Why Am I Sure of My Salvation… – I

John 10:27-31

(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)

There has been a question that has divided the church for almost 2,000 years!Can a Christian lose his or her salvation?

  • To express it another way:Once one has accepted Jesus Christ as personal Savior, can he or she sin to an extent that God says, ‘You are no longer saved!’
  • And a related question: If one can lose his or her salvation, can that one be saved again?

Bear with me as I share my testimony concerning how I came to be a Christian. I was raised in a godless family. My mother may have had some belief in God, but she didn’t go to church and she didn’t read the Bible. My father was certainly not a Christian! He was a womanizer, a financial manipulater, and I remember him teaching me to swear using arepeat after memethod! Because of him illegally mortgaging our Connecticut dairy farm a second time, he left the family when he was about to be found out! He ran off with a woman with whom he was engaged before he met my mother – after 29 years of marriage! I was ten years old, the youngest of three brothers.

The spring after my father deserted the family, my mother had to sell the farm to cover his illegal debts. I loved that Sharon Mountian farm! My dream was to someday take over those 208 acres and be a dairy farmer! My dreams collapsed, and my life radically changed!

  • I couldn’t handle the loss, so I stuffed my feelings down inside so I wouldn’t have to deal with them! To this day I can’t remember feeling much of anything after losing the farm!
  • But I did feel a deep loss! I just couldn’t identify the cause of it! And I began medicating myself with alcohol at age twelve to deal with my unidentifiable loss. By the time I was fifteen I was a binge alcoholic who could drink most men under the table!
  • I chose the wrong friends, got into trouble (as did my two older brothers) and was arrested twice!
  • I bought into the opinion vocalized by some who knew us: “Those Norton boys will never amount to anything!I had little confidence in myself, and I put on a big extrovert show while feeling quite introverted!
  • I lost my driver’s license which resulted in me being more isolated from friends and activities.

In November of my eighteenth year I joined the Air Force. After basic training, I was stationed at Keesleer Air Force Base in Biloxi, Mississippi for radar repair training. It was at Keesler that something wonderful happened…

My mother, though not involved with the church herself, did send us three boys to Sunday school at the Sharon Congregational Church. However, I really don’t remember learning a great deal about the Bible or the need to personally ask Jesus Christ to save me. Maybe I was just not ready to believe! …or listen!

But I did believe in God in my own way! But my ‘faith’ was not grounded in Scripture. I prayed, but not as God would have me to pray, I’m sure. I was fascinated by the old patriarchal family Bible we had, circa 1882, and I even tried to read some of it, but not understanding it, I soon gave up my effort. The Bible finally fell apart into three pieces, and my mother was going to throw it out. I asked if I could have it, and I and my newlywed wife had it professionally rebound. The restoration cost $25 dollars (this was a goodly sum in 1968), but the man who did the work told us it was a $50 job!A wedding gift,” he said.

Back to something wonderful happened…

My Air Force friend Jerry shared with me how he had converted to the Roman Catholic faith, much to his family’s dismay. I asked “Why?” And, as Jerry shared, I thought, “Maybe I will become a Roman Catholic! I really don’t have a faith to call my own.” I began to study the Catholic teachings, and was serious about my decision to eventually convert. I regularly practiced what I learned, and although I never did officially become a Catholic, I think I was probably a more serious pursuant of Roman Catholicism than those brought up in that faith! I was a non-CatholicCatholic for the next four years!

But something wonderful happened as I began my pursuit of Catholicism – I discovered Jesus!
I didn’t know much of what the Bible taught concerning accepting the Lord Jesus as my personal Savior, and at that early ‘faith time,’ I couldn’t explain in Christian terms what had happened to me. But I was sure of three things:

  • Jesus was real!
  • Jesus was alive!
  • Jesus loved me!

…and I fell head over heelslove with Him!

That was my salvation experience! Later, as the discharge date from the Air Force approached, I met my future wife, Hope. We married eight weeks later, just six days after my discharge! Hope was raised Baptist, and she knew a great deal more than I did concerning Biblical faith! With her encouragement I enrolled in a Bible college, and two years later I found myself the pastor of First Baptist Church of Johnsonburg, Pennsylvania!

That was fifty-one years ago! I am now retired, and very active in Macedonia Baptist Church in Newnan, Georgia. Part of my current ministry is sharing with you the Biblical knowledge I have learned during my fifty-five years of being a Christian. I share it through this “Gems for Living” website, with the hope and prayer that it will help you to grow in your Christian faith!

My testimony is just the prologue to a series of Gems concerning “Why Am I Sure of My Salvation…” I share because I want you to have, and rest your faith in, the same certainty based on the Word of God!

Heavenly Bodies

I John 3:1-3

(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)

The featured Scripture for this Gem is I John 3:1 through 3. In these three verses, we encounter the final transformation of our entire selves – from limited physical and mental existence into eternal beings, perfectly suited for heavenly living! And, in verse 3, we learn that the knowledge we gain from the first two verses should directly affect our living out the Christian life!

    Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that 
    we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does 
    not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are 
    children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall 
    be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, 
    for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope 
    in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.

But what will we be like in heaven?

  • What kind of bodies will we have?
  • At what level will be the function of our minds?
  • How will we interact with those Christian loved ones who will also be in heaven?

I can only go as far as what the Bible says, but it says quite a lot!

However, first I want to share with you how to ensure your place in heaven…because there is only one alternative, a hot eternal hell! I, and every other true Christian (those who have accepted Him as their Savior) can be sure of possessing eternal life! John the Apostle wrote in I John 5:11 through 13:

    And this is the testimony; that God has given us eternal life, 
    and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he 
    who does not have the Son of God does not have life. These 
    things I have written to you who believe in the name of the 
    Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life....

So be sure you have opened your heart and life to Jesus Christ! He is the only way, and He has already paid the ransom price to redeem you from the devil’s clutches, and to give you an entrance into eternal life!

  • John 5:24 – Jesus said, Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has [already] passed from death into life.
  • John 10:10 – “The thief [Satan] does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
  • John 14:6 – Jesus said,I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
  • John 17:3 (part of Jesus’ prayer before He was arrested) – “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.
  • John 5:11, 12 – “…this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.
  • Acts 4:12 (English Standard Version) – “…there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.
  • I John 5:20 – “…we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true, and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.

I have taken the time to quote several truths concerning salvation in Jesus Christ alone; but it is that important! Your place in heaven or hell for all eternity rests on what you do with the Son of God in this life now!

Reach out to Jesus!
Accept Him as your Savior!
Make Him the Lord of your life!

Let’s get back to Heavenly Bodies. What will we be like in heaven?

When we die during this Church Age – between Pentecost (see Acts 2) and the Rapture (see I Corinthians 15:48-54; Thessalonians 4:13-18), we leave our physical body temporarily on (or in) the earth; but our spirit (soul) goes to be with Jesus in heaven! Saint Paul wrote in II Corinthians 5:6 and 8, “Therefore we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord….We are confident…to be absent from the body…[and] to be present with the Lord….

At the Rapture, our bodies are raised from the dead, and if we have not yet died, “…we shall be caught up together with them [those believers who died, but are now raised from death] in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.” (I Thessalonians 4:17).

Jesus’ purpose is to save people (see Luke 19:10) and restore to them the perfection that Adam and Eve had at the beginning! We are told in Genesis 1:27; “So God created man in His own image…male and female He created them. But they lost that image, that perfection, when they disobeyed God and sinned! (see Genesis 3:1-24). Christ’s purpose of restoration to reflect God’s image is being fulfilled by degrees now, as Paul said in II Corinthians 3:18, “But we…beholding as in a mirror [an imperfect reflection] are being transformed into the same image [of Jesus Christ] from glory to glory…by the Spirit of the Lord.” I think Paul could have added a few more glories to show that we are to be growing more and more like Jesus, bit by bit as we learn more and more about Him through Bible reading and study, prayer, worship, fellowship, and obedience.

Our perfection will be completed at the Rapture, according to I John 3:2, “Beloved, now we are the children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when he is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.What was Jesus like after He was resurrected? Do you remember how terribly He was mistreated?

  • Isaiah 52:13 through 53:12 gives a prophecy of several details of His suffering and death eight hundred years before it happened!
       ✡   Isaiah 52:13 – He was so beaten, whipped, and gen-
           erally manhandled, that He hardly looked human! 

       ✡   Isaiah 53:4-6. 11, 12 – His was a substitutionary 
           death! He suffered and died, taking our sins upon 
           Himself, so we would not be condemned!

       ✡   Isaiah 53:9 – Jesus died as a wicked man among 
           wicked men!

       ✡   Isaiah 53:11 – This verse hints at the resurrec-
  • In Isaiah 50:6 we learn a fact of torture that the gospels do not mention – the hair of His beard was ripped out, and He was spit upon! It says,I gave My back to those who struck Me, and My cheeks to those who pulled out the beard; I did not hide My face from shame and spitting.
  • Psalm 22 gives detailed information a thousand years before it happened, about the extreme suffering by being crucified! He was nailed to a cross, and the final indignation – a Roman spear was thrust through His heart! By the way, crucifixion was not even invented for at least four hundred years after this psalm was written!
       ✡   Verse 1 – Jesus’ very words, uttered from the cross, 
           are prophesied! When the sins of all mankind were 
           piled upon Him, He cried out, “My God, My God, why 
           have You forsaken Me?”

       ✡   Verse 8 – The very words of His tormenters are 
           prophesied:He trusted in the LORD, let Him res-
           cue Him; let Him deliver Him, since He delights 
           in Him!”

       ✡   Verses 14 through 17 – Some of the extreme tor-
           tures of crucifixion are named: extreme dehydration! strain on heart function! pierced hands and feet (when nailed to 
                the cross). 

           ➔   the indignation of being naked in public!

       ✡   Verse 18 – The very specific prophecy is given of 
           the Roman soldiers’ divvying up Jesus’ clothing, 
           and gambling for His robe!

Yes, Jesus’ mistreatment was extreme! His suffering and death were brutal! But He was perfect when He arose from the dead! And Jesus’ perfection was more than just a human body healed.

  • His body was glorified, in that it was physical (see Luke 24:39), but also eternal!
  • He could appear and disappear at will! (see Luke 24:13-32).
  • He could enter locked rooms! (see John 20:19, 26).
  • At His ascension, gravity had no power over Him!

He was more than a perfect specimen of manhood. Jesus was the image of an eternal glorified human being! And, as quoted earlier from I John 3:2, “…we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.

Let’s examine what we will experience in heaven:

  • We will be reunited with our Christian loved ones in heaven, and we will forever be with them! (see I Thessalonians 4:13-18).
  • They, and we, will be perfect like Jesus, and we will be completely happy and content forever! In Revelation 21:3 through 5, John writes this:
        ...I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the 
        tabernacle [dwelling place] of God is with men, and He 
        will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and 
        God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God 
        will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall 
        be no more sorrow, nor crying, and there shall be no more 
        pain, for the former things have passed away.” Then He 
        who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things 
        new....these words are true and faithful.”
  • In the eternal dwelling place of heaven, we will be perfect, so there will be nothing to hide from one another!
       It says of the Lord Jesus in John 2:24 and 25, 
           “...He knew all men, and has no need that anyone 
           should testify of man, for He knew what was in 
           man.✞   Jesus, being God, had the ability to know even 
           the thoughts of people, which He demonstrated 
           several times in the gospels. (see Matthew 9:2 
           through 4; Luke 5:22; Luke 11:17; John 1:47 
           through 51; John 4:17, 18, and 29; and many 

       Being like Jesus, we will be able to fully know 
           everyone we meet in heaven. 

       My own opinion is, we won’t even need to speak 
           to one another, but just think to one another 
           to communicate! And there will be no negative 

We see a glimpse of heaven when Jesus was transfigured on the mountain, recorded in Matthew 17:1 through 8. Moses and Elijah, who appeared with Jesus, had been dead for 1,400 years, or translated from earth 900 years ago respectively. Peter, obviously, had never met them, but he instantly knew who they were without being told!

According to Matthew 22:30, Jesus said,…in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like the angels of God in heaven.I don’t know what can be better than a wonderful marriage, and a life with a wonderful mate! But Paul, in I Corinthians 2:9, said this: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those that love Him.Whatever the eternal relationship might be called between my wonderful wife and me, it will be so great and so fulfilling, it will be beyond any earthly marriage or relationship…….and it will last forever!

I hope this helps you to understand some of the heavenly blessings that await the Christian. I know I don’t have all the answers, but the Bible does reveal quite a bit!

Living A Life of Integrity

Psalm 15:1-5 (International Standard Version)

(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)

What does it mean to be living a life of integrity? First, let’s look at the meaning of the word integrity. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary gives three definitions:

  • “SOUNDNESS” – Yes, the first definition, as well as the last is capitalized. I could find no explanation for this in the “Explanatory Notes” section of the dictionary.
  • “adherence to a code of values : utter sincerity, honesty, candor”

It is the second and third definitions that I want to emphasize, the third first. In James 1:2 through 4, we are told, “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

  • COMPLETENESS” – There is only One who walked the earth who was perfect and complete! That One is Jesus Christ!
    ✡   Isaiah chapter 53 is a great Old Testament prophesy 
        pointing toward Jesus. In verse 9 it says, “And they 
        made His grave with the wicked — but with the rich 
        at His death, because He had done no violence, nor 
        was any deceit in His mouth.II Corinthians 5:21 (Good News Bible) – “Christ was 
        without sin, but for our sake God made Him share our 
        sin in order that in union with Him we might share 
        the righteousness of God.Hebrews 4:15 (speaking of Jesus) – “...we do not 
        have a great High Priest who cannot sympathize with 
        our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we 
        are, yet without sin.I Peter 1:16, 19 – “...you were not redeemed with 
        corruptible things, like silver and gold...but with 
        the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without 
        blemish and without spot.I Peter 2:22 – (International Standard Version) – 
        “He never sinned, and He never told a lie.I John 3:5 – “...He was manifested to take away our 
        sins, and in Him is no sin.
  • We are called to be like Himperfect and complete!
       Romans 8:29 – “For whom He [God the Father] foreknew 
        [we who have accepted Christ as Savior], He also 
        predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, 
        that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.II Corinthians 3:18 (1899 Douay-Rheims Bible) – “But 
        we all, beholding the glory of the Lord with open face, 
        are transformed into the same image from glory to glo-
        ry, as by the Spirit of the Lord.

Now, I have taken time to show from several passages in the Bible that for the Christian to live in integrity, that one must pursue completeness – being more and more like Jesus!

What does that completeness look like? It is spelled out a bit more in the second definition of integrity:adherence to a code of values : utter sincerity, honesty, candor

  • Adherence to a code of values – What code of values are we to follow?
       Paul spells out such a code in Colossians 3:1 through 
        4:6. These 31 verses are too lengthy to reproduce here. 
        But read this code of values and then live by this code, 
        adhere to it, empowered by the Holy Spirit!

    There is a shortened list in Galatians 5:22 and 23 
        called the fruit of the Spirit. These nine qualities 
        are manifested through the Christian when he or she 
        is in tune with the Lord. This quotation is from the 
        English Standard Version – “...the fruit of the Spir-
        it is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, 
        faithfulness, gentleness, self-control....
  • Honesty
    II Corinthians 8:21 (King James Version) – “Providing 
        for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, 
        but also in the sight of men.Philippians 4:8 (Jubilee Bible) – “Finally, brethren, 
        whatever things are true, whatever things are honest, 
        whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, 
        whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of 
        good report, if there is any virtue and if there is 
        any praise, exercise yourselves in these things.
  • Candor
    ➔   Definition from simplicable.com/new/candor – “The 
         act of being open, honest, direct and forthcoming in 
         communication.Matthew 5:37 (Contemporary English Version) – “When 
        you make a promise, say only ‘Yes’ or ‘No.’ Anything 
        else comes from the devil.James 5:12 – “...let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your 
        ‘No’ be ‘No,’ lest you fall into judgment.

I find the etymology of “integrity” interesting (from fdotstrokes.com) – “The word integrity evolved from the Latin adjective integer, meaning whole or complete. It is defined as ‘an undivided or unbroken completeness,’ or a state of being complete or whole.

The exact Latin word is still in English use and is often applied to numbers. From byjus.com/maths/what-is-an-integer/ – “Integers are a set of counting numbers (positive and negative), along with zero, that can be written without a fractional component.But the idea of integer numbers is that they are whole and undivided – just like the meaning of the word Integrity!

Finally, here is God’s idea of ‘integrity’ as He gave it to David by inspiration, who then wrote it down in Psalm 15:

     LORD, who may stay in your tent? Who may dwell on your holy 
     mountain? The one who lives with integrity, who does right-
     eous deeds, and who speaks truth to himself.  The one who 
     does not slander with his tongue, who does no evil to his 
     neighbor, and who does not destroy his friend's reputation. 
     The one who despises those who are utterly wicked, but who 
     honors the one who fears the LORD, who keeps his word even 
     when it hurts and does not change, who does not loan his 
     money with interest, and who does not take a bribe against 
     those who are innocent. The one who does these things will 
     stand firm forever.

This Psalm describes a person of integrity!

Go and live a life of integrity!

The Miracle of the Little Sparrow

Matthew 10:29-31

(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)

Jesus told His followers in Matthew 10:29 through 31 to remember what He was about to say when they experienced hard times because they were bearing witness to their Lord:

     “Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of 
     them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. But 
     the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear 
     therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.”

It is an argument from the lesser to the greater:

  • While not worthless, sparrows were not highly valued at all by the Jews. The copper coin referenced here was of small value, about one and a half cents in modern U.S. Money. Why and how were sparrows sold? Here is an entry from the Biblical Illustrator:
     At present day the markets of Jerusalem and Jaffa are at-
     tended by many fowlers, who offer for sale long stings of 
     little birds of various species, chiefly sparrows, wag-
     tails, and larks. These are also frequently sold, ready 
     plucked, trussed in rows of about a dozen on slender wood-
     en skewers. (H. B. Tristam, LL. D.). 

Note: Henry Baker Tristam was an English Clergyman, naturalist, ornithologist (one specializing in the study of birds), world traveler (visiting the Holy Lands several times between 1858 and 1881), and author of many books. Having thrice been through the markets of Old Jerusalem myself, I have never seen skewers of small birds for sale in these modern days!

  • God is omniscient! This means that He is fully aware of everything that happens, has happened, or is going to happen – concerning the smallest creature to the crown of His creation – human beings! So what Jesus said in Matthew 10:29 about sparrows is entirely true: “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And one of them will not fall to the ground without the knowledge and consent of your Father.” (Lexham English Bible).
  • …the very hairs of your head are all numbered.” (Luke 10:30). God knows every intimate detail concerning you and me! The interesting thing about the hair on your head is that the number of hairs changes every day! Some fall out, some grow in! Yet God keeps the exact tally! This intimate knowledge of everything about you…
    ✞   ...should be of great comfort to the Christian! 
        Our sins are forgiven, we are accepted by the 
        Lord, and we have eternal life.

    ✞   ...should scare you to the core if you have not 
        accepted Jesus as your Savior! For one sinful 
        thought, word, or deed makes you a sinner, and 
        sinners ...will have their [eternal] part in 
        the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, 
        which is the second death...”! (Revelation 21:8).
  • Being God’s highest creation, made in the image of God (see Genesis 1:26, 27), we are of infinite value to Him! So if His knowledge and consent surround a fallen sparrow, “Do not fear…you are of more value than many sparrows.” How valuable are we to God? He gave His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to pay for our sin and to reclaim us to Himself in love! (see John 3:16; II Corinthians 5:21, I Peter 2:24; I John 4:9, 10).

This is just an introduction to The Miracle of the Little Sparrow! This miracle happened to me when I was rebuilding a house dating back to 1904. I and my good friend Frank gutted the house and we rebuilt it from the foundation up. To house all the tools, lumber and supplies that we would need in this years-long process, I purchased an old coal mine company store, two doors down from the house. It was a large building, and walking in through the double front doors, one entered a huge room, about forty feet wide, sixty feet long, with fifteen-foot ceilings – the largest room of the store. In that room I stored not only building supplies, but furniture, rolled-up carpets, appliances, etc. – anything that would be needed to finish and furnish the house!

One day I entered the store to retrieve some supplies. My attention was taken by a little sparrow fluttering against one of the large front windows, vainly trying to get out! The little bird had gotten in somehow but couldn’t escape. My heart went out to this creature as it fluttered against the glass. I prayed, “Lord, how am I going to get this bird out and free?” Finally, the sparrow, out of energy, landed on the corner of a piece of low furniture. I could see its tiny chest heaving as it was breathing heavily after so much exertion. It would sooner or later die from its futile efforts! I prayed again: “Lord, according to tradition, Saint Francis of Assisi was so gentle and in tune with nature, animals and birds in the wild would readily approach him! Will you help me now with this bird?

  • I then extended my hand with my index finger pointing out, and I slowly walked towards the little sparrow. It didn’t move!
  • When my hand was about six inches from the sparrow, It hopped on my extended finger! I could feel its little claws gripping the skin of my finger!
  • I slowly carried that precious cargo to the front door. When I was at the open door, the little sparrow flew off to freedom!

Now a wild bird will not allow a human being to approach it like this sparrow did with me. And certainly, a wild bird will not hop on an extended finger and be carried across the room to an open door! But God was involved! And since He knew the dilemma that tiny creature was in, the Heavenly Father interceded with a miracle!

Was it a small miracle? Maybe it was small compared to the Israelites crossing the Red Sea on dry land! (see Exodus 14:21-31). But it was a big miracle to me! When I call to mind what happened that day, I can still feel those tiny claws gripping my finger!

And I know without a doubt…
God takes care of even a little sparrow!
And God will take care of me!

Back To The Land – IV

Matthew 6:31-33

(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)

Matthew 6:31 through 33 is our featured Scripture for this Gem:

     Therefore do not worry, saying, “What shall we eat?” or “What 
     shall we drink?” or “What shall we wear?” For after all these 
     things the Gentiles [unbelievers] seek. For your heavenly 
     Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first 
     the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things 
     shall be added to you.

Yes, I believe that God will provide what we need, even if it is through miracles! Why? Because He has given Hope and me miracles just when we needed them! And, WOW! …we sure needed His miracles at that ‘Back to the Land’ time in our lives!

Jesus told His followers in Luke 17:6 (Contemporary English Version), “If you had faith no bigger than a tiny mustard seed, you could tell this mulberry tree to pull itself up, roots and all, and to plant itself in the ocean. And it would! Was my faith that firm? NO! Often I would be so discouraged I would doubt the Lord, even being angry with Him, yelling in His face,Why don’t You do something to help us?I was surprised He didn’t zap me into ashes by a lightning bolt! But, remember my prayer when we first laid eyes on our 17-acre property: “God, I don’t care what You want! I want this property!Oh, how dangerous that prayer was!

Even with my doubts and anger, God provided for us…………goats!

  • Someone gave us two Saanan nanny goats, Frisky and Panda. Yes, the goats were a blessing! I fixed the roof on the shed/goat barn, built a stanchion platform, and every morning and evening, I milked Frisky, the older goat. God gave us milk when we couldn’t afford it!
  • One sub-zero winter evening we walked down to the goat barn to milk Frisky, Hope carrying a barn lantern, and I the milking pail.
    ➔   We left our three-year-old daughter Bethany sleeping 
        in the mobile home, guarded by our gentle miniature 
        German Shepherd, Heidi. We would only be forty yards 
        away with the goats for about half an hour, and if 
        our daughter woke up, we didn’t want her to be alone. 

    ➔   We finished milking Frisky and bedding down our goats 
         for the night. Walking back to the mobile home we 
         heard wood breaking and metal tearing!What the...! 
         The front door to the mobile home collapsed inward!
         And through the doorless opening, a joyful Heidi bound-
         ed out to greet us! She had chewed through the inside 
         wood of the door, and getting hold of a corner of the 
         outside metal with her teeth, she pulled the whole mess 
         inside the entryway! I scrambled to hunt up and install a temporary cover-
         ing for the ‘doorless’ doorway, since the temperature 
         was already below zero and dropping!

    ➔   By the way, our daughter didn’t even wake up with all 
         the racket going on!
  • Panda, our younger nanny, came into heat. If we were going to milk her, she had to be bred. That, obviously, required a billy goat! And we didn’t have a billy, nor did we have the funds to have her bred to a stud billy.
    ➔   Earlier that winter a woman in our Faith Community 
         Church family had a fire in her kitchen. We joined a 
         crew of church folk who volunteered to help clean the 
         mess that the smoke damage caused. When we told her 
         we had two nannies, she replied that she had several 
         goats. Then she said, “...when your nanny comes into 
         heat, bring her down and we will get her together 
         with my billy.”

    ➔   The next time Panda came into heat, I got ready to 
         deliver her to a mating billy. I dressed in my usual 
         fundraising sales clothes – a sports jacket and tie
         .........and loaded Panda in the front seat of my ‘63 
         Chrysler! I discovered Panda loved riding in the car! 
         She would sit with her rump on the seat and put her 
         hooves on the dash. And she would try to take in all 
         the scenery, all the action, looking this way and that 
         through the windshield! One man, driving a truck in 
         the opposite direction, did a triple take and almost 
         wrecked! I imagine he was thinking, “What an ugly wife 
         that man has!”

    ➔   The breeding was not successful. So the woman lent us 
         her young Alpine billy goat, named King Kong! He was 
         about the age of a teenager – in goat years!

    ➔   The next time Panda came in heat, we brought her out 
         to King Kong! Was he ever interested! But there was 
         a problem: Saanans are large goats; Alpines are 
         smaller. The Alpine billy was about half the size of 
         our Saanan nanny! King Kong couldn’t reach her to do 
         his mating job! So we built the little billy a ramp! Then we backed 
         Panda up to the high end of the ramp for the services 
         of King Kong! We felt like we were corrupting the 
         morals of a young goat! It was hilarious to see the 
         expressions on King Kong’s face! He would sniff our 
         goat, then toss his head back with the biggest smile 
         he could muster! But in the end, he got the job done! When Spring came, Panda delivered twin kids – Prince 
         and Princess!

The goats roamed free on our farmette, but they stayed close to their goat shed and our living quarters. I would step out into the yard, and Frisky would see me. She would lower her head and charge – like she was going to butt me into the middle of next week! But about five feet from me, she would put on the brakes – all four legs digging into the ground! She would come to a stop eight inches from me, and lean into my thigh. She just wanted a scratch on her head and back!

When I would walk down to the mailbox at the end of our driveway, in a line behind me came Heidi, Frisky, Panda, Prince, and Princess, then two cats, Pickle and Cucumber! I felt like the Pied Piper of the animal world!

It broke our hearts when in May I was called to pastor West Lenox Baptist Church, and we had to let our goats go to a new home.

Back to that tough winter: Hope got a part-time job at Harmony Heart Camp, a Christian camp near us. She worked through the winter months in the camp kitchen, helping to feed various groups that came for weekend retreats. Knowing our struggles during that time, the camp directors gave Hope all the food left over from the retreats! We ate quite well that winter! Another miracle of God’s provision!

Sales were slow that winter season. I gave out samples to the leaders of groups who might raise funds using TV Time products. I even traded a couple of sample boxes for a slice or two of pizza or a sandwich for my lunch. I struggled to keep believing in myself, but I knew I had good products to offer people! So I pushed on.

  • I remember a time later that winter when we needed about $700 to meet our financial obligations. I was reading a book by Oral Roberts called Miracle of Seed Faithgiving a tithe in advance, and expecting the Lord to bring in what we needed! I somehow scraped together an advance tithe of $70! I even took Hope’s grocery money! She was not happy! I don’t know how it happened, or even where some of it came from, but within about six weeks, $700 came in! Another miracle of God!
  • My ‘63 Chrysler was wearing out! I knew I needed front tires and front-end work. But I wanted to know how bad the situation was. I stopped at an auto mechanics garage, and he put my car up on the rack to take a look at the situation. He said it would be a while, so I went next door to a large grocery store. Now, some people window shop for clothes or shoes. I window shop for food! I wandered to the meat counter. I was in need of something inexpensive for lunch sandwiches as I made my sales rounds.
    ➔   I saw they had steak on sale. I grumbled,When was 
         the last time i had steak? I can’t afford to have it 
         at all!” 

    ➔   Then I saw Italian sausage. I love Italian sausage! 
         It was on sale, but I couldn’t afford that either!

    ➔   I settled for a half pound of baloney, and left the 
         store, going back to the mechanic’s garage. He told 
         me the bad news – a lot of work needed to be done on 
         the front end for safe driving.......and the tires 
         were so worn, they were almost bald! It was all far 
         too expensive for me to consider!
  • I drove to Harmony Heart Camp to pick up Hope. I was so down, I slumped in the seat, viewing the road just over the dash but under the top of the steering wheel! It had started to snow and the car slipped and slid as I drove. I didn’t care if I ran off the road! But I made it to the Camp, and Hope got in the car. We didn’t say a word to each other! Both of us were quite down! We made it home somehow with more slipping and sliding on the snowy roads. We barely made it up our snow-covered driveway.
  • We silently trudged to the mobile home. A note was on the door: There is a package for you in the truck. We put it there so the animals wouldn’t get it.” The old truck had sat on the property for some time.
  • I went to the truck and retrieved the package. Inside the mobile home, at the kitchen table, I unwrapped the paper. Inside were steaks, sausage, and two pounds of hamburger! I held the three kinds of meat in my hands, and a verse of Scripture fairly exploded in my mind, Ephesians 3:20 –Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think….
I wasn’t asking God for anything at the grocery store! 
         I wasn’t even politely thinking! I was grumbling! But 
         God heard me! And He gave me what I was grumbling about
         ...........plus two pounds of hamburger! I guess that 
         was the...exceedingly abundantly...part! Friends 
         of ours had slaughtered a beef steer, and God laid on 
         their hearts to give us some of the meat. They had no 
         idea of the financial struggles through which we were 

    ➔   As I held their gift in my hands, God spoke to me! It 
         was an inner voice, but I could hear it plainly. And I 
         knew it was the Lord! He said, “You see, My child, I 
         will take care of you.

That spring, when the ground thawed, we discovered that while the dug well remained dry, there were springs everywhere on the lawn surrounding the mobile home!

  • One Sunday morning we were on our way to church. I was dressed as usual in my Sunday best. I stepped off the porch and sank through the grass halfway to my knees! I had stepped into a spring!
  • I changed my trousers, and we drove to church. The temperature rose quite a bit by noon, and the sun thawed the ground. Our driveway was solid when we left for church. But when we returned, the car drove into another spring halfway up the driveway, and it sank to the axles!

We moved into West Lenox Baptist Church parsonage in May of 1977. We left that heavenly 17 acres – the place that at first seemed like heaven, but turned into hell! Hope and I were so glad to be rid of it!

I have tried to never again tell God,
This is what I want!
I don’t care if You want it or not!

     Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own 
     understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will 
     direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the 
     LORD and depart from evil. It will be health to your flesh, and 
     strength to your bones. (Proverbs 3:5, 6).

Back To The Land – III

Proverbs 3:5-8

(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)

Choices! And what I thought was a good choice turned out to be a bad choice – a very bad choice! I insisted that God give me a 17-acre property that I could farm while I still worked as a salesman for the fundraising division of TV Time Popcorn. The Lord allowed me to have it, but with it came troubles – lots of troubles! As I mentioned in the last Gem, the troubles included (but not limited to) the following:

  • The electricity was not connected to the property! We needed a new meter which the electric company would provide, but there was a $70new customercharge to be paid upon hookup!
  • The water supply was a dug well, but it soon went dry because of a crack in the bedrock at the bottom of the well!
  • We would be living in an older mobile home on the property, but because no one had occupied the property over the previous winter, the plumbing had not been drained, and the freezing temperatures resulted in bursting the water pipes and cracking the toilet into two pieces!
  • There was a gas-fired furnace in the mobile home, but it didn’t work!
  • The metal siding on the mobile home was rusting and coming apart at the seams!
  • The roof on the shed/goat barn needed to be reshingled and raised to a steeper angle.

However, I am very handy! And I thought, “I can do this!” But since my first paycheck from TV Time was only $67 (and it didn’t get much better over that first winter), we had a major financial shortfall! With our meager cash flow, I solved the water problem first, but only temporarily.

  • Our drinking/washing/cooking water was obtained from the Interstate 81 rest area just north of the Lennoxville Exit. After the heavier snow accumulated in early December, we melted snow to get our water.
  • We washed our clothes at a laundromat.
  • I rigged up an ‘out’ for our more personal needs.

What is an out’?” You might ask. An ‘out’ is a lot like an outhouse, but without the house! I took an old coffee table, braced it up, cut a hole in the top of it, dug a hole under it…….and that was ourOUT! We didn’t have a privacy problem because our 17 acres were quite secluded! It was located at the end of a dirt road, our driveway being an extension of the road. There were no other dwellings in sight of our property. Even though by that time I had purchased a new toilet, I hadn’t installed it. We were comfortable temporarily using our OUT!

But one fine day my dear wife Hope was using the ‘out……and a small plane appeared, about to fly over the property! Hope thought, “They can’t see what I am doing. They will just think I am sitting out here reading, on a sunny early fall day! If I get up and run for cover, they might see what I was really doing!So she sat there as the plane flew over……….AND IT TURNED AROUND AND CAME BACK! Hope later said, “I can imagine the pilot saying to his co-pilate, ‘Hey, Joe! You gotta see this!’

That October the rains came – torrential rains! The quiet brook at the bottom of our property became a raging torrent! The water even took out a bridge on the dirt road, the only access route to our property! We were stranded for most of a week until the township rebuilt the bridge.

The rains continued – and so did our use of theout! Nature called one very rainy day, and so I found myself sitting on theout,fending off the downpour with an umbrella over my head! The roll of toilet paper next to me was a soggy lump! And as I sat there in misery, theoutstarted to sink into the saturated ground! The supporting legs of it sank down until I was just a few inches off the ground!

That night, at about 2 AM, I finished installing the new toilet!

Then there was the matter of our drinking/washing/cooking water. As I mentioned before, when the snow began to accumulate that winter we would melt the frozen stuff, then boil it, to obtain what we needed. As in October, so throughout the winter, the precipitation was above average! It seemed to snow every other day, and the temperature rarely got above freezing!

  • Near the south end of the mobile home, I found a place of clean snow where I filled my two metal buckets about every other day. I would bring the snow-filled buckets into the kitchen and Hope would put them on the gas stove until the snow was melted. We used the resulting clean and boiled water for cooking and bathing!
  • As Spring approached the snow began to melt. And I discovered my nice clean place where I procured snow was also the place where our two cats and dog relieved themselves!

The stress of all this began to tell on me. By mid-January, I developed abdominal pains that became more severe as time went on. One Wednesday evening, while we were attending the mid-week service at Faith Community Church, the pains in my abdomen became almost unbearable!

  • Hope drove me to the nearest hospital, Scranton State General. In the Emergency Room I was examined by a Russian-born doctor. He told me, “You have acute appendicitis! You need to have surgery immediately!” Hope told him, “Doctor, we don’t have any insurance!” He responded, “Go home and get insurance! Then come back!I wished I had recorded that highly unprofessional instruction……..and sued!
  • That night, after we drove back to our mobile home, I spent the night in pain, squirming and rolling around on the living room floor!
  • The next day Hope drove me about 35 miles south to the Wilkes-Barre Veterans Hospital. I was admitted right away and, after several tests over the next six days, my condition was properly diagnosed…..severe colitis caused by stress!

I called Hope to pick me up after learning I would be discharged. She called back to tell me that the battery in the car was dead! I had to find an alternative way to get home! That the battery was dead didn’t surprise me. During cold weather, I was bringing the battery into the mobile home each night and attaching it to a trickle charger so the car would start in the morning! On my meager income, we couldn’t afford to buy a new battery!

  • It had been unusually warm the January day I was admitted to the Veterans Hospital, warm enough to only require a Spring jacket. Now, six days later, it was below freezing again!
  • My alternative way home was to walk a half mile to the entrance ramp of I-81 and solicit a ride by hitchhiking!
  • Thank God, soon someone stopped to pick me up! And he was driving north far enough to drop me off just a half mile from our mobile home. I had explained to him that, although one could not see the property from the interstate, our home was just over the hill across a large field.
  • But the problem was that the snow laying upon that field was deep and crusty, making for slow going! And the wind was fierce over the open landscape! Remember also, I was protected from the weather by only a Spring jacket!
  • By the time I reached our mobile home, I was so cold my extremities ached and burnt as I warmed up and thawed out!

My insistence before the Lord, “I don’t care what You want; I want this property!” …resulted in Him giving us that 17-acre piece of real estate. I had neglected the very plain instruction in Proverbs 3:5 through 8:

     Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your 
     own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He 
     will direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear 
     the LORD and depart from evil. It will be health to your flesh, 
     and strength to your bones.

But God had not forsaken us! He had not cast us aside because of my foolish decision! Our needs, not often our wants, were supplied by Him, even by miracles! And I will share that part of our story in the next Gem.

Back To The Land – II

Proverbs 3:5-8

(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)

What a choice I made when I said,God, this place we looked at, with 17 secluded acres, It’s perfect! I want it! I don’t care what You want God, I want it!And God said, You want it? You got it!” I was not considering what the Lord plainly said in Proverbs 3:5 through 8:

     Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your 
     own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He 
     will direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes; 
     fear the LORD and depart from evil. It will be health to 
     your flesh, and strength to your bones.

Yes, It was what I wanted! I thought the property, 20 miles north of Scranton, Pennsylvania, was perfect! It had…

  • …an inhabitable older mobile home (it needed repair, but I am handy).
  • …an old gutted house we could use for storage.
  • …a dug well lined with stone.
  • …tall majestic pines in front of the old house.
  • …a sturdy shed I could use as a small barn.

All the things I needed to become a part-time farmer! That’s what I longed to do for the last twenty years, ever since my father left and my mother had to sell our 200-plus acre Connecticut dairy farm. I was the pastor of a small Baptist church for the last four years. But to oversee a flock of sometimes ornery people was not my calling! …or so I thought!

And now I was in a position as a product fund-raiser (schools, Scouts, church youth groups, etc.); and I would have my 17 acres to farm! We began to gather animals. Friends gave us two Saanen goats, a miniature German Shepherd dog, and two cats. And I worked at my new job…

Back in Johnsonburg, Pennsylvania, where my first pastorate was located, I was working part- time in Cufty’s gas station. A man stopped in often to fill up his beautiful new car. I asked him what business he was in. “I’m a fund-raising salesman for TV Time foods, especially their popcorn.” I asked him how it was going. “Great!” he told me. “I make about $5,000 a month!And this was in 1976! As a pastor, I was making $5,000 a year! Over the next weeks when he would come in for gas, I questioned him further about his work:

  • He had been in the fund-raising business for a couple of years. And when he started out, it only took him a month to earn a good amount of money, enough that he and his family could live on!
  • There is a sales territory open in northeast Pennsylvania,” he told me. My antenna went up! That was an area I knew well! I had worked for a wholesale plumbing supply company, and I delivered the product all over that area of the state. My wife, Hope, and I spent two full years in that northeast corner of the state…
    ➔   ...I was a student for two years at Baptist Bible Sem-
         inary, where I received my Associate Degree in Bible.

    ➔   ...we rented three different living places, two apart-
         ments and then a house.

    ➔   ...we found a wonderful church in Dalton, Pennsylvania, 
         Faith Community Church, and we made many friends within 
         and without the church family.

    ➔   ...I longed to get back to those familiar surroundings!
  • I signed on as the northeast PA sales rep for TV Time Popcorn’s fund-raising division, ‘Funds-a-Poppin! I was told, by my now-friend fund-raising salesman, “If you aren’t making a thousand a week after the first month, something is wrong!

I resigned my pastorate at First Baptist of Johnsonburg, and we moved to our 17-acre dream property in September of 1976. Now remember, I had insisted that God give me this property, whether it was His will or not!

I soon discovered few things about our Lenoxville dream farmette:

  • There was no electricity to the place! What was needed was a new meter before electricity could be turned on. We would have to pay for the hookup.
  • No one had lived on the property for a year, and the winter before the water pipes in the mobile home had burst!
  • The water in the toilet had also frozen and split the toilet in two!
  • There was no heat in the mobile home. A furnace was there, but it didn’t work!
  • The siding on the mobile home was rusting and coming apart at the seams!
  • The roof on the shed/goat barn leaked because it needed to be shingled and it was at such a slight angle that it was almost flat!

We hadn’t saved much money during my pastorate. The Johnsonberg bank gave us a loan of $1,500 to finance our move. I spent the better part of that loan on…

  • …paying for the hookup of a new electric meter, and paying a new customer fee to the electric company.
  • …purchasing about a thousand pop-rivets to secure the siding on the mobile home.
  • …buying and installing a used wood stove for our heat, after spending money on a heating repairman who told us the furnace was shot!
  • I temporarily solved the broken toilet problem by constructing anout! I will tell you more about the ‘out’ in the next Gem.

But I knew I was going to do well in the fund-raising business – “…a thousand a week within a month…!” I worked aggressively contacting schools, scouts, etc., but I didn’t get any money coming in for six weeks……….my first paycheck was $67! It went downhill from there!

By the first of November, our money was petty much gone! I drove our car, a 1963 Chrysler Newport, all over northeast PA trying to drum up business. I made some sales, I even was the top salesman in the country for December! (That was the month other salespeople working for TV Time took off since it was tough to make sales with the approaching holidays, and schools on Christmas vacation)! But I didn’t get a paycheck until my customers had their fund-raising events, and that’s when their invoices had to be paid!

Around the middle of November winter began to settle in. And the well went dry! The hand-dug well was about 25 feet deep, dug down to a bedrock base. But there was a crack in the bedrock! And as fast as the water flowed in, it leaked out through that crack! Even the torrential rains during October didn’t fill the well! But those rains did do something, and I will relate that adventure in the next Gem.

Back To The Land – I

Proverbs 3:5-8

(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)

I had memorized the first two verses of this featured Scripture several years before my decision that got my family into trouble! Those two verses should have been enough! Here is Proverbs 3:5 through 8:

     Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your 
     own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He 
     will direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes; 
     fear the LORD and depart from evil. It will be health to 
     your flesh, and strength to your bones.

So what decision did I make? First, some background:

  • The first ten years of my life I was raised on a 208 acre dairy farm in the township of Sharon, located in the northwest corner of Connecticut. Sharon Mountain, on which our farm was situated, was part of the beautiful Berkshire Mountains. I loved that farm – the cows, calves, chickens, barn cats, and our Collie dog – everything about it! And I thrilled to the history of the area, the barn built in the 1820’s, the Victorian style house, the signs of ancient Indians we discovered here and there in the woods and pastures. I explored every nook and carnny of that propery, and had many secret places!
  • But in my tenth year my father left us, running off with another woman. The three Norton boys, ages 14, 12, and 10 (I am the youngest) were too young to take over the farm. My mother couldn’t manage the work. She was in her 50’s and not in good health. So we sold the farm the next spring.
  • I felt my life was pulled out from under me! My dream was to someday take over that farm and continue being a dairy farmer! I cried during the auction when the livestock were sold (about 60 head including heifers and calves – even my pet calf, Curly). Everything was up for sale, including machinery and tools. Nothing was left except an empty barn and out-buildings! We had to move a couple of months later when the new owners were soon to move in.
  • The teenage years that followed were hard! I felt rootless! I rebelled, using alcohol to medicate my feelings of failure and being rootless. I ran with the wrong crowed and got into some trouble, being arrested twice. I bought into the thinking of those acquainted with our situation – “Those Norton boys and never going to amount to anything!
  • I joined the Air Force at age 18; and at Keesler Air Force Base where I was training to be a radar technician, a miracle happened! I found salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ! …or should I say, He found me! It was the start of my Christian life!
  • I met my future wife, Hope, and we were married eight weeks later, just a week after I was discharged from the Air Force.
  • After exploring a few vocations, I came up empty! I felt the Lord was leading me into the pastorate, and I enrolled in Baptist Bible Seminary in Clarks Summit near Scranton, Pennsylvania, receiving after two years my Associate Degree in Bible. But then what?
  • God opened the opportunity to pastor my first church, First Baptist Church of Johnsonburg, Pennsylvania. Hope and I moved into the church parsonage, and a few months later, our daughter was born. I was there for four years, preaching, teaching, and loveing my people. But I questioned whether I was to continue being a pastor! I still felt rootless! And I never lost the desire to get back to the land and be a farmer!
  • On our last vacation as pastor of the Johnsonburg church in August of 1976, Hope and I parked our tiny camper at Lackawanna State Park while we searched for a place to live near Scranton. And this brings us to that fateful decision I made!

We looked at a few offerings for sale before we found what I were looking for – a 17 acre property near Lenoxville, about 20 miles north of Scranton. I remember my first impression:

  • The seclusion of the property! The driveway continued from the end of a half-mile dirt road. We couldn’t see the nearest neighbor. What we could see was horses in the field on a hill across the brook at the bottom of the property.
  • There was the remains of a house, uninhabitable, but good for storage. A dug well was in the front yard, under majestic pines. Up the hill a bit was an older mobile home, in need of repair, but livable. A small shed was also on the property. My first impression – this was a dream come true! I love it! We will become Back to the Landpeople! By the way, this was the mid-seventies, and especially the younger generation was emphasizing the Back to the Landmovement!
  • The seller agreed to a thousand dollar deposit, then we would rent with an option to buy within a year. The price was $17,000.

I remember after our first look at the property, we went back to our camper, Hope and I talking it over. I even prayed about it – but my prayer was dangerous! I prayed something like this:

     “God, this place is perfect! I want it! I want to get back 
     to the land! Please, Lord, let me have it.” Then I got 
     bolder: “God, I want this property. I don’t care what You 
     want, I want it!” 

And I could almost hear Him say, “You want it? You got it!” Oh, did I ever live to regret that!

Remember the first part of our featured Scripture, verses 5 and 6? “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.

  • Trust in the Lord with all your heart…Was I trusting Him? Sometimes, but not this time!
  • …and lean not on your own understanding…I was wanting what I wanted, and I wasn’t about to let anything, even the Lord, get in the way of what I wanted!
  • …in all your ways acknowledge Him…” Well, in some ways I was acknowledging that He was my Lord, the One whom I was to obey! But in this case, I was wanting what I wanted – that 17 acre farmette!
  • …and He will direct your paths.” Oh, I wanted God to direct……to direct His blessing on the choice that I was making!

I will share in future Gems what resulted from my decision (Hope, perhaps reluctantly,
was going along with it) – but it sure wasn’t God’s leading!

And when He isn’t the One who directs your paths……
Watch out! You are headed for trouble!