Walk by Faith Ministry
Walk by Faith Ministry isn’t the most ordinary ministry, not especially considering it was co-founded by a 100% Jewish woman in yet another season of utter decades-long brokenness who grew up in a family without God and who neglected her childhood dog and considering it was co-founded through an indescribably downtrodden, near-death dog who helped save the life of a suicidal homeless man. The ministry was birthed through the heart-wrenching testimony of a HOMELESS MAN, A HOMELESS DOG (my beloved co-founder RED pictured above), A BROKEN WOMAN (me), an AWESOME GOD, and a WORLD IN NEED. Please CLICK HERE to both read and see the video of this breathtakingly beautiful testimony that has come to be known as “Red’s Story.”
The Ministry’s Beginnings
As hard as the founding of this little ministry may be to believe, I can attest that it is utterly true. For I am that woman, and the road I have taken, and the experiences I have had, and the calling God has given me, and the ministry He has placed in my heart and hands, and the breathtakingly beautiful and amazingly intimate relationship I have with God today that manifests in my heart being filled with indescribable love, peace, joy, hope, and freedom despite ongoing extremely challenging circumstances, and the relentless, unstoppable passion I have to love and serve the Lord with all my heart, proclaim the Gospel to the world, and help people to become and remain forever followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, are a true story only the Lord Himself could have written for His glory alone!
I am a 49-year-old, 100% Jewish, believer in and follower of the Lord Jesus Christ who dedicates my life 24-7 to loving, serving, worshiping, praising, honoring, and revering the Lord with all my heart as an evangelist, author, and special needs and senior rescued dogs mommy / caretaker of mostly special needs and senior rescued dogs. But it was not always that way, as you will see from my story below. Despite seemingly insurmountable challenges for decades, and continual extreme challenges and hard circumstances to this very day, I live a simple and quiet life in coastal South Carolina just outside Hilton Head Island on a bare-bones personal income and equally bare-bones ministry budget unencumbered by the things of this world as I passionately, persistently, unabashedly, unashamedly, unreservedly, relentlessly love, fear, revere, and worship God while sharing the Gospel, ministering His love to a world in need, and helping people to become and remain forever followers of the Lord Jesus Christ – with a heart overflowing daily with the love of Christ, and immeasurable joy, peace, hope, and so very much more.
I am humbled, blessed, and privileged to do a combination of evangelism via streets & beach ministry & by phone and online; writing & publishing books, Daily Inspiration online and in print weekly, and Gospel tracts and devotionals; and caring for the ministry’s special needs and senior rescued dogs whom the Lord uses to open people’s hearts to hear the Gospel message and teaching of God’s Word not to mention whom the Lord has used for years to teach me His ways of love, mercy, compassion, patience, perseverance, love under pressure, faithfulness, being thankful, steadfastness, hope, humility, repentance and so very much more.
While I have a heart for the broken, lost, hurting, hopeless, homeless, hungry, abused, abandoned, neglected, rejected, addicted, suicidal, dying, blind, deaf, forgotten, imprisoned, depressed, disabled, beaten down, crushed, bruised, and wounded, and others in dire need, in all truth I have a heart burdened for all of humanity. We are all in need, after all. For we are nothing and forever lost without God, and the only way to be brought to forever fellowship with God is in and through Christ Jesus who is Lord.
My spirit weeps over the dire straits of this world and for people worldwide who so desperately need the love and salvation of Jesus Christ. I pray exceedingly for individuals, for whole groups of people, for friends and strangers, for lost souls, for the hurting and hungry, for people everywhere, for people in extreme circumstances, for people far and near, all precious to me in my heart whether I know them personally or perhaps never will.
I am not only desperate to pray. I am desperate to love. And I am not only desperate to love. I am desperate to serve. And this is exactly what I do passionately and persistently as I relentlessly pursue the Lord and His calling on my life. I seek whenever and wherever the Lord might lead me to preach the Good News of Jesus Christ and to help and encourage people through my heart, spoken and written words, and actions to renew their minds through study of God’s Word and to live the lives the Lord has called them to live by applying the Bible to their lives and becoming, being, and remaining sold-out, utterly devoted followers of the Lord Jesus Christ.
There is much more below this little video – including the most important message in the universe….
A BIT OF MY BACKGROUND
My story in a nutshell. I grew up in a Jewish family that observed the high holidays but didn’t believe in God. I dabbled in atheism, agnosticism, New Age, Eastern, and held on for dear life to anything or anyone I felt could fix my broken life.
I lived for decades shattered in a zillion jagged pieces that not a single human being could put back together again into any semblance of wholeness or usefulness.
Childhood sexual abuse. Post traumatic stress disorder. Flashbacks. Nightmares. I lost track of who I was and where I was. Multiple addictions. Self mutilation. Over 15 years of wanting to commit suicide. Debilitating depression. Horrible anxiety. Kicked out of my family for talking about the sexual abuse by my main perpetrator. Hospitals. Psychiatric ward. Medications. Psychiatrists. Psychologists. Counselors. Self-help groups. Recovery programs. Welfare. Food stamps. Charity care. Long-term disability. Abandoned by two husbands. Two unwanted divorces. Relentlessly rejected. At one point, I found myself curled up in a fetal position in the closet of my New York City apartment having flashbacks of the sexual abuse and desperately wanting to die. At another time, I lived in a shed building with insulation hanging down from the ceiling and cold concrete floors and a little heater with numerous dogs and a bucket to pee in because I was too afraid, hurt, and angry to live in the house with my husband at the time who left me for the final time in favor of drug addiction and sexual sin. I was told I would never have any semblance of a normal life, and that I would have to be on medication for life – if I didn’t end up committing suicide.
I do not have a whole family anymore. I do not have a husband, a fiance, or a boyfriend. I do not have a social life. I do not have a big income. I do not have a fancy house. I do not have a fancy life. I have little furniture. My walls are bare. My clothes are simple and mostly handed down or purchased at thrift shops. I have a few dishes from the dollar store. I live with 13 mostly special needs and senior rescued dogs that require quite a bit of care. I do not travel because of the dogs. I get dirty taking care of the dogs. I am rejected by those who should have loved me. My calendar is mostly empty most of the time. Between losing most of what I ever wanted, and not getting so much of what I desired, I have every reason in the world to give up my life.
And this is exactly what I have done. But rather than give up my life to suicide, I have given up my life to the Lord. I am 100% His. I love and serve Him with all my heart, I love my neighbor as myself, and I aspire above all else to honor Him by fulfilling His call on my life to share the Gospel while ministering His love to a world in dire need of Him.
BLESSED BEYOND MEASURE
Today, I have a love, a peace, a joy, a hope, a trust, a freedom, a sense of purpose, a satisfaction, a fulfillment, a passion, a faith, a promise of everlasting life, and countless other spiritual blessings that are not contingent on any of my circumstances or on anything or anyone in this world. My life today, and my eternity in heaven, are contingent solely on a deeply personal, breathtakingly beautiful, ever-growing intimate relationship with my loving Father in heaven through my faith in Jesus Christ and a life committed to studying the Bible and learning at long last to live the life God intended for me to live all along.
I have a love beyond imagination, and a joy beyond description, and a hope beyond belief. I have the Lord Jesus Christ, and in Him and through Him I have found the life I was meant to have all along. His life in me. His life through me. For the glory of the Lord God almighty.
God did not take my zillion broken pieces and put me back together again like the world failed to do. He did what only God can do. He made me new.
I hope as I pour my heart out day by day in the ministry work that I do that you and/or someone you know might feel loved and be blessed, encouraged, and inspired to turn from the ways of this world and to live a fully committed, devoted, and infinitely beautiful life dedicated to the Lord both now and forevermore. It would be hard to believe that anyone in the world was as far away from such a life as I once was. But if you read my miraculous story of a woman utterly broken and useless and headed for death and hell transformed to the woman I am today, you might come to find that anything is truly possible when what is broken beyond human repair is placed in the loving and majestic hands of the Lord.
“And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.” 2 Corinthians 5:15 KJV
“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20 KJV
And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. Luke 9:23 KJV
FINDING THE LIGHT: Lara Love’s True Story with a Life-Changing Message
The “Finding the Light” Gospel tract booklet that follows which includes my personal story & a simple, clear explanation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, is available upon request for individuals or for those who desire to distribute it in volume. Please contact 843-338-2219 or email@example.com.
Whether you’re unfathomably successful in the world’s eyes and live in a mansion as you indulge in the pleasures of this life, or homeless and hurting, wildly wealthy and living your dreams or spending the rest of your life on death row as some of my beloved friends are, a blue collar worker enjoying a typical American blue collar life, lost and broken or perfectly content with your life, living in my neighborhood or living on the other side of the world, poor and downtrodden or rich and think you have it all together, disabled and dying or an Olympic athlete in the throes of the best years of your life, a criminal who has yet to be caught or an abused person too scared to tell anyone, high on drugs you can’t stop taking or high on an awesome life you can’t get enough of, happily married or devastatingly divorced, no matter your story, we all have one. Whether or not you can relate to my story, I can promise you this. The message that goes with it is the best message in the universe. And it’s the one message no matter our individual stories every human needs to hear. I pray you’re blessed, forever changed, and indescribably inspired as you read what is contained herein.
With love, Lara
I come from a background of childhood sexual abuse, post-traumatic stress disorder, alcoholism, an eating disorder, self-mutilation, years of wanting to commit suicide, horrible anxiety, debilitating depression, gut-wrenching emotional pain, indescribable hopelessness, abandonment by my family when I confronted my main perpetrator of sexual abuse, continual broken relationships with men, abandonment by two husbands, two unwanted divorces, hospitals, the psychiatric ward, counselors, therapists, psychologists, psychiatrists, self-help groups, recovery programs, medications, welfare, food stamps, charity care, long-term disability, total despair, total brokenness, darkness beyond measure. Despite being enormously blessed with being raised in a family that had a lot of love as well as much wealth and being very well loved and cared for overall, and receiving an excellent education, we had our problems that nobody else could see which affect me to this very day.
One night, decades ago, long before I started dealing with the sexual abuse, lost my family, and was married and lost my marriages, I wrote something in drunken scribble in my journal and forgot all about it until I was sober. “Please someone help me please.” Several years later, I found that someone. And I found the way out of my crushing pain and utter brokenness. I found what would become for me the way out of darkness and into a light unimaginable, and what I would ultimately come to see is the only everlasting way out of the darkness of this world.
One day on a random beach on a random day with a random friend, I ran to the public restroom so I could sob in my incredible despair. I had just come out of a psychiatric ward followed by five weeks in the eating disorders unit of a hospital. I was dealing head on with the childhood sexual abuse and with the loss of my family.
In my complete despair, I cried out four simple words. “Please God help me.” When I returned to the beach, I found what looked like a crumpled piece of trash at my feet. I picked it up and read what lay inside. It was a prayer written in someone’s script handwriting.
On my hands and knees that night, broken beyond imagination, I spoke the prayer and was instantly transformed. I was so stunned by what transpired that I immediately called my counselor at the time and told her I thought I had finally gone completely over the edge and perhaps had been hallucinating. I had such an amazing, supernatural experience in terms of what I heard and saw that I could not fathom that something like that could happen to me. My counselor suggested that maybe something good had happened. Little did I know what had actually transpired, and how my life would never be the same. I had not gone over the edge into insanity. I had gone over the edge of my old life and into something beyond my wildest dreams. I had received the Lord Jesus Christ.
Though I could not start my physical life over again and choose different circumstances, I was reborn spiritually when I spoke that prayer and given a new start. Looking back in retrospect, I can see now that for some time before that night God had been wooing me, drawing me to Himself by His Holy Spirit. Over and again, I would find myself in usually mostly empty churches not during service times, saying the name Jesus. Though I believed in a generic God, I knew nothing about God nor did I know anything about Jesus. Even as I was falling apart by the very breath, desperately wanting out of the darkness, I was being drawn to the Lord. I had asked God numerous times to forgive me by then, but I had no understanding of sin, of repentance, of Jesus Christ and the cross. I simply couldn’t resist what was pulling me, not comprehending it was God’s Spirit leading me. In retrospect, I can see now God had planted seeds long before that, and was scattering seed through His children into my life even during that time, but nothing until then had become of them. The night I spoke that prayer, and received Jesus Christ, this marked the beginning of what I would only see years later with utter clarity.
I had spent decades looking for a physical something or a human someone to take away my pain and make me whole. Little did I know the someone I needed wasn’t human at all. The someone I had cried out to in my drunken scrawl several years earlier, though I had not known it at the time, was God through the Lord Jesus Christ.
As a woman who had grown up in a Jewish family that didn’t believe in God, and as a woman who dabbled, flirted, and engaged in all sorts of dangerous and false spiritual practices, including agnosticism and atheism, the last thing I expected was to find my salvation in the Lord God almighty through faith in Jesus Christ.
My life didn’t get easier the day I received Jesus. It became much harder. I discovered only later that God never promises us an easy life. But He promises believers in and followers of Jesus everlasting life and invites us into a breathtakingly beautiful forever relationship with Him. I didn’t know back then Christ’s followers can have an amazing loving relationship with God on this earth – and forever.
Nor did I know back then Jesus didn’t want me to just believe in Him. He wanted me to follow Him. This is true for us all, but how ignorant I was! When I finally picked up the Bible and began to learn and live the life God planned for me, everything changed. Not my circumstances, which remained hard and are hard to this very day. But I began to develop a relationship with God so beautiful and so awesome that I realize today that I can have the love and hope and joy and peace and faith and trust and fulfillment and intimacy that I had wanted all along but could never find in this world.
I was to come to find that the love, light, hope, joy, peace, faith, trust, fulfillment, and eternal intimate fellowship with God Christ’s followers can have are not contingent on the circumstances of our lives, but are dependent on a rock solid relationship with God in Jesus Christ. I had lived my life on a roller coaster, continuously feeling high when things went well and desperately depressed and broken when things went poorly which they so often did. Over time, as my relationship with the Lord eventually grew, I realized I no longer needed to live my life on that roller coaster. God wanted to teach me how to walk day by day in His magnificent and glorious light – the light of the Lord Jesus Christ – no matter my circumstances.
When I look back, the biggest missing piece in my life was not just that for decades I hadn’t believed in Jesus Christ. It was that from what I recall anyway that nobody took the time, love, and care to sit down with me and to clearly and carefully explain exactly how I could have a true fresh start in life, a brand new beginning, leaving behind the darkness and living a light-filled life, enjoying the awesome blessings of God, carrying with me continuously the hope of everlasting life all the while learning to rejoice moment by moment in the indescribably amazing beauty of being in forever fellowship with God through Christ. Oh, if only I had known! If only I had known and understood the true Gospel message, how to be born again through Christ and how to live and thrive and rejoice as a genuine follower of Christ as God by His Spirit and through His amazing Word would ultimately teach me. A life lived in sold out commitment to Him!
I hope you will let me be the someone in your life to share with you the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ so that you, too, will get a fresh start, leave behind the darkness and come into God’s magnificent light, develop an amazing loving relationship with God on this earth, and look forward to everlasting life. You don’t have to stay in the darkness any longer. Are you ready to live in the light?
LIVING IN THE LIGHT
Many years later now, I can honestly say I have a stunningly, awesomely, amazingly, indescribably, phenomenally rich, fulfilling, exciting, peace-filled, joyful, and light-filled life. For one reason alone. The Lord. I do not find any of this in the world around me, not especially in my circumstances and ongoing challenges. I find it all in Christ who now lives in and through me. For God by His Spirit has led me into and taught me how to have an ever growing, wonderful, fabulous, intimate, closer-by-the-breath, personal relationship with Himself through Christ as He conforms me to Christ’s image.
You might be surprised to know the circumstances of my life are still incredibly hard and painful. I do not have the life that most people would want. My family situation remains tragic, though I am blessed immeasurably God healed my relationship with my beloved mom and privileged God now uses me to talk to her about Christ and to show her His love. I lost my long-time beloved pastor unexpectedly, have lost numerous of my sweet dogs who are like my little family since I no longer have one, lost my closest female friend who was found dead with a gunshot wound to her chest, my ex-husband whom I still love approaches the end of his life with a life-threatening medical disease and a life-threatening prescription drug addiction, I am single, live on a poverty level income, have no social life to be available to the Lord and for ministry 24-7, live an exceedingly simple lifestyle, lost most of what I have ever wanted and did not get what I once desperately desired, and work exceedingly hard in my ministry on a bare-bones budget with virtually no regular human help, and yet I can promise you I am blessed literally beyond measure. The love, joy, peace, hope, freedom, excitement, passion, sense of purpose, trust, faith, blessedness, light, and so very much more that fills me daily is absolutely without measure. Of course it is. It comes from God!
Why do I have this now? Because I am at last wholly, 100% the Lord’s. For years, I was a believer in Jesus Christ but not a follower. I refused to give up the ways of this world, and I lived for myself. For a long time, I didn’t read the Bible and solidly plant myself in the Body of Christ with believers in Christ who could help me to follow Him. I did not attend church nor have a biblically sound pastor. When I finally started studying the Bible, going to church, and learning, I did nothing with the Bible. I was a hearer, not a doer of God’s Word. I was also for a long while under false teaching, sucked in by the exceedingly deceptive “prosperity gospel”. I was taught I could basically wave my magic wand and get God to do whatever I wanted. I thought God was here to serve me instead of that Jesus is Lord and that I was created to love, serve, and glorify God. My life was a mess! My heart was a mess! Everything was a mess! God by His Holy Spirit led me to repentance, drew me into His Word, began to teach me the Truth by His Spirit, and began a lifelong process of sanctification in which daily He renews my mind and transforms my life by His Spirit through His Word in preparing me for eternity with Him and ever using me to help others to become forever followers of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Now, at long last, I live and breathe to love, honor, revere, praise, worship, and serve God. I have finally become willing to forsake all for the Lord, leaving behind me my wants, wishes, and desires so that I can be available 24-7 to love, adore, and serve Him in my little ministry as an evangelist, author, and special needs and senior rescued dogs caretaker. I spend every day loving Him, seeking Him in prayer and Bible study with His Spirit teaching me and continual communication and communion with Him, learning to follow Him.
While my heart hurts every single day over all the losses and challenges I have faced, and continue to face, I no longer get lost in any of it. For I know now Jesus Christ died on the cross for me not so I could live for me, but so I could live for God almighty forever in Christ. Oh, what joy! What joy! What light! How glorious is God!
Are you ready to leave the darkness behind and to walk in the light of the Lord forever?
THE GOSPEL MESSAGE
Ever since the first man and woman Adam and Eve sinned against God and were kicked out of their perfect lives in the Garden of Eden and lost most importantly their relationship with God, all humans have been born into sin which results in the curse leading to death and eternal separation from God in hell and the lake of fire. Why? Because we as sinners cannot be in the presence of a perfect and holy God. We all fall short of God’s glory, and nothing we can do can earn His love, forgiveness, and everlasting life.
But God loves us so much He sent His only begotten Son Jesus Christ to the earth as a man, to die a heinous death on the cross to pay the death and hell penalty for our sins by taking God’s wrath at us for our sins upon Himself, and to be raised from the dead and to now sit on the right hand of God in heaven until He returns again as the final steps unfold leading to His forever Kingdom that will be filled with Christ’s followers. If we repent of our sins, believe Jesus is the Son of God and died for us and was raised from the dead and is Lord, turning from our sins to a life devoted to God and His ways, we are forgiven and enter into a relationship with God and receive the promise of eternal life. We are born again spiritually with a clean slate and saved from God’s wrath, death, and hell and the lake of fire.
Belief in Christ as Lord is NOT an intellectual faith. Even the demons believe. True faith in Christ is an ongoing belief in Him, all that He is, did, is doing, says in the Bible, and a true trust in Him as Lord whereby we turn from our wicked ways and live according to the ways God teaches us in the Bible. We are not called to just believe in Christ in our minds. We are called to follow Him by yielding to God our very lives and demonstrating in our hearts, words, and actions that we have turned away from the ways of the world and turned to the Lord. We are to deny ourselves, take up our crosses, and follow Him whereby we die to ourselves and live for Him. Countless people who believe they are going to heaven based on an intellectual belief, an emotional experience, church attendance, good works, etc., will be turned away by Christ and end up in hell and the lake of fire forever apart from God because they neglected to understand and put into practice that believing in, and following, Christ is a WAY OF LIFE of living for God!
God commands us above all else to love Him with all our hearts and our neighbors as ourselves. Once born again, we must go through a life-long sanctification process whereby our minds are renewed by studying the Bible, our lives are transformed by God’s Spirit, and we are conformed to the image of Christ. Good works cannot earn our salvation, but good works should be the fruit of true repentance demonstrating that we are truly living our lives for the Lord. Our purpose on this earth is to love God, to love others, to proclaim the Gospel message to others and to help lead people into God’s Kingdom as we follow Christ, using the gifts God has given each of us to bring Him glory while rejoicing in and enjoying forever fellowship with Him!
The journey following Jesus can be incredibly hard, but it is amazingly beautiful when we walk in intimate fellowship with God through faith in Jesus Christ as Lord, devoting ourselves in love, faithfulness, devotion, and dedication to God almighty.
When we learn to walk with the Lord and to live the dreams He has for our lives, forsaking our own will and ways as we learn to live for Him and no longer for ourselves, we experience an intimate, personal relationship with God that is more beautiful and lasting than anything or anyone on this entire earth.
His love for us is forever, and the sacrifice we make in choosing to live the new life He has given us according to His ways and not ours is nothing compared with the love and the peace and the hope and joy He offers us for now and eternity.
There is no greater blessing, honor, nothing more humbling and amazing, than choosing to humble ourselves, to repent and believe in Christ as Lord, to surrender ourselves to God and live to exalt and magnify and bring glory to God forever!
YOUR NEW BEGINNING
If you are ready for a fresh start and to be born again, and if you truly believe what I have shared with you here, then repent from your sins and believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Cry out to God to save you, tell Him you are sorry for your sins and want His forgiveness, tell Him you know Jesus is His only begotten Son who came to the earth in the flesh and that He is Lord, and that you believe God resurrected Him from the dead.
Lots of people talk about saying a specific prayer to invite Jesus into your heart. I do not recommend that you say anybody else’s prayer but your very own. Being reborn is about repenting and turning to God by receiving Jesus into your life as Lord and Savior and receiving the gift of God’s Holy Spirit. This needs to happen as a result of your own true sorrow over your sins and your own genuine belief in Jesus and what He did on the cross for you.
When you are reborn, and you have been brought out of darkness and into God’s amazing light, you now have a fresh start. Now that you believe in Jesus as your Lord, you need to learn how to follow Him and to develop a strong, personal relationship with God.
Study and apply the Bible to your life daily, and watch God transform your life. I mainly use the King James version of the Bible, which some consider the most accurate translation from the original Hebrew and Greek languages. I sometimes use ESV and occasionally refer to others, but keep KJV as my main Bible. Be warned some translations are considered dangerously inaccurate. Please do your research!
Assemble regularly with other followers of Jesus whether in a church setting, a Bible study, a house church, or another similar setting. Faith comes by hearing God’s Word, so be sure to hear it preached by someone who is strongly grounded in the Bible.
God warns us that as the world draws to a close and evil abounds, false teachers will come and many will be deceived. No matter how loving, comfortable, or good a person, church or pastor seems, make sure what you hear lines up with what the Bible teaches. The Bible is God’s Word, so you should measure everything in your life against it to make sure it’s from Him.
Spend time with God daily, praising Him, praying, pouring out your heart to Him, studying the Bible, listening to Him, making the changes He wants you to make, and learning to bring Him honor and glory in all that you do.
Above all else, always make Him your priority and make His will for your life your road map for living as you learn to follow Jesus. God speaks to His children through the Bible because it is His Word. Jesus says in the Bible, “My sheep know my voice.” As you develop your relationship with God, you should hear Him speaking to you. When God speaks into your heart, or through others to you, He will never speak against His own Word. So always check what you believe you hear from Him, or any counsel you receive from others, with the Bible to make sure it matches His Word. If what you hear does not line up with the Bible, it is not from Him.
It is my privilege and honor to have shared with you my own personal story and how you, too, can move from darkness to light and have a fresh start, begin and develop your own intimate relationship with God, and enjoy His love now and forever in heaven. May you love and bring glory to Him forevermore!
“Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” Matthew 22:37-40
“As it is written, There is none righteous, no not one:” Romans 3:10
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” Romans 3:23
“Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.” Eph. 5:6
“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23
“And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.” Matthew 25:46
“Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God…Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” John 3:3-6
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” Romans 10:9
“Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” Acts 2:38
“Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” Matthew 16:24
“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Romans 12:2
“Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:” Colossians 1:13
“Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” John 8:12
“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Romans 10:17
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:” John 10:27
“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” Mt. 7:21-23
“…Take heed that no man deceive you…And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” Matthew 24:4-13
All scriptures are from the King James version of the Bible
“Lay hands on that dog and pray,” the Lord spoke into my heart as I stared at the one dog in the entire South Carolina animal shelter I had been forbidden by the shelter manager to take from the shelter so he wouldn’t be euthanized.
He was a sack of bones. His head hung low to the ground. He was downtrodden. Run down. Defeated. Homeless. Broken. He was virtually hairless. He was covered in sarcoptic mange. Red mange. His skin was red and was greasy. He had an eye infection, ear infection, heartworm, and pneumonia. A shelter worker had found him on the road with a tree branch over him about to break from all the buzzards perched on it. The buzzards were either about to eat some road kill he had found or may have been about to eat him. This was the dog God told me to pray for. But why should I pray? The shelter manager had already given me her orders.
Me, a broken woman due to decades-long trials and tribulations, who had grown up in a Jewish family that didn’t believe in God and had neglected my childhood dog and had not been in a dog lover in the least. God was telling me to pray for a dog that was about to be euthanized.
I, a new follower of Jesus Christ who was not too accustomed to the idea of God having anything to say to me, mushed my hand through the wire of the dog pen to stick my hand on the dog and pray for him.
God spoke again. “No, go inside the dog pen,” He spoke into my heart.
I rolled my eyes at God. Not recommended. “What difference does it make?” I retorted to God. Despite my resistance, I yielded. I went into the dog pen.
I went against the shelter manager’s orders and took the homeless, nameless, dog from the shelter. I drove him to Savannah, GA, where I proceeded to walk him down the sidewalk in front of a favorite little health food shop of mine. People stared at me and the dog, undoubtedly deeply troubled about how a woman could so despicably neglect her dog.
As I stood with the dog on a street corner, a homeless man with a big, scraggly red beard and a simple knapsack on his back with likely all his life’s possessions, came up to talk to me, sharing with me how he had raised dogs long ago. He took a strong interest to the dog, and we chatted back and forth for a little while. Some people look homeless, and some really look homeless. This man looked as homeless as a homeless man can look. So did the dog. The three of us stood there together, no doubt an unusual sight for passerby. A downtrodden dog not far from death. A homeless man holding his life in a knapsack. And a woman broken by her past.
For the life of me, I had no intention to say it. But I did. “Do you want to come to my church tonight?” I asked the man. “Homeless people are welcome.” I had no expectation for him to come to church, of course. I didn’t know the man. I was relatively new to this church. And I still had to drive back to South Carolina with the dog and get him situated in what I figured would be his temporary living situation until I found someone to adopt him.
To my utter surprise, and delight, the homeless man showed up at my church that night. But a little while into the service, he whispered to me that he had to leave early. As I walked him out, he told me he planned to go sleep by the river. It was a cold winter night, and he had nothing more than a sweatshirt to keep him warm. I happened to have an extra jacket in my car, so off we went to the car.
On the way, he told me his story. He shared that he had been shot in a war, God had saved his life to see his wife again, but his wife and kids had been killed in a car wreck when she took off drunk one morning with the kids in the car.
He was so broken the day I met him over the loss of his wife and kids that he had been thinking about jumping in the river to kill himself.
“I was walking down the street,” he told me, “and God told me to come turn around and talk to you. Never in a million years did I think the answer would come in the form of a mangy dog.”
The homeless man did not know, of course, that I had decided to kill myself several times amid over 15 years of suicidal thoughts. God had saved my life, brought me to the homeless dog to save his life, brought the homeless dog and I to the homeless man to help save his life, and that was not all.
About a month later, I awoke one morning to find Red the dog, whom I had named after the homeless man called Red, tossing up blood every few minutes. The floor was covered in blood, my pajamas were covered in blood, and my car became covered in blood. Despite being a relatively new follower of Jesus Christ, I used the Bible scriptures I knew and did the little I knew to do in the way of having faith for the survival of Red the dog. I had no idea what God had in store.
I dropped Red the dog at the emergency vet clinic and headed off in my pajamas covered in blood to church for the Sunday morning Bible study and service. My pastor didn’t bat an eyelash when I walked in late in my bloodied pajamas to Bible study, and he sent me off to the clothes closet for a change of clothes.
Not too long afterward, I found myself sitting quietly in the sanctuary waiting for the Sunday morning service. Not for the first time, and not for the last given all the years since that day, I heard the Lord speak into my heart.
“I’ve healed your dog,” He told me. “Now heal my people.”
Not too long afterward, I took Red to a vet and left the vet’s office with very little hope. I actually strongly considered turning my car back around to the vet’s office to ask the vet to euthanize him. All my human eyes could see was the horrific condition of poor Red the dog. I was at the start of what would become a very long journey of learning that God doesn’t call us to live by sight; He calls us to live by faith. Thankfully, God had sent a strong woman of faith into my life for a short season who felt that I should give Red a chance. She even anointed him with oil, and to this day I do not recall what prayer she spoke over him. I only know God answered.
Red was restored to perfect health. I never did end up adopting him out. He became my sidekick. God used Red’s Story countless times, and still does, to reach people’s hearts and to touch their lives. God used Red to bring me into people’s lives to tell them about Jesus Christ and to help those who already had a relationship with the Lord. God used Red to bless people immeasurably, most of all myself.
Some months later, I ran into Red the homeless man. We sat on a park bench, I shared with him Red the dog’s photos and story, we went back through his life together so he could forgive those he needed to forgive and ask God to forgive him his sins, and we hugged as I said, “I love you.” I cannot fathom by his response to the love God poured through my heart for him when the homeless man had last felt the love of God. A week or so later, I ran into the homeless man one last time. He had light back in his eyes.
What for me started off years ago as dog rescue work ultimately became full-time ministry. For just as God had said that He wanted me to heal His people, He showed me that as much as I love dogs, my primary purpose on this earth is to love the Lord with all my heart and to love my neighbor as myself – and to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ while ministering the Lord’s love to a world in need.
I am incapable of healing people; I am only human. But I am perfectly capable of dedicating my life to loving the Lord and telling the world about Jesus Christ, Savior of the world. And this I do. While I continue to care for the mostly special needs and senior rescued dogs in Walk by Faith Ministry’s little sanctuary, my number one passion is the Lord and helping people to be saved, healed, delivered, set free, made whole, and utterly transformed. I am blessed every time I minister to a homeless person, share the Gospel with a stranger I meet on the beach, take a phone call from someone who is broken, send an e-mail to someone who does not know how to be saved, write an inspirational piece online to help people understand and apply the Bible to their lives, write a book to encourage people to follow Jesus, whatever it is the Lord calls me to do.
Though I never saw Red the homeless man again, Red the dog was my sidekick for seven long and amazing years after the day God told me to go inside the dog pen and lay hands on him and pray. I never imagined I would adopt him, I never imagined he would live with such beautiful health for so many more years, and ultimately I never imagined that one day I would have to send him back to the Lord from whom He had come.
My backup vet took an x ray to see where the towel was inside him, and we agreed to simply monitor him over the next 24 hours. The vet told me at one point that it was surgery or else. The towel simply would not pass on its own. Red the dog had never done something like eat a towel before. I believe he was extremely hungry from medication he was on for walking issues, and that he may have also been in great distress. For what the vet found when she did the surgery was exceedingly aggressive cancer. She took out his gall bladder, but I knew when I saw him afterward it would take another miracle for him to live.
Red and I were out of miracles, at least as far as our lives together were concerned. God had already given us over seven years together that far exceeded what we might have had – particularly considering the shelter manager had forbidden for me to take him from the shelter. It was time for me to say goodbye. If I had dropped him at the emergency shelter that night, he might have survived the surgery. But given the cancer, the life he would have had would likely have been horrific – and extremely short.
When I think periodically about how I wish that last night I had not been cranky with him when he woke me up, I have to remember that God’s grace is sufficient to cover my sins when I repent, which I have, and that Red the dog knew my extreme love for him for many incredible years.
The day I helped send Red to heaven to be with the Lord where I believe he is now, waiting for me with all my other dogs I have had to let go, I had no idea what a phenomenally hard time I would have with the loss. I had already lost so much in my life, my childhood to sexual abuse, my adulthood to the loss of my family for talking about the abuse, to post traumatic stress disorder and multiple addictions and abandonment by two husbands and two unwanted divorces, and so much more. Now I had lost my beloved Red, whom as much as I believed God had sent to me simply to birth Walk by Faith Ministry, I came to find He had also sent Red to me to be my loyal and faithful, my loving companion.
Walk by Faith Ministry’s mission is to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ while ministering the Lord’s love to a world in need. My life’s mission is to love the Lord with all my heart, and my neighbor as myself, and to fulfill my ministry’s mission for the glory of the Lord God almighty.For the first time in a good long while, I wanted to die again. In my heart, I wanted to climb a ladder to heaven and be with God and Jesus and Red and my other dogs. But God gave me a Bible verse and sent two women to me with a message. Red’s purpose was over. Mine was not complete. So I made a decision in my heart that as much as my flesh no longer wanted to be on this earth, that my spirit would choose to live with a passion greater than ever, a desire more than I had ever known, to do what I am on this earth to do for as l long as I remain here.
“But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:7-14 KJV
PLEASE DO NOT HESITATE TO REACH OUT TO ME FOR LOVE, ENCOURAGEMENT, AND HELP IN BECOMING AND REMAINING A FOREVER FOLLOWER OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST.