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599th -- If You Are Real


We should never underestimate the depth and width of God's love and mercy.
He is able to love the unlovable, forgive the unforgivable and is able to
make clean even the most crimson of sinner. We can never understand such
great love, yet thankfully it exists without motive or ill intention. Be
encouraged to call upon the Lord and share with Him all that is on your 
heart. He is able to take your heaviest burden and replace it with His 
light yoke. God loves you and wishes to be at the center of your life. 
Allow Him to be your Lord and Savior and you will see great changes take
place in your life. (Isaiah 1:18-20) (Psalm 103:10-18) (Matthew 11:28-30)

I hope you are encouraged and inspired by today's message to make Jesus the
Lord of your life if you have never done so before.


The small church was crowded. All around me people worshiped a God that I
didn't believe existed. Why was I there? My neighbor asked me to come. To
be honest, I thought they would leave me alone if I did.

I wasn't sure what to expect. I had attended services with my family a few
times, but it was more of a ritual or a way to celebrate holidays. What I
hadn't anticipated was the wetness pressed against my eyelids as I clenched
them shut. My motto? Never let them see you cry. I wasn't about to break 
down in front of people I didn't know. I wasn't crying because I felt the
presence of God or that I sensed his love for me. I fought tears because I
was mad, so angry that I shook inside. How dare the preacher stand there 
and talk about the love of God. It was easy for him and people like him to
spout off about a God who existed, who had a purpose for every person. 
Well, maybe their God had taken a personal interest in them but he didn't
live at my house.

The mother I am about to share with you is not the mom I have now. You see,
she had an encounter with God, and He brought her out of the darkness of
emotional pain and healed her. In order to share my story, I have to share
a little bit of hers as well.

My mom left home at 16 years old, pregnant and newly married to a boy who
thought he was a man. She lost her first baby to cystic fibrosis when the
toddler was less than two years old. She had her second child at 18 and 
left her husband at the age of 21. He came to visit her one night and 
forced her to have sex. She discovered two weeks later she was pregnant.

I was that baby.

Mom married a good man who loved her and the two little kids that came as
a package deal. But in spite of this turn of events, my mom was fragile. 
Like stained glass, she was pretty on the outside, but the broken pieces of
her life created the portrait.

Growing up, I never knew what to expect. Would it be the mom who brought 
home suckers to surprise us, or the woman who spouted horrific things as 
she ran out the door and threatened to kill herself? There was physical 
abuse and apologies. There were humiliating punishments, harsh words, and
tearful requests for forgiveness.

Please don't get me wrong. It wasn't always bad in my home, but when it 
was it was loud and chaotic and frightening. I feared one day that my mom
would pull the trigger or hurt herself. I hated the words that came out of
her mouth when she was angry.

One day my mom chased me through the house, brandishing an umbrella as she
screamed at me. I ran out the door and into the rain. I was wearing a 
T-shirt and jeans and no shoes. The cold rain pelted me as I ran down 
Latimer Street. I pushed through the wetness, pumping my arms as I ran as
fast as I could. Finally I stopped, bending down to catch my breath as my
tears meshed with the raindrops. I slowly turned around and walked home, 
sat on the curb, and wept until my throat closed.

I was stuck. I couldn't run away. I had no money, no place to go. I was 13
years old. Where could I go?

I started smoking at the bus stop, pushing boundaries with my teachers, and
drinking with my best friend. My attempts to be tough must have appeared 
hilarious to others. I was skinny to a fault and looked younger than my 
age. Being tough didn't come natural. My heart was gentle and I hated 
conflict and fighting, yet every single time I let my guard down someone
hurt me.

Angry words all sharp and pointy, a knife in my soul.

That's when the hardness crept in. Never let them see you cry. Never give
them a chance to know you care.

One day it all came to a head. My mom pulled us around her in her bedroom.
She put a gun to her head and threatened to shoot herself. I was scared, 
but not because I thought she would die, but because under my breath I 
whispered, “just do it”.

Who was this person I was becoming?

Two years later I stood in the little church. The pastor sang, strumming 
on the guitar as people knelt at the altar. “He loves you,” he said. “He 
has a plan for your life.”

Yeah, right. I pointed my chin at the sky, my eyes closed, and I challenged
this God of which he spoke. “If you are real,” I whispered, “and I don't 
believe you are, but if you exist and you know me and you love me like he
says, I need to know.”

I expected nothing, yet I received everything as a tender touch reached
past my hardened heart. I've had trouble explaining this moment to people
over the years. “Did you see God?” No. “Did you feel God's presence?” Yes,
but so subtle and deep inside of me, touching areas that I had closed long
ago to anybody, that I knew it was God.

Tears broke and streamed down my cheeks and for the first time in a long 
time I wept. I felt as if He had wrapped me in a warm blanket, enclosing me
in His love. I stumbled from the church. I ran home and told my mom that I
had just got “saved”, though I really didn't understand what had occurred.

Did everything magically change? No. My circumstances were still the same,
but everything was different on the inside of me

I made mistakes, huge blunders as I tried to learn what it meant to follow
Jesus as my Savior. I wasn't perfect, but I understood His love. I knew I
wanted to know more. The people of that little church ministered to me in
ways they will never understand. There were times I wept at the altar and
then went home to chaos. There were times I fell in my walk with Christ and
their gentle encouragement helped me to keep going.

It is amazing what can happen when God restores a broken life. It can be 
beautiful like the portrait that my mom is now, the shattered pieces of her
life assembled together in a beautiful picture of God's mercy.

Today I am a mom, an author, a speaker, and a wife. I have the opportunity
to minister to teens and women across the nation, sharing the story of my
life and the beauty of purpose and the fact that God loved us from the 
beginning. My mother and father were saved when I was in my junior year of
high school. I found a note from my dad under my pillow one day. I still 
carry it with me, the tattered pieces a reminder of what God has done. 

My quiet father, who very rarely shared the depth of his emotions, said in 
that letter, “I have watched you and I see that you have something that is
of great worth, a treasure. I know that it is real and I admire you for 
your faith and your love for God.”

We have never spoken of that letter, but it came at a time when I prayed 
for a sign. “God, show me that you hear my prayers. Heal my family. Let me
know that you are listening.” The folded piece of paper under my pillow 
was heaven sent and priceless.

For years my mom and I have been best of friends. She is compassionate, 
loving, and whole, and the memories of our past are forgiven and forgotten.
Today I am still running after the same God that touched my life when I 
was 15. I always tell my teen audiences that one day I'll be an old woman
running after God with my walker. You see, he's done a million things for
me. He's been with me through difficult times, but my love for Him will 
always be wrapped around that first moment when He reached down to an
angry, hurting, skinny 15-year old teenager and silently whispered that He
loved me.

I still can't help but whisper back, “I love you too”.

By T. Suzanne Eller

Read and meditate on these scriptures:

Matthew 11:28-30 Jesus declares
“Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are
heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of
Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your 
souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.”

Isaiah 1:18-20 “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: 
though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they
be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. If ye be willing and obedient,
ye shall eat the good of the land: But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be
devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.”

Psalm 103:10-13 “He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us
according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, 
so great is His mercy toward them that fear Him. As far as the east is 
from the west, so far hath He removed our transgressions from us. Like as
a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear Him.”

All of these scriptures can be found in the King James Version Bible.

Today’s Selected Poem: FOOT PRINTS
Click here to read --- http://www.Godswork.org/enpoem138.htm

Today’s Selected Testimony: MY SALVATION STORY
Click here to read --- http://www.Godswork.org/testimony120.htm

In Christ’s Service,

Dwayne Savaya
Gods Work Ministry


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