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HE KNOWS WHAT WE HAVE NEED OF LONG BEFORE WE NEED IT

Posted by admin in August 3rd, 2021 | no comment 
Published in Uncategorized

I just sat there and stared at that piece of paper in the middle of my living room floor. I didn’t have the nerve to pick it up. It looked like an envelope and across the front was a tire mark. No name. No address. No words. Just some dirt and a tire mark. Quite honestly, I was a little scared.

I poured another cup of coffee and sat down to stare a while longer.

I lived alone in the tiny university apartment. Weather stripping on all units had been replaced the month before to save on utilities. That envelope did not blow in under the door. So, how in the world did it get there? And the BIGGER question, What was in it?!?

It all started the day before…

Spring Break had been a huge flop! In fact, it was so bad I decided to return to Tulsa midweek and work on my studies. I was in my final semester of grad school. Everyone that knew me, KNEW I was obsessed with Russia. In fact, painted in bold letters on butcher paper, I had taped a large banner to my wall, “MOSCOW, FALL ’91.” Though I had no idea how I was getting there and I had no connections in Moscow whatsoever—I was convinced God was calling me to that place.

I was home about an hour, unpacking, when the phone rang. It was my professor, Byrene Culver. “Are you free to talk?” she asked.

“Yes,” I answered a little apprehensively because I was afraid she had bad news about graduation.

“Do you remember meeting Melody Cockrell in China in 1988?”

I did not.

According to my professor, Melody remembered my obsession with Russia. She taught at my university in Changchun. She was coming as I was leaving. We met briefly. But during her year in China, she met a visiting scholar from Russia named Alex. He was a long way from home and he missed his family. Melody was part of a larger team in the city, and they asked Alex to join them for fellowship and Sunday services. They were Christians teaching English. She and Alex formed a bond.

Well, Alex wrote Melody asking if she would come to Moscow and teach at his wife’s university. She was going on maternity leave, and the university was interested in filling her post with a native-English speaker—but they didn’t know any. The USSR hadn’t fallen yet, but the tight grip of the government was loosening, and new leadership was encouraging universities to host foreign lecturers. Alex thought of Melody. He wrote her with his phone number, asking her to call him so they could discuss her teaching in Moscow. Melody, who had become a lawyer, wasn’t interested, but remembered my obsession. She called Byrene in hopes that Byrene might know where to find me.

Professor Culver said, “At first, I thought she was joking when she asked if I knew you. I told her, ‘Teri Hodges is right here. She’s my student. She’s in Tulsa!’”

WHAT ARE THE ODDS?!?

Byrene gave me Alex’s phone number in Moscow and said, “Give him a call. Tell him ‘Melody sent you.’” That was funny.

In 1991, the USSR was totally screwed up. Placing a phone call was impossible back then. Fortunately, I didn’t know that. So, naively, I picked up the phone and dialed Alex’s number. He answered. That may not seem like a big deal, but at the time, IT WAS.

I explained to Alex who I was and my connection to Melody. I told him that I was getting a master’s degree in TESOL and that I wanted very much to teach in Moscow in the fall.

“Melody I know. Melody I can recommend. You? You I don’t know. It is very risky for me to recommend you for my wife’s university. Do you understand me?”

I did. He was right.

“Is it possible for you to come here for an interview, soon? I mean, very soon? I think if the chairwoman meets you, she can offer you the job and my wife and I’ll be safe.”

Without hesitating, I told Alex I’d be there. “I’ll come in May.”

There are few things I’ve done in my life without thinking. This would be one of them. I had no money. I was a poor graduate student teaching part-time to make ends meet. I had no local church and no missions board. I was alone. And probably more foolish than I care to admit.

As soon as I hung up with Alex, I got the phone book (before the internet). I went to the airlines section and the first one I called was American. “Sorry honey. No one flies to Moscow but PanAm, Give them a call.”

I called PanAm and told the agent I wanted to fly to Moscow. “What dates?” Uh… “So, you DO fly to Moscow?”

“Yes. And I don’t know if you heard or not, but we are having a ‘going-out-of-business’ sale. You can fly round trip to any of our destinations in the world for $300!”

It shocked me. Most roundtrip tickets to cities in Europe were about $1,700 or more.

“There’s only one problem,” she continued. “You have to buy the ticket by midnight tonight. This is the last day.”

Now my Dad gave me a credit card that was to be used FOR EMERGENCIES ONLY! He imagined car trouble while I was on the road, or an ER visit where my life hung in the balance. Never in his wildest dreams did my Dad imagine that the emergency credit card would be used to purchase a roundtrip ticket to Moscow. Never.

I pulled out the card and bought the ticket for one week after graduation. It was 10:30 at night and even though I knew my Dad was in bed, I needed to call him and tell him what I’d done. I woke him up and he was none too happy. “What do you mean you bought a ticket to Moscow?” My Dad was not disappointed in me. He wasn’t upset. He was just very angry.

I promised I’d pay him back before the bill arrived. He replied, “Yes. You will.” Click.

How on earth was I going to pay my Dad $300? I went to bed that night looking at my hand-painted banner and I said a simple prayer, “Jesus, please help me.”

The next morning was the Mexican standoff with me and that envelope.

Finally, I got the nerve to pick it up. I opened it and inside were three one-hundred-dollar bills—new and crisp.

I have no idea how that money got there. I called my Dad the next night and told him about the envelope. He simply grunted in disbelief. I wouldn’t have believed it either, if it hadn’t happened to me.

Here’s what I know and here’s what’s important: God is able to provide all that we need right when we need it if we will only step out by faith in obedience to Him and follow Him with reckless abandonment.

I was talking to a young woman recently who asked me about Zacchaeus’s Sycamore tree. She said, “Think about it, long before Zacchaeus was born God knew he would need that tree to find Jesus. Before Zacchaeus ever needed it, God had it ready for him. The tool God used for Zacchaeus to see Jesus was prepared in advance.” What a great word! I’d never thought of it before, but it aligns with Ephesians 2:10, “We are God’s masterpiece, created in Christ Jesus to do good works—works that He planned in advance for us to walk in.” That also means He provides all that we need to accomplish those good works.

 

I made it to Moscow. I got the contract. And in the Fall of 1991, I was teaching there. I never met Alex and his wife. After the baby was born, she decided not to return to the university. I served there three years. I’m in awe of all the godly people who played a role in my getting to Moscow—Melody’s obedience in tracking me down when she could have just let it slide; Byrene’s obedience in calling me that night, not sure if I was even home during Spring Break. My Dad not killing me for using his “emergency only” credit card. Alex’s desire to get an American instructor for his wife’s university. And the angel who hand delivered the $300 to my living room floor. All things God prepared in advance.

 

What is it God is laying on your heart? What step of faith is He nudging you toward? Be sure, that whatever it is, He will provide EVERYTHING you need to get it done. “My God will provide all of your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus,” (Philippines 4:19). Peace.

The Shekinah Glory

Posted by admin in August 2nd, 2021 | 1 comment 
Published in Uncategorized

The small shabby and tattered room began to fill with a white cloud of smoke, almost a mist, that moved among us, in and out, weaving like a fog. My head was bowed in prayer and when I tried to lift it, I couldn’t, as if some unseen hand was pressing down on me. I reached over to grab my friend’s arm, more than a little frightened, “Irma! What is this?” I whispered. “Shh,” she said. “It’s the Shekinah glory.”

Is this what is written about in I Kings when Solomon brings the Ark into the Temple at its dedication? “When the priests withdrew from the Holy Place, the cloud filled the temple of the Lord and the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled His temple” (verses 10-11).

As soon as communist China opened to the West in the early 1980s, I went to teach. During that time, I was privileged to visit the underground Church in my city. Although China was experiencing some new freedoms, the communist government continued to crack down on what it called “spiritual pollution.” Of course, the Church was its main target. Christianity was labeled […] Continue Reading…

It’s The Broken Places That Let The Light Shine Through

Posted by admin in July 31st, 2021 | 1 comment 
Published in Uncategorized

“God could never forgive me,” Natasha was almost whispering. We sat in her small Soviet kitchen on the outskirts of Moscow in one of the more modern clusters of apartment buildings constructed to appease the restless intelligentsia. Though not luxurious by any stretch of the imagination, the apartment was cozy and clean—especially Natasha’s kitchen.

Natasha and I had spent many nights huddled at her small kitchen table drinking sweet hot tea, looking out the window and discussing life. Natasha was the model poster woman for the Soviets—well-educated with a PhD from Moscow State University (the Harvard of the Soviet world), an independent woman, an academic, a mother of two sons, a wife of a Soviet scientist who actually discovered Teflon. Natasha knew where to buy goods, how to jump the long lines, and always had extra coupons for sugar and yogurt to share—luxury items back in 1991.

Natasha and Gerrig had taken care of me from my first day in Moscow. They met me at the airport on my arrival; they helped me get settled in the university housing; they took me to museums, beautiful parks, and introduced me to the intellectual community of Moscow. Every Friday night, Gerrig would pick […] Continue Reading…

You Are No Corrie ten Boom!

Posted by admin in July 30th, 2021 | 3 comments 
Published in Uncategorized

“You know Teri. You are no Corrie ten Boom, right? I mean you know that!”

 

The words would have hurt more if Marianne’s face hadn’t been so angelic. She thought, as my new friend, she was doing me a big favor by giving me a reality check, but in reality, she was crushing me beyond belief.

 

I was in the middle of a civil servants’ strike in a socialist country where all public services were at a halt. I had no money, due to unforeseen circumstances caused by the strike, and was staying with a nice couple I had just met at church that morning. Marianne and Aimo were trying to help me figure out how to get from Helsinki, Finland, to Beijing via Moscow. The original plan was to cross the Soviet Union by train, but Finland’s strike had shut down train services and made that trip impossible. I was trying to explain to my hosts that God would provide some way for me and was using Corrie ten Boom’s story to illustrate this point.

 

“I just keep thinking that God told me to come this way through Helsinki to Moscow. You know Corrie ten Boom tells a story about when […] Continue Reading…

A Letter From Corrie Ten Boom: Beware of False Teaching

Posted by admin in July 17th, 2021 | 3 comments 
Published in Uncategorized

I’ve always said that for the persecuted church in China, it didn’t matter if the word tribulation was a capital T or a lower case. When it’s your family being killed right in front of you, it is TRIBULATION.

During World War II, Corrie Ten Boom (1892-1983) and her family were arrested by the Nazis for hiding Dutch Jews in their home. She and her older sister Betsy were sent to a German concentration camp–Ravensbruck. They endured great hardships, and all of her immediate family died at the hands of the Germans, but she survived. Due to a clerical error, Corrie was released from the concentration camp one day before all the women her age were executed.

In 1974, Corrie Ten Boom wrote the letter shown below to warn Christians about what she calls, “the false teaching of the pretribulation rapture.” Corrie encourages believers to take time to study the Bible for themselves; to find out what the Bible actually says on the subject. Good advice.

CORRIE TEN BOOM’S LETTER ON THE RAPTURE 

The world is deathly ill. It is dying. The Great Physician has already signed the death certificate. Yet there is still a great work for Christians to do. They are to be […] Continue Reading…

Somewhere Between Dead and Crazy

Posted by admin in July 5th, 2021 | no comment 
Published in Uncategorized

A friend sent me a video two weeks ago of a church he absolutely loves to watch out of Omaha, Nebraska. I clicked on the link and in less than 30 seconds I knew exactly what I was up against. It.Was.Horrid. It was Jim Bakker horrid. It was Benny Hinn horrid. It was charlatan horrid. In a word, it was crazy! 

I was filled with the Holy Ghost and delivered out of darkness back in 1980. My brother-in-law and sister were filled with the Holy Spirit at the same time. Coming from an independent, fundamentalist, Bible-Baptist (IFCA) background, the three of us studied God’s Word together for four months. We kept one guiding principle: if it isn’t in the Bible, don’t do it.

We studied parallel translations of the Bible, read books, used concordances, and we found that indeed the Bible does teach a second act of grace–a separate work called, “The Baptism of the Holy Spirit.” We highlighted passages in the Bible as they related to what we had experienced. We’re so grateful for being brought up in a home that believed the Bible was God’s Word and that it was Truth. We are grateful to be brought up in […] Continue Reading…

Equity versus Equality

Posted by admin in July 1st, 2021 | 3 comments 
Published in Uncategorized

By definition equity means an equal outcome.

Equality is that both Daryl and I have value to God; equality means that we are equal under the eyes of the law; equality means than one is not better than the other.

Equity means that we have an equal outcome. If we do the same thing, we should get the same results. Let me explain…

On February 9th of this year, Daryl and I started a very strict, very rigorous, keto-style diet. Lots of lean protein and tons of vegetables—no sugar, no carbs, no fruit, no starches. Daryl had 40 pounds to lose. I have 100 pounds to lose.

In four months, Daryl not only has reached his goal, even though he modified the diet to give himself more food, more calories, and a few cheat days each month. BOOM! Forty pounds gone.

I, on the other hand, ate fewer calories than he each day (the protocol has calorie suggestions based on age, gender, height and weight). I kept the protocol faithfully. I exercised each and every day. I’ve lost 40 pounds too, but am stuck on a plateau. In fact, one week I actually gained three pounds! Hmmm….that’s not fair!

No! It’s not fair and here […] Continue Reading…

When the Absurd is Called Normal

Posted by admin in June 23rd, 2021 | 2 comments 
Published in Uncategorized

I guess everyone has heard about New Zealand’s evolved decision to let a man compete as a woman in the Olympics. No, it’s not in synchronized swimming or women’s beach volleyball. Of course not! It’s in weightlifting. One thing I think we all can agree on is that men have greater upper body strength than women. Does that make women weak? Absolutely NOT! Ever had a baby?!? Men couldn’t last five minutes giving birth. But it’s by design. Men are designed with greater upper body strength—something that is very important in say…ummm…weightlifting.

 

So sweet little Laurel N Hardy, I mean, Hubbard, will be competing with women at the Olympics in the weightlifting competition. Way to go New Zealand! You’re so woke and enlightened! By the way, the average woman competitor in this sport is 5’7″ and weighs about 200 pounds. Hubbard? Oh, she’s 6 feet tall and weighs over 400 pounds. That seems fair.

 

I’m trying to figure out where all the feminists and women’s rights activists are?!? Why aren’t they crying out for their sisters who have worked so hard to earn a place on the Olympic stage? Why aren’t they fighting for their rights and being their voice? Because […] Continue Reading…

When God’s Answer Is No

Posted by admin in June 14th, 2021 | 12 comments 
Published in Uncategorized

Daryl and I listened to Eric Metaxas yesterday. He gave a message at Cornerstone Chapel in Leesburg, Virginia, last week. Metaxas is always fun to listen to, though he has a tendency to go off on bunny trails. He’s a much better writer than speaker. In his message he reiterated Benjamin Franklin’s famous words, “It’s a Republic, madam, if you can keep it.” Franklin’s response is attributed to a question asked by a woman at the close of the Constitutional Convention of 1787, as he left Independence Hall. Supposedly the woman asked Franklin, “Is this a democracy or a republic?”

Metaxas used the quote to explain that the United States will only remain a free country if we the people hold on to it and fight for it and maintain it. That once a self-governing people stop holding government accountable and rest on their laurels (my words, not his), a Republic is easily lost.

History has proven that lost freedoms are seldom regained. The United States was once a bellwether for the world—for all freedom-loving nations. And other nations knew that if the US failed, there’d be little hope for the rest. I believe that statement—as big and bold as it […] Continue Reading…

The Now and the Not Yet

Posted by admin in June 9th, 2021 | 2 comments 
Published in faith, Waiting

We live in the now and the not yet.

Now we do battle with the enemy of our souls and we fight against principalities and powers in high places, but one day the King of Kings will bind our enemy for eternity and the battle will be over – but not yet.

Now the innocent suffer and bad things happen to good people, but one day Jesus will establish His Kingdom forever and ever and all injustice, sorrow, pain, and suffering will end – but not yet.

Now we see through a glass darkly, but one day we will see Him face to face and all confusion, doubt, fear, and anxiety will vanish and Christ will reign supreme – but not yet.

One day God’s Will will be done on the whole earth and every captive will be set free, but until then we raise our weapons, which are not carnal, but are mighty to pulling down strongholds and we fight. We declare the Goodness of God and His Truth until Jesus Returns. This is the now and the not yet.

We declare to all humankind that Jesus is Lord and that He alone has the cure for what destroys the human soul; we […] Continue Reading…

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