Sunday, January 26, 2020

Fifty Years Ago – A Choice


Fifty Years Ago – A Choice                        



It was March 1970—fifty years ago.


A young engaged couple sat across the desk from a doctor and heard the words, “Yes, you are pregnant.”   
Neither remembered another word he said from that point on, but he had confirmed their fear. 



Few words were spoken on the long drive back. For the sake of anonymity, the doctor visit took place in a city a couple of hours drive from their own town. 


That evening the troubled couple followed through with plans to attend a college basketball game with friends, a married couple they had recently come to know. Knowing the dilemma at hand, the wife, Tonya (not her real name) tried to give comfort and assistance. 


“I know where you can get an abortion if that’s what you want to do,” she said. 


After all, the pregnant one had just spoken of the dread of having to tell her parents. She knew her mom and dad would be saddened by her behavior and disappointed in her. She also knew they would be embarrassed when they had to face friends and family members. And what would the people at church think? Both of her parents were Sunday School teachers.


In addition, she, herself, would need to face that same embarrassment and humiliation. And besides, having a baby now would interfere with college. She was on the down-hill slide of her second year. 


An abortion would eliminate all those uncomfortable and inconvenient scenarios.


But then she asked herself, “what exactly is an abortion?” Her mind was racing.


Tightening her clasped hands, she turned her face to her fiancĂ© and said, “Would you want to kill our baby?” 


She stared into his face.  
   

“I want to do whatever you want to do,” was his reply. 


Her mind seemed like a racetrack with cars speeding in every direction. Then she saw the image of a tiny form growing in her belly. A tear slid down her cheek—and then another one. 


“We’re not going to kill our baby,” she announced. 


L to R: Guy, Connie, Neil, Shannon - 1995

A few months later, our son, Shannon, was born and I became a mother. He was perfect and wonderful. 

Less than two years later his little brother, Neil, was born. He too was perfect and wonderful and has given us four terrific grandchildren. 

The thought that an abortion might have taken place is nightmarish. There would have been no Shannon and possibly no Neil either, because having an abortion can cause damage that leaves a woman unable to ever have children. 



                  
                                                                                                
Our eight grandchildren - Photo by Allison Laster
That baby that we decided not to kill has grown into a wonderful God-fearing man. Throughout his life he has brought great joy to many people, especially his parents. 

He was such a fun little boy and a high achiever and leader in high school. With great pride we watched him graduate from the US Naval Academy. He then served our country for twenty years as an aviator in the Navy and Air Force. 

He has given us four fantastic grandchildren who are now teenagers. After retiring from the military, he and his wife have settled in our hometown to finish raising their children. 



Our eight grandchildren - Photo by Allison Laster - 2009
He is currently flourishing as a teacher of physics and algebra at his high school alma mater. He loves his students and though he’s tough they love him back because they know he cares. As a swim coach he encourages and enriches the lives of many youth. 



Thank God we did not kill our baby. Through the years we and many others have benefited immeasurably from our decision—a decision on that March night in 1970, bore life or death consequences. We chose life. 


I know some women who did not choose life for their babies and I know that God has stored up all their tears in a bottle (Psalm 56:8) and He does not love them any less because of their actions. For all of us, He offers total forgiveness for all our sins if we will believe in and receive Jesus. When we receive Christ, He removes our sins as far as the east is from the west. Our sins are gone—they exist no longer in God’s eyes. 


I've committed many sins in my life and I’m beyond grateful for God’s amazing grace, unfailing love, and forever forgiveness. Thank you, Jesus!


Pleases pray with me. Holy God, You know everything about me, including every sin I’ve ever committed. Thank you for loving me in spite of it all, and for sending Your Son, Jesus, to take the punishment I deserved. Please help me, Oh God, to forgive myself. In Jesus name I pray—Amen. 


Your comments are welcome.


©Copyright 2020 Connie Wohlford

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

My Question on Social Media


My Question on Social Media



My question on social media was this: “What are some things we do that ‘give place to the devil?’” I was pleased that several people responded, and I’ll give some of those shortly. 

https://www.facebook.com/connie.wohlford/posts/2651768951526931



First let’s consider what it means to “give place to the devil” (Ephesians 4: 27 NKJV).

Various Bible translations say: 


·         “nor give place to the devil.” NKJV

·         “and do not give the devil a foothold.” NIV

·         “and give no opportunity to the devil.” ESV

·         “and do not give the devil an opportunity.” NASB

·         “Don’t give the Devil that kind of foothold in your life.” MSG


In Ephesians 4, Paul gives practical instructions to the Body of Christ—equipping the saints—on how to “walk worthy of the calling with which you were called” (Ephesians 4:1b NKJV).


Much sound advice is given throughout Paul’s epistle. As I read, I was drawn to verse 27, and asked myself, “What do I tend to do or not do that gives place to the devil?”


Though Paul wrote it with regard to handling anger, I wanted to consider it regarding life in general. 


To see it in the context Paul intended, look at verses 25-27: “Therefore, putting away lying, “Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor, for we are members of one another. ‘Be angry and do not sin’: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil.”


Boy oh boy, when we’re mad, its often hard not to give the devil a foothold through our thoughts, our speech, or our actions.


“The Greek word for place (topos) emphasized that believers can actually give ground in their lives to satanic control.” * 


Please ask yourself what are ways in which you give the devil a piece of your territory—a foothold—a crack in the door. 

For me, there are several situations where I’m vulnerable in this area. Just to name a couple: when I’m hurt or offended, or when I see someone taken advantage of. In such instances I need to guard my heart and watch my mouth. (Proverbs 4:23-27) 


Proverbs 4:23-27 NIV  <>  23Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. 24Keep your mouth free of perversity; keep corrupt talk far from your lips. 25Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you. 26Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways. 27Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.



In the comment section below, feel free to give some of your own responses to my question.


Here are some of the answers I got from my social media question:


Kate - Hang around when people are gossiping or being rude, watching movies, media, or ads that make us question God's goodness or provision, not staying with a Sunday school class or home group for encouragement and accountability.


Johnny – For when you are angry you give a mighty foothold for the devil


Cheryle - Believe his lies. When we give in to anger or being offended or bitterness or unforgiveness...


Nancy - Self-pity and complaining.


Ellen – Gossiping.


Robert – Careless talk   


Leila – Concentrating on temporal things more than spiritual things


Odessa - No longer having the fear of the Lord. That is the beginning of wisdom and understanding and departing from evil. To do otherwise is giving a place to the devil.


Andrea - Holding on to bitterness and offense is a huge way! The root word of offense comes from the word for bait inside of a trap. If we let offense take root in our heart it will open up to all kinds of other problems where the enemy can build a stronghold.


Cheryl – Not putting on the Armor of God.


Shirley – being out of obedience.



When I posted the question a couple of days ago, it was not my intention to gather blog material, but the responses were so good I decided to share them here. Hope you found them helpful and encouraging. After all, iron sharpens iron. (Proverbs 27:17)  


Thanks for stopping by. Your comments are welcome.



©Copyright 2020 Connie Wohlford


*Spirit Filled Life Bible – New King James Version, Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, TN; commentary, page 1793

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

What are the Chances? – Biblical Prophecies


What are the Chances? – Biblical Prophecies


“The Bible is the only book that hangs its entire credibility on its ability to write history in advance, without error.” Chuck Missler 

 
Chuck Missler Quote


Isn’t that amazing? 



Some scholars say there are over 300 Old Testament messianic prophecies! What is the mathematical probability that Jesus Christ of Nazareth fulfills all them? 


Here are a few of the prophecies:
  

“Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14 NKJV).


“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, lowly and riding on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey” (Zechariah 9:9 NKJV).

“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be Ruler in Israel, whose goings forth are of old, from everlasting” (Micah 5:2 NKJV).

The entire 53rd chapter of Isaiah is a prophesy about Jesus. 


“Peter Stoner, chairman of the Departments of Mathematics and Astronomy at Pasadena College, was passionate about biblical prophecies.” *  Along with 600 of his students, he researched eight specific prophecies about Jesus to find the mathematical probability that Jesus fulfills them all.


“The conclusion to his research was staggering. The prospect that anyone would satisfy those eight prophecies was just 1 in 1017. In Science Speaks, he described it like this:

‘Let us try to visualize this chance. If you mark one of ten tickets, and place all of the tickets in a hat, and thoroughly stir them, and then ask a blindfolded man to draw one, his chance of getting the right ticket is one in ten. Suppose that we take 1017 silver dollars and lay them on the face of Texas. They will cover all of the state two feet deep. Now mark one of these silver dollars and stir the whole mass thoroughly, all over the state.

‘Blindfold a man and tell him that he can travel as far as he wishes, but he must pick up one silver dollar and say that this is the right one. What chance would he have of getting the right one? Just the same chance that the prophets would have had of writing these eight prophecies and having them all come true in any one man, from their day to the present time, providing they wrote using their own wisdom.’” *

After studying Peter Stoner’s book, Science Speaks, Dr. David R. Reagan wrote an article titled, “Applying the Science of Probability to the Scriptures: Do statistics prove the Bible’s supernatural origin?” 
He came to this conclusion: “The bottom line is that the fulfillment of Bible prophecy in the life of Jesus proves conclusively that He truly was God in the flesh. It also proves that the Bible is supernatural in origin.” **


Copied from Joy Comes to Bethlehem, by Connie Wohlford


Again, I say “amazing.” I don’t know about you, but this is beyond my comprehension. 



My own conclusion is this: I’m so grateful for Jesus and love God’s Word. What about you? 



*  https://www.jesusfilm.org/blog-and-stories/old-testament-prophecies.html

** https://thedailyhatch.org/2013/08/26/peter-stoner-and-biblical-prophecy/


©Copyright 2019 Connie Wohlford


Thursday, December 12, 2019

My NEW BOOK Just in Time for Christmas


My NEW BOOK Just in Time for Christmas



Hot off the press is my new children’s book, The Lord has Need of YOU
Yes, its categorized for children, but many adults are getting it for themselves because they love the story and the art. 


Jesus enters Jerusalem - watercolor by Lesley James

Book description:


     Join in with donkeys, Elpis and Kavod, and experience the last days of Jesus’ life on earth prior to His ascension. Having known each other since childhood, Elpis and Jesus are reunited in a unique and unexpected way.

     Through the eyes of these loveable donkeys, The Lord Has Need of You shows the true Bible account of Jesus’ earthly life from His triumphal entry into Jerusalem to His ascension back to Heaven after rising from the dead. It includes many other occurrences during Holy Week and thereafter, depicting grace and restoration that results. Except for the donkeys’ participation in Jesus’ triumphal entry, they are not part of the true account of these events. The author has included them in the story to help captivate children’s attention as they learn about Jesus. 

     Walk alongside Elpis (meaning hope) and Kavod (meaning glory) and share in the joy of knowing Jesus on a personal level. Feel the sadness of His crucifixion. Then rejoice with the donkeys, the disciples, and others at the resurrection of the Jesus, the Messiah, bringing redemption and eternal life to the world. Stand amazed with His followers at the risen Lord as He ascends to Heaven, rejoicing at the promise of His eventual return.

     This telling of the most significant event thus far in history is carried along pictorially with the beautiful watercolor paintings of Virginia artist, Lesley James. Children and adults alike will be blessed by her art, by the story of Jesus, and by the personal challenge to step out in faith because the Lord has need of you


Jesus w- children -watercolor by Lesley James
I’m so thrilled with this book. For several years I have been anticipated its completion and release. I’ve received many wonderful comments from people who have gotten the book. The extraordinary illustrations are watercolor paintings by Virginia artist, Lesley James.


If you would like to order a signed, personalized copy, contact me via email, author@conniewohlford.com 
You may pay with credit card or PayPal. 

The cost is $10.00 each, plus shipping, (and sales tax in Virginia). It is also available on Amazon.






The Lord Has Need of YOU by Connie Wohlford

This book will add a touch of eternity to your Christmas, telling/showing the reason our Lord Jesus came to earth that night in Bethlehem. It’s a fantastic gift, stocking stuffer, or addition to a gift basket and would even be nice gift for your Sunday School teacher or Sunday School students. 


Thank you for checking it out. God bless you and Merry Christmas to you and yours!


©Connie Wohlford 2019

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Hanna's Thanksgiving


Hannah’s Thanksgiving                               


Hannah was brokenhearted that she had no children. Years came and went yet her womb remained empty. A godly Jewish woman, she was dearly loved by her husband, Elkanah, who tried to console her but her barren womb yielded barrenness of heart. 

After years of disappointment, Hannah asked the priest to pray for her and promised that if God would give her a son, she would give the child back to Him. God answered her prayer and within the next year Hannah bore a son and named him Samuel. As time went by God blessed Hannah and Elkanah with five more children.

After Samuel was weaned, Hannah took him to the priest and dedicated her boy to Yahweh just as she had promised. Her expression of gratitude to God became a well-known portion of Scripture, known as Hannah’s Song

This beautiful passage exudes many attributes of Yahweh—He is Savior, holy, mighty, all knowing, powerful, compassionate, faithful, sovereign, and a righteous judge. 


The first ten verses of 2 Samuel contain her exultation of thanks to God. With grateful hearts, let’s join Hannah and lift God up using the modern language of The Message


“I’m bursting with God-news! I’m walking on air. I’m laughing at my rivals. I’m dancing my salvation. 

“Nothing and no one is holy like God, no rock mountain like our God. Don’t dare talk pretentiously—not a word of boasting, ever! For God knows what’s going on. He takes the measure of everything that happens. The weapons of the strong are smashed to pieces, while the weak are infused with fresh strength. The well-fed are out begging in the streets for crusts, while the hungry are getting second helpings. The barren woman has a houseful of children, while the mother of many is bereft. 

“God brings death and God brings life, brings down to the grave and raises up, God brings poverty and God brings wealth; he lowers, he also lifts up. He puts poor people on their feet again; he rekindles burned-out lives with fresh hope, restoring dignity and respect to their lives—a place in the sun! For the very structures of earth are God’s; he has laid out his operations on a firm foundation. He protectively cares for his faithful friends, step by step, but leaves the wicked to stumble in the dark. No one makes it in this life by sheer muscle! God’s enemies will be blasted out of the sky, crashed in a heap and burned. God will set things right all over the earth, he’ll give strength to his king, he‘ll set his anointed on top of the world!” 

Our world is far from perfect. Our lives are far from perfect. But our God is perfect. 

As Thanksgiving approaches, we can look to God and be truly thankful that He is on the throne no matter what goes on around us. As always, we are thankful for God’s love, for our families, our freedom, our homes, food, and material possessions.    

But let’s have a fuller perspective on Thanksgiving this time and be like Hannah and focus on the amazing attributes of our mighty God and our wonderful Savior.    






©Connie Wohlford 2019


Hannah’s Song of Thanksgiving


Hannah’s Thanksgiving                               


Hannah was brokenhearted that she had no children. Years came and went yet her womb remained empty. A godly Jewish woman, she was dearly loved by her husband, Elkanah, who tried to console her but her barren womb yielded barrenness of heart. 


After years of disappointment, Hannah asked the priest to pray for her and promised that if God would give her a son, she would give the child back to Him. God answered her prayer and within the next year Hannah bore a son and named him Samuel. As time went by God blessed Hannah and Elkanah with five more children.

From Pinterest


After Samuel was weaned, Hannah took him to the priest and dedicated her boy to Yahweh just as she had promised. Her expression of gratitude to God became a well-known portion of Scripture, known as Hannah’s Song





This beautiful passage exudes many attributes of Yahweh—He is Savior, holy, mighty, all knowing, powerful, compassionate, faithful, sovereign, and a righteous judge. 


The first ten verses of 2 Samuel contain her exultation of thanks to God. With grateful hearts, let’s join Hannah and lift God up using the modern language of The Message


“I’m bursting with God-news! I’m walking on air. I’m laughing at my rivals. I’m dancing my salvation. 


“Nothing and no one is holy like God, no rock mountain like our God. Don’t dare talk pretentiously—not a word of boasting, ever! For God knows what’s going on. He takes the measure of everything that happens. The weapons of the strong are smashed to pieces, while the weak are infused with fresh strength. The well-fed are out begging in the streets for crusts, while the hungry are getting second helpings. The barren woman has a houseful of children, while the mother of many is bereft. 


“God brings death and God brings life, brings down to the grave and raises up, God brings poverty and God brings wealth; he lowers, he also lifts up. He puts poor people on their feet again; he rekindles burned-out lives with fresh hope, restoring dignity and respect to their lives—a place in the sun! For the very structures of earth are God’s; he has laid out his operations on a firm foundation. He protectively cares for his faithful friends, step by step, but leaves the wicked to stumble in the dark. No one makes it in this life by sheer muscle! God’s enemies will be blasted out of the sky, crashed in a heap and burned. God will set things right all over the earth, he’ll give strength to his king, he‘ll set his anointed on top of the world!” 


WOW! What an impassioned utterance!   


Our world is far from perfect. Our lives are far from perfect. But our God is perfect. 


As Thanksgiving approaches, we can look to God and be truly thankful that He is on the throne no matter what goes on around us. As always, we are thankful for God’s love, for our families, our freedom, our homes, food, and material possessions. But let’s have a fuller perspective on Thanksgiving this time and be like Hannah and focus on the amazing attributes of our mighty God and our wonderful Savior.


©Connie Wohlford 2019

Monday, October 28, 2019

Thank you, Pastor.


Thank you, Pastor.                                       



Pastor Appreciation Month is coming to an end, but I appreciate my pastors all year through. 


Internet Image


Dear Pastor, 


I can count on you

-      like a lamb counts on the shepherd.

-      like the daisies count on the rain.

-      like the sick counts on the doctor.

-      Like the calf counts on her mama.

-      Like the book counts on the reader.

-      Like the hungry counts on the farmer.

-      Like the tired counts on the rest.

-      Like the bird counts on the sky.

-      Like the student counts on the teacher.

-      Like the rocket counts on the fuel.

-      Like the tree counts on its roots.



Humm—I think I’m talking about Jesus. Pastor, you’re a lot like Jesus. 


Thank you.



©Copyright 2019 Connie Wohlford