September is a month of memories for me because my mother’s birthday was September 13, 1878. She lived until June of 1964. The book, Under the Gooseberry Bush, has many splendid stories of her exemplary life and if you do not own it, you can see here on my website how to get a copy. It has 104 stories in it and her life is shown with many of her traits and teachings.
Today I am writing this entry for the second time, for the first one, I completed and all the extra spaces edited out. I was getting ready to do a rewrite when it simply disappeared. I saved it once while working on it to the file with the word September abbreviated and the final file was saved with the word spelled out, so there are two files showing with the titles and that is all. It shows at the bottom line, “page one, words 0” and both files show empty!!!They are off somewhere in the stratosphere. Now I begin again.
On FB I told the beginning of a story and promised that I would finish it on this September blog. However, I will begin at the beginning so that anyone reading this who did not read the Facebook part will have the whole story.
The reason for the writing of it was a post from International Mission Board from a couple who had served eighteen years in a country where Buddhism was the way of life and the religion of the people, and their ministry had not brought a whole lot of fruit, but these two dear people had the faith to believe that it is God’s timing and that their ministry would bear much fruit as He allowed. It was a story that showed their faithful service and as an encouragement I wrote this story in part, to show that it is hard, but that these words of scripture are literally true and can be trusted. “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” Heb.4:12 NIV.
Now, here at this point I will show what I believe it means when it says it is living and active. This is where the water hits the wheel in anyone’s Christian testimony. When Paul wrote the letter to the Romans he began by going all the way back to the prophets and brought them up-to-date through the first eleven chapters of what a great heritage we have been given by God in sending His Son and goes into the Doxology of praise at the end of the eleventh chapter after which he then says , “THEREFORE, I urge you , brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as LIVING sacrifices holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will b able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
It is when this scripture is taken literally and acted upon in the way it is described in these words, that God implants His living Word into the person’s most vital life—that is in the place of subconsciousness where the spirit is that causes the heart to beat and the human breathing to take place involuntarily! This is how the MIND is renewed! It is now REGENERATED , (brought to life from the dead) and made into a truly spiritual creature who now walks around in a physical body but the whole organism has been transformed now into a spiritual being . The word “transformed” is a synonym for the word, “metamorphosis” and that means it is a NEW creation altogether!! Here at this point the new creation begins the process of allowing the Lord to change all attitudes of the heart into the spiritual nature of the person that will live for eternity! There then the Word of God so implanted in the creature is now living and active.
The person now is able to read scripture and that Holy Spirit of God has made the darkness that covered the mind before the transformation, all light and as such the mind is illumined to the right understanding of God’s Holy Word. It can be totally assimilated by the spiritual mind and the thoughts and attitudes of the heart are now being guided into paths of righteousness for the glory of God!
I went into that bit of background so that we can know full well that the Word of God is there in the mind and heart of the one with the renewed mind! God can use this person and supply every mental need for the babe in Christ is not allowed to remain in that stage! He has the Third Person of the Godhead in residence, and as the babe responds to the spiritual food, there is spiritual growth of that new body which the Lord is busy causing to grow inside the person’s own spirit and that is the reason for the obstacle course that He allows to intercept along the journey. The spiritual body is being developed by the prayer life and the constant study of His written word. The five senses are going to be challenged all along to cause the spirit to respond and to grow strong.
Now we come to the one who at age thirty-four was led by the Holy Spirit into offering her whole being to the Lord to be all that she could be in Christ. The Lord accepted her offer and many years of service followed with confirmations of Ephesians 3:20. As His word promised in Psalm 92, she was able to bear fruit in old age, so at this point we will change to first person and tell of this event that happened in early April of 2016.
I was getting ready for a trip to Virginia where I planned to attend the annual conference of the Virginia Church Library Association. I went for a manicure and was helped by a lovely girl. I noticed right away that she spoke English without any trace of accent so we chatted about my nails and how I wanted them done. After a few minutes of casual remarks I told her about the planned trip and what it was about,. She was amazed. I asked, “Are you a Christian?” She answered, “No, I am a Buddhist.” I said, “Would you like to hear why I’m a Christian and why I would like you to know my Lord Jesus?” “NO! she said, emphatically, and then explained, “All of my family is Buddhist and I would never want to do anything to make waves—that is, to upset them and give them grief.” “I see,” was my instant reply. And I immediately asked, “How old are you?” “Twenty-three,” she replied. I exclaimed, “You are just the same age as my two granddaughters! One born in April and the other one in August so they have grown up together.” Then I went on, “They are both through college and are working now. They are precious to me.” I then told her a little bit about their childhood and seeing them grow up and then I said, “They are grown now and they live in their own apartments.” At this she was making comments showing she was impressed to hear this and I said, “Yes, they are quite independent and they are good girls, both are keeping themselves pure until they are married.” At this she exclaimed, “What?” I think she was shocked that an elderly woman would even mention the subject, but I went on as if she were commenting on the girl’s purity. I said, “What does the Buddha teach about the sin of adultery?” She looked thoughtful and said, “I don’t know of any teaching, but we have family traditions that we hold to.” I also looked thoughtful and answered, “The Buddha was a good man and he left many great teachings, and although he lived at least five or six hundred years before Jesus lived, still he died and his tomb is there for all to see. And his teachings….” I paused here and it was she who said, “Are not enough!” I agreed at once and said, :”It seems to me that since you are twenty-three years of age you are old enough to make your own decisions and most especially when it is a matter of life and death.” She said “Life and death?” I said, “Yes, and for eternity!” “Well for a matter of life and death, I can make my own decision” I then said, “Well, in that case shall I tell you the story of Jesus who gives us the gift of everlasting life?” She said, “Yes! I want to hear it.” I asked, “Have you ever heard any of this story before this?” She said, “ I have never heard any of it.” I said “That means I must tell you the whole story and that will take time. Is this going to keep you from your work?” She said, “No, we are not busy. As you see, I have no customers waiting, so go ahead, I want to hear it all. I decided,,” she added.. I then felt perfectly free to tell her a concise story of the Creation and Fall and all of God’s dealing with sinful mankind , bringing her up to the Nativity; this I quoted from the story in Luke’s gospel, and went on to tell of his visit at age twelve to the temple and from there into his ministry, crucifixion and the wonderful Resurrection—then of his being seen by over 500 witnesses and of his Ascension and the promise of His return. All along the brief account that the Lord gave me to tell her, she was listening with wide eyes that were sometimes filled with tears, but when I came to this point, she became derisive. This is where she had heard on radio or teevee, predictions of His return which did not happen, so that caused her to want to take this lightly, so she laughed and smirked, “Oh,yes! He’s coming back. I know about that.” I saw what was happening and the Lord brought His word to my mind at once! I said, “Yes, he is coming back! If I had my Bible with me I could show you what the martyred Apostle, Peter, said about that. He said as time went on that people would say, “Where is his coming—all these years have gone by and he has not returned.” Then Peter reminds the reader of how God covered the whole earth with water and all those unbelievers perished, and this time, the reason he has delayed his coming is because he is patient and long-suffering toward humanity—not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. All That includes you and it includes me. All means everybody needs to come to God, because no one is without sin and Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. He wants everyone to be saved. It is for your sake that he has not returned and you still have time to come under his care.” At this she broke down and wept and I asked, “Are you ready to ask the Lord to bring you in?” She nodded and I said, “Then you say these words, “Lord, I ask you to make me your child. I am sorry for all the ways that I have offended you and I ask you to help me in living for you so that I will be able to help my family to see the light and to come to you. Amen. She followed through with that and came out rejoicing and saying, “Oh, I can’t wait to text my boy friend!” I then took the time to counsel her about the church and how that she would find friends there to help her to be strong.
I believe this story shows that the words of scripture describing the Word of God are literally true, and although the walls that shut him out are high, and strong, they cannot match the power of God’s word, living and active. You might wonder why the Lord led me to go all the way back to the garden and the first parents. I do not use a “canned” process in presenting the Lord’s claim on a person’s life. The Holy Spirit must first be there to open the door to that person’s inner self, therefore I always pray before I approach anyone by saying, “Lord, I am listening. If you open the door I will go in and speak for you.” In that way, if the door had remained closed when I tried again, then I would have known that he had kept the door closed and I would have not tried again. Since he led me all the way, I followed the gleam of His Spirit and just went along as He led in telling the whole story. That was not something that I do in every case, for everyone is different and the Lord sees the heart –the part that I do not see, and that is why we must trust Him to lead the way. That proved to be the good, pleasing and perfect will of God!