People who know Mickey and me today, know us as ministers. We’ve pastored a church, written books, have been speakers and missionaries. We also have a terrific family with 4 married children, 14 grandchildren, and one great grandchild.
We love life and love each other.
Many people know that the source of all of these blessings is our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. What many don’t know is that each of us had very dramatic encounters with Jesus which turned our lives around.
I want to share my story here…
It Was the End of the World As I Knew It…
I was lying face down on the floor of my suburban Atlanta home. Shattered. Exhausted. Afraid.
I had a good job and three adorable daughters. But I was overworked, trying to take care of everyone and everything. I was tired, emotionally drained, and constantly worrying about the well being of my daughters.
You see, two years before, I had gone through a very painful divorce that had left me feeling ashamed and lonely. My family didn’t believe in divorce. I didn’t believe in it. But there I was.
The world I had known had ended. The world that had started out seeming so good…
That world had started in college, when I wanted to think of myself as an intellectual. So when I read books written by a leading “scholar” from Yale Theological Seminary, I believed them. After all, he was from Yale. He must know what he’s talking about, right?
And when this “scholar” attempted to remove all of the miracles from the Bible, not much was left. I began to doubt my faith.
It seemed the fad in those days was to denounce or “modify” Christianity. I was attending a Liberal Arts College with a supposed Christian orientation, and one of our courses was on the Bible. So we analyzed and looked for “myths.” And one of the professors with lots of charisma pointed out many concepts which he considered to be myths.
Once again, I thought the professor was smart, and I believed him.
The outcome was that I continued to consider myself a Christian, but with modified beliefs. I no longer understood what the life of Jesus had accomplished. I began to think of Him as a good man. Like many other Good Men who headed up other world religions.
Soon after college, I married a like-minded man, and we began our lives together. I loved decorating our home and entertaining friends. Over the next thirteen years, I gave birth to 3 beautiful daughters, and loved being their mother.
It started out as fun. Lots of ballgames. Plays. Concerts. Travel. Parties.
The Bible had been moved back from the frontlines. Society began to dictate my thoughts and my lifestyle. I wanted to be up to date on the latest styles and topics. To know what was going on in the world. To read the latest books.
After all, my active social life required that I would be up to date on these things.
Oh, did I mention that this social lifestyle also included lots of social – and maybe not so social – drinking? Well it did.
And arguments. And more and more confusion.
In fact, things got so that they weren’t much fun anymore…
Then came the crash…and a crash it was!! A bitter divorce.
Depressed, lonely, angry, and afraid, for the next two years, I attempted to put together a single life that made sense to me. But all I could find was overwhelm. My job provided most of our needs, but I was exhausted.
So the night came when I had had enough. As my adorable girls slept, I fell face down on the floor of my den and I prayed.
It wasn’t a traditional prayer.
Forget all the books. Forget all the intellectual rhetoric.
I had a tremendous need for help.
Who cares what some professor thinks now?
I was desperate…
Jesus, if you are real, I need you. And I want you in my life.
What happened next was astonishing. It was almost instantaneous. The tears left. The fear, the sadness, the overwhelm disappeared. What was left was overwhelming joy.
It was shocking. Could this be real? What’s happening?
In an instant I had changed. I knew that Jesus was alive, and I knew that He had impacted me. I felt a warmth like liquid love being poured out on me.
I had no idea of the adventurous life He was about to lead me into. I just knew that everything was going to be O.K.
The next few days are memorable because I could tell that I wasn’t the same. My attitude – toward people – toward my own life – was different.
And I had a hunger to read the Bible. I threw off the concepts which I had borrowed from others, and began to allow the Bible to speak to me personally. And it was speaking volumes.
I ran across the verse which says,
If any man be in Christ he is a new creation. Old things are passed away and behold all things have become new. And all of these new things are of God. (II Corinthians 5:17).
That obviously had happened to me. I could tell that I wasn’t the same. Amazing!
I remember that encounter with Jesus as if it happened yesterday, but really it happened to me many years ago.
The end of my world was the beginning of a new one. A world with more clarity. More understanding. More courage. More love and faith. And true happiness – which can only come from our Father God.
A few years later, I met my current husband who also had had a dramatic encounter. His story is different, but he too met Jesus personally while alone in his home. And he too had a dramatic change in his life. Soon after our marriage, we had a son to go with our three daughters.
We have spent the last few decades on an adventure with God. Never boring. Many times challenging. But always filled with a knowledge of God’s love and care for us.
We’ve seen many miracles along the way.
Now your own personal encounter can happen for you also. You don’t have to be in a church. It can happen in your home – or anywhere.
Here’s the thing…
With every other religion the purpose is to follow a certain set of rules – or a certain philosophy. They all sound good. They all promote compassion toward others and doing good deeds
What I had never understood before my salvation was that with Jesus, it’s not about believing a philosophy or following a set of rules. It is about literally receiving His Spirit, the Holy Spirit, to come and live inside of us. Making us new. Fresh. And Alive. Truly being Born Again.
You see, the other dead philosophers are not living in our realm. Jesus is. He was resurrected and is alive. He is in heaven, but His spirit is here living inside of us when we receive Him. Right here. Right now.
My prayer is for you, as you read this, to have your faith strengthened, If you are a believer.
If you are not a believer, let me encourage you to seek Jesus. Ask Him to show you the truth. Is He real? Yes, He is. And He is eager to turn your life around also.
Your story won’t be like mine. Every one is different.
But Jesus will begin a new life which you never knew existed. A life of love, peace, and great joy.
And as you continue, you will grow in your understanding of who He is and who you are in His Kingdom.
You’ll read the Bible with fresh eyes. Verses will leap off the page and you will know that your Heavenly Father is speaking to you personally.
My prayer is that you, too, seek Jesus.
Do it! The love of God is waiting for you.
I love Wednesday nights at church. It seems that almost every week when the time rolls around, I feel too tired to go – but I go anyway. And every week I leave with more energy than when I came.
Last night was no different.
We had several missionaries present, and they really inspired me. One of the speakers was a young man who has been called to evangelize Spain. It would be easy to pooh-pooh such an assignment, since such western nations are tons of fun to visit. Yet visiting the nation and evangelizing the nation are two different things, and the latter is hard!
Across Spain, there are many who know abut Jesus, but relatively few who truly know Him as their Savior. They are often religious, but seldom born again – and that makes it harder then usual to reveal the truth of the Gospel. Yet, through the leading of the Holy Spirit, this young man and his family are impacting the entire nation for Jesus – especially among the youth. (more…)
The little girl, curls bobbing, confidently nestled into the chair right in front of the podium. She had almost run from the very back in order to acquire this select spot. She didn’t want to miss a thing.
All around her the adults smiled at her anticipation, but they were perplexed. Children didn’t often desire to be up front. It was unusual for children to exhibit such excitement over such events.
Then Oral Roberts, the famous healing minister climbed onto the platform, and a hush came over the audience. Praise filled the tent and an amazing night of God’s presence was underway. This was one of his famous healing services during the days when Dr. Roberts carried his huge tent from city to city.
The little girl was not disappointed. Her jaw dropped as she saw a grapefruit-sized goiter disappear from a lady’s neck. And there was much more. Person after person received God’s touch – straightening legs, healing cancer, and delivering from depression.
The girl was hooked. At 10 years old she had witnessed some of God’s miracle working power, and she knew from that moment that she wanted to be part of His miracle-working army.
Several decades have passed since that moment.
Last week the evangelist who was that little girl came to our church and it was obvious that she and God have maintained that special connection. Elaine Hollmer has a healing ministry with many testimonies. And a boldness for God’s purposes which is rare. She has made a name for herself as one of God’s “stokers.” When the coals grow dim in the hearts of Christians, God sends her to stoke them, causing the flames to rise again.
Over the decades since I became a Christian I have seen many people come and go. I have known men and women who at one time were on fire for God, but whose hearts have grown cold. There are others who are still going through the motions, but you sense that there is a quiet desperation in their ministry.
Not so with Elaine Hollmer. She exhibits greater zeal – and greater fruit – than she did the first time I saw her many years ago. Full of love, full of anointing, full of God’s healing touch, and changing lives in the process.
Elaine’s diligence is evident. “Through faith and patience she has inherited God’s promises,” (Heb. 6:12)
You can’t stay in ministry for decades without some challenges coming your way. I don’t know what hers have been, but I know that she has met them head on.
Something very interesting is that when you see a person who has walked closely with God for a number of years, you see a sweetness and humility which can only come through time. But also a boldness – and does she ever have boldness! A holy boldness which stirs hearts for more of God.
Well, I’m stirred.
We have some exciting years ahead. There’s a Great Awakening on the horizon and I want to be a full-fledged participant, don’t you?
Let’s Stay Strong – and Finish Strong.
When we delve into the history of our country, it’s remarkable how many of our leaders were devout Christians. To know that for certain, we can take a look at some of their comments. Let’s take a look at some words from our fathers. You may be surprised.
Signer of the Declaration of Independence
I John Hancock, . . . being advanced in years and being of perfect mind and memory-thanks be given to God-therefore calling to mind the mortality of my body and knowing it is appointed for all men once to die [Hebrews 9:27], do make and ordain this my last will and testament…Principally and first of all, I give and recommend my soul into the hands of God that gave it: and my body I recommend to the earth . . . nothing doubting but at the general resurrection I shall receive the same again by the mercy and power of God. . .
Will of John Hancock
Governor of Virginia, Patriot
This is all the inheritance I can give to my dear family. The religion of Christ can give them one which will make them rich indeed.
Will of Patrick Henry
Robert Treat Paine
Signer of the Declaration of Independence
I desire to bless and praise the name of God most high for appointing me my birth in a land of Gospel Light where the glorious tidings of a Savior and of pardon and salvation through Him have been continually sounding in mine ears.
Robert Treat Paine, The Papers of Robert Treat Paine, Stephen Riley and Edward Hanson, editors (Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 1992), Vol. I, p. 48, March/April, 1749.
[W]hen I consider that this instrument contemplates my departure from this life and all earthly enjoyments and my entrance on another state of existence, I am constrained to express my adoration of the Supreme Being, the Author of my existence, in full belief of his providential goodness and his forgiving mercy revealed to the world through Jesus Christ, through whom I hope for never ending happiness in a future state, acknowledging with grateful remembrance the happiness I have enjoyed in my passage through a long life. . .
Will of Robert Treat Paine
Signer of the Declaration of Independence
My only hope of salvation is in the infinite, transcendent love of God manifested to the world by the death of His Son upon the cross. Nothing but His blood will wash away my sins. I rely exclusively upon it. Come, Lord Jesus! Come quickly!
Benjamin Rush, The Autobiography of Benjamin Rush, George Corner, editor (Princeton: Princeton University Press for the American Philosophical Society, 1948), p. 166, Travels Through Life, An Account of Sundry Incidents & Events in the Life of Benjamin Rush.
Signer of the Declaration of Independence, Signer of the Constitution
I believe that there is one only living and true God, existing in three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. . . . that the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are a revelation from God. . . . that God did send His own Son to become man, die in the room and stead of sinners, and thus to lay a foundation for the offer of pardon and salvation to all mankind so as all may be saved who are willing to accept the Gospel offer.
Lewis Henry Boutell, The Life of Roger Sherman (Chicago: A. C. McClurg and Company, 1896), pp. 272-273.
Signer of the Declaration of Independence
I entreat you in the most earnest manner to believe in Jesus Christ, for there is no salvation in any other [Acts 4:12]. . . . [I]f you are not reconciled to God through Jesus Christ, if you are not clothed with the spotless robe of His righteousness, you must forever perish.
John Witherspoon, The Works of John Witherspoon (Edinburgh: J. Ogle, 1815), Vol. V, pp. 276, 278, The Absolute Necessity of Salvation Through Christ, January 2, 1758.
Many thanks to http://www.wallbuilders.com for providing these documents.
The year was 1985 and our family was visiting my parents on the southeastern coast of Georgia. This is where I had spent my “growing-up” years, and I loved it. As my husband and I drove over the causeway to Sea Island, we were overwhelmed with the beauty – the huge Live Oaks, the windswept trees, the sand dunes, the meticulous landscaping, and the array of extraordinary vacation homes. Each home was unique, but each was manicured to perfection – and very expensive.
I had taken this drive many times over the years and had loved it. It was refreshing and intriguing to see the variety of homes and landscapes, and awesome to think of the money required to maintain such a lifestyle. Splendor and more splendor…
But this time it seemed different. (more…)