REFLECTIONS

CARDS

In that place between wakefulness and dreams, I found myself in a room with no distinguishing features save for one wall covered with small index card files. They were like the ones in libraries that list titles by author and subject. These files, which stretched from floor to ceiling and seemingly endless in each direction, had very different headings. As I drew near the files, the first to catch my attention was one that read, "People I Have Liked." I opened it, began flipping through the cards and quickly shut it, shocked to realize that I recognized the names written on each one. Without being told, I knew exactly where I was. This lifeless room, with its small files, was a crude cataloging system of my life! Here were written the actions of my every moment, big and small, in excruciatingly minute detail that even my memory could not match. A sense of wonder and curiosity, coupled with horror, stirred within me. As I began randomly opening files, exploring the contents, some brought joy and sweet memories, others a sense of shame and regret so intense that I would look over my shoulder to see if anyone was watching. A file labeled "Friends" was next to one marked "Friends I Have Betrayed." The titles ranged from mundane to outright odd: "Lies I Have Told," "Comfort I Have Given," "Jokes I Have Laughed At." Some were almost hilarious in their exactness, such as "Things I Have Yelled at My Siblings." Others brought no laughter, such as "Things I Have Done In Anger." or "Things I Have Muttered Under My Breath At My Parents." I never ceased to be amazed at the contents. Often there were many more cards than I expected and sometimes fewer than I had hoped! I was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of the life I had lived. Could it be possible that in my few years of existence I filled each of these thousands, even millions of cards? It seemed each card confirmed this truth. Each was written in my own handwriting and each signed with my signature. When I pulled out the file marked "Songs I Have Listened to," I realized the files grew to contain their contents. The cards were packed tightly and I was not close to finding the end of the file. I shut it, ashamed, not so much by the quality of music, but more by the vast amount of time I knew the file represented. When I came to the file marked, "Lustful Thoughts," I felt a chill run through my body. I pulled the file out only an inch, not willing to test its size, and drew out a card. I shuddered at its detailed content. I felt sick to think that such a moment had been recorded! An almost animal rage broke within me. One thought dominated my mind, "No one must ever see these cards! No one must ever see this room! I have to destroy all of these!" In an insane frenzy I yanked a file out. Its size did not matter. I had to empty it and burn the cards. As I took it at one end and began pounding it on the floor, I could not dislodge a single card! I became desperate and tried to pull out a card, only to find it as strong as steel when I tried to tear it out. Defeated and utterly helpless, I returned the file to its slot. Leaning my forehead against the wall, I let out a long, self-pitying sigh. Then I saw it. The title bore, "People I have Shared The Gospel With." The handle was brighter than those around it, newer, almost unused. I pulled on its handle and a tiny file, not more than three inches long, fell into my hands. I could count the cards it contained on one hand! Then the tears came, sobs so deep that the hurt started in the pit of my stomach and shook through me. I fell on my knees and cried. I wept out of shame and the overwhelming true realization of it all. The rows of file shelves swirled in my tear-filled eyes. No one must ever, ever know of this room! I must lock it up and hide the key! Then as I brushed away the tears, I saw HIM. No, please, not HIM! Not here! Anyone but JESUS! I watched helplessly as He began to open the files and read the cards. I could not bear to watch His response. I did bring myself to glance into His face and I saw a deeper sorrow than my own. He seemed to intuitively go to the worst files. Why did He have to read every one? Finally, He turned and looked at me from across the room. He looked at me with pity in His eyes, pity that bore no anger with me. I dropped my head, covered my face with my hands and began to cry again. He walked over and put His arm around me. He could have said so many things...but He did not say a word...HE CRIED WITH ME! Then He got up and walked to the wall of files. Beginning at one end, He took out a file, and one by one, began to sign His Name over mine on each and every card. "No!” I shouted, rushing to Him. All I could say was, "No, No", as I pulled the card from Him. His Name should not be on these cards, but there it was...written in red, so rich, so dark, so alive. The NAME OF JESUS covered my name, written in His blood. He gently took the card from me, smiled a joyful smile and began to sign each card. I do not think I will ever understand how He did it so quickly, but the next instant it seemed I heard Him close the last file and walk back to my side. He placed His hand on my shoulder and said, "IT IS FINISHED!" He lovingly and tenderly took me by His nail-pierced hand and led me out of the room. There was no lock on the door. There were still cards to be written! Praise God! HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MY SWEET JESUS!!! Peggy B. McDowell 12/96
Loved Ones Of Prisoners

PRAYER REQUESTS

Pray for our nation, our President, our state and local leaders, and all citizens during this Covid19 virus. May God protect us all. Many of us have friends and family that we have lost to this virus. We all need to pray for all those left that are not Christians, that they will be saved. Continue to pray for the REC-Room (Re-Entry Chapel) as we have services every Thursday night at Tabernacle Baptist Church here in Odessa. We have seen eight (8) men/women come to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. Pray for Brad as doctors decide what to do about his heart blockage. Pray for Fisher Walker, he has cancer of one of his eyes and is currently undergoing chemo and radiation at MD Anderson in Houston. Pray for Grace, she is not a Christian. Pray for Sammy; he has cancer of the brainstem and his spine. Pray for comfort and healing. Continue to pray for Jamie Belknap and her health. Continue to pray for her blood pressure and her A1C numbers. Also pray for finances to complete her move to West Virginia. Continue to pray for Vearl and Sandy, he has leukemia. Pray for members of the Borron/Morgan families. Many of them have a rare kidney disease and/or liver issues. Pray for Robert Lambert, his PSA numbers are elevated. Please also pray for a good job for him. Continue to pray for Jack and Delores’ family members; Marjetta (dementia) she is much worse, and for Melvadean (cancer) she is some better. Pray for the family of Linda S., she went home to be with the Lord last month. Pray especially for her husband, children and grandchildren and her mom. Pray for Autumn Krystene Williams, Dean and Johnnie’s youngest granddaughter. Pray for healing of her brainstem. She also had an infusion on her back June 23rd. Please continue to pray for her. Pray also for Dean and Johnnie as they care for his 90-year-old mother. Continue to pray for the REC-Room. Pray for all three half-way houses here in Odessa and all those in jail. We are now able to pick up two of the halfway houses and bring them to the REC-Room meeting. Pray for all those that work in these facilities, they are truly special folks. Pray for our church that we may remain focused on the Lord Jesus Christ, the salvation of the lost and faithfulness of all of us. Pray too for our Sunday School classes. Pray that we can find a song leader and relieve Pastor Mark of doing double and triple duty. Thank you Lord for the growth we are experiencing. Pray for all our men and women serving in the armed forces. Keep them safe until they come home. Pray for all our first responders, police, firemen and EMT’s. Pray protection for our doctors and nurses and additional hospital staff..
PRAYER REQUESTS Pray for our nation, our President, our state and local leaders, and all citizens during this Covid19 virus and the upcoming election. May God protect us all. Many of us have friends and family that we have lost to this virus. We all need to pray for all those left that are not Christians, that they will be saved. Pray for Grace, she is not a Christian. Continue to pray for Don and Margaret, her cancer has returned and she is receiving treatment at Baylor in Dallas. Pray for Eric A., he recently lost his job. Continue to pray for Sammy Arp. Sweet wife, Maureen (Mo) went home to be with the Lord. Continue to pray for Jamie Belknap and her health. Continue to pray for her blood pressure and her A1C numbers. Also pray for finances to complete her move to West Virginia. Continue to pray for Vearl and Sandy, he has leukemia. Pray for members of the Borron/Morgan families. Many of them have a rare kidney disease and/or liver issues. Pray for Tristen Cannefax, the cancer has spread. Pray for 7-year-old Grant Crutcher, his severe diabetes is affecting his heart. Continue to pray for Joy and Jackie, her knee surgery last year did not fix the problem. Pray for Robert Lambert, his PSA numbers are elevated and he is out of a job because of the virus. Continue to pray for Jack and Delores’ family members; Marjetta (dementia) she is much worse, and for Melvadean (cancer) she is some better. Pray for Jennie S. and her entire family in the loss of husband, father and grandfather, Hooks. Pray for Linda S., she has recently been diagnosed with lung, liver and colon cancer. Pray for Craig and Laura, they are staying in because of the virus. Continue to pray for Autumn Christine Williams, Dean and Johnnie’s youngest granddaughter. Pray for healing of her brainstem. Also pray for 15-year-old grandson, Gage; his heart is only working at 25%. It needs to come up to 30% in the next six months, so he won’t have to have surgery. Glenda Wright asked for prayer for her friend Carolyn and herself. Continue to pray for the REC-Room. We will not be allowed to have the REC-Room until the virus restrictions are lifted by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Pray for all three half-way houses here in Odessa and all those in jail. They are not allowed visitors or able to go to any meetings. Public vendors are not even allowed to go into those facilities and fill the vending machines. All these restrictions create a lot of unrest. Pray for all those that work in these facilities, they are truly special folks. Pray for our church that we may remain focused on the Lord Jesus Christ, the salvation of the lost and faithfulness of all of us. Pray too for our Sunday School classes. Pray for all our men and women serving in the armed forces. Keep them safe until they come home. Pray for all our first responders, police, firemen and EMT’s. Pray protection for our doctors and nurses and additional hospital staff that are working tirelessly during this ordeal.
REFLECTIONS