I have met so many wonderful friends through books. Some are fictional, and some are flesh and bone friends...but all have made a difference in my life in one way or another. We all impact each other's lives. Sometimes it is by something you say that makes me think, and other times it is by a gesture or kindness. And yet other times it may be something that dug deeper, hurt my feelings, or made me sad. Still you made a difference. Through this blog I would like to introduce you to some people who have blessed me with their writing...and I hope you will be blessed as well!

Coffee or Tea?

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Pick Me! Pick Me!

Remember that feeling... of sitting there in your classroom, waiting for your turn to be dismissed early for recess with your hand lifted up for the teacher to recognise? You may have finished your work early, and an early release was your reward...or the teacher said you could be set free as soon as you finished your test, so you hurried through so you could get to the playground before the others. You eagerly anticipated the joy of being excused from the classroom to play on your favorite equipment for an extra 10 minutes, or to get to see your friends longer than usual. "PICK ME!" your raised hand begs for attention.

Did you ever look back at the rest of the kids and decide not to go because they didn't want you to?

How happy are you for your friends who get special gifts, or win trips that you don't? It is only natural to be disappointed that we don't get the same thing, but is it right to wish they just didn't get it at all? If someone you loved just won an all-expense paid vacation to a place you had always wanted to visit, would you be resentful and sad? Or would you be happy for your loved one for being so lucky?

What would you say to someone who finally reached their lifetime goal, and was moving away from you? Perhaps they graduated and had secured their dream job in their favorite city in the world. Would you be happy for them, or be so upset you went to bed and cried for days?

In the last year, I have seen so many friends go through this experience, as they watched people they loved depart this world and start their new life in Heaven.  Just like the kid in school who looked forward to being released early for lunch, our loved ones worked hard to finish their work so they could reach their reward.  There they were, with their hands lifted high asking God to pick them next...while we watch with tears begging God not to take them yet. Like the little freckled face third grader who couldn't sit still in their seat, they eagerly wriggled and jumped up and down to be seen...and chosen. While we cried uncontrollably, and held on with all of our strength.

Our journey to Heaven required many tasks and trials, and once we finish our work we are allowed to join Jesus and see our loved ones who left before us. It will be far greater than any all-expense paid vacation, because it will never end. Why should we not want this for them? Is our own emptiness more important than their happiness?

I remember when Grandma died on July 2, 1979 and then returned to her body and told me about her after death experience.  When I asked why she came back she responded, "Because Jesus said I wasn't finished here yet." Her work on Earth wasn't done. She didn't know why it was she sent back after seeing Heaven...but I secretly knew. We prayed for her not to die.  I called my family, and they prayed. They called TBN and they prayed. TBN had some Christian Police officers from Orange County on and they prayed...that God would give her a NEW heart, and NOT TAKE HER HOME. But she wanted to go home and be with her parents, and my Grandfather she loved so dearly..and most of all be with Jesus.

I wish I could say the rest of her life was joyful and exciting, but in reality it was full of trials and loses. My mentally ill husband had us moving all over the country and into a new house every 6-12 months. She watched as he cheated on me, and tried not to interfere. She lost all of her worldly possessions after he sold all of our things in a one day auction, and disappeared with his girlfriend-of-the- day...(including her pictures, and jewelry Grandpa had bought her). After my divorce, I disappointed her when I dealt with it the only way I could, and went out to late hours of the night drinking and running around. And she had no social life, no admirers, no friends that we hers alone to turn to.  She died in a county nursing home after my uncle took her to Texas to be closer to him. The last time we spoke she was crying, asking for someone to get her out of there. She wanted to stay in Heaven when she could...

When Robin Daniel was talking to his brother just months before his death he said he knew Jesus would be returning soon but if He really loved him, he wouldn't make him wait that long. Life was hard, and he was growing weak in spirit with all of his trials. That was in December...and February 2nd he was murdered and died within minutes. I couldn't help but feel happy for him, in spite of my own sorrow.

When I go, be happy! I will have been set free. I will join my loved ones in Heaven and there will be no more tears. I won't have to return like I would if I were going on a vacation. I will finally have been "picked". I finished my work. Think of me as though I had been give full plastic surgery to make me beautiful again, with no more wrinkles or sags. And the best part is it will be perfect. I always loved going to women's ministry conferences...but this will be one of the best with all the joy of the best praise and worship services ever known. REJOICE WITH ME!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Do you believe in the coming Apocalypse?

The apocalypse is on every one's tongue lately.  Some laughingly talk about zombie's chasing people down streets and eating their brains...which I totally don't get since we can run and they can barely stand. Others are talking about nuclear disasters similar to the fears of the 50's where people prepared for bomb shelters.  There is a new show coming to reality t.v. called "Doomsday Survivalists" that documents the preparations being made by people stockpiling guns and provisions. No matter where you go, you will find someone who has an opinion on the possibilities of a time when we lose our electricity, technology, transportation systems, and stores. A time when bursts from the sun flares get so intense they knock out the satellites that co-ordinate our computers and keep everything running smoothly. Suddenly we find ourselves without stores; banks cannot access our money; we have no utilities; trash begins to build up; and food becomes scarce. There will be no transportation because every thing relies on computer chips these days.

No one can dispute the natural disasters that took out entire cities, like Joplin and New Orleans; or countries like Haiti and Japan.  We have had history breaking floods, fires, earthquakes, tsunamis, striking everywhere. The sun has increased in intensity, and the solar flares are erupting stronger. It is only a matter of time before we see food famines and people begin to riot. We have become addicted to food, and our sizes have increased so that we require more to satisfy us. People will kill to feed their addictions.

Several years ago I had the pleasure of reading Terri Blackstock's Restoration Series (True Light, Dawn's Light, Night Light, and Last Light.) and it changed my life.  I no longer take every day things for granted. In the beginning the Branning family, from an upper middle class lifestyle  find their life turned upside down when suddenly planes start to fall from the sky, cars stop in their tracks, people will trade their Rolex watches for bicycles and supplies, and fight over trash cans with wheels, and food. Without utilities people cannot cool in the increasing heat, cook, do laundry, or any of the things they accept as part of life. There will be no wter when we turn the facet. They will have to learn to adjust, compost their food products, get rid of their waste products, purify their water, and preserve food without the help of appliances and stores. Within hours the shelves will be bare and all they have to make do with is what they already have at home. Days turn into weeks, then months and years. People kill for their neighbor's food. Police and emergency services are not available.  They commondeer vehicles that ran without computer chips, for emergency services.  Families cannot call and check on their loved ones, newspapers are handwritten and posted in neighborhoods. Criminals were running rampant and taking what they wanted, there was not enough man-power to cover the crime.

These were fiction stories with ample suspense to keep you turning pages until the last book was finished, but the reality remained. It could happen.

In recent months people are starting to wake up to the possibility that this could affect their family, and they would not even have a first aid kit stocked up. Sites have started appearing on the internet telling you what you will need to get by...but for how long?

I asked a group of friends whether they believed in the post-tribulation rapture or the pre-tribulation rapture.  I received an equal amount of opinions both sides backed by scripture. Some believe that we have to endure the tribulation to test our committment to God. Like removing the chaff from the garden, we have to see who is lukewarm and who is truly willing to trust God and give their lives to Him. The Bible tells us there will be no luke-warm Christians.  Matthew 24 tells us the signs to watch for. The prophesies have been full-filled, and the Bible tells us that this generation will not pass without seeing the second coming of the Lord. I am part of that generation. The scriptures tell us that now is the time to trim the wicks and fill the lamps with oil in preparation for the Bridegroom's return. It also says some will say "There's plenty of time, we have heard this before!" and will continue their old ways with no thought for tomorrow. I guess that is like the ant and the grasshopper...some will be gathering their supplies and food, and others will continue having fun, and then panic when the time comes (wanting to take what others have worked so hard for!).

Whether you believe you will be lifted up before these trials begin, or will have to stay and endure the tests and fight for your beliefs, it wouldn't hurt you to be ready for a natural disaster that could cost you your life.

I know people from every economic, and social background that is heading to the high country and taking their provisions with them just in case. Some are buying land close to water for convenience, and installing wind energy or solar panels. Others are forming bonds with others to build a community to work together. Some are hiking way back into the woods, while others want to stay close to cities. I heard of one retired General who chose to move back to base because they have already began preparing with food and supplies for the coming events and will have guards keeping the thieves at bay. Others are reading "Mother Earth News", studying holistic medicine, and learning which plants are edible.  And yet others are going on like there is nothing to worry about.

Perhaps it is the hype of the Mayans about 2012 that brings out our concerns, but the natural events of the last few years has enforced it's possibilities.  I am looking for a cave, with a natural spring...want to join me?

What are YOUR views on this widely discussed debate? Are you a post-tribulation or pre-tribulation rapture believer? Are you doing anything to get ready?  What would you do if you truly believed it was about to happen, but your family didn't? What evidence and/or scripture backs your belief? I look forward to hearing from you!