Sunday, August 16, 2015

Little Gadabouts

by Brenda L. Agee

I was in the Primary Sunday School class, three years old and just out of the nursery, when I first heard the parable Jesus told about the shepherd who left his 99 sheep in search of one that was missing.  At least that's the first time I remember having heard it.  Over the years I've heard it often, that parable.  It's a perfect illustration of how much Jesus loves each of us and all of us.  However, back then, I thought more about the sheep than the shepherd.  

Teachers continued giving their lessons of the shepherd over the years, yet all the while I crawled inside my thoughts and tried to grasp how the sheep could have gotten lost in the first place.  My young mind came up with several possibilities but none was satisfying.  I wondered if the sheep had followed a butterfly but then I wondered if there were butterflies in Bible times.  And oh!  What did the butterflies look like?  I missed the lesson.  Another thought was that maybe the sheep was looking at its' reflection in the water, saw a fish, and followed the fish downstream.  I missed the lesson again!

My child's imagination was always quite vivid so I came up with many, many thoughts, ideas, and dreams about the lost sheep and each one carried me as far away from the true lesson as the sheep was away from the shepherd.  It took a long time for me to stop thinking about the sheep's wanderings and to start realizing it was all about how the shepherd would have done anything to find the sheep that he loved.  

Isn't it interesting how we can learn something, know it and believe it and yet, God will use one event or a single memory to give us a greater understanding of what we thought we already knew?  

A couple of months ago, my ten year old grandson told me that he and two of his friends had planned a trip to Texas.  He was in the same class from kindergarten through fourth grade with three other children and they were quite a close group.  Missing the last two days of school due to illness, he was devastated when he found out later that one of the friends had moved to Texas a couple of days after the end of school.  He hadn't been able to say good-by and they all wanted to see their friend one more time.  Hence the trip.

My grandson said they had planned it carefully.  One was to take money, one was to get a map to Texas, and one was to take water and food.  They all had backpacks and a change of clothes.  They were confident in their plans and equally confident they should not tell their parents. 

He didn't go into as much detail when telling me how the trip got cancelled.  He did, however, casually mention that his mother (my daughter) was involved in the cancellation and that he couldn't figure out how she knew.

Hmmph! That's a mother for you!

It reminded me of a one-day picnic I went on with eight other neighborhood children.  No adults, just children.   And, to give you a mental picture, from my family was my baby sister who was two, my brother who was three, myself at the age of five and a half, and my older brother, who had just turned eight; from the family a half a block east of our house there was a three year old boy and a seven year old boy; from two houses south, there was a boy my age and a boy my older brother's age; the last one was also my older brother's age and he lived with his grandma, two houses west of us. 

It was a late summer Saturday.  Daddy had taken Mama to get groceries and we had a babysitter, who promptly fell asleep on the sofa after their departure.  Our yard was the largest so everyone came to our house to play.  It was the spur of the moment idea of the older boys so they got wagons and "supplies" from each house.  I remember walking while the younger three were in wagons pulled by the older boys.  

I could show you right now exactly where we went.  Today, however, there is an apartment complex in the location.  Back then, mid 1950's, after walking five blocks north of my house, we came to a T-intersection, crossed our last street and went down a slope into a dry creek bed that was filled with wood and dirt.  Dirt, dust, and more dry, dusty dirt.  I certainly remember that!

The boys had grabbed hot dogs, bologna, bread, mustard, potato chips, pickles, and other "stuff" in jars that I didn't recognize but ate anyway.  They brought cups for water, but they didn't bring water.  Oh, no!  Instead of bringing water, they said it was my job to get the water.  They gave me a metal bucket and showed me where to get it.  I had to crawl through a fence, walk across a pasture, and get the water from a pond.  

I got the first bucket of water but when I started walking back to our picnic spot, a huge horse came trotting up behind me and just slowly walked with me back to the fence.  That's all it did.  It just walked with me but I was scared to death!  I cried and refused to cross the pasture again so the little boy who was my age had to get the water the rest of the day. 

The older boys built a fire to cook hot dogs and we all drank the pond water.  Yes, we ALL drank the pond water.  The little ones took naps: I probably took a nap.  We played and then we ate some more.  When it started to get dark, we packed everyone and everything into the wagons and walked home.

It was dusk when we walked the last block to our house.  Parked in front were a couple of police cars and the front yard was filled with police and parents.  We younger ones were so scared we started crying and that is when the adults saw us.  We stood there, afraid, and suddenly everyone came running toward us.  We were scooped up by the strong, loving arms of our parents who were crying and at the same time, wiping the tears from our little cheeks.   

None of us knew what was wrong.  None of us knew we were the cause of all of the commotion.  It was only when I was much older that I realized the fear we had put our parents through.  As mama told me more and more about their day I also realized what great measures they would have taken to find us.

In Luke 15:4-7 (NKJV) Jesus said, “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it?  And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing.  And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’  I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance."

I no longer think about how or why the sheep left the flock, causing the shepherd to look for it, because I know that I have often been that sheep.  Oh!  But, haven't we all been that sheep at one time or another?  The truth is that there are times when we are not where God wants us to be . . . we've wandered away from our Shepherd.  God is merciful and He calls for us, He beckons us to come back to Him.  Some wait a long time before going back to Him and yet others return quickly.  

Just as I learned that my parents would have done anything to find us when we went on our picnic that Saturday; just as my daughter stopped her 10 year old from going to Texas; just as I wanted and tried to protect my own children from tragedy or sadness or any harm, God does the same for us.  The great difference is that He does far more than we know and far more than we can imagine to keep us close and to draw us back when we stray.

He is our Shepherd.  We are His sheep.

John 10:25-28 reads: "Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me.  But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you.  My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.  And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. " (New King James Version)

In the book, "Manners and Customs in Bible Lands", author Fred H. Wight (public domain; no copyright) gives several illustrations of the modern day shepherd and his sheep.  He explains how the modern day shepherd still tends the flock much like the shepherd in the times of the Bible.  

One of his illustrations was about how several Shepherds would often come together and their sheep would mingle while grazing or resting.  When it was time for them to go their separate ways, the shepherds would stand away from each other and all at the same time, start calling their sheep.  The sheep would go immediately go to its' own Shepherd.  There was no confusion: the sheep knew their own shepherd and the shepherds would then go their way with their own sheep. 

I found a video on YouTube in which three young children were given separate opportunities to call a flock of sheep.  During each turn they tried calling the sheep but the sheep never responded.  Then the farmer (or shepherd) stepped up to the fence and called the sheep.  The sheep immediately started bleating in response to the farmer, then turned and ran to him.  

For me, it was more than a fascinating demonstration of what Jesus said.  It gave me a marvelous visual understanding of what He meant and and how we, His Sheep, know His voice when He calls . . . and I cried with the wonder of Jesus' being my Shepherd!

I do hope you will please take the time to watch this short two minute video by clicking on the link below.  You will be amazed and so very glad that you did!  God bless you!

"Do Sheep Only Obey Their Master's Voice"  (on
Filmed in Harestua, Norway, by Ovvind Kleiveland. 
Copyright: WayMuch Production 2013

Father God, Thank You that you love us and that we are the sheep of Your pasture.  Thank You for watching over us when we are nothing more than wandering sheep.  Thank You that You have opened our hearts to Your voice that we might know You more.   In Jesus' Name, Amen

"Jesus and the Lamb"
by Katherine Brown


Wednesday, June 3, 2015


I sat with my elbows on my knees and my hands cupping my little face.  I swayed back and forth with the movement of Grandma's hands.  The sounds of Ooh, Ah, and OH! filled the room in response to the details of her stories.  Sometimes I was alone with her, but other times my little sister or my brothers were there, also.  Sometimes we sat on the floor, sometimes on the day bed in their living room.  Other times we sat on a blanket outside, but always we sat in awe of the remarkable things she said and were mesmerized by the way she talked and told her stories.

She told of their covered wagon ride as her family moved from Michigan to Missouri.  I closed my eyes and dreamily tasted the first sweet potatoes my Great-Grandmother had discovered and cooked for her family.  I cringed when Grandma told how she and her brother planned to knock down a hornet's nest then I ducked and screamed when she described in detail what had happened to the man who knocked it down for them, insisting that the occupants of the nest weren't hornets, but flies.  Her detail was so remarkable that I knew I had just been stung by the same hornets!

It was no wonder that when she and Grandpa prayed I knew God was right there with them.  She and Grandpa would pray together at the same time, not one at a time taking turns.  I just knew they loved God first and although I was too young to explain, I knew that if they loved God so much and also loved me, then God loved me as much as He loved them.  A child's reasoning, but the truth.


At home, Mama helped me understand the Bible with fun and unusual lessons.  One time she and I cut out tiny shoe prints from colored paper and she explained that I was to lay them on the floor leading from my bedroom doorway to where I had my Bible.  Footprints leading to Jesus, she said.  We talked for hours about everything a little girl needed to talk about but mostly Mama taught me that Jesus was in every situation that I was in.  

I was bewildered one morning as I sat on the lower steps that led from the kitchen to the upstairs and my bedroom.  Watching Mama and Grandma canning fruit, Mama started to cry.  She laid her head on her own Mama's shoulders and cried that she didn't think there would be enough food for the winter months.  Grandma, with her soothing, gentle voice assured Mama that God would provide.  Then Grandma began praying.  She prayed the whole time Mama scooped the fruit from the seven quart crockery bowl and placed the fruit in the jars.  Only Mama didn't stop at seven quarts.  As Grandma continued to pray, Mama continued canning fruit.  From that one bowl, Mama got not only seven quarts but well over 20 quarts of fruit.  They moved on, canning more fruit and more vegetables.  All of the fruit and vegetables they canned that day were multiplied in abundance.  God provided.  I watched Mama canning, I heard Grandma pray and Mama praise, and I knew God was doing something wonderful. 

Daddy loved James Bond movies and I was ecstatic to be at the Drive-In with him one night to watch one of the early James Bond movies.  We ate from a huge paper sack from the grocery store that Mama had filled with buttery popcorn.  I don't remember anything about the movie that night but I do remember learning a great lesson from Daddy.  It was a lesson that humbled me, made me realize more about the love of Jesus, and forever changed my heart.

We rarely went to a movie so part of the excitement of going to the Drive-In was to get there early and watch other cars drive in and park and to see if there was anyone I knew.  We were parked a couple of rows behind and to the right of the Concession so I got to watch the people as they went into or came out of the building.  We talked and laughed, but now I realize that I was the one doing most of the talking while Daddy mostly listened.  There were also times when we were both silent, just watching, like I said.

It was during one of our quiet times that I saw a girl my age walking past our truck.  Without thinking, I said I was glad I wasn't her because she was poor (oh! little did I know that we were in the same category!), and that sometimes she came to school dirty, and that no one wanted to be with her.  I don't remember ever having thought I was better than anyone and what I said was horrible but it was out there and I couldn't take back the words.  I was acutely aware that the atmosphere between Daddy and I changed and I expected a stern reprimand.  But instead, with tears in his eyes, Daddy started to tell me a parable from the Bible. 

He said that Jesus mentioned two men who were going to the temple to pray.  They were in a place where all the passersby could see and hear them.  One man, a Pharisee, was dressed with all the finery that money and position could buy.  The other man was a publican, a despised tax collector, one who did not hold a high or coveted position.  The Pharisee loudly proclaimed in his prayer that he thanked God that he was better than and not like other men, especially the tax collector beside him.  However, the publican would not even look up to the heavens, but struck his chest and humbly said, "God be merciful to me a sinner!"  Daddy then asked me to tell him which prayer was more pleasing to God.

Daddy didn't have to say any more.  I knew that I was no better than anyone else and that each of us was made by God equally.  It isn't the fine clothing or worldly position that makes us who we are, it is our attitude with God and toward others.  I chose to go to that girl I saw at the drive-in that night and to offer my friendship.  We became good friends.  Not because of who I was, but because of who God is!

A few weeks ago, I had the honor of speaking at a Mother/ Daughter Banquet.  I mentioned that regardless of the relationships we have had with our mothers (parents) or grandmothers (grandparents), we are a culmination of those relationships.  Did they leave us a legacy worthy of following and have we realized that we also leave a legacy to those who have or will come after us?  To me, I believe there is no greater legacy to leave our children and grandchildren; or nieces, nephews, neighbors, than the love and truth of Jesus Christ.

I have been blessed and honored to have led three of my grandchildren to their salvation in Jesus.  They have also been taught by their parents about the love and Word of God.  When they stay all night with me we always have our Bible time and our prayer time just before going to sleep.  With the two youngest, all I ask is do they want the Old or New Testament and from their answer, I choose which event to tell them about and to teach them.  Sometimes I ask, "Okay, do you want adventure, a mystery, a miracle?"  They tell me and on we go!  

But sometimes I wonder what they will carry with them through life.  We do a lot together but whatever we do, we always come back to Jesus.  I wonder, what will they remember?  Our talking and laughing and playing, our experimenting with various crafts, our Bible time our prayer time?  My occasional impatience?  What legacy am I leaving them?

Just over a month ago, my youngest granddaughter stayed all night with me.  At one point, while we were in the kitchen, she informed me that she had learned there is a devil.  She asked if I had heard about him and if so, what was his name?  I answered her questions but of course she had more.  Where did he come from?  Why does he hate God?  Why is he mean to us?  What is God going to do about it?  I answered each question but more importantly, I let her know that Jesus has already won our fight by dying on the cross for us and coming back to life.  That we are safe with Jesus.  I explained that Jesus is with God and is making a home for us so that we might live with Him forever.  She stopped me and said, "I know what we need to do!"

She ran to my bedroom and came back with one of my flashlights.  "Watch this, Grandma!"  She made a line of light on the floor from one wall of the kitchen to the other wall.  Then she went on to say, "Okay, on this side of the light is Jesus and this is where we are.  On that side is the devil and he can't come over here."  Then raising her voice, she yelled, "DO YOU HEAR THAT, DEVIL?  YOU ARE OVER THERE AND WE ARE HERE ON THIS SIDE OF THE LIGHT WITH JESUS.  YOU STAY THERE!  YOU CAN'T COME OVER HERE!  WE WILL ASK JESUS INTO OUR HEARTS 100 TIMES A DAY BECAUSE WE ARE ON THIS SIDE OF THE LIGHT."

No wonder Jesus said "Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 18:3; NIV) and "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (Matthew 19:4; NIV)

This side of the light.   My granddaughter is six and has no idea how profound her statement was.  She just knew she was going to be on the side of Jesus.  We know that Jesus Christ is the light of the world.  "When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12; NIV)

There are times when I can feel overwhelmed with regret and shame for dishonoring God with my sin.  I can't stay in those thoughts because they keep me in darkness.  I know God has forgiven me of all things.  I know God has brought me into the light of life.  It is my prayer that I can let His light shine through me.  In Matthew 5:16, we are told, "In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven." 

I know, yes, I know!, that the love I have for God and my desire to tell others of His love for them, is part of the legacy left to me by my parents, my grandparents, and all of those who showed me His love.  Is there any greater legacy to leave to others?  Truly, no matter what else I have done, if I don't leave  Jesus with others, I've done nothing!


Dear Father in Heaven!   
       May I learn to always come to you like a child in the purest of faith.  May my heart yell out, "I am on this side of the light!"   You are glorious and mighty, you are gentle and kind and loving.  Oh, Jesus, I am not better than anyone because you died equally for us all.  I pray for those who don't know you, Lord.  May they too, one day, say that they want only you and to be on this side of the light.  
       Be glorified, my Lord, my God, and my King!
       In Jesus Name, Amen! 
found on


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

 36 Prayers in 36 Months
by Brenda L. Agee

Over the past months, I have reconnected with several ladies, through Facebook, with whom I was in school, either elementary, junior high, and/or senior high.  One of the ladies went to the same church I did and without knowing it, indirectly influenced my desire to know Jesus more.  I don't believe I ever told her.  My blogs are always about my life with Jesus Christ, and although several of you have asked, I've never told how I finally came to know Jesus as my Savior.  This is that story and how I prayed 36 prayers in 36 months.

I love the church I grew up in.  It was there that I learned about and grew in the knowledge of grace and faith.  I felt loved and safe.  Our pastor and his wife were kind people and had five children.  Their oldest was my age.  What I write next will seem somewhat out of place with the wonderful church and pastor I have described.  However, God had His reasons for what happened in my life and I learned much from the following experience.

I've heard people say that if you can't remember the exact date, place, and time that you believed and accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior then you just aren't a Christian.  Some people are so adamant about it that I think we are also supposed to remember what we had for lunch, the way we wore our hair and how many people we spoke to on that day.  I want to dispute that premise to some degree.  I don't remember the exact date.  I'm not quite sure of the time.  I'm fairly sure of the year because I remember the dress I wore when I was baptized.  I can, however, tell you a lot of other details and I know that I know that I know (is that proper grammar?) that I am a Christian and believe that Jesus Christ is God's only Son and our only salvation.

I was raised in a Christian home and no, that did not automatically make me a Christian.  I always loved Jesus and found going to church to be the greatest of times.  I loved Sunday School classes, I loved the songs, I loved the little elderly ladies who sat on the first two rows on the right as they faced the pulpit and waited for their Sunday School class to start, I loved Vacation Bible School, I loved church camp.  I loved it all and life was wonderful at church until I was nine years old.

Twice a year we had what was called a "Revival Meeting", which was a series of nightly services  for one or two weeks.  We had a visiting preacher called an evangelist.  When I was nine (actually, it was exactly five days before my 9th birthday) our pastor and the evangelist called me out of the Sunday School class to talk to me about being saved.  I didn't know what I was being saved from, but they certainly scared me into it.  The pastor spoke to me while the evangelist sat behind him and nodded gravely at everything the pastor said.  "Brenda, your two little girlfriends just got saved and if you don't get saved, you are going to Hell alone.  Now, you don't want to go to Hell alone do you?"  Well, I didn't even know there was a Hell or where it was but it sounded awful!  And, I did not want to go to Hell alone so I said I wanted to be saved. 

There are many things wrong with that 15 minute Sunday morning talk.  First, if you are reading this and you are a Christian, you are probably appalled.  Second, if you are reading this and you are not a Christian, you are probably appalled.  Third, I didn't even know what saved meant.  The one talking about salvation ought first to explain what it means, don't you think?  Fourth, not all children understand or are ready just because someone thinks they should be.  Yes, we should keep teaching and talking about Jesus, but understanding comes at different ages.  Fifth, don't scare either children or adults into saying they want to be saved . . . Jesus Christ loved us and we should explain His love first of all.   Sixth, I wouldn't have been in Hell alone anyway because it's going to be full of people, but that's really the least of the issues.

The following year, I began to understand more of the Bible and why Jesus died on the cross.  I began to realize He died so that we might live with Him forever and that if we didn't believe in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, we would be separated from God forever.  He died because we all sin and sin is what separates us from our perfect God.  That separation would mean that we would be forever "lost" from God.  I then understood that being "saved" meant that I wanted to be with God forever and to believe in Jesus Christ as my Savior.  I realized that I hadn't known what it all meant the prior year.  That is what I understood as a child.  As adults we may argue deeper theological aspects of salvation but why?  That was all I needed to know and sometimes, as adults, we make it too difficult.

With that understanding, I went to my pastor one Sunday morning.  In our church, as in many, at the end of the sermon we sang a hymn which gave time for reflection on the sermon and if we wanted prayer for anything we would go to the pastor.  It was called a song of invitation.  I told my pastor that I really hadn't accepted Jesus as my Savior and that I wanted to do so.  He told me I was a Christian because he was the one who had talked to me that Sunday.  When I told him I felt like there was an emptiness inside me and that I needed more of Jesus, he said I just needed to "rededicate" my life.  So I prayed something and went to my seat, still feeling empty.

That continued for three years.  I was 10 and for three years - 36 months - at least once a month I would go to the pastor and tell him I knew there had to be more and I wanted to know how to have more of Jesus.  I was told one of two things.  I was told that I needed to "rededicate" my life again or that possibly God was calling me to be a missionary. So I prayed for one of those two things each month . . . 36 prayers in 36 months!
So, what about becoming a missionary?  I had gone to church camp for the first time and met a Chinese gentleman who was a missionary so maybe I should be a missionary to the Chinese.  However, by the time I went to the Pastor again and he said, again, maybe I was to be a missionary, I just thought I had chosen the wrong country because something was still missing.  Not really knowing how one became a missionary, I simply chose another country.  But again, the pastor repeated himself and I would doubt myself more.  I certainly chose a lot of countries through those months, hoping to finally get it right.

I think my pastor must have dreaded seeing me come at him at least once a month and he just ran out of things to say so he repeated the words "rededicate" and "missionary".  I'm not being  facetious.  I truly have wondered what he thought when he saw me repeatedly tripping down that aisle, eyes on him the whole way.  I have to give him credit, though.  He really believed that I had understood when I was nine.

That whole experience fits the statement, "That would be funny if it wasn't so sad."  The story does have some hilarity to it.  I mean, for one thing, what if I had run out of countries to choose?  Would he still tell me I was to be a missionary?  That crossed my mind quite often when I was around 12.  Also, I just don't think a little 10 year old girl could have sinned so much that she would have to rededicate her life every month.  Do you?  But to be honest, it is more tragic than funny.  What if I had just given up?

I didn't give up because God didn't give up on me.  Close to the age of 13, late one Saturday afternoon, I walked to my pastor's house and asked to talk to him.  We sat in his study.  He was behind his desk, I sat in a chair in the middle of the room.  It felt like an interrogation room which should have had a bright light shining in my face.  Actually, that just means I felt vulnerable and was afraid to start the conversation.  Slowly I looked at my pastor but said quite distinctly, "I don't know Jesus as I should and I have never really been saved.  I want to be."  He started to tell me again that I was saved and I stood up.  

Oh, I was a happy outgoing child but don't let that be mistaken for confidence.  I was quite timid and insecure inwardly at times.  I had been taught to respect my elders and to not talk back ,so my standing up to say what I did was remarkably bold.  I faced my pastor and said, "If you won't tell me how to become a Christian, I'll leave and I'll keep walking and asking people from door to door until someone tells me what I need to do."

At that very moment and before he could respond, I knew I had made my choice and that I would have Jesus no matter what.  I knew that with that statement and boldness I was declaring Jesus Christ as my Savior.  I sat back down and I was in perfect peace.  My Pastor must have realized it because he apologized to me and then we just talked about Jesus.

One aspect of this was puzzling.  If my grandparents and parents were Christians, why didn't I just ask them?  I wondered about that but came to know that both my pastor and I had to learn from what happened.  I had to make a stand to the very one who unknowingly intimidated me.  As a result, I have never again been intimidated by anyone who disagrees with what I know about Jesus Christ being my absolute Lord, my God, my Savior.  My pastor said he learned that he had to change his approach when talking about salvation.  

We were much closer and gained a new appreciation for each other after that Saturday afternoon.  He no longer treated me like one of the little children in church and I began a new journey with God.  The roots of faith and grace that I had learned began to grow and my relationship with Jesus Christ took on a new intimacy and wonder.  That may have been over 50 years ago, but the intimacy of my relationship with Jesus Christ still grows and the wonder of who He is even more remarkable now!  And, it will be so forever!


That is the story of my becoming a child of God.   I told my friend through a Facebook message that I was going to write about her and now she knows that she was one of the two friends the pastor mentioned as having been saved which, according to him, meant I would go to Hell alone.  The pastor mentioned them by name but I didn't do so here.  I know she will read this so I want to tell another story from our years in that church.  I wonder if she'll remember this one . . . 

There were four of us, maybe late middle-school age, although it was called Jr. High then, and we were sitting on one of the back pews on the left during a Sunday night service.  It was Girl Scout day so I had on my Girl Scout uniform with the sash and badges.  There were we three girls and one boy (not the preacher's son) and we were playing with Silly Putty while trying to act as though we were  listening to the preacher.  We put the Silly Putty on everything to see the impressions it made.  The boy put the Silly Putty on one of my Girl Scout badges but when he took it off, not only was there an impression of the badge but it had also taken most of the paint off my badge.  We all started to giggle and so it was on . . . we giggled at everything after that.  Then the boy, who was seated on the outside near the aisle, leaned over and started bouncing the Silly Putty in the aisle and catching it.  But of course, there was the one time he missed the catch.

Before I tell you the outcome, let me give you a brief lesson in Silly Putty.  It does two main things when it bounces.  It bounces in a fairly straight line and as it bounces, it goes higher and higher.

Back to the story.  The boy bounced the silly putty, sure that no one could see him, but then he missed.  We were in the basement because a new sanctuary was being built and the basement had no carpet.  Consequently, the Silly Putty started bouncing down the middle aisle of the church and the more it bounced, the higher it bounced.  The preacher, the same one mentioned earlier, saw it coming and without missing one word of his sermon, he stepped out from behind the pulpit, moved in the front it, took a few steps up the aisle and caught the Silly Putty.  He calmly put it in his pocket and went back behind the pulpit where he finished his sermon without a word about the Silly Putty or our antics.

The four of us stopped giggling that instant and were as still as the air in the eye of a storm.  The preacher never mentioned it but he did give the Silly Putty to my daddy.  TO DADDY!  Later Daddy simply said, "Brenda, I think you need to sit up front with your mother and I for awhile."  But Daddy had a way of talking and believe me, even those few words put a fear in me.  I don't believe I ever again played with Silly Putty.


Father God, Thank You for Your salvation and Your wondrous ways of teaching us so that we might teach others.  Help us always to realize, even when things are difficult and we lack understanding, that You truly are in control.  Cause me to be more humble and mindful of the feelings of others.  Help me to help others and to not be a hindrance.  Thank You for renewed friendships and for new friendships.  In Jesus Name I ask and pray, Amen!


Wednesday, January 28, 2015


by Brenda L. Agee

"The Lord is my portion," says my soul, "Therefore I hope in Him!"  The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him.  It is good that one should hope and wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.    Lamentations 3:24-26 (NKJV)

Years ago one of my dearest friends came to me.  She had just found out her husband had been unfaithful and she was devastated.  I was divorced a couple of years prior to her visit and yet I didn't know how to help her.  I simply said, "I'll pray for you" and then I prayed and sent her on her way.  I was not a comfort.  I was not a true friend.  I was nothing to her.  As empty as I felt when she left, I knew that she was even more so.  I cried and cried because I didn't know how to share God's hope.

Most of us have been through difficulties which were like storms swirling around us.  It isn't easy to talk about during the time and even later, it isn't easy when we remember the pain.  There are times still when Satan's taunts me with past hurts and tries to convince me that I have no hope.  He twists circumstances and situations in order to place himself as judge and accuser over me.  But Satan hasn't won and God has brought me through all things so I know God will continue to bring me through all things.  I'm not saying it's always easy but I am saying there is always a victory and eventual ending of the storm that rages.

And there is always hope in God.  Hope is not something we see.  Hope is not an emotion.  Hope is knowing that regardless of what's happening or how I feel or what I see around me, God will bring me through.

"We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield."  
Psalm 33:20 (KJV)

During the past several months many of my friends and family have gone through some horrible, terrifying, devastating, and sad times.  Some have experienced the death of a very young beloved child and friend through an automobile accident.  Some have known tragedy through the prolonged healing of a little girl still in the hospital who was hurt in the same automobile accident months ago.  Others I know have had legal difficulties or have loved ones suffering those difficulties.  There are illnesses,
emotional trauma, family displacements, and more.

I have a heavy heart for those who are hurting and I long to ease their pain but I know that it isn't me who gives hope.  It's only God who can really help them but I pray He will use me in some way.  I can pray for them and pray that God grant me grace in letting them know there is hope still.  

With God's mercy since the time years ago that my friend came to me, and with my having gone through great pain and sorrow myself, there are a few things I have learned.

I've learned to be still.  Psalm 46:10 "He says, “Be still, and know that I am God . . . "  When I lived in Pittsburg, Kansas, I sat with a friend who was hurting and crying.  I held her hand and sat with her for a long while.  Neither one of us said a word.  When her children were due home from school, we hugged each other before I left and even then, neither of us spoke.  A couple of years later, she said that our being together in silence had left her with strength and peace.

I've learned to listen.  Sometimes we are too quick to answer or say something, anything, rather than truly listen.  When Jesus took Peter, James, and John with Him to the mount, Moses and Elijah appeared with Jesus.  Jesus' appearance changed while Moses and Elijah were present in their "splendor."  As soon as Moses and Elijah left Jesus, Peter immediately started talking.  God, however, spoke.  Luke 9:34-36 reads, "While he (Peter) was speaking, a cloud appeared and covered them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud.  A voice came from the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.” 

Yes, before we speak we must listen.  Sometimes the other person just needs to cry or talk with someone and they don't always need our words.  We listen to the one who is hurting and most of all, we listen to Jesus through the Holy Spirit.  When they do need our words, may we have listened first so we might know what to say or do, and how to give comfort. 

I've learned to wait.  Grieving is personal and no one should tell others that their time for grieving should be over.  We are not to be impatient with those who hurt, but rather let God bring them through in His perfect time.  It isn't the time period that matters, but it's the hope during the time of grieving or sorrow that matters.  While I struggled for decades with the pain of having been molested, when I felt like crying for years after having been beaten, when I felt the anguish of losing more than one marriage, when I was devastated with learning I had an illness that could cause an early death, I knew that no matter what and no matter how long it took, God would bring me through with hope.   

There were many who questioned my faith because the pain lingered past the time they thought I should have been over it.  However, my faith increased during those years because I always believed and had hope that God would heal my broken heart.  I didn't tell God when or how quickly to do so, I simply trusted that He would.  "Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God." (Psalm 42:5 NIV)  

There are other things that I've learned about sharing my hope.  I'm no longer afraid to speak up and share the pain I've endured.  I'm no longer timid about going to or talking with either friends or strangers who hurt.  I've learned that I went through many things so that I might let others know there is hope.  It isn't me who gives hope: it is Jesus!  It is always my prayer that Jesus will become the absolute and true Hope for those who hurt!

A number of years ago I wrote a poem for a friend.  I made a cross-stitching of the poem and have had it hanging on my walls ever since.  Anyone who visited me could have read it and some did, but I think I've only given a copy of it to one or two people.  However, it's not doing anyone any good by just hanging on my wall.  So after much prayer, I've decided to share this poem with you.  I give God the glory and share this in His love so all I ask is that if you share this poem with another, please include my name as the author and do not use your name or someone else as the author.   

It's always my prayer that you will know that God never fails in His love for us and He doesn't just give hope, He is Hope.  May you be blessed with His love now and forever! 


by Brenda L. Agee©

A breath of hope is all I have to give you as a friend.
No greater gift is mine to give than to tell of peace within.
A breath of hope is all I have to give of God's sweet love,
That when we feel our hope is lost, there's joy in God above.
Days and time don't always end the way that we expect.
Instead of dreams which linger on, there's pain we can't forget.
At times we feel so all alone with disappointment and despair
And then our hearts cry out to God: We go to Him in prayer.

In God's full love His Spirit comes to comfort us with peace
And even though we see Him not, He's there to meet our needs.
He tells the Father of our pain.  He tells of thoughts and tears.
He whispers love within our hearts to let us know He's near.
By this we know the love of God, for us He gave His life.
He feels our every pain and fear and hears us when we cry.
By this we know the peace of God, a promise from long ago,
His Spirit to dwell within our hearts, He is our breath of hope.