Kingdom Pursuits Podcast – Click To Listen
Random Robby Ramblings
It disgusts me the way some people cheat on their income taxes. This is NOT the kind of world in which I want to raise my 32 dependents!
By replacing your morning coffee with green tea, you can lose up to 87% of what little joy you still have left in your life.
How do you make a bandstand? Take away their chairs.
What did Ernie say to Burt when asked if he wanted ice cream? Sure-Burt!
Why didn’t Superman know he could fly? Because he didn’t know his “Cape Abilities”.
Why shouldn’t you fall in love with a pastry chef? He’ll dessert you.
What does the tooth fairy give for half a tooth? Nothing. She wants the tooth, the whole tooth, and nothing but the tooth.
What would happen if Satan lost his hair? There would be hell toupee.
A certain little girl, when asked her name, would reply, “I’m Mr. Sugarbrown’s daughter.” Her mother told her this was wrong, she must say, “I’m Jane Sugarbrown.”
The pastor spoke to her in Sunday School, and said, “Aren’t you Mr. Sugarbrown’s daughter?”
She replied, “I thought I was, but mother says I’m not.”
IT ADDS UP
Joe’s wife bought a new line of expensive cosmetics guaranteed to make her look years younger. After a lengthy sitting before the mirror applying the “miracle” products, she asked, “Darling, honestly, what age would you say I am?”
Looking over her carefully, Joe replied, “Judging from your skin, twenty; your hair, eighteen; and your figure, twenty five.”
“Oh, you flatterer!” she gushed.
“Hey, wait a minute!” Joe interrupted. “I haven’t added them up yet.”
He Was A Leaner
A friend always seemed to lean slightly to the left. It bothered me, so I suggested that he see a doctor and have his legs checked out. For years, he refused, telling me I was crazy, but last week, he finally went.
Sure enough, the doctor discovered his left leg was a half-inch shorter than his right. A bit of orthopedic surgery later, both legs are exactly the same length now, and he no longer leans.
“So,” I said, “you didn’t believe me when I told you a doctor could fix your leg.”
He just looked at me and said, “I stand corrected.”
Expressions For High Stress Days
You! Off my planet.
Allow me to introduce my selves
How many times do I have to flush before you go away?
Chaos, panic, and disorder–my work here is done.
Earth is full. Go home.
Is it time for your medication or mine?
How do I set a laser printer to stun?
I’m not tense, just terribly, terribly alert.
While touring historic buildings in Alexandria, Virginia, we visited an old church. The guide told us that George Washington had attended services there and pointed to his pew.
A reverent silence fell. The guide, encouraged by this, went on to tell us that church services back then had been very lengthy — frequently lasting three hours or more.
The mood of the moment was shattered when an anonymous voice whispered loudly, “So George Washington slept here too!”
A rich man went to his vicar and said, “I want you and your wife to take a three-month trip to the Holy Land at my expense. When you come back, I’ll have a surprise for you”.
The vicar accepted the offer, and he and his wife went off to the Middle East.
Three months later they returned home and were met by the wealthy parishioner, who told them that while they were gone, he had had a new church built. “It’s the finest building money can buy, vicar,” said the man. “No expense was spared.”
And he was right. It was a magnificent edifice both inside and out. But there was one striking difference. There was only one pew, and it was at the very back.
“A church with only one pew?” asked the vicar.
“You just wait until Sunday,” the rich man said.
When the time came for the Sunday service, the early arrivals entered the church, filed onto the one pew and sat down. When the pew was full, a switch clicked silently, a circuit closed, the gears meshed, a belt moved and, automatically, the rear pew began to move forward. When it reached the front of the church, it came to a stop. At the same time, another empty pew came up from below at the back and more people sat down.
And so it continued, pews filling and moving forwards until finally the church was full, from front to back.
“Wonderful!” said the vicar, “Marvelous!”
The service began, and the vicar started to preach his sermon. He launched into his text and, when 12 o’clock came, he was still going strong, with no end in sight. Suddenly a bell rang, and a trap door in the floor behind the pulpit dropped open.
“Wonderful!” said the congregation, “Marvelous!”
If you’re a bear, you get to hibernate. You do nothing but sleep for six months. I could deal with that.
Before you hibernate, you’re supposed to eat yourself stupid. I could deal with that, too.
If you’re a bear, you birth your children (who are the size of walnuts) while you’re sleeping and wake to partially grown, cute cuddly cubs. I could definitely deal with that.
If you’re a mama bear, everyone knows you mean business. You swat anyone who bothers your cubs. If your cubs get out of line, you swat them too. I could deal with that.
If you’re a bear, your mate EXPECTS you to wake up growling. He EXPECTS that you will have hairy legs.
Yup….. I wanna be a bear.
I Used to Run with Drug Addicts and Prostitutes. Now I Share the Gospel with Them. My journey from life on the streets to life in Christ.
I was born in Los Angeles to a family in turmoil. My father was an alcoholic and a womanizer, and he was married four times by the time I was 17. My mother left when I was about 5 years old, and I never saw her again.
Throughout my childhood, I was moved from foster home to foster home. I started using drugs when I was 13. I believe that’s when I finally realized that I hated myself. Up until then, I had been able to ignore my feelings of worthlessness and the ongoing sting of rejection and abandonment.
At 15, I ran away from home, living on the streets until I was arrested. Thus began my life with the law.
On the run
At first, I ended up at Eastlake Juvenile Hall in Central Los Angeles (a facility to which I would return several times). Murderers, thieves, and gang members were lumped together with those who had only run away from home. As a white girl with long, blond hair, I immediately felt out of place.
Eventually, I was transferred to Florence Crittenton, an open-placement girls’ home in East Los Angeles. Leaving the grounds was against the rules, but there were no bars or walls to prevent it. During that time, I would ride buses across Los Angeles at night, unaware of the potential danger. Pimps, predators, and gangsters abounded in many neighborhoods.
But I was too restless to stay anywhere for long. After running away from the girls’ home for the third time, I was arrested again and sent back to juvenile hall. At this point I was a ward of the court, since my father and stepmother had divorced, neither wanting to take me in.
The court placed me in a closed facility in Central Los Angeles called the Convent of the Good Shepherd. The neighborhood was so unsafe we had to move our beds away from the windows on holidays, because gang members had shot through them in the past. The convent walls were 12 feet high. But I even ran away from there, climbing onto the roof of the laundry building and crawling up the ivy to escape.
With each getaway, my self-hatred escalated, along with contempt for authority figures and mistrust of people in general. I was headed down a path of destruction.
At age 19, I started working for the California Conservation Corps. One of our responsibilities was to serve meals to firefighters and prisoners as they fought major fires. This is where I met a man I’ll call Bill, who was serving a prison sentence in Yreka, California. We wrote letters back and forth for months, and when he was released, we moved in together. Later, we married and had two children.
At the time, I was drinking heavily and smoking pot. For years, I had used every drug I could get my hands on. But little did I know that Bill was using cocaine and speed intravenously. And it didn’t take much to get me doing likewise. I would spend the next six and a half years with a needle in my arm, racking up four near-death experiences when I overdosed.
Needless to say, I lost all interest in working and taking care of my kids, my husband, or my apartment. Over time, my veins were so scarred from injecting myself that I started shooting in my hands and feet. On several occasions, I even had another stoned addict shoot drugs into my neck veins, which risked sudden death. Of course, none of this was remotely fun—I was just trying to deaden my pain.
Bill and I divorced less than a decade later. We had tried getting sober, but we didn’t know who the other person was without the drugs. After a six-month attempt at sobriety, I abandoned my family and headed straight for the streets so I could continue feeding my addiction. I never imagined that I would end up homeless for two years, looking every bit like the proverbial bag lady. During this period, I hung around a dangerous neighborhood, venturing into the projects at night looking for drugs. I occasionally scoured garbage cans for food, but usually I just sold my body so I could survive and maintain my drug habit.
Bottom of Form
I certainly had a death wish. Twice, guns were pulled on me, and once I told the attacker, “Shoot me and put me out of my misery.” I even attempted suicide on several occasions. But miraculously, I survived every close call.
Water in the desert
By age 29, I had been arrested 13 times. One morning, when I was trespassing on Fort Ord, then an Army base near Seaside, California, six military police cars arrived, and a Seaside Police sergeant came busting through the door. Because of my lengthy criminal record, I was sent to a women’s prison in Southern California, where I already knew some of the inmates from my time on the street.
Crowded by pairs into tiny cells in the receiving unit, we were on lockdown 23 hours a day, 7 days a week, so there was no privacy. Very few inmates were allowed out of their cells to work.
But God was preparing another miracle. My cellmate worked in the kitchen, which gave me significant alone time. While she was away, I started reading Al Capone’s Devil Driver, a book about the mob boss’s chauffeur. This man had killed many people and landed in prison, where he ultimately became a born-again Christian.
At the time, I wasn’t even looking for God. All I knew was that I wanted to die. My whole life had been an unbroken stretch of misery, and the pain was unbearable. After finishing the book, I realized that God was exactly who I needed. I got on my knees and cried out to him for over an hour, weeping for all the wrongs I had done. When I got up off the cell floor, I was a brand-new person.
After being placed in the general prison population a few weeks later, I immediately went to church. The chaplain befriended me and bought me an expensive Bible. I read it for hours every day. After a lifetime derailed by destructive lies, finding God’s truth felt like discovering a cool stream in the desert.
The Scriptures spoke wholeness and hope to my heart. At first, I could hardly fathom that Jesus would love a sinner like me, much less that my sins were totally forgiven. But the more I read, the more the Holy Spirit confirmed the shocking reality of the gospel. I drew special encouragement from Joel 2:25, which speaks of God “repay[ing] you for the years the locusts have eaten.”
Soon enough, I found myself wanting to share Christ with others in prison. So I began leading worship songs and eventually teaching Bible studies.
After my release, I had to go back to my hometown of Santa Cruz, California. But the only people I knew there were drug addicts and prostitutes. I wondered why God had returned me to this kind of environment. How would I overcome my reputation there? But God graciously gave me many opportunities to witness to those I had run with.
Eventually, I returned to school and received my registered nursing degree. I also married the son of a California Highway Patrol captain, and together we started a ministry that helps people come to know Jesus and disciples them in the Christian faith. For decades now, I have written Bible studies and taught them to diverse groups of women—some lifelong Christians, others fresh off the streets or recovering from addictions.
After so many years on the run—from home, from authority, from life itself—I praise God for giving rest to my weary soul. No life is too broken for God to heal. I am living proof.
Sharon Dutra is the cofounder of Be Transformed Ministries. Connect with her at betransformedministries.com.
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