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Copyright 2019 © Deborah Ann Saint
Published in the United States of America
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means—electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, or any other—except for brief quotations in printed reviews, without the prior permission of the publisher.
Edited by Karen Porter, Bold Vision Books
“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.” ~C.S. Lewis
“There is enough power in the cross to solve the world’s problems, but we Christians have not used it.” ~Frank Buchman
Chapter 1 Will You Join Us?
It is an interesting adventure and call of a shepherd to be a Pastor to all kinds of people. Sometimes a couple will enter a Pastor’s circle of influence and they will be very raw, real and needy or poor in spirit. The honesty to share grief, desperate emotions, a variety of ongoing difficulties and traumas of life takes courage and trust. Thankfully, when participants are willing to trust and follow God’s leading, not perfectly but authentically and repentantly when failures surface, The Lord will be in our midst in His special ways. This is the case with Richard and Deborah.
In the process of my wife and I ministering to them and praying for and with them, and being in God’s Word together, the influence of the Holy Spirit and the mercy and grace of God became more evident and impactful to us. The goal of experiencing the Presence of God and the reality of the Risen Christ and His resurrection anointing being believed in and being lived out in daily faith is one in which we share. In this endeavor The Gospel is experienced at a new level and prayerfully with ignited faith.
Their story is a hard one. It is more common than most are willing to admit. They admit their story to bring forth God’s story of salvation, redemption and restoration. There are many out there who will relate to them in one or more ways.
Restoration is such a big part of the transformation God desires to bring forth in the lives of His children. My wife and I have witnessed our Lord bringing forth His restoration in this couple—in their lives and health. We have watched the promises of God’s forgiveness, acceptance and love take greater root in their lives as they have grown to love, forgive and accept themselves, each other and others more. Their desire is to live out the Gospel and show the resurrection power of God in their very lives. They have shared their goal of living true to Revelation 12:11 by applying the finished works of Christ to their lives and future by giving testimony to what God has and is still doing by His grace!
In her previous book, "The Elephant Gospel, Unshackled to Live the Secret of Hope", Deborah Ann Saint opens her life and heart for anyone to see and hear what our mutual enemy, Satan, the devil, does not want anyone to hear....that no matter what we have done or what others have done to us, Jesus Christ has exposed and triumphed over our sin, our secret shame and fear and has offered unconditional hope and help through His cross and resurrection! Deb's life story is shared in this book but so is her testimony of what Christ has done and most importantly, what Christ has offered to all of us....it really is so much more than what we may now realize!
The Word of God through His Gospel is abundant throughout the pages of this book. I personally appreciate the way the truths of the Gospel are clearly applied to real life disappointments and soul woundings. Just like a physician treating a patient with a health issue in their area of specialty, the Holy Spirit speaks specifically and powerfully to bring healing and deliverance. If you want to receive hope and healing, please read this book and find a quiet place to meditate on it's contents. You may find yourself weeping with tears of hope and joy! Yes, it's that good!
Pastor Dan Groff,
“Some who pick up this book may make no claim to know God. Others may make the claim but be victims of the self-delusion that John observes. (1 John 2:4-6) Yet others may know Him, and obey Him, but wonder sometimes at the value of this knowledge and this obedience. I think that this book will have something to say to all three. If those in the first category want to know God, they may perhaps learn how. Those in the second group may find that they are missing a great deal by not backing their claims with action. And those in the third category may be encouraged to pursue their course.”
~Elisabeth Elliott, Shadow of the Almighty
When I read Elizabeth Elliot’s preface to her amazing book Shadow of the Almighty, I realized that there will also likely be three groups who will read this book: those who make no claim to know Him yet; those who claim to know Him but maybe don’t; and those who know and obey Him. If you are like me, you have probably lived part of your life in each of these groups. And, like me, you know people who fall into each group.
With this understanding, my husband and some friends have joined me in telling some of our stories on these pages. Together, we seek to yield ourselves to the Lord and open our hearts to give to the reader what we have received. We want to grow and to be prepared to help others grow, especially in wisdom, character, stature, unity, and favor. (See Ephesians 4:13, 2 Peter 1:2,8) We believe the strength of grace is a compelling force in all our stories and lives, and through our stories, we hope to exalt Christ as Paul did and motivate our readers to live out in greater measure the fullness of God’s love and truth: the Gospel.
We share in our stories the amazing ways God has forgiven and blessed us. Through the best of times and the worst of times, good choices and poor choices—some that might make you uncomfortable—we authors have come to know the Lord and His love. In writing together, we are choosing to walk out our faith in new and bold ways because Jesus gave all for us.
The following true, concise (and hopefully effectual) accounts represent some of the most important or pivotal moments in our lives. Because, in these events it seems God has intervened in powerful ways to demonstrate and make a show of the greatness of His redemption and the enormity of His Grace and Mercy. His transformations, restorations and reconciliations are miracles to behold. We believe, through these stories, the reality, truth and hope of the Gospel will be evident as it is applied in practical and encouraging ways that often intersect with the cultural hot topics of our day.
We hope the reader will gain greater perspective, insight and willingness to live out, in a fuller measure, Gospel truths and love in these tough life situations that are so prevalent today. We also hope to equip readers to be increasingly cognizant of where people are coming from, their hurts and their needs and differences. In this way, the reader may more effectively navigate and live out grace and truth with great love.
Our prayer is that through the power of the cross, the resurrection, and our testimonials, God’s Word and His Spirit will be at work in us all as we read and learn and grow together to impact our world for Christ and His Kingdom.
Our dream is for all of us to align ourselves as Christ’s Body through the unity of the Holy Spirit—to be those who know Him and obey Him— out of sheer love, gratitude and trust for His amazing goodness and grace. We want to walk in the power of His resurrection by His Holy Spirit and not be ashamed of the Gospel for it is the power of God that brings salvation to those who believe! (Romans 1:16) Would it not be wonderful if our generation would be the answer and fulfillment to Jesus’ prayer in John 17? (The Chapter of John 17 is printed at end.)
~Deborah, Richard, Sophia and our friends
Will You Join Us?
Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. (1 John 4:8 ESV)
“Come, follow Me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.”
(Matthew 4:19-20 Berean Study Bible)
Have you ever had a dream that so touched your heart that you felt truly changed by it? I recently had such a dream. Whether this dream was from the Lord (which I believe it was) or was only a picture of what I had been considering while I was awake, I do not know for sure. However, I am thankful for the dream, and I pray that God will give my wife and me the chance to show our hearts this way.
In the dream, I was back at my old high school. I am not sure whether I was a teacher at the high school or whether I was there for some other reason.
One of my initial interactions, while at the school, was with one of the students. This student was a thin young man, disheveled and dirty. It was clear that he was not part of the in crowd at the high school. He seemed bitter about everything and disliked everything that was around him. I tried to speak to him, but he gave me a scowl and moved away.
As he moved away, it became clear that he was ill. He started coughing loudly. All the other students seemed to vanish into the many classrooms, and the young man and I were left alone in the hallway. He began moving toward the restroom. As he got closer to the restroom, he began to vomit. He was seriously sick. He staggered toward the bathroom and entered through the swinging door. I saw the mess in the hallway but I could also hear that he was continuing to vomit in the bathroom. For some reason, I felt that I had the responsibility to try to help this young man and to clean up the mess he was causing.
I entered the bathroom to check on the young man. Not only was he still vomiting, he was taking the vomit and wiping it on the walls, sink, and mirrors. He seemed to take an evil pleasure in what he was doing—like this was his revenge. I felt disgust, yet at the same time, there was no doubt in my mind that I had to clean everything.
The young man finally stopped vomiting and sat down in the corner of the restroom. I began the process of cleaning up his mess. I remember wondering what sort of illness or disease that I was exposing myself to, by way of the cleanup. But in my dream, I did not have a choice. I completed the cleanup process.
At the end of the cleanup, the principal of the high school came into the restroom. Somehow, he knew what had happened, and he also seemed to feel that it was my responsibility to cleanup as well. He checked the restroom and found all to be clean and in order. The principal then left. The young man also decided to leave the restroom. I followed him to see what else he would do.
He went outside the school and walked toward a car. There were three other young men in the car. The front passenger seat was empty so the sick young man got into the car and sat in that seat.
All four young men looked at me with mocking sneers. They asked me why I was looking at them. I stood still. The sick young man advised me that they were all gay and He looked at me to see how I would respond. The driver of the car started to accuse me of being “like all the others” and that I had no right to condemn them. I remember feeling so sad. I could feel their pain as they assumed that I would condemn them for their lifestyle.
I guess my sadness was reflected on my face. The driver said, “Look at him. It almost looks like he cares. I know better, though. No one cares.”
Then he seemed to soften, “No one has ever spoken to us with any help or guidance.” He continued, “We only talk to each other and no girls will ever speak to us.”
I said, “I know people who will speak with you. I know people who care about you and will try to help you.”
The sick young man said, “Who?”
Before I could answer, I woke up. Just as I was opening my mouth to respond to the sick young man, I left the dream. My heart and my emotions, however, were still caught up in the strong feelings that I had felt in standing near those young men. I could still feel their lostness and desperation for direction and acceptance.
As I lay in the bed, I heard the sick young man’s question. “Who?”
I want to give them names of those who are willing to help. I want to give them names of people who are willing to share the gospel message so that these young men and women like them can feel the hope and strength that only comes from a saving relationship with Jesus Christ. Could I give them your name? Could I assure these young men that you would be willing to meet with them to share the truth of the gospel and provide them with a pathway to purpose and meaning in their lives? I know my wife and I are willing to share. Will you join us?
Heavenly Father, Jesus said, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation (Mark 16:15a). Help us do as You commissioned us Lord. Help us realize Your Word and warnings are true and there is much at stake. We pray that we will share Christ and our faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ (Philemon 1:6). Thank You LORD that the Spirit God gave us gives us power, love and self-discipline and does not make us timid or afraid. Cause us not to be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of those radically born-anew like Paul (2 Timothy 1:7-8). Holy Spirit teach us what we should say at the time we should say it (Luke 12:12). In our weakness when we do not know what we ought to pray for, Holy Spirit, thank You that You intercede for us (Romans 8:26). LORD, help us be prayerful, depend on You, and have confidence in Your prayers and leading. Help us love as Christ loved us and be willing to show His love and acceptance to those You put in our paths and to all people. We pray we would hear Your direction and obey You. May we experience You and proclaim what we have seen and heard of Jesus so that many will join us in fellowship with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. Help us be willing to join with other believers to share Christ and even to suffer for the gospel, by the power of God (1 John 1:3). In Jesus' Name, Amen.