For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16).
This month the nation will celebrate “Valentine’s Day.” It’s a time of love. Many cards and flowers will be distributed to those who have caused our hearts to flutter. Many women will be asked to enter a time of betrothal, while others will use this time to celebrate their wedding anniversary or time of engagement. The greatest gift of love was given to the whole world over 2000 years ago.
Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not (I John 3:1).
Lo, I come
While the world is rushing to and fro, be assured that the greatest gift of love has already been given to you, Jesus Christ. Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God (Hebrews 10:5-7). It pleased the Father to bruise His only begotten Son to furnish us with such love. Happy Valentine’s Day!
Despised and rejected
Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not (Isaiah 53:1-3).
Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all (Isaiah 53:4-6).
Jesus paid it all
Every sickness that you will ever experience, Jesus took it upon Himself so that you could be free of all sickness and disease. Jesus paid for all the sins of the whole world. Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned (Romans 5:12).
All the wrath and all the anger of God the Father was poured out upon Jesus at one time. It was the only way to purchase your freedom. It was the only way to purchase my freedom.
Again, Isaiah 53:6 says, All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
“All.” That means everybody went his or her own way. Everyone—every man, every woman, every boy, and every girl—all we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned every man to his own way. We didn’t have time for Jesus—we were looking out for ourselves. It was every man for himself.
The iniquity of us all
The Father lay on Jesus—the spotless Lamb—the iniquity of us all—all past failures, all the sins of the entire world, Jesus paid the price once and for all. God the Father laid it all on Him to bear and bear it Jesus did. He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet Jesus opened not His mouth. He was brought as a lamb to the slaughter, as a sheep before His sheerer is dumb, yet he opened not His mouth. He was cut down so that I would be allowed in. He was cut out so that I could be grafted in. He was murdered so that I could live.
His grave with the wicked
Isaiah 53:9-10 says, And he made his grave with the wicked...with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief… make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. It pleased the Lord to bruise him.
By His own blood
The Lord offered up His only begotten son for us. It was the only way. Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? (Hebrews 9:12-14)
This man doeth many miracles
Then many of the Jews which came to Mary, and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on him. But some of them went their ways to the Pharisees, and told them what things Jesus had done. Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said What do we? For this man doeth many miracles. If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation (John 11:45-48).
And one of them, named Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said unto them, Ye know nothing at all. Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not. And this spake he not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation (verses 49-51).
Caiaphas, high priest
Think about how the Lord used Caiaphas. The mouth of the wicked was fulfilling prophecy. So many people were instruments and tools in the fulfillment of God’s plan for redemption. Jesus was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane and then tried by Caiaphas.
Caiaphas was a Sadducee. He was a high priest and a supreme political operator. Caiaphas was one of the most influential men in Jerusalem. He knew everyone who mattered. Some writers conclude that Caiaphas probably had served 18 years as High Priest of the Temple (most High Priest only lasted 4), and had built a strong alliance with the occupying Roman power. Plainly put, Jesus threatened Caiaphas’ authority and he could not afford to allow anyone to get away with challenging his control, especially not at Passover time.
The biggest Jewish festival
It was the Passover and people were coming from everywhere to attend this great event. Jerusalem was crowded with pilgrims from every corner of the empire who had come for the celebration.
Josephus, a Jewish historian, estimated that more than a quarter million sacrificial lambs would be slain in Jerusalem during a typical Passover season. On average, ten people would partake of one lamb, suggesting that the Jewish population in Jerusalem during the Passover could swell between 2.5 and 3 million people. Even the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate, came to Jerusalem during the Passover.
“We will wait, we won’t kill Him now. It will draw too much attention,” His accusers must have thought. The murder of Jesus was ordained. How could anyone stop it? How could they stop it? Remember, Josephus stated that between 2.5 and 3 million people would be in town to celebrate the Passover. So many lambs would be slaughtered. From the evildoer’s perspective, it was the worst time to slaughter our Lamb, Jesus Christ. They knew that they would risk provoking a riot so the evildoers thought, “Not now.” They weren’t even in control because the murder of Jesus was ordained since the fall of Adam. And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel (Genesis 3:15). This verse is directed to the devil. The serpent was taken over by the devil. It is believed that the serpent once walked upright and was probably the most beautiful, dazzling creature in the Garden. The fascination of Lucifer drew Eve and took her over.
Isaiah says Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities (Isaiah 53:10-11). It was God’s timing. It was God’s plan.
To the amazement of audacious men, the Passover was Jesus’ time. It was His perfect time. Why? Because it was the time God the Father had chosen. It was the time most fitting for the Lamb of God to die for the sins of the entire world. Think about it again. At the Passover, there were millions of lambs to be slaughtered. Our perfect Lamb, it was His time. Jesus was the spotless Lamb. The Passover was the perfect time for Jesus to be offered for the world.
Jesus was our Passover. It was the right time because it was God’s timing not Caiaphas. Before, when the conspirators had tried to kill Jesus, He always got away; He always slipped through their deceptive, evil hands but then God prepared Him to be our Passover.
In the place of God
The Sadducees and the Pharisees always gathered together when it came down to foolishness and mischief. The Sadducees were an aristocratic sect that controlled the temple in the days of Jesus and, today, it is still about control. Man has put himself in the place of God. No matter what is going on in our world, God is still in control. This is His world and this is His United States of America. America has all but forgotten that.
God will get the glory
The Lord will get the glory out of each person’s life, either for good or He will get the glory out of one’s life by using a person as an example of His great, great wrath. Just think how He used Caiaphas. He got complete glory from the life of that old boy. Search the scriptures and compare that incident with the hour in which we now live. God’s plan is being fulfilled in God’s time, just as He has stated from generation to generation. So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it (Isaiah 55:11).
Caiaphas—he buddied up with the Pharisees to kill Jesus. The Pharisees and Sadducees, they never really got along but they got along long enough—they conspired together in an effort to kill Christ. They were unified in their effort to do away with the King. Again, when it came down to the death of Christ, they got along.
Sometimes God’s people have been guilty of acting out the role of the Pharisees and the Sadducees—rising up against the things of God—combative, insensitive and rebellious. The Pharisees and Sadducees were united in their attempt to slaughter our Passover. It was Caiaphas who said, “It is expedite for us that one man should die for the people.” Let one person bear all the shame. What motivated them, was it jealously? They were jealous of the works of Jesus for He had done something that no other man had done.
They hated me without a cause
He that hateth me hateth my Father also. If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father. But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, they hated me without a cause (St. John 15:23-25).
Jealously or not, it was God’s divine plan. It was murder ordained. It was murder ordained, that you could live, that you could be free—be free of sickness and shame. Jesus became our sin bearer and our sickness bearer.
God’s redemptive plan
Remember what John 11:50 says, Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not. Caiaphas didn’t fully understand the part that he would play in God’s redemptive plan. Although Caiaphas was talking about murdering Jesus to suppress a political threat, it was God’s divine will since the fall of Adam. The plan of God was in action. Caiaphas didn’t realize what he was talking about. The Sanhedrin and Caiaphas planned to kill Jesus. They meant it for evil but God meant it was for our good.
They couldn’t take Jesus until it was His time. His life was strictly planned out just like your life is planned out if you have given yourself over into the hands of God. If you are in the divine will of the Lord, then your life, too, has been divinely planned out. God is asking no more of you than He asked of His precious Son. He is our example and we are to follow in the footsteps of Jesus. The path has been plainly illuminated for each born-again individual to follow.
A road to follow
Like Jesus, your life has been planned out; there’s a road for you to follow. Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations (Jeremiah 1:5). You have been on your way to this hour from the day of your birth.
The right path
God has used so many people to get you on the right path—to point you in the right direction. The great God of the universe used so many individuals, at different times, to encourage you. He even pushed people out of your way so that you could have a chance at His greatness.
We go into the prayer chamber, professing that we want the will of God for our lives but do we really mean what we say? “Lord, I want your will for my life.” Do you really want the will of God for your life? With all deceit gone, you must face yourself in this last and final hour, if you are to be used according to God’s divine plan. Remember, Jesus said, “Nevertheless.” Can you say that today? Have you said that in the past? Do you mean that now? Nevertheless. Nevertheless.
It doesn’t matter
Having the divine will of the Lord performed in your life should be your life’s goal. It doesn’t matter how many times you have failed God. If you would get on the right track, God would help you. At the end of your life, what will it all matter? At “the end of your day,” what will it all matter? All the materialistic stuff, all the possessions, fame, and self-glory, what will it all amount to? Nothing, if Christ was not the center of your life. Your life would have been considered worthless if it was not lived for the true and living God. Wouldn’t that be something to go through your entire life and then at the end of the day—at the end of your life, here on earth, you stand before an angry God. He won’t care about your life’s accomplishments. But what will count or not count is what you did for Him and His kingdom.
Many had accused Jesus. He was taken from hall to hall. His final hour had come. What was in that cup that the human side of Him wanted to pass up? God the Father was ordaining Him for His greatest hour and His greatest hour was my greatest hour because Christ’s death bought my redemption. It bought a new and living way for all of humanity. There was no other way. A way had to be made for you and I. Christ, through His shed blood, purchased our redemption. His death made a bridge back to Eden—an Eden that could be furnished in the soul. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed (Isaiah 53:5).
Born of a woman
And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth (John 1:14). Jesus was born of the flesh so that I could identify with Him. A woman set in motion disobedience leading to mankind’s fall from the grace of God, and when Mary gave birth to the Son of God, a woman was used to give mankind Jesus, a chance to be redeemed in the eyes of God in such a great way it would be as if the redeemed had never sinned. Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me (Hebrews 10:5).
He got angry, He suffered and He was thirsty. He was hungry. He longed for the company of His Father. He was misunderstood but He said, “Nevertheless.” We too, must be like Christ in that respect, crying, “Nevertheless.” What matters in this last and final hour is getting the harvest in before it goes to waste. You must conclude within yourself that you can make it. Jesus has been into all your tomorrows and because He lives, you can make it. You can make it. Suicide, alcohol and drugs are not the answers. One songwriter penned, “Jesus is the answer for the world today. Above Him, there’s no other, for Jesus is the way.”
Jesus, always in step
Jesus was always in step with the Father. He didn’t let people persuade Him or control Him. No matter the condition, Jesus always remained in control. He didn’t let people put Him in certain situations. The pressure of man didn’t move Jesus. God’s timing. Let this be our example today. While there is much going on, we must stay focused. It’s almost go home time! Jesus is coming back for a people that will be watching and waiting for Him. What was His victory? He always did those things, which pleased His Father. “Lord you always hear me.” And I knew that thou hearest me always (John 11:42a).
Born to die
Jesus was born to die and He never lost sight of His purpose and mission. We are so swayed by the cares of this life. His murder was ordained. He was anointed for His burial. Jesus was getting ready. He was getting ready.
Even though the enemy used the traitor Judas, God the Father planned Jesus’ dying to make atonement for all. God Himself ordained it.
You must recognize the devices of the devil. Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices (2 Corinthians 2:11). Even though the murder of Jesus was ordained to purchase our liberty, the devil, Satan, that old boy, used a lot of people to help fulfill God’s plan. Nothing can stop the plan of God. Nothing.
You can’t serve two masters. You’re going to hate one and love the other. It does not matter where you are with God. Are you consistent? Are you diligent about the things of God? Are you determined that nothing, absolutely nothing will hinder you in this last and final hour? You can sing in the choir, open the church door, collect the tithes and offering, serve Holy Communion and still be hell-bound. The battle is own. Which side are you on? You’ll have to make a choice in this last and final hour. There will be no riding the fence. You are on one side or the other. So many people have two faces but God will uncover it all. God’s plan. God’s plan will be fulfilled in this hour.
Don’t let another’s discontentment sway you. You stay where God puts you. You keep your mind on what God’s plan is for you. Don’t listen to people. Don’t listen to the devil. Take your case to the word. What does the word say about you? That is what counts.
Why Jesus came
No one but Jesus Himself knew what time it was—no one knew but Jesus that it was His time. It was His time to fulfill the Father’s plan for His life. The reason Jesus came to earth was now being fulfilled. How wonderful to know the plan of God for your life and then to live close enough to God to have it fulfilled one hundred percent. By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God (Hebrews 11:5).
Everything that happened from the Shepards, the visit of the wise men, the garden of Gethsemane and the crucifixion, it was all in God’s plan. What love the Father has for us. What love has been demonstrated down through the years to mankind and to have that love rejected over and over and over again. The amazement of man when he falls into the hands of an angry God. For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16). For such love to turn to hate! Oh, the amazement of man when he falls into the hands of an angry God.
Garden of Gethsemane
The garden of Gethsemane. Have you ever given it any thought? What was Jesus praying about? What was it that caused Him so much agony? Jesus was never deceived about His mission. His only desire was to please the Father. He did all for the Father. He humbled Himself. He submitted Himself to the death of the cross. He was God’s servant. He wanted to please the Father.
Jesus never lost sight of His mission. There in the garden, we see Him handling affliction. He was very man, the sorrow that He endured. Three times He prayed and three times, the disciples were asleep. Are you sleeping in this hour? Are you about your Father’s business? All the agony and all the rejection that Jesus faced, yet He saw you and He saw me. He knew that He couldn’t fell His mission and you must not fell your mission in this last and final hour.
Jesus pleased the Father. Jesus knew He was born to die. All the other times He had slipped through the crowd but His hour had come. The hour for which He was born had come. Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour (John 12:27).
What was in that cup?
What was in that cup? It was a cup that had to be borne to purchase our freedom. It was a cup that required atonement. It was a cup of divine judgment. It pleased the Lord to bruise him. When Christ hung on the cross, He was bearing the sins of the entire world at one time. He was suffering the wrath of God on their behalf. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him (2 Corinthians 5:21).
On the cross, God the Father imputed our sins upon Christ and then punished Him for them. His murder was ordained so that you could be free. Not only did God the Father pour upon Him the sins of the whole world but at the same time, He was punished for the sins of the whole world. That was the cup that Jesus was talking about. This had to be to purchase your freedom, health and strength, living free from all sin, every miracle and healing, Jesus purchased it then.
Think about the agony He must have faced but He was determined to please His Father. That’s how much He loves you and me. Jesus experienced all the natural weaknesses of humanity. And to say that we can’t rise above our circumstances. Suicide, I say again, is not the answer. Much more was done to Jesus than you will ever experience in your life. For 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). He became our elder brother. And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him (John 8:29). Are you pleasing the Father in such a way? His murder was ordained so you could be free from sin.
Face the cup
That cup. Surely He knew that cup was an unavoidable aspect of saving my soul. He knew eventually that He would have to face that cup. Just think, He went back and prayed three times. He knew that His time had come. He was aware that the whole world depended on Him and He didn’t let us down. He didn’t fell. He didn’t fell! Hallelujah! He didn’t let us down. There He was, agonizing in the garden, submitting Himself to the will of the Father. He knew there was no other way to redeem mankind. His natural desire was to avoid that cup but He looked beyond all that He was suffering and saw you. He looked beyond and saw me, well, healthy and strong and so He endured. Jesus loved His Father so much and He paid the supreme price.
What will you say to Christ today? Will you let your disappointments overtake you? Will you wallow in past failures?
Can you imagine
Can you imagine what Jesus must have been feeling during the last hours before His death—a death that was ordained to purchase your freedom? You are greatly loved. Oh, child of God, you may feel unloved but you are greatly loved by your Lord.
You’ll never know
Hear Jesus speaking to you today. Hear Him saying, “You will never know the sorrow that I felt when I left my Father in heaven. You will never know the sorrow that I endured while I was on planet earth. I walked every valley for you. I shed every tear for you. I took on all the fear of planet earth for you. I took all of your diseases and all of your sufferings all of your heartaches and all of your pains, but I took more than that, I took all of your sins. I had never known sin until I took yours. I had never known sickness and pain and agony until I took yours. You think your road is a hard road, but you will never know the sufferings of that road that I suffered and endured to make it easy for you until it’s revealed to you on that day. Until my Father reveals to you on that day, you will never know the agony, the torment that I suffered. With the love that I brought man, and for that love to be rejected, you will never know the pain of it.
You think when friends reject you that you suffer so much. You have not experienced rejection. You think you have cried tears of bitterness, but you have never cried tears of bitterness until you experience the tears that I shed for you. And when they pierced my side, you will never know the agony that I felt, but my love and my blood flowed for you on that day and I look beyond my tears and the agony and I saw you in Eden. I saw you healthy. I saw you free from sin and sickness. I saw the shadows all lifted from your life and I saw you in a perfect state sitting beside my heavenly Father, and then I knew I could endure all things and I counted it all joy for your sake.
And, now, I call on you to give all in this final hour. Your final walk is now, not on tomorrow, but now. I ask you to suffer for my namesake that others may find my love and that others will find me as their door into my heavenly Father’s greatness, saith the Lord unto this people tonight.” 
Oh, Child of God, how precious you are to your Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Why not repeat this simple prayer with me, asking Jesus into your heart:
Oh, God! I have sinned against you. I am so sorry! I have come home, and I’m going to serve you, Lord, the rest of my life. I do believe that you are able to deliver me and cleanse me from all unrighteousness and fear. I believe that the blood of your Son, Jesus Christ can make me clean, whole and free. I want the impossible to be made possible in my life. Come on into my heart and help me. Help me, Lord. I trust and believe that through the blood, I can make it. Oh, Lord, I want your help. Save my soul. Love me, Jesus. I must have your love. Love me, Jesus. I will answer your call to salvation today. Come on into my heart, Jesus! Come in!
If you meant that prayer, He has come.
Praise Him, He is Yours!
 GIANT Little Books, The Mysteries of God (Volume 1), page 19
Ernest Angley Ministries 1994
 The Mysteries of God (Volume1), page 19
 Reverend Ernest Angley Ministries, Friday Night, August 10, 1979
A Fictional Short Story by Reverend Beverly Thomas
Momma, I Forgot My Book Bag
Part 5: A Long Way from Home
Read Part 1 of this story in the February 2006 Newsletter.
Read Part 2 in the April 2006 Newsletter.
Read Part 3 in the June 2006 Newsletter.
Read Part 4 in the Septembeer 2006 Newlsetter
Have you ever been homesick? Have you ever experienced that longing, aching feeling that grips the inner most chamber of your stomach as you yearn for the presence of family and friends—those who know you best? Life is full of surprises and it comes packed with “lessons learned” and, at times, life can be a real tough teacher.
Sound the alarm
Mom and dad sound the alarm and shout the warnings of life into your head but some will never take heed; life then becomes the cruel taskmaster. While living at home, life seems hard and parents appear to be more like tyrants than parents; someone’s always telling you what to do, treating you like a baby. “Don’t they know that I am grown—well almost?” This sentiment is echoed by many of our youth today. There’s an eagerness to be free of the constraints and confinement of home but be careful. I am sure the prodigal son felt the same way but later he discovered that he had been deceived. Deceit is the act or practice of deceiving, concealment or distortion of the truth for the purpose of misleading.
Give me…that falleth to me
And he said, A certain man had two sons: And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living. And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living. And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want. And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him (Luke 15:11-16).
And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants. And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him (Luke 15:17-20).
The prodigal son came to himself and returned home but you may not have the time that he had. Feeding swine is nothing in comparison to what life can thrust you into.
To go the other way
Like the prodigal son, Denise didn’t carefully consider all that was ahead of her. How could she? She had been protected and sheltered from much of life’s uncertain danger. William, her father and Sheila, her mother had put forth a great effort in attempting to shield Denise but they could only do so much for a daughter who had her mind made up to go the other way. There are many “Denises” in the world today. The enemy has convinced many of our sons and daughters that any place is better than home but they will learn just as Denise had to learn. Many won’t learn until it is too late. When sin is done with you, then what? When you have fulfilled the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes then what? When sin has robbed you of eternal life then what? Only you have the answer. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world (I John 2:16).
Her plan, her way
Her plan was well thought out or so she believed. There is a way that seemeth right unto a man; but the end thereof are the ways of death (Proverbs 16:25).
Denise presumed to have it all figured out. Remember that last night at home during Thanksgiving? She thought, “I can’t wait until I am grown. I want to get out of this house and do my own thing. I won’t have to listen to anyone. I want to be my own person.” Remember how she had been discontented and how she began to dread the time in the church services? Notice the pattern. There is a pattern to each person’s life. You don’t just fall out of love with God and His divine plan for your life. There are definite steps taken. A person doesn’t fall into sin.
Denise had been so intoxicated with the idea of being on her own. She once stated, “I am going to leave my mark on this world. I’ll show them all that I can take care of myself.” But now things were different. Life didn’t flow like Denise thought it would. Blinded by her imaginary desires, Denise allowed her vision to be blurred by television; she held onto the fabricated tales of others but Denise was in the real world now.
Malcolm and his wife
“Malcolm, come on. Mom and dad will be waiting,” stated Denise to her husband, Malcolm. “Just one minute, let me grab the kids. You know we can’t leave them behind,” replied Malcolm. Malcolm and his wife, Denise, were all packed up and ready for a nice Sunday dinner at Sheila and William’s house. They always went there, each Sunday, after Sunday service for some down-home cookin'. Denise and Malcolm hadn’t missed a meal since they were married, several years earlier.
“Boy,” stated Malcolm, “I don’t know where we would be if your parents had not let us stay with them while we both finished graduate school.” “You’re right,” stated Denise, “I don’t know what we would have done. I am so glad that we waited and listened to my parents.”
I am glad
“You know, we haven’t missed one thing.” Malcolm started laughing as he said, “You know Denise, and we were in such a rush to get on our own. Boy, we fought your parents tooth and nail but I am glad they didn’t yield to your demands and let you have your way,” chuckled Malcolm. “We would have been quite the couple, with no formal education and no way to take care of ourselves and the children,” said Malcolm.
But I was wrong
As they were pulling into Denise’s parent’s driveway, she stated, “Boy, the devil will really pull one over on you if you aren’t careful. Just think, all the times I sat and thought about leaving home, running away even; all the times I thought about how cruel and mean my parents were. I honestly thought they were crazy and had forgotten about what it was like to live—forgotten what it was like to be young—but I was wrong. I was all wrong. We have such a happy life now.”
As they exited the van and approached Denise’s parent’s house, you could hear, “Hello Denise and Malcolm. Where are my “road dogs”? laughed Sheila. Road dog was the name she had given to Denise and Malcolm’s twins. She would drag them all over town and they would happily manage to keep up somehow. Sheila and William had so much fun with their grandchildren. “Hey grandma,” one of the twins shouted as they both raced to be the first to reach grandma’s arms for the beginning of many hugs of the evening. Life was good, real good.
Dream…just a dream
Feeling as if she had been thrown from a truck, Denise struggled to regain consciousness as she lay amidst the dust, filth and darkness on what seemed to be an abandoned apartment floor. She didn’t know where she was. “Dream. Dream. I was dreaming of home,” Denise soberly thought. “I am not married. My parents aren’t on the porch waiting for the kids to run to them. It has all been a dream. Malcolm is not my husband. He’s not even here now,” reflected Denise. Denise had been dreaming, dreaming of how she wanted life to be. Maybe she began to have such fantasies in an effort to escape the harsh reality of her life.
Denise’s body was racking with pain. She felt the need to regurgitate. Her stomach was eager to relieve itself. Denise had been pumped with an enormous amount of drugs and now she was feeling the aftermath of it all. Her head started spinning and all she could do was pass out. “Bam!” Her body hit the cold, dusty floor. She was out—again.
“What am I going to do? They have Denise. How can I explain this to her parents? Oh my God! Denise! Denise! Denise! Denise!” howled Malcolm. What would he do? He thought he could go to the devil’s gambling table, without penalty, but life isn’t like that, is it?
Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap (Galatians 6:7). For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting (Galatians 6:8).
Malcolm’s choice was to leave the gang life behind. He was done with it all but Malcolm didn’t realize that there was a price. He thought that he could play and leave the game when he wanted but that is not what happened. Malcolm had been exposed; his secret was out and Malcolm had to face his life and Denise’s parents. There was no way he could hide it under a rug. He couldn’t conceal himself behind a façade and pretend to be mighty and strong. When Malcolm was growing up, remember, he would pretend to make everyone laugh—he was the class clown but now life was playing a cruel joke on Malcolm. Life was crackling at his sudden dilemma. He would be forced to confront the choices made earlier in his life.
Malcolm’s life had come “full circle.” All the lessons he should have learned, where were they now? Life had visited Malcolm with the sting of hurt, fear and uncertainty. What would he do? He couldn’t lie. Denise’s parents were sure to find out that their daughter was missing. Had it all been worth it—the stealing, robbing others, gang bangin'? Malcolm was the one left “holding the bag.” The only way out of this almost impossible situation was to face the truth— truth—no more lies.
Just like Malcolm, there comes a time when you must face yourself—with all deceit gone. No matter. No matter. What will you do? Look at the price Malcolm may be forced to render for the years he enjoyed in sin. In his youth, there was gang bangin', robbing others, women, drugs and being disobedient to his parents. He lived his life in the fast lane but now the hand of time was turning against Malcolm. Was it too little, too late?
I won’t deny thee
Peter answered and said unto him, Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended. Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. Peter said unto him, Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee. Likewise also said all the disciples (Matthew 26:33-35).
A lot of mouth
Peter had a lot of mouth. He was impulsive by nature and childish. Peter wanted what he wanted, when he wanted it. Peter did a lot of talking, never realizing that one day he would be forced to give an account of his beliefs. He was unable to stand in the moment of crisis. Jesus attempted, on several occasions, to get Peter ready but Peter was always in and out, up and down. Jesus’ plan and mission never became a reality to Peter, before Pentecost. He was simply “playin church—going through the motions—simply having a form.” Is that you?
I don’t know the man!
Now Peter sat without in the palace: and a damsel came unto him, saying, Thou also wast with Jesus of Galilee. But he denied before them all, saying, I know not what thou sayest. And when he was gone out into the porch, another maid saw him, and said unto them that were there, This fellow was also with Jesus of Nazareth. And again he denied with an oath, I do not know the man. And after a while came unto him they that stood by, and said to Peter, Surely thou also art one of them; for thy speech bewrayeth thee. Then began he to curse and to swear, saying, I know not the man. And immediately the cock crew. And Peter remembered the word of Jesus, which said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went out, and wept bitterly (Matthew 26:69-75).
Peter had to curse
Peter’s life had been studied by others. He could not hide the fact that he had been with Jesus. Now Peter’s life came crashing in on him. He never thought that Jesus would leave him. With strong words, he denied even knowing the Christ; Peter had to curse to persuade others that he was not of Christ, and at that point, he was no longer of Christ. Later, after his conversion, Peter would travel as a missionary and his ministry would be long and fruitful. Many would come to know the Lord because of his Spirit-filled teachings.
A sober mind
With all deceit gone, Malcolm knew that he must contact Denise’s parents. His heart raced faster than at any other time in his life, except for when he almost overdosed due to ingesting too many drugs. This was the only time in his adult life that Malcolm was up all night and unable to sleep. The sound of his heart was so loud that it seemed as if his heart was outside of his body, not inside. Malcolm’s heart raced with fear and trepidation. Surely this thing would cost him his life, either by murder or by shear dread, but he wasn’t dead yet. That would be too easy—a problem arising and then dying. No, he would live; Malcolm had to live. He had to live so he could learn.
Looking for a way out
How often when you’re faced with what seems to be an insurmountable problem, you start looking for a way out. Why do you think gang membership is so high? It’s a false family—a false safe haven because it promises something that only the truth can bring—real love. Anything else will not last. No matter how good it looks, how good it feels at the time, it will not last. Only real love will last. Only real love will cure all that is going on with you and in you. Only real love will heal ALL past hurts—past failures— past disappointments. You must choose love in order for love to work for you. No matter if your parents’ failed you—no matter who abandoned you or disappointed you in your childhood, love will heal. Love will heal! For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16).
“I must do it. I have to do this right now,” inwardly reasoned Malcolm. “What will Denise’s parents say? I am sure that they will be full of anger. I must finish this. I must make things right, no matter the cost to myself. Others are involved and it’s my responsibility to ‘fix things,’” said Malcolm. He reached for the telephone and attempted to dial the numbers. His mind went blank. He struggled to keep his hand steady as he dialed the numbers. Finally the telephone rang. “Hello,” Malcolm uttered. Sheila said, “Who is this?” Malcolm attempted to remain calm and said, “Hello, my name is Malcolm. I am not sure if you know me or not but I am dating your daughter, Denise.” “Hello there Malcolm and how is my daughter these days?” questioned Sheila.
You could hear a pin drop
Malcolm’s whole body seemed as if it would cave in and shut down at any moment. The air was still and you could hear a pin drop. Malcolm’s heartbeat was getting louder and louder as he forced himself to say, “Well, that’s why I am calling. I haven’t had any contact with Denise in a couple of days but I have an idea where she may be.”
“Well, out with it boy, where is Denise? Did she put you up to this? She’s always up to something. Why, I remember this one time,” joked Sheila, “she got so mad at us that she decided that she was leaving home. Denise packed up some stuff in her book bag and ended up going nowhere. So what’s this all about, Malcolm?” concluded Sheila. “There’s been a small problem,” quivered Malcolm. Sheila’s voice sharply and abruptly changed. She was no longer laughing but began to be concerned as she said, “What kind of problem? Hold on—hold on son. Let me get Denise’s dad on the other line. William. William. William, there’s some young man on the telephone who says he’s dating Denise and something about a problem.”
Hello. Hello. Hello.
“William. William, are you there? Please pick up the receiver,” shouted Sheila. It took William just a moment to grab the telephone but to Malcolm, who waited, hoping for the next breath to come, it seemed like an eternity. “Hello. Hello, this is Denise’s father. And who did you say you were?” asked William. There was a long pause. “Hello. Hello,” pressed William. “Sheila, who is that on the telephone?” asked William. Malcolm took a deep breath and said, “Hi, my name is Malcolm and I am dating your daughter.”
As he opened his mouth to form the next words, his telephone made a clicking sound, indicating that there was another caller waiting to reach Malcolm. Malcolm, full of fear and scared to death, dropped the telephone. Suddenly, all connection was lost to both Denise’s parents and the other caller who was waiting to get through. “Hello. Hello. Hello. Hello,” were echoed voices as the receiver fell to the floor.
“What was that dog? Maybe we didn’t dial the right number,” said the caller. “Oh, shut up. Don’t you think I know Malcolm’s number? Give me the phone. I’ll try again,” concluded the caller. “Don’t snatch, dog,” commented the one caller.
Sit down and be quiet
“William. William. William,” pressed Sheila. “Sheila, sit down and be quiet,” sternly replied William. “We don’t know that there is anything wrong. You know how you get, so cool it!” shouted William. In actuality, both William and Sheila were quite upset by now. They couldn’t even return the call to Malcolm because the number was protected and didn’t show up on caller identification. “I knew something like this might happen. William. William,” continued Sheila. “Sheila, go take a pill or something. You are making my head pound,” replied William, “he will call again. I promise you.”
William truly prayed that Malcolm would contact them again. William’s mind went back—way back to the day that Denise left the home. The scene played over and over again in his mind. The last time—the pain, it seemed to resurface—the wound was ripped opened once again.
William’s mind was lost—lost in the memories and emotions of that day. “Oh, God please help me! Oh, oh God please help me! Help! Help! Where is Denise? Don’t let anything happen to my baby. Oh, God please!” “William,” shouted Sheila. “William,” Sheila continued shouting. She was shaking his shivering, wet body in an attempt to wake him from this deep madness. William’s face was covered with tears. He was gripping his soaked and enshrouded pillow with all his might. “William, wake up! William, it’s me Sheila. Sweetie, please wake up. You’re having a bad dream.” Sheila grabbed William and held him. “William, hold on. Hold on.” “Denise. Where is Denise? She doesn’t know what’s ahead. She doesn’t know about the world, the mean, mean world,” cried William. “It’s just a bad dream. It’s just a bad, bad dream,” whispered Sheila, as she rocked her William.
William shook himself and attempted to regain some type of composure. He felt himself being sucked back—back into that horrible, horrible moment when his baby girl left home.
Denise heard voices
There was a cool draft, which hovered over Denise. In fact, it broke her sleep. Nauseated and weakened by all of the drugs given her, Denise heard voices coming from another room, not too far away. She continued trying to make some sense out of the place she was in. It was dark and mouse droppings covered most of the empty place. Denise could sense that the entire building had been abandoned for some time.
Her attention was drawn toward the voices. She heard Malcolm’s name and sat up straight. “What exactly is going on?” Denise reasoned within, “who are these people? Why am I here? And why are they talking about Malcolm?” She listened with intensity as she tried to make sense out of her life these last few days. Denise could not refrain from thinking about her mother and father. She loved them dearly and she now realized that she needed them more than ever before. Denise longed for the company of her parents. If she could only call one of them, certainly they would make everything all right. No matter how old she got, she would always be “daddy’s little girl.”
I need my book bag!
Oh, how Denise ached from deep down inside for the comfort of home—the comfort of safety. She missed her church family and all the outings, skits and plays. Denise thought of all the valuable information that she pushed away into her book bag. Surely, some reference hidden there would help her in this situation but she left the book bag. She told Sharon that she wouldn’t ever need it again but Denise had been mistaken. She had been deceived. Denise was grown as she pretended to be. Life was just as mom and dad tried to tell her and now look—she’s in a dark place with strangers and all alone.
As her mind wondered and reminisced about home, a small rodent shot across the floor and flew straight up the sleeve of her shirt. Afraid of being exposed and given more drugs, Denise simply shook the mouse out of her sleeve and flung it across the room. The rodent incident seemed so small in comparison to missing home. Denise then grabbed herself and just began to rock back and forth.
She was praying
She didn’t realize it at the time but she was praying, praying to God. She knew how to pray. Denise never felt the need for prayer before, but she knew—yes she knew how to pray. From within she cried unto the only one who could help her at the time. She cried with such longing, such godly sorrow, such sincerity and such shame. Denise had been fooled. The memory of the church services started to overwhelm her. Before her mind could complete one thought of one day, instantly another thought would flood her mind and on and on it went for what seemed like hours but actually it was just a few minutes.
Denise, for the first time, realized that she was a long way from home with no one to help her. Who would she blame? She was to blame. The emptiness that shadowed Denise brought new insight into just how far in deceit she had fallen.
Where are the friends?
Where were the friends now? There was no party to go to. No, all she wanted to do was lie in mom’s bed and review the day. At one time, Denise thought she was too grown to lie in momma’s bed but this day—today, she longed for home—home. She seemed to have second thoughts now—second thoughts about her existence and, yes, her purpose. God had truly been with her all of her life but Denise didn’t realize it until now. From her innermost being and probably for the first time, she cried out to God. Guess what? God was listening.
Denise parted her lips and began to whisper, “Oh, God. I am so, so, so sorry for all of the pain. I thank you, Lord, for this day, a day that I’ve taken for granted for most of my life. I don’t even know if you can help me now. When you beckoned for me to come and spend time with you—pray and read your word—I didn’t have time but please help me. I am so very weak and I don’t know what these men plan to do with me. I don’t want to die. I want to live. I want to live. I want to live and serve you.”
Get Malcolm back on the phone
“Get Malcolm back on the phone now…you idiot,” screamed one of the men to the other. “Malcolm, no more games. Do you have my stuff or what? Don’t make me do something that you will be sorry about for the rest of your life,” concluded the caller. He didn’t wait to see if Malcolm was the one picking up the receiver. Immediately, when a voice on the other end said, “Hello,” he just shouted his message and, when done, slammed down the phone. “Hey boss, what was that all about?” the one man asked the other. “Oh, shut up. You are starting to get on my nerves. Come on, let’s go,” the man shouted. “Hey, you are always shouting. Where we going anyway?”
Now wait a minute
They both walked toward a closed door which was not locked. “Hey, how many times have I told you to keep this door locked? You don’t have the brains of a fly,” yelled one of the men. They both proceeded to a van just outside the unlocked door. The trunk was partially opened. “Oh man, didn’t I tell you to lock this trunk?” one man insisted. “Now, wait one minute. I know that I locked the door and this trunk. I ain’t gone let you keep blaming me for all this stuff,” the one man shouted to his angry friend.
Did you really
“So, where are we going?” asked one of the men to the other. “Can you make sure that everything is locked up? If we didn’t have Denise drugged up, she could easily get away…because of YOU!” screamed the one man. “G what’s up with the screaming? She’s still lying on that floor. I gave her enough stuff to keep her out for a long, long time,” said the man. “Did you really? Go and check on her. I have to look after you like a little child. Hey. Hey, never mind, let’s go. I need to pick up some stuff. I guess Malcolm needs a special delivery. If that is the way that he wants to play, then that’s the way we will play it,” smirked the caller. They both jumped into the van after slamming the trunk shut.
Not 10 minutes after driving they heard a sound. “What in the world is that? Say, Idiot, did you close the trunk?” the one rider pierced at the other rider. “Of course. You talk to me like I am stupid. Well, I ain’t stupid, dog!” the other rider concluded. A loud siren pierced out the words, “Pull over. Pull over. Pull over now.” The van immediately pulled over to the right of the street. They both emerged from the van and met the officers. “Hey, back in the van. No one told you to get out. Get back in the van. Where is your proof of insurance and registration?” the officer demanded. “Okay officer, just one minute,” calmingly stated the one man. “Here you are officer.” The officer reviewed the credentials and asked, “Do you know why I stopped you?”
Call the police
Sheila was truly a “basket case,” by this time. Several hours had passed with no return call from Malcolm. “William, should we call the police?” cried Sheila. “Sheila, Malcolm never eluded that Denise was in trouble. Just sit down and wait. If we don’t hear anything in the next few hours, then we will call the police. We don’t know much about Malcolm. Do you know where he lives? Sheila, do you know where he works? Does he even have a job?” questioned William.
“Oh God, please help me. I need you to h e l p me this time. I have no one else to turn to. I couldn’t live with the fact that something happened to Denise because of my sins,” cried Malcolm. “What in the world are they going to do to Denise? He didn’t even give me a chance to respond. Oh, please don’t hurt Denise. I wish I knew where they took Denise. Maybe I ought to call the police. Yes, that’s what I will do, but first I will have to tell Denise’s parents all that has happened,” reasoned Malcolm within himself.
Open the trunk
“How long has your back light been out?” asked the policeman. “Officer,” said the one man, “I didn’t know there was a problem. I will have it looked at right away.” The officer walked around to the back of the van and bent down to see if he could see into the trunk and walked back to the driver’s side and asked, “Got anything in the trunk?” “No. No officer, there is nothing in the trunk,” said one of the men. “Maybe I should have a look anyway,” stated the officer. “Officer, let me get my keys and I will open the trunk for you.” Convinced that there was nothing to hide, the officer gave them a warning and let them go on their way.
How did the light get broken?
How did the light get broken? They both questioned one another about how the back light could have been broken. They arrived at a local hardware store, purchased some items and returned the van only to find that the trunk was left opened once again. They both looked, with fear, into the eyes of the other and jumped in the van and raced back to the abandoned apartment building. Without saying one word to the other, they both knew what the other was thinking—the last few hours, the door being left unlocked, the trunk left unlocked, the back light broken and finally, being stopped by the cops. Something wasn’t adding up.
Both eyes pierced
They exited the half-parked van and ran into the apartment building. They raced to the place where they thought they had left Denise. It was like the last few miles of a long, long race, with the finish line in view. The one man ran and pushed the other man, who then fell to the floor with both eyes pierced toward the room where Denise had been held captive. The other man, panting, full of fear, anxious and now flushed with anger, pushed through the door and ran toward what seemed to be a body covered by a worn, dust-filled blanket. As he swiftly threw the blanket back, his mind raced with the possibilities of imprisonment and even the charge of murder. The cover came unpeeled in his hands, as it moved at the horrified man’s forceful command. His eyes were pierced downward toward the image. The other man still lay fearfully on the floor, near the entrance. The man on the floor knew that bad or good would be determined by the next words that sprinted from that room.
Join me next time for the final chapter (Part 6) of this great, great story of love, regret, and second chances.
I can't wait. Can you?
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A Miracle of the Heart
by Yvonne Thomas
On, Wednesday, October 25, 2006, I suffered a heart attack. I was in Wednesday night Bible study and the ambulance was called. I had severe pain in my chest and was afraid. The following day, at a nearby hospital, I also suffered a stroke. During the course of my hospitalization, I lost my ability to speak and write. I couldn’t remember certain things. I also lost the vision in my left eye. The doctors told Reverend Thomas that they couldn’t perform a needed surgery because it was too risky and could cause damage to my brain. Blood was being blocked from entering a certain part of my brain. I couldn’t even write my name.
As I lay there in intensive care, I thought of Put me in remembrance (Isaiah 43:26a) and But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed (Isaiah 53:5). The Lord said to put Him in remembrance and, you better know, that’s just what I did. I would call on God and call on God. Reverend Thomas would come by almost every morning with the prayer cloth and pray for me. The members fasted for me and the Akron prayer line was called.
Reverend didn’t tell the other members how bad I was until I got my miracle. I am a living witness of the miracle power of God. We depend on miracles at A Passion For Christ Ministries. We are receiving miracles in abundance.
Yvonne Thomas is back singing in the choir. Hallelujah!
Well, we made a trip to our home church in Akron, Ohio (We are going again on Good Friday, April 6, 2007.) I got my miracle. God did the unbelievable. Before going to Akron, on Friday, November 24, 2006, the doctors told Reverend Thomas that they wanted to put me in a rehabilitation institution. She said, “No, we are going to Akron.” I got in the prayer line and told Reverend Angley about my condition and he laid his hands on me and instantly I was healed all over. I can speak and I am back singing in the choir. I have no trouble with my memory. Hallelujah!! God did it! God did it! Don’t wait, get your miracle, too!
Yours with a Passion for Souls,
Pastor, A Passion for Christ Ministries
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