Today I have been praying for many people, my sister Deb who lost her Mother-in-Law back in Feb. Mary Rogers became like a Mom to Deb after our Mom passed away nearly 20 years ago. To my very good friends who are in the midst of doing taxes for others right now, Lew Wallach, Cathy and Ernie Beleanger, praying for you all during this time! My brother Craig Price, who used to be CPA, would sleep at his office during tax season on some nights! I also called my 93 year old Uncle Bob in Upland, California this morning, getting harder for him to hear…….time flies the older you get…..praying for Shirley Boone as she sit’s by her husbands bedside, Marv, my dear friend who is on his death bed. I am in tears as I write this, because I do not see this world we live in valuing life. I posted a story at FGGAM.ORG this morning about a Jesuit Priest who was murdered in Syria.
I struggle with a world that stands by and let’s the killing of women and children and Daddy’s go on in Syria and other parts of the world, like Sudan. Also praying for my friend Angelo Winfield and family as his Mother has cancer and is under hospice care.
Please keep all in your prayers.
Seven Perfect Words………….
In Gethsemane, Jesus is locked in combat with a human desire we all recognize: to avoid pain, to hold onto life, to win against death. In these dark night hours, Jesus’s flesh and feelings are at war. “If it is possible…,” he groans.
Do you see what is at stake for us in that struggle? If Jesus’s human desire does not lose, we will never win. If He doesn’t suffer this temptation, we will never be able to overcome when we are tempted.
Until Gethsemane, Jesus’s life has been one continual yes to the Father. And that doesn’t change this night in the garden. The only begotten Son is on a mission of love and the Father’s desire is for Jesus to finish the work He has been sent to do.
Where does Jesus find the strength to overcome? I find the answer in seven perfect words in Luke 22:42…..
Not my will, but thine, be done.
At Gethsemane, although Satan has done his best to confuse and deceive Him, Jesus chooses painful obedience. If choice is one side of the coin in overcoming temptation, then cost is the other.
Not my will, but thine, be done.
He is willing to lose all so that we can win all.
Michael Card in ‘A Violent Grace’
Very powerful, very moving, do you agree?
I pray that we never forget those seven perfect words, I pray everyday that they are on the tip of our tongue.
We fight that human desire everyday don’t we….
We are at war with the flesh……..is your life one continual YES TO GOD?
WOW! Think of life as one continual YES TO GOD!
We sure try and avoid pain and death don’t we……….
Satan tried to confuse and deceive Jesus, He chose painful obedience…….
What is your hourly choice?
Are you prepared for one of those middle of the night phone call’s out of the blue. How do you prepare for that 6am phone call I got from my brother on April 19th, 1992 Easter morning that our Dad had died suddenly of a heart attack? Can you prepare for those calls at all? How do you prepare for that call that your family member was just in a bad car wreck at 3am? or how about a call that your son has been arrested?
We are so very blessed here at FGGAM by this real life story by Shonda Savage. I say blessed, because we are blessed by her sharing the heartache and the victories of her family. This is real life. It takes a very strong person of God to share what Shonda shares. She shares because God has told her to do so, to help others. Some ‘talk it’, but Shonda and her husband Eldon and son Stephen put it out there for God’s people. I believe a book and movie will come out of this for God’s Glory Alone! God has shown me a book and movie for this family as a testimony!
Let me turn this over to Shonda………..
I’ve prayed God’s word for many years now and I’ve seen God do amazing things.
Stephen in Cameroon
When my oldest son, Stephen, was sixteen, we went on a short-term missions trip to Cameroon, Africa, together. While there, I saw the call of God on his life to minister the Word. But after we returned from Africa, Stephen began to turn away from the things of God and he began his prodigal journey.
Though I had concern, okay I’ll be honest—though I worried about him, I thought he would experience some trouble like most of us have. I figured he would go through the “I want to party and be irresponsible phase” and then eventually come to his senses like the boy in Luke 15.
I even had other people tell me, “Don’t worry Momma; he’ll be okay.” My friends with adult children went through similar experiences with their sons and daughters, and their kids finally got realistic and turned into productive members of society. I believed that would happen for Stephen.
As a mother, I prayed regularly for my son. After writing a Bible Study on Hosea, I came across a Scripture that I prayed specifically for Stephen. I prayed Hosea 2:6 which reads:
“Therefore I will hedge up her way with thorns, and I will build a wall against her, so that she cannot find her paths” (ESV).
A hedge is like a fence. It can be used to keep out things you don’t want in or to keep things in, which you don’t want to let out. In the above passage, God blocked Gomer, who was Hosea’s adulteress wife, from pursuing her own wicked desires.
God answered, however, in a way I least expected.
Stephen began drifting off. Though he drank and dabbled with drugs, he had never had a DWI, or any drug related charges.
But when we received the middle of the night phone callthat he had been arrested, my mind could not conceive it. That was not who my son was or who he is. I never imagined him capable of doing such a horrible thing.
Struck hard by this tragedy, I became filled with brokenness and heartache for the losses that happened to the victims and their families. And at the sense of loss of all the potential I knew that was in my son to live a productive life.
At that moment in time, I had to make a choice —
believe God or turn away from Him.
In John 6, Jesus taught some hard teaching that many people of his time couldn’t understand so they deserted him. Jesus asked his closest disciples, “Are you going to leave me too? Simon Peter replied, ‘Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words that give eternal life’” (John 6:68).
I knew in my heart that there was no where else to turn.
God was and is all I have to hold onto. Apart from Him there is NO LIFE!
Nine months after that tragic night and after the middle of the night phone call, Stephen was convicted and sentenced to twenty years in state prison by jury.
So it seemed that God was not answering my prayer for my prodigal son to return home — to return to the God of his youth.
Stephen in TDCJ library
However, after Stephen’s conviction, the Lord showed me He did answer my prayer. He reminded me of how I prayed Hosea 2:6 and God literally “fenced” or “hedged” in my son by placing him in prison.
In a prison cell, Stephen repented and returned to the Lord. He began witnessing to those around him and has led other inmates to Christ. (I shared this Easter salvation testimony last year — Rejoice Over One.) Stephen has planted the word of God in men who will other wise never hear the gospel because in prison, church is optional and even if you choose to go, there are only so many seats available and it’s a first come first serve by dorm.
In the midst of my worst nightmare, I continue to chose to believe God. I decided to stand on God’s word because He loves my son more than I do.
I truly believe that if God had not “hedged” my son in and he had been released or used as a witness instead of being convicted as an accessory, he would not have turned away from the lifestyle he was delving into. And to confirm that, I recently received a letter and this is what Stephen wrote:
“I’m sure God spared me from a lot! Speaking of addictions and what not. If God had not pulled me away from that lifestyle, I would most likely gone even further down hill. I probably would have become addicted to drugs and only gotten worse. So I thank God He saved me.”
So my friends, see our prayers are powerful. God answers our prayers, but not always like we expect. We must trust that God knows what is best for us and our loved ones even when we do not understand.
Stephen shares the love of Christ deep inside the prison walls — his assigned mission field at this time. Stephen serves in places that prison ministries cannot reach as those ministries are limited. Attending church services and weekly classes are optional for qualified inmates. Not all inmates are qualified to attend based on their behavior status.
Because of where Stephen is serving, I ask you to pray for him that he will be a light of Jesus our Savior to men that many have rejected and forgotten about. I also ask you to pray for his protection and safe keeping.
“Remember those in prison, as if you were there yourself” (Hebrews 13:3 NLT).
And finally, if you have a loved one doing time, I’d love to pray for you. The family here at FGGAM would love to pray for you. You are not alone. Please leave your prayer requests in the comments and I (and/or others from FGGAM) will respond in the comments with a prayer for you.
Thank you so much for blessing so many with this story Shonda, Eldon and Stephen. We love you all!
Let us be in constant prayer for Stephen, Shonda, Eldon and the entire family.
For Gods Glory Alone in the love of our Lord Jesus Christ, Dewey, Sharon and Family and all at FGGAM!
Let us keep praying for each other and our families