From Troll to Saint

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“Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit”,  says Lord of Hosts — Zechariah 4:6 —

The word troll — which I find repulsive — is used among homosexual men to describe themselves or one another, as age approaches, or as a way to describe those who go after sex partners.

My brother used it as slang for getting old. “I’m nothing but an old troll, now,” he would joke. However, I never laughed, telling him he was more than that.

We both were looking forward to being around for one another when we hit 60 years old. He, just 14 months younger than I. Our birthdays two months apart, our mother would have one birthday party between us when we were children.

Ricky and I spent time talking about aging. The pros and cons. Pro, being able to watch a movie or something and watching it again, not remembering it the first time, and finding it as a brand new event. Pro, reaching the age of knowing who true friends were. Pro, just being grateful we lived as long as we have, because some of our friends had already passed on. The biggest pro was being hopeful that age had made us a little wiser and not as stupid, as in our younger days.

The cons being how it sucked watching our bodies give in to the natural aging process, when a part of us still felt like we were in our 20s and early 30s. We joked about skin tags, getting out of breath, my having hair where once I didn’t. He loved that one! My losing bladder control when I got tickled, was his favorite and he would purposely do and say funny things, just so he could stand back to watch it happen!

Our joking about it, was our way of dealing with reality. I still let the aging process get to me more than he did. He used to tell me, “Well, Brenda, whadda Ya gonna do? You can either cry about it or laugh.” When he was around, I was laughing about it, because he had such an optimistic disposition.

So, when he started calling himself an old troll because of a skin tag here or there, it saddened me. He was no troll, in my eyes. He was my brother who had been so many things to me, during our life together.

The past two years, he began to change. He had mellowed out. As sick as he was, he enjoyed spending time with family. Especially with our baby sister — who the two of them had a very special connection, for which I was never envious, but glad — and her family, enjoying her swimming pool, sun bathing, wanting to be with her two little twin grandsons. He would visit our other brother and his family, and he would visit me. I began to see him as a true patriarch of the family. Caring deeply for each member. So much so, that it really did put me to shame. I had lost patience in some areas, but Ricky still hung in there, with a heart of love, whereas, mine was waxing cold, impatient, very little mercy flowing out of me. But Ricky, he was a type of plumb line for me.

I looked upon him with a sense of awe. He was changing, wanting to know about the things of God. He came to me for that and I was just real with him, telling him my failings, etc. explaining to him, I know I’m rotten to the core, and only Jesus makes me worth anything because of His work in the cross.

I had bought him a Bible years ago, but like so many people, he never liked to read, so if he ever read it, I don’t know. But, he would want to know what scripture had to say about certain things and the end times. He listened with eager ears as I read him parts of it. Then, we would discuss it.

He went from being apathetic and cold towards Israel, to curious, accepting, loving and watching it, as God’s time table for events in the world. He would call me asking what I thought about certain events. He went to work saying, “I think we are in the last days”. He was not parroting me, he really believed. Some listened to him in agreement and I could see it excited him.

I found myself trembling every time we got to talk about Biblical things! You see, many years ago, when we both were in the prime of our youth, full of strength and vitality, he was hostile even at the mere mention of God or the Bible. Contrary to what some of you may believe, I was never a “Bible Thumper”, carrying a Bible the size of a watermelon around on my hip, with one finger extended, crying out, “Repent, thou foul sinner!” Neither, was I one to think I was better than my brother. We both knew things about each other. We both knew the other had never been an angel. We had that much in common, thank God! He also knew I was not the same woman, he remembered as in our younger days.

He would mock me or ridicule me at times. I know brothers can be a pain in the butt that way, and sometimes a sister just has to suck it up. I tried to keep a low profile around him, hoping he wouldn’t notice me, but when our eyes met, I knew I was in for it, because mischievousness  twinkled in his eyes! However, sometimes, something in him would go to the extreme and at times, I found it very hurtful. I had done nothing to ever reject him or his friends, but something in him, had fun in doing it to me. Honestly? It was nothing more than demonic. It just made me love him more, as aggravated as I could get.

A month or so before his heart attack, he called to tell me he was watching some preacher on TV. My first inward reflex was, “Oh great. Wonder who THAT is. Now, I’m going to have to contend with a false teacher.”

I asked who it was and it was local. He told me what the sermon was about. He said it felt like it was being said to him. I don’t remember now what it was, but upon hearing it, I found it to be good not only for Ricky, but myself as well. So it gave us the opportunity to discuss God’s Word together.

Understand, he went from a man who had been hostile toward the things of God, to a man who in a quiet humble sort of way, was hungering and thirsting for truth. So much so, that one day, out of nowhere, he told me, “I’ve come to believe I was not born gay, but chose it.”

I gently agreed with him. He said as much as he had enjoyed life, he wished he could have done some things differently. I assured him, everybody can say that for themselves, I know I can.

I told him this about him being gay. Maybe not word for word, not all in one moment, but at one time or the other, as he was the one who always brought the subject up, not I: “God created you in His image, Ricky. He put certain traits, abilities, gifts, talents in you while you were still in Mom’s womb. He made you a sensitive little boy, not a sissy like others and myself teased, but one who was curious, adventurous, creative. Whereas you liked to learn to bake cookies and learning to sew, I would rather have been out playing G.I. Joe with the boys or climbing trees. I think this sometimes happens, Ricky. I think sometimes when God makes a little boy who is sensitive, etc., the devil sees it and comes to that little boy at a young age and whispers a lie in his little ears. The child, not knowing any better, begins to believe it. Shoot, Ricky, I wanted to please Dad so much, that I acted tough just so he would think I was strong, when all along I was really afraid.”

Example, Dad would tell Ricky and me that he would give a dime to whoever went out to the garage at night time to turn off the lights. I would do it, terrified of any boogie man that might be waiting. Ricky, on the other hand, would tell me, “It wasn’t worth a dime to me.” We laughed about that, even up to the last month of his life!

Ricky had become more gentle, patient, even edifying to me, as the things of the world were enraging me. Right before his heart attack, he had told me to let things go. As much as I wanted, I did not know how. Yet, admiring that thing in him, that truly was putting me to shame.

Ricky was a neat freak, a perfectionist. When he did a job, he did it well, with a type of professionalism, whether it was landscaping, painting, selling Home Interior, etc. That would spill over into his personal visits, when he would say things like, “Girl, when did you run the vacuumn cleaner last?” Or, “I can’t believe you haven’t washed your dishes.” Use to irratate the snot out of me and I would snap back, “Well, did you come to see me or the house?” Or, “If I had known you were coming, I would have hired a maid.” Brothers. You gotta love them.

But, he stopped doing that the past couple years. Something changed. Perhaps he saw I wasn’t feeling well, or perhaps his priorities were changing, taking more pleasure in just being around me, instead of finding fault.

I wasn’t the only one who noticed it. We all noticed it.

We talked about what it meant to be born again. About the deep things of God. I told him Salvation was quite simple, really. Man and religion make it a hard complex thing, when in reality it is desiring God to change who we are, knowing that we all are sinners and allowing and accepting what Jesus did for us on the Cross. Repentance meaning just  turning around, knowing we have been forgiven and allowing God to do the work in us, because we can’t.

The last month of his life, he mentioned something about maybe wanting to get baptized. He brought it up, not I. He spoke well of the young preacher he was watching and asked me to watch it with him on Sunday mornings, then he would call and we would discuss the sermon. Oh, how I loved those times. Forever precious to me.

I got to see what few people get to witness. I got to see an awesome God who knew everything about my brother, loved him throughout his life, even at the darkest of times and never once stopped loving him or gave up on him.

Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance. — Matthew 3:8 —

I got to see those fruits. My brother may have thought he was nothing more than a “troll”, but God through His Spirit, changed him to a Saint.

Don’t give up on that loved one. If God can do this for my loved one, He can do it for you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Want “revival”? Then let it start with you

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Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things, and revive me in Your way. — Psalm 119:37 —

How many times have we as Christians ran to and fro, looking for revival, in hopes to touch the hem of His garment through mere man? A lot of us were taught this: “We’re having a revival! Come to the revival! Let God revive you!” As if man could decide when and where God would show up and honor what is sometimes — if not most — a self-centered watered down program to bring in the masses to listen to a lukewarm gospel in the hopes of saving many.

This is not true revival.

Many times Christians desire to see their church do  a new thing, which actually is an old thing. They are living in the past of some movement of years ago, desiring to see the same thing. It must become very burdensome to the pastor to have someone who constantly is comparing the present with the past. The past is just that — the past. And a lot of times, what was done in the past was not a movement of God at all.

Then there is the Christian who say they desire revival so much, looking for it in others and yet there is absolutely nothing that is being revived in them, other than a type of self grandiosity. That is hypocrisy, my friends. I know. I used to be like that many years ago. I so much wanted revival that I thought just by carrying my Bible and Charles Finny books around about holiness, would surely start a revival. How stupid is that?! Oh, I could look good to the pastor, all right. After all, I had “passion and zeal” I was told. I also had a bunch of self-righteousness going on at the same time. Pointing my finger, thinking in my heart, if you people would just do this or that!

One Saturday, two other women and I went to church to pray. We had the sanctuary all to ourselves. We began praying for revival. I went off on some kind of tangent along the lines of this: “Dear God, hear our cry, bring revival! Bring revival! There’s a stench in the camp! There’s a stench in the camp!” Oh, I knew I was sounding good, looking all spiritual and holy. Such pride. As I was praying, I began to smell something that stunk to high heaven. Still praying, I opened one eye and began to look around me. The stench was so close. Then I saw it. It was on the bottom of my shoe! I had tracked dog doo in the church. I became so embarrassed and stopped ranting. The women said, “What is that smell?” I sheepishly said, “It is me.” I could have died right there on the spot.

What I’m saying is, if you want revival, let it start with you. Sometimes, God does not begin a work in those around us, because we ourselves are walking in sin. It could be anything. Unforgiveness, hatred, self-righteousness, bitterness are a few things that come to my mind. Sometimes we can have our hands all over something and God will not touch it as long as we are the one trying to bring the change.

There has to be a time of brokeness before true revival comes.

I could be wrong, but I believe, true revival comes in the stillness of our soul after we have allowed God to show us our fault, our sin, our wrong doings –brokenness for how one has grieved God. Brokeness for how we have hurt others.

If true revival could be found in going to a church meeting, singing choruses, hooping and hollering and rolling around on the floor, don’t you think this nation would not be where it is today? What about in your own family? What about where you work? What about in your own neighborhood? What about in your own church/building? What about you?

True revival must begin with breaking up the fallow/hardened ground in one’s heart. We must have our hearts convicted by a Holy righteous God. There must be an awareness of sin that has seperated us from God, sin that grieves His heart, sin that hinders the true work of God that He has called for us in the first place.

O God, You have taught me from my youth;
And to this day I declare Your wondrous works.
Now also when I am old and grayheaded,
O God, do not forsake me,
Until I declare Your strength to this generation,
Your power to everyone who is to come.

Also Your righteousness, O God, is very high,
You who have done great things;
O God, who is like You?
You, who have shown me great and severe troubles,
Shall revive me again,
And bring me up again from the depths of the earth.
You shall increase my greatness,
And comfort me on every side. — Psalm 71:17-21 —

Has God shown you great and severe troubles, yet? The kind of troubles that only God can touch? The kind of troubles, so great and severe that it causes you to know you are but dust? That in and of yourself, you are nothing? That you are helpless in some events going on in your own personal life? That if it were not for the mercy of God, you would feel as if you are nothing more than a little grease spot?

If so, then you are a prime candidate for revival. More than likely, you have stopped running to and fro looking for that one thing to fix whatever it is that has caused you to be so low. You are in a good place. You are about to see the salvation of the Lord come to you in way you’ve not yet known.

Oh, I know, that does not go along with what we have been taught and with what most people seek. After all, revival is suppose to feel good. Would you believe me if I told you, true revival comes from within and not from without? True revival is something that can not be manipulated by man. True revival is always about the kingdom of God being built within you. Apart from man, apart from prying eyes, apart from outside influences that would manipulate you for fleeting feelings of what is called joy now days.

Do not look for revival to others to revive you. That is the Holy Spirit’s job. You will not find it if you are looking for others to begin it in you. You will only find it when you begin to pick up the Cross and die. LET the kingdom of God arise in you by allowing the Holy Spirit to convict you of all ungodliness — breaking up the hardened ground of your own heart. I can promise you when you begin to get to the other side, God will begin showing you great and mighty things. THEN, others will be revived. Why? Because they will see the darkness that once had you bound has been exposed by His marvelous light. Others will begin to see Jesus in you as you begin to move into His truth and life in a way that will cause others to think, “Where did this come from? It must be God.” They will then come to you and desire to know this God who has set you free.

That is the fruit of revival, precious Bride of Christ: one of causing others to desire to know our God. It is never about us or our works. But about Him who desires to see the lost being found, the blind being able to see.

How will they know unless we be first in being broken before the Lord? Let Him begin that wonderful work of breaking the fallow ground. It hurts but for a season, but the joy that follows is unspeakable!

If you truly want true revival, just make sure you deal with your own stench first. 

Murderer’s last request: Preach to me

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http://www.wnd.com/2012/10/murderers-last-request-preach-to-me/?cat_orig=faith

Moses Paul, an Indian, was executed on Sept. 2, 1772, for the murder of Moses Cook on Dec. 7 of the previous year. At his execution, he requested that a sermon be preached by Rev. Samson Occom.

Comple version found here: http://www.learner.org/amerpass/archive/9000s/9024.pdf

By the melancholy providence of God, and at the earnest desire and invitation of the poor condemned criminal, I am here before this great concourse of people at this time, to give the last discourse to the poor miserable object who is to be executed this day before your eyes, for the due reward of his folly and madness and enormous wickedness. It is an unwelcome task to me to speak upon such occasion; but since it is the desire of the poor man himself, who is to die a shameful death this day, in conscience I cannot deny him; I must endeavor to do the great work the dying man requests. …

Sin is the transgression of the law: This is the Scripture definition of sin. Now the law of God being holy, just and good; sin must be altogether unholy, unjust and evil. If I was to define sin, I should call it a contrariety to God; and as such it must be the vilest thing in the world; it is full of all evil; it is the evil of evils; the only evil in which dwells no good thing; and it is most destructive to God’s creation, wherever it takes effect. It was sin that transformed the very angels in heaven into devils; and it was sin that caused hell to be made. If it had not been for sin, there never would have been such a thing as hell or devil, death or misery.

And if sin is such a thing as we have just described, it must be worse than the devils in hell itself. Sin is full of deadly poison; it is full of malignity and hatred against God; against all his divine perfections and attributes, against his wisdom, against his power, against his holiness and goodness, against his mercy and justice, against his law and gospel; yea against his very being and existence. Were it in the power of sin, it would even dethrone God, and set itself on the throne. …

My poor unhappy Brother Moses, as it was your own desire that I should preach to you this last discourse, so I shall speak plainly to you. You are the bone of my bone, and flesh of my flesh. You are an Indian, a despised creature, but you have despised yourself; yea you have despised God more; you have trodden under foot his authority; you have despised his commands and precepts; And now, as God says, be sure your sins will find you out. And now, poor Moses, your sins have found you out, and they have overtaken you this day; the day of your death is now come; the king of terrors is at hand; you have but a very few moments to breathe in this world.

The just law of man, and the holy laws of Jehovah, call aloud for the destruction of your mortal life; God says, “Whoso sheddeth man’s blood of man shall his blood be shed.” This is the ancient decree of heaven, and it is to be executed by man; nor have you the least gleam of hope of escape, for the unalterable sentence is past: The terrible day of execution is come; the unwelcome guard is about you; and the fatal instruments of death are now made ready; your coffin and your grave, your last lodging are open ready to receive you.

Alas! Poor Moses, now you know by sad, by woful experience, the living truth of our text, that the wages of sin is death. You have been already dead; yea, twice dead: By nature spiritually dead. And since the awful sentence of death has been passed upon you, you have been dead to all the pleasures of this life; or all the pleasures, lawful or unlawful, have been dead to you: And death, which is the wages of sin, is standing even on this side of your grave ready to put a final period to your mortal life; and just beyond the grave, eternal death awaits your poor soul, and devils are ready to drag your miserable soul down to their bottomless den, where everlasting woe and horror reigns; the place is filled with doleful shrieks, howls and groans of the damned. Oh! To what a miserable, forlorn and wretched condition has your extravagance folly and wickedness brought you! i.e. if you die in your sins. And, Oh! What manner of repentance ought you to manifest! How ought your heart to bleed for what you have done! How ought you to prostrate your soul before a bleeding God! And under self-condemnation, cry out, “Ah Lord, ah Lord, what have I done?”

Whatever partiality, injustice and error there may be among the judges of the earth, remember that you have deserved a thousand deaths, and a thousand hells, by reason of your sins, at the hands of a holy God. Should God come out against you in strict justice, alas! What could you say for yourself? For you have been brought up under the bright sunshine and plain and loud sound of the gospel; and you have had a good education; you can read and write well; and God has given you a good natural understanding: And therefore your sins are so much more agg[r]avated. You have not sinned in such an ignorant manner as others have done; but you have sinned with both your eyes open as it were, under the light even the glorious light of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

You have sinned against the light of your own conscience, against your knowledge and understanding; you have sinned against the pure and holy laws of God, the just laws of men; you have sinned against heaven and earth; you have sinned against all the mercies and goodness of God; you have sinned against the whole Bible, against the Old and New Testament; you have sinned against the blood of Christ, which is the blood of the everlasting covenant. O poor Moses, see what you have done! And now repent, repent, I say again repent; see how the blood you shed cries against you, and the avenger of blood is at your heels. O fly, fly, to the blood of the Lamb of God for the pardon of all your aggravated sins.

But let us now turn to a more pleasant theme. Though you have been a great sinner, a heaven-daring sinner; yet hark and hear the joyful sound from heaven, even from the King of kings, and Lord of lords; that the gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord. It is the free gift offered to the greatest sinners, and upon their true repentance towards God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ they shall be welcome to the life they have spoken of: It is offered upon free terms. He that hath no money may come; he that hath no righteousness, no goodness may come, the call is to poor undone sinners; the call is not to the righteous, but sinners calling them to repentance. Hear the voice of the Son of the Most High God, “Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

This is a call, a gracious call to you poor Moses, under your present burden and distresses. And Christ alone has a right to call sinners to Himself. It would be presumption for a mighty angel to call a poor sinner in this manner; and were it possible for you to apply to all God’s creatures, they would with one voice tell you, that it was not in them to help you. Go to all the means of grace, they would prove miserable helps without Christ himself. Yea, apply to all the ministers of the gospel in the world, they would all say, that it was not in them, but would only prove as indexes, to point out to you, the Lord Jesus Christ, the only Savior of sinners of mankind. Yea, go to all the angels in heaven they would do the same. Yea, go to God the Father himself without Christ, he could not help you, to speak after the manner of men, he would also point to the Lord Jesus Christ, and say, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye Him.” Thus you see, poor Moses, that there is none in heaven, or earth, that can help you, but Christ; He alone has power to save, and to give life.

God the eternal Father appointed Him, chose Him, authorized and fully commissioned Him to save sinners. He came down from heaven into this lower world, and became as one of us, and stood in our room. He was the second Adam. And as God demanded correct obedience of the first Adam; the second fulfil’d it; and as the first sinned and incurred the wrath and anger of God, the second endured it; He suffered in our room. As He became sin for us, He was a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; all our stripes were laid upon Him; yea, He was finally condemned, because we were under condemnation; and at last was executed and put to death, for our sins; was lifted up between the heavens and the earth and was crucified on the accursed tree; His blessed hands and feet were fastened there; there He died a shameful and ignominious death; there He finished the great work of our redemption: There His hearts blood was shed for our cleansing: There He fully satisfied the divine justice of God, for penitent, believing sinners, though they have been the chief of sinners.

O Moses! This is good news to you in this last day of your life; here is a crucified Savior at hand for your sins; His blessed hands are outstretched, all in a gore of blood for you. This is the only Savior, an Almighty Savior, just such as you stand in infinite and perishing need of. O, poor Moses! Hear the dying prayer of a gracious Savior on the accursed tree: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” This was a prayer for His enemies and murderers; and it is for you, if you will now only repent and believe in Him. O, why will you die eternally, poor Moses, since Christ has died for sinners? Why will you go to hell from beneath a bleeding Savior as it were? This is the day of your execution, yet it is the accepted time, it is the day of salvation if you will now believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. Must Christ follow you into the prison by His servants and there intreat you to accept of eternal life, and will you refuse it? Must he follow you even to the gallows, and there beseech of you to accept Him, and will you refuse Him? Shall He be crucified hard by your gallows, as it were, and will you regard Him not? O poor Moses, now believe on the Lord Jesus Christ with all your heart, and thou shalt be saved eternally. Come just as you are, with all your sins and abominations, with all your filthiness, with all your blood-guiltiness, with all your condemnation, and lay hold of the hope set before you this day. This is the last day of salvation with your soul; you will be beyond the bounds of mercy in a few minutes more.

O what a joyful day would it be if you would now openly believe in and receive the Lord Jesus Christ; it would be the beginning of heavenly days with your poor soul; instead of a melancholy day, it would be a wedding day to your soul: It would cause the very angels in heaven to rejoice, and the saints on earth to be glad; it would cause the angels to come down from the realms above and wait hovering about your gallows, ready to convey your soul to the heavenly mansions. There to taste the possession of eternal glory and happiness and join the heavenly choirs in singing the songs of Moses and the Lamb: There to set down forever with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of God’s glory; and your shame and guilt shall be forever banished from the place, and all sorrow and fear forever fly away, and tears be wiped from your face; and there shall you forever admire the astonishing and amazing and infinite mercy of God in Christ Jesus.

Black Gospel Singers Need to Repent

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I love this woman’s passion for truth. She speaks it well. Listen to her.

Sister, if you see this, I am glad you are back with your videos. I’ve missed them. God bless you always!

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