Suffering in America for the Faith

For the past five years, Elaine and Don have greatly suffered as the result of a drunk driver plowing into my sister’s van leaving her a quadriplegic. That kind of suffering has caused enormous physical, emotional and relational pain for my sister with the latter two struggles engulfing those of us closest to her. As believers we have had to forgive yet harshly endure the consequences of a young man’s personal misdeeds. Perhaps all the suffering experienced here has prepared us for a different yet encroaching pain-appointed time.

Today’s headlines about a Kentucky county court clerk, Kim Davis, being sent to jail for her faith usher in another painful reality. Christian persecution has fully arrived in America. When a person of faith is jailed for her personal faith convictions even on the job, believers know that Christian persecution has been fully implemented by our society. Christian persecution has been somewhat subtle for years in America with many of us believing it would never occur here.  Well, today it is here. How we will respond?

Being troubled over those events in the night, Yahweh brought a specific verse to my mind: “The just shall live by faith.” (See Romans 1:16-17) In the midst of being ostracized, abused and killed, saints of the past met their fate through ‘standing their ground’ faith. Yes, as believers in Yeshua it has been promised that the true remnant will suffer. Now that the specific promise has become reality here in America, we must ask how do we live? We must live by adapting a vibrant, prayerful, testifying faith as exemplified by Yeshua and His followers.

Now is the time for true believers regardless of family tragedy, financial loss and relational strain to decide this day in whom, indeed, they will serve. This stark wakeup call by the imprisonment of a believer for her faith resounds across this nation. Decide this day whom you will serve: Yahweh or man.

I choose Yahweh!

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September Celebrations

September has arrived along with the anticipation of approaching autumn events. As a believer in Yeshua (Hebrew name for Jesus), important dates are on my calendar to be celebrated this month. The Feast of Trumpets, in mid-month, heralds the blowing of the shofar as an act of anticipating our King’s approaching return. Next Yom Kippur, a day of fasting and atonement for our sins, follows. Then at the latter part of this month, the Feast of Tabernacles, recounts the Israelites wandering in the Wilderness under divine guidance. All these appointments are set by God with His people for ongoing celebration.

So what have these celebrations to do with enduring suffering? All the feasts celebrated by Hebrew and non-Hebrew believers alike reach out beyond ourselves. They remind sufferers of divinely appointed meetings between God (Yahweh) and His people. Others before us struggled in their own wilderness with multiple uncertainties and hardships. Their faith exhibited through adversity testifies to us as we remember Yahweh being ever faithful to His promises and His people.

Whether one is accustomed to observe these holidays or not, September is a month for Yahweh’s people (Jew and non-Jew alike) to gather, remember, atone and celebrate His goodness. Celebrate, you suffering saints!

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Authority Given

In visiting Elaine last evening, we again had to assert authority. Authority, who’s authority, the reader might ask?

With Christ living within us, believers in Yeshua (the Hebrew name for Jesus) have been empowered to tread upon all the powers of darkness. When bombarded by fear, dread along with a host of other spiritual maladies, authority has been granted us to cast them all out in His name.

The enemy of our souls lies to us that our spiritual problems are just too big to be overcome. Apart from Yahweh, they cannot be; however through Him they are vanquished.

Hear the Words of Yeshua: “Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.” Luke 10:19-20

As a true Christian believer, have you forgotten the authority the Son has given you? Be reminded today of the Bible’s promises that we are overcomers through the name and the blood of the Lamb.

“He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be my son.” Revelation 21:7

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You Are Greatly Appreciated!

Week after week they faithfully walk through the door with a smile and kind words. Many times, they bring food to share. Most of them have a regular appointed scheduled time, and some come on short notice. Who are these earth angels? They are Elaine’s volunteers.

Jenifer currently coordinates the five-afternoons-a-week volunteer team and does a wonderful job of staffing the troops. Having been a friend of Elaine’s for many years, Jenifer continues to demonstrate her ongoing support in this critical leadership role.

Without Elaine and Don’s volunteer coordinator and volunteers, a great void would exist in my sister’s care. After nearly five years, many of the same sitters continue to shower Elaine with their gift of presence. The volunteer roster includes both older acquaintances and newer ones, too. That gift of presence blesses us tremendously.

Volunteers, you are greatly appreciated!  Thank you for continuing to care for Elaine by giving so sacrificially of your time and comradeship and for laying down your life for a friend!

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Light Breaks Forth

How thrilled I was to receive Elaine’s call!  It had been a suggestion and prayer of mine and many others for some time, in fact for nearly five years.

In receiving the call, Elaine sounded upbeat; so different from our previous conversations. Elaine joyfully shared how she had experienced a ‘great’ time as her and Don attended their home church service together. This was the first time since Elaine’s accident that she and her spouse had gone back to their Sunday morning class and worship service. Being greeted heartily and surrounded by friends offered them great spiritual support. One close friend said their appearance had made her day!

It warmed my heart and gave me great joy to hear of this huge breakthrough. As said before, sometimes it seems the darkest just prior to dawn’s breaking.

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Few Words

Dear Readers:

I know the blog entries have been scarce lately. Elaine has been going through a more difficult emotional time recently. To protect her confidentiality, I have limited my words about her.

I do ask that Christian believers pray for Elaine to fully experience Christ’s hope and peace countering her inner turmoil.  We know God is in the healing business, and may Elaine accept and receive all that He has for her.

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Remembering Our Mom In Her Encouragement

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My last photo with Mom just a few days before her departure to Heaven

With the ongoing struggles Elaine continues to endure, I fondly remember our mom tonight. Mom and I talked most everyday, and she humbly displayed Godly wisdom and hope. How many times I have wanted to pick up the phone, since her departure nearly eight months ago, and hear her ‘take’ on ongoing life events.

Today in my Bible, I ran across a list of Scriptures that she had felt led to share with me just weeks before her unexpected death. The Scriptures she shared held both promise and hope. She knew I needed hope. One Scripture that she shared:  Romans 15:13 – “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Another Scripture on her shared list:  Romans 5:5 – “Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”

Mom hoped for the best and saw the best in people–a lesson I, her son, am still learning. Her upbeat personality and words of encouragement resounded far and wide. I so appreciated the spiritual heritage she left me.

Hope must abound in one to truly pass it on to others. What a tribute to be remembered as an encourager as was Mom.  May the LORD equip me to follow in my mom’s footsteps and be an encourager regardless of life’s circumstances.

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