Saturday, July 30, 2011


'My beautiful mother' Circa 1940


When I received the call that mom had another heart attack I knew in my heart this was the big one. Five years previous she had survived, but this time I knew it was not to be.

That last morning she put a pot of coffee on, made some chocolate chip cookies (my favorite) and then decided to run to the bank to make a deposit.

As she drove into the bank parking lot it hit her…like a ton of bricks. Although the car was slowly moving it still plowed into another car. Mom slumped over the steering will. People ran to her from every direction.

A man across the street from the bank saw the accident happen. He reached her car door first. It was locked. He ran to the other side and just as he opened it Mom sat up, raised her arms and tears ran down her face as she looked upward.

“Are you okay?” he asked. Her eyes closed and then she slumped over the steering wheel again. She never regained consciousness. Within hours she was pronounced dead at the hospital. I never got to say goodbye.

After the funeral my brother and I obtained the police report and read the testimony of the young man who opened the car. We tracked him down at a local grocery store where he worked. He was stocking shelves when we approached him.

He was kind enough to tell us what happened. “When I opened the door I smelled a beautiful fragrance. It was like nothing I’ve ever smelled before; a heavenly fragrance. I’ll never forget it, nor will I ever forget the picture of your mother looking up into something. She saw something.”

As we talked to him we discovered he was a backslidden Christian. Our mother’s death had profoundly affected him. We gave him her Bible and told him to read it and to get his life right with God because one day we would all be in the same position…facing God.

I hope he did.

"For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." 2 Peter 1:11

Thursday, July 28, 2011



Self-deceived mass murderer, Anders Breivik of Norway, shocked the world when he bombed several buildings in Oslo and then went on to massacre young people at a political youth camp. The Norwegian terrorist fancied himself as a savior and warrior of Western Europe. One person referred to him, and rightly so, as ‘total evil’.

Today a nation is in mourning over the senseless killings. So far they have recorded 92 fatalities and body parts are still being recovered in the bombed out buildings.

Breivik made himself a highly potent drug cocktail to give him increased aggressiveness, physical performance and mental focus. The cocktail, called ‘ECA stack’ included ephedrine, caffeine and aspirin. Athletes have been known to use this cocktail to enhance their physical abilities.

Unbelievably the blonde-haired blue-eyed Norwegian wanted to know how many he killed and then use the courtroom as a platform to brag about his plan to save Europe from the ‘Muslim invasion’. The judge denied him that opportunity.

His attorney has stated his client is ‘probably insane’. He said that Brevik believes he’s in a war and that you can do things like that without pleading guilty. Breivik pleaded not guilty to the killings.

I can’t even imagine what the parents of these massacred children are going through right now. What a senseless and vile thing to have happen.

Recently there has been a rash of kidnappings throughout our country, even one right near us in Macon, GA. The kidnappers weren’t content to only kill their victims, but many of them went on to dismember them as well.

When Paul the Apostle described how life would be in the last days he hit the nail on the head. 2 Timothy 3:1-4 “But mark this: There will be TERRIBLE TIMES in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, BRUTAL, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.”

Now, I realize that there has always been immorality, brutality and wickedness in our world, but there is no doubt in my mind that we are living in unusual times of accelerated sin and debauchery.

When singer Amy Winehouse died this past week, several groups of her followers celebrated by getting stone drunk and strung out on drugs. The police were at a loss in London as to what to do about the mass of bodies lying everywhere in their drunken stupor bemoaning her death.

It’s unbelievable how the world could elevate a person who was so obviously strung out on drugs and headed for self-destruction. The Bible says, “Woe to those who call good evil and evil good.”

When offered help, Winehouse refused. In her hit song, “Rehab” we see a hint of her mindset in this stanza: “They tried to make me go to rehab but I said 'no, no, no'.”

How it must grieve God to see his creatures on such terrible paths of destruction. Breivik and Winehouse made bad choices. Breivik chose to destroy others, while Winehouse made the choice to self-destruct. Unfortunately there will be those who will seek to emulate both of these sad, misdirected individuals.

In both cases many have been and will be destroyed. The obvious is through Breivik’s influence…but possibly even more devastating will be those that Winehouse will take down with her. How many will follow her footsteps into alcohol and drug abuse?

Man does not sin unto himself. I’m sure if you had asked Winehouse she would have said, “I’m only hurting myself.” However, sin has a ripple effect, just like a stone in tossed in a lake.

When Jonah ran away from God, he nearly caused all his fellow passengers in his get-away ship to die. In fact, the captain of the ship lost all his cargo. Trying to lighten the ship in the storm the sailors tossed everything overboard. What is your sin costing others?

Friday, July 15, 2011



"I've never had a present before...not for Christmas or my birthday...ever!"

These words were not spoken from a child in a Third World country receiving a gift from Operation ShoeBox, but from a young man today in a nearby correctional facility.

To backtrack just a bit...I had the honor and privilege of leading this young man to Christ only a few days ago. Knowing he didn't own a Bible, I felt strongly that I should get one to him...not a used one...but a brand new one, one he could feel was totally his.

As I wrote a few words of encouragement in the front of the Bible, I couldn't help but think of our conversation a few days prior.

"No one's ever loved me. Not in my whole life. I've always had to fend for myself." He sat there, thin and gaunt. The ravages of an incurable disease were taking their toll. By all natural means it didn't look good. A few days...maybe only a week and then he would pass into the next world...that is, without a miracle.

I shared the story of the rich man and Lazarus from Luke 16:19-31. I explained how we all are going somePLACE. We were sitting in an office...just a PLACE. When our conversation ended we would be going our separate ways...him to his PLACE and me to mine. Just a PLACE.

I told him about an old TV program...THE PRICE IS RIGHT. "Okay. Doors 1, 2 and 3 are before you. A Rolls Royce is behind one of these doors. (then a whisper in the ear from Bob Barker...take door #2...the car is there.)

Would the contestant not be stupid to pick one of the other doors when the BEST was behind door #2? I looked the young man square in the eye. "God says, I set before you LIFE and DEATH, BLESSING and cursing. Then he whispers...TAKE LIFE that you may live."

The dying young man got it! He made the right choice. LIFE!

Today as he looked at the present he said, "I don't know what to do?" Just rip off the paper I told him. He grinned from ear to ear.

His hand caressed the cover, "My own Bible." I fought back the tears.

Before we parted he told me he had been sharing about his decision to receive Christ as his Savior with others. "I wish I had known you were coming today," he said. "I would have brought the little book you gave me. I put the date in it. The day I asked Jesus in my heart."

He smiled again...a big smile...and promised to read his new Bible.

In the front of his Bible I wrote these words from Scripture, "Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. In my Father's House are many mansions. If it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a PLACE for you. And if I go and prepare a PLACE for you I will come again and receive you unto myself, that where I am, there ye may also be." John 14:1-3

Which PLACE are you going to?

Friday, July 8, 2011




"If I take the wings of the morning,and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me."
Psalms 139:9-10

The face of Steven Speilberg on the cover of Newsweek magazine grabbed my attention in the checkout line. Waiting for the clerk to finish ringing my groceries I flipped the pages in the magazine. Schindler's List! Photos showed gaunt faces of World War II victims of the Holocaust. Jewish children clinging to their mothers as Hitler's SS troops callously separated them.

I have always been touched by the helpless plight of the Jews, especially in the diabolical pogroms that were conducted against them in Europe. After becoming a Christian, I learned that this race of people was special in the eyes of God. In fact, the Jews are referred to as "the apple of his eye". A chosen people, selected to bring forth Messiah. Yeshua Ha Mashiach.

Although never having a desire to go to Israel, I have prayed many times for the peace of Jerusalem. Now, with Spielberg's new movie coming out, I found myself reading everything I could get my hands on about the holocaust. I even mentioned to Charlie that I thought I might like to take a trip to Israel. He was surprised since this was a country that he and I agreed we would probably never visit, especially after watching the evening news. Bombings and shootings seemed to be a daily occurrence in the Holy Land. No place for a mother and grandmother to be visiting. Right?

One evening, as I was cozily curled up with a book about a Christian Jewish survivor of Auschwitz, the phone rang. A neighbor cheerily said, "Jerri. This is Susan. Do you by any chance know Gisela Mann?"
Startled, I answered, "Sure. In fact, I was just thinking about her today."
Laughing, Susan said, "Well, she's here at my house. Come on over." Coffee cup in hand, slippers on feet, I jumped in my car and headed down to Susan's.

As I drove, I thought of Gisela. I hadn't seen nor heard from her in two years. She and I had some unusual things in common. A German born Jewess, Gisela had survived the Holocaust as a small child, only to grow up and become an alcoholic and a member of the German Hell's Angel's motorcycle gang. After she moved to America with her serviceman husband, the Lord reached down and saved her. Gisela called herself a "completed Jew.”

As Susan opened the door, Gisela bounced her 4' 9" frame off the sofa, grabbed me in a bear hug and blurted out, "Jerri, I'm going to Israel for three weeks. Want to go with me?"

My head was spinning for the next few months. I was going to be part of a small group of Christians, nine of us in all, traveling with a Jewish volunteer organization to help rebuild Israel! The promotional video didn't pull any punches. We would be working with the Israeli Defense Force, most likely in the Golan Heights. The only difference between our uniforms and that of the IDF would be a small blue piece of material that was buttoned on to the shoulders of our uniforms, stating in Hebrew that we were volunteers. (Not much protection if enemy fire came.)

As volunteers, we were each required to sign statements that we would not proselytize under possible penalty of deportation! It wouldn't be easy to keep quiet about our faith in Christ, but our desire to help Israel in this physical way overcame this seeming obstacle. Besides, we would just let Jesus shine through us.
Easy to say.

After being awake for 44 hours, traveling by plane and bus, we arrived in the mountainous region of northern Israel. So this was the Golan Heights I had seen and heard about on CNN.

Altogether there were ten women on our team, four Jewish and six Gentile. The four women who had come from the states with Gisela shared one room. Our bunks were metal with thin mattresses and army blankets. Together, we all shared one toilet and one shower. The men were in separate dormitories.

As we tumbled out of our bunks that first morning, I felt every bit of my fifty-four years. What in the world was I doing here? While we adjusted our belts, laced up our army boots, and attached our canteens, we laughed at one another. If the folks back home could only see us now!

A bus took us to our assignment farther north at a supply depot. There we were to tie steel, making reinforcements for concrete bunkers. The bunkers were three sided, a perfect protection for Israeli soldiers to hide behind during ground fire attack. The daily noise of machine gun fire and exploding shells on the nearby target range was a completely new experience for most of us. It was amazing how soon we became accustomed to the shattering sounds. This was life in modern Israel.

Working side by side with American Jews, I learned to appreciate their devotion to the preservation of Jewish society. Each member of the team was there as a volunteer, spending his money and time to bless this tiny nation that had been struggling as a sovereign state since 1948. In one of our nightly lectures by the IDF, we learned that this particular volunteer organization saved the State of Israel five million dollars a year.

We were also keenly aware that people are people no matter where they're from. Rebekah was living proof of that. A swinging single from San Diego, Rebekah had less than noble aspirations for signing on as a volunteer. Flaming red hair, voluptuous with a sexy aura about her, she caused the men, young and old, to flock around her no matter where we were.
It became a guessing game as to how long it would take her to catch the available males we encountered on our sightseeing trips into the villages or kibbutzim. She certainly had a way with men, almost to the point of causing problems within the rank and file. At one point, upset that she couldn't go back into town at night, she complained to the base commander and left, leaving our Madricha (team leader) in tears.

Sensing that Rebekah was really needy spiritually, we began to earnestly pray for her. It was as if Satan had been alerted. Rebekah began to express hostility toward us in little ways. Lior, one of our Madrichas, told us that Rebekah had complained we were trying to proselyte the Jewish women. We banded together in expressing more love to her and continued to resort to God in prayer for her. Here was our opportunity to shine!

Our three week tour of duty completed, we boarded a bus for Jerusalem and Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Museum. With sixteen of us on a sixty passenger bus, there was more than enough room. I prayed, "Oh God, please let Rebekah sit by me. Let me share your love with her before we leave Israel." I knew we would probably never see each other again after this one last stop in Jerusalem.

Watching her walk down the aisle of the bus, I held my breath. "Can I sit by you," she asked.

"Thank you Lord."

The next few hours flew by as I shared the wonders of the word of God.
She drank in every word. As the miles went by, Rebekah began to talk, sharing her heart-rending story with me.

Joining the volunteer group had been a last resort for Rebekah. Her life had been in chaos. Recovering from a recent abortion, she had searched desperately for God, attending every synagogue and church looking for answers. There were none. She felt God had forsaken her.

The bus dropped us off near Ben Yehuda Street in Jerusalem, and we all began walking to our hotels. The near 100 degree temperature, in addition to all the luggage we were carrying, was making walking incredibly difficult. I turned around to see where Rebekah was. There on the sidewalk, about fifty feet behind us, I could see her talking with Gisela. I just knew Gisela was sharing the reality of her Messiah with Rebekah. Somehow the heat didn't matter now. As I continued walking, I prayed in earnest.

As Gisela and Rebekah approached the rest of us, Rebekah asked, "Can I come and stay with you tonight?"

Since we were now officially through with our volunteer mission we had no qualms about Rebekah bunking with a room full of Christians. We were overjoyed. "Of course you can."

Later, at two o'clock in the morning, one lonely, unhappy Jewish woman found her Messiah. As Gisela shared her own personal story of recognizing Yeshua as the "Promised One,” Rebekah's heart responded with a resounding Amen!

Later, in the cramped quarters of our hostel room, Rebekah bowed her head. Together we joined in prayer, identifying with this daughter of Israel. As we asked God to help her and guide her throughout her life, our hearts were humbled. We were only beginning to realize what great lengths God would go to, in bringing a lost sinner to himself. He is truly an awesome God!

Prayer for Today

Dear Lord,

Thank you for showing me in so many ways how much you care for this lost world. Help me to realize that no distance is too far, no sacrifice too great, when it comes to reaching the lost for you.

In Jesus name,