A Note From Frances Gardner Hunter …

When I wrote “God Is Fabulous,” the world was a different place. Now it seems everything has changed cars, computers, televisions, life in general. !ven my name has changed since then" #he one thing that hasn$t changed, though, is the e%citement I felt as I first sat down to write this boo& thirty years ago. !very time I read this little boo&, my heart is filled with the 'oy and overflowing peace that (esus brought into my life, 'ust li&e that first day I met )im. I &now that you will have the same reaction when you read it for the first time or the twentieth. I meet many people who tell me that the thrill of serving (esus is 'ust not li&e it was when they first were born again. It$s my belief and my prayer that when you open the pages of this boo&, (esus will fill you up with the same e%citement and anticipation you e%perienced when you first as&ed )im into your heart, and that you will once again remember the fact that truly...

God is Fabulous!

Foreword
Frances Gardner is the type of *hristian who if as&ed to pray for rain would carry an umbrella to her place of prayer. )er endless enthusiasm and immovable faith &eep her ready for immediate action for the sa&e of (esus *hrist. #he effervescence of her personality, her refreshing honesty, and her ability to deal directly from the level of human interest, has enabled this *hristian writer to prepare a boo& applicable to scores of people floundering in a faulty faith. #he style of writing is fresh and entertaining and stri&es where people act and react. #he *hapter on prayer is a typical e%ample of her distinctive style. It is both amusing and enlightening. In my wor& as the *rusade +irector for the citywide and area,wide crusades of the Ford -hilpot !vangelistic .ssociation, I am constantly searching for people alive with the spirit of evangelism. Frances Gardner has proved to be such a one. In our preparation for the /outh 0iami *rusade, she labored diligently to assist our efforts. God is using her written and personal witness to win countless souls to her “fabulous” /avior. We of the Ford -hilpot !vangelistic .ssociation have appreciated her support and friendship, and it is with unmas&ed confidence that we predict beneficial inspiration for all who read the pages of this boo&. Jimmy Sowder

Table of Contents
*hapter 1ne *hapter #wo *hapter #hree *hapter Four *hapter Five *hapter /i% *hapter /even *hapter !ight *hapter Nine *hapter #en *hapter !leven *hapter #welve I 0eet (esus *hrist. (ust .s l .m I Find #he )oly /pin I 6earn #o -ray... In #he 7athtub l .m 7apti:ed I 6earn #o Witness I Find Witnessing Is !%citing 0y /piritual 7rainchild Is 7orn #he <eal 0eaning 1f *hristmas God$s -lan For 0y 6ife . 0ar&ed Woman Five 6ittle Words 2 32 45 89 88 8; 24 58 =3 =2 =; >9 >

Chapter 1 !eet Jesus Christ
" ha#e come that they may ha#e life$ and that they may ha#e it more abundantly% &John 1'(1')* "For all ha#e sinned and fall short of the +lory of God% &,omans -*.-)* "For by +race you ha#e been sa#ed throu+h faith$ and that not of yoursel#es/ it is the +ift of God$ not of wor0s$ lest anyone should boast% &1phesians .(234)* #hree very short verses of /cripture, but three very important verses in my personal encounter with (esus *hrist. It is my prayer that God will allow these three verses to be very important in your life, too. Important because of what they can do for you. I$d li&e to share with you how I met (esus *hrist personally. .nd my only reason for writing this boo& is a prayer that it will reach the millions of people who are “unsaved” *hristians li&e I was. 0y prayer is that something in this boo& will come across to ?1@ in such a way that you will loo& at your own life in an honest appraisal of how you stand with (esus *hrist. I sincerely wish I had made an appraisal of myself earlier in life. I had been a “*hristian” all my life. I was raised in a church, went to church for many years, helped ma&e the great decisions of *hristianity such as “+o we have tuna fish or creamed cheese for sandwiches,” but it too& me forty,eight years of life to discover “how to get the most out of life after most of life was gone.” 2

+on$t let this happen to you" .s I loo& bac& now, I can see that God spo&e to me many times in my life, but for many years my hardheaded self,approved ability to do things myself made me buc& )is wonderful outstretched arms without reali:ing that what I was doing is probably the biggest prevailing sin in the world today A the sin of ignoring God and of compro, mising with *hristianity A or putting it off until tomorrow because of “not being ready.” I had drifted away from church during the last ten years because, as I told every minister who came into my office, I could be 'ust as good a *hristian outside of church as I could be inside* ?ou can, but you won$t" *hurch honestly bored me, and my most awful thoughts came to me while sitting in church. 1bviously I wasn$t listening in spite of my so,called *hristianity, so I began to find e%cuses for not attending church. .fter a few years I didn$t even find it necessary to ma&e e%cuses. !veryone 'ust accepted the fact Bso I thoughtC that I was a mighty *hristian without going to church. .nd, anyway, after wor&ing eighteen to twenty hours a day for si% days, I was entitled to sleep on /unday, wasn$t ID .fter all, I did have to ma&e a living to support my children, didn$t ID #he 7ible says "5ou shall ha#e no other +ods before !e*% Well, I never did. ?ou wouldn$t either, would youD 6i&e the god of money. . . the god of e%citement.. .the god of coc&tails before dinner. . .the god of cigarettes. . .the god of dancing se%y, stimulating dances for the physical thrill it gives.. .the god of clothes. . .the god of dirty 'o&es.. .the god of swear words 'ust to show people you$re “cool”... +id you ever place any of these “gods” first in your lifeD Well, I$m glad you didn$t, because I +I+" .nd because I was compromising with *hristianity I still went along in 5

my little ivory palace with a slightly tarnished halo around my head. 7ut God has an interesting way of dealing with people li&e me. I shall always feel that God loved me very much because )e really went out of )is way to bring me into )is fold. I wonder if any maveric& was ever bro&en who &ic&ed as hard and as long as I did. 0y only son was married in 1467$ and shortly before his marriage I was in an automobile accident. 6ittle did I reali:e what would result from this, but three months after the accident I made the horrible discovery that I had lost the sight of my left eye. ?ou may thin& this is an awful tragedy, but I consider it the greatest blessing of my life A it too& a tragedy li&e this to bring me to a reali:ation of what didn8t ha#e in life*

A Fri+htenin+ 9isco#ery
Euite accidentally at two o$cloc& in the morning on a /aturday night I discovered that I could not see out of my left eye. #his was a tremendous shoc&. I had been out for dinner and coc&tails with a friend, and had started to read before I went to bed. .lthough I had my glasses on, I suddenly reali:ed I couldn$t see. I was dumbfounded, but when I put my hand up to my glasses I found that the lens of the right glass had popped out. I reached into my evening bag and, sure enough, there it was" I replaced it in the frame and started reading. .bout twenty minutes later the startling thought struc& me, “1nly the right lens popped out A how come I couldn$t see anythin+:%

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/omething prompted me to shut the right eye and hold it with my finger BI never could win& that eyeC, and to my horror I discovered that the left eye was without vision. I promptly decided I had had too much to drin& and, li&e /carlet 1$)ara, thought, I$ll worry about that tomorrow. #omorrow came bright and early and with it the recollection that I had had only one drin&, and that I had driven home. /o I made the same one eye test I had tried the night before, and it confirmed the truth I$d tried to avoid. I couldn$t see" 1n /unday I didn$t &now where to reach an ophthalmologist, so I called my optometrist and told him I couldn$t see. )e told me to drop by and see him the ne%t morning on my way to wor&. I don$t believe there has ever been a day as horrible for me as /unday, 0ay >5, >F52. I read medical articles in every encyclopedia I could lay my hands on and before the day was over I &new I had a cataract of some &ind. #hat day was the birthday of the husband of a friend of mine, and I had a party for him. )ow I lived through it I don$t &now. I was smiling on the outside, but on the inside I was dying. 6ittle did I &now it then, but I actually was dying A because I thin& this is the event that triggered my dying to self. God was really wor&ing in my life. +uring the four and a half years which preceded this accident, a certain minister had been bringing printing 'obs into my office, and while I en'oyed his conversation immensely, I was deaf to his entreaties about *hristianity and attending church. /till, I developed a tremendous li&ing for him and his theories even though I didn$t practice them. #here was one thing he did, though, that didn$t set right with me. )e always tal&ed about the “6ord,” and I as&ed ;

him one day why he didn$t say “God” instead of the “6ord.” I didn$t tell him so, but I really thought he sounded &inda “&oo&y” tal&ing about his “6ord.” !ven though he was a young minister, I thought he was probably some &ind of an old,fashioned fuddy,duddy.

God Closed n
I bring in the fact that a particular minister prayed for me for four and a half years at this time because God was really closing in on me, even though I didn$t &now it. I went to the optometrist before I opened my office the ne%t morning and told no one what I suspected Bbecause “I” could always handle every situationC, but I did tell my head girl that I had a little eye problem. It was several hours before I returned to the office, and everyone &new that something had happened. .nd something had" #he initial e%amination revealed the horrible truth that a cataract had covered the lens of my eye. #he optometrist too& me to an ophthalmologist who said surgery was necessary. BI had already started having blinding headaches.C 7ecause I was so all powerful, I said “6et$s get it over with, when can I go inD” #his was on 0onday, and I was scheduled for surgery on Friday morning. #he surgeon told me that they would remove the lens of the eye and that for four to si% months I would have the eye patched, and then a contact and glasses would allow 39G39 vision. I cried. 7ecause my two children have been raised without a father, I have not allowed myself the lu%ury of crying very F

often , . mother alone has to be strong. I as&ed the doctor if he would allow me the privilege of being completely feminine for a few minutes and then I$d be all right. I cried. .nd I cried real hard. I returned to my office after as&ing God to ta&e good care of me, and bluntly announced what had happened. #he young minister who always tal&ed about his “6ord” was there by coincidence or was God wor&ing in my lifeD 7ecause I was struggling for composure, I announced that the girls could Huit crying on my time since I was paying them. #hen I said to the young minister, “#hey probably thin& you$ll be the first one at my bedside when I come bac& from surgery.” Now why he should be at my bedside when I had never dar&ened the doors of his church, and had repeatedly told him I didn$t need to go to church, I$ll never &now A or do ID I made all the frantic preparations necessary before going to the hospitalI I was due to arrive at five o$cloc& on #hursday night, 0ay 39, but I didn$t get there until seven o$cloc&" #here has been placed in every human being a God, shaped vacuum. @ntil we have filled that God, shaped vacuum with a personal relationship with the 6ord (esus *hrist, we do a lot of other things to try to fill the vacuum. Nestled deeply and firmly in our hearts God has placed eternity and nothing will ever satisfy us until we fill that vacuum with )im. .bout a Huarter to five all of my brave thoughts had drained right out of my toes. 0y God,shaped vacuum began getting bigger and bigger. /ince a martini was the only antidote for fear that I &new of, I began downing one after another. I wouldn$t admit to anybody that I was >9

scared, but in my heart I was absolutely petrified" #he doctor had e%plained all the gory details of the operation, which is very simple today, but it wasn$t at that time. None of this appealed to me one single solitary bit. I continued to down martinis and light one cigarette after another. I finally got to the hospital two hours late with much too much to drin&" @nfortunately, at that time this was the only way I &new to try to fill that God,shaped vacuum. )ow I praise God and give )im my everlasting than&s that the void and the vacuum are filled today"

9ustin+ ;ff !y <ible
7ecause I was such a devout “*hristian” in times of crisis, I was shoc&ed to discover that my maid had not put my 7ible in my suitcase, and I &new I couldn$t possibly undergo surgery without my “precious” 7ible" I called the friend whose husband had the birthday the /unday before and as&ed her to run over to my house and bring my 7ible, because she understood I simply couldn$t go to surgery without reading my precious 7ible. /he as&ed, “Where is itD” I said, “6oo& in the bac& bedroom on the top shelf of the closet, way in the bac&, and you$ll find my 7ible which I love so much A it$s the one dated >F38 A be sure and dust it off BI hadn$t read it since my last operationC and bring it to me Huic&ly.” .fter all, what do we all do in a crisisD We really call on God in a hurry, don$t weD 0aybe you don$t, but I always did. I have never &nown anybody who went to the hospital and called out, “+evil" )elp me"” Jery shortly she was there with my 7ible which I opened to -salm 34 because that was the only thing I had ever read in the 7ible up to that time. >>

I called the nurses in to ma&e sure that they &new what a great saint they had on their hands. I read that verse very, very dramatically, "The =ord is my shepherd/ shall not want*% I closed the 7ible. I “religiously” thought I was spiritually prepared for whatever happened ne%t. ?ou may as&, “Why did you only read one verseD” When I had my gall bladder ta&en out, the operation lasted 8 >G3 to 7 hours. I had read all si% verses of the 34 -salm for that surgery. #he eye operation would 'ust ta&e about thirty minutes so in my little sinner$s mind I figured out that all I had to do was read one verse for a thirty,minute operation. .s I closed the 7ible I thought, “I$ll give God a brea&. I$ll pray.” !ven though I was forthy,eight years of age I did not &now how to pray. I could say the 6ord$s -rayer bac&wards and forwards but I honestly didn$t &now how to pray. <eal praying is when your heart cries out to God for a very vital need in your life. I continued, “I guess I can order God around 'ust li&e I order people in my printing company.” I loo&ed up and shoo& my finger at the ceiling of that hospital room as I said, “God, don$t let it hurt" .fter it$s over, then ?ou can let it hurt. . . a little bit.” I stopped for a second and thought, “0aybe I was being too severe,” so I continued, “but please don$t let it hurt while the operation is going on. #han& you very much.” With that I laid bac& on the pillow. I had been so “spiritual” and so “religious,” I was sure that the glowing light from my tremendous halo streamed underneath the door of the room and radiated into the corridors of the hospital.

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.s I rela%ed with my counterfeit glowing halo, I was suddenly 'olted into reality and thought, “What did that sayD” I remembered that I &new only two verses of scripture by memory and -salm 34 > was one of them and I hadn$t really read it. I reached over and grabbed my 7ible. I opened it to the 34rd -salm. Nothing was there" #he page which had the 34rd -salm printed on it a few minutes ago, was totally blan&" Now there was nothin+ on those pages. #here was no printing, no words, no nothing" It was snow white" I was in the printing business. 1ne thing I &new was, once in& is laid down on a piece of paper, it is impossible to remove" God had done a miracle" God had supernaturally wiped all the in& off the page. God had spo&en to me in a way I could easily understand. .s I stared at the white blan& page where the 34rd -salm should have been, I suddenly saw something I will never forget because it is indelibly burned on my heart. I saw the finger of God descending from heaven and I saw )im begin to write where the 34rd -salm had been. #he words were written in the brightest red I$ve ever seen. God had dipped )is finger in the brilliant red blood of (esus and had written a very special message 'ust for me. "Frances Gardner% Bthat was my name thenC was on the left hand side and on the right hand side )e wrote, " lo#e you*% 1f all the people in the world God said )e loved me* I thin& in one world,shattering moment I got a glimpse of what my life had been A a constant, “1h, God, 5;> do this for me"” .nd never a thought as to what I could do for )im. >4

I didn$t &now what I was doing really, but in that moment I said, “God, I ta&e bac& that prayer, and I don$t care how much it hurts tomorrow, I promise ?ou this when I get out of this hospital, I will spend the rest of my life seeing what I can do for You, and not what You can do for me.” 6ittle do we reali:e what we say in times li&e this, and how much truth is spo&en during trials and tribulations. .s a drun&en sinner in a hospital bed, I had said the secret of the *hristian life A not what God can do for you but what you can do for God" #here are many promises made on a hospital bed and unfortunately there are more promises bro&en when people wal& out of the hospital door than any place else but this was one thing I meant. I wasn$t sure who God was, I was still in shoc&. 1ne thing I &new without a doubt in my heart, though, was that God loved Frances Gardner. wasnKt alone any more? I returned from surgery the ne%t morning at about eleven, and there, standing by my bed, was the young minister who served his “6ord.” I was so doped up I didn$t ma&e much sense, but one sentence came out. “#he first place I$m going when I get out of the hospital is to your church"” I$ll never forget the funny smile that came on his face" God &new that one of )is sheep was lost and )e had sent a shepherd to find her and lovingly bring her into the fold. 0y recovery was e%cellent, and in 'ust ten days I returned to wor& wearing all sorts of fancy eye patches. I had one for every dress I owned. !ven though I wore a broad smile on the outside, I had discovered that something >8

was missing from my life. #his &ind of an operation destroys your depth perception. I couldn$t drive my car. I couldn$t get my food into my mouth without spilling it all over me. It can be a frustrating time with a patch over your eye twenty,four hours a day" 7ut I remembered what I had promised God in the hospital, and before my operation was two wee&s old, I went to church. I was so wea& I could hardly ma&e it, but somewhere God had given me a taste of the living water and it started a compelling desire for 01<!. . . 01<!. . . 01<!" *ommunion was served that day and when communion was finished, the pastor stood up and said, “Normally I don$t preach after communion, but today I feel Kled$ to give a sermon.” I loo&ed around the church and thought, “I don$t see anybody leading him. I wonder what he means.” #oday I &now. #he )oly /pirit had said to him, “?ou have a red hot sinner in here, don$t let her out"” .nd he didn$t" )e didn$t have a sermon prepared so he opened his 7ible and read the most peculiar words I ever heard, "There was a man of the @harisees named Nicodemus$ a ruler of the Jews* This man came to Jesus by ni+ht and said to Him$ 8,abbi$ we 0now that 5ou are a teacher come from God( for no one can do these si+ns that 5ou do unless God is with him*A "Jesus answered and said to him$ 8!ost assuredly$ say to you$ unless one is born a+ain$ he cannot see the 0in+dom of God* “ &John -(13-) I thought, “7orn againD 0y mother is dead. 0y mother has been dead for years. )ow can I possibly be born againD”

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I never felt so miserable in my whole life" I was glad he &ept on reading because Nicodemus apparently had the same problem that I did. )owever, I felt li&e the pastor was reading my mind instead of the 7ible. "Nicodemus said to Him$ 8How can a man be born when he is old: Can he enter a second time into his motherAs womb and be born:A "Jesus answered$ 8!ost assuredly$ say to you$ unless one is born of water and the Spirit$ he cannot enter the 0in+dom of God* That which is born of the flesh is flesh$ and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit* 9o not mar#el that said to you$ 5ou must be born a+ain* In that one split second, I &new something that I had never &nown before. I &new for certain that I wasn$t “born again.” I felt awful. I had no idea how to +et born again or be born again or find born again" 0y first thought was “I certainly can$t tell God. God thin&s I$m a *hristian. .fter all those years that I$ve gone to church, God thin&s I$m a *hristian. I can$t let God &now that I$m not.” 0y first inclination was to go home and hide under the bed so even God couldn$t find me or see me. In my heart I &new that I had never been born again. I &new that I had not really been a *hristian. I was so sha&en up that /unday, I didn$t even listen completely. 7ut he did say something about (esus standing at the door of my heart, &noc&ing, and as&ing me to open the door. )e continued with something about as&ing for forgiveness of my sins. “Well,” I thought, “that bit about the forgiveness of sins was about the most stupid thing I ever heard. I am absolutely without sin. .fter all, wasn$t I donating printing 'obs to churchesD .nd wasn$t I being a real good little Kdo >5

bee$D .nd don$t forget the tuna fish sandwiches I made for the church suppers.” #he 7ible says, "All ha#e sinned and fall short of the +lory of God*% “It doesD” I wondered, “I don$t remember hearing that before. .fter all those years of sitting in those other churches, all I remember is something about 0oses floating down a river.” #he pastor stopped tal&ing. #hen he did something I had never seen before he made an altar call" I had never been in a church where people sang at the end of the service. #hey began to sing, “(ust .s I .m.” I thin& every sinner has heard that song, so I thought I would 'oin in. I sang only four words, “(ust as I am.” I burst into tears. Not 'ust “regular” tears, but real soul,searching tears" I boo, hooed and I boo,hooed. I couldn$t stop crying" #he music went on and on and on and on. #hey sang, “(ust .s I .m” three times, five times, ten times, twenty times, fifty,seven times" “#his is a miserable church"” I thought.“Won$t they ever stopD” I couldn$t stop crying. It was violent sobbing which shoo& my very being from my head to my toes. I did not have a tissue in my poc&et or my poc&etboo&. 0y nose was dripping, my eyes were running, my ma&eup was a mess" What an encounter" For the first time in my life I realized I was not a Christian. I certainly didn$t admit it to anyone A not even myself" What a horrible discovery to ma&e when you$re forty,eight years old. I remember thin&ing, I can$t let God &now about this, because )e thin&s I$m a *hristian. 1h, foolish woman, God &new it all >=

the time. I was so confused and in such a state of shoc& to even thin0 that I might not be a *hristian, that I didn$t &now what to do. Finally it was over" I ran out to my car as I lit a cigarette. I blew smo&e all over that church and said vehemently, “I$ll never come bac& to this dumb church again. Never" Never" Never" I want a church that ma&es me feel good" I don$t need a church that ma&es me feel miserable.” Guess where I was the ne%t /unday morningD I was right bac& in that same little church" God had lovingly placed one drop of the living water of life upon my thirsty tongue, and once you$ve tasted the precious living water of life, nothing else will satisfy. I had no choice e%cept to go bac& to the same little church. 7ut I was prepared this time I had si% Lleene% with me" #he pastor was most unusual because he had done something during the wee& that I could not believe. )e had visited all my personal friends and had as&ed them all about me , and they told him everything they &new so he proceeded to tell the entire congregation during the church service. !very word he spo&e was directed at me, 'ust me. !verything pointed at my life and me. "For all ha#e sinned and fall short of the +lory of God*% “Not me,” I thought. “God, remember the tuna fish sandwichesD <emember the cream cheese sandwichesD <emember all the dishes I washed after the church suppersD” #his was before the day of dishwashers, and I would sing “I$m wor&ing my way to heaven, to heaven, to heaven...” as I stac&ed the dishes higher and higher"

>;

#he pastor continued to read, "Thou shalt place no other +ods before me*% 1ur money says, KIn God We #rust.$ I thought, “I trust my money so that means I trust God. I$ve never been to a church where they did or said these &inds of things.” I didn$t li&e it. "Thou shalt place no other +ods before me$% he repeated. “What do you put first in your lifeD *igarettesD” I thought, “I don$t li&e you.” I felt as if his finger was pointing directly at me. “0artinisD” ?es" )is finger was pointing at me" “F@ND” )is finger was getting longer and more pointed" Whatever he said and wherever his finger went, he pointed directly at me" With an artificial grin on my face, I thought “I hate you" I$ll never come bac& to this dumb church as long as I live"” #hen they started that song again" I lost my composure completely and burst into tears as they rose from the pews and starting singing “(ust .s I .m.” I ran out of the church. .s I got outside and caught my breath, I stomped my feet again and said, “I hate this church. I$ll never come bac&" I$ll never come bac&. I$ll never come bac&.” I lit up a cigarette and blew smo&e all over the church as I continued to carry on. “I$ll never come bac& to this dumb church again"” I 'umped into my car, gunned the motor and scratched out of the par&ing lot, throwing gravel all over the place. When I reached the haven of my own home, the first thing I did was to ma&e myself a martini so I would feel better. #hen I had another one and I felt a little better.

>F

#he church where I had previously “visited” once or twice a year seemed safe enough. #hey didn$t do any of those strange things. #hey never made me cry. I was going bac& there. #he following /unday, I got in my car and drove over to my “safe, comfortable” church. I drove into the par&ing lot, and suddenly my car turned right around" I drove down the street and turned into the par&ing lot of that 'un&y old church" !ven my faithful old car was against me" I wanted to go bac& to the comfortable church, not here" /ince I was already in the church par&ing lot, I reached over to pic& up a new bo% of tissues laying on the seat of the car and resigned myself to giving this place one more try. #he compelling force in my life had begun, a force so strong and so powerful that nothin+ was to stand in the way of total commitment. #he compelling force that drove me was a desire to see that I &new everything there was to &now about this man (esus *hrist, and a desire to see that everyone &new )im personally even as I thought I did. )owever, even though I had met )im casually, I had not met )im personally. I started going to church every /unday morning and was so spiritually charged up A but completely miserable during the altar call wee& after wee& A that it seemed to me my soul was absolutely torn out of my body. I begged... I pleaded... I cried... /unday after /unday, and said, “God, ?ou &now I want to be a totally dedicated *hristian A what$s the matter with ?1@D Why don$t you ta&e .66 of meD” ?ou see, I &new something was not right in my life, but I didn$t &now what it was. 39

#his went on /unday after /unday for months and months. I couldn$t wait to go to church, and I couldn$t wait to get home afterwards because I was so torn up inside, and because I never too& along enough Lleene% to wipe my tears. #he 7ible says, "5ou must be born a+ain*” )ow stupid can some of us beD 1ver and over again I as&ed God what was the matter with )I0. 7y #han&sgiving of >F52, God had restored my left eye to 39G39 vision with the help of a contact and glasses, and I went to church very grateful for what )e had done for me. .s I sat there and listened to the sermon about than&ing the 6ord for what )e had done for us, God continued to deal sternly with me, but only because of )is great love and because the )oly /pirit was really wor&ing on me to show me the way.

=o#in+ !yself
When the sermon was over, I didn$t dare loo& down because I was afraid to" I &new I didn$t have a stitch of clothes on" +o you &now what it$s li&e to be sitting in church absolutely na&edD It$s horrible. God had stripped me of my outer clothing to show me e%actly what I was, and all I could say was, “What$s the matter with ?1@, God, you &now I want to be dedicated >99 percent” A and I wasn$t even born again" (ust about this time a young man named !d Wa%er from *ampus *rusade for *hrist came into my office and gave me a little boo&let entitled #he Four /piritual 6aws. I read this with e%treme interest and thought, “Is that all you have to do to be born againD” .nd I decided, “#his is really easy.” 3>

I was so e%cited with that little boo& because it made being born again so wonderfully simple that when I went home that night I put my children to bed early and even though I lived in Florida and it was a hot sultry night, I 'umped under the blan&et with a little flash light, turned it on and read the little boo&let, because I didn$t want anyone to &now what I was doing. #he first thing it says is, “(esus, forgive my sins.” I stopped there and said, “7ut (esus you &now I haven$t sinned.” I thought sin was something 7IG li&e murder. #hen I &ept reading. “I open the door to my heart and I invite you to come in.” I waited. I was e%pecting a big boom, a clap of thunder, lightning, firewor&s or an e%plosion of some type, but nothing happened" . thought entered my mind, “I must have opened the door the wrong way.” I said, “(esus, I$m sorry I opened the door from the right side when it must open from the left. I beg your pardon. I open the door to my heart on the left side and I invite you to come in.” Immediately I said, “?ou didn$t come in.” #hen I thought, “It must be an overhead door.” I said, “If it$s an overhead door I open it and I invite you to come in.” #hen I added, “?ou didn$t do it"” !very night I repeated this process. I wore out more batteries than you could believe" .nd nothing happened" When I went to church the ne%t /unday morning I was determined after as&ing (esus to come into my heart all wee&, describing doors of glass, crystal, precious 'ewels, colors and everything else, I &new )e hadn$t come in Bbecause I &ept saying, “7ut you &now I haven$t sinned”C. I went to church this particular /unday morning and made a fervent statement with every ounce of my being crying out 33

to God. “I am not coming out of this church until I know that I know that I know that Jesus Christ is living in my heart.” #hat /unday I could not wait for them to sing Just As Am* 7ut they didn$t sing it" #hey sang, "Ha#e Thine ;wn Bay$ =ord* Ha#e Thine ;wn Bay*% I thought the pastor was a traitor. While we were singing that song, God reminded me of sin in my life. .nd in the loving, wonderful way that God has, )e nudged me and said, “<emember the penny you stole from your mother when you were four years oldD” #hat was forty3fi#e years before" “God, how did ?ou &now about thatD” #hen )e reminded me of another sin that wasn$t Huite so nice. )orrified, I said, “?ou &new about that, tooD” #hen my whole life flashed before me as God spo&e to me in that special precious moment and said loving but firm words that I will never forget. )e said, “I &now every rotten thing you$ve ever said"” I &new God had ears, so that didn$t surprise me. “I &now every rotten thing you$ve ever done.” I &new God had eyes, so that didn$t surprise me. “I even &now every rotten thought you$ve ever had.” Then I knew that od &new, and I cried out, “God have mercy on me a sinner.” I honestly believe this was a greater shoc& to me than discovering I wasn$t a *hristian. /uddenly Frances Gardner crumbled into nothing and died to self and was born again, because for the first time I said, “1h, God, what$s the matter with 0!D” #hen I added another statement. I said, “God, if ?ou want what$s left of this mess, ?ou ta&e me but ?ou ta&e all of me because I want nothing of myself left"”

34

#hen, being a business woman, I made a deal with God. #here are many people who don$t thin& you can ma&e deals with God but I stand as living proof that you can. I said to )im, “God, I$ll ma&e a deal with ?ou. I$ll give you all of me Bwasn$t that generousDC in e%change for all of ?ou.” We made that deal and I got the best end of it" /omeone had as&ed me once when I was “saved.” I had answered, “/aved from whatD” Finally I reali:ed that I had been saved from sin, a thing I had refused to admit that I had ever committed, even though the 7ible says, "A== ha#e sinned and fall short of the +lory of God* “It also says, "The wa+es of sin is death*% I had been spiritually dead all these years because I could not admit that had sinned* .nd only then$ because I had finally received God$s forgiveness for my sins, could I as& (esus to live )is life through me, and be the 6ord of my life. .t last I understood what the “6ord” meant. 7ut, interestingly enough, when salvation came, it came so Huietly I don$t even &now the date. No lightning. No thunder. (ust peace and calm.

38

Chapter . Just As Am
.fter church, I went home thin&ing of nothing but (esus. I had stopped at every store which was open and tried to beat (esus into everyone. I didn$t want to thin& about anything else. I didn$t want to thin& about my printing company, my business, my friends, my house. I was so totally out of this “world” that it was unbelievable. For the first time in my life I reali:ed that God loved me. When God wrote in my 7ible, “Frances Gardner, I love you” it was the first time I was aware that God &new I e%isted as a person. Now, I was saved and I 'ust bas&ed in the love of God. I could 'ust feel God$s arms around me. . >9,999 pound weight had been ta&en off my shoulders. I went to bed and the peace of God flooded my soul. /uddenly I began to cry. I cried and cried and cried 'ust as if I was bro&en hearted" I &ept thin&ing to myself, “Why am I cryingD I$m happy"” I couldn$t stop. #he ne%t night, the same thing happened. I cried and cried and cried. 0y pillow would be soa&ing wet. I thought of everything in my life I had done wrong" I told God over and over again that I was sorry for every thing I had ever done and I promised I would never do it again" Not 'ust saying, “I$m sorry,” but turning away from it. #hat is true repentance" Instead of tears of sadness, I felt such 'oy and relief that I cried tears of happiness. I cried every night for more than two months" “God tears” washed meI )e washed all the desire to sin out of my life. 32

#he euphoria I felt after finally being “saved” lasted two glorious days. I floated around the printing company all day long. #he third day I was running from one press to another and when I loo&ed down at my chest I could both see and feel my heart beating. I thought I would e%plode" I said, “(esus, ?ou$re in there" #hat$s not my heartbeat" #hat$s the heartbeat of (esus *hrist"” <ight there in the middle of all those sinners who wor&ed in my printing company, I said, “(esus, I shut the door to my heart. I loc& it. I throw away the &ey. Now ?ou can$t ever get out of there"” .fter all I had been through, I was never going to let )im go" .s a baby *hristian, I thought I had discovered the greatest thing in the world" #he freedom I felt, the 'oy, the e%citement were indescribable. I wanted to tell everyone in the whole world about (esus and how )e had miraculously saved me from my sins. I was Huic&ly labeled a “fanatic” as I drove up and down the street, stopping at every opportunity to share with everyone who would listen. I thought, “#here$s no one tal&ing about (esus" I$ve got to go out and win the whole world to (esus"”

Bhat Happens NeCt:
I wonder how many people have felt the call to come to (esus as the famous song “(ust .s I .m” was being sungD 1ne of the most misunderstood phases of Christianity is the state of our being when we accept (esus *hrist. )aving wor&ed with many as they were led to (esus in various ways, probably the biggest single reason given for not wanting to accept *hrist at a particular time is, “I$ve got to get rid of some bad habits first.” 35

1h, foolish sinner, God wants each and every one of us “'ust as we are.” !ven though my *hristian e%perience does not span many years, it spans a lot of people, and I have never yet met one who by himself “got rid of some bad habits.” #he most ama:ing thing about *hristianity is that there is only one thing a human has to do, and that is to surrender or yield his life totally to (esus. 1f course, this is the most difficult thing in the world to do, and something many people fail to accomplish. In this particular phase of my life, I believe God dealt very &indly with me. In most things I had to put up a fight and struggle, but I was so stupid I really didn$t thin& there was anything wrong with any phase of my life now that I was a *hristian. !ven though I had denied all the sin in my life, sin had certainly been there. I smoked five packages of cigarettes a day. 6ighted cigarettes andGor cigarette butts lay all around in the ashtrays in my office, in my house and in my car. I dran& martinis li&e they were going out of style and I swore li&e a trooper. I never said four consecutive words without a swear word coming out. 7ut the day I was born again, God cleaned up my mouth. /ince that moment, no swear word has ever crossed my lips. No dirty 'o&e has ever entered my mind. I had been the life of every coc&tail party because I &new more dirty 'o&es than anybody else. .fter meeting (esus, I couldn$t remember a dirty 'o&e if my life depended on it. God cleaned up my mouth. God cleaned up my mind. "Therefore if anyone is in Christ$ he is a new creation( old thin+s ha#e passed away/ <ehold all thin+s ha#e become new% & Corinthians 7(1D)* 3=

"And do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewin+ of your mind% &,om* 1.(.)* I didn$t have the same old mind that I had as a sinner. I had a brand new mind" I couldn$t swear. I couldn$t thin& of dirty 'o&es again. I couldn$t even listen to them because )e cleaned up my ears A my ears used to love to hear all that &ind of dirty tal&. From the day I was saved I could not listen to anything that was even close to being filthy. )owever, God didn$t get rid of all my bad habits immediately. I$ve heard some people get miraculously saved, cleaned up and delivered all at once. It too& longer for me. 0y daughter was a teenager and I en'oyed wor&ing with young people. I began wor&ing with the youth in the church. #hey were in and out of my home constantly. I always dran& my nightly martini and smo&ed incessantly in front of all of them because I felt there was nothing wrong with either activity. Nobody had ever told me there was anything wrong with smo&ing. I was still smo&ing five pac&ages a day A one cigarette after the other from morning to night. .s the days went on, a verse in the 7ible &ept coming to my mind " beseech you therefore$ brethren$ by the mercies of God$ that you present your bodies a li#in+ sacrifice$ holy$ acceptable to God$ which is your reasonable ser#ice% &,omans 1.(1)* 7ut, I couldn$t Huit smo&ing. I was smo&ing four cartons a wee&. I couldn$t even buy them all at the same store because the employees would comment, “?ou 'ust bought a carton.” I was truly a “cigaretteholic.” I made all &inds of e%cuses as to why I was out of cigarettes so Huic&ly, always adding, “I don$t really smo&e that many"”

3;

/uddenly, I began to feel uncomfortable smo&ing in front of my pastor. !ven though he had never once commented on my smo&ing, I discovered I could no longer &eep chain,smo&ing when he came into the office. Finally I couldn$t even continue smo&ing the lighted cigarette in front of him. I had to let it burn itself out. 1ne night as I was wor&ing late, he stopped at my office with the ne%t wee&$s bulletin for printing. I had 'ust bought a new carton of cigarettes and had opened the first pac&. I had 'ust lit the first cigarette when he wal&ed into the room. I had an urge to eat it, lit end and all, so he wouldn$t see me smo&ing. )owever, since he had caught me red,handed, I Huic&ly said, “I$d Huit this stin&ing habit if I could"” )e didn$t give me a lecture at all. )e 'ust pointed a finger to heaven and said Huietly, “Why don$t you as& )im to help youD” /urprised, I replied, “For a little thing li&e cigarettesD” )e said, “. little thing li&e cigarettes.” I continued, “. stin&ing little thing li&e cigarettesD” “. stin&ing little thing li&e cigarettes"” he said. “?ou$ve got to be &idding"” I thought God only handled the big things, li&e earthHua&es or hurricanes. I didn$t &now )e cared about little things. #he pastor left me sitting in my office, holding the cigarette and watching the smo&e as it curled up to the ceiling. When the smo&e got high enough, I got my eyes on God and I cried out, “God, I$m a mess. ?ou &now I can$t Huit. 7ut if I$m not presenting my body a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto you” Bbecause that was the verse I had read that morning before I left for wor&C, “ta&e away the desire.”

3F

With that, I put my hand down and I put the cigarette out. ?ou$ll be glad to &now that I have never smo&ed another cigarette nor have I ever had a desire to smo&e since that time" 7ecause I &new it was finished, I too& a little piece of paper, wrote the date on it and put it on top of the pac&age of cigarettes and sealed it with scotch tape. .t three o$cloc& in the morning when I finished wor&ing, I went by my pastor$s house and threw the cigarettes up on his porch. When he came out the ne%t morning, he said, “I &new who it was and I &new e%actly what happened"” .fter the births of both of my children, I had tried to Huit smo&ing. !ach time, I bro&e out in a horrible s&in rash. I itched all over and scratched continuously. I spent many thousands of dollars on s&in problems. #he rash disappeared both times after I started smo&ing again so I gave up trying to Huit smo&ing. /uddenly in a split second, the cigarettes were out of my life forever! .nd I didn$t brea& out in a rash, either" -eer pressure was turned on. #al&ing about (esus andGor God was not popular. I remember my daddy saying up until the day he died, “We don$t discuss religion or politics in this house. #hat$s a personal thing. ?ou 'ust never discuss it with anyone.” .s hard as it was for me to stop smo&ing before salvation, it was harder for me to be Huiet about (esus and what )e had done for me after I was “born again.” I shared my e%citement with everyone whether they wanted to hear or not. /ome were Huite patient with me. “?ou$ll get over this.” “I$ll give you a couple of months. ?ou$ll be bac& to the parties again.” “We$ve seen others go through this same thing. ?ou$ll soon see this is 'ust a fad.” 49

.n uncomfortable feeling began to happen to me when I would drin& my favorite martinis. I loved martinis. I loved the dry taste. I never put the vermouth in them because I 'ust li&ed the gin straight. Gin and olives, that was all I thought was in a martini. 1h, how I loved the gin and the olives at the bottom. #hey were so good" I never thought there was anything wrong with drin&ing. -eople used to always say, “+rin& a little wine for your stomach$s sa&e.” /ince it was a Huotation from the 7ible, I thought drin&ing was very acceptable. I certainly wasn$t an alcoholic, although each time I dran& a little more than the last time to feel good. #he “high” that I would get after drin&ing a few of those delicious drin&s was great. 1r so I thought" .fter a short time with (esus in my heart and reading God$s Word, I found myself going much higher on God than I ever went on martinis. 0y girlfriend was an alcoholic. /he certainly didn$t plan on being one, but she would drin& one after another. .s her saturation level was reached, she needed more and more and more. I thought if I dran& with her, maybe she$d Huit. I still never thought there was anything wrong with drin&ing. God was dealing with me. 0an could have tal&ed his head off and I would never have listened. /ince I was having so much fun as a *hristian, I reali:ed the world of alcohol was not a real world at all. It was a fa&e, a poor imitation of life. God$s world was the real one and that$s where I wanted to be A where I wanted to stay. Nobody really tal&ed about (esus very much in those days" 0ost people didn$t &now who )e was even though they often used )is name in vain" I got so e%cited about what had happened to me, I had to tell everybody. (esus 4>

really opened my mouth and I haven$t shut it since, and I don$t intend to" I was never shy or timid before I got saved. I didn$t suddenly become shy or timid afterwards either. I used every opportunity to share my e%citement. !verywhere I went, I tal&ed A the cleaners, the grocery store, the gasoline station. /ome people noticed the difference in my behavior and would as& what caused the change. I gladly told them in great detail about my new e%citing life. 0y family thought I had gone cra:y. 0y son, #om, came in one day and said bluntly, “0other, you$re going to curl up into a fu::y ball and blow over in a corner and die if you don$t Huit all this church stuff. ?ou$re not any fun any more. ?ou used to tell dirty 'o&es. ?ou used to smo&e and drin&. Now, you don$t do anything that$s fun any more.” I said gently, “)oney, but I$m really living now. I$m really living"” Not too long after that, I overheard somebody tal&ing with my daughter, (oan. “What$s the matter with your motherD /he$s acting so strange these days.” (oan replied, “0other$s going through the change of life” as I entered the room. “#hat$s right. #hat$s right, I$m going through a change of life,” I inter'ected, “but a different &ind of change of life than any of you are thin&ing about. When (esus came into my heart, )e really changed my whole life.” 1ne evening, I visited my girl friend. )er husband thought I had flipped my wig and become a “religious fanatic.” )e made a martini, set it on the counter in front of me, loo&ed me straight in the eye and insisted, “Well, holy (osephine, you have probably gotten so holy and pious that you won$t ta&e a drin& any more.” 43

)ow do you tell your old friends that you “don$t drin& any moreD” I loo&ed at that drin&. #he most ama:ing thought came into my mind, “I don$t want it. I really don$t want it. !ven 'ust yesterday, I loved that dry taste of a martini. Now, I don$t want it at all.” I didn$t &now what to do. I felt li&e I was bac&ed into a corner and didn$t have the courage to fight. -robably because I was still partly a spiritual chic&en, I cried out again for God to do something for me. I loo&ed up to God Huic&ly and thought, “1h God, what do I doD +o I pic& it up and drin& it to be sociableD” I didn$t want it" #he )oly /pirit had done a cleansing 'ob on me and I didn$t want to touch that drin&. I also didn$t want to offend my host. “/hould I pic& it up and hold itD No, that$s compromise and od never honors compromise!” #he 7ible had become my one and only reading material. I remembered -aul saying, " am not ashamed of the +ospel% B<omans > >5C. I closed my eyes 'ust for a moment. I was desperate. When I loo&ed bac& at that martini glass, God had chan+ed it into a sna0e$ the sign of evil in the 7ible" .nd the -erson who had changed my life so drastically had made another change only because I had yielded my all to )im. God spo&e to me as loudly and clearly as I have ever heard anything, "Alcohol has no part in your life* I had to ma&e a choice. +o I please God or do I please manD I loo&ed at my host and very calmly said for the first time in my life, “No, than& you. I don$t drin&"” Instantly, the sna&e changed bac& into a martini" 44

#he world had put the pressure on. God too& the pressure off. No one has ever offered me a martini since that night" /omehow they &new without my ever saying anything that I 'ust didn$t drin& any more. I didn$t ).J! to drin& because I had only to remember and recall the presence of God to be lifted up to the highest plane, and how could anyone ever be downhearted or sad when in )is presenceD When the *hristmas season came the first year after my conversion, many of my friends did not invite me to the usual *hristmas parties because I “had really changed.” 7y the second year they were beginning to reali:e this was not a temporary thing, but that something had really happened in my life. 0any of my friends 'oined in the same wal&, and many watched my life in ama:ement, but could not enter the same narrow gate. )owever, they invited me to their parties the second year with the reminder, “We$ll have *o&e for you,” or, “?ou can drin& your eggnog plain.” I didn$t en'oy going to coc&tail parties any more because the conversation was so inane and so shallow, so I went only on rare occasions. .nd it ama:ed me to see what happened. /uddenly everyone was as&ing me Huestions, and the highball glasses were sitting on the tables and the drin&s were going flat because the ice cubes were melting in them. . friend too& a picture behind my bac& at a party one night and it was real interesting... the only person with a glass in their hand was me" .nd the e%pressions on their faces as they listened to my testimony told a very interesting story.

48

=oo0in+ For Eic0s
I thin& people who drin& are loo&ing for “&ic&s” and are trying to get themselves on a higher plane than they are during an average day, and so they resort to the artificial stimulation of alcohol to give them “&ic&s.” If only they reali:ed the truth of !phesians 7(12( "And do not be drun0 with wine$ in which is dissipation/ but be filled with the Spirit$% they would find that a spiritual “&ic&” is a permanent state of being A a way of life, if you please A that replaces any and all of the worldly things in a heavenly manner. 0y heart cries out daily because of those who are so blind they cannot see the life that wins. !ven though they are ama:ed at the change which has come because I as&ed (esus to live )is life through me, they reali:e that the changes were made because )e was willing to accept me “(ust .s I .m,” and today the story is turned around because they, too, accept me “(ust .s I .m.” 7ut what a difference in the two meanings" .s the wonderful words of -aul say in -hilippians > 3> "For to me$ to li#e is Christ$ and to die is +ain*% 7y dying to self I have really learned to live. .nd no one ever as&s me to smo&e a cigarette or drin& a martini any more. (ust one month after I met (esus, my >4,year,old daughter, (oan, accepted (esus. /everal months later, we were tal&ing about the changes in our lives. I turned to her and as&ed, “What made you turn to God so Huic&ly and accept (esus 'ust one month after 0omma didD” /he simply replied, “7ecause of the chan+e I saw in you"” 42

Chapter find The Holy Spirit
"Howe#er$ when He$ the Spirit of truth$ has come$ He will +uide you into all truth***% B(ohn >5 >4C. … but be filled with the Spirit% B!phesians 2 >;C. " f we li#e in the Spirit$ let us also wal0 in the Spirit% BGalatians 7(.7)* It$s a marvelous thing that God doesn$t reveal all of )is &ingdom to us at one time , I doubt if we could stand it in one big dose. 0aybe that is why )e gives us only a little glimpse of truth at a time, because each tiny glimpse is so overwhelming and so overpowering that a massive dose might be fatal. 1nce the compelling force in my life had begun, everything in my life was pointed in one direction only M a ll I could thin& of was (esus *hrist, the love of my life" !verything else fell by the wayside and was completely secondary to this 0an who had changed my entire being , my entire way of life M my entire way of thin&ing M my entire reason for living" 7ut I still had such a long way to go M and I still I do. .nd then one day I was setting some type for a 'ob which mentioned a desire to be filled with the “)oly /pirit.” 0y pastor always seemed to drop by the office 'ust when some spiritual crisis arises or does the 6ord send him thereD I couldn$t possibly imagine what being filled with the )oly /pirit meant, so when he came in to pic& up some wor&, I 'ust as&ed him point blan&, “What does it mean to be filled with the )oly /piritD” .nd I hope in reading this you will remember that most of my life I had gone to 45

church and /unday school, but I had never heard of the power of the )oly /pirit. )e said, “When you are born again and God forgives your sins, you become a clean vessel which the )oly /pirit can fill with power for your *hristian life.” #his made no sense to me, and I wondered for a minute if he was &idding me. I couldn$t understand what in the world the )oly /pirit was. #hen I did what I always do when I discover something new in *hristianity. I ran for the 7ible and loo&ed up every reference to the )oly /pirit. I went to the 7ible store and bought every little tract and boo& which I could find concerning the )oly /pirit. .lso, about this time our 7ible /tudy *lass began studying the )oly /pirit, and I discovered that in !phesians we are commanded to be filled with the )oly /pirit. It$s ama:ing what happens to your life when the )oly /pirit comes in. )e brings a power unbelievable to a non, believer.

The "Fin+% of Christianity
#he ability to witness and to transmit the fact of God$s love is there A the ability to win others to (esus becomes a reality A the ability to follow God$s will becomes a routine thing. In other words, the )oly /pirit is the “:ing” of *hristianity. !ach time I have sat down to write on this boo& I have as&ed God to fill me afresh with )is )oly /pirit, and I have as&ed the )oly /pirit to use my brains and my fingers on the typewriter to bring this story to life so that anyone who might read it will feel the vibrant living thing that *hristianity is. . personal relationship with (esus *hrist is 4=

the only thing in the world that$s worthwhile, for the 7ible says "See0 ye first the 0in+dom of God% &EJG)* .s I read that recently I wondered what comes second. I have never found time to do anything but "see0 ye first$% because the see&ing and the searching is a lifetime vocation to me at any rate, and I doubt if there will ever be time to see& anything else. Not only that, the 7ible says the fruit of the /pirit is love, 'oy, peace, patience, &indness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self,control. When you are filled with the )oly /pirit, you have .66 this Band heaven, tooC, and with all the wonderful blessings of )is )oly /pirit, how could you possibly want for anything e%cept more of the wonderful promises of GodD

A Special Huality
#here is a special Huality to those who are filled with the )oly /pirit. )e imparts a special vibrancy, a special “come,alive” warmth to an individual, a special radiance, a special outgoing *hristian love which is distinguishable in a room, on a street, on a stage, or anywhere an individual happens to be. #he defeated *hristians today , and there are many, many of them because they do not as& to be filled with the )oly /pirit. #he )oly /pirit gives freedom from the things of the world... the )oly /pirit brings every single part of you, both physical and mental, into an e%citing relationship with (esus *hrist" Without the )oly /pirit you will fail. If you want to be a failure in *hristianity, don$t as& to be filled with the )oly /pirit. If you want to be an automobile that runs out of gas and can never run again, don$t as& for a refilling of the )oly /pirit. If you want to 4;

lead a useless life, don$t as& to be filled with the )oly /pirit. 7@# if you want .*#I1N in your life, as& right now to be filled with the )oly /pirit. .nd get the debris out of the road, because action is what you$ll get"

4F

Chapter I =earn to @ray… n the <ath Tub
"And all thin+s$ whate#er you as0 in prayer$ belie#in+$ you will recei#e% B0atthew 3> 33C. 1nce the “bug” of *hristianity had really bitten me, I couldn$t read enough, study enough, buy enough inspirational boo&s, pray enough, or accomplish enough of anything I wanted to do.

>nable to @ray
#he biggest stumbling bloc& in my *hristian life, however, seemed to be my inability to pray out loud. I could send up all &inds of prayers to God in silence, by 'ust thin&ing, but I discovered I 'ust couldn$t open my mouth and pray out loud. .t my age it$s difficult to admit you don$t &now how to pray, but I do remember telling my pastor if he ever called on me to say a public prayer he wouldn$t get a prayer, but a big “thud” which would be me fainting dead away. I went to a study group on prayer and found myself learning how to pray to God, in the name of (esus *hrist, and by )is )oly /pirit, and after what must have been months, I finally was called on to say a benediction. 0y throat tightened up, my heart pounded so loudly I &new everyone could hear it, and if I had opened my eyes I &now I could have seen it beating. I finally struggled through a 89

magnificent prayer which consisted of three words, “#han& ?ou, 6ord.” .nd then I cried. I went home that night and wondered why I couldn$t pray, and then I felt that I had really let God down. #he wonderful God of love who answers prayers, the God who had never let me down, and I couldn$t even tal& to )im out loud" .fter I got home that night I as&ed God to teach me how to pray. I as&ed )im to fill me so full of )is )oly /pirit that I would be 'ust running over with prayer. .nd I got into the bathtub. /omething about the soothing Huality of water Bor bubble bathC made me decide this was the perfect place to learn how to pray and, anyway, nobody could hear me. I have prayed more prayers in my bathtub than probably any other single place. #he Huietness and the fact that my family never disturbs me ma&es the bathtub a perfect place to pray. For the ne%t si% months I was probably the most scrubbed, bathed woman in Florida. .s I discovered how to pray, a new dimension came into my life, and not only did I discover how to pray, I discovered how wonderful it is to pray, and how easy it is to pray and &eep in constant communion with our heavenly Father. #here is one thing I would li&e to caution the reader about, however, in connection with learning to pray in the bathtub. In my energetic urge for *hristianity, and the surge for maturity, the 6ord decided to use me as a soul winner. I had no problem witnessing about what (esus could do in a life because of what )e had done in mine, and because I always as&ed the 6ord to fill me with )is )oly /pirit and to spea& 8>

through me, many individuals have been led to (esus. 7ut I discovered that when they accepted *hrist, the ne%t step was to as& them to pray a prayer of repentance, and I couldn$t help because the only place I could pray was in the bathtub" I often wondered what some new *hristian would have thought if I had said, “Would you mind 'umping into the bathtub because that$s the only place I can prayD” I never did, though, and I finally did learn how to pray publicly.

@rayer Times
#here are many &inds of prayer times. #here is the time when it$s 'ust “time to pray.” I$m not real cra:y about this &ind because I li&e to pray when I feel li&e praying.. .either because I feel very strongly on some sub'ect or because of some tremendous need in my own life or the life of another. 0y children always as& me to say the blessing at the supper table because they &now that$s when they get to find out about all the fabulous things that happened during the day, and as a result our house has the most unusual “grace” period imaginable. .ctually, this is our devotional time because it$s the only time we are all together, and this is when we bare our hearts and our innermost thoughts. #he prayers that have been answered as the result of this are unbelievable. 1nce in a while we do remember to as& that the food bless our bodies as we present them a living sacrifice, holy, and acceptable to God. +inners have become cold upon occasion when everyone felt led to pray, but I have never had a complaint about a cold dinner caused by warm prayers" 83

-robably the greatest miracle in my life occurred because of prayer A not 'ust lu&ewarm prayer, but fervent prayer A but this is a separate story in itself. 6earning how to tal& to God can be a fabulous e%perience, if you will let it. .nd tal&ing to God can ma&e your entire life fabulous. I have a little prayer which I send up to God every morning when I wa&e up, but let me caution you , don 8t say it unless you mean it? 7efore I open my eyes in the morning I say, “Well, 6ord, what fabulous things are we going to do todayD” .nd do you &now whatD !very day is fabulous? 6ast #han&sgiving I went to *learwater, Florida, to be a counselor at the state youth convention and by the time I returned, I was e%hausted. We had a death in our church, had a special guest at the morning service, and went to a church dedication service that afternoon, so I was completely ground down. 1n 0onday morning I said, “God, do ?ou thin& we could have a dumb, dull, stupid day because I$m so tiredD” .nd do you &now whatD I had a real dumb, dull, stupid day" 7ut by #uesday morning there I was bac& again saying, “What fabulous things are we going to do todayD” I would li&e to challenge each of you who read these pages to as& God what fabulous thing )e$s going to do with you today. 7ut remember, if you don$t have the courage to accept )is fabulous offerings, don$t pray.

84

Chapter 7 Am <aptiJed
I was “sprin&led” when I was a little girl. I don$t even remember e%actly when it was nor can I find the baptismal certificate, but during the many years I wore my tarnished halo as a bonafide “counterfeit *hristian,” I &new that I had been “bapti:ed.” .fter my personal encounter with (esus *hrist, one day in church came the announcement that all those who had been “saved” would be bapti:ed by reHuest in four wee&s, and then we heard a sermon on “Why 7aptism by Immersion.” For some reason or other, from my early childhood on I remember having an aversion to denominations that believed in “dun&ing” people. I put this in the same category as the word “saved,” and I definitely shied away from anything that sounded li&e immersion. )owever, the )oly /pirit too& care of this problem for me beautifully, and again God dealt relentlessly but lovingly with me because of my own stubbornness. /omething put doubt into my mind as to whether I had actually been bapti:ed or not. I read all the /criptural references I could find, and nothing seemed to satisfy me. I tal&ed to my pastor, assuring him that I had been bapti:ed, and he laid the decision right bac& in my lap. Lindly and gently, but firmly, he said, “?ou$ll have to ma&e your own decision, Frances.” I decided right then that he should be more positive about things li&e this so that he could tell people whether they should be re,bapti:ed or not. 7ut how 88

smart he was... he &new the decision had to be my very own, and not something someone tal&ed me into doing. I was real busy lining up all my spiritual children for the big event, but in the bac& of my own mind was the ever present thought of my own baptism. 1ur church didn$t have a baptismal pool and since I lived in Florida where many people had swimming pools, the bapti:ing was often done in such pools. I couldn$t help but feel this was the living end to put on an old white choir robe and wal& into a friend$s pool and get your hairdo ruined when I 0new I had been bapti:ed many years ago. .nd, anyway, I was forty,nine years old, and it$s ridiculous to be bapti:ed with a bunch of teenagers when you$re that old. 0y pastor came by the office and I said to him, “I have a swimming pool, so why should I go to somebody else$sD Wouldn$t you li&e to come over to my house some night after dar& and bapti:e me in my own poolD” I thought this was a very simple way not to publicly be bapti:ed. 0y pastor loo&ed me right in the eye and he said, “No.” #hat was all he said. 7ut God continued to deal with me, and I could thin& of nothing else. I &ept thin&ing I heard the words over and over, “?ou$ve got too much pride to be bapti:ed, haven$t youD” .nd again I tal&ed and tal&ed to God, trying to tal& )im out of being bapti:ed publicly at my age. 7ut it doesn$t pay to argue with God. I always win when I do, but I only win because I give in to )im. With me the only way an argument with God can possibly end is for )im to have )is way in my life. I finally went to my minister and announced I wanted to be bapti:ed along with my daughter because I &new where I was going, and while I didn$t feel the 7ible said anything 82

about failure to be bapti:ed &eeping you from eternal life, I wasn$t going to ta&e any chances. When I sat in his office after church one night and told him this, I felt a thousand, pound weight had been removed from my chest. #he /unday came when we were all to be bapti:ed, and we were to be at the swimming pool for a public service at three o$cloc& that afternoon. . number of the teens were over at my houseI as we dressed for the service, I felt the presence of God so strongly I &new I had obeyed )im with my decision to be bapti:ed. I felt I would burst A my heart actually seemed to beat as though it would brea& out of my chest. I tried to remain calm because some people have emotional reactions to certain things, and others don$t, and I don$t feel the degree of your *hristianity depends on the emotional feelings you have. I &new that no one noticed anything unusual about the way I felt until one of the boys said, “)ow come you have your dress on bac&wardsD” I had put on my bathing suit and slipped a shift over it, and in my utter calm I had put the dress on bac&wards. It was a short drive to the swimming pool and when we arrived I was shoc&ed to find such a large crowd there. #he minister wal&ed into the pool and one by one bapti:ed the young people. I have a vague recollection of being ne%t to the last, or last, I$m not sure which because something really happened to me that day. . man in our congregation led me into the water Ba problem with my second eye had started and was getting very serious, so seeing was a real problem for meC. I remember stretching out my hand to reach the minister because I couldn$t see anything without my glasses on A and I don$t remember anything else. #here is a very vague recollection of him as&ing me if I had accepted (esus *hrist 85

as my /avior and 6ord, and I thin& I said, “?ou 0now I have.” I must have been immersed, but I don$t remember it e%cept that I was soa&ing wetI he must have called out my name, but I didn$t hear itI he must have wal&ed me to the steps because I couldn$t see to wal& by myselfI someone must have helped me from the pool, but I don$t remember anything e%cept the rushing of waters over my face. 7efore they closed over me, my soul went right straight into the ever,loving outstretched arms of God. It seems to me we sang “#han& ?ou, 6ord, for sa#in+ my soul,” but it was all ha:y. 0y usual tal&ative self had been awed and silenced by the overpowering presence of God. I couldn$t wait to get away , all I wanted to do was go home and read my 7ible. I felt I would scream if anyone tal&ed to me because I didn$t want to ever brea& the spell of the presence of God. I went home, grabbed my 7ible, and with the arms of God wrapped tightly around me, I read )is wonderful words all afternoon. I thin& baptism is the thing that sealed me and bound me forever.

8=

Chapter 6 =earn to Bitness
When (esus came into my life, )e opened my mouth, and I haven$t shut it since" .nd I don$t intend to. I had the most burning desire to share what had happened to me with everyone I met, and the 6ord who always honors a sincere heart crossed my path with another of the “men in my life.” 1ne day a young man wal&ed into my office and when I loo&ed up from my des& at him to as& him if I could help him, all I could see were the eyes of (esus loo&ing at me from a different face than I e%pected. I Huic&ly decided that *hristianity had gotten the best of me, and I was really imagining things, until he opened his mouth and said, “I$m !d Wa%er of the *ampus *rusade for *hrist.” /omehow in the way we never Huestion, God$s )oly /pirit had told me here was a brother in *hrist, before I ever &new who he was. I am a debtor of !d Wa%er, a *hristian of (ewish bac&ground, for the time he has ta&en to help me mature as a *hristian. .s I loo& bac& on it now, he must have thought I was a batty old lady, but he reali:ed that the drive and the compelling force which possessed me was a dedication to (esus *hrist. I nagged and nagged and pleaded and begged, “-lease teach me how to Krecruit.” What I really meant was “#each me how to lead others to (esus,” but in my unchristian 'argon I didn$t &now what to call it e%cept recruiting for God$s army. -oor !d was so busy trying to activate the campus program in the 0iami area, he really didn$t have time, but finally he promised he would come over to my house and teach me how to “recruit.” 8;

I was almost hysterical. )e had told me I could invite three other people from the church, but somehow I invited seven, and I made the eighth person. !d brought another staff member of *ampus *rusade and we divided into two groups to learn how to “recruit.”

Four Spiritual =aws
!d showed us how they present the “Four /piritual 6aws” which the *ampus *rusade for *hrist uses internationally. #his is a simplified presentation of the plan of salvation. !d carefully e%plained every step and assured us it would wor& and turn our church upside down if we would try it. I had been literally dragging people to church with me because I had read that -aul said, " ha#e become all thin+s to all men$ that mi+ht by all means sa#e some% BI *orinthians F 33C. I felt that everyone in the whole city of 0iami simply had to go to church and hear the claims of (esus *hrist, but to win someone to (esus... that was something else. I studied the Four /piritual 6aws and read and reread them. 1ur church formed a “G1” *ommittee. +uring a meeting the minister gave out “G1” cards or calls we were to ma&e and present the Four /piritual 6aws. . church friend and I Bwe were &nown as the G1,G1 girlsC made a promise to God that before the wee& was over we would go and ma&e a call and present the Four /piritual 6aws. 0onday came and I called and said, “7arb, I$m so busy at the office I$ve got to wor& tonight. *an we call it off tonightD” 8F

7arb said that was all right with her, we would go the ne%t night. #he ne%t night she called me with some phony e%cuse... .nd the ne%t night was the midwee& service, so neither of us had to ma&e up a phony e%cuse... #hen the ne%t night I called her and gave her a phony e%cuse. .nd on Friday she called me because she was having company. . ..nd we both decided /aturday would be a bad time to go. .N+ /@++!N6? I# W./ /@N+.?" .nd we had promised God we would ma&e a call before the “G1” meeting at 5 99 -.0. on /unday. .fter church on /unday morning, I called 7arb and said, “We pledged A and we 'ust ha#e to do it. .nd she agreed. Well, I tried to thin& of everything to ma&e us so late we couldn$t possibly ma&e a “G1” call on anyone because I was /*.<!+. I had temporarily forgotten the 7ible says "<ut you shall recei#e power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you/ and you shall be witnesses to !e in Jerusalem$ and in all Judea and Samaria$ and to the end of the earth% B.cts > ;C.

Time Bas ,unnin+ ;ut
I pic&ed 7arb up at five o$cloc&, and we &new that time was running out, but even so we remembered a friend in the hospital who maybe we ought to go see. 7ut after a hurried conference, we didnAt$ because we had made a covenant with God, and we &new we had to &eep it. We went to the house assigned to us and I did some of the fastest praying in my life A but some of the most stupid. I prayed “+ear God, please don$t let anyone be home. We 'ust can$t do this. -lease. . .please.” .s we got closer I pleaded, begged, cried, rebelled, and as&ed )im to see that no one was home. 29

.nd then I saw a light in the house. ....nd then I saw that the door was open. I reminded God that maybe she was out and had 'ust left the door open and could I please turn aroundD <elentlessly, God said, “G1.” 7oth 7arb and I nearly fainted when a woman came to the door. We had previously decided that 7arb was going to read the Four /piritual 6aws because she had been a *hristian longer than I hadI so we wal&ed in and I honestly have no idea what we said, but before long 7arb was reading the Four /piritual 6aws. Four very simple, but beautiful laws, all bac&ed up with the proper /cripture. No. > merely states that God loves you and has a plan for your life. BI won$t argue with that.C No. 3 states that “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” BI won$t argue with that.C No. 4 states that “(esus *hrist is God$s only provision for man$s sin. BI won$t argue with that.C No. 8 states “7ehold, I stand at the door and &noc&. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him.” BI won$t argue with that either.C .nd then you as& the person you$ve been tal&ing to if he Bor sheC would li&e to invite (esus to come into their life. 7arb as&ed the woman if she would li&e to invite (esus into her life. .nd she said, “?es.” 7arb and I both felt as though we had been struc& by lightning"

2>

We had &ept our covenant with God, but had forgotten that )e would be with us, so we were not prepared for success. 1h, how pathetic it is when we don$t put faith in God$s promises. 7arb loo&ed at me, and I loo&ed at her, and we both thought, “/he$s &idding.” /o 7arb as&ed her again and when she said, “?es” again, we loo&ed at each other and in the same instant we reali:ed how little was our faith. God has never let me down, but I often wonder how many times I have let )im down. We came to our senses then, and 7arb said the only thing either of us could thin& of to say “6et$s pray.” /he did, and we felt the presence of the )oly /pirit as )e is always felt when someone is led to (esus. We said our “good,byes” with tears in our eyes because this had been a tremendous e%perience for all of us. .s we went down to the car, we than&ed our 6ord for )is tender, loving care which had directed two sincere women who didn$t &now what they were doing, but &new what they wanted to do. We flew bac& to the church and practically tore our pastor apart because we were so e%cited because we had led our first person to (esus. We followed this up two nights later with another thrilling win for (esus, and I did the tal&ing that time. /ince then the 6ord has blessed 7arb and me many times, but I often wonder if any convert will ever do for us what the first one did.

23

Chapter D Find Bitnessin+ s 1Ccitin+
#here is no thrill in the world which compares with leading someone to (esus" What happens in your own life when you have “faced” a person with (esus *hrist and he has accepted )im is indescribable. +o let me give you the only hint I can concerning witnessing +on$t ever try to do it on your own, or you$ll fail" .s 7arb and I went on “G1” calls, we never tal&ed in the car, but prayed, and as&ed God to fill us with )is )oly /pirit and let the words that were to come from our lips be )is words, and not ours. 1nly when you are yielded to )is )oly /pirit can you be an effective witness. 1ur young people wanted to learn how to win others to (esus, so one night after a midwee& service we held a training class. #he pastor was called out, so he as&ed me to ta&e over and show the young people how to present the Four /piritual 6aws. I presented them as I would in anyone$s home, and as I got to the fourth law concerning *hrist$s invitation, I reali:ed I was tal&ing to a group made up of about 7' percent non,*hristians. I stormed the gates of heaven with prayer as&ing God$s guidance, because how could these young people be successfully taught to be soul winners when they were not *hristiansD God$s very presence was in the room that night as )e touched the young people one by one and they opened the doors of their hearts to invite (esus in. .nd I felt my “cup run over” because my physical daughter was now also my spiritual daughter, for she, too, accepted (esus. 24

;n The <each
#he young people wanted to win others to *hrist after seeing a film entitled “7al Wee&” which showed *ampus *rusaders witnessing on the beaches. #wo carloads of us went to a local beach one /unday afternoonI the young people &new they could really turn 0iami upside down by holding an evangelistic movement on the beaches. 7arb and I went and sat down to await results and give them spiritual encouragement. /atan always comes in when he feels *hristians maturing, so he planted F,!,.,< into them. .bout ten youth wal&ed around the beach where hundreds of people were sittingI then they came bac& and reported, “#here isn$t anyone we can witness to.” 1nce the witnessing bug has bitten you, it is impossible to &eep still, and I was really champing at the bit. I could see potential in every group singing, swimming, swinging, or what have youI so they said, “.ll right, you do it if you thin& it$s so easy.” I had better e%plain to the reader right now that I am not a movie star type. In the first place my age is against me for purposes of beauty Bbut for en'oyment of life, it$s really with me"C. In the second place I would say I$m appro%imately twice the si:e of the average woman, so this doesn$t add to my physical charms. BIt$s a blessing, though, when people want to cry on your shoulder to have a big enough shoulder to cry on"C 7ut God made me and )e loves me, and so this must be the way )e wants me. Who am I to complainD It$s essential when in <ome to do as <omans do, so before leaving home I put on a bathing suit, carefully 28

covering it with a shift. I &ic&ed off my shoes and wal&ed across the sand to the first group I saw. .nd what a group" #hey all were nineteen to twenty, two years old. <eal beatni&s" 7eards, bi&inis, liHuor, the whole bit. I said, “6ord, you$d better handle this all the way or I$m sun&.” I wal&ed up, sat down between two of the young men, and said, “Would you good,loo&ing young men mind if an old lady sits down with youD” I hope you will remember that I have been in business for ten years and most people consider me successful, reliable, dependable, and so forth. .nd the answer of this beatni& group could have &noc&ed me off my feet had I not as&ed God to do the 'ob for me. “What are you, some &ind of a fruitD” I remembered the old saying, “If you can$t beat Kem, 'oin Kem.” /o I said, “?es, and if you don$t believe it, you can as& my twenty, year,old son. 7ut he$ll tell you I$m a sHuare pushed out, or a cube, which is even worse... Now, boys, do we tal& your language, or mineD” /ilence. I told them I was ta&ing a religious survey and would appreciate their answering some Huestions. #hey agreed to answer the Huestions, but they had decided to roast me li&e a pig on a spit. I as&ed them a few introductory Huestions about their plans for the future, and their nondescript answers indicated that they were all going to be bums. #hey had no plan for their lives. I said I thought this was fabulous, because since they had no plan, I &new they$d be interested in &nowing that God had a plan for them. 1ne finally admitted that he was going to be a surfer and he really per&ed up when I told him I was personally 22

acHuainted with the world$s greatest surfer. “(esus *hrist,” I said, “because he didn$t need a surfboardI he 'ust wal&ed on the water.” #his made an impression on them, and they promptly as&ed me to go to an .le )ouse with them. I declined. Ne%t, I as&ed them whom they &new the most about 0ohammed, 7uddha, or (esus *hrist. #hey all got real smart,alec&y and answered, “0ohammed. +oesn$t everybodyD” 1ne thing to remember during a survey A don$t reply to or comment on any answer regardless of your personal feelings. .t this point I gave a little testimony of my own life and one young fellow said, “-ut me down for (esus *hrist, 0a$am.” The "oly #pirit had come to walk on the $each. I had been sitting there wondering what I was doing on the beach when I hate the sand, the salt, the water, the bree:e, and so on. #hen I remembered how (esus witnessed on the shores of Galilee, and I decided if it was good enough for )im, it was certainly good enough for me. .nd anyway, if )e was living )is life through me, who was sitting on the beachD #he transition Huestion had been answered, so I as&ed them how a person becomes a *hristian. .t this point three others 'oined the group, so I now had seven. #he newcomers 'oined not because of a personal invitation from me, but because the original four grabbed them into the group. #heir answers would have bro&en your heart" “I was born a *hristian.” “0y parents are *hristian, that ma&es me a *hristian.” “(ust go to church and you$re a *hristian.” 25

“It$s something about feeling guilty about something or other. I don$t &now what you have to feel guilty about, but it$s something or other, and if you feel guilty, you$re a *hristian.” “If you go around with *hristians A it$s something about fellowship that ma&es you a *hristian.” “If you behave and lead a good life, you$re a *hristian.” Not one of the young persons sitting there &new how to become a *hristian. Not one had ever been told that he must be “born again.” Not one &new about accepting (esus *hrist as /avior and 6ord. Not one &new that sinners have to be forgiven of their sins" In a world where communication is present in all forms radio, #J, telephone, newspapers, maga:ines, it bro&e my heart to reali:e that none of these young people had ever heard the communication of (esus. .bout this time the lifeguard came up and was going to arrest me for “selling” on the beach without a license. I told him I wasn$t selling anything. I was giving it away. 1ne of the young men who originally had intended to roast me on a spit 'umped up and said “#a&e your hands off of her A she$s telling us the most interesting things about the 7ible we$ve ever heard.” #he lifeguard unhanded me, and I whispered a prayer of than&sgiving to God. I continued and the stillness of the beach was a surprising thing. I loo&ed up and about twenty people were now listening. 0y cry went up to heaven as I said, “?ou do it, 6ord, because I don$t really &now what I$m doing.” .nd the 6ord of my life, as always, came through. I read the Four /piritual 6aws and eight young people 2=

nodded their heads in an acceptance prayer and a prayer of forgiveness. I didn$t drive bac& home after that A I 'ust “floated home on a cloud.”

n A Hospital ,oom
1ne of the most thrilling conversions I ever witnessed occurred in a hospital room. I had been as&ed to call on a man who was seriously ill in the hospital, and when I as&ed for information so I wouldn$t go “blundering in,” my pastor said, “/ometimes blundering is a blessing.” I said, “#han&s a lot,” little reali:ing the wisdom he had used. 0iami often has severe rainstorms and this was during the rainy season. #hat particular night it rained over eight inches. #he highways were floodedI it too& me twenty minutes to get from my office to a location which normally would ta&e me three minutes. #he water was completely over the highway, and it was pouring so hard it was impossible to see. 0y night vision is not good, so I don$t drive often at night. I wondered if the 6ord wanted me to turn around and go bac& home to my nice, dry, warm house, and I as&ed )im. I heard nothing, so I said, “Well, if ?ou want me to go, ?ou$ll have to help me drive this car, and please, please prepare his heart for me as I ma&e this long drive.” .gain I had as&ed God$s )oly /pirit to go with me. It too& me two hours to drive what normally would have ta&en thirty minutes, and when I finally reached the hospital and par&ed the car, I stepped out into water nearly up to my &nees. It was almost li&e a hurricane. I was soa&ed before I got two feet from the car. 2;

0y clothes stuc& to me li&e glue Band I$m too fat to be good,loo&ing in glued clothesC, my shoes were ruined, my hair was dripping down in my face, and I$m sure I loo&ed as far removed from an “.mbassador of *hrist” as anyone could. I shivered as I entered the air,conditioned hospital Bno wonder, I had accidentally gone into the morgue"C, but after regrouping myself, I finally found the right room. #hree other men were in the ward, and as I tal&ed a silence fell over the whole room. It was a thrilling moment because the )oly /pirit completely filled the room. #al&ing to the patient, I reali:ed that God had prepared his heart and that he wanted (esus in his life. /o I merely loo&ed at him and said, “Would you li&e to accept (esus right nowD” .nd then we prayedI first I prayed, and then for the first time in his life he prayed and as&ed God to forgive him for a lifetime of sins. “7lundering was a blessing” in this case. .fterwards I was informed that this man had sneered at anyone who dared to mention (esus *hrist in his presence, but with God preparing his heart, my blundering was a blessing"

1#en n Church
1ne of my greatest delights after winning someone to (esus is to watch that person grow and mature as a *hristian. #he 6ord blessed whatever ministry I have by allowing me to be instrumental in leading my best friend to (esus. In my 7.*. Bbefore *hristC days and +.6. Bduring liHuorC days I spent a lot of time “martini,ing” with a couple whom I en'oyed very much. /hortly after meeting them, I became aware of the fact that for the tiny little person that she was, the wife could consume more alcohol 2F

than any person I had ever seen. .nd somehow or other she never showed the effects of one martini or ten. /he never got drun&, or very seldom got drun& in the accepted sense of the word, but I often wondered how she could consume what she did without getting sic&, or passing out, or something. )er alcohol problem became increasingly worse over the years and I tried to caution her Bas we dran& martinis togetherC that she should cut down because it 'ust wasn$t good for her to drin& so much. /he$s a very beautiful woman, with gorgeous, big brown eyes, and I warned her that if she continued to drin& the way she was, it wouldn$t be long before she wouldn$t be pretty any more, but this didn$t seem to fa:e her. /he went deeper and deeper into the bottle. 1ne time my friend$s husband as&ed me to see what I could do about her alcohol problem because he had to go out of town for several wee&s. I decided I would drin& right with her, and then get her to stop before she was blotto" I failed to consider my own low tolerance for alcohol, and so before the wee& was out, she was still going strong, but I was completely baggy eyed and hung over. #hen I decided to &eep her so busy while her husband was away that she wouldn$t have time to drin&. 6ittle did I &now that after an evening of ta&ing our children places, she would go home and spend the rest of the night drin&ing alone. .nd then I found (esus" .nd when you first find (esus and your friends are not on that road, your friendship remains the same for a short while, but then the love for (esus overpowers everything else in your life and you discover you don$t have anything in common with non, *hristians.

59

1nly once on the *hristian road did I ever consider loo&ing bac&. .nd that was for this friend. 7ut when you really discover (esus *hrist, nothing is worth loo&ing bac& for, and momentarily I regretted the fact that I had to leave her bac& there because I couldn$t loo& bac&. #here was only one way for me to go, and I &new it" /he continued to drin&, and as she continued to drin&, she watched the ama:ing change that was occurring in my life. /he began to call me in the middle of the night and with a tiny little voice crying, “)elp me, Frances, you$ve got to help me.” I have tal&ed for hours on the telephone trying to get her to leave the bottle alone, at anywhere from midnight to four o$cloc& in the morning. /he was attending a church half,heartedly where the gospel is apparently not preached, but in her groping for something she started the search which was to ta&e her where she is today" /he was intrigued with the way I was reading the 7ible, so she dusted hers off, and started reading, too. 7ut she only read in hers what she wanted to read. We have spent many hours on the midnight telephone discussing our different interpretations of the 7ible. #he bottle became bigger and 7IGG!< and my heart really ached for her. I yearned to have her find the loving arms of (esus *hrist who could protect her from all harm. I had a reluctance to invite her to church with me, so I only went into ecstasy over what each /unday did for me, hoping to ma&e the claims of *hrist sound so appealing that she would want to come with me one /unday. .nd then it happened" 1ne /unday morning a little tiny hung,over voice called me and said, “.ren$t you ever going to invite me to your churchD” I could have cried" /o I said, “*ome today,” and she said, “If I can pull myself together in time, I$ll be there.” 5>

I went to /unday school and didn$t learn a thing that morning. .ll I did was pray" I prayed first that she would get there. #hen I prayed that the minister would preach the &ind of a sermon that would “grab” her, and then I prayed that God would open her heart so that she, too, could have the “abundant life.” God answered all of my prayers. /he got there all right" 7ut she smelled so strong of whis&ey she almost &noc&ed me over. /he apparently had had a “crying” 'ag because she showed the effects of weeping. /econd, my pastor must have preached 'ust the right &ind of sermon M or did God 'ust use him in the right wayD #hird, God crac&ed open the door of her heart. .s in /unday school, I didn$t hear a word of the sermon, because I prayed the whole sermon through. /he returned the ne%t /unday after crawling in the bottle all wee&, only this time she didn$t smell of alcohol. /he continued coming every /unday and conversations concerning (esus became everyday occurrences, but the bottle became a bigger and bigger problem. 0y pastor and I had prayed for her so much, because we saw a really lost soul, and because I loved her so much. .nd then we had an evangelist for a wee&$s revival at the church. If anyone had told me two years prior to this that I would sit in church for eight nights straight, I would have told him he was off his roc&er, but there I sat eight nights in a row. I had given my friend a copy of the Four /piritual 6aws to read, and she came to several of the revival services. I could see that she was getting closer and closer to accepting (esus, and then one night during the invitation hymn, my pastor stepped down from his usual place in the pulpit. #his put the three of us in a line A he was on one side of the room, she was in the middle, and I was on the 53

other side. /omehow in that room she got caught in a crossfire of prayer between the pastor and me, and she turned to me and said, “*an$t I be a *hristian without accepting (esusD” I said, “Well, not hardly.” /he cut me off and said, “1h, well, it doesn$t ma&e any difference,” and stepped forward to accept (esus. 7eing an emotional woman, I cried, because here was something I had prayed about for so long. /he was now my sister in *hrist. I$m not going to tell you that all of her problems ended that night. 0aturing as a *hristian is sometimes a slow, tedious process. .nd I thin& God often tests us to prove our desires. #he alcohol still continued to be a problem, and she tried to Huit several times. Finally alcohol ceased to be a problem because it ceased to be$ but this happened only after she finally yielded herself completely to (esus. It is interesting how it finally happened. /he had been invited to a coc&tail party and didn$t want to go because as she said, “?ou &now I$m wea&. . .#hey$ll offer me a drin& and I$ll ta&e it, and when I ta&e one, there I go again"” I said, “When they offer you a drin&, say KNo, than& you, I don$t drin&,$ and before anyone can say a word, really get some prayers up to God as&ing )im to bac& you up.” /he has never touched another drop" #oday she is one of the strongest *hristians I am privileged to &now. .nd our *hristian love is far greater than our “martini” love ever was. 0any people have as&ed me why I have such thrilling e%periences as a *hristian. If you haven$t guessed the answer by now, let me tell you it$s only because I allow )im to use me, and )e will use ?1@, too, if you will only let )im.

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Chapter 2 !y Spiritual <rainchild s <orn
1ne of the burdens the 6ord laid upon my heart early in my *hristian e%perience was young people. .s I watch the teenagers of today with boys loo&ing li&e girls and girls loo&ing li&e boys, and all of them going down the sin path as fast as their feet can carry them, my heart cries out to help them. . year or so ago I developed such a concern for young people who do not really &now (esus in a personal way that I as&ed God to show me the way to ma&e (esus a reality and a way of life to them. I loo&ed at my own life and reali:ed how much could have been accomplished had I had (esus on the throne of my life years ago. .nd I reali:ed the waste of all those years. I had seen a sign on a billboard which said, “I found how to get the most out of life after most of life was gone,” and it slapped me right across the face as a true, but cutting statement about my own life. I thought of the old round of coc&tail parties, dances, cigarettes, martinis, the desire to learn the latest dance steps. <ecently I was horrified to read in a scrapboo& that I had led in an e%hibition of the “twist” at a radio broadcast. /o I began to pray. .nd I prayed. .nd I prayed. .nd I prayed. #he summer came and was almost over when I made probably the greatest statement I$ve ever made in my life. I told my pastor he$d better start duc&ing. )e &new I had 58

been praying that God would show me the way to ta&e *hristianity to the &ids in high schoolI he also &nows when you as& God for a big reHuest li&e that you$d better start duc&ing if you don$t mean it, because )e will really give it to you. I &new that God would give me the answer before school started, and so I &new there wasn$t much time to bac& out if I didn$t really mean it. I prayed even harder. 1ne day a customer who is a wonderful *hristian came into my office and I mentioned my prayers to him. 7ecause the hand of God has human fingers many times, he pic&ed up the telephone, made a call, and put me in contact with a man who has the same burden for young people that I do. #he net result of this was a frantic meeting Bhe drove some fifty miles to get to my house for a rush meeting, for the church youth camp started the ne%t dayC. We almost tal&ed the whole night through as we shared our ideas, and from this e%citing meeting .lphaG1mega was born.

AlphaK;me+a
.lphaG1mega was to be a *hristian youth movement to win others to (esus and to show them a wonderful “way of life.” It was decided to ta&e .lphaD 1mega off the ground with a “7last 1ff” program designed to appeal to young people. 7ecause of this, I met two more of the “men in my life.” . big, good,loo&ing football player from the @niversity of 0iami named <ic& /trawbridge had been voted “the least li&ely to succeed on the *hristian <oad” a few months prior, but those who gave him this award had not rec&oned how God was wor&ing in his life and how great was his decision and his dedication. <ic& came into the office one 52

day with !d Wa%er, and thus began another of the great loves in my life. I as&ed <ic& to give the story of his encounter with (esus *hrist at the 7last 1ff, and in the following wee&s my admiration and love for another *hristian grew. I learned how to establish rapport with teenagers through the willingness of this young man to share unselfishly of his time. <ic& has been one of the strong arms of .lphaG1mega as it has floundered and then grown. /o many young people have the idea that religion is for old “fuddy,duddies,” and <ic& really brought spar&le into it with his %&.T.'.” (-raise the 6ordC. Few young people will ever come out and say, “-raise the 6ord,” but we hear “-.#.6.” said all the time. .t the beginning of the year a drama trio from .nderson *ollege had performed at our church in a play called “#he -eople Js. *hrist.” . young man named Fred *lemens did an outstanding 'ob of acting in this most unusual play. I got a chance to &now him because I as&ed the trio to stay at my home. #he ne%t day I was giving a barbecue so the young people in the church could get a chance to &now them and see these wonderful living e%amples of *hristianity. #his would prove that *hristians really do lead the most e%citing lives in the world. We had such an e%citing evening we forgot to go to bed. We were sharing all the fabulous *hristian e%periences we had all had, and at four,thirty in the morning I started the barbecue sauce for the party later that thy. I$ll never &now how we made it to church on time, but we did" When I saw my pastor I flatly announced that I had a “*hristianity hangover” from overindulgence. I will say this , I have had hangovers in my time, but this was the only one I ever en'oyed. .nd I have also spent many boring 55

evenings in the most elegant of coc&tail lounges, country clubs, and other places, but I have never spent a boring evening discussing (esus *hrist. Now that I loo& bac&, it seems to me that most of the conversation centered on the word “saved.” #his word went against my grain from the word go and I guess it still does. I spent most of the night trying to convince Fred that it was much more acceptable and loving to as& someone to accept (esus instead of as&ing him to be “saved.” +uring the twenty,four hour period Fred spent at my house, I discovered what a wonderful *hristian he is, and what a wonderful sense of humor he has. /o when the time came to thin& about who to use in the “7last 1ff” for .lphaG1mega, his name came to me. I wrote to him and as&ed him if he would do a comedy act po&ing fun at the unchristian acts of today$s teenagers. /ince Fred was studying for the ministry, he was floored by my reHuest and wrote that he would pray about it. In the final analysis I guess I out prayed him, for he came and did an outstanding and never,to,be,forgotten 'ob. #he girl in the play was a charming young lady named 6inda *otton, and since I had lost her address, when I wrote Fred as&ing him to do the acting bit, I as&ed him if 6inda would come along to sing. Fred wrote bac& that 6inda has a brother named Gene who he felt was really great and since they were going to be staying at my house, it would be easier for two fellows to stay than a fellow and a girl. /o on blind faith I accepted Gene *otton, another of the great loves of my life. Fred told me Gene was entertaining the troops in Jietnam, but would be bac& in time for the show.

5=

Frantic preparations went on as we readied for the big show because I sure didn$t &now what I was doing ,, I had never been involved in anything li&e this. #he days grew closer and then one day the phone rang and it was Gene *otton. )e was in .tlanta changing planes and he would arrive in 0iami two hours later. I called my pastor and as&ed him to go with me because suddenly I panic&ed. I thought What if I don$t li&e himD.. .*an I be sure he$s a *hristianD What if he$s a lousy singer and what &ind of a guitar player is heD We drove to the airport, the flight arrived, and we waited while it unloaded. #his was really “guitar players” day. .bout the first passenger off the plane was carrying a guitar Bor a machine gun caseC and my heart san&" )ere was a bearded beatni& of the first degree. I was afraid to loo& at him, so I died a thousand deaths before he rushed into the arms of a waiting female beatni&. I breathed a little easier. .nd then I saw another guitar case. #his time I really flipped" What was carrying the guitar case would have scared anyone" I really prayed" .nd the second guitar went by. I decided I wasn$t going to loo& any more because I couldn$t stand the strain. I would wait until someone as&ed me who I was. #hen the last guitar player came off the plane. .nd the 6ord had introduced me to a brother in *hrist who was to greatly influence my life, because we shared the same compelling drive in our miles apart, years,apart, altogether different types of lives. 7ut because of our mutual desire to show young people “)is way of life,” Gene *otton and I 'oined hands in .lphaG1mega.

5;

Fol0 Sin+in+
From the very first meeting with Gene *otton until the frantic “good,bye” after the .lphaG1mega <ally, the 6ord continued to cross my path with this particular brother in *hrist. 6ittle did we reali:e at that time how the hand of God was wor&ing in bringing the abilities of two *hristians together to further )is &ingdom. When Gene accepted *hrist, he rewrote the words of a familiar fol& song entitled " CanAt Help <ut Bonder Bhere Am <ound$” changing it to “I No 6onger Wonder Where I$m 7ound.” I have his permission to share his song in this boo& because it truly tells the story of all *hristians.
And I can’t help but wonder where I’m bound, where I’m bound, No, I can‘t help but wonder where I’m bound. Well, once I led a life that was toil, sin, and strife, Never thought that I would see the day That I could loo down without having to turn around, !ut it’s here, my "ord, and I now it’s going to stay. And no longer wonder where I’m bound, where I’m bound, No, I no longer wonder where I’m bound. ‘Twas a life of sin and woe, and I hated to let it go, !ut I heard a voice come calling from above, #If you‘Ii but follow me, I’ll give you life eternally,$ %o I gave myself for everlasting love. And no longer wonder where I’m bound, where I’m bound, No, I no longer wonder where I’m bound. Now I’ve started on my way, and I live by &im each day, And I now in &im I always will abide. And when I meet that 'hosen (ne, &e ‘ii say my )ob has been well done* #Won ‘t you come with me and sit down by my side+$

5F

And no longer wonder where I’m bound, where I’m bound, No, I no longer wonder where I’m bound.

For me, life began at the cross of *alvary and the old road ended there, too. 1ne of the most unusual answers to prayers came as a result of my friendship with Gene and I always refer to this incident as “#he Night the 6ord @sed a *herry -ie.” +uring Gene$s initial visit to 0iami, I made a real gooey whipped,cream cherry pie. Gene immediately generated a very special “love” for this particular pie and on his subseHuent visits to 0iami I made one each night. +uring a phone call on my birthday he as&ed me if I thought I could ma&e a pie and send it to him in *olumbus, his hometown. I said “/ure.” )e said, “?ou$re &idding. )ow could you get it to *olumbusD” 0y only comment was, “I$ll ma&e the pieI you as& the 6ord to get it to you.” We ended our conversation with my telling him the pie would be in *olumbus two days later. I flew to the store BI hope you will note I never wal&, I always “fly”C the ne%t day and bought the ingredients and two metal pie tins to ship the pie in, and then I prayed. I said, “6ord, to strengthen the bonds of *hristian love between my brother in *hrist and me, will ?ou please see that this pie gets to *olumbus tomorrowD” BI hope you will note that I did not as& the 6ord to get it there because I made the best cherry pie in the world, or because Gene li&ed the cherry pie, but only to stren+then the bonds of Christian lo#e*) .nd God answered that prayer. I pic&ed up the telephone and called an acHuaintance of mine who is a pilot and said, “7ob, I$ve got to get a whipped,cream cherry pie to *olumbus tomorrow. +o you &now anyone who flies the *olumbus runD” =9

Now everyone calls up utter strangers, don$t they, and as&s them to fly a pie someplace or another for themD I as&ed as nonchalantly as if I were as&ing him to tell me what time it was, and he replied the same way , 'ust as if it were a very ordinary everyday e%perience to fly whipped, cream pies , and said he didn$t &now anyone who flew the *olumbus run. 7@# )! ).+N$# <!*L1N!+ #).# G1+ W./ W1<LING IN #)I/ /I#@.#I1N" )e called me bac& within a few minutes and said, “Frances, you$ll never believe it, but the regular pilot on the *olumbus run is sic&, and my best friend has the run. #a&e the pie down there at four,thirty in the afternoon to his house and he$ll be glad to ta&e it for you.” I 'ust said “#han& ?ou, 6ord,” too& the pie down to the pilot$s house, called Gene and told him to meet -ie Flight No. 498 arriving in *olumbus at 4('7 and as& for the pie being carried special delivery. Gene later told me they really were loo&ing for him at the *olumbus airport when he pic&ed up the pie because apparently some people 'ust don$t understand that it$s possible for the 6ord to charter a =3= 'et to fly a pie someplace for the sole purpose of strengthening bonds of *hristian love. I$d li&e to give a special than&s to !astern .irlines for un&nowingly cooperating with the 6ord.

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Chapter 4 The ,eal !ornin+ ;f Christmas
*hristmas, >F55, became very special in my life, because it completed my first full year of being a *hristian. !ach year I had sent out a “*hristmas” letter to all my friends, telling them of the events of the year how many &ittens the cat had, how we fared during the hurricane, and so forth. 7ut *hristmas too& on a new dimension. I completely rebelled at the thought of sending out the usual “newsy” letter and so instead of the funny, frivolous *hristmas letter I usually sent, the 6ord laid upon my heart a letter telling what had happened in my own personal life. .nd the interesting thing is, when the 6ord lays a burden upon you there is no getting away from it Band neither is there any desire to get away from itC, and so a real *hristmas letter was written and sent to all my *hristian and non,*hristian friends. !ven my *hristian friends suggested that I should not send it because it was so definite in its meaning. #hey said, “-eople will thin& you$re nuts.” I said, “Great"” #he following *hristmas letter was the result.

1466 This Bas The 5ear ;f ;ur =ord
!ach year we always have so much to tell, but this year we have a different message to bring. #he usual things happened... and the unusual happened. =3

I guess it really started last year when I had my eye operation. 6oo&ing bac& now, I reali:e this was probably the biggest blessing that ever happened to me, because it caused me to open my spiritual eyes and loo& things over. 0uch to my ama:ement, even though I had been brought up in church, I discovered that I really did not personally &now (esus *hrist. .nd then I met )im. . .and nothing changed. . .e%cept my whole life. 0y 7ible which had been covered with dust for years, became the most interesting boo& in the entire world.. .and a thirst was created for &nowledge which I hope is never satisfied. #here$s averse in (ohn which says “I am come that they might have life, and might have it more abundantly.” )ow true" I always thought my life had been very e%citing, but never have I e%perienced such a fabulous life, and as new doors open, I loo& forward to each day with anticipation, .nd to tell you about the e%citement day by day would ta&e pages, so I$ll sum. it up and say, “#his was truly #)! ?!.< 1F 1@< 61<+.” #o many of you who have read my *hristmas letters for years, this one may seem strange. I hope you understand because my wish for you is the -!.*!, (1?, and ).--IN!// which fills your life when you &now )im personally. Frances

=4

0y family continues to be fine. #om bought a new house this month. (oan continues to be the delight she has always been. Never have I ever sent anything which had the impact of this simple message. 0any people called to tell me it had made them stop and loo& at their own “*hristianity” or “*hurchianity” as some of them called it. /ome wanted to &now how they, too, could &now (esus *hrist in a personal way. ....nd my life was changed forever.

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Chapter 1' GodAs @lan For !y =ife
.s I write this final *hapter of the now saved “unsaved” *hristian, I remember the words in -salm 85 >9 "<e still$ and 0now that am God*% 0y life has been so enriched and so full since I finally became totally bound to )im that I have often felt I would actually burst right out of my physical self. #here came a plus into my life the day that (esus first reigned supreme, and that “plus” has been there ever since. For one brief fleeting moment I wondered if it was worth losing my friends for, but the moment was so fleeting I hardly remember any more that it ever e%isted. .nd the plus sign in my life is the cross of (esus *hrist. I publicly announced on my fiftieth birthday that I had hardly been able to wait for the fabulous fifties. 7ecause my fiftieth year was really my first complete “year of our 6ord” it was the most fabulous year of my life. I recently saw my fifty,first birthday and .lphaG1mega surprised me with an unbelievable birthday party. I e%pect my fifty,first year to be even more fabulous than my fiftieth. . ..nd 'ust wait until I hit the spiritual si%ties" *hristianity is a state of being A a way of life" .nd if I have painted the abundant life in glowing terms, I meant to, because there$s nothing that compares with it. .s I mentioned previously, the biggest sin in the world today is the sin of doubt or unbelief. .nd this is the sin which &eeps many from living the abundant life. +on$t mess around with (esus if you don$t mean it, because )e doesn$t want 'ust a part of you. #he 6ord of my =2

life is really selfish A )e isn$t satisfied with 'ust part of me A )e wants all of me, 'ust li&e )e wants all of you. .nd it$s a funny thing A once you have tasted Jesus Christ, nothing else satisfies. I$ll guarantee you, if you really step out on faith the first time, try as you may, you will never be able to go bac&, because (esus won$t “mess around with you.” When he ta&es you completely and positively because you yield yourself to )im, )e brands you with a brand that bums to the very core of your being. #he abundant life gives me a life that allows me to rise above every crisis that may come along in the “worldly world” because " am in the world$ but not of the world*% 1nly those who actually e%perience this can ever understand. *hristianity and the abundant life are not a series of mountains and valleys to me A rather they form a plateau which allows me to stay at an even level all the time. .nd I feel that the more complete and total a person$s dedication, the higher the level of his plateau. If you want to be miserable, give (esus a little slice of your life. /ometimes I feel people are much better off who don$t even bother going to church if that$s the e%tent of their *hristianity. I remember years ago saying, “I don$t want to go to heaven because I want to be where all my friends are.” #he ama:ing thing today is I$m sure there are going to be far less people in heaven than any of us imagine because the 7ible says, "!any are called$ but few are chosen*% !very person in this wonderful land we live in has the opportunity to hear the words of (esus. /o many are called, but how many of them actually fail to heed the call of (esus, and therefore cannot be chosen. I do not &now yet what God wants out of my life. I only &now that each day I let )im &now that I am available for =5

whatever purpose )e has for me. .nd it$s a peculiar thing, it doesn$t really ma&e any difference what )e shows me now that I am waiting on )im, because since I as&ed (esus to live )is life through me, what I do is inconseHuential, but I$m really eager to see what )e$s going to do" .nd to find out, I$m going to &eep on saying every morning, “6ord, what fabulous things are we going to do todayD”

A New 1ndin+
When I wrote the “God Is Fabulous,” that statement ended the boo&. 7ut many people wonder what happens after that. +oes that tremendous and e%hilarating e%citement last foreverD #he answer is, “?es"” 1ne of the fabulous things that God did for me was to give me another man in my life. In >F5F, while I was reading 0atthew 5 44, "<ut see0 ye first the 0in+dom of God and His ri+hteousness$ and all these thin+s shall be added to you$% God spo&e to me. )e said, “7ecause you have sought 0e first, I want to give you a husband to love you and ta&e care of you all the days of your life.” 7ecause I put )is plans for my life first, God gave me my beloved husband, *harles )unter. .s I always say, “*harles is the most fabulous husband on earth , he spoils me stin&ing rotten and I love it"” We have lived and written nearly fifty boo&s, have ministered all of the Great *ommission B0ar& >5 >2,>;C to multiplied millions all over the world as we have personally preached in nearly fifty nations and probably in every nation through our boo&s, videos and audio tapes. #he ne%t two *hapters will help you understand why the 'oy of the *hristian life goes on and on...

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Chapter 11 A !ar0ed Boman
#he day I was saved became a special day in my life, because I became a mar&ed woman A a woman branded by God , a woman who had an indelible brand burned into me by the fire of God. I am a mar&ed woman because wherever I go that brand goes with me and whatever I do that mar& shows on me. I)m glad I)m a marked woman. When I was a very young girl, I saw a movie called The !ar0 of Forro. I remember the hero of this story was a very swashbuc&ling sort of individual and he always won every fencing battle in which he had participated. #o my &nowledge he never lost a battle. When he ended up and had &illed his foe or had disabled him or totally put him out of the way, he always ended with a great flourish and made a “N” on the chest of the man he was fighting or on a nearby door or wall. When they found someone with sword wounds they always &new who it was because Norro left his mar& upon them. In the natural the man who played the role of Norro was a very talented man. )e was a man who had great ability for fencing and he had a lot of agility with his feet because he could move out of the way Huic&ly when somebody else went to plunge a sword into him. )e was a mar&ed man because of his great ability but he also left his mar&. .ny person who is a mar&ed individual is going to be the same way. ?ou$re cut out by God and you are going to leave a mar& on every person with whom you come in contact. I$m a mar&ed woman. =;

I have no choice. God put )is indelible seal upon me years ago. I love to loo& in the dictionary especially when I$m going to write a new boo& or start ma&ing a new tal& or delving into new sub'ects. I love it simply because it opens up my mind into many different areas than I have been thin&ing at that time. I loo&ed up the word “mar&” in the dictionary 'ust to see what it meant. It gives a lot of interesting little descriptions. It says, “#o put or ma&e a mar& or mar&s on.” When God puts a seal on you, it$s done with indelible in& and you cannot get it out. When you go into a grocery store and you buy meat, many times you will find something purple on the meat and you$ll thin&, “What is this purple stuff on the meatD” #hey mar& meat with grape 'uice and they put “*hoice grade .” or whatever choice it happens to be. Grape 'uice is not permanent. .nother definition was “to designate or identify by a mar& or mar&s for certain reasons.” )aven$t you ever &nown somebody who 'ust seemed li&e had everything and could do everythingD I$ve &nown people who had such an ability, anything that was mechanical they could fi%, anything that was electrical they could fi%. If you had to put together children$s toys, they &new how to put them together. #hen there are those of us who can$t do anything li&e that but praise God, " can do all thin+s throu+h Christ who stren+thens me*% 0any times your abilities will mar& you for success. 7ut God doesn$t care how many abilities you have or how little ability you have because when )e puts )is mar& on you, then you are bound to be a success"

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.nother definition is “#o show plainly, to manifest, to ma&e clear or perceptible such as a sentence li&e this )er smile mar&ed her for happiness.” )aven$t you seen people who were smiling every time you saw them and they loo&ed happyD #hen haven$t you seen people who had a very disagreeable loo& on their face, and every time you loo&ed at them the corners of their mouth were downD #heir unhappy loo& mar&ed them as being unhappy. . person who wal&s around smiling all the time is a person who is mar&ed for happiness because you can tell that there must be something good happening on the inside of them. *harles is a perfect e%ample of this" When he was a little boy his coach at school told him, “It ta&es thirteen times as much energy to frown as it does to smile.” *harles made up his mind right then that he was always going to smile so that he didn$t have to use thirteen times as much energy. )e$s gone through life that way. .s a matter of fact whenever you see *harles, he$s always smiling and I thin& that$s a wonderful characteristic to have because his smile mar&s him for happiness" .nother definition was, “to distinguish or to set off, to characteri:e as great scientific discoveries mar&ed the >Fth *entury.” In the >Fth and into the 39th *entury we have had some tremendous scientific discoveries. We went to the moon for the first time in the 39th *entury. 6oo& at the things that have been invented radio, television, automobiles, airplanes, computers, air conditioning, 0<I$s, O,ray machines, ball point pens, microwave, clothes dryers, nuclear weapons and a number of things we ta&e for granted in our daily life. #hese two centuries have been marked with great scientific inventions. ;9

.nother definition was, “to put a price tag on something such as merchandise.” When you go to a store, almost everything you buy has a price mar&ed on it. #oday when you go to a grocery store, all they have is a funny little bunch of lines which they run over a computer which reads it and it tells you the price. When you try on a dress or a sweater in the department store there is a price tag on it which tells you what it is and then it will also tell you the cost of it. God$s price tag was (esus and the cost was )is life, blood so you and I might have eternal life. .s I thought about the word “mar&ed” I thought about mar&ing. In other words when you identify something by a particular mar& on it, I thought about mar&ing cattle. *attle owners put their brand on them so that regardless of where the cattle strays out of where their fences are they can still say, “#hat$s mine because that has my brand on it.” I loo&ed up the word “brand.” 1ne of the most unusual definitions of this word says, “It was formerly a mar& made upon a criminal by burning him with a hot iron, hence it was a stigma or a mar& of disgrace.” ?ears ago if somebody committed a crime and it was not a crime where the punishment was death by hanging, but a misdemeanor or lesser activity, they would brand them on their hand so whenever they put their hand out, there was no way you could miss the fact that this person was a criminal. #hat &ind of a mar&ing was a real disgrace. 7ut. . .there is another &ind of a mar& and this is the &ind of a mar& that I love because I am a mar&ed woman and nothing can ever change the fact that I am a marked woman. .nother definition describes what you and I are as mar&ed individuals belonging to (esus. ;>

It says, “. mar& burned into anything by its owner as a means of identification as upon a cas& or cattle.” When *harles and I were in )olland we brought home a copper mil& can and on it was burned “>;2=” and the name of the dairy. In other words that mar& identified that can as belonging to a particular dairy. It also identified the fact that the dairy was put into service or came into being in >;2=. It wouldn$t ma&e any difference what you did to that antiHue mil& can, that "127D% and the name of the dairy would show up very, very plainly. When they too& mil& from the farms into the dairy there would be many, many mil& cans there and to be sure you got your own bac&, you always mar&ed your cans with your name and probably the year that your dairy started. It also means, “to impress indelibly as with a brand.” #here is a date that is branded in my memory. #he day that is of a special importance to me was February ;, >F55, because that was the day that I became a mar&ed woman. . woman who was branded by God with an indelible branding which will never come off. I can have my s&in peeled, I can scrub and scrub, but the brand of God that )e put upon me that glorious day will still be there" Normally when they brand you it$s done with fire. #hat$s the way they mar& cattle. #hey will heat a branding iron and where they put it on the animal, they burn that part of their hair off so that their s&in shows and you can always see that brand. It doesn$t ma&e any difference how long any of the other hair grows, it doesn$t ma&e any difference how old the animal gets, that brand is there because it$s an everlasting brand upon an animal. When God mar&s you, God ma&es it an indelible mar&ing" .ll *hristians are so mar&ed by God that we should be obvious to the whole world. It should be so ;3

simple to loo& at a *hristian and thin&, “Wow, that person is a *hristian.” We can never be secret service *hristians. We should be so mar&ed by God that the whole world can see e%actly what we are, unless we try to cover up the mar&ing. /aul was mar&ed by God. God is relentless" 1nce God starts after you, you might as well give up because God$s not going to let you go" When God carves you out of a whole herd of cattle or sheep or human beings, )e begins to tighten the circle around you Bthis is what a cowboy on a horse doesC. )e cuts out certain animals from the rest of the herd so they can be mar&ed, and that$s e%actly what God does to us. God began to mar& /aul. I$m sure that /aul was mar&ed many years before he became aware of the fact that he was a mar&ed man. I have always called the )oly /pirit of God the relentless hound of heaven. When that hound of heaven gets after you )e is not ever going to let go. #hat$s what God was to the man who was called /aul and who later became -aul. In the =th *hapter of .cts /aul told them to go ahead and stone /tephen because /aul was out there &illing the *hristians and doing everything that he could because he did not li&e this “new doctrine” of (esus *hrist. )e was very vehement about it. If you have a loved one in your family who is very vehemently against (esus *hrist say, “-raise the 6ord”, because that means God is having an influence on their life. #hey wouldn$t fight so badly if it didn$t mean anything to them. I always loo& upon these people who are so reluctant to come to the 6ord (esus as individuals li&e /aul" When God begins to cut you out from the rest of the herd regardless of how far and how fast you have run from God ;4

you had better watch out because you are about to get it" ?ou might as well 'ust give in and say, “)ere am I 6ord.” /aul had 'ust finished saying to go ahead and stone /tephen. -raise the 6ord /tephen loo&ed up and said, “Father, forgive him and don$t blame them for this.” .nd he died. #he ne%t verse says that /aul was not only consenting to /tephen$s death, he was pleased and actually approving. *an you imagine him standing there and saying, “)it him againD )it him again. I want to see him dead. I don$t want to see him alive.” #he devil was &ic&ing up his heels because the devil &new that God was going to get /aul and use him powerfully. .cts *hapter ; says, "At that time a +reat persecution arose a+ainst the church which was at Jerusalem/ and they were all scattered throu+hout the re+ions of Judea and Samaria$ eCcept the apostles* And de#out men carried Stephen to his burial$ and made +reat lamentations o#er him*% /tephen was a man who was mightily filled with the )oly /pirit of God. ?et /aul was e%cited about seeing him &illed. It said, "As for Saul$ he made ha#oc of the church$ enterin+ e#ery house$ and dra++in+ off men and women$ committin+ them to prison*% *an you imagine being so angry and so aggravated that you would go into a house and pull out men, women and children and bring them out to be &illed or put into prison because you hated the gospel of (esus *hristD I want you thin& about that person of yours who hasn$t received that branding from God, who hasn$t gotten that special God mar&. #hey really haven$t done anything that

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bad have theyD )ave they &illed men and women and children 'ust because they hated the gospel so muchD God has )is eye on people li&e that. I$m sure )e loo&ed down at /aul and )e thought, “6oo& /aul, why don$t you 'ust give upD” 1nce God begins to cut you out of that herd you might as well give up because you don$t really have a chance. B.nd you shouldn$t want one.C 6et$s get over into the Fth *hapter. "Then Saul$ still breathin+ threats and murder a+ainst the disciples of the =ord$ went to the hi+h priest and as0ed letters from him to the syna+o+ues of 9amascus$ so that if he found any who were of the Bay$ whether men or women$ he mi+ht brin+ them bound to Jerusalem*% What an ambition" *an you imagine somebody li&e thatD *an you imagine somebody in your family saying, “I$m going to get a letter out so I can arrest all those *hristiansD I$m going to bring them with chains and with fetters and throw them in the 'ail.” 6oo& what happened" 7eloved, when God puts )is mar& on you and when )e begins to draw that circle closer and closer and closer, you had better watch out. God is about to do something special. It says, "And as he Lourneyed he came near 9amascus$ and suddenly a li+ht shone around him from hea#en* Then he fell to the +round$ and heard a #oice sayin+ to him$ 8Saul$ Saul$ why are you persecutin+ !e:A And he said$ 8Bho are 5ou$ =ord:% #hat was the /pirit of God convicting him. I believe that /aul suddenly &new that he was a mar&ed man. I believe he &new beyond a shadow of a doubt that he was a mar&ed man because when the )oly /pirit begins to draw that noose tightly around your nec& to ma&e you a mar&ed individual you$ll &now it" ;2

)e said, “Who are ?ou, 6ordD” /omehow or another he &new that it was (esus *hrist. "And the =ord said$ 8 am Jesus$ whom you are persecutin+* t is hard for you to 0ic0 a+ainst the +oads* ?ears ago when sheep were moved from one place to another, the shepherd carried a “goad.” It was a stic& with a ball on the end which had little porcupine spi&es all over it. !very time the sheep would start to get out of line, the shepherd would hit them with this pric&ly little goad. #his really hurt, so the sheep would &ic& up its heels and get right bac& in line" (esus said to /aul, Why don$t you Huit &ic&ing at the goad because it$s never going to do you any good. It says, "So he$ tremblin+ and astonished$ said$ 8=ord$ what do 5ou want me to do:A And the =ord said to him$ and +o into the city$ and you will be told what you must do* K And the men who Lourneyed with him stood speechless$ hearin+ a #oice but seein+ no one* Then Saul arose from the +round$ and when his eyes were opened he saw no one* <ut they led him by the hand and brou+ht him into 9amascus* And he was three days without si+ht$ and neither ate nor dran0*% )e was really a mar&ed man because it$s interesting to note that the very first thing he did was to fast for three days and three nights" )e was a mar&ed man because God had chosen him. #here was another mar&ed man who came on the scene. #his might apply to you because it has applied to me many times. It says, "Now there was a certain disciple at 9amascus named Ananias/ and to him the =ord said in a #ision$ 8Ananias* 8And he said$ 8Here am$ =ord*A So the =ord said to him$ 8Arise and +o to the street called Strai+ht$ and ;5

inMuire at the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus$ for behold$ he is prayin+* And in a #ision he has seen a man named Ananias comin+ in and puttin+ his hand on him$ so that he mi+ht recei#e his si+ht* )ow would you feel if you were .naniasD <emember, .nanias &new who /aul was. )e &new that /aul had a habit of going around &illing *hristians and I$m sure that .nanias didn$t want to get &illed any more than you and I want to get &illed. )ere$s God saying, “.nanias, go.” .nanais was a mar&ed man. )e had absolutely no choice because God spo&e to him and said, “Go down to that street named /traight.” #hen it continues, "Then Ananias answered$ 8=ord$ ha#e heard from many about this man$ how much harm he has done to 5our saints in Jerusalem* And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on 5our name* In other words, .nanais was saying, “God, he has a letter in his poc&et and that letter tells him that he can &ill me. I don$t want him to &ill me.” "<ut the =ord said to him$ 8Go$ for he is a chosen #essel of !ine to bear !y name before Gentiles$ 0in+s$ and the children of srael* For will show him how many thin+s he must suffer for !y nameAs sa0e* $ And Ananias went his way and entered the house/ and layin+ his hands on him he said$ 8<rother Saul$ the =ord Jesus$ who appeared to you on the road as you came$ has sent me that you may recei#e your si+ht and be filled with the Holy Spirit* #wo mar&ed men , /aul, a wild, wic&ed sinner, one who was out &illing the *hristians, and .nanias, a good *hristian man, mar&ed by God to minister to /aul. 7ut God brought down that branding iron and when )e put it on

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/aul, )e changed his name to -aul. God said to each of them, %You are a chosen instrument.” . mar&ed woman is a chosen instrument. . mar&ed man is a chosen instrument. I often thin& about -aul. )e said, “I was the worst of all sinners.” I have often said of myself, I was the worst of all the sinners because I thin& bac& on what I was before I met (esus as my /avior and 6ord and how I praise )im for )is goodness. . very interesting thing happened to me on February ;, >F55. ?ou may never remember that date but it is important to me because that$s the date God too& a branding iron and said, “Frances, you are a mar&ed woman. I have put a mar& on you that you$ll never be able to get away from. I have mar&ed you for my service. I have called you to wal& with 0e all the days of your life. Frances, don$t run. Frances, don$t &ic& against the goads, because you are mar&ed and wherever you go that mar& will be upon you.” I$m so glad that I didn$t &ic& at the pric&s or &ic& at the goad. I$m so glad that I surrendered" It too& a long time for me to settle on the e%act date, but I finally did. I$ve been a fanatic since the day I got saved and I personally believe that$s the way everybody should be. I believe with my heart and soul that when we are fanatical we become a normal *hristian. I went out of the church that /unday and stopped at every store that was open and I tried to beat (esus into every person I met. /omething glorious had happened to me and I wanted every$ody to have the same thing that I had! +o you &now whyD 7ecause I$m a mar&ed woman. I$m a mar&ed woman because when God put )is mar& on ;;

me )e said, “I$ll never let you &eep your mouth shut about 0e. I$ll never let you tal& about the things of the world. From now on you will tal& only of 0e.” )e put a big mar& on me. )e branded me with the fire of the )oly /pirit because I believe the day I was born again I was born in the fire of God" I was never $orn in dead ashes. When I got up from the altar I was on fire for God and that fire has never gone out" #hat fire burns more brightly all the time. .fter I wrote this first boo&, God is Fabulous, I remember the first news release which was ever written about me. It$s a funny feeling when you$re a new author and you$ve never written anything before. When they told me they wrote a news release about me, I thought, “I wonder what they$re going to say. .re they going to say I was born in a log cabinD .re they going to say I only weighed two pounds when I was bornD” 0any thoughts entered my mind. #he news release started out, “Frances Gardner Bthat was my name thenC has had a phoeni% e%perience.” #hen it went on to tell what a phoeni% e%perience is. I want to relate this to you because I believe that many of you were mar&ed by God with a phoeni% e%perience and you$ve never Huite let that phoeni% e%perience do what it was supposed to do. .ccording to mythology, and I don)t $elieve in mythology, a phoeni% was a huge, huge bird and very, very beautiful. #here was never more than one of its &ind at a time. God never made any of us the same. )e made each and every one of us different. #hat$s why each and every *hristian is totally uniHue and different in God$s sight. With all the billions of faces God has created on this earth, there are no two which are totally identical. #here are ;F

identical twins and yet there is always a little tiny something that will ma&e you be able to tell them apart. od is the originator of creativity. #his is why God ma&es each one of us different. )e ma&es each one of us uniHue and very special to )im as well. #he phoeni% lived a certain span of time on the earth. #hen they all did e%actly the same thing. When it was time to die, they would fly until they found the very highest mountain they could find and there they would build a nest. #he great phoeni%, &nowing that it had to die, began to flap its wings first slowly and then with a little more energy and a little faster and a little faster. 7ecause the nest was so close to the sun it created such heat that the fanning of it caused the nest to burst into flames and eventually the great bird was totally destroyed in the fire. #he bird was dead and there was nothing left but ashes of the nest and ashes of the bird. #here was nothing of the actual bird left because the fire would consume the feathers and everything that was a part of the bird. 7ut always, always in the ashes there was a little worm. . little worm that never died. #his little worm grew up to be the ne%t phoeni%. #hat$s the way you and I have to be. ?ou and I have to die to self so that (esus *hrist can rise up in us so we will become the creatures in *hrist that God wants us to be. It was interesting that the news release said that Frances was never born in dead ashes. /he was born in the fire of God. I remember the verse of /cripture that says, "For Jeal for day house will consume me% B-salm 5F FC. I really felt that God was a consuming fire which had consumed everything that was in me and everything that was even not in me, and I became a brand new creature in *hrist.

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I remember over the years as I have thought bac& that there were little times in my life when I felt real “religious.” I remember when I was married. I bad to be married in a church even though I certainly wasn$t a regular attender. #he only way I can e%press how I felt at that particular time is I remember I felt a little twinge of religion" It really didn$t mean very much to me, but God was sending a rider to cut me out of the herd, until )e got me all by myself. I remember when my first husband died. .t his funeral I had a little twinge as I was listening to the words that were said over him. When the doctors told me that he was dying of cancer, there was enough “religion” inside of me that I thought, “I can$t let him die of cancer until he 'oins a church.” Joining a church will never make you a Christian but at that time I thought he had to 'oin a church. I was insistent because I wanted to ma&e sure that he was a church member before he died. )e did 'oin a church and was bapti:ed. When he died, I remember feeling that I had done a good thing. I remember this little twinge. #here was something in there and I didn$t even recogni:e what it was at that time, because sometimes when we are running from God we don$t understand these little nudges of the )oly /pirit. I remember thin&ing, “I wonder what it would be li&e to be a missionaryD” /omething within my heart was stirring and I didn$t &now what it was. #hen I loo&ed at my son who was five years old at that time and I thought, “I could never be a missionary because I would have to ta&e him with me and he$s too young to go to .frica.” .ll I could thin& about was to be a missionary you had to go to dar&est .frica wearing a long blac& dress and carrying a seventy,eight pound 7ible and be miserable F>

because all you would do is sit in the middle of the 'ungle withering and rotting away" I began to loo& at the things of life that I had li&ed. I had had five years of tremendous sic&ness with my husband. I remember it too& all the money that I could ma&e and all the money that we had to try to &eep him alive. /uddenly I thought, “I want to ma&e money and have all the clothes and all the things that money can buy.” I sHuashed all of the tugs at my heartstrings and put them to one side. I was a mar&ed woman. God didn$t let me go with that. )e let me move to Florida and I remember thin&ing, “I thin& I$ll 'oin a church because that would be a good place to ma&e friends.” I 'oined a church and got involved in some religious activities there. !very once in a while there would be a nudge in my heart that I didn$t Huite understand. I wish I had reali:ed that God had mar&ed me, that God had carved me out, that I was branded and I 'ust didn$t have enough sense to &now it. When you$re mar&ed by God, you cannot get away from )im. I don$t care how far you run, how high you go, how low you go, you can never get away from God. I love what +avid said, " f +o to the hi+hest hei+hts or if +o to the lowest depths canAt +et away from 5ou*% I thin& it$s wonderful when God puts )is mar& on us. *hen od puts "is seal upon us there is nothing we can do e+cept $ecome a lover of od. #hat$s e%actly what I am. I was called for healing when I was first saved. I was called not only to be in a healing ministry but I was called to be healed. #he day I got saved, I didn$t believe that God still healed today. I had heard about these wild people who had camp meetings and they pretended that people got F3

healed but I never really thought that anybody actually got healed. I had .ddison$s disease which is terminal. 0y thyroid was not wor&ing at all and my body would not assimilate artificial thyroid and so they were giving me nineteen grains of thyroid a day 'ust to &eep me alive and even then I would sit in a chair, fall asleep and fall off of it and sometimes sleep for two or three days at a time. #he day I got saved, when God put )is mar& on me, I came out of that service totally healed of .ddison$s disease. Nobody prayed for me. Nobody tal&ed about healing. I wouldn$t have believed them anyway if they tal&ed about healing and said that God still heals today. I did not &now that in the salvation pac&age is deliverance and healing. I was so wound up and I was in such a state of euphoria the day afterward that I totally forgot about ta&ing the thyroid and I never thought about it for probably si% months and suddenly I thought, “I$m dying with .ddison$s disease. I haven$t ta&en my thyroid.” #hen I reali:ed what had happened to me" od had totally healed me! I went bac& to the doctor and my thyroid was absolutely normal and there was not a single solitary sign of the .ddison$s disease left. God mar&ed me for healing. .s soon as I got saved and began to read the word of God then I discovered that God wanted to heal. od)s will is to heal. I discovered that (esus *hrist is the same yesterday, today and forever. If )e healed yesterday then )e is going to heal again today. If )e healed again today, then )e$s going to heal tomorrow and right straight down the line. I began to lay hands on people. #his was before I had the baptism with the )oly /pirit. I have to be real honest with you, my trac& record wasn$t very good because the F4

first one I ever laid hands on died and I was so disappointed, but I had been mar&ed by God and there was no turning bac&. I was a mar&ed woman and I &new I had to &eep on. It didn$t ma&e any difference to me if they all died. I would have gone out and found some more people and laid hands on them too. When you$re mar&ed by God it is impossible for you to do other than what God wants you to do. I remember when people came to an altar I would counsel them for their marriage or for spiritual help or financial help or even when they were sic& I prayed for them and I believed they were going to get healed. #he fact that they didn$t get healed didn$t phase me one single solitary bit because all I &new was that I was mar&ed and that I had no choice e%cept to do what God called me to do. 1ne day I went to 7radenton, Florida. I was laying hands on the sic& in a non,-entecostal church and nobody was getting healed. /uddenly a man appeared out of nowhere. #o this day I can remember what he loo&ed li&e and I remember the circumstances perfectly because God branded all of these in my heart. #his man wal&ed up to me and without any adieu whatsoever or any introduction he said, “God has given you the gift of healing, why don$t you use itD” I thought, “What does he meanD” I didn$t really understand what “the gift of healing” was but I remembered that I watched the man as I saw him go and suddenly when he got to he door, “poof he 'ust disappeared" Could it have $een an angel, I really thin& it was. I believe that God sent an angel into my life at that time even though I didn$t believe that angels were for today. I believe with my heart and soul that God mar&ed me to have a supernatural e%perience by having someone

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say to me that “God has called you into the healing ministry and )e has given you a gift of healing.” #hat$s probably why I never gave up even though I prayed for ten thousand people and maybe ten of them got healed and that was all. I never gave up because God had put )is mar& on me and God said, “I$ve mar&ed you. ?ou$re a mar&ed woman. I have mar&ed you to be in the healing ministry.” I continued to lay hands on the sic& and then I came to #e%as. When I got saved I said, “I$m so in love with God that I$m going to have a mad, wild love affair with God for the rest of my life.” I wasn$t the least bit interested in men A God was enough" I had two children. I had been married and I was widowed and I certainly wasn$t interested in getting married again because there was 'ust so much I wanted to do for the &ingdom of God. I &new that all a husband would do would be to get in the way. #here was no time for marriage, or so I thought. #he men in my church began to pray for me because I was so wild where God was concerned. #hey said to the pastor, “/he needs a husband. /he needs a husband to travel with her.” .t this time I was traveling all over the @nited /tates and I would ta&e (oan with me whenever I could get her out of school and she could go with me. If it was vacation time I would ta&e her. 7ut for some reason or another the church began to pray that God would send me a husband. I began to pray against the church. I remember saying to one man, “I$ll out pray you.” When *harles gave me an engagement ring, this man came up to me and said, “I guess I out prayed you didn$t ID“ )e really didn$t out pray me because God had mar&ed

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me out for marriage" (ust li&e God has a special mar& on you if you will 'ust wait for the right one. God mar&ed me out because )e had selected a mar&ed man in )ouston, #e%as. *harles had gone to church all of his life but 'ust a couple of years before I met him, he was carved out of the herd because God saw in him a tremendous response and God reached down, put a big seal upon him and )e burned the brand of (esus *hrist right into *harles )unter. God mar&ed *harles for marriage. )e mar&ed me for marriage. We hadn$t even met each other. I came to )ouston on a spea&ing trip where I met *harles. Never saw him again. Never had a date with him. Went bac& home and never even thought about *harles again, but when God mar&s you, you$re mar&ed" !ighty,eight days later *harles and I were married because God had mar&ed us and )e had called us to be married to each other. God didn$t call me to marry 'ust anybody. )e called me to marry another fanatic. When you put two fanatics together, you are going to have a wild e%perience. God mar&ed us for the baptism with the )oly /pirit. I was a mar&ed woman. I didn$t even &now it. I was 'ust li&e brother -aul. I was &ic&ing against the goads li&e nobody you ever saw in your entire life where the baptism with the )oly /pirit was concerned. I wouldn$t have spo&en in tongues for anything because my church taught that it was evil and that it wasn$t for this day and time and that it was strictly of the devil" od is relentless. When God mar&s you, you might as well give in because *harles and I got caught with the baptism with the )oly /pirit. We were 'ust laughing the other night, remembering how we fought against the F5

baptism but that$s because we didn$t understand that the Great *ommission of the 7ible says that those who believe “will spea& with new tongues.” #he day I got saved I said, “God, I$m going to have to go out and win the whole world by myself because nobody else is tal&ing about (esus"” 1ver in the last *hapter of the boo& of 0ar&, (esus said a wonderful and e%citing thing. )e gave us the Great *ommission of the 7ible. God said, “I$ve called upon you, Frances, to be instant in season and out of season to preach the gospel, to heal the sic&, to cast out devils, to teach other people and e%pect them to do e%actly the same thing. "And He said to them$ 8Go into all the world and preach the +ospel to e#ery creature* He who belie#es and is baptiJed will be sa#ed/ but he who does not belie#e will be condemned* #hen (esus made one of the most tremendous promises. I remember when )e said, “I$ve mar&ed you and you$re a mar&ed woman" )e didn$t 'ust say that to me, )e$s saying that to you too. )e$s saying, You are mar&ed. )e said, “I$m mar&ing you with a sign. .nd these attesting signs will accompany those who believe.” (esus said, " n !y name they will cast out demons/ they will spea0 with new ton+ues/ B#he baptism with the )oly /pirit.C they will ta0e up serpents/ and if they drin0 anythin+ deadly$ it will by no means hurt them/% B#hat$s a sovereign protection of God that gives you power over the devil.C ?ou$re mar&ed and the devil &nows it" ?ou$re mar&ed because you have more power than the devil. .nd the last eleven words that the 6ord (esus said were tremendous. )e said, "They will lay hands on the sic0$ and they will reco#er*% F=

#he 6iving 7ible says, "They will lay hands on the sic0 and heal them*% "After the =ord had spo0en to them$ He was recei#ed up into hea#en$ and sat down at the ri+ht hand of God* And they went out and preached e#erywhere$ the =ord wor0in+ with them and confirmin+ the word throu+h the accompanyin+ si+ns* Amen*% ?ou are mar&ed. What are you mar&ed forD You are marked for everything that od asks of us in "is word. )e says, %-e ye holy as I am holy.” ?ou are mar&ed for holiness. When God cut me out of the herd of sinners, )e said, “Frances, I$ve mar&ed you to wal& in the beauty of 0y holiness. I$ve called you to wal& in holiness because without holiness no man, no woman, no boy, no girl will see God. )e mar&ed me to wal& in total commitment to )im. God mar&ed me to give my whole life. )e said, “Frances, I put a seal on you. I$ve got a brand on you. I$ve got a mar& on you that you can never get away from. Wherever you go around the world, the world is going to see you$re a mar&ed woman. Not a mar& that you$re going to be ashamed of. Not a mar& that you$re going to hang your head and say, KI$m a criminal. I shouldn$t have done this.$ 7ut a mar& that you belong to (esus because you are a mar&ed woman.” I want you to stop right now and ma&e a list of all the things you can thin& of for which )e has mar&ed you. I want you to evaluate yourself and as& yourself, “)ow plainly do my mar&s showD” If you can$t figure out the things for which God has mar&ed you, thin& of the things that I said caused me to be a mar&ed woman. .m I a woman totally different from anybody elseD No, because we are all called to be special

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people" *e are all called to $e chosen instruments in the kingdom of od!

Bhat Has God !ar0et !e To 9o%
)as )e mar&ed me to be a soul winnerD )as )e mar&ed me to be a preacherD )as )e mar&ed me to be in the ministry of helpsD )as )e mar&ed me to heal the sic&D )as )e mar&ed me to cast out devilsD )as )e mar&ed me to have the compassion of (esusD )as )e mar&ed me for holy livingD )as )e mar&ed me to love the unlovelyD What has )e mar&ed you to doD I remember when I was a little girl, we would buy a little picture boo& which had little blac& and white pictures on it. It also had tiny little dots on it, but to ma&e the dots come to life you had to put water on them. Wet them and suddenly the color came out" 0aybe the mar&ing for some of the things that you$ve been mar&ed for is real faint because you have never put enough of the living water on it. I want to pray right now for you because God has put a mar& upon you. You are marked $y od. You have been cut out of the herd and you have been selected to be a chosen instrument of God. “Father, in the name of (esus I than& you that I$m a mar&ed woman. I than& ?ou, Father, that there is such an indelible mar& upon me that there is nothing that I can do to ever get away. Father, regardless of where I go I can never get lost from ?ou because ?ou can always find me wherever I am. I than& ?ou for that. I than& ?ou that I can FF

never be hidden from ?our sight. I than& ?ou that I never can be ta&en out from under ?our protection because I &eep my eyes on ?ou. Father, I than& ?ou as we evaluate ourselves in this closing prayer that ?ou$re going to reveal to each and every one of us where we need to put a little more living water. “+o we need to put a little more living water on our hands so that we will lay hands upon the sic&D” “+o we need to put a little living water on our tongues so we will win more people to (esusD” “+o we need a little more living water on the love that we have in our lives so that the love within us will be seen by every person we meetD I than& ?ou and I praise ?ou, I love ?ou and I worship ?ou, Father, that ?ou made me a mar&ed woman" #han& ?ou, Father, that *harles is mar&ed. #han& ?ou for the mar&ing that ?ou placed upon every person who reads this boo&. I give ?ou the praise and I give ?ou the glory that we will show that we will carry that mar&, that brand which ?ou have placed upon us all the days of our lives and that we will do it 'oyfully, e%citedly and enthusiastically all the days of our lives. Father, we give ?ou the praise and the glory. Father, a very special than& ?ou from this mar&ed woman.”

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Chapter 1. Fi#e =ittle Bords
It has been well over thirty years since five little words changed my entire life... "Frances Gardner$ lo#e you?% .s I reread this electrifying story of how I met (esus in such a beautiful way, it reminded me of a very interesting fact. !ven though I have been saved well over thirty years I have never bac&slidden one single moment in word, in thought, or deed. @nfortunately many people have a yo,yo, up and down, up and down *hristian wal&. 0ine has been a straight line which has constantly gone up and yet I discovered so many people do have those spiritually high moments and then horribly low. When they are high, they are high, but when they are low, they are really low. 0ost people thin& that is the normal *hristian life. -ersonally, I thin& mine is" -eople have as&ed me over the years why I have never had a problem in my life with God and with *hristianity. #hey as&, “)aven$t you ever had any problemsD” ?es, I$ve had lots of problems, but I have the answer and )is name is (esus. I have never changed my mind that )e is the answer regardless of the problem. )e is the answer to every problem in life. #here have been so many people who have told me that when they had these problems they were red hot and then got cold. I began to try to understand what my problem was. I cried out and said, % od, what)s the matter with me that I never have a pro$lem with You?” I as&ed myself, “Why don$t I ever Huestion GodD Why don$t I ever get mad at GodD” I have never been >9>

disappointed in God. I have never Huestioned God regardless of the circumstances, nor have I ever gotten mad at God, nor have I ever gotten impatient with )im. #here were times when I really wondered if it was 'ust me thin&ing that I had never had a problem but I discovered early in my *hristian life that there were only two things needed to be successful in *hristianity. .ne was to do what od told you to do and the second was not to do what "e tells you not to do. For many years I have felt it is because I made such a total and complete commitment to God the day I got saved. If you remember the *hapter about my conversion, I said to God that /unday morning Bthe first and only time I have been to an altarC, “God, I$ll ma&e a deal with ?ou. I$ll give ?ou all of me in e%change for all of ?ou.” #hat$s what God gave me and that$s what God too& from me. )e too& everything that I was, all the cigarettes, all the alcohol, all the swear words, all the dirty 'o&es, )e too& all that away from me. -ut "e gave me all of "imself. #hen you$ll remember I said to )im, “If ?ou want what$s left of this mess, ta&e her but ta&e /'' of me"” I wanted nothing left. !ven to this day I remember e%actly how I felt the day I became a *hristian. I gave everything I was to God. I held nothing bac&. 0ost of the time over the years when people have as&ed me why I$ve never bac&slidden, I have always felt that it was because of the total commitment that I made. I believe this has a lot to do with it because the only part of you that can bac&slide is the part you have not given to God. #hat will continue to bac&slide but what you have given to God will never, never, never bac&slide. .nd I really thought I was the problem until one day when we were riding in a car in *alifornia listening to a tape on the 7lood *ovenant. It was then that the /pirit of >93

God revealed to me the truth of why I$ve never had a problem. ?ou will recall when I was in the hospital I saw the finger of God write in the precious blood of (esus, “Frances Gardner, I love you.” Five little words that changed my life forever. You cannot see your name written in $lood and ever $e the same again! I want you to hold that fact very tightly in your memory. It plays a very important role in the ne%t part concerning the blood covenant.

The <lood Co#enant Bas A 9eal <etween God and !an
. covenant is a very interesting and uniHue contract because a covenant always means that two shall be one. Not that two shall be two. -ut the two shall be one. . covenant always concerns cutting, and a covenant always concerns the blood. 0any people do not understand the seriousness of the $lood that Jesus shed for us on the cross. #he >=th *hapter of Genesis says, "Bhen Abram was ninety3nine years old$ the =ord appeared to Abram and said to him$ am Almi+hty God/ wal0 before !e and be blameless* And will ma0e my co#enant between !e and you$ and will multiply you eCceedin+ly* " will establish !y co#enant between !e and you and your descendants after you in their +enerations for an e#erlastin+ co#enant$ to be God to you and to your descendants after you*% )e said, “I will ma&e a covenant with you.” .braham made a covenant with God. >94

/ covenant means you and I have a deal with each other. If you have ever been in a partnership with someone, you &now that is a deal which you ma&e with somebody else. ?ou agree to do this and in e%change, I agree to do this. .nd usually you sign a paper to show that you mean it. )owever, in olden times, (ewish people made a covenant a totally different way. 6et$s pretend that *harles and a young man are two good (ewish men several thousand years ago. #he purpose of ma&ing a covenant was because one has something you want and you have something that the other one wants. In the old days you could tell a lot a$out a person by what they wore. When you were ma&ing a deal with somebody you loo&ed over their coat very carefully because their coat told a lot about them. #heir coat would tell you how many children they had, their coat would tell you how much money they had, how much land they owned, how many head of cattle they owned. /o these two men loo&ed at each other. #he young man$s coat tells us that he is very poor. )e doesn$t own any cattle, or land, but does he ever have children" )e has a whole floc& of them" )e needs to feed those children but he doesn$t have enough money. )e loo&s at *harles$ coat and thin&s, “#here$s an old man who doesn$t have any children. 7ut is he ever rich"” )e loo&s at *harles$ coat and says, “Wow" I could use what this guy has"” Now *harles has a problem because he has an old wife, too. .nd these poor old things, they 'ust creep along and have a hard time wal&ing over all those roc&s. #hey need someone to protect them because there are a lot of thieves in their area. #his young man said, “I can bless him >98

because when he and his old wife get into trouble, I can send all my children to help him out.” That)s the purpose of a covenant1 to help each other. /o these two men loo&ed at each other and they decided they want to ma&e a covenant. !ach of them has something the other wants. 1ld *harles and his old wife need some help because the thieves are trying to steal from them. *harles decides they need to get together so the young man$s children can protect him and his wife. #hen they ma&e the first step in their covenant. #hey ta&e off their coats and e%change them. #he young man puts on *harles$ coat and *harles puts on the young man$s coat. What they$re saying is, %/ll that I am, I give to you. 0y money is yours, my land is yours, my cattle are yours, everything I have is yours”.. .and then the young man says, “.ll of my children will now protect you from thieves and robbers and anyone who tries to harm you.” #he ne%t thing they did was to ta&e off their swords and give them to each other. #he young man was saying, “#his is my strength and my ability to war. I pledge it all to you, *harles"” .nd *harles says, “.s old as I am, I pledge my ability to fight to you.” #he covenant was made so that the young man could protect *harles and his old wife. When *harles too& off his coat, he was saying, “0y money is at your disposal. !verything that you need, I will give to you"” In those days a covenant was an everlasting covenant. It was not a temporary thing, it was permanent and forever" Ne%t they too& a goat or a ram, split it right in half and laid it on the ground. #he figure “;” is the sign of infinity because there is no beginning and there is no end. #hey began to wal& through >92

the blood in the shape of a figure eight, meaning that this covenant is an everlasting covenant, it is sealed by the blood, and what they are saying at this particular moment is, “0ay this happen to me, may I $e split right down the middle if I ever brea& my covenant with you.” *harles and I made a covenant the night we were married that we would love each other the rest of our lives. .nd that everything we had we$d give to each other. It didn$t ma&e any difference if I got fat. It didn$t ma&e any difference if he got bald. It was an everlasting covenant that we never intend to $reak, because the penalty for brea&ing a covenant is to be split right down the middle. /o these men are saying to each other, “0ay this happen to me, and more also, if I ever brea& my covenant with you.” If *harles should brea& the covenant he made with the young man, my responsi$ility as his wife is to kill him $ecause the penalty for $reaking a covenant is death. 7y the same to&en, every child the young man has and his wife are obligated to &ill him if he should brea& the covenant. #his was not something you did casually. #o seal the covenant with each other, each of them cut their wrist until the blood flowed. When the blood flowed, they rubbed their wrists against each other so that *harles$ blood mi%ed with the young man$s and the young man$s blood mi%ed with *harles$. #hen they too& salt and rubbed it into the wounds because that action made a scar and there was a very definite reason for ma&ing a scar. #hat scar was your identification mar&. .nyone seeing you &nows you are protected because you have made a covenant. #hen they would e%change names. If the young man$s last name was !vans, he would become 0r. !vans,)unter and *harles would become *harles )unter,!vans. >95

#hen they would have a communion meal with each other and as they ate the bread they were saying, “.ll of my body, all of my life is yours.” .s they dran& the 'uice from the grape, they were saying, “#his is my life blood. It belongs to you.” /nd then their covenant was sealed. !ach of their wrists now bears a covenant scar for a very good purpose. /uddenly, along comes a very young, energetic robber and he loo&s at *harles$ coat and sees that *harles is a very rich man. )e thin&s, “I$m going to &ill him and get all his money,” and as he comes up to attac&, Charles puts his wrist up in the air and the robber instantly sees the scar" )e panics when he sees the scar because he reali:es that *harles doesn$t stand alone, *harles doesn$t stand with 'ust his wife, he has all of the young man$s family along with him his wife, his children, all their cousins, all their brothers, all their nephews and nieces. )e$s got them all with him. /o the enemy runs away 'ust as fast as he can. The $lood covenant works! In the 33nd *hapter of Genesis, after God had made the covenant with .braham, the 7ible says that God put him to the test. )e had given him a son in his old age, and then God said, “#a&e your son up to 0ount 0ariah, lay him on an altar, and put your &nife in him.” #his was his only son. )e loved him more than life itself. 7ut .braham loved God more than life. .nd because he trusted God he was willing to do what God said. )e too& his son Isaac up on 0ount 0ariah and gathered the wood. )e made the altar and told Isaac to lay down on it. .braham had enough faith to believe that God would either raise him from the dead or God would do something because of the covenant they had made with each other.

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.braham raises his &nife and 'ust as he is ready to plunge it in, an angel says, “+on$t do it. +on$t do it.” .nd he said, “+on$t lay your hand on him for now I &now that you fear God since you have not withheld your son and your only son from 0e.” .nd .braham loo&ed up and there was a substitute. #here was a ram, so he didn$t have to &ill his son, even if he was willing to sacrifice him. #wo thousand years ago, (esus died on a cross. God loved you and me enough that )e was willing to let )is only /on be crucified, and let )is precious blood drip down from *alvary for your salvation and mine. The -lood Covenant od made with us through Jesus is an everlasting covenant. If we really understand how sacred and precious it is, we$ll never want to bac&slide. We$ll never want to do the things of the world. +o you remember the part of the testimony I as&ed you to hold in your mind because I discovered why I$d never had a problem with GodD .nd why I hope God$s never had a problem with meD When )e wrote my name in blood in the /outh 0iami )ospital, what was thatD That was the way the -lood Covenant was presented to me" #he blood covenant is offered to each and every one of us. 0aybe not as dramatically as God offered it to me but it is offered to all of us in salvation. )e probably thought I had to see it the way I did or I$d never see it. 7ut it was my response to the 7lood *ovenant which has made the difference. I loo&ed up to God and said, “Give me bac& my prayer and I promise ?ou this when I get out of this hospital I$ll spend the rest of my life seeing what I can do for ?ou and >9;

not what ?ou can do for me.” 7eloved, that$s the only response. It$s not, “I$m going to try *hristianity and see if it wor&s.” It is your willingness to obey God in everything )e says. . willingness to say, “God split me down the middle if I ever brea& my covenant with ?ou. I give ?ou all of my life in e%change for all of ?ou.” 0ake that commitment today.

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