Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Staying On Holy Ground & UPDATES on Jimmy Neff & Max & Makeya Brown

"Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses,
let us lay aside every weight and the sin which doth so easily beset us,
and let us run with patience the race that is set before us..."
Hebrews 12:1

I have a confession to make.
There are some sins that have the strength to very easily beset me.
There are some paths of temptation on which I dare not take the first step.
Because if I take one step, I will more than likely be drawn in...
just like a vacuum.
The power of the hold of certain things that entice me is very strong.
Way stronger than me.
So, I have learned, through painful experience, that it is in my best interest
for me to just leave certain things alone....period.
To run...at the first sight or sound of their luring pull.

One of those painful learning experiences happened when my career in banking was in full swing.
One of the assignments given to me, along with some other employees,
 was the tedious task of  investigating an inside embezzlement plot that had been successfully carried out by one of our peers/co-workers.
She had managed, over the course of several years to swindle the bank,
along with many unsuspecting customers, out of somewhere around the tune of a million dollars.
Through clever manipulation and creating fictitious accounts,
she had figured out a way to filter funds, in a non-suspicious way,
that would somehow always end up in her pocket.
She duped the bank for years, until finally, it all caught up to her,
she was investigated, arrested, and ended up serving several years behind bars.

In the course of my investigative duties, I had to drive to the main office of the bank,
which was around 50 miles or so one way.
This gave me lots of time alone in the car, which can soon become monotonous & lonely.
So, I usually did what anyone else would do...
I flipped on the radio the minute I got in the car.
There was one particular station I preferred over all others,
because the preaching and uplifting music continually nurtured and nourished my soul.
Every now and then, I would feel temptation luring me to turn the radio knob
from that spirit-filled programming to a station that played songs
I used to listen to that were not so spiritually-nurturing.
I kept up a firm resolve for quite some time, choosing to ignore the temptation
and opting to keep saturating my mind with things that drew me closer to God.
I knew full-well that if I gave in, I would have a less spiritual day,
based solely upon how that "other" music had spiritually drained me in the past.

I'll never forget the day my resolve crumbled, and I finally gave in.
I. Turned. The. Knob.
Soon, I found myself drawn in...way back to my teenage years...
just by listening to those songs.
Melodies have a way of doing that, don't they?
Even the first few notes of a song can propel a person backwards,
having the most profound effect on the emotions, mood, and temperament.

I knew when I turned the knob that day where I was headed.
I had been there before.
I knew I was leaving holy ground...
and venturing away from a place I could readily hear that still, small voice of my Creator.
I made the conscious choice to do it anyway.
And, let me tell you, it took me to a depleted spiritual place I don't ever want to revisit.

That first time of giving in was not so easy.
I valiantly fought the urge for quite a while.
But, once I gave in that first time,
the next time, it didn't seem quite so difficult.
And the next time, it was even easier.
Day after day, as I made those mundane treks from Palm City to North Palm Beach,
I allowed temptation to draw me in, and I opened the door to my mind,
permitting those spiritually-draining lyrics to permeate my thoughts.

Lyrics like,
"Mama's gonna worry,
I've been a bad, bad boy,
No use saying sorry,
It's something that I enjoy."
(Flyin' High Again, sung and co-written by Ozzy Osbourne & 3 of his band members.  The lyrics were admittedly written about drug use.)


"It's two a.m., the fear has gone,
I'm sittin' here waitin', the gun still warm,
Maybe my connection is tired of takin' chances;
Yeah, there's a storm on the loose, sirens in my head,
I'm wrapped in silence, all circuits are dead,
I cannot decode, my whole life spins into a frenzy.....
Soon you will come to know,
When the bullet hits the bone."
(Twilight Zone, sung by Golden Earring, & written by the group's guitarist, George Kooymans)


"I keep looking at the sky 'cause it's gettin' me high,
Forget the hearse, 'cause I'll never die,
I got nine lives, cat's eyes,
Using every one of them and runnin' wild,
'Cause I'm back,
Yes, I'm back, Well, I'm back,
Yes, I'm back,
Well, I'm back back,
Well, I'm back in black,
Yes, I'm back in black."
(Back In Black, sung by AC/DC, & written by group member, Brian Johnson to express his feelings about deceased former band member, 
Bon Scott, who died from acute alcohol poisoning five months before Brian joined the group.)

"If you got bad news, you wanna kick them blues,
When your day is done and you wanna run,
She don't lie, she don't lie, she don't lie;
(Cocaine, written by J J Cale & made famous by Eric Clapton, who admitted that when he recorded this song,
he had kicked a serious heroin addiction, but was filling his body with cocaine and alcohol.)

Okay, so you get the picture.
Lyrics such as these are not exactly conducive to holy living.
Let's face it.
Maybe someone much stronger than me could allow words like these to infiltrate
their minds without being spiritually affected.
Perhaps someone else may not plunge themselves into perilous spiritual territory,
simply by allowing their minds to wander to the places these lyrics describe.
Some of you will probably wonder why I am so weak.
Why this simple turn of the knob sent me reeling into one of the worst bouts of depression
and spiritual warfare I have ever battled through.

I'll tell you why.
Music is....has the potential to be...one of my besetting sins.
Depending on the lyrics, it can lift my spirits and elevate me so close to the heart of God, that I feel Heaven filling my soul,
or it can drain the spiritual life out of me,
dropping me into a dungeon of despair and hopeless discouragement, in the process.
I am deeply moved and affected by music...either for good or bad.
I don't personally think we should ever underestimate its power and influence.

This continual spiritual drain went on for I don't know how long.
I felt God condemning me, but it was like I was caught up in a whirlpool of temptation,
and I was powerless to pull myself away from it.
I hated the way I felt after filling my mind with it,
but I kept doing it anyway.
Music can become an addiction to me...really quick.

After several weeks...maybe months...I found myself extremely depressed,
and foolishly wondering why.

Keep in mind, I was still praying, reading my Bible, and doing all of the things
a "good" Christian should do.
But, as soon as I would fill up my spiritual well,
I would turn around and drain it dry by filling my mind with words
that blatantly defied what I believed.
There is tremendous power in spoken words.
"Death and life are in the power of the tongue."  Proverbs 18:21
There was a literal war of spiritual death vs. spiritual life, good vs. evil...
going on continually inside of me.

I couldn't shake the depression.
It was present with me...all.the.time.

I prayed so hard for God to help me,
and one night, as I was praying,
He spoke the truth I needed to hear....
"You opened the door."

I didn't need to ask.
I knew exactly what He meant.
His words penetrated and pierced through the cloud that continually hung over me.

He immediately took me back to the day I turned the knob....
that opened the door...
to my heart...to my mind....to my soul...
the way I had let that first yield to temptation turn into full-blown "besetting" sin.

The word "beset" in today's verse literally means....
to surround,
compass about,
thwart in every direction,

A besetting sin is a binding sin.
One that becomes a master.
One that thwarts spiritual progress.
One that hinders a Christian runner from running full speed...or running at all.
One that becomes an obsession and holds a powerful hold over.

I remembered the scene,
riding along in that nice, new, air-conditioned, comfortable company car.
I couldn't argue with Him.
I knew He was as right as He could be.

I knew that this besetting sin was impeding my spiritual progress...
that it had stopped the day I gave in to the lure.
And in the process a gulf had begun to be stretched between me and God.
Because God will not compete for His rightful place in our hearts.
He allows us to follow our own free will and make our own choices.
If we choose the forces of evil over Him,
He, being the gentleMan that He is, will allow it...
and He will step aside, giving it first place.

This gulf between us was causing me to feel a deep, aching void
and a sense of overwhelming sadness and depression.
The longer I kept giving in to something contrary to His holiness,
the farther from Him I drifted, the more the span widened, and the worse I felt.

As He spoke to me that night in prayer,
I decided that I wanted Him...more than I wanted to keep clinging to my besetting sin.
I comprehended the strength of its grasp upon me.
My eyes came open to the fact that listening to it and allowing it to hold that amount of power
over me was vying for God's spot in my heart,
and boxing me in to a level of bondage that was controlling my mind and thought process.
And being separated from the One I love most was making me incredibly sad.

So, I made the choice to let it go.
I came clean with God and repented from the heart.
I made a determination right then and there that, by God's grace, I would stop.
That I would be careful what I allowed to enter my mind.
That I would "lay aside the sin that did so easily beset me."
That I would no longer be its slave or allow it to pull me down....
under its control and sway.
That I would make the conscious choice to stay on holy ground.

We all have them,
whether we want to admit it or not.
Each one of us have things that "easily beset us" and draw us away
to a place that is distant from God.
As followers of Jesus Christ, there are just certain influences we would do well to stay away from.
You know what your "besetting" sins are...
as well as I am familiar with mine.
Our besetting sins may be worlds apart,.
What tempts and draws me in to a place of bondage,
may not even effect you that way at all.
What boxes you in and becomes your master may not be in the least bit persuasive to me.

Do you know that hearing the first few notes of a classic rock song has the power to lure me in...
to this day?
Did I permanently slay the monster of temptation in this area?
Absolutely not.
Not even close.
I'll tell you the truth.
If I gave in, right now, if I clicked over to youtube and pulled up any one of those songs,
if I turned our radio dial to any one of those stations,
I could be drawn back in...in an instant.
I know this.
So, I have a choice to make...every, single time the tempter comes around.
I can either give in, and allow myself to experience the consequences,
or I can stand firm, and avoid them.
It all comes down to whether I want to remain close to God...or not.
It all boils down to what matters most to me.

I have learned the hard way to try to avoid this besetting sin.
Not long ago, we were on vacation, and we walked in to a restaurant for dinner.
We were seated in a nice, secluded corner, and opened our menus to check out our choices.
There was a speaker right over my head, and I heard the DJ's voice say,
"Classic Rock".
It is all I needed to hear.
I looked at Kevin, he looked at me.
He loves music, too, though he has a lot more strength than I do.
He can take it or leave it and isn't so susceptible to its influence.
He knows my battles so well.
"Can we go?" I asked.
"We sure can", his eyes were kind and held a depth of understanding that needed no further words.
That is one of the sweetest parts of being with the same person for so many years.
They just know...they just understand...you just have that history together...
and it is beyond precious.
We kindly and politely left without ordering anything.
It is just that important to me to keep this closeness with God.
I don't want to trade it for anything...no matter what or how compelling it is.

Besetting sin territory is not holy ground.
In order for me to stay "in tune" with God, I have to tune out the noise that competes with Him.
Lyrics are words, and words are very powerful.
They can literally speak life, or they can speak death.
They can invoke God's voice, or they can convey the messages of satan.
If you listen to the glorification of drugs and the glamorization of evil long enough,
they won't sound or seem so damaging or disturbing to you.
If the message of getting high is pounded into your mind long enough,
you will start wondering what could be so wrong with it.
Especially, when it is presented to you when you are discouraged
and you are listening to words that assure you they are the answer to your problems.

Remember Moses?
God had a message to give to him.
He pulled Moses aside from outside noise and interference to a quiet place
where He had his full, undivided attention.
Granted, he was not nearly as inundated with noise like you and I are in today's world,
but there were other noises and voices that he had to contend with and avoid
in order to hear God's voice and remain close to Him.
When Moses was completely listening, God told him to take off his shoes,
 because he was standing on holy ground.
It was there that God gave him profound and clear instructions concerning his future
and what he was meant to do.

Do we really want to miss anything God is needing to say to us?
How can He speak clearly and directly when we are filling our minds with
everything BUT His voice?
How can we expect to maintain a close relationship with Him when we are continually
feeding on the very things He hates and that are in total opposition to His character?

The things we allow our eyes to see and take in,
the words and sounds we listen to and absorb,
the atmospheres we permit ourselves to inhabit...
all of these are having an effect on our spiritual life,
whether we realize it or acknowledge it.

"For we wrestle not against flesh and blood,
but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world,
against spiritual wickedness in high places."
Ephesians 6:12

Our fight is not a physical one.
It is spiritual.
And so many of the things of this world are controlled by spirits
that are direct enemies of the Spirit of God.
These are what we fight against.

I am not saying we can always remove ourselves from the areas
of the temptation of our besetting sins.
What I am saying is that we should do so whenever it is at all possible.
Why invite added spiritual battles?
If you know something is going to bring you down and directly impede the sweet communion you have with God, why not distance yourself as far away from it as is humanly possible
to avoid distancing yourself from Him?
Why indulge in it, knowing full well it will leave you drained, emptied, and void of the intimacy with God you cherish and crave?

I have had to learn the hard way.
Unfortunately, satan knows our weaknesses.
He is a formidable opponent who remembers where he has tripped us in the past,
therefore, he knows where to attack us,
what traps to set,
and which weapons to use against us.

The Apostle Paul knew this.
In 2 Corinthians 2:11, he said,
"Lest satan should get an advantage of us:  for we are not ignorant of his devices."

If you would like to read more about his struggles, read the 7th chapter of Romans.

Just as satan knows us and our weak points,
so we are not ignorant of his devices.
We have seen his track record, and we know where he has been successful in defeating us in the past.
So, when he presents those temptations again, we would be wise to turn from them,
and RUN in the opposite direction.

I don't know about you, but I have found in my spiritual walk that when I have given in to these temptations and allowed myself to stray, I find that it is so incredibly hard to regain the spiritual ground I have lost in the process.
It is just not worth it to lose that ground anymore.

The great news is this....
"For Thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive;
and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon Thee."
Psalm 86:5

No matter how many times we fail.
Regardless how often we stray.
God's loving heart is full of mercy,
and He is always standing near...arms wide open...and ready to forgive.

Praise His name!

So, what is your besetting sin?
What is the thing(s) that has/have the tendency(ies) to draw you in and take control of and beset you?
What temptation(s) have you yielded to only to find yourself distanced from God?

No one can answer these questions other than you...and Him.

The thing to ask yourself is this...
what do I want more?
The temporary, quickly-fleeting gratification I am going to feel from yielding to this temptation
or the sweetness of knowing He is pleased with me,
and the precious fellowship of walking close to Him?
Which do I treasure most?

Jesus said,
"For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."
Luke 12:34

A word of warning...just because you say no and walk away from temptation today,
does not mean, in any way, that satan will give up or that you are permanently off the hook.
Trust me.
Unfortunately, he will be back.
He will offer it again...because he knows it appeals to your flesh,
and he has entrapped you in that area in the past.

Be ready for him.
"Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil."
Ephesians 6:11

If your experience is anything like mine, this armor will need to be put on...daily.
Putting it on today will not suffice for tomorrow.
You will have to purposely and intentionally don this armor every, single day,
in order to be equipped and prepared for the spiritual warfare you are guaranteed to face.
Believe me, satan is not going to let up.
If you are down or spiritually depleted or unprepared for his attack,
he will pounce even harder.
He has no pity for you...or me.
He has had a lot of experience, and he makes the most of it.

Here's the best part, though.

"Ye are of God little children, and have overcome them:
because greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world.
I John 4:4


"...in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us."
Romans 8:37


"He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness."
2 Corinthians 2:9

"...for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my Helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me."
Hebrews 13:5,6
"...we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; 
but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin."
Hebrews 4:15

Jesus was tempted.
The same as we are...
through His eyes, His ears, His flesh.
He was tempted, and He did NOT sin.
He never gave in.
Not one, little bit.
He held a firm resolve.
He is our Example.
He is our Helper.
His grace is sufficient, if we will ask Him for it.
We are overcomers...more than conquerors, 
but only through the enlistment of His resources.

I wish I could tell you that it will get easier as we go along,
and as we approach the last days, but this couldn't be farther from the truth.
I promise to always speak truth here...
without fluff, not sugar coated, and not watered down....
however difficult it may be to swallow,
for two reasons.
First, God will one day hold me accountable, and I don't want to fall short.
(Ezekiel 33:6)
I do not write Homespun Devotions carelessly.
Ever.  Not one post.
I'm not here to entertain, to draw attention to personal ambitions, or to blend in with the masses.
I realize that behind every set of eyes reading these words, there is an undying soul,
who will one day face God, and I do not take that reality lightly.
God help me.
Second, I care about you, and it is my goal to encourage you 
and to help you on your journey to Heaven.
I want to spend eternity with you there.
We do not want to miss it, my friend.
It will be worth whatever it takes to get there.
Dear Lord, help us all.

Jesus said,
"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."
John 8:32

The truth of the matter is, it is not going to get easier.
"But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived."
2 Timothy 3:13

The seduction of evil will become ever more powerful, 
as we approach Jesus' coming and satan realizes his time is shortening by the minute.
His ultimate goal is to claim every soul he possibly can, 
and he will pull out all stops to make it happen.

When faced with his evil, conniving, tempting lures, the thing to do is pray.
And be prepared...ahead of time.
It is not a matter of "if" temptation comes,
it is a matter of "when" it shows up.
None of us are exempt.
Regardless how saved, dedicated, sanctified, or set apart we think we are,
we are vulnerable.
Because no matter how sanctified we are, we are not yet glorified.
We have not yet attained the celestial body He will one day give us...
free from pain and sickness and vulnerability.

Until then, let us endeavor and do what it takes to stay on holy ground.
Let us be selective as to what we allow to enter our minds,
to infiltrate our spiritual realm,
and to permit our affections to go out to.

While you're praying, how about saying one for me?
That I will be faithful to God.
That I will fulfill His will and do what He asks, no matter how difficult it may be.
And that His purpose, not my agenda or any form of self-promotion,
will be accomplished here at Homespun Devotions.

This is His space, not mine.

He can do with it what He will.

God bless you for your patience in reading this very long account of what
He has placed upon my heart. :)
Several months ago, I requested prayer for my childhood friend, Jimmy Neff,
who was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer, brain cancer, & adrenal cancer.

I just got the news tonight that, in spite of all of the radiation,
chemo-therapy, and medical treatment,
his lung and adrenal cancer have both grown by 25%.
Needless to say, this was devastating news.
We got to visit with him earlier this month while we were in OH,
and it was such a blessing to see him and have the opportunity to pray together.

He is such a dear person, and I would so grateful if you would please continue to pray
for a Divine-intervention miracle on his behalf.
Also, please pray for his mother, Dorothy (my sister-in-law),
and my brother, David, (Jimmy's step-father), as this is really hitting them hard.
We all know that God is bigger than cancer, and our prayer is that he be healed,
but if God has other plans, please pray for peace for Jimmy and the entire family.

Now for TWO miracle reports on little 2 year old Max and 
6 year old Makeya Brown,
in the words of their Mommy, Shyla,

After 7 and a half weeks, I am so happy to be able to say that.  
He is now one step closer to being up there with Keya which, hopefully, will happen by next week. Or at least that is my goal for him. 
Max and Keya both have had a really good day. 
Cont to pray for my babies."


"They started to wean Max off the CPAP today. 
They also said that once they get it to 30% he should be clear to go to the 9th floor with Keya. 
It is at 35% now. 
They extended Keya's stay again today until the 23rd. 
They think she can be taught more because she is now using the muscles in her stomach.
 All the doctor can say is, "Oh, wow! Oh, wow, she should not be able to do that!"
 Plz cont to pray for my babies.

PRAISE GOD for this wonderful news!!
How great is our God!!

Click here, if video doesn't load.

Praise His holy name forevermore!!
This is a major milestone for little Max AND for Steven & Shyla. 
Instead of being on the 2nd & 9th floor, Max & Makeya are only one floor apart now, 
since Max has been moved to the 8th floor.
This will make life so much easier for all of them.

God is working, so please keep praying!!!

If  anyone would like to send the Brown family a card of encouragement,
please contact me, and I will provide the mailing address to you, individually.

If anyone would like to make a monetary donation to this family,
there are two ways to donate.
1.  An account has been set up for this purpose at a local bank.

Please mail donations to:

Citizen's Deposit Bank & Trust
P. O. Box 9
Vanceburg, KY  41179
Please write "For Brown Family" on the memo line of check.
2.  You may donate online by clicking HERE.

Most of all, please continue to lift them to our Heavenly Father in prayer.

(To read previous posts about the Brown Family,
 and 3RD UPDATE,
and 15TH UPDATE.)

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Miracles Never Cease! UPDATES on Baby Obed, Max & Makeya, & Jaadil (Farming Accident Victim)

"The God of my rock; in Him will I trust; He is my Shield, and the Horn of my salvation,
my High Tower, and my Refuge, my Savior;
Thou savest me from violence."
2 Samuel 22:3

"God delivers again,
Oh, my God delivers again,
Just when things look hopeless,
He reaches out His hand;
Then all the forces of evil,
Have to flee at His command,
Just when things look hopeless,
My God delivers again!"

Wonderful words written by Mike Payne,
and so applicable to what God is doing in the lives of 
Baby Obed,
and the 15 year old farming accident victim, Jaadil Abdalahan.

God truly IS our refuge and strength.
He IS a very present help in times of trouble. (Psalm 46:1)
He is always there, and yes, my friend,
He still answers prayer!

Praise His name!

Today, I received this wonderful news from Baby Obed's daddy, Travis....
are you ready for this??

"We are happy to report that Obed gained 10 oz this past week!  
The cardiologist was just ecstatic which made us feel even better.

We have another appointment tomorrow with a nutritionist (third appointment in 3 days).  
She is also looking into having an in-home nurse come out weekly to check his weight to save a few trips to the hospital (Her idea, not ours).

Thank you again for the continued prayers and concern.


I cannot put into words how grateful to God I was to hear this!

Here's a recent picture of the little cherub resting on his Daddy's chest...

It really touched me to see the Bible lying on the arm of Travis' chair.
How sweet to know this dear baby is being raised, 
not only in such a loving, caring environment,
but in the love of God, as well!
This dear picture speaks more than a thousand words.
What a precious, precious family!
They have worked their way into my heart, 
and I love them as my own.

(To read past posts on Baby Obed,
click these links....

Please keep praying for Baby Obed's complete healing and for God to continue to be glorified.
I believe with all my heart that his special miracle is far from over!

Now, for a miracle update about the 15 year old boy 
who was in the farming accident last night,
I am going to insert, (with his permission), Pastor Bosley's own words....

"Thank you so much for your prayers and for your people. 
Jaadil is going to be ok. 
He is a bona fide miracle and the doctors are all saying it. 
He should have brain injuries as the tractor rolled over his head and the cutter dug into his body.
He has no internal injuries and no brain injuries. 
He does have extensive damage to his front teeth and his palate as the upper jaw and his facial bones are broken but everything is back in place and they said will heal in time.   
He will need about a year of oral surgery and dental repair but all in all, 
an amazing outcome.
The most amazing part, spiritually, for him is this tragedy is opening the door of communication with his Muslim father whom me hasn't spoken to for a long, long time, 
and Jaadil feared he would never get to speak to because of his new found Christian faith.
His spirit and his attitude are incredible, and when he could speak this morning, he said, 
"Tell those boys to go back in the field and finish cutting his hay, only be more careful."  
(He was distracted by his grape popsicle... He loves grape... and even under the haybine he had not lost his grip on his popsicle.)
He is already praying that his tragedy will allow his father's heart to soften to the gospel of Jesus Christ.  We connected him on the phone to his father in Jamaica. 
Jaadil cried in gratitude to hear his father still loved him. 
We are just overwhelmed at this huge outpouring of concern from our community at all of the people who arrived on our property to assist. 
It is precious to know neighbors here in Myrtle, Missouri really ARE neighbors in the truest sense.   
I thank you.   
Jaadil and his mother thank you.  
Thank you for your continued prayers as he heals up. 
It will be a long time before he is able to smile right on the outside, but please know he is already smiling in his heart.   
His faith is real and strong.
He will be convelescing on a recliner next to mine. 
(I have surgery Friday.)
 Do know, we will be entertaining visitors.   
I'll keep the coffee on.   
Jaadil likes grape.   
Please, to all our community, stop by and see this miracle boy from Jamaica.  
He has been given the opportunity to go home to heal.  
His reply, "I am home."
Pastor David Bosley for Jaadil Abdalahan, 15 year old student at Masters Ranch.

All I can say is, once again, thank you, Lord!
You will forever and ever amaze me!
Truly, there were angels all around Jaadil, as this accident happened,
and again we witness a miracle before our very eyes.

"O God the Lord, the strength of my salvation,
Thou has covered my head in the day of battle."
Psalm 140:7

"For He shall give His angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways."
Psalm 91:11

"The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear Him and delivereth them."
Psalm 34:7

Please continue to pray for Jaadil, as he recovers and heals.
I cannot imagine how much pain he must be in or how much difficulty lies ahead of him.
Also, please pray for Pastor Bosley, as he faces his own surgery and time of recovery.
Pray for strength and grace to be given to the pastor's wife, Tresa,
 and all who are involved in this situation.

Feel free to visit the Masters Ranch Website to learn more about their ministry 
and how you may be able to contribute to their needs as the Lord leads.

And, in case you happened to miss yesterday's post, 
God is continuing to do amazing things for little 2 year old Max and 6 year old Makeya Brown!

This is the latest news from their Mommy, Shyla...
"As of yesterday Max is no longer on vent but on cpap which means that he is breathing on his own they r just helping his lungs stay open. 
He has learned to trick the vent and said love you daddy and mommy this morning. 
I called mom and then he said mammaw and pappaw to her over the phone. 
He is doing amazing. 
THE TUBE IS GONE!!!! Off Keyas face."

Isn't this wonderful?

This is the little boy, who just a short time ago, hung in the balance between life and death.
This is the little girl, who was "supposed" to be paralyzed from the neck down
and who is now using those arms to throw a ball and knock down bowling pins!

Last night, I spoke with the children's grandmother, Sheila, 
and she is so very grateful to God for all He is doing for her sweet babies.
Every time I talk to her, I intend to encourage her,
but I am the one who ends up being encouraged!
What a dear, precious lady!
I so enjoy talking to her.

I love this dear family so much, and though I am so deeply sorry for the way it came about,
I will forever praise God for allowing them to become a part of my life.


If  anyone would like to send the Brown family a card of encouragement,
please contact me, and I will provide the mailing address to you, individually.

If anyone would like to make a monetary donation to this family,
there are two ways to donate.
1.  An account has been set up for this purpose at a local bank.

Please mail donations to:

Citizen's Deposit Bank & Trust
P. O. Box 9
Vanceburg, KY  41179
Please write "For Brown Family" on the memo line of check.
2.  You may donate online by clicking HERE.

Most of all, please continue to lift them to our Heavenly Father in prayer.

(To read previous posts about the Brown Family,
 and 3RD UPDATE,
and 14TH UPDATE.)


God bless each one of you for your faithful, intercessory prayers 
on behalf of these dear ones and their needs.
Your love, concern, and support are such a blessing!!

Urgent Prayers Needed For Farming Accident Victim!!! (& Update on Max & Makeya)

"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble."
Psalm 46:1

Please pray for Jaadil,a 15 year old boy,
who lives at the "Master's Ranch" in Myrtle, Missouri,
 administrated by Pastor Dave Bosley, and his wife, Tresa.
  The boy was involved in a very serious farming accident this evening
and is in much need of prayer.
These are the details of his injury that were emailed to us by a friend.

"He and another boy from the ranch were on a tractor, cutting hay. 
As I understand it, this boy that got hurt was riding on the tractor and fell off. 
The tractor wheel ran over a portion of his body, 
and then the hay cutting machine caught him and started to pull him in. 
The other boy was able to get it stopped before it pulled him completely in. 
It was the mercy of God that he was not killed! 
But he is seriously hurt. 
He was flown to the trauma center in Memphis.
 I heard the commotion of ambulance sirens going down to our old home place, 
so I hurried down there to see what was going on. 
When I first walked up on the scene, I thought the poor boy was dead. 
But then I saw his arm move. 
The ambulance personnel were working with him. 
It appeared his head was hurt the worst. 
His lips were pretty much mangled. 
He also had cuts on other parts of his body. 
There was a lot of excitement and tears being shed by members of the family, staff members of the boy's ranch, and especially the other boy who had been driving the tractor. 
He was the most emotionally distraught of all of them.
Mrs. Bosley was praying with him and trying to comfort him. 
I stood by and agreed with her in prayer. 
It was a touching scene. I assured them we would be praying for them all."

Please pray for this dear boy's healing, comfort for the boy who was with him,
Pastor Bosley and his wife, Tresa, 
the family, staff members, and all who were affected by this awful tragedy.

I am sure the images of this scene will be very hard to get out of their minds,
and they will need lots of prayers for peace during this time.

You can read about Master's Ranch and learn more about them and their ministry
and needs by clicking here.

On a more joyful note,
I do have some GREAT news to share about Max & Makeya Brown!

Here is the latest words from their Mommy, Shyla....

"As of yesterday Max is no longer on vent but on cpap which means that he is breathing on his own they r just helping his lungs stay open. 
He has learned to trick the vent and said love you daddy and mommy this morning. 
I called mom and then he said mammaw and pappaw to her over the phone. 
He is doing amazing. 
THE TUBE IS GONE!!!! Off Keyas face."

Praise our dear and wonderful Lord!!
These miracles in the making continue to unfold right before our very eyes!
Every step of progress is a huge reason to rejoice.

I imagine hearing that little fellow say, "Love you Daddy and Mommy"
and "Mammaw and Pappaw" was the sweetest sounding music to their ears!
This is the little boy, who just a short time ago, hung in the balance between life and death.
This is the little girl, who was "supposed" to be paralyzed from the neck down
and who is now using those arms to throw a ball and knock down bowling pins!

I still believe God is going to completely heal and restore Max AND Makeya,
and one day, I believe they will walk again, in Jesus' name.


If  anyone would like to send the Brown family a card of encouragement,
please contact me, and I will provide the mailing address to you, individually.

If anyone would like to make a monetary donation to this family,
there are two ways to donate.
1.  An account has been set up for this purpose at a local bank.

Please mail donations to:

Citizen's Deposit Bank & Trust
P. O. Box 9
Vanceburg, KY  41179
Please write "For Brown Family" on the memo line of check.
2.  You may donate online by clicking HERE.

Most of all, please continue to lift them to our Heavenly Father in prayer.

(To read previous posts about the Brown Family,
 and 3RD UPDATE,

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Who Says You Can't Go Home? (AND Updates on Baby Obed & Max & Makeya Brown)

"And My people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings,
and in quite resting places..."
Isaiah 32:18

Those who know me, know that as I was growing up, we didn't stay in one place too long.
Some, finding it hard to believe that we moved over 40 times, 
have wondered if I was a military brat.
The answer is no, that was not the case.  :)
Although Dad faithfully served his time in the US Armed Forces,
it was a few years before he and Mom were married, and I was born.

So, I can't blame our incessant moving from house to house and place to place 
on the US Government.
Somehow, it would be so much easier to just answer yes,
when I am asked that question, because it would sound so much less complicated.

I can't tell you the exact number of times we moved from the time I was born
until the time I ventured out on my own, 
but Dad and I sat and tried to remember all of the addresses one day,
and we stopped at somewhere around 47.

You know, it's strange, but I can still remember a lot of those addresses.
I don't know how.
Kevin says I have a photographic memory.
Maybe I do...but when it comes to numbers, for some strange reason,
I can just visualize them and remember them well.

There are some houses and addresses I would rather forget,
then there are a few, select ones that hold very precious memories for me.

There is one, in particular, that my mind goes back to time after time after time.
It was actually the house we lived in the longest as I was growing up.
Mom and Dad actually signed not one, but TWO rental leases there,
and we ended up staying the full duration of two full years.

I felt so secure then.
Knowing they had re-signed for another year gave me such a sense of peace.
It was the best feeling to know that we would stay put for at least one more year, God willing.

I LOVED that house...
I remember it like it was last week.
It was a little, white house with black shutters.
Only 2 bedrooms and 1 bath,
a living room, and a very small kitchen.
It had a one car garage and a full basement.
That basement is chock full of some of the best growing-up memories of my life.
We had a ping-pong table, and there was a bar in the corner...
not that Mom and Dad ever allowed alcohol to be in there, 
but Dad and I spent many a moment there playing our guitars and singing,
as our old, hand-held tape recorder preserved those memories on a cassette tape.
I still have those tapes, and when I rarely get the nerve to listen to them,
I can still see us sitting there...just like it was yesterday.
Dad looking so vibrant and healthy....nothing at all like the last memories I have of him.
Me...head full of dreams of becoming a singer and big hopes for the future.

I remember the beautiful flower garden in our back yard.
It was there when we moved in, a product of the former tenants' labors of love.
I can still see Dad mowing the back yard, and remember a particular moment when I walked over
and asked him if I could take over.
There was a big, Catholic church in back of us,
that had bells that would chime and a basketball goal where we would go shoot hoops after school.

I had a babysitting job during the time we lived there,  
and I can still see the little, brown Toyota of BJ, the lady I worked for, pulling into the drive
to pick me up and take me to her home to watch her little baby girl, Alexis.

I can still feel the sense of peace and calm I felt as Virginia Cromwell's car 
would pull on to our street and into our driveway, 
dropping me off after school.
The house windows would be steamed up, and I would know that Mom was waiting inside, 
with a pot of homemade pinto beans, fried potatoes, and cornbread.
To this day, it is still my all-time favorite meal.

For some reason, my heart...and my thoughts are drawn back to that particular house...
over and over again.
Especially, here lately.
Kevin and Zach have heard me speak of it so often,
they could probably quote you the exact address!

So, last month, when we began making plans for another family reunion,
a little secret plan began to form in my mind.
What if I could take Kevin and Zach there...to that little house?
What if I could find it, and we could stand there...where Mom, Dad, and I stood so many years ago?

At first, I was excited, then I started wondering if I could even handle it, emotionally.
All those memories.
Rushing back.
Knowing Mom and Dad are gone now.
Realizing how everything has changed...since I stood there for the last time when I was 15...
eyes filled with tears, heart broken that we had to move from that sweet, little haven...33 years ago.

Where does the time go?
How does life rush by so fast?
How did I just turn 48 years old?
Could this even be me??

I went on to mapquest...typed in the address...
and waited with baited breath as the slow browser gathered its information.
There it was.
Right there.
The directions from where we were planning to stay in OH to that little house
that still holds the fondest of memories for me.

I wasn't sure where to fit it into our trip.
I knew it had to be a perfect time...
I knew I would more than likely fall apart, either during or afterwards,
so I wanted to allow for that.

One evening, we had finished our visiting for the day,
and it just felt right.
So, on the way back, I grabbed the directions, and we headed there.

I can't quite tell you how I felt when I saw this sign.

There was a rush of emotions that was hard to process.
MEMORIES flooded over me like a tidal wave.
The last time I turned to go down this street I was young, and I had parents.
Fast forward 33 years, and you will see how much life, in general, has changed.

We made the turn, and soon my eyes found what I was seeking.
There it was.
That dear, little house!!
Not much had changed about it,
except the white house with black shutters is now covered with
gray vinyl siding and has white shutters.

The shrubbery is gone that used to line the sidewalk.
Other than that, it felt like stepping into a time warp.
It felt a lot like....home.

I snapped a couple of pictures, which got the attention of the current owner.
He came outside...(to see what on earth I was doing, no doubt,)
and we talked for a long time.
I told him how I used to live there and how many memories being there was bringing back to me.
He told me his family is outgrowing that little house,
and they are thinking of putting it on the market in the spring.
I stood there...trying my utmost to capture that feeling of long ago...
somehow, I did...at least, in a way.

After we drove away, we traced the path I used to take with BJ, 
which led us around to the back of the house,
and into the big church parking lot.

I declare that is the same basketball hoop that we used to use.
(I thought I took a picture of it, but see now that I failed to do that.)

We sat in the church parking lot for a few moments,
as I stared at the back of that house and tried to deal with all those memories
and the flood of emotions that was washing over me.

There it was.
The back yard.
All that really seemed to be missing was the flower garden...
and Mom and Dad....
and a young girl with a head and heart full of dreams.

Bless their dear hearts, Kevin and Zach are so patient.
They gave me all the time I needed to just sit there and soak it all in.

When I finally felt ready to pull myself away,
we drove off...it felt like I was leaving some place sacred.
Like Mom and Dad should still be standing there...
in that yard....
like they were in this picture....right there a few feet away
from where I stood talking to the current owner.

I still remember taking this photo of them...there by the shrub-lined sidewalk in front of that house.
Those were happy days.
Some of the most stable and secure days of my childhood.
Because they were there...with me...and that was all that mattered.

When it came time to renew that lease the third time,
we ended up moving...and I cried like a baby.
It tore my heart out to take my rainbow and butterflies off my bedroom wall
and have to move them yet again to another place.

The other day, I was reflecting back on our recent travels and the whirlwind of new memories
we recently made, and as I did, my thoughts traveled back to that little house...
as they seem to do so often these days.
And something hit me that hadn't occurred to me before.

There is another reason I feel so drawn to that particular house.
Yes, I feel the drawing because of Mom and Dad and the happiness we shared there.
But, all of a sudden, a memory flashed before my eyes that made me see what draws me there
even more than my memories of Mom and Dad.

It was there...in that little house....that I settled it...once and for all time....
that I would live my life for Jesus Christ.

I could take you right to the spot.
I remember it well.
I was 14, and I had found myself at a major crossroads.
Looking back, it was the most major crossroads of my life.
I didn't realize then...that night in my room, on my knees, kneeling by my bed,
that the decision I was making would affect literally every, single thing about my life
from that moment on.

I was already a Christian, having asked Jesus into my heart at the age of 10, 
during a revival meeting in Enid, Oklahoma where Papaw had taken me.
But, the difference between a tender-hearted 10 year-old 
and a peer-pressure pulled 14 year-old is worlds apart.

A lot had happened since the night I had made my way forward to that Oklahoma altar of prayer.
Some of the influences in my teenage life were not conducive to holy living,
and I was being exposed to a world very different from the
sheltered, safe one inside the walls of that little house.
I remember literally feeling myself drifting....farther from Jesus and closer to the bad influences.
They were becoming more tempting and appealing to me all the time.
Yet, I had this deep-rooted tenderness in my heart for God,
and down deep, I wanted to serve Him and please Him.
I was playing a dangerous spiritual game of tug-of-war,
where I was the rope, God was on one end,
and satan was on the other.

I'll tell you the honest truth.
Church life was very hard for me growing up.
Looking back, I can see that I never fit in there...no matter how hard I tried.
As I've already shared, there was a lot of legalism and harshness,
and very little of the love of God.
I was struggling very hard to hold on and look above the hurt that was inflicted on a regular basis
by those who should have been my spiritual mentors and encouragers.

So, I found myself at this intersection, of sorts,
knowing I was going to have to either rise above the spiritual hindrances and worldly pull,
or succumb to the pressure and throw in my spiritual towel completely.

I've never been a half-way person.
I just can't stand that turmoil for very long.

There came a point....that night in my room...in that little house,
that God began to deal with me so forcefully...
making me see that the moment of reckoning could be put off no longer.
I had to make a choice.
That I could no longer ride the fence.
That He wanted all of me....not a half-hearted, fickle commitment that seemed to totter from one side to the other, depending on who I was around at the moment.

I remember that scene, there in my room, like it was last week.
The seriousness of the decision loomed over me,
as I knelt by my bed,
notebook and pen in hand.
I literally made two columns, with a single word at the top of each column...
"Pros" and "Cons".
What were the pros to following Jesus?
What were the cons?
Which path should I take?
I knew I had to choose....because something had to give...
one way or the other.

I would either keep drifting and end up out there in the world,
farther from Him,
or I would make a conscious effort to settle it once for all that I would follow Him forever.

I started on my list of "Pros"....
I don't remember exactly what I wrote.
Sometimes, I wish I could find that piece of paper...
did I even save it?
I think it may be in our attic in a box of childhood papers I saved.
I remember how easy it was to write the "pros"...the words flowed freely and quickly.

When it came to the "Cons" column, I couldn't think of one.
I tried.
I pondered.
I've always been a deep thinker...even way back then.
But, think and try as I may, I could not come up with one con to serving Christ.
It was a no-brainer.
I would prefer the Christian life to any other alternative.

Sure, it was going to be hard to say no....
to the drugs, the cigarettes, the beer, the music,
the guys in my circle of friends.
I knew they were wrong for me.
The whole path was wrong.

I had to make up my mind.
And make up my mind, I did.
I told Him...right there...by my bed...in that room...in that dear, little house.
I settled it.

And, just now, I am starting to understand why that house holds such a pull for me.
That was the most monumental moment of my life.
That spot.
The other day, sweet Kevin said,
"I wish I could buy you that house",
as I sat and poured out my heart to him.

I wish we could buy that house, too...just so I could always go back and kneel there.

Because, all of us lose our way sometimes.
All of us need a physical spot where we can look back and say,
"You know what?
Right there...is where I settled it.
That's the spot where I made up my mind."

I have never looked back.
I can honestly say I have never regretted it.
Has the path been an easy one?
I would be lying to you if I told you it has.

Following Jesus is never the easy way out.
Trust me.
Was anything He ever did easy....for Him?
Doing the right thing can sometimes be the most difficult path of all.
It is an uphill climb, against the current.
It would be much easier to just float downstream
and be driven with the winds of popular opinion, than to take a stand for what is right.
But standing for what is right is Jesus' way...
it is the best way....
and it is the way that leads to the place where I want to spend eternity.
Hence, I am 100% satisfied with my choice that night.
It is the best thing I ever did.

As I stood outside that special, little house the other day talking to the owner,
I handed him my business card and told him to let me know if he ends up
putting it on the market....
"...not that we could probably buy it", I smiled,
"...but then you just never know",
I added, as I walked away to re-join Kevin and Zach in the car.

Who says you can't go home?

Baby Obed Update

I recently got this update from Travis, Baby Obed's Daddy...

"Karissa took Obed to the cardiologist on Wednesday.  
He had an EKG, Chest X-ray and a Echocardiogram, 
and as I understand it everything was as expected.  
She said his case is very “text-book”.  
Karissa said she saw the VSD and it was really big.  
She said the cardiologist joked that you could drive a truck through it.  
(I don’t think it’s quite that big) ;)
He still isn't gaining as much weight as he was prior to starting his medications.  
So she wants us to supplement his feedings for the next week to see if that helps.    
If he doesn't start gaining weight at a rate she’d like, she did mention we may need to start discussing doing either the “minor” surgery of having a band put on around his pulmonary artery, or to go ahead with the “major” surgery—patching the VSD.

I’ll report next week with his weight gain.

Thank you again for your prayers and concern.


Dear Baby Obed!
 This is certainly not the news I had hoped to hear about him.
My heart was heavy and sad after I read the email,
but then I remembered...
we cannot set our sights on what we can see.

"For we walk by faith, not by sight..."
2 Corinthians 5:7

Even though Karissa saw the abnormality,
and even though it is really big,
the God we serve is BIGGER.

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."
Hebrews 11:1

We can't literally see what we are hoping to see, at this point,
but the only evidence we need is our faith in the power of Almighty God.
Faith provides the proof.

Call me the last one to lose hope,
but I still believe God can repair this by just speaking the word.
I also believe the choice is ultimately up to Him,
and if He chooses to heal Baby Obed through an operation,
He knows what is best.
Either way, this little fellow is in the best of hands,
because the hands that hold him are nail-scarred.

Please keep praying with me for the miracle Obed needs.
God is in control, and our eyes are upon Him.

(To read past posts on Baby Obed,
click these links....
Baby Obed #1,
 Baby Obed #2,
and Baby Obed #3,
and Baby Obed #4,
and Baby Obed #5.)

Max & Makeya Update

This is the latest update from Max & Makeya's grandmother, Sheila, in her own words....

"Sorry have not been on here to update about the kids.....surprised them yesterday with a visit....Makeya told me that she knew that I would be there and I asked her how she knew and she said because I asked you to come...love that little girl so much.....when I got there she was throwing a ball at bowling pins...and she was doing good she knocked them down..she is getting better every day...she also got in her wheel chair that she has to push the wheels on and she was doing GREAT she could turn that thing and all....Max had just got done doing a feeding test to see if he was going to be able to eat through his mouth and he passed...I think they said he had chocolate pudding....they also got him up on a bench with a nurse setting behind him...he like had 4 nurses around him....I believe he was liking all that attention...I got him a little ball and he was throwing it to me....love that little big man."

And another short update from their Mommy, Shyla...

"Have not posted in awhile. Keya is doing great and improving every day. As of Thursday Max has been able to eat pureed foods and honey thick liquids. Today I got to hold him and it felt so good. Plz cont to pray for my babies."

This was wonderful news!
I am so amazed at the power of God in this situation,
and I just believe there are even greater things to come for this dear family!

If  anyone would like to send the Brown family a card of encouragement,
please contact me, and I will provide the mailing address to you, individually.

If anyone would like to make a monetary donation to this family,
there are two ways to donate.
1.  An account has been set up for this purpose at a local bank.

Please mail donations to:

Citizen's Deposit Bank & Trust
P. O. Box 9
Vanceburg, KY  41179
Please write "For Brown Family" on the memo line of check.
2.  You may donate online by clicking HERE.

Most of all, please continue to lift them to our Heavenly Father in prayer.

(To read previous posts about the Brown Family,
 and 3RD UPDATE,
and 10TH UPDATE,