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Saturday, April 7, 2012

I GOT WHAT I ASK FOR


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If ever there was souls hovering on the brink of Hell it was the two criminals,  virtual nobodies hanging beside Jesus, the Son of God. In a heartbeat, one voiced what his intuition had detected; that Jesus was indeed the Son of God! With his dying breathe he said,"'Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom" (Luke: 23:42). What Jesus did next was a wonderful example of understanding, acceptance, love, and compassion all wrapped up in one conclusive act. It is the epitome of the life of Jesus, strength thru adversity. Without hesitation Jesus responded to his plea for mercy: "Jesus answered him, 'I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise'" (Luke:23:43). We can learn from one of the two who were crucified next to Jesus. It is never too late to repent and ask the Lord to accept us. Jesus cleansed this man from his sins, received him graciously, and justified him unconditionally. He conferred upon a sinner the gift of eternal life. 
I have often wondered if those two thieves had family watching the crucifixion. If so, were they saying, "yeah he is getting exactly what he deserves; he is a thief, a criminal, brought
nothing but shame to our family." Did they hear the exchange between them and Jesus? The scriptures give us no answers to these kinds of questions. What the exchange between them and Jesus did was leave us with Hope.
Hope was all I had as I prayed from the day I got saved, God please save my family and use "whatever it takes".  In my human mind with wounds not healed yet it was a huge step of faith to pray this way.  There was no love for my father in me...he had beaten it all out with his drunken cruelty when I was young.  I was learning to draw from the heavenly Father unconditional love for me for power to even pray for him.

 Dad's drinking buddies called me after finding Dad at his house lying in a pool of blood, out of his mind.    Like a little child Dad lifted his arms to us when he heard my husband say, Clyde we have come to take you to get help.  He was so dirty after laying for four days in his own vomit, blood and urine, but he came without a fight.   After many test the VA doctors said, your Dad had a stroke which reduced him to a child, he cannot control his body functions, he had almost bled to death due to a stomach ailment and he needs to be in a nursing home.  On top of all that Dad was already dealing with only having one leg. 

Weeks later they placed in him a nursing home near us and we began our weekly visits.  I can't remember when God begin to first speak to me about bringing Dad home to care for.  What I do remember is not wanting to believe I heard Him right but my husband was hearing the very same thing.  So after much prayer we turned our living room into a bedroom complete with furniture needed to take care of a 58 year old child.  I was to learn love is not a feeling but an act of the will.

Because our life was full of church related events we worked hard taking Dad with us everytime the doors were open.  There were time when Dad would resist but we just kept taking him in hopes the Word would penetrate his darken heart.  Sometimes it seemed his  mind would clear up and for few minutes you could talk to him about Jesus. But 99 percent of the time Dad lived in the past, mostly thinking I was his mother.  When he was in the present were the times he would curse me and fight me. I think it was too humiliating for him to have my hand take care of him.  Once he turned to me and said, "you know Jo, it's not supppose to be  this way!" I knew he meant me taking of him like a child, I said you are right its not suppose to be this way but it is Dad.  I think in his own way he was trying to say he was sorry...guess I wanted it to mean that.

Dad begin to get weak so back to the hospital we went only to find out he had lung cancer.  He needed radiation treatments which they hoped would slow the cancer down.  It did for a while but the treatment took what little strength Dad had left. He no longer could help me getting him into the wheelchair and we had to stopped taking him to church and get someone in to care for him when we could not be there. 

Finally I could not get Dad to eat even liquids so I took him back to the hospital this time to find the cancer was back and was eating into his windpipe.  We knew the time had come for us to let them put Dad back into a nursing home.  Young children could not go to the rooms so this one evening Ace went first as I stayed with our kid in the lobby.  He was gone about a 45 minutes and as I watched him walk toward us I knew something wonderful happened because his face was glowing.  He said, honey you won't believe this but your Dad's mind was clear as if he never had a drink or a stroke and he understood the gospel and ask forgiveness then ask Jesus into his heart.  Ace was so excited by this miracle he had witness he thought we might be able to bring Dad home with us.

Early the next morning the doctor called, my Dad had passed away.  At first we were stunned...then the glory of the Lord broke through and for the first time I felt love for my Dad in my heart crowding out all the pain and bitterness and forgiveness flooded my soul.   My second thought was, Dad was like the thief on the cross...no time to get baptisted, no works to even take to the fire, only Jesus promises today you will be with me in paradise.   The ground is truely level at the foot of the cross.

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in our tribulation, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance, and perseverance, proven character; proven character, hope, and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. Roman 5:1-5
When I speak this testemony I am always ask, "would I do it again" and I answer yes, yes, yes.  I learned more about the love of Jesus through that hard time that would keep me through countless others to come...Happy Easter