YCCM PART 4 DETAILS

 Chapter 22

JESUS CHANGED EVERYTHING

 

8:00 AM


Merle: Where ya goin' Bee?


Bee: Den...I. mean Luke gets out of the hospital today. I'm going to pick him up.


Merle: Bee, you need to be careful with those kind of people, they'll try to pull the wool over your eyes.


Bee: Merle, he's a sweet boy.


Merle: He's an ADDICT and suicidal, Bee. You have to be careful!


Bee: You don't KNOW that Merle. He said he quit using drugs and he was trying to cross the street. Give him a CHANCE Merle!


Merle: Where are you taking him? I'll come along.


Bee: I'm taking him to the shelter. They're going to try and help him.


[They arrive at the hospital. Merle turns the car off and Bee gets out.]


Bee: Are ya comin' in Merle?


[Merle rests his head on the steering wheel for a moment, thinking, then, looks at Bee.]


Merle: I'll wait in the car!


Bee: Suit yourself, Sweetheart. I'm sure it won't take long.

 

9:27 AM 


[An hour later, Bee and Luke emerge from the tiny door of the huge building, walking arm in arm. Bee introduces Luke to Merle and after that, there is silence all the way to the shelter, until Luke gets out of the car and waves goodbye. On the way home, Bee looks at Merle, very cross. Merle finally looks at Bee and speaks.]


Merle: What? ! What's wrong? What did I do?


[Bee gets out of the car and slams the door and shouts through the window.]


Bee: You didn't have to TREAT him like that!


[Merle gets out of the car and follows Bee in the house, shaking his head.]


Bee: You wouldn't even talk to him. What kind of minister are you? You made it pretty clear you were just doing CHARITY work! Even addicts deserve to be treated like HUMAN BEINGS!!!


Merle: BEE...LISTEN...


Bee: Listen to what? ! --You lecture me and tell me how NAIVE and gullible I am and that he's nothing but an addict? !


Merle: HE'S NOT DENNY, BEE! He's not Denny.


[Bee calms down and looks at Merle.]


Bee: I know he's not Denny. He's nothing like Denny. Is that why you don't like him?


Merle: NO, Bee! I don't want you to be hurt! We don't know WHO he really is or what he does. Just don't attach yourself to him.


[Bee grabs her purse and starts to leave, but turns back.]


Bee: Well, I don't want to live like that anymore. We've been doing that since Denny was killed; not attaching ourselves to ANYBODY! What are you AFRAID of Merle?


[Merle rubs the top of his head as he struggles with something inside of him. Then, breaks down into tears.]


Merle: I...I'm afraid of losing somebody close to me, again, Bee. I'm afraid of losing YOU...and I couldn't bear losing another child. I don't dislike him, Bee. I'm afraid to get CLOSE to him!


[Bee goes up to Merle and wraps her arms around his waist and they hold onto one another for dear life.]


 

1:03 PM


NARRATOR: Luke took his first step to being accountable for his life. He sought out a place of worship and discipleship at a shelter dedicated to leading men to Christ and Discipleship.


The men gather in the sanctuary for a short worship service before going to their afternoon discussion groups. The opening scripture is John 15: 12, 13(KJV)


12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.

13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.


[The men are invited up to give their testimony.  Luke is impressed with their stories, but, then something happens...


The addiction is gone, but the underlying pain it was covering up is still there and he has nothing to fight it with.]


THE NEXT MORNING

 

8:57 AM

 

[Bee and Merle decide to go and check on Luke at the shelter. They go to the front desk to check in with the attendant.]


Merle: Hi, we're here to

see Lucas...


Bee: Luke Thomas.


Merle: I'm Reverend Vickers and this is my wife, Bee. We're friends of Luke.


[The attendant checks the log book.]


Attendant: Let's see here. We have everybody sign in and out here and...I-eeeee...Oh! Here he is! He signed in yesterday and signed out before curfew and didn't come back. They do that sometimes. Change their minds about getting help and surrendering all to God. They just aren't ready to change.


Bee: No. He wouldn't DO that. Are you sure?


Attendant: Yes ma'am!


[Merle takes Bee's arm and she unwillingly allows herself to be led out of the door and into the passenger's seat of the car. Merle gets in and starts the car.]


Bee: WHERE did he go, Merle?


Merle: Let me handle this Bee.


Bee: (very distressed) I've gotta find him and HELP him!


Merle: I said, let ME handle this Bee!


Bee: But, you don't really want me to see him.


Merle: I'm taking you home and you're going to STAY there! I'll call you later on.


Bee: but, MERLE?!


Merle: BERTHA EARLENE HOGGENSHNAUGHT-VICKERS!!! Not ONE more...(whispering) word.


[Merle drops Bee off in front of the trailer and as soon as she gets out of the car, he peels off--tires screeching. He pulls into a little diner and sits at the booth.]

 

9:43 AM


Merle: Coffee please and lots of it.


Diner owner:  You must have a long  day ahead of you.


Merle: A long day and night, probably, trying to find a needle in a haystack, for someone I love.


Diner owner: Good luck with BOTH of those problems, pal.


[Merle stares into his coffee cup and begins to think about what the man said, "Good luck." He begins to silently pray, hoping to figure things out inside of his head, with God's help.]


Merle: Father, I don't know what I've gotten myself into, but I do know that luck or chance has nothing to do with it. (sighs) Just tell me where to go and what to do. The chances of me (laughs to himself). Listen to me, CHANCES, chances. I'm contradicting myself. 

 

Lord, I've been afraid and hiding for a long time, not really having faith and trusting you with my life. Bee's right and I don't want to live like that anymore. Help me, Lord... 

 

JESUS, I need a MIRACLE!


The enemy wants me to believe this young man is someplace strung out or dead. PLEASE God, wherever he is, let him be ALIVE! I saw him so briefly, I don't even know if I can recognize him. 

 

--And Bee!


[He unknowingly speaks out loud.]


Oh, LORD!


[He goes back to praying silently.]


I'm beginning to think we need HIM more than he needs US. HELP us, Father!!


Diner Owner: You alright, sir?


Merle: (Merle looks up.) Yes, thank you. May I have that coffee to go please? I better get started.


 

9:53 AM


[Merle sits in his car and phones police stations, hospitals and shelters. He begins to drive around Las Vegas checking out places where he's seen homeless people. By evening, he's looking in casinos, bars and strip clubs. Finally, at his wits end, he pulls in front of a church and decides to go in to ask if he can go rest, pray and use their restroom. He wants to call Bee, but he doesn't have any good news to tell her and doesn't know what to say.


The inside of the church is huge, spacious, emaculately clean and beautifully decorated. Only a few people are in the pews, praying. Merle manages to find the church office and knocks on the glass window. A young minister comes to the door.]


 

9:19 PM


Merle: Hi, I'm Reverend Vickers. I was just wondering if I can rest here for a while and use your restroom facilities.


Young Minister: Of course, Reverend! No need to ask. We run an evening counseling program, so we're open late. Just go right around the corner.


[Merle finds the restroom, then takes a seat in one of the plush pews. The young minister he spoke to is talking to one of the people in front of him, giving them information. He stands and walks over to Merle.]


Young Minister: Reverend a...


Merle: Vickers


Young Minister: Reverend Vickers, we ask everyone who comes in if we can serve them in any way.


Merle: Oh, no. I just needed a break. I've been out all day searching for a homeless man, not even knowing where to look.


Young Minister: Ah yes, we get PLENTY of homeless people and people with gambling addictions who have lost everything. One particular homeless man stands out to me tonight, he had a bandage on his head and was a nice guy...


[At the mention of the bandage, Merle stands up ready to take off.]


Merle: Excuse me, but, did he have dark brown hair and about my height?


Young Minister: Yes, but he could be...


Merle: How long ago?


Young Minister: About a half hour ago.


Merle: Did he say where he was going?


Ben: I sent him to our shelter over on Bixby. Here's a card.


Merle: Thank you, thank you! God bless you!


[Merle runs out of the church, jumps into his car, looks at the address on the card and speeds away. When he gets to the street of the shelter, he can't get close to the building, because of a crowd gathering outside, looking up at the top of the building. Merle parks on the street and walks, making his way through the crowd. He hears them talking about a man on top of the building ready to jump. His heart is racing fast as he pushes his way inside and goes to the front desk.]


 

10:12 PM


Merle: (out of breath) I'M LOOKING FOR LUKE THOMAS!!


Desk Attendant: You KNOW our jumper? !


Merle: JUMPER? ! YES! !  Take me to him! I'm Reverend Vickers a...a...his minister!


[The Desk Attendant motions for Merle to follow him.]

 

Desk Attendant: We've called the police, but they haven't gotten here yet. (shaking his head) We keep that door locked! I don't know HOW he got up there. CHUCK! HEY CHUCK! He knows our jumper, take him up!


[Merle is handed over to someone who looks like he might be the janitor. The man is talking to him, but Merle's mind is racing a mile a minute. What will he say to this young man he wouldn't even TALK to? He keeps telling himself that he should know what to say, because, he's a minister.


He arrives at the top of the building not remembering how he got there or how he was able to take so many flights of stairs that fast at his age. The janitor opens the door and Merle sees Luke standing near the edge of the building, with his back facing them.]


Luke: I SAID, LEAVE ME ALONE! I'VE MADE UP MY MIND!


Merle: (very winded and nervous) Luke...it's Reverend Vickers, from...the chapel...aaaa...BEE'S HUSBAND.  I know you don't know me well and I wasn't so friendly when you met me, but...you see, I've been out looking for you ALL DAY! And I know God led me here to you.


[Luke turns around and the crowd below gasp.]


Merle: BE CAREFUL LUKE! 


[He wipes the sweat from his face and tries to go on.]


As I was sayin'...


[He tries to think of something to say.]


...as I was sayin' ...I've been looking for you Luke, because we care about what happens to you. Maybe you don't believe I do, but think about Bee. The woman has a heart of gold and I'd do ANYTHING for that woman. She's been KIND to you Luke. I can tell that she loves you. You see...we use to have a son.


Luke: I know


Merle: Well, we know you can't replace him, but if you'd give us a chance. We nee...need you Luke. I-I-I know that now.


[Merle pauses and unsuccessfully tries to regain his composure.]


I was afraid...I was afraid. I've been afraid for a long time. I didn't...I COULDN'T say anything to you.


Listen........I don't know why you want to do this, but, life is precious, Luke. No matter what terrible thing you've done...or... or whatever happened that you believe is UNBEARABLE, God can help you! He doesn't WANT you to do this! He wouldn't have led me here if He didn't want to save you, Luke. God has a plan for your life.


[Luke turns back towards the edge and the crowd below gasp. Merle begins to weep.]


I...don't want to lose anyone again...I don't know what I'm going to tell Bee. I can't tell her... I can't let her down.


[Sirens in the background begin to drown out the sound of his voice. ]


NO LUKE! DON'T!!! OH, GOD!! I CAN'T DO THIS!! WHY DID YOU SEND ME HERE?! TAKE ME, INSTEAD...TAKE ME!! LORD, TAKE ME! DON'T LET THIS BOY DIE!! I don't want him to die.


[Merle sinks to his knees covering his face, sobbing. After awhile, he feels a hand on his shoulder.  He looks up to see Luke, with tears streaming down his face. Luke reaches down and pulls him up from his knees and embraces him. Merle stands there sobbing. The police, who've been standing close by, help the two men come down the stairs and ask them for information to help file a report.]


 

10:58 PM


Policeman: Are you sure you don't want us to take him over to county psychiatric, Reverend?


[Merle looks at Luke and sees the fear in his eyes.]


Merle: No, officer, we've got some counselors and doctors for him and we're going to make sure he stays there this time.  Come on, let's go home, Luke.


[Luke and Merle get in the car and there is an awkward silence. Merle decides to break the silence.]


Merle:  Was it thinking about Bee that changed your mind?


Luke: Sorta, I could see that you two really DID need me, and all of a sudden all the PAIN wasn't as bad anymore. --And when I thought about all that you'd done for Bee and how you couldn't STAND the thought of disappointing her, I knew you were someone who could be counted on. But.........you said something reminding me of what I heard in worship service...


Merle: Oh?


Luke: Yeh...something...something Jesus said. Greater love hath no man than to lay down his life for his friends. Did you mean it?


Merle: Mean what?


Luke: You said, "Take me instead, Lord."


[Merle pauses to think and realizes he did say that. He remembers the day when he realized his calling to be a pastor and the love he had for God and Jesus; the feelings of love and compassion he felt for all people; the desire to serve others and preach the Word of God so that NONE would perish for lack of knowledge. Merle fights back the tears welling up in his eyes again, as he realizes he has to stop hiding. He knows, that in his heart, he truly did mean what he said on that rooftop. With a lump in his throat, he answers Luke.]


Merle: Yes, Luke...I did.


Luke: (quietly) Thank you.


[They ride in silence until the thought comes to Merle that he hasn't called his wife.]


Merle: BEE! I haven't called Bee. She must be worried sick!


Luke: I don't think I can face her tonight, but the shelter won't take people in after curfew, because they're short on staff.


[Merle, not really wanting to upset Bee anymore with all that had happened that night, begins to think. He takes out his cellphone to call home, but the battery is almost dead]


Merle: I know someplace we can go.


[Luke looks at Merle questioningly, as he pulls into a gas station to park and call Bee. Then, he dials another number on a card.]


Merle: Bee? I can't talk long, my phones dyin'.


[Luke can hear a hysterical voice on the other end of the phone line.]


Merle: Yes, I'm alright...yes...I know I should have called earlier. Are YOU okay? Yes...I know you're worried sick...try to calm down. I've got Luke...I SAID I'VE GOT LUKE, HONEY. Yes...he's alright. He can't talk right now--my phone--really, he's okay, Bee. Try not to worry. We can't get into the shelter, so we're going someplace to talk. No...no Bee it's best that we go someplace else. Don't wait up for us and try to get some rest. I'll call you first thing in the morning, sweetheart. I love you, sweetheart. Bye.


[Luke doesn't think that was the end of the conversation, somehow, and he feels guilty for causing so much turmoil in their marriage.

 

11:45PM


They drive to a familiar church and park in the parking lot. He recognizes the minister who comes out to meet them--the minister, who prefers to be called Ben. Ben apologizes to Merle for having to take and keep his driver's license and ask a lot of questions so late at night to fill out a form.


Ben leads the men into a large storage room with beds, mattresses, cots, blankets, clothes, boxes of canned food, water and medical equipment, that must be for disaster relief. He continues to apologize for the accomodations, which Merle assures him are more than adequate for the night. However, Ben explains that he'd called and asked permission for them to stay in the infirmary, which is much nicer, but things have gotten so complicated taking in homeless people and drug addicts. He goes on and on complaining about how he's so bogged down in paperwork, which takes away from giving people the care that they need and how he'd like to see the system change to be more personal.


Turning off the lights, but, leaving on the hallway lights, he tells them that someone will be in to check on them and clean in the morning. Merle goes to freshen up and use the restroom. When he returns, he finds Luke asleep on top of the bed, fully clothed.]

 

NEXT MORNING 

 

7:19 AM


[Merle opens his eyes and sees the bed across from him empty. Suddenly, realizing he's not at home and who's SUPPOSED to be in that bed, his mind immediately becomes alert and he gets out of bed. Hurriedly, he puts his shoes on and starts to search the church, calling out for Luke. As he nears the door to the sanctuary, he can see a figure at the altar praying. Quietly, he approaches the altar and kneels to pray on the other side of the room.


But for the sound of the peaceful waterfall flowing into the baptismal pool, there is dead silence in the room, until, a deafening, gut-wrenching cry, shatters the silence, loosed from the inner part of Luke's being, causing him AND Merle to jump up from the altar. Looking up to the cross in the middle of the ornate, stained glass window, streaming colorful light from above the baptismal pool, Luke stretches his arms above his head. Merle almost falls down rushing to his side, not knowing what is happening to him. He flings his arms out again, barely missing Merle's head. Merle steps back as Luke moves back and forth in front of the altar, swinging his arms, jumping up and down, head flung back, tears pouring down his face and his mouth stretched wide open as IF in agony. Merle watches in AWE.]


Luke: (crying out over and over again) I SURRENDER!!! I SURRENDER ALL JESUS!!!


[Finally, Luke melts into a heaping pile of exhaustion on the floor and Merle sits beside him in tears, holding him, praising and thanking God.]


NARRATOR: Now, there will be many who will wonder what DID happen to Luke and perhaps think that he had a psychotic fit or nervous breakdown. Even other Believers who claim to be BORN AGAIN, may say that, "It don't take all THAT, or he was just putting on a show, pretending, being OVERLY emotional, or mimicking what he's seen those OTHER people do who say they've got the HOLY GHOST.


Others might say, "I didn't hear him speak in tongues, so he ain't SAVED!"


But My Brothers and Sisters, THESE ARE THEY, these are the ones whom Jesus cautioned the Disciples about, as we read in Matthew 16:5-12.


5 And when his disciples were come to the other side, they had forgotten to take bread.


6 Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.


7 And they reasoned among themselves, saying, It is because we have taken no bread.


8 Which when Jesus perceived, he said unto them, O ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have brought no bread?


9 Do ye not yet understand, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up?


10 Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets ye took up?


11 How is it that ye do not understand that I spake it not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees?


12 Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.

 

THESE ARE THEY, who want to keep God behind a veil, that only THEY have access to, within a box, with blessings and powers only THEY can benefit from!


THESE ARE THEY, that would have accused the Disciples of being DRUNK or having LOST THEIR MINDS in the Upper Room, when God's Holy Spirit rushed through the door, like a whirling, gust of wind, sweeping down upon the anointed of God with fire and WONDER WORKING POWER, that can only come from God Almighty, Himself! --And there were witnesses who saw His Holy Spirit embed Himself within them and cause them to speak in a way unbeknownst to them all before!


THESE ARE THEY, may God have MERCY upon them...


Who like those naysayers and accusers of long ago, would have condemned David and his men for eating the showbread from the temple and delivered him to Saul; and chastised Jesus and His Disciples for plucking and eating corn in the fields on the Sabbath; and tell God, Himself who should allowed to be saved and how he must do it!!


My Brothers and Sisters, let us not JUDGE OTHER BELIEVERS and say who is SAVED and NOT SAVED! Let us come to KNOW THEM, and to know them is to have a godly RELATIONSHIP with them; that we may know them by the fruit that they bear. Then, let us not forget to serve one another in Truth and in Love--a SERVANT of the Lord, helping those who are lost and blinded to find the right path and attach themselves to the VINE and bear GOOD FRUIT!


We know that there will be those who will continue to RESIST the Truth, but the battle is not ours, but, the LORD'S. He is depending on our ACTIONS and UNCONDITIONAL, PERFECT LOVE to make the deciding DIFFERENCE in whom they choose to serve.


Has Luke been reborn and transformed? Is the Truth within him? Let us look at the DETAILS and see what kind of FRUIT he bears.


[Luke wipes his eyes, looks at Merle who is still praying and praising God, and begins to talk to him. Merle stops to listen.]


Luke: I thought I was going to be okay after I stopped using.  I prayed and asked God to deliver me from drugs, alcohol and pills and He did. I thought I'd done what I was supposed to do and He'd make things better.


But...then..things started churning inside my stomach and I couldn't make memories from the past go away. I couldn't sleep or eat. I felt more confused and conflicted than when I was using. I couldn't take it anymore.


What was the use of me being alive if I had to be depressed and tormented everday? I JUST WANTED IT TO STOP! ! I just wanted it to STOP!

 

I knew nobody cared! I don't HAVE anybody! I grew up in Children's Services with a bunch of foster parents, who had their own kids and their own problems.


Merle: Did you know your real parents, Luke?


Luke: My mom was alive, then, but, she's the reason I ended up in foster care. She was an addict and she use to neglect me and let things happen to me.


[Merle looks up at the ceiling, not wanting to think about what those things might be.]


I was too old for anybody to want to adopt me and I had behavior problems...

 

My father? (laughing and shaking his head) ...I don't even know who he really is. My mom had different boyfriends that moved in with us all the time. Each time there was a new one, she'd tell me to call HIM daddy.


Merle: Bee and I care about you, Luke.  Do you know a lot about the Bible Luke? I know that you pray, but, do you know The Word?


Luke: One family I stayed with took me to church, Bible School and youth night, all the time and I learned alot from the Bible. After they had to send me to another family, I kept going for awhile, but...my foster parents didn't think it was important.  I still find myself praying now and then.


Merle: That's good Luke, but, you and I have got to get past just knowing about the Bible and start LIVING the WORD OF GOD--JESUS!!! Come on, Luke, I don't know why...but...I'm feeling GOOD this morning! REVIVED!! PRAISE THE LORD!!! BOY THAT BED WAS HARD!!

 

8:10 AM


[Merle puts one of his arms around Luke's shoulders, while he holds his own aching back with his other hand. The two men laugh their way to the car.


They stop to have breakfast and talk at a mom and pop diner. Merle finds himself laughing more than he has with anyone in a long time and feels comfortable in Luke's presence. The two men clean their plates and are ready to lean back and relax, when Merle remembers that he told Bee he'd call first thing in the morning. Luke sees Merle's sudden change in demeanor and realizes they're both in a heap of trouble.]


 

9:16 AM


Luke: BEE, right?!


[Merle nods his head and excuses himself, to go to the men's restroom. On the way out he hurries to pay the bill and motions to Luke to get in the car. Luke and Merle arrive at the trailer and see Bee standing behind the screen door, looking out. Merle tells Luke that he'll talk to Bee alone, first.


Seeing them, she opens the door wide. Merle gives her a kiss before she can say anything and leads her to the bedroom in the back of the trailer. Luke takes a seat.

 

Later, followed by Merle, Bee emerges from the bedroom in tears and clearly upset.]


Bee: YOU LIED TO ME, LUKE! YOU LIED TO ME!! YOU WERE TRYING TO KILL YOURSELF THAT NIGHT! ! Did you lie about stopping the drugs, too?!

 

9:51 AM


Luke: NO, but...You're upset about ME...ME LYING TO YOU? ! As much as YOU tell lie after LIE and think NOTHING of it? OH! I know what it is...I forgot to PRAY and ask God to forgive me. Take a look in that mirror over there. YOU'RE the QUEEN BEE of lies, Bee!


[Bee hurries out of the door, headed to the chapel.]


Luke: I'm sorry, Merle.  I shouldn't have talked to her like that. I never should have come! I'll walk down to the shelter.


[Merle stands in front of the door.]


Merle: OH NO YOU DON'T!!You're not going ANYWHERE! DON'T YOU DARE! Not after all the searching I did to bring you BACK HERE! I'M taking you down there myself and staying with you!


...Listen...I'm sorry. Don't worry about Bee. I'll take care of it, just like I use to patch things up between her and Denny. Bee can be bull-headed, just plain old stubborn if she doesn't get her way in an argument. She doesn't like hearing the truth and you told her the truth, bluntly, but it was the truth!



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


SELF REFLECTION: A Look in the Mirror


Once again, when we look at Jesus' parables, He is challenging us to examine where our heart lies. Closely examining your heart, answer the questions below.


DISCUSS your answers with a mature Believer who can guide you in your spiritual relationship with Jesus and our Father, and/or have group discussions to learn from those who have different experiences and perspectives.


QUESTIONS: Write down your questions and discuss them with a mature Believer or submit them to this blog.


 

  1. It is not uncommon for people to want to believe something about someone or something so badly, that they will overlook the details indicating the truth. Can you remember such an incident in your life? How can this help us in bringing about change in others?
  2. Having a better understanding of other's beliefs and the reason behind their beliefs, helps us get to what is in their heart and what is preventing them from changing. People often don't want to take time to do this to avoid conflict and division. When you hear about what someone believes do you try to understand why they believe that way? Do you care about why they believe in such a way?
  3. Have you ever thought about how much time we should take to try and save another's soul? 
  4. How much love, patience and prayer should we give to another to help them know the truth? Can it be measured? 
  5. Can we FORCE the Truth on anyone or what we believe to be the truth? 
  6. Then, how do we APPROACH helping them know the Truth? 
  7. Merle thought he didn't know what to say to Luke, when he was on the roof, about to commit suicide. Merle was expecting himself to have answers instead of God. Luke was looking for something he couldn't find in the world and didn't receive as a child--Perfect Love. Because of the Word of God spoken to him at the shelter, Luke recognized Perfect Love in Merle. Can you see God's hand operating in all of this? 
  8. Does this show God's unconditional love for us and that He is still working, on our behalf, and trying to bring us closer to Him, even when we fail to completely trust Him?
  9. Luke thought that if he was delivered from his drug and alcohol addictions, his life would be in order and he would be happy. What did Luke forget about? 
  10. If we don't surrender ALL to God, can He give us a NEW life?
  11. Often in our relationships, we cannot see eye to eye or solve disputes, because we want people to surrender to our way of thinking or to our will. Whose will should they surrender to?
  12. Surrendering to God's will often takes a different form than what we expect or desire. It may not be the answer or solution we desire. God may simply will us and/or the others involved to do nothing. Who SHOULD we surrender to and give AUTHORITY to when faced with adversity and confrontation? 
  13. People always seem to want an immediate solution to their problems. Can ALL problems be solved by man?
  14. If our discussions, conversations and consultations are resulting in arguments and fights, then, one or more people are not surrendering to God's Will. If there is no immediate solution to our problem(s) by either concensus or majority rules, what should we do? 
  15. If those involved believe that the problem can't wait, what do we do, if they choose to act against our advice and God's Will?
  16. If we continue to put our faith in God, trusting and obeying, will He not deliver us from evil? --forgive our trespasses, IF WE forgive those who trespass against US?
  17. People often hold people in ministry up to higher standards, forgetting that they are human beings, also, who make human mistakes. This can become a stumbling block preventing others from becoming Believers or cause other Believers to lose faith and stumble (sin) themselves. Those in ministry are accountable to God as we are also accountable to one another. However, we must distinguish between accountability and judgement. When does our holding them accountable for their actions become JUDGEMENT?
  18. Luke's childhood and past has most likely caused him to be a confused individual, open to darkness and sin. No doubt, his means of coping was to find some way to escape reality. Now, the enemy wants him to believe that without drugs and alcohol, he has no way of escaping other than death. How can we transform escaping into faith in God and not another coping method? 
  19. Luke was impressed by Merle not wanting to let Bee down and his willingness to do anything for her. God also gave him affirmation of his beliefs through the Word he received at the shelter and Merle's pleas to God to take him instead. Can we help replace the desire to escape by giving people someone they can depend on for Love, HOPE, protection, food, shelter, strength, guidance, Truth, Righteousness, Holiness, humbleness, Patience, clarity, order, Joy, Kindness and more?
  20. If they don't see evidence of those qualities within us, will it prevent or deter them from wanting to escape and turn to God?  
  21. People often want to run away, hide and escape from the TRUTH, because it attacks their PRIDE. At the center of their pride is fear. How can we help replace their fears with Perfect Love? 
  22. When we offer someone Jesus, we need to be able to give them an accurate description of who he is. People are often able to do this through their testimonials, telling people about who and what they were before being reborn and who Jesus has perfected them to be. Do you know who Jesus is? How did you find out? 
  23. Does hearing the testimonies of others encourage, strengthen, increase your faith and give you hope?
  24. Do you have a testimony to share? Have you shared it with someone who is a nonbeliever or who is lost?
  25. Do you believe that your testimony can help someone who might be experiencing similar circumstances know that there is another way--a better way?
  26. If you are impaired or inhibited in any way from verbally giving your testimony, try alternative ways. Writing, creating artwork or making a craft or sewing project (i.e., quilt, storybook, album, scrapbook) are expressive ways to tell a story that can make an impact and leave a lasting impression. 
  27. Sometimes our very PRESENCE is a testimony, inspiration and encouragement to others. People who have overcome extenuating circumstances (i.e., natural disasters, grief, disabilities, illnesses, war, rape, financial ruin or set-back, domestic violence, poverty, job loss, barriers to education and success, criminal backgrounds, etc.) can make a tremendous impact just by being visible and a reminder not to give up and try harder. Can you think of anyone who has overcome something who inspires you, just by their PRESENCE? 



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REFERENCED SCRIPTURE


 

Luke 621st Century King James Version (KJ21)

6 And it came to pass on the second Sabbath after the first, that He went through the cornfields. And His disciples plucked the ears of corn and, rubbing them in their hands, ate.

2 And certain of the Pharisees said unto them, “Why do ye that which is not lawful to do on the Sabbath days?”

3 And Jesus answering them said, “Have ye not read so much as this, what David did when he himself hungered and they that were with him:

4 how he went into the house of God, and took and ate the showbread and gave also to them that were with him, which it is not lawful to eat except for the priests alone?”

5 And He said unto them, “The Son of Man is Lord also of the Sabbath.”

 

Acts 221st Century King James Version (KJ21)

2 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.

2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.

3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.

4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

5 And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men out of every nation under heaven.

6 Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together and were confounded, because every man heard them speaking in his own language.

7 And they were all amazed and marveled, saying one to another, “Behold, are not all these who speak Galileans?

8 And how then do we each hear them speaking in our own tongue wherein we were born?

9 Parthians, Medes, Elamites and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,

10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, in Egypt and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers from Rome, both Jews and proselytes,

11 Cretans and Arabians — we hear them speak in our own tongues the wonderful works of God.”

12 And they were all amazed and were in doubt, saying one to another, “What meaneth this?”

13 Others mocking said, “These men are full of new wine.”

14 But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice and said unto them, “Ye men of Judea and all ye who dwell in Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words.

15 For these are not drunken as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day;

16 but this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel:

17 ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out My Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.

18 And on My servants and on My handmaidens I will pour out in those days My Spirit, and they shall prophesy.

19 And I will show wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath — blood and fire and vapor of smoke.

20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood before that great and notable Day of the Lord come.

21 And it shall come to pass that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’

22 “Ye men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man approved of God among you by miracles, wonders, and signs, which God did through Him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know —

23 Him, being delivered by the determinate will and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken and by wicked hands have crucified and slain.

24 But God hath raised Him up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it.

25 For David speaketh concerning Him: ‘I beheld the Lord always before my face, for He is on my right hand, that I should not be moved.

26 Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope,

27 because Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt Thou suffer Thine Holy One to see corruption.

28 Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; Thou shalt make me full of joy with Thy countenance.’

29 “Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulcher is with us unto this day.

30 Therefore, being a prophet and knowing that God had sworn an oath to him that from the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh He would raise up Christ to sit on his throne,

31 David, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of Christ that ‘His soul was not left in hell, neither did His flesh see corruption.’

32 This Jesus hath God raised up, of which we are all witnesses.

33 Therefore, being exalted by the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, He hath shed forth this which ye now see and hear.

34 For David is not ascended into the heavens, but he himself saith, ‘TheLord said unto my Lord, “Sit Thou on My right hand

35 until I make Thy foes Thy footstool.”’

36 “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.”

37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?”

38 Then Peter said unto them, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all who are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.”

40 And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, “Save yourselves from this untoward generation.”

41 Then those who gladly received his words were baptized, and that same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.

42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in the breaking of bread and in prayers.

43 And fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.

44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common,

45 and they sold their possessions and goods and divided them among all men, as every man had need.

46 And continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,

47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.