Clash of Two Kingdoms Beginning

March 26, 2017: God and a Math Class
Psalm 19:1-4
The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
2  Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.
3  There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.
4  Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. In the heavens he has pitched a tent for the sun . . .

The day had finally arrived.  The students gathered in the classroom to for their first class with a professor everyone on campus loved to take because of his rather wild views on life.
The students had been warned that this professor was one of the most difficult professors to take.  He was known for his classroom antics and his extremely difficult tests.  Many students warned their friends not to take his classes due to his rigorous instruction and requirements.

All the students had taken their seats and about five minutes after the bell had rung the professor casually walked into the room.

“Students please take out a piece of paper for a test.”

Gasps went through the class as this was the first day of class and they were not prepared for a test.

The professor assured them this should be a rather easy test to pass.  He waited patiently until every student had a pen and piece of paper.  With all the students nervously waiting, the professor just asked them to answer two questions.

The questions were, “What is the sum of 0 plus 0, or 0 times 0?”  The next question was, “Does God exist?”  Please write your answers and put your name at the top of the page and turn them in.”

The students all looked at each other quite quizzically, but like most students, they wanted to start the class off on a good foot so they did what was asked and turned in their papers.

The professor quickly skimmed through the tests handed in and began his lecture.  “It seems to me that there are some tragically ill-informed students in this class.  In fact, I see that most of you have been misled in your observational skills.  You have all answered correctly the first question.  I am rather glad that you have learned how to do basic computations.  The answer to the first question you all were correct on, but my concern comes in how many of you answered the second question.

If mathematics is what many consider a pure science, some of you have lost your skills when it comes to the second question.  Zero plus zero will never equal something and it never will, but some of you think that somehow, given enough time, that nothing times nothing will somehow equal something because you have answered the question of God’s existence in the negative.

It will be my objective in this class of mathematics to demonstrate to you how the evidence for the existence of the God of the Bible can be understood by the basic skills you have been taught from your earliest days.

Welcome to my class I have entitled, “Mathematics and the Existence of God.”

John, a member of the skeptics club on campus, thought to himself, “Not another one of those Bible thumpers.  I did not know there were any of those left on this campus.  I am sure by the end of this semester we can convince him just how foolish his position is.”

The bell rang and John was off to another class.  He did find his mind beginning to consider what the professor had said, even though he tried not to.

As John walked outside, he was met by a gorgeous fall colored display of the trees on campus and the bright sun shining through the forest as he walked to his next class.  There it was again, a stirring deep inside his chest.  Something he had not felt in a long time.  He wondered what it might be, but then the bell rang and his next class began.

Pastor Phil

March 27, 2017: Reason for Unbelief

Romans 1:21 (NIV)
21  For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.

For the next several days, John had similar feelings like the first day of class.  He experienced feelings of awe and wonder as he learned about the design of the human body in his anatomy class.  The sheer number of mechanical operations within what he was told was a simple cell now numbered over 3 billion parts.  The nagging question came, “How can something that requires 3 billion parts all working together at the same time ever be considered simple?”

John’s conscience was beginning to bother him late at night as he thought about such things.  Was he really designed by some wise and loving creator or was it, as many in the university continue to spout, just a product of cause and effect and was really nothing more or less than that?

The voices of reason began to speak rather clearly to John, but he was not about to allow their voice to be heard above what he had already decided.  Even though the evidence pointed to the existence of the God of the Bible, there were just too many things he wanted to do that such a belief in God would never allow.  If there really was a God, he would have to wait until after his college days to follow it, him, or whatever?  There was just no time for such things now.

Each day over the next John made his way across campus going to his classes and returning to his dorm room.  Something continued to call out to him with each journey across campus.  If he was just a result of cause and effect over long periods of time what accounted for his desire to express worship for something or someone?  Surely, there are no other animals that possess such a capacity for worship of some sort.

Certainly, there have never been any houses of worship other animals built.  No other animals bury their dead.  So, if humans are just higher developed products of causes and effect with no purposeful direction for their creation, then what was he to make of this innate desire he had to express worship in some way?
In his dorm room, John glanced over at a copy of the Bible he was given by a new friend he had made on campus.

There was a sudden urge to pick it up and read it but, then his phone rang and it was a group of students that were seeking to get him to become part of their fraternity on campus.  There was going to be a rather large party tonight and he was invited.  The Bible would have to wait for another time when he was less distracted.

As John thought about what he would do at the party that night, his desire to read or think about the Bible no longer bothered him.

March 28, 2017: Who would ever know?
Hebrews 4:12-13 (NIV)

12  For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
13  Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

John had been looking forward to experiencing all that college life had to offer. The party he was invited to promised to be much more than he was expecting.  He was now free from his parent’s nagging presence and he could do what he had been longing to do for quite some time.  There were no more boundaries, no more watching parents, no more fear of being found out.  He was now free to enjoy all the pleasures that his parents and his church back home would never allow him to have.

The night was finally here and he was making his way across campus to enjoy the pleasures he had long been looking forward to that he had heard about from other friends who had made the trek to the university.

As John made his way across the campus, he was aware of the chirping of the crickets that seemed to grow louder and more rhythmic.  The gentle breeze blew across his face as he walked brought back memories of when he used to take long evening walks with his grandfather when he was a young boy. His memory of his grandfather reminded him of the long talks they would have together about life.

Those conversations brought back feelings of wonder and awe as he remembered how his grandfather would talk about his relationship with his God.  His memory returned to one particular night when he had listened to his grandfather speak of the wonders of the universe.  Without even trying his mind conjured up a favorite passage of Scripture his grandfather used almost every time they had their evening walks out on his farm in the country.
Psalm 19:1-2 “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.  Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.”

This was a favorite text of John’s grandfather.  When John was a child these verses brought peace and contentment to him through the evening darkness, but now these verses were haunting him.  Instead of bringing contentment, they became troubling.  Here he was considering enjoying the pleasures of sin, somehow thinking that he was now free from the constraints of his parents and his church back home, now he would begin to encounter a new experience, the convicting presence of his grandfather’s God.

The closer John was to the frat house the less pleasure he had in thinking of what he had planned to do that night.  His conscience was now quite awake.

“Hey John, glad you are here.  Have we got some great things planned for everyone tonight!”  It was the voice of one of the older students in the frat that had become his friend over the past few weeks.

As he made his entrance to the frat house the noise of the music was deafening and everyone there looked like they were having the time of their life.  Without even realizing it John’s conscience was now silent.
Yes, this was going to be a great night.  All that he had been taught by his grandfather now seemed quite out of place in this present environment.  Yes, this was going to a great night.

John could not see the figure that was lurking over in the corner that had been waiting for him since he had arrived on campus. He was told these figures were not real.  He would find out soon enough.

Pastor Phil

March 29, 2017: The Unseen Enemy

Ephesians 6:12 (NIV)

12  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

The party was in full swing now.  The nervousness that John felt when he first arrived at the frat house was all but gone.  In its place was a newfound confidence, almost over confidence.  He no longer felt shy or reserved; he was going up to complete strangers and talking with them as if they had been best friends.  This was the first time he had felt so uninhibited.  He was euphoric.

The longer the party continued the more confident he felt.  He was making friends faster in this one night than he had made in years back home.  He wondered what made the difference.  Whatever it was, he liked the feeling.

“I see your glass is almost empty.  Here let me fill it up for you,” said a rather beautiful looking college female student.  Before John could reply his glass was filled to the brim.  This certainly was a very accepting group of students.  They seemed to welcome everyone who came in the door.  Yes, this was the place where John felt at home and accepted.

As John looked around the room, he noticed the student he had first met on campus at welcome week.  He was talking quietly with a few students over in the corner of the room.  John was curious.  He noticed he was different from the other students at the party.  He possessed a quiet confidence that was winsome.

As John went closer, he could overhear some of the discussion.

“I just don’t understand how you can believe all that nonsense.”  This was the voice of one of the members of the fraternity house.

Another student chimed in, “I don’t get it either.  Why would you agree to a set of rules that limit your freedom and fun just because someone told you about a God you cannot see or feel?  It just does not make sense!”

“I am not following a set of rules that limits my freedom.  I am following a person who promised me everlasting life.  Life abundant.  Life without regrets.  Forgiveness and peace.’ John could tell by the demeanor of this student he possessed something that John knew nothing of.

“I am not here to condemn you or cast judgment on you.  I really do want what is best.  I just think that some of the ways many of our classmates are trying to find life and freedom possess some very dangerous consequences.  Jesus warned us that the way to hell is broad and wide and many there are who go that way, but the road to life is narrow and straight and few there are that ever find it.”

“Hey John, you don’t have to listen to David, he always tries to tell us how sinful we are and how we are all going to hell if we keep doing what we are doing.  He is a nice person and all but, I did not come to college to have to hear another lecture about my need for God.  Besides this is not a church.  It is not even Sunday.  Here let me fill up your glass and let us go out back.  I hear they are playing some pretty good music.”

Before John knew what was happening the beautiful young female student had grabbed his hand and was leading him to the backyard.  The figure that was lurking in the corner when John first arrived was now standing right next to John, though John could not see it.

“Don’t believe those lies!” a voice whispered in John’s mind.  “Have fun, express yourself!  Enjoy life!  Go ahead, you are only young once!”

Thoughts began careening through his mind that he had only entertained before but now he was actually thinking about giving into them.  John could not see the battle being waged but it was very real nonetheless, more real than anyone in the house knew except David, and a few of David’s close friends.

Pastor Phil

March 30, 2017: Unarmed and Unaware!

Ephesians 6:13 (NIV)
“Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.”

John enjoyed the party at the frat house last night.  He had met some very nice and interesting friends.  Everyone seemed so accepting.  It certainly was not like his church back home where you had to live by a code of conduct if you wanted to fit in.  John recalled the rules his church had taught.  They seemed archaic and outdated.

He remembered how the church people talked about those who did not believe.  How often had he heard the words sinner, pagan, lost?  His vocabulary was full of adjectives the church used to speak of those who did not believe the way they did.  John was beginning to be confused about what to believe now.  In just a few weeks, he had experienced feeling accepted by a group of students that did not really know him.  He knew what sort of thoughts he often entertained, but for some reason, he felt accepted in this new group of friends.

One of the things that bothered him most was how he found himself feeling around his new group of friends.  There was no judgment, no sense of condemnation.  He was free to be himself; there was no code of conduct to live up to.  Yes, this new group of friends certainly felt better than the people at the church back home.

As he was contemplating all this, he was reminded of a statement his grandfather used to tell him before he left for college.  “Remember John, not all that looks and feel good is best.  Your enemy is crafty and deceptive, be careful lest you are taken in by his schemes.”

“Your enemy.”  What in the world did my grandfather mean by those words?  It all sounded like some mythological story of past ages.  In the next few months John would learn more of what his grandfather meant, but for now, other things would have to take priority.

He hardly had time to reflect on his grandfather’s words when his cell phone rang and it was that nice young coed he had met at the frat house calling, “Hey, John, a couple of the guys from the frat house and some of the girls from my sorority are having a study session in the conference room on the third floor of the library want to come study with us?’

John remembered how this young female student made him feel accepted at the party and he found he was attracted to her.  He agreed that he would meet them at the library.  The words from his grandfather were now just a distant memory as he made his way to join the study session already in progress.

As he made his was across campus, he was unaware of the creature that was following his every step.  “You surely have found a great group of friends.  They are so accepting.  They are bright and successful.  Listen to them and you can be like them.”

John was unaware that the voice in his head was not his own.

April 2, 2017: The Battle for the Truth Begins!
Ephesians 6:14 (NIV)
“Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place ….  “

As John entered the University Library he saw the mission statement of the university when it was founded over one hundred years ago.  Inscribed in marble on the wall as you entered the library were these words, “To exalt beauty in God and to pursue truth in whatever avenue it may lead . . .” He had seen these words before but never thought much about what they should mean.  He began to consider the meaning and his mind went back to what his grandfather was so fond of saying, “There are not many ways to God, John.  There is only one way.”

John decided to take the stairs instead of the elevator to the third floor.  He wanted to take more time to think about what his grandfather and those words in marble hanging in the entrance to the library meant.

John’s thought turned to consider this concept of truth as he walked up the stairs to the third floor.  The big wide marble staircase gave John the feeling of stability and certainty as he ascended to the third floor.  He felt a growing feeling of assurance and confidence with each step he took upwards.  “Truth,” He liked the sound of that word.  If there was such a thing as truth then the confusion that was beginning to grow in his mind would be settled sometime in the future.  Truth is narrow and sure, not wide and uncertain.  Yes, he was going to have give this concept of truth a little more focused attention in his studies here at the university.  He wondered how this study session was going to go since it was the freshman philosophy class he had agreed to study with this evening.

The walk up the stairs seemed to take forever, but he appreciated the peace and quietness he had, instead of the awkward silence that always happens on elevators when everyone stands next to each other but never talks.  Yes, the stairs were going to be his regular way of accessing the third-floor study lounge.  As he drew near to the third-floor conference room his pulse began to quicken and his breathing was more rapid.  This was going to be the first time he studied with upperclassmen since he had come to the university.  The young female student that had invited him he had more than just friendship interest in.  He arrived at the conference room, opened the door, and was greeted by a group of students that seemed genuinely glad he had arrived.

John found the only seat that was not occupied and sat down suddenly realizing that the girl who had invited him was sitting next to him.  After introductions, one of the upper classmen opened the discussion for the topic they were to be investigating this evening.

“The subject we have to consider this evening is the following, “Are there moral absolutes by which we can govern our lives?  We have to formulate a response and prepared to defend our answers in the class by next week this time.”
You could have heard a pin drop in the conference room that evening.  John looked around the room and thought to himself, “I wish my grandfather were here to help me think about this!”

As the students began to consider this subject, a verse that John’s grandfather had helped him to learn several years ago rose up in his mind, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father but through me!”  Just thinking on this verse brought a sense of peace to his mind.  He had no idea that there was another presence in this room.  It would be this presence that would guide John and a few of the others in this room to see life from a completely difference perspective in the next several weeks.

April 4, 2017: Worldviews Collide

2 Corinthians 4:4 (NIV)
The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

“I think we should consider possible objections to this statement first as we seek to respond and give our answer.”  John had heard that voice before.  It was at the party this past weekend.  When he turned to the person who spoke with such clarity he was not surprised who had made such a statement.  It was the David, who had been sharing his faith at the party.  He seemed to speak with confidence and conviction.  John found himself strangely attracted to such confidence coming from such a young man.  His went by David by those who knew him because he was always taking on challenges to his faith by professors and others hostile to Christ.  His real name was Peter.

“Well, I for one do not think anybody can ever speak with any degree of certainty on this subject.  Who in this room really believes there is such a thing as a moral absolute?  I consider anyone who would speak in such a way arrogant and close-minded.  Have we not been listening to our professor on this subject?”

This was the voice of another freshman that John had a conversation with only a few days ago.  His name was Barry.  He came from a very wealthy family that gave a rather large endowment to the university.

“My father grew up in a rather religious family.  They were extremely strict.  They had rules for everything.  My father grew up being told what to believe and how to act.  He was taught there was only one way to view the world.

“He used to tell me how bad it was growing up in such a family.  There was no joy or freedom.  He had to do certain chores each day.  He could only dress a certain way.  He could not go to movies or dances and rarely could he go to any sporting events.  He was told there were absolutes and this was how he lived until he left for college.

“When he came to this university and attended his first philosophy class everything changed for him.  Once he learned that there were no absolutes and everything was uncertain, life took on a completely new meaning for him.  He told me how freeing it was to not hold to the “moral” absolutes he had grown up with.

“I just do not see how anyone can ever hold to this position we are being called to defend.  My father has lived a life of joy and freedom ever since that first philosophy class.  It certainly has not hurt him because he has built a huge business and he is one of the richest men in our state, so how could his position be wrong?”

“  Wow, I sure did not think about it like that!” replied Becki, the co-ed sitting next to John.  “I do not know if I agree with you Barry, but your position certainly makes sense.”

The stability that John had felt walking up the staircase was beginning to tremble under the deceptive power of this new way of thinking.

So began the attempt of the enemy to undermine everything John had learned from his grandfather.

No one in the room could see the war that was going on above them, just out of their sight.

Pastor Phil

April 5, 2017: Why Can’t They See?

2 Corinthians 4:1-4 (NIV)

1  Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. 2  Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. 3  And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4  The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

The discussion that followed in the conference room that evening was lively and animated.  Every student had an opinion.  By the end of the evening, it seemed like no one would be able to defend the position of the existence of moral absolutes.

“I think we should go to the professor and tell him that he has given us an assignment that is indefensible.”  The voice of an upperclassman, Frank, seemed to bring all conversation to a halt.

“I think you are right, Frank.  Perhaps our professor has given us an assignment that he knows is indefensible to see if we will figure it out,” chimed Susan, another freshman who seemed to be rather intelligent.

“Ok, I suggest we take a vote to see what we all think about this position,” Frank stated.  Frank continued, “Are we all in agreement with this position being indefensible?”

The eight students present that evening could not see the trap that was being set.  Frank called for a vote and went around the room asking each student what they thought.  Hand after hand was raised in agreement.

When the group looked at Peter, the student John had observed at the party the other evening sharing his faith, his hand did not go up in agreement.

So far, it was unanimous, with Peter the only one left to vote.

“Come on Peter, surely you can see how indefensible this position is.  You are probably the smartest person in this room, surely you agree with us on this point,” queried Frank.

“I am sorry to disappoint you all but I do believe in moral absolutes.  I can understand why Barry sees them as something to be rejected because of how his father had to live under such oppression.  But just because one person had a terrible life growing up under parents that held to strict moral codes is no reason to jettison this idea of moral absolutes completely.”

As I suggested, in the beginning, I think it would be prudent for us to consider the objections to such a position and then see if those objections can hold up under very scrutiny by the sharp thinkers in this room.  I think you all have a unique ability to see the holes in someone’s logical position.

My suggestion is that we assign some to take a counter position and try to argue against the existence of moral absolutes.  Then we assign some to take the position of the existence of moral absolutes.  Let us spend the next week preparing our case, much as an attorney in the courtroom would.  Then next week let us bring our arguments and set them against each other and see what transpires.”

“Leave it to Peter to be the one hold out.  Really, Peter, why do you have to be so hardnosed?  Do you really think this is a defensible position?  You surely do not think there is only one right way to do things.  O, wait a minute, I heard you at the party the other night talking about this Jesus of yours being the only way to God.  Is this where you are headed?  I for one did not come to college to get another lecture about Jesus, trust me I have heard it all before from my mother and my grandmother.”  Becki looked rather angry and upset.

“No I am not here to force my religious views on you, but I just think it prudent to be very careful how we think through this position.  The implications of what we conclude are more than you can possibly see at this moment,” replied Peter.

Frank was noticeably moved by the quiet confidence that Peter possessed and made the motion that they adopt Peter’s position until next week when they would meet again.

The group dismissed quietly and they all left the room without much more conversation.  Becki was the first to leave.  As she left, she looked over at Peter with a look of disdain.

Mark, the upper classman preparing for law school was the next to leave.  He had thoughts about this subject before.  How could anyone defend any position if there was not some certain moral code or absolute by which all things could be measured?

Julie, another freshman was next to leave.  She had come from a rather difficult family background.  Her father was a very wealthy businessman who traveled all over the world.  He was gone most of her life so she hardly knew him, but he was always good to spend lots of money on his only daughter.  Julie had spent lots of time by herself asking the question about life.  She had few friends and spent most of her growing up years alone.  Her mom had invested heavily in all sorts of social justice issues but had little time for her daughter.

Julie just could not stomach the belief that there was some higher moral absolute she was responsible to.  Every authority figure in her life had never cared for her so to think of some authority that was higher than that only led her to feel less acceptable and further alienated.

Barry was over in the corner trying to argue with Peter and John and Frank listened intently to how Peter would handle Barry’s arguments.  The only other person in the room was Nathan.  He had grown up in a Christian home.  He had several siblings who had committed their lives to Christ.  Some had even followed the Lord overseas to share Christ in very difficult places.

As Nathan listened intently, he remembered his older sister who had gone overseas to work with a group of people who were very closed to the message of Christ.  His sister Natalie was his best friend when he was younger.  They spent hours talking and laughing together.  Natalie was his ideal picture of someone who loved Jesus.

Then he was suddenly brought back to reality.  Natalie was not coming home again. A random gunman running through her village shouting some sort of religious phrase had killed her.  It was then that Nathan heard the argument from Barry, “If God loves us then why does he allow those who believe in him to suffer so much and even lose their lives?”

Nathan’s faith took a big hit with that argument.  He asked himself that too many times since Natalie was killed.  He had never been able to make sense out of his sister’s death.  Yes, this assignment looked like it would cause the ruin of many of those who claimed to be Christians after all.

As the rest exited the conference room, John was left with just Peter in the room.

“Peter, how can you really believe all that you believe in light of all that is happening in our world?  It just does not make sense?”

Peter looked at John and responded, “I know it does not make sense right now, but I believe it will later.  Come on let’s get out of here before they lock us in for the night.”

The lights flickered throughout the Library, indicating that the doors were about to be locked.

John took the stairs down.  He needed time to reflect and these stairs would be the place where many changes would happen in his life, he was just unaware what changes they would be.

April 7, 2017: What does fear have to do with it?

1 Peter 3:13-14 (NIV)

13  Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good?

14  But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened.”

As John exited the library, the lights went out in the building.  He must have been the last one to leave.  It was a chilly autumn evening.  He had not brought a coat with him so he felt the sting of the cold night air as he made his way back to his dorm.  The buildings cast a dark ominous shadow across campus as the moon shown behind them.  John had walked across campus at night before but something about this night was eerily different.  He could not quite put his finger on it but something felt wrong.

John pushed his fear aside and straightened his back to exude a more confident air.

John began to consider the subject in the conference room that night.  How could anyone actually believe in absolutes with so many conflicting views?  Those who held to absolutes were the ones who were inflexible and cold.  He had read of religions that prevented women from learning.  He had heard of some cults that refused to listen to the findings of modern science.  John had personally experienced the judgmental overtones of the church his grandfather had grown up in.  They talked with disdain of all those who did not believe as they did.  He had often overheard those in his grandfather’s church speak with hatred towards those who did not believe the same way they did.

All of these groups confessed to believing in absolutes. They used their absolutes to make life very difficult for him and others who did not hold to their way of thinking.  If this is the way you act when you accept absolutes then John decided it was just not worth it to hold to any form of indoctrination that would make you so cold and uncaring.

The walk back to his dorm room had proved to be quite enlightening.  His thoughts had been very productive and he decided how he was going to argue his case next week when the study group reconvened.  He was quite proud of himself for reaching this conclusion, he was certain he would be able to argue persuasively against believing in absolutes.  He did not realize it would be this easy to jettison the beliefs of his grandfather.  Yes, college was going to be quite educational for him.

He was not far from his dorm now but the night had suddenly grown quite dark.  Clouds had obscured the moon and the stars and the way back to his dorm was much darker.  His heart rate and respiration were increasing.  Fear had suddenly settled over his walk and John found himself overcome by a sense of fear and dread he had never felt before.

As he turned to walk up to his dorm he heard a violent scream and a brilliant flash of light and everything went silent.

April 8, 2017: Be Not Afraid!

Proverbs 3:21-26 (NIV)

21  My son, preserve sound judgment and discernment, do not let them out of your sight;22  they will be life for you, an ornament to grace your neck.23  Then you will go on your way in safety, and your foot will not stumble;24  when you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.25  Have no fear of sudden disaster or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked,26  for the LORD will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being snared.

“John, John, are you ok?”  The voice sounded like a voice he knew, but everything was fuzzy.  Was he dreaming, or was this reality?  The voice came again, “John, are you ok?”

Slowly his senses returned to him.  “His eyes opened to a room where several students were standing around.  It took a while for his eyes to adjust to the light.  He soon recognized the lobby of his dormitory.

“I think so.  What happened to me?”  John sheepishly inquired.

“We really don’t know.  One of the guys on your floor was walking back from the girl’s dorm and he saw you up ahead.  It looked like something scared you.  You fell and hit your head on the sidewalk and blacked out.”  The one speaking to him was one of the resident coordinators that John had begun to know since coming to the university.  Everyone called him Dr. Phil.  He has a great grasp of philosophy and religion.

Dr. Phil held discussions about religion and philosophy in his room until the wee hours of the morning on most weekends.  His real name was Josh.  He came from a rather religious family on the east coast and his father was involved in many humanitarian ministries around the world.  Josh had seen his share of tragedies, from the killing fields of Cambodia to the torture chambers of the cruel dictators in many of the third world nations and the refugee camps of the thousands who were fleeing their homelands because of religious persecution.  His views were colored by what he observed in his travels with his father.

“John, we need to get you to the health center on campus and have them take a look at your head.  Anytime someone passes out like you did we want to make sure everything is ok?  I think your brain may have been a little rattled.  You feel up to being accompanied to the health Center so we can get you checked out?”

When John finally looked around the lobby he saw Becki and Frank with worried expressions on their faces as well.

“Yes, I guess I am ok.  I feel a little woozy so I might need someone to help me?”  John was hoping that perhaps Becki and Frank might accompany him.  They readily agreed.

John looked at Becki, “Listen you don’t need to come, I think Frank can get me there.”

“I will have nothing of the sort.  I can’t let one of our team members go the health center with just Frank.  He has the caring capacity of a slug,” Becki exclaimed.  Laughter followed her declaration and Frank gently protested such accusations.

In a couple of minutes, they were in the car and on their way to the health center. They were greeted by a warm, friendly nurse who took John’s vital information and ushered him to a room where John was seen almost immediately.

Doctor Williams entered and began his regimen of tests.  “Let’s see.  Says here you fell on the sidewalk and hit your head and were out for about ten minutes.  That is quite a lot of time to be unconscious.  Ever had any blackout spells back home?”

“No, Doc, this was a first for me,” John replied.

“Just to be sure I think we should run an MRI to take a look and make sure nothing was scrambled up there in that brain of yours.  You have someone that can take you to the local hospital tonight?”

“Yes, I think so.  I have a couple of friends that are in the lobby.”

“Ok if I can talk with them for a moment?”

“Sure.”

Dr. Williams asked the nurse to bring Becki and Frank back to the room.

“You will need to make sure he does not walk unassisted to the hospital.  I do not want him falling and reinjuring his head.  Are you ok with escorting him to the hospital?  I have already called and they are ready for him so it won’t take long.”  Dr. Williams voice and demeanor was warm and caring.  John could not remember meeting a doctor like him.

As they got up to leave Dr. Williams said, “I know you young students nowadays don’t think much of what I am going to say but would it be ok if I pray with you before you leave?”

“Well, I don’t really believe in that sort of stuff,” replied Becki.

“I guess it couldn’t hurt Doc,” was Frank’s reply, sounding sort of matter of fact.

Dr. Williams offered up a short prayer for God to watch over John and his two friends.

On the way to the hospital, Becki offered, “I wonder if he thinks something is really wrong with you John.  I mean no one prays unless they think there is something bad happening, right?”

John had felt so sure about his philosophical position on absolutes less than two hours ago walking back from the library.  All it took was a fall on the sidewalk and his theory was shaken.

John thought to himself, “If a small fall on the sidewalk can cause me to be afraid and cause my two friends to be worried, what sort of foundation do I really have to stand on?”

He was going to have to rethink his entire position.

April 10, 2017: Why Can’t They See?
2 Corinthians 4:1-6 (NIV)

1  Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart.
2  Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.
3  And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing.
4  The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
5  For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.
6  For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.

John pretended not to hear what Becki had mentioned.  It was just a small accident, nothing that should cause any worry.  He thought to himself, “This will all be over soon and I can get back to my life as a college student.”
When they arrived at the emergency room, a very nice ER nurse greeted them.  Becki sort of took charge and announced to the nurse who they were and why they were here.

“Sorry about your fall, John.  Dr. Williams called just a few minutes ago to let me know you were on your way.  Our MRI tech is waiting for you.  Just have a seat in the waiting room.  It should only be a few minutes.”

John and Frank and Becki took went to the waiting room.  At 1:30 a.m., the room was quiet except for the TV blaring late night evening news from CNN.  The news report on CNN focused on the rising violence overseas in the Middle East.  Pictures flashed across the screen of thousands of refugees fleeing their homeland due to civil war.

The pictures flashed across the screen with commentary by the newscaster.  The three college students watched the TV and sat in silence as they waited.  In a few minutes, the MRI tech arrived and ushered them to the MRI room.  After explaining what was going to take place, John was prepped and Becki and Frank looked through the glass as John had the MRI.

“There that was not bad at all was it?” asked the MRI tech. ‘That is all we need.  You should be receiving a consult report from the Doctor in a few days.  You are free to go.”

Frank queried the MRI tech, “Did you find evidence of a brain when you performed the scan?”

“Real funny Frank, real funny.”  John chimed.

“Well, let’s see, you are from the university I see.  To tell you the truth I have been an MRI tech for many years and I do think it is becoming more and more difficult to find the brain in many of our newer students.’

“That is pretty funny,” Becki said and she began to laugh.

“I am curious as to why you would say this as a joke?”  Frank was now quite interested in the MRI tech’s reply.

“I know this is not what you would expect from an ordinary MRI tech in a hospital, but I have watched over the years working with students and it seems that more and more of you are buying the belief that there are no absolutes and that you are free to decide your own reality.  I am afraid many who hold this position are being led down a path that will only lead to more and more violence and destruction.”

“  What makes you think that?” demanded Becki, with a growing air of arrogance.

“I know you don’t have time to have a long discussion on this subject tonight but there are so many holes in that sort of thinking.  It seems you are being fed a way of thinking and you are not allowed to consider any position that would hold to absolutes.  In my book, it just looks like you are being brainwashed with a lot of high-sounding phrases.”

Frank, Becki, and John all replied at the same time, “Wow you sound just like Dr. Williams at the health center on campus.”

“  That is probably because that Dr. Williams is my husband.  We have been working on the campus of the university for the past fifteen years and we have witnessed the growing commitment to Scientific Naturalism.  We have seen what this worldview does in other nations and we just don’t want that to happen here.”

“  Listen, the three of us and a few other students are working on a project on this very subject.  I think it would be a great idea to pick you and your husband’s brain on this subject, no pun intended.  Is there any way we could meet with you sometime in the next week and hear your viewpoint?” asked John.

Becki was rather annoyed with the idea, but Frank thought it was a good idea as well.

“I have a great Idea, why don’t you and your study team come over to our house for dinner next Wednesday evening.  My husband and I are great cooks and we could give you the evening so you could hear our view and then you would have plenty of time to ask your questions.”

“  Guys, think about it, a free meal.  A free home cooked meal!  What could go wrong?” argued Frank.

“I will call the others and set it up.  We were going to meet to study anyway next Wednesday, this will fit well with our schedule.” offered John.

“I am going to do my best to destroy their arguments,” Becki thought to herself.  Plans were being laid that would most certainly expose the false worldview of the Williams.  She was already laying her plans to destroy the Williams in whatever way she could.

No one could see the flurry of activity that taking place back at the health center where Dr. Williams was hard at work.

April 11, 2017: In Broken Vessels

2 Corinthians 4:4-12 (NIV)

4 The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5 For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. 7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. 12 So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.

“God, I want you to use me here so that the students can see who you are and have an opportunity to consider your Son.  Please be with the three students that came in here last night; Frank, Becki and John.  Help my wife and me to show them Christ.

“I ask that you would allow us opportunities to make Christ known to them in the next few weeks.  Thank you God for allowing my wife and me to have such a privilege to work in this mission field.”

Just as Dr. Williams finished his short prayer, the phone in his office rang.  “Excuse me for interrupting.  I know you wanted a few more minutes but it is your wife on the phone wanting to speak with you.”

It was Sally, the receptionist at the health Center, interrupting his few moments of prayer.  She had been working with Dr. Williams for over fifteen years.  Sally met Dr. Williams and his wife, Ruth when she first arrived on campus as a freshman.

Over the years of Sally’s university studies, she had gone through the loss of both of her parents, a miscarriage, and a failed marriage and not to mention a host of other problems.  It was after her marriage failed and she was left without any means of income that the Williams offered to let her live with them free of charge until she found something.

It was during her time of unemployment, while she lived with the Williams, that she first heard and understood what Christ had done for her on the cross.  At first, it was hard to believe that God really loved her because she came with so much baggage that seemed to indicate otherwise.  Over the next year, while she was unemployed, Sally had many conversations with Ruth and few with Dr. Williams.  They each, in their own way, answered the questions that would come up in Sally’s questioning mind.

Over the next year and a half, Sally observed Ruth and Dr. Williams closely; after all, she lived with them in their home.  If they were fake, it would be found out soon enough.  No one can keep up a façade for long.  Sally saw the flaws in their character but she also heard them confess to each other and ask for forgiveness from not only each other, but when they would say, or do something that was not in line with what Jesus taught they were also quick to confess their need for forgiveness if they had somehow offended her.  This was not something that Sally had witnessed from any other Christian she had known, though she had only known a few from a distance.

Their living transparent lives finally won her over.  She came to understand that Jesus offers his grace and mercy to anyone who is willing to admit their need.  Sally observed Dr. Williams and Ruth openly live before others.  The Williams were the first real Christians she had ever really known.

It took about a year of living with the Williams for Sally to admit her need for Christ and receive him into her life.  The transformation that came over her was immediately apparent to the Williams.  Soon after Sally received Christ, a position in the Health Center on Campus opened up.

Ruth and Dr. Williams sought God’s counsel and then they offered her the position as receptionist.  Little did Sally know what incredible possibilities this job would up for her in her new walk with Christ.

The past fifteen years had been filled with such great miracles of God as he used the Williams and Sally and the small congregation that met in a small storefront just across the street from the University.  The small church had witnessed God transform countless lives from the University over the years and many were now on the mission field in other countries that had little or no access to the gospel.

Yes, it certainly had been a great ride to watch God do amazing things.  After Dr. Williams took the call from his wife, Sally offered up her gratitude to God for allowing her to be such a part of a great ministry in a small church next to a large, prestigious university.

“Yes, I know Dr. Williams has worked at the Health Center the past fifteen years.  What I want to know is has he ever made any patients feel less important because they did not share his religious fundamentalism?”  Becki knew if she was going to destroy Dr. Williams and his wife it would probably be in this one area of their religious beliefs.  If word got out he was actively proselyting on campus that would be the end of his ministry here.

“I want to find out from students who have been seen at the Health Center if we have any case?”  Becki hung up the phone with a great deal of pride.  She had just hired a private detective in town who was known for his disdain for Christians.  Yes, this was going to be the way Becki would be able to rid the campus of one of the last voices of this Christian faith she had come to disdain.

The activity at the University Health Center was increasing, but no one could see what was taking place in the unseen world.

April 25, 2017: Preparing the Grounds for Awakening

Ezekiel 22:30-31 (NIV)

30  “I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found none.

31  So I will pour out my wrath on them and consume them with my fiery anger, bringing down on their own heads all they have done, declares the Sovereign LORD.”

The activities of Wednesday night were laying the groundwork of what God had been planning for a long time.  It had been over one hundred years since the last spiritual awakening had hit the campus.  Hardly anyone ever talked about that season of the university’s history.  It seemed like most of the staff of the university were embarrassed by that past reputation of the university.  It just was not in vogue to be seen as an institution of higher learning that held to any strong religious beliefs about anything.

Unbeknownst to anyone at the university, God was stirring the hearts of many senior adults across the state.  They began to become concerned about the teachings and activities on the campuses of many of their public centers of education.  This concern led to many local senior adult bible classes in small churches to begin to pray for God to move on their college campuses once again.

“Hello Beautiful, want to meet a great looking man for breakfast at Mary Lou’s for an early breakfast?”

“Well that all depends on who is doing the asking,” replied the MRI tech just finishing her shift at the hospital.

“Some guy who is grateful to God that you said yes almost twenty years ago.”  Came the voice of the well-respected Dr. Williams.

“Well, I guess if I have not got any better offers I should probably not pass this one up.  Sure.  See you there in about twenty minutes.”

Dr. Williams and his wife, Ruth, met at Mary Lou’s often as they ended their late night work.

“Well, hello Dr. Williams.  I see you have found yourself a nice, good-looking woman to enjoy a meal together.  What will it be this morning?”  Queried a well past middle-aged server at the local restaurant that anybody who was anybody frequented at least a few times a semester.

“Just the usual Mary Lou,” replied Ruth as her husband was still trying to send a text on his phone to one of his prayer partners asking for prayer his ministry on campus.

As Dr. Williams and Ruth waited for their breakfast, they talked in low hushed tones in the back corner of the restaurant about the events of the past night shift.

“Ruth, I have this sense that God is going to do a great work on this campus soon.”  Dr. Williams said, with a sense of excitement in his voice.

“I have that same sense, honey,” replied Ruth.

Mary Lou bought their breakfast to the table and overheard their conversation.

Bending over the table, almost whispering, Mary Lou looked at Dr. and Ruth Williams and said, “I thought you might want to know, I overheard some out of town visitors to the university speaking of holding a convention for scientists and philosophers, who are Atheists, this semester around Halloween.”

“I heard some of the names they are thinking about bringing in; these guys are not lightweights in the science or philosophy department.  I also overheard the chancellor saying that he wants to find a way to get rid of all Christians who are holding any staff positions at the university.”

“I have already called my small prayer group at my church and asked them to begin to pray for this campus more than they have in the past.”  With those words, Mary Lou went back to her work as a server in her restaurant.

It was often the conversations that Mary Lou overheard at her restaurant from the university officials that helped her direct her prayer concerns in her prayer group at her church.

“Father, thank you for your provision for us over these past years here at the university.  We see the climate turning faster and faster against the truth of your Word so help us know how to best serve you in these days.”

“Thank you too for believers in small churches all across our city that you are raising up at this time to stand in the gap for our university and town.”  Dr. Williams finished his prayer and grabbed the hand of his wife even tighter.  “Ruth I cannot imagine having anyone else to share my life with as we share our Lord with others.  Thank you for being my wife and working so well by my side.”

‘Well, I guess you will have to do,” she replied as he looked at her and she winked back.

In the opposite corner of Mary Lou’s another conversation was being held.  “Yes, that is what he did in his office last night.  I want you to know I was very offended.  Do you think we have a case?”  Becki asked as she sat with a staff member of the chancellor of the university.

April 26, 2017: Deceived by the God of this world

2 Corinthians 4:1-4 (NIV)

1  Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. 2  Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. 3  And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4  The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

 

“We are all set, Your Excellency.  We have the professor of philosophy in our court, as well as the chancellor and most of the other faculty.  We have been waiting for this day for years now.  We were unaware of what the church was doing back in the early nineteen hundreds, but we will not be caught unaware again.”

“Yes, we have made sure the church is busy with all of those nice programs we have designed to keep them busy with buildings and topical programs designed to help people have better marriages and learn how to have control of their finances.”

“We have made sure that they will only see Jesus as a means to their own selfish ends and not as the real savior from sin that He is.”

We have them busy going through all the motions but we will not let them sit still and think about what they are really doing.  That was our mistake in the early nineteen hundreds.  That awakening that hit the campus back then almost did us in but we have learned our lesson now.

Yes, Your Excellency, we have made sure that the church will have no time to really pray and seek the face of their King.  You can count on us Most Fallen One.”

Meanwhile in the Chancellor’s office

It is so good to finally meet you, Chancellor Wilson.  You know I have been watching your leadership from afar for several years now and I think you are just the man for this job at this time in history.  I really like your idea of bringing in the heavy hitters to promote this new age of higher education.  Your idea to host this conference in October under the guise of “The New Spiritual Awakening.” was simply genius.

I see you have enlisted the help of several of our local clergy to promote this conference.  Your keen insight to recruit these liberal clergy and have them sign off on their support was brilliant.  I am quite certain that those small, insignificant churches that still hold to the Bible as the Infallible Word of God will not be able to influence our campuses as they have in the past.  We certainly have them outnumbered this time.

I almost forgot I have a check for you to help underwrite this marvelous conference on, “The New Spiritual Awakening.”  A check for $50,000 was placed in the hand of Chancellor Wilson.

“Thank you, Mr. Johansen,” Chancellor Wilson said as he expressed his gratitude for such a large donation. “I see that you have your youngest son attending here this fall.”

“Yes, I do.” replied,” Mr. Johansen.  “I am quite proud of what Barry has accomplished in his first eighteen years.  I am sure you will not be disappointed with his accomplishments here at the university as well.”

Chancellor Wilson responded with a rather arrogant intellectual tone, “I look forward to seeing what we can do together to lead these young college students into the new age of this new spiritual awakening.”

As Mr. Johansen was about to exit the Chancellor’s office he turned to express in a low, hushed voice, “I do have one real concern that we need to address fairly soon.  The Doctor Williams you have working in your health center has been a problem for us for the past fifteen years.  Can you see to it that something happens to him so he cannot influence the students as he has over the past fifteen years?”

“You have no need to worry Mr. Johansen, I have my daughter Becki working on it as we speak.”

“Great!”  With that, Mr. Johansen exited the office of the Chancellor.  It was now only seven weeks until this conference would hit this campus.  If their plans were established, the students would not have any opportunity to hear the truth and consider what God has done for them in Christ.

No one noticed the darkness that was descending on the campus.

April 27, 2017:  A Mighty Warrior Awakens

1 Timothy 2:1-4 (NIV)

1  I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone– 2  for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.3  This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4  who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.

 

Several hundred miles away from the University in the early hours of next day, an old warrior was awakened from his sleep.  This old warrior was well seasoned in the discipline of intercession.  Most thought he was well past his prime years of service, but they could not be more mistaken.

It had been this old warrior’s practice to rise early most mornings and steal away to his secluded prayer room.  This morning he arose with a sense of urgency he had not felt for many years.  Most days he would spend his first couple of hours praying through the list of nations and world leaders and then finish interceding for his extended family and friends.

Years of early morning rising for prayer had set his life course.  Few knew of his practice, for he never told anyone much about his time with his King in these early morning hours.  Those who knew this old warrior were always amazed at his quiet confidence when things went bad.  He had weathered many storms in his small church that he had been a faithful member at for over fifty years.

There was the time when the church had called a young pastor right out of seminary to their church.  This warrior sensed something was not quite right with the young pastor.  His sermons were ok but they lacked any passion, they were just nice homilies.

He remembered one afternoon conversation a few months after the young pastor had come to the church.  “Pastor, I can see that you are studying quite a lot in your preparation for your weekly sermons.  That is quite admirable.  I see that you love your wife and your small children look up to you.  You certainly possess many of the gifts a pastor should have and you are a fine minister of the gospel.”

“The pastor was somewhat disturbed by the conversation.  “Thank you, Brother Smith.  I do not like to be rude but I do have much to get done before the end of my day, can you get to the point of this conversation?”

“Pastor, I don’t mean to be disrespectful but I believe God wants me to ask you about your personal prayer time.  I really don’t mean to intrude but I have been praying for you since before you came here and I keep getting the impression that you are doing everything that you are doing in your own strength and this may be the reason that your messages have so little passion for God and his kingdom.”

This old warrior well remembered what took place next.  The pastor’s face turned red and he looked like he was going to explode in rage.  As the conversation continued the old prayer warrior remembered continuing to pray for his pastor while they talked.

Within a few minutes, the pastor was overwhelmed by the kind, gentle voice that had found him out.  The Old Warrior was right.  This young pastor had been taught well in expositional preaching and biblical counseling and many of the other duties of a pastor, but the school he attended had neglected to teach him in the lost art of many of the churches across this nation, the art of intercession.

The Old Warrior remembered fondly of the years that he and the young pastor had spent praying for many things in his office.  They had witnessed many miracles of God that occurred through the hours they had spent in prayer together.

The small church that Old Warrior had been part of had never really grown much larger than one hundred or so in attendance but they had witnessed God saving and equipping often five to ten young adults who found their way to this church over the years every year.

He could recount almost one hundred students who had come to Christ over the past fifty years that were spread out all over the world sharing Christ in their many varied occupations.  Some were engineers, some doctors, teachers, electricians, stay at home mothers, nurses, government leaders.  The list was quite impressive.

This church would never be on anyone’s radar as a great church, but in the eyes of the King, it was a place where lives were transformed by the gospel forever.

The old warrior was stirred out of his fond remembrance by a strong compelling of the Spirit to pray for the University and the town.  He had attended the University over fifty years ago and it was there he had found the Lord as a young college freshman.

There was something different about this stirring this morning, something almost foreboding.  The Old Warrior sensed something was up on the campus and whatever it was a much stronger force than he had encountered before.

It was time now for him to retreat to his secluded prayer room.  As he entered his prayer room, he was met with such a strong presence that he could not stand and found himself falling on the floor.  As he attempted to pray, all he could do was weep uncontrollably.

The darkness was settling over the campus even more and no one at the University seemed to be aware, not even Dr. Williams and the small church he was part of.  There was a battle raging just beyond their sight.

April 28, 2017:  The Gathering Storm

Isaiah 59:19 (KJV)

19  So shall they fear the name of the LORD from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him.

 

In the halls of the Fallen One, there was beginning to be a flurry of excitement and anticipation.  Demons were dispersed to increase their deceptive powers on the University campus.  Professors were serving up intellectual arguments against the knowledge of God.  Young, unsuspecting college students were taken in by the scores.

Almost every field of study in the University required a course in philosophy and evolution. Usually, before the young students were finished with their first year, belief in God had pretty much been jettisoned from their minds.  Arguments that seemed extremely intelligent that argued against the existence of God were firmly lodged in the hearts and minds of most students.

To hold to any conviction about the Bible being the Word of God was considered in reason enough to receive a failing grade.  With every student that was deceived, there were shouts of celebration in the dark underworld.

Unbeknownst to the legions of darkness, the Mighty Warrior King was working quietly behind the scenes awakening his mighty army.  The old warrior in the small town a hundred miles away from the University was not the only one who was being awakened in the early hours of the morning; there were scores of saints who had nothing to take their time now but prayer and intercession.

The greatest army of the church was waking for their finest hour.  Many of these saints had gone about their walk with God without fanfare for years.  Never drawing attention to themselves, but always seeking to make Christ known in whatever way they could the enemy was completely unaware of their presence.  They had been hidden away for such a time as this.

Many of these saints had seen the wisdom of God in the way that he designed their bodies as they aged. When many seniors were heard to complain about how little sleep, they got each night due to their aches and pains these seniors saw this as a design of God so that they might give themselves to hours of intercession.  Instead of complaining about their aches and pains, they received this as reason for rejoicing for they saw this as an invitation from their Mighty Savior King to join him in his work.

They had been equipped for this very specific time in history and they were awakening to this truth quietly.  Quietly without fanfare, hundreds of senior members of churches all across the state were waking up to answer the call of prayer from their King.  The enemy could not see this because his eyes had been blinded to what God was doing for years now and he could not see how all of the activity of his fallen ones were only being used by Yahweh to accomplish his sovereign purpose.

Yes, it was growing darker by the hour but for those who knew their God, they could see the approaching of his glorious light.

April 29, 2017: Small But Mighty

1 Corinthians 1:26-31 (NIV)

26  Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27  But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28  He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things–and the things that are not–to nullify the things that are, 29  so that no one may boast before him. 30  It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God–that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31  Therefore, as it is written: “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.”

Just across the street from The University, a small gathering of about ten to twelve people convened.  A small, diminutive older man led the gathering.  He had served in this small storefront church for more than twenty years.  While the small church could not support him full time, he had taken a job as a custodian on the campus when he first came to the church

For years, this pastor worked the late night shift at the library.  No one knew that this small custodian had an earned Ph.D. in philosophy and physics; he did not think it was that important to brag about.

Another thing that many of his own small church did not know was that he had graduated at the top of his class in one of the most prestigious graduate schools on the east coast.  He had studied under the tutelage of many of the most secular godless professors in the US.  The most amazing part of his story was that he had come to Christ because of studying under their tutelage.

It was while he was an upperclassman in his undergraduate studies that he began to consider the ultimate outcome of the secular philosophies advanced by his professors.  During his senior year in college, while he was considering his new questions of life and meaning, he often noticed an older man who served as a custodian on the campus.

What he noticed about this older man was that he always had a bright outlook.  He too was one who worked the late night shift.  It happened that one evening in the early spring of his senior year that he determined to strike up a conversation with this custodian.

 

As this small pastor looked over his congregation of ten to twelve that that evening his mind revisited that meeting of the custodian over forty years ago.

 

It was late at the library.  He was just putting away his books and getting ready to leave his regular study place on the sixth floor.  It was almost closing time.  His mind was reeling from all the thoughts that were coursing through his brain.

 

He had just finished reading, “Mere Christianity” by C. S. Lewis.  Lewis was one who came to Christ much against his will.  In his own writings, he confessed that he did not like Christians, but the truth of what Christ claimed was more than compelling.  It was not just Lewis that raised the question about the reality of the Christian faith, it was authors like Josh McDowell who wrote, “Evidence that Demands a Verdict” who too was compelled to commit his life to Christ because of the evidence.

 

Quite a few great minds came to Christ, not because of some heart-wrenching story, or some charismatic preacher.  There seemed to be quite a bit of sound reasoning and clear evidence that this Christianity was true.

 

He decided he was going to ask this custodian what he thought about the questions he had presently. It was what happened next that would open this young college senior up completely to the claims of Christ.

 

“Excuse me, young man,” the custodian spoke, as he pushed his cart over near the exit.  “I have been watching you over the past several weeks and have noticed that you are studying a lot about philosophy.  I see too that you have been reading a lot of books written by those who call themselves Christians.”

 

Quite taken back by the boldness of this custodian, this proud intellectual college senior replied, “Why, yes I am.  I have been looking for holes in their belief system for several semesters now,” sounding rather arrogant and intellectual.  He did not want anyone to know he was even considering the Christian faith.  He had heard it could hurt his chances being accepted into the graduate school here.

 

“I know this may sound quite unusual, but I would like to hear your thoughts on this Christian faith and what you are thinking.  I am always interested in what you young students are thinking about nowadays.”

 

“Listen I work here until 7 in the morning, but I always have breakfast at the local diner just across the street from the campus.  If I bought you breakfast, say this Saturday, would you mind trying to teach me what you are thinking about?”

 

Quite taken back by the inquisitive nature of this custodian he readily agreed to meet for breakfast the next Saturday at Mary Lou’s diner.

April 30, 2017: Small But Mighty Part Two

1 Corinthians 1:26-31 (NIV)
26  Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27  But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28  He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things–and the things that are not–to nullify the things that are, 29  so that no one may boast before him. 30  It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God–that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31  Therefore, as it is written: “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.”

The next Saturday could not come soon enough.

“Hello, there young man!” the custodian had already found a table and was waiting for him.

“Hello.  I want to thank you for meeting me and for breakfast,” replied the young student.

“Well, before we go any further, I am sorry I forgot to get your name the other night.”

“ My name is Henry, Henry Smith.”

“Glad to meet you, Henry.  My name is Glendall.”

As they sat down, the waitress came over to take their order, “What’ll it be Glendall?” the waitress asked, as if she already knew what he wanted.

“I will have my usual, Wendy.  Thanks”

“What will you be having young man?” asked Wendy.

Henry looked at Glendall for some suggestion. “You can’t go wrong with anything on the menu and remember I am buying so get what you want.”

“I will have whatever Glendall is having,” Henry replied.

“Before we say anything further I must let you know why I stopped you the other night.  Henry, I am a Christian. I spend my time while I work as a custodian on campus praying for God to lead me to those he is calling to himself.  I have been watching you the past several weeks and noticed you pouring over all those books with great energy.”

“As I was praying the other night I felt that God was leading me to talk to you because you were open to thinking about Christ. That is why we are having this conversation.”  Glendall stopped and waited for Henry to reply.

“Wow, I have never had anything like that happen to me.  I was going to ask you about what I have been studying.  I have been observing you over the past several weeks and noticed that you have a different outlook on things.
Most people in college are working hard so they can have a great paying job so they won’t have to work as a custodian in some library.  Somehow they think that life is found in making money and all of that.  I have noticed though that those who have that view are not really happy.  There are many who have the high paying jobs, but I don’t see many of them happy or content.

When I look at you I see a man who is content and at peace, but you don’t seem to have all the things that all the others would die for.  That is what drew me to ask you to meet with me today.”

What began on that Saturday morning would continue for the next several years while Henry completed his graduate studies at the university.  Glendall and Henry would meet almost weekly to study together and consider the questions of life.  Henry learned more from Glendall than any of his professors on campus.  Glendall was present when Henry received his prestigious award for earning the highest honors in both Physics and Philosophy.

Henry, now a committed Christian, felt called by God to teach at one of the most secular universities in the nation.  His academic record was beyond reproach and he quickly found a great teaching fellowship.  He went on to teach for the next several years.  Word got around that he was a Christian he was soon ostracized for his beliefs, even though those who opposed him could say nothing against him.

Henry would often hold open forums where students and other faculty could come and discuss their views.  It was atthese forums many young students would begin to see the truthfulness of Christianity.  The demands of Christ on their life were often too much for them to accept and they would find some way to argue against the Christian faith.  As was often the case other professors would find these students after the forum and befriend them.

It was in Henry’s seventh year of teaching that things went bad.  There was a young college coed that was a constant problem for Henry in his classes.  She would always interrupt and argue against his position.  She accused him of being intolerant and narrow-minded. As the year progressed, this coed was determined to ruin his career at the University.

One afternoon this coed came by Henry’s office pretending she was really interested in discussing Christ. Henry did not see the setup.  After being in Henry’s office for several minutes this coed began to make advances toward Henry but he kept his distance.  Suddenly she threw herself on Henry and screamed.  At that moment the door of his office burst open and there was another student with their camera out taking picture after picture.

That was all that was needed.  Once the Dean of the Philosophy department saw the pictures and heard the accusations, Henry’s career as a professor was finished.  He was abruptly removed from the campus and lost all of his credentials, though he was not guilty.

After losing his teaching career he could only find odd jobs here and there to make ends meet for the next few years.  His love had been teaching and influencing young college students for Christ but it seemed it was now all in the past.

He began to look for small churches near college campuses that needed people to minister to students.  Over the next few years, he found a small church near a campus where his teaching flourished.  It was there that he met his wife, Julie. They were married not long after they met.

Julie and Henry both loved to share Christ so they continued where they met and saw numbers of student come to trust Christ. They soon learned after a few years they would never be able to have children of their own, which at first was a shock to both of them.

Being falsely accused and now not being able to have children of their own was almost more than they could bear. How would they find fulfillment, what would they give their life to?

“Henry!  Henry!” it was the voice of his wife, Julie, calling him back to reality. “What are you thinking about. You seemed lost in thought.”

Henry looked around at the small group of ten to twelve members of this small storefront church he had been pastoring for over twenty years.

“I’m sorry. I was just thinking about how it was that God led Julie and me here over twenty years ago.” Henry said apologetically.

“Tonight I want you to know that I have been praying with several other intercessors in our area and they are all sensing that God is getting ready to do something amazing in our day. So tonight I thought it would be good for us to spend a little more time in intercession for our university and the other universities across our state.”

The prayer meeting lasted about an hour.  Though nothing happened that anyone could sense, they all said that they too had felt there was something about to happen.

Meanwhile:
:
“Have you secured our greatest warriors for this event?” the voice came from the abyss.

“Yes O, Most Fallen One.  We have the best of the best.” came the reply of the demon managing this event.

“What about our enemy.  Have you noticed any activity on his part?”

Nothing at all your Lowness, nothing at all.  It seems we have them completely by surprise this time.”

 

May 1, 2017:  Outnumbered?

2 Kings 6:15-17 (NIV)

15  When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh, my lord, what shall we do?” the servant asked.

16  “Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”

17  And Elisha prayed, “O LORD, open his eyes so he may see.” Then the LORD opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

 

The small gathering at the storefront church quietly dispersed around 9 p.m.  The small group of believers was in for a very interesting night.

All across the state angels were dispatched to deliver messages to believers who had shut themselves in their prayer closets to seek the Lord.  The enemy could not see what went on in these prayer closets because they were all off his radar.

These intercessors had been taught by the Spirit that the prayer closet where each child of God could commune with God was hidden from the view of eh enemy.  It was here where they were most safe from the enemy’s schemes.  This was a place of deep intimacy with God.  A place where believers could not only unburden themselves from the cares and concerns of the world but it was also a place where they could see clearly what God was planning to do.

Matthew 6:6 (KJV)

6  But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

Psalm 25:14 (KJV)

14  The secret of the LORD is with them that fear him; and he will shew them his covenant.

 

All across the state believers young and old were being awakened by angelic beings from their sleep and called to prayer.  Some as early as 3 or 4 in the morning.  Still, others were forgoing sleep at all to stay before the Father all night in intercession.  There had never been a movement of God like this in this state before.  The stakes were higher than they had ever been.  The enemy was on the move in far greater ways than he had been before.  He somehow knew his time was short.

Dr. Williams and his wife Ruth awakened to the sound of their alarm going off at 4 a.m.  “Honey, I really wanted more sleep than this.  “Did you have to set the alarm so early?”  Dr. Williams’s wife Ruth asked tenderly.

“I’m sorry Beautiful.  I don’t remember ever setting the alarm,” replied her very tired husband as he gently reached over and turned the alarm off.  We don’t have to get up for anything this morning so let’s just go back to sleep,” He gently reached across the bed and pushed the button to turn off the alarm.

As he turned back to finds some more hours of sleep, he felt the arms of his wife wrapping themselves around his body.  The two of them fell into a deep sleep very quickly.

A few minutes went by and then they both were stunned by the alarm going off once again.

“Honey, I thought you turned the alarm off?”  Ruth asked her husband.

“I thought I did too,” said Dr. Williams as he once more turned over and turned the alarm off.  He once more attempted to find sleep and once more, his wife gently wrapped her arms around her husband and snuggled close.  IN their twenty years of marriage, they had never lost that sense of closeness as they slept next to each other.

A few more minutes went by and once more, the alarm sounded, again stirring them from a sound sleep.

Once more Dr. Williams reached across his wife to turn off the alarm, but this time a verse he had memorized years ago rocketed to the front of his mind,

Jonah 1:6 (NIV)

6  The captain went to him and said, “How can you sleep? Get up and call on your god! Maybe he will take notice of us, and we will not perish.”

 

Dr. Williams was now wide-awake.  There was a sense of urgency in his spirit.  Just as in the days of Jonah when the Captain cried out to Jonah to get up pray so they might be rescued from this that great storm on the sea, God was awakening many of his warriors to rise to intercede for many who had yet to come to Christ at the universities across the state.

“Honey,” he gently said to his wife, “I think God is calling us to get up and pray.  Remember last night at the church, Brother Henry said he felt that God was getting ready to do something.  I think God worked through our alarm clock to wake us up for this very reason.”

Ruth was sleeping so soundly that she did not hear her husband.  Dr. Williams looked at his wife sleeping deeply and peacefully and did not have the heart to try to wake her again.  He gently and quietly slid off the bed so as not to disturb her sleep and found his way across the room in the dark, opened the bedroom door, and made his way down the hallway to a small bedroom they had made into a prayer room.

Since they were not able to have children of their own, they decided to use one of their spare bedrooms for a prayer room.  When he arrived at the door of the prayer room, there was a growing sense of awe and fear at the same time.  Quietly opening the door, he entered the prayer room and turned on the light.

ON one wall, there was a large map of the world.  On the map were small colored pins stuck all over the map.  These pins were the places where students that Dr. Williams, Ruth and their small storefront church had seen come to Christ and then leave behind their careers they had prepared for to choose the life of a missionary overseas in places where the gospel had not yet gone.

Other colored pins that located the mission centers across the world were engaged in reaching the unreached.  There were still other pins that were used as markers where there seemed to be the most opposition to the gospel that became special targets of their prayers each day.

ON another wall were a map of the United States and then a map of their own state.  Each map had special colored pins to indicate specific places they felt led to pray for regularly.  Then on the wall with the window that looked out over the University campus was a campus map and a map of their town once again with special pins that marked places of interest or concern that they prayed for often.

City hall, the police department, locations of public and Christian schools were all marked and identified.  Places in the city that were experiencing a high rise in criminal activity were moved as reports from the police were shared with them were updated.

ON the campus map the administration building, the student dormitories, the international residences were marked.  Then there were the special places marked with a different color pin indicating the classrooms of the professors that were the most oppositional to the gospel.

This room had the feel and look of a war room layout.  Entering it felt like you were entering a room you may see in war movies where the generals are standing in front of a map that tracked troop movements and battlefields and the distribution of friendly and enemy forces.

There were missionary newsletters from the field, personal letters, and e-mails from missionaries they had direct relationships with and news clippings from around the world placed on tables in front of each wall where you could sit and read over the requests and look at the map and visualize where each person was as you prayed.

There was one more place in this room that had no map, no articles or newsletters.  It faced an open closet.  There was a small table with a padded kneeling rail that was placed before a wooden cross made of olive wood that was hung on the back wall of the closet.  This was where there were not prayers made to ask for anything, only a place where much was made of Christ.  It became the focus of most of their time in this room.  The cares and concerns of the whole world in front of them would often be too oppressive until they turned and knelt at the prayer rail in front of the Cross and meditated on whom it was that they were praying to.

It was here they received much strength to continue in their intercessory work.  One look at what has done and strength would find its way into their souls to reenergize them for their intercessory work.

This room had become a place where Dr. and Ruth Williams spent hours interceding for the advance of the gospel across the globe.  This would be the place where they would wage war against their enemies.

As Dr. Williams began, his intercession at this early hour there was a sense of urgency.  Something was up in the world and it felt like this was going to be a battle, unlike anything they had ever faced before.

“O God,” was all the words he could utter.  There was a strong sense of fear that gripped him as he began but could not continue.  He was led to think back to the small group of students that he had treated at the health center on campus a few days ago.  They were lost in more ways than one.

 

May 2, 2017: Agents of Mercy to those who doubt.

Jude 1:22 (NIV)

22 Be merciful to those who doubt; The sun was beginning to rise over the campus of the University.  The fall colors had already arrived on this small campus.  This was the day when the students Ruth had invited were coming for dinner. In the prayer room at William’s house visions of God’s activity were being birthed in the mind of Dr. Williams.

 

This was not the first time that he and his wife had students who were openly hostile to the Gospel in their home, but somehow this would be different.

 

“God, I need your wisdom to be able to respond to the challenges of these students tonight. I sense they have questions that are far more than intellectual.  Help me to see behind the questions to their real need.”

 

As Dr. Williams was finishing that prayer, he heard the door open gently behind him and before he knew it, his wife Ruth, was kneeling beside him praying quietly for him and this opportunity to share Christ with these students.

“Father, I thank you for my husband and the ability you have given him to make Christ known to so many people through the ministry here at the University.  I ask you for your protection as we continue this ministry for your glory.”

“We know that we are engaged in a battle that is not against flesh and blood but against powers and being of a dark and sinister kingdom.  Please open the eyes of those who will be here this evening so they can see the beauty of Christ.  Help us to communicate in word and deed what you mean to us.”

Ruth gently slipped her hand into the hand of her husband as they continued to pray together for God’s blessing on their home this evening.

After several more minutes, Ruth and her husband went downstairs to enjoy a nice breakfast together before the day began on campus.

in another part of campus, a conversation was taking place.  “Are you sure you heard him say that?” the campus lawyer asked a student who had come to report on Dr. Williams activity at the Campus health Center.

“Yes, I am sure.  When I first went to him for a checkup I discovered I was pregnant.  During the appointment, I asked Dr. Williams what he suggested I do about my pregnancy.”

“What did Dr. Williams say when you asked him for his suggestion, Molly?” the lawyer asked.

“He told me there were some options available to me,” Molly replied.

“What options did he mention?” the lawyer continued.

“Adoption was one option.  He also offered his and his wife’s support if I decided to keep the baby.  He said they had lots of connections that would help provide for me while I continued my education at the University,” Molly continued, sounding very hesitant to give any more information.

“Did he offer having an abortion as an option?” the lawyer queried.

“I do not remember him offering that sir.  My mind was pretty confused due to the news of my being pregnant,” Molly offered.

“I think we have what we need Molly.  Be assured the proper responses to your terrible experience at the Campus health Center will be dealt with.  I am tired of these campus fundamentalists shoving their opinions down the throats of so many vulnerable young minds.  It is high time we do whatever it takes to put a stop to this kind of proselytizing once and for all!”

Molly could see the veins on the neck of the campus lawyer pulsing and his face turning red.  It looked like he was a man possessed.

May 3, 2017: The Power of True joy.

Philippians 4:4-5 (NIV)

4  Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!  5  Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.

Wednesday was the beginning of their two days off so Dr. Williams and his wife spent the day preparing for the evening time with the students.  Ruth was busying herself preparing the favorite dish of almost every student who had frequented her home over the past several years.  It was the dish that even the most finicky eaters enjoyed, Chicken Pot Pie.

“Honey I do think you are being unfair anytime you prepare this dish.  The food that you whip up in our kitchen has to have something of the Holy Spirit in it because it seems to put everyone at ease when they sit around our table,” Dr. Williams replied as he saw what she was preparing for the evening meal.

“You are biased, my dear.  Now get your hands out of the brownie mix. I have to have some left for the students!”  Ruth gently slapped her chocolate covered spatula on his hands as he reached into the brownie batter.

Dr. Williams dipped his finger into the brownie batter and then proceeded to put some of the batter on his wife’s nose.  A small war broke out in the kitchen as they playfully maneuvered around the island on which Ruth was preparing the meal.

Dr. Williams gently embraced his wife and kissed her nose, enjoying the brownie batter. “Yum, tastes mighty good if I say so myself.”

Please, Dr. Williams let me be so I can finish preparing this meal.”  His wife protested ever so slightly.

“Sorry Beautiful, I was just being nosey.”

“Ugh, do I have to put up with your puns too, my dear husband?’

“I’m afraid so. Remember you pledged for batter or worse.”

“Please go, do whatever it is you do so I can finish,” Ruth protested.

There was laughter heard coming from the Williams house that morning.  They had no idea what was about to transpire that evening.  It would be this sort of laughter that would carry them through the next several weeks.

May 4, 2017: A Dinner and a Divine Appointment.

Acts 17:25-27 (NIV)

25  And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. 26  From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live.

27  God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.

“Yes, I think we have what we need, Mr. Edwards,” Becki replied to the e-mail she received from the campus lawyer asking her if she had all she needed to serve as evidence against Dr. Williams.

“I think I can gather some more incriminating evidence at the dinner I am going to tonight.  If we can just get him to say a couple of key statements we should have everything we need and have enough witnesses to confirm it.” Becki hit the send key with a great feeling of pride.

‘Finally,” she thought to herself,  “we will be rid of these raving crazy fundamentalist for good at this university.

The dinner time could not come soon enough for Peter, the campus Christian who was always sharing his faith every chance he had.  “God, will you help me to respond to the questions that are raised tonight so my friends can see Christ clearly.  Help them to see their need for your son. Whatever you need me to do for that to happen I want to say yes to.  I belong to you for you to use however you see best.”

“Thank you for the family you allowed me to grow up in so I could see my need for Christ early on.  And thank you for my parents and grandparents who taught me both at home and church what it means to live for you.”

After a brief prayer, Peter prepared for the walk across campus to William’s house.  He was grateful for the influence he was noticing already of the Williams on this campus.  He had not been on campus but a few days before he began to hear about this crazy Dr. and his wife who were always having students in their home and were always leading bible studies for any student interested in investigating the claims of Christ.

“Julie, can you bring your phone and record our conversation tonight?  I don’t want any others to know you are recording.  I just want to have a good record of everything that is said tonight so we can remember it when we go to put our presentation together.”  Becki Wilson was already setting the table for what appeared to be the end of William’s ministry at the University.

Becki Wilson had no idea that she was running fast and furious straight into an encounter with a supernatural being that would terrify her in ways she had never even imagined.

 

May 6, 2017: The Battle Begins

Romans 5:6-8 (NIV)

6  You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7  Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. 8  But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

“Let’s see, I think I have everything I need for tonight.  Cell phone, notebook, philosophy textbook, extra pens, purse.”  Julie was thinking aloud in her dorm room as she made her way out the door.

“Hey, don’t forget to take your Bible.” Her new roommate, Sandy laughed.

“Don’t you worry your little heart, my dear, I will not let these crazy Christians convince me of anything.  Yes, I have heard how they have been able to deceive other students over the years but this semester will be their last on this campus.  I can’t believe I am even involved in this.”  Julie responded to as she picked up her bags and headed out across campus to the Williams’ house for a dinner she would not soon forget.

As she made her way across campus she met up with John.  “Hey, how is your head since that crazy fall you took last week?”  Julie asked as John and she met up on their way other Williams.

“I think I am alright.  At least I have clear evidence that I do have a brain.  I mean the MRI certainly gave me the evidence if I ever needed proof.”  John said expressing his sense of humor.

“So what do you think about our dinner with the William’s tonight, John?”  Julie asked interested in what he had to say.

“You know Julie; I have been doing quite a lot of thinking over the past few weeks since I came to the University.  I grew up in church you know?”  John replied sounding rather pensive and he spoke.

‘Don’t tell me you are still believing all that nonsense John” Julie asked with a sense of condescension.

“I hate to disappoint you Julie, but I am not so ready to give up on what I was taught as you might think.”

“John, have you not been listening to the professor dispel all these religious claims.  I just do not see how you can continue to hold to such outdated beliefs, especially those who call themselves Christians.  Did you not hear the professors lecture the other day when he explained how all the wars and most of the suffering in our world today were caused by religion?”

“I think the statement that convinced me to do my best to rid the world of these hurtful religions was when the Professor answered a question I have had for years, “Why is there all this evil and suffering in the world?”  John, were you listening when he answered that one Christian who tried to defend the Christian faith.  You remember his answer don’t you?”

“Sure I do Julie.  In addition, I have to admit it was a very compelling argument.  But I am just not sure the professor’s reasoning was as sound as you might like to think it was.”  John replied.

“Wait a minute, don’t tell me you are being swayed by some Christina student who does not even have his degree yet over a professor who has several Ph.D.’s in religion and philosophy?”  Julie asked sounding quite bewildered.

I am just not willing to jettison everything I have been taught as quickly as you are Julie.  I think it would be a good idea to keep an open mind as we listen to the Williams helps us think through these questions.  It just seems there is such a strong move by many of the Profs on campus to argue against religion, but especially the Christian faith.  I just find myself asking, ‘why are you so strongly opposed to this one specific religion?  Why not argue against all the others as strongly as you do this one particular religion.  There is just something about this whole subject that causes me to think there is far more to this subject than I first thought.”

“Well, John I really thought you were smarter than that.  Well, I am not going to let anyone brainwash me,” Julie replied sounding quite defensive.

The rest of the walk across campus John and Julie walked in silence, both of them contemplating what this evening had in store.  Julie checked again to make sure her battery on her cell phone was fully charged.  She was more convinced than ever she would need to record everything said, even what John would say may be used convincingly as evidence of how young susceptible freshman could be deceived by the Williams who were bent on forcing their religion down everyone’s throat.  At least that is what Julie and Becki and many other students and faculty were thinking.

As they approached the William’s house both Julie and Becki, unaware of what was happening the other, began to experience small moments of fear.  Nothing they could not keep under control but this was something they had neither one experienced before.

The closer they came to eh William’s house the more this sense of fear grew.

May 7, 2017: A Very Different House

Acts 20:22-24 (NIV)

22  “And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. 23  I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me.

24  However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me–the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.

As the students arrived at the Williams’ house Ruth Williams greeted them.  “Hello, Julie.  Hello, Becki.  We are so glad you are here tonight.  I hope you will make yourself at home.  The other students are already here on the back porch why don’t you go join them and I will call you when dinner is ready?”

The voice of Ruth Williams seemed to have an incredibly calming effect on the students as they arrived. Each one of the students that arrived that evening all experienced the same fear as the others but no one ever admitted it that evening.  That is all the students except Peter.  Peter was overjoyed at the prospect of this evening and could not wait until after meal when the dialogue with the Williams would begin.

As Ruth and Susan were in the kitchen getting the dinner ready, Dr. Williams and the students were out not eh back porch engaging in small talk.

“Wow, what is this thing over here?  It looks like it is some sort of idol.  I did not think you Christians worshiped any idols?”  Barry asked rather inquisitively.

“Actually, Barry, you are correct that is an idol,” replied Dr. Williams.  “But it is not what you are thinking.  As a Christian, we do not worship idols or anything made by man’s hand.  The second and third commandments expressly tell us that this is not how we are to worship God.”

“So why do you have this out here?” interrupted Becki gathering her information for the coming inquisition.

“You know Becki, that is a great question but I want to answer that question after dinner.  I promise I will give you an answer but you will have to wait until later.”

Turning to Barry Johansen, Dr. Williams proceeded to get to know something about each student.  “So, Barry I am guessing by your last name that your father is the Johansen that is a rather large contributor to the University?”

“Yes, sir he is,” Barry replied.

“I want you to know that this university really is appreciative of your father’s generosity.  In fact, your father gave the MRI machine that my wife used to make sure John here had a brain that was not damaged.  That gift has been used on numerous occasions to help us provide many students over the past several years with the ability to diagnose and treat many conditions that in the past we had been unable to.”

“And I thank God often for your father when I use this MRI at the hospital,” interrupted Ruth.  “Hate to stop such conversation but dinner is ready so please wash your hands and then join us at the table in the dining room.”

There are three bathrooms in the house.  There is one on this floor and there are two upstairs.  Dr. Williams, would you be so kind as to direct these fine students where they can wash up for dinner>”

Why most certainly your grace,” Dr. Williams says with a bow before his wife with a very fake smile.

After Dr. Williams gave direction to the bathrooms, the students scattered to wash up.

John, Barry, Julie, Becki and Peter all went upstairs to wash up, the others stayed on the first floor.

As they each ascended the staircase Barry and Becki and Julie all began to sense that same fear they had when they stepped onto the Williams’ property.  With each step they took, the fear rose in each of them.  There was definitely something different about this house.

The girls went to the bathroom in the master bedroom and the people used the bathroom in the hallway upstairs.  John and Barry washed up first and made their way downstairs.  Becki and Julie finished up and headed downstairs.  Peter took a little longer and after the others had already left the upstairs he walked down the hallway and noticed the door that had a pair of praying hands posted on the outside.

His curiosity got the better of him and he opened the door to see the prayer room the Williams had been using for years.  Peter could see by the way things were on the different tables that this room received a lot of use.  He quietly shut the door and went downstairs; arrive just after all the other had finished.

“I know this may be a bit unusual for some of you but as Christians, we believe it is good and right to offer our thanks to God for his blessings.  I am not here to force our views on any of you so if you do not hold to the belief in God feel free not to listen to this brief prayer.

“Father, Ruth and I would like to thank you for allowing us the pleasure of having these students in our home for this meal.  Thank you for providing us with a home that we could enjoy and for the food that we will eat in a few minutes.  Please bless this food to nourish us and help us honor you with our lives.  In Jesus name, we pray amen!”

Julie glanced at her phone.  It was working like a charm, everything was being recorded perfectly.  She glanced over at Becki and winked to indicate everything was going according to plan.

 

May 8, 2017: A Kingdom is Shaken.

Romans 1:18-20 (NIV)

18  The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness,

19  since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.

20  For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

 

During the meal, Barry, Becki, and Julie kept trying to get Dr. Williams to start the discussion about moral absolutes but he kept avoiding it.  “I know it sounds like I don’t want to have this discussion but trust me I really do but I would like to know more about etc. h of you.  What are you studying, what things do you like to do for fun, how have you found your time at this university so far?  What do your parents do, etc…  I hope you do not mind.  I have just found that conversations of the nature we are heading into it are helpful to know each other a little bit.”

“Sort of like know your friends, but know your enemies better, huh?”  Becki replied sounding a little put off by Dr. Williams desire to get to know the students.

“That is a great sounding statement Becki,” Ruth interrupted.  “I think it actually was coined by some military general or past president because they saw people as either enemies or friends.  We do not view any people in that way.  We have no enemies at this table or not eh campus.  I know this may sound unbelievable by what you have heard about Christians but we do not see any human as our enemy.  We see people as those how need God’s grace.”

“It is never our intention to force our views on any of you.  Our desire this evening is to answer your questions and if possible come to understand what we believe so you can make up your own minds.  We are sort of like Fox News, we report you decide.”

The students all laughed as Ruth concluded her short response.  Julie felt a sting of conscience as she listened to Ruth Williams explain what their intentions were for the evening.  She was disarming and that is what caused Julie to begin to drift in her beliefs.

“She is only doing this so she can deceive you later.  She is not real.  No Christians are this caring or concerned for you.  This is only a show, an act.”  No one heard that voice but Julie but it had done its work; Julie was no longer going to be taken in by this weakling of the Enemy’s camp.

May 9, 2017: Bright lights in a dark world

2 Corinthians 4:1-2 (NIV)

1  Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart.

2  Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.

 

“So let’s see where do you want to start our discussion?”  Dr. Williams asked.

“I think I would like to hear your response to the statement, “There are no moral absolutes!” first,”  Mark stated.

Mark had been wrestling with this question for some time.  He had been contemplating becoming a lawyer but over the past year, he was beginning to doubt whether it was worth it.  He saw men who were guilty get acquitted and he saw those who were innocent sent to prison.  It just seemed so pointless.  If you had enough money you could get away with almost any crime, but if you were poor, you were assigned a young lawyer who had to take your case and often was not prepared to go against the best trial lawyers who had already sold their soul for the almighty dollar.

“To answer your question Mark I need to have you respond to a few of my own questions first.  This will help me in how I answer.  Not that I am trying to trick you, but I need to know how you view this subject.’  Dr. Williams responded, sounding much like a father talking with his own son about this subject.

“How many here have ever gone on a trip somewhere?”  The students all raised their hands.

“How many of you have ever used a map to find your way to your destination?”  Once again, they all raised their hands.

“Did you all agree with the direction of the map?”

“What do you mean Dr. Williams?  I don’t get what you are doing here?”  Becki interrupted, sounding quite condescending.

“Give me a few more minutes Becki and I think I can help you see where I am going.”  Dr. Williams gently replied.

Dr. Williams began to distribute maps of the campus for all the students to have.  “Could you look at this map and tell me where the health Center is located?”

“Come on Dr. Williams, we are not idiots of course we can all read a map.  Get to your point.”  Barry chimed in offering his support to Becki’s interruption.

“Barry, would you please look at that map and tell me where I could find the athletic field?  What is it located next to?  Could you at least humor me for just a minute longer?”  Dr. Williams said in as gentle voice as possible.

Barry, looking rather annoyed, began to describe where the athletic field was and what was located around it.

“Thank you, Barry.”  For a University student you demonstrated that you have great observational skills.”  The students tried to stifle their laughter, not wanting to upset Barry or Becki.

“I did not come here to get a course in map reading Dr. Williams.  What is your point?”  Barry, Becki, and Julie were all looking perturbed with this whole idea of even being here.

Peter was sitting over in the corner and he knew exactly what Dr. Williams was doing.  “This is brilliant.”  Peter thought to himself.  Peter was glad for the first time that he decided to come to the University instead of the Christian college that many in his church really wanted him to go.  For the past several weeks he had been challenged more than ever to examine his faith.  The questions that were being hurled at him from every side at first caused him to doubt much of what he had been taught, but as he ventured out and began to share his faith, he found his faith only growing stronger, not weaker.

 

“Let me ask you a question.  Do you all agree that Barry gave me a good answer as to where the athletic field was and what was around it?” asked Dr. Williams.

“Well of course we do, what does this have to do with my question?”  Mark asked wanting to understand.

“What would happen if the compass directions were all different on every map?  Say north was south on your map.  In addition, east was west?  Would you be able to tell anyone how to get the athletic field with any degree of certainty?

There was a long silence as the students pondered Dr. Williams’ question.

Nathan, the young freshman who had lost his sister in third world country she had gone to share Christ with, answered, “We would all be confused because the direction would all be different depending on which map we had.”

“Great observation Nathan.  How about the rest of you, what do you think?”

“I get your point Dr. Williams, but I still do not see what this has to do with the question our professor wants us to answer about the existence of moral absolutes.”  Frank the upperclassmen, offered.

“Let me explain.  You all believe that there are absolutes when it comes to the points on a compass.  You used that belief to reach the right conclusion about where the athletic field is by looking at your map, which you assumed was a correct representation of the campus.  You all assumed you were looking at the same map so you reached the same conclusion about your directions.”

“What happened when I asked you to assume that your directions were not absolute?  You found yourself confused about how to direct anyone anywhere on campus.  In the same way you accepted the existence of absolutes when it came to your direction on the map, I believe there are moral absolutes that help us see how to navigate clearly in this life.”

“The confusion comes when we will not agree about what the absolutes are.  This is where all the wars, fighting, crime, broken families, and almost all of the world’s ills come from.  The difficulty comes when we cannot agree on the absolutes.”

‘Becki found herself wanting to listen to Dr. Williams talk more.  Something was happening in her that she was unprepared for, she was beginning to think there really might be something to this Christianity that she had heard Peter talk about back at the Frat party.

Becki began to think about the truth of what Dr. Williams was saying.  Her cell phone vibrated.  It was a text from her father, “Call me right away, please.”

“I am sorry guys my dad wants me to call him right away.”  With that, she left the room to call her father.

‘Hey dad, what do you need?”

“Honey, how are things going at the Williams?”

“Much better than I expected.  We are getting Dr. Williams to talk a lot more than I thought.”

There was a long pause on the phone.  “What is it, Becki?”  Chancellor Wilson asked.

“I don’t know Dad.  It’s just that I have never heard anyone talk like Dr. Williams.”

“Wait a minute honey, you remember our deal.  You are to get as much incriminating evidence as you can so we can bring Dr. Williams up on charges of proselytizing.  Do I need to remind you that I was hired by the board of trustees to come here to help them get rid of Dr. Williams and others like him?”

“You have not forgotten our deal, have you?  Remember that trust fund set up by some anonymous donors for you when Dr. Williams is finally removed from this campus.  You do remember how much it is don’t you?”

“Yes, daddy, I know.  I had better get back to the discussion. I might miss something incriminating.  Bye, dad, I love you.”

“Love you too Becki.”  Chancellor Wilson hung up the phone wondering if his daughter would be up to this.  He probably should not have brought her in on this.  Things had been rather difficult over the past few years with the loss of his wife and son.  They had been killed by a drunk driver.  To make matters worse, the driver claimed to be Christian.  It had just been too hard to believe that he had lost his wife and son due to some Christian driving drunk.”

Needless to say, it was at this point that Mr. Wilson and his daughter began to lose their way.  God was to blame for their tragic loss, and if he used one of his children to kill his wife and son there would be no way for him to ever consider being a Christian.

May 10, 2017: Our Unseen Enemy

2 Corinthians 4:3-4 (NIV)
3  And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4  The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

“Dr. Williams, do you believe that your way is better than any other way?”  Julie countered the discussion that seemed to be going in the Williams’ favor.

There was an immediate silence at the Williams’ house.  The question and the sheer force of it suddenly took Peter back.  How could Dr. Williams answer that question without sounding intolerant and narrow-minded?  Nathan sat forward in his chair to listen more intently to the answer.  John was almost convinced of the truthfulness of what he was taught growing up, but this question set him back a few paces.

There was a sense of pride Julie felt when she asked that question, see how it brought the room to total silence. “Yes, that is a great question to ask my dear Julie.  I have many more for you, so have no fear of being deceived by this bumbling doctor and his wife.”  Julie did not know these thoughts were not her own.  She could not see the flurry of activity in the Williams’ house that night; neither could any of the other students.

Upstairs in the Williams’ house, there was another battle being waged.  “Father, I ask that you confuse the enemy and his ways.  Please keep him from being able to deceive these students any longer.  Silence the opposition and give Dr. Williams and Ruth a clear mind and loving heart so the students can see their way clearly to view your Son in all his majesty.”

Sally was a great prayer warrior on these nights when the Williams would hold discussions like this.  She had been involved in this warfare for several years now.  If the truth were known, most of the students who had come to trust Christ over the past several years had been purchased here in this prayer room by the hours of intercession that Ruth and Dr. Williams and Sally had labored through. it was the most powerful weapon in their arsenal against the fallen one.

Meanwhile downstairs the war waged on.

Becki sat up in her chair and leaned forward as Dr. Williams continued to ask questions.  She found herself marveling at how Dr. Williams only asked questions.  Every now and then, he would pause and make a short brief statement but there was nothing that could indict him of attempting to proselytize.  Much against her will when she came, she was now even considering examining the Bible again.

Julie and Barry, on the other hand, were growing in their distaste of this whole evening.  Barry continued to counter Dr. Williams’ questions with more of his own.  Each question became more belligerent.  Each time Dr. Williams responded to the question with grace and kindness.

Once, during the evening discussion, Julie was almost convinced.  She was about to say something but Barry caught her eye, he smiled at her in a rather flirtatious way.

‘Hey, do I see what I am seeing?”  Julie thought to herself.  “Could Barry Johansen actually be interested in me?  He sure is cute and smart.  O did I say he was rich?  I mean rich.  He was always taking trips across the country in his beautiful sports car.  I hear he has quite the time on these trips.  Boy, what I would not give to be able to go on one of those trips.” Julie thought.

Sidetracked by Barry’s smile prevented her from hearing Dr. Williams question.  Now she was almost out of the discussion.  Just when she was about to listen again Barry would wink at her or make some suggestive gesture.
The enemy knew exactly what card to play with every student and he was a master card player. If he could not win all of them this evening, he would at least set his stakes in a few of them.

“Report on your activities for the evening!” came the voice of the fallen One.

“Yes, O Great Fallen one!”  Came the reply of the young demon, trained by Old Slew Foot.  Old Slew Foot had been working on college campuses for almost a century now and he knew every trick in the book.

“Mark, pre-law major.  He is expressing interest in following the Scarred One but I have him occupied with his anxiety over his debt that he has incurred due to your great wisdom in deceiving students into amassing huge debts while in college that many of them will never be able to pay off.”

“Nathan, the young freshman who lost his sister to a random act of violence in the nation you now control in the Middle East. He is wavering but I think I can get him by playing the card of bitterness.  He continues to think this was your act and I think I can get him convinced that our enemy is not good.”

“Peter, well I know we lost him a few years back when he was influenced by that teacher of our enemy at his high school.  I frankly did not think there were any more of our Enemy’s servants in the public high schools.  Sorry I missed that.  But I can keep him occupied with his desire to be well thought of at the University.  He can still be Christian but I think I can get him to tone it down for fear of being the campus idiot.”

“Julie and Barry I have pretty much in my pocket.  I can continue to play to their lusts for pleasure and the things of this world.  They should be a pretty easy win.”

“John and Becki have me worried though.  There were several moments tonight when I could not see in their minds what they were thinking.  For some reason, a fog came over me so I could not influence them with the thoughts I had learned from Old Slew Foot.  I am quite concerned about these two O Fallen One.”

“Susan. There is not much to worry about there.  She keeps to herself and is wrapped up in trying hard to fit in.  I have been using Old Slew Foot’s tactics with her and they are working quite well.  She has been wearing herself out trying to buy all the right clothes and accessories unaware that just when she finally has all the right stuff I will lead the trendsetters to change everything so Susan will never know the acceptance she is looking for until we have her in our eternal grasp.”

“Good job, young apprentice.” Replied Old Slew Foot looking to the Fallen One for a look of appreciation.  There was none to be given. What was he thinking, that was only a practice of the enemy.

“Excuse me O Most Fallen One. I do have a question.”

“Yes, what is it?  Be quick.”

“Sir, I know there were three others, Dr. Williams, Ruth and Sally present in the house last night but I can only account for the presence of the Dr. and his wife. I could never find where Sally went.  Frankly, sir that has me a little concerned.”

The demons could not see where Sally had gone.  She was hidden from their view.  If only more believers could see the power of being in such a place.

 

May 11, 2017: The Unseen Warriors

Matthew 6:6 (KJV)
6  But you, when you pray, enter into your closet, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father which is in secret; and your Father which sees in secret shall reward you openly.

The conversation continued until well past ten o’clock that night.  Dr. and Ruth Williams were careful to a fault to answer the questions the students asked.  They were restrained from sharing like they usually did.
Becki was growing more impatient with each passing moment.  She knew they did not have anything to indict the Williams, in fact, it was giving evidence to the contrary that there was no attempt at proselytizing, even in the faintest way.

The longer the evening wore on the more Becki knew this could not be the last time they met with  Williams.  They frankly needed more evidence if they were going to get rid of this dangerous couple.

Becki communicated with Julie that they would need to have at least one more meeting.  Before Becki could suggest meeting at another time Ruth spoke up.  “I hate to bring up bad news but it is getting late. You have classes tomorrow and the Dr. and I need to get some rest before we have work tomorrow.  I wonder if it would be possible to meet another time.  I don’t think we have answered all your questions and I want to make sure you have everything you need to think clearly about this issue.

They set next Wednesday for what they thought would be their last night at the Williams. Julie turned off her phone, put it in her backpack and zipped it up.  As the students got up to leave Ruth asked if she could offer a prayer for wisdom for all the students involved in this philosophy class that they would have their questions answered and be able to have a good grasp of this issue of absolutes.

Becki looked at Julie motioning for her to get out her phone, but it was too late.  The students all said it could not hurt. Ruth offered a short prayer asking God for His wisdom to help these students think through this issue.
With the prayer concluded the students all headed back to their dorms.

Peter and Nathan stayed behind after the others left.  For the next hour, Peter and Nathan asked the Williams how they managed to stay faithful in college when they were at the University.  What came out of this one-hour discussion was the beginning of something the Williams and their church had been praying for months

Peter and Nathan left, Dr. Williams looked at his wife and they quietly thanked God for what had happened this evening.  As they turned to go upstairs to get ready for bed, they heard sounds coming from the prayer room.  Dr. Williams was startled at first but then Ruth calmly told him that Sally had been in the prayer room since dinner was over.

They quietly opened the door and saw Sally standing at the window praying for each student by name until she could no longer see them.

“Wow, what a jewel God has in her life.” Dr. Williams expressed his wonder at how someone could spend their life in such a way hidden from the view of the world and even many in the church. I am sure her reward will be great when she meets our Savior.”

“How right you are my dear, how right you are,”  Ruth replied with a settled peace.

With the last student gone from her sight, Sally turned to see the Williams standing at the door.  “I’m sorry I stayed so long.  I should be going home now. Do you have the time Ruth?”
“It is already almost 11:30 p.m.”  Ruth offered.

“I can’t believe I have been up here that long.  I just felt you needed someone praying for you while you met with the students.  It sure did not feel like four hours.  I will see you tomorrow at work.  I would like to hear what took place tonight.”

As Sally left the Williams’ house there was a flurry of activity at another part of Campus.

“We have located her O Most Fallen One.”  Came the report of one of the lower demons that roamed the campus named Iscariot.  He was named from the one who betrayed the Scarred One.  He took great pleasure in being known by that name.
“Where was she?” queried Old Slew Foot
“I am sorry sir I do not have that information.  We just located her walking back to her house.  We assume she went to her work after dinner at the Williams.” Replied Iscariot.
“We cannot have this lack of information on the whereabouts of the servants of the Scarred One.  Assign one of master demons to this one called Sally; we cannot have that happen again.

With that, there was a rush of activity in the basement of the Chancellor’s office.

 

May 12, 2017: What They Don’t Know Will Hurt Them!

1 Corinthians 2:6-8 (NIV)

6  We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. 7  No, we speak of God’s secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. 8  None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

 

“Yes, Chancellor Wilson, we can see that you are making great headway in our reason for bringing you to this campus.  Many of those who have been so outspoken about their faith are growing quieter as we speak.  We really do like the way you have portrayed those who hold to such outdated faith as behind the times.  Your idea of bringing this special conference on the new age of human intelligence is a game changer.  We already have other prestigious universities looking at our progress here at the University as a pattern they probably will follow soon.”

“Let me say that I consider this one of my great achievements in the past several years among the many universities I have served.”  Chancellor Wilson replied to those who were at the quarterly board meeting for the University.

“Can you give us an update on your progress on the Dr. Williams problem we have had for several years,  Chancellor?”  asked the largest financial supporter of the University, Mr. Johansen.

“I am happy to report that we are gathering all the evidence we will need to indict this Dr. Williams so he should not be bothering us much longer.”

“Good, glad to hear it, Chancellor Wilson,” came the voice of many of the board of trustees.

“Gentlemen and ladies of the board, I want you to plan to be present if at all possible during this special conference that will be here during the last week of October.  We have some of the best and brightest minds that are doing a great job of promoting this new brand of spirituality.  This promises to be the best conference of this type we have ever had.  We are bringing the best promoters we could find in the nation and some of them are the best in this field in the world.  We are seeing significant changes happening on campus even before the conference.”

Many university staff members who were followers of Christ began to suffer a growing number of nightmares.  They experienced a loss of ability to concentrate on their tasks and found they were often struck with moments of fear.  Some followers of Christ began to have significant doubts about their faith in ways they never had before.

At the weekly prayer lunch for faculty and staff, many confessed to these experiences.  It was at the next prayer luncheon that a professor who was a member of another small house church near the campus shared the following insight; “Brothers and Sisters, God is allowing our enemy to oppose us and lead us to doubt so that we will be strong for the battle that lies ahead for all of us.  Do not be alarmed did not our Lord tell us that in this world we will have tribulation?  This is just another confirmation that we are His.

Let these obstacles that we are now experiencing become the very means to make us strong and stedfast in this battle.

Let us gather our prayer warriors around us.  Those that you know that are believers in the Lord Jesus ask them to begin praying for us.  We are preparing to wage a war that has been long in coming to this campus.  I believe that God is doing something not even our greatest enemy knows anything about.

Let us rejoice and give God glory for the things he has prepared for us.  With that, the prayer meeting began and continued past the usual lunch hour.  Those that had to teach classes left before the prayer meeting finished.  Others who had never attended before found their way to the prayer time and joined in the intercession.

The numbers of staff and faculty participating grew.  The prayer lunch was always over at 1 pm but today was different; it did not finish until well after 3 p.m.  Everyone who participated sensed a feeling of awe when they left.

What was God up to and how was he going to bring glory to himself out of all of this?  No one knew but those who knew God were filled with great faith as they watched and waited for God to work.

May 13, 2017: Compelling Evidence

Isaiah 59:19 (KJV) So shall they fear the name of the LORD from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him.

John 13:34-35 (NIV) A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

The next week went quickly.  The philosophy class was buzzing with much discussion every day.  There was a new passion for studying the great philosophers.  Students were talking about questions that really mattered; Why are we here; Why is there something rather than nothing?; Where did we come from?; Where are we going?

This pursuit of knowledge spilled over into other classes.  Even in math class questions of the purpose of life found its way into the quadratic formulas and the Pythagorean Theorem.  Many Literature classes were now examining the classic sermon of Jonathan Edwards, “Sinners in the Hands of An Angry God.”  It no longer was considered a sermon to laugh at mock but actually, think about and apply.

Spontaneous discussions were held in dorm lobbies and cafeterias all over campus.  It became a regular occurrence to see students with philosophy books open alongside the Bible and other religious texts.

One small discussion group held at the Williams’ would soon change the course of this university for years to come.

“Julie you cannot let that happen this time.  Make sure you have your phone on for the entire length of our discussion, even when it looks like we are finishing. I want to make sure we get the prayer of the Williams on the record.”  Becki said with a strong, stern voice.

“Ok, Becki.  I promise I will do the best I can,” replied Julie as she checked her battery to make sure it could record the entire evening this time.

The group of students all arrived ahead of schedule at the Williams’ house.  “Something sure smells great,” Mark offered as he entered the living room at the Williams’ house.

I think you all are in for a treat.  My wife and Sally have been busy all day long preparing this meal.  It is truly one of my favorites,” Dr. Williams replied.

After a few minutes of small talk, Sally appeared to announce that dinner was ready.  The students all departed for the restroom to wash up once more.  Becki, Julie, Mark, Peter, and Nathan all went upstairs and the others used the downstairs restroom.

Peter and Nathan washed up and returned to the table before all the others.  Mark, Julie, and Becki took their time washing up.  Becki saw the door first at the end of the hallway.  Curious, she opened the door to see the prayer room.  At first, she was overwhelmed with a deep sense of some feeling she could not quite grasp.  Grief and sadness swept over her at first.  She felt like she would break down almost instantly but she soon regained her composure.  She wanted to fall on the floor for some reason but a voice in her head said, “Don’t bow to anyone.  You are you own master.  You control your own destiny.  If it is to be it is up to thee!”

Julie interrupted, “Wow, what is this place?”  Julie asked, as she too was overwhelmed by the same feeling that Becki had, but she was not going to admit that.

“Quick get out your phone and take pictures, I think we have stumbled onto something that will be the final piece of evidence we need to finish our case,” Becki said with a sly smile growing on her face.

“Yes, this certainly will do what we need to do to finish off this Dr. Williams and his small band of crazy fundamentalists,” a voice inside Becki’s head echoed.

“Hey ladies, I think you are a little bit too intrusive in some else’s home.  We should be going down to dinner don’t you think,” Mark interrupted.  He too was taken back by what he saw, but not like Julie and Becki.  This room somehow brought back what he had heard from other followers of Christ he had listened to over the few years he had been here at the University.  There was something about the room that made sense.

“Wow, I thought you all had gotten lost up there, “ Nathan retorted.  The others at the table all laughed at the comment.

If you would like please join us as we thank God for this wonderful meal he has provided for us.  Dr. Williams bowed his head along with most of those around the table and offered a brief prayer of gratitude for the provisions set before them.

Once again, Julie was not ready so the prayer was not recorded.

There was much laughter around the table as the meal progressed.  They were on big family sharing a meal together.  Becki remembered what it was like when her mom and brother were alive.  They too used to enjoy being together but, that all came to an abrupt end with that drunk Christian who killed her mom and brother.  She found anger rising as the meal continued.  Every time there was a smile or a bit of laughter her bitterness grew.

“Yes, look at what you have lost.  Look at what was taken from you, Becki.  You will never see your mom again and your brother is dead too.  All because of some Christian who drank too much at some frat party on that other campus your dad was chancellor of.”

“If you just do what your father has asked, you will be richly rewarded.  This is your time to get revenge on all those who call themselves Christian.  It won’t be long now,” Iscariot was doing his finest work.

“Becki, could you help me with the dessert.  Sally had to leave and I could use a couple of good hands.”  Ruth leaned over asking Becki.

Ruth’s voice felt like the voice of a mother. “Sure, Mrs. Williams, I would be glad to.  Thanks for asking.”  The words were out before Becki could even think.

Becki cleared the dinner plates off the table and made her way to the Kitchen to help with the dessert.  When she entered the kitchen, she saw all the desserts Ruth and Sally made.  Every dessert she saw reminded her of what it was like helping in the kitchen with her mom when her parents would entertain board members, professors and other staff at the other universities her father had been.  She once again found feelings of grief rising up within her.  She wanted to weep but, quickly realized what was happening and regained her composure.

“She has set you up, Becki.  She is doing this to disarm you so you will not finish your plan.  Remember she belongs to that lunatic fringe group of those who actually believe there is a loving God.  Don’t be fooled by her.”

“Yes, that was right, this all done by those who are hypocrites and force their beliefs on you,” Becki told herself.  For the rest of the evening, Becki was very somber and detached from the conversation.

When they returned to the dining room with the tray of desserts, everyone was impressed by the choices in front of them.  “Well, I certainly can say Dr. Williams you sure chose well in who you married,” remarked Barry.

Barry, I really did not have much of a choice.  I believe that Ruth and I were directed by God to be husband and wife.  Besides my relationship with Christ, I consider my relationship with my wife to be the greatest blessing I have in this life.

Julie, Susan, and Becki all noticed how Ruth and Dr. Williams looked at each other.  They had been around many couples who were married but, it was seldom they witnessed two people who were married speaking so well of each other and actually looking like they loved each other.  There were not words of sarcasm or funny criticisms, only words of gratitude and kindness.  Yes, there was something different about this house and this couple and it was very evident.

May 14, 2017: Gaining Ground

Ephesians 4:26-27 (NIV)

26  “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27  and do not give the devil a foothold.

The conversation moved to the den after dessert.  Every student was engaged in the discussion except Becki.

Dr. Williams, we all liked your illustration about the road map last week but we still have some questions that need to be addressed,” Mark began.

“We will do our best to answer them if God grants us his wisdom, mark,” Dr. Williams replied.

Barry began the questions.  “Ok, if there are moral absolutes as you suggest, how do we determine who is right?  There are so many that say they have the truth, yet they are in conflict with others who make the same claim.  Isn’t it somewhat arrogant to say that what you believe is right when saying that you immediately say that everyone else who does not believe like you is wrong?”

“My father travels all over the world doing humanitarian work in many third world nations and he sees the result of such thinking.  Wars are fought over religion.  Right now in the Middle East, we see millions of people killed or displaced just because they believe something different about God and the world.  How can we decide who is right and who is wrong?”

“Barry you have asked perhaps the best, most important question of our discussion so far.  It does sound arrogant, and yes, even narrow-minded to say that you have the truth when so many disagree with what you see as truth.”

“Let me see if we can discover any principles of logic that can help us in discovering what the truth really is,” Dr. Williams continued.

“I need to ask you a few questions and I want you to think very carefully as to how you would answer.  I am not trying to trick you or manipulate you to see things my way.  I too see things imperfectly and I am in need of correction often when I want to arrive at the truth.”

“Nathan, would walk over to the light switch and turn off the lights for just a moment?”  Nathan proceeds to turn off the light in the den.

Dr. Williams continues, “Barry I want you to tell me what I am doing with my hands right now.”

Barry complains, “This is impossible.  I cannot see your hands because the light is out.”

“John, can you read for me the table of contents in your philosophy book?”  Dr. Williams continued.

“I am sorry I can’t even find my philosophy book in the dark,” John replied.

“SO what do we need to happen if we are going to find an answer to any of the questions I just asked?”  Dr. Williams continued.

“We need Nathan to turn the lights back on!” Julie offered.

“How many would say that Julie is correct just raise your hand?”  Dr. Williams offered.

“Hey, how can you even see who is raising their hand?  I don’t get what you are doing here besides wasting our time,” Barry replied.

“Nathan, you can turn the lights back on now.”  The lights were now back on and the students silent for a brief moment.

“To even begin our discussion of the kind we are having this evening we must understand that we are dependent creatures.  We are not independent, as many are led to believe nowadays.  How do you learn anything at all?  You have to have someone teach you, right?”

The students all replied in the affirmative.

“Great now that we all agree on that we need to ask another question, who should we have as our teacher?  What characteristics should we want our teacher to possess if we have any hope to arrive at the truth?”

The students began to offer their thoughts

“They would have to be very intelligent,” Barry offered.

“Not just intelligent but they would have to possess all possible knowledge so they could see the truth from all perspectives,” Susan interjected.

“It would be helpful if they cared about us so they would not use the truth to hurt us,”  Frank added.

“Now you are thinking.  Great observations.  Let’s see how these answers can help us in our pursuit of the answer to the question posed by your professor.”

“It looks like we need someone who cares about us, who is able to and willing to teach us. However, whoever this teacher is must have knowledge about everything.  I think the word is omniscient.”  Peter offered.

“Wait a minute Peter, your answer sounds very close to your Christian definition of God,” Becki added abruptly.

“I don’t think I like where this discussion is going,” Barry contested.

“If we want to know the truth don’t we have to be open to wherever leads?”  Mark offered.

“I hate to say it, but I think Mark has a good point,” Susan offered.

The den suddenly grew quiet as they each let the previous thoughts settle.  For some, the light was dawning, now they could see more clearly.

Becki found herself wanting to believe where this conversation was leading.  She was beginning to feel things she had not felt in a long time.  Could it be there was a reason behind all this madness?  Was there really a truth that could set her free from all her bitterness and resentment?

“Iscariot, you are losing her.  Look at what she is thinking.  You had better act fast or our enemy will have her,” Old Slew Foot warned.

“Becki, you can’t believe these lies.  If there really is a truth to believe you will have to admit all the lies you have told.  Even your friends will turn on you once they see the real you.  You have been living a life of deceit since you first arrived on campus.  Think of all you would lose if they knew the real you.”

Becki knew the pain of rejection.  She had worn herself out trying to fit in.  She quickly retreated, the cost would just be too much. She chose to listen to the lies instead of the truth.  Iscariot was gaining more ground with each conversation.  However, he could not see what the Scarred One was planning.

May 15, 2017:  The Root of Bitterness Grows

Hebrews 12:14-15 (NIV)

14  Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. 15  See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.

 

The evening discussion, once again, lasted well into the late night hours.  Ruth and Dr. Williams responded to the questions of the students, usually with more questions that would direct the students to think in a different way or consider another perspective.  It was not often that the Williams offered much of what they believed.

Becki and Barry kept trying to steer the conversation so they could catch the Williams in some attempt at proselytizing, but not much was offered.

As the evening ended, Ruth offered to close the evening with prayer.  Peter volunteered to pray instead. He offered a short prayer for wisdom as they made their way through the various questions that had been posed.

Nathan and Peter remained behind for a few minutes.  “Wow, what a night!” exclaimed Peter and Nathan.

“I have never watched someone share their faith so clearly without even saying much.  That was very encouraging, Dr. Williams,” Nathan replied.

“Well, I have been taught by some of the best the Church has to offer.  Sitting at their feet while I was in college really prepared me for the ministry Ruth and I are in now.  God has been so faithful to continue to teach us how to make his truth known in this fast-changing culture.  Ruth and I are grateful for students like you that take the challenge to be discipled while they are in college with all the other demands of your time.  We count it a privilege to walk with you in these years.”

“It gives us such joy to be able to engage so many students who have not made their minds up yet about Christ.  Even the ones that were the most hostile just two weeks ago are beginning to see the truth.  I do think Barry, Julie, and Becki really need our prayers in the next few weeks.  I sense there is much we are not being told by these three.”

“Julie, let’s get together as soon as possible so we go over wheat we have collected.  We have to have our case finished within the next two weeks.  For some reason there is a deadline for this investigation,” Becki told Julie on their way back to the dorms that night.

“Becki, I’m afraid that there just isn’t anything we can use.  The Williams are not proselytizing in any way I can see.  Actually, I think they are quite harmless.  For the past two weeks, I have had numerous conversations with other students who know of the Williams and they have had nothing but great respect for them, even though they know they are Christians who hold to opposing views than most of the staff and faculty on campus,” Julie countered.

“I was told before I started school this fall to be very careful around the Williams and other Christians on this campus.  My father was very concerned that I not be taken in by them and their rhetoric,” Barry offered.

Becki felt her pulse increase with the statements of both of her “friends.”  Was she the only one that saw through the Williams?  It did look like the rest of the study group was beginning to side with the Williams.  Something else would have to be done.

 

May 16, 2017: The Accuser of the Brethren

Revelation 12:10 (NIV)

10  Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: “Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down.

“O Fallen One, we must work quickly.  The Scarred One seems to be on the move and we do not want to have happen what happened last time.”  Old Slew Foot had the images of his terrible failure almost a century ago on this very campus.  They just knew they had their plans laid out for victory but it was all for naught because they did not see the growing number of saints interceding in their prayer closets.

 

Old Slew foot was getting more reports of saints disappearing for an hour or so all across the state.  More so in this little community where the University had established her operations for over one hundred and fifty years.

“What is taking place over at the church across the street?” asked one of the chief demons assigned to this campus.

“I am sorry I cannot tell.  We have not been able to penetrate their shield for the past few weeks,” replied Old Slew Foot.

“Why don’t you try our trusted strategy that has worked almost every time?” the demon replied.

“Sir, I think you are on to something there.  I will put my best deceivers on it,” Slew Foot responded.

“Did you hear what I heard?  I heard that Dr. Williams and his wife have been entertaining several students the past two weeks in their home.  I wonder what Dr. Williams and his wife would want with students that don’t even believe the same things they do.”  Becki Wilson queried to several young students who were known for their ability to repeat a story.

“Yes, it does sort of make one wonder.  You know I heard those Christians do some rather weird things in their worship services.  Yes, I do wonder what takes place behind those closed doors,” another student echoed.

Within a day the gossip was spreading all over campus and complaints were arriving at the Chancellor’s office from some of the student’s parents when they heard what was taking place.

“Mark, I don’t care what you think of Dr. Williams and his wife you just cannot be seen with them any longer.  How would it look on your application to law school if it was discovered that you were friends with Dr. Wilson?”  Mark’s father refused to listen to Mark’s protests.  “I’m sorry I strictly forbid you to be seen at the Williams’ house any longer.  End of discussion.”

Over the next few days, most of the students had called Ruth Williams to decline another visit in their home.  When asking the reason, the response was the same, “We are just too busy to give this subject any more time.  The professor has already given us an extension of one week and our time has run out.”

The Accuser of the Brethren had done his best work.

May 17, 2017: The Saints of God Arise

Hebrews 10:32-34 (NIV)

32  Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you stood your ground in a great contest in the face of suffering. 33  Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. 34  You sympathized with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions.

 

The enemy could not see what his plan had done to the small house churches and storefront churches that met all over the state.  Once a church heard about the accusations and the rumors, they decided to go to war, spiritual war.

When word got around the campus about the accusations that were being made about Dr. Williams and his wife, a few faculty members paid Chancellor Wilson a visit.  The first to come forward was the Math professor that John had on his first day of class. He was always one to share his faith rather subtly.  This time it was different.  He had stood back long enough trying to do things in a clandestine way but the time for that was now over.

“Chancellor Wilson, Professor Jones from the math department is here to see you,” his secretary said.

“Fine, show him in Ms. Robinson,”

“Come in Dr. Jones, what can I do for you?  Don’t ask me any math problems, I was never any good at math in College,” Dr. Wilson made a poor attempt at humor, attempting to lighten the mood.

‘Actually Chancellor Wilson I am here about the rumors that are being spread on this campus about the Williams.  I have been on this campus for more than thirty years and I have never really stood up for the Christians, except to do my best to support them behind the scenes.  This has now gone too far.  The rumor mill is about to destroy one of the finest families this campus has ever had on their payroll.

“I think it in your best interest to speak up to defend the Williams to stop this reputation ruining of the Williams.  If you won’t I will Chancellor,” Professor Jones stated very forthrightly.

“Well, Dr. Jones we do have to take into account any report that makes its way to my office.  You do know if there is any impropriety in the Williams’ household we will find it and expose it,” Chancellor Wilson replied, looking rather sternly at Dr. Jones.

“In fact, Dr. Jones if you stand with the Williams and they are found guilty your tenure here at the University could be in jeopardy,” firing a warning shot in Dr. Jones direction.

“Well I wish I did not have to say this, this way Chancellor, but I feel I must,” Dr. Jones responded.

“I will not stand by and allow a good man and woman to have no advocates.  If you will not say something then I will begin today in every one of my classes.  I will also report that we had this conversation.  You know I have tenure at this present time so I am not worried about what you can do to me.  Besides that, I need to let you know that I too have become a follower of Christ.  So I am prepared to suffer whatever comes.  I do hope you will think through all the ramifications of your position,” Dr. Jones got up to leave but turned abruptly and looked right in Chancellor Wilson’s eyes.

“Sir, I know it is a very hard and difficult task to navigate these waters you are in.  I mean you no ill will and I will be praying that God will assist you as you lead this university into the future.”

Over the next several hours, followers of Christ called in or stopped by the Chancellor’s office to express their concern about the Williams.  Something left Chancellor somewhat dismayed.  Almost every one of the Christians did not call him names or treat him with any disrespect.  They all ended their conversation by saying they appreciated his role and would be praying for him that God would assist him in leading the university in the days ahead.

This response was not what Chancellor Wilson had anticipated.  He reflected back to the time his wife and son were killed by the drunk driver.  Though the driver claimed to be Christian it was the Christians in the local churches near the university that came by and provided meals and took care of his lawn and even provided round the clock help with Becki if he needed someone to stay at his house when traveled was called for by his position.

Chancellor Wilson closed his door and asked not to be disturbed.

“God, I don’t know if you are there or not but I think I am going to need your help.”  He sat in his office for several minutes thinking back over the years he had with his wife and son.  He could recall several conversations he had with his wife over the years of their marriage.  She was a faithful wife but she was also a very committed follower of Christ.

There would be times they would talk for hours and then they would go months without discussing any spiritual topic.  His wife never pressed him; she just worked by his side to assist him in his task of chancellor at the many different universities they had been called to.

He really felt the absence of his wife because he could always call her and ask her what she thought and she would never hesitate to give him her opinion.  Her wisdom was incredible.  She always gave credit to Christ for that.

May 18, 2017:

The Enemy Surprised

Revelation 12:11 (NIV) They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.

The outpouring of concern that came from the Christians this time moved Chancellor Wilson.  They really desired what was best for the university but they did so without any hostility towards him.

As he sat in his office, he found himself wanting to pick up the Bible that his wife had given him just a few days before she died.  She told him that there was enough wisdom in the Bible to help guide him with any decision he would have to make.

He turned to pick up the copy of Scripture and opened to the place that his wife had already placed a bookmark.  He had not opened the Bible since his wife gave it to him.  He did not want to appear weak and dependent on anyone, let alone God.

He opened to the bookmarked page and his eyes fell on James 1:5 “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.”

After he read that verse, his eyes saw a note that his wife had placed there when she gave him the Bible.  The note said,

“Dear Love of My life, I know things seem out of control and I know we do not see eye to eye about Jesus yet.  I have prayed for you that when the time is right you too will see what I have seen in Jesus.  There will be times when you will not be able to ask me what I think so I am giving you something that far exceeds my wisdom.  Contained in this book given to us by God you will find wisdom that will guide you all the way through this life.

“I pray you will come to know the love and joy I have found since I trusted Christ.  You might want to talk to your son also.  I think he has now decided to follow Christ as well.

“I love you and am so glad I married you.

“Love Always,

“Your Wife, Jan”

P.S. However God chooses to bring my life to an end I pray that my life will be used by Him to help you see your way to Christ as well.

May 18, 2017: Evidence that Compels

John 13:34-35 (NIV)

34  “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35  By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

“Hello, who is this?”  Becki asked as she answered her phone.

“Becki,” the voice was rather hesitating at first, “this is Ruth Williams.  I know your father does not want you to see me anymore and I am not calling to get you in trouble with him.  I know that you do not think highly of Christians at this moment and I can certainly understand that knowing what happened in your family a few years back.”

“How do you know how I feel?  It was one of your Christian’s from one of your churches that killed my mom and brother.  How could you possibly know how I feel,” the anger was toxic.  Becki found her hatred erupting as she talked with Ruth.

“O Becki, I am so sorry for what happened to you.  Actually, the reason I am calling is that I did find out just yesterday what happened to your mom and brother.  I too had something very terrible happen to me when I was younger and the effects of that are still with me today.  If you would let me buy you a cup of coffee At Java Joes, I would love to share with you why my story may help you.

“Becki hesitated but then replied, “Mrs. Williams I just do not see how you can trust this God of yours who allows such bad things to happen.  I see you with you nice house and great husband living the dream life.  I don’t see any of your struggles so I don’t see how you can relate to me, but I am a coffee addict and if you are buying I will be willing to meet with you since it will not be at your house.”

“What time would you like to meet Becki?”

How does 8 a.m. tomorrow sound?

That is perfect.  I get off my night shift at seven so that will work out just right.  I will see you tomorrow morning then.”

“Ok, Mrs., Williams.  Please do not bring anyone else with you.  I would rather not make a big scene.”

 

May 19, 2017:  Broken Vessels

2 Corinthians 4:6-12 (NIV)

6  For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.

7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.

8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair;

9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.

10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.

11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body.

12 So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.

 

Ruth called Henry, her pastor at the church to ask him to pray for this meeting.  Henry passed the word to others on the prayer team at the church and they, in turn, called others on prayer teams across the city.

Ruth and Dr. Williams met at the café just a little past seven on Friday to pray together before Becki would arrive at eight.  “God, we trust you for whatever you are doing with our lives and our reputation.  We know being ridiculed, and falsely accused is part of belonging to you, so help us love those who would think only evil of us.  Help them to see Christ clearly through all the confusion.

“Lord, we pray for Becki that she would be set free from her bitterness and confusion.  Use us in whatever way is necessary for that to happen.”  Dr. Williams prayed over his wife and then quickly exited Java Joes before Becki arrived.

Ruth had arranged ahead of time to have a rather secluded table in the back corner so Becki would not be seen talking with her.  Ruth remembered what had happened to her that caused her to identify some with what Becki was going through.  The images flashed through her mind and brought up all sorts of anger and rage in her own life once again.

“Wait a minute, God.  I thought I was through with these feelings.  I thought this was finished.  Why am I feeling this way right before Becki meets with me?  I don’t understand why this is happening now.”  She poured out her complaint to God, not understanding what His plan was.

“Ok, Father, I will trust you through this but this is going to be more difficult than I thought.  I am going to need your grace now if I am going to make it through this conversation with Becki.”  Just as she was finishing her prayer, she saw Becki coming over to her table.

“Hello, Mrs. Williams.  Thanks for getting this table, I really don’t want anyone to see me talking with you, I don’t think my father would be very pleased,” Becki said as she sat down, looking around seeing if anyone she knew was in the coffee shop.

“You look upset Mrs. Williams.  In fact, you look like you have been crying.  I do not get it.  You call me to say you can help me but it really looks like you are the one that needs help right now,” Becki said as she noticed the tear streaks on Ruth’s face and her troubled appearance.

“I’m sorry Becki, but I think what I have to share with you is going to be much harder than I thought.  Why don’t you tell me what you want and I will go get it then we can talk,” Ruth offered.

“Sure that would be great.  I think I will have a large Coffee Mocha and one of those huge blueberry muffins.”

Ruth got up from the table and went to place their orders.  Becki was surprised by what she saw in Ruth’s appearance this morning.  She had never seen Mrs. Williams look this upset.  For some reason she found herself feeling compassion for Ruth for the first time.

Ruth returned with their coffees and muffins.  “Becki, would you mind if I offered a prayer of thanks to God for our food and our time together.  I know you do not necessarily agree with this Christian stuff but could you art least humor me.  I could use a little humor right now?”

“Sure Mrs. Williams that would be ok,” Becki replied.

“God, I want to thank you for Becki Wilson this morning.  Thank you for her willingness to hear my story.  I know right now, there are so many things that are confusing to both of us.  Frankly, I need your grace to help me with what I have been feeling this morning as well.  Bless our food and our time together.  Amen.”

Becki felt something unusual for the first time since the accident.  This feeling took her back to the times when her mother would pray over her before she left for school or when she having a hard time.  She remembered the prayers of her mother and how they made her feel.

Ruth and Becki enjoyed small talk for a few minutes.  They even shared a laugh or two.  Becki was feeling strangely drawn to Ruth but she wanted to fight it.  After all, she was the one who was trying to get her and her husband fired from the University.  “I wonder what Mrs. Williams would think of me if she knew it was me that started all these rumors,” Becki thought to herself.

Ruth looked art Becki and began, “I called you yesterday when someone told me your story about what happened to your family at the last university your father was.  When I heard your story, I knew I had to share my story with you.

First, let me say, “I am sorry for what happened to your mom and your brother four years ago.  I don’t know how I would handle all that.  I admire you for being able to survive as well as you both have.  Let me get right to the point.  Becki, I know you are angry about many things, one of them being God.  I got that right from our first meeting at the health center that night.”

Becki laughed.  “It was that obvious?”

“Well, let’s just say it was clear God was not one of your best friends at the time,” Ruth offered.

Becki was finding herself strangely drawn to listen to Mrs. Williams.  Her candor and her down to earth conversation were refreshing.  Most of the adults she knew all sounded too polite and robotic.  They offered the usual responses, smiled, and nodded when appropriate but you knew they really did not feel what they were communicating with their words and expressions.  Everything seemed too false to Becki.  Mrs. Williams and Dr. Williams were different.  She even noticed that about Peter and Nathan in her study group.  Perhaps there was something to this Jesus stuff after all.

Alarms were going off everywhere across campus far underneath the administration building.  “What is happening up there at Java Joe’s?  Someone get over there right now.  We are about to lose one of our prime humans, we simply cannot let that happen.”  The voice of Old Slew Foot was raging and loud.  Demons scattered everywhere.

“Hey aren’t you one of Barry’s friends?” came the question from a student that Becki had never met.

“I’m sorry, am I supposed to know you?”  Becki asked.

“No, I don’t think so.  I was listening to you talk with those girls the other day at the dorm and I agree with you.  I am sick and tired of the Williams pushing their religion down everyone’s throat on this campus.”

Becki felt her face redden as the words tumbled out of this stranger’s mouth.

“Yes, what you said about the Williams needs to be heard everywhere.  I agree.  What those Christians are doing behind closed doors really is concerning.  What you indicated about the Williams is probably truer than you know.  I am going to our Skeptics club right now and we are planning a protest to see if we can get rid of not only the Williams but others who hold to such outdated beliefs.”

Ruth was stunned by what she was hearing.  This young freshman had been the one that had started all these rumors about her and her husband.  How could she even stay at this table with her now?

“Yes, I quite agree with you, Becki.  Keep up the good work and we will be finished with these Christians before you now it.”  With that, the stranger disappeared.

“I’m sorry Mrs. Williams.  I should have never agreed to meet with you.  I am very sorry.  It just seems every time I try to do something right everything blows up.  I’m sorry we cannot meet again.”  With that, Becki left the coffee shop and Ruth sat there terribly confused.

 

May 20, 2017: From Out of the Depths

Psalm 40:1-3 (KJV)

1  I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.3  He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.  3 And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD.

 

“Dr. Williams, there is a call for you on line one. I think it is the office of legal affairs.”

“Thank you, Sally,’ Dr. Williams picked up his phone, “This is Dr. Williams, and how can I help you?”

“Well, actually I think it is you that will need our help.  We have been receiving several calls from former students accusing you of sexual misconduct with several young college women over the past several years.  Frankly, Dr. Williams, the evidence is all heresy but if this gets out in the open I do not know how we can protect your reputation.”

The voice on the other end of the phone continued, “I have been assigned your case by the Chancellor’s office.  Mr. Johansson has volunteered to pay for all your legal costs associated with this.  He is one of our largest donors for the university and he wanted to express his support of your work here at the University these past fifteen years.  In fact, he speaks rather highly of you and your work.  He indicated to me that he does not want your reputation damaged as a result of these, what he called, lies”

Dr. Williams sat silently at his desk as he listened to the number of complaints that were being lodged against him.  “How could this be happening now?  Things at the church were going well, he was making significant progress with several students on campus in their walk with Christ, and his marriage was the best he could ever have imagined.  He felt as if every foundation he had been standing on was now crumbling.

“Dr. Williams are you still there?” the voice on the other end asked.

It seemed like time just stopped and it was all a dream.

“Dr. Williams?”

‘Excuse me, sir, I just have to take a moment.  I am caught off guard with this.  I have always tried to be above reproach in my work here and everywhere else for that matter.

“I have never once been alone in any room with any college student.  I always have my office nurse or my medical assistant present in every room to prevent this kind of problem.  I can’t see how any of these accusations would stand in any court of law.”

“Dr. Williams.  I have seen how our courts have been evolving over the past several years.  With all the sexual misconduct by those in political and educational positions of authority, it seems the accused is always presumed guilty unless they can prove their innocence.  These accusations have a way of staying with you regardless of the truth of their claims.”

“Who am I speaking with?”  Dr. Williams asked.

“Sir, this is Joe Waters.  I have been at the office of legal affairs almost as long as you have been at the University.  I have heard of your reputation among many of the students and I think you have a chance of your reputation withstanding these accusations, but I must advise you that that chance is slim at best even with an impeccable reputation like yours.”

“Thank you for your candor, Mr. Waters.  I need people around me that will tell me the truth and not just what I want to hear,” replied Dr. Williams, feeling somewhat relieved that he had someone from the university on his side, it seemed.

“Mr. Waters,” Dr. Williams continued.

“Please, Dr. Williams you can call me by my first name.  It is Joe to you, sir.”

“Ok, then, Joe with your years of legal experience, what would you suggest my plan of action should be?”  Dr.Williams began to think back to all the years he had her working alongside the students and many of the faculty.  He was just coming into the prime of his ministry on this campus.  He surely did not want to see all this destroyed and his reputation tarnished where he may never be able to work on a college campus again.

“To be honest Dr. Williams I think the safest route for you is to take the offer Mr. Johansson is offering.”

“What is that?”  Dr. Williams inquired.

“Frankly I have not seen any offer to even approach this offer.  HE is offering to provide you and your wife a settlement out of court in the area of two million dollars.  There would be no admission of guilt but you would have to move to a location out of state.  You would receive a great reference from the university with no record of any of these accusations.  He has even offered to purchase your home so you would not have to go through the ordeal of trying to seal it in this down market.  I think he is even willing to buy it at a price above market value.”

“Wow, that is some sweet offer!  I don’t see how I could pass that up.”

“If you were to accept this offer you could be out of your house and you and your wife could move to a pace that is more agreeable with your views.  You could have the house of your dreams beyond anything your wife could desire and you would never have to worry about finances again.  I do think this is the best offer I have here seen given to anyone that has had so many accusations lodged against them.”

“‘There is one catch to this offer.”  Joe continued.  “You have until the end of this week to accept it.  After Friday at 5 p.m. the offer will be rescinded and the University will proceed with a court case to convict you of these charges and any others that surface during the trial that will surely be a nasty ordeal.”

“Well, Joe, I do not want to make any decision hastily.  I want time to pray about this with my wife and my church before any decision is made.”  With that, Dr. Williams said good-bye to Joe Waters.

. . . . . . . . . .

“Sir, we have all the news of the Williams spreading as fast as we can get it out.  Becki Wilson seems to be on the rampage.  She is spreading the false rumors as fast as she possibly can.  She is like someone possessed,” squealed the youngest demon assigned to this battleground.

“Yes I can see that you have done your job well my young deceiver,” Old Slew Foot remarked.

Another Demon interrupted with some disturbing news, “O Wicked Master, we cannot locate Pastor Henry and several of his key members.  It seems the Williams have disappeared from our radar as well.  I’ afraid sir, something is happening like it did back in the early 1900’s,” this one demon admitted with great hesitation.

“This cannot happen again my deceivers.  We must find them and stop them before they can start up their prayer meetings.  We simply cannot allow them to get any traction in this place,” Old Slew Foot was beginning to tremble ever so slightly but he could not let on to any of his lesser ones.

 

May 21, 2017: Rescued from the pit.  Part One

Psalm 40:1-5 (KJV)

1 I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.  2 He brought me up also out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.  3 And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD.  4 Blessed is that man that maketh the LORD his trust, and respecteth not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies.  5 Many, O LORD my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered.

 

While the enemy was busy trying to stop the private prayer sessions of many believers in their prayer closets he was oblivious to what the Scarred One was doing in another part of campus. It was happening where most demons were confident it could never happen.  In the Chancellor’s office, Chancellor Wilson was having an awakening of his own.

For the past several hours, Chancellor Wilson had been locked in his office out of sight of anyone.  Not even the demons could observe what was taking place.  They had assumed that Chancellor Wilson was already locked in and beyond redemption.  He once was used on other campuses to bring in lecturers and professors that were tremendous allies for the cause of the Fallen One.  Now, something was taking place deep in his soul.  He was beginning to rethink everything he believed.

He had been staring at his wife’s last letter to him for the past several hours and rethinking all that she had shared with him about her love for this Christ.  She had faced many struggles before she had met her husband and she had fallen for him almost instantly.

They had dated for over a year before they married.  During this time they had attended a few college bible studies, and Jan was growing more and more interested, but her husband to be just could not see the need to believe in a God.  He had always been smart and it seemed he could do almost anything he put his mind to so what was the need for a God, he was quite all right by himself.

Now things had turned rather dark.  He saw his own heart and could not believe what he had become.  He was no longer doing what he thought was best he was only doing the bidding of someone else.  He was not free, he was enslaved to all those who paid him his huge salary.  He had enjoyed the rewards that went with all the obeying orders of the select trustees.  The vacations, the new cars, and the great benefits just kept getting bigger and bigger.  Now the rewards were just not worth it.  He looked in the mirror over the mantle of the fireplace in his office and he did not like what they had become.

“God, if you are there, I just need to know if there is any hope for one like me.  I have become a liar and a deceiver.  I live only for my own pleasure and I am sick of what I have become.  Jan told me that you would forgive me if I turned to you and admitted my need for your son in my life.  I see now how terribly I treated Jan in her last few years as my wife.

I even rejected my children because I was interested in climbing the ladder of success.  If I had only known then what I know now I would never have done that.”

. . . . . .

“What is happening in the Chancellor’s office?’ thundered Old Slew Foot.  “Someone get up there right now.”

. . . . .

Outside the Chancellor’s office, a young college protester broke in demanding to see the Chancellor.  Before Chancellor Wilson could object, his secretary had already opened the door to see him on his knees before an open Bible.

“Chancellor Wilson what are you doing?” his secretary demanded in a very curt tone.

“I’m sorry could you give me a few minutes with this student it looks like he needs to tell me something important.”  Replied Chancellor Wilson

The secretary left him with the protestor and closed the door on her way out.

“Sir, I don’t mean to be rude or demanding but I think you should hear what I just heard over in the University lounge.

The student pulled out his cell phone and played a recording of a group of professors who had set in motion a full-scale attack on all the faculty and staff that held to any conservative Christian beliefs.  The tape revealed all sorts of unethical tactics they had put in motion to get these specific persons fired all on trumped up and fabricated charges.

After the tape was finished the student looked at Chancellor Wilson and asked what he was going to do about this.

“Young man, have you showed anyone else these videos?”

“No sir I have not.”

“I am going to ask you to do something that will seem unethical but I need you to trust me in this.  Can you act as an undercover reporter to gather all the facts of this group and their plans?  I think I am beginning to see my way clear now.”

“Are you sure you don’t want to do something immediately?  The rumors are so destructive of those who are Christian, especially those of Dr. and Ruth Wilson.”

“I think I have an idea exactly how we are going deal with these rumors.  By the way, I did not get your name, young man.”

“Why it is Barry Johansen, Chancellor.  We have met a few times before when my father came for a visit recently.”

“Yes, I think I do recall meeting you then Mr. Johannsen.  Thank you for your information.”

 

May 22, 2017: A Clear Word from God

2 Chronicles 20:12 (NIV)

12 O our God, will you not judge them?  For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us.  We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you.”

 

The Williams had retreated to their prayer room on the second floor of their home.  Meanwhile, many other believers had done the same thing at the same time, unaware of the chorus of intercession that was being sent up in this University town.

“I just cannot believe she could treat us so poorly, Honey.  I really thought we were becoming friends and then she is the one who started these rumors that may get you and I fired from this University.

How are we going to ever recover from this?  I just do not see any way this can have something good come out of it.”  The words just tumbled out of Ruth when she met her husband in their prayer room.  For the next several minutes, she just poured out her heart to her husband, and to God.

Dr. Williams gently put his arm around his wife and drew her close.  “Father, we do not know what to do at this moment but our eyes are upon you.  Please show us in your word how we should obey you so that others may see how great your son is.

Ruth and her husband spent the next hour or so waiting before the Lord.  Sometimes they would open to a passage of Scripture and pray according to what that passage revealed.  Other times they would sit quietly, or sing some hymn they both knew and just enjoy being before the Lord together.

Ruth was led to a certain passage and when her eyes fell on the passage, she knew what she had to do.  She looked at her husband and said, “Honey, I know now what I need to do.  I just need you to stay here and pray for me as I obey what God showed me in his word just now.”

Dr. Williams offered up a brief prayer for his wife to have wisdom and courage to obey what God had shown her in His Word.

With that prayer, Ruth Williams left on an assignment that was going to alter the course of many lives over the next few weeks.

 

May 23, 2017: A difficult assignment

Matthew 18:21-22 (NIV)

21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me?  Up to seven times?”

22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.

 

Ruth Wilson drew a deep breath as she opened the door to the dormitory where Becki Wilson was residing.  She went up to the residence hall advisor and asked if Becki Wilson could be paged.

The residence advisor knew Ruth Wilson, and had heard of the rumors that had been flying all over the campus.  “Just what is it you would like to see her about?” the advisor asked looking rather suspicious.

“Just tell her that a good friend has stopped by and wants to share with her something that should help her in the next few days.”

“Yes, Becki, the person said she had some information that would help you a lot in the next few days.  She would like to come up to your room to talk what you for a few moments.”

NO, I do not know who it is.  I think I have seen her on campus the past several weeks but I think you really need to talk with this person.”  The RA looked at Ruth and Ruth mouthed, “Than you so much.”

The Ra buzzed Ruth in past the entranceway, and Ruth began her long climb up to the third floor.  “God I really am going to need all the wisdom you can give me on this one.  Becki has to be hurting terribly.  Help me show her your love however I can.’

Ruth arrived at Becki’s door and knocked.  Becki Wilson opened the door and what Ruth saw in her room was something she would never have believed.

May 24, 2017: Jesus Meets a Woman in her Dorm Room

John 4:9-14 (NIV)

9 The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman.  How can you ask me for a drink?”  (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)

10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”

11 “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep.  Where can you get this living water?

12  Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his flocks and herds?”

13  Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again,

14  but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst.  Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

 

Before her, there was Mark, Nathan, Peter, Julie, Susan, Barry, and John.  Suddenly fear hit her and she wanted to run but she was frozen.  “Wow, we certainly did not expect to see you here tonight.”  The others all chimed in, Mark offered.

Ruth entered the room, found a chair, and sat down.

“I think I know why you are here Mrs. Wilson.  Could I take a guess and see if I am right?”  Peter asked with a quiet confidence.

“I too am interested to see if you now my reason for being here, Peter.  Go ahead and tell me why you think I am here.”

“We have been here with Becki for the past two hours.  She has been mortified by what she has done.  It all came to a head when that random student interrupted your visit at the coffee shop this morning.” Peter began.

Ruth looked at Becki and she could see she was visibly trembling.  Becki caught Ruth’s glance but instantly looked away.

“Becki has been her for the past two hours asking us how you could ever forgive her for what she did to you and your husbands’ reputation.  I told her that you would find a way to find her to forgive her.  I have been explaining to all of us how the forgiveness that Christ offered each of us allows us to forgive others who have hurt us.  We have all sinned in many ways, and some sin we do not even know of.  Our sin has separated us from God.  Far too many people who have sinned against God reach the wrong conclusion about Him.  They think he is coming to condemn them and send them off to prison or hell, so they try their best to hide from God and from others.  Then one day comes and they can no longer keep up the façade and everything falls down and they are left completely open to God with all their sin and yes sometimes even to others.

“God knew that we needed forgiveness and grace in order to start over and rebuild our relationship with him that was lost at the fall.  Mrs. Wilson, I am guessing the reason you are here is to let Becki know that she is forgiven.  Is that the reason you have made your way here tonight?”

“Yes, Peter it is.  That is not the only reason I am here.  I wanted to meet with you this morning to share my story with you so you could see what God has done with my life.  You see only what Christ has done with me since I trusted him; you did not see me before I knew Christ.”

“Before I begin my story let me say to you in front of these here in this room.  Becky, I forgive you.  I forgave you the minute I knew you were the one who was spreading all those rumors.  I know the pain and the heartache you have felt over these past four years since your mother and brother were killed.”

I want so share with you how I found Christ in the midst of my despair when I was just a little younger than you are today.

 

May 25, 2017: A Testimony of a Life that was Changed

Mark 5:18-20 (NIV)

18 As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him.

19 Jesus did not let him, but said, “Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.”

20 So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him.  And all the people were amazed.

When I was just fifteen, my mother was diagnosed with a disease that took her from me in less than two months.  My mother was my best friend.  I could not imagine living life without her.  IN less than two months, I had lost my mother and I had no one to help me through my teenage years.

My mom and dad had a great marriage and they always encouraged me to live for Christ no matter what.  When my mother died, I blamed God for taking my mom and jettisoned the whole idea of God.  My dad spent a lot of his time working trying to pay the bills and he did not have the time he needed with me.  He gave me what he could but it would not fill the vacuum that my mom left.

I began to fill that vacuum with other things.  I began to hang around a group of students in high school that was popular and looked like they had everything going for them.  That was the beginning of several years of making one bad decision after another.

When I was nineteen, I was a sophomore at another university in this state and I found myself at a party.  I knew I should not be there, I had been warned that nothing good happens there but I really needed to find something that would numb the pain I was feeling.

It all happened so fast that night.  I was offered a drink and the next thing I know I found myself several hours later curled up in a corner of the party house.  I had no idea what had happened to me.  It was not until a few weeks later I learned what had happened.  I discovered I was pregnant.  Talk about confusing and emotional.  I was a real basket case.

I remember screaming at God, “If this is the way you are going to treat me when all I am looking for is something to numb my pain then I don’t want anything to do with you.”

I could not see how God was going to use my pain to help me see my need for him.

 

 

. . . . . .

May 26, 2017: A Brilliant Flash of Light and an Explosion

Luke 10:17-20 (NIV)

17 the seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.”

18 He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.

19 I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.

20 however, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

 

“Where are those students in Becki Wilson’s study group?  We seem to have lost contact with them and their whereabouts?” demanded Old Slew Foot.

“Sir, we have been looking for them for the past two hours and we cannot seem to locate them.  The last we had contact with them was in Becki Wilson’s dormitory.”

“”Do you not see what is happening here you fools.  Our enemy is up to his old tricks.  He has blinded our eyes to their whereabouts so he can do his best work with our sniveling little cowards he calls his creation.”

Get over to that dormitory and stop whatever is going in the dorm.”  Old Slew Foot demanded with rage rising in his voice with every word.

The demons scurried up and out onto the campus fleeing toward the dormitory.  As they drew near the dormitory, there was a brilliant flash of light and a loud explosion.

The war was now all out on the campus of this University.

 

May 27, 2017: the Beautiful Power of Intercession

1 Timothy 2:1-4 (NIV)

1  I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone– 2  for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.  3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.

 

“O God I pray for Chancellor Wilson at the University where my grandson goes.  I hear of reports of trouble on campus for many of your children there.  Would you please work in Chancellor Wilson’s heart and mind and help him to see his need of you.  Cause him to repent and trust you.  Send someone to share your message of redemption so he can find his way to you soon.”

John’s grandfather had been experiencing a growing sense of urgency as he entered his prayer room each morning to intercede for those he would never see in this life.  He could not see how his prayers were being used by God to accomplish things in the real world.  For now, he was content to just obey the word of God and pray for all those in authority.  This had been his practice for years.  Ever since he attended a World Literature Crusade Prayer conference in St. Louis back in the late 1970’s he had been faithful to pray for many he would never see in this life.

HE had no idea what he would get to see in just a few short years.

Chancellor Wilson was just leaving his office walking toward his car when he saw a woman who was having car trouble.

“Can I be of some assistance ma’am,” he asked.

“Yes, I have had a very bad day.  First, my alarm went off an hour after it was supposed to and I was late to work at the Health Center on campus. Then we were swamped with all these students getting sick all of a sudden.  I have never seen it like this before in all of my fifteen years working here.”

“So you work here on campus at the health center?” Chancellor Wilson asked.

“Yes.  I really love my work here but these past few weeks have been very strange.  It all started a few weeks ago when this small group of students from a philosophy class came in to see about having one of their friends treated for a hard fall he had on campus on his way home after their study group.”

“That sounds quite intriguing.  I guess I best help you with your car and to take u all your time.  Here let me see if I can jump your car and get it started.”

That would be great,” Sally replied.

After several attempts, the car was not going to start. “Looks like I need to call you a tow truck to finish off your very fine day,” Chancellor Wilson said, attempting to lighten the mood of this woman alone on campus.

“Thank you very much for the encouragement sir,” Sally replied with a slight sense of humor.

“Can I at least offer you a lift home?  Don’t worry about not being safe with me.  I am the Chancellor of the University and I assure you, you are quite safe with me.”

‘Are you kidding me? Are you kidding me?  You are not really the chancellor of this university?”

“Guilty as charged!”

“Listen I have a bone to pick with you about what is happening on this campus these past few days,” Sally offered, sounding quite perturbed.

“Well, perhaps our meeting was meant to be.  It is not too late.  Can I treat you to a cup of coffee or some dessert at one of our late night cafes on campus?  I figure that would be a safe place for us to carry on this conversation.”

“Perhaps God has allowed my car to have trouble tonight for a greater purpose than I could see at first,” offered Sally, thinking of what she had heard Pastor Henry teach about God’s sovereignty.

“Listen, to make sure you are ok with this arrangement, let me call campus security and have them bring a golf cart over and we can ride with one of our campus security team to the café.  Would that be ok with you Ms.?” Hesitating because he did not yet know this woman’s name.

“You can call me Sally, I work with Dr. Williams in the Health Center and have been for over fifteen years now.”

IN just a couple of minutes the golf cart arrived.

 

May 28, 2017: The Story Continues

2 Kings 6:15-17 (NIV)

15  When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh, my lord, what shall we do?” the servant asked.

16  “Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”

17  And Elisha prayed, “O LORD, open his eyes so he may see.” Then the LORD opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

 

“Where is Chancellor Wilson?” Confusion was now growing in the place far below the Chancellor’s Office.

“Where is that Sally woman who works with the Williams?” The disorder was everywhere and the lead demons were barking orders, but no one seemed to know what to do.

“Sir, we have not only lost contact with Chancellor Williams but his daughter seems to have disappeared as well,” replied one very sheepish demon.

Alarms were heard going off everywhere deep underneath the basement of the office of the Chancellor.

. . . . . . .

May 29, 2017:   The Enemy Invades

Ephesians 6:10-12 (NIV)

10  Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.

11  Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.

12  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

 

“Sir, I believe we need to call in our best warrior for this situation,” A very wise young warrior suggested.

“Do you think it is that serious Young Wicked One?” one of Old Slew Foot’s associates asked.

“I do sir and we must do it now if we are to stand any chance of victory in this battle,” stated Young Wicked One.

“I will let you make the call,” Slew Foot’s Associate was looked worried.

Young Wicked One placed the call. “Sir I believe we are in need of your services here at the University.”

“What seems to be the problem?” the Prince of Persia inquired.

“Well, sir it seems like we have far too many of our enemy’s sniveling creation engaged in this activity that leaves us powerless against them.”

“Have you let them gather together for intercession again?” demanded the Prince.

“Sir, we have done our best but they refuse to be sidetracked. Apparently, we grew lazy in our deceptive tactics.  It seems we have led them to believe that they have no other hope but this.”

“How could you be so stupid? Have you not been taught better than that? I will be there immediately!” The Persian Prince was in route and things were looking up for the Fallen One’s strategy.

Somewhere on campus, another loud explosion was heard in the realms of darkness but there was no light associated with it.  Immediately after the explosion, a deep and foreboding darkness settled over the University and the town.  No one saw it coming except the Fallen One’s emissaries.

A cheer was heard in the halls of the Fallen One.

 

May 30, 2017: The Battle Gets Bloody

Daniel 10:12-14 (NIV)

12  Then he continued, “Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them.

13  But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia.

14  Now I have come to explain to you what will happen to your people in the future, for the vision concerns a time yet to come.”

The intercession activity was extremely high in the homes of many of those who belonged to the Scarred One.  The Persian Prince had arrived and none too soon.  He was now about to undertake his strategy that had worked well for thousands of years.

As the small storefront church was praying the Persian found a way into their prayer session.

“Father, we ask that you restrain the power of the enemy.  We pray for an awareness of sin to be strong among those you are calling to yourself.” Pastor Henry offered his request.

“Who do you think you are to ask such things of a God you have never seen?” came the voice of suggestion to Pastor Henry. “Look at all the things you have thought lately. Do you think this God of yours even cares about what happens here in this little insignificant town?  If he really cared about you why did he let what happen to you so many years ago keep you working as a janitor at the Library with all the degrees you have? How can you even trust this God who lets such things happen?”

Henry was caught unaware of what just took place. “Yes, I guess that is true. Perhaps I have just convinced myself this Christian faith is true because I so wanted to believe it.  I see so many of my colleagues getting promoted in their field of study and here I am stuck here as a janitor pastoring this small weak church.  I am not even thought much of on campus.  All that work in physics years ago and all those academic achievements have served only to lead me to more and more depression.”

“Well, Church let us stop for the night.  We have spent enough time in intercession for one night. After all, we know of many churches that hardly have more than five minutes of intercession and we are at least giving ourselves to an hour or more each week.”

It is time to go home and get some sleep because many of us have to work tomorrow.”  With that, Pastor Henry brought the prayer meeting to an end and the church quietly exited to their own homes.

 

May 31, 2017: The Darkness Spreads

Isaiah 59:16

16  He saw that there was no one, he was appalled that there was no one to intervene; so his own arm worked salvation for him, and his own righteousness sustained him.

 

All across the city those in their prayer closets or gathered in small prayer groups were caught unaware.  Without their knowledge, each prayer group experienced a confusion and despair at the same time.

As each group brought their prayer times to an end they each began to experience suggestions of insignificance, of looking foolish to others.  Some even began to accuse others in the prayer group of not being spiritual enough to pray longer.

All across the town voices were being heard that had not been heard in a very, very long time.

“Why are we concerned about the Williams?  They have their nice little home and their nice little ministry.  They don’t have any children to worry about and they have a nice income.  They probably don’t even have any bills they have to worry about.  Why invest so much time to pray for them.  They’re not even part of any church that has over 60 members in it.”

“Sir, we have located the student group and we have now found the location of Chancellor Wilson,” the Young Wicked One said with much pride.

“Good, I knew my strategy would work.  I have used it well for thousands of years.  It is my best weapon against these sniveling little dirt bags.”  The Prince was ecstatic.  His plan was doing better than he anticipated.

 

June 1, 2017: The Power of One

Ezekiel 22:30-31 (NIV)

30  “I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found none.

31  So I will pour out my wrath on them and consume them with my fiery anger, bringing down on their own heads all they have done, declares the Sovereign LORD.”

Several hundred miles away from the University a small weak aged man fell to his knees. “O God do not abandon the work of your hands in this city.  Come quickly to their aid.  They have no one as their defense but you.  They cannot see the danger they are in.  Without You they have no hope.  Intervene on their behalf.  Turn back the tide of the enemy on that campus and restore your presence and honor there.  Make your name great for the sake of those who have not yet been called home.”

Prayers of such a nature continued long into the night and even into the early morning hours of the next day.

No one knew of this one saint of God.  He had experienced the loss of his wife of fifty years just a few months ago.  He had witnessed his beautiful wife grow old.  They had shared many years of joy and contentment with each other as they had raised a family of six children.  Each of their six children were now followers of the Scarred One. They too had children that were being taught to love Christ at an early age.

This old saint had seen God work in many ways over the years.  He had traveled to many foreign nations to share the gospel of His Lord with others who would, in turn, respond to the message and trust in his Christ.

Others did not envy this saint.  They only saw him with disdain.  When his wife contracted dementia and suffered terribly with arthritis in her older years, he has stopped his travels to other nations, he stopped taking invitations to speak at large rallies where many would hear of Christ.  He chose to stay with his wife and care for her in her declining years.

So many saw this as a complete waste of his gifts.  He had the ability to preach and teach where many would hear and respond to Christ.  When invitations continued to come his way he politely refused and replied, “I have a better work to do now.”

No one could have even predicted how his decision would affect more lives after he stayed at home than before when he was traveling to all those places and coming how with reports of how many had been saved.  How would it be possible to have a greater ministry now that he had decided to remain at home with his wife and care for her?  What possible benefit could the kingdom have by his sitting all day by his wife?

 

June 2, 2017:  The Infection Spreads

Hebrews 12:14-15 (NIV)

14  Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. 15  See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.

 

It was now early in the morning at the University.  Before today many of the Scarred One’s followers used to rise early to intercede for the campus and town but today was different.  The snooze button on far too many alarms was hit over and over again.

There were only a few who rose to pray, but even those who did so had sinful wicked thoughts run through their minds while they prayed.

“Who do you think you are to pray to this God of yours?  How could he even listen to you with the thoughts you are now having. How many times have you struggled with these thoughts?  Yet here you are with the same thoughts you had years ago.”

“Don’t you think you are only fooling yourself into thinking that praying to some God you cannot hear or see or feel really accomplishes anything of value?”

The thoughts were constant without let up.  With each new wicked thought the commitment to pray lessened until every prayer warrior in the town just gave up.

Now the enemy was poised for the final blow.  “Sir, I do believe we have them now.  We can now see into every prayer room and prayer closet.  Nothing is hidden from our view.  This is the time to strike.”  The young Wicked One suggested, with great selfish pride.

Pastor Henry woke up early as usual. As he went down to breakfast with his wife, Julie.

“Hello, Beautiful.”

“Good Morning, Henry.”

“I noticed you did not get up for you usual morning prayer time Henry.  Is anything wrong?”

“No, I just thought I needed a little more sleep since we were at the prayer meeting longer than I anticipated, “replied Henry feeling a little attacked by Julie.

“Don’t you think we should be praying even more with all the attacks we have witnessed in such a short time this semester?” Julie replied sounding a little judgmental.

“I am the pastor of the church and I think I deserve a little slack today.  Things have been rather hard for me recently.  I have been thinking about not continuing as pastor.”  Henry replied, hoping to get some affirmation from his wife about the importance of his ministry.

“If you think you don’t need to pray as much as before, perhaps you are right in thinking you need to resign.  It might be for the best anyway.  They probably need someone who can identify with the younger students.” Julie offered trying not to sound as harsh as she knew those words would be.

“Who does she think she is telling me I am not good enough for this new generation? Look at all my degrees I have surely that counts for something. I think I will hang all my degrees and diplomas in my office so these new students can see all of my accomplishments that will help them to see how good I am.”

Henry and Julie couldn’t see it but the darkness had already invaded their home and it was seeking to bring down one of the best ministries in the city.  Soon its poison would be in every home of those who followed the Scarred One.

 

June 3, 2017: The Clash of Two Kingdoms

1 Corinthians 4:20 (NIV)

20  For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.

“Campus Health Center, This is Sally. How can I help you?”

“Well what do you know, you really do work at the Health Center”

“I’m sorry who is calling?” Sally asked.

“Excuse me for trying to sound funny.  I have never been very good at humor. This is that stranger you met in the parking lot last night.”

“O yes, the one who could not get my car started and then offered to take me home in a golf cart.  I must say that was a first for me. Never had a date with anyone on a golf cart before.”

“You consider what we had last night as a date? You do not need much to be impressed I see.”

The banter continued for a few moments.  “Sally, I really enjoyed our time together last night.  I have not had a night like since.”

“Since what Michael?” Sally asked compassionately.

A wave of emotions washed over Michael Wilson while he tried to regain his composure.  He had never experienced feelings like these.

“Sally, the reason I am calling is that I would like to hear more about what you are hearing on campus.  I am finding myself very interested in what is happening on our campus presently and I think you may be able to help me sort out some things.”

“I am free tonight, but I do not think it wise for us to be seen together on campus.  I am a good friend of Dr. Williams and his wife.  It might look rather suspicious.”

“I understand.  I don’t want to sound too forward but I know this great little out of the way restaurant about twenty miles from here and I don’t think anyone else from the university will be there.  They even have small remote dining rooms that seat two or three people so we could be secluded to continue where we left off last night.”

“Where should I meet you?” Michael asked.

“I will be at the Williams until five.  Why don’t you pick me up at their house.  There is a private entrance in the back by the alley.  You can come in that way and you won’t be seen by anyone. See you at five?”

“Thank you, Sally.  I will see you at five at the Williams.”

The enemy had dropped his guard.

June 4, 2017: A Rich Man Counts the Cost

Luke 14:25-33 (NIV)

25  Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said:

26  “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters–yes, even his own life–he cannot be my disciple.

27  And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.

28  “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it?

29  For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him,

30  saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’

31  “Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Will he not first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand?

32  If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace.

33  In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.

 

The conversation in her room last night was brought to an abrupt halt by a false fire alarm.  Just when Ruth Wilson was getting ready to finish her story someone in the dorm pulled a fire alarm and everyone had to exit the dorm. Becki never got to hear the rest of the story from Ruth last night.

What she heard resonated with her.  She too had been angry at God for all the things that happened to her over the past several years.  The death of her mother and brother were still very fresh and she found that her anger at God had not subsided much at all.

There was something that was startling to her though when she began to listen to Ruth Williams share her story last night.  She found herself being drawn to listen to Ruth and just as she was beginning to feel for her the fire alarm went off and that was that.

As she walked across campus her mind was turned to the payment she would receive when the Williams were once and for all fired from the University.  She began to dwell on all the things that $50,000 could buy for her.  She thought about Barry Johannsen’s sports car he drove.  She wondered what it would be like to be able to drive such a car.  Her dad only bought her older models, nothing she really liked but they did work.

“Hey, Becki,” she knew the voice of Barry Johansen.  They had met many times over the past several weeks as they plotted together to bring down the Williams.  They had spent countless hours in the conference room on the third floor of the library scheming and plotting how it would all go down.  Their plans, for the most part, were well underway and things did look like they were progressing very nicely toward their desired outcome.

“What is it Barry?” Becki said, not wanting to continue the conversation at all.

“I just was wondering what you thought of what Ruth Williams said last night,” Barry asked

“I don’t know what to think of it frankly.  I was willing to listen to her but when that alarm went off and I just could not get myself interested in listening any further.’ Becki said wishing this conversation would end.

“Well, I have been thinking about what she said last night and I has got me asking some questions I did not think I would have the courage to ask.”

‘Just what do you mean Barry?  You are not believing any of this nonsense that the Christians talk about are you? You are not wanting to become a Christian are you?” Becki asked almost condescendingly.

Well, I have been listening to the Williams at their house the two times we had dinner.  Then there are a few others who call themselves Christian that have begun to challenge me in what I think.  I don’t know either what to think of all this but I find myself being drawn to listen to them more every time I am with them, “Barry countered.

“Well, that is fine and dandy for you.  I do want you to think about the cost of such a decision.  Remember your father has invested a lot of his own money to see to it that this University rids itself of those who seek to undermine the real education on this campus by promoting an outdated belief in the Bible.  I should think your father would not be happy if he knew what you are thinking<” Becki replied.

“I have thought about that too. I just do not know what I am going to do with all that I have heard in the past few weeks.” Barry said, contemplating as he spoke.

 

June 5, 2017:  A Heart Grows Harder (Part One)

Proverbs 29:1 (NIV)

1  A man who remains stiff-necked after many rebukes will suddenly be destroyed–without remedy.

 

Becki did not hear Barry’s last words, she was lost in thought as she was reminded of how the young man who killed his parents claimed to be a Christian.  She even remembered him admitting his guilt at the trial.  He did not hesitate at all to admit his guilt.  He even went further in telling the judge it was all his fault.  He confessed he had recently become a Christian and knew what had happened was because of his sin.

When Becki remembered the young man’s testimony she was furious because he was still alive without a scratch. Her mom and brother were both dead.  “Nice thing this God of the Christians,” she thought.  They can live however they want and then just confess their needs for Jesus and everything is fine.”

With those thoughts she felt herself fuming. “How could God be trusted if he let everyone off who just admitted their need of a Savior. No this was not right and this is not what she would choose to believe.  If this was the way it is then this God of the Christians could not be fair.”

Her guilt over her lying about the Williams soon dissipated. She now felt more bold and confident in her assignment to take down the Williams.  In fact, she was alive  more than ever before.  She found more energy than she had felt in a long time.  Thoughts of pleasure were coursing through her mind.  She no longer felt the sting of guilt.  For the first time in four years, she had found something that made her feel alive again.  She could not see the enemy was tightening his grip on her.

As she entered her freshman biology class she would find more evidence to confirm her new found faith.

. . . .

Across town one of the larger mega-churches that had a great attraction for students had invited a professor of theology from one of the leading east coast seminaries to hold a series do open dialogues where students could come and ask whatever question they had concerning the Christian faith.

‘We need to get the word out about our professor from the Bible seminary on the East Coast.  It is not usual to be able to have a professor of his stature visit us.  Let us do whatever we can to build our attendance<” The lead pastor of Enjoy Church stated to his staff.

“Anyone have any ideas about how to get the students here?”

One of the younger staff, trained in marketing suggested, “Why don’t we see if we can hold these meetings on campus close to where the students are.  Let’s not ask them to come to us, let’s go to them>”

“That is a great idea, but how can we get space at the university. They are not very friendly to outsiders coming on their campus?” the lead pastor replied.

“I have several friends in the religion and philosophy departments and I think we can get them to go to bat for us.  These campus fundamentalists who hold to the Bible being true in every area need to be stopped soon,” came the reply of the wife of the most admired professor on campus, Mrs. Peterson.

“I have seen it before but this time they seem overzealous in their proselytizing attempts. They prey on the freshman, internationals and transfer students.  They seek to go out of their way to engage new students on campus and they are giving our University a bad name because so many of our students are being harassed by them,” Mrs. Peterson continued.

“Well, Mrs. Peterson we certainly appreciate your candor.  It looks like you are the one we can count on to secure a lecture hall on campus.  Can we get the large lecture hall for three dates over eh next month as we move toward the week-long series of topics that our new spiritualists will bring in at the end of October?” the pastor asked.

“Considerer it already done.” Mrs. Peterson replied with a flair in her voice.

.  .  .  .  .  .

 

June 6, 2017: A Heart Grows Harder (Part Two)

Ephesians 4:17-19 (NIV)

17  So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking.

18  They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts.

19  Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more.

 

Everywhere Becki Wilson went she found herself finding more and more evidence that seemed to clearly support the statement that there was no God.  The more she became convinced in her own mind the better she felt.  Her depression lifted, her feeling of significance and value even increased.  She was surprised by that because so many of the Christians told her that she could only find meaning and purpose and significance if she found Christ.  Well, this was certainly not true because now she was able to think far more clearly and with less distraction.

There was a party at the frat house this weekend and Becki found herself longing for the weekend when she could really let her new attitude about life take its first full flight.

 

Becki was a top student in her freshman class. She took her studies very seriously and found much pride in her ability to remember facts and figures for tests.  She possessed a very strong intellect and there were few in the class that were her match.  She even intimidated many Christians who were also great students.

Her cell phone vibrated and she took one look at who it was and she quickly dismissed it.  It was a call from her father.   Voice told her that her father was among the outdated ones.  He would never be able to understand her so why should she give much more energy into their relationship.  She determined that she would keep her conversations with her father as brief as possible over the next few months.

.       .       .       .       .       .

 

 

June 7, 2017:  Asleep at the Wheel

Mark 14:37-40 (NIV)

37  Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Simon,” he said to Peter, “are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour?

38  Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.”

39  Once more he went away and prayed the same thing.

40  When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. They did not know what to say to him.

 

Pastor Henry was growing concerned about what was happening on the campus and in the town so he called other pastors who were of a like mind and gathered them together.

“Dear Brother Pastors, I am glad you are here today.  I am concerned about what is happening in our community and on our campus.  It seems the enemy has come in like a flood and we need to develop a strategy to deal with this.” Pastor Henry offered a few suggestions and other pastors chimed in on what they thought could be done.

There were many suggestions and strategies proposed at that meeting. The meeting was adjourned with a brief prayer for God to bless their efforts.

The town’s leading elders of the churches got together and no one saw it coming.  The strategies were impressive.  Bring in the best apologist for the Christian faith, even though their speaking fees were quite high this was certainly worth the cost to be able to counter the arguments the other side would be offering.

No one saw it happening, the church was busy in making plans and printing tracts and talking about the Gospel with others.  There was more activity in these small churches spread across the city than there had been in years.  Yes, the church was really coming alive for this moment in her history.

At one of the planning sessions, one of the leading pastors was overheard by some of his members, “Yes all those at the University are liberal heretics.  They are blinded by the god of this world.  They are filled with hate for us and that is as it should be because our Lord told us we would be persecuted for his name so let us rejoice when we see these things happen.”

It was a young college student who had just become a follower of Christ that overheard that conversation.

At the next Bible study, this young freshman attended he began to talk of those without Christ in the same way his pastor did.  “Yes, you can certainly see how blind Professor Peterson is.  He cannot even see the evidence around him staring him in the face.  He hates God and seeks to get others to hate him as well.  We should pray for God to bring him great agony so he can see his way to Christ.”

With each new conversation being held among followers of Christ you could overhear it in the tone of their voices. Jud mentalism was fast exposing its head among the churches.  Then there were those who thought it was their unique calling to be able to discern who was and was not a follower of Christ.

Church prayer meetings became where they preyed on those who did not follow Christ instead of pray for those without Christ.  The compassion in their prayer meetings dried up.  Seldom were any tears shed for those without Christ.  Lots of prayers for the “unsaved, the Lost, The sinners, those who do evil were offered.  Not much was heard about the prayers of the young single mom who had not been in church in years because she had been so battered by the harshness of those who were followers of Christ.

It all happened so suddenly no one saw it coming.

 

June 8, 2017: A Divine Appointment

Acts 17:26-27 (NIV)

26  From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live.

27  God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.

Dr. Williams and his wife decided to take few days off to go hiking in some nearby forests that had amazing scenery this time of year.  The trees were all turning into brilliant displays of colors across the canvass of the heavens.  It was high time they took some time to regroup and enjoy being away from everything at the University.

On the drive out to their hiking spot, they felt the pressures of the university and the town begin to fade. They found their joy in being with each other and the Lord being rekindled.

“I have been really looking forward to our time today, Honey.  I have missed just being with you.  I know our schedule has grown quite hectic but I am glad we have taken this time to get away.” Ruth expressed her enjoyment being with her husband without anyone else interrupting their time together.

“So have I, Ruth. So have I.” Dr. Williams replied with a deep sense of contentment and joy.

The drive out the hiking spot took a little longer than they anticipated but after their two-hour drive, they arrived.  When they pulled into the parking lot there was no other car in sight.  It looked like they had the whole forest park to themselves.

“This is going to be just great honey. No one to interrupt us.  We have the whole day in front of us and nowhere else to be.  This place was rather unusual because not even cell phones worked out here.  You were literally cut off from the rest of the world.

They parked and gathered the things they would need for their hike.

“Bottles of water.”

“Check”

“Compass and trail map?”

“Check”

“Backpack with lunches?”

“Check.”

“Binoculars?”

“Check.”

“Bibles?”

“What kind of wife would I be if I forgot our Bibles? “ Ruth asked in a funny sarcastic voice.

The two of them stood together enjoying the cool breeze and the fall colors.  After a few minutes, Dr. Williams expressed their gratitude to God for allowing them to have such pleasure in each other and His presence with them.

“Well let’s be off to see the great wonders of our God,” Dr. Williams gave a walking stick he had made for his wife years ago. She always used it on these hikes.  He had also brought the one he made for himself.  They both found having a walking stick made the hike much easier than to walk without one.

They had been hiking for over an hour when Ruth saw something on the path ahead of them.  “Is that what I think it is?” Ruth asked her husband.

“It looks like someone’s journal or diary.”  Dr. Williams remarked.

Ruth bent down to pick it up and she almost stopped breathing when she read the name on the cover of the journal.  “This must be some sort of joke.  There is no way this belongs to the Becki that we know at the University. What are the chances of her journal being found by us in this extremely remote place?” Ruth exclaimed.

Dr. Williams opened the journal to see the words written on the inside jacket cover.

“This journal belongs to Becki Wilson.  If found please return it to this address.

Becki Wilson, Smith Hall Women’s Dormitory, 105 College Street, University Campus, Blairsville, Pennsylvania.

“Well this does make for a very interesting hike doesn’t it?” Ruth offered.

“What should we do with this knowledge?” Dr. Williams asked

““What does God’s word offer by way of counsel in this regard?” Ruth asked her husband.

 

June 9, 2017: Counsel Provided

1 Corinthians 1:21 (NIV)

21  For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.

1 Corinthians 2:1-5 (NIV)

1  When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God.

2  For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.

3  I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling.

4  My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power,

5  so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.

I think we have our answer don’t you Ruth?” asked her husband.  Dr. Williams was not only wise in the ways of modern medicine but he had an exceptional gift of being able to take passages of Scripture and see how they could provide guidance in almost every circumstance.

Ruth was extremely curious to know what was written in Becki’s journal. “Honey, think what we could have to defend you if we find something incriminating about Becki and her pals.  This could be the way God meant for us to defend ourselves.  What are the chances that we would be walking in this remote place and at the same time find a journal of our worst accuser on campus?  This cannot be a coincidence.  This must mean that this is from God.” Ruth argued, though she already knew the answer in her spirit.

No, we cannot do this.  To have such personal knowledge of Becki would do us no good.  Our God knows Becki better than we do and he has not chosen to inform us about her private life.

Ruth protested, “But he has right here.  We have what we need to protect ourselves from her attacks, Ruth argued her case once more but not with as much energy as before.

“Dear One,” Dr. Williams looked toward his wife wanting her to answer.

We could expose all her lies and half-truths and all of her plans to destroy us with false evidence.  We could win our case handily if we used this evidence.” Ruth said, as the words came out of her mouth she knew the answer.

“And just exactly how would that be a picture of the gospel to her, my Dear Ruth?”

“Well we could expose all of her sins for everyone to see and they would then see our innocence in light of our accuser’s false claims.”  Ruth was shocked at the words that came out of her mouth. “O my, I guess I am not near what I claim to be in my following our Lord, huh?” She looked up at her husband who gently put his arm around her and pulled her close. “

“Aren’t you glad that Jesus does not broadcast your sins on the campus public address system for all to hear?  I think we have just been given a clear picture of what the gospel has to be for Becki Wilson.”

For the next several minutes the Williams were embraced by the Holy Spirit as they had been given a beautiful illustration of what the gospel is for all who will trust in Christ.  The rest of the day they spent walking in silence enjoying the presence of God and marveling at his handiwork even in the midst of a fallen world.

.      .     .     .     .     .      .

Back at campus in the women’s dormitory

Does anyone know where I put my journal?  She looked at her roommate with wishful eyes.  She knew what those pages contained.  If those words were ever made public she would be exposed for the true hypocrite she was.

No one offered any knowledge as to the whereabouts of her journal.  The pleasure she had yesterday in her pursuit of the things of this world were now only distant memories.  They were replaced by the fear of being found out.  Becki could not think of anything else but to locate her journal.

Her fear of being found out would cause her to make some rather dangerous choices in the next few days.

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