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Archive for July, 2020

THE JOURNEY HOME

There was bad blood between the brothers—even in the womb. But after forty years he was going home.

Life and God had changed him, but Jacob knew there was still one wrong he had to repair. It might cost his life—but the issues had to be settled.

Ever been there?

That night before the giant step forward? That night where you like Jacob wrestled with God? That night when God changed your life forever—just like Jacob?

I’ve had three of those nights. Nights of tossing and turning. Crying out to God in fear and despair. Nights that seemed endless, screaming I would not survive. Bone breaking, spirit jarring, honest reality nights that leave you… wrung out. Yes, or maybe convinced your life isn’t over and God truly hears your cries.

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The first date I can’t define more clearly than the mid ‘80’s. Dick’s first heart attack. The doctor was scheduled to do a procedure the next morning and I was beyond terrified—frightened beyond my ability to give one hopeful thought to the future. We had young teens and finances were tight with both of us working. The thought of being a widow was horrifying. I cried out to God and finally drifted into what could have been a fitful sleep…but angels comforted my heart and mind. Beautiful, powerful angels, singing melodies of comfort and praise as they swirled around me. I awoke with a covering of peace and assurance.

The procedure went well and Dick’s health was restored—but I’ve never forgotten the presence of those mighty angels ministering to me through that night…so real I can still close my eyes and see them.

The second date is forever etched in my mind—the second Sunday in January of l989. Our marriage was in trouble and I was ready to throw my hands up and quit. Our lives were full of rebellion to God. I threw off the covers and in my most “holier-than-thou” voice snarled, “Well you can lay there if you want, I’m going to church!” I cringe even remembering my words and the tone of them. It’s a wonder God didn’t strike me dead that instant.

“Well, if you’ll wait, I’ll go with you.” Dick’s quiet voice, as I think about it now, maybe sounded relieved.

We arrived at the church in Spring, Texas, to find they were beginning a revival. No Sunday School that morning, everyone gathered in the sanctuary to hear the visiting pastor who addressed the wives in the opening paragraphs of his message…again words etched in my mind these thirty-five-ish years later… “Wives, do you leave scripture verses taped to your husband’s side of the bathroom mirror?” Had my humor been better, I might have poked Dick in the ribs…but it was too close to the truth. “Rather than playing the sanctimonious wife who does more damage than good (ouch)…you need to be quiet and duck, so God can hit your husband with the bullets.”
Then he talked about how God instructed wives to behave…and he quoted a verse I’d never heard.

“In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior”
(1 Peter 2:1-2 NAS).

I’d been in church all my life, but this verse smacked me square in my heart, my mind, and my behavior. I was guilty as charged. God’s Spirit warred with the me I’d become. The me who picked and chose which words from the Word I tried to use to slay the demons in my husband’s life. But this morning I heard my husband wasn’t my problem—I was the problem.

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That Sunday night was the longest night of my life as God’s Spirit drilled through the layers of church-e-ness to the truth—God’s truth—and I wrestled with the deliberate sins in my life. I had walked the aisle and been baptized as a 12-year-old, memorized tons of scripture, and had grown into a woman who attempted to walk in both worlds…God’s world and the world of my own choosing. The voice in my spirit was rage, not grace. I was lost as a goose.

Monday evening both Dick and I were anxious to be on time for the revival service. During the message, as a confirmation, I had what could only be described as a vision—I saw Jesus standing on the shore with some of his disciples. They were far away but I knew it was Jesus. He turned and stretched out His arms to me and when the invitation was given, I raced to the altar and chose to give everything in me to Jesus…the good, the bad, and the very ugly. And true to God’s promise, when we surrender to His will, Jesus’ blood washes away every sin we ever have or will commit

Again, true to His promise, God completely transformed my life, Dick’s life, our home, and our eternity.

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The third night of wrestling came August 22, 2019, after my husband died suddenly that day…after forty-three years of marriage. I didn’t know what to do. I thought my life was over. I didn’t know which way to turn. All I could do was cry out to Jesus and cling to His Word. And almost a year later, I’m still crying out to my Lord every day. And every day He carries me through the problem’s widowhood creates.

Three nights—years apart—of wrestling with God. All three leaving me seriously exhausted, but also permanently and forever changed.

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“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren, and whom He predestined, these He also called, and whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? (Romans 8:28-31 NAS).

I am learning that in order to return home, to abide in God’s forever peace, that wrenching away of guilt, heartaches, and habits must be dealt a debilitating blow. And that wrestling takes a life altering, priority amending, directionally changing moment for each one of us…and likely many more than one.

Just like Jacob’s first meeting with Esau after that family blow-up forty years prior, the thing that ripped their dysfunctional family apart had to be dealt with. And God guided the process with Jacob, just like He has and will guide and guard the process with you and me.

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Wrestling with sin and shame and forgiveness is a life-long, necessary process that brings repentance and ultimate surrender to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. And this is an enormous problem in the church today. God’s people—many of them—refuse to wrestle with their own sin. Or to even acknowledge they still sin. That’s why our nation is in the mess we’re in. Christians refusing to entertain the reality that our salvation is a three-staged process:

We have been saved – washed in the blood of Jesus
We are being saved – sanctified and purified by the truth of The Word
We will be saved – eternally with Him in the Kingdom

Not one step in this process can be by-passed…else we find ourselves living a lie. Every Word in the Word is truth. But we have a generation of church members who are illiterate concerning the Word of God. I’m concerned the church is about to pay an enormous price for it’s ignorance and ignoring of the complete Truths of God’s Word. We don’t get to pick and choose…regardless what some false prophets in every denomination are saying each Sunday.

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Jacob left that night of wrestling with God with a permanently damaged hip joint that left him walking with a limp. Perhaps, like me, your damage lies in a broken, bruised, and humbled spirit—a spirit drained of pride and arrogance that must be eradicated else it will destroy our lives and our witness. I don’t know, but God does.

One thing I’m learning, whatever God uses to bring change into my life and yours will ultimately be for our good and His glory…regardless of the pain and disability we incur. After wrestling and pressing God always blesses—when we obey Him.
So, don’t be afraid or negligent about those nights of wrestling on the journey home. Like Jacob—repent, relinquish, and return to the Father. His arms are out-stretched and waiting to heal you, welcome and bless you—now and forever!


We never know what affect our words will have in the lives of others—have you had any of these wrestling matches with your Father in Heaven? What have you learned about Him in the process? And what have you learned about yourself?

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https://amazon.com/DiAne-Gates/e/B01MXYR4AS

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After years in the process…years of learning to write…Book Two of this five book series releases. And you can go to http://www.amazon.com, click on books, then type in DiAne Gates, “The Master’s Plan Revealed Through God’s Word.” Or the ASIN: B08C7HS8SR.

If you are parents who think you don’t know enough about the Bible to teach it to your kiddos, this is the book for you. A series of colorful pictures that help convey the message “Jesus Loves You.”

TheMaster'sPlan Book Two

It’s difficult to teach what you don’t know, but teaching time with kiddos is short. And it’s apparent by the current news events we have failed at least one and maybe two generations of our children by not teaching them the relevance of God’s Word today!

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This series is written in language your child and you can understand. There are questions after each days lesson, but don’t fear…I’ve written a section at the end of the book to include all the answers.

I hope you’ll go to the Amazon site and either order a book for your family or if you’re grandparents, they make wonderful gifts. And BTW, I’d love to hear what you think of these two. Book Three should be out in about six months. It’s a WIP (work in progress for those of you who aren’t writers.) And the illustrations are captured from my own children and grandchildren as well as others we’ve known through the years!

TheMaster'sPlan2_CoverPrint copy Book 2

I’ve scattered a few drawings here to entice you! Have a blessed and marvelous 4th of July…celebrate AMERICA!!!!

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