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Millions of people over the past two thousand years have testified of the power of the word of God, the holy bible, to change lives. They have experienced transformation for themselves, and have received life in abundance, peace, joy and wisdom. I have as well. Yet, there are many who feel that the bible is just an ordinary book, written by men. These too have testimony to give. They’ve read it and declared the scriptures to have no lasting impact upon their lives.

Let’s examine this dichotomy and discover the truth. I remember high school science as my favorite course of study. I was fascinated with microscopic life, chemicals and reactions. Early on, I learned about catalysts. Many times, a catalyst needs to be added to a compound to speed up and enhance the reaction to mixing them together.

Today’s automobiles include a catalytic converter, which is a device that uses a catalyst to convert three harmful compounds in car exhaust into harmless compounds. The catalyst helps to change toxic carbon monoxide into carbon dioxide. It transforms the atmosphere damaging hydrocarbons into carbon dioxide and water. It also converts the nitrogen oxides back into nitrogen and oxygen.

Going deeper, we find that without catalysts, life is not possible. For example, without a catalyst, oxygen and hydrogen gases would not be able to combine to form water. Without water, all life on planet earth would cease to exist.

Ephesians 5:26 speaks of God’s word, as water which cleanses those who are being saved. “…to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word.” (“Her” refers to the church)

The bible too is a catalyst of sorts, a cleansing agent for the soul, helping convert condemned sinners into cleansed and sanctified Saints. It aids in gaining eternal life, because it reveals Jesus as the Christ and exposes the deep secrets of our hearts. It changes lives. But according to the testimonies of some non-believers, it does not always change lives.

Hmmm. Maybe the word of God needs a catalyst for the powerful change in a person’s heart and mind to take place. Perhaps that catalyst was absent in the people who experienced no power and no positive reaction from reading the bible. You’ve probably already surmised: I’m talking about faith!

“For without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6 NIV)

It is God who works the change. He is the power behind the jaw dropping transformations that take place in the hearts, minds and characters of a multitude of souls across the globe daily. It is when the word of God is read through the eyes of faith that its power is released.  And faith compels God to exert His awesome power into the life of believers.

Yet without faith, the bible have no impact. Because the flesh is in opposition to God and cannot even comprehend the things of God. It is the Spirit of God who acts upon the believer’s faith and opens the mind’s understanding. Without the faith, the Spirit will not react in this way.

But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. (1 Corinthians 2:14 KJV)

When a person goes to a doctor for treatment of some physical ailment they must first have faith in that doctor. They must believe he knows what he’s doing and that he understands medicine, the human body and various sicknesses. The same is true of God and His word, the bible.

Continuing the analogy further, if the doctor prescribes a medicine for a sickness, it would be ridiculous to think that it would have any effect without actually taking or applying the medicine. Simply reading the bible has no power to transform whatsoever. However, applying its principles to our lives will invariably create drastic and positive change.

Faith is belief in action. It’s doing something. Faith and application is what makes the difference. We must respond in faith to God’s word. When we do this, we can expect miracles.

I just purchased several exercise machines. Perhaps if I stare at them and study them long enough, I’ll get in shape? 


 
 
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Watching a re-run of the classic western TV series “Bonanza”, is what sparked my research into an old silver mine. It is called the Comstock Lode, and was one of the world’s biggest hauls of silver. Millions of dollars’ worth of raw silver was overlooked by gold seekers. They hadn’t been searching for silver, and didn’t know how to recognize it in its raw form. Hoping for the yellow stuff, the miners became disgusted with all those blasted blue rocks they kept digging up. As a result, Comstock, who did recognize it as silver ore, purchased the site for a pittance and became a mega millionaire.

The former owners of the site, as well as most of the miners working the site, allowed a vast fortune to slip through their fingers.

Many Christians today are completely unaware of the immense wealth that is within their grasp. Not money, silver, gold or diamonds, though that too is possible. We must develop a mind to understand what God has for us. Our hearts must be trained to discern our riches in Christ, available in the here-and-now, with the inheritance of all things yet to come.

 Paul writes,

 “The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints.” (Ephesians 1:18)

As a man who enjoys living with gusto, my passion drives me, yet I must allow intellect and logic to hold the steering wheel. One melancholy fellow I used to work alongside would constantly ask me, “What are you so dog-gone happy about?” He’d say, “Get your head out the clouds, life sucks.”

That’s more than a matter of perspective. The weather men tell us most weather changes take place in the troposphere, or lower level of the atmosphere. With my heart and mind set on the Lord, I try to keep my head above the stratosphere, where the ever changing weather of life has the least effect on my journey towards home.

Sometimes in this life on earth we look too hard for gold, when silver is right there within reach. Maybe we need to settle for silver more often. “Store up our treasure in heaven”, as Jesus puts it. We gather little by little today, while pressing on to acquire the greatest wealth of all.

What God has for us, exceeds anything we can possibly imagine for ourselves. All we need do is follow God’s program, which He’s designed to lead us there. It’s the best way and the right way. The way of righteousness, through faith in Christ. We’ll find it to be the way least taken, yet it leads to the fulfillment of our hearts deepest desires. The greatest wealth of all, is found by allowing God to enlighten our hearts to understand the vast treasure we have in Christ Jesus our Lord.

"Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God--this is your true and proper worship."
(Romans 12:1 NIV)

What we have to look forward to, or “our hope”:

Eternal life with glorious King Jesus, living amidst beauty not yet seen, in perfect peace, and no pain or suffering, while inheriting the entire earth. That is merely the tip of the iceberg—just the beginning of our hope as Christians.

Yet we can have so many benefits right now that they cannot be numbered. Here’s a dozen benefits to consider what we can have right now, and which come from a life of trusting Christ—living in obedience to Him.

Unconditional love

Provision of everything we need

Our deepest desires fulfilled

Protection

Direction

Purpose

Power

Contentment

Peace within

Joy

Wisdom

Discernment… you get the picture.

But we must remember that we are not called to a life of ease. There will be sacrifices to make—self-denial, suffering and pain, hardship and difficulties. That’s what those twelve benefits are for. To strengthen us—enabling the faithful to endure to the end, that we may obtain the greatest treasure of all. Jesus Christ is our treasure.


 
 
Flipping through an old hymnal brought back many great memories of my early years growing up attending church, creating a warm nostalgia. I was struck by the number of songs about the cross. In my youth, I couldn’t fully appreciate the many songs that sing of the cross of Christ.

A lot of people were crucified on those Roman instruments of torture. What is it about the cross of Christ that is so powerful and elicits such teary eyed wonder and praise? What’s so special about that cross? Looking at some of those hymns, we can see the answer.

At the Cross

“At the Cross, at the cross where I first saw the light
 and the burdens of my heart rolled away. 
It was there by faith, I received my sight. 
And now I am happy all the day.”

And Isaac Watts’ “When I survey the Wondrous Cross”:

“When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.”

Then: “I Saw the Cross” by Frederick Whitfield, 
The 3rd verse reads:

“I trust the cross of Jesus In every trying hour,

My sure and certain refuge, my never failing tower;

In every fear and conflict, I more than conqueror am;

Living I’m safe, or dying, Thro’ Christ the living Lamb.”


Or: “The Old Rugged Cross” by George Benard, Verse 3:

“In the old rugged cross, stained with blood so divine,

A wondrous beauty I see; For twas on that old cross

Jesus suffered and died to pardon and sanctify me.

So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross…”

There are many more, The love that was displayed there and the glorious cleansing it procures for all who trust in Jesus, elicits worship and love, praise and thanks, while revealing the power of God to transform hearts and lives.

Perhaps Jennie Evelyn Hussey’s chorus to “Lead Me to Calvary” sheds more light.

“Lest I forget Gethsemane, Lest I forget Thine agony;

Lest I forget Thy love for me, Lead me to Calvary.”

Another illumining verse is from, “In the Cross of Christ I Glory” by John Bowring.

“When the woes of life o’re-take me, Hopes deceive and fears annoy.

Never shall the cross forsake me: Lo, It glows with peace and joy.”

For the Christian, the cross of Christ is the symbol of our hope, our joy and redemption. All comfort is found in the shade of that Roman instrument of cruelty and torture, because of the one who died on it. Jesus, the Prince of Peace and Lord of Glory.

 
 
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The salt air was warm at two o’clock in the morning and the distant surf splashed its waves onto shore with a cleansing sound. At the end of a very long fishing pier on Florida’s gulf coast, I cried out to the Lord with the deepest heartache of my 29 years. Shark fishermen glared darts at me for intruding into their self-claimed area, yet I’d paid my gate-fee.



After neglecting my relationship with God for many years, I needed Him desperately. I was ready to either: end my life, or hear from God. That was the essence of my cry. I was heart-broken, despairing and crushed in spirit. At the time, all the scriptures speaking of how God constantly searches for hearts in precisely that condition, were not yet known.

I was finally ready to surrender, like a wild stallion who is at last broken for service. This is what God had been waiting for. My surrender. Complete submission to Him. It was necessary to break my self-reliance to embark into the most beautiful love relationship with my Creator and Lord. I had to empty myself of all I thought I knew, and of all the good things I believed I’d done. Totally empty—that I may be completely filled.

Self-will constantly conflicts with God’s will, until we entirely submit to Him. Then we share the same desires—God and the individual. That is the key to intimacy with God: Constant surrender, perpetual submission and remaining dependent upon Christ. God views self-sufficiency as sinful pride, and He cannot work with that, until we are broken of it.

Two men in suits drew even more pointed stares from the shark butchers, who were after only dorsal fins, wasting the rest of the fish. God had sent these two servants of the Most High to speak with me and share from the book of Hosea.

We three were roughly kicked off the pier by the owner when the shark-men complained that we we’re talking about God and quoting the bible. One week later a hurricane destroyed that pier. Hmmm.

It’s a simple concept to understand. When we come to the Lord and open the bible, we read it every time with new eyes. We don’t bring our preconceived ideas to taint the message God has for us at that moment. We allow the truth to transform us.

Jesus is the truth, and God’s word is truth. We must rely on His Spirit to teach us the truths we need to govern our lives, not our college professors. We respond to His message of love by loving Him in return. He becomes our bread and meat and drink.

There is nothing else that will completely satisfy the human heart and soul the way an intimate relationship with God will satisfy. Then—never will we want for anything. Never again.


 
 
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Sin has gone far beyond a mere tainting of a profoundly beautiful gift. Sin has stigmatized the vehicle of one of God’s most poignant messages to mankind. Sex is an object lesson for the people of His monolithic affection.

Love, being the essence of the Divine character and being, is more aptly understood through the physical and emotional responses to the act of sex.

Stigma clings to the word. Sex. And to the act itself, as something bad and dirty. Yet, the gift of sex was given to mankind to reflect the glorious beauty and intensity of God’s love. Much more than for merely a sensational response to human love.

Sex heightens love. It deepens the bond and commitment in the mind between two, penetrating deeply into the seat of emotion and affection. It melds two individuals together, uniting souls to become as one. Hence, sex within the confines of marriage, is the tangible picture of the close, intimate relationship our Creator desires between Himself and every individual. A love relationship with mankind: His living and pinnacle creation of love.

Sex is the ultimate in closeness. It clarifies God’s purpose in creating us to have fellowship with Him. And it is only through intimacy in our relationship with Him that we come to experience total fulfillment in our designed purpose. Contentment is acquired in our union with God. Allegorically, our marriage to Him.

The intensity of affection, driven into the heart at the time of orgasm, fits well with the satisfaction found in a right and close relationship with God. He fulfills our every desire.

In Thomas Constable’s commentary on Canticles (Song of Solomon), he writes: “…sex enables an experience of love whose intensity has no parallel in this cosmos and serves as a signpost to point to the greater love that lies beyond it."

It is “the greater love” (of God) to which the gift of sex would direct our attention. What more powerful sensation could better fit the contentment found in Christ, than that of orgasmic satisfaction, when it is acquired through a monogamous act of love’s expression?

Yet love that is not tested, tried and proven can never sustain a union that is so complete, such as marriage is. Therefore, God’s plan, which sought to express His great love, even before the creation of the cosmos, was revealed through the Son, Jesus Christ on the cross at Calvary. There is no greater test of love. “Greater love hath no man than this; that a man lay down his life for his friends.”—Jesus

The longer we walk with the Lord and the more intimately we come to know Him, the greater our awe becomes at the bottomless well of His love. I believe it will take all eternity to discover the greatest depths of God’s monolithic love in all of its various attributes.

Our God wants to lavish that love upon us. If we will only return to Him, through His Son, Jesus. His call is clear. His invitation stands. “I love you. Come home and remain faithful to me—my wife.”

“I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion.”
Hosea 2:19 NIV


 


 
 
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 The following is a checklist to help us get ready to pray. This is more of a “How-to pray” than a “What-to Pray”. The what-to should flow from the how-to.

PRAYER TIPS

1.       Be Prepared! Know what you want before approaching the King. (Going before royalty)     Why do you want to speak to God? What do you want? What is your request or petition?

2.       Attitude: Come humbly, reverently, acknowledging His position, in awe, submissively. Come in the fear of the Lord, yet grateful for His love.

3.       Intercessory prayers: Mention individual or groups of people by name. Be specific in particular mercies, particular graces, particular blessings and provisions.

4.       No mock modesty. No beautiful phraseology or King James language needed. Use the words that come natural to you.

5.       Self-examination: will reveal those things we need the most: more faith, humility, etc. The Spirit helps us discover our sins. Ask Him. Ask that God reveal any un-forgiveness towards others that may still be in your heart. Do it right then. Forgive them! And ask God to forgive those who have done you wrong.

6.       Intense desire for that which we ask, praying fervently. If your prayer does not move your heart, how shall it move God’s heart?

7.       In Faith, believing God hears. Faith that He will answer. Fully convinced of the power of prayer. Faith that we have what we ask for (Within His will).

8.       Pray from a thankful heart, in awe of God, realizing His love towards you. Pray emotionally.

9.       Submissive heart. Listen for the Spirit to speak to your heart. Search your heart for unconfessed sin. When it is shown to you, humbly repent and ask for forgiveness, naming what you did wrong. It is very important to accept God’s forgiveness (forgive yourself too), and thank Him for forgiving you. This is a good time to ask God to help you grow and do better in that weak area.

10.   Pray according to God’s will. “Not my will, but thine be done.”—Jesus. This is trusting in His love & wisdom. 
(1st John 5: 14)

11.   Pray in Jesus’ name. This shows that you have been granted an audience with the King. You rightfully speak to Him, in accordance with God’s own words in the bible. Say to God that you have come before Him through the blood of Christ and because of your faith in His Son Jesus. Praying in Jesus’ name also implies that what you are asking for, is for the sake of His kingdom.  For His name’s sake. This goes along with praying the will of God.

12.   Praise Him! “God you are holy and righteous. Your name is above all names! You are a mighty God!” Praise Him for specific things He’s done for you.

13.   Thank God for all things. Sometimes we may even thank God for things that look bad to us, because we know God has a plan for that, and He is allowing something that looks bad, to make something really good happen. This is having faith in His immutable goodness and love.


“When you pray, it's better your heart be without words, than your words be without heart.”— John Bunyan

1st Thessalonians 5: 17 “Pray without Ceasing.”


 
 
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"Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” 
(Romans 10: 13 NIV)

 

The question weighs heavy on the hearts of many. “Am I really saved?” Romans 10: 9-10 promises that if we confess with our mouth Jesus is Lord and believe in our heart that God raised Him from the dead that we will be saved.

But preacher, what about Matthew 7: 21?  Where Jesus said,

"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”

 One verse says I just believe and confess and the other that I must also do the will of the Father. Is this a contradiction? What is the will of the Father?

God would have us believe on His Son Jesus as our Christ (Savior). That is His will. But we must understand what kind of “belief” God requires. These two verses say the same thing. They clarify each other.

There was a woman who told her husband every morning before he and she both left for work, “I love you.” Yet the wife was having an affair with another man from her job. Considering that “love” is an action rather than just a feeling, she was not acting in love toward her husband. She did not love him. The same is true of belief. If we truly believe, we will show it by our actions. If we really love God, we will do His will. We will follow Jesus and obey God’s word. This is believing.

These verses are in perfect harmony with each other. And God has made provision for the times we slip-up and make mistakes or fall to a temptation that we regret. 1st John 1:9 is a promise. We believe we are forgiven, confess & repent, and those sins are covered by the blood of Christ. We also believe that God is working in our hearts to make those errors fewer and fewer as we mature in faith.

Salvation is based on “faith” (Ephesian 2: 8-10). Faith is: “BELIEF IN ACTION”.

We have a wonderful salvation by grace in Christ Jesus. It is a relationship of love and trust and obedience. Eternal life and all the riches of Christ are ours through faith in Him. Praise God!

Father God, please reveal your word to my understanding. Thank you for calling me to faith in Christ. I believe in your Son Jesus. Help me to live like I do. Amen.

 

(Let Jesus’ words speak to your heart in today’s bible reading: Matthew 7: 13-29).


 
 
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The Lord’s Prayer has long been a model prayer loved by Christians everywhere. In it, Jesus teaches various truths vital to the spiritual health of every believer. Many commentaries on it have been penned down through the years. 

Jesus’ opening words have much to reveal.

Our Father—Who art in heaven—Hollowed be thy name.

Relationship—Authority & Position—Character

This account of a young man seeking his future portrays Jesus’ lesson on submission.

A young rebel, 17 year old Benny was committed to stopping his ears to his father’s words. The boy was to a become a true prodigal.

“Son, you need to trust me on this. I know that you and Sharon believe your love for each other will sustain you through anything that comes along. But Florida is a long way off, and the wages are lower there than here in the Midwest. And the cost of living is much higher. Why don’t you work at the factory for just a few years, save your money, and then get married?”

Anxious to show himself as able and independent, Benny eloped to Florida with Sharon. Orange trees, sandy beaches and sunshine dazzled their minds with thoughts of a romantic and carefree future.

However, slightly better than minimum wage was the only job positions he was able to obtain. Soon, a baby was on the way and Sharon could no longer continue the waitressing job that supplemented Benny’s meager income.

A one bedroom apartment on Clearwater beach was their little slice of heaven. But at an exorbitant cost. As the bills piled up for rent, utilities, food and from the obstetrician, they quickly fell way behind.  It didn’t take long for an eviction notice to show up on the front door.

Shattered, Benny phoned his father. “Dad, you were right and I was wrong. Please forgive me. I didn’t trust your advice. You have the experience and I should have listened. Can we come home?”

“Son, you and Sharon and baby Benny are welcome here, but you must heed the house rules. You will work and follow my advice.” The young couple had no choice but to submit to the father.

Jesus’ opening words in the model prayer for all Christians teaches us the principles of submission.

“Our Father”: Speaks of God’s loving nature as a father. He is willing and able to provide for all of our needs. But we must submit to Him as our Father.

“Who art in heaven”: This indicates God’s wise leadership, and that He has authority over all. We must submit ourselves to His authority.

 “Hallowed be thy name”: Portrays God’s holy character, which will always lead us to do the right thing—whatever will prove to be the best for us. God’s children benefit by remaining shapeable in His mighty hands.

In just a few words, Jesus poignantly reveals the path to happiness and success while growing in godliness.

Submitting to God’s authority, following His wise leadership, and modeling our hearts after His holy nature leads those who love Him on to the glorious future God has planned for us.

“And into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you,” (1st Peter 1: 4)




 
 
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The snow here in Indiana is beginning to pile up. It’s a wet snow right now at noon, but soon the temperature is supposed to drop considerably, with a whole lot more of the white crystalline ice flakes (every one of them different) to come. Perhaps as much as a foot.

Church attendance at West Park here in Indianapolis was sparse this morning, but the faithful that came had a wonderful time of heart bonding fellowship and worship.

We are entering a new lesson series on prayer this month. In class today, we talked about the power of prayer and how essential it is to the spiritual health of every believer.

A Christian’s life reveals how much time they have spent on their knees in communication with God. We read of God’s will for us in the bible. And we tune into God’s will by allowing the Spirit to speak to our hearts and to lead us. The best time to do this appears to be while in prayer. Yet Thessalonians 5: 17 reminds us to be in a continual state of prayer. “Pray without ceasing.”

The Lord has promised to never leave or forsake those who follow Him. He is always present with us. The Spirit of God lives within us, and so we can talk to God any time and any place. It is a great privilege to have access to the throne of God 24/7.

I remember when I first discovered God’s awesome love for me as an individual. And He loves all of us like that. Jesus became the best friend I never had before. Prayer became spontaneous. And my relationship with God was building so quick it was like a weed on Miracle Grow.  When walking along I could say, “Hey Jesus, look at how beautiful the snow looks on that fir tree. You created that! It is gorgeous Lord!” Or, “Look at that poor fellow over there who does not know of your love. Grant him faith Lord, so he can come to know your love too.”

My eyes were suddenly opened to things that had been there all along, yet I’d not noticed them before. Events were taking place and miracles transpiring, but I didn’t recognize them as miracles until I was tuned in to the Lord through prayer. I realized that my Grandmother’s, along with some other people’s prayers for me, had played a powerful role in my discovery of God’s love. And they protected me from harm and possible death on several occasions. I was a wild one back in my youth.

For today, I hoped to simply introduce this topic of prayer. And then, we’ll be discussing many aspects of this power cord to God in the next several posts (Lord willing).

Have a blessed day and please say a prayer for me, as I always do for those who read the words on this site. 

All the gifts of God's amazing grace to you!


 
 
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A true account, by Sheldon Bass

Cinching up the elastic tourniquet around his left bicep, Russell prepared to plunge the needle into a bulging vein. It was a clear moonlit night in Youngstown Ohio. Russell Barnes stood at the foot of five steps that led to a dilapidated, abandoned house, adjoining the sidewalk. It was on a side road fifty feet from the corner of a downtown street, on which sat a multi storied building. Not a soul could be seen anywhere. Just as he felt the pin prick, a voice sounded. “Are you alright?”

Quickly retracting the needle, he palmed the syringe that was full of a potent mixture of cocaine, concealing it from the intruder. Dropping his arm, the long sleeve of his plaid flannel shirt dropped over the formerly bared arm. The man who’d just come on the scene from around the tall building was rather normal in appearance. His penetrating eyes and the soft, yet judicial expression on his face captured Russell’s gaze. It was a sensation more than anything else—a powerful aura emanating from the visitor. There was definitely something different about this guy.

“Yeah, I’m alright.” How are you?”

No response was given. It gave Russell a strange feeling. What did this guy want? He just stood there, looking into his face. Russ was thinking of how to get rid of this fellow. “I need my fix.” The addiction was at the apex of its power. He had the drug. The syringe was prepared. This is torture! He thought.

After an awkward silence of several seconds, Russ spoke. “I’m kind of busy right now.”

“So am I.” Stated the intruder into the addict’s night, who was determined not to go anywhere.

Russ plopped down hard onto the concrete steps, throwing his hands up and down, with a big sigh. A look of exasperation flashed across the weathered features of his thirty year old face. He was befuddled at the man’s strange actions. What did he want? Then the stranger stated matter-of-factly.

“You need some company right now.”

“Do you know me?”

“Yes.” Was the terse answer he gave. Then the man sat next to Russ on the steps.

“From where?” Again, the deafening silence, lasting a full minute.

While craning his neck, looking around for a place of solitude he could escape to, and do his drugs, Russell heard his name called.

“Russell! There you are!” Sprinting up the sidewalk was a fellow addict, who usually procured his drugs from the same dealer as Russ. Skidding to a stop in front of Russ, puffing heavily form exertion, he windily sputtered. “You didn’t do that yet did you?”

Russ nodded at the stranger while giving his friend Walter a “Shhh, don’t-say-anything” look.

That’s when the odd visitor stood. “I’m finished here.” He said, and began walking toward the corner from which he came.

As soon as the stranger’s back was turned, Walt leaned into Russ’ ear to whisper. “That dope is bad! It’s been killing guys all over town!”

Russ stared at the back of the stranger who had saved him from certain death just as he was nearing the corner of the building. On impulse he jumped up, and ran after the man, who then made the turn behind the building, obscuring Russ’ view. Three seconds later, Russ made the corner also. But the stranger was nowhere to be found.

There were no alleys for the entire block and all of the businesses were closed with chains wrapped around the doors, and gates bolted in place. Neither was there any place to park a car.

“He was right there just a second ago. And then, he simply vanished into thin air.”

Russell Barnes was only 11 years old, when God first called him to faith in Jesus.

However, throughout the boy’s teen-aged years and well into his adult life, a conflict would be waged for the young man’s affections. The world and Satan seemed to be winning. Sex and drugs proved to be his weaknesses—escapes from the difficult home and school life. And then throughout his time on the streets. But the Lord pursued this wayward child with a tenacious love.

Six months after the appearance of Russell’s guardian angel, he recommitted his life to Christ, attended bible-college, and became an ordained minister. He is now a soul winner working with addicts and homeless men.

Whether Russell’s rescuer that night over 25 years ago was a regular person or a heavenly angel, nobody knows. One thing Russell is certain of, which he adamantly declares. “He was sent by God to save my life.”

The writer recording this event, fully believes the words of Hebrews chapter thirteen, verse two, the New International Version. Which clearly states:

“Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.”

(The main character has asked that Russell Barnes, his former street alias be used in place of his real name.)