In 1970, my mom, just seventeen years old became a Christian. She was born to a firmly Catholic mom and an angry lapsed Catholic father and she was sent to Catholic school until middle school. Mom had no idea what it meant to be a Christian, or what it meant to have real love and security. At sixteen she ran away from her abusive home to marry my father, who was twenty-four. She thought she'd found happiness at last but she was tragically mistaken.
She and my dad struggled with life and marriage. Mom was hurt and angry. She had no example of what it meant to be a wife and no one had shown her how to keep a house.
She was lost. Until, one day, she was introduced to a Christian who led her and my dad to Christ.
They began attending a home fellowship and by the time I arrived in 1974, they were firmly established there. But there were serious problems. Dad could come and go as he pleased, living with other women, returning home when he wanted, after sweet talking mom. She always took him back because she wanted me to have my father, and because the elders of our church said it was her duty as a woman. Wives must ALWAYS be submissive, not matter the cost. Dad was abusive to his family but it didn't matter.
Obviously there were problems in our church, which was actually more of a cult. The game was always," Who can be most holy? "There was no grace. There was plenty of hell fire and brimstone.
By the time I was an adult, I was just as angry as my mom had been years before. My parents divorced and I quit going to church. Church was a joke. I wanted nothing to do with it.
It broke my mom's heart. She found another church and made new friends but I rejected it. Why let myself be hurt again by a bunch of phony snobs? I went for years without fellowship. I was lonely but refused to believe it was because I needed other believers. But, in 2015, something wonderful happened. One of the best things that ever happened to me.
It all began when one of mom's friends told her a new church was going to be planted in our city. It's parent church was a well established, highly respected church in a nearby town.
I was interested and excited when I heard about it. I wanted to go very much. And so, in October 2015, New City Fellowship met for the first time in a side room of the YMCA. And I loved it from the start. What was it about these people? They were genuine and warm. The pastor preached a sermon that was BIBLICAL! It actually fed my spirit. I became a regular attender.
I learned about GRACE! You don't "earn" it. My Christian Good Girl routine didn't impress God. It's about GRACE and FAITH! I learned I can't save myself. And I'm depraved. We all are.
What a freedom, what a relief to learn that. It's not about me. It's all about HIM.
Slowly, He is changing me. Even unsaved family members are noticing the difference. To God be the glory! His grace is truly amazing.
15 And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them.
We have all experienced events that are so shocking that we struggle to understand why they occurred. In order to come to grips with the pain and grief that we are feeling, we often seek help from our friends. In this passage, two followers of Jesus have left Jerusalem and are in their way to the town of Emmaus. On the way, Jesus joins them and begins to walk and talk with them. Even though they do not initially recognize him, Jesus' presence provides comfort to them on their journey. Just like his disciples in this passage, we are also on a journey in which we do not always understand the details of God's plans for us. We can, however, rejoice that we have a Savior that is willing to humble himself and meet us where we are.
Question of the day: Have I greeted and thanked Jesus as my walking companion today?
If you would like to experience a more in depth study of Luke 24, I invite you to visit my podcast entitled Emmaus or Bust. Here is the link: http://emmausorbust.podbean.com/feed/
Also, check out other devotionals I have written at https://www.faithwriters.com/member-profile.php?id=63481.
“Jim, it looks like the blood work we did on you, indicates you have pancreatitis and likely Cancer”, said the technician from the Clinic on the phone to me. She also added---"you need to get to the Emergency Room of the Hospital immediately and we will send an ambulance if you need one”
Not good news what you are sitting in a Walmart waiting for your prescriptions to be filled.
I had what looked like a bad stomach flu that doubled me up with pain on a Friday. My wife came out to work to pick me up and took me to a Local Clinic where after ruling out a heart-attack, they diagnosed me with stomach flu and they told me to get a lot a bed rest and take Zantac for the pain. But during the weekend following, the pain was getting much worse and then Sunday afternoon my wife took me to an Urgent Care Clinic in another town about 60 miles away. There, they initially confirmed the stomach flu diagnosis and gave me some prescriptions to fill at Walmart Pharmacy. But they took a sample of my blood to test and that is when I got the phone call.
In relating the phone call to my wife—she told me that was exactly what the diagnosis they gave to her now-deceased husband in 1998. He then succumbed to Cancer and died, leaving her with 3 children. And my Dad had the same kind of Cancer when he passed on in 2005.
We sat in our car in the Walmart parking lot, praying before she took me to the ER and immediately the peace I had many times before flooded my wife and I.
In the Emergency Room they were having a bit of trouble confirming the diagnosis of pancreatitis as I had another operation back in 1964 [as a child] for Ulcers and have a big scar on my stomach from that. But with an Ultra-Sound, they felt it might be my gall bladder that was the problem and their blood work confirmed again, that I had Cancer. So an emergency operation was scheduled early the next morning.
It is only from Christ that you can feel the kind of peace I was feeling through the night. My wife related that as she drove back home, to return the next morning, she felt a definite peace as well. As I lay on the gurney just before I was to go in for the operation the song “His Eye Is On the Sparrow “went over- and- over in my mind. I had no real regrets in life and all I could was trust Christ as to the outcome.
When I awoke after my operation the first person I saw was the surgeon who told me “Jim it definitely was your gall-bladder which we removed and we found NO CANCER of any form” As a Believer himself, he definitely does NOT discount God’s Miracles and it appeared that I just had one.
The very best medicine in recovery that I could get, was when all my children called me up a different times later that day. The three that I adopted when I married their mother,--- told me how worried they were on the phone and expressed their love to me. My 2 biological daughters also called me and shared the same worry and love they had. My wife had, of course, spread the news of my Emergency Operation to them.
Philippians 4:7 [NKJV]
and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
This verse I try to live in my life and I now realize that God’s Grace in this peace is available to any True Believer.