Jul 14

Our Emmaus: Day 16

When Jesus Met and Rescued Me on a Road to Misery 

I experienced some pain and suffering after my separation. One day, I felt something I never felt before. I had to call a friend and ask for some help. I went to her house and she told me that I was having a panic attack. She gave me some medication, and after that, I felt much better. She gave me a few more just in case I needed it again. When I felt the same way again however, I asked God this time to help me. I didn’t want to take the pills and I didn’t want to start an addiction or dependency to these pills. I told God that I didn’t want to use these pills and He helped me. I knocked on His door and He opened it. He was waiting for me to knock and let go of my anxiety. He was the one who helped me thrive during this difficult time in my life.

After that, I started going to church every Sunday and got very involved. When I didn’t have a relationship with God, I always thought my life was good; I had no addictions, I was a good person, everything was fine. But then one day, I desired more. I wanted a close, intimate relationship with God. This is when I renewed my baptism vow. Having a deep relationship with God is like having a relationship with anyone here on earth, but so much better. It is the same, though, in that we have to give our relationship with Him time and devotion. I now enjoy reading His word and love talking about it. I feel so good following His commandments. He is the only one to cure our pain, sickness or addictions. In my case, He cured me before I even had the addiction. He restores us and loves us no matter what, and He will meet us anywhere we are. We don’t live in this world forever so we need to trust in His promises and know that He loves us unconditionally. One day, we will be reunited with Him for all of eternity.

I feel so rich. He lives inside of me!

- Marietha Dubin

 

 

Jul 13

Our Emmaus: Day 15

Jesus, My Friend 

It was 1989. I was 44 years old, our kids were going to Catholic school and our family were regulars at mass.

It was then that I joined a Bible study—yes, at a Catholic church—because a friend invited me and I thought it was about time to learn something about that special Book that I had avoided.

I believed in God, prayed when I felt it was necessary, and I knew something about Jesus but I didn’t know Him.

That study was a verse by verse journey that lasted 13 years, and it was in the pages of Scripture that I first met Jesus in a very special and personal way.

For me there was no epiphany nor alter call but rather a slow and steady progression that led to an intimate friendship with the Creator of the universe.

Getting to truly know the Lord is not unlike falling in love for the first time: the excitement that learning about someone new brings, then the comfort and security from familiarity and intimacy, and then commitment as when one finds their life partner.

From the anticipation of Christ in the Old Testament to His revelation in the New, and seeing the thread that weaves all 66 books together an open mind will be astonished. But it is in the Gospels that I find Jesus at the place He wants to meet me. Through His grace I was able to enter into a relationship with Him regardless of who I was or what I had done. The salvation that came from that relationship drives me daily to worship and glorify Him.

He is a friend who loves me unconditionally and unendingly and looks out for my best interests even when I don’t know what they are. He is always available, will never desert me and plans on me being His companion forever.

Every time I page through the Scriptures I am reminded that He loved me so much He died for me so that I might live eternally with Him.

That He is my Friend I have no doubt, that He is my Savior I am sure.

“No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you.” – John 15:13–14

Jesus said I am His friend, how grateful I am to know Him.

- Richard Moselle

 

 

Jul 12

Our Emmaus: Day 14

A spiritual advisor recently asked me what my “life verse” was. As we talked, I shared with her the heaviness in my heart. A dear friend of mine was on life support in an Intensive Care Unit. I felt called to go to her, lay hands on her and anoint her with oil. I knew the chances of seeing her were slim. I prayed that God would make a way, and He did!

I have shared my faith with my sick friend many times, yet she and her family continued to be drawn to New Age ideals. When I visited her in the ICU, I felt the heaviness and discouragement of her family (all nonbelievers). I became fully aware, for the first time, what it is to be without hope, life without a Savior.

As I laid hands upon her and prayed in the Spirit, my friend briefly became conscious. I told her I loved her and she acknowledged me with her eyes and smile. I anointed her head with oil. She drifted back to sleep. I spent some time ministering to her family and left.

As the days passed nothing changed. I felt discouraged. I wanted the Lord to be glorified. I wanted all her lost family and friends to see His greatness, so that they too would come to know Him. I wanted a miracle!

My advisor led me to Isaiah 61:1–3:

“The spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
because the Lord has anointed me;
he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed,
to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and release to the prisoners;
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor,
and the day of vengeance of our God;
to comfort all who mourn;
to provide for those who mourn in Zion—
to give them a garland instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
the planting of the Lord, to display his glory.”

This is my “life verse,” my commission. Even so, to reach my friend, I had to confront sources of oppression, hopelessness and despair. Even though anointed, I felt vulnerable facing rejection, resistance, and lack of progress.

But the Lord revealed to me what I had missed. When I went to anoint my friend’s head with oil, she lifted her hand to brush her bangs aside, offering her forehead to me. She knew what I was doing. She had received the Holy Spirit and eternal life! Glory be to God!

- Brooke Turpin

 

 

Jul 11

Our Emmaus: Day 13

An Emmaus Story 

A young woman had come to the big city to find work. She walked down an avenue looking for medical offices. Dissatisfied by her first two years in college and broken by shattered relationships, she had left her home town. It was 1968. The Vietnam War was engaged.

What she had thought to be true was now in question. Purpose and meaning in life eluded her. Utterly empty and despairing she looked up at a gray Seattle sky and heard herself say, “God? I believe You are up there…somewhere. If the rest of my life is just going to be a repeat of the last twenty years, I don’t want it. I don’t want to live out this life.” She arrived at a corner and felt moved to go one street over.

On this street a dentist was working in his lab and having a very different dialogue with God. Looking at his schedule of patients for the day, Dr. Erickson said, “Father, You know all these people. I know Your Spirit lives in me. Fill me today with Your grace and the love You have shown me through Jesus. Speak through me and give them hope in Your salvation.”

Through the open waiting room door he overheard a young woman speaking to his receptionist about employment. He heard his receptionist give the “we’re not hiring” reply—and then he clearly heard another Voice say: “Don’t let her leave.

As I was turning to go, Dr. Erickson appeared around the corner. With a big, warm smile he said, “Hello! Come in and we’ll talk about it.” Looking at that bright countenance through non-Christian eyes I thought, “He’s a little strange, but I think…safe.”

God was meeting me on my Emmaus road, but I did not recognize Him. Now hired, I witnessed God answering Dr. Erickson’s prayers as he asked about people’s lives with genuine interest. Listening patiently he always had some kind response and often an encouragement about prayer and God’s faithfulness. He was generous and forgiving toward patients whose means were small. Handing instruments, I was often a captive (and annoyed) audience to his retelling of a parable placed in our culture and time followed by questions. One time after a personal treatment of “the last shall be first” in Matthew 20:1–16 he said, “Have you ever thought about God being like that landowner?”

Some months later (having all my excuses foiled) Dr. Erickson and his wife took a “bordering-on-belligerent” me to a Christian conference where God opened my eyes and I heard Him speak to me. I believed in and received Jesus as my Savior.

Daily this ambassador for Christ cast seed, prayed for me and hoped in God’s love for me. Christ was in him meeting me on my road to Emmaus.

- Jonny Yaden

 

Jul 10

Our Emmaus: Day 12

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths.” 

– Proverbs 3:5–6

“But now thus says the Lord, He who created you, O Jacob, He who formed you, O Israel: ‘Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are Mine.” – Isaiah 43:1

“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” – Matthew 11:28

Trust on the Journey

Shortly after losing my mom to cancer, I remember crying out to God, “What is going on? Why is this happening?” His answer, almost audible as I wept was, “Do you trust Me?” In that moment I did. I dropped my guard and fell into His arms. But looking back, it’s clear that I had only given that season to Him. I did not make it a practice in my life. It was not the habit of my heart. 3 years later I would have to answer that question again when I found out my son, Lukas, had a chronic illness.

One of my darkest hours came when Lukas was about 2 years old. Outside the hospital, something in me broke. In the parking lot of St. Joseph’s, I realized that I had done everything I could to help my kid and nothing was working. My wife and I were at the end of the proverbial rope. We had spent countless hours and more money than we had, trying to find out what was wrong with him and now we were out of options…and he was dying. It was at the end of this rope that we had nothing else, but God. I realize as we continue to walk this road with Lukas that that is all we will really ever have.

I think when we are anxious…for anything; our actions say to God, “I don’t trust You.” Our daily lives say, “I don’t think You can handle this.” Is that consistent with the God you know? Me neither, but I still struggle with this all the time. I feel my chest tighten and my mind go to dark places when Lukas isn’t responding to medication or even catches a cold. I’m sure you have your moments. It might be your marriage, your finances, your family, your past or your future. And yet, through it all, God still whispers, “Do you trust Me?” We must answer that question every day.

Throughout her life, my mom’s greatest advice was always in the form of a question. She would simply ask, “Matt, what do you know to be true?” I don’t know a lot but deep in my heart, I know this…God’s promises are real; His love is big and He can be trusted in every step of the journey. Now it’s up to us to come to Him with open hands and let Him be God.

Matt McCartie 

Jul 09

Our Emmaus: Day 11

“‘Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing
love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,’ says the Lord, who has compassion on you.”
– Isaiah 54:10

“But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” – 2 Corinthians 3:14

I was born of two Jewish parents. My Austrian stepfather fled the Nazis, came to the U.S, and due to his fluency in German, served in Army Intelligence. My maternal grandmother only read Yiddish. I was never in a Synagogue with my parents until I was a teenager, and we weren’t there to pray. I never read the Bible.

I grew up in a predominantly Jewish, New York City neighborhood. My public school classmates were mostly Jewish except for Maria. My mother felt sorry for her because she was “naive” enough to believe in Jesus Christ as God.

The rich cultural gifts of NY further stimulated my educational and intellectual fervor, but not my spirituality. I spent Saturdays in music school followed by visits to Manhattan’s finest museums, when my mother might inquisitively comment on the subject of Renaissance paintings and sculptures of Jesus Christ on the cross.

My closest childhood friend, Ellen, came from an Orthodox Jewish home. It was in her home that I learned about Jewish practices. I curiously watched her father daven (swaying during prayer) daily, and learned about the practice of separating milk and meat. My mother worked, even on Jewish Holidays, so I followed Ellen to synagogue, where I heard the soulful, minor melodies of despair and faith. I was beginning to have a heart for God.

Once married with children, God knew what He was doing when I hired a retired schoolteacher to babysit. She always showed up with Bible in hand. She shared with me what Jesus could do in my life, and one amazing day, we held hands, and I begged Jesus to come into my life! But I felt tremendous guilt as a Jew, so I closed my eyes to Jesus again.

God wasn’t done with me. Twenty years later, I hired a business manager who led me again to Christ. This time, my thirst for Jesus grew and grew. Even if I chose to let Jesus go, Jesus would never let me go, he explained.

I took the Alpha course at Church, more than once. Bible studies followed, and when baptized, as I announced my acceptance of Jesus Christ as Savior, I understood that I was still Jewish, but my eyes were unveiled. He was prophesied in the Old Testament, and He came. With the Holy Spirit, I was changing from the inside out. I became more convinced and more convicted.

At the same time I was taking my Alpha course, a certain man was learning about Christianity. He came from a different religion, in another Alpha classroom, in a different city. We married 6 months ago. And, God had a plan.

- Susanne Kahle Keene

 

Jul 08

Our Emmaus: Day 10

“You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head.” 
– Psalm 139:5 (NLT)

There was a time in life where I said: “The only thing constant in my life is change.” Coming from a family where my father served in the Army and my mother worked various freelance entertainment jobs, this seemed to be the ultimate truth. Life was full of adventure as my family moved worldwide passing through schools, churches, and friends. Yet as time went on, in the quiet moments between the rush or jitters of a new experience, there was a feeling of being alone.

The journey to new places began to feel like a long walk home on a cold, dark night. Uncertainty grew with each step. During this part of the journey, many questions arose “…Am I going the right direction?” “Am I there yet?” “Should I rest?” Especially in the cold winters, the motivation to keep walking was lacking. I stopped. I took a breath. I said a prayer. I listened. Then as I looked up, I began to see the road ahead differently. I realized that in the dead of winter true clarity exists. The barren trees, once covered by thick leaves, were now visible as branches connected to a strong foundation and deep roots that were thriving, despite the cold.

Years later on the journey I realized that I was never alone. In all the changes, God made it clear that He was with me all along. All of the “lonely moments” were invitations to journey with God. God had been the constant companion and provided support through family and others at just the right moments to empower me to take another step.

Think about your current journey…Are you distracted? When was the last time you stopped to take a breath? What is your next step?

My favorite realization of the Scripture about the journey to Emmaus is that the disciples never reached their destination. They started walking, Jesus met them on the road and then directed them in another direction! And yet, how did the Disciples journey to meet Christ begin? One step at a time.

Go ahead…take a step…you can do it! Christ will meet you on the journey and guide you to a new adventure.

- John Mabry

 

Jul 07

Our Emmaus: Day 9

“…Jesus Himself came near and went with them.”  – Luke 24:15b

“Hi sweetie, I have 5½ dozen lemons I picked for you, shall I bring them over?” Dad was up early. He used to always get up early, now it takes him so much longer to get up and dressed. It must be a good day.

The last year has not been kind to dad. Struggling to live a normal life, to do the things important to him, to be useful to others. Parkinson’s is an awful disease.

I have watched my father walk with Jesus for so many years. Dad is a believer, although he is never “preachy,” nor did he ever throw a Bible verse at us to prove a point. He is an elder and a deacon at his church, but it just “is what it is;” he never mentions it. Dad walks along on The Road to Emmaus each day, listening to The Lord, and his heart burns for Jesus. Dad teaches us about Jesus by behaving the way Jesus taught him to behave—by example. They walk the road together as friends, you sense the easy camaraderie Dad has with his Maker.

My father is always kind. He never hesitates to stop and help a stranger. But he doesn’t talk about it. He just goes on down the road and helps them out. If you need a shirt, you don’t have to ask. He will instinctively know and will give you the one off his back. No show, no wanting for recognition, just because it’s the right thing to do. He bears his burdens with quiet acceptance, but grieves over the burdens of others. Sounds familiar.

That road to Emmaus is getting bumpier, the ground is harder; his body is betraying him step by step. But dad keeps walking and never complains, or even mentions the steepness of the hill he is now climbing, or how difficult the road is becoming for him. He trusts that Jesus is walking with him, listening to him, answering and guiding him and helping him. He knows Jesus has a reason for taking him on this road, and he waits and listens and asks Jesus, “Is there anything I can do to be useful along the way?” I’m there on that road, walking next to dad, watching, worrying…feeling the love that has woven us together for the duration this journey. I grieve for what my dad has lost physically. Still I find myself overcome with gratitude that I am so blessed, so privileged, to join my Holy Father and my beloved earthly father as they travel together.

So I have a bag with pounds of lemons that I will give to friends, to neighbors, to the Open Word group at church, to a food bank. People will go home with those lemons, little yellow blessings, no one realizing what it cost my dad to pick them. Shuffling slowly, having such difficulty reaching up with his trembling hands. Bringing them into the house a small bundle at a time, slowly, so slowly. Giving them to me and feeling so happy that he could do something nice for me, so good that he could perhaps help a stranger who might need a lemon. Paying a price gladly to help others. That sounds familiar. I drive home from the ranch with Steve, the car smells good. Like fresh citrus, and love. The car smells like Jesus.

 

- Ellen Sletten

 

Jul 06

Our Emmaus: Day 8

How God Met Me

I had just been fired from my job, I was fighting for custody and child support in a divorce, I had credit card debt and I had a minimal amount of money in savings. I felt like my world was crashing around me. I really had no idea how I was going to get through the next few days, much less the next few months.

Yet, I felt God’s presence directing me to make quick actions so that I could move forward. Within 2 weeks, I had to give up my house and move into an apartment. I had to apply for food stamps. I had to agree to share 50% custody with my children. I had to give up electronics. I had to cut coupons, shop at discount stores, give up meals out and save any way possible just to make ends meet. There were some days I did not know if I could feed my children, or pay the rent. This MBA graduate with 15 years professional experience was brought to her knees and humbled.

I remember praying desperately for God to be with me. I did not understand why I was on this journey. I had anxiety and fear and I felt so defeated. But I cried to God, and He met me. As it says in Psalms 34:4–5, “GOD met me more than halfway, He freed me from my anxious fears. Look at Him; give Him your warmest smile. Never hide your feelings from Him.” (The Message)

Not only did I find the courage to ask for help, I was constantly surrounded by giving and loving people within BAPC, within my sorority community, and among my friends. My boys and I never went without. I also found more quality time with them. I volunteered more, and found that there were people in far more distress than I was. And most importantly, my family’s faith grew.

While there were times of discouragement during my battles with divorce and my unemployment, I continued to trust God. And God gave me grace and hope while He was preparing me for His plan. You see, while volunteering at the church, a company I had dreamed of working for, called looking for a Christian person who had advertising experience. That was me! And I am happy to say, I have been employed now for 18 months. I work in an extraordinary advertising agency raising money for rescue missions that serve the homeless. My boys and I have a strong relationship. And my faith is being stretched so I can continue to grow.

“When I was desperate, I called out, and GOD got me out of a tight spot.” Psalms 34:6 (The Message) I am grateful.

- Kerri Budwine

 

Jul 05

Our Emmaus: Day 7

Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” – Philippians 4:6

Tom: Launching my own consulting business in 2008 was a huge, although perhaps poorly timed, step change in my career. But I had finally found the girl! Among her many features was faith: something I had become too “busy” to include in my life. When I asked for her hand, I was “A Successful Entrepreneur”; by the time we said our vows, I was “The Unemployed Guy.” We learned to live on her post-doctoral stipend. When not spending days networking in Los Angeles, I poured myself in improving our home and working in the yard. Still, I felt lost. Although our future and finances were uncertain, we were becoming closer to God and each other. We expressed our gratitude and managed our fears through praying together, an intense and personal experience.

Kim: Pastor Kim Dorr stood with the prayer team. We hadn’t seen her since she performed our wedding ceremony a few months prior and wanted to give her a quick hello. We didn’t want to impede anyone who actually needed prayer. She greeted us warmly and after catching up she said, “So, what can I pray for with you today?” Caught off guard, my mind went blank for a moment. I was surprised when Tom, usually very private about prayer said, “Well, I’ve been looking for a job since I moved to Los Angeles. We could use some prayer on that I suppose.” Kim took our hands and prayed, not for a job that paid the bills but one that challenged Tom, fulfilled his purpose, and maximized his potential. She prayed for a dream job.

Tom & Kim: The next morning at 7am, the phone rang. The man on the line asked if Tom was available for a short 2–3 month assignment. We had no way of knowing then that our now close friend and colleague was a man of intense faith. He described his philosophy of client work as a sort of Calvinism: work hard, develop a humble understanding, and the right answer for the client would reveal itself. This June, that “short” assignment entered its fourth year.

As a strategy management consultant with an MBA and a behavioral economist with a Ph.D, our professional lives revolve around using facts, figures, and analysis. How ironic that we were blind to our own answer. Jesus met us on our journey and answered our prayer in ways we never imagined!

- Tom and Kim Murtaugh

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