Clash of Two Kingdoms June 10-13, 2017

June 10, 2017:  A Note from a Friend

Micah 7:18-19 (NIV) 
18  Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy.19  You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.

 

The Williams returned to campus in the late afternoon with the journal in their possession.  “What should we do with this journal?”  Ruth kept asking her husband, who had been deep in thought on the ride back to town.

 

“I have been asking the Lord that question and here is what I think we should do.  Let me know if you agree with this idea.”

 

“I think we should type out a note that would present the gospel to her inn some way that she would not know who had it.  The note should contain some passages of Scriptures that speak of God hiding our sins and forgiving us of all that we have done or will ever do.”

 

“Becki has got to be living her life in complete fear right now.  Can you imagine what you would feel if you had written down all of your dark secrets in a journal and it fell into the wrong hands?”

 

Ruth went completely silent as she thought about Becki.  “Honey, if she does not know the Lord how will she deal with this?”

“Ruth, you have seen how other college students try to hide their fears of being found out.  Rest assured that Becki will try one or several of these ways we have witnessed here.  Only this time I think the pressure on Becki will be more than she can handle.  She has allowed the root of bitterness to take control of her so I do not thin her immediate future looks too hopeful.”

“Let’s pray together and then I will write the letter but I want you to type it out and then print it on one the printers at the library and then we will send it to her dormitory address by campus mail.”

They met Sally at the door and she told them of her meeting with Chancellor Wilson.  They were a little taken back with the announcement, but it was not really a date, it was just an informal meeting where she could offer her defense of the Williams to Chancellor Wilson.

“Well, go get dressed and we will entertain the Chancellor until you are ready,” Ruth offered.

 

June 11, 2017: Dinner with a Friend Part One

Luke 19:1-10 (NIV) 
 Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. He wanted to see who Jesus was, but being a short man he could not, because of the crowd.  So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.
 When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.”
 So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.
 All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a ‘sinner.'”
 But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”
 Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. 10  For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.”

 

Chancellor Wilson arrived at the back door of the Williams’ home promptly at five p.m.  Before he could knock on the door Dr. Williams opened the door and greeted him warmly.

“Hello, Chancellor Wilson, come on in Sally will be ready in a few minutes.  We can sit here on the back porch while she is getting ready.  Would you like something to drink while you wait?”

“Sure, just as long as it is not some diet drink or something considered healthy I will let you surprise me.”  He found himself surprisingly at ease in the house of the one he had been sent here to destroy.  He looked around at their things on the back porch.

“You have some very interesting objects on your back porch Der. Williams,” Chancellor Wilson commented.

“Yes sir, we do.”

“How did you come to collect all these rather unique possesions?”  Chancellor Wilson asked with intrigue.

“Well, Chancellor, before my wife came to the University we served as medical missionaries overseas in some rather remote places among some very primitive tribal populations.  Every tribal people we served among offered us these as expression of gratitude for our ministry among them.”

“I see.  I am interested as to why a man of your ability would spend so many of his years in such places.  Surely you could have had a very promising and lucrative career in medicine here in the states instead of choosing such places like these.”  Chancellor Wilson remarked.

‘Yes, sir I could have.  In fact, just before Ruth and I went overseas for our first tour I was offered a position at Johns Hopkins Medical Center as a chief resident in their infectious Disease Center.  Talk about a great prestigious beginning, I could not have wished for anything better right out of Medical School,” Dr. Williams replied.

“Why would anyone ever turn down such a position?  Surely with the money you could have earned you could have impacted many more people and not had to take such chances living among the poorest of the poor,” the Chancellor stated.

“By the way before we go any further, please call me Michael.  I am the Chancellor to many others but I do not wish to be so formal here.  And I assume you have a first name but I have never heard anyone call you by your first name.  You do have a first name?” the Chancellor asked inquisitively.

“Yes, I do Chancellor, excuse me, Michael.  I do have a first name but it is a name I am not proud of,” Dr. Williams replied.

“I can’t imagine it being too terribly bad,” Michael responded.

The door to the house opened and Sally was standing there waiting for the two men to stop their conversation and notice her.

“Well, I guess your answer will have to wait for another time, Michael.  It appears to me you have a rather beautiful woman waiting for you to take her away from this place,” Dr. Williams stated, extremely grateful for Sally’s timing.

Michel Wilson turned to see Sally and for a brief moment, he was taken back to the first date he had with his wife, Jan.  There was only one other woman that had caused him to feel such a way.  He was not quite sure how to take all of this in.

The Williams seemed to be the most accepting people he had ever met and this woman he had met by “chance” on campus just a few days ago was now captivating his every waking thought.

Michael rose up from his chair and went over to offer Sally his arm, “Shall we be going Miss Sally . . .”

“You know for the life of me I never asked you your last name.  May I have the pleasure of knowing your last name Sally,” Michael asked looking rather embarrassed for not asking before.

“Well,” Sally hesitated and then looked at Dr. Williams to get his approval, “My full name if you really want to know is Sally Elizabeth Kenny.  It is Kenny spelled K E N N Y.”

For a brief moment Michael had images flash through his mind but just as quickly put them off because this could only be a coincidence there was no way what he was thinking could be true.

Michael began escorting Sally to the back door but Dr. Williams stopped them and said, “Michael now that you are taking this lovely young woman out Ruth and I would like to offer a prayer for the both of you for this evening.  I do not know what your beliefs are but we believe that God gives us everything so that we might know him better and enjoy his good gifts in the way that he has designed us so that we might find His perfect pleasure.  Would it be ok if we prayed for the both of you before you leave?”

“Wow, I have never had anyone ever offer to pray for me like this.  Sure I think it would be a good thing,” Michael offered.

“Father God we thank you for the gift of friendship.  We ask that tonight as Sally and Michael enjoy a dinner together that would watch over their time together.  May you lead them to see your marvelous plan unfold even more as the evening progresses.  We know there are many questions that Chancellor Wilson has about all that is transpiring on our campus presently and we ask that you would give him great wisdom and guidance as he sorts out what is your truth and what is only rumor.”

‘BE with them and allow them to experience your true joy.  Amen!”  Ruth Wilson concluded her payer and Dr. Williams offered his short two words “Ditto, God.”

“Your friends, the Williams, made me feel as if they had known me for a long time,” Michael offered as he and Sally walked to his car.

“That’s the way they always are Michael.  I have never known them to speak disrespectfully of anyone.  I have seen them in almost every possible life situation and they never seem to lose their cool, and they never communicate anything but acceptance and love to those they meet.”

There was a pause in the conversation as Michael opened to car door for Sally and waited as she got in the car, which he politely closed behind her.

When Michael was behind the wheel, he put the key in the ignition but did not start the car immediately.

“Well, Mr. Chancellor, are we going to sit here in the alley all night or do we really have some nice restaurant to go to,” Sally asked in a rather curt tone trying to make Michael laugh to ease the tension that was in the car.

“I’m sorry Sally; it is just that I feel so much like a hypocrite right now.  You have no idea what I have been doing since I came here as Chancellor and I don’t think you would like what you would hear if I told you the truth, “Michael offered afraid of how Sally might respond.

“Listen here.  Michael Wilson, Chancellor of the University, there is nothing you could tell me that would shock me.  And besides you are not asking me to marry you, we are just having a nice dinner so I could tell you what I know of the Williams and what I think of what is going on at the University right now, correct?”  Sally said in a tone that reminded him of the discussions he would have with his wife, Jan, anytime he would freeze up in some conversation they had.

“Well, now that you put it that way.  I’m sorry it is just I have found myself growing to like this innocent woman I found in a parking lot the other night and I don’t want to mess this up,” Michael added.

“Wow, you really know how to impress a woman don’t you Michael Wilson.  So I am a woman you found in a parking lot.  I bet that will make my stock rise among all the men on campus.  “Found, one woman in a parking lot late one night.  Anyone want her?”  Yes sir, Michael Wilson, you sure know how to impress the ladies with your romantic talk,” Sally said with a smile on her lips trying hard not to laugh out loud at this Chancellor who had stood before board meetings and delivered state of the University speeches without a mistake of un uncomfortable pause.  He was now almost unable to speak coherent sentences.

“Before I say anything else that might incriminate me let’s go eat.”  The car started and they were on the way to an evening neither would forget.

June 12, 2017: The Word Rejected

Psalm 103:8-14 (NIV) 
 The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.
 He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever;
10  he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.
11  For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him;
12  as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
13  As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him;
14  for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.

 

Becki Wilson was frantic looking everywhere for her journal.  It had been more than two days since she had seen it.  Her fears of it being found and made public were constantly assaulting her mind.  With each hour that the journal was gone, her guilt only increased.

“God, if you really are there please help me find my journal.”  The words came out of her mouth before she could even think about them.  “What am I doing?”  Becki thought.  “This thing about believing in God has never helped me once.  Every time I turn to him, something like this happens.  Just when I was getting close to committing my life to him my mom and brother were killed.  Now just when I thought I was growing interested in knowing him because of Ruth Wilson I lose my journal.  It just seems like if there is a God he is against me knowing him.”

With those words, her feelings of guilt and regret were lifted.  This was something new to Becki.  Now every time she told herself not to believe she felt better.

“Yes, it is just as the professor told me in class the other day.  God is only a figment of weak people’s imagination.  When they have fears they cannot handle they create a God that makes them feel safe.  They only do this because they are not strong enough to handle the pressures of this life.”

She thought about that for a moment and with a few encouraging words from her mind she was more fixed in her positon that God did not exist.  Sure, she would agree to allow those who believed in God to do so but she would not tolerate anyone who made her feel less than human because she sinned against some God no one had ever seen.

As she was scouring her closet trying to find her journal she pulled out a leather bound Bible her mother had given her four years ago.  She quickly tossed it aside and continued on her search.  Her journal was more important than anything right now.

Something suddenly brought her search to a halt and she felt a sudden surge of power.  She turned and looked at the Bible her mother had given her, she went, and picked it up and there it down and started to stomp on it with her feet.  With each stomp, she felt more power coming into her body.  This was exhilarating.  She had found a new source of strength she had never even dreamed of.

She picked up her Bible, threw it into the corner of her closet, and piled all of her dirty clothes on top of it.  She found herself beginning to laugh almost hysterically.  This was a high unlike any other high she had ever had.  There was a feeling of ecstasy she had never known before.  She could not see the demons in her room that were controlling her every thought and action now.

.    .    .    .    .   .   .

“Sir, we have her now exactly where we want her.  She is putty in our hands to do our bidding. We feel certain we have accomplished our battle plan that will guarantee us victory at the University.”

“Good work my young Wicked One,” Old Slew Foot offered, feeling rather guilty of saying anything nice to anyone.

June 13, 2017: A Dinner with a Friend Part Two

The drive was mostly silent as each one in the car was more nervous than they should be if this was just an informal dinner with someone who needed more information.

The restaurant was located in the Pocono Mountains.  It was located on the side of a small mountain where every table looked out over the horizon.  Each table had its own partition so you felt like you were the only ones at the restaurant.

They were shown to their table and seated by a waiter who knew the Chancellor from previous dinners.

They were seated at a table that looked over the western horizon.  From their table they could see the valley below and could view some of the hawks and eagles soaring into the western sky.  The sun had begun its descent.

There was a live piano player that played any song you could request.  The ambiance of the restaurant was designed to make the cares of the world just wash away as you enjoyed the fine music and atmosphere.

“Well, I have to say Michael you certainly can pick a restaurant.  I have been at the University for fifteen years but I did not know this restaurant existed,” Sally offered, wondering how it was she had not heard of this place.

The waiter returned with drinks and appetizers.  There was no menu offered which surprised Sally.  “How do we order in this place?” she asked.

“Well, that Sally Kenny is for me to know and for you not to worry about,” Michael replied, sounding quite in control of this conversation.  He had planned to take her to this restaurant even before he had any feelings for her.  This was the place he had used on many occasions to woo many wealthy contributors to the several universities he had been Chancellor.  This time though, he was not feeling so great about his original plan.  The woman he was in the presence of had a different spirit about her and he was captivated by that.

Nonetheless, sally was more than impressed.  She found herself being taken in by the extremely personal service of the staff, the atmosphere, everything.  She was completely mesmerized.  A feeling of concern rose up within her just then and warned her not to be deceived by fine surroundings and sumptuous music.  She had read Pilgrim’s Progress and thought of the danger of being in the town of Vanity Fair.

From now on, she would have to be on her guard against the pleasures that such a place offered.

When dinner arrived, Sally was completely surprised.  Her meal was her favorite dish, Vegetarian lasagna with fresh fruit and homemade bread.  She looked at Michael and he was smiling a very wily smile.

“How did they know this was my favorite?  Sally queried.

“I called the heath Center where you work and asked to speak with one of the nurses who has worked with you for several years and asked her what your favorite meal was and she told me.  I then called ahead of time and gave them our order so it would be ready when we arrived.”  Michael explained.

“Well, Mr. Chancellor, you are a little scary with such knowledge.  What else do you know about me that I should be aware of?

‘Don’t worry Sally.  Something has happened to me in the past few days where I don’t enjoy knowing that much about some one that has not given me that information themselves.  I no longer want to manipulate people with information.  I agree this was my past “motus operandi” but no longer, and I cannot say what made the change in me.  Just let me say you secrets are safe from me.”

“That’s a relief,” Sally said with a sigh of relief.

They talked through dinner and enjoyed watching the sun paint a brilliant canvas over the Pocono valley.  Not once did Michael ask about the Williams, or what was happening on campus.  The conversation was about dreams and beliefs and past and present experiences they both had.  Regrets and victories.

After dinner was over, they enjoyed Sally’s favorite dessert, fresh hot apple pie with homemade vanilla ice cream.

Sally glanced at her watch to discover the time had flown by.  It was now approaching ten o’clock.  There is no way they could have been talking for five hours the time seemed like an hour or two but not five.  She had never been in any restaurant for that long.

“Michael, I am sorry you wanted to know what I thought about what was happening on campus and we have not even discussed that.  I have been rude in taking up all your time.  I am sorry,” Sally offered apologetically.

“No, No.  No.  I will not hear that from you Ms. Sally Elizabeth Kenny.  I think I know how you feel about what is taking place at the University.  What you have shared with me these past five hours has told me all I need to know.  You really have been true to your word and you have helped me see things from a completely different picture.  Thank you Sally for giving me your time tonight.  You have been a great help.”

“Hold on a minute Sally, Hold on.  Do not let your heart get ahead of your head.”  She told herself.  Yet here was a man who really listened to her and heard the words she was not saying and saw her for who she was.  There was no manipulating to get his way, he only asked for clarification so he could understand her better.

Then there was the outward appearance

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