Thursday, February 21, 2013


My Dad had been tracing our ancestry quite diligently with the help of before his death.  His sister, my Aunt Frankie, picked up where he left off.  She has discovered that our branch of the Willingham family traces back to several English kings including King James (yes the one that had the Bible translated into English)!

We do have a lot of preachers in our family but since all the ones I knew were simple Baptist preachers, I was surprised to learn that we are related to this very famous king!  While this is pleasing and interesting news, I want to tell you (and I know Mom & Dad would concur) if you are a Christian, you are the child of The King of all Kings!  No matter how great our physical ancestry might be it cannot hold a candle to our spiritual ancestry!

Mom and Dad would also want you to know that there are no grandchildren in the Kingdom of God.  Each one of us has to personally come into the intimate Father/child relationship with our Lord through His Son Jesus.  We will not enter heaven based on the faith of any of our ancestors.  Even if you are a descendant of King James himself it will not help you get into heaven!

John 14:6-7 (New Living Translation)

 Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.  If you had really known me, you would know who my Father is. From now on, you do know him and have seen him!”

I know that God was not surprised when Mom and Dad were killed.  Although it was a shock to me it was not a shock to Him.  If even one person comes to know God as their Father because of their deaths I know they would say it was worth it!  Simply ask Jesus to forgive you of your sins and become Lord of your life and you too will be a child of God!

Revelation 21:5-7 (New Living Translation)

 And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.”  And he also said, “It is finished! I am the Alpha and the Omega—the Beginning and the End. To all who are thirsty I will give freely from the springs of the water of life.  All who are victorious will inherit all these blessings, and I will be their God, and they will be my children.

You can begin all things new, too!  No matter where you are in life, God wants to give you a fresh start.  If you have accepted the invitation to become a part of the family of God, or if you want to know more about how to do this, please leave a comment.  I would love to connect with you and send you a free booklet to help you begin your faith walk.  Yes, my parents were wonderful people who loved God with all their hearts but they would want all of you to know they were not loved by God any more than you are.  Warts and all, God loves you just the way the you are.

Revelation 22:17 (New Living Translation)

The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” Let anyone who hears this say, “Come.” Let anyone who is thirsty come. Let anyone who desires drink freely from the water of life.

Sunday, February 17, 2013


People often tell me how amazing it is that I am so at peace with Mom and Dad's horrendous deaths.  Now that an arrest has been made people are surprised that I still portray peace when I am confronted with forgiving the young man who has confessed to participating in their murders.

I truly am at peace (at least most of the time) and it is all because of God.  He is the God of peace.  His peace can soothe a raging soul but we have to let Him.  Peace comes from abiding in Him.  Peace has been popping up at me in Scripture lately.  Actually, just the past couple of days. It is incredible how that happens but, again, it is all God!

Isaiah 26:3 (New Living Translation)

You will keep in perfect peace
    all who trust in you,
    all whose thoughts are fixed on you!

God will keep in perfect peace all whose thoughts are fixed on Him!  Not just peace but perfect peace.  You cannot get any better than that!  It sounds pretty easy on the surface but the important part is keeping our thoughts focused on God.  I cannot do that if I am filling my mind with garbage.  What am I focusing on when I am watching TV or surfing the internet?  What books am I reading?  How much time am I spending in prayer?  How much of my prayer time is spent listening to God?  Hmm...

John 16:33  (Amplified Bible)
 I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.]

In Jesus we can have perfect peace and confidence!  Notice we are not promised an easy life.  As a matter of fact we are told we will have trials and frustrations.  God is so open with us!  No matter what comes my way if I remain in Christ, I will have peace.  What a promise!

Romans 8:5-6 (New Living Translation)

Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit.  So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.

We have to think about things that please the Holy Spirit.  In order to do that we have to let the Spirit control our minds.  It is our choice but the outcome on one hand is death and on the other it is life and peace.  That is a no brainer!

There are many other Scriptures I have "happened" to come across in the past two days alone that deal with peace but I would just like to leave you with one last one.  I says it so well.  I challenge you to join me in meditating on these verses.  Look them up in other translations.  Write them out on index cards or post-it notes and read them over and over again this week.  Then think about what you are thinking about!

Philippians 4:4-8 (New Living Translation)

Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon.
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Angels 2

I wrote about angels on August 4, 2011 but I feel the need to write about it again only this time I'm going to use Dad's own words.  I hope you will go back and read the first post I wrote on angels.  

Some people can become obsessed with angels which is not good.  We are warned in God's Word not to worship angels but that does not mean we should forget about them and act as though they are not there.  The Holy Spirit reminded me just the other day that our prayers actually bring angels to our aid and empowers them.  We must never forget the spiritual warfare we are in!

I was going through some of Dad's writings over the weekend and came across this one.  If you knew my Dad you would recognize that these are indeed his very own words: 

Warning: I am chasing a rabbit here. There is a question floating around in my mind. “If people can be demonized, why can’t they be ANGELIZED?” We have a clock that projects the time on the ceiling of our bedroom. When I wake up in the night, I can look up on the ceiling and see the time. Numerous times here of late, when I wake up in the night and look up to see the time on the ceiling instead of seeing the time, I see people. I strain and try to get my eyes focused to see the time, but I only see people. One night I saw my father. However, most often I see one, two or three girls with golden hair dressed in white. They are beautiful and they move. Being slow to think, I just wanted the moving pictures of people to get off my ceiling so I could see the time. But the other night, I saw my two sisters that are presently in China, Bonnie and Frankie. This really startled me and immediately I asked the Lord why did I see my two sisters? I thought that something might have happened to them. No answer came. Then I asked the Lord why was I seeing the pretty (apparently preteen) girls? The Lord responded by telling me they were angels sent to watch over me. The next night the girls’ image morphed into three young ladies dressed in business clothes. The next night, the ladies changed into typical looking angels with long flowing robes and wings, except for one. He had no wings but He had a beard and started rising up and disappeared into the clouds. I heard Him say to me, “I am the Lord” after his image disappeared. WOW! I have much more confidence since that encounter. I thank The Lord that He cares enough to send his angels to watch over and minister to us.  “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?” (Heb 1:14 AV) God is so good.

Back to my question about why can’t people be “Angelized”: there is no question that demons can have a significant negative impact on people. Demons are fallen angels. If that is true, then why cannot the Angels of heaven directly influence our lives, (behavior and attitudes)? Just remember Gideon. “And the Angel of the LORD appeared to him, and said to him, "The LORD is with you, you mighty man of valor!"” (Judges 6:12 NKJV)  The angel influenced his confidence to go from hiding from the enemy, to leading the Israelites to victory over the enemy. Now, I not only try to be open to hear what the Holy Spirit tells me, but also I try to know what the angels God has sent to minister to me are doing for me. “For He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways.” (Ps 91:11 NKJV). Believe me I need all the help I can get.

When we stand in obedience to the Lord, preparing to step out for the Kingdom, the enemy tries to intimidate us. What would our faith be like if our eyes were opened, like Elisha’s servant, and we could see a multitude of angelic chariots? Would that embolden us if we knew that there are more of “us” than there is of the enemy trying to intimidate us? John tells us: “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” (1John 4:4 NKJV) I venture to say that indeed, if we really believed that, we would step out with courage to speak to someone about his salvation, or pray for someone who is hurting. When we realize that angels are present, who would back away from a fight with the enemy?

Certainly not you, Dad!  How I love you and miss you!

Psalm 34: 6-8 (The Message)

 When I was desperate, I called out,
and God got me out of a tight spot.

 God’s angel sets up a circle
of protection around us while we pray.

 Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see—
how good God is.
 Blessed are you who run to him.

Saturday, February 9, 2013


I had literally just gotten off the phone from my brother Dave when he called me with the news that Mom & Dad had been murdered in their home when the thought struck me, "This is going to be quite a lesson in forgiveness". That thought has continued to enter my mind on occasion in the nearly two years since that fateful day but it has consumed me since last Tuesday when faced with the identity (and picture) of the young man who confessed to participating in their stabbing deaths.

Looking into the picture of that young man it struck me that he is so young. Yes, Mom & Dad died a brutal, unjust death but at least they lived to be 79 in good health and with each other. Now they have gone to heaven together. This young man, Jose, is a mere 25 years old - in the prime of his life.  He most likely will face execution or life in prison without the possibility of parole. When I was 25 I had finished college, been married for 5 years, had a 1 year old son (who is now 31) and gave birth to my first daughter. Even now in my fifties, I feel I have a lot of time ahead of me. So much to do. What does Jose have to look forward to?

I felt compelled to look him up on a website that the Missouri Department of Corrections has. It seems that Jose has had anger issues for some time. He was the subject of several orders of protection including a child order of protection. As a matter of fact a warrant was issued for his arrest on April 3, 2011 due to a failure to appear in court. He has been incarcerated for nearly 2 years now on other charges. This was not his first offense. How can I forgive someone like that?

How can I not? Hallelujah, Jesus has forgiven me my many sins (and, yes, they ARE many!).  Consider Jesus' words in Matthew:

Matthew 6:14-15 (The Message)
 “In prayer there is a connection between what God does and what you do. You can’t get forgiveness from God, for instance, without also forgiving others. If you refuse to do your part, you cut yourself off from God’s part.

I certainly do not want to be cut off from God's forgiveness! Jose has not asked me to forgive him and he may not care if I forgive him, but forgive I must, whether he wants it or not.  Whether he is sorry or not. Neither matters. What matters is that I forgive him. If I do not I will begin to harbor bitterness and hatred. I will begin to think that I am better than him. Jesus died for me and my sins. Jesus died for Jose and his sins. No difference.

Psalm 130:1-2 (The Message)

Help, God—the bottom has fallen out of my life!
    Master, hear my cry for help!
Listen hard! Open your ears!
    Listen to my cries for mercy.

If you, God, kept records on wrongdoings,
    who would stand a chance?
As it turns out, forgiveness is your habit,
    and that’s why you’re worshiped.

Thank you, Lord, my sins are forgiven! My guilt is washed away by the blood of the perfect Lamb! Worship the Lord who has forgiven me when I least deserved it!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


At a press conference yesterday, the Greene County sheriff and the prosecuting attorney announced they had filed charges against Jose Huckleberry, Jr for Mom & Dad's murder. Of course, he has not been proven guilty but according to court documents, he did confess to entering the home to rob it and participating in the murders.  It is my personal believe that more arrests will follow but have no idea as to how many others may have been involved.  Since the investigation is still active, the detectives cannot tell us a lot about the case and that is fine.  I do not want the case to be jeopardized.  I just want the truth to prevail.

The sheriff was good to talk to us as a family before they actually filed the charges and held the news conference.  I could not be more pleased with the concern and professionalism that the detectives have shown us.  They have worked relentlessly on the case and are still plugging away on it.  Thank you just does not seem adequate but it is all I have to offer them.  Words cannot express my gratitude. 

It is good to see this arrest but it is bittersweet.  As I look at the picture of this young man (only 25 years old!) my heart breaks for him and his family.  Jose is someones son, grandson, nephew, and perhaps, brother.  How do they feel?  What is going through their heats and minds right now?

I know without a doubt that Mom and Dad would reach out to them if they could.  They would offer forgiveness.  I know I have to do the same.  I pray Jose will experience the peace of God's love and forgiveness.  I pray for comfort for his family.  I pray that God will help me to never harbor hatred or unforgiveness.  After all, God is already the victor.  Satan may think he has won this battle, but I have news for him.  He has lost big time!

Under old testament law we are told an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth but Jesus has fulfilled that law and now calls us to a new standard.  Here is what He had to say about it:

Matthew 5:42-48 (The Message)

 “Here’s another old saying that deserves a second look: ‘Eye for eye, tooth for tooth.’ Is that going to get us anywhere? Here’s what I propose: ‘Don’t hit back at all.’ If someone strikes you, stand there and take it. If someone drags you into court and sues for the shirt off your back, giftwrap your best coat and make a present of it. And if someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life. No more tit-for-tat stuff. Live generously.
  “You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that.
 “In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.”

What an amazing, victorious life our Lord calls us to live!  I love you, Mom and Dad!  I hope to do you proud!  Jose, I am praying for you and your family.  Our Lord reigns!