Friday, March 25, 2016

Feeling Old?

If you are feeling old, tired and more than ready to settle into the rocking chair of rightfully being crotchety.... STOP and PRAY this in your own words. Lord Jesus, I ask that You keep me reasonably sweet; I do not want to be a sour old person—some of them are so hard to listen to.... Give me the ability to see good things in unexpected places, and talents in unexpected people.  Thou knowest all the contents of my heart.  You certainly know me better than I know myself.  Lord,  I am aging beyond my maturing and I ask that Your indwelt Spirit keep me from the fatal habit of thinking I must say something on every subject and on every occasion.  Release me from craving to straighten out everybody’s affairs.  Keep my
mind free from the recital of endless details; give me wings to get to the point swiftly.  Seal my lips on my aches and pains.  Hiccups in my physical body are increasing, and love of rehearsing them is becoming sweeter as the years go by.  I dare not ask for grace enough to enjoy the tales of other’s pains, but help me to endure them with patience.  I dare not ask for improved memory, but for a growing humility.  When my memory seems to clash with the memories of others, keep my tongue tamed that I allow them the grace that You have so lavished upon me.  Teach me the glorious lesson that occasionally I may be mistaken.  Make me thoughtful but not moody.  Helpful, but not bossy.  More humble than right. Thou knowest all Lord, and because of Your work in me, my hope is that you grant me a few friends as I come to the end of myself.....   O Lord, give me the grace to encourage others rather than correct them.  Amen. 

Monday, March 21, 2016

Know What Time It Is !!

"Oh foolish generation, you do not discern the signs of the times!" We are the generation that will see the return of Jesus! The gospel is now being preached worldwide in various ways, and not everyone is listening, but it is the Spirit's job to draw hearts to the Truth. Are you listening to what the Spirit is saying to you, a servant of God? What a priviledge, and what a responsibility to walk with Jesus in humility, unity and integrity. Oh Lord Jesus I asked that You to rattle me out of my complacency and it is TIME to pay attention to the opportunities that Jesus has set up for me...to humble myself and without concern for my reputation, to share the Truth with those in my life...right now. "This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit." John 15:8 --- When I stand in front of Jesus, I do NOT want to regret wasting my time on earth, and definetly NOT be surprised. Do NOT grow weary! Do NOT quit! The intensity and frequency of spiritual, national and enviromental tragedy is occuring day after day. JESUS is COMING, JESUS is COMING, JESUS is COMING soon! Thank You Jesus for choosing me and equipping me to speak to this generation. Thank You Lord Jesus for giving me the opportunity to participate in what You are already doing. AMEN

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Batting hot, cold, or warm?

Baseball season ends and it is immediately followed by the Christmas season. Are you comfortable with the final score of your faith this season? Or do you believe that you are smoking hot, batting 100% on the Lord's team?  Do you simply trust that you hit a home run with Jesus based on your past performance and that you are good-to-go-to-heaven-as-is? Do you justify not needing to attend church because you already read God's word and believe in Jesus? "The harvest is ready but the workers are few" Do you stand in the midst of a land full of broken people, while the Holy Spirit resides in you, totally silenced by your unwillingness, because you feel too weak and inadequate? "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" Are you absolutely content with your eternal destination as you are? Or, is your soul completely satisfied in itself, that all your hard work has paid off, and that God does not require or expect your participation here on 
earth because He has it handled? Do you think God is lucky to call you His own because you regularly offer up prayers for the poor and donate some coins to the orphans? Is God pleased with the amount of time and earnest compassion you extend? Do you choose to watch sports over spending time in God's word to renew your mind? Do you consider yourself full of the spirit because of your knowledge of scripture? Do you observe those who really need the Lord and pray that Jesus will light a fire in them, but you trust that your warm home and heart pleases God Almighty? Has your pride been conquered by Christ? Do you speak and pray with the authority that you are under? Are you overcome and humbled by the power and presence of the One Holy God? Is Jesus Christ your master? Are you His servant? Are you chained to His chariot and willing to allow Him to do the driving? Are you thrilled to admit that your are weak, 
that your will has been conquered, and therefore you are in need of guidance by a loving, redemptive, all powerful God? Pastor Bob Hendrick's sermon on Sunday December 14, 2014 is worthy of your ear. Listen to what the Spirit of God is saying to His people, His church, His chosen. Are you seeking the lost? Are you even batting for the Lord? What other King has ever left His throne, to greet you with mercy, to lay down His life for you? Revelation 3:15-20 ~ Lord Jesus I pray that You work miracles in the minds, hearts and thirsty souls of all listeners. We celebrate Your reason for birth on this earth, and rebirth in us.Click this link and ask Jesus to set your heart on fire! LCBC Notes
The Holy Spirit works through God's Word to renew our minds. As He restores our minds to the truth, our desires change, and our faith increases by hearing the testimonies of the changed life of Saul, the allegiance of Daniel, the faithfulness of God to generations of unfaithful people. Our hope
is confirmed by the indwelt Holy Spirit, who counsels us with wisdom. He reminds us of who we are in Christ Jesus, our Lord, and that His work in us continues to transform us. We are God's beloved creations, we are His chosen ambassadors of good will. The gospel is simple. God came down to make Himself known through His perfect Son, Jesus Christ, who purposefully chose to die on a cross for our sins. Our holy God forgave our sins through the blood of Jesus and we are justified  by Christ alone. We are privileged to wear His robe of righteousness and represent Him on earth. We are legally adopted into God’s family. As His beloved, we experience His grace, and His uncompromising promises. By His authority, we are filled with the Holy Spirit, so we can choose to love our enemies, forgive those who wrong us, and remain dependent on His unfailing love. God requires our full submission in order for us to receive a steady transmission of His plan and purpose for us. LIGHT our hearts on fire, Lord.  AMEN

Friday, March 4, 2016

WHO is GRACE?

Who is Grace? That was exactly my heartfelt question in 1997.  Ask and you shall receive indeed! Remembering when I was eight years old, my dearest Opa, our imported Gardner from Germany taught me to look through the eyes of God at nature. It has been over 50 years since Opa Ross demonstrated his trust in every season and his admiration of all creation. Daily Opa tended the garden by generously watering the flowers and trees. He pinched off the dead which increased growth and he delighted to watch me twirl with Lynn Castles on the grass. We laughed and played Tarzan on the sky high swing.  Dwarfed by the giant redwood tree I felt small but not insignificant. Butterflys and birds danced through the clouds and looking back now I know that the garden was my sacred place of refuge.  The rose garden at 33 West Rose in Stockton was one of my favorite places to just be alone drenched in the grace of God. It was my Father's pleasure to create all things of beauty, just for my enjoyment. Watching the seasons change, I knew God was changing me.. "and he said to them, be careful what you are hearing.  The measure you give will be the measure that comes back to you, and more will be given to you who hear." Mark 4:24 AMP
The measure of thought I lend to God in nature, the more I meditate on His Word, the more grace He pours into my heart. "For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he." Proverbs 23:7 ~ Enjoying the peace that comes from knowing God, His blessed assurance is ever speaking to me.  Listening and marveling in silence, He whispers "walk in My grace and see through the new eyes I have given you. Love others unconditionally as I have loved you." Sweet quiet times in the garden cause a distinct hunger in my soul for more time alone with my Jesus. I am stilled and hushed by the beauty found in each season of my life. My youth was the innocence and energy of Spring, my lessons are in the Fall when I shed all I think I must do to earn grace. The Winters chill is a time to pause and be grateful with hope for my future, and the Summer is a time to blossom in the Son and rejoice in the things yet to come. The thorns in life, and on the rose bushes --- are perfectly designed to protect us from more harm.
God knows my heart and He hears my unspoken prayers. Opa trimmed all branches down to the root ball in the Fall.  He instructed me to wait and watch what God would do with the appearance of a stripped naked plant.  During the winter, deep down from the root, the stem drinks up life giving nutrients from the soil during the storms above. A rosebud emerges in the spring and opens up in the sun. I am confident that my heavenly Father's hand has been upon me all my life.  He softened the heart of Dad and Mom to sponsor Opa and Oma from Germany to America.  Our meeting was by the divine design of God's will and timing in the life of a little girl who lived in a house of strife. There are no accidents, and Opa crossed my path for God's purpose. "He is the vine, we are the branches"  "I will give you living water, and you will thirst no
more"  My dearest adopted grandpa Opa could only speak German.  Even with our language barrier, his joy in the garden demonstrated his faith in the Father, the Author and Perfecter of our faith.  The Holy Bible is the story of two gardens.  Eden and Gethsemane.  In the 1st garden, Eden, Adam took a fall that caused man to need a Savior. In the 2nd garden, Gethsemane, Jesus took a stand for man.  In the 1st garden, God sought Adam.  In the 2nd garden, Jesus sought God.  In Eden, Adam felt shame and attempted to hide from God.  In Gethsemane, Jesus did not hide what He was feeling, He took His troubles directly to His loving Father.  In Eden, Satan led Adam to a tree that led to a life of suffering. From Gethsemane, Jesus went to a tree that led to the gift of free righteousness and the joy of eternal life with Jesus Christ our Lord.  

Much like Mephibosheth, little Barbie was overwhelmed by the kindness Opa showed to her. "for I will surely show you kindness for the sake of your father...I will restore to you all the land that belonged to your grandfather....and you will always eat at my table!" 2 Sam 9:1-7 ~
Scripture makes it clear to all who listen and hear what the Spirit is saying. God makes promises and He keeps them. A covenant is a binding, unbreakable obligation between two parties based on unconditional love. "Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of His purpose clear to the heirs of what was promised, He confirmed it with an oath. God did this so that  we who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.  It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where Jesus, who went before us has entered on our behalf." Hebrews 6:13-19  ~  It is my hope to exert my will to trust Jesus in all circumstances. My Lord Jesus knows me far better than I know myself.  He completely comprehends the complexity of Barbara Sue, His creation.  No detail of my life is hidden from my Lord.  I trust my Lord Jesus wnough to fully accept the forgiveness, mercy and grace that He offers me continuously. As a child, the soil of my heart was ready to receive all of what God was watering in that rose garden with Opa. This old man did not speak English, he could not teach with more than his example
of AWE and DELIGHT in nature. So when I watched a movie named Joshua, it touched a deep memory in me about the simplicity of God's love for His children. Joshua moved into the small town of Auburn, California.  Immediately his humble arrival awakened a certain curiosity of each person who seemed asleep to the truth, the GOOD NEWS.  "Joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the sound of singing." Isaiah 51:3 - In the movie, the locals are not quite sure of how to read this extremely kind man.  They do not know where he came from, but each person who encounters Joshua takes an easy liking to him.  "The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit." John 3:8 ~ He asked for a place to stay and found delight to stay in a barn with a hole in the roof. When it rained outside, Joshua stayed dry, it did not rain inside. "Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!" Mark 4:41 ~ In the movie, and in this very real life, Jesus working through the character of Joshua, helps a troubled family facing a divorce,
and a woman with a shattered heart find peace. People felt comfortable with him and they easily opened up and shared their struggles. Joshua embraced all people in town. Church goers and those who have disconnected or distanced themselves from grace, all found him friendly. Joshua smiled upon everyone in the community without judgment.  "Yet to all who did receive Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God-- children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God" John 1:12-13 ~ Joshua drew people to himself by his attractive soft masculinity, his humble occupation as a simple carpenter, and his genuine compassion for everyone.  He embodied love and displayed "I am your friend". A hard hearted Catholic priest is softened as he watches Joshua assist the Baptist pastor rebuild a burned down church. Regardless of any person's denominational preference, he walks in grace and loves them all. He attends an energetic Christian rock concert with the town's youth, and in the end has an audience with the Pope. His gentle presence challenged the local and world adopted "church
authority" to question their hollow observance of all the rules that are NOT required by God, Himself. Joshua watered the thirsty seed of hope inside each person he met in Auburn.  "The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches." Matthew 13:31" Jesus said "I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener." John 15:1 ~ Let us look at HUMANS as Jesus did.  Jews in Jerusalem or gentiles in Bethlehem, all humans were created and cherished for all the great differences God foreknew would result from Adam grabbing that shiny red apple.  Nothing humans do shocks the Creator of all things. He is AMAZED and desires that we "GET" the beauty of people and nature.  Joshua moved in as a stranger and quickly befriended people, despite their natural tendency to doubt his pure intentions to simply help.  He drew people by his compassion and his attention to their needs. The true gift of life is the incredible opportunity to be in community and to contribute our gifts. Each human has tremendous value, no matter the country or culture.   Diverse and unique, we are each uniquely created and gifted.  By His grace we are free
to experience different cultures, different traditions, different foods, different languages, and enjoy the beauty of different times, customs and civilizationsOur submission and our obedience to love others as we are loved allows us to see with the eyes of the indwelt Holy Spirit.  When we respond to His way of seeing things we begin to appreciate all the people that God has purposely placed in our life.  The difficult people, the sad people, the lost, the happy, the educated, the blind and the silent ones. Instead of shrinking the world into the box we believe it belongs in, we humbly wear the righteousness of Christ and love people as they are, we speak to them with terms that place them into roles God would have for them, we give them hope. God spoke words to a failing man named Abraham as if he already "believed in the Lord; and He counted it to him for righteousness." Genesis 15:6  "before Him whom he believed, even God, who quickenth the dead, and calleth
those things which are NOT as though they were." Romans 4:17 ~ The thing that was not, was Abe's righteousness.   God called Abe righteous, even though he was not.... just yet.  God led Abe to live in a certain place,  but Abe disobeyed and went to Egypt. There he picked up a servant named Hagar to birth him a child to receive the inheritance.  God chose Sarah to bear Issac. Abe's failures did not keep God from calling a thing as if it were. By God's definition of righteousness, not Abe's actions, Abe became the father of many nations.   We know that God requires righteousness, but we fail to accept the free gift of righteousness   In the movie of Joshua, he told a stuttering black man that he would preach someday.  Joshua told a priest who loved to fish that one day he would lead the church.  Joshua gave a woman with a shattered heart, HOPE for a better life, following His way of forgiveness.
We are immersed in the grace of God as we look at our world through His eyes. The beauty of strangers passing out smiles, the fluid movement of our legs as we walk, our signature voices, our brain,our hearts pumping, our lungs breathing,  the facial expression that comes with joy and contentment. There is invisible beauty inside the relationship we share between family members as we share activities and experiences you share together.  There is beauty in order, how we get to order our day, calendar, our time to do nothing or to wash the dishes.  Beauty is deeper than airbrushed skin on people that move like robots. Beauty is in life, not just your own life, but in the energy and care you invest in sharing a story, helping a friend, being kind.  Beauty exists in the choice to not honk the horn in traffic.  Beauty exists whether we claim it, appreciate it or categorize it!   As predicted, thanks to the advent of the internet, our amazing planet earth has no borders, and we get news from afar daily.  We get soundbites of war, gruesome tales of rape, senseless attacks, bullying, and the unfortunate disrespect for a humans right to
choose his path, his belief, his way and his faith.  FEAR is false evidence appearing real and as people we react instead interact with those that do not behave or believe what we do, we honor what Jesus did in us, or we forget, and behave like the lost and moan.  Choosing how to respond so that the message is "you are valued, you are worthy of love" is a choice to let go of prejudice, pride, and speak the truth in such a way that we disarm those that feel they must lash out with their tongue or use other weapons of mass destruction. Individually we all have the right to dream, aspire, and have a political view.  As gifted people, as educated siblings, as caring parents we have been charged by God to take care, to speak kindly and show grace. We are supernaturally quipped emotionally, to face the harsh realities this world now offers. A humble little shepherd kid named David believed that his God was bigger than a giant man. David surrendered his will and his view to the will and view of God. David a sober mind, his faith in God was vigilant, unwavering in the face of his adversary.  Satan devours who he may, not the vigilant, but those weak in faith. Today we walk in new testament times.  Because
we confess confess with our mouth, and walk in faith, we consciously invite the will of God, we submit to His way and allow GRACE to work in us and for us. The free gift of righteousness is our coat of arms, it is our family crest, it is our promised inheritance  We have been thus equipped with victory over any foe, any temptation, any sin. We trust God at His Word and believe that  Jesus completely destroyed Satan. "It is finished" means that Satan was stripped of all power and authority over those who believe in Jesus Christ as Lord.  His finished work on the cross is where He fills us with confidence.  Jesus is trustworthy, He is able, and  He always tells us the truth.  In our weakness He is strong, in our need Grace shows up. The Holy Spirit abides in me, and I in Him, wherever He is, I am.  
In 2014 Little Barbie turned 63 years old. She still thrills at the TRUTH that she is a new creature in Christ and she has more than a ticket to heaven. According to Hebrews 7:19, a new nature is born instantly and she was filled by the Holy Spirit who changed her, equipped her and He reveals unto her the truth. He will never depart from her and He lavishes her with sufficient grace to do all things in Christ. Barbie is not ashamed of her need for Jesus or her human failures, mess ups or weaknesses.  God uses all things to confound the wise.  His grace is sufficient for her and she delights in her Lord.  PRAY: Lord Jesus, help me to RISE up from bed each day expecting that You hear my shout "GOOD MORNING LORD - I love You!" Increase my  faith and trust as I appreciate all You have done for me already. Lord, I ask that You help prepare me to face all that You have in store for me today. Thank You for another day, for the glorious opportunity to shine, and to be kind to those who do not know You. I stand firm in my faith because I am anchored in You. I thank our Heavenly Father for the personal invitation to "COME TO ME" as I am --- to approach Your throne boldly without a need to hide in shame behind a fig leaf of fear. Father I pray in the name of Jesus, that you cleanse me of anything that does not honor my holy God. I ask that Your hand of protection remain on the United States, Mexico and Israel. I ask for Your  forgiveness for any hesitation on my part to go where you nudge me to go, to say what You prompt me to say, or to do whatever You ask me to do. I am in awe of You Lord, and I am filled with respect for being known as the Kings chosen and I delight in hearing You speak to me personally as I read Thy living Word. Teach me to trust You more and to let go of world stresses, or concerns about economics, politics, or that Your plans could ever be undone by those who deny the power and authority of Jesus Christ, my Lord.  Instruct me Holy Spirit, for I am listening to what the Spirit is saying. Increase my love and respect for each person You place in my path.  Thank You for giving me PEACE that surpasses any world understanding, and for carrying all my burdens. AMEN


Thursday, March 3, 2016

Momma Mia

January 15, 2016
Maria Herzig was born on December 30, 1929 in Shuen Ecken, Germany - a tiny village in the Eiffel Mountains. She immigrated to the USA as the bride of Willis Earl Alley, a farmer from Arkansas and a Corporal in the US Army.  Earl paid the Herzig family two cartons of cigarettes and a few pounds of coffee for the privilege of making Maria his wife. As a new bride Maria looked forward to a new life in America, away from the bloody mess of war and from the sadness and shame of being a fatherless child in the 1920's.  Her husband spoke German fluently and he was a communications expert during World War II. 
Earl typed military code at lightning speed, but his ability to decipher Maria's emotional needs was understandably lacking.
Arriving to the USA as a previous Hitler's youth to a southern gentry family with roots in Arkansas, Maria met with a lavish amount of disapproval. Brigham Young University analyzed massive data and concluded that social isolation was as deadly as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, or being an alcoholic. Isolation proved to be twice as harmful to a humans survival than obesity. A vast accumulation of research indicates that the root cause of heart disease and stress comes from feeling isolated.   "Fear of Intimacy" by
Maria Herzig age 7
Robert Firestone, PHD and Joyce Catlett reveals that emotional neglect in a person's childhood leads one to avoid becoming transparent in any loving relationship.  The sad, earnest seeker for connection is fully aware that life is precious, but they fear that the sting of abandonment is eminent, as death is inevitable. The lonely often display an intolerance of touchy, feely affection that is clinically noted in all family relationships.  Research confirms that the "seeker" of adoring attention maintains a negative self-portrait which is projected onto her family.  The connection Maria had to her core being accelerated in the
Maria age 17
latter years of her life.  Consequently, her lifelong quest to "feel" connected and loved by her children and others improved.  Maria came to accept the temporal nature of life and began to invest her passions fully at the end.   With a weak heart, Maria Crane suffered a stroke on March 2 and slipped away into an eternal slumber on March 3, 2016 .  Maria Crane was a well loved woman around the globe, even by people she never met face to face ---- because of her great compassion towards the broken-hearted, as a sensitive soul, Maria Crane poured out love in emails to people who shared her spiritual beliefs.  "Sensitive people are the most genuine and honest people you will ever meet. There is nothing they won't tell you about themselves if

they trust your kindness. However, the moment you betray them, reject them or devalue them, they will end the friendship. They live with guilt and constant pain over unresolved situations and misunderstandings. They are tortured souls that are not able to live with being unwanted or being rejected. This type of person needs the most love anyone can give them because their soul has been constantly bruised by others. However, despite the tragedy of what they have to go through in life, they remain the most compassionate people worth knowing and the ones that often become activists for the broken-hearted,
forgotten and the misunderstood. They are angels with broken wings that only fly when loved." ― Shannon L. Alder -- An entire chapter in a book entitled "John of God and the Casa of Love" was dedicated to her work in Brazil.  She is survived by her son Ben Alley, daughters Mary Dinkel, and Barbara Hoyle.  Her grand children David Bartlett, Jason Newell, Blake Alley and Eric Alley.  Maria
Crane requested to be remembered for her service to God. "Stuff that needs to be said" is reflected in this piece shared among her children. It was written by John Pavolitz: "On the day I die, a lot will happen. A lot will change. The world will be busy.  On the day that I die, all the important appointments I made will be left unattended. The many plans I had yet to complete will remain forever undone.  The calendar that
ruled so many of my days will now be irrelevant to me. All the material things I so chased and guarded and treasured will be left in the hands of others to care for or to discard. The words of my critics which so burdened me will cease to sting or hurt me anymore. They will be unable to touch me. The arguments I believed I'd won here will not serve me or bring me any satisfaction or solace.  All my noisy incoming notifications and texts and calls will go unanswered. Their great urgency will be quieted.  My many nagging regrets will all be resigned to the past,
where they should have always been anyway.  Every superficial worry about my body that I ever labored over; about my waistline or hairline or frown lines, will fade away. My carefully crafted image, the one I worked so hard to shape for others here, will be left to them to complete anyway. The sterling reputation I once struggled so greatly to maintain will be of little concern for me anymore.  All the small and large
anxieties that stole sleep from me each night will be rendered powerless.  The deep and towering mysteries about life and death that so consumed my mind will finally be clarified in a way that they could never be before while I lived.  These things will certainly all be true on the day that I die.  Yet for as much as will happen on that day, one more thing that will happen. On the day I die, the few people who really know and truly love me will grieve deeply.  They will feel a void.  They will feel cheated.  They will not feel ready.  They will feel as though a part of them has died as well.  And on that day, more than anything in the world they will want more time with
me.  I know this from those I love and grieve over.  And so knowing this, while I am still alive I'll try to remember that my time with them is finite and fleeting and so very precious—and I'll do my best not to waste a second of it.  I'll try not to squander a priceless moment worrying about all the other things that will happen on the day I die, because many of those things are either not my concern or beyond my control.  Friends, listen to what the Spirit is saying! Those ridiculous worries about what others think keep us from truly living in the moment. Striving for attention, or competing for affections  rob us of the joy of this unrepeatable, uncontainable, ever-evaporating NOW!
Be alert, and pay attention to those God placed in your life and LOVE them. Love them face to face or from afar.  Don't miss the chance to dance and laugh with them in person, on the phone, or on Facebook! All communication speaks the truth, it says "I care, and I love you"  It's easy to waste so much daylight in the days before we die. What we think matters steals so much of our moments! On
the day we die,nothing at all will matter one bit!  Yes, you and I will die one day.  But before that day comes: let us choose to LIVE with wild abandon of any imaginations of a reputation ruined because of our expressed passion for one another!  Maria was the only child of Barbara Herzig who was unable to take care of her.  Maria was immediately adopted and raised by her three aunts in Shuen Ecken.  She worked in the family coffee shop and read books as they were made available.   From a very young age it was clear that Maria possessed a passion for learning.  As a child, Maria lived in a rural part of Germany. She was only ALLOWED to help at the family store when no customers were there. Sadly she remembered being hidden in a closet when the small village customers arrived as she was the shame of the Herzig family. 
During World War II, Maria was forced to march in Hitler’s youth and her job was to bury the dead horses.  Shortly after May 7, 1945 Maria married Willis Earl Alley, a US Army Intelligence Officer.  Her first born Joseph Bennett (Ben) Alley arrived in 1949, followed by her first daughter Maria Jeanette (Mary Jane) born in 1950, followed by her last child Barbara Sue born in 1951.  Maria spent much of her
married life in Stockton, California where she worked as a secretary for Alley Insurance.  She was able to travel back to Germany to visit family and friends often.   Her changed life as a mother and wife in the United States was noted by her peers and family in Germany. When she met her husband Earl, she hoped that her life would drastically improve, but moving to a new country proved to be stressful.  Maria divorced the father of her children and lived and worked as a secretary for many years in California before she returned to Europe to work in the library of the
America House in Brussels.  James Crane, the Director was persistent in his pursuit to date Maria.  She told us with a smile, "Jim stood on his head in front of my desk until I said I would go to dinner with him!" Jim quickly proposed and they traveled to Ireland and were married at Gretna Green. After many years travelling together, James and Maria settled in Santa Rosa, California.  Maria took up
painting and delighted in her new passion.  Maria took care of Jim while he lived with Parkinsonism.  Jim died in 2002 and in 2003 Maria traveled to Brazil to learn more about John of God. She moved to Brazil to work at The Casa De Dom Inacio as a healer.  Maria moved back to the USA and settled into the university town of Rohnert Park, California where she acquired many new friends.  In October 2014 Maria returned to the Casa for a short visit with her long time friend
Dick Selby.  Dick dedicated chapter 5 of his  book entitled “John of God and the Casa of Love” to our beloved mother.  Maria was predeceased by her mother Barbara Herzig, and both husbands Earl Alley and James Crane.  All her children shall forever treasure many fond memories of various adventures with their ever eccentric, but beloved Momma Mia!   She was affectionately referred to as “Momma Mia” because of her whimsical ways and because her German family called her “Mia”.  QUOTING MARIA “When I was 73 years old, I arrived at the Casa and John of God took my hand, looked into my eyes and said  ‘I want you to be a daughter of the Casa’. Later that same day John asked me to give a talk on love, which I did.”  Psalm 68:5 "A Father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy dwelling." Deuteronomy 10:18 "He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing." You are loved Momma Mia by our heavenly Father, and the kids you brought into this world, and so many more in Brazil, Germany, New York, Chicago and India.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Honest Laments

An honest lament grieves that the world is unbalanced.  It mourns the death of a parent, spouse or a child.  It rages about the injustice and lack of fairness in this life.  It grieves the GAP between reality and God's promises.  Our honest laments engage God's compassion and they do not cause us to be judged.  Ambiguous in our human nature, we are highly uncertain, and at best, doubtful - that God would understand any lament that challenges His faithfulness.  When we encounter the good, the bad, and the ugly side of this life, as humans we tend to elevate the bad and we miss the good. Life is hard, and the book of James tells us that when we suffer, we are to pray, and when good times roll in, we are to pray, and talk to God and praise Him in all things. Our Father knows our hearts and He honors our tears, struggles, and our times of trouble. Our Father never said life on earth was going to be easy.  He has never exaggerated the pain He suffered, nor did He deny that we will suffer.  The Bible, His Story, God's word tells us pure, unvarnished truth.  Our Father does NOT desire that His children fully understand why He had to send His Son Jesus, but more importantly God wants us to fully embrace Jesus as the One that we can always relate to because of His suffering, His many sacrifices and His eternal love. Imagine yourself as a tree living in a huge forest.  Growing up tall and strong, you looked to heaven and reached for the stars with great
hopes for your future.  Yet, in your youth, the axe of unkind words and unexpected hardships cut you down.  God's word says "For there is hope in a tree" When we feel there is no hope we can find God in our midst encouraging us "If it is cut down, it will sprout again, and that its tender shoots will not cease."  Job 14:1-9 - We must see, that our roots connects us to the Truth, the Way, and the Life. Our tenacious roots will NOT cease to seek the living water. We need but a tiny taste, a filling, and a renewing by the ever present, indwelt Holy Spirit. "Though its roots may grow old in the earth, and its stump may die in the ground, yet --- at the scent of water it will bud" Job 14:8 -- In the book of RUTH we find many hard lessons about loss, pain and God's unique way of responding to the many trials we have here on earth.  IMPORTANT: It is okay to express anger during dark times.
God understands our pain and He wants us to be honest, and weep and pray. When we earnestly ask "Why oh Lord?" and when we read the psalms, our nostrils may flare at the scent of living water as hope begins to sprout up in our stumped souls again!  It is important to cling to the Truth and not listen to the Liar who rushes to destroy our hope in Jesus.  Ecclesiastes 1:17-18 " I applied my mind to know wisdom and knowledge, madness and folly; I learned that this too is a pursuit of the wind.  For with much wisdom is much sorrow; as knowledge increases, grief increases." The IMPORTANT truth is that your crys have been heard, you have not been forsaken or forgotten! "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith and this is NOT from yourselves, it is the gift of God." Ephesians 2:8 - So in our human
fragile faith, we are weakened, and in the midst of that very weakness, God is strong.  Naomi lost her husband and both sons and she could not stop crying and feeling that God had turned against her.  Her daughter-in-law Ruth sat with her and grieved right along with her. Naomi laments "Call me Mara for the Lord has brought me back home empty.  I am bitter and God has made me this way!"
Naomi's tone is blunt as it explodes in the ears of her friends in Bethlehem. Naomi is real and she does not mask or attempt to hide her sorrow.  She is raw and authentic before God and NOT a hypocrite.  She was not being cynical, but she was exposing her broken heart.  Ruth chose to sacrifice her hope to find a new husband and she accompanied Naomi back to her hometown of Bethlehem.  As we love the people God has placed in our lives, the texture of Jesus emerges in us as we offer compassion to those that are grieving. Steadfast love is another translation for the Hebrew word Hessod. Hessod love combines sacrifice with commitment.  It is a love that has NO EXIT at the sign of trouble. Ruth bound herself to Naomi, for better or for worse. Naomi was bitterly cranky and snorted harsh words towards Ruth and anyone who attempted to give her comfort.
There is absolutely nothing fair about Hessod love!  It is totally unbalanced, and it is the very way God loves us.  When believers of God and followers of Jesus loose their temper and feel slighted, or when life throws us painful circumstances, we raise our fists towards God, and we weep because of life's persistent injustices --- CONSIDER THIS: Does God turn His back on us when we are mad, sad, sick, injured or troubled? Certainly NOT! Hessod love stubbornly continues and it is steadfast regardless of our feelings, moods, actions, silence or circumstances.  Hessod love eliminates moodiness and it loves regardless of anger expressed by a silent treatment or by a raised tone of voice!  Loud voices or the slamming of doors does not prevent or deter the Hessod love of Jesus towards His people.  Many times angry, bitter people allow dark
moods to develop when their expectations are not met and they begin to selfishly behave as if their mood does not impact the people around them.  Ruth most assuredly winced and weeped as she witnessed Naomi's inconsolable grief --- but she did not withdraw her Hessod love.  "Your God will be my God" Ruth 1:16 - No matter how you act Naomi, I am devoted to you and where ever you go, I will go!  Ruth chose to not go home to her parents, or to remain the same, as she always was, or as her parents taught her. She was willing to forsake the beliefs instilled as a child and adopt the living Hope of God among us! Hessod love is unconditional.  It consistently acts on its loyal commitment to love imperfect, sad, or difficult people.  Life is moody, feelings come and go, pressures rise and fall, and our many passions are like the wind.  You cannot know or see emotions that will rise with ongoing difficult trials. When life hits us hard it is easy for us to withdraw our faith in God. Our religious sense towards a suffering sister or brother in Christ is to theologize and say "God is in control" but we may also silently doubt if God is truly watching, listening or caring about those that are in a valley of pain.   God responds to Naomi's pain filled accusation that He brought this upon her, by giving her the committed, sacrificial love of Ruth.  Our loving Father God responds likewise today.  He places people in our lives that show us compassion, mercy, and grace by word and actions.  Pray this "Lord give me Thine eyes that I may see all the good in my life and give Thee thanks for it."  AMEN

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

SUPERNATURAL GRACE

Do you define Grace as something you have personally known, or in terms of what you have read or been taught by a human? Understanding what grace is requires a listening heart, that has been imploded with the Presence and power of God.  Holding oneself to a standard of GRACE, requires the supernatural GRACE bestowed by the indwelt Holy Spirit. Ask Jesus to reveal who God is and learn GRACE from the Messiah who is full of GRACE. "From the fullness of His grace we have all received one blessing after another."  John 1:16 -- "No one knows the Son except the Father, and NO ONE knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him" Matthew 11:27---Paul writes "The GRACE of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with FAITH and love that are IN Christ Jesus." 1Peter 1:14--Therefore it is wise to surrender all we know and allow the GRACE of Jesus to replace what we have previously believed ....with the TRUTH of what GRACE actually is. IF we admit our need of a better way, ....Jesus will give us new life. “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to finish His work." John 4:34 ~ Jesus is the Author and Finisher of our faith.  "The very works that I am doing—testify that the Father has sent Me. And the Father who sent Me has Himself testified concerning Me. You have never heard His voice nor seen His form,  nor does His word dwell in you, for you do not BELIEVE (trust) the One He sent. You study the
Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about Me, yet you refuse to come to Me (the Messiah) to have life." John 5: 36 ~ MORE TRUTH: "His eyes are like blazing fire, and on His head are many crowns.  He has a name WRITTEN on Him that NO ONE knows but He Himself.  He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and His name is the Word of God."  Revelation 19:12-14 NIV -  The eyes of Jesus blaze like fire as He pierces the soul and knows each heart. Jesus wears many crowns, the Father is in Him, and He is in the Father, and He is the promised Holy Spirit whom shall never forsake, mislead, or misinform those who fully submit to His grace, His wisdom, His power, His authority over all knowledge gained aside from His. Jesus issues supernatural GRACE.  Jesus as God does NOT possess love, or have love in His heart, He is Love, He is compassion, He is grace. God loved us first and His
greatest command is for us to love ourselves and one another as our Father, Son, and Holy Spirit loves us ~ full of grace, consistent in compassion, understanding, patience and mercy.  He who knows all, Who knows the hearts of each man, Jesus Christ asks us "Do you love me?" If you love Me, follow Me. Submit to Me alone and be humble and care more for what I say than the scholars.  Feed the hungry hearts the truth as I reveal it to you. Do not hide the Light within you. Be patient, be kind, be merciful.  Jesus asked Peter three times "Do you love Me?"  Do you love Jesus above your academics, accomplishments,  more than your pet, your team, your parents, your work, your friends?  Do you accept that Jesus died so that you could spend eternity in heaven with Him?  Can you love somebody you do not know?  Do you believe and have faith in the unseen  Jesus? Do you believe that the Person of the Holy Spirit is just like Jesus?  Truth is: God in the Person of
Jesus came down to earth to walk and talk to those who had a hard time believing in an unseen God.  Jesus told us the truth, that He had to die, then rise again so that the Holy Spirit could come and be with everyone, everywhere, at the same time. Then Jesus told them, "You are going to have the light just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you. Whoever walks in the dark does not know where they are going. Then Jesus cried out, "Whoever believes in Me does not believe in Me only, but in the one who sent Me." John 12:44 ~ "Take the (mind of Christ) helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God."  Ephesians 6:17 ~ The Sword of the Spirit is the living Word of God.  The first CHURCH - a group of people who followed Jesus, who watched him perform miracles, a band of twelve disciples walked, talked and lived with Jesus for three years.  The followers of Jesus, those who properly feared and respected the Lord,  these believers were greeted by Him when He suddenly appeared in His glorified, resurrected body ~ saying "Peace be with you", these men gathered along with a group of people that spoke various languages...for His mighty high purpose.
Acts 2:1- "When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place.  Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them." " how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? AMAZED and perplexed, they asked one another, "What does this mean?" Some, however, made gun of them and said, 
"They have had too much wine....Peter stood up with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. These people are not drunk, as you suppose. It's only nine in the morning! No, this is what was spoken by the
prophet Joel: ‘In the last days, God says,  I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy,  your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women,  I will pour out my Spirit in those days ...And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.' Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through Him, as you yourselves know. This man was handed over to you by God's deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death because it was impossible for death to keep its hold
on Him."  Acts 2:1-17 ~ Jesus our Lord, King of Kings, and blessed Savior, defeated death.  He walked out of the tomb and appeared before eleven disciples.  Peter who had denied Jesus three times was struck speechless and silently left to go fishing and think about what he had just saw!  A risen Christ, the Messiah, his friend for three years, the one Peter remorsefully denied following or ever knowing. A few weeks after Pentecost (the Hebrew translation of Pentecost is a new beginning) a follower of Jesus named Stephen was stoned to death because he would not deny Jesus as Lord.   Acts 7:58-60 Jews who believed in God stoned a man named Stephen. Stephen "calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And he knelt down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep."  Saul was a
respected student of the Old Testament, the Word of God. By divine design, Saul heard Stephens last words, his cry out for God to forgive the spiritually blind men who were killing him. Stephens faith in Jesus Christ impacted Saul. Soon after Stephens death, Paul had a personal encounter with the living Word of God, Jesus Christ. Acts 9:3  " suddenly there shone from heaven a great light round about me."  The highly respected student of the living Word, Saul was then struck physically blind.   Acts 22:7-9 "I fell to the ground and heard a voice say to me, ‘Saul! Saul! Why do you persecute me?' "‘Who are you, Lord?' I asked. 'I am Jesus of Nazareth, 
whom you are persecuting,' He replied. (keep reading Acts) My companions saw the light, but they did not understand the voice of Him who was speaking to me." ‘What shall I do, Lord?'  "Get up, the Lord said and go to Damascus. There you will be told all that you have been ASSIGNED to do." Paul fasted and prayed. Acts 22:15-16 "You will be His witness to all people of what you have seen and heard.  And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on His name.' Acts 9:18 ~ " Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul's eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized."  Paul, the converted Jewish leader preached in synagogues in Damascus, in Arabia, in Jerusalem, Taurus, and Antioch, that Jesus Christ is the Messiah, that He is God.  "Paul, an apostle—sent not from men nor by a man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead—  and all the brothers and sisters with me.....I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—  which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God's curse!  As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God's curse!  Am I now trying to win the approval of humans, or of God? Do I live to obey people or God? Paul said  "I want you to know,


brothers and sisters, that the gospel I preached is NOT of human origin. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ." Then after 3 years, I went up to Jerusalem to get acquainted with Peter and stayed with him 15 days. I saw none of the other apostles—only James, the Lord's brother.  I assure you before God that what I am writing you is no lie." Galatians 1:1-21 ~ "This is how we know that we live in him and He in us: He has given us of His Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we
will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because He first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister." 1  John 1:13-21 ~ Who do you pray to? Who is this Jesus?   Remember that his name is "the Word of God." And remember that His Beloved Disciple John penned under the inspiration of the HOLY Spirit "In the beginning was the Word, and the was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning.  Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made.  In Him was life, and that life was the Light of men."  John 1:1-5 and then John penned Revelation 19:16 "On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: king of kings and lord of lords." ~ "My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the
mystery of God, namely, Christ" Colossians 2:2   "The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth."  John 1 ~ Jesus said “Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life." John 5:24