he’s in room 702. The elevator is to your left and behind the screen wall.”

“Thank you.” Irene turned and made her way to the elevator, while she continued bolstering her courage with each step she took. Arriving at Bill’s room, she found him standing in the door waiting on her arrival.

“So you’re Joanie’s mother.”

“Yes, I’m Irene Jackson. Can we talk for a few minutes?”

“Sure, come on in and take a seat in that desk chair. I’m going to lie back on the bed and take it easy while were having our little talk. You start since you made the trip here to see me.”

“Fair enough. First off, Joanie doesn’t know I’m here. I needed to talk to you and I don’t want Joanie involved.”

“Excuse me, but I think she’s already involved. We are supposed to leave here in a few hours headed back to Nebraska.”

“That’s why I’m here. I don’t want Joanie going with you. She belongs here in Chicago with her family. She has never been out of this city and to take off to live in another state, on a ranch, in the middle of nowhere won’t make her happy.”

“What makes you think you know what will make Joanie happy?”

“Look, I’m her mother and I know her better than any other human on this earth, especially you. You’ve only spent a few hours with her. I’ve been with her, her entire life. What will it take for you to leave her in the morning and not come by my house?”

“Are you trying to bribe me lady?” Bill laughed while looking straight into Irene’s eyes. There’s something about his eyes that bothered her. She couldn’t stand to look him straight in the eye. How much are you willing to give me to leave your daughter alone.”

“I’ll give you everything I’ve got in the bank. Will you leave her alone for $100,000.00? Irene took her checkbook out and wrote the check for entire amount. She got up and walked towards the bed.”

“Wait a minute; I never said I wanted your money. I want Joanie to go with me tomorrow. I have big plans for her and me.”

“I’m going to do everything I can to stop you from leaving with my daughter. So don’t be surprised if you are detained a bit.”

“You can’t stop me.”

“Just watch me. I’ll have you so tangled up with the police, I guarantee you will be held in jail for a while. I have friends and I can pull in a few favors.” Irene looked at Bill’s face and saw a menacing smile on his lips. She had a chill run up her spine.

“You’ll have to excuse me a couple of minutes. I have to pause for the cause.” Bill got off the bed and walked into the bathroom. Irene sat with her back to the bathroom door, looking out the big picture window at the bright lights of Chicago. She heard Bill come out of the bathroom. The next thing she knew there was a small rope around her neck cutting off her air. Her last thought was of her love for her daughter.

At 6 AM, standing by the front door, waiting on Bill to arrive. Joanie kept wondering why her mother left during the night. She rationalized she left because she didn’t want to say goodbye to me. That note I left for her might help ease her pain a little. I’ll be sure and call just as soon as I get to the ranch.

Bill pulled up and Joanie threw the door open and ran out to meet Bill on the front walk. “I’m so glad to see you here. I have my things ready, but there is one small thing.”

“What’s that”, Bill asked

“My mom left last night and hasn’t returned home. I wanted to say goodbye to her.”

“Honey, she probably left because she couldn’t stand the thought of saying goodbye. I wouldn’t worry about her. I’m sure she is in a cozy spot, dealing with your leaving, the best way she can. Let’s get your stuff loaded and get on the road.”

“Ok, I know you’re right, but it’s just hard-driving off without seeing her. I’ll be fine and I’ll call her as soon as we get to the farm.”

Bill was quiet during the trip back to Nebraska. Joanie would try to engage him in conversation but he would just smile and not say anything.  “Bill, why won’t you talk to me? Tell me about the ranch?”

“I don’t talk much and as far as the ranch goes, you’ll see it when we get there.”

Joanie gave Bill a long look, but he didn’t react to her stare. She finally gave up, and laid her head back on the seat to take a nap.

 ***

“Wake up, Joan, we’re here. You had a long nap. Take a look at your new home.”

Joan woke easily but remained groggy. “I didn’t think we were that close when I went to sleep.” Joan looked around for her new house. “Where’s the house?”

“You see that mound over there next to the big oak tree.”

“Yes, I see it.”

“That’s our house. It’s a dug out. We won’t have to stay in it but a couple of years. By then I should have us a house built.”

“Bill, you didn’t tell me I would be living in a hole in the ground.”

“I told you from the very beginning when we talked, I was a naturalist. We’ll grow what we are going to eat and live like my ancestors did when they first came here from Germany.”

“I don’t know that I can do this.”

“Sure, you can. I’ll teach you how to be a real pioneering woman. There is a community of us here.  Down the road about three miles is the store and gas station. We’re in the process of building the combination school/church house now. On Sundays, we go to a different place each week for services. This next Sunday you can meet all the neighbors. I didn’t tell any of them about you, so you will be a big surprise.”

Joanie got out of the truck and walked to her new home. What have I gotten myself into? He didn’t tell me anything about all this. I guess I made an assumption I shouldn’t have.” The land was beautiful, with big pecan trees all around. There was a barn built about a city block away. The water well was in front of the dugout. There was a large area, off to the right, where the ground was broken up. It was away from the trees, and was partially fenced.

Bill hurried past Joanie and opened the wood slat door that let the light into the dugout. Joanie couldn’t believe her eyes. There were five stone steps leading down to a plank floor. There was a small wood stove sitting in the middle of the room with a stove-pipe running from the stove through the roof. As far as furnishing went, there was a full size bed and one chair and no table. There were stacked plastic crates containing a few dishes, Bill’s clothes and supplies.

“Welcome to your new home, Joanie. Isn’t this great. It won’t take you long to love it as much as I do.”

“Where is the nearest large town?”

“Well, let me think. Norfolk is about fifty miles north of us. I guess it is the biggest.”

“Is there a hotel there?”

“Sure, why?”

“I can’t live like this. I’m not like you. Please take me to the hotel and I’ll go back home.”

“You said you loved me and wanted to be with me. Where we live shouldn’t matter.”

“It does matter, Bill. I haven’t been out of Chicago and this is 1992, not 1842. This isn’t the life I want. This is my fault not yours. I made some assumptions about our life together, and I shouldn’t have. Please forgive me, and take me to Norfolk.”

“I’m not taking you anywhere. You’re staying here with me.” Bill glaringly looked at Joanie and set the suitcases out-of-the-way. “Are you coming inside with me?”

“No, I’m not. Please take me to Norfolk, or I’ll walk.”

“You don’t even know where you are, how can you walk?”

“I’ll put two feet on that dirt road and take off.”

“You are going to leave me before you spend one night here.”

“Yes, I am. As I said before, I can’t live this kind of life. You may like it but I don’t.”

Bill walked around behind Joanie; she didn’t turn to see what he was doing. He put a small rope around her throat and started cutting off her air. “No one will miss you Joan. I told you no one here knew you were coming, and your mother will be waiting on you when you get to where you’re going.”

***

Joanie heard footsteps behind her. She turned knowing it wouldn’t be Bill, but she wasn’t afraid. A man in a long robe and sandals, with a pleasant smile on his face and the clearest blue eyes, stood before her. “Are you ready to go?”

“Where am I going?”

“You’re going to see your mama, and the rest of your family. There will be many there to greet you upon your arrival. You do remember what happened don’t you.”

“Yes, I remember but it doesn’t matter now. I feel too good for anything to matter.”

“You made some poor choices in your life on earth, but you lived a good life loving our Father and trusting him. Now you are going to live with him, as he promised you.”

“What about Bill?”

“Bill will answer to our Father in his own time. I’m surprised he even crossed your mind. Take hold of my hand. Your new home waits.

Prayer

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I have racked my brain trying to think of something to write about today.  You know, every time I tried to think of a topic, only one thing kept coming to my mind, Prayer. I think someone is trying to tell me something so I quit fighting it.  What is prayer to you? How often do you pray and do you have a reason for your prayer (not that you need one).

Prayer is our communication with God, or whom or whatever you worship. There are at least five types of prayer.

1. Asking for forgiveness – For me this one is an absolute necessity.  Since the only perfect person left this world over  2000 years ago, I can’t be perfect. I may try to convince my husband I am at times, but since the Lord knows me inside and out, he knows I fall off the wagon occasionally (so to speak).

2. Adoration This is the praise and worship type of prayer. I choose to adore my Lord.  There is no one above him and never shall be. The act of faith is a prayer of adoration.

3. Love – I think the prayer of love is tied to the adoration. You can’t give spirit filled love to our Father without the adoration.

4.  petition – For some, this is the only prayer they know,  Lord I need, Lord I want, Lord would you please, Lord I’m begging.  This type is when we pray when  we need something.  With a prayer of petition we should always prayer to accept Gods will whether he answers directly or not. I know God answers prayer. I learned the hard way. Be careful what you pray for because you may get it.

5.  Thanksgiving – This is probably the most neglected prayer type. It’s the prayer of thanksgiving. While grace before meals is a good example of a prayer of thanksgiving, we should get into the habit of thanking God throughout the day for the good things that happen to us and to others.

Have you noticed anything while you were reading these types of prayer.  The one thing I noticed was when I pray, or I hear someone else pray, it includes all five of these types, at the same time.  We make sure we cover all the bases.

We are taught to pray always, pray with faith in Jesus, pray with sincerity, and pray with real intent (ready to do God’s will).

My prayer for you:  My dear Lord and Savior, I thank you for the blessings you have given to me this day. I praise they name.  Lord I asked that you bless each person who is reading this prayer.  Put your arms around them and relieve  them of  burdens they carry. Guide them and bless them as only you can. Let everyone know that through you all things are possible.  In Jesus name. Amen.

I’ll Be Back

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Cover of "Many Lives, Many Masters: The T...

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I read a non-fiction book this past week by Brian L. Weiss, M.D. that started me to start thinking seriously about reincarnation.  The title of the book was, Many Lives, Many Masters.  The book tells the story of one of Dr. Weiss’s patients and how she was healed from many psychological problems by past life therapy.  It not only changed her life but also his. Up until this point in time I never thought it had any validity.  It was as if a door opened and let me step through into a world I didn’t think possible.

The definition of reincarnation from Wikipedia is:

The word “reincarnation” derives from Latin, literally meaning, “entering the flesh again”. The Greek equivalent metempsychosis (μετεμψύχωσις) roughly corresponds to the common English phrase “transmigration of the soul” and also usually connotes reincarnation after death,[7] as either human, animal, though emphasising the continuity of the soul, not the flesh. The term has been used by modern philosophers such as Kurt Gödel[8] and has entered the English language. Another Greek term sometimes used synonymously is palingenesis, “being born again”.[9]

There is no word corresponding exactly to the English terms “rebirth”, “metempsychosis”, “transmigration” or “reincarnation” in the traditional languages of Pāli and Sanskrit. The entire universal process that gives rise to the cycle of death and rebirth, governed by karma, is referred to as Samsara[10] while the state one is born into, the individual process of being born or coming into the world in any way, is referred to simply as “birth” (jāti). Devas (gods) may also die and live again.[11] Here the term “reincarnation” is not strictly applicable, yet Hindu gods are said to have reincarnated (see Avatar): Lord Vishnu is known for his ten incarnations, the Dashavatars. Celtic religion seems to have had reincarnating gods also. Many Christians regard Jesus as a divine incarnation. Some Christians and Muslims believe he and some prophets may incarnate again. Most Christians, however, believe that Jesus will come again in the Second Coming at the end of the world, although this is not a reincarnation. Some ghulat Shi’a Muslim sects also regard their founders as in some special sense divine incarnations (hulul).

Philosophical and religious beliefs regarding the existence or non-existence of an unchanging ‘self‘ have a direct bearing on how reincarnation is viewed within a given tradition. The Buddha lived at a time of great philosophical creativity in India when many conceptions of the nature of life and death were proposed. Some were materialist, holding that there was no existence and that the self is annihilated upon death. Others believed in a form of cyclic existence, where a being is born, lives, dies and then is re-born, but in the context of a type of determinism or fatalism in which karma played no role. Others were “eternalists”, postulating an eternally existent self or soul comparable to that in Judaic monotheism: the ātman survives death and reincarnates as another living being, based on its karmic inheritance. This is the idea that has become dominant (with certain modifications) in modern Hinduism.

The Buddhist concept of reincarnation differs from others in that there is no eternal “soul”, “spirit’ or self” but only a “stream of consciousness” that links life with life. The actual process of change from one life to the next is called punarbhava (Sanskrit) or punabbhava (Pāli), literally “becoming again”, or more briefly bhava, “becoming”, and some English-speaking Buddhists prefer the term “rebirth” or “re-becoming” to render this term as they take “reincarnation” to imply a fixed entity that is reborn.[12] Popular Jain cosmology and Buddhist cosmology as well as a number of schools of Hinduism posit rebirth in many worlds and in varied forms. In Buddhist tradition the process occurs across five or six realms of existence,[13] including the human, any kind of animal and several types of supernatural being. It is said in Tibetan Buddhism that it is very rare for a person to be reborn in the immediate next life as a human[14]

Gilgul, Gilgul neshamot or Gilgulei Ha Neshamot (Heb. גלגול הנשמות) refers to the concept of reincarnation in Kabbalistic Judaism, found in much Yiddish literature among Ashkenazi Jews. Gilgul means “cycle” and neshamot is “souls.” The equivalent Arabic term is tanasukh:[15] the belief is found among Shi’a ghulat Muslim sects.

The way I understand it, is we go through this life and die.  Our spirit goes to a different plane and if we still have lessons to learn we are reincarnated and sent back to the mortal life to do it all over again.   I wonder if this is the Catholic’s purgatory.  With each session Dr. Weiss had with Catherine he would ask her what she was supposed to have learned and she would tell him.

The Bible has passages that people use to say reincarnation is real and was accepted by the disciples of Jesus.  The first text concerns the identity of John the Baptist, supposed to be the reincarnation of the prophet Elijah. In Matthew 11,14 Jesus says: “And if you are willing to accept it, he (John the Baptist) is the Elijah who was to come.” In the same Gospel, while answering the apostles about the coming of Elijah, Jesus told them: “But I tell you, Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him, but have done to him everything they wished. In the same way the Son of Man is going to suffer at their hands.” The commentary adds: “Then the disciples understood that he was talking to them about John the Baptist” (Matthew 17,12-13; see also Mark 9,12-13). (comparative religion.com)

How do you feel about reincarnation?  Have you had any experiences in your life that led you to believe you might have lived before?  It’s something to think about.  Take a look at the video’s from Prime Time.  Enjoy

Part 1                                                                    Part 2                                                              Part 3
http://youtu.be/_EWwzFwUOxA                 http://youtu.be/5965wcH2Kx0               http://youtu.be/fLOvbLMDzPo

 

Where’s The Line To See Jesus

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Stained glass at St John the Baptist's Anglica...

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I know my blog is about writing  most of the time but since it is close to Christmas, I have the urge to talk about Jesus,since Christmas is his celebrated birthday.  I have a hard time accepting Christmas not being celebrated for what it was meant to be.  Now it is for many people, “What can I get, or how to make more money.  Our Christmas has become so commercial it has left out the central element, Jesus.

How do you view Christmas?  Is it what you think it should be?  I know everyone is not Christian in their faith, but even so-called Christians have lost sight of what the Holiday is about.  Watch this video, I think it sums it up very nicely.

http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=OExXItDyWEY&vq=medium

Imagine

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I can’t take credit for this piece.  It was written by a writing friend of mine who uses the name Jazz on Fanstory.  When I read it I knew I wanted to share it on my blog.  I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did and imagine how wonderful it would be.

Imagine a Christmas whereby no actual gifts are exchanged. But instead, gifts of the heart, gifts of service, gifts of love. Meaningful, everlasting gifts. And, they were given over a period of at least twelve days.
For instance, we offer our services to an older couple in the neighborhood. Everyone knows at least one couple, or a widow or widower. Make dinner every night for twelve days,do chores around their house, laundry, or take them to the stores, or just go for them. Pick up, and/or drop off, their Rx. Take them to a show or the movie. Seeing to it, in every way possible, that they know you love and care for them as a neighbor.
Or, volunteering our time to visiting hospitals and nursing homes. Sincerely showing up and just being a comfort to as many there as possible, especially those who have few, if any visitors.
Maybe writing cards and letters to family and friends, letting them all know that we are so grateful to be in their lives. Or maybe, to a friend or family member whom we haven’t spoken with, for whatever reason, in a long time.
Possibly, we know someone who is having a very hard time just buying groceries. Wouldn’t it be nice if, we made a special effort to seek out such a family, and picked up some extra canned goods and boxes of spaghetti, or bags of rice (so cheap and feeds a lot) while we are at the grocery store for ourselves. An extra loaf of bread and jar of peanut butter. Baby formula, diapers, something, anything useful, helpful.
Imagine, how much money we would save. No out of control credit card bills. Imagine, how much less stress we would experience. Imagine, how many real and lasting smiles we would be putting on so many people’s faces.
Still celebrating the Christmas season with dinner, friends, beautifully decorated Christmas trees, holly all around the house, a log in the fireplace, the aroma of hot turkey and pumpkin pie filling the air…and hot cinnamon cider brewing.
Still keeping the twinkling lights on the outside of our houses, on our windows and beautiful green wreaths and big red velvet bows adorning front doors.
Imagine, how many more people would be looking forward to Christmas. Imagine, that after the holidays are all but over, not one person has to work overtime, or get a second job to pay for the gifts already broken or lost, or too small, or just plain gone down in value, or (heaven forbid) were never appreciated in the first place.
We can do this, all of us who sincerely want to honor our King on His birthday. We who want nothing more than to show our love and let Him know that we are eternally grateful for His sacrifice, for His unconditional love and His saving grace. Not to mention everything in our lives.
Imagine, how we might feel if, when one of our own children’s birthday arrived, all our friends, relatives, and even our other children, celebrated his/her birthday by going into hock for everyone else…but the birthday child. It just doesn’t seem right. It’s not right. Imagine, the look on the face of the child whose birthday it was. What The Heck?
Okay, so God is not thinking that, not exactly, but He has to be wondering. Wondering why? How could we have gotten so far away from what Christmas really is? How could we have forgotten our first love?
And, let’s not fool ourselves, we have. And all the retail agents know we have. And, most of all, God knows we have. For sure, as that commercial once told us; we’ve come a long way, baby. A long way from where it all started with the wise men. They were our example. They can be our example once again. They really were wise. Very wise.
Imagine making a private vow to God, that we are going to remember why we celebrate Dec. 25th at all. Remind Him that we are grateful, more than grateful, for His precious gift of Jesus Christ to us; to the world. Promise Him that we will dedicate that day to His loving Son, in ways that will honor Him, glorify Him and make Him proud of us. Imagine, the smile on His face.
Imagine, celebrating Christmas as though it were the birth of Christ, and not our kids birthday…again. Unless it really is your child’s birthday. Imagine, teaching our children, that Dec. 25th really is the birth of our Lord, and they get excited about it as though it were their own., but expect no special treatment for themselves. Imagine, no child in the world feeling sad because they didn’t get all the toys on Christmas that they wanted, or that their friends received. Imagine, all kids going back to school after Christmas vacation and sharing all the things they did for others…even in the name of Jesus’ birthday. Imagine, our kids asking “what are we going to do for Jesus’ birthday this year, mom? Imagine, even buying or baking a beautiful birthday cake…maybe angel food, and getting up on Christmas morning, gathering the family around the table and actually singing, happy birthday Jesus.
Imagine, that after just a few Christmas’s celebrated as though it really was the birthday of Jesus Christ, we all would be in one accord, out of debt and actually looking forward to the next one, with real good tidings.
In this writing, I have considered the many people who celebrate Christmas, but who are not Christians. And, even if you do not believe Jesus to be sent from God, to be God in the flesh, it would not harm anything if you were to only remember it is historically accepted, that He did live, and that he surely was born on a certain day. He lived and walked this earth doing only good. He loved all the world. He still does. And, we were all on His mind when He died on the cross.
Joy to the world. And Christmas time depression, be all but wiped out. Imagine!
And, of course, doing all those special loving acts dedicated to Jesus and telling everyone so.
Thank you everyone for reading this fairly long post. I wish every one of you a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year. I am so very sure of my New Year’s resolution, and for the first time ever, I will have so much fun keeping it.
And to God be all the glory.

Out On a Limb Review

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Cropped screenshot of Shirley MacLaine from th...

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I decided to write my blog today about a book I finished yesterday that astounded me.  I read Out On A Limb by Shirley MacLaine.  Did I get a surprise.  I was expecting a bizarre, far out story.  The book was an easy to read and understand in her struggle to find spirituality.

​Being a spirit filled Christian I also thought she would have things to say that wouldn’t set well with me. That wasn’t the case either.  My understanding of what she wrote is we are the divine, spiritual, power.  Since we are the body of Christ  would that make us divine in nature?  Every power that Christ demonstrated, we can have; when we reach his level of spirituality.

I was interested in her idea of reincarnation.  We will live again, and I know the Bible says we will live again with  Jesus.  She believes that the human soul keeps coming back until he or she gets things right here on earth.  The more understanding and giving of yourself, you are the quicker you will be staying on the other side.  Bad folks are doomed to keep repeating their
life over and over until they change. Maybe that is where the term hell on earth comes in.  That was my thought not hers.

She is a woman who struggled to discover who she was supposed to be.  It took her years to come to terms with her life.  She studied while she traveled around the world searching for understanding.  This was all in-between her show business dates.

I would recommend this book just to give you an insight into another’s thinking about spirituality.