Wednesday, February 21, 2018

COULD YOU SAVE YOUR YOUTH FROM THE ENEMY?


A CRY FOR CHILDREN

By Ada Nicholson Brownell

Reprinted from the book, What Prayer Can Do


 During World War II enemy soldiers entered a small Dutch village, intending to take the young girls for sexual slaves.

The fathers and almost every other man from the village were in battle or in prison. Women and children—some of them teenage girls—were left.

As soldiers came to their homes and seized the younger women, the village mothers and grandmothers gathered in the town square where enemy buses were parked

The women stood and watched as the girls, some barely into their teens, were herded like animals toward the buses. The women had no weapons.

When the first girl was seized and forced into the bus, in unison terrible cries of anguish erupted from the women standing by.

Suddenly they took off their wooden shoes and began to attack the soldiers.

Their daughters were saved because the village women came to defend them.

I met one of the young girls who escaped and immigrated to the United States. She told me this story in Arvada, Colorado. How thankful she was for the cries of anguish from the women as they went into action with the only thing available—their shoes.

I thought of teens—both boys and girls—who are being seized by Satan for his use. One parent, whose son was involved in drugs and was in trouble with the law, told me, “There’s nothing I can do.”

But we don’t have to stand by and see our youths corrupted by Satan, who will steal their talents and love for life, and even kill the body and destroy the soul (John 10:10).

A young married couple came to church without knowing their parents had become Christians and were praying for them.

“Both of us got this desire to read the Bible,” the young man explained. “We bought one and started reading. Instead of starting at the front, we started at the back. We were reading Revelation, and we got scared. We didn’t understand some of it, so we decided we’d better find a church. We came here and gave our lives to Christ.”

The couple learned their parents, who had become Christians, and many of their parents’ friends, were praying for them. The parents didn’t know how to explain to their children what happened in their lives, so they just prayed and their children found God.

Some parents’ prayers aren’t as quickly answered. But when the cry of anguish for souls is sent heavenward, we know God hears (1 John 5:14, 15).

All we can take with us into heaven are other people. We want our families with us for eternity.

Every day I thank God I have children who are dedicated to Him. Even then when one gets into a dangerous situation, I find a place on my knees to intercede for him.

But the cries of anguish and action for youths need not be limited to our families. The cry can go up for our community, our city, and our nation’s children.

We can pray for youths. We can be good examples. We can teach the Bible and its principles. We can encourage them. As parents we can be firm and loving with discipline. We can help them be faithful to the house of God. We can show our love for them.

Yes, there are things we can do to defend our youths. We don’t have to sit idly by. Like the village women, we can use what we have to do battle.

But we won’t fight this battle alone. When the cry of anguish goes up and we put faith to our works, we enlist the help of Almighty God.

The next cry will be the cry of victory!

n  THE PENTECOSTAL EVANGEL, June 9, 1985


Tuesday, February 20, 2018

IF YOU DON'T RECEIVE YOUR MIRACLE


Note: This is the preface to my new book, What Prayer Can Do, a collection of my articles about miracles published in The Pentecostal Evangel over my writing career. Sometimes the miracles we wanted, don't happen--but God still works in our lives. He gave us supernatural peace and joy after we lost our daughter to cancer, and that's a miracle. Jesus came to defeat death and He did! As with the thief on the cross, our Carolyn immediately went into God's  presence and will return when Jesus comes with His saints in the catching away of the church."The dead in Christ will arise first and we who are alive and remain will be caught up to meet Him in the air, and we will always be with the Lord." 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).

Her spirit will go into the remains of her body, and she will rise and precede the living saints rising into the air! And we'll always be with her and the Lord! Furthermore, as 1 Corinthians 13:12 says, we'll know one another.
What a hope!

Why I still believe in miracles 


By Ada Brownell

       Author’s Note: This was not among articles published by The Pentecostal Evangel, but it did appear in an online version of Enrichment Magazine.

Editor’s Note: An honest look at Scripture can teach us valuable lessons concerning healing. Journey with this author as she discovers some lessons on healing.

God heals some and He does not heal others. This mystery confuses many, and the body of Christ sometimes staggers under a spirit of unbelief.

I’ve entered that valley, too, but as a Christian and retired medical reporter, I still believe in miracles.

 My faith journey began as a child. My friend, Velda Jean Bailey, was stricken with leukemia. My brother-in-law told me about her condition. “The doctors say Velda Jean probably has only two or three weeks to live.”

A woman in my home church tearfully requested prayer for my friend.

A few days later, Velda’s grandfather had been praying with her when her mother saw a change come over her daughter.

“She looked as if new blood were going into her veins,” her mother recalled.

 Velda’s symptoms disappeared and the parents asked for new tests. Diagnostics revealed Velda was completely healed. She was alive the last I heard—25 years later.

 Our daughter, Gwen, didn’t need tubes surgically inserted into her ears after she went forward for prayer. Our youngest daughter Jeanette’s elbow was healed so that it no longer slipped out of the joint when someone pulled on her arm.

Years later, our granddaughter, Melissa, suffered from croup. Our son, Gary, and his wife, Janice, were moving from Denver and due to be in Tulsa, so they left despite a blizzard blowing in. Gary drove the truck and Janice followed in the car. I and Janice’s mother went to our knees in prayer.

Snow fell so fast as Janice followed the truck the windshield wipers wouldn’t keep the windshield cleared. Janice had to stick her head out the window in order to see, bringing the cold air in on Melissa and her little brother, Justin.

When they arrived in Tulsa safely, Janice called us.

“How is Melissa?” I asked.

“The croup is gone. She’s not sick anymore.”

I’d heard sometimes cool moist air helps chest congestion—but cure a fevered child with croup?

We’ve had numerous times when physicians thought a member of our family was in trouble physically. A few years ago, a medical test showed Gary had only 40 percent kidney function, but after prayer, a specialist found nothing wrong. Gary never had kidney problems again, it’s been twenty years. More recently after a cancer diagnosis for a different problem, he was declared cancer free.

At about age 30, Gwen had symptoms of multiple sclerosis. After prayer and many tests, physicians said she was fine—and she is fine, 15 years later.

Our six younger grandchildren are miracles, and I believe it’s because God answers prayer. Complications during their mothers’ pregnancy could have endangered four of their lives or their future, but God intervened. Two other grandchildren came to us through the miracle of adoption.

With five children, and now grandchildren, we’ve had so many medical problems changed from serious to insignificant after prayer I can’t list them all. Yet, Carolyn, our oldest daughter, died at age 31 of an aggressive form of lymphoma, and our son, Jaron, has suffered from asthma since age 2.

But I still believe for Jaron’s healing and know God heals.

I’ve been a student of the Bible almost all my life and although answers to why some are healed and some are not is a mystery, the Word explains a great deal about healing and miracles.

Here are a few things I’ve learned.

1.     All humankind is destined to die because of sin. God told Adam and Eve if they ate of the forbidden tree, they would die. Satan, the liar, said, “You won’t die! God just wants to keep something good from you!” (my translation) Adam and Eve ate and became mortals. We, as their offspring, inherited the curse of sin. Read about it in Genesis 3.

I like the way the King James Version explains in Romans 8:22 how our mortality affects us: “We know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.”

2.     Healing is in the atonement. Centuries before Jesus came Isaiah prophesied, “Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed (Isaiah 53:4-5). Peter quoted the verses and said, “By his wounds you have been healed” (1 Peter 2:24).

Our Savior knows what it is to suffer. They plucked his beard and tore flesh off His back with a whip for our healing. Yet, even before pain gripped His body from the nails in his hands, and the other torture He endured on the cross, Jesus had compassion and healed many among the multitudes that followed Him.

3.     An atmosphere of doubt interferes with God’s Spirit working among us. Jesus Himself couldn’t do many miracles in Nazareth because of a spirit of unbelief (Matthew 13:57-58). In Luke’s description of the Lord’s visit to His home town in Nazareth, Jesus told how many lepers in Israel needed healing, but only one—Naaman—was healed. The heavens were shut up to many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, but because of unbelief Elijah was sent to only one--the widow of Zarephath.

Jesus does have the power for miracles among a throng of doubters, but we often absorb the unbelief.

4.     What our minds feed on affects our personal faith. Romans 10:16-18 tells us faith comes through hearing the word of God. Much of the church today attends services an hour and a half a week. We complain about 45-minute sermons and have no time for prayer in the altars, but spend several hours each day watching TV but we’ll sit outside in a snow storm for three hours to watch a football game. Romans 8:6, 7 indicates when we allow our flesh to take charge of our minds; it interferes with walking after the Spirit.

5.     We build our faith remembering miracles God has done.  In every church and prayer group I’ve attended “these signs, including healing, have followed them that believe” (Mark 16:17). One time I was asked to speak about prayer to the youth group. Instead of speaking, I asked a half dozen people with testimonies of God’s intervention in a crisis.

 The father of a large family who worked on a highway crew urgently prayed because the weatherman had forecast rain and he couldn’t work in the rain. Rain followed the paving machine all day, but it never rained where they worked.

 Several told of miraculous healings—two where doctors had given no hope. One woman told how God turned away a forest fire racing toward their house as she and the children stood at the window praying and repeating Psalm 91. I later wrote their testimonies for The Pentecostal Evangel in a story, “What Prayer Can Do.”

Yet, a serious diagnosis such as cancer of the pancreas strikes faith-paralyzing fear.  I believe part of that is Satan’s “spin” on truth. Like every expert of propaganda, he uses a smidgeon of truth in his destructive lies. While treatments have advanced, cancer of the pancreas has meant almost certain death. But Gospel Singer Jimmy Blackwood, son of James Blackwood, was healed of pancreatic cancer in 1984. I interviewed him about it for the newspaper where I worked. Jimmy is still singing.

6.     We have a drought of God’s power because we don’t seek the Gifts of healing, faith and miracles. God gives the Gifts to those for whom He has a specific purpose but He also tells us to ask for them (1 Corinthians 12). Jesus said, “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give” (Matthew 10:8).

7.     Lack of fasting and prayer affects spiritual outcomes. In Ezra’s time Israel fasted and prayed for God’s protection over their families (Ezra 8:20-22). The disciples couldn’t cast out demons because they didn’t fast and pray before they went out (Mark 9:28, 29). God is able to do more than we can ask or think, but it is according to the power that works in us (Ephesians 3:20-21). According to the Word, prayer and fasting increases that power.

8.     Although we know our sin doesn’t cause most sicknesses, sin could cause us to be sick or even die. Paul wrote, “For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves. “That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep. But if we were more discerning with regard to ourselves, we would not come under such judgment” (1 Corinthians 11:29--31).

When, however, some people witnessed the healing of a blind man and asked who sinned, the man or his parents, Jesus said, “Neither, so that the works of God might be displayed in him” (John 9:1-3).

9.     Some people aren’t healed or delivered because of “the greater good.” For instance, when our oldest daughter was near death from cancer she left a witness. Four people gave their lives to Christ and others recommitted themselves to God. When people experience a death close to them, they realize their own mortality and need of a Savior.

10.  Often God uses faith and works and we should give Him credit for these miracles. James said, “What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? … Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead” James 2:14-16). I was prayed for several times because of knee pain. When I had knee replacements, the pain disappeared. Medications along with God’s mercy have helped Jaron live triumphantly with asthma for 40 years. I consider that a gift from God.

 I believe the knowledge of physicians today is given by the Lord and furthermore, it is a sign of Christ’s coming. God told Daniel,  But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased” (Daniel 12:4).

On the medical beat at the newspaper where I worked, over and over I was told how physicians couldn’t do much for diseases and medical conditions until the 20th Century. The most important things that changed health and longevity, according to physicians I’ve interviewed, are clean water, immunizations and antibiotics—but God also has given wisdom for marvelous diagnostics, medications, and treatments.

11. Sometimes healing doesn’t come because we’re being tested, as Job was.

“These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold” (1 Peter 1:7 NKJ).

12.  God’s sovereignty means He always has the last word. God has the last word in everything, including how many days we live. We have promises all over the Bible about healing which we can grasp and believe, but we have to put the whole Bible together for correct doctrine.  It should give us comfort, and not fear, to know everything is in His hands. “This is the confidence that we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him” (1 John 5:14-15).

But His “last words” to His children always are words of love (See John 3:16).
-- Originally published in the online Enrichment Journal, the Assemblies of God magazine for Spirit-filled ministers.

Monday, February 19, 2018

IS THERE EVIDENCE FOR THE MIRACULOUS?







A TRAIL OF WITNESSES

By Ada Nicholson Brownell

If you go to church or hang around a courtroom, you’ll hear testimonies. In court, a crime often has been committed and eyewitnesses are valuable in determining exactly what happened. Christian testimony is similar but they’re about how intervened. Testimonies about God are throughout the Old Testament, and here’s some from the New.

From Luke: “Having carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I also have decided to write an accurate account for you” (Luke 1:2-3 NLT).

Peter:

2 Peter 1:16 NKJ “For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty."

John:

1 John 1: 3 “That which we have seen and heard we declare to you that you also may have fellowship with us, and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.”

I’ve heard amazing Christian testimonies through my life. As a writer some of these caught my attention and I wrote about them. But I was a kid when one of my friends was diagnosed with leukemia and my brother in law told me she wasn’t expected to live. Fear shivered down my bones at the diagnosis.

But then only a few weeks later I heard the good news. Velda Jean was in the bedroom praying with her grandfather when they came out and her mother instantly believed new blood now flowed through her daughter. Tests confirmed Velda no longer had leukemia. She came to our church years later and gave her testimony when I was the youth president.

Testimonies like this is why I wrote the new book, What Prayer Can Do. Fifty-five of my articles and interview published in The Pentecostal Evangel over the years are reprinted in the book.

What Prayer Can Do” has five sections of testimonies that testify of of God intervention.

Part One: Prayer Results in Miracles

Part Two: Prayer Brings People to God

Part Three: Prayer Helps with Victorious Living

Part Four: Prayer Changes Marriages; Families

Part Five: Prayer Makes an Eternal Difference



A few samples of chapter titles: “The Meanest Man in Town,” “The Woman Who Hated God,” “Crazy Charlie,” “God Instantly Restored My Father’s Sight,” “God Sent Carl A Miracle.”

“The Meanest Man in Town” became a fiery evangelist. He was the father of our pastor in Lakewood, Colo., Hubert Surratt. “The Woman Who Hated God” found salvation after knowing my friend, Joy Wood, in Grand Junction. I went to church with Lorraine Golightly in Arvada, Colo. Her father was instantly healed of blindness. When he was in high school, Carl Johnson was a student in my high school Sunday school class at First Assembly in Pueblo, Colo. Carl recovered from a serious head injury after a motorcycle accident. Doctors believed he would never work again but Carl was back within weeks. After he gave his life to the Lord, the man formerly dubbed “Crazy Charlie” played the bass for a singing group I was a part of, The Damascus Singers, part of Abundant Life Christian Center in Arvada.

The idea to write about what prayer can do came to me when I was asked to speak about prayer at a youth meeting. When I started studying it dawned on me all those young people already knew how to pray. So I began asking folks in the church about the greatest answer to prayer they ever had. I heard amazing true stories from people I knew well. I presented those to the youth and then made an article out of the testimonies, and that article is in the book under the title, “What Prayer Can Do.”

I discovered people everywhere have amazing testimonies about what God has done in answer to prayer.

Yet, sometimes the miracle doesn't happen. The introduction to this book has my article, "Why I Still Believe God Heals," which tells how we lost a daughter to cancer but that event made our faith even stronger!

Jesus came to defeat the curse of sin--death--and He defeated it. Salvation is the greatest miracle. Jesus said, "He who believes in me, though he may die, yet shall he live. And whoever lives and believes in me will never die!" (John 11:25-26).












Monday, February 12, 2018

DOES TRUTH MATTER?






Standing For Truth

By Tamera Lynn Kraft

One thing I loved about researching my new historical novel, Red Sky Over America, was learning more about abolitionists before the Civil War. These brave men and women stood for truth when it went against the culture of their time. America was an abolitionist who attended college in Ohio. She choose to stand for truth by traveling to Kentucky to confront her father about slavery.


Ohio had the largest Underground Railroad of any state in the Union. It is believed that every county in Ohio had a route. Many slaves would escape over the Ohio River and through Ohio on their way to Canada. This was a dangerous undertaking because, even though Ohio was a free state, the Fugitive Slave Law made it so anyone helping escaped slaves could be fined and jailed.

The strong stand these abolitionists took then remind us today to stand for truth no matter what the politically correct culture says. The Word of God is the only standard for truth.

We are not the first generation to buck our culture, nor are the abolitionists of the early 1800s. In the early days of the church, Peter and John were brought before the religious leaders of their time and were told to stop preaching the Gospel. This was their response.

"Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, 'We ought to obey God rather than men.'"

May we have the courage of Christians who have gone before us and always speak God's truth.

Red Sky Over America

Ladies of Oberlin, Book 1

By Tamera Lynn Kraft

In 1857, America, the daughter of a slave owner, is an abolitionist and a student at Oberlin College, a school known for its radical ideas. America goes home to Kentucky during school break to confront her father about freeing his slaves.

America's classmate, William, goes to Kentucky to preach abolition to churches that condone slavery. America and William find themselves in the center of the approaching storm sweeping the nation and may not make it home to Ohio or live through the struggle.


You can purchase Red Sky Over America at these online sites:



Bio: 

Tamera Lynn Kraft has always loved adventures. She loves to write historical fiction set in the United States because there are so many stories in American history.

Tamera has been a children’s pastor for over 20 years. She is the leader of a ministry called Revival Fire for Kids where she mentors other children’s leaders, teaches workshops, and is a children’s ministry consultant and children’s evangelist and has written children’s church curriculum. She is a recipient of the 2007 National Children’s Leaders Association Shepherd’s Cup for lifetime achievement in children’s ministry.

You can contact Tamera online at these sites.
 

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

DIRECTIONALLY CHALLENGED










By Ada Nicholson Brownell

“Hey everybody! O’Dell just caught sight of a mountain lion not too far away. We need to get back!”

A big group of our extended family hiked on Glade Park, where my sister, Clara, had a second home. The Colorado National Monument towered in the cavernous valley floor nearby. My brother Joe and I had wandered off on our own, recalling our childhood of hunting and finding arrowheads not far away from the farm where we grew up.

The glade on top of the mountain where we hiked now is surrounded by forest, sagebrush, and farm land. It’s beautiful in itself, but the deep rusty red monuments and other amazing formations below always sparked greater awe from me. The view of the Grand Valley of Colorado, home to Grand Junction, Fruita, Clifton, Palisade and smaller communities, could be seen from where we stood. Across the valley the barren book cliff mountains  reached for the clouds to the north and the blue-green flat-topped Grand Mesa huddled another direction. The red rocky mountains ringed around behind us and almost touched the book cliffs in the west.

But now our stimulating hike would be called to a halt by a mountain lion?

“The house is that way,” Joe said.

All my life I’d depended on my older siblings to know my directions, but I am grown up now and I felt Joe was wrong. In my mind it was off to the right, and I scoured the vegetation behind us with my eyes, I was in a hurry and wanted to be sure we could get back to safety.

I knew, though, my directions had been mixed up since we moved away from the Grand Valley. One place we lived the sun came up in the north, according to my senses, even though I knew it came up in the east.

I used to not admit I had such a problem with directions, but my husband couldn’t miss it and my children got a big laugh when we’d go to the mall and I’d want to return to the car out the wrong door. If I did that when I was alone, I’d wonder what happened to my vehicle.

As a reporter I had to go everywhere in our town to write news and features and I got lost several times in the Belmont subdivision because all the streets curve around a hill and make no sense at all. Once I even got lost in a large hotel. I took a wrong turn and couldn’t find my way back to a convention hall until I finally came upon someone who could guide me.

“I think we should going that way,” I occasionally tell my husband when we travel, make a stop and come back to the highway. Most of the time if I were driving we’d start out the opposite direction from where we should be going.

One day my sister who had a business where she had to get bids from the owner told me every time she went into a maze of offices she had to be led out.

“It’s a birth defect!” I cried.

I discovered later some of my other siblings had trouble with directions now and then, while my husband was usually right on.

That day trying to avoid the lion, for once I was correct in my guess where Clara’s mountain home sat. After a little while going that way I saw it in the distance, waved to Joe, and we happily dashed for it.

I’ve discovered if I want to end up in the right place, I need to keep the correct address in mind. I often  need a map, and I need to watch where I’m going and where I’ve been.

I think often of the Israelites who often forsook the way God want them to go and they lived according to what was right in their own minds and became lost spiritually. In addition they wandered in the desert 40 years.

Being directionally challenged makes me want to know where I’m going spiritually, and not depend on what I think is right.  I need to study the Bible instead of guessing about the way to heaven. The Bible has become my map. But the map isn’t enough. I need to follow the directions there. Keeping the goal in mind, I also connect with the Guide, the Holy Spirit, [1] who will guide me into all truth. The Lord will lead into the paths of righteousness, according to Psalm 23. 1 John 1:9 tells me if I confess my sins, He will cleanse me from all unrighteousness.

.”I’m lost!” a woman screamed at the top of her lungs one time in church when I was a child. I’ve never forgotten that. But I also remember after she connected with Jesus she was filled with joy and laughter. The lost was found!

Praise the Lord Jesus found me and I now know the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6). Even if Satan pursues me like a roaring lion, I’m safe. Now I know where I’m going.



[1] John 6:33 will lead

Thursday, February 1, 2018

A TRAIN RIDE TO HEARTBREAK by Donna Schlachter






The Story Behind the Story . . .  A Train Ride to Heartbreak

By Donna Schlachter






The idea for this story came from a love of a movie and a friend with a great story to share.



The movie was “The Fugitive”, both the original series pilot and the more recent remake. I loved the idea of a train ride leading to a second chance.



My friend had recently taken a train ride from Denver to San Francisco, and she shared several delightful stories. I wondered if a train ride might be like a cruise in that it would provide an insulated environment where the travelers might do something they’d never done before. If so, this was perfect fodder for a romance, much like the old TV show, “The Love Boat”.



And then I saw “Murder on the Orient Express”, and as a lover of anything Agatha Christie, decided to incorporate a few of the details in my story.



The result? A chance meeting, two characters with integrity, and a way for God to reach both of them.







1895, Train to California

John Stewart needs a wife. Mary Johannson needs a home. On her way west, Mary falls in love with another. Now both must choose between commitment and true love.



October 1895

Mary Johannson has scars on her body that can’t compare with the scars on her heart. She is alone in the world, with no family, no prospects, and no home.



John Stewart is at his wit’s end. His wife of three years died in childbirth, leaving him with a toddler and an infant, both girls. Theirs was the love of fairy tales, and while he has no illusions about finding another like her, his children need a mother.



Though separated by thousands of miles, they commit to a mail-order marriage. But on their journey to Heartbreak, they meet another and realize the life they’d planned would be a lie. Can they find their way back from the precipice and into the love of God and each other, or are they destined to keep their word and deny their heart?






Excerpt:



Groverton, Pennsylvania

September 1895



Chapter 1



Mary Johannson plunged reddened hands into the dishwater and scrubbed at a crusty spot on the chipped china plate.



In the yard, the vicar, shoulders slumped from the cares of his congregation, held a small child in his arms while two toddlers clutched his pants leg. And Matron Dominus, the imposing head of the Meadowvale Orphan’s Home, towered over the small group huddled before her.



Mary checked the plate. Satisfied it would pass muster, she dipped it into the rinse bucket and set the piece into the dish rack to air dry. Next she set a burnt oatmeal pot into the water to soak while she dried her hands on her apron and surveyed the scene outside.



The vicar nodded and turned to walk the gravel path he’d traversed just minutes before, the wee ones in tow as he hoisted the child to his other hip for the mile-long trip back. No doubt he was waiting for space to open in the orphanage.



Her space.



Mary would turn eighteen in two months. And despite her desire to escape the confines of the orphanage, she wasn’t excited about making her own way in the world. The last girl who aged out—as the other orphans called the act of turning eighteen—now worked at the saloon.



And everybody knew what kind of girls worked there.



Mary swiped at the scarred worktable set in the middle of the kitchen floor, her washrag sweeping crumbs into her hand. She still needed to finish the dishes and report to Matron



Dominus for her next order for the day.



By the time she returned to the sink, the vicar and his charges were out of sight.



But Matron Dominus stood outside the tiny window staring in at her.



Checking up on her, no doubt. Making certain she wasn’t lollygagging. An activity all of the residents indulged in. According to Matron.



Mary hurried through the rest of the washing up. She swept the floor, put a pot of beans on to soak for supper, and shooed the cat out from under the stove. After checking the dampers to make certain the range wouldn’t needlessly heat the kitchen—another of Matron’s accusations—she hung her apron on a nail beside the back door.



Stepping out into the fresh air, Mary drew a deep breath and leaned against the clapboard siding.



Perhaps she could work at the seamstress shop. She was a fair hand with a needle and thread. Or maybe the general store.



“Mary Johannson.”



The screech like a rooster with its tail caught in a gate startled her, and she straightened. But in her haste, she overbalanced and stepped forward to catch herself, hooking her toe in the hem of her dress, which she’d just let down last week to a more respectable length.



The sound of rending cloth filled her ears as the ground slammed toward her. She got her hands out in front of her just in time to prevent mashing her nose into the soil. The toes of Matron Dominus’s boots filled her vision.



Mary pushed herself to her feet, wincing at an ache in her lower back not there a moment before. Tears blurred her vision when she checked her dress—she had a three-inch rip just above the hem.



“Are you lollygagging about? Sunbathing? Do you think you’re on the Riviera?”



Despite her imposing height and girth, the matron’s voice—particularly when she was irked—resembled the irksome peacock Mary had once seen in the zoo in Philadelphia. Why God would create such a beautiful bird with such a nasty voice was beyond her.



But if what Matron said was true, He’d created Mary, too, only to have her burned by the flames that killed the rest of her family. Angry red scars ran from her forearms to halfway up her neck, and a collar of white tissue, the result of an inept doctor sewing her back together again, ringed her neck and inched toward her ears.



No, if God really loved her, He wouldn’t have allowed that to happen.



About Donna:

Donna lives in Denver with husband Patrick, her first-line editor and biggest fan. She writes historical suspense under her own name, and contemporary suspense under her alter ego of Leeann Betts. She is a hybrid author who has published a number of books under her pen name and under her own name. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Sisters In Crime; facilitates a local critique group, and teaches writing classes and courses. Donna is also a ghostwriter and editor of fiction and non-fiction, and judges in a number of writing contests. She loves history and research, and travels extensively for both. Donna is proud to be represented by Terrie Wolf of AKA Literary Management.






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Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Why doctors began prescribing more opiods



By Ada Brownell

Who knew wild daring skid-row types wouldn’t be the only ones dying from drug overdoses? Now even professionals, ordinary people and senior citizens are joining the crowd.

The United States is experiencing an epidemic of drug overdose deaths. According to the Centers for Disease Control, since 2000 the rate of deaths from drug overdoses has increased 137%, including a 200% increase in the rate of overdose deaths involving opioid pain relievers and heroin. The NY Times reported 64,000 people died from drug overdoses in 2016. CDC says at least 20,000 died from fentanyl, which is synthetic opiods.

I’ve seen what heroin can do. In hopes of helping others, a young woman’s mother called the newspaper where I worked as a reporter and wanted me to write about what happens too often in our nation when an addict dies.

“She was having seizures when we brought her here,” her mother said.

A photographer and I watched the young woman die. She never regained consciousness. She shouldn’t have died so young.

Heroin is called the “recreational” drug. First-time users seek the “high.” They also abuse the drug for the fake well-being they experience. Experts say heroin use often can be traced to a chaotic home, an undiagnosed mental disorder, biological conditions such as lack of neurotransmitter endorphins in the brain, or if there is an addicted family member.

Others ripe for heroin addiction are ravaged by fear, emptiness, guilt, loneliness, relationship problems, or hurts because of abuse or a broken home. The person seeks peace but can’t find it.
The rise in opiod and other drug use began to escalate with the decline of Christianity in America.
Born-again Christians experience what Peter called "joy unspeakable and full of glory" (1 Peter 1:8), and Jesus called it "rivers of living water" (John 7:38). Before he ascended, Jesus said, "Peace I leave with you" (John 14:27). They also experience amazing peace. Jesus told his disciples before He went into heaven, "Peace I leave with you" (John 14:27).
The drug addict thinks getting high is the only way to have fun or have peace. Liquor is imbibed for some of the same reasons. During my years in the newsroom where I worked as a journalist one reporter was shocked I’d never had a alcoholic drink.
"How did you have any fun?" he asked.
"I've had lots of fun in my life," I told him, "and the wonderful thing is I knew I had it!" 

Opiods sometimes are abused for much the same reasons, but thousands become addicted because they need pain relief.

I took synthetic morphine after I had knee replacements. My husband  took a similar pain substance. Yet, we were in a hurry to get off the drugs. We stopped them after a few weeks.

Doctors told me not to worry about addiction unless I had something else going on in my life besides pain. He was talking about emotional pain.

I’ve had back problems and recently my doctor was shocked to discover what I use: Horse linament, Absorbine. I buy it at a Farm  & Ranch supply and I use it frequently.

Increased use of narcotics began when doctors discovered pain control assists with the healing process so they began to be more liberal with prescribing narcotics.

 The old notion that pain is somehow "good" for you has been put to rest for good, say health officials. They are increasingly recognizing that control of pain leads to more rapid recovery for hospitalized patients, and can even cut costs.

While pain can function as the body's alarm that something is wrong, it can also be counterproductive, says Dr. Lynn Webster, who directs the Lifetree Clinical Research and Pain Clinic in Salt Lake City.

"Most of us just want to lie there, because if we move after an operation or major trauma, it hurts.

But when patients just lie there, Dr. Webster says they're putting themselves at risk. "Patients who have good post-op pain control are able to breathe better," says Webster. Deep breaths can prevent the development of pneumonia, which can lead to sepsis and, in severe cases, require that patients be put on a ventilator. If patients can get up and walk fairly quickly after a procedure, then they also decrease their risk of blood clots in the legs which, in some cases, can be fatal.

We know Controlling Pain Helps Healing

Controlling acute pain in the hospital setting can also decrease a patient's risk of developing chronic pain later on. When people begin to feel pain, Webster says the body begins to set up an inflammatory process in the central nervous system that's "hard to quiet down." For some people, that inflammation begins to feed on itself and, once discharged from the hospital, patients may go on to experience pain for months, even years afterward.

The Joint Commission, which accredits hospitals, set new standards for how pain should be treated. It recommended that health providers routinely ask patients about the intensity of their pain — and then do something about it.

In fact, measuring pain has been coined the "fifth" vital sign, along with blood pressure, heart rate, temperature and respiration.

I learned about the amazing benefits that come from stopping pain 20 years ago from an anesthesiologist. His team at Parkview Episcopal Hospital in Pueblo, CO saw amazing results when anesthesiologists became involved in pain control, and not just putting people to sleep.

In most hospitals nationwide today, there is a 1 to 10 scale for patients to rate their pain. Hospitals are paying attention to pain management today, says Dr. Linda Hertzberg, an anesthesiologist at St. Agnes Medical Center in Fresno, Calif., and president of the California Society of Anesthesiologists.

Improvements In Treatment

It's nearly impossible to experience absolutely no pain after surgery or a procedure, says Hertzberg. And doctors do want patients to be conscious. Hertzberg says that when patients define their level of pain, it helps doctors target their treatment.

Methods for treating pain have advanced dramatically, starting with the discovery in the mid-1980s that medication could be delivered directly into the spinal cord and prevent the brain from receiving information about pain, or even the surgery or procedure being performed — the medication literally stops the pain signals in their path.

Herzberg mentioned peripheral nerve blocks. He said you can numb up someone's arm or shoulder, or numb up their leg for a period of up to 24 hours. 

I've met a  few people who have implanted pain control pumps.

But pain control still relies largely on pills and now too many people are hooked on opioids. I read where one man became addicted because his ObamaCare health plan cut services in his area and he could no longer afford needed surgery and had to get by on pain pills.

Why do so many die? Often overdose is accidental, but some people want more of their drug, and too much can kill.

What happens in the body with an overdose of heroin or another opioid?

Why do they die? Dr. Karen Drexler, associate professor at Emory University psychiatry department, in a CNN report said, “Overdose can cause blood pressure to dip, resulting in heart failure.”

But also the drug affects the way the heart pumps blood and many addicts forget to breathe because the respiratory system shuts down.
I've seen people become addicted to pain killers. It seems the ones most apt to addiction are those who have emotional pain, as well as physical pain.
On the surface, opioid pain relievers don’t seem near as harmful as heroin. Heroin is a powerful semi-synthetic opiate derived from morphine and is most often used as a recreational drug. Heroin delivers an intense “rush” and is more powerful than most opioid analgesics because it crosses the blood-brain barrier more rapidly.

A physician told me years ago that every drug we take into our bodies has a side effect—even aspirin. We have to decide if the reason we need the drug outweighs the side effects. Then take the drug according to the doctor’s instructions, paying strict attention to the amount and frequency.

Thank God for modern medicine and the knowledge he gave humankind so we discovered pain relief. But God does give us the knowledge that such drugs need to be controlled and to resist addiction.

If you need a miracle, read Ada Brownell's new book, What Prayer Can Do. There are true stories of deliverance from drugs and alcohol.
WHAT PRAYER CAN DO
A Collection of true stories by Ada Brownell Published by The Pentecostal Evangel
By Ada Brownell
Ennis L. Surratt clutched the cool metal handle of his .45 pistol. Through the weeds he could see three men coming. He knew they would come near where he crouched because they would be coming after the barrel of whiskey that had disappeared from his still the night before.
When the men were only a few feet from the barrel, Ennis stepped out in front of the man who seemed to lead the way.
“You’re not taking this barrel,” Ennis growled, keeping his right hand next to the gun. “You stole it last night, and we’re going to settle it right here.”
He drew his gun and aimed it at the thief.
“Shoot!” the thief yelled as he whirled with his double-barreled shotgun.
 An explosive charge sounded from the shotgun and Ennis fell to the ground. Pain surged through his neck and chest, and hot blood trickled from the wounds, but Ennis raised up on one knee and fired the pistol.
With a cry of anguish, the thief dropped the shotgun and fell into the weeds.
Ennis fell back again, and both men cursed and writhed with pain until they were taken to town for treatment. Ennis was filled with buckshot but not hurt seriously. The other fellow, however, was in serious condition.
Events like this were why the bootlegger became known as “the meanest man in town” and that caught the attention of two lady evangelist holding a tent revival in that town. The women decided if the meanest man in two would be changed by the power of God, there would be revival.
How God reached down and Ennis upside the head. He changed so much he became a fiery gospel preacher that won not only many others to God, but his own children, who became ministers of the gospel as well. One of his sons pastored the author’s church several years.
Read the story of Ennis Surratt and many others in What Prayer Can Do, on sale now at http://ow.ly/9CEI30h4IdL