Have you ever had a date repeatedly be a blessing? I have shared the testimony of when I surrendered to the Lord (February 12, 1997) a few times in a post called “A Valentine from Heaven;” however, it is not the only significant thing to happen to me on this date.
Thirty-one years ago, tonight my husband and I had finished packing two U-Haul trailers and left Colorado for California in a blinding blizzard! Along with our two children and all our belongings, we moved with a dog, a fish, and the back of a truck filled with houseplants. We had no way to know what kind of life we were embarking on, but we were excited about the new adventure.
That night, February 12, 1989, it took us over 2 hours to drive 45 miles to Cheyenne, Wyoming! We didn’t know that I-25 was shut down moments after we got onto it, but we realized ours were the only two vehicles on the road! Three days later, through some very harsh driving conditions, we arrived in California. I will never forget coming down the Sierra Nevada Mountains into the Sacramento Valley and seeing palm trees! Just like that, there was no snow, no black ice, no sub-zero temps, no blinding blizzards. Whoo-hoo! We had what I called, “Decided Summer!” Though we moved 12 times in 18 years, we’ve happily settled in Georgia. As the (edited) testimony that follows reveals, it’s amazing what God can do when you say “yes” to Him! It can be scary, but His ways are so much better than ours!
A Valentine from Heaven
It was two days before Valentine’s Day 1997, and though my life looked wonderful from every angle, deep down I was miserable. I tried ‘to be a good person’ and live my life in a way that would be pleasing to my fellowman, but all the community works I was juggling did not fill the void in my soul. At the end of the day, I was exhausted and empty. Occasionally, I would get a glimpse of why I was so unhappy and what I needed – I needed the Lord! Sadly, I would quickly reject this notion because it wasn’t convenient to my lifestyle. Rejecting God was justifiable in my mind because I knew I couldn’t live up to His standards. Though I looked to the world for acceptance and comfort, I never seemed fulfilled. I was in a frightening and unwinnable battle.
The void began when my father suddenly passed away. He was only 43 years old and left behind a wife and three children, as well as his parents who daily relied on his help. Well-meaning clergy told us, “God must have needed him,” and that “he was in a better place.” This didn’t bring consolation to my grief-stricken heart. My sister, brother, and I were sent to live with relatives, supposedly for the summer, but it ended up being for 3 years. Night after night I would earnestly cry out to God, “Why my dad, why me?” I agonized over the loss of my dad and listened for an answer, but none came.
My brother and I moved back with our mother when I was 14 and he was 11, our sister had married. There were hostile undercurrents between my mother and me for not only sending us off but for uprooting us once we had settled in at our relative’s. Then the unthinkable happened. Doctors diagnosed my mother with breast cancer! I never doubted that she would recover (because surely God would not ‘take’ her too). However, after a few years, and much suffering, she succumbed to the ravages of the disease.
At her funeral I again heard from well-meaning folks, “She’s in a better place,” and “God must have needed her.” Really, I thought? More than her children? This did not sit well, and it really damaged my view of our heavenly Father. Deeply dismayed, my confusion turned to anger that burned hot against God. He seemed selfish and more like a big bully who was no different from Greek gods who threw lightning bolts or hit people with a huge hammer. I decided if God was so selfish that He needed my parents more than their three children did, I didn’t want anything to do with Him. I would live my life my way, not His! Anytime the subject of God came up, I was like a cornered cat ready to fight; my cynicism towards Christianity and disdain for Christians grew. Some would try to explain to me how the Lord was loving, kind, and good. I reasoned, if God were truly loving, why wouldn’t He have kept my parents from dying? If He were kind and good, why wouldn’t He just put an end to all the suffering and evil in the world?
Although I had a profound salvation experience in 1982, I loved reading the Word of God, and truly enjoyed fellowship with other believers – all that was stripped away three years later when I divorced my first husband. I knew God hated divorce, but I just could not stay with him. The worse part of our estrangement was his twisting of Scripture to manipulate me. I assumed that the Lord hated me for getting the divorce, so I quietly stepped away from Him and the church. I tried to live life the best I could as a ‘regular nice person’.
Twelve years went by from that time to where I found myself on the morning of February 12, 1997. I was so miserable when I woke up that day, but I happened to notice that it was the first day of Lent. I’d never observed it before, but oddly, something went off inside me when I saw it on the calendar. It was HOPE! Jesus had been drawing me to Himself for months, and though I had been keeping Him at arm’s length, I could ignore Him no longer. My fear of His rejection was being overwritten. God was throwing a lifeline into my Pit of Despair, and I prayed that if I clung onto it, He would be merciful and pull me out.
I found my old Bible packed away and began to read in Psalm 107:10-16, 19-22. The passage was personal. It spoke to me where I was at that exact moment! As was written there: I cried to the Lord in my trouble and He saved me from my distress; He sent forth His word and healed me and saved me from destruction! I fell to my knees and thanked Him for His goodness. I repented of sinning against Him. I laughed and cried! I was HOME!!! In that moment, the Holy Spirit gave me great freedom, and peace flooded my soul. I knew Jesus didn’t condemn me but filled my emptiness with joy. He adopted me! As a child of God, I had a profound sense of belonging. I began reading and truly studying the Bible. I began to see that Scripture is like a beautiful tapestry that, through many authors over thousands of years, God wove together His story and heart for us. I could have never imagined it, but I found the Bible to be wonderful and freeing.
You do not have to be an orphan to experience the debilitating wounds from being abandoned or rejected. We each have our own story of how we’ve been beaten and battered. We have fought with discouragement, doubt, and unbelief. At some point, all of us have been or will be, wounded by different tragedies and heartbreaks. Our heavenly Father’s desire is for all mankind to experience His forgiveness and abiding love. The most wonderful gift anyone could ever receive is to be adopted by the King of kings! Being reconciled to God is a gift that anyone can accept at any time.
As John 3:16 states, “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” He gave His best so we can live abundantly. I pray in Jesus’ mighty name that all chains holding you captive be broken and any iron bars be cut in two! Amen!
In the Father’s Love,
Judy A Bauman
“Valentine from Heaven” edited 2020
10 Those who sat in darkness and in the shadow of death,
Bound in affliction and irons—
11 Because they rebelled against the words of God,
And despised the counsel of the Most High,
12 Therefore He brought down their heart with labor;
They fell down, and there was none to help.
13 Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble,
And He saved them out of their distresses.
14 He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death,
And broke their chains in pieces.
15 Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness,
And for His wonderful works to the children of men!
16 For He has broken the gates of bronze,
And cut the bars of iron in two.
19 Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble,
And He saved them out of their distresses.
20 He sent His word and healed them,
And delivered them from their destructions.
21 Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness,
And for His wonderful works to the children of men!
22 Let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving,
God proclaimed 50 as the Biblical number of Jubilee. This is when liberty is proclaimed! (See Leviticus 25) Today I am writing because I want to share something personal with you.
The reason this is significant to me at this very moment, on this date 50 years ago, I suffered a great loss. My dad died. It was a very traumatic event because just before he collapsed, he had strictly punished me for not doing the evening dishes. I later learned that the type of hidden heart condition he suffered from often produces outbursts of anger. Unfortunately, that specific night, I bore the brunt of it. That being his last conscious act haunted me and I suffered from tremendous guilt. What I didn’t know for years is the ‘replaying’ of events is not an uncommon thing for someone who has suffered a trauma. This is what Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is and how it interferes with a person’s life.
Surprisingly, I learned about PTSD while watching an episode of West Wing (Noel). A character in the show was having strange reactions and was told he had to sit with a psychologist to keep his job. In the show, the character was diagnosed with PTSD but argued that he had never been in the military, so he couldn’t have it. The doctor explained that it can happen to anyone suffering a trauma. What really hit me was when he said, “You know you are cured when you can remember the incident without reliving it.” Remembering an incident is one thing, seeing it and experiencing the emotions as if the event is happening at that moment is another. This is what was happening to me and I was unable to stop the memories from replaying in my mind. For years, I had episodes where I relived both the night my dad died and his funeral, so any healing I gained would be weakened when that memory would be relived. This is what had been occurring since that fateful night, and just knowing what I was dealing with made a huge difference.
God is so good because He healed me in stages. How the Holy Spirit explained it to me was that I would need multiple surgeries, but that when He was done, I wouldn’t even know where the wound had been. This was unimaginable to me, but I am here to tell you that there is no scar! What I am also here to tell you is that you do not have to suffer for years before God heals and makes you whole.
Perhaps you see yourself (or someone you love) in my story. The fact is, we don’t have to suffer alone. The MASTER SURGEON is on duty. Allow the Lord to show you the first step to freedom. His word is full of direction, counsel and healing. Reach out for prayer. Honestly, I had more issues than just my dad’s death that were fortifying the enemy’s stranglehold.
Praise God that the weapons of our warfare are not natural, but they are MIGHTY in the pulling down of strongholds. Studying the word, prayer, fasting, praise and worship, acts of kindness, acts of obedience, developing the fruit and gifts of the Spirit, as well as putting on the armor of God are all effective weapons! I hope this encourages you. Please let me know how I can pray for you if you cannot break free from the trauma you have suffered. When God’s healing is complete, there will be no scar.
In the Father’s love
Judy A Bauman
Another testimony on this subject can be found here:
~One thing God did on this date that I could have in no way planned, my second book was published! (I had sent it in at the end of November, but Jewels from the Harvest was published February 5, 2018!) I have a number of really sweet things the Lord has done for me on this date. Perhaps that will be for another post.
Dear Friends of The Father’s Love Int’l Ministries,
As my husband would say, “If it weren’t for the last minute, nothing would get done,” and that is exactly how it’s been to send out this year’s contribution receipts! It didn’t help that I’ve been fighting a hacking cough and had developed a fever. I had put a prayer request out on Facebook last night and was so blessed to see the number of people who wrote to say they were praying. There was good advice as many friends warned not to wait to see a doctor. They had made that mistake and suffered for it!
I decided to sign up for a video doctor’s call through my new Medishare program and had my first online doctor’s appointment. I loved it! I was in and out in minutes! Haha! 😊
No doubt, the prayers and meds are working together, as I was able to sit long enough to get the receipts sent. I’m so thankful to be already feeling better.
If you gave a donation in 2019 and did not get an emailed receipt, or if it is incorrect, please let me know as soon as possible and I will rectify it. It is my hope that we will continue doing the work of the ministry together in 2020. There is something special God is doing in our day, and I believe being prepared for it is going to be essential.
Many blessings to you in the Father’s love,
Judy A Bauman
A Glimpse at the Life and Times of Saul, David, and Absalom
Judy A Bauman
Israel Demands That Samuel Appoint A King to Rule Them
To better understand how the “kingdoms” of Israel were first established, we need to look briefly at the man who gave Saul the right and the power to be the first king of Israel. This task fell to Samuel, who was the last of the Judges of Israel and the first one referred to in Scripture as a prophet of God. We pick up this story in 1 Samuel 8 when the Israelites demanded Samuel give them a king “to judge us like all the nations.” Even with a dire warning of what life would be like under the king and all he would demand of them, they cried out for a king to judge them and to fight their battles!
The Lord made it clear to Samuel that they were not rejecting him, but they were rejecting God as their King and had turned to idols. The Lord said to Samuel, “Heed their voice, and make them a king.” Doesn’t this speak of the mercy of God? His people, the ones He brought out of Egypt, the ones the Lord repeatedly delivered, rejected Him for what is promised to be a rough ride. Sadly, the need to be like others and to be admired is a common thread that is laced throughout this historical account.
Saul – The First King of Israel
Saul had no idea what was in store for him when his father sent him and a servant to look for some missing donkeys. (Let that sink in a minute. Sometimes we think we are meandering around, when in reality, God is setting us up for a life-changing event!) The Lord had told Samuel that He was sending a man from the tribe of Benjamin and that he was to anoint him as Israel’s commander. When Samuel saw him, the Lord told him that this was the man to be king. While Saul was handsome and taller than any of the Israelites, he didn’t see himself as one worthy of being king. Saul was from the least of the families of the smallest tribe of Benjamin. His confidence was so weak that when Samuel planned to introduce him, he was hiding! When he stood before the people, they saw his height and good looks and shouted, “Long live the king!”
Saul went home and tried to live life as usual but then heard a wicked report and was moved to act. King Saul took his rightful place as commander, and he had his first successful campaign against the Ammonites who were threatening the Israelites. Even so, Samuel reminded the people that by demanding a king, they had greatly sinned against God.
King Saul seemed to be doing well, but when faced with war against the Philistines, Saul took the role of the prophet and foolishly usurped Samuel’s authority and made a sacrifice to God. Because of this Samuel told Saul, “The Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. But now your kingdom shall not continue. The Lord has sought for Himself a man after His own heart.” Sadly, this was not the only impetuous act that led God to reject Saul as king, and though Samuel continued to pray for him, the Lord commanded him to anoint another.
David – The Second King of Israel
Samuel was sent to Bethlehem to the house of Jesse, of the tribe of Judah, to anoint Israel’s next ruler. However, none of his sons, as promising as they looked to the eye, were to be king. Jesse had not even bothered to call his youngest son, David, who was out tending sheep, to meet Samuel for consideration. David was a skilled musician, and commonly lifted a psalm of worship to the Lord God of Israel. He was courageous and fast to swing his sling to protect his father’s sheep and lambs from lions and bears. The moment Samuel saw him, God told him that David was His choice! Samuel anointed David as king with his father and brothers as witnesses, but interestingly, Jesse’s youngest son did not immediately take the throne. Though Saul had sinned against God two years after being anointed king, he reigned for forty-two.
David’s life first intertwined with Saul’s because the king’s disobedience had opened a door for a wicked spirit to torment him. Remarkably, David was chosen to play and sing for the king not only because he was skilled, but because his anointed music drove away the evil spirit from the king’s mind. At the time, it seems Saul was unaware that God had chosen David as his replacement. After David saved Israel from Goliath, Saul appointed him the commander over his army. This pleased all the people. David greatly loved Saul. One day minstrels joyfully greeted the king singing, “Saul has slain his thousands and David his ten thousands.” Saul became consumed with jealousy! Much to his dismay, everything David did he did wisely. Saul was terrified of David because he knew the Spirit of God was with him. In his deranged thinking, he plotted to have David killed by the Philistines. The king didn’t ask David for a dowry for his daughter’s hand in marriage, instead, he asked for 100 Philistine foreskins! Would you believe he brought back 200? Saul could not win! None of his plots worked. The deep-seated jealousy toward David took over, and in his crazed state, Saul threw his spear at him at least twice. Fortunately, David was fast enough to avoid being hit.
Those who loved David helped him escape and he fled from Saul. The king became so incensed against his son Jonathan for siding with David, he threw a spear at him too! When Saul learned that the priest Ahimeleck had provided shelter and given David provisions, along with the sword of Goliath, Saul ordered not only Ahimeleck and his family’s death, but 85 priests in the village, along with men, women, children, babies, cattle, donkeys, and sheep were all slaughtered! Fortunately, one son of Ahimeleck survived and got word to David. There, David and his family, Ahimeleck’s son, and about 400 men stayed in caves and hid from Saul. The king’s men were commanded to hunt him like a dog, but David would not lay a finger on Saul to harm him.
There was a very fierce battle with the Philistine’s, and Jonathan and his two brothers were killed. In the same battle, King Saul is badly injured, knowing what the Philistines might do to him, he fell on his sword and died. David, being the man after God’s own heart that he was, grieved for his king and for his friend who perished. Normally the new king would kill all those who were hunting them, but not David. He sought to reunite Israel. There are many things David did well, and there were sinful mistakes he made; however, throughout all eternity, David will not only be known as the man after God’s own heart but is the king in the lineage of Jesus!
Absalom – A Self-Appointed Ruler
Earlier, when King David sinned with Bathsheba and ordered her husband to be killed, the judgment from the Lord was, “…the sword will never depart from your house… Out of your own household I am going to bring calamity on you. Before your very eyes I will take your wives and give them to one who is close to you, and he will sleep with your wives in broad daylight. You did it in secret, but I will do this thing in broad daylight before all Israel.”
This came about when Absalom, who was one of the king’s children by Maakah, was deeply offended with his father for not defending his sister’s honor when another of David’s sons forced himself upon her. David was very angry about the incident, but no real punishment came. Two years later, Absalom had his half-brother killed for this act and then fled. David grieved for his murdered son, but he loved Absalom and after three years he had him brought back into the kingdom. David was not repaid in kind, as his son had set his mind to usurp his father’s authority as king. Absalom went out early, standing at the gate of the city, and would greet the people with a kiss and listen to their grievances. He won their favor by promising if he were the ruler over the land, they would receive justice. This won the hearts of the people. It was said that there was no one more handsome than Absalom and he loved hearing the people’s praise. After four years, his support grew in power. He sent out secret messages to have his father overthrown, and again, Israel was divided.
King David had the choice to go to war with his son or leave. He trusted God to either return the kingdom to him or give it to Absalom, so he left Jerusalem with all his loyal people, but 10 of his concubines were to stay and take care of the palace. Once outside the city, he commanded Zadok the priest and his sons to take the ark to return to Jerusalem. When Absalom came into the city, he set up a tent in plain sight of all Israel and went into all the concubines. In this, he fulfilled the prophecy and defiled his father. At one point, Absalom went out to search for David to kill him but was caught by his hair in a mighty oak-like tree. David had given orders to bring Absalom back to him, but Joab and his men killed Absalom. He was deeply grieved, so grieved that David almost lost his army and faithful followers. They all knew Absalom would have gladly killed them! This shook the rightful king out of his grief.
David, a man after God’s own heart, refused to kill the anointed of God or any of Saul’s family or clan – even when taunted! He chose to live in caves for an undetermined amount of time not knowing if he would ever be free. He grieved when that king died and when the one who sought to kill and usurp his kingdom was killed. He didn’t treat Absalom as Saul had treated him. David trusted God and cared more about what the Lord thought of him than what people thought of him. Will we follow his example and be one that is known as a person “after God’s own heart”?