Linda's Cozy Mysteries

Growing Up Haunted, Hour-Long Special Radio Show

Sunday, September 27, 2009

What is your need? God Shall Supply It! --by Kate Young

Reading through John 7 and 8 after listening to today’s message at church, I began to ponder the need for people had to see miracles to believe in Jesus as the Messiah. I began to think well, it was a different time then. They were looking for signs for the one they had been told about who would come. But, no, some were just told second-hand stories and they believed. Just as some of us get today. Some of us ask for our own miracles to believe still today. I have people in my life who did such a thing. Then I began to think back, hmmm, and I cannot remember the moment I first believed. I am sure there was that point in my life, but I must have been younger than my memory goes back for me. It’s like it was always there. We all have different needs in our life and comparing them to others is fruitless, just as comparing where we are in our spiritual walk is dangerous ground as well because then were are apt to start judging, which God says is not our place. I’m just glad that God supplies all our needs, whether it is a miracle we need or not.

Philippians 4:19: "But my God shall supply all your need, according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus."

How I Met My Jesus--by Linda Kozar

I didn't believe in Christianity. Twenty-four years ago, (that's me to the left) I was of the opinion that religion was for the ignorant and the weak--not those who were educated and resourceful. So when my little brother came home one day and announced he was "saved" I didn't exactly celebrate. In fact, the rest of the family thought he might need to be deprogrammed from the Cult of Christianity he had obviously become entangled with.

Funny thing though. He was happy. In fact, I had to admit he was happier than I'd ever seen him before. He loved to sit and talk with all of us about his new best friend--Jesus. I listened politely and tried to talk things out logically in the hopes he would "see the light," not of God, but of reason. One Sunday, my sister and I decided to visit his church and check things out for ourselves--sort of a reconnaissance mission. We were nervous and a little scared, which annoyed me. Why should I be frightened of them? I was about to expose their deception. The church was probably after my brother's hard-earned money. Like that movie "Invasion of the Body Snatchers," they had stolen my real brother, the little brother I'd grown up with and replaced him with pew-jumpin' Howdy Doody. And my big sister sensibilities would never stand for that. Look out church!

Then something strange happened. Sitting there in church during the service. . .I felt something. So did my sister. Like a wind, but there was no wind. A peace warmer than any blanket. An electricity in the air. The presence of love. My sister and I sat in silence through the service. We could not speak--all we could do was feel.

That day, I knew when we left our pews that there was something more to my brother's conversion than smoke and mirrors. There was definitCheck Spellingely something more. My sister felt it too.

Months went by. Life began to unravel in half a dozen ways. An eye exam revealed that the pressure in my eyes was high for some reason. The eye doctor was concerned about the possibility of glacoma. That same week, a routine pap smear came back positive and the op/gyn doctor called me in to talk about further tests. Then I was laid off from my job. All in all, not a good week.

I'd come out of a painful separation, had filed for divorce and was trying to make a new life for myself. I'd studied different philosophies and settled on the "we're all one Jung" collective spirit idea. Of course, meditation, reincarnation, new age and many other schools of thought seemed to fit right in. I was trying to use these techniques and beliefs to change my circumstances, help me quit smoking etc. But in the midst of my new crisis, not one of them offered me the comfort or peace I needed. Distraught, I decided to visit my parents and talk to them about it. While I was there I mentioned it to my brother, who to my surprise, immediately began to pray for me!

No one had ever prayed with me over a personal situation before. Sure I'd heard prayers or prayer templates before, but they were all-purpose kinds of prayers people repeated or recited half-heartedly. The prayer my brother prayed was for me and though I didn't believe it would truly do me any good, it somehow made me feel a little better. Before I left, my brother asked me a question. "If there is a heaven and a hell and you died today, where do you think you would go?"

While driving home I tried my best to answer it. Of course, my body would enrich the soil and my soul, mind or whatever you want to call it, would join the collective consciousness. Then, perhaps I would be reborn, incarnated into a different life form. Maybe even an insect. Wow. That was really something to look forward to. I had asked my brother where he thought he was going when he died. "I'll be with Jesus for all eternity, filled with His love--in heaven where there are no shadows, no tears and no more suffering." And he believed it with as strong a conviction as my own. But the truth shouted within me. Those old beliefs were crumbling under the weight of God's truth.

In the car that day, as I pulled into my driveway, I decided that as soon as I went through the door of my apartment, I was going to give Jesus a try. After all, I'd tried everything else! And what comfort had those beliefs brought me? What hope? My brother had told me about the sinner's prayer on more than one occasion and I tried hard to remember the words.

I couldn't wait to turn the key in the lock. As soon as the door shut behind me, I sank to my knees. Not knowing exactly what to say, I decided to talk to him instead. "Jesus, if you're out there and you're real, please hear me. I'm a sinner. . ." As soon as I said the word, I began to cry. "My brother told me that I should confess my sins and repent. So I'm a sinner and I've done a lot of things wrong in my life and I ask your forgiveness. Please, if you are real, please come into my heart right now. Amen"

When I said the final word, "Amen," I felt as though a heavy weight lifted from my body. I like to say it was the shackles of sin that fell off of me, but all I know is that I suddenly felt light as a feather and happy! So very happy! In fact, I was so happy, it took me two weeks to realize I hadn't touched a cigarette. My sister clued me in to it.

"Hey, I noticed you haven't been smoking lately." She'd always hated the smell of nicotine and tried to help me quit. I'd tried many times, but only managed to reduce the amount of cigarettes I smoked. Now I was free in more ways than one. Jesus gave me the free gift of eternal life and a bonus for signing on--he'd delivered me from a nicotine addiction. Just like that! No withdrawals. No cravings. No desire to ever smoke again.

I was set free! Born again! And the Lord healed my eyes. The pressure returned to normal at my next appointment. The next pap smear was perfect. And so was I.

Jesus saves, heals, protects and delivers!

It didn't take me long to dig into the bible my brother gave me to celebrate my new life in Christ. And I started telling everyone about MY new best friend, especially my family. My sister and her boyfriend (who later became her husband) were next to believe, then my mother and my father was last. I have a special story about his salvation testimony and it's in the Babes With A Beatitude book. If you're interested, I hope you'll read the february 14th page.

We began a whole new heritage in the Lord. Our family will never ever be the same. Our family tree is now rooted in Christ. Is yours? If you can relate to even part of what I shared from my testimony, then let me testify to you right now--it's all true! And if Jesus did all this for me, how much more will He do it for you! He loves you. He truly does. I wake up every morning knowing I am loved by God and I lay my head down on my pillow with the same truth. Do you? Well, what are you waiting for?


What I'm going to say next might sound a bit controversial, so bear with me. Smoking cigarettes isn't going to send anyone to hell. It may send them to their grave prematurely but not to hell. They will definitely SMELL like they've been there though. . .

Personally, I don't think Christians should smoke. It's a bad witness, not God-honoring and it destroys your body made in His image. So there.

Love didn't really trust today - By Danielle Francoise

I work in retail, and as a result there are always lots of stories to tell about the people I encounter. Tonight, a man came in with his two year-old son to return a defective item. This should have been an easy return, but unfortunately there were some problems, and it was wrapped up in no less than 30 minutes. I could tell that he was frustrated, and knowing that I was doing everything possible, I apologized a few times. Near the end of it all, he asked me if I was a Christian. I nodded and smiled, and replied that yes I am. He eventually went home satisfied with his new purchases and a free coke and I went on my way.

What struck me later is the real story here...When he asked me if I was a Christian, I first wondered if he was trying to finesse or sneak something past me. I immediately assumed he was going to try and use that against me somehow. Maybe I was right, maybe I wasn't. Regardless, I was convicted about it.

I wondered if I was really too quick to assume things, or if it hadn't gone his way if he'd tried something. But really I wondered what my response would've been, had he tried. Was it weakness that made me assume the worst, or is this world so fallen, that even the most perfect love can be used in the wrong way?

In it all, I realize that, no matter what...I am called to love. If that is how the Lord will grow and shape me today, then so be it. Today, God reminded me of the following...

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy,
it does not boast, it is not proud.
It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered,
it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails. (1 Cor 8)

We know that God is love, and his name can replace "Love" throughout that familiar passage, but did I let Him live through me in a way today that it could have been my name? Was I patient and kind, not envious or proud? I don't think love trusted today. As simple as it all sounds, it seems the closer I get to Him, the more He challenges me.

I pray that for today and the rest of our tomorrows, we can go out and simply love...and be loved by Him. Let the simplicity of that sink in until it becomes so deep, and so rich, and so wonderful that there's nothing else that matters. I pray that God just blows you away by how much he cares for you. Be blessed!!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Written with Fire--by Danielle

I had a dream from awhile back I'd like to share...

I am one of the Hollywood A-list crowd. I am a person that people look to for style and fashion tips...they depend on us for our life stories and encouragement. This evening, I was all dressed up and felt beautiful, mingling with the "beautiful people" that are there in LA at a large, hip event. I find myself involved with this crazy group of people, worldly and part of the "in-croud". There's laughter and glamour and splendor... The night goes on and I realize I'm not feeling good about these people, this situation...any of it. Then, it's all over. I suppose it's morning because the sun's out again. I'm walking out and that wild group of people is calling out to me...I look over at all the craziness and really see what it is. Those "beautiful people" had lost their outer appearance of beauty and glamour...It was like the light was revealing their true selves - and it was ugly. My mind got really loud, it was traffic, music and lots of light. I remember thinking, "wow I don't know how I got tangled up with these people..."

All of a sudden...silence and darkness...

Then, a moment later, written with fire across the darkness, I read,

Then I woke up and sat up.

Wow. I had this dream about a year ago and still, it sticks with me. What amazing truth that God speaks through dreams! "But do they know me?"...that's the biggest question of all. I may not be on the Hollywood "A-List", but I definitely have people around me that don't know Christ!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Notes on John--Chapter One

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God."--John 1:1-2.

The focus of the Gospel of John is evangelism! In fact, John says it best in chapter 20 ". . .but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing, you may have life in His name."--John 20:31. Believe and have life! This should be our focus as believers as well--to share the good news with others that they may believe and have eternal life!

Jesus was, is and ever shall be! He created the world, brought life and light to us and was rejected by his own creation.

People always cry for a sign from God in order to believe, but the woman at the well had no such sign--just the words of Christ. In fact, all the Samaritans who heard and believed did so without a sign!

  • Jesus heals the lame man
  • Jesus feeds the 5,000 to illustrate He is the Bread of Life
  • Jesus is the Living Water
  • Jesus is the Light of the World
  • Jesus is the Good Shepherd
  • Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life
  • Jesus is the King of Kings!
Simon means "unsteady, untrustworthy and not-dependable," but God changed Peter into a stable rock. Jesus changed water into wine and He changes us from creatures judged by the law into sons and daughters of grace.

God reveals Himself to us in time spend alone with Him. Have you spent time alone with Him today?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Some Thoughts on John. . .

Our Babes Bible Study launched a new semester today in Houston with a study on the Book of John titled, "Forward to Eternity."

Each woman was encouraged to share a favorite scripture from John and its relevance to her life. Click the comment line below to browse their thoughts or leave a comment of your own:)

Here's mine:

"For He whom God sent speaks the words of God, for God does not give the Spirit by measure. . .."--John 3:34.
I really like this scripture because God the Father wants us to live in the fullness of His Spirit. He does not dole out His love or grace in portions or leave us to figure things out for ourselves. He has given us all that we need to live a righteous, fully-committed life--His own Son!
Before I knew Jesus, I always felt alone--even in a crowd of people--I felt there was something missing. But I've never felt alone since--whether I'm around other people or not. I would not trade one moment of my life before Christ for my life now!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Sour Cream/Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake

My Mom-in-law, Marge Kozar gave me this recipe years ago. The whole family love, love, loves it because it's YUMMY. Great with, you guessed it "coffee" or an ice cold glass of milk. Perfect for Bible studies and church gatherings. We enjoy it sometimes at our Babes With A Beatitude Bible Study although some of us feel kind of guilty eating dessert in the morning (just kidding). It's delish--who cares?

Sour Cream/Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake

Spray a Bundt pan or glass baking dish with cooking spray. Next, prepare ingredients in 3 different bowls. Bowl Two and Bowl Three are dry ingredients. Blend them together before you begin on Bowl One as you will need to add the mixtures to it.

Bowl One (Batter) Bowl Two (Dry ingred.) Bowl Three (Topping)

1/4 cup butter 2 cups flour 1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup sugar 1 tsp baking soda 1/2 cup chpd pecans
2 eggs 1 tsp baking powder 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup sour cream 1/2 tsp salt 1/2 bag chocolate chips
1 tsp vanilla

If you have an electric mixer, beat the first 2 ingredients in Bowl One on medium speed for 10 minutes (no more, no less--*very important or the cake won't rise properly), and add the sour cream and vanilla right at the end. Then, set the speed on slow and begin adding the dry ingredients from Bowl Two to Bowl One by large spoonfuls until the ingredients of both bowls are fully mixed. The batter will be sticky--which is the consistency you are going for.

Next, if using a Bundt pan, begin to spoon the batter from Bowl One and the dry ingredients from Bowl Three alternately into the pan. Set aside enough of the topping for the very last layer. (If using a glass baking dish, just spread the batter using a spoon or spatula to evenly fill the dish, then sprinkle the topping from Bowl Three on top (my preferred method of baking this cake).

Then, bake 45 minutes at 350 degrees. Enjoy!