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[Introduction]
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Welcome to the discussion!

This is designed to help all members be more consistent in reading Scripture, prayer, and in general building a closer relationship with God.

Here you can add something you've learned bringing you closer to God. It can be a devotion you've read, a book, scriptural passage, or perhaps a word from a friend.

Or, you can start an in-depth discussion on a specific subject where you would like everyone to add their own insights.
Looks like it's my turn, eh?

Hmm. What then can I do to start this out right?

How 'bout this: When and how did God first reveal Himself to you?

For me, it didn't happen in a single moment of clarity, but more of a process. My faith began with the acknowledgement of God's existence when I was 10. My sister and I visited with our Dad (my parents have been divorced six years at this time) for a weekend in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. For Christmas, he gave us both a Bible. I was unimpressed at first. My mom being an atheist at the time, I saw it nothing more of a thick tome, and to read it would be a waste of time.

I don't remember the entire conversation, but one statement he made struck me clear and set me on this path of discovering God: "See that lamp?" my dad asked, "With the light off darkness fills the room, but once you switch it on, all the darkness is gone. Light will always banish the dark, but dark can never banish the light." I remember staring at that lamp for a long time, trying to figure out the flaw in my dad's premise. I came up with nothing.

I then figured perhaps there was something to this God thing.

Three years later, my best friend, Vicki, invited me to her church, The Salvation Army. I knew I was in the right place from the first day. I gave my heart to Jesus at the age of 16.
First of all, God bless your Dad Andra! What a wonderful way of explaining God.

Me? I really can't tell you the precise moment or time. My upbringing wasn't the least bit conducive to belief - in any faith or religion. The only church services I attended were with a childhood friend, and once with my grandmother, and all at Southern Baptist churches where hell, fire, and brimstone were screamed at you from the pulpit. This was frightening for a child, but it did leave a mark.

Fast forward to the age of 17. I was engaged to a Southern Baptist, and had to become a member of his church before we could be married. The protocol was, I had to be saved, and then baptized. I held up my hand during the proper time in church, the pastor and a deacon came to my house where we knelt, prayed, and I accepted Jesus as my savior. The next Sunday, I was baptized. The interesting thing here is that I told no one in my family until the day I was baptized, and after returning from church. My mother said, "Why didn't you tell me? I would have gone." My reply? "I didn't think you'd care one way or the other." I truly felt that this was a very personal choice, and it was between me and God. Period.

Now. Having said all that, I have believed in God for as long as I can remember, and have always felt that He chose me, and not the other way around.
When I was eight years old the Pastor of our little country church referred to a scripture during one service that caught my attention. To catch the attention of an eight year old requires something out of the ordinary, usually.

The scripture was made such an impression on me that I wrote it in the front leaf of my little bible. "But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart." Luke 2:19

Not a very outstanding scripture, is it? It's not full of instruction, not profound in it's content, still - in that particular moment of my young life it caught my ear and affected me so deeply, that I made it MY verse.

At the end of that service the Pastor gave an altar call, inviting any who wanted to accept Christ as their personal savior to come and kneel and pray at the altar.

I am sure that I had no clue at the ripe old age of eight just what it was that was compelling me to make a bee-line for that altar...but to the altar I went. I was shaking and crying and afraid to open my eyes or look around me...for I was sure that God, Himself, was right there next to me.

All of a sudden, I felt an angel put their wing around my shoulders. The trembling sobs were unstoppable, tears flowed from my eyes in a steady stream and dripped off the end of my chin all over that altar. To have an angel put their wing around me was too much! But, I managed to open my eyes after a long while to sneak a peek at that angel...I figured if I died, I died. I had to see the angel!

Well...it was one of my mother's friends who had come down from her place in the choir to put her choir-robed arm around me and pray. She may not have been a real angel...but she assisted me in making a decision - a life changing decision.

That particular night, God was real to me in a way that I had never experienced before. He was no longer the God of all the Bible Stories I'd been taught...or the God I had been led to believe sat somewhere up in the sky on a big white throne just waiting to strike me with lightening. That night, I no longer feared God...I feared being without God.

It was not until many, many years later that I came to understand why Luke 2:19 was my verse...some would call it my life verse. I, like Mary, am a ponderer. I ponder about the past, the present and the future. I reflect, contemplate and measure in my mind. I hide things away in my heart.

The one thing that I no longer have to ponder, is whether or not God is real. That night in 1964, God made His very real presence known and accessible to a little eight year old girl...and He has been reminding her of His existence and His infinite love, ever since.
A Non-Existent User
By the time I was seven years old I had experienced enough ugliness in this world to last a lifetime.

I lived across the street from a church that summer they were having bible school. Everyday I watched from my house at the boys and girls going in with their parents laughing and smiling. I wanted to go so I walked over one day and went inside. I was lost and this woman asked me what class I was in. I told her I didn't know and she then asked me my age. She took me by the hand and led me to a classroom. When I went in the teacher smiled and introduced herself. I remember being scared they would send me away because I didn't go to that church.

The lady taught about Jesus for awhile and then we had a snack and juice. It was the only thing I had eaten in several days. I was so happy, not about eating but because of how great I felt in that room. At the end of the class the lady told us we could ask Jesus into out hearts. We said a prayer and she dismissed us. I was so excited to have someone like Jesus with me all the time.

I prayed every night after that and totally depended on him. Of course I still had many hard times and in my addiction I lost my faith. I am now back in church 30 years later and rededicated my life to Jesus a week ago. I was told I didn't have to but I felt it was the right thing to do.
A Non-Existent User
A curious question – where did it all start?

Most likely, it all started with a grandmother who wore out her knees before God praying for every member of her family, by name.
I grew up in two towns in Texas and attended Baptist churches from the time I could be carried into the nursery. My Grandma was a Sunday school teacher of children and my Grandpa was Mr. Fix-it – if anything needed repaired at the church, he was the first to volunteer. Grandma taught me to pray and read the Bible.

My family, on the other hand, had many problems, and my dad eventually became an alcoholic. He was a much different man at home than at church. After Grandpa passed away, when I was 13, I lost my mentor and my best friend, and I disliked my dad. At the age of 16, I hit him over the head with a baseball bat to keep him from terrorizing my family. After that, I closed everything inside and began to resent God and church.

After a four-year tour of duty in the US Air Force, I came to Kansas, met a girl, and married her. She knew nothing of the Lord, and I had nothing to do with him. Through a long series of events, after the birth of our first child, the first of four, we started going to a church, a non-denominational charismatic church. I rededicated my life to the Lord at that time and began to live my live in a way that looked good on the outside, but inside, I still carried resentment, anger, and unforgiveness.

When my marriage started falling apart, I went into a deep depression and sought counseling. Through that counseling, I began to tear down some of the walls I had built up for so long inside, but I still carried a low self-esteem and much self-pity. After 25 years, the last nine of which were very difficult, my marriage ended in divorce, despite all my efforts to salvage it.

After the divorce in 2001, I went to a tavern and had too much to drink. I started flirting with a woman, when I noticed that she was married. My heart sank and, bellied up to the bar, I started to cry and for the first time in a long while, I prayed. I told the Lord I didn’t want to live like that any longer, and in His still quiet voice, I heard him say, “Then, come back home.”

I started reading the book of Psalms, finding that David’s prayers were words I felt in my own heart. I began attending church again - this time alone. (My four children were in their twenties and late teens.) Somewhere in a period of two years, God gave me a new heart, as He says in Ezekiel 11:19, “I will take away their hearts of stone and give them tender hearts instead.”

Since that time, Jesus has taken me down a path of healing that continues to this day. I now am remarried to a woman of gentle grace who loves the Lord and is my soul mate. My first poem was a love poem for my wife, written when I was 52 years old.

With a new heart, I now live for Jesus, trying to reveal his never-ending love to others.


All of you have amazing stories, and praise God, as ~Wind in my Wings~ said, for Him choosing you. Though each story is different, God's response is always the same. I love that.

I want to keep this along the same vein, especially for new participants who would like to answer my original question. I'll change it a bit for the rest of you.

Tell me about other miracles God has given you.

One of mine some of you already know, because it's also an item in my port called "A Puff of Smoke." For your convinience, here's the story:

Staring out the window, I absently watched the conifers, aspens and bare granite hills for which Colorado is well-known flash by. I leaned back in my seat waiting for this trip to finally be over.

I was one of a seven-member evangelist group for the summer with the Salvation Army. We stopped at churches throughout Wyoming and Colorado. The summer was nearly half over and we were headed to Colorado Springs for one of our last stops. The experience brought me closer to God than I ever expected, but it also exhausted us; we had been working 12-16 hour days almost every day for two months.

The bus driver and our leader, Lieutenant Pontsler, and I were the only ones still awake during the last three hours of this drive. The bus was a short 1935 Chevrolet painted bright blue and red with large, bright yellow script on the side reading “Salvation Army Hallelujah Road Show.” The bus was packed with not only slumbering teenagers and one adult, but everything an evangelist group needs for entertaining kids and adults alike from balloons to religious tracts and from puppets to musical instruments.

At one point I saw out of the corner of my eye what appeared to be a spark leap out from the bottom of the dashboard. Curious, I focused on the spot from where I thought it came. I stared and waited to see if another would follow. After about a minute, no other sparks popped out. Shrugging it off as my eyes only seeing things, I turned my thoughts inward once more.

The second I turned my gaze back to the window, white smoke billowed out of the bottom of the dash and filled the bus’s interior. Lieutenant Pontsler swerved to the side of the interstate

"Everyone out," she yelled. "The bus is on fire!"

I wasn’t sure, because it smelled electrical to me. Plus, by the time she shut the engine, the smoke had thinned if not stopped altogether. I didn’t say anything; either way, exiting the bus was the smart thing to do.

The others, instantly awake, poured out of the bus and stood in the ditch. We then stared at our ride, waiting for flames devour it.

I thought, “Great. Just when I thought we’d be in Colorado Springs in only a few hours, now we’re stranded.” I got down on my knees and prayed, “God. All I ask is You send a tow truck.”

As soon as I looked up, a tow truck drove by and pulled over in front of the bus. I could only stare with my mouth agape. Never had God answered one of my prayers so quickly before.

I then danced a jig while the tow truck driver hooked up the bus. I think the rest of the crew thought I lost my head, but I didn't care. God had answered my prayer.

At least, I thought He did.

The true miracle was not the timely appearance of the tow truck, at least not entirely. After discovering what actually happened, I think God would have sent the truck had I not even prayed for it.

All seven of us piled into the truck. The driver then dropped us off at a motel in a small town not far from where we had pulled over, and took our damaged vehicle to the mechanic’s shop.

Early the next morning, Lieutenant Pontsler checked on our bus to see if it was fixed yet.

The mechanic who worked on it was a Christian and said, “God was really looking out for you guys. Had you not pulled over when you did, all of you would be dead.”

Huh?

Apparently, the smoke resulted from two naked electrical wires underneath the dash making contact and fusing together. But he discovered a more serious problem as he checked the rest of the bus over. A bolt from the passenger side rear wheel had either loosened or broken off. If we had made even the slightest turn (in Colorado, turns are impossible to avoid), the wheel would have flown off, rolling the bus over. At 55 miles an hour, the wreck would have killed us all.

Humbled, astonished and more than a little grateful, I realized then God did not answer the prayer of a tired and frustrated teenager by sending a tow truck. He generated a puff of smoke to save the lives of seven people.
Hmmmm. Where to start, which to choose? Several come to mind immediately, so I must stop for a moment and pick. Ok. Got one:

For those of you not female, or of the age of menopause, this might not mean anything to you, but it certainly meant a lot to me.

When you pass the age of the beauty and exuberance of youth - wrinkles, grey hair, cellulite, extra weight gain, loss of estrogen, etc - it can be demoralizing to say the least. You enter a stage of life when you know with complete certainty that you could walk into a room full of men and not one would give you a second glance. That sounds shallow, to be sure, but it's demoralizing just the same.

Anyway, I'd gone around in a funk of depression for months. I felt ugly, fat, unloved, unwanted, and anything but female. Then I had a dream like none other I've ever had.

I was in a cavernous, dark area full of catacombs with lots of people in each one. They were dressed in robe-like garments, I'm assuming much like that of Biblical times. I was being led by a man of Middle Eastern descent (who, by the way, was extremely handsome). I was completely enveloped by his arms, but there was nothing sexual about it at all. Not a word was spoken during the entire encounter, but never had I felt so beautiful or loved! Upon waking, I wanted nothing more than to return to that place of peace and love. My entire outlook changed with that dream.
Oh...I must agree with ~Wind in my Wings~ - so many to choose from. I just can't decide. I could tell you of one after another.

One more recent miracle, is not mine alone. It belongs to our entire family, really.

Like me, our daughter was thought to be infertile - or at least the odds of conceiving were heavily stacked against her.

Four years after their marriage, our son-in-law had a very 'real' dream in which our daughter was involved in a fatal car accident. As a result of an autopsy being performed, it was discovered that she had, in fact, been pregnant. The dream shook him up, to say the least but, he decided to NOT mention it to anyone...since it was just a dream.

The next day, our daughter was T-boned by another vehicle as she traveled through a notoriously dangerous intersection a few miles from her home. She was only slightly injured, thank God, but taken to a nearby hospital for x-rays since her car was demolished.

Upon learning of the accident, her husband rushed to the hospital and informed the medical that he did NOT want any x-rays taken until they had first performed a pregnancy test. Our daughter thought he was just over-reacting...but he insisted, telling all present of his dream the night before.

Sure enough...she was already about 8 weeks pregnant! It was a near tragedy, turned blessing!

A Non-Existent User
Here is the short version of a miracle I have received:

The day before I entered treatment for compulsive gambling I was at the end of my rope. I was convinced my life was over and I wanted to end it as soon as possible. I reached into my purse for something and brought out a piece of paper with the gamblers hotline number instead. I looked at it and almost threw it away but instead I managed to dial the number. The nice lady talked to me a minute and gave me another number for a treatment center. Again I tried my best to not make the call out of fear. My life was ending and there wasn't an ounce of hope left in me.

I called the treatment center and another nice lady talked to me and asked a few questions. By my answers she knew I was a compulsive gambler in trouble and said she would have a man named Don call me back the next day. He had left for the day. I needed help right then and knew tomorrow would be too late. I thanked her and hung up.

I felt that was a sign that my life was now over and there was no hope. I had stopped praying to God many months before.

Within two minutes after hanging up from the treatment center, Don called me. He had forgotten something at work and happen to hear the ending of the conversation between the lady and I. Later he would tell me something made him go back to work to get something that could have waiting until the next day. Something also told him he needed to call me right then.

I went into the treatment the next morning and without God leading others I would not be here today.

The full story of the many miracles that followed: "Invalid Item
A Non-Existent User
I too must relate something concerning a miracle in my family.

I grew up in a dysfuntional family, almost by every meaning of the term. In 1993, my dad passed away and my family was devisive and there was much conflict during that time. There was a lot of turmoil in my marriage and my eldest daughter at that time was in drug and alcohol rehab as a teenager. It was a hard time.

Recently, my sister passed away at the age of 53. Where my dad's death had brought division, my sisters death brought reconciliation to our family. She had suffered for a few years with a disease similar to Alzheimers and knew none of us, even her three daughters and grandchildren.
She is now with the Lord and no longer suffering. I know it would please her to know that her passing brought her family closer in unity.

My wife and I prayed that this would be a time of healing for our family. I had a very good conversation with my brother whom I have not talked to for three years, because of some petty disagreements. Much healing took place there. I saw a closeness in my family that I have not seen for many years. My ex-wife, much to my surprise, attended the funeral. She and I spoke friendly for the first time since before the divorce in 2001. My wife Melody had a very nice conversation with her.

Many good things were spoken about my sister and I read a poem about her which my family really liked. I will miss her dearly, as she and I were quite close until she became ill and no longer knew me. It is a great tribute to her life that in death she brought healing to her family.

This just another step in a healing journey that began in my life in the year 2002.
Since this is my first turn at this, I'll answer mainly the original question, but I think it is also a miracle in my life.

I grew up as a pastor's kid and so knowledge about God was there from birth, however that was all it was -- knowledge. Even though I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior at a young age, I thought it was about a lengthy list of rules to do and follow.

I knew all the "right" things to do and how to talk spiritual jargon to sound spiritual. I didn't even realize I was doing it as it was automatic.

I had a very dysfunctional upbringing and suffered abuse at the hands of an extended family member. I learned to trust no one and look out for number one. Unconsciously, that also included not trusting God. To me, no one was safe.

It was in college that I learned that being a Christian was about a relationship with God. I was mixed up and at a loss to understand why I believed what I believed. I began to question everything. Growing up it was "You're the pastor's daughter, you are supposed to do this." In college I wondered, "Is that all there is--because I'm supposed to?" It was the start of my allowing God to draw me toward Himself and discovering who He is. Eighteen years later, I can say I'm so much closer in my relationship with God, but I still have far to go. It's a process.

God has done many miracles in my life. To name a few, He rescued me from an almost fatally abusive relationship. He turned my sorrow and shame from being a rape victim into helping others that have been in similar situations. He has been gathering the broken pieces of my troubled life and putting them back together to make me whole as I work through the horrific memories I've stuffed deeply to escape their grip.

The difficulty I've had in my life and the turmoil I've endured has brought me closer to God. That to me is an incredible miracle!

As Kansaspoet said, each miracle has been another step in the healing journey of my life.
I have stared at this page for three days now...wondering how I could ever put into words what God means to me. The problem is that my faith has always been a very private thing, something that lives deep inside me and keeps me sane and on a straight path.

Maybe it is the fact that I have always kept everything deep inside and I am not use to sharing them with the world. Whatever the reason, I find this the hardest thing I have ever tried to write.

I was saved when I was sixteen years old and like many children of that age, I had a very idealistic view of God. I thought that once I accepted Jesus as my Savior, then all my troubles would be over....after all, I was now a child of God wasn't I, He would take care of me.

I held very strong convictions when I joined the service and I took my Faith with me when I shipped out to Vietnam.

It was there I became lost.

I will make a long story short here and just say that while there, I saw such horrors that I suddenly doubted everything. It was also there that, at the age of 19 I met and fell in love for the first time in my life.

I survived, she died. That's as simply as I can put it. After that I lost my mind and, for a time I lost my soul. I lived for the killing and I did things that still haunt me.

All of this is to show you that a man can never stray too far that God will not find him again.

Slowly, over a period of ten or so years, my God brought me back to his feet. He healed my spirit and he allowed me to forgive myself.

How do you put something like that into words? He is a part of me and He guides me in all things. God allowed me to be broken in order to remake me into a stronger vessel for his love...I understand that now.

This is why I will never argue religion with anyone. It is either there for them or it is not and only God can move their spirit and change their heart, my words are just that: My Words...not God's.

So now, today, I live my faith in a quiet way. I KNOW what God means to me and I KNOW He is real...I don't need anything more.

I really must thank you, Andra for giving me this opportunity to put into words what has lived in my heart for so very long. This forum is not only important but I believe it is Blessed.
God has always been in my life. I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t aware of Him. My parents were never church goers, but we were taught how to pray. We also had a set of children’s encyclopaedia, containing stories of the Bible written specifically for children, illustrated with lovely colourful pictures. My mum would read these stories to us, and as we got older we started to read them ourselves. I remember the stories of Noah’s Ark, David and Goliath, Rebecca, Adam and Eve and Ruth.

When my sister and I started going to proper school classes rather than the home schooling we’d done with my mother we boarded with a family named Potter. The mother, Margaret, was a fairly strict lady with a strong religious background, and we started going to Sunday school. We really enjoyed it. It’s hard today to remember exactly what made it such a great experience, but I do remember my teacher being a kind, approachable lady, the other kids being friendly and interested and the lovely stained glass windows and stone walls of the church.

Once we started high school Sunday school fell by the wayside. During the first two years of senior school we had weekly religious education classes, but somehow it was never as interesting as Sunday school at a church. When I started my O level syllabus RE was no longer an option. At this time my mother developed an interest in the Spiritualist church. I was 15, and I wanted to go with her.

My mother had healing abilities, and she would lay her hands on people and pray for them. She never claimed she could cure anyone, but she did seem to manage to ease a lot of peoples’ pain. She’s always said she can feel heat in an area of pain, and she always prayed before, during and after a healing session. The Spiritualists placed great emphasis on the teachings of the Bible, and they sang hymns and said prayers before their mediums, clairvoyants and healers had their turn.

The church considered by mother had a strong spiritual soul, and they felt she would be a good medium. My mum was hesitant, mainly because she said she didn’t like the idea of someone or something else taking over her body and using it for a time, no matter how good the motives. She began to question her relationship with the Spiritualists, and wasn’t sure what to do. She loved helping people with her healing, but she had started to see things and attract negative forces. I remember her waking one night and finding hooded figures standing around her bed. She told me they were not good forces, and she had a strong feeling of sadness and depression from them. That weekend I received a message from a medium.

She told me that I had the power to be a clairvoyant, and it needed to be developed. This caused great excitement from the congregation, but I was horrified and terrified. My mother, even more shocked, realised we were on the wrong path and we never went back to the church again. The Spiritualists’ hearts might be in the right place, but what kind of spirits are earthbound and why do we need to talk to them?

We went back to our regular Anglican Church, and a few years later I moved away from home to a new city and a new life. I didn’t have much time for God during those years – I admit that. I was so busy working, making new friends, living a life of my own that I couldn’t fit Him into my life. I did have some pretty religious friends, and we didn’t go off the rails. We’d go out dancing to nightclubs and have a few drinks in the bars in town, but there were no drugs. None of us drove cars, so we were reliant upon friends who did have cars, genial boyfriends and taxis. We lived in a girls’ hostel, and during the week we all had to be in our rooms by midnight. Friday night and Saturday night the curfew was extended by one hour. Today I look back and know that although I might not have acknowledged Him during those four years He was there, looking after me.

In January 1988 I got married. We went on honeymoon to South Africa, where we bought clothes and baby paraphernalia for our daughter, who was due on 9 July that year. I settled back into life, complacent and content. Until 18 April, when my whole world was shattered and my faith would be tested to the extreme.

Next time… I’ve rambled enough. I just want to say How pleased I am to be involved with this group, and how much I’ve enjoyed reading all your entries. This road is going to be interesting, and I’m looking forward to walking it with you.
This is my first time here as well. I don't remember a time when I didn't believe in God. My father took me to Sunday school with him every week from before I could talk. I had to write an autobiography in fifth grade and my parents told me, I couldn't tell you what the days of the week were but they knew I knew when it was Sunday and where I wanted to go.

As a girl, I would watch my dad at the kitchen sink in the morning. He kept his copy of The Upper Room Devotional Guide on the shelf above the sink. He would think no one was watching when he bowed his head. I still use the same devotional in my own devotions. I went many places with him alone and we would discuss God and what-ifs, the wonders of nature, and the Bible.

My freshman year in high school our church got a new preacher with a girl (Connie) my age. She introduced me to church camp. There is a piece in my port named "Aldersgate Remembered" about the 50th anniversary of the campground, Little Grassy. Aldersgate has special meaning for Methodists since the founder, John Wesley, said it was at a meeting on Aldersgate Street in England that he “felt his heart strangely warmed.” Dad taking me to church had given me the basics and Aldersgate Institute I learned what “heart warming” was all about first hand. It is where my spirituality was born. Mine Ebenezer.

The first year was a week of fun and fellowship with other church youth (not all Methodist). We had “families,” the female counselor was the counselor in that group of girls’ cabin, the male counselor for the boys in their hogan. We had lessons in the families in the morning and after lunch.

Between the morning session and lunch, there was assembly. That was a time of frivolity, mayhem, bad jokes, and music. I somehow wormed my way, following Connie, into the wise crackers’ group. We sat at the back of the outdoor tabernacle, heckling, taunting, and finishing jokes before the punch line. The first order of business in assembly was announcements. As soon as they said announcements, we were ready and began singing,

Announcements, announcements, ann-oun-cements
A terrible death to die
A terrible death die
A terrible death, a terrible death
A terrible death to die
Announcements, announcements ann-oun-cements

and with our hands to an ear, we would shout, “Yes?” We were a colorful lot and our skits were the ones that pushed the limits, we were practical jokers, and sincerely connected to each other. The preachers were different at camp too, silly. There was a little preacher by the name of Vic Hermann, every year, two or three times a week, we would get him to do his specialty. He would get his ukulele and sing to his equally small of stature wife the song “Five foot two.” We would of course sing along. There was also Reverend Bill Fester, who we preferred to call Festus. He was the chief in charge of snipe hunting and spider-sniffing and we helped him get the junior highs every year.

After the afternoon session, we had free time. There was swimming in the lake, volleyball, softball, hiking, doing absolutely nothing, or taking a nap. There were lifeguards for the lake. Though you could touch bottom in the enclosed swimming area, you still had to pass a swimming test. The volleyball and softball had the recreation director and other adults, but anything else was pretty much on your own. In swimming, our group was renowned for “baptisms” or dunking, as it is known in other circles. You would grab the penitent soul (read victim) and say, “I baptize thee in the name of” dunk and hold, “the father,” bring up, dunk and hold, “the son,” bring up, dunk and hold, “and the holy ghost.” If you dunked, you had better be able to take it when someone grabbed you. Dinner was at 5:30.

Approximately two hours after dinner was worship in the outdoor tabernacle. Once worship was over the snack bar was open and more free time. At 10:15 p.m., we met at the outdoor cross over looking the woods and the lake for devotionals. There is a semi-circle stonewall surrounding the cross, we would vie for seats on the wall, sit on the grass, or stand. There was a lone small spotlight at the base of the cross pointing up to the cross and a bonfire. Different ministers had the devotional each night, someone always had a guitar, and you could count on someone requesting we sing, Kum Ba Yah. There was real bonding that week and I still keep in touch with some of those friends I met for a week each year from 30-plus years ago. We arrived early Monday morning for cabin assignments (the earlier the better cabin you got) and registration. We clung to each other with many tears on Saturday morning as we loaded busses and vans to leave.

Every night at worship, there was an altar call. It was an emotional point in the evening. That first year, I sat there and watched as others went forward. I was actually certain that I had done whatever it was they were doing at confirmation or some other point in my years at church. Earlier that month, three weeks before camp, my older sister gave birth to her second child, we had anticipated this baby’s birth for nine months. I was their oldest daughter’s godmother and I have always been closer to my sister Sharee. Malissa Beth was stillborn on June 7, 1969. There had been hardly any end to the tears and the pain, which was probably why dad thought camp would be a good idea for me. I was a little angry with God.

The next year, three weeks before camp, on June 1, 1970, the same sister gave birth to a second full-term stillborn baby, Carey Michael. Besides the pain and tears, my other older sister was pregnant and due in November and war broke out between the two while fueled by my mother. I had been planning on camp since the year before. Not only did we bury another tiny casket, my sister Sharee’s system had been so toxic from the Rh factor, we almost lost her as well. They brought her back physically but she had retreated into an emotional fog. I went to camp looking for answers.

I spent much time with counselors and pastors. I just couldn’t understand why my sister, who loved children more than anyone in the world that I knew would be restricted to one child and my sister who seemed mean to her children (and allowed unspeakable things to be done to her children I learned later) should have four. There were no answers forthcoming, but I was no longer angry, I wanted to understand. My questions and quest were never ending. By Thursday night’s altar call, I went forward. All I could do was cry and pray, I felt a call on my life and according to my mother it was nursing.

For three years, during the school year, I would travel with a church from a different city on Lay Witness Missions. We stayed in homes at our destination church. I was a soloist, small group leader, and Bible study leader. This was all a growing experience for my faith.

As long as I could stay grounded with church camp every year and stayed active with my youth group at the local and district level, the support to grow in my faith nurtured the seeds of committing my life to Christ. Six weeks before camp my senior year, the nursing school where I had been accepted called to tell me my science and math scores were weak No, DUH! They informed me that I was being enrolled in three extra classes at the adjoining junior college to be taken at night in concert with the daily classes. I went to camp with a heavy heart that year. I told no one but Connie about the phone call.

I spent my free time that week in the woods sitting next to the lake, listening. Nursing school was not my calling, it was my mother’s desire for me to fulfill. I had also lost my best friend/first love earlier that year. There I was in 1973, hearing a call for something that didn’t exist – grief and bereavement work. There is an essay in my port regarding the life changing telling my parents of my decision not to pursue nursing school. Let’s just say it rocked my world. It didn’t shake my faith, but I made many bad choices over the next several years.

I worshipped God, gave him the praise, and took him the burdens. I used what gifts had been revealed in my search. I was angry with God for a short time over the end to my first marriage and my daughter’s father walking away from her. I was shaken but I was faithful. It is quite simple, perfection means to perfect. It isn’t an attainable goal on the earth; it is a journey we choose knowing we are often far from the aspiration.

As for miracles, like others, I have no idea where to begin or which one to single out. The one that is probably the most profound (though I do not discount even the smallest miracle) would be my son. You hear me complain about him but it doesn’t alter his beginnings. My twins were nine-and-one-half weeks premature. There had been an incident with my older daughter when I was four months pregnant with the twins and I went into labor at twenty weeks gestation. I was taken to the hospital and the labor was stopped. I was given oral medication to take each day, I was told to take early maternity leave from my job, and to stay off my feet as much as possible. My older daughter was six-and-one-half-years-old and Bill was working full-time and going to school at night, it was pretty hard to follow doctor’s direction to stay off my feet as much as possible.

I had some bouts with labor and the doctor had made provisions for an increase in the medication in those instances. I could take a second pill and if things had not cleared up in an hour, a third. For the next seven weeks things progressed, well and I saw my doctor almost weekly. Jeannie’s father had surfaced again and wanted to have her for two weeks over the Christmas holiday. I had never tried to keep him out of her life, he was paying for the round trip unaccompanied minor plane ticket and I agreed to her going. My parents flipped, Christmas became stressful, and mother would not allow me to come to the family celebration.

The evening of New Year’s Day, I had maxxed out the medication and the labor had not stopped. The doctor advised me to get to the hospital. It took two days but the labor was stopped. The next day my grandmother died and after my being told, I was sedated. I wanted to go to the visitation and told my doc I would be willing to go in a wheelchair and come right back to the hospital but he knew my family and said no. He had been going to release me, but decided to keep me. He would let me pick the date the end of February to have the baby (they were due in late March) but I was not leaving the hospital until they were born.

Two weeks later occurrences indicated that labor was imminent. They started IV medications, but as it got stronger, they moved me to a labor room where they continued to try to stop the labor for 36 hours. The labor got more intense rather than decreasing and the decision was made to allow labor to proceed. Four hours later, I delivered William, weighing in at three pounds and 10 ounces and screaming lustily. Five minutes later, Catherine was born, blue, not breathing, her first apgar score was a two out of ten, and she weighed two pounds and fourteen ounces. She had a heartbeat and that was all. They helped her for 10 minutes before she started breathing on her own and pinking up. Both babies were prepped for transfer to St. Louis Children’s Hospital.

I had gotten a glimpse of them in the delivery room. Once they had them “packaged” for transport, they brought them by my room and let me put my hand in and touch their legs. They were so small; both of them were in one isolette. Both had been put on respirators for the trip. They explained that it saved precious time. If one was to “code” in the ambulance, they would have to pull over and intubate. It was more expedient to have this in place and get them to the care they needed.

Once at the hospital, Catherine came right off the respirator and checked out fine. She needed to gain weight. Once at the Neonatal Intensive Care unit, there was a problem weaning Will from the respirator. In addition to his lungs not being fully developed, there were seven other abnormalities. He had an intraventricular hemorrhage, a severe infection throughout his body, patent ductus arteriosis, respiratory distress syndrome, surfactant protein-B deficiency, anemia, and an inability to feed orally because of inability to digest in the stomach. Four of seven of these maladies could turn fatal. When he was six days old, the results of an EEG prompted the Neonatologist to ask me to disconnect the respirator on my son.

At the time, I was an EMT-B; the nurses said that gave me just enough knowledge to make the doctors nervous. I knew which were possibly fatal. The doctor didn’t know that about me yet, he approached me by going over each of the maladies, and explaining them, after the second time he said, “This could be fatal.” I was getting very angry. I stopped him and said, “I know what is wrong with my son and I know what is fatal and what is not. This is my son and you will do everything in your power to save his life.” He avoided me the next nine weeks.

They have no medical explanation for why Will lived. Further, they are astonished and have no medical explanation for why he is not a vegetable or brain-damaged. When he was seven, they did an examination study of infants who should not have made it, which is when the same doctor told me these things. I said, “That’s all right, I don’t need one!”
A Non-Existent User
My father was an evangelist so every summer of my childhood was spent traveling the country, seeing new places and meeting new people. My father would preach and my family would sing. It was at the close of one of those church meetings in a Texas coastal town that my older brother and I joined my grandmother and my Mom's only sister on a trip to see family in California. We kissed my parents goodbye. They were returning home to South Texas, and we would meet up with them when we got back.

On our last night in California I fell asleep at my Great Aunt's house, and I don't remember anything else until I woke up in the hospital four months later. This part of my testimony is related in my essay "Invalid Item which will be published June 24 in LIVE magazine.

There had to be a couple of days traveling between Southern California and Alpine,Texas where the car accident happened, but it has been wiped from my memory. Most of the details were related to me later.

The sheriff of Alpine was the drug dealer that sold drugs to the kid that hit us head-on that night. The kid had been dating his daughter and the sheriff thought she was with him when he went tearing through town at 110 mph. At a bend in the road outside of the city limits he turned around and sped back into town. He was driving on the wrong side of the road without headlights when he rounded the bend and hit us head-on.

The cars had to be pried apart. Almost everyone died instantly, but my brother died in the hospital. His legs had been crushed. They gave me very little hope for survival. I had sustained a brain-damaging head injury and two breaks in my left leg. I was so close to death I had spasms. They couldn't do anything for me there, but had me rushed by ambulance to El Paso.

They had to put a pin through my leg to set it and strap me down because of the spasms. My head was shaved so they could treat my head injury. To this day I still carry a scar.

From El Paso I was flown to another hospital in Harlingen where I remained until they released me to return home.

My doctors said I might never walk again or talk again. I might never be normal again. Yet, God had the final say!

I'm walking! I'm talking! Everything they said I would never do again I'm doing. Okay...so maybe a partially paralyzed ankle might prevent me from riding a motorcycle because the gear shift is on the left side and my left ankle doesn't work, and maybe I didn't get my lifeguard certification because I didn't have strong enough kicks, but that didn't stop me from trying. It didn't stop me from earning a letter in high school track or taking long hikes in the Great Smokey Mountains. God did a miracle in my life by just giving me my life back, and I believe to this day that my life has a God-given purpose.




A Non-Existent User
I am so glad to be included in this campfire, but feel a little apprehensive. I will stick to the original question, although God revealing Himself to me, has been more of a continual process, than a one-off event.

Looking back, it all seems back-to-front compared with what you read in Christian biographies. It started over thirty years ago. We’d not long moved to a new area and my wife had asked the doctor to call. On arriving home that evening I was told he had stayed for three hours and talked about God. Such a length of visit was unheard of, and as for God ...!? I leafed through the booklet he’d left behind - “How to become a Christian.” This appealed to my practical side and must also have touched in on my unexpressed need. I took each step described in the booklet and it was done. No deep feelings or flashing lights, I just new I was a new man! My wife - thankfully she is different to me - thinks things through more slowly and followed some months later. In the intervening period she said I was insufferable, proudly going to meetings with bible tucked under my arm!

This new-found faith was very real to us and we sought out those we could share it with. There were numerous examples of what I could call minor miracles. Like organising a church picnic, but not having enough food for all who came. We just passed around what we had and there was lots over! Like having to replace our car without enough money in the bank - somehow the funds were made available. There was one miracle that eluded us though - I longed to see my wife healed.

This ‘honeymoon’ period lasted several years, until it slowly dawned upon me that I also needed healing. The emotional wounds stemming from childhood experiences and trauma were coming to the surface. So began years of searching until we found the right Christian ministry and counselling we needed. I eventually came into a realisation of the closeness of God that touched me to the core.

Because this was the way I worked, I became involved in a prayer counselling ministry myself. I know its not quite the right way of putting it, but I was experiencing success in seeing people changed and I felt very fulfilled. My involvement grew after I took early retirement, until I was away from home a great deal. The problem was that I was picking up far too much. It was difficult to keep all the ‘balls in the air!’ I was soon heading for burn-out. As the demands increased I was beginning to say to myself, “what about me?”

What followed was the most difficult time of my life. It felt like God had hidden from me. There was no sense of His presence and I felt all alone in a fearful emotional desert. It was as if I was an onion and over the years God had been peeling back the layers of my life until He had got to the soft centre. It was a most painful place, almost like an abandoned infant. I wrote about this in a poem in my port “It’s lonely in here!” God hadn’t left me of course. If anything He was closer than ever and in the darkness now and again He showed Himself in remarkable ways. One day, months later, it all lifted and for several weeks I experienced Jesus like a warm blanket.

I didn’t really think it would all be business as usual, but was not expecting what came next. I was eventually diagnosed with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, more commonly know in the States as Chronic Fatigue syndrome and so began another journey. What’s left for a man who has (temporarily) lost the strength to do much of the things that he valued, that is apart from a loving wife and family?

The love of Jesus and His amazing strength, the battle, the challenge, the adventure, the beauty and all that matters. Opportunity to respond to the longing for intimacy with father, to be more of a human being than a human doing! I have, and will have, a story to tell.

Thank you - wayfarerjon.



Before I beging with my addition to this wonderful campfire, I have to say that I have enjoyed reading everyone's stories tremendously. As for me, well, I grew up in a very traditional Pentecostal family. Let me just say that this was a times, very scary and powerful. Growing up it seemed that all of the leaders in family(grandfather and grandmother, and aunts) were involved in the ministry in one or another. Except my mother.

So, I had two different and conflicting ideas of God growing up. One was the overall family-Christian view, and the other view was heavily affected by my mother's gnostic opinions. However, with my cousin(a deeply humble and Christian man) by my side, at the age of thirteen I accepted Christ as my Saviour. I believe I spent most of my teenage life attending a small but intimate Pentecostal church, with my cousin.

I think that was the first time God revealed Himself to me. But, I have to agree with many of you, it has been a more continual and progressive road. At least that is how it feels when I look back.

May God have all the Honour and Glory, because there are far too many miracles to count. However, I will share a very precious one. In my second year of service with the Navy(2000), I was in Europe on a six month cruise. Missing my family, I decided to call home. When my mother answered the phone, naturally, I was exicited and happy.

Yet, something just was not clicking, and when I asked my mother was was wrong, she told me that my grandmother had passed, and she was diagnosed with breast cancer(on the same day, seperated only by hours). Without getting into details, it's been a long road. But through God, everything is possible. My mother is alive and well. May God have all Honour and Glory.


Until a year ago, I never experienced surgery, heck I've never even had stitches.

So, when I had to go in for a laparoscopy (where they go in through a small incision with a tiny camera and poke around the innards to look for things that shouldn't be there), I was understandably apprehensive.

Scratch that, I was terrified! It wasn't the surgery itself that scared me, it was being anesthetized. Most of the fear derived from the possibility of not waking up, but also not liking any kind of mind-altering drugs and painkillers. I hate taking aspirin.

As surgery day drew near, my head began to pound with a tension headache. By that morning I was miserable; I could barely see straight my head throbbed so bad. However, I couldn't take anything for it, even though at this point I desperately needed it. Kinda funny now. The one time I really wanted to take a painkiller, I couldn’t.

My husband drove me to the hospital and sat in a chair next to my bed as the nurses took all the requisite blood tests, inserted the IV (my breakfast, though next time I prefer something warmer. That stuff swimming through my veins was cold!). The anesthetist met with me and asked how I normally responded to anesthesia. I told him not a clue, as I had never been out before. He made his notes then the waiting began.

I was really impressed with the nurse who took my blood, though. I never felt a thing.

Meanwhile, my head continued to pound. Even my hubby’s humor didn’t help relax me any.

Then this little lady no more than 5 feet tall and couldn’t have weighed more than a hundred pounds came in. She wore a dark shirt and jacket and a long skirt patterned with dark reds, purples and blues. She was probably around 60 years old with curled brown hair and thick glasses.

In a shy, quiet voice she introduced herself and asked, “Would you like me to pray for you?”

“Yes, please,” I said. Anything at this point to relieve my stress, and my headache now working its way down my neck and back.

She took my hand in her thin, bony, but warm hand, and she began to pray.

I don’t remember the words, but a few seconds into the prayer, I felt a hand on my left shoulder. Thinking it was my hubby, I opened my eyes into slits and glanced at him. He hadn’t moved from his chair, his head bowed and both hands holding his book.

A second later, my headache disappeared.

I tried not to cry, so grateful and elated God had not only taken away my headache, but touched me.

As for the surgery, everything showed as completely normal and everything in its proper place. Two things I hate most in the world – being in a drug-induced stupor and vomiting, and here I endured both at once after I came out of the anesthesia. I decided then I would rather die than have another surgery, I don’t care how necessary. Okay, not really, but that’s how I felt at the time.

Now, though, none of that matters. I still praise God for not only healing me that day, but for letting me feel his gentle and merciful touch.

It's a small thing compared to other miracles, but sometimes the small things matter more. It shows God as being near us and helping us through all our struggles no matter how small.
Well hello again Gang! Because of the time span between now and my last turn at bat, I truly thought this particular campfire had lost its flame. SURPRISE! Andra huffed and puffed and lo and behold, the flame rises again. *Thumbsup*

I must admit that I gave her a hard time... she passed the baton, but didn't tell me what to do with it. Andra did make a suggestion, but I'll share the entirety of our 'conversation':

Winda: Hello Andra... the campfire just landed in my corner of the world, and here I thought that it had been forgotten, or laid to rest forever! I'm glad to see that it is continuing, but I have a question. Usually you are first (since it is your campfire), and you leave off with a question for the other participants to answer. Only this time, there's no question. You know you just can't do that sort of thing to an old lady like me! Well, don't cha?! ~~~wind has hands on her hips and tapping her foot like mad~~~ Any guidance at all from the peanut gallery? All kidding aside, got any suggestions?


Andra: Sorry about that. I just thought I'd continue with the original two questions, especially since we have a couple of new signees.

But!!! I do have a suggestion, and if'n you're willing, add to the beginning of your entry our little conversation here so the rest can also answer it if they want:

What's your favorite scriptural passage or Bible story, and why?


So there you have it, straight from our illustrious leader. My favorite passage is the same one that I used in my last issue of the SNL. It's one that brings me up short everytime I get too full of myself, want to dismiss others, or am unkind in thought, word or deed.

"Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven."
Matthew 6:37 NIV
My favorite scripture when I first asked Jesus to save me from my sins at the ripe ol' age of eight was "...and Mary pondered these things and hid them in her heart."

All of these many years later, I have come to discover myself a ponderer. Perhaps that is why, at such a tender age and without knowing it, this was the scripture I wrote in the front of my little bible as my favorite. Even then it seems, at the moment of my salvation, God was showing me how real He is; the Creator revealing to His creation that He knew me even better than I knew myself at that moment in time.

Through my journey of walking hand in hand with God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I have come to find that the scripture that speaks to me most is the one that speaks to me in the moment that I am in. In other words, because God's Word is 'alive' - John 1:1 even clearly states that Christ is the Word, as does Revelation 19:13 - each time I read and feed on scripture it is edifying to my spirit and perfectly fits my needs for that moment. It nourishes and refreshes and strenghtens my inner-man.

Although, I must admit I have some favorites among the Psalms - and find comfort in certain familiar scriptures...I find the greatest pleasure in knowing that if I am listening, The Word is always speaking, always pertinent and always profitable.
A Non-Existent User
What is my favorite Bible verse? Hmmm...being I am not that familiar with the Bible I had to think about this awhile.

1 Thessalonians 5:5
You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness.

When darkness comes and I am walking through it, I know it is only temporary. I do not belong to the darkness.

My choices or things not by choice can sometimes put me in another place that is extremely painful. I try to reach out but can't see. If I hang onto this verse I have that hope that the light will shine again.
At present, my favorite scripture passage is Psalm 121. In just this last week, God has put that passage before me four times. I have a few thoughts on its importance to me.

It is my reminder of where my help comes from. During my writers conference, it was the passage that calmed my heart as I went into each editor or agent appointment. It put things in perspective knowing that I was just a spokesperson for God sharing what He laid on my heart. It wasn't my message, but His and so He was the one to help me. I had nothing to fear, I nothing to be worried about, and I had a calmness and peace in each appointment.

The words "watch over you" are mentioned five times in this short chapter. Another reminder that He never leaves my side, and He never will.

Psalm 121:2 “My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth!”

As I have re-read this passage countless times this past week, I had to ask myself, "Do I understand the magnitude of God and His power?" My help comes from Him. As I've thought about why the words "who made heaven and earth" were there (it seemed a bit "duh" to me initially), I thought about it further.

If He can create heaven and earth, certainly my problems and issues He helps me with are a no-brainer to Him. I need this reminder to remember nothing is too big for Him. It helps put things in perspective.
I have found such insight reading the entries above. Isn’t it fascinating how each of us has our own unique, special relationship with God? No two relationships are alike, and for me that just intensifies the power of faith. The Power of God.

When I concluded my last entry I said my life was about to change in a big way – and it did. I had a car accident, spent all night lying in the bush next to the road in front of my car. I was seven months pregnant. When I got to the hospital 14 hours after the accident I had no blood pressure and no pulse. I was moribund. The story is in my port, so I’m not going to repeat it here, but I went on to spend two months in hospital. And my faith was not tested – not once. If anything it was reinforced.

I lost my daughter – Natalie - about 18 hours after the accident. Massive internal injuries meant massive blood loss, and she died just before she was born. I caught her as she came out, and the ward sister took her away and cleaned me up. I remembered nothing except holding her tiny body. I never even saw Natalie, because the ward was very dark. Her apgar rate was zero. I remember apologising to my husband who arrived about an hour later. I don’t remember his reply, but he was reassuring me. I don’t think I cried – the grief came many years later. I was too sick to think about Natalie.

The following day the doctors discovered the extent of my injuries, and I was moved to intensive care, where I spent three weeks. Two of those weeks are lost to me, and I’ve always thought it was God’s way of helping me recover. I was very badly injured – all my internal organs were damaged, and I received 13 units of blood during my stay in ICU. Two weeks after being admitted to ICU I awoke. Scratch that – I came out of that place that was protecting me from the pain. There was a clock opposite my bed, and it was 06.45. I didn’t know where I was, and tried to sit up. To my horror I found I couldn’t – there was a drip in my hand, a heavy bag on one foot, and a cage over my body. I was also naked, with tubes snaking out from every orifice! Horrible. I tried to pull the catheter out, but failed miserably. A nurse appeared.

“Mrs Todd! What are you doing?” she looked shocked.
“What am I doing here?” I asked her.

She told me I’d had an accident, and when she told me how long I’d been there I was shocked. Later the doctor and anaesthetists arrived, and a couple of them stared at me, turned and left the room. I learned they went to pray. Many of the staff in the ICU wards have strong faith, and one told me it’s because they see so many miracles there’s only one reason for a patient to survive – God. The night before I woke I’d been on a respirator, and the defibrillator was still standing next to my bed.

Later I learned that I’d been included on many prayer chains, and I firmly believe today that is the reason for my survival. My mother and husband were with me a week later, when I learned I had gas gangrene and that my leg would be amputated. I clearly remember feeling a sense of reassurance on learning the news, and thinking how wonderful it would be to be free of this pain. My husband was in a dreadful state, and immediately phoned our private doctor. My mother was holding my hand, and she kept staring into the distance, smiling. I began to panic, and I asked her what was wrong.

“Nothing,” she answered. “But I can smell your grandmother’s favourite flowers (sweetpeas), and He’s standing over there telling me you will be fine after this operation.”

I couldn’t smell anything, neither could I see anyone. But I knew He was there. The initial shock of seeing the appalling state of my leg and knowing it was probably going to be amputated faded My husband came back, and said that if we could arrange it that day I could fly to England and go into an oxygen chamber which might stop the gangrene. I refused, and told him to sign the consent form. I now know that nothing can cure gas gangrene – also known as “galloping gangrene”. If the leg wasn’t removed that day I would die.

I waited downstairs, alone for two hours before a theatre was available for me. And it was hard, because I was in dreadful pain. The leg smelled dreadful, and looked even worse. I know I cried because I was so afraid. The realisation that someone was going to cut off one of my limbs was dreadful. I knew it was for my own good, but I also knew it would change my life forever.

Then a sense of peace descended over me. I began to feel calm, less frightened. I knew that I was facing a huge challenge, but I knew I could overcome this challenge and that I would be better. Not today, probably not tomorrow. But I would survive. I felt His hands my brow, stroking my head. Shortly afterwards the nurses arrived, and took me to the theatre. I remember seeing my wonderful doctor – Mr Mutale – smiling at me, and stroking my hand reassuring as they administered the anaesthetic. Mr Mutale was an incredible man with a very deep faith, and he told me that God guided him in everything he did. He also believed that God was present whenever he operated, guiding him and encouraging him. That day I believed him. God was indeed present, and has been there for me ever since.

I’ve gone off track… sorry! My favourite verse in the Bible is one that I remember whenever I’m feeling worried or afraid. Psalm 56 vs 3 and 4:

Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You. In God (I will praise his word), In God I have put my trust; I will not fear. What can flesh do to me? NKJV
A Non-Existent User
There are so many favorite verses of Scripture that I can’t focus on just one, so I will focus on a theme instead. You have read Luke 6:37: "Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.”

There was a man who didn’t turn his back on drug addicts and alcoholics. He didn’t turn up his nose at prostitutes and adulterers. Religious leaders frowned upon him and judged him for his questionable associations. One day they caught a woman in the act of adultery. They dragged her out on the street and made a public display of her shame. According to their law her sin was worthy of death. The man Jesus said to them, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” Those that condemned her left her there, and Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you.”

I was watching Joel Osteen on Sunday when he preached a message that sometimes Christians tend to prejudge people and not have anything to do with them simply because they don’t conform to a certain standard or appearance. Instead of widening their circle of love to include them, they shut them out.

I have known young people who attend a church and because they do not conform to a certain standard of behavior the pastor says, “Don’t come back.”

I’ve known of people coming out of the Goth subculture in their black clothes, makeup and strange hairdos. They go to church to seek the light of Jesus Christ and someone says, “We don’t want you here until you conform to our standards.”

I know of a musician who as a young man would sit in back of the church, attending the youth group meetings, but no one would associate with him. Years later he took the public scene by storm, but his message is far from Christian.

I read of an actress who as a young girl attended a church youth group, but as she matured people began to look at her differently and make judgments about her character. They turned her away from the church.

When I hear and remember those stories it saddens me and I know it breaks the heart of God.

I have run in artistic circles that include people you will never see in church because they don’t meet a certain standard and are turned away. They are decent people needing the light of Jesus and somewhere along the line somebody failed them. They know what I stand for and they respect me for it.

I still know of people who pass judgments on people (casting metaphoric stones) for how they dress or don’t dress, how they look, how they talk, what they do. Instead of seeing people through the eyes of God who loves everybody, they choose to shut people out, wanting nothing to do with them before even getting to know them.

God looks at the heart; God works on the heart. It is man that bases his judgments on outward appearances. Instead of letting God do his work, man sometimes tries to change a person himself, causing a whole lot of complications.
A Non-Existent User
I I began to think the campfire was dying down, until several gave the smouldering embers a stir into life. I have read some really good stuff, some which I found heart-rending and stirred my soul.

My favourite bible character is Elijah. In my wildest dreams he is someone I would like to be like. Not exactly like him of course, because I am who God made me to be, I am unique. One of my favourite books is “Power! The challenge of Elijah” by Phillip Keller. There is so much about Elijah that I admire.

He was a real “God’s man.” When I die I would like to think that was on my gravestone “He was God’s man!” - except I won’t be having a gravestone - how I will be remembered.

He was in tune with his God and walked with Him in His ways. This calls for intimacy at the highest level and is a relationship I aspire to. It’s my greatest desire and my greatest struggle, something I strive for. Put another way; it takes effort but is effortless! I find I am drawn along in this by a longing, a desire that only He can satisfy, but at the same time never goes away.

He was obedient to his God and obeyed His every whisper and faced kings and authorities with the truth. The ultimate was his confrontation of the false prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel. It still stirs me every time I read it. I don't feel called to that - although I never say never - but often I have faltered on a simple Godly prompt, either through fear of rejection, pride or whatever. So there is a price to pay.

I realise that for all the days in action there were many many right out of the limelight, spent in the desert or by the brook of Cherith. I can identify with the wilderness situations, they are only too familiar. I have experienced such devastation along with God’s provision and comfort at such times.

He was only human. I like that, so I can identify with his weakness, especially when he escapes to a cave “Oh woe is me!” running from his ‘attackers!’

He was a compassionate man, an area where I feel I am lacking. The account of his time at Zarephath with the widow and her son touches me deeply.

He was a man who knew His God and also knew who he was in that relationship. It’s all part of my vision and the challenge that goes with it.
Good afternoon, everyone, I am looking at the most recent additions, and I see favorite Bible verses and favorite Bible personalities. To keep the flow going, I am going respond to each.

Because of the current position I find myself in: Possible career change, finding a new church, and possibly starting seminary; I find myself crying out to God constantly. Therefore, right now, Psalm 27:7, is very special to me. It reads, "Hear me, O Lord, when I cry with my voice; have mercy also on me, Lord, and answer me." This is a very trying moment for me, one of faith, strength, and humbleness. Everyday can easily become a day of doubting or anger and sadness. However, our God is faith and true to us; He truly comforts us, guides us, and through His Holy Spirit, teaches us how to truly trust in the, Lord.

I suppose that because David understood life so well, that he continues to be one of my favorite Bible personalities. Here we have a man after the heart of God, yet, he displays in a most human way: with joy, anger, lamenting; hope, aspirations, etc, etc. Therefore, it becomes very easy to identify with the man, and quite frankly, I cannot wait to meet him.
Interestingly enough, Timothy is also an individual that I apsire to take after, also. His one aspiration: To see God's face and spend the first part of his eternity learning at his feet. That's just incredible, and often it makes me wonder, "how will I spend the first part of my eternity?"
Well, thanks everyone, and God Bless!
I struggle in this life...wanting desperately to be a woman of God...a beautiful and wonderful example to all who see me....I want to be honest and obedient....but I find myself falling short of the mark. When I get discouraged on my walk it helps me to look at many of the characters of the bible...because the only perfect person that has walked among us is God's son. Many who fell short of perfection but still basked in the grace and peace of God can be named...David and Moses to name a couple. I think my favorite example though is of the Samaritan woman in John 4-who because she believed in Jesus and shared with the village she lived in what He had told her about herself and about who He was...they also listened and believed...This woman was far from a model example according to the bible...yet not only was she offered eternal life but also led others to salvation-just becasue she opened herself up and shared God with them. These stories remind me that I don't have to be perfect-just open and willing to share who I am and what God has done for me...still no easy task but one that I can walk in faith and accomplish!

blessings and peace to all who read this
Since the three previous mentioned their favorite Bible person, I want to continue that subject: Who is your favorite person, or the one you relate to the most in the Bible, and why?

That's a difficult question to answer, because many people of the Bible I both relate to and admire.

This is a bit off subject, but I like how the Bible shows how every Biblical hero had his/her flaws – sometimes flaws so great I can’t help but cringe at their actions. The one aspect they shared was their intense love and devotion to God. God requires us even today not to be perfect, but to love him above all else.

Okay, to the question.
My favorite for the last six months or so is Moses. It wasn’t so much anything he’d done or said, but how he became so close with God they spoke face to face as friends (Exodus 33:11). The rest of the chapter still gives me chills:

One day Moses said to the Lord, “You have been telling me, ‘Take these people up to the Promised Land.’ But you haven’t told me whom you will send with me. You have told me, ‘I know you by name, and I look favorably on you.’ If it is true that you look favorably on me, let me know your ways so I may understand you more fully and continue to enjoy your favor. And remember that this nation is your very own people.”

The Lord replied, “I will personally go with you, Moses, and I will give you rest—everything will be fine for you.”

Then Moses said, “If you don’t personally go with us, don’t make us leave this place. How will anyone know that you look favorably on me—on me and on your people—if you don’t go with us? For your presence among us sets your people and me apart from all other people on the earth.”

The Lord replied to Moses, “I will indeed do what you have asked, for I look favorably on you, and I know you by name.”

Moses responded, “Then show me your glorious presence.”

The Lord replied, “I will make all my goodness pass before you, and I will call out my name, Yahweh, before you. For I will show mercy to anyone I choose, and I will show compassion to anyone I choose. But you may not look directly at my face, for no one may see me and live.” The Lord continued, “Look, stand near me on this rock. As my glorious presence passes by, I will hide you in the crevice of the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will remove my hand and let you see me from behind. But my face will not be seen.”
~ Exodus 33:12-23
Even seeing God’s hand and his backside would swell my heart with awe to the point I wonder if I would even survive it.

Because Moses was so close with God, he had no compunction expressing his doubts and even argue with him to the point he changed God’s mind (Exodus 32:10-13).

However, I have impatience similar to Peter where I want that kind of relationship now! Moses’ relationship with God took over 40 years to develop (he spent that long in the desert before God called him to return to Egypt), so I have quite a few more years to go yet.

God wants a deeply intimate relationship with all of us, probably even more than we do. That gives me comfort, because even during the darker times when I long to give up, God never will.
I'm once again surprised and delighted to see that the fire hasn't been snuffed!!

This particular exercise is a bit over my head, and embarassingly so. It's obvious from reading the last several entries that most participants know their Bibles far better than I.

Having said that, there are a few that come to mind. Moses of course, rates right up there and for reasons that Andra has so eloquently shown.

Another is Mary, the mother of Jesus. What she must have endured, both during her pregnancy, and more so during His crucifixion, is beyond my ability to grasp.

The apostle Paul is an amazing example of having unshakeable faith under the worst of circumstances. There are some who would argue that Christianity would surely have not survived this long without his aid.

And I love the story of Jesus in Martha's house, and the girl who sat at His feet instead of helping with the meal preparation. Jesus scolded Martha, telling her that the girl knew what was more important.

So, although I don't have a favorite, and don't know my Bible as well as I should, there are many stories and characters that touch my heart.
A Non-Existent User
One of my favorite people in the Bible is Mary Magdalene.

Once healed by Jesus, Mary never stopped standing by him. She was the first person who saw Jesus at the Resurection. How awesome is that?

I can't imagine having to witness his execution and then to see him alive again.

Mary was a strong woman who believed in what she was doing by following Jesus.

What more could I say about this woman?

She inspires me!

A Non-Existent User


First I want to apologize for taking so long to post this addition to the campfire. Life has been very busy of late and to be honest, I have been in one of those spiritually dry seasons that we all go through. But still, much has happened in the recent past.

About two years ago, I was deeply hurt by some things that happened at church. Some of those things were of my own doing, some were not. In the past month, reconciliations have been made and new beginnings begun. God is a God of restoration.

I have been doing much writing lately, mostly poetry. I resigned from my position at A-1 Writing Academy as a member of the Daily Devotions team. I found that taking the time to write so many devotions was taking away from my time with the Lord in the mornings. This is something I can ill afford to surrender. Occasionally, I do send devotions to non-Writing.com email lists that I have established.

This past week has been very interesting. My wife went to a retreat for women in Wichita, Kansas, so I was ‘home alone’ for a few days over last weekend. On Friday evening, a week ago, I was going to visit a friend who is ill – Lloyd, a man in his late sixties. He has a very weak heart and now he has developed lung problems and is not faring well. I was planning to drop by his home on my way from work on Friday evening. When I was almost to his house, I acquired a case of ‘cold feet’ and thought it better if I just go on home and call him on the phone. As I thought this, I felt the Holy Spirit prompting me to continue on to Lloyd’s home, which I did. I am glad that I did. Lloyd was very weak and I did not stay long, but it was a time we both needed. Lloyd needed company of someone who cared and the visit brought me out of a dry season.

My wife and I celebrated our fourth anniversary on Oct.11. (We are both previously married; Melody was married for nineteen years and I was married one month short of twenty-five years.) We celebrate our anniversary by staying at a bed-and-breakfast south of Branson, Missouri. We were planning on departing on Wednesday, Oct. 10 and staying three nights. On Monday, in the wee morning hours, I awoke with an intense pain in my left kidney that never subsided. I endured the pain for about three hours before I finally gave in and allowed my wife to take me to the emergency room at the local hospital. It turned out I had a kidney stone, a very painful ordeal. I was given some meds for pain and nausea and sent home after three hours, when the pain finally subsided. The doctor informed me that it would take two or three days for the kidney stone to pass through my system and prescribed plenty pain medications.

As I was still in pain on Wednesday morning, we contemplated canceling our anniversary get-away, but being an old hard-headed native-born Texan, I was determined to go, which we did. I did okay until Thursday night and early Friday. I was hurting so bad, with an accompanying fever and chills, that we decided it best to go home. As we lay in bed, my wife prayed that the kidney stone would pass through my system. About two hours later, Melody was preparing to go explain our situation to the owner of the bed-and-breakfast. At that time, I went into the bathroom to ‘relieve’ myself, when out comes the kidney stone. I was not in any more pain. It is Saturday morning Oct. 13 as I write this, still at the bed-and-breakfast, using my laptop. All pain is absolutely gone and we give thanks to God for answering Melody’s prayer.

While here, after the stone passed on Friday morn, we went to a shopping center – one of those outdoor types – my wife is an avid shopper. While she was in the stores, I was still a little weary from my battle with pain and pain pills, so I sat on benches outside. Two times, elderly men came and sat beside me. I have always criticized my inability to communicate adequately. It seems I freeze up and just don’t know what to say. But, as I listened to these men talk, I realized that they both had stories and merely wanted to share them with someone. Though God did not make me a good ‘talker,’ He did allow me to be a good listener. I am thankful that both of these men felt comfortable enough with me to tell me their stories. (They were both edging seventy years or better, and I am edging close to the sixty mark.)

God is good. He has a plan and purpose and knows how to bring us out of those dry seasons.

kansaspoet
Larry
I don't know that I have a favorite person in the Bible, but many I can relate to or strive to be like.

Most recently I'd say Nehemiah has been an encouragement to me. He stopped and prayed before everything. Even before he spoke knowing the direction God had for him, he quickly prayed. I can't say I'm that diligent in my prayer life. I can tend to see where God is directing me and then go ahead and don't always stop to pray each step of the way for continued guidance. So I'm striving to be more like Nehemiah.

Hezekiah, was also great. He was an encourager of people. He didn't focus on what was visible and was a great man of faith. The faith part of Hezekiah is an encouragement to me as I falter many times in this arena. I love to be an encourager of others. Hezekiah led people to spiritual renewal and that resounds with me as it's what I hope to do with my own writing.

As I've been going through the Old Testament this year, I've learned (and relearned) about people in the Bible that are such an encouragement as well as a warning of what NOT to do. It's been a fun journey actually!!
There are many people I admire in the Bible. Personalities from both Testaments carry virtues and characteristics to which all of us could hope to emulate. Loyalty, trust, honesty, dignity, courage… all traits are personified by many different people. It’s hard for me to choose one, but I’ve been lucky!

I live one hour from Ephesus in Turkey, considered one of the most important Christian sites in the world. I have visited the city four times in the last 18 months, and each time I return I learn something more. While Ephesus is a wonderful blend of Greek, Roman and Christian cultures the theory that one of its most famous residents spent the last years of his life there has meant I’ve spent a lot of time reading and researching John the Apostle.

It is believed John wrote the Epistles of John, the Gospel of John and the Book of Revelation at Ephesus. He was the first Apostle to acknowledge and accept Jesus after His Resurrection. He was said to be closer to Jesus than the other disciples, and when Jesus entrusted him with the care of his mother John took her with him to Ephesus. Her house is situated on a hill overlooking Ephesus. Three popes have travelled to Mary’s home.

With Peter John was tasked with making the preparations for The Last Supper. He sat next to Jesus that night, and with Peter followed Jesus to the high priest’s residence after His arrest. John stayed with Mary and the pious women at the Cross after the Crucifixion. He was imprisoned with Peter, and both men are considered important figures in the founding and establishment of the Christian Faith.

For his faith John was plunged into a vat of boiling oil by the Romans. When he showed no physical injuries from this cruel punishment he was banished to an island close to Ephesus. After witnessing the miracle of John's survival of the ordeal of the boiling oil the whole Roman community living at the site of his punishment converted to Christianity.

John is said to have instructed Polycarp, who would become Bishop of Smyrna – the former name for Izmir, the city I now call home. Saint Polycarp was martyred when he was stabbed after an attempt to burn him at the stake failed.

The Basilica of Saint John is in the town of Selçuk, and I’ve been fortunate enough to visit the site. It’s a peaceful place, very simple amid ruined marble columns and broken slabs. John was the last of the disciples to die, and the only one who died of natural causes.

I admire John the Apostle because his love and faith in Jesus was absolute, and his commitment to his faith has been a wonderful basis for Christianity. His love for Jesus extended to His mother, and despite suffering some horrible ordeals his faith never wavered.
A Non-Existent User
Jesus Christ presents the example of how we should live, and yet it can be a challenge to live like him. A local church body went through some major battles five years ago and has struggled through hard times to get back on their feet with a different pastor and a new congregation. But the shadow of the past has raised its head again. It is greed that caused a vindictive family from another church to bring a lawsuit after so many years to try and bankrupt an already struggling church.

It is human nature to get angry if someone does us wrong. It is human nature to want to strike back (or pray that God strikes back on our behalf). But Christ admonishes us to go beyond human nature when he said "love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you." How often do we forget those words? What would the world be like if we all lived up to that standard?
A Non-Existent User
I had almost forgotten about the campfire and thought it had died, so I am so glad that's not true. I feel like I want to pile on the logs and huff and puff until it's all ablaze! I can just imagine sitting around on a warm summer's evening, with your faces lit by the flickering flames. With that in mind I will give what I have from the top of my head - no polish!

I've read through the valuable contributions again - a good feeling - but feel that I have already 'done' my fav biblical character, so risking Andra smacking my legs for being cheeky, I'd like to change the subject:

"Where are we right now?" By that I mean in our present circumstances, with God.

The last two years have been the hardest in our lives for my wife and I and I have wondered at times whether we would get through. Tempered by the fact that this is the length of my membership in WDC, which has been a revelation. Through illness and an accident, my wife nearly died twice - no exaggeration - during that time and I am still in recovery from chronic fatigue.

With our 'backs to the wall' all this has made us reach out to God as never ever before. It's made us look to our priorities and attitudes and consider what we are about. Because I didn't have the answers in my helplessness and inadequacy, it brought me to an end of myself and I surrendered to God as never before. We have refused to give up, but give over to Him.

Our life is in the slow lane at present, but we never cease to be amazed at what God achieves when we step out on our little adventures. We've just returned from a week away. Not all that far, but to us it seemed like going to the North Pole, but every little detail worked out effortlessly as we went with the flow! Praise God. I should also say that my wife and I are closer together than ever.

It still goes on.
I have a longing for more.
I believe the best is yet to come!


Where am I now? Good question. My faith is strong and true. I know that my Heavenly Father loves me and is watching over me. Of that I Have no doubt. However, the move last August threw us for more than a loop or two. Financially I've allowed my worries to overcome my mind...even though time and time again God has shown me He is in control. Emotionally I'm doing ok...depending on the day. I miss our church family, miss having other Christians to count on and turn to and my walk is kind of at a stand still...without the structure of church or a bible study I haven't done much bible study or reading...I know the things God wants us to do--get involved in a new church and be His hands and feet in the community but I struggle with how to make it happen and so I go nowhere. I believe I am on a path educationally that God has placed me on...but I dont' know how to respond when people ask me what I'm going to do with the degree (Professional Writing --minor in Journalism) because I'm not sure what God's plan is....but the outside world doesn't get it--and I find it embarressing to tell them I don't know. I'm not ashamed that I've followed God's leading on this...I'm grateful...and I'm not going to waver...this is what God would have me do and I have faith He will see me through.

I do believe God is here, in this place. I want to be walking with Him...I know He has much to do in me...and much He would have me do. I guess it's time to get in gear and find out where He would have me be in this community. I wish I could do another walk to Emmaus...maybe it's time to work a walk....

Hmmm, time to hit my knees.
A Non-Existent User
Where are we right now with God? Good question!

Actually, I haven't been on Writing.Com for a very long time, and I wouldn't blame anyone if you all forgot me. However, I do want to continue in this campfire, so here is my answer.

Right now, I am in Training with God. I can see this very clearly, for He has put me among people who have hard hearts and blind eyes that they cannot see the Truth.
Most days I am challenged by others because of my Faith. They ask me why I do this, and why I don't do that.

But Praise be to the Lord that He has always given me a piece of Scripture to refer to so that I may be able to defend my Faith with the powerful Words of God!

However, I could say that I have been a little ignorant to what He wants me to do. Currently, I am in South Korea in vacation. I'm Korean, and because I went to England at a young age (Then to Guatemala and now to the US... my father is a missionary) I'm not very good at Korean. So it came that my father is now going all around Korea preaching since a lot of churches asked him to come and speak, I was rather bored and irritated that I had to follow my dad being the little "Pastor's Son" that plays the violin.
I only realized a few days ago that THIS is the dream that I had for years. To be a pastor; an Evangelist. Yet, what I was doing was sigh and get into the car and anticipate "another boring day at a church I've never been to surrounded by people I've never seen before when I could stay at home and read and play around."

How selfish of me to not realize that this, too is training. Therefore, now I'm glad that I get to be the PK/MK praising God and following his dad around to churches.

I'm anticipating God to strike a Home Run again on me. A revival of my spirit and my heart would strengthen me so much.

However, His Power, and His Love never ends.
For that, I am glad.

Soon, my Summer Vacation will end and off I go to the US and to my school. May God be with me in the school where I am sure to be attacked by others for my Faith. But as the Bible says,
"I can do everything through Him who gives me strength."

Hallelujah!
Where am I with God right now? With Him, which is a far cry from where I was just six months ago. Let me explain.

I was raised by a very devout mother in the Roman Catholic faith. As a youth, I not only went to church every Sunday, I went to church every morning. I not only went to church daily, I served as an altar boy at daily Mass. My faith in the Holy Trinity was strong, and in my junior and senior years in high school I felt a strong vocation to serve in the priesthood. It took some strong persuasion by several people to keep me from entering the seminary after I graduated.

Unfortunately, attending college in the heady days of the late Sixties, the days of free love, sexual liberation, drug use and political activism, turned my steps off the Lord’s path. As is the case with many young college students, the more I learned, the less I understood. Even attending Georgetown University, a Jesuit-run school, I fell in with a very secular, leftist group of fellow students who managed to persuade me that I was foolish for believing in a God, much less leading a life of service to Him.

My faith in God was destroyed, or so I thought. I, too, started scoffing at believers, classifying them as gullible at best and unthinking or uneducated fools at worst. For the following three decades, I lived a life of generally good deeds, but of no religious faith whatsoever.

Then, on a cool December afternoon in 2002, I learned that I had contracted diabetes, and that this illness had in turn caused End Stage Renal Disease, a failure of kidney function. It wasn’t long until I had to start a treatment of kidney dialysis, a regimen that, unless I get a successful kidney transplant, I will have to undergo every other day for the rest of my life. I have to pay special attention to my health to avoid a premature death.

This kind of news has a way of stopping you on a dime and making you re-evaluate every aspect of your life. Less than one month before I began my dialysis sessions, country star Tim McGraw released his sensational hit “Live Like You Were Dying.” The lyrics of the song had a very profound effect on me. Like the subject of the song, I “took a good long hard look at what I’d do if I could do it all again.”

One of the things I looked at was the absence of the presence of God in my life. At first, I was skeptical of my own motives. Even though I look forward to living many more years, there was an element of “deathbed conversion” to my thoughts. The old saying about there being no atheists in foxholes came to mind.

I started making myself more receptive to spiritual thoughts and feelings. At the urging of a relative, I took another look at Zen Buddhism, a subject I had approached quite a few years ago. While I learned a lot, I ultimately felt that Zen was a good tool for eliminating distractions in my life, but didn’t really offer the kind of positive, affirmative solution I was looking for.

Several other beliefs and religions passed under my lens, including Hinduism, Daoism, and Baha’i, but none of them really lit a fire under me. Intuitively, I felt that if God were truly speaking to me, He was speaking through His only Son, Jesus Christ.

Fairly recently, due to the subtle yet persuasive ministry of a number of people including a few on this Writing.com site, I finally opened my soul to the Holy Spirit, stopped fighting and resisting His influence, and allowed my steps to turn back onto the path of faith.

So, to answer the question “Where am I with God?” I have to say that I’m in a good place. I have accepted God back in my life and am working hard to surrender to His will. It has been fairly easy to accomplish this task, as a number of minor “miracles” have happened to me in the days and weeks since I cast aside my agnosticism and rediscovered the faith of my youth, nurturing the growth of my faith.

My conversion has shocked some of my acquaintances with its apparent suddenness. I explain it thusly: I think that I have never rejected the core principles of Christianity, and have tried to live my life according to them. I turned my back on God because I became disillusioned with organized religion, specifically the weaknesses I saw in the Catholic Church, and threw the baby out with the bath water.

Today, I believe in God, but I live my spiritual life as an unaffiliated Christian. My aim is eventually to find a suitable church to join and share in fellowship, but I don’t feel an urgent compulsion to do so at the moment. I will probably be moving from North Carolina within the next ten months, so I may wait until after the move to make that decision.

I’m definitely on a journey of faith, and I’ve been chronicling my thoughts as I follow the path in a book here on Writing.com entitled Invalid Item . I’d be delighted if you stop by from time to time and read what I have to say. WdC won’t allow comments by readers on more than one blog, but I’d be eager to hear your thoughts and suggestions by e-mail here on the site.

God bless all of you who are participating in this “Sharing Your Faith” campfire, with special blessings for vivacious for starting and organizing it, and for graciously inviting me, such a long-time unbeliever, into your midst.
Wow. Though I've looked forward to my turn since wayfarerjon changed the subject, now that I stare at this open window, words don't come easy.

Reading your answers as well as rereading all the additions prior, I'm left amazed and awed at how God has worked, and continues to work in our lives.

The question of where we are with God today is a timely one for me. 9 weeks ago I began a Bible study entitled "Experiencing God." Calling it a Bible study, however, is a bit of a misnomer. It's more of a God study. The focus is not on the Bible, but on how to build a strong, personal relationship with God using the Bible as a guide.

I admit to being comfortable in my relationship with God. Sure he's challenged me, I more often than not felt him near, but I also felt like I was in a holding pattern. I've been taking Bible study classes (Discipleship 1-3) for the last three years, but not applying what I learned. I knew that, but at the same time felt no nudging in a specific direction on where to apply my new knowledge.

With this new study I now feel God's nudge. It's as if the previous studies were preparing me for this. I compare it to (since I'm a math geek) learning the multiplication tables, then understanding how it applies to even the more simple tasks of grocery shopping: If I buy 23 apples at $0.25 a piece, how much will I spend?

While I don't see (though I have a fuzzy idea) of where God is taking me, Experiencing God is teaching me to trust God - that the path is clear for him and that's enough. I merely have to learn to hear his voice and obey his commands.

That's a tough one, obeying God. In the States we're taught at an early age to be self-sufficient and self-reliant. To depend on others let alone an unseen God is considered weak - if not insane. It's hard to give up control, or at least the illusion that I have control over my life.

So where am I with God right now? I am but a soldier sitting at my campfire (no pun intended) and waiting for my Commander to convey his orders.

I'm eager to find out where God will lead me.

Yet for the first time in my life, I don't mind the wait.
What a wonderful surprise to see "Your Turn" in my inbox this morning, and after reading all the comments before me, it is no surprise that this forum has been missed by many.

Where am I with God today? This question leaves me gawking at a blank white space with an ever blinking cursor that seems to mock me, which at the moment, exactly mirrors that space between my ears. Why should a simple, straightforward question be so difficult to answer? My mind rushes to offer up a plethora of responses, but my heart knows that all are nothing but empty and rather pathetic excuses. It dawns on me that the reason the question is so hard is that it demands honesty... both to the question and to myself. And being the prideful, selfish human that I am, I must steel myself for the task.

The truth is, I haven't been to church in months, and I can't tell you the last time I picked up the Bible. There is no logical or reasonable answer as to why, just an abundance of excuses. Does this make me any less a Christian? I certainly hope not. Would going back to church and reading the Bible on a regular basis strengthen my faith? Without a doubt, yes. Which brings us back to the original question at hand: Where am I with God today? All I can give you is what's in my heart and hope that it will satisfy you, myself, and most importantly, God.

There are few things in this world of which I am certain, and given the current climate of anger, greed and corruption, is it any wonder? The only things that give me any sense of sanity and surety are those things that cannot be seen, that are deemed intangible in the ordinary sense of the word:

*Bullet* I know I am a child of God - that we are all children of God.

*Bullet* I know that all of the good parts of who and where I am come from God.

*Bullet* I know that those parts of the world that are dark exist because God's light is absent.

*Bullet* I know that there is nothing I've done to deserve God's grace, but it is mine just the same.

*Bullet* I know that without Him, I am doomed to a fate better not known.

Well... that's my story and I'm stickin' to it!

May the peace of God be with you all. *Heart*
Hi, everyone. I hope you don't mind me squeezing in and getting a little closer to the campfire. I've been sitting back in the bushes listening to all of the great comments and insights and I think I'd like to join in the discussion. I'd like to add a little to the current topic, but I'd also like to present a different subject – one that I've been struggling with for a while. I'm looking forward to hearing how others feel.

First, where am I with God? Well, I know that I am with God continually throughout my day and He is with me. I have a constant undercurrent of peace, no matter what the situation, knowing without a doubt He is in control. I can't imagine living life without that peace. Yet, despite that, I know I'm not doing all that I can do for God.

There is real truth in going about your daily life and being a Godly influence to others – without doing much more than letting God's light shine through you. People notice. And every once in a while, people do more than just notice – they want what you have. Keeping God's light visible through our own lives is a huge part of his ministry. Yet, for me personally, I feel I should be doing more. Challenging myself and breaking out of my comfort zone to better serve God. To do a better job of reaching out to those in need, and doing a better job of sharing my faith. It's not an easy thing for someone like me who is naturally quiet and comfortable being alone and working alone.

So, where am I with God? Well, I'm full of joy to be wrapped safe in His loving arms, with the hope and promise of eternity swelling in my heart, but I also know He expects more from me.

The other topic I'd like to discuss – and one that I struggle with at times – is prayer. How do you pray? I do not struggle with this topic to the point of dampening my faith or anything that extreme, but I do struggle with prayer. This is a subject my wife and I have discussed many times, yet we continue to see it a little differently.

Throughout my years of praying, I have never prayed for 'stuff'. No requests for homes, cars, jobs, etc. In fact, when I was younger I would never even pray for myself because for some reason I thought it was selfish and wrong. I got over that in time, but usually my prayers for myself centered around having strength, direction, wisdom, insight, peace, etc. to deal with a certain stage in life or a particular event. Prayers for others were fairly similar.

Yet I've noticed a pattern in my own prayer life – much of the time what I've prayed for hasn't come to pass, but usually something completely different. There were times I admit I would get a little bitter about that, but after giving just a little thought, I realized that God did answer – just not the way I wanted or expected. This seems to happen more often than not when I pray. What I expect to happen rarely does. Yet God's way always seems to work out just fine. :)

Which brings me to my question – one that many others have contemplated: If God is in control and will do what is necessary to perform His will, then why do we pray at all? After all, He's going to do what He wants anyway, right? However, the bible says we should come to Him with everything. It also says we should ask for anything and if it's according to His will it will be granted to us.

So why come to Him at all with a request? If it's His will, it will be done, regardless of our request, right? I admit, this part of the prayer life confuses me some. That, and the 180 degree opposite answers from a high percentage of my prayers. Because of this, I've changed much of my prayer life to simply thanking God for being in control. He knows what I'm facing each day. I don't have to remind him. Yet, when I keep my prayers to only prayers of thanks, sometimes I get this nagging feeling that God is disappointed in me for not bringing my everyday struggles and requests before Him.

How do you pray? Is there such a thing as a wrong way to pray? I don't believe so. I think as long as we're sincere in our communication with God – and He definitely knows if we are – then it's all good. I'm anxious to hear how others feel about this topic. Thanks for welcoming me to the fire...as if you had a choice! :)
Mmm the campfire feels good. As does being here with all of you. Where am I with God? Its hard to say right now. I feel like He has never left but I am dragging my feet back to him after a time in the weeds of the world. My husband has found a church that we both can agree on and we've been attending together now for about 6 weeks. I know this dosen't make me closer or better to God but it opens the spirit I think to His voice. And church going is obedience.

party of five to answer your question about why pray.
I think its about relationship. Sometimes my husband has already made up his mind about something but he still want my input. It may not change his mind but he can discover why I hold certain opinions and can explain his process to his desicion. God is not going to change His plan but having a relationship with God can make you feel better about the plan. And Jesus says that God the Father gives good gifts just ask.
Anyway I know this short but I hope to have more to say I know people better
I am probably more aware of God today than at any time before in my life. And that’s not because of what’s happening in the world today – it’s because I live in a Muslim country, and the perception of God here is greatly varied. The God of this part of the world is generally a figure to be feared. Sure, He is respected, but I find the way He is perceived in this faith makes Him a frightening being.

That’s not to say I question my faith or my beliefs. I would say I find myself validating my thoughts about God and the role he plays in my life. While the people I’ve met from this part of the world are generally more “liberal” in their attitude towards God, I do know there are many people in this country who have a more fanatical approach to their relationship with God.

So I find myself asking what kind of a God will praise a man who believes women should have no rights. I find myself searching for answers, and unable to find anything in the Bible that refers to women as lesser than man. It is said 65 percent of the women living here expect to be beaten, if not by their husbands then by another relative, usually their grown son. Women are generally not allowed into the mosque – why? Women are, in many parts of the country, expected to cover their heads and their bodies.

One of the Ten Commandments tells us not to kill, so why would God bless a person who plays the role of suicide bomber, killing innocent people when committing the dreadful act? While I know that the fundamentalist believers are the minority in the Muslim faith many of the extreme beliefs in that faith have caused me to examine my relationship with God. And I know this has brought me closer to Him, because by studying His Word I am analysing my own life and relationship, not only with God but with the people I love and care about.

As a result my own faith is stronger, and I am now more ready than at any other time in my life to listen to Him. It’s a good feeling.
A Non-Existent User
I thank God for the power of prayer. We can sometimes underestimate its importance or ignore it when God puts it in our hearts to pray for someone. The Bible teaches that the Devil wants to steal, kill and destroy, particularly when it comes to God’s children, so it is of great importance when God calls you to pray for someone.

I was on the way home from rehearsing a play at a local college. It was dark out at 6:45 PM and I was driving home not particularly concerned about anything and I stopped for a red light at a busy intersection. I didn’t see the train. I saw a light about the same illumination as a flashlight, but I couldn’t see the train. The city of McAllen doesn’t have proper lighting at railroad crossings. The red light in front of me hadn’t changed, but it started blinking. I had stopped on the train tracks. I couldn’t back up because another car was riding my bumper. I couldn’t go forward because of the traffic crossing the intersection. I inched the car back and the rail that lowers to keep cars from foolishly crossing train tracks when the train is coming came down on the roof of my car. I was stuck. The rail raised and I thought it was over, but the light remained red and they started blinking again. The rail came down a second time. I could see the light of the train engine inching forward. It had just disconnected its cars and was easing forward. I crossed the tracks and turned the car merging with the traffic. My heart was racing, but I was alive and thanked God all the way home.

When I got home a half-hour late I learned that at precisely 6:45 PM when I was sitting on the railroad tracks my mother felt the need to pray for me. I could feel those prayers and there is no denying that God was with me at that moment. But what if she hadn’t been praying? I don’t even want to think about it.

So when God gives you a mandate to pray don’t hesitate to answer. Don’t hesitate to get on your knees and intercede for others. Because you may not know the difference your prayers can make at that exact moment.
A Non-Existent User
I have been inactive on WDC for a while, for reasons that will become clear, but hope that this fits in with the flow of the campfire.

Why do I pray?

I Pray because deep down I need to. There’s a built in longing, and at times a burning desire for intimacy with Father God. I discovered that’s how He made me and that’s what I am made for. It may not appear like it sometimes, when I go my own way and seemingly ignore God. But I have learned - sometimes very painfully - from my past behaviour patterns, that if I don’t give priority for such prayer, then eventually I may suffer, mentally, emotionally and even physically Also, in a way that I don’t understand, like in any love affair, so must God miss out.

This intimate heart to heart communion with God, referred to as ’abiding’ or ’resting’ in John’s Gospel, is the bedrock and everything - actions, intercession for others etc. - stems from it. This abiding has often carried me through some desperate times, like for example the last eight weeks.

I had just received a phone call informing me of test results that indicated it was highly likely that I had cancer. I put the phone down and instinctively reached out without thinking and almost immediately the words came, “Will you go all the way with me?” Surprised, as I couldn’t see the connection, I agreed and then next “I will work miracles for you!” I sat with my wife and we both prayed and received an assurance that all would be well!”

These words carried me through what followed. Examinations, tests, scans, X-rays and consultations. Almost immediately I was placed on hormone therapy plus several week’s of various anti-biotics to try deal with an infection from the biopsy. The drugs sapped my energy and triggered a relapse in the CFS I thought had long gone and I experienced dizziness and vertigo. Through all this I tried to remain hidden, wrapped in Father’s cloak safe from the assaults, arrows, darts of fear and doubt and even bombs - was I going to grow old before my time? - that seemed to threatened my very existence. A battle was raging outside but I knew I didn’t have to fight it, just abide.

One anxiety that dogged me was wondering how on earth I was going to have to weather the seven weeks of radio therapy that had been suggested. How was I going to manage it physically and more importantly, how my disabled wife would cope. I couldn’t get my mind around it, nor could I hear what God was saying, so just surrendered it all to Him.

The day we went to see the oncologist dawned. To our surprise he said that after a second hard look at the scan results he’d had a change of mind. Because there had been a spread from the prostate to a couple of bone spots, then radio therapy was out of the question and I was to continue with the HT. Contrary to what he may have expected I saw this as good news and a tremendous relief. We saw him as God’s man and this was God’s answer. It gave God freedom to work His way.

So more prayer and more abiding.

- and I have hardly started to answer the question, “Why do I pray?”

Christmas Blessings to everyone.
I'm sorry it has taken me so long to get to this. Life just gets crazy.

I'm kind of in the dessert right now. I know God, love God, and trust God. I want His will in my life. A year and a half ago, when we moved--we left our church andmost of our church family behind. It has been a struggle and we havne't really found a church we feel like we belong to.

We have a church that we've gone to a few times and where our oldest is involved in the youth group. But I struggle because of a lack of feeling that I belong--and because I'm afraid to belong. The associate pastor used to be at our old church. He's a very intelligent man who sees keenly inside. He's been there for me and for my husband many times. But when he left--he ceased being there. I'm afraid of getting attached into this church to have the spiritual leader leave and I don't want to just be there because of him.

Recently I've been struggling with depression--in part because of the above mentioned and in part because of some other things in life. I emailed back and forth with this man--and while it gave me no more answers, it at least help release what I've been feeling.

I think, I'm probably supposed to let go and trust God to see us through all of this. I'm just not sure how. I know that God will be there regardless of where we are. I'm just really having trouble taking that first step--and that saddens and ashames me...because no matter what my faith in God is still there--but I'm not using the gifts He has given me. And I'm not sure where to go from here.


I'm not sure that this belongs here--and if it needs to be deleted I'm ok with that...then again...what better place to share where I am in my faith...

blessings to all
Vicky
As I have already discussed the question “Where are you with your faith right now” in my previous entry on the campfire, I thought I’d change the subject, with all of your kind indulgence…

Do you honor Lent? This past Wednesday was Ash Wednesday, which in the Roman Catholic Church and most other Christian religions marks the beginning of the forty day period prior to the most significant feast of all in the liturgical calendar, Easter: the triumph of Our Savior over death and the redemption of our sins.

I remember in my youth in New York fifty years ago, it was easy to spot a fellow devout Catholic on Ash Wednesday: we bore the ash mark pressed on our forehead by the priest who celebrated Mass. I remember feeling buoyed to see so many women and men proudly displaying their profession of faith on their faces, even in secular, commercial New York City.

Lent is a special time. It’s forty days of sacrificing, self-denial, and contemplation. It’s an attempt to follow Our Lord, who spent the same length of time in the Judean desert, alone, fasting, praying, and preparing for His upcoming ministry among the people of Israel. I recall as a schoolboy being told by the good Sisters to compose a list of three things I would give up for Lent and three things I would do during Lent in the name of Jesus. I usually swore off eating candy, buying baseball cards and reading comic books. On the positive side, I would promise to go to confession every week, do the Stations of the Cross, and attend daily Mass. The last of these items became an ingrained habit, and I either served Mass as an altar boy or at least attended daily Mass until I went to high school.

As I return to the faith once again in the sunset of my life, I’ve made some pledges of my own for this Lent. I find I’m re-experiencing the anticipation of wondering if I’ll be able to keep them throughout this penitential season.

How about you? Do you have memories of Lent from your childhood? Are you planning to give up doing something you enjoy, or to do anything special in a positive way in preparation for Good Friday and Easter Sunday?

May His peace and blessings descend on all of you. And may I request your prayers for the mother of a good Christian and friend of mine on this site, Iowegian Skye ? Her Mom received news recently that she has breast cancer. Your kind thoughts and prayers will be appreciated...

First, I would just like to say that am am in constant prayer and WDC members are on my heart. Prayer is such a powerful thing... I don't know how one lives without it.
Recently, several friends and I started a prayer group every morning before school to gather and pray specifically for our school and the believers in it; that they would remain stong and grow, and that those who have yet to gain a relationship with Christ would do so.
I have a teacher who is a proclaimed athiest, but he's always very respectful of others and their beliefs, and God put it on my heart to pray for him, so I asked him if there was anything I or our prayer group could pray for for him. Surprisingly enough, he gave us something. He is deciding wether he is going to teach in America or Lao next year. But he only told me this after telling me what he though of prayer.
He believes that prayer is good because it calms the person praying and sends out "good karma" into the universe. It seems to me that that is an awful way to live life. Believing in something so shallow and non-fulfilling. He doesn't believe in anyone who hears prayers and cares. He doesn't believe in answers to prayer. Its just so bleak.
Prayer is an amzing tool God has put in our arsenal of weapon against Satan. The amazing thing to me is that God already know's what's happening... but he WANTS us to talk to him and tell him about it anyway! He wants a connection and relationship with us, and he promises he'll ALWAYS listen! God doesn't get bored and he doesn't give bad advice. God is the best friend anyone can have, and all you have to do is talk to him and follow him... which we should want to do anyway.
This is why prayer is such a steady part of our diet, and I have a prayer request for you all. My friend Danielle is struggling with Bulimia right now, and i'd like you all to keep her in your prayers. She could really use them.
Stay strong in Christ, he's the one who loves you most.
To answer Carolina Blue 's question: Growing up 'unchurched' and then attending one that didn't stress the importance of Lenten sacrifice, I've not considered observing Lent until this year.

I recently attended a writers conference (you can read more beginning with this entry: ""You had to choose science fiction"), and God impressed upon me to concentrate less on writing for others and for publication, but on Him through prayer, worship, and reading his Word.

My sacrifice this Lent will be on not writing unless it's worshiping and praising God (with the exception of a few promised entries I made prior to Lent).

Included in my prayer list is Iowegian Skye and her family.

God doesn't get bored and he doesn't give bad advice.

inky , I love that comment! All too often I want to swallow my prayers because I think, "God's heard that before. Think of something else."

He then reminds me through Romans 8:26: "And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words."

Perhaps I need to repeat my prayers not for God's sake, but those I pray for, or my own.
Being Luthern (WELS) and not Catholic, it's not a prerequisite that we sacrifice anything during the Lenten season, although I must say, it has crossed my mind. Instead we focus on the ultimate sacrifice: God giving his only Son that we might live.

Like vivacious , I grew up 'unchurched'. When I was 17, I made the decision to be saved and baptized in a southern Baptist church. Some 20 years later and 1200 miles further north, I took catechism classes and became Lutheran, which was the way my husband was raised. All five of our children were baptized and went through the three years of catechism classes.

Talk about opposite ends of the spectrum! The gap between southern Baptist and Lutheran is pretty wide in terms of worship style. The Baptists (at least in my experience) are prone to boisterous, gesticulating, rather loud hell-fire-and-damnation sermons. And then you have the subdued, almost genteel Lutherans that go strictly by the book of Lutheran protocol. If it's not on the church calendar or in the church bulletin, it doesn't happen. Personally, I'd like a church somewhere in the middle. One of these days I'd love to shout, "Hallelujah" or "Praise the Lord" just to see what would happen.

Romans 8:26: "And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness.

Thanks for the quoted scripture vivacious ... there are times when I truly don't know what to pray, because I've said it all before. I think, surely God must tire of my lame, limp attempts. So somtimes, I just acknowledge that He knows my heart, my troubles, my worries and my joys. And then I lay them at His feet.

On another note, I was so tickled to see "Your Turn" in my mailbox! It's been awhile. *Heart*
A complete change of subject here, because Lent was almost a year ago!

Faith has been on my mind a lot during the last six months. Exactly three years ago today I moved from Greece to Turkey. The cultural differences between the two countries have been difficult to come to terms with, and the religious aspect is almost impossible.

I can admit here that once the novelty of living in an exotic country like Turkey wore off reality set in, and it has been hard – on both my husband and myself. The last year has been even worse; not only is the country growing more and more fundamentalist but we also lost all the money we’ve saved during the six years we’ve been away from Zimbabwe. That was our pension, and the loss has been made worse by the sacrifice we made to come here. We gave up our homes, our families, our friends so we could come here and build a foundation for our old age. Allen Stanford stole that dream – nearly half a million dollars.

The religious aspect has been especially difficult. I have found the misogynist undertones of this country’s faith are reflected in every day life. I live in a village where most of the women cover their heads... where the men sit at the cafe drinking cup after cup of Turkish coffee... where the women sit outside their homes on the weekends trying to sell their homemade bread, fruits from the garden and handcrafts. The massive, gleaming mosque in the village summons men to prayer five times a day... but no woman may enter a mosque. If she does there is a specific area set aside for her.

I drive a car with a foreign number plate, confirming my ex-pat status. I have had male drivers behave appallingly on the road. The Turks have warned us that many men do not like to see a woman driving a car – she should be at home where nobody can see here. Most of the shopping here is done by men, and if their wife/wives are with them they trail behind the husband, pushing the baby or young child or holding their hands. The young girls do not cover their heads; that custom is reserved for their mothers.

Chillingly the differences between the two faiths are clearly defined. When we ask how the Islamic people feel about the poppy being grown in Afghanistan, funding a war against the western world who consume the drug produced by the poppy, they tell us it is acceptable – as long as the drug is not destined for consumption by a Muslim. Other people have told us that the stricter clerics will tell their followers that if they cannot convert a person to the Islamic faith then he should be struck down. Executed.

I look at my faith, which generally preaches tolerance, respect and love. And I yearn for the comfort and hope it offers me. If there is a church here I would not attend, through fear. Several Christians have been attacked in the country since we moved here, and I am ashamed to say my faith is not strong enough to warrant being beaten or knifed with very little recourse for my attacker. Yes, perhaps this makes me a bad Christian, and it’s something that upsets me terribly. I worry that perhaps my faith is being tested here, and I am being found weak. I don’t like thinking of myself as a coward, but right now I am. I wonder if the fact that I do attend church when I am in Zimbabwe proves I have a strong faith... but I don’t know.

The date for our departure from this country is drawing closer, and for me it cannot come soon enough.
I was baptized into the Catholic faith when I was 14 days old. I belong to Jesus because of the water and oil that was put on my forehead. (Supposedly, I didn't make a sound, I smiled a genuine smile that day. When I was in 2nd grade, I made my First Holy Communion. Little girls wear replica wedding dresses because He is the Bridegroom whose body and blood I received for the first time that day. In 6th grade, I was confirmed. The Holy Spirit came to rest upon me that day. I added the name Theresa to my name. At first, it was so my name would spell out NATS (I thought it was a cool word then, don't have a clue why now. lol). Anyway, St. Theresa of the Little Flower is the Americanized name of St. Therese of Lisieux (any French majors out there that would care to e-mail me with the correct pronunciation of the last word would be greatly appreciated.). She lived only 24 years. She left a legacy of her "little way" to accept Jesus with childlike faith. That can be a hard one to live up to sometimes, at least for me anyway. Therese has promised to "send down a shower of roses from heaven" when needed most. I love roses (as you can tell by my handle here) and have many things with rose motif. I do not pray to her, I pray through her. All prayers ask her to ask Jesus for help. Just like if I asked a person to add me to their prayer list. My favorite people in the Bible are the Apostles, because they didn't quite "get it" sometimes. They struggled with their faith, even though Jesus was right there with them. (See Mark 4:35-41). Sometimes I feel that same way when a few days later, I realize that He did answer my prayer, or when I try to figure out something that I should leave completely to Him.
My life is a good one, albeit frustrating at times (I am handicapped with three chronic illesses and chronic impatience. I'm that kind of Christian that says, "Lord
give me patience, but I want it NOW! lol). He allows me to swim, to take water aerobics, to ride a bike (and adult tricycle), to write, and to live with the most fantastic Mom around, what else can I ask for?



What can I tell you about my relationship with GOD?

I love HIM because HE first loved me.

*Smile*

Pray with thanksgiving and let your requests be known to God!
Hi all, and especially the new ones. Welcome! My apologies for not adding my contribution sooner. It's part busy, part forgetfulness and part lazy.

I've heard a lot of talk about a person's "life verse." It's that one verse that either gets you through tough times, or describes your life and relationship to Christ in a single sentence.

For a while I pooh-poohed the idea myself. I can't break my life down to a single verse. My life changes from day to day, as does my faith's ebbs and flows.

My favorite verses also cannot be broken down so easily. Each has multiple personal meanings that would take too long to explain.

Until I ran across Ecclesiastes 7:13, that is. In the NLT (New Living Translation) it reads, "Accept the way God does things, for who can straighten what he has made crooked?"

I've heard how God will make our paths straight as long as we're walking with Him. I contend the opposite, even without knowing the above scripture. God's path is full of twists, turns, and more uphill than down. I can never see past the next bend, and it's frustrating to say the least. God only tells me what I need to know, not what I want to. He never (or at least rarely) gives me a glimpse of what's in store. He makes me wait; he makes me trust that he knows what's ahead, and him knowing is enough.

Yet there are times I want to straighten that path. I want my life to be easy, to be free of hard times and worries. I want to get everything I want -- not necessarily need -- without having to work or fight for it.

Which is why I think God chose the above verse for me to live by. To accept his ways above mine. You'd think after my 40+ years on this planet I would have learned by now -- through experience -- that whenever I chose to take a detour not of God's design, I end up in failure. If I had followed Him to start, I would have saved much of that frustration, worry and heartache that I'm always fighting.

God's way is never easy, never straight, but more often than not, a pleasant surprise. What the next turn will reveal, I have no idea. I am, however, learning to look forward to it instead of worrying about it.

I now ask the same question of you. Do you have a "life verse" and if so, why does it mean so much to you?
Alas, as with all campfires, they all must be extinguished at some point, especially when the fuel runs out. It's been a great journey, and I hope some return to read all the contributions. There's some great stuff here.

The End!

© Copyright 2006 vivacious, ~Wind in my Wings~, C.L. Hanna ~ *Writer For Hire*, xx-xx, xx-xx, letgocling, David McClain, Sarah, PastVoices, xx-xx, xx-xx, anima profundi, hoosiermomma2, xx-xx, Carolina Blue, partyof5, Lani, inky, rosepetals, ruwth, (known as GROUP).
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