Bless those who curse you, Christian, Christians and Guns, Persecution at home, Testing Your Faith, Witnessing

Guns and Gold, Or God

I am re-posting this blog because recently I have had people tell me that they would shoot someone who came into their house or threatened their children. Thank God nobody killed the Apostle Paul before he was converted. What would the New Testament have looked like if someone had killed him when he broke into one of their houses in his zeal to wipe out the followers of the Way?

Members of the early church did not defend themselves against their persecutors. They prayed for them and laid down their lives. As far as we can tell from the historians, all of Jesus’ disciples, with the possible exception of John who was exiled, were martyred. The church was, and still is at times, built on the blood of the martyrs.

So what will it be

Guns and Gold, or God?

Jesus sign cropped

At the end of our driveway we have a sign for our business and store. On the east side of the sign we always have the name of Jesus and say something about him.

A man came into our store one day and said, “How can you be so bold to put up the name of Jesus on your sign?”

“We run this business for Jesus. What do I have to lose by holding up his name?” I asked.

“Maybe some people won’t buy your stuff,” he said.

“Jesus runs this business. He will direct sales to us,” I answered. “My responsibility is to point people to him.”

The man mused for a moment. He then told me that he was a Christian; he even led Bible studies and home groups. We had a good discussion about the Lord. As he got ready to leave, he asked, “You are investing in gold, aren’t you?”

“What for?” I said, “You can’t eat gold.”

“Yes, but when the monetary system collapses, you are going to need gold.”

“You can’t eat gold,” I said again.

“You won’t be able to buy anything if you don’t have gold,” he said.

“You can’t eat gold. It won’t be worth anything. We are making food. Food will have value, give us something to trade, if it comes to that.”

His forehead crinkled as he looked intently at me.

“Well, you do have a CWP don’t you?”

“A what?”

“A permit to carry a concealed weapon?”

“You have got to be kidding me,” I answered.  “Who would I shoot?”

“Things are going to get very bad. You are going to have to defend your property,” he said.

“I don’t agree,” I said. Then I gave him my perspective on guns, self-defense, and defense of my possessions.

“Let me tell you about one of my heroes” I said. “I met Dorothy Bennett, who was in her 80’s, in the dough nut shop in Lynden. She heard me and my mom talking about the Lord. She asked if she and her husband could join us. After introductions she told us that she had been doing radio broadcasts into Muslim countries, daily, for many, many years. She told us lots of stories. One of them was about a prayer meeting she and her husband, Richard, were holding in Africa. Genocide was going on in this part of Africa. People in that meeting had been attacked by neighboring, warring, tribes. Suddenly a man burst into the meeting. He was drunk. He had a machine gun. He threatened them all. He put the gun in Dorothy’s face and told her he was going to kill her. “Go ahead,” she said. “I’m going to heaven. Where are you going?” The man fell face down, on the floor, Dorothy’s husband, Richard, kicked the gun away. When the man got up, he was sober and saved.

“I hope,” I told the man in my driveway, “that I will have that kind of courage if I am ever faced with that kind of threat.”

I went on to tell him that I had thought a lot about this. The worst-case scenario would be, in my opinion—someone is torturing a child. I have been given the power to stop it by denouncing Jesus. I hope that I would respond by commanding the perpetrator to stop, in the name of Jesus! If he didn’t, I would assume that this was the will of God. Then I would speak to the child, “This is temporary. Have faith. We will be out of here soon.”

I told him that I read Voice of the Martyrs magazine every month. Christians are having this kind of experience, right now, in many parts of the world. I hope I never have to go through such a thing, but if I do, I hope that I can be as steadfast as they are.

The man said not another word. He got in his car and drove away. As I watched him leave, I thought. “Isn’t that interesting. Here is a guy that says he’s a Christian, but he questioned my “boldness” to hold up Jesus’ name. Then he showed me that he doesn’t trust the Lord. What he is really counting on, trusting in, are his gold and his guns.

Guns and Gold

This ad came in the mail. a few days ago. Tim was about to throw it away, but I told him I would keep it. It helps to illustrate my point.

I am not a gun control advocate. But I wonder why so many Christians are running to gold and guns instead of trusting in the Lord.

  • He told us not to love the world, nor the things of the world.
  • He told us to seek the kingdom of God.
  • He told us not to fear him who can kill the body but fear him who can send the soul to hell.
  • He told us not to worry about what we are going to eat, or what we are going to wear.
  • He told us not to worry at all!

Some men trust in horses, some men trust in chariots, but we will trust in the NAME of the Lord.

 

Becoming a Believer, Bless those who curse you, Divorced Christian, Persecution at home, Prayer, Testing Your Faith

My husband told me, “Either you quit going to church, or I’m leaving!”

1 Peter 3:1-2

In the same way, you wives, be submissive to our own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of the wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior.

I got saved in 1976, by myself, on a fishing boat in Alaska.

My husband went nuts. The attack  was not rational, reasonable or sane.  The only explanation is that his attacks were not from him; they were from the enemy of our souls. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers and powers and world authorities of this present darkness. (Ephesians 6:12) I came to understand that, but the battle was personal and fierce, and constant.  He threatened to kill me. He threatened to kill the pastor I had talked to. But I had learned the truth, and I could not be shaken. Jesus was my God. My husband hated me for giving my heart to someone else.

I likened myself to one of those inflatable children’s toys that has sand in the bottom. You can hit it from any direction, but it always comes back to center and stands up again. That was me. My husband didn’t hit me with his fists. He hit me with rages, humiliation, insults, belittlement, abandonment, disdain, disgust, contempt. He would hit me from all directions, but I would come back to upright and wait for the next hit.  

My husband and I spent summers on the boat, along with our daughters, then aged 7 and 3.  That spring I had flown to California for my brother’s wedding. While I was there my brother’s pastor had asked me if I had ever read the Bible. I said I had tried but it did not make sense to me. He showed me the verses from 1 Corinthians that explain without the Spirit of God it is impossible to understand the Word of God.

For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words. But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God.” 1 Corinthians 2:11-14

Then the pastor asked me if I would pray this kind of prayer, “Holy Spirit, if you are real, show me the truth.”

There was no danger in that kind of prayer. So, for the first time in my life I got down on my knees and prayed.

During the next few weeks, the Holy Spirit showed me the truth. I accepted the gift of salvation.

The rest of that summer and fishing season I learned to stand on the word of God in the face of the devil’s attack.

At the end of the summer when it was time to put our oldest daughter back in school,  I flew home. I immediately found a church.  I loved the it! Never have I had such friendships, and such love. I didn’t know that I had been living in a desert, but I was getting filled at the oasis. I took the girls to Sunday School–and went myself. We went to worship service on Sunday morning and again on Sunday evening. We went to Wednesday night fellowship and I joined the Ladies Bible Study. It was the happiest experience of my life.

Six weeks after I got home from Alaska, my husband came home. His rage increased. He hated that I was going to church, and he hated that I was taking the girls to church. He screamed and stomped, threw things, stayed away from home, and insulted me whenever he saw me. He said over and over again that he would rather have his daughters be prostitutes than Christians. This became a mantra that my girls grew up under. I tried to keep them from hearing it, but I know I failed.

            In the Spring my husband went back to Alaska and I had several weeks of peace. But when I got back to the boat the battle raged again. I tried to keep my Bible out of sight and I tried to keep the girls from saying anything about God when their dad could hear them. It was impossible and we suffered.

            The highlight of the summer was when  my sister came to Alaska to work in the cannery. We helped her get the job and a place to live while she was there. She was the youngest of my sisters, 11 years younger than I, and had been the second one in the family to become a Christian. She was still in high school when she came to Alaska. She was a great comfort to me as we could spend time sharing the Lord when alone. 

During her stay we put the boat “on the grid” to clean the bottom of it. The grid was a set of timbers in the harbor that are underwater at high tide. At low tide, however, they are high and dry. If a person took his boat to the grid and secured it there during high tide it would come to rest on the timbers as the tide went out and eventually the boat owner could walk around under the boat to examine it or clean it. There were about 8-10 hours of dry time before the boat would float again at the next high tide.  We had rented a hotel room in town for the day since living on the boat with two little girls while the boat is on the grid is very hard to do. My sister was watching the girls while I working under the boat. My husband’s  harassment of me that day was far beyond what I could bear. He had driven me to tears and despair. Finally, I threw my tools down and declared, “I quit.” He mocked me as I slopped through the mud under the boat and left the harbor.

When I got to the hotel room my sister greeted and comforted me. I could not stop crying. Suddenly my three-year-old daughter came across the room with the Gideon Bible from the hotel room in her hand. She certainly couldn’t read. She didn’t even know what kind of a book she had in her hand.

“Mommy,” she said. “there’s writing in this book. Why did someone write in the book?”

I took the Bible from her and looked where she was pointing. Sure enough someone had underlined some verses. I looked up, amazed.

My daughter asked “What does it say?”

“It says, ‘Come to me all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest for your souls.’” Matthew 11:28

My sister and I started to laugh. Good for God. Praise the Lord. He used a hotel Bible, some else’s underlining and my tiny daughter to encourage me at a very low time. 

I went back to the harbor and finished the job. 

At the end of August I flew home and went to church. The pastor saw me come in the back of the sanctuary; he came down from the pulpit to welcome me. I had never had anyone show respect and welcome for me. I exhaled all the tension, and enjoyed every minute of fellowship I could get.

Six weeks later my husband came home. Before the first Sunday, he laid out his ultimatum. “Either you quit going to church or I’m leaving.”

He meant it.

I was crushed.

I went to our bedroom and threw myself across the bed in tears before the Lord. By this time I had memorized 1 Peter Chapter 3:1-2 about wives being submissive to their husbands even if they are disobedient to the word.

In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior. 1 Peter 1:1-2

“Oh, Lord,” I cried. “You know how much I have loved this church. You know how much I love the fellowship. I have been so loved. But I know that you hate divorce and I know that your word says for wives to be submissive to their husbands. You also said that this can be a way to win them to you.” With flowing tears and a broken heart I laid it down. “All right, Lord. I’ll quit going to church. I know you can sustain me without it. I submit to your word.”

How my heart ached!  Sunday mornings were the worst. But I had made a commitment and I stuck to it.

That was 1977.  We stayed married for 20 years after I became a Christian. We were divorced in 1996. I will write more about that in another post. Today, as I write this, the year is 2019, 43 years after my rebirth.  How do I see those years of persecution now? I am, and will be eternally,  thankful for them. Why?

  • I learned that all I needed was the Lord. He sustained me by his Spirit and his word. I grew quickly. I stood firm. I learned I did not need to go to church to walk with Jesus. I learned my theology straight from Holy Spirit and the Word of God.
    •  When I did, at last, start to attend church, I was surprised to learn that everyone’s experience was not like mine–persecuted to be a Christian. Didn’t Jesus say don’t be surprised when they hate you?  John 5:18 and 1 John 3:13

 

  • When my children made their life commitments to the Lord, they knew they were going to war. Accepting Jesus as their savior was not a Sunday School picnic activity. Their father told them he had failed as a father because they had become Christians. My daughters will not be shaken. They each married a Christian man. Their children are being raised in Christian homes. Both of my daughters serve the Lord in their families, and in their vocations. The younger is a Young Life director, the elder is a pastor’s wife; she heads up a prayer and healing ministry in their church.

Praise God.

 

To read the story of my conversion click here: https://gracegloria.com/2017/01/03/conversion/

 

 

Becoming a Believer, Sibling squabbles, Testing Your Faith

Out of the Mouth of Babes

broken heart love sad
Photo by burak kostak on Pexels.com

 

When my granddaughters, Hannah and Audrey, were 5 and 3 years old, Hannah did something unkind to her sister. My daughter reprimanded Hannah.
Afterward, Audrey asked her mother “Mom, did you ever do anything mean to Heather?”
“Oh, yes,” Jasona, answered, “sometimes I was mean to my sister, too.”
“What did you do?”
Jasona related some story of her childhood when she had been unkind to her younger sister.
Audrey listened, then asked, “What were you thinking?”
“I don’t know, Audrey,” Jasona answered. “I don’t know what I was thinking.”
Three-year-old Audrey thought about that for a moment, then she said,

“You were listening to the sin in your heart.”

Bless those who curse you, Christian, Testing Your Faith, Witnessing

Another Story From the Sign

Jesus Knows

A man came into our store one day and said, “How can you be so bold to put up the name of Jesus on your sign?”

“We run this business for Jesus. What do I have to lose by holding up his name?” I asked.

“Maybe some people won’t buy your stuff,” he said.

“Jesus runs this business. He will direct sales to us,” I answered. “My responsibility is to point people to him.”

The man mused for a moment. He then told me that he was a Christian; he even led Bible studies and home groups. We had a good discussion about the Lord. As he got ready to leave, he asked, “You are investing in gold, aren’t you?”

“What for?” I said, “You can’t eat gold.”

“Yes, but when the monetary system collapses, you are going to need gold.”

“You can’t eat gold,” I said again.

“You won’t be able to buy anything if you don’t have gold,” he said.

“You can’t eat gold. It won’t be worth anything. We are making food. Food will have value, give us something to trade, if it comes to that.”

His forehead crinkled as he looked intently at me.

“Well, you do have a CWP don’t you?”

“A what?”

“A permit to carry a concealed weapon?”

“You have got to be kidding me? Who would I shoot?”

“Things are going to get very bad. You are going to have to defend your property,” he said.

“I don’t agree,” I said. Then I gave him my perspective on guns, self-defense, and defense of my possessions.

“Let me tell you about one of my heroes” I said. “I met Dorothy Bennet, who was in her 80’s, in the donut shop in Lynden. She heard me and my mom talking about the Lord. She asked if she and her husband could join us. After introductions she told us that she had been doing radio broadcasts into Muslim countries, daily, for many, many years. She told us lots of stories. One of them was about a prayer meeting she and her husband, Richard, were holding in Africa. Genocide was going on in this part of Africa. People in that meeting had been attacked by neighboring, warring, tribes. Suddenly a man burst into the meeting. He was drunk. He had a machine gun. He threatened them all. He put the gun in Dorothy’s face and told her he was going to kill her. “Go ahead,” she said. “I’m going to heaven. Where are you going?” The man fell face down, on the floor, Richard kicked his gun away. When the man got up, he was sober and saved. Richard said the people who had been praying started singing a hymn of thanksgiving to God. He said it was the most beautiful worship he had ever been part of.

“I hope,” I told the man in my driveway, “that I will have that kind of courage if I am ever faced with that kind of threat.”

I went on to tell him that I had thought a lot about this. The worst-case scenario would be, in my opinion—someone is torturing a child. I have been given the power to stop it by denouncing Jesus. I hope that I would respond by commanding the perpetrator to stop, in the name of Jesus! If he didn’t, I would assume that this was the will of God. Then I would speak to the child, “This is temporary. Have faith. We will be out of here soon.”

I told him that I read Voice of the Martyrs magazine every month. Christians are having this kind of experience, right now, in many parts of the world. I hope I never have to go through such a thing, but if I do, I hope that I can be as steadfast as they are.

The man said not another word. He got in his car and drove away. As I watched him leave, I thought. “Isn’t that interesting. Here is a guy that says he’s a Christian, but he questioned my “boldness” to hold up Jesus’ name. Then he showed me that what he doesn’t trust the Lord. What he is really counting on, trusting in, are his gold and his guns.

Guns and Gold

This ad came in the mail a few days ago. Tim was about to throw it away, but I told him I would keep it. It helps to illustrate my point.

I am not a gun control advocate. But I wonder why so many Christians are running to gold and guns instead of trusting in the Lord. He told us not to love the world, nor the things of the world. He told us to seek the kingdom of God. He told us not to fear him who can kill the body but fear him who can send the soul to hell. He told us not to worry about what we are going to eat, or what we are going to wear. He told us not to worry at all!

Some men trust in horses, some men trust in chariots, but we will trust in the NAME of the Lord.

 

 

Christian, Grace, Testing Your Faith, Walking by Faith

Everything’s A Test

Everything’s a Test

My mother used to say that when you squeeze a toothpaste tube, toothpaste comes out. What she meant was, what is in your heart will come out when pressure is applied.

It’s a simple concept, but how often do you really understand it. Are we surprised when a burst of anger, hurtful talk, lies, or cruelty comes out of our mouths? Under pressure, what is in our hearts comes out of our mouths and sometimes it comes out in something other than words.

Pressure tests what is in our hearts.

After people have been married for a number of years, they often develop little codes to tell each other something. Tim and I have several of those little intimacies. We sometimes ask each other, “Do you think this is a test?” We always answer, “Everything’s a test.” The exchange comes from a play Tim was a few years ago called “The Journey”. At one point in the story one of the characters says to the other, “Do you think this is a test?” The answer was, “Everything’s a test, Snedge.”

The Lord will test our hearts to see what is in there. The Bible is full of stories of people’s hearts being tested. Just this morning I read the story about Joseph testing his brothers when they came to buy food from him in Egypt.

Abraham was tested.

Jacob was tested.

David was tested.

Solomon was tested.

Mary was tested.

Peter was tested.

Paul was tested.

Some of these people passed their tests, some of them didn’t.

Everyone is tested.

The ultimate question is not whether you passed the test or not, but what did you do after you failed a test?

Paul says there is a godly sorry that leads to repentance.

2 Corinthians 7:10

For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.

James 1:2-3

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

1 Peter 1:6-7

In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 4:32

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

3:12-17

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

When the pressure is applied, may what comes out be full of grace and mercy. Here is a remedy for you. When your tube gets squeezed, may this be what shows up.

tube

 

Becoming a Believer, Blessing, Christian, Sibling squabbles, Testing Your Faith, Uncategorized, Walking by Faith, Witnessing

Conversion

The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.

1 Corinthians 2:14

 

Conversion June-July 1976

 

My brother’s wedding invitation came to Petersburg Alaska sometime in the spring of 1976. My husband, our two daughters, aged 2 and 6, and I had been living on a boat in the harbor in Petersburg for the past year.  We had been fishing commercially in the summers for several years, but this had been our first winter in Alaska. Eric’s invitation was like a breath of fresh air. The card had a picture of Eric and his fiancé standing under a flowering tree in California. After 18 months in Alaska a flowering tree looked like a beacon of light in the darkness.

I somehow convinced my husband to let me go. I still have no explanation for why he allowed me go except that God had planned for me to be at Eric’s wedding.

I took the girls to California in June.

I was the oldest of the six children in my family. We were not raised in a Christian home even though my mother’s parents had been missionaries in China and my mother had been born and raised there. Several years before my brother’s wedding my sister Janie, two years younger than I, had become a Christian. One by one my other siblings had followed suit–all but Christy and me.  Christy  had become a Mormon. I mocked them all.

Eric’s wedding was lovely. The church even impressed me. I had been surprised to find that the people quite nice, thoughtful and intelligent. In my previous mocking of Christians I joined my husband in thinking that Christians had stopped thinking for themselves—blindly following some ancient ritual.

The week I was there, the Pastor’s son was giving a series of lectures comparing various religions. Every night my brothers and sister would take off for church to hear Ron Carlson. They always asked me if I would like to go along, but of course I was much too stubborn, and prideful, to join them. But the night before my return to Alaska, Ron Carlson would be talking about Mormonism. Again, my family asked me to go along. This time I thought, “What the heck. I might as well try to find out why everyone is so upset that Christy is a Mormon.

I don’t remember now much about Ron’s talk, but having done a lot of studying since then I can well imagine what he talked about. The thing that impressed me was the intelligence of the lecture. Ron Carlson had done his research. These were well educated people who taught and listened to this stuff.

At the end of the lecture I asked my sister, Janie, if I could meet Pastor Carlson, Ron’s dad, and tell him how much I had enjoyed his church.

I suppose my sister was more than delighted to introduce her pre-believing sister to her pastor!

I told Pastor Carlson that I had been impressed with his church and asked him if he could give me a book or something that I could take back to Alaska with me.

He invited me into his office for a private conversation.

“What do you think a Christian is, Jonni?” He asked me.

I really didn’t know the right answer. I wanted to say, “Someone who is born in America,” but I knew that wasn’t right, so I said, “Someone who can love unconditionally.”

“That’s a pretty good answer,” he said, but do you know what the Bible says a Christian is? Have you ever read the Bible?
I told him that I had tried a couple of times but it had never made sense to me.

He showed me the verses from 1 Corinthians 2 that tell us that the things of the Spirit of the Lord cannot be understood except if that same Spirit helps us.

Then he did a very wise thing. He asked me if I would be willing to pray this kind of prayer, “Spirit of God, if you have the truth, teach it to me. I want to know the truth.”

There was no danger in this prayer. If there was nothing there, nothing would happen and I would continue as before, but if the Holy Spirit was there and truth to be known, then I should know it. I agreed to pray.

We got on our knees. I prayed that prayer with him. There were no explosions of light; I didn’t feel anything different; the world went on as before; we got up from our knees.

Then he gave me a Living Bible and a bible study on the book of John. He also gave me the whole lecture series that his son had been teaching on cassette tapes.

The last thing I said to Pastor Carlson as I walked away from his office with all those materials was, “Now I have to go back to Alaska and defend myself to my husband.”  That was like a word of prophecy, but I didn’t know it.

When I got back to the boat I started going through the cassette tapes and reading the things I had brought back with me. But I had to read and listen at times when my husband was not on the boat. I had to hide the Bible and the cassettes from him because he went absolutely nuts!

So I listened in secret and I read in secret.

One by one the questions that I had, and questions that I didn’t even know I had, were answered.

The first one was “Is there a God?”

As I listened to Ron Carlson’s lectures I realized that we could not have gotten here by chance. There had to be a creator.

The second was, “Is Jesus God?”

I had never heard anyone say that before. I had heard “son of God” before but it didn’t mean anything to me.

Again, as I listened to Ron Carlson I realized that God, in order to communicate with us, could have become a man and come to earth to teach us who God is. OK. I could accept that, but the next question was a big one.

What about this “sinner” business. I wasn’t such a bad person.  How could God claim that I was a “sinner” and needed to be “saved”?

Up to this point I had been listening to the tapes in what I though was random order. I had gone through “How we know the Bible is the word of God,” and the lectures on the other major religions of the world. There was only one tape left. It was on the Occult. The date was July 4, 1976—the 200th birthday of the United States. We had been fishing in Taku inlet. We had tied up the boat in Juneau, Alaska for the holiday. My husband went up to town to celebrate. I put the girls to bed and pulled out that last tape.

I don’t remember what Ron Carlson said about the occult, but at the end of the tape he started talking about my sister, Janie. I was shocked!  This was a lecture series that he had been delivering all over the world and here he was talking about my sister!  I know it was my sister. He said, “When Janie walked into my intervarsity Bible study and Diablo Valley College . . . “ There was no question. That was my sister. Janie had been “saved” in that intervarsity Bible study. But the rest of Ron Carlson’s statement cut me to the heart.

He said, “When Janie walked into my intervarsity Bible study at Diablo Valley College she said she could feel nothing. She felt no pain, no joy, nothing.”

I knew that was true about Janie. I knew it was my fault.

I had been so wicked to Janie while we were growing up that I could almost pinpoint the day when she had shut off her feelings so I couldn’t hurt her anymore. I had beaten her, insulted her, excluded her, humiliated her and ignored her.

I fell on my face on the floor (deck) of the boat. I wept uncontrollably. “Oh, yes, Lord, I am a dirty rotten sinner. Please forgive me.” I cried and pleaded with Lord.

When I got up, I was a new person.

There is no way to explain the joy and relief that I felt. I had been radically born again!

As my tears turned to laughter I spent the next hour writing a letter to Janie.

Here is what I wrote:

 

July 4, 1976

Dearest Janie,

How can I express on plain paper with mere pen what is happening to me tonight. Janie—I prayed tonight, all my myself I spoke to God for the 1st time on my own. I thanked him for you. I thanked him for your prayers for me. I told him I loved you and I asked him to bless you.

A couple of weeks ago in Pastor Carlson’s office I opened the door for Jesus. He came to me then, but he didn’t fill me up until tonight. He’s been guiding me—teaching and gently showing the way to learn. Tonight, after several weeks of lessons, he felt I was ready to hear—learn (I’m not able to find the right word). He arranged for me to be alone on the boat and I listed to more of Ron’s tapes. I’ve been listening to them in a rather hap-hazard order. I kind of thumb through and listen to one that sounds/looks interesting. Never before have I listened to more than one in one evening. Tonight I listened to one—and then He had me hear another. He has been preparing me for it for several years, maybe all my life, I don’t know that for sure, but I do know that my learning has followed a definite pattern than cannot have been accidental.

The second tape I heard tonight was Ron’s occult one. The closing thoughts were about you. I wept as he was speaking and I realized that he was weeping, too, If you haven’t heard that tape you should. There can be no doubt in hearing it that Ron loves you—that Jesus, that God love you and me, too.

I had been holding back something—not letting myself all the way open—not telling all—and then you and Ron and Jesus showed me.

I don’t know what else to say, Janie. I hope you can read what I have said already. I’m scribbling, I know, but tonight is our last night in town before we go fishing.

Bob will be home in a few minutes—when he gets here I want to go mail this tonight before we leave.

Please speak to Pastor Carlson for me. I don’t have his address—maybe you can send it to me, and Ron’s too. Please tell both of them how grateful I am. And tell yourself that, too!

Janie, I wish I could hug you. I am so grateful for your prayers for me. I will be praying for you, now.

I’m not going to have time tonight to write this story again for Mom—so if you would, she might want to read this letter, too. She is one of the most important people in my life.  Most people’s mother’s are—but ours is special.

God bless you, Janie, and all of us,

 

 

Love,

Jonni

On the back of the envelop it said “The 1st thing I read after writing this letter was Romans 8, verses 1,2,3,4

Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the Law could not do weak as it was through the flesh, God did, sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, he condemned sin the flesh so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

 

In reading the letter I wrote to Janie, now as a much more mature Christian, I wish I had been more clear in my confession to her, but I know that she wept with joy when she received this letter. I didn’t know that she had saved that letter until after her death 9 years later. But that is another story for a later chapter.

 

EPSON MFP image

Janie