Last Leg of the Journey…Dependence vs. Independence

**this is a post #3  following up on Watchman on the Walls

After having seen God work so mightily in my conversation with my limo driver, I almost wanted sit back and say ‘THAT was what we’ve been praying for.” and not seek to engage in any more conversations. But, as my  flight San Diego to Las Vegas passed by, and I continued to put  the flight in the Lord’s hands and ask for opportunities a conversation gradually arose.  The man I was sitting next to knew alot of the common arguments against the idea of “one religion” being the only one and at this point I was so thankful for all the apologetic books I had read in high school and college.  I knew the arguments, and I knew ways to pose questions so that this man could see things from a different point of view. We had a friendly debate back and forth, with him saying “Ok, I’ll give you that one” often (whatever that means?!) At the end of the flight, I finally felt like we were getting to the root of his unbelief.  He said “Well, what would you say about this?? When I was growing up we went to a Lutheran church and when I was about 12 years old, people started speaking in tongues and that became a big deal.  But then after a year or two it stopped.  So how could that be “God”?  Why wouldn’t He keep doing it? And what about the people who didn’t “speak in tongues”? It made me think everything was made up anyways.”  Our flight had landed by this point and so I didn’t have much time to answer well, but I just told him that first of all, God can choose different ways of working in peoples lives for different seasons, and also, sometimes people take things out of proportion because it starts to become all about having a ‘certain experience’. It was clear that this man had a definite experience “in church” that turned him off to knowing God, and therefore declared himself an agnostic from that point on. I was grateful for our talk because it certainly deepened my faith and forced me to think hard about the issues he brought up, AND it sent me on a quest to research different topics.  I pray that maybe  some of those “I’ll give you that one” statements would creak open the door in his mind to exploring who God is and just how active He is in our lives.

The next flight of our journey was a late four-hour trip from Las Vegas to Orlando.  It was also a much more sobering part of the trip.  I was seated next to an elderly couple who evidently go to Las Vegas to gamble several times a year.  The woman was really friendly towards Benjamin and myself and we made little small talk.  In my mind I said “We have four hours, I can share the gospel with her later”…Well as time went on, she dozed off…then I dozed off…then I was so groggy I couldn’t think straight even though we continued to talk through little small talk things.  All the while I kept saying “Oh I’ll share later”.  Well, that “later” never came.  In the days that followed, I puzzled over that flight.  I sat there, and had FOUR HOURS in which I could have shared the Gospel with a woman who may never have another opportunity to hear the Good News of a Savior who loves her and gave Himself for her. FOUR HOURS.  I could write it off and say “well at least I shared with the other people” or “maybe someone else will share with her”, but NO, God put ME next to her and I failed to be bold, I failed to love in a way beyond my comfort zone. How did that happen?  After I had had so many good conversations already?  And as I pondered these things, I realized- all the other trips I had been inviting the Holy Spirit in…entering into conversation by faith that God would work through it and guide the conversation.  But in this instance, I was not depending on the Helper.  I was calling the shots: “I will share later”, “I‘ll do it after she wakes up”, but ” I am so tired”. I was living independently, and the Holy Spirit has no room to work when Kimberly has taken the wheel back into her hands.  Its the difference between living in dependence upon the Holy Spirit and living in independence.  Living by faith or living by my own strength. Living a life that is filled with power or living a life of failure.  It is a hard lesson to learn.  But may I learn it well and may God place someone in that woman’s life who will be more obedient and available than I was that night.

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A Beautiful Divine Appointment

This is post #2 as a continuation from Watchman on the Walls. To read post #1 click here. (you might want to read those, to know what’s going on…) This one is VERY late, as, alot has happened since I started this series (watching five kids -which I’m no longer doing now…back down to “just” my own and growing a baby in me).  But here is the post, several months after I wrote it. Better late than never.

My time (all 36 hours of it) in San Diego was SO fun.  Granted my brother, sister, and I were locked in the resort suite for 7 hours  because if we roamed the place we might be discovered by Ken and thus ruin the surprise that he was the recipient of the Spirit of Life Award that year. BUT those Jones kids can think of some really hilariously stupid things do to even when locked in a room. To save face, I won’t post the video’s we made while we were bored. After all, I’m a mother of four, not a fifteen-year-old anymore (which you would think I was based on the videos) Not to mention, my siblings would shoot me if I posted our crazy ipod dance party on the world wide web.

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Back to reporting on what God can do when you make yourself available and expect Him to show up….

treated like royalty with personal limo and chauffeur

So I got to share a few last moments with my brother before my chauffeur (yes, chauffeur-I was treated like royalty for those 36 hours) came to pick me up to take me back to the airport.  When he came up to get my things for me, I was like “shoot.”  It was a guy who was probably about my age..which makes things a little bit more awkward. Then we got in the car and the first 10 minutes he didn’t say a word to me, or me to him.  “Great.” I’m thinking, this opportunity will be a bust.  Finally, I asked him if he was native to San Diego. Just that simple question, began the unfolding of an incredible conversation. He started telling me about moving to San Diego so that he could surf, and he just drove limos to support himself.  I asked him about his growing up years and where his family was from. He mentioned his Dad, but not his mom.  I asked him where his mother was.

” My mom died 10 years ago from a brain tumor.”

WHAT?!?!  I couldn’t believe my ears! The Lord had put me in this car for a reason. What are the chances that MY Mom had died about 12 years ago from a brain tumor.

Any time death is in the conversation it is always a smooth transition into talking about what happens AFTER death.  So after he told me about the events surrounding her sickness and death. And, after I shared that I, too had walked through my mother dying from a brain tumor, I asked him if it made him think about what happens after death.

He started talking about a spirit world…”Do evil people go to the same spirit world as the good people?”  No.  “What is the standard for which spirit world you get to go to?  What criteria do you have to meet to get there?” I posed to him.

As he continued to talk about these things, I was very aware of the San Diego Airport signs that were appearing.

I was crying out, “Please, Lord! Please let me get to share with him about the REAL spirit world IN YOUR PRESENCE that we get to enter into if we are trusting in your Son.  Please don’t let us get to share the Truth with him!’

The sign said 5 more miles….And then the guy paused, and said, “You know, there aren’t many people you can actually talk to about these things.  Thanks for asking me about this.  What about you, what do you believe happens after death?”

Thank you, Lord!

I shared my belief that God created us, in His image, and in perfect relationship with Him.  But the first man, chose to try to live without God and it effected everyone thereafter.  I told him I believed, just like he did, that there was a perfect and peaceful spirit world. And if Heaven is real and if it is really a perfect place, God is not going to let sin and wrong into His presence.  It must be punished and it cannot enter into heaven because then heaven would cease to be good and peaceful.  As I shared about our rebellion against God, he agreed that no one is perfect. So then we’re all stuck, right? He agreed with that, but then I said “Actually, I know of only one person who was absolutely perfect”.  He seemed stunned and then asked “Who?” I replied “Jesus Christ”, and went on tell him that I believed that the Man Jesus Christ was not just a man, but He was God sent into our world to live a perfect life that we couldn’t live and to die in our place, receiving the punishment  that we deserve.  I told him that I believe that He really did rise from the dead, because the ancient Scriptures say so, and his best friends ALL died horrible deaths still claiming that He really did rise. If it was a lie or a made-up story, then surely at least someone would have backed down and chickened out. And I told him that if you’re trusting Jesus to make you clean and “good enough” for the perfect place in God’s presence, then you will truly get to enter into a “place” with no more sickness, sorrow, sin, or destruction.  “This was the hope that my Mom clung to, and it is the hope that I cling to, and so when she died I knew it wasn’t the end…that I would see her again”

I was just finishing up telling him these things when we pulled up to the airport drop off.  Somehow God made those five miles turn into 10 minutes.

He closed our conversation with saying”It was really nice talking to you, its hard to find people who are willing to talk about his kind of deeper stuff”.

“Yah, that’s why God put me in your limo this afternoon” I was thinking…

He helped me get my bags out, and I asked if I could pray for him and he said “Yeah, sure”.  At that point I figured I should probably know his name at least.

“By the way, what’s your name?”

“Christian”

he says.

“Wow, thats ironic.” I manage to utter in my shock.

“Yah, yah, I know.”

So I prayed for him, and asked God to pour His love and grace and TRUTH into Christian’s life.

He thanked me again, and we parted ways and I will never see him again.

Unless.

Unless, just as he was conceived, and born, and given a name all without his own initiative.

He is also drawn, born, and given a name without his own initiative- born from above, named “Child of God”, and brought to LIFE by Jesus, Who is LIFE itself, Who chooses to breath life into mankind.

and this random guy driving my limo truly becomes

CHRISTIAN

Little Christ.

A child of God, with the Life of the Resurrected Lord in him.

Then I will see him again. And I will call him brother.