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Sunday, December 29, 2013

2013 Might Be Ending, But HOPE Keeps on Giving!

             

     2013 year-end



                         GIVING!




Signs for Hope

exists to share the Hope of Christ

by facilitating care for Deaf/HOH orphans

throughout the world

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All donations are tax deductible! 

Click the "DONATE"  button on this blog or visit the Signs for Hope website.


"Coordinating the Adoption

of Deaf Orphans in the World"

Traditional family adoption
of deaf orphans

Heart Adoption (monthly sponsorship)
of deaf children/orphans

His adoption of ALL deaf children

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Religion that God our Father accepts 

as pure and faultless is this:

to look after orphans and widows in their distress

and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world
.

                                            James 1:27


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Stay connected with Signs for Hope in 2014



828.691.2581

Signs for Hope

PO Box 460

Fairview, NC  28730


Friday, December 27, 2013

They Will Know We Are Christians, How? Part 2

They Will Know We Are Christians, How?  Read Part 1




As soon as I decided to follow my Lord, just days before my 15th birthday in 1974, I asked my brother and his wife if I could begin attending church with them.  You see, my brother had become a Christ-follower, too, about a year before.

My family was a little different from most, back in the 60's and 70's.  My parents had married in late 1939, following a blind date a few months prior, and my brother was born in late 1940, which made him almost 18 years older than my older sister who was born 14 months before me; I was born March 31, 1959.  As our brother was going off to college, our mother was starting the process of raising two daughters, another family, all over again.  My mom always told us my sister was a huge surprise for them, never thought they could have another child (or so the doctor told them) but they did not want another "only child", so they "planned" for me.  I am sure God knew all this, long before (Ephesians 1). 

When my sister and I were toddlers our family traveled to the beach, near where our brother was attending college in Florida.  He and his girlfriend (she eventually became his first wife) joined us in a day at the beach.  A passerby commented to my mother, "What beautiful granddaughter's you have!" From that time on, my mom began, diligently, dying her hair--to cover the gray we had caused--as she did not want any others to mistakenly think she was our grandmother and not our mother.
My brother had always favored me over my sister, or at least I was convinced of this,  and I believe it was because my sister was favored over me by so many other family members.  Or it could have been that she disrupted his senior year of high school so much, with her incessant crying, he wanted nothing to do with her.  Ha! 

I will never forget having pillow fights with my brother, when he would come home from college or come for a visit after he was married.  We also played "Gotcha Last"! I loved it, even when I peed in my pants from laughing so hard!  That bond continued as we grew older and was one of the strongest influences for my miraculous life-change that took place at the age of 14.

I will never forget the day I was riding in the car with my brother, when he point blank asked me if I was using drugs.  Without hesitation, I assured him I was not.  Liar, liar, pants on fire.  He told me he loved me and shared a brief story of how he recently started following Christ and how he did not want me to waste my life, as he had done.  Remember, he was 18 years my senior.  He wanted me to become a follower of Christ, too.  That was one of those times where a desire deep, deep down inside--the Holy Spirit at work (John 6:44)--was stirring and began to grow and prepare me for that decision that, ultimately, would change my life forever. For now, though, I was still enjoying the pleasure of my sin, for a season (Hebrews 11:25, KJV). 


My greatest regrets of rebellion against my God were the lives I led astray.  My boyfriend, at the time, and I, had lured so many others down the road of destruction which included alcohol, sex and drugs.  He was a junior and I was a freshman when we started "dating".  We didn't hang-out in those days, we called it what it was...dating.  Oh, and by the way, I was unfaithful to him with others.

As I said before, I so wanted to begin attending church with my brother and his family and my mom and dad allowed that, without hesitation, for a short time.  I will always remember the details of my going forward to become a member of their church by way of believer's baptism. It was an outward display of my inward heart change to, from now on, follow Christ.  It was just the week or two before when I had bent my knee on my bedroom floor to ask for forgiveness of my sin and to surrender my life to Christ.  So the picture, which was promptly displayed on the "New Member Board", at the church, was one of me in one of my "approved mini-skirts" (see Part 1).  Note: I thought I still had the picture, but I have been unable to find it to share with you.



Eventually, my parents became jealous over the time I spent with my brother and his family and forced me to attend their church with them.  Their rationalization was, "If I was a Christian, then I could worship Christ at any church." I won't say I didn't learn anything while attending my parents church, but it was obvious the teaching of the scriptures, verse by verse, at my brother's church was so much more rich and I would devour every word.  My parents' restrictions were cause for me to move out, secretly, soon after I turned 18. I had found a job at a local bank, as a teller, and moved into government housing with an older single woman who was a member at my brother's church. Eighteen and on my own!

When my parents found out I had moved out while they were away for the weekend, I begged my dad to not take my car.  Really it was his, and I was SO surprised when he let me keep it. That was my only transportation to and from work and to and from church and had he taken it, which he threatened, I would have no way to support myself and continue attending the church I preferred. 

I had become a sponge for hearing the Word of God.  I LOVED going to my brother's church, now my church, on Sunday mornings, Sunday nights, and Wednesday nights.  Discussion with my brother and sister-in-law also fed my hungry soul.  That deep inner feeling of knowing, without a doubt, my sins had been forgiven gave me a zeal to invite my girlfriends to go to church with me. A few of them made commitments to follow Christ, too, at least for a time.

I really cannot explain in words how one day I was seeking only to satisfy myself and my desires and then suddenly I have this innate desire for the welfare of those around me, especially relating to their experiencing the unexplainable peace I now had. 

They will know we are Christians, how?



Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet. ~John 13:14