How Courting a Man Ruined Me
By Deanna Morono On October 25, 2014 · In Mr. & Mrs. Writing

I’ve been on a writing hiatus for about 6 months now. Why? Because Mack Johnston had the audacity to love me. To woo me. To ask me to marry him.

And I said yes.

So, for the past 6 months, I’ve been planning our wedding. Ordering Star Wars cuff links for the groomsmen. Negotiating contracts with 7 horses to use their barn as a rustic ceremony site. Searching for a giant Chinese gong guests could ring to make us kiss. You know, cool wedding stuff like that. (All of which is absolutely true.)

On August 23, 2014, we got married.

It was perfect. God blessed us more than we could ever imagine. And let me be clear: We’re giving God all the glory. He gave us a beautiful day without rain for our outdoor-in-a-field-wedding. He blessed us with friends and family who cooked and baked and fed and watered our guests like professional caterers. He protected us from bugs, mosquitoes and unseen horse patties. And He didn’t let anyone pass out in the heat or cause any drama.

God gave my husband and me the drive, perseverance and strength to use limited resources to create a beautiful, intimate wedding day. And we believe He did so because we were obedient to Him in our courtship.

Glorify God in Everything.

First, let me say, if you don’t court the way we did, that’s fine. I’m not condemning you. I’m not bashing the normal ways of dating. I’m just telling you how we did it and why. Also, don’t think courting is great for some people, but not for you. I believe anyone can do this if you commit to it and ask God to give you the strength to stay committed, because it is definitely not easy.

I believe we should glorify God in everything we do. Shouldn’t you want to bring Him glory in the way you date, too?

When Mack first told me he wanted to be more than friends, my initial reaction was “Not gonna happen.” That’s mostly because I’d never dated. Anyone. Like ever. And I’ve never wanted to. I was protecting my heart. I’d watched my friends date, watched their hearts get broken and continue the cycle. For me, I didn’t want to date someone unless I knew I could possibly marry him. And I had to be in that place to want to be married, too. So until everything fell into place, I would be single, happy and content.

Then Mack came along. And he was cute. Charming. A follower of Christ. On the first day we met, we were playing Phase 10 with a bunch of friends. During the game, we all started talking about God, and I realized I really respected him, unlike any man I’d ever met. His opinions were well thought out and deeply rooted in the Bible.

From that day on, the boy kept hanging around. A month later when he asked me out to lunch to talk, I knew what was coming. My defenses shot up, and I stayed up all night asking God to give me the words to let him down easy. I figured he’d run away after finding out that I didn’t want to date someone without the intention to marry. That would be the deal breaker.

Well, to my surprise, this man began the conversation by saying he didn’t want to date the way the world dates. He then proceeded to tell me why he liked me, giving me reasons I wasn’t prepared to hear. Reasons I’d never heard before! And each one was also centered around his love for Jesus.

So, after a couple weeks of many deep discussions–sessions of talking about deal breakers and visions for the future–I decided God was telling me to get off the fence. To dive in. To trust Him.

Our Courtship: Boundaries are Blessings.

Boundaries. It was all about boundaries. The first thing we agreed on was that boundaries are blessings. They’re meant to keep you safe, close to God. We established these boundaries early and added to them as we grew more fond of each other:

No physical touch. That meant no kissing. No hand-holding, hugging or snuggling. Why? Neither of us wanted a physical relationship. We didn’t want to let attraction rule. We wanted to grow our friendship and not let anything sexual hinder that growth or lead us away from God.

No riding in cars alone. Having this boundary prevented temptation from breaking the first boundary. Because let’s be real, we would have been all over each other in a car alone. We also didn’t stay in any room alone, and only hung out in public places.

No texting after 10 p.m. or before 9 a.m. This boundary was important for our mental and spiritual health. We never wanted to be obsessed with each other, staying up ’til all hours of the night chatting. Besides, nothing good happens after midnight. This boundary also helped us stay focused on God and friends and family before each other. We had to remember we couldn’t be each other’s world. Not yet.

No proposals for 1 year. Early on, I felt God telling me we had to go slow, mainly because it was the first relationship I’d ever been in, but also because we wanted to build a solid foundation. It sucked not being able to say “I love you” until we got engaged (another boundary we implemented to protect our hearts). But once that ring was on it, the power of those three words was awesome! I wouldn’t go back and change a thing.

Was it easy? Heck no. Did we push the boundaries? Of course. But because we knew God was calling us to trust Him and stick with it, we did everything we could to uphold the boundaries. In fact, my best friend graciously accepted the role of “Sheriff” to help hold us accountable.

Exactly 1 year later, after honoring my request to court for 1 year, Mack proposed. We amended the rules to allow hand-holding and the occasional 30-second hug. We finally said “I love you.” And we prayed a lot for God to give us perseverance until our wedding day.

Pretty early on I realized God wanted me to marry him. I’m not even kidding, it was within a month. I remember exactly when, too. I was cleaning out the dishwasher and it hit me: He’s going to be your husband. And I walked into the living room where my roommate sat and said, “I’m pretty sure God wants me to marry him.”

I realized it because of the intricate ways God prepared us for each other. In our likes and dislikes, in our passions and dreams, and in our beliefs and actions. We could look back and see God’s faithfulness. He’d brought us through trials separately so that He could mold us to enhance and balance each other together.

Every step of the way, I looked for the red flags, but found none. I went to friends and family for their opinions, but was only given more approval. The more our relationship grew, the more I knew God had His hand in it because it was so ridiculous! We weren’t dating like the norm, and it was working! It was ridiculous because I knew that our chemistry was off-the-charts, and we’d never even kissed.

God knows what’s up, and He wants to give you the desires of your heart. You have to trust Him. You have to trust that if you’ll commit to purity and faithfulness, He’ll bless you.

Because we committed to this crazy idea of upholding boundaries and keeping God at the center of our relationship, courting Mack ruined my single life. Like wrecked it. It’s pretty wonderful.  So Ladies, Find a Man Worth Courting.

Find a man, not a boy. Like a guy who has a steady job. A guy who has his own place. You know, a guy who has a life in general. A man who’s actively striving to be a leader, protector, listener and provider.

Find a man who sets boundaries. For us, we decided not to kiss until he put two rings on it, meaning not until our wedding day. But you should also look for a guy who is serious about waiting to have sex until you’re married. A man should want to protect your body and keep it pure. Temptation has a way of breaking you down, so for us, we decided not to ride alone in cars. We didn’t cuddle on the couch (as much as we wanted to). We didn’t hang out unless it was in a public place. We had texting curfews in place–because nothing good happens in the wee small hours of the night. And we didn’t rely on each other–we relied on God. Mental boundaries are just as important as physical boundaries.

Find a man who follows Jesus. I’m talking loves the Lord and follows Him. Walks with Him. Has a solid relationship with Him. A guy who serves in the Church. Who actively pursues God on his own. A guy who knows he’s not perfect, who knows he needs a Savior, and who wants to become more like Christ. God has to be his foundation. This isn’t a negotiating point.

And don’t settle for anything less than God’s best for you.

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Interesting Facts About Halloween

The idea of observing October 31st as a holiday originated with the ancient Celtic priests, called, “Druids”, around 300 B.C. The Druids lived in the area between Great Britain, France, and Germany. Their new year began on November 1st, because October 31st was set aside to worship their god, Samhain, the god of the dead since October 31st was the Celtic New Year’s Eve, the time for their Festival of Death.

The Druids believed that Samhain gathered all the souls of the past year’s dead on this night. These souls had been confined to the bodies of various animals to atone for their sins. Animal sacrifices and even human sacrifices were carried out , usually in forests. This practice was observed until around 61 A.D. when it was outlawed by the Romans. However, some animal sacrifices were still practiced as late as 400 A.D.

The Druids taught that the spirit world was closer to the earth on this night than at any other time, and that, “the gods”, would even appear on this night to play tricks on people.

Pope Bonoface III, in the seventh century, set aside May 13th as, “All Saints Day”, or, “All Hallows Day”, as a time for Roman Catholics to honor all known dead saints. In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III moved the date to November 1st which conveniently merged, “All Hallows Day” and “All Hallows Eve”, with the Celtic New Year and the Festival of Samhain.

This custom wasn’t much observed in America until the 1840’s when large numbers of immigrants came over from Ireland and Scotland.

Halloween is filled with all sorts of pagan characters and customs that Christians need to avoid. The black cat, for example, was believed by the Druids to be, evil spirit friends of witches, and even witches themselves. These cats were often kept in wicker cages and burned in animal sacrifices.

Witches are worshipers of Satan, and they are an abomination to God, (Exodus 22:18 “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.; Deuteronomy 18:10-12 There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee.”) Why would a God-fearing Christian want to dress-up their child like something that God hates? Scary masks were worn by the Celts to scare away evil spirits. Why would a Christian want to decorate his home with such wickedness? Does God want you to dress your child up like an evil spirit?

The jack-o-lantern was used for the same purpose, although a turnip was originally used.

What the world thinks of as, “ghosts”, are not the spirits of dead people, but rather EVIL spirits which we are warned about in the Bible, (Leviticus 19:31 “Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them: I am the LORD your God.” )

Even the orange and black colors of Halloween have a wicked origin. At the Druid Festival of Death for Samhain huge bon fires were used for offering human and animal sacrifices.

Trick-or-treating finds its origin in the custom of peasants going house to house begging for money to purchase necessities for a feast for Muck Olla, the Druid sun god. A blessing was promised to generous givers, while threats were often made to those who were stingy.

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Missionary, You Are Not Home Yet

A missionary spent his entire life in the mission fields of Africa telling the story of Jesus. During those days, missionary support was meager at best and nonexistent at worse. But, struggling the best he could he stayed on the field. In the latter years of his life, his wife died. Since he did not have money to take her back to her home for burial, he was forced to bury her in a make-shift grave near his home.

Finally, with his health, his money, and his family gone he scraped together enough for boat passage back to New York.

As the boat entered the harbor, suddenly it was surrounded by fire boats spurting sprays of water and tugs blowing their horns. As the boat docked, a band began playing and a crowd of people began shouting and waving their arms as a celebrity walked down the gang plank. As he watched all this from the railing, this elderly missionary, knowing he was coming home alone, began feeling sorry for himself and began to pray something like this, “Lord, I have given you all I have. I gave you my life, my family, and my health. Now, at the ending of my life, why couldn’t I be welcomed home with caring people who appreciate what my life has meant for the glory of God.”

Then, almost as it were an audible voice, this elderly missionary felt God speaking to him saying, “Son, you are not home yet!”

John 14:2-3 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

Is “Hospitality” a True Ministry?

Although hospitality today seems to be a lost art and not considered to be a true ministry, the Bible still commands us to use hospitality and not to complain about doing it.

Romans 12:13 Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality…
1 Peter 4:9 Use hospitality one to another without grudging.

The stresses of everyday living can be very demanding to God’s servants. We must lift up our eyes and see the needs of those hurting around us. We must look for opportunities to provide special times of relaxation for the discouraged and weary.

Many times in this self-centered society, not only unsaved women, but also Christian women, make excuses for not opening their homes and exhibiting hospitality. Today very few people invite you to their homes for a meal or just fellowship. Maybe it is because of the fast paced lifestyle people live. People become so wrapped up in their own lives that they don’t seem to have the time to reach out to others.

What are some of the excuses women use for not practicing hospitality?

My home is not good enough.Through the years, it has not been the women who had gorgeous homes or who prepared  lavish meals that made the greatest impact on me. It has been the women who genuinely loved the Lord and offered me simple gestures of friendship and love  by offering me simple acts of hospitality. One of my fondest memories goes back many years ago when my husband and I were in Bible College. On weekends, we drove back and forth to Arkansas to minister in a small church. We stayed in the home of a widow woman named Mrs. Medlin. Although she lived on a small pension, she loved God’s servants and wanted to be a blessing to them. Many Sundays, our dinners consisted of only oxtail soup. Even though those were just simple meals, she made them seem like feasts. She willingly shared what she had with us. She did not try to impress us; she just wanted to make us feel special.

It is just too expensive. Hospitality does not have to be costly.

• Invite someone over for just soup and salad or just coffee and dessert.
• Invite several couples for dinner. Ask one lady to bring a dessert, another to bring a vegetable, another to bring a potato casserole, and you provide the meat.

It takes too much time and effort. Hospitality does not have to take a great deal of time and effort. We have time to do exactly what we want to do. We have time to shop, to watch our favorite television programs, to garden, to craft, or even to read good books.

• Stick to meals that are easy. Make things the day before, such as lasagna, and then put it in the oven.
• Forget complicated recipes! When you make a dinner for your family, make a double batch and stick the other one in the freezer.
• Use your crock-pot.

My house is just not clean enough. People are not coming to your home to inspect the dust bunnies under the bed or do the white glove on your furniture.

Here are some simple tricks to practice to always have your home ready to minister.

• Don’t go to bed at night until you have made sure your living room and bathroom are picked up.
• Always put your dirty dishes in the dishwasher instead of the sink.
• If you have children, assign a various job to each child.
• Keep a designated play area, other than the living room, for the children to play.
• Do designated morning chores every morning. (Empty bathroom trash, make beds,  put clothes away, and put dishes in dishwasher)

Texas Place Setting

 

Proper Place Setting

1. Salad bowl 2.Napkin 3. Salad fork 4. Dinner fork 5. Dessert fork 6. Dinner plate
7. Knife (blade facing plate) 8. Teaspoon 9. Iced tea spoon 10. Coffee cup
11. Iced tea glass 12. Water glass

If you want to make your guests feel more comfortable, place dessert forks on individual dessert plates.

If you are not going to serve iced tea, skip placing ice tea spoon next to teaspoon.

Skit for Mission’s Conference

AN AMERICAN PASTOR VISITS A NATIONAL WORK

NATIONAL: Today we have a great American evangelist who has come to speak to us. I have been asked to interpret because he does not speak our language.
PASTOR: Thank you brother, I am so happy to be here. I would also like to say thank you for a very unique lunch.
NATIONAL: He says thank you for giving him the only meal he has had.
PASTOR: I have to admit that the food made butterflies in my stomach.
NATIONAL: What did you say?
PASTOR: I have butterflies in my stomach.
NATIONAL: It seems that he has taken some flies into his stomach.
PASTOR: But really, I liked it. It was good I really enjoyed it.
NATIONAL: He think he liked the flies!
PASTOR: Yes! it was good. I enjoyed it!
NATIONAL: He really liked the flies!PASTOR: I want you to know that I am just tickled pink that you have invited me here.
NATIONAL: It seems that this man has broken out in a rash and has been scratching all over until he has turned pink in places.
PASTOR: I am especially ecstatic about the topic you have asked me to address.
NATIONAL: I guess there is a great deal of elastic in his dress today!
PASTOR: My topic is “How to get people involved in spiritual ministry”.
NATIONAL: He is going to tell us how to get people involved in ministering to spirits.
PASTOR: You see there are too many Christians in America running around like chickens with their heads cut off.
NATIONAL: What are they doing?
PASTOR: Running around like chickens with their heads cut off.
NATIONAL: In this man’s country there are many Christians suffering persecution. They are just killing people by cutting their heads off, then they run around for awhile, I don’t know why.
PASTOR: But their testimony is not worth a hill of beans!
NATIONAL: Their testimony is not worth a mountain of vegetables.
PASTOR: It is time to get on the ball for Jesus.
NATIONAL: It is time to play sports for Jesus.
PASTOR: Part of the problem is with the pastors.
NATIONAL: Part of the problem is you pastors.
PASTOR: They don’t wait upon God.
NATIONAL: They don’t take good care of God.
PASTOR: They are always jumping the gun.
NATIONAL: What! What are they doing?
PASTOR: Jumping the gun.
NATIONAL: Jump?
PASTOR: Yes, jumping the gun.
NATIONAL: Oh, yes. They are putting a gun on the ground and jumping up and down on it!
PASTOR: They are always shooting off their mouth.
NATIONAL: What?
PASTOR: Shooting off their mouth.
NATIONAL: Whooo. Then they take the gun and shoot off their lips;
I don’t know why.
PASTOR: Then they stick their foot in their mouth.
NATIONAL: Then after they have just shot off their lips, they put their foot into their mouth.
PASTOR: Meanwhile, there is the problem of just being lackadaisical.
NATIOAL: Meantime there is the problem of laxatives.
PASTOR: Give your congregation a reason to be glued to their seats!
NATIONAL: Glued?
PASTOR: A reason to be glued to their seats.
NATIONAL: Now then, listen very carefully. When people come into your church just put something sticky down so when they sit, they cannot get up again.
PASTOR: I know how it is getting ready for church.
NATIONAL: I know how it is to prepare for church.
PASTOR: It is late Sunday morning.
NATIONAL: It is late Sunday morning.
PASTOR: The kids are in the yard getting dirty like pigs.
NATIONAL: Kids?
PASTOR: Yes, you know, you have kids too.
NATIONAL: Yes, they have some baby goats in the yard and they are beginning to look like pigs.
PASTOR: Then you bring them into the house.
NATIONAL: they bring them into the house!
PASTOR: Yes, and you put them into the bath tub.
NATIONAL: You do? You put the baby goats into the bathtub!
PASTOR: And you begin to wash the mud off of them.
NATIONAL: And they begin to just wash the mud off of them.
PASTOR: In the meantime your wife is busy making up her face.
NATIONAL: Uh, what is she doing?
PASTOR: Making up her face.
NATIONAL: Ah, yes, your wife is making her face happy for Jesus.
PASTOR: You step outside and it’s raining cats and dogs.
NATIONAL: Ay, yey, yey You step outside and small animals start to fall out of the _sky!!!
PASTOR: About that time your wife’s hairdo falls in her face.
NATIONAL: What, what falls in her face?
PASTOR: Your wife’s hairdo falls in her face.
NATIONAL: Hairdo? Ah, yes! It seems his wife is hit in her face with one of small animals falling from the sky.
PASTOR: It’s enough to make your head spin.
NATIONAL: The blow makes her head rotate.
PASTOR: It’s enough to make you go bananas.
NATIONAL: I’m not sure why but tropical fruit is coming in here from
somewhere.
PASTOR: Well, you finally get to church.
NATIONAL_ Thank God!
PASTOR: And by the time you get there, you aren’t even thinking
about God.
NATIONAL: By the time you get to this church, you don’t even want to think
about God.
PASTOR: You are mad at your wife and your kids.
NATIONAL: You become insane with your wife and these baby goats.PASTOR: You are so upset you begin to chew your wife out.
NATIONAL: Well…you become so angry with your wife you begin to
bite her.
PASTOR: People are just sitting like bumps on a log.
NATIONAL: People are sitting on fallen trees.
PASTOR: Your wife is trying to smile.
NATIONAL: Your wife is just trying to laugh.
PASTOR: Everybody can tell you have just chewed her out.
NATIONAL: Everybody can see you have bitten her; I suppose the teeth marks are still there.
PASTOR: I see now the clock is flying and I must rush to a
conclusion.
NATIONAL: It seems that this man had a vision of the clock flying and giving people concussions.
PASTOR: What you need to do is get into your closet to pray.
NATIONAL: Get into the Water Closet?
PASTOR: Any kind of closet.
NATIONAL: What you need to do is to go into the bathroom and pray.
NATIONAL: You need to go to the altar and get a hold of the horns of the altar.
NATIONAL: What, what did you say?
PASTOR: Yes. Yes, you must get hold of the horns of the altar.
NATIONAL: Ah, yes. Do you remember those baby goats? They must have horns
and you must go get a hold of the horns.
I don’t know why.
PASTOR: We need pastors with enough guts to fast and pray fire into God’s house.
NATIONAL: We need pastors with big guts who can fast and pray until the church catches on fire!
PASTOR: Now, if you will follow my instruction…
NATIONAL: Now if you will talk just like I do…
PASTOR: The power of God will sweep over you.
NATIONAL: God will hit you with a broom.
PASTOR: Every word I am telling you is in the Bible.
NATIONAL: This man thinks that everything he says is in the Bible.
PASTOR: I hope that someday you can come to America and preach at our church.
NATIONAL: He hopes that someday I can go to America and straighten out this poor man’s theology!
PASTOR: I want to thank you for the opportunity to share these special insights from the Word, it has really been great.
NATIONAL: Even though we know that this evangelist from America is very crazy, we must not offend him so let us all stand and clap our hands.

Are You Discouraged on Your Journey?

When I accepted Christ as my Savior, He ordered my steps and set me on a journey through life. His desire was to keep me moving and to bring me closer to His eternal heart. The most amazing part of my journey is that He goes with me each step of the way. I came across this poem in my files, and it once again reminded me of the importance of staying close to my Guide  and His Guidebook on my  journey.

May you feel His presence today as you journey toward home (heaven).

The Father spoke, “Come, child, let us journey together.” “Where shall we go, Father?” “To a distant land, another Kingdom.” “So will the journey be long?” “Yes, we must travel every day.” “When will we reach our journey?” “At the end of your days.” “And who will accompany us?” “Joy and Sorrow.” “Must sorrow travel with us?” “Yes, she is necessary to keep you close to me.” “But I only want Joy.” “It is only with Sorrow that you will know true Joy.” “What must I bring?” “A willing heart to follow Me.” “What shall I do on the journey?” “There is only one thing you must do— “Stay close to Me. Let nothing distract you. Always keep your eyes on Me.” “And what shall I see?” “You will see My glory.” “And what will I know?” “You will know My heart.”

The Father stretched out His hand. The child, knowing the great love her Father had for her, placed her hand in His, and she began her journey.

                                         Things I Must Remember on My Journey

• I must begin each day’s journey with a daily commitment to travel toward the heart of God.  Deuteronomy 6:5 And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.

• Although some of  the days on my journey will be discouraging, I must draw near to Him.  Psalms 73:28 But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all thy works.

• I must follow His paths of mercy and truth.  Psalms 25:10 All the paths of the LORD are mercy and truth unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies.

• I must lay down all my emotional burdens, release old hurts, and learn to travel light.

• I must not get angry with my traveling companions of Joy and Sorrow. James 1:3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.

• I must constantly check with my Guide and follow my Guidebook. Psalms 40:8 I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.

Do You Believe in Ministering Spirits?

Friday morning, July 27, 1991, my husband and I left our home in Rhode Island to travel to Quebec, Canada, where my husband was to preach a mission’s conference.

When we reached New Hampshire, we noticed the sky growing darker. Soon we found ourselves driving into a torrential rain storm. My husband tried the windshield wipers, but nothing…

Being blinded by the rain, my husband left the interstate and drove onto Route 4 near Lebanon, New Hampshire. He drove our car to the side of the road and turned on the car’s emergency flashing lights. He then got out of the car, retrieved some tools from the trunk, and  opened the hood to inspect the problem with the wipers.

While he was bending over the left fender, a motorist struck him and knocked him 49 feet. Watching my husband’s body  fly past my side window, I jumped out of the car to see where it had landed. His body had landed down a deep muddy embankment. As I stared at his motionless body, I heard a moan and frantically thought, “He is not dead!”

I turned toward the road and began waving my hands for help. Soon a kind man in a black trench coat appeared. As I stood there in shock and confusion, this strange man put his arm around me, and his presence gave me comfort. Speaking to me in a gentle but firm voice, he said, “Honey, your husband will be alright. There is a doctor with him right now.” I thought, “How could this be? There is no ambulance–no rescue workers–no police”.

Soon an ambulance and rescue workers arrived. The workers stabilized my husband and loaded him into the ambulance.

The kind man then instructed me to go with my husband in the ambulance. He told me that he would take care of my car. Shaking uncontrollably, I crawled onto the front seat of the ambulance. As the vehicle  swiftly rushed toward the hospital, I opened my handbag and reached for my small pink Bible. It was as if my Bible opened automatically to Psalm 120 In my distress I cried unto the Lord, and He heard me. I then glanced down to Psalm 121 I will lift up mine eyes unto the hill, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth. As I read those verses, my body stopped shaking and a warmth began moving slowly through my whole body. I experienced a peace that I cannot explain…but I knew that God was in control. It was at that moment that I realized–God had sent me a ministering spirit to help me in my distress.

When I arrived at the hospital, the hospital officials escorted me to a private room with a telephone. They advised me to start calling my family. My children arrived a few hours later. We sat together through the night waiting to hear some news of my husband’s condition. At 5:30 in the morning, a doctor entered that small room to share his prognosis. In a low voice, he said, “I’m sorry. I would like to give you more hope, but I have lost patients with fewer injuries than your husband received. We will just have to wait and see.”

That Saturday morning at 10:00, a missionary organized a prayer meeting to pray for my husband at our church in Rhode Island. At 11:00, a nurse came to me and said, “We are going to try to take your husband off the ventilator; if he can breathe alone, there is a good chance he might make it.” At 11:20, she came to me and said, “Well, he’s breathing by himself.”

That afternoon, I went to the cafeteria to get a bite to eat. A doctor approached me and said, “Do you remember me?” I told him, “Yes, your face is one that I do remember from yesterday”. He introduced himself and said, “I am Dr. Silvestre. I am a pulmonary specialist. I was the doctor who was with your husband at the accident. I reached your husband before the ambulance arrived. Your husband was lying face down in running water, and I knew that if I didn’t turn him over, he would drown.”

Fifteen days later my husband left the hospital. As my husband was being wheeled to our car in a wheelchair, his attending physician walked beside him and said, “I really thought we would be taking you out the back door (morgue).”

It took my husband several months get back on his feet. Although we didn’t understand the reason for this incident (not accident) for several years, God eventually showed us that it was for our good and for His glory.  You see, we had been praying, “Lord, make us fruitful.” God had used that circumstance to mold us and make us more like Him.

Where Is America Today?

Today over half of our country is receiving some form of government assistance. Government dependent people out number private sector people in our country. Even in our churches, everyday drug addicts and alcoholics call asking for money.

In 1887, Alexander Tyler, a Scottish history professor at the University of Edinburgh, said this about the fall of the Athenian Republic 2,000 years earlier:

A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidate who promises the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse over loss of fiscal policy. This is always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations from the beginning of history, has been about 200 years. During those 200 years, these nations always progressed through the following sequence:

From bondage to spiritual faith;
From spiritual faith to great courage;
From courage to liberty;
From liberty to abundance;
From abundance to complacency;
From complacency to apathy;
From apathy to dependence;
From dependence back into bondage.

Professor Joseph Olson of Hamline University School of Law in St. Paul, Minnesota says, “He believes that the United States is now somewhere between the “complacency and apathy” phase of Professor Tyler’s definition of democracy, with some forty percent (49% today 7/10/14) of the nation’s population already having reached the “governmental dependency” phase.

I don’t know when Professor Olson wrote his deduction, but it looks as if our country might be in the “apathy to dependence” stage.  Our country needs a turning back to God. Not only have her citizens become dependent on government, but they have forgotten God. Our country not only needs to be stirred out of her apathy and her dependence on government, but she needs to return to God and His precepts for living.

The following prayer was prayed by Greg Laurie on the National Day of Prayer in Washington, DC, May 2nd, 2013.

Father, we come to You to pray for our nation, the United States of America.
How You have blessed us through the years, Lord! We rightly sing, “America, America, God shed His grace on thee.” Yet we see trouble in our culture today. We see the breakdown of the family, crippling addictions, and random acts of horrific violence.

Lord, we need Your help in America. In recent days, we have done our best to remove Your Word and Your counsel from our courtrooms, classrooms, and culture. It seems, as President Lincoln once said, that we have “forgotten God.” But Lord, You have not forgotten us! You can bless and help and revive our country again.

Scripture tells us that “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people” (Proverbs 14:34). Lord, in Your mercy, we ask that You would exalt our country again. We have had a number of great awakenings in America. We have experienced times of refreshing, and revivals that changed not only the spiritual but also the moral landscape. As the psalmist said, “Will You not revive us again, so that Your people may rejoice in You?” (Psalm 85:6).

That is our prayer for America today, Lord. Send a mighty spiritual awakening that will turn the hearts of men and women, boys and girls, back to you. You have told us if we will humble ourselves and pray, and seek Your face and turn from our wicked ways, that You will forgive our sins and heal our land (2 Chronicles7:14).

Forgive us today, Lord, and heal this troubled land that we love so much. We ask all of this in the name of Jesus Christ.

Amen.

Great Article about Declining Churches

The Most Common Factor in Declining Churches written by Thom Rainer
Saturday, May 31, 2014 5:00 AM

Warning Symptoms

After studying and consulting with thousands of churches, I began to see clearly this pattern. Even more, I began to recognize symptoms of an inward focus. See if you recognize a few of these.

  • There are very few attempts to minister to those in the community.
  • Church business meetings become arguments over preferences and desires.
  • Numbers of members in the congregation are openly critical of the pastor, other church staff, and lay leaders in the church.
  • Any change necessary to become a Great Commission church is met with anger and resistance.
  • The past becomes the hero.
  • Culture is seen as the enemy instead of an opportunity for believers to become salt and light.
  • Pastors and other leaders in the church become discouraged and withdraw from effective leadership.
  • If the churches are a part of a denomination or similar affiliation, meetings of those denominations mirror the churches in lost focus and divisiveness.

To read Pastor Rainer’s full article go to  ThomRainer.com.

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