Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Our view of God...

It is interesting, when people come together, and you hear how they view God. For those who see Him as God Almighty, ever faithful and true to His words (Jesus is the Saviour of ALL men; Jesus came to take away the sin of the world; He is not willing that any should perish, and more), it rejoices my heart. When there are those who say, instead, that He desires that all will be saved, if only they will choose Him as Saviour (otherwise they are doomed to eternal torment), making Him out a liar, I am saddened. I do not argue, for it is not up to me to try and convince anyone. He revealed the glories of His plan of the ages, by His Spirit, and it is the only way we come to know anything. As He has said to me, "What do you have/know that was not given to you?" The answer, nothing. Absolutely nothing. In fact, I know Him as Lord and Saviour because HE drew me; being dead in trespasses and sins, I wouldn't, couldn't, make any such "decisions for Christ." (Sorry, Billy Graham, but that is not scriptural.) Enough for now. PTL for the freedom, in a blog, to be able to speak/write what is in my heart, resonating in my spirit. And PTL for the Father's love for ALL His creation. Yes, all shall come...each in his own order. Hallelujah!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Mrs. Magillacutty Goes to Hell and Back...

This is a story written by a dear friend, who has given me permission to share it. Once you have read it, I trust you will see why I thought it worth adding here...and what fun it is to read (as well as be instructed thereby)...

Mrs. Magillacutty Goes to Hell and Back
by Jan Antonsson

Sept. 4, 2006
Neosho, MO

This short story is dedicated with love to
Bob and Mary Blattner, who took us to Israel twice!

Ida Mae Magillacutty was bored,

and so she did what she always did when she had nothing else to do. She signed on to the Internet and logged on to a Poker Game site, where she had an account. She told herself as usual, that she'd only play long enough to win back what she had lost, IF she lost anything. She never bet much, but this evening, she couldn't lose. Winning hand after hand after hand added money to her account, until she had the unbelievable amount of $400 in her bankroll. This was making her as nervous as losing usually did, because that's a lot of money. What would her friends at the Third Baptist Church think of her now?
The slightly wicked thought crossed her mind that maybe one of them was playing in this very game. Who would know? She smiled, remembering the old joke that Catholics don't recognize Protestants; Protestants don't recognize the Pope, and Baptists don't recognize each other in Liquor Stores or Online Poker Games. Chuckling to herself at how easily she dodged that bullet of guilt, she looked at the cards she'd just been dealt for the new hand. Ida Mae gasped out loud when she saw she was holding 4 Aces! Four Aces, how rare is that?
The Aces on the screen actually caused her hand to shake slightly as she clutched the computer mouse. She worried,
"Oh my, what shall I do now?" She got up and hugged her kitty Miss Priss, who purred contentedly, but offered no advice. She stroked her other kitty's head, but Taffy had nothing to say either because she was having, well you guessed it, "a cat nap." Ida Mae picked up her half drunk cup of tea and gulped it down, trying to think what to do next. "If I bid right away, they'll know I have Aces," she reasoned, since bluffing was a skill she hadn't learned, and she was so new to the game, she was sure the other players had guessed her good fortune. Good thing they couldn't see her, because she was decidedly NOT wearing a poker face.
She decided to just bide her time and play along, making small bets, to let the pot get bigger. Another player must have had a good hand, because he or she kept bidding it up.
"Surely, nothing would beat 4 Aces, would it?" she worried. She looked it up in her "Beginner's Guide to Poker," and was relieved to see that she did have a winning hand. So, when it came her turn to play next, she bet her entire pot, $400 big ones. She was so nervous, she could scarcely breathe. The guy or gal who had been betting the most called her hand, but when she revealed the 4 Aces, she was the winner of the entire pot, $5,000!
That was an enormous amount of money, and
Ida Mae knew she had to stop right then! She elected to take her money and run. She logged off, turned off the computer, and sat there stunned for a minute. After making herself another cup of tea, into which she put a drop or three of brandy, she had a terrible thought: "My God, I'm a gambler. Horrors, what if someone finds out?" And right after that, a worse thought hit her, "Does this mean I'm going to hell?" Her friends from church were VERY big on hell, not to mention her boss, Miss Upchurch, who seemed to think that any infraction of the rules would send you there in a quick hurry. This was horrible!
Ida Mae wasn't sure what she thought about hell, but
she surely didn't want to become known as a gambler. It would get her tossed out of church and probably fired from her job as well. Worse, what would God think of her? What to do? What to do?
She hardly slept that night,
dreaming she was tossing and turning on a huge poker table with green baize covering, surrounded by poker chips; the devil was lurking nearby, pitchfork in hand, grinning and saying, "Come on down. The weather's fine down here, Ida Mae honey. You're mine now." She woke up with a start, covered in sweat, trembling from head to foot. She had to deal with this like a good Christian should, but how?
Perhaps God took pity upon her; yes, let's just say that. What happened was that the next day,
when she went to work, she saw a flier on her desk, faxed to her by the Pastor of her church, Rev. Gooddeeds. It was an announcement of a trip to Israel the church was sponsoring, and offering a discount on the trip to the first 10 people who signed up. Would you believe that her $5,000 winnings would be just enough, with a little spending money left over? "Wow," she thought, "This is just what I need. Maybe if I go to the 'holy land' God will forgive me for this terrible thing I have done." So, she called up Pastor Gooddeeds and told him to count her in. She was among the first 10 who called and thus qualified for the discount.
That decisive action eased her guilt over the gambling for quite a few weeks, but then
when the war started between Israel and Lebanon, she was terrified. Who knew that bombs could reach all the way from Lebanon to the Sea of Galilee? Or maybe even further? Maybe this was God's way to punish her. What if she was killed in Israel, and then went to hell anyway as judgment for the sin of gambling? "Oh horrors, this is awful!" she moaned, but she'd already paid her money, and couldn't back out. And the worst part was she couldn't tell anybody what was troubling her.
One good thing was that
Mrs. Goodie and Miss Percy, her friends from church had signed up for the trip as well, so if she died, she wouldn't be alone. Finally the trip was upon them. She packed carefully, only taking what she wouldn't miss if a bomb blew up her bags.
Much to her surprise, the flight over was long, but uneventful. She couldn't sleep on the plane, however, and was really punchy when they arrived in Tel Aviv.
She and her two friends finally got through customs, and after some rude questions and much bag and purse searching by the Israeli officials, they boarded the bus to take them to their hotel.
Because of the bombing in Northern Israel, the tour guide explained they'd be starting the trip in Jerusalem and hopefully, the war would be over in time for them to visit Mount Carmel and the Northern part of the Sea of Galilee. He assured them that the Israeli Defense Force was competent, diligent, and perfectly able to keep them safe. He added, "No terrorists are going to keep us from living our lives or you from seeing our beautiful country." It sounded good and Ida Mae was reassured, slightly.
They stayed the night at the Jerusalem Hilton Hotel. No bombs were forthcoming; the food was excellent; the beds soft, and tired from the trip, Ida Mae and her two companions slept very well indeed.
The next morning,
after a marvelous buffet breakfast featuring Israeli produce, including a zillion kinds of olives, many types of breads and rolls, cereal, yogurt, eggs, smoked fish, fresh fruit and vegetables, and lots of coffee, they boarded the bus for the Old City of Jerusalem. Ida Mae and her friends loved all the items for sale and the vendors hawking their wares. It was sort of like a Walmart outside, she thought, because you could buy almost anything from padded bras, to fresh spices, bread, clothes, shoes, luggage, and souvenirs, most of them made of olive wood.
They had lunch there at a little outdoor deli. The food was delicious and the atmosphere was fine. After walking the stations of the cross, and visiting several holy shrines, they finally boarded the bus to go back to the hotel.
Driving along through the streets of Jerusalem was an exercise in repentance and faith, for never had Ida Mae seen such wild and reckless driving. The little cars whizzed along so close to the bus that she was sure they'd be crushed under its wheels. At one point, at an intersection, the bus driver opened the door and the Israeli guide began to shout and gesture at another bus which was blocking their way. He spoke Arabic, which she didn't understand, but from the gestures and smoke pouring out his ears, she was sure a fight would ensue. The fracas passed as quickly as it began, and they drove on peacefully.
When they passed through what looked like another urban neighborhood, their guide stood up, turned on his mike, and announced,
"Well, now you can tell your friends back home that you've been to hell and back. This is Gehenna." Ida Mae didn't understand what he meant and so she stuck up her hand and asked.
"Oh," he explained, "Gehenna is the Greek word for the Valley of Ben Hinnom, where we are right now. It's what your American Bibles refer to as 'hell,' but in the time of Christ, it really was the city dump where the garbage was incinerated. The fire was kept burning day and night."
Ida Mae was stunned, because if hell was where the bad people (probably the gamblers) went when they died, how could this be hell?
"Why didn't Pastor Gooddeeds tell us about this? Doesn't He know?"
She stuck up her hand again and asked,
"You mean THIS is hell?"
"Yes, ma'am," the guide answered with a wicked grin on his face. "This is 'hell.' You're driving through it. Now you can say you've been to hell and back."
He laughed out loud at his joke, but Ida Mae was confused and more than a little angry. She felt duped, relieved too, but boy did this raise a lot of questions.
She thought of nothing else as they drove back to the hotel, enjoyed a delicious dinner buffet, and then prepared for bed.
She couldn't talk to her friends about this because they didn't know any more than she did, and they were as afraid of hell as she was. After they fell asleep, she got out of bed, put on her clothes, and went down to the hotel lobby where she found a comfortable seat hidden behind a plastic palm tree. She whispered, "Lord what happened today?"
She was hoping He would show up in person like He did at Christmas, but this time, she heard His voice in her mind's ear.
"Ida Mae, do you really think I failed in my mission on earth?"
Not knowing exactly what He meant, she asked,
"Which one?"
"Taking away the sins of the world."
"Oh, no, Lord. You couldn't fail," she stammered.
"Then why are you so afraid you'll go to hell when you die? Didn't I die for your sins?"
"Yes, You did, Lord, and we all appreciate it so much, but well, I keep sinning, like that gambling stuff, and the brandy and all that. And sometimes, I don't really want to go to church, but I do it because I'm afraid You'll be mad at me if I don't. For sure, the Pastor will."
"Ida Mae, do you think that my blood is a sufficient antidote for your sins? Or, did I waste my time and yours on the cross?"
"Of course You didn't; I mean Your blood is sufficient to take away sins, but what if I keep on sinning?"
"Then my blood keeps on taking away the sin, but you know what the real problem is Ida Mae?"
She shook her head
"The problem is," the Lord continued, "that you don't know that I'm the one who keeps you from sinning from the inside out. When you depend on yourself, you will always fail, but I can't fail. Can you trust me?"
Ida Mae feared this might be a trick question, because
if she said she did trust Him, and kept on sinning, then she had lied to God, but if she said she didn't trust Him, then she had insulted God to His face.
She put her head in her hands and began to cry softly,
"I don't know, Lord. I don't seem to be able to do anything very well by myself."
"That's the point exactly," the Lord said, and though she couldn't see Him, she knew He had a smile on His face. "I love you; I died for you; I live in you, and I am going to personally see to it that you make it to heaven when you die, which by the way, isn't going to happen on this trip."
"But why have You let Pastors scare us to death with hell?" she protested.
When He didn't answer, she knew that the conversation was over. She would liked to have that question answered, but really,
she had the best answer of all, which is that Christ died for her sins; hell was a literal place on earth, not something she had to fear after she died, and that made her very happy, and Christ Himself had promised to bring her safely to heaven when she did die.
Ida Mae went back to her room with a smile on her face, put on her night gown and crawled into bed for the best night's sleep she could ever remember.
The next morning, she told her friends,
"It's a beautiful day to see Israel. Let's enjoy this trip and not worry about bombs or sin or hell, for God is going to take care of us now and forever. Amen."

The End

And all the people said, "Amen!"

Jan and Lenny Antonsson
The Glory Road

Sunday, December 9, 2007


In an old Union Life magazine, I came across another way of looking at "Ahhhh...", by a Bruce Willis...
"In the early days of the charismatic, house-churches, we sang a song that used the word, "Ah!":
Ah! Lord God. Ah! Lord God,
Behold, You have made heaven and earth
By Your great power and outstretched arm.
There is nothing too hard for You,
There is nothing too hard for You.
Whatever happened to the Ah!...
When a botanist looks at a flower, he describes its many parts: petals, stem, stamen, etc., often using Latin words which confuse the amateur.
When an ornithologist studies a bird, he does a similar thing, thus blinding the uninitiated with science. When a theologian ponders the nature of God, he, too, uses technical jargon, outdoing the botanist by employing both Greek and Latin!
When a child, or the childlike, sees a flower, a bird...sees God, what is his response? Often it just cannot be expressed in eloquent words. So the ultimate "word" comes naturally into play..."Ah!" Or could it be "Oh!", or "Oooh!"
Once we lose our sense of speechless awe and wonderment at God and the things of God, we rapidly descend into the institutionalized habit of having to explain everything, thus paradoxically making it more obscure, deadly!
Lord, help us to avoid this malady, and never tire of expressing, "Ah!...Lord God!"
How true it is. But have found something even sadder - using today's slang to describe the wonders of Father's creation. There was someone who, upon returning from Grand Canyon, said, "It was really neat!" Neat? Not stupendous, or glorious, or awesome, or magnificent, or...the countless other adjectives that we use to try and put into words the wonder of that place...No. simply, "Neat!"
Alas, alas...

Saturday, December 8, 2007

AH - At Home

What a delightful and touching discovery...
AH...not a sigh of relief, but an acronym for "At Home".
Home is where the heart is.
Home is a place of welcoming love, non-judgmental acceptance, kisses, and hospitality - elements that produnce a profound sense of belonging.
Such is not always the case in our own homes - for some, home is exactly the opposite of this description. Sad...but we rejoice that, in Christ, this description almost fits (I say almost, because in Him, the "home" is even better. Wonderfully better).
"Make your in Me, and I make Mine in you..." John 15:4
"If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word [and His word is not difficult]. My Father will love him [PTL, He surely does!!], and We shall come to him, and make Our home with him."
Now isn't that joyous "glad tidings"!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Sharing thoughts...

Sharing thoughts

This is something from a previous blog. It had some thoughts that wanted to share, and so...decided I would copy and past this one here. Worth repeating... Anyway, a friend sent me to a site where I could hear the music, and see the words, to a wonderful song about God's love. It is a bit long, so will share the last verse [and refrain], which says it all:
The love of God is greater far
Than tongue or pen can ever tell;
It goes beyond the highest star,
And reaches to the lowest hell;
The guilty pair, bowed down with care,
God gave His Son to win;
His erring child He reconciled,
And pardoned from his sin.

O love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure
The saints and angels song.

Recently, I watched a video, Agent of Grace, about Dietrich is a stirring reminder of cost of discipleship, and the peace and joy, in the midst of suffering Toward the end of the movie, shortly before his execution, he says these words: "... after the war, Christians will speak a new language, one which was relevant to the rest of the world, a language that would be powerful, and often shocking, because it would say to the world that God has declared peace with men." Glorious words, prophetic words, of our God and Father, Saviour and Lord, who is working ALL things after the counsel of HIS will...which is the salvation of all. Amen.

Sunday, December 2, 2007


Interesting is the term I used to describe something I read today in a Letter to the Editor. It went as follows:
"We are coming into a new season. The celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ (sic). To some, Lord and Saviour, sent by God to save ALL (emphasis mind) from our fallen state. This free gift is for you and for me. Let us remember: Jesus is the reason for the season.
Saw this on a bulletin board this morning, and it got my attention. Author unknown.
Suppose I live my life for God, and believe in heaven and hell.
Suppose you live your life apart from God and do not consider heaven and hell.
Suppose we both die.
Suppose you were correct, and there is no heaen or hell. What have I lost?
Suppose I was correct, and there is a God, and heaven and hell. What have you lost?"
What struck me as interesting is his first statement that Jesus was sent to be the Saviour of all - but somehow the all is overlooked in the following list of "Suppose..." (not his words, but, apparently, he agreed with them).
I rejoice that Jesus Christ is indeed the Saviour of ALL!! Not a "wannabe" Saviour; not a "Gee, I wish I could have saved all" kind of Saviour, but, glory to God, SAVIOUR OF ALL!!!
"As in Adam all are dying, even so in Christ are all being made alive, each in his own order" Not all at once, but in His timing and in His way.
Once I asked Father why it was that all His own people, anyway, did not see His glorious plan of the ages - and even became angry when such a possibility was mentioned. His response was a question to me: "What do you have that was not revealed to you?" Ah, yes - any truth I have has been the gift of Him, by the Spirit of revelation.
And HIS time, in HIS way, according to HIS plan, all shall be known. Amen.