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Food For The Soul

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This page is for everyone. All of us hunger for fulfilment and joy in our lives. We also know that is not the way life goes. However, through our adversities we can grow and develop in our innermost being to live a rich and abundant life. This part of my web page will be written by my friends who have suffered and have become as purer gold because of their struggles...I hope in the months to come that through them becoming vulnerable they may help you , your family and friends.

In His Love, Marilyn

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Bat N Ball

The Winning Pitch

Jon Burnam is a very special person in my life. He was the teacher of a Family Focus Seminar that I attended and I learned the Power of the Word as is written in Hebrews 4:12. Jon was a former pitcher in the Baltimore Oriole organization and this is a chapter from his book, THE WINNING PITCH, that showed him how and when to throw His pitch that can truly change a person's life...You will see how God can use you in your sphere of influence.
As you read this book you will identify with many of the experiences and sense a new motivation to be used of God in very real and meaningful ways.
Enjoy Chapter 18.

In His Love, Marilyn

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An excerpt from "The Winning Pitch"
by Jon Burnham

Chapter 18: 'The Big Buck Pitch'

There was a young fellah named Tom who came to our teenage meetings where he received Jesus Christ into his life. After a period of time he grew in the Lord and wanted to invite his classmates to come to my home to hear what he heard about Jesus. Tom's classmates would have none of it. Tom was going to a private school and his class had a special agenda. They said: 'Tom, if you are so high on this Burnham guy, have him come here to our class, and let him tell us what he believes on our turf.'

Tom approached me with their suggestion. He said: 'Jon, they won't come to your house like I did to hear what you have to say. They want you to come to their class and explain to them about Jesus and salvation. But Jon, I gotta warn you about something. The class is called the 'Gestapo' class. The teacher gives the 'Gestapo' class permission to ridicule, embarrass, and humiliate any guest speaker that comes in to see if he really believes what he's talking about. They feel that if they can get the guest speaker upset it would prove that he's not genuine. They figure if he's not genuine, why believe him. If he can stand the heat they will give credit where credit is due. Jon, since you are a red head and light complected, your face gets red real easy. I've noticed that all you have to do is bend over and your face gets red.

If it gets red during the time they try to embarrass you I'm afraid they will think you're getting upset, and will really nail you. Now, will you come to my class and tell my buddies about Jesus?'

What could I say? This teenage friend of mine had become a Christian through our ministry. I had the opportunity to show him that we can to trust the Lord in any situation. This didn't mean that I wasn't nervous. I hadn't experienced anything like this before. There are times that the Lord will challenge us to step out in blind faith.

I said: 'Tom, I'll be happy to come to your class. The Lord changed water to wine at the wedding supper in Cana, He can surely keep my face from turning red.'

The time came to face off with the 'Gestapo' class. These guys seemed harmless enough. The teacher was in the back row with a slight smile on his face.

Tom introduced me to the class. I stood up and told them that I would appreciate it if they would give me just five minutes, without interruption, so that I could give my testimony. I said: 'At the conclusion of my testimony you may ask me any question or make any comments you like. I do understand how this class opperates.'

During my five minute testimony about my personal relationship with Jesus Christ, they listened without saying a word. When I got done a fellah in the back row stood on his chair and said: 'I don't believe in heaven.' The class roared their approval. He continued: 'I don't believe in hell.' Again they approved with applause. He continued: 'I don't believe in the Bible.' This time they gave him a standing ovation.

It didn't take me any time at all to realize that they were true to their reputation. These guys wanted to get me upset. His comments proved that he had ignored my testimony completely and the whole class agreed with him. He had a look on his face that said: 'What do you think about that Preach?' It was obvious that I was talking to the leader of the class.I glanced at the teacher and he was thoroughly amused. Naturally the class was waiting to see how I would respond to this 'Anti-God' like statement.

I looked at the young fellah standing on his chair and I said: 'This tells me a great deal about you.'

One of the students in the front row said: 'What does it tell you about him?' I replied: 'I can't tell you. It would embarrass him in front of the rest of you and I won't do that to him.'

My answer caused a big moan of disappointment. I looked at that fellah in the back of the room again and said: 'I'll be glad to tell you in private what it tells me about you. Come to the next meeting I have in my home and I'll talk with you afterwards. But for now, why don't you come up here to the front of the class. You seem to be the spokesman around here.' That got the approval of everyone. They all encouraged him to go up and face off with me. As he came forward - you guest it - they applauded long and loud.

I asked his name. (Let's give him the name, Bill) I said: 'Bill, what would you say you were?' He replied: 'I'm an atheist!' The boldness of his reply brought the house down. He was going to eat me alive and they loved it.

I asked: 'Would you take a piece of chalk and draw a circle, on the black board, as big as you can, and we'll let that circle represent total knowledge. Bill did as I suggested and drew a circle that touched all the boarders of the black board. I couldn't have asked for a better circle. I asked: 'How old are you Bill?' He said he was 15 years old. I asked Bill: 'How much of all that total knowledge have you picked up during those fifteen years?' He took the chalk and made a tiny dot inside the circle.

I said: 'You're an honest young man.' The class thought that was cool. I said: 'How much of that total knowledge do you think you will pick up if you lived to be one hundred years old?'

He took the chalk and increased the size of the dot to the size of a dime. I said: 'You're not only honest; you're smart. Einstein didn't claim much more than that and we all recognize how smart he was.

The class really liked that. Now I'm comparing their leader to Einstein.

I asked for the chalk back and I wrote the name 'G O D' within the circle but away from his mark. I asked Bill: 'Looking at the circle, is it possible that God could be outside your frame of reference even if you lived one hundred years? Is it possible, according to this illustration, that God just might be in total knowledge but you haven't picked up on Him yet?' He agreed with me. I said: 'Then Bill, you're not an atheist.' The class thought he had been dethroned and they moaned in agony. Bill looked back at me and said: 'Then what am I?' I replied: 'An agnostic.' That sounded 'Anti God' enough to the class. As far as they were concerned, their leader had been reinstated.

I asked: 'What kind of an agnostic do you want to be?' He said: 'How many are there?' I said: 'I know of two. The ornery agnostic and the ordinary agnostic. You see, the ornery agnostic says: "No one ever knew, no one knows today and no one ever will know, but it's possible that there is a God."

The ordinary agnostic says: "I don't know if there is a God or not, but it's possible."

I asked Bill which one he wanted to be. He said he had lost the title atheist, so he chose to be an ordinary agnostic. With that established, Bill went back to his seat being wildly cheered by his faithful followers as though he had won a great victory.

As he headed back to his throne a little guy on the front row asked me to explain what salvation was so that they could see it.

I pulled out my billfold. I took out a one dollar bill and asked them what it was. They yelled: 'It's a dollar bill!' I said: ' If someone came into the room right now, with me holding the dollar bill in my hand, wouldn't they assume this dollar bill is mine?' They all agreed. I asked; 'Have any of you ever worked for me before?' They said they had not. I said: 'Then if I give this dollar bill to any one of you it won't be because you earned it, right?' Again they agreed. Then I said: 'I will give this dollar bill to any one in this room that believes me. No strings attached. I just want to give it out of the goodness of my heart as a free gift to anyone who believes me.'

All those guys in that room started to yell out that they believed me. I yelled back: 'I hear you.' Many stood on their chairs yelling at me, trying to convince me that they really did believe me.

I yelled back: 'I hear you.' Finally, you guessed it, running from the back of the room came Bill. When he got to the front of the class he snatched the dollar bill from my hand. He turned around waving the dollar bill above his head in triumph. As he ran back to his throne he kept yelling: 'It's mine! It's mine!' All his buddies were on on their feet yelling and applauding.

When it died down I looked at the little guy in the front row and I said: 'That's salvation.'

I continued: 'There is one big problem. He believed a puny man for a measly buck. Why couldn't you believe Almighty God for Eternal life.'

The bell rang and the class was over.

The Lord threw "The 'Big Buck' Pitch."
The Lord tells us that some plant, others water, but the Lord is the one Who gives the increase. An increase did come shortly thereafter.

Get ready to spend a 'Big Buck'. You will reap eternal dividends.

Copyright ©1995-6 Jon Burnham
All rights reserved.
Printed in the United States of America
International Standard Book Number: 1-883928-10-9
Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 94-078873
This book or parts thereof may not be reproduced in any form without permission of the author.

Published by: Longwood Communications, 397 Kingslake Drive, DeBary FL 32713, (904) 774-1991

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This was an article in a booklet handed out for the Relay For Live (American Cancer Society) for those of you who liked Phillis Hitchens last article, you will enjoy this too.

In His Love, Marilyn

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by Phyllis Hitchins

Welcome to the relay for life! This is one of the most positive, hope for the living events that the American Cancer Society has ever sponsored. And, this year I am privileged to share the view of a "survivor" of the wild beast called cancer, I had struggled for over two years with signs and symptoms...and had received medical care routinely. Many times my questions and requests were unanswered. I am a nurse, and many times during my career, I had cared for cancer patients. I had seen the fighters, who ultimately were survivors. I had also seen those who had grown weary of the fight and given up hope, and lost the battle with he beast. I've seen cancer tear apart marriages, and break families into pieces. I have watched doctors in despair, when every avenue of treatment had been tried and no light was in sight. I had watched people become victims, and not survivors.

Now, I was the patient. My one in a million husband told me reassuringly that we could allow this disease and the circumstances to make us bitter people or better people. We reached out to God, and asked Him to make us better. I am now in my third course of chemo, my colon where the original cancer was, is "clean." But my liver was invaded by the cancer, despite six months of rigorous chemo and six weeks of radiation daily. I have had surgery at the University of Chicago to implant a device in my abdomen to deliver chemo directly to my liver. After ten months, it started to destroy my good liver tissue along with the cancer...so our game plan changed. I now have a grosshung catheter in my left chest, and receive chemo every Wednesday for 24 hours via a belt pack in my own home, my latest CT scan showed that I had a shrinkage of all the cancer lesions!!

I have been told that I am the most watched woman in Eureka. People have their eye on me to see how I have decided to deal with this disease. My fight has not been a lonely one. God has never left my side, and my husband and three young sons have been my source of power and support. They've loved me despite the fact that this cancer had affected all of our lives. And, because we are all living with this disease, we have all had to learn to live like survivors. We expect the best, we trust my oncologist and his treatment plan, and we trust completely in God, and have allowed Him ultimate control. But when you are caught in the midst of the battle. Never give up! Nothing like this happens to you, it happens for you. Many lives can be touched and even changed during the course of a battle like this. Allow your life to be touched and shared by those around you. A survivor shares...and no matter when the battle is over, a survivor lives on in the lives and the hearts of those they touch. Celebrate life!! The World is full of people who care, and this relay for life is proof of the positive side of us all. Cancer claims alot of victims, but life has more survivors, be one of them.

Phyllis Rodgers Hitchins
April 1998

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Hi, I would like to introduce my dear friend, Rosalie Johnson. The day I entered the I John 1:3 Sunday school class she was there ready to welcome me with much love. I had to come back because of her gentle, sincere, and caring manner. Read further and get to know her better.

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By Rosalie A. Johnson

Have you ever battled with a deep bout of deep depression, or bouts of depression? Many people do, but few want to talk about it. Although I feel that I have an intimate relationship with the Lord, I have struggled with several bouts of depression over the course of many years including the 25 years since I've known Jesus as my Lord and Savior.

This past winter, as I often sat at my desk for Quiet Time with the Lord, I could see a Maple tree just outside my window. It seemed dead for many months, but as spring approached I noticed small buds forming which eventually filled out to be full-blown lovely green leaves. It is interesting that these leaves are totally different than last year's leaves, and the leaves of previous years, etc.

God showed me the correlation with my life. The Christian life is a series of new beginnings. Just when I think, "Now I've learned the lessons from God to avoid problems the next time. Life is good." Surprise!! A new set of trials begin to surface. For me, sometimes the trials can lead to a season of depression. The spark of enthusiasm for life leaves, and things appear dark for awhile like the tree during winter. But God is strongly at work. The root of the tree is working and preparing it for the days ahead. New life and growth will result.

He is in control of my life and for whatever reason He has allowed depression to be a part of it, I don't fully understand. It brings about a great humbling in the area of self-reliance, and a greater dependence upon God, For that I am grateful.

Don't give up dear friend. Others understand and have been there. Know that God will never leave you or forsake you. Nothing can ever separate you from the great love that God has for you.

Just as trees don't live forever, God has our days numbered. If you know Him personally, you can be sure that you will live forever with Him in Heaven. Then there will be no more sorrow, tears or depression.

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Today I have the privilege of introducing you to a very courageous woman and loving friend, Phillis Hitchins. As you read her story I want you to know that she is a nurse, and was professionally aware that what she was going through was serious...more so than the normal cancer patient could possibly understand. She is a joy to serve and gives more back than we could ever give to her. By the way she loves the bread recipe that I will be sharing soon.

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Call Unto Me...

by Phyllis Hitchins

Almost 27 months ago, I was a patient in the hospital, listening to a doctor as I was waking up from anesthetic. He was speaking loudly in my ear saying "You have a tumor in your Colin - most likely it is malignant." I wished I could go back to sleep and wake up to the soft reassuring voice of my husband. But this was real - and it was happening to me.

The next day I had surgery - a bowel resection with a temporary colostomy. My surgeon told me I needed chemotherapy and radiation as a preventative measure to guard against reoccurrence. So, three weeks later, I started chemo under the care of a wonderful Oncologist who prayed with us the first time we met with him. The chemo was no fun....I had every side effect that was possible- so I fought even harder. Knowing that my family and my extended Christian family was behind me with love and prayer added ease to my rough days. I never attended chemo by myself - my Sunday school family came every day of the week, the first week of every month to take me to chemo.

During the six weeks of radiation, someone drove the 25 miles to pick me up, 25 miles to take me to radiation - back home again and then finally they drove back to their home. I was greeted with a hug and then left with one. We received meals at least every other day for months. It was a God-send because I was not well enough to cook many days, and it gave me precious time to spend with my three sons and husband. God covered us and protected us - He never left us alone!

In October I was to have my colostomy reversed and to my horror, I had a CT scan which showed I had Liver involvement. This had been a death sentence for everyone else I'd ever known with this diagnosis. My Oncologist researched and sent me to the University of Chicago to have an implant placed in my abdomen to deliver chemo right to my liver. Again, we met with a doctor and his nurse clinician who are believers. God is so good! We met and left this doctor and nurse with hugs and positive feelings!

I had this surgery in December of 1996 - and my chemo worked for 10 months until it started to destroy my good liver tissue too. So, it was stopped and now I have a gross hung catheter in my chest which delivers more chemo for 24 hours every Wednesday.

In September of 1997, a CT _ in February scan showed cancer growth - in February of 1998, a CT scan showed that the liver cancer had significant shrinkage and my spleen and pancreas which were affected in September, looked clear.

The Holy Spirit has showered me with love, He has given me strength and a positive attitude. I have a new BOLDNESS to share the Gospel and plan of Salvation since I've been sick. My family has grown in Grace, we are learning to care FOR each other. God has allowed us to be BETTER and not BITTER people. He has showed me that life is not a PROMISE - it is a Gift. God Bless......

Jeremiah 33:3


Phillis Hitchins 320 E. Harrison, Eureka, IL. 61530-1423

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I would like to introduce Normi Howard, a very special friend that God gave to me and that is a God-spy in it self. She is a part of my Sunday school class and is now teaching the young working adults Sunday school in my church with her husband Frank and another couple. She is a very sparkly, vivacious woman with a lot of wisdom and sensitivity to the leading of the Lord.

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God Spies Pic

by Normi Howard

Dead! Dead three weeks! Gary, my husband of 23 years, best friend, pastor, confident, lover, was now with the Lord. How was I ever going to make it as a single parent of two teenagers? What about finances? Friends? The thoughts crowded in on me as I was driving the 1200 miles from Florida to Illinois to spend several weeks "healing" with my family in Peoria.

Through the years our family has played the "God-spy" game, where we see God's hand working in everyday unexpected ways. We would say "God-spy!" when we saw or heard one.

I wasn't thinking of God-spies as I threw a few of Gary's sermon tapes into the car at the last minute before our trip. A few hours up the road we decided to listen to one of the tapes. James 1 sounded like it would be a good one. Hearing Gary's voice again made all of us cry, but what he said about trials, testing and perseverance was exactly what we needed to hear. It encouraged us for hours along the road. God-spy!

Nashville was a perfect midpoint stop for the night. "God are you still with us? I'm lonely and feeling melancholy without Gary to share the beautiful mountain view and watch Caleb and Elizabeth swim in the motel pool."

While I was sitting in a rocking chair on the pool deck, a car pulled into the parking lot. On the front license was the word JESUS.

God-spy! "Yes, Lord, you are with us. Thank you for reminding us."

Morning! Rain! Drizzle! Clouds! Gary! Caleb and Elizabeth are sleeping while I am driving through Nashville, praying, and crying as my emotions match the dreary weather. "What next Lord? I need guidance and wisdom from you."

Looking to the right--could it be true? At that very moment, the exit sign said, "NEW HOPE, next exit." Yes Lord, that is exactly what I need now--new hope. God-spy! Thankyou for that encouragement."

That sign had been there during many trips to Peoria, but I have never noticed it before.

"We're almost to Peoria now. Excitement about seeing everyone builds, but the pain in my chest is so deep Lord." Up ahead on the huge cement overpass in black spray painted letters were the words

TRUST JESUS! God-spy! "I needed that, Lord. The whole trip you have been with us, showing yourself all along the way, giving us messages as only you can. Are they always there for us or does it take a conscious effort on our part to look for them? Help us, Lord, to see the God-spies you have placed in our path to help and encourage us."

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All Content Copyright Marilyn Schmidt, 1998
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