Recently, I read something on social media that stated that God loving people are ignorant and hateful. It’s not the first time I’ve read something along those lines, and it won’t be the last. I usually let it roll off of my shoulders, but admittedly, I let it get to me. The reason it bothered me, was because I took it personally, although it had been stated that it wasn’t about me, but about some other people. Often times though, when something like that is said, it is a blanket statement about those of faith in general. So, why would it not bother me? After all, I am a God loving person, and I don’t shy away from that. I’ve taken some time to think about it, and I am bothered, but not for the reasons that you might assume.
When at first I was bothered, it was because I try my very best to live a kind life. I have a relationship with The Lord that makes me want to give the same grace, mercy, compassion and love that He gives to me. In fact, I think about that very thing often. It all comes back to grace, love, mercy and compassion. So naturally, it bothers me when I feel others may assume I claim to be God loving, but don’t live by one of Christ’s greatest commands: to love others.
One of my favorite verses in the Bible, is in 2 Corinthians 3:3-6. The ESV Bible reads, “And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.”
To put it simply, we are a letter from Christ; a letter to the tired and broken. A letter to the sinner. A letter to humanity; one that should give hope to others. A letter not written about ourselves and by ourselves, but a letter about the goodness of Jesus Christ. And that got me to thinking: God made us sufficient to be ministers of the new covenant, but does our heart give an accurate and fair representation of Jesus? And THAT is when my being bothered changed to a different kind of bothered.
We as Christ followers are just regular people. We have a wide range of feelings and emotions. We are not exempt from such things, thankfully. That’s the beauty of free will; you have a choice in how you react to things that challenge you, emotionally. God didn’t create robots. He doesn’t choose to control our thoughts and actions; he leaves it up to us, hoping that we will do the right thing because we recognize Him for who He is.
So why would anyone think we’re (collectively) ignorant and hateful? This may hurt a little, but my guess would be that it’s because we as individuals, sometimes ACT ignorant and hateful! Sometimes we as individuals, look down at others. Sometimes we as individuals take it upon ourselves to say things in a way that Jesus doesn’t approve of. Sometimes we don’t think about the way we are representing Jesus, and instead of being a letter written on tablets of the human heart, we act as a hammer, smashing our way through a sea of people who don’t know Christ, in the name of being right. And the result isn’t love, grace, mercy and compassion; it’s an individual being pushed even further away from God. I’ve been there, and I know how that feels.
In short, we have a responsibility to represent Jesus in a way that honors His teachings. Sometimes that can be difficult on a human level, if you let your feelings take over. There is no denying that. But that’s the beauty of making a choice to have a new life in Christ, and we will ultimately be held responsible for our actions and words. So when next you find yourself considering speaking or acting in a manner that is based off of your feelings, ask yourself two questions:
Does this honor Christ?
Does this show love, grace, mercy or compassion?
Let us, both individually and collectively as Christ followers, be bothered not by what people may think about us, but rather, bothered by what they’ll think about Jesus. After all, it’s not His actions and words that push people away; it’s ours.
All glory be to God,
Below, you will find an amazing testimony, given by an old school mate of mine, Megan. My prayer is that her testimony will reach anyone who has ever felt unworthy, or unloved; that it will reach anyone who has ever fallen short of God’s plans for them. Please know Christ loves you, and wishes all of the best for you. He wants very much, to be a part of your life. No matter how dirty you are, the Blood of The Lamb is enough to make you clean. This testimony is a beautiful example of God’s love, grace and compassion, and how Megan found Him in her darkest hours.
When I first moved to Destin, Florida after graduating, I was the quiet, naive girl from Missouri; not like any of the people that have lived in Destin their whole lives. I got a job as a cocktail waitress and started doing a lot of cocaine with co-workers and people I met that frequented the club. There was a group of guys that came in every weekend. They were the guys everyone wanted to be friends with, and to be accepted in to the clique. To my surprise, they took me in, to party and hang out with.
I remember clearly one night, a girlfriend of mine and I went to the apartment the guys all shared, because they were having a party. I had gotten off work fairly early; maybe 1 or 2 am. There had to be at least 30 people there and more cocaine, ecstasy, roll, and something called GHB than I had ever seen. I dove right in. I don’t remember much until I came to almost 12 hours later. I woke up on the couch, which wasn’t the last place I was. I knew that much. So I’m “coming to” on the couch with my girlfriend next to me, and people were doing blow in the kitchen and some were hanging out in recliners, but everyone was watching the television. Laughing cutting up, making comments.
As my mind became clearer, I glanced at the TV to see what was so great. At first all I saw was porn…totally not my thing. Then it dawned on me….it was me in the porn movie they were watching. What?! How could this be? Porn disgusts me! I looked at my friend and said, “That’s me on that movie”. She replied flatly, an, “uh huh”. It was then, that I realized they had overdosed me on the GHB date rape drug and I had 5 men rape me while I was in an unconscious state. No one stopped these animals, and to make matters worse, they video taped it. I was horrified! I found my keys, and quickly left.
I went straight to where my stepdad was working, but he wasn’t there. I broke down and the other people called my mom. She came to me and I told her everything. The police were called. I had to ride with the police to show them the location of the house. Then out of nowhere, a couple days later, the police tell me they raided the home, seized the drugs and have jailed all the people in connection but they could not charge them with rape, because the men said the sex was consensual. It makes me sick to even look back at that. I can still see it all so clearly. Its probably a memory that will haunt me forever.
Time went on and I cleaned up and had another child, and life was good. I divorced my first husband, and began dating this man I thought was everything I was looking for, to love me and my two children. I was wrong. It was a horrible relationship, filled with control, verbal and physical abuse, and complete alienation.
Around 2004-2005, I moved myself and my 2 children into an apartment, and for the first time, I was in control, or so I thought. I was always one to be the life of the party. I had access to copious amounts of drugs, and I certainly enjoyed that. Around May 2005, I came into a very large sum of money, and being the life of the party that I was, I chose to blow it all. Don’t get me wrong; I gave my kids everything they ever wanted. I bought 2-3 cars (BMW, Lexus, Escalade), furniture, we stayed at Disney for almost 3 months, and of course drugs were rampant. I was out of control. My kids were always taken care of though, and I would never use drugs around them.
In August 2005 I became pregnant with my third child. Her dad was my best friend. He could’ve possibly been the one who could’ve saved me, but he split as soon as I told him the news because he already had 5 boys under 11. We would still talk, but he always kept my baby girl and I at arm’s length. This broke my heart every day. I had my beautiful little Zoe in May 2006. She was perfect. My angel. But I still had my demons, and the addition of the fact that her father turned a cold shoulder to me just broke me down. I became depressed, and turned back to cocaine. It escalated though. I started hanging out with people that were in and out of jail; people that would rob their own parents.
During this time of partying, I met a man. He was very elusive and I knew from the first moment I met him, that the lifestyle we were both living was not us. We were trying to cover up our pain. His, in his own way, and me, in mine. I would only see him every two weeks or so and never got much of an opportunity to chat; just mere, brief encounters, where, for all I know, he didn’t even notice me. He peaked my interest, but it all went down hill and I never got that chance to know him better.
I was never involved in that (robbing people), but I did write a bad check on someone else’s account to buy liquor to trade for coke (mind you my stack of money had long been gone). The guy at the liquor store caught on, and this particular day, he locked the door with me inside, and called the cops. I tried to go out the back door and the guy slammed me to the ground and held me there like I was some violent criminal.
When he threw me to the ground, my pocket knife came out of my purse and the clerk lied and said I was threatening his life. Needless to say, I was sent to jail for forging instrument, fraud, and aggravated assault. What? This is crazy! I never tried to harm anyone. I had the worst public defender, and he didn’t want to fight for me. He was basically there for the state to keep me off the streets.
During this time my mother took my new baby and my other two children, and moved away. I had no one. It was the absolute worst low of my life. I turned to God. I had never really gotten to know God personally before, even though I was always very active in youth groups growing up. For me, it was more fellowship with my friends. My mother had never instilled in me, to have faith and trust in our Lord. This was up to me.
I went head first into the Bible, and from the first toe I dipped in, I felt a change come over me. The further I immersed myself, the stronger I was starting to become. Even though I spent 3 months in jail, lost my family etc., I was becoming a whole new person. From that day forward, I clung to God. I’d come to Him to beg Him to change things; change my heart, and to mend my heart. I would thank Him for being in my life when I was left alone. I spoke to God every single day.
It really dawned on me, that He was there listening to me, when one night (still in jail), I was awoken suddenly, to someone saying my name. It wasn’t an angry voice or a familiar voice. It was a very powerful voice, but still very calm and assuring, saying over and over, “Megan, Megan, Megan…I know you hear me. I hear you. You are not alone. Stay faithful; it will all be okay.” Seriously, I wasn’t on any drugs! It was beautiful, and I knew it was God. He had heard me.
When I got out of jail, I brought one thing with me; the Bible I had been given. That was all I needed. I made my way to south Florida, where my mother and children were. In order to see my children and regain custody, I had to jump through so many hoops, but it didn’t bother me. Day by day, I was growing stronger spiritually, and doing this for my kids. I finally got to a place where I had my kids back!
Megan’s Bible, she received while in jail, along with some of her favorite verses.
It took time, but I prayed; sometimes 3-6 times a day. I met my second husband, I think I knew deep inside that we were not for each other, but I felt like in my life, I hadn’t known what love was. We got pregnant not long after marrying, and I gave birth to my son, Cash. Here I was, all my babies all back where they belonged.
There was still a huge hole in my heart though; a hole I never thought would be fulfilled.
I divorced my 2nd husband, because there was no love there. I didn’t know how to fill the hole. At that point I didn’t ever try. I had my babies and I was ok for the first time, being alone without a man. Then, in 2015, tragedy struck. My beautiful Zoes daddy died. I will never forget having to sit and tell my baby. This angel baby that I felt saved me, I had to crush, and I was crushed too. Her dad and I had become great friends again through the years. Best friends. I was okay, never being more then that. He was wonderful not only to his ONLY baby girl, he was wonderful to all the kids.
We came to Destin after many years of hiding my face, to be with friends and family, and something told me to track down an old acquaintance. I called him. This man who so many years ago, I always wanted to get to know better. I was so happy to hear his voice, and hear how excited he was that I was here. I was back. I felt like a teenager, all jittery and giggly each time we spoke. We finally got to hang out one day, and the butterflies were going crazy inside me.
Here’s my chance! I finally get to meet him! I finally get to talk to him. Wow. And since that moment, we have been inseparable. He is my rock. He is the one I have searched my whole life for. He is the one that has filled that void I have always carried with me. He carries me when I can’t go any further. He encourages me. He teaches me. He’s patient with me. All these things I have never experienced in all my years.
Meeting Billy, again, after so many years was from God. God allowed all these trials and pain and being alone, because He knew who He had waiting for me. My life is 100% complete now. I thank God every day, for believing in me. For bringing my children and this wonderful man into my life. I honestly cannot say where I would be had Billy and I not connected when I came back to Destin. I didn’t know what my plan was, so all the times I would be angry with God, He just kept hugging me tighter, and whispering, “It’s going to be okay”. I take stock in that voice. I wait for it when I’m alone or when I’m having a bad day. His voice can always be heard, when I just let everything go, and tell God I can’t do it without Him.
My life now is more then I ever thought it would be. I have everything I have ever wanted, and that hole that lived in me is gone. I couldn’t have done or made it to where I am now without the guidance of our great Lord. I am living proof of the mountains God will move for one’s life!
I’m happy to say, I have been sober since April of 2007. 10 years, already!
More recent photos of Megan and her family, in her new life.
When Dorothy began her journey in the land of Oz, she took the yellow brick road. Along her walk on this road, she met friends and faced trials. It wasn’t easy, but taking the yellow brick road eventually led her to the man behind the curtain, and eventually back home. But what if she’d chosen to follow the red bricks, instead of the yellow ones?
Who knows; perhaps Dorothy’s journey wouldn’t have been full of such trials. Maybe the wicked witch would have lavished her with a bunch of nice things, and make her feel like she fits in. All she’d have to do, is give up her ruby slippers. Doing so would have ruined any chance of Dorothy getting back home, and it would have given the witch a great amount of power. Dorothy wouldn’t have developed relationships with the tin man, or the lion or the scarecrow, that are so vital to the plot of the story. After all, in this story only the yellow brick road leads to a heart, courage, a brain (interpreted as knowledge or common sense), the wizard, and a way home.
Often, it is tempting to take the easy way out of a situation. Sometimes, it doesn’t even seem as if there is an easy way, because there isn’t! Yet, we’re always searching for one. As stated in James 1:2-4: “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”
That is the yellow brick road. It’s often full of uncertainty, and trial. Through trials and tribulations though, we grow and learn. And boy, oh boy, does it require patience. Do you find it true, that when things aren’t easy in your life, you often see God’s grace more clearly than when everything seems fine? It’s not because His grace isn’t the same in both good times and bad; it’s because He will use those trials to grow us, and to show His glory to us. If we don’t ever suffer, we don’t grow. If we didn’t experience the bad days, we’d never recognize the good ones. Oppositely, if we don’t see God as we go through trials, it’s often because we find ourselves trying everything we can to fix the situation, before finally turning to Him. It took God’s people 40 years to get out of the wilderness because of that very reason, and the same can happen to us on this yellow brick road!
In Matthew 7:13-14, we are told, “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”
If we take the easy route, we can quickly become consumed with what is convenient. This breeds impatience and selfishness, and pushing others to the side for our own comfort regardless of the ultimate cost. Eventually we come to a narrow gate, and can’t fit through it. Pride and selfishness and self-worship can bloat one’s spirit to the point that it won’t fit through the gate….because there is no room in the Kingdom for such things. You find there was nothing good behind the curtain at the end of this red brick road, and as you reached its end, you realized you had run out of resources, are alone, and have lost your chance to get back home. It seemed like easy street, but took you to a bad place.
Today, be thankful for the road God has provided for you, for surely there is a purpose. While there will be uncertainty and trials, we can be certain that God is with us, and that He will provide a way. At the end of The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy found the wizard behind the curtain. For us, we find God: but the curtain has been torn. Thank God! Thank Him for the great things He has done, and for the great things that haven’t happened yet. They will happen. You will go through valleys on this yellow brick road, but at the end, you will find that even through all of your hardship, there’s a gate you’ll fit through, leading to a house with many rooms, one prepared for you, by our wonderful Lord Jesus Christ.
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
1 John 1:7
One sentence can have a lot to say! I am of the belief, that no part of the body of Christ should ever feel alone. In this verse, we can conclude that we aren’t, as we have accepted The Lord as our savior and that He is always with us. That is the promise of the free gift of eternal salvation in Christ, of which, there is no greater gift!
If I’m honest though (and if you are too), we can surely admit that sometimes in life, we feel we are lacking in the fellowship required of humans, in order to thrive. Fellowship, as mentioned in the above scripture, is extremely important to followers of Christ. That’s what Jesus did. He fellowshipped. He spent a great deal of time building relationships with people like you and me; people who are broken and imperfect and in need of saving.
The thing about fellowship, is that it gives us someone to lift up and to be uplifted by. It gives us someone to confess to. It gives us someone to share accountability with. It gives us someone to pray with. Fellowship gives us someone to praise God with. And when we do such things, as the verse above mentions, we are cleansed when we fall short, because we have this wonderful kind of relationship with others, that God provides for us.
So, while we are never truly alone due to our relationship with Jesus, we should strive each day to commit to having fellowship with our brothers and sisters, friends, neighbors, coworkers and anyone else The Lord places in our path. Through this, we will see the great glory of Christ working in this world, and so will those whom we interact with.
So today, I challenge you to reach out to someone. Let them know that they are loved and that you’re thankful for them. If you have time, get together with a friend for coffee. Invite someone over to dinner. Call someone up whom you haven’t spoken to in a while. Someone feels alone, and you might be the one to pull them out of the mud. Maybe they need to be reminded that they don’t have to do this on their own!
Have a blessed day.
Written in the Angel Tongue, translated by Connie Tinnin
My name is Myel….I am an angel. Really, I am! It was two thousand years ago, (time doesn’t matter here) and I was a chubby cherub, that the most stupendous and amazing wonder happened. I put this incredible event on a scroll for all souls; both those who are here and those who will be here. That way they will have the true account of what happened here when the miracle began. I was playing hide and seek in the clouds with my cherub buddies. Gabriel usually joined us in the game. He loved to jump out of a cloud and pretend he’s going to send us to the nursery for disturbing the shape and symmetry of the clouds. That day, he did not join us. He seemed distracted and very serious. I’m sure I’m his favorite Cherub! He would often take me on some of his journeys to earth, as long as I promised to behave and not make myself known to the humans or the animals when he delivered his messages. Sometimes he would toss me from one cloud to another while teaching me to fly with my small wings. They had not grown enough to hold me up, so Gabriel taught me about wind currents, atmosphere and all the ways to glide from place to place. He once told me if I lost 10 lbs, my little sprout of wings could hold me up. He always smiled and said it with a musical laugh, so I was not offended. Gabriel is one of the Archangels; meaning he holds a very high office here. I love that he is my friend, teacher and guide. There are other Archangels, of course. Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, and Uriel are known as the Band of Brothers. They are magnificent and mighty. Michael carries a huge sword with symbols and writings on the blade. I cannot even lift the sword, it is so heavy. Michael is a true warrior. He always accompanies the other brothers when they leave the 7th heaven (that’s where we reside.) Michael has their backs. There have not been too many times he’s been delayed by Lucifer and his lackeys. He should know not to mess with Michael. Anyway, there was a feeling; something in the air that was disturbing, yet exciting too. We cherubs heard whisperings and saw many of the Hosts of Heaven standing close together with their wings wrapped around their robes, like a cocoon. Some had their heads bowed, but some had a fiery visage. Michael stood erect and at attention as he explained to the Hosts of Heaven the assignment Gabriel was given by God, Blessed Be His Name. As Gabriel stood before the throne, Michael put on his golden armor. His sword was drawn, so we knew that something very strange was happening. Gabriel turned slowly, walked to the edge of the pearly gates and stood there in silent contemplation. I ran as fast as I could, jumping over flowers, streams and trees of all colors to ask him if I could travel with him again. He turned when I spoke and said, “Ah, little one. This journey you cannot take with me. I have been given the most holy and momentous tidings to deliver. You see, Father God, Blessed Be His Name, is sending me to earth to an innocent young Jewish maiden named Mary. She has been chosen to receive the Holy Seed of Life. God, Blessed Be His Name, will make them pure once again. I was stunned! How can this be? I ran to the throne. God, Blessed Be His Name, sits there. He all Light, All Beauty, and all Love. Surely He would never leave heaven to be born on the stinky, dirty, and sinful earth! Why, why would He do this? When I arrived back to the throne room, I saw thousands and thousands of Angels, Hosts, and Creatures of all shapes and sizes bowing down in front of the throne. There was absolute silence; not a burdensome silence, but a silence of expectation. A Holy Silence. I stood quiet and still, confused and a little frightened. Shouts rang out as Michael marched into the gates with the widest smile. He is usually quite sober, you know. Behind him came Gabriel. He flew to me and tugged on my wings. He shouted, “Peace on Earth, Good Will Toward Men. Mankind and Heavenkind bonded together once again. MERRY CHRISTMAS
Sword of the Lord is so pleased to announce the beginning of a new school year. There will be an open house here Sept.10 from 7:00 – 8:30.
If you are curious about the textbooks, want to talk to teachers or obtain knowledge of what the classes are all about; we welcome you.
We have been a part of the community for over 20 years; and are very excited that we are able to offer studies which are meticulous and riveting. We have accreditation pending for degree work and also welcome anyone to take these courses for their own personal study. These courses were part of the ministry of the Southwestern Christian University, founded by Dr. R. O. Corvin. Dr. Bob Fausett, Pastor of Hilltop Church, carries the torch for these excellent Bible courses with integrity and a commitment to bring the Word of God to those who seriously want to begin a deeper study of the Bible, or are wanting a degree for whatever purpose they need. We have excellent references from former students, so if anyone is interested, please call the church at 417-335-5266 or DR. Fausett’s cell phone at 417-331-3535. We promise to give you the names of persons who are not affiliated with the church in anyway, other than attending the courses with us. We want you to have any references, ask any questions, and settle any hesitation regarding the goals and desires we have to only provide the opportunity to increase the knowledge of the Holy Scriptures to those who are seeking, those who have found, and those who are just not sure. We love class discussions, and digging deeper in the Bible. You will too!
We will celebrate Pastor Appreciation month on Sunday, Oct. 11. We will have a money tree up on Sunday, Oct. 4; so anyone who wants may put their gift on the money tree. There will be a card by the money tree for everyone to sign.
Jude 1:3. Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.
How many Kim Davis’ are there? She’s the clerk from Kentucky who refuses to issue same sex marriage licenses. She is currently in jail. Are we prepared and ready to contend for the faith? There is a vast difference in contending for the faith and just being a “sounding brass.” The Church of the Lord Jesus Christ must make some difficult and painful decisions. We must decide for ourselves; follow the leading of the Lord, and prepare to be tested and tried if we decide to contend for the faith. Some will stand in unity and solidarity with the brethren who makes a bold stand. Others will weigh the cost and decide the price is too high, or too difficult. Each one must seek their own quest and do whatever the Lord asks of them. We cannot really make that decision for anyone else. If, after seeking and praying, we feel the call for a bold stance; then we must uphold one another, regardless of job security, family harmony, or cultural pressures. Many may fall, but many will find the strength to hold on during the storm. The days of Noah are fast approaching and in fact may already be here. Make sure the stand you take is for the glory of God, not for the glory of man. We support the courageous stand Kim Davis has made. We pray there are many whom God is raising up and filling with power and conviction. You will not stand alone.
Bible study college level classes. Accreditation, Certificate or Home Studies available. Starting Sept. 8 – May 3 every Tuesday evening except school holidays. We will host an Open House on Aug. 25 at 7:00 pm to ask questions see the studies available and enroll if you would like to attend. These studies are in depth and will challenge you. Call the church if interested or if there are any questions.