I hope this April finds your year going well--goodness, it's already 25% gone! If these newsletters don't bless you, you can "unsubscribe" at the bottom of this page.
Thank you so much for your support, for praying for me, and for your kind words about our monthly newsletter. As you receive this on Easter Weekend, I wish you the most meaningful Easter that you've had yet. As I meditate on all the Lord did for us, it only takes a split second for me to be overwhelmed with how much He loves us.
When I was in college, I foolishly denied the importance of Easter to myself and to the world. But as many of you have heard me say, "Thank God for second chances." God has forgiven me, and I pray that no one who read or heard my foolish words back then was temporarily fooled like I was. So in keeping with Easter themes such as giving, forgiveness and redemption, I'd like to tell you about 3 followers of Jesus who have impacted my life.
2 Friends who have taught me about Israel
Homer Owen has been a friend and mentor of mine for almost 20 years. He has run dozens of businesses, both here and in Israel. Homer's website is www.jacobsspring.com. On the site you can find out about several health-related products, including soap made in Israel from 100% olive oil, water bottled in Jericho (Israel), and weight loss products. Homer also sends frequent "e-pistles," and I urge you to subscribe to them.
Over 10 years ago, Homer introduced me to Robert Mawire. Robert is originally from Africa. He pastors a church in the Fort Worth area, and he has been invited to speak to a number of world leaders, including Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, and former U.S. President George W. Bush. One of Robert's ministries is to broadcast "Good News" on shortwave radio, which often reaches people who don't have TV. For more information on Robert and how you can support his work, visit Wikipedia or http://mavenholdings.com/RobertMawire.htm.
One of Homer's recent "e-pistles" is entitled "The Last of the Last Days," a phrase Robert used at our last Monday evening Bible study. Robert's insights have really impacted me, and I encourage all of you to open your eyes to what's really happening spiritually on Planet Earth: avoid "rabbit trails" and put "first things first" in your lives. Speaking from experience, I know that it's so easy to let world events and political arguments sidetrack me from the Kingdom of God. As we work at keeping God first place in our lives, we then begin to see the spiritual foundation of EVERYTHING that's happening now on earth.
I'm not saying that we shouldn't be involved in politics, but I am saying that if we think that our problems can be solved politically with no spiritual components, we're deceiving ourselves. As a recent example, many of us have focused very intently on U.S. health care. If we leave God out of the picture, we'll never have a system that has the proper balance of mercy, fairness, justice and responsibility. At the same time, the arguments about health care have caused many to miss the spiritual implications of our relationship with Israel and what is happening both in Jerusalem and in the Middle East. I urge you to put on your "spiritual glasses" and filter current events in light of what God says is truly happening.
Someone who's known me since I was born
A few days ago, my Aunt Marie Sappington went to Heaven. She was 86. She stayed mentally sharp up until her last month or two on earth. She was a school teacher, and she and I loved to visit about sports. She especially loved any game in which the University of Oklahoma "Sooners" played.
Marie was an extravagant giver to my sister and me, and to my children. But the thing that I appreciate most is that she knew that no good deed or gift she gave would "earn" her a place in heaven. She realized that only by accepting the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus could she have eternal life. Aunt Marie could be very outspoken, and she rarely minced words, but she was always quick to acknowledge her dependence on God.
Homer, Robert and Marie have each allowed God to be first place in their lives. I pray that you will too. If you're like me, your life is messy enough with God in your life, and it's impossible without Him! So if you feel right now like your life is more than you can bear, please pray this right now:
"God, I've tried lots of things to satisfy myself, and nothing has really worked. If you're real God, I ask you to come into my life. I admit to you that I've sinned and I've made lots of mistakes, so I trust You to show me how to turn my life around. From now on, I want to do things Your way. Jesus, thank you for dying on the cross for me, so that I can be forgiven of my sins and have eternal life, beginning right now."
I encourage you to begin reading your Bible. If you don't have one, or if you don't know where to begin reading, email me at email@example.com. I will try to help you in any way I can.
I would also recommend that you get "The Perfect Stranger" movie This movie answers almost any major question you've had about God, such as "Is Christianity the only way of salvation," "Was Jesus really resurrected from the dead," and "Why is this bad thing happening to me?"
As always, we appreciate and welcome your feedback.
Until next month,
P.S. Please visit our book site at www.todayswordonmoney.com.