Ten Boom The Musical > Ink Link Blog

George and “The Blessing”

“I need a reliable car to get to work,” I prayed. “Something affordable, even on my salary!”

My pastor had said. “When you pray, be SPECIFIC,” So, I added to my car prayer, “And, Lord, could you please make it a WHITE one? Maybe I could handle $50 a month?!”

The answer was more than I could have ever imagined!

Nearly two years of chasing after Nashville metro buses, dodging raindrops, and showing up for work looking like a hurricane victim, had taken its toll. I was thankful to work and study at Belmont College then. But wages in academia are nothing like what I made in the music business, where I’d spent many years singing and traveling. Yes, my lifestyle had changed drastically; wonderfully!  However, my new budget laughed at a car payment of any size.

For many years, I’d performed across America and beyond with my own show, and later with Opry star, Whispering Bill Anderson. But, in 1984, finding deep faith in Jesus Christ, my tune had definitely changed.

A musician I’d worked with named Aaron had also quit the road for a time, and had taken a sales position with a local Ford dealership. I asked him to keep an eye out for a used car. “Even a klunker,” I told him. No specifics this time.

Does God Answer Car Prayers?

It was a busy day for me at Belmont when Aaron finally called. “Come right away. I think I’ve found your car, and the owner is here!”

“What is it?” I asked.

“It’s a 1972 Ford Grand Torino.”

“Great!” I said, as if I had a clue what that was. No matter, it was a car!

I left work and ran to catch the #2 Belmont bus to town. Another bus would take me north toward Goodlettsville. It was a long ride, and at that time, the bus only went so far up Gallatin Road. I’d have to walk the last mile to where my “new” car waited.

Aaron was standing outside the big glass dealership windows, as I puffed up the driveway past rows of gleaming new, and unaffordable for me, 1986 models. He grabbed a key and led me to the used car lot.

“THAT’S IT!” I pointed out, excitedly.

“How did you know?” asked Aaron.

“It’s WHITE!” I said, resolutely.

It was love at first sight, even with a conspicuous hump on the massive hood that hid a V8 engine. Climbing behind the wheel, I realized I’d have to sit on maybe a large phone book to see over the hump. Otherwise… PERFECT!

“What kind of payment arrangement can we work out?” I asked the owner. Without hesitation he said, “How about $50 a month?”

An answer to prayer. The humpy, white car was a definite blessing!

Me and “The Blessing”

The Blessing and I were an unlikely match. No matter; I was just thrilled to have wheels again!

One afternoon, however, driving to lunch, the car suddenly went silent and rolled to a stop. Fortunately, just half a block ahead was a large gas station with open bay doors. A heavy-set mechanic was standing up under a raised vehicle. I left The Blessing and walked to the station.

Seeing me coming, the man ambled up to me, wiping grease off his hands; partially on a shop cloth and leaving a little for the side of his pants. Across his pocket was the name GEORGE.

“Okay, so what can I do for you?” he grumped. Something had already gotten on George’s last nerve, and I was one more interruption. I quickly pointed to where my car sat “dead as a door nail,” and was surprised when he dropped everything and followed me down the street.

Trying the key just once, George said, “Dead battery! I’ll tow it to the garage and put it on the charger.” 

“OK, how long will that take?” I asked.

“Well, you can’t go anywhere until we recharge your battery, can you!?” he crabbed. It was a slow day for the station, and while we waited the hour it took to recharge The Blessing’s huge battery, George and I had a long talk. My faith in Christ was so new and, George’s mood aside, I was more than eager to share about it.

George’s Side of the Story

At first, George was reluctant to listen, but finally shared about his own “religious” experience.

He had a brother somewhere he hadn’t spoken to in years; a preacher George had decided was just a “big know-it-all.” George was “sick and tired” of hearing about religion, and how he personally needed to “repent” of some things. He had long-since separated himself from “all those religious folks.” His brow remained knit; as I told him what I understood was the difference between religion and a personal relationship with God through His Son Jesus.

“Yeah, I’ve heard all that!” George said, impatiently. Still, he seemed drawn to the conversation and almost sorry when it was time for me and The Blessing to leave.

“How much do I owe you, George?” I asked.

“No charge,” he waved off my question. “By the way,” he added, “Your car has an oil leak, and a few other parts that could use replacing. But, don’t buy the parts from the cheapskate who owns this station,” he continued, “Buy them at AutoZone down the street, and I’ll put them in for nothing!” 

“Thanks, George. Nice talking with you!” I waved goodbye and hopped behind the wheel.

A Divine Appointment?

The Blessing had run just fine, until it died that day. Apparently, so I could meet George.

Now, it seemed, every few weeks some part or other needed replacement. Each time, George told me what to pick up at AutoZone. Somehow, the money was there for the parts. And George was true to his word, never allowing me to pay him a penny for his labor.

Each time the car went back to the garage, George would ask about God, even as he argued at each point, until it seemed he had exhausted all his objections.

George always expressed amazement that the car kept running at all, especially after it had begun to rock spastically, when idling at a stoplight. I got some interesting looks from people in cars next to me. Others suggested I replace the car, saying it would embarrass them to be seen in it, shimmying like that.

“You’re too classy to ride around in such a car,” one friend told me. But The Blessing was what I could afford, and I was glad to have it. How could I not be thankful even for a “convulsing, humpy, old gas hog,” as one had called it; that made life easier for me, and gave me the opportunity to talk Jesus with George?

Good old George!  By that time, he’d heard all my stories about this and other blessings, since I turned my life over to the Lord.

It had been months now since George told me about the major oil leak, and his latest examination of the car caused him to look at me as if to prepare a patient for the “C” word.

“It doesn’t look good!” George said, shaking his head. “We need to open the engine and see how many cylinders are down. Leave it here a few days. After all,” he assured me, “This will not be just a little replacement part!”

To my surprise, George called late that afternoon.

Some Kind of Miracle

“You need to come and see this with your own eyes,” George said.

“What’s wrong, George?”

 “Just get out here,” George almost commanded. “You’re not going to believe this!” 

When I arrived at the station, I saw a grease-covered George, impatiently waving me into the garage. His black hair looked like it had also sprung an oil leak, and he was particularly red in the face. A bit overweight, George had no doubt spent one too many days eating corn chips in lieu of lunch from the vending machine, as he applied his skills for people like me, without even taking a decent break.

Peering his head from under The Blessing’s generous hood, he said, “Miss Susan, I opened the engine. Look in there!” I leaned over the large radiator trying to see what had him so perplexed.

“Can’t you see it?” he griped, pointing out the substantial rust on some of the cylinders.

“Do you not understand?” George was frustrated now; apparently thinking my blond hair had clogged my brains.

 “THERE IS NO WAY ON GOD’S EARTH THIS CAR SHOULD BE RUNNING!”

 “Look at the rust build-up on those five cylinders—they’re rusted shut! I’d say you’ve been running on only THREE of eight cylinders for about six months. THAT’S NOT POSSIBLE!”

I had assured George months before that my car was a blessing, and this cinched it!

“I’m going back to church!” George said, scratching his head with an oily wrench.

The Rest of the Story

I sold The Blessing right after that, to a young mechanic George referred me to who thought it would be a collector’s item one day. I was finally able to buy another, newer car.

A few months later, I went by the station to see how my friend George was doing. I wanted to thank him again for all he had done to help me with an old “clunker” that had turned out to be a Blessing. But George was gone!  No one seemed to know where, for sure.

George had finally admitted, it was a “by-God miracle” that kept The Blessing on the road all that time.

My guess is, George went home to mend his relationship with his brother; and with the One who loved him enough to send The Blessing to show him that—miracles still happen!

~~~

[True story from Susan Meredith Beyer’s book—Above “Reality”: Where Miracles Happen and Healing Begins—available in print or Kindle at Amazon]

The Dark Road to Minot

Winter is no time to travel alone on the icy roads of North Dakota with temperatures in the single digits. Still, my cross-over country music show had been booked at Minot Air Force Base, and we were determined to make the date.

We had just finished performing in Sioux Falls, and my band went home to Ohio for a week. I was happy to be with my three children in Rochester, Minnesota that Thanksgiving week, before driving on alone to Minot with all our equipment in tow; nearly 600 miles away.  The band was to meet up in Minot, December 1st.

Our touring vehicle, an older black Cadillac limousine, pulling a 14-foot U-Haul trailer, was altogether a three-ton anomaly that shook heads wherever we went. Maybe it was the pink seals boasting my initials, SM, on the limo’s front doors! My band enjoyed telling people the SM stood for Sam’s Mortuary or almost anything but Susan Meredith, the name my manager gave me when he promised to make me a big star.

The North Dakota weather forecast called for freezing temps and several more inches of snow. Although the highway was clear enough to Bismarck, U.S. Hwy 83 North would be an arrow-straight, desolate road for the next 110 miles to Minot. I was already fighting sleep, but affording a motel was not an option.

After paying my agent and bills back home, I had barely enough money to put gas in the tank. The rig only got about seven miles per gallon, and I was down to half a tank of gas. No credit cards, and less than ten dollars in my pocket.

I’d made it to a gas station where a sign read LAST STOP—GET YOUR GAS HERE. The station manager called it, “The point of no return.” I put my last few dollars in the tank.  Only my pride kept me from asking him for a free fill-up in exchange for something in my trailer. I would soon wish I’d swallowed my pride!

It was dark now, as I left the station; like driving into a cave. There would be no street lights or places to stop before reaching Minot. Snow fell harder, and the wind had picked up. Sleet swept across the car’s wide black hood, making it hard to steer, as the security of the little gas station lights faded from view.

What was I doing?  Was I really headed toward musical success for me and my children, or had I lost my direction altogether?

DESPERATE PRAYERS

I had begun to pray somewhere back on the road, when calculating the amount of gas and money needed to finish the trip.  It hadn’t added up in my favor.

“God, if you’re there, please get me to Minot, please don’t let me run out of gas and die out here!” 

I hadn’t thought about God in many years. I still believed He could not be known really, but my prayers that night in the dark Dakotas became more and more desperate, until it was all I could think about. Fear and begging for mercy—mile after mile!

The wind and snow blew harder now, and the windshield wipers on high could not keep the windshield clear. But if I stopped, I’d get stuck in the snow.  I had heard about people freezing to death up here. Other and wiser travelers had avoided U.S. 83 that night, as I could count the cars I’d passed on one hand. 

“Please, God, I won’t ever put myself in this position again, please don’t let me die out here in this—my children need me.  Please get me to Minot, please God!”

Suddenly, the limo felt as if it would blow off the road as an 18-wheeler blew past me on my left. How could he go that fast in this? I’d been staring at the road ahead and praying so hard, I hadn’t seen him coming up on me. Maybe he would help me, I thought. But he was already gone—his huge red tail lights growing smaller ahead.

Just as I regained a steady grip on the steering wheel, two more headlights grew large in the opposite lane in front of me. Another monster blew past in the dark—the last vehicle I would see from that point on.

RUNNING ON EMPTY

My fuel gauge was on E. Nearly 40 miles to go, and the tank was empty! “Please, God…!” Near panic, my mind spun, trying to think what to do.  I hadn’t seen anything but snow and a couple of “uncaring” trucks on the road for more miles than I recalled. I searched for lights of a farmhouse along the road. But visibility made my world only a little larger than the limousine.

I tried to remember anything I’d learned about God in that little church Mom had sent us to briefly, long ago.  Nice people went there—although not Mom and Dad. “Normal people,” I thought; even if they prayed to a God they couldn’t see.

I remembered a song they sang, “Fairest Lord Jesus.” I tried singing to calm myself: Fairest Lord Jesus, Ruler of all nature, O Thou art God and man the Son… Thee will I cherish, Thee will I honor, Thou, my soul’s glory, joy and crown.

“But what did it mean really?” I wondered. “God, HELP ME!”

Just ahead, a sign appeared on the side of the road: ROAD CLOSED AHEAD—EXIT RIGHT.  My eyes strained to see through the slush-covered windshield. “Exit right, WHERE?”

I saw nowhere to turn off. Suddenly, a huge barrier stood just yards ahead of me—six feet high with letters that read: ROAD CLOSED.

I did the worse thing a driver can do on snow and ice and slammed on my brakes, fearing there could be maybe a hundred-foot drop on the other side of that barrier. I all but stopped breathing as the massive front end of the limousine smashed through—splintering wood in every direction. I ducked as it came toward the windshield, but somehow it all blew over the top of the car. I felt the tires bump and slide as the rig began to twist to the left.

“Is this it? Am I going to die out here, God?”

I could see the side of the U-Haul trailer, too close in my left side mirror.  It seemed forever before the car and trailer buckled in one last jolt and came to a stop.

The wind howled around me as I stepped out of the car on rubbery legs. The pavement on this section of highway had been removed, for some reason, leaving an icy stretch of dirt clods and debris.  No one had seen me go through the barrier. I was alone. The rig had jackknifed, badly twisting the tongue of the trailer. The engine was now silent.

“Oh, God, what do I do? PLEASE help me!”

I don’t remember being as cold as I was scared stiff, at that point, but I was thankful to be alive and unhurt. My gas gauge had read below empty for more than thirty miles, and I was certain the engine had made its last sound.

GRACE EVEN SO

I waited to see if someone, a police car, anyone, would come. No one! I was shaking so hard, I couldn’t think. Of course, that was my problem. If I had been thinking straight, I wouldn’t be out here!

Climbing back into the car, I said what might have been my last prayer. Surely, I couldn’t survive the night there. I thought to try the key and was surprised beyond belief when the engine roared to life.

Still jittery, I rolled forward to straighten the rig, then headed back to find the exit that sign had mentioned. There it was—a one-lane path headed down to another road. Orange detour signs led me to the highway some miles up. I feared the engine would go silent again, but somehow it kept going.  Finally, another sign: MINOT CITY LIMITS.

I pulled up to the curb at the Minot motel late that night, and the limo’s huge engine died. I was safe at last. Tears came.

Did I thank God? Probably not!  But I told everyone I thought it was a “miracle.”  Next morning, when the band tried to start the engine, the gas tank was so dry it took a few gallons of gas for primer to get to a service station.

At that point in my life, I didn’t really know what Jesus had to do with anything, but after that, I was apt to think, “Certainly, God must be real.”

I suppose I’d chalked that Minot experience up to “luck” or “fate,” or “It’s just wasn’t my time to go.” I was just thankful I would live to see my three precious children—Mike, Kevin and Mindy—and life would go on.

Still, it would be eight years, before I understood what happened that night. Eight years before I would meet the One who surely heard my desperate prayers—knowing that one day I would be His.

On that dark road to Minot, a loving God had extended His amazing grace to a foolish young woman who was way too far from home. In His mercy, He had shown even me, His power to save.

<>

[From Susan’s book, “Above Reality: Where Miracles Happen and Healing Begins” – Purchase at Amazon.com]

Dusty Ole King James

There were few children’s books in my childhood home in California in the fifties.  Don’t know why, but reading wasn’t stressed by our parents; other than for school homework.  I remember we had a couple of Judy Bolton Mystery books. I liked those. Also, a well-worn Mother Goose book, and a hardbound collection of Grimm’s fairy tales. I see now, the value of taking children to a local library.

The books that otherwise lined our mahogany-paneled room dividers back then included a long-out-of-date set of encyclopedias, and other unappealing literature.

However, one book stood out to me, even as a young girl.  Mom told us the book was “too sacred” to touch, or “couldn’t be understood.”  A few times, she even described it as, “the dirtiest book in the world.”  She must have been having a bad day!  But, that sparked my childish curiosity!

One day, when it got the best of me, I dusted off the cover and began to read.

The first part, about how God made the world, was riveting. However, coming to the “begats,” I lost interest.  Why all those “funny” names anyway, I wondered?  I didn’t know the Bible was actually 66 books in one.

It would be decades before I attempted to read such a book again.  I just left that dusty ole King James Bible on the shelf.  Whatever happened to that mysterious old volume, I don’t know; but for many years, it seemed to beckon me.

Creativity Sparked By Guilt

I can’t remember what I did wrong one day that caused terrible guilt feelings, but at twelve years old, I wasn’t about to confess whatever it was to another person on earth.  So, I thought of God and that dusty old King James Bible, and decided to write my first song.  Remember now, I was only 12…

                Maybe I’m a sinner and maybe I ain’t… I hear you calling but your voice is faint

               Yes, maybe I’m a sinner, but when I go… Don’t let me go down below.

               I hear you calling in an anxious way… I was wrong, I owe a price, and now I must pay

               Yes, maybe I’m a sinner, but when I go… Don’t let me go down below.

[Bridge]   O Lord hear my plea, and have mercy on me… I’d rather be in He-eh-ehven with thee

               His voice is getting louder, and I am getting hotter, And to Him I must go

               I’m going very slowly, but when I go… Don’t let me go down below.

Well, you might know, the song wasn’t a hit (go figure!), but somehow just writing it made me feel better.  Years later, I would recognize that what I had written in those desperate, albeit juvenile lyrics might be called a “sinner’s prayer”—a prayer for salvation.

It would be nearly thirty years before I would say an even more desperate prayer—February 27, 1984—seeking God’s forgiveness for a whole lot of foolishness in my life. I believe now, He was listening the first time. But, this time it would change my life for good.

Another Road, Another Song

Prior to that 1984 prayer, I had toured as a background and duet singer with Grand Ole Opry star “Whispering” Bill Anderson’s show, all over America, Canada and parts of Europe and the Caribbean. We even appeared on a daytime drama, “One Life To Live,” for a season.  Before joining “Whisper,” I had been on the road nearly thirteen years with my own show.

I’m thankful for that experience, but I became weary of the endless trips that took me away from my three children back home in Nashville. I admit, I hadn’t thought much about God in years… nor that dusty ole King James Bible. You know, the one I had poured my heart out to in song at age 12.

Now, past 30, life had become too great a challenge.  I was tired of the road, cynical about the future for me and my children, and discouraged about my prospects for music, or any other kind of real success.  Running On Empty, as the old hit song goes!

It was 1981, and I was applying my makeup in the small bathroom on Bill Anderson’s Silver Eagle bus one early morning. The other members of the show still slept in their bunks as our bus driver, James, drove on down the still-darkened highway toward our next gig. Looking in that bathroom mirror, lipstick in hand, I decided to write another song.  Too cynical for my own good, but thinking I was pretty clever, the song made me laugh.

I think now the Lord was not laughing… He was going to have to rescue me.

As I remember, the song went like this…

       I remember the day that my daddy took me there… To the John Jacob New Revival Church

       No, there wasn’t a day that we didn’t say a prayer… In the John Jacob New Revival Church

       [Dum dum de dum… can’t remember this line]… Don’t be shy, and you’ll find the words to say

       Put your two hands together and raise your voice up high, ‘Cause He’s listening, no matter where you pray

       Oh, the very best prayer that this girl has ever said

       Was in the John (in the John).. In the John (in the John)… In the John Jacob New Revival Church.

Now, if that doesn’t tell you I needed saving—or at the very least slapped—what can I say!?

Even so, a few years after that, I found God’s grace and mercy in a large Nashville church, when the Lord had to speak right out loud, to get my attention.  He DID!

You see, I went to that church at the lowest time of my life, feeling angry and defeated; thinking to shake my fist in God’s face. I challenged Him, in my mixed-up mind, to “show Yourself or I’ll never believe You, ever.”  He DID!

Seek and You Will Find

I learned that day that all I had rejected about God and Jesus Christ was real after all.  And that everything I had thought was true was a lie!  The most important truth I, or anyone else, could ever know!  It was what Corrie ten Boom spent her life sharing with others, even in Nazi prison camps. Now I understood why she did that!

Ten Boom the Musical

In 2009, with God’s help, my sister Donna Griggs and I were blessed to co-write some really wonderful songs for our stage play, “Ten Boom the Musical.”

Faith in Jesus Christ blows the dust off any of our hopeless philosophies and habits! That ole King James Bible that my family allowed to gather dust all those years, had held the treasure of the heart of God.

Once you get that Good News in your own heart, you just have to tell others. It really is a matter of life and death, hope or despair, making sense of this world, or being ever-confused by it.  It’s a choice God allows each of us to make.

Praying you will choose to find that treasure, and do life His way.  He loves you!

Deliver Us From Evil | Refuse the Mark

The Lord’s prayer says, “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”  Many translations say, “…from the evil one.”

When the Nazis forced their way into Corrie ten Boom’s family home on February 28, 1944, the family’s work with the Dutch Resistance ceased abruptly. But, not before they had hidden and rescued well over 800 Jews from certain death.

Nazi soldiers terrorized members of Corrie’s family that day, searching everywhere for evidence of hidden Jews. Thankfully, they could not find their hiding place; a secret room built into the wall off Corrie’s bedroom. Sadly, the ten Boom’s were arrested along with visiting friends, thirty-five in all, and many never came back.

No doubt, those perilous times had many convinced that what the Bible describes as “the last days” had arrived. Daniel wrote of them in his book of the Revelation. The apostle Paul detailed them in I Thessalonians. And Jesus told of what would come, in Matthew chapter 24. The book of Revelation’s chilling prophecies surely seemed to have found their fulfillment as Hitler’s third Reich stormed across Europe. However, according to scripture, certain things would have to be in place before the Biblical “Antichrist” would come. Certain signs would be evident.

The World War II years (1937-1945) gave rise to powerful dictators in Russia, China, Italy and Japan. Yet, none seemed equal in malevolence to a freakishly unstoppable leader named Adolf Hitler. If ever there was a being who fit the description of that “man of sin,” surely the German Chancellor showed all the marks.

A Type of Antichrist

Corrie and her Christian family had lived peaceful lives in Haarlem, Holland, until those years; later to become unwittingly embroiled in intrigue and danger. With Germany so close by, radio stations bellowed with talk of the new Austrian-born dictator. The pounding voice of Hitler himself, with his persuasive speeches, stole peace from many hearts. Yet, many hungry people listened to Hitler’s impassioned rhetoric, hopeful he might lift Germany out of its economic doldrums. Blindly, they tuned in, even to his talk of eliminating Jews and others Hitler deemed “unnecessary to the new order.”

As madness became reality, it might have seemed to more discerning people that this was surely the end of the world.

Not taken in by Hitler’s ear-tickling promises, the ten Boom family trusted God and His word to sustain them. But, soon the harsh treatment and disappearances of so many Jewish neighbors prompted the ten Boom’s to join The Resistance. If Hitler was not the Antichrist, he was certainly a type of antichrist—a twisted soul bent on the destruction of others.  In the end, Adolf Hitler could claim responsibility for the deaths of more than six million Jews. Not to mention, millions who fought necessarily, including countless Americans, to defeat him and his cancerous regime.

Power and violence drove Adolf Hitler, but his regime came to a terrible end. Speculation moved on then, seeking to identify the Bible’s true “man of sin” in other world figures.

Who then is the infamous Antichrist, and what are his Marks?

For centuries, Bible scholars and historians have pondered that mystery. Numerous books and films have conjectured about “The Mark Of The Beast” and the meaning of the mysterious number 666. Even nighttime talk show hosts, comedians and others have speculated about the possible identity of the “666” man. Calculating the numerical value of various names, they jokingly ascribed the number to various opposing political figures, e.g. Ronald Wilson Reagan (six letters, three times). However, they seemed to care little about the possibility that the prophecy was true.

The Book of Revelation describes the vision God gave to John the Apostle (c. 100 AD), while exiled on the island of Patmos. The book reveals that Antichrist will be a popular, charismatic figure who will apparently rise out of Europe; a restored Roman Empire.  He will win over many, if not most people with his seemingly benevolent, sincere façade. He’ll fool “even the elect, if it were possible.” However, scripture assures us his true intent is to ensnare; ultimately to steal, kill and destroy.

In Revelation 13:18, any “person of understanding” is challenged to “calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man,” it says. But, what man?

I John 2:18 tells us that “many antichrists have already come into the world.” However, this ultimate “man of sin” will be revealed during the “last days.” This will be the most horrendous time ever in human and world history—the Great Tribulation.

His name? The Bible tells us that those who see him standing in the Jewish temple proclaiming himself to be God will know he is the one.

The Antichrist | Refuse His Lie

A clever liar and deceiver who will be indwelt by Satan himself—the “father of lies”—this singular world leader will demand that all people take his MARK, or be destroyed.

Revelation 13:16-17 says,  “He [Antichrist] causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a MARK on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has that “mark,” or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.  Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666.”

Until recently, it had not occurred to me as to WHY, exactly, Antichrist would want people to wear his mark “on the forehead or right hand.”  I believe scripture gives us the best clues.

GOD’s Mark on Believers

Think of the “MARK” GOD places on those who believe Him through faith in Jesus Christ.  The LORD’S mark or seal for believers in Him also regards the right hand and the forehead:

The mark of God’s right hand of righteousness is on the believer, the Bible tells us. “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” …Isaiah 41:10

The words “right hand” occurs 166 times in the Bible so it is no accident that the words “right hand” have significant meaning.

God inspired Isaiah to write “For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand. It is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you” (Isaiah 41:13).

The right hand signifies strength. The term “God’s right hand” in prophecy refers to the Messiah (the Christ) to whom is given the power and authority to subdue His enemies, and now sits at the right hand of God the Father. The right hand of God is exalted! (Psalm 110:1; Psalm 118:16, Mark 16:19, Matthew 22:44).

The Mind of Christ

The Bible says, the “mark” of God gives believers the very MIND of Christ—His indwelling Holy Spirit confirms God’s truth, and the knowledge of Him in their hearts.

Read I Corinthians 2:7-16 below:

“We speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.  As it is written: Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for those who love Him. But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit.

 For the Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so, no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.  These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches, but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But, the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they can only be spiritually discerned. But, he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one.  For “who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ.”

These are God’s promises to believers—Jesus said we “MUST BE BORN AGAIN.” A spiritual rebirth, whereby we are marked, SEALED by His Holy Spirit, that we may know whom we believe and be saved from the power of sin and death. God wants that ALL should be saved!  But, each one must humbly choose Him!

John’s vision revealed HOPE for true believers: “And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast [Antichrist] or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.” [Revelation. 20:4]

The Beast’s Counterfeit Mark

Can you see why Satan would want to steal that from believers? It’s our very salvation that Antichrist (indwelt by Satan) wants to steal!

Satan has always been a counterfeiter, holding out to human beings what seems to be gold, when it’s really “fools gold.” His plan is to place his own permanent seal or MARK on those who choose not to believe God through His Son, Jesus (Y’shua) the Christ.

Just as God’s MARK is permanent (believers sealed forever in Christ), Satan’s MARK is also permanent for those who believe him.  Revelation 14:11 tells us, “And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the MARK of his name.”

Corrie ten Boom and her family knew that whenever Antichrist would come, whoever he turns out to be, they must NOT take “The Mark Of The Beast.”  They chose to follow Christ, and to share the Good News (the Gospel of Christ) with others, even while imprisoned in Nazi concentration camps, that others might be saved for eternity with Him.

Corrie’s dear friend, the late Reverend Billy Graham, wrote 5 critical answers to questions about the End Times.

~ ~ ~ ~

16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.  (John 3:16-17)

There are many signs in these times that scripture has warned of for millennia. Consider your eternity in light of God’s word, and whatever you do, or must suffer, trust God who is faithful and… REFUSE THE MARK OF THE BEAST!

Above Reality: Where Miracles Still Happen

ABOVE “REALITY” is a partial autobiography… my personal story of growing up lost, always wondering about God, and hearing His voice in a pained plea for Him to prove Himself.

God was not a subject for discussion at home, growing up.  I often escaped reality in dreams of becoming a musical star.  But, marrying too young, I went from battered wife to struggling single-mother of three, and later to Nashville music performer still hungry to know God.

In 1984, having lost everything, God became real, and everything changed!

The following is the introduction to my book, Above “Reality”: Where Miracles Happen and Healing Begins.  If you’ve longed to know God; if you’ve heard Corrie ten Boom’s and others’ testimonies of faith, and wondered how they could be so sure of Him, I hope you will also read my story. Yes, God is real!

“You’re going home, Susan!” The voice spoke to me as clearly as anyone ever had in my life. It was the second time I heard those same words as I sat frozen, unable to move from my place in the sprawling sanctuary of Two Rivers Baptist Church in Nashville. Fear gripped me at the sound of the bodiless male voice that spoke so calmly, but with such unnerving authority.  It was not at all how the movies had ever portrayed the voice of God.  No thunder, no heavy reverb, but with an unmistakable finality that caused my heart to pound wildly and my resolve to begin to crumble like a snowy peak breaking up before an avalanche.

Near panic, I thought to bolt for the door, but even the slightest movement made me fear I would shatter into uncontrollable tears and humiliate myself before so many strangers. My life had been out of control for so long, and I felt certain these “do-gooders” (I called them) would not understand or care that I had lost all but the last bit of heart to live. I could not have guessed what God was about to do that would change my life forever!

The One I was always told was “unknowable” showed me that Sunday morning in 1984, He will move heaven and earth in our lives. And sometimes speak right out loud, if we earnestly seek Him. He wants us to know Him! He CAN be known!

The most brilliant among us in this world lives out our years with little more than a philosophy about why we exist at all, and calls it “reality.” Our perception of truth is limited by our waning physical strength, fickle emotions, self-motivated opinions, and a short supply of any faith that counts.

Most tragically for many, reality is a prison of seemingly impossible circumstances forged by our own or others failings apart from the One who loves us most of all. It doesn’t have to be that way!

In my book I share some of my own experiences, believing God. Were they miracles? I’ll leave that to your own faith to consider. I offer them in my book, just as they happened.

We were created to live connected to the One who created us… without that connection, understanding this life is impossible! But, with God ALL things are possible!

God loved me at my worst, and I can’t help but love Him back. He loves you, too! I pray you will seek after Him and not stop looking until you find Him, then hang on for dear life. You won t be disappointed!

The Lord knows my weaknesses and my fears. He hears my complaints and my prayers. He admonishes me regularly, that I might grow up to be more faithful. And, most amazingly, He extends His all-sufficient grace to me when I least deserve it.

If I accomplish nothing else with this book, I pray that every reader will be impacted by a deep understanding of God’s amazing GRACE. He invites even the worst of sinners to surrender that “worst” to Him; to look beyond what we call reality here, and share a personal relationship with Him, even now, above “reality,” where miracles still happen, and healing begins!

I pray now you will seek to know Him. It’s a life or death matter!

He is the reason Corrie ten Boom was able to survive three concentration camps in 1944; the reason she shared God’s love there during the Holocaust and all over the world, in person and in her many books, including “The Hiding Place.”

In these times, when the world seems as shadowy as in those World War 2 days, there is peace to be found, and assurance of God’s love in Jesus Christ.  [Matthew 7:7-8]

Superman | What Real Love Looks Like

I had a strange dream a while back. It was so real, I couldn’t get it off my mind. So, I decided to share it with my good friend “Kathy,” who had recently sent me a Tony Gaskins article titled, “What A Real Man’s Love Looks Like.”

In my dream, I and several others were preparing for some sort of event. I noticed our swimming pool (the one we don’t actually have) needed cleaning and was covered with fallen leaves and twigs. As I waited for instructions on what to do about that…

I looked up and saw SUPERMAN flying across the sky at tremendous speed.  His face was heavenward, as he lay on something like a large fiery bullet. Flames surrounded his neck at the tip of the object.

The voice of a news broadcaster was reporting, “Superman is removing the object at the risk of his own life. He will not let it go, even as his head and neck are in the fire!”

Suddenly the dream changed…

My husband was driving our car, his brow creased with concern, as I rode silently beside him. He had managed to cut a cantaloupe in thirds, and as he drove on, he held a piece of it on the back of his neck to cool the burn. I commented about how “clever” it was of him to think to do that. But he just turned and looked at me with obvious pain in his eyes and said, “It really hurts, Susan!”

I woke up, startled.

Some Kind of Superman

As I lay there thinking about my dream, I was reminded just how hard men like my husband work to show love for their wives. And yet, how fragile men can be in some ways.  So much is expected of them. And real men, who really love and take responsibility for their role as men, bear it well, if we women would only stop to recognize it.

I looked at my still-sleeping husband in the dim light of the room and wanted to say, “Forgive me, for looking to you sometimes to be some kind of Superman.  All the pressures of a business owner; enduring health issues the past few years that would best most people.  Yet always concerned for me; always the go-to guy for another need or repair in our daily lives.

A Dreamy Reminder

I believe my dream was the Lord reminding me that my “Superman,” committed and loving as a man can be to our life together, is really only human, and that life and duty “really hurts” for him too, at times.

As his wife, it’s important for me to encourage him more, and be ever more attentive to his needs. It’s important to help share the weight of things from which we women can tend to abdicate, just expecting our men to handle them. There’s a balance, of course!  Men LIKE doing certain things—and they are happiest if we women just let them do those things without our “expert” directives.

After sharing my dream with my friend Kathy, she responded, “We all should be reminded of this! I have a husband who is healing from a broken back, yet he still rides fiery bullets for me.”

The dream was a reminder for me to also be the “real woman” who loves her real man in deeper ways.  That’s when a woman is able to realize what a real man’s love looks like!

Summer of Pain, Renewed Hope

I’ve learned that blessings can come on the mountain tops, but also in the valleys of our lives. For me, summer 2019 would bring one of those valleys, and more than a little pain. But it would also bring renewed hope!

My husband Philip and I had worked out vigorously for months at a local gym, also around our small farm property near Nashville.  We mow eleven of sixteen acres, where countless trees regularly shed wagon loads of branches to toss on our ever-rising burn pile.

I had forgotten I wasn’t twenty years old anymore, and I was beginning to feel the pain of over-doing a thing!

As weeks passed, the pain worsened, and three MRI’s revealed rotator cuff tears in both shoulders, plus pinched nerves in my neck that caused further pain in my arms and hands. “The perfect storm,” it seemed.  Later, in October, cervical (neck) fusion surgery would be necessary to relieve the pinched nerves, and the first weeks of recovery would be excruciating.  The thought of possibly two more surgeries, one shoulder at a time, was unbearable.  I spent the summer hoping none of those surgeries would be needed.

What I needed was a miracle!

The Coming Storm

Philip and I work together in our small software business a few miles from home, where I enjoy doing promotions and editing Philip’s national blogs. I’m also a writer and blogger, but with painful arms, writing became a challenge.  If only God would just heal me, instantly!  After all, when He walked the earth, He made the blind to see, the deaf to hear, and the lame to walk. Still, I prayed…

“Lord, if it’s your will that I go through all this, please be right here with me.”

August came with an unusual thunderstorm for our area, turning the skies black and threatening, and Philip urged me to hurry home from the office. At once, lightning and thunder began pounding our little town. Windshield wipers were all but useless against the downpour, as I drove through the gate, onto our long gravel driveway.

Suddenly, the driver’s side of my car was engulfed in tree limbs.  Part of that rotting old tree, Philip and I had talked about removing one day, had finally succumbed to the storm. Shaken, I hit the brakes, and then tried to drive forward toward the house, but a large limb had pinned my front wheels in place.  I couldn’t move.

Looking up then, I watched helplessly, as the larger part of that same old tree crashed down right in front of my car.

Running for Cover

Heart pounding, I thought to wait a bit for the lightning to let up before getting out of my car. But what if another tree fell?  As it was, with limbs blocking the driver’s door, I’d have to climb over the console and go out the passenger door. Having two bad arms made the whole experience more traumatic, as I grabbed my purse and keys and jumped out into deepening mud puddles. Still about 400 feet to the house, I realized the skimpy sandals I’d worn were no substitute for track shoes I could have used to outrun the storm.  I ran and prayed frantically, past the long row of swaying southern pine trees.

“Lord, HELP ME make it to the house!” After all, I remembered, He had once calmed a terrible storm on the Sea of Galilee.

Finally, safe inside, heart still pounding and soaked to the skin, I was just thankful to be alive.  But truly, if I was hoping for a miracle, I felt sure only the Lord kept me from being crushed under tons of enormous tree limbs, now strewn across the driveway.  I would find out later, the only real damage to my car was that caused by the limb under my wheels, that had kept me from a more tragic outcome.

Surely, God proved He was with me, saving me from that falling tree. And I was reassured He would also be with me through this health crisis; my own “perfect storm!”  Through all of it, my sweet husband has been more than supportive and encouraging.

As I write this…

It’s been nearly seven months since that first (neck) surgery, and five months since the second surgery to repair my right shoulder. Recovery was harder than expected, and I had prayed I would not need a third operation. I’m thankful, that prayer was answered!

In March, however, my husband suffered unexpected “sinking spells” that sent us to the emergency room at Centennial Medical Center in Nashville where doctors operated twice on him to insert a permanent heart pacemaker. Six weeks later, Philip is feeling well and too strong for his own good. Hard to keep a busy entrepreneur down! God is good!!

For all of it, I’m clinging to the promise in Jeremiah 29:11, “I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord; not to harm you, but to give you a future and a hope.”

One thing I understand, God doesn’t promise us a pain-free, tear-free life, but He does promise never to leave us, nor forsake us.  I know there’s a purpose for this season in my life, and I’m thankful for the reminder that came with that summer storm… even a fallen tree.

Thankful for the months since, that have brought me closer to Him. And thankful for the blessing of renewed hope for the future.

As Corrie ten Boom would say, “Jesus is victor!”

 

Adamah | The Mysterious Kingdom

Can you imagine, you’re locked in isolation, in a notorious Nazi death camp, no less?  Corrie ten Boom spent many days alone, praying; trying to recall the happiest moments of her life, as she faced the inevitable. Yet, one thought filled Corrie’s heart above all—she must share the good news with others there. Good news? Had she been in isolation so long, she had lost her mind?

At night, in the eerie stillness, when the cries and screams of others ceased for too few hours, Corrie found courage in the words of a little book that hung from her neck.

Corrie and her sister Betsie would read the little book—an underground Bible, secreted into the prison—to other prisoners, to encourage them also. Though still a great mystery to many of them, the words in the little book brought comfort and hope; taking all their minds far from the dark images of Ravensbrück prison.

I offer this as a simple parable, praying the actual truths found in the Bible will dawn clearly in some seeking heart.

The Great King

Long ago, a great and powerful king ruled over an indescribably beautiful kingdom. The countless souls there worshiped the king and delighted in all his many wonders. They relished the joyous celebrations and seeing the king in all his splendor.

Love, above all, shone like the sun in that wondrous place; permeating each heart with joy beyond anything one could ask or think.  Somehow, the king provided for every need, and his subjects lacked nothing, for all his unending kindness. How he did it, no one knew; neither did any think to question!

How does one describe such a place?  The perfect melding of color and light, masterful music and gaiety, afforded a great sense of freedom and belonging. Millions upon millions of souls, with as many gifts and roles to play; each one complementing every other, like a grand symphony. 

One day, as the king paced the bright corridors of his kingdom, he began to ponder…  Would his subjects grow weary of so much goodness?  And what would they choose, if they could go elsewhere and serve another?  After all, they had never been given a choice, but to remain with him.  So, how would he ever know if they truly loved him, and would not choose otherwise—unless he gave them a choice?

Finally, the great king knew what he must do. 

The Mysterious Kingdom

The king would prepare another place; a unique new kingdom, where every soul would be free to make an all-important choice. He would give each one a unique, mortal body to move freely there. Oh, the king would watch over them; with signs to help them remember him. And he would answer, should they call out to him. But the decision must be theirs, each one—to love and return to him; or be lost to him forever.

He named their new home “Adamah,” where they would have everything needed to sustain life beyond his kingdom.  First, there must be pure air to breathe, for their new bodies; and livable temperatures. Adamah would be filled with grand music to inspire; ideas to explore and challenge every soul. And above them, the heavens to cause wonder. There would be light and water; green valleys and majestic mountains; plants and trees for food and shade. He would provide a wondrous variety of creatures; livestock to till the ground and supply food and leather and wool for clothing. And there would be elements in abundance, for making tools and building shelters. Everything, except his reigning presence!

The great king would make the mortals much like himself; able to reason and invent—if not to create. They would need strength and wit, and the will to survive where weather and terrain, seasons and vast ideologies would prove a constant challenge. Moreover, they must be mindful of others, beyond their own well-being. “Each life is precious, infinitely valuable to me,” he would assure them.

Of course, there must be certain limits to maintain, so there could be peace and order among all. The rest would be up to them. They must choose; each one.

Journey to Adamah

The king’s heart longed for each beloved soul to choose wisely; although he knew the end of all things. Still, each heart must decide—before time would run out.  Yes, each soul would have just so much time on Adamah to solve the mystery of true life as the great king planned it. 

First, the king created two mortals who would become the bearers and caretakers of new ones who would come after. Each soul would enter the mysterious, new kingdom as an infant being; male or female, the king decided. 

Importantly, once a soul left the great king’s realm, they would have no recollection of the place they had always called home with him. But loving them, he placed in each mortal heart, a deep longing for that goodness he hoped would prove their character and turn them back to him one day.

They would have dominion and stewardship over Adamah and all the other life there. But, the hardest thing to manage, would be their relationships with one another. Unbridled emotions that over-indulged that which was dearest to them, would prove a constant heartache and distraction. And PRIDE would be the mortal enemy of their capacity to love unselfishly and forgive generously.

Beware the Adversary!

Above all, they must overcome the craftiness of a divisive and relentless adversary—a bewitching, ever-lurking and lying spirit, who would covet the place of king over all, if they allowed. Many would be blinded by his deceptions.

Sadly, the great king knew many would be so entranced by the mysterious kingdom, they might choose never to seek him. Many would rebel against any thought of the great king, and work against those who believed. The worst could commit the vilest acts and give rise to wars, as some greedily claimed all power for themselves. Carelessly, some would destroy millions of infant lives struggling to enter the new kingdom.

Still, every soul must have the freedom to choose; even through great tribulation!

Divisions in the New Kingdom

So, it began. And just as the great king had foreseen, many rejected any thought of him. Finally, because of his great heart for them, he decided to become one of them; flesh and blood, living among them. Maybe now they would choose his perfect, unconditional love, over any enticements on Adamah.

But the king foreknew that some would rise up violently to end his life there; not understanding the king had purposed to die, even the most cruel death, to pay for the sins of all. It was those who accepted His sacrifice in their place, those who chose to believe Him after all, that would find eternal life with him.

Sadly, for those who ignored the great king’s invitation, life on Adamah would remain a blur of unanswered questions; a great unsolved mystery. False teachings and strange philosophies; deviant activities and un-kingly pursuits would tempt, where truth and conscience were absent. Many would understand too late, how like a vapor the kingdom called “Adamah” was meant to be! 

Yet, while there was still time to believe, the merciful heart of the great king could still be known. And all who chose him found hope and joy; trusting that he would keep his promise, and rescue them one day from the mysterious kingdom of Adamah.

The Valley of Decision

The Bible says, “God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places IN CHRIST, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world. In Him we have redemption through His shed blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His Grace.”

In the fearsome grip of the godless Nazi regime, Corrie and Betsie ten Boom shared the good news (the gospel) with many facing death in Ravensbrück Concentration Camp. Many found peace and hope, knowing that by God’s grace, through faith in Jesus Christ, there is forgiveness and victory over the darkest situations of our lives; even death.

He has given every person on Earth, freedom to choose. We can place our trust in this life only—this temporal and “mysterious kingdom,” with all its allure and deception—to our eternal regret.  Or, through faith in Jesus the Christ—Yahshuah, the Messiah—as Lord and Savior; to choose true life with the Great King forever!

The day of the Lord will come, regardless of what one chooses. The important thing is to be right with God before that valley of decision. The choice is ours!

[The Nazis exterminated more than 95,000 women in Ravensbrück prison, and more than six million Jews, during WW2]

Remembering Corrie | Love, Don’t Hate!

Love, not hate
remembering Corrie

“Don’t HATE, Corrie!”  Betsie said.

It was November, 1944, and Corrie was stunned by the look in Betsie’s eyes, full of love and compassion, even for the Nazi guard who was beating Betsie unmercifully.

Corrie ten Boom, younger than her beloved sister Betsie by nine years, could not stand by and watch any longer.  She would never forget the hate on that Nazi woman’s face as she whipped Betsie violently, again and again.  Where did such hate come from?

Suddenly, Corrie knew the answer too well, seeing this latest injustice toward someone she loved.  Hate, even rage, rose up like gall in her own heart, until she was close to choking on it.

Corrie and Betsie had grown up in a household of love and compassion, kindness, and faith in God.  Hate was an enemy they had never met until now. How would these two amazing women deal with a world that seemed bent on hate?

April 15th marks TWO anniversaries for a remarkable and beloved, Dutch watchmaker and Nazi holocaust survivor, Corrie ten Boom.  Born that spring date in Haarlem, Holland (The Netherlands), she would step into eternity on her 91st birthday.

Remembering Corrie ten Boom [April 15, 1892 — April 15, 1983]

Years ago, writer Linda Ellis’ profound poem, “The Dash,” shared the message, that the dates of a person’s birth and death are not as important as how that person spends the DASH in between.  It’s hard to think of many who spent their “dash” as well as Corrie ten Boom, whose life touched and continues to bring hope and encouragement to many, all around the world!

Corrie’s autobiographical book, “The Hiding Place,” written with Elizabeth and John Sherrill, was the basis for this stage play, “Ten Boom the Musical.” Her book became a major motion picture in 1978, sharing the powerful true story of Corrie and her family during the Nazi occupation of Holland.  Her “dash” included life in a loving Christian family that would later risk their lives to hide Jewish people from Nazi persecution and death. The family’s work with the Dutch Resistance finally led to imprisonment, where many of them died.  Their story tells of a great love, courage, and unflinching faith in God.  From a quiet life to unexpected intrigue, great pain and ultimate victory, Corrie’s experience has encouraged millions all over the world through her speaking and her many books.

“Don’t Hate!”

If Corrie was alive today, and could see what’s happening in our nation and our world, what would she say to us now?  She had survived three concentration camps during a devastating World War that took the lives of an estimated 50 to 80 million people, military and civilian. Six million of those were Jewish people—killed simply for being Jews! HATE did that, and Corrie had seen the enemy up close and personal.  And yet, I believe her message for us would include a loving warning, like the one given to Corrie herself by her sister Betsie, even about the Nazis…“Don’t Hate!”

It was a harsh winter in Germany, in 1944.  Corrie, Betsie and hundreds of others were forced into hard labor at Ravensbruck prison, a Nazi death camp for women.  The sixteen-hour days of back-breaking work, with little to eat, were literally killing many of the women.  Betsie, born with pernicious anemia, grew weaker by the day. Seeing her collapse to the ground, Corrie ran to Betsie’s aide, only to be pushed violently aside by a cruel matron others called “the Snake.”

To Corrie’s mind, the beating was the last straw. A devoted Christian woman, but how could she continue to turn the other cheek1, while another person she loved was so cruelly mistreated?  The brutality and deaths she had witnessed caused a deep bitterness to grow toward those who purposed to cause pain.  Finally, Corrie just wanted to get her hands on that Nazi guard and pull her away from Betsie, but other prisoners held her back, fearing more retribution.  Restrained now, by the arms of women who had as much reason to hate as she, Corrie’s tears boiled over.

Pray For Your Enemies

The beating had finally stopped. The Snake threatened and ordered all the women back to work. But, Corrie was still reeling from the scene, and rushed to comfort her now bleeding sister.

“I HATE THAT WOMAN…” Corrie stopped, puzzled by the look on Betsie’s face.

“Don’t hate, Corrie. Pray for that woman!” Betsie whispered. “THEY know how to hate and look what it’s done to THEM!  You can’t protect me here, Corrie—you mustn’t try!”

“How do you pray for such monsters?” Corrie wept. She had trusted the Lord since she was five years old, and had never seen the face of evil, as here in this place.  Jesus warned believers, “Be sober and vigilant, because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.”2

Here, behind the ominous, barbed-wire fences of Ravensbruck prison, the smell of death was all around her, choking her with a hatred she had never experienced.  JOY had always defined her life. How was she to deal with such evil?

The True Hiding Place

Corrie remembered the words of the apostle Paul to believers… “Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might… take up the whole armor of God that you may be able to withstand in the evil day; and, having done all, to stand.”3

Corrie was the strong one, feisty even; now she definitely wanted to make a stand. But is that what Paul was saying? She loved the Lord, and was often steadied  by Betsie’s wise counsel, as they grew up. Betsie was right! They were here in this place of death to bring hope to others—not to hate—not even the Nazis.

What Would Corrie Do Today?

The Bible tells us that in the last days, people will be offended and there will be much division. Hearts will turn cold toward others, and hate will abound.4  That people will be as we see many becoming in our world today.5

In Luke 6, Jesus said, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.”

On her knees, Corrie asked the Lord to forgive her and to give her the right heart toward these enemies. She prayed the infection of hatred in their hearts would heal also; that they would learn to love again.  If our adversary, even the devil, can cause hate to eat at our souls, then we have already lost the battle. Hate steals any compassion we might have for another soul, while it steals our own peace.

God allowed Corrie and Betsie ten Boom to be imprisoned at Ravensbruck to bring light and hope, the love of God, to others suffering that horror. Even if it meant they themselves should die there! Betsie did die, but that miraculous event would encourage Corrie’s heart for the rest of her life as she traveled to more than 60 countries to tell others, “No pit is so deep that God’s love is not deeper still!

Putting Out Fires of Hatred

It seemed the whole world was on fire during World War 2.  And it seems that fire of hatred and division is spreading across the globe in these times, when LOVE and compassion are desperately needed!

On this anniversary of Corrie ten Boom’s birth, and her going home to the Lord she loved, we pray the world will stop and consider LOVE, not hate!

I Peter 4:8 (AMP) “Above all, have fervent and unfailing love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins. It overlooks unkindness, and seeks the best for others.

The Song I Came to Sing

I woke early this morning thinking about lyrics to a song I’ve written, titled, “The Song I Came to Sing,” inspired by a gravestone epitaph I saw years ago.  I was just a young girl then, wandering curiously through an otherwise sunny graveyard, but the words on the stone left a lasting impact on my life… it read:

“I spent my life stringing and un-stringing my instrument, but the song I came to sing remains unsung.”

I’m a singer, from a family of singers and musicians, and those words still chill me.  The person’s last message on earth told of a life that had somehow missed the mark. Whatever his dreams had been were never to be.  My own father, once a fine violinist, had let his life go by, mourning his silent instrument, and living out that same, sad conclusion.

I remember thinking, back then, “I don’t want to end my life someday, not having fulfilled my purpose.”  I know now, God has a purpose and a plan for every life!

While it’s early, my husband still sleeps, and I began reading my Bible.  Turning a page in Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians, I found a note I’d hand-written beside the text at some point…

“Live, as if from heaven to Earth—not from the battle, but from the victory!” 

Realizing Things Unseen

2 Corinthians 4:18 reads, “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

Unfortunately, when I read the words on that gravestone, years ago, it would be many years before I discovered my own true “song.” Altogether, forty years of wandering in my own wilderness.  I was so caught up in the things of this broken world back then, I felt trapped by life.  I couldn’t see that all the “truth” I had ever believed about God, and almost everything else, was a big fat lie!

Thankfully, the Lord gave my soul a song to sing—March 4, 1984.  Now, in the years since my heart and life was changed so dramatically, I can understand what I wrote in my Bible that day.

“Live, as if from heaven to Earth—not from the battle, but from the victory!”  Victory in this life is found when we come to know God’s heart and mind, through His word and the leading of His Spirit—and begin to live from His perspective. Or, as a my great-aunt Stella said, “You don’t know what real life is about, until you come to the foot of the Cross.”

Finding the Path

For me, it took God literally speaking right out loud, responding to my anguished and impudent cry, “Show yourself or get out of my face forever!”  I don’t recommend that approach to Him now, you might understand. But, I’d come to a pained point in my life that needed some real answers, or I was done with all of it. Maybe you can relate to that?

Amazingly, the Lord answered my bold challenge that day, with love and grace I didn’t deserve. And with four words I will never forget—“You’re going home, Susan!”  Twice, He said it, and I could no longer deny Him.

These days, I see so many people believing all the same lies I’d bought into, and it’s sad to watch. I want to shake them into truth, “STOP, you’re going the wrong way!”  It’s like watching someone about to walk off a cliff or under a falling building, and unable to get their attention and avert a catastrophe.

People pay too little attention to God these days, when eternity hangs in the balance!

It still amazes me that, taking Him at His word, believing Him for Who He really is, one can actually glimpse this whole thing we call life, as if through God’s eyes.  But, there it is—it’s true!

Earth’s Perspective Only Leads to More Questions

The battles we endure here on Earth are like swimming in rough waters; always some resistance.  However, by faith, the battle is able to strengthen us, as we continue to swim—believing there is victory on the far shore.  Because, there is!

Seeing life from God’s perspective, with faith and courage to press on, we overcome the obstacles and counterfeit paths of this world, day by day.  The Father, like a good Dad, says to His child, “You can do this,” and the child takes baby steps. “Come on,” He says, “Come to me, don’t give up.” He does that with each of us through this life, if only we let Him.

Learning to see yourself, your surroundings, other people; every challenge, every issue and effort—as much as God allows from Heaven’s perspective—is the very answer to life.  At once, hard, even death-defying situations take on new meaning. Trusting Him for every step is an adventure I might have missed.  I pray you won’t miss it either!

“You’re going home, Susan!”

I still hear Him say, “You’re going HOME, Susan.” He said my name, and it keeps me swimming, through even the most troubling waters. “Come to Me,” He says in my heart, “The victory is here waiting. Stay on the path. The world and its offerings will entice and try to defeat all your efforts to endure in love and peace. But, trust and keep your eyes on Me, and I will get you Home.”

Sounds crazy, right?  It did to me for forty years, until I had lost everything and bothered to seek Him. Amazingly, I found He’d been there all the time, waiting! My favorite Bible verse (Isaiah 43:1b) says… “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine.”

Taste and See!

When we taste only the things of this life, and fail to look up, we miss real life—the real “song” He planned for us to sing.  The “peace” I had sought here on Earth was in whatever made me happy at any given moment—an object, a place, a palatable philosophy; another person I thought could make all my dreams come true.  I was hung up on whatever I could accomplish with my talents, looks, money, and so-called smarts.

Oh, if anyone had asked if I was going to heaven when I died, I would have said, “Yes, I’m a good person!” But I didn’t know the Lord then, nor His Way to that eternal Home.  With no anchor for my soul—only the counsel or persuasions of others who had yet to believe Him—I found I only had more questions than answers.

When I understood those four words the Lord spoke aloud to me in 1984, and the amazing GRACE they imparted to my heart, I knew I would spend the rest of my life telling about Him and His truth.

The Song I Came to Sing

I’ve sung thousands of songs in my time, but THIS is “the song” I came to sing:  about a perfect heavenly Father who loved us so much He became one of us on Earth; then laid down His life to pay for the sins of all who would believe.

I co-wrote the stage play, “Ten Boom the Musical,” with my sister Donna Griggs, about the life of Corrie ten Boom, whose faith brought hope to many women in Ravensbruck concentration camp, during WW2. Corrie found God’s call on her life—HER “song”—in that place.

I pray you will find your own life’s “song” in Him.  That you will live in victory, as if from Heaven to Earth, with the hope of the eternal Home He promises to all who come to Him by faith in Christ alone.