7:55 p.m. Today's project was to spend the day in koinonia, at church this morning and later this evening at Home Fellowship. This morning we heard a beautifully stern message from our pastor on the first commandment, Exodus 20:3, "Thou shalt have no other gods before Me." (KJV, the translation most of us were trained to memorize the Ten Commandments in). Pastor John brought out the fact that the ancient false gods of intellect, pleasure, and sensuality are still with us today, just not carved as idols to be carried about and placed in shrines.
The message hit home, because there were large altar calls prayed in at both second and third services. The great deluder Satan, the enemy of our souls, suffered a beat-down today at Calvary Chapel Moreno Valley!
Before the service, Steve and I had arrived at church in our borrowed car, and made our first destination the bookstore, where Stephanie, bookstore manager, had my Galatians: An Exploration of Faith and Freedom, ready for me to pick up. To my delight, and more importantly, a testimony to the power of the scriptures, she told me that she became engrossed in the study, not just checking for dotted i's and crossed t's! A few of my Piecemaker friends were in there, and were very excited to see the book, and encouraging to me as I enter the last steps to publication. In the sanctuary with several minutes to go before service started, I made a beeline to show it to ladies who had done the study two summers ago. One of them, Kathy Langtry, had done content edits for me. I also had a chance to talk with retired missionary Dottie Sedgwick who has been following the book's progress on Facebook.
So many friends share in the joy of this book's birthing!
After church, Steve and I had sweet conversations with our couples friends and picked up our tithe receipt. As we went around the corner, there was Carole Gift Page, author of 48 books and writing professor at Biola University, who had advised me early on and endorsed Galatians! She is currently encouraging me and giving guidance for my next book about Steve's experience with Alzheimer's. We also talked about how tough the publication industry has become. Despite setbacks that can occur, as Christians we can count on the Lord "being in our corner." Just as the Pharisee Gamaliel advised the Sanhedrin concerning the miracle-working early Church in Acts 5:38-39, I feel this assurance:If this plan or work is of men, it will come to nothing; but if it be of God, you cannot overthrow it.
Such a stellar day did not start out auspiciously. At 4 a.m., Steve sat up, took off his C-pap mask, and I disgruntedly figured he had to go to the bathroom. But no, he heard someone knocking on our bedroom door! Admittedly, I could have missed it with a fan running and earplugs in. It took him about a minute to locate the doorknob--give him credit for having enough sense not to turn on a light with his wife trying to get back to sleep! But there was no one there. It was a minor incident, but had major repercussions. Steve went back to sleep immediately, but I stayed awake for the next 90 minutes, praying to make the best use of my time. I didn't get back to sleep until I took an aspirin about 5:45 with a 6:30 wake up time...maybe we shouldn't have watched Alfred Hitchcock's suspenseful "Dial M for Murder" earlier that evening!
A refreshing nap strengthened me for driving in the rain to Home Fellowship. We spent an hour in prayer for one another's needs, had a beautiful dinner, and closed with an exhortation to love and forgive one another--our hurts, wrongs done, past issues when our own needs were not met. I have had several opportunities to do just that this week at home, and the glory goes to Jesus for the strength to truly forgive. And when a believer chooses to forgive, it blesses the heart of God, who has forgiven us all so much!
Whether it's God forgiving a lifetime of sin for a new believer; or spouses, parents and children forgiving one another in order to follow the Master's example, that is a work of the Holy Spirit, and it cannot be overthrown!