Becker Bible Studies Illustrations
Illustrations and life stories reflecting things spoken about in the Word of God
“But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned [them]; And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” (2Ti 3:14-17 AV)
1Samuel_1:27-28 - “For this child I prayed; and the LORD hath given me my petition which I asked of him: Therefore also I have lent him to the LORD; as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the LORD. And he worshipped the LORD there.”
The Testimony of Samuel MarlowAt the end of July, they learned they were going to have a boy. The joy of the blessings from the LORD GOD of their answered prayers, only added to the exhilaration of having a son they had planned for at the beginning of their loving life together.
On that same day in July, they learned that their baby was going to die. Their precious baby, the one given by God to them to represent their love for each other, was growing inside her womb without part of his brain. The doctors and nurses were as gentle as possible under the circumstances, and advised them to terminate the pregnancy to spare them of the grief that would come from a life that was not viable enough to live.
They knew with faith that there was a life given by God inside her womb. They knew with faith he was given life for a purpose that they had no right to take away. They knew they had no choice but to begin a journey that would affect their lives forever, and end that journey at the Will of God, not the will of man.
With the support of fellow faithful and loving family, the dying boy grew inside her womb. Each kick, each hiccup, each movement brought delight to all as they imagined him snuggling deeply into the very soul of each that felt him live. Before he was even born, the love for the child had reached far past the immediate family, as doctors and nurses began loving the creation of God growing inside the womb.
The boy would never take a breath or see the sun. He would never feel the touch of his parents or taste the milk of his mommy’s bosom. He would never feel his father’s hands shaking from holding the tiniest of great blessings from God. He would never feel his sister’s wet kisses cover him with the glee of an eighteen month old Kaetlyn sharing a family moment. He was going to die, the moment he was born, and no medicine or man could prevent what was to come.
The son was sentenced to die......the parents were sentenced to grieve......the sister was sentenced to feeling deep sorrow at an age far too young....and the doctors were sentenced to watching their human efforts fail as the baby reached the point of birth into this life and immediate birth into the after. Labor pains started, family and friends gathered and waited for death to come, as they prayed for strength to endure the loss of a life given in blessing by God.
A miracle of the LORD GOD washed over the room at the moment the child was delivered. Samuel Marlow was born alive. He took a breath, and then another. Joanna held his tiny body to her bosom and cried as he whimpered and relaxed. His daddy’s hands shook as he stroked his son’s body, reaching deep into his soul to give what he could. His little sister stroked his soft hands and greeted him in delight. Family members cried tears of joy, as one after another touched the blessing given by God. They came, one by one, over and over, and rejoiced at the miracle of life given birth that day.
For forty five precious minutes, Samuel Marlow lived. His testimony of God’s great love touched every person who came close to his touch. He lived his life fully, with the light shining brightly, that his Father in Heaven was glorified, and his mommy and daddy on earth were made known as givers of life and testimony.
This is their testimony –
"Life is precious. We would not trade our son’s life and sacred moments with him to spare ourselves of the grief of the last four months. God provides grace for every moment of life, including heart shattering moments that would leave us in the depths of despair if not for Christ’s unfailing love.”
Samuel James Marlow went to be with Jesus at 11 a.m., Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2004.Thank you, Samuel, for your testimony of Life. Thank you Chad and Joanna for your granting of Life. Thank you, dear Lord, for the creation and miracle of the blessed Life of this tiny baby that offers a very bright and shining testimony to the greatness of his Father and his LORD GOD.
David "Bucker" Becker
Isaiah_57:19-21 - “I create the fruit of the lips; Peace, peace to [him that is] far off, and to [him that is] near, saith the LORD; and I will heal him. 20 But the wicked [are] like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. 21 [There is] no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.””
A Child on the HousetopThe little girl was on the housetop of her home. The terrible winds had come first, and destroyed everything in it’s path. She watched as everything familiar, everything comfortable, everything known was blown away in seconds. She saw her Mom weep in despair at the loss of so much…she felt her anger at the change of times…she felt her shame of losing it all…and the little girl vowed to cling tightly to her mommy and remind her that she had not lost everything.
Then the waters came rushing through as the levy broke. She watched as the flood waters descended on her house in a force of wicked fury. She was pummeled back and forth from the vicious waves, and she struggled to keep her breath. Frantically escaping to the only thing above the dirty water, the little girl swam to the stairs, then to the second floor, then out the window and finally to the roof of her house.
She sat alone, with only her spirit of faith intact. The dirty waters surrounded her on all sides. There was death and destruction everywhere she looked. The stench of human waste was overpowering, as it floated by her in clumps past her perch on the housetop. She had no food and she had no clean water, but most sadly, she had no one.
She kept trying to focus through the muck to find her mommy, but her mommy was long gone. She survived for days by grabbing the remnants of food that floated by her, waiting in hope that a boat would come to rescue her. She had seen the boats in the distance, and shouted with the words she knew, but her voice was insignificant over the roar of the waters, deadened by the important lives of others.
The boat never came, and rescue was denied her. She waited on the roof for weeks…alone, cold and hungry...knowing that she was not worthy to have life because the boat stayed away. As the waters of sewage began draining away, she came down from her perch and surveyed her new world.
It was a world without anyone, a life without anything. Everything she had known was gone. Everything she had dreamed was dead. Rescue had not come to her, and she was alone, trying to get her bearings in a changed world where muck and mud covered everything in sight.
One night when life became unbearable in the midst of the scum, she bowed her knees in despair and prayed. Soon a helper came, a person who served Him and who loved her from the start. The helper spoke words of love and faith, and scrubbed the house with soap and disinfectants, and soon the child knew that He had rescued her from a life of dirtiness and promised her a life of clean righteousness from then on. She had a clean home once again, and a safe place to sleep, meat to eat and pure flowing waters of Truth to drink. She knew then that He loved her enough to never let her be alone again, as He held her in His arms through the touch of the helper.
Her life prospered. She was filled with the Spirit and was given the love that had been forbidden her so long ago. Praise God, she lived….Praise God, she loved…Praise God she was…
Her foundation in Christ was solid, and her house grew great in His Works. She learned to walk the steady walk of faith, and everything she touched was cleansed and made whole.
But…something happened recently to cause the girl to remember the horror of the winds and floods of dirty water. She learned of an uncle she loved that had survived the terrible floods of the past. He apparently had a bright and shiny boat in the waters during the storm, and was able to keep himself clean and dry.
As she had struggled to survive on that house top, as she fought hard to stop drowning in the waters of despair, she had always been confident that he would rescue her if he had a way…but he never came. He was busy steering the new and shiny boat to the clean place of deaconed worship, where the dirtiness of life never came. He was serving Him in a life different, never having to face the scum of wickedness, never struggling with the desperation to survive against all odds, never at the focus of evil’s attempts to destroy….
Why not? Why was she on the rooftop, and he in a boat? How separate their lives were in struggle…yet how different their lives could have been, if he had allowed Jesus to steer his new and shiny boat through the dirty sewage of man, to rescue the scared and lonely girl clinging on the roof for her right to survive.
David "Bucker" Becker
Jonah_4:6-11 - “And the LORD God prepared a gourd, and made it to come up over Jonah, that it might be a shadow over his head, to deliver him from his grief. So Jonah was exceeding glad of the gourd. But God prepared a worm when the morning rose the next day, and it smote the gourd that it withered. And it came to pass, when the sun did arise, that God prepared a vehement east wind; and the sun beat upon the head of Jonah, that he fainted, and wished in himself to die, and said, It is better for me to die than to live. And God said to Jonah, Doest thou well to be angry for the gourd? And he said, I do well to be angry, even unto death. Then said the LORD, Thou hast had pity on the gourd, for the which thou hast not laboured, neither madest it grow; which came up in a night, and perished in a night: And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle? (Jonah 4:6-11 AV)”
A sickness of need, a healing of wantFor twenty years she lay in a bed strategically placed in the middle of the living room. Her sons grew up around her reclined pedestal, forging mostly for themselves, and mastering the ability to sneak past her pillow muted ears. Her husband accepted his fate in life, and developed a network of social friends through volunteer work that permitted him the freedom to enjoy life outside the constant demands of a sick wife in a sick house. Her days were filled with thoughts of death and sorrow, mixed with the self indulgent anger of a lonely woman who lost the attention of her world years gone by.
When kindly church people would visit, she would freely speak her faith that one day she would be healed. It bought a hug from the visitors and sometimes resulted in obligating them to come back to encourage her faith. She made her boys surround her bed every once in a while, as she read them about the sick, the weak, the lame, the blind and the deaf in God's Word. They grew to understand that to be religious was to embrace weakness, sickness and death, and they vowed to each other to reject a relationship with God if it was ever offered. The tired husband had long ago given up hope of a gentle touch stroking his grief, and had put his remaining energy in staying away from contact with the germs of her need.
The doctors struggled to classify her illness past unknown cause, and endured her detailed repetitive reports of symptoms with a sense of hidden repulsion for her desperate needs for attention through imagined pain. The boy's friends learned to knock at their window to avoid having to stand in the darkened and damp sick room to entertain her pathetic life with their antics. Even the minister was finally able to free himself from the monthly visit to her side to hear of the newest and neglectful trespasses of her family and friends. She was alone to herself, embittered and angry, depressed and contaminated, sick and dying, and no one in her world cared.
Sickened to death, she prayed to God to heal her life one night, and it suddenly came to be. Waking up in the bright morning, she found that her burden of imagined sickness had been removed, her nature restored, and her spirit revived. She felt no pain or nausea, and she found herself desiring to stand on her feet, in spite of the shameful revelation of her life lived in chosen sickness.
Suddenly horrified, she dropped to her knees and prayed fervently with the intensity of a drowning woman in the midst of a violent storm. "Please God, let me die now, for my life is over". A tremendous grief flooded through her body, and she cried for twenty years lost for an illness that had never been. How could she ever recover from the horrors of a life badly lived? How could she face the scorn of those she knew? How could she stand when she had been flat on her back for so long? How could she endure the pains of life that have been uncovered by His deliverance?
How dare a God of Mercy take her cover of sickness away! To force a life restored to live in a world of sickness....to maintain a walk in the midst of a life of pain.....to strive for balance in a unbalanced place.....to struggle with growth in a dying world.....to spare the cause of her shame and allow the sickness of mankind to touch her being?
And then she cried.
David "Bucker" Becker
Matthew_8:5-10 - “And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him, And saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented. And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him. The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it. When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.”
A Faithful Sapling in a Forest of TreesThe poor man waited too long. In the first hour he was astounded at his weakness, by the sixth hour he could barely hold his head up. Finally relenting to the pressures of his family, he agreed to go only as far as the doctor's office. Emergency rooms were expensive, and he was unable to afford the luxury offered to insurance holders.
They drove as quickly as they could through the winding hills. Finally reaching the sterile offices of the community doctors, he found the strength to walk from the car to the door, and was ready to turn around and forget the whole visit, when the terrible weakness washed over him again. His wife knew what he had not, and a wheelchair was found quickly and placed under him to catch his fall. They wheeled him to the nurses desk, and arranged some paperwork and tried to learn the reason for the visit.
He said the words quietly...“I'm in trouble...please help me now.” When he spoke the message, a wave of fear washed over those gathered around. He was their rock and their fortress, and had never admitted weakness in public. The horror of the situation was not wasted on the granddaughter, who kept whispering to him, over and over ...“It will be all right, Grandpa, Jesus will save you.”
The nurse heard the small girl desperately whispering the words, and alerted to the emergency that was playing out in the waiting room. Quickly jumping to service, she pushed the chair into the first office and shouted out for a doctor. The doctor, a little woman with the timidity of a young girl at the first day of school, examined the man and found the palms of her hands as white as a corpse, recognizing immediately that he was losing massive amounts of blood through a hemorrhage inside him. They tried to lay him down on the table and save his life with the limited amount of emergency equipment at hand in the clinic of bruises, runny noses, and stitches. There was little they could do, and they were fighting a battle with no sword and little hope.
He whispered that he could not hold on much longer. His wife had picked up the whispers of the salvation of Jesus, and together she and little girl shouted in unity their faith in His deliverance, all the time as the chaotic adrenalin of activity permeated throughout the room.
Suddenly, the nurse paused the chaos with an upraised hand, and signaled the doctor to listen to faithful chants of his loved ones. With a knowing look of absolute understanding between the two of them, the doctor reached for the patient's hand and asked if it would be okay if they prayed.
Together, in the bloodied and disarrayed doctors office that was sterile no more, the rich man, his wife and grandchild, doctor, nurse and many bystanders who had gathered to help, joined hands in the small room. The doctor said the words that had been started by the little girl who loved Jesus and her Grandpa very much, and as they prayed, each in the room felt the Mighty Power wash over them. In that very moment, life was given to all who had gathered, as the Spirit spread His Healing over the powerless Faithful.
David "Bucker" Becker
Matthew_10:34-37 - “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.”
A Cedar Tree with many branchesThey loved her once, if the act of loving could be defined as allowing her to serve. She was their “Christian” contact, the one the family went to when a marriage needed arranged hastily, or a death needed buried dramatically. Without her, entrance into the hallowed halls of Church would be denied them. They believed only in their goodness, and could never embrace belief as strongly as they held themselves.
She learned young to serve them well. When they were sick, she nursed them. When they were angry, she took their blame. When they were bored, she took their insults. When they were happy, she took their exclusion. In spite of this, she loved them the way she wanted to be loved, and was allowed in their presence.
She persevered their persecution through her faith in Christ. She believed with all her heart that Jesus loved her enough to cancel out all of the pain she endured. She learned to pray silently, but often, and keep her love for God to herself.
Oh....how they grew to hate her. They watched her fall like common people under the loads of life, then resolutely stand tall again like a Saint as she walked forward in spite of the tribulation. They called her “Fanatical”, and they rolled their eyes upward in feigned holiness when she would dare breathe the same air they did. When their hatred grew stronger than their needs, they dismissed her from their life, and cruelly taunted her for thinking she could ever be a part of them in the first place.
A part of her withered as the realization of the family's rejection played over and over in her mind. The human need for love drives life forward, and the snatching away of love destroys life’s dreams, and her family had used their wickedness well. Her dreams died and her life was shaken, but, her soul remained intact, as she embraced her Jesus tightly so she wouldn’t fall.
He caught her and held her close to his bosom. She was steadfast in her faith and had no need for dreams to cause her to walk forward. She had no choice but to walk forward, because the one she loved was in front of her. Over the years, her strides became purposeful, and she was filled with a joy and peace that was witnessed by all who could see.
The watchers would come to her to find joy, and she would share with anyone wanting to know. One lost soul watched from a distance for months until that perfect moment came, and he could approach her for The Answer. She told him of her Love, and he left her with an intense hope of understanding it perfectly as he contemplated in the quiet of night.
The next day, the letter came. She knew it’s contents when she saw the handwriting. “Your dad was buried yesterday, as if you cared. You and your God have a good life!” She shook with sorrow, and silently said a prayer for strength. Her legs were shaking awkwardly, and she felt the blood draining from her head. Reaching for a chair, she slid into it just as the first tears began dripping like sap from a broken branch....and in the midst of it all.....the lost soul knocked on her door.
He sobbed in her arms, unaware of her pain, as he told her of a life badly lived, with all its problems and sins. He told her that she could never understand the pain he had lived, and asked if he could ever have the joy and peace that was comforting him at that very moment, as she held him in her arms. Brushing her tears aside, she looked at him through the eyes of a Saint, with the peace and joy of the Lord, as she took his hand, and helped him to stand and begin his walk toward the One she loved.
David "Bucker" Becker
Matthew_12:49-50 - Kin of Blood - “And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.”
Kin of BloodShe didn't have to love her.....in fact she didn't even have to talk to her. It was an awkward marriage in a time when divorce was shame, and gaining a first grandchild at the age of lost innocence made things that much more difficult.
The simple life of a simple woman became cluttered with the challenge of meeting expectations of a loving grandmother, while trying to understand why she had been put in that position to start with. They met each other on the night of the wedding, and each examined the other cautiously, behind the uncomfortable performances of mutually awkward acquaintance. She talked briefly with the child that night, and nervously giggled about something that made no sense to either of them. Each thought the other strange, but were drawn to each other in some strange pull that identified shared “things” that neither knew was there.
Those “things” grew to define their life together. She was a strange woman, who had few dreams, fewer expectations and absolutely no understanding of the ways of the polished presentations of others. The things she talked of......her “Grit” magazines, “Upper Room” devotionals, “Paul Harvey” reports and “Shepherd’s Pie” recipe was awkward among the adults, but enchanted the strange girl to no end. Common talk developed between them, about the simple things in life that were right and good and true, and they clung to their stories in shared awkwardness. They never hugged tightly, or whispered promises or declared love, but each depended faithfully on the teary eyed sharings of touching stories that only they seemed to understand.
She took the child to church with her every Sunday she could, and they would sing Praises to the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, in the small church. She never spoke directly with her about religion and faith, but the little girl always knew that the “thing” in her grandma felt the same way the “thing” in her felt when the songs were sung. Then one day, the breath of God blew over both of them on a spring weekend at a revival meeting of Saints.
They shared the precious secret together.....moments before the salvation of the child, the grandma had peeked through the darkness to witness her preparation to meet her Savior. The girl had glanced up from humble prayer, to see tears streaming past the joy filled face of a different woman, and she was moved to respond to the call as a result. At that precise moment, they became true family to each other, forever joined together in a way that no man could part permanently. They were forever changed and confident that the things of God belong to Him and them, and promised to endure forever, unable to be put asunder by any man or law.
Praise God from whom all blessings flow.....Praise Him all creatures here below.....Praise him all ye heavenly hosts......Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen.
David "Bucker" Becker
Matthew_13:3-8 - “And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow; And when he sowed, some [seeds] fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up: Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them: But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.””
Jimbo, A sower of seedIt was probably his knees you noticed first, framed with the plaid polyester shorts, white socks and rubber boots. His eighty year old knees, in his eighty year old body, allowed movement forward even if the sight of them knocking together in motion, and bowing apart at rest caused even the most reserved to catch their laughter quickly before it escaped. He was a character to behold as he wandered the neighborhood, straw hat on his head and staff in his hand, in search of soil for the planting of his tiny seeds.
But first, the hard ground had to be prepared. He was as attentive to his task in the small village as any professional groundskeeper for a stately mansion would be. He would rise with the sun and begin his walk each day at the dumpsters where he would sort through the trash to find the usable stuff that no one had wanted. He would work hard at his search until he found his focuses for the day. A pair of good used work boots, sized 12, would fit the boy next door if he wore a couple of socks, and why not grab that empty coffee can for the screws he saw scattered on the widow's garage floor. Broken broomstick handles were perfect blackberry pickers with a nail in the end, and empty milk jugs, cut just right with a rope attached made reliable buckets for the ripe fruit that could help feed the poor family down the street. That old broken wagon that was rusted with age would bring his childhood memories of summer days directly to the lonely children, and delight them as he had been in days gone by. His day haul secured in the wagon, the bearer of important things prepared to share his wealth.
House by house, he plowed the ground with his gifts. A knock on the door if it was locked, and opened door if it wasn't.....and he would greet the expectant occupants with his gift for the day. "Look at what the Lord has provided for you today. Have I told you about my Jesus?" The people of nature would be embarrassed and quickly move him away from their house. The people of wickedness would shout after him to keep his trash off their property. But the good people of spirit.....the people who's ground had been prepared....received him with joy. The gifts he bore were exactly what they needed to survive another day, to provide another meal, to work another hour, and to play another dusk.
They accepted his gifts with gratefulness and listened respectfully to his words. Tiny seeds of faith and hope of salvation planted deeply in their souls, just waiting for the day when God sent the rain to give them growth. Days work done, the tired old man slept well at night, knowing that His Jesus had another field to plant tomorrow.
David "Bucker" Becker
Matthew_18:18-20 - “Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”
There is loveShe was fourteen years old and already had a tiny life growing inside her womb. It was a different time and a different place, and she was not a bad girl. She was in love with her classmate, and they would be married by the time the summer was ended, before the swell of her tummy was seen, before the talk among the magpies scattered dirt along her path. She promised her mother to keep the secret, to move through the small town with the innocence she possessed just two months earlier.
Church Camp was awkward, but her secret remained safe among the giggling girls that gathered to play. The hot days of Bible Study turned into a life changing call to accept Jesus Christ as Savior on the last night and many girls rushed forward to be counted as His. She held back, feeling the unworthiness of her soul as a result of her careless sin. The leader of worship saw her watching from the shadows with a look of longing, and he went to her with a personal invitation to come as she was to the Lord. That holy night, she accepted Jesus into her life, and the angels in heaven rejoiced that another one of His had surrendered her life to Him.
Just as they had planned, as the end of summer drew near, vows of promise and hope were exchanged by the ones that loved. There was some talk heard amongst the embittered that maybe the wedding was necessary for reasons other than love, but most that witnessed the ceremony saw that the union was meant to be. As the witnesses gathered together in the church reception hall just next door, to receive the marriage in celebration, a still and quiet voice was singing at the altar, a song of devotion to God and her new husband. The crowd hushed and peered through the cracked door as she sang with the truth of her soul of how He had joined them together, and "There is Love". Not a dry eye remained as they quickly closed the doors to their privacy, and prepared for the reception a little wiser to the real marriage that had taken place.
The next week the newlyweds prepared together to enter into their new life as husband and wife at their High School. They hugged tightly with their new school clothes crinkling underneath their nervousness of the moment. First days of school were always tough, and the awkwardness of their reality made it even tougher. He had cleaned their car and buffed it to a shiny glistening the day before, and they bravely jumped into the carriage that would carry them to their tomorrows.
They say that they had only a moment of pain. The drunk ran through the stop sign and plowed into their car head on. They were thrown almost 100 feet into a barbed wire wheat field, and when they found their bodies, they were together, hand in hand.
The funeral was held in the gymnasium as viewers came from farms and towns all over the county. There was the leader of mourners who joyfully announced that the child bride went to Heaven immediately as a result of her walking in faith toward her Savior that past summer, and her blessed husband was in Heaven that day because of her devotion in her sharing faith, and the precious baby was in their arms together as a result of both allowing him life. As they closed the lid on the white gowned, devoted and holy, wife and mother, a still and quiet voice in the midst of the gathered crowd started to sing the song of devotion, that had been sung with such tenderness just the week before......."There is Love."
Wedding Song (There Is Love)
Luke_12:51-53 - “Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division: For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three. The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.”
Please take my hand, mommyLife is tough...each of us bring baggage of wrongs and guilts, offenses and defenses, fears and faults, confusions and pain. Things get complicated by abuses and weaknesses, and wickedness is stirred into the pot by the evil one who wants to destroy the people who the LORD GOD calls His own. Sometimes the intended destruction of a Christian soul becomes so focused by the devil, that those who are used to accomplish his wicked will are left confused and shaken once the battle is over.
I have seen you peeking...we have seen you watching....and I have felt your need to know and to understand the things that must be very confusing to you. Even the most vicious lies die in time, even the most dedicated efforts of destruction are relinquished when the Christian is seen enduring the firey darts.
The battle is over....I have lived in spite of the attempts to destroy us before we reached this place. Now that I am here, alive and walking the walk with our precious Savior...I've got a few things we want to say to you.
I love you with a love that cannot be taken away by wicked acts, words or lies. I have loved you from the beginning, and I love you in spite of distance and time. I have known you from the beginning, and I will know you until the end. You knew a part of me through your songs, and you knew a part of me through yourself. There is still time, but that time is short. You must remember the things that matter most, and forget the things of pride and right. How wonderful it would be if you would finally take my hand and come to the altar, and bend your knee, and accept Jesus Christ as your Savior. The pain and blame would wash away and be replaced with a joy that you have never known, and you would have a part of me that has been withheld. I forgive you. More importantly, you have the opportunity to be forgiven by the LORD GOD, and receive the same inheritance of all of the Faithful of eternal life. Your fears of death would be over...accept Jesus into your heart, declare your faith in his resurrection and forgiveness for your sins, and you will be saved!
NO GRAVE! NO COFFIN! I promised you so many years ago to preserve your wishes at the end. The chasm has prevented my action to ever be able to carry out my promise. I have a better way! Accept Jesus and you will never be placed in a grave or a coffin. You will be victorious over death because He was victorious over death. At the moment of your last breath, you can be received into the Kingdom of Heaven, and given an uncorruptable body and stand in His presence. BUT FIRST, YOU HAVE TO COME TO HIM AND BEND YOUR KNEE!
Remember so many years ago in the little church, filled to the brim with worshippers, when the call came from the altar for families to join hands together and walk to Him together? I waited so long.....I knew you would reject my hand....but I wanted it so badly......I thought that maybe God had brought you to that church just that once so I could stretch my hand out to you and ask you to go to the altar with me. When you pushed my hand aside and angrily refused that walk I pulled my hand back.....but just for a while.
I'm asking...My hand is outstreched one more time.
The joyful faithful are singing their songs of salvation on that hot summer day. Smells of too much perfume and too much sweat are permeating the air, and the fans above are beating a cadance to the shouts of praise. Shoulder to shoulder, the neighbors of old are being moved by the Spirit, as one after another grabs ahold of hands and walks to the altar with their family members, confident that they will be together for eternity in a bond of family that cannot be separated by wickedness or death. Grandma is sitting next to you with tears of pleading and prayer, waiting for your answer. We are holding our breath, waiting once more for you to relinquish yourself, and walk toward Jesus Christ, who died on that cross for you, so you could have this opportunity to receive forgiveness and redemption.
It's time....please take my hand mommy...I'll walk with you to that altar, and I will stand as you kneel before Him and confess your sins and your acceptance of His Way, His Will, and His Walk in the faith of forgiveness and resurrection through Jesus Christ. And then.....when you are a part of the family of God, I will hold you tightly in my arms and we will cry tears of joy together, never to bring up the past again!
David "Bucker" Becker
Luke_17:30-31 - “Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed. In that day, he which shall be upon the housetop, and his stuff in the house, let him not come down to take it away: and he that is in the field, let him likewise not return back.”
Smoking in the FieldHe started smoking for the same reason most do........it made him feel grown up at a time when he had the problems of a grown up. He was no different in his quick addiction to them, nor was he any different in his regret in taking up the habit when he was too young to understand. The difference, between him, and most, is that he enjoyed his cigarettes more than anyone he had ever met.
Sixty times a day and night, rain or shine, good news, bad new, no news.......he'd take a time out for himself and light up. The act itself was practiced so often that he came to depend on the rote motion as a permission to take a breath and relax. Of course, as he took that breath, he could draw in the familiar and comforting taste of one of the few loves he had not lost.
He wrestled often with the judgmental old bittys at church who would look disdainfully at him smoking next to the door of the sanctuary, and tell him that smoking was a sin. He could never figure out where smoking cigarettes was ever spoken of in God's Word, and secretly laughed at their condemning ways. Sometimes he would purposely stand a little closer to that door, and when he would see the ladies coming, he would get a mouthful of that warm, fulfilling smoke and blow it their way as they walked by.
His family told him their worries of his declining health being caused by his cigarettes, and he justified their use by claiming death would come to him quickly without them. To prevent such a tragedy from occurring, he obsessed daily about how many packs were on hand, and worried continuously about where the lighters were hidden throughout his house so he could light up anywhere he wanted. All was good with him, and his character of smoke was what he chose.
Then one night, he had a dream.......
A glorious dream of that wonderful day when soon his Lord Jesus Christ appears in the heavens, and receives his people to him in a rapturous homecoming. The trumpets were sounding, and the glorious sounds of angels singing woke him up in his dream. He jumped to the window, and saw the holy glow of his Savior filling the sky, and he knew without question, that it was the time and cause of all his preparation.
Quickly shouting out to his family, he gathered them with him as they ran out to the field to wait for their turn to join the one they loved. Breathless excitement filled the air, but the quiet awe of the unfolding beauty in the sky kept their faces pointed upward in wonderment. Their souls soared in joy and songs of praise filled their lips as they waited, and waited and waited for their turn to come. His only hope had always been that all his family would be chosen to experience the rapture of his Lord. And here they were, his whole and complete family, holding hands together in the field, looking upward to the heavens and rejoicing that their King had come.
It was the pause of time that complicated things. He realized, after a while, that his and his family's ascension would be a while, as Jesus orderly began raising his people to him. He quickly calculated the time between rapture events, and realized he had just enough time.........dropping the hands of his family gathered in the field........he bolted to the house.......grabbed a special pack of cigarettes placed strategically next to the door for emergencies.......ripped it open.......and struggled as his nervously excited hands lit the comfort of his soul.
At the moment the cigarette glowed with the fire of his desire, he realized with horror, that he had left his Savior, he had left his family, he had left his Kingdom and he had left his faith for the burning ashes of worldly vice.
He screamed in horror, and woke himself up with sobs of regret convulsing throughout his body. On his knees, with the tears of repentance flowing down his cheeks, he gave up his addiction for the love of his Christ.
He never smoked a cigarette again.
David "Bucker" Becker
Romans_5:1-5 - “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.”
Leaving the Mine at the Whistle BlowShe knew that bad things must have happened. When you survive in the hills of West Virginia, you can be certain of three things......coal mines rule your life, poverty rules your character and the little country churches of Jesus rule your spirit. She didn't know much about the nature of this life other than it was always hard, often deadly and sometimes too complicated to understand. Little men would walk into the depths of the hell to cut off a chunk of it to warm their houses, and if they were not too destined, they would return to the hills and the women that loved them, blackened but intact.
Too often the men couldn't leave the hole even when they had crawled out. The constant threat of gas and collapse, the ever present cough and weakness, and the persistent hunger for better things was ever present, and forced them to often wash it all down with drink stronger than the dirty water that flowed from the pit. Invariably, it was the women that suffered the most.....they buried their dead husbands every time the mine whistles blew, and waited silently to hear if this time was for real. When their own walked slowly out from the newest tragedy, they knew that the only consolation would be their bottles, followed by the roughness of drunk mad men beating them, as they tried to fight against the hells of life.
So she knew.....it was her life. She had loved her son's northern wife of Faith as deeply as she could, and to lose her without words, to never see her without a reason, was confusing, but predictable, as all of her life was. Her son wouldn't say much, but she knew. The familiar look on his face was a mirror of all the men's faces on the nights that the whistles blew. So she accepted the acridness of divorce from a marriage gone sour, just as she accepted the resulting rape of innocents each time the mines groaned under the strains from hell.
She continued on and on and on, as women of the hills do. She buried her husband, and knew soon she would be planting her sick daughter, as she felt her own strength to survive wafting from her body as continuously as the coal dust blowing from the mines. She tried to go to that little church and sing the hymns of yesterday and receive the healing of Spirit, but too much life had shadowed the glory of Jesus, and all she could see was the blackened cloud of despair. She desperately prayed one night to free her from the cruel destiny of watching her beloved daughter pass on, and she waited patiently for Jesus to answer her prayers.
It was quiet.....so quiet.....and she was alone and overcome with a fear that she had never had before. What if her faith was not strong enough to face the whistle blow? Panic filled her and she looked for the phone. "I need to see you before I go" she told the woman of God, and began her last journey to prepare her for her life to come.
Heading north past the hills she knew and west across the expanding confusions in her mind, she arrived at the door confident that when she knocked, He would answer. She stayed a week, and she feared no evil, because God was with her. The two embraced and talked as if twenty years and rejection had never separated them in pain. They sang and prayed and laughed and cried.......and not once mentioned the life of nature that had been so unfair to them. As the visit continued, the strength of her soul returned, and the healing hands of her precious Jesus touched her as she knew He would.
The call came in the middle of the night...she was needed back home. Her little body stood fragile in health and solid in faith as she said goodbye for the last time. Through tears of joy, she spoke the last words that would be heard...
“The whistle is blowing....it's time for me to go. I know now from the blessings of our visit what awaits me in Heaven. Thank you my daughter, and Thank You Jesus for showing me the way. In the Sweet, by and by, we shall meet on that beautiful shore...”
David "Bucker" Becker
Romans_10:12-15 - “For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!”
The Cleanest Ears in the GroveThere is one thing that stands out in his mind on that day before he met Jesus for the first time. Nine year old boys think differently than most, so it probably wasn't odd for him to focus on something that might seem a little awkward, and maybe a little too personal, to most. The tall, thin and good dad to his best friend was standing in front of the bathroom mirror with a stick with cotton on it and cleaning his ears. The results of his effort brought forth thick wax plugs that amazed the little boy to no end. He had never seen ears cleaned before because his family were ones who never had the need to hear. Seizing the first opportunity, he found the cotton tipped sticks and went to work. It must have taken an hour to get nine years of caked wax and dirt dislodged, but eventually, the effort was rewarding. Not only had he pulled more gunk from his ear than his friend's dad, but the sounds he heard rushing past his eardrums delighted his soul to no end. Running to his friend, he quickly led him outside to listen to the sounds of Creation like he had never heard them before.
That night, the boys were rushed through the cleanup process, as a change of clothes was put on them quickly to prevent the chaos of too much time stopping the message the dad would deliver. Passing the clean hands, clear ears and clean heart test, they walked into the meeting place together and squirmed continuously as the music started playing. Glaring looks from a lady next to them settled them down for a moment, when to his surprise, his friends dad walked to the front of the people and started talking. He couldn't believe it! This man that had wrestled with them, and had thrown the ball to them, and spit further than any of them, was a preacher man! He started giggling and poking his friend, who hushed him up quickly, when dad looked over them.
He didn't listen much to the preacher speak. The message was spoken for somebody that had done something bad and was going to go to hell. He knew that he hadn't been that bad, or at least been caught at it, and he figured it was just the polite thing to do by not listening to somebody being yelled at. Suddenly....something happened inside the little boy that had never happened before. The Word that the Preacher was speaking was no longer to the bad somebody else, but instead, was being spoken straight to him. The Preachers voice changed into a voice of another, and began to call to the little boy...
"David, you are mine. Come to me." The words were repeating over and over and over through his spotlessly cleaned ears. He felt a rush of joy envelop his little body, and the warm glow of love spreading through his soul. The sounds of the church, the giggles of his friend, the glares of the lady next to him, were dull and far away. All he could feel was the glorious presence of the most loving man he had ever known, and he desperately wanted to be held in his arms and never be put down. David jumped from his seat and bounded quickly forward to come to Jesus, the one who called him. He stood in wonderment at the altar and basked in the joy and glory spreading throughout that little church. Tears of happiness streamed down his face, and all of the years of painful memories dissolved instantly that very moment.
The next day the preacher man asked him if he understood what had happened at the altar last night. He thought hard about his answer, but had no words to explain. The preacher looked deeply at the boy and saw the change. A boy of nature and a son to a family of nature had come to his house for a visit, and in that brief stay, had been dramatically changed to a boy of spirit and a son of God. Concerned that the boy's family might be confused at the change, he drove the boy home to speak with the family.
They gathered in the front room, and as he prayed, the awkward embarrassment of the nature people began stirring in the room. He sat down with them and tried to explain the difference in their son, and assure them that he had made the choice for himself to walk with Jesus when he was called. The steely glare of the mother, and the hardened stance of the father left no doubt in the preacher's mind that he should not have come. He glanced furtively over into the corner of the darkened house of nature, and his eyes became riveted to the little boy who would be punished severely for the walk he had taken. The boy met his eyes with the peace of one who was saved, the joy of one who was loved and the pride of one who was chosen to come, and for an instant, the boy's gaze changed into the eyes of another, and the preacher saw His Savior.
David "Bucker" Becker
1Corinthians_13:10-13 - “But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.”
A Game of Black and WhiteAs unbelievable as it sounds, when he was a boy, he had no idea that there were different colors of people. He grew up to the sixth grade completely free of the "judgment according to pigment" that is so prevalent in the world. His white only, small farming community, looked no differently than the bigger town twenty miles away where they would go for groceries. All the people looked the same, acted the same and worshipped the same, and it would never enter into his mind that things were different. He was innocent and free of the racist hatreds of others because it was never an issue for him. He was a farm boy in a small town, where conflict of color didn't touch him.....until....
The death of a king. The somberness that Mr. Stamps displayed as he announced to the class that they would be walking to his home to watch the dead king's funeral on his television during class time. No permits, no plans, no parents informed, they proceeded in hushed whispers in a straight and quiet line to their teachers home, that strained to contain the solemn class. He positioned each of them tightly together so all had clear view of the console black and white TV that sat before them. The horrific pictures replayed over and over, black men standing on the porch pointing in the direction of an evil white man, as the body of a black king lay lifeless and frozen. Then the procession started, and the thousands of mourners crying for the horrible loss of a good man of God, shot down by an evil white man of the world, for the Kingdom that he belonged. He made his first shaky step of a righteous boy, as he sensed the issues were not of simple black vs. white, but of the struggles between the good vs. evil, a subject he was quite familiar with in his young life. He made his first judgment that day, and chose to judge both the king and the assassin by the content of their character, rather than by the color of their skin, until...
The town baseball league had started as an idea for fun that grew to serious state championship play with the big cities that many of them had never even seen. He had practiced all of his childhood to shine at this moment, and as the National Anthem was playing, he examined the opposing team. His coach had warned them that the team to beat was the team of blacks. He cautioned them sternly to avoid making any racist marks or gestures that could escalate the tensions that had formed as a result of the hateful times. By the end of the third inning, it was apparent that he would be a part of the losing team. So fearful of angering the blacks, the white country boys kept quiet and distant from all emotion. A baseball game without feelings is like Christmas without gifts....it was eerily empty, and a sure way of losing the game. He thought about it for one complete inning, and decided that the black boys were no different from the white boys.....and if it was okay to chatter and talk the talk of baseball when they were batting, then it was perfectly okay for his side to chatter also.
He nervously shouted "Hey ... batter .... batter....batter and the first struck out. The second took the plate and glared at him. Hey .... batter .... batter .... batter.. SWING! Another strike out, and the black boy angrily threw his bat down and glared at the shortstop who dared speak during his at bat. The third took his position and pointed his bat in his direction in a threatening motion. He was not fearful, because this was the game of baseball he knew, the way he had been taught to play during his summers of youth. "Hey .... batter .... batter .... batter... SWING!" and the big and burly batter did just that by running full bore into the chattering shortstop and swung his bat right into his head.
Both benches cleared.....the black side running into the field....the white side running to their cars to make their getaway. He was jostled and beaten for a while, until a group of sheriffs formed a protective ring around him and escorted him and the only coach that remained out of the county, with warnings to get home quick without stopping for the riot that was sure to follow. Arriving back home, his team was angry with him for involving them in a dangerous situation, and he was given the remainder of the season off for reflection on his behavior. He used the time well and decided that since he had done nothing wrong, that the boys on that one team must have been looking for a fight from the start. The righteous boy decided the team was wrong for their actions, and decided that their colored skin could not have caused the hatred the baseball game evoked. He judged them by the content of their character, rather than by the color of their skin, until...
They put him in a dormitory filled with all blacks as a joke.....they called it an experiment in reverse racism and acted intellectually stimulated by the results as he was beaten daily by angry black men who aggressively attacked their only target without witness. He struggled to understand their ways, as he wrestled with the differences of good and black and white and evil and all that he had grown to know. He bravely stood his ground, and kept as upright as he could in the nightmare of racism, and eventually they grew bored and left him alone. But his mind did not rest, as he considered the cause of hatred that had blunted his existence, and he determined from that moment on, he would judge men by the color of their skin, because that determined the content of their character, until......
He lay on his back on the hospital gurney, bleeding profusely from the wounds of a broken body. He knew it might be his time to Passover, and he whispered to the nurse for a man of God to come. The first thing he saw was the dark black pigment of his skin, and he cowered under his blankets, preparing for the hatred to hit him one last time before he died.
Why did it have to be this way, Lord? Why weren't his last breaths filled with the goodness of life rather than the hatred to death. Why did this white farm boy have to endure so much when the life of race was not his to run?
The black man of God, reached out in love to him, and grasped his hands within his. The wounded man slowly drew a breath and tried to stop the shaking, as he prepared to be hurt, as he had been hurt so many times of past.
The very black man stared deep into his eyes, and for a moment, a very long moment, the eyes of his Savior stared back with the depth of love that left no doubt. The white country boy, understood, at that very instant, that color of skin mattered not, and even content of character could change with the times........but the eyes of those with the Truth of God, reflect the faith, hope and love of all who dare see.
David "Bucker" Becker
1John_2:8-12 - “Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in him and in you: because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth. He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now. He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him. But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes. I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name’s sake.”
For the Love of a BrotherShe had listened to her mother and stepdad argue in whispers downstairs. It was uncommon to hear them fight, but tensions were running high because she and her brother had fought each other all day. Her mother had told her that if they didn't straighten up, the stepdad would leave her as quickly as their father had. She knew that her arguments with her brother were wrong, but she was struggling for any type of attention from a mother she loved deeply, and would fight even her six year old brother if it would bring favorable results. She was nine years old, though, so she didn't think it out that far. In her own mind, her brother was placed on this earth to make her life as miserable as he could, so she could in turn do the same to him. In fact, since the marriage of her mom and stepdad, she had been struggling with her brother continuously, and their fights had escalated from stinging words to sticks and stones, resulting in deep bruises in both their bodies and souls.
She tried to stay awake to hear the outcome of her parent's dilemma, but the roughness of day caused her to quickly succumb to the peacefulness of her dreams. Suddenly, she was shaken awake by her mother, and instructed to get dressed quickly, because the stepdad wanted to go check some fish lines he had put in a creek the week before and he needed her and brother's help. She told her mother that she was tired, and didn't want to go, but the mother was insistent with a hardness she had never seen. Quickly pulling on her clothes, she looked out her window to see if dawn were near, but found just darkness everywhere she looked. Puzzled at the strangeness of events, she tried to question, but her mother was angry with her far more than before she had slept.
They climbed in the pickup where he sat waiting impatiently. She tried to make talk with him, but he would say nothing. Two miles later they came to a small road bridge, where the sound of water running could be heard. The dad pulled his pickup behind some brush at the side of the road, and he gruffly told them to hurry up and follow him as he checked his fish lines for the fish. He plunged headlong into the brush and briars at the edge of the swollen creek. The pitch darkness of the evil night covered him completely, and she struggled to stay focused on his position. Her brother began to cry in fear, yet her stepdad continued plunging on and on through the brambles on the edge of tragedy. She was faced with a terrible dilemma. If she stayed caught up with the stepdad at his quick and angry pace, she would lose her brother. If she stayed with her brother, she would lose her way.
The small boy cried out, and she went to him. Already bleeding from the wounds of jagged thorns, she comforted him quietly and waited for her stepdad's heavy footsteps to give hint to the direction she should go. Movement had stopped completely, and she hushed her brothers cry with her hands, intuitively sensing that danger was lurking around them. They waited together, hand in hand, for what seemed like hours, when his footsteps came close. He shouted out their names, and she called out to him that they were okay. His angry voice shouted for them to keep up, and they struggled to go after him. The darkness enveloped them completely, and they continually fell against the rocks and edges of the water. At one place, the ground opened up, and both children fell into the creek, but she was able to pull them up by the branch of an overhanging crabapple tree, as she clung to her brother in desperation to keep him close to her.
The stepdad became more angry the further into the darkness he plunged. He kept hollering for them to keep up, and she struggled as much as she could, but they kept falling and bleeding and crying, and they could not travel his way. She was frantically pulling her brother up from yet another fall, when she saw a dim light shinning through the blackness of night. Thinking it was his flashlight, she led her brother to it's place, and found a wheat field bordering the thick foliage and brambles of the creek that snaked through. A presence of warmth and light directed them to a soft place where they sat among the waves of grain, protected and hidden from the dangers that lurked so near. They clung to each other in comfort, as his words became vivid and vulgar, shouting out to them to keep up, and then waiting to hear their answers. They would not come.
They heard his pickup drive off, and the panic of never seeing her mommy was stronger than the fear of facing his wrath. They began their walk, toward the only place they knew, the place of hidden secrets and cruel natures, in the darkness of night, all the time joyful, for the little light that was continually shining on the narrow path to her real home.
David "Bucker" Becker
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