Pickle Heaven Press-James R. Johnson

something to help you laugh and think about life with Christ

P.O.W.s & Prayer — March 29, 2023

P.O.W.s & Prayer

Obligatory prayers!  That’s what they were – so I prayed them each night with frightening speed. There was the Our Father and so on followed by, “God bless Mommy, Daddy, Jimmy, Sandy, Dougie, Carol, Mark, Grandmas and Grandpas and everyone I love.”  Oh, and then the grand finale, “and God make me a good boy – Amen.”  

OK – He is still working on that last request.

I’m not sure I really understood the practice of prayer back then, but I recently read a story from the book, “The Greatest Generation” by Tom Brokaw, that has helped me out.

At the height of WWII, American P.O.W.s were loaded into boxcars in northern Germany.  American fighter planes unexpectedly pierced the sky and began to strafe what they believed to be a German supply train.

One courageous G.I. pried open the doors of the boxcars.  The soldiers scrambled out looking for cover but found none.  One ingenious soldier rapidly organized and positioned the men to form a large human billboard that could be read from above.  It said, “USA POWS.” The pilots broke off the attack and then waggled their wings to indicate that they got the message.

Perfect! They banded together in their crisis to send a message to the heavens.  Message received.  Sounds like prayer to me!

It was Jesus who said, “Again, I tell you the truth, if two of you on earth agree about whatever you ask, my Father in heaven will do it for you.” – Matthew 18:19

The context for this is laid out in Matthew 18:15-18 where Jesus instructed the church on how to deal with congregants who choose sin.  A church needs wisdom from above for such matters for sure.  But then Jesus went on to broaden the context when He used the words, “whatever you ask.”    

He prefaced His message by saying, “Hey I am speaking truth here.”  And the truth is this, when two or more gather for the purpose of prayer, and are in agreement as to what they pray, then the Father in heaven obligates Himself to answer that prayer. 

So, does this mean that the prayers of an individual are not as important to God?  Not at all.    But there are benefits in praying together that help to conform our prayers so that they better reflect the will of God.

The key is in “agreeing” on what is prayed.  When I pray alone, I can be shortsighted or ignorant of necessary information.  I may even be selfish or blinded by a personal agenda.  Such things compromise my prayer.

But when my wife prays with me it tends to expose the imperfections in my prayer and brings a sound balance.  When my friends join in, the refining is even greater.

When I pray with others in unity, we collectively end up with a plea having the characteristics of true and effective prayer – a prayer marked by humility, sincerity and submitted to the will of God.  The very kind of prayer God is eager to answer. 

Elsewhere Jesus said, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened for you. – Matthew 7:7

Each verb – ask, seek, knock – all are plural.  These are activities that the group was to do. The word “you” is also plural in the Greek.  Jesus had a group in mind when He gave these instructions on prayer.

Certainly, personal prayer is important, but banding together for prayer is essential. Like the POWs together we spell out the message, “God help us.”  

Famous evangelist C. H. Spurgeon was taking visitors through the meeting hall where tens of thousands had been converted.  He said, “Come, and I’ll show you the heating apparatus.” They were quite surprised when he opened the door to a room where four hundred were gathered to pray. 

We need a full-fledged revival in this land.  Agreed?  Let’s band together and lift our message to heaven.

A PRAYER: Lord Jesus I pray – I mean – we pray for such a revival.

This has been Jim Johnson and pickleheavenpress.com

May the grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.

Scripture passages from the NETBible ®

taxi — March 22, 2023


In the beginning – there was just the taxi until Uber and Lyft came along.   The taxi took its name from an invention by Wilhelm Bruhn in 1891.  He called his device a taximeter and it was designed to measure and record the distance traveled.

In my youth, I aspired to be a taxi driver.  I got my license and a job and was ready to go.  I assumed I would be paid by the hour, so I was surprised to find that I had to lease the cab each day, and pay a per mile fee, and cover tolls and airport fees and then purchase the gasoline from the overpriced company pump. 

On Monday and Tuesday, I took home about $20 each day.  Wednesday, I barely broke even.  Thursday, I owed the company money after working a 12-hour shift.  Friday, I quit!  I am not the brightest, but I believe a person is supposed to earn money when they work. 

But my week was not a total waste.  The people I met were amazing.  I transported a brainy nuclear physicist with a Ph.D. to his workplace.  Then there was the lady who would not get out of my cab until she got me to trust Jesus (even though I was already saved). 

I picked up a fare at 6 a.m. – a man in an expensive business suit.  He was headed to a downtown office tower, but not until I dropped him off at a downtown bar where he sipped his liquid courage.  And then there was the prostitute who wanted to trade her services for the ride.  No deal!  

I transported about 40 surprisingly different people in those four days – and yet they all had one thing in common.  They all needed a ride.  The rich, the poor, the pious and the reprobate.  Some were highly educated, others just barely. Men and women of every color, speaking multiple tongues and they all needed me to give them a ride. 

That so much reminds me of the Gospel. 

Wasn’t it Paul who wrote, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”  –  Romans 10:9   Our desired destination is to be with the saved in heaven.

To get there we need to hitch a ride with Jesus.  His words are more obvious than a yellow cab.  He said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”  – John 14:6

To “confess,” is to agree with God concerning the person and the work of Jesus and to take your stand there.  To “believe in your heart” is to fully embrace the jarring truth that Jesus was crucified, died, was buried and then rose again.   

And who is welcome to come aboard?  Any and everyone according to Paul.  Later in that Romans passage he wrote, “For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”  – Romans 10:13.   The door is open to all – the physicist, the moral soulwinner, the imbibing businessman, the prostitute and even you and me.  

We enter as broken sinners and emerge as new people with powerful spiritual potential.  But the best part about this deal is that Jesus pays the fare. 

Revelation 1:5 says, He “has set us free from our sins at the cost of his own blood.”   “At the cost of His own blood!”  Jesus shed His blood on a cross so that we would not have to.

So, keep your cash, put away that debit card, and don’t even try to barter or trade your services for His gift.  Because Jesus paid it all!  Confess Him as Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead and you too will be saved.

A PRAYER: Lord this is a very old message, but it blows like a fresh breeze on my soul every time I hear it. 

This has been Jim Johnson and pickleheavenpress.com

May the grace of our Lord Jesus be with you

Scripture references are from the NETBible ®

*Taxi Picture by Peter Milosevic from Wikipedia.com

the punching bag — March 15, 2023

the punching bag

Some people enjoy working out with a punching bag.  I don’t – because sometimes I am that punching bag – emotionally speaking that is.

The punching bag at the gym is filled with grain, sand, or maybe a collection of old unmatched socks.  It is durable, able to take repeated and constant use without breaking.   The best ones are covered with a thick leather skin. It also brings enormous health benefits to the user.

But most importantly it does not punch back.

So how does this translate to life? 

There was a friend whose expectations for me were greater than what I could deliver.  It frustrated her and she let me know.  Ouch I just got hit with an emotional uppercut.

She was a friend that I loved –someone that I just could not walk away from. So, I tried to take responsibility for any failure on my part.  But the discussion itself generated more offense.  Whoa!  I did not see that hook coming. 

From then on, she would leverage a jab of criticism whenever she could.  She wanted a punching bag more than a relationship.

I found great support in 1 Peter where he described how Jesus responded to such people. “He committed no sin nor was deceit found in his mouth. When he was maligned, he did not answer back; when he suffered, he threatened no retaliation.”  (2:22-23a)

Jesus unjustly suffered at the hands of many.  He did not cry out in protest.  He quietly took whatever they dished out with a leather like skin and a commitment to not strike back. 

So, what was He thinking that enabled Him to endure such injustice?  Peter said, “but (He) committed himself to God who judges justly.”  (2:23b)

He knew that God, the righteous judge, would one day mete out justice.  He would address every undeserved hurt delivered by His foes.  Jesus believed that truth and therefore placed Himself in the hands of the Father.  (Luke 23:46)

Ironically, much like the bag at the gym, Jesus brought benefit to those who abused Him.  Peter went on to say, “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we may cease from sinning and live for righteousness. By his wounds you were healed.”    (2:24)

His abusers eventually came to see that Jesus suffered by them, but also for them. He faced their wrath so that they would not have to face God’s. Their anger at Him was dissipated by His willingness to suffer for them. They came to Jesus and by His wounds they were healed.

Jesus endured what His erring ones inflicted to win their hearts.   He calls us to do the same.   

Peter prefaced his teaching by saying, “For to this you were called, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving an example for you to follow in his steps.”  (2:21)

Paul put it another way, “Bless those who persecute you, bless and do not curse.” – Romans 12:14

Both apostles echoed the words of Jesus who said, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.”  Luke 6:27-28

BUT “wait” you say! “My spouse literally punches me!”   Well, there were times when Jesus was physically threatened, and He did what was appropriate to protect Himself. (John 10:39) until the day He faced the cross.

So, if you are in physical danger, the Lord would encourage you to seek out the help and advice of your pastor or a counselor. 

As for me, I plan to enjoy the many wonderful relationships I have in my life, but for those that are not so wonderful, I will hang tough until my steadfast love and God’s grace melts their hearts.

A PRAYER: Lord, if I must, help me endure the worst to be able to see the best in others.

May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

Scripture references are from the NET Bible ®

Tetelestai: New Man Now! — March 8, 2023

Tetelestai: New Man Now!

Here is some of the original fruit of the Jesus Revolution. This is the band Tetelestai. The name is taken from the Greek rendering of John 19:30 which translators rendered, “It is Finished.” The words of Jesus as He made the final payment for our sins on the cross. Great significance to the name. Unfortunately few could pronounce it.

The band was formed in 1973 and did ministry throughout the greater Central Ohio region. Pictured are Star McClendon (to the left) Les Zartman (in the middle) and Jim Johnson (to the right) Unfortunately our excellent bass player Gary Morrow is not pictured here. The song link is called “New Man Now” and was written by Les Zartman as a testimony of what Christ had done in each of our lives.

Sadly Jim Johnson is the only remaining member of the band. The rest are happily united with Jesus.

an angel did it — February 22, 2023

an angel did it

An angel did it!  I was sure of it.  I was about 5 years old at the time, and it was my habit to lay at the foot of my bed at night, next to the open window to let the breeze cool the heat of summer.  

One morning, I awoke to find that I somehow ended up at the head of the bed.

I wondered, “How did this happen?”  The next night the very same thing took place.  I marveled over it, and I could only offer one solution – an angel must have come in the night and moved me.

This happened night after night all summer long.  I fell asleep at the foot, but always woke at the head of the bed.  I wondered what God was trying to tell me through all of it.

But then in late August the nightly blessing suddenly ceased, and I was so sad.  

I was even more sad when I eventually learned that my dad was the one who moved me because he didn’t want me to catch a cold.  How disappointing!

But – when I was older and became familiar with the Bible, I learned that an angel just might do that kind of thing.

The author of the book of Hebrews wrote about angels.  He asked, “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to serve those who will inherit salvation?” – Hebrews 1:14

He was in the middle of proving that Christ was preeminent over all even the angels.  This is important to keep in mind, but angels do serve their purpose – quite literally. 

The text says that angels are “ministering” spirits.  The word could also be translated as “serving.”   They are tasked with serving you and me.

They begin by running interference and arranging things so that we come to a saving faith in Jesus. (Acts 8:26; 10:3)

Once we belong to the Lord, He dispatches angels to rescue His people. Daniel said, “My God sent his angel and closed the lions’ mouths so that they have not harmed me.”  (Daniel 6:22) It was a supernatural intervention to be sure.   

Was Daniel’s an exceptional situation?  No! The Scripture says, “The angel of the Lord camps around the Lord’s loyal followers and delivers them.” – Psalm 34: 7

The Lord also employs angels to provide for His people.  When Elijah was down and out, it was an angel that provided his most basic survival needs.  – 1 Kings 19:5-6

Paul’s shipmates needed some encouragement.  They were on a sinking ship in the middle of a fierce storm when Paul gave this report, “For last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve came to me and said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul! You must stand before Caesar, and God has graciously granted you the safety of all who are sailing with you.’ (Acts 27:23-24)

And of course, angels are there to escort us home when we die.  When Jesus spoke of the rich man and Lazarus he said, “Now the poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side.” – Luke 16:22.

Now you may be saying, “Well the only angel I have ever seen had a Christmas tree stuck up his robe.”   

So, has anyone ever seen an angel these days?  It’s likely but we just didn’t recognize them.  Hebrews 13:2 says, “Do not neglect hospitality because through it some have entertained angels without knowing it.” 

Angels are fundamentally servants, avoiding the limelight to do the will of God and care for us.

Billy Graham once said, “Angels are watching; they mark your path.  They superintend all the events of your life and protect the interests of the Lord God, always working to promote his plans and bring about His highest will for you.” 

So – did an angel move me in my bed?  No. But if my dad had not been there, maybe an angel would have!  

A PRAYER:  Lord God thanks for sending the angelic help.   We need it!

This has been Jim Johnson and pickleheavenpress.com

May the grace of our Lord Jesus be with you

Scripture passages are from the NETBible.com

food for the ages — February 15, 2023

food for the ages

What joy does every earthling share that we will continue to enjoy in heaven?  Eating! 

I did a study on heaven and was shocked to find that food will be a major part of our heavenly experience.  Seriously!

Jesus was astounded by a gentile centurion’s faith which prompted Him to say, “I tell you, many will come from the east and west to share the banquet with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.”  – Matthew 8:11. The faithful will dine with the patriarchs of Israel in the Kingdom of Heaven.  

It was at the last Supper that Jesus, “…took a cup, and after giving thanks he said, “Take this and divide it among yourselves. For I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”  – Luke 22:17-18.  Jesus made it clear that He would enjoy wine again in His resurrected glorified body.   

But dining is not a one-time deal.  Jesus also said to His disciples, “I grant to you a kingdom, just as my Father granted to me, that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and you will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”  Luke 22:29-30.  Jesus promised to reward their faithfulness by including them at His heavenly dining table.

Of course, there is also the marriage feast of the Lamb.  Revelation 19:9 says, “Blessed are those who are invited to the banquet at the wedding celebration of the Lamb!”   

So what will we eat?

We probably should cross off devil’s food cake.   Actually, Isaiah tells us that the food will be amazing.  He wrote, “The Lord of Heaven’s Armies will hold a banquet for all the nations on this mountain.   At this banquet there will be plenty of meat and aged wine – tender meat and choicest wine.” – Isaiah 25:6   He looks to the onset of eternity in the Millennial Kingdom.  At that time God will make sure that His people have plenty of choice, tender meat and aged wine on which to sup.   

Where will it come from?

Jesus transformed water into wine at Cana, so it won’t be a problem for Him to cater a heavenly banquet.

Who will prepare this food?

Jesus is familiar with cooking. After His resurrection, He met with the disciples at the Sea of Galilee and prepared a breakfast of fish for them.  He said, “Come, have breakfast” – John 21:12.  I assume that He ate with them as well.  (I may pass on the fish for breakfast and put in an order of bacon and eggs.) 

My wife thoroughly enjoys cooking.  This is good because I thoroughly enjoy eating.  I am pretty sure she would be delighted to help prepare meals for the Lord and His people.  I am certain that meaningful work will be a part of our heavenly experience – and that would be hers.  

I know it’s hard to comprehend, isn’t it?  In heaven we will have glorified bodies.  Like the resurrected Jesus, we will be able to pass through walls.  (John 20:26)  This creates a few hard to answer questions like; How does a glorified body eat and drink?   

And how does a glorified body process what we eat?  Will the roast ever be burned?  Are there calories in heavenly food?   Will we like everything on the menu?  Don’t know? 

Will they do Chinese and Greek foods?  I assume that the Chinese and Greek believers would appreciate that.  Will we need Weight Watchers in heaven?  I’m pretty sure that’s a no. 

But listen – what is of ultimate importance here is to understand that Jesus so loves us that He prepared a place for us – with a kitchen – so that the joys of earth become the amplified joys of heaven.   He makes it possible for us to eat and drink and fellowship with Him and one another at His table forever.

A PRAYER: God I am excited to see what’s on the menu.  Thank you for your kindness.

This has been Jim Johnson and pickleheavepress.com

May the grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.

Scripture passages are from the NETBible.com

I just knowd it! — February 8, 2023

I just knowd it!

I recently had a guy ask me a perplexing question: “Hey are you from Louisiana?”  “What!”  I asked, “Why you say dat?”

I concede that my accent is hard to figure.  I am an Ohioan who has lived in Texas for 40 years.  When I return to Ohio, and they get all rankled when I refer to them as, “ya’ll” and they wag their heads when I say “I knowd he et my “chicken fried steak.”   And they are relieved when I get in the car and say, “I’m fixin’ to go to the house.”

But when a Texan hears me speak, he says, “Where you from boy?”   When I ask for a bottle of pop – he wants to pop me. 

My accent may defy description – but Louisiana?  Makes me madder than a crawfish without a bayou!

Oh well, ultimately, it’s not where you are from that matters, but where you are going!

Where are we going?   Time moves forward whether we like it or not, and it sweeps us along with it.  So, what is our destination?  

Do we ever get in the car and say, “I don’t know where I’m going!”  OK sometimes I say that but that’s because I am old.  But, generally speaking, we don’t turn the key without having a destination in mind. 

The apostle John provided a helpful map for one particular spot.

He was writing to his spiritual “children” – those people that he had mentored and loved. In his letter, he taught them about Jesus and the faith, and how to love one another, and other themes that help a Christian understand how to live.

As he wound down his letter, he added this amazing gem of truth.  He wrote, “I have written these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.”  – 1 John 5:13

Now let’s make sure we get this.  He started with “I have written these things….”  What things?  All the spiritually affirming truths in chapters 1 through 5.

It was directed to “…you who believe in the name of the Son of God….”  He was addressing those who had placed their faith in Jesus as their Savior.   They were not relying on their own efforts or merit.  Their confidence wasn’t based on their church membership or attendance.  They relied solely on what Jesus had accomplished for them at the cross. 

His purpose was revealed in the last phrase, “…that you may know that you have eternal life.”  It isn’t always that you find the words “know” and “eternal life” in the same sentence.  And yet John says that the one who had put their hope in Christ has eternal life, and they can know and be assured of it in this life. 

Some might say, “Well, No one knows what know means.”

I get you.  Someone may say, “I know Fred.”  But in reality, Fred is more of an acquaintance to that person.  They don’t really and truly know him.  There is a word for that kind of knowing in the Greek New Testament.  It is “ginosko.” 

But John uses a very different word in his letter.  It is “oida” which refers to a deep, full, true understanding of a person or an issue.  This is a convinced kind of knowing. 

So, John tells us that the person who has trusted Christ should have a deep down, in the pit of their stomach, sure as shootin’ assurance that heaven is in their future.

Ultimately, it’s not where you are from that matters, but where you are going!  If you have trusted Jesus – you are going to heaven!  I just knowd it.

A PRAYER: Thank you God for helping me truly and deeply know that I will be with you when this life has been exhausted.

This has been Jim Johnson and pickleheavenpress.com

May the grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.

does Jesus believe in you? — February 1, 2023

does Jesus believe in you?

My friend is an airline pilot who works for one of the major carriers.  He told me that he prays before every flight.  I replied, “What a coincidence – so do I!”   Do I trust pilots?  Well, not to the same degree that I trust the Lord. 

But there is a passage of Scripture that causes me to wonder if Jesus trusts me.  John 2:23 says this, “Now while Jesus was in Jerusalem at the Feast of the Passover, many people believed in his name because they saw the miraculous signs he was doing.”

He was in Jerusalem performing the miracles that validated Him as the divine Messiah sent from the Father.  Consequently, the many who witnessed these things came to “believe in His name.

Fantastic.  That was exactly what Jesus wanted to see happen – people placing their faith in Him.   It was a great success – but there is a “but” that follows. 

“But Jesus would not entrust himself to them – John 2:24a.  

This is disturbing!   The New Testament was recorded in Greek and the Greek word for “believe” in verse 23 is from the word “pisteuo” – “they believed in His name.”   Ironically, the very same word was used in verse 24, “Jesus would not entrust (pisteuo) Himself to them.” 

They came to believe in Jesus, but Jesus did not believe in them.  This means that He did not fully open Himself to them or be vulnerable with them or share confidential things with them.     

Why?  John answered, “…because he knew all people. He did not need anyone to testify about man, for he knew what was in man.”  – John 2:24b-25.  Ouch – that hurts!  

You see there was a twofold strategy to the ministry of Jesus.  First: do miracles to validate the message and then deliver the message.   The miracles were easy for people to swallow – the message – not so much. 

Jesus presented Himself as more than a carpenter’s son.  He claimed that He came down from heaven.  (John 6:41).  Once the multitude heard this, “many of his disciples quit following him and did not accompany him any longer.” – John 6:66

He knew what was in all men, and found it hard to trust them.

It’s true, that Jesus entrusted Himself to some more than others.  He did not trust the Pharisees at all (Matthew 16:6); He was wary of the believing multitude (John 6:14-15).

But He did let His disciples into His life; and then there was Peter, James and John who composed His inner circle who exclusively saw Jesus in the glory of His transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-9) and the grief of Gethsemane.  (Matthew 26:3-7)

So why some and not others? 

Jesus was disappointed with the multitude that had deserted him, so He turned to the few that He had entrusted Himself to – His disciples, and He said, “You don’t want to go away too, do you?” (John 6:67)  

Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God!”  – John 6:68-69

We understand what it means to marry someone for their money. That seems to be what many did with Jesus.  But Peter and his comrades, they followed Jesus because they understood and accepted the person that He was.  Jesus was pleased to let in people like that.   

What about you?  Are you latched onto Jesus for the perks – or because you understand that He is the Holy One of God – your Sovereign Lord and author of eternal life? 

Does Jesus believe in you?  

A PRAYER: Lord, remind me when I selfishly begin to use you, and feel free to use me instead.

This has been Jim Johnson and pickleheavenpress.com

May the grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.

Scripture references are from the NETBible.com

an amerasian story —

an amerasian story

“Pure and undefiled religion before God the Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their adversity.”  – James 1:27-  NETBible.com

I have sometimes wondered what this would look like today – and then I met Amber.

We were sitting at the bedside of her mother Sarah who was nearing her earthly journey’s end.  Amber was eager to tell me her story. 

Sarah was once a vibrant single woman – a successful advertising sales rep.  She was also devoted to Jesus and loved to sing His praises in the church choir.  But she wanted more – a family. 

Marriage didn’t seem to be a part of God’s plan for Sarah, but a child – well maybe!  So it was, that she was watching a news program on TV one day and learned about what they called Amerasian children. 

These are the children begotten of reckless American service men and young, hopeful, Asian women.  A child is born, the GI ships out, and the unwed mother is left with a child that her culture abhors.  “Most never knew their fathers. Many were abandoned by their mothers at the gates of orphanages. Some were discarded in garbage cans. Schoolmates taunted and pummeled them and mocked them Their destiny was to become waifs and beggars, living in the streets and parks.”  In Vietnam they were called “children of dust.”  (Smithsonian Magazine – https://www.smithsonianmag.com/travel/children-of-the-vietnam-war-131207347/

Sarah decided that this was exactly the kind of child that needed her love.  But she ran into some ridiculous red tape.  At that time, a single woman in the U.S. was not permitted to adopt an international child. 

Sarah refused to take no for an answer.  That Texas girl dug in her heels, and set up camp in Washington D.C.  She went – office to office, Representative to Representative, Senator to Senator, pleading with someone to take up her case. 

After two intense months of this kind of lobbying, one Senator finally offered to help.  He sponsored a bill that was passed which gave Sarah and other singles like her a greenlight to adopt an international child. 

In the meantime, there was a special little Amerasian girl in South Korea.  She was about five years old, living in an orphanage in the midst of a culture that wished her to disappear.  Her prospects of adoption were growing less by the year. 

But Sarah found her and loved her and brought her home to Texas.   Amber doesn’t remember anything of Korea, but she does recall her first trip on an airplane and arriving at DFW where she was met by a throng of lights and cameras and eager reporters who were there to cover this amazing story. 

Amber was so proud of and grateful to her mother. 

As for Sarah, she wasn’t able to speak to me as we sat in her room in those twilight hours, but her life story said it all.  Here was a woman whose courageous Christian faith motivated her to do what few of the rest of us would attempt.  Thank you, Sarah, for showing us how it’s done.

A PRAYER: God gives us all hearts as tender and tenacious as Sarah’s.

This has been Jim Johnson and pickleheavenpress.com

May the grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.

mama’s with the one who loves her best — January 25, 2023

mama’s with the one who loves her best

mama’s with the one who loves her best

Forgive me!  I know the title sounds like it was ripped off a worn-out country song. The truth is – it is the title to a song, and it does involve a woman who left her family – but not by her choice. 

She was a happy wife and mother of two small children when the doctor diagnosed her breast cancer.  It was brutal. 

During a Sunday morning service, the congregation was sharing testimonies of God’s goodness and encouraging one another in the faith.   We were stunned when the little boy stood and tearfully interrupted.  “Will you pray that God would heal my mom?”  

Barely able to speak, I told him that we would.  Many took their turn – right then and there – interceding for his mother.

Well, she fought a courageous fight, but the cancer eventually prevailed, and she moved on to higher ground.

Her little ones were broken hearted – sad beyond sad.   They had no way of mentally or emotionally grasping what had taken place.

And we adults fumbled around trying to help them make sense of it all. 

I was asked to sing at her memorial service.  As I prepared, I asked the Lord to help me bring some comfort to her children.  He chose to give me a song.  I wrote it down and sang it for them in the service.  It was all I could offer at that point. 

If you would like to hear it – click the link.  The lyrics are also below. 

If you find value in the song, you are welcome to pass it on and use it when needed – but I sincerely hope you don’t have to!

Mama’s with the One who Loves Her best  

By Jim Johnson

Mama’s with the one who loves her best.  /   We all love her too and she’ll be missed. / But Jesus took her pain away, when she became His guest. / Mama’s with the one who loves her best.

Mama I could see the pain, written on your face. / And Mama how I hurt for you, and Mama how I prayed. / And Mama Jesus heard my prayer, He took your pain away. / And Mama now you live with Him – Oh Mama!

Precious in the sight of God, is the death of His godly ones. / Mama I would read those words, and wonder what would come. / But Mama I can see you now, with Jesus and a smile. / And Mama I’m so glad for you – Oh Mama!

Mama now you’re sitting there, with all the other saints; / Watching as the rest of, us finish out our race. / So Mama I will run it well, so you’ll be proud of me; / And Mama I will win the prize – O Mama!

Mama’s with the one who loves her best. / We all love her too and she’ll be missed. / But Jesus took her pain away, when she became His guest. / Mama’s with the one who loves her best.

A PRAYER: Father it’s true!  Death means being united with the One who loves us best.  May we encourage others with this truth.

This has been Jim Johnson and pickleheavenpress.com

May the grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.

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