#165 He is Our Source


Photo by Nicole Tarpoff

He is our Source. Genesis, the book of beginnings, tells us that our almighty, loving, powerful, and sovereign God spoke all creation into existence, and after seeing it, declared: “This is good.” After speaking creation into being, He created man and woman in His image. “God saw all that He had made, and it was very good.” He created us with our five senses—sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste. I think one important reason He blessed us with our five senses is to enable us to recognize His mighty power and absolute authority.


A breathtaking sunset; a stunning sunrise; walking on the beach with your feet sinking in the warm sand and feeling the warm salty breezes ushered off ocean waves that pound the infinite shoreline reaching as far as the eye can see; a clear night sky; scattered stars twinkling brightly against a pitch-black background—again, as far as the eye can see; and this past year, we all witnessed a blood moon, a super moon, I could go on and on. All these examples of  breathtaking Creation  come and go, some each and every day—but,  just as our Creator spoke all creation into being, Creation speaks His Truth, and the Truth points to our almighty, loving, powerful, and sovereign God, our Creator, the Source.

This past summer, while tending my little flower garden, our Creative Creator met and blessed me there and whispered truths in my ear—how He is the Gardener of Life, for after all, He began life in the Garden of Eden and laid down His life in the Garden of Gethsemane. Luke 22:42 says, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup (of divine wrath) from me; yet not my will, but [always] yours be done.”

John 15:1-8 says, “Jesus is the true vine, God is the gardener and we are the branches.”


Little did I know how sweating and getting my hands dirty would yield far more than beautiful flowers, climbing vines, and two small palm trees that gently swayed in the summer breezes of long summer days. For the first time, I took cuttings from my little garden. When I first cut/pruned the vines away from their comfort zone—the moist, rich, mineral-infused soil they were thriving in—they wilted and were not “happy” in their new environment, a tall glass vase filled with water. To my surprise and delight after just a few days, almost supernaturally, these same wilted, unhappy cuttings seemed to latch onto the life-giving water before my very eyes! Isn’t it funny how something so seemingly small, like vine cuttings sitting on your kitchen counter, can speak to you? I almost felt Him asking me, “Aletia, do you thirst for me?” He promises in John 4:14, “Whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal. life.” Ephesians 3:17–19 says, “I pray that you being rooted and established in love may have power together with all the Lord’s people to grasp how wide, and how long and how deep is the love of Christ” (emphasis added). The Holy Spirit reminded me of the times God has pruned me or cut me out of or away from my comfort zone. I don’t like it one bit. I wilt, I’m uncomfortable, I struggle, and I focus on my old comfortable, comfort zone. I don’t like this new, uncomfortable place I find myself in. Until God, my Gardener, reminds me to focus on Him, who is my life-giving, living Water, and who is cutting, pruning, and growing me to be rooted in Him who has a new direction and purpose in store for me. I read a great quote: “Our daily need for water acts as our reminder to drink deeply of Jesus every day. He doesn’t just have what we need—He is what we need.”

In Hebrews 4:12, He promises us, “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” God, our Source, is all we need, and His creation speaks to and points us to Him, reminding us each and every day of this truth.

I saved the best “gift” for last. I started noticing several hummingbirds visiting my little garden. They were particularly fond of the Mandevilla Tropical Breeze “Velvet Red” flowers, visiting several times each day to feed. I was reminded of how my mother loved setting out her hummingbird feeder and filling it with the sweet nectar that kept these beautiful, tiny, speedy birds coming back for more. You see, it was her walk with the Lord and her faith that I watched and witnessed throughout my life—a sweet nectar, a wholesome fragrance that cultivated and nurtured in me the desire to want to walk with the Lord like my precious mother did. She was a vessel for Him and reflected His love, grace, and mercy every day in my life; it was her walk with God that pointed me to Him and that He is what I needed as I walk through this life “garden” with all its beauty, color, thorns, choking weeds, flowers, and fragrance. Mom was a living example to me of 2 Corinthians 2:14–16: “Wherever you go, I use you to tell others about me and to spread the gospel like a sweet perfume. There is a sweet, wholesome fragrance in your life. It is the fragrance of Christ within you.”

A Million God Stories is a Christ-centered ministry which offers a platform for Christians from all streams of Christian faith to give praise for how God has worked in their lives. Christ heals in infinitely creative ways and we acknowledge that His way of helping may differ from person to person.

#164 Every Moment is a God Moment



Photo by Brianna Rapp

Several years ago at Thanksgiving our pastor asked our congregation what we were thankful for. Growing up, I had good parents and grandparents. I come from a big family, with four brother and four sisters. We grew up in a loving home and we were very close. I remember many times we prayed together as a family. All my siblings are still living and both my parents are living. When my pastor asked this question, I thought about how blessed I have been to have such a good family and felt so thankful to God for this blessing.

On another day at church, our pastor challenged each of us in the congregation to start reading the Bible daily. On January 1, 2007, I started doing this—reading the Daily Walk Bible early every morning. My wife and I live out in the country. The end of that same January, as I was going to church on a very icy Sunday, my truck slid off the narrow bridge and fell upside down into the creek. Thankfully, it landed on the passenger side and I was unharmed. God protected me. I went back into the house, warmed up, and picked up my Bible to read. Nearly every morning since then I have read the Bible. Now it feels like my day is not started off right if I don’t read the Bible.

Both our son and daughter have been into drugs. Our daughter got pregnant and we raised her son for five years. Without being in God’s Word and knowing how forgiving God is, I don’t know that I could have forgiven or made it through these situations. Because of our kid’s addiction, they stole from my wife and me—guns, tools, cash, even my wedding band. Each time it happened it was harder to forgive them. My wife and I both work hard at our jobs and we don’t have a lot compared to what many people have. That made it even harder when our kids stole from us and we had to replace things. But when I read the Bible I learn how many times that Jesus has forgiven me—too many to count. This realization has helped me forgive them.

But we did have to do hard things. We turned both of them into the authorities and they both went to jail. After our daughter got out of jail, her life began to change for the better.  She and her husband now come to church and have jobs. Our grandson has gone back to live with them.

After you start reading God’s Word, it changes everything. Many days I have had things going on in my life and I could pick up the Bible and hit on just what I needed to hear for that day to help me get through it. Since I have been reading the Bible each day, I find myself being more grateful, seeing things each day that I am thankful for. God is a giving God. When I try to think of a particular “God moment,” well … everything is a God moment. He put air in my lungs this moment and gave me this day. I don’t care what we do, we could never thank Him enough.

A Million God Stories is a Christ-centered ministry which offers a platform for Christians from all streams of Christian faith to give praise for how God has worked in their lives. Christ heals in infinitely creative ways and we acknowledge that His way of helping may differ from person to person.

#163 Changing Jobs, Finding Life

Photo by Brianna Rapp 

The first time I remember the Holy Spirit convicting me of my sin was in 1972 when I was 18 years old. My mother was being baptized in John’s Creek and I was standing on the swinging bridge overlooking the creek. The song that was sung was “Shall We Gather at the River?” I felt a tug at my heart, but I didn’t really know what it was.

A few years later, in 1981, I was invited to play on a softball team with a member of a local Baptist church. I had anger issues and I always wanted to win. Sometimes I got really upset, but the man who had invited me to play never got upset or angry. There was something different about him. He was a super person—very helpful, very patient.

He and his wife came to visit my wife and me in our home. I remember the night very well—it was on a Thursday—and before they came I knew someone was coming. He shared the gospel with my wife and me that night. I responded, “Not today,” but told them I would go to church with him. He gave me a New Testament outline Bible which had outlines of different topics in it, such as “What is faith?” and “What is sin?” The next day at work I read the topic, “What is sin?” and after I finished, I knew I was a sinner.

The next Sunday morning, we played a softball game early and then later that morning I went to church. My wife, daughter, and mother-in-law went to church with me. When the invitation was given, my mother-in-law made a profession of faith. Then after the service was finished, my wife made a profession of faith, but I didn’t. I knew I was a sinner, but I thought I had plenty of time. “Not today.” However, that afternoon I kept thinking about it—and it was the most miserable day of my life. My wife and I went back to church that evening. I will never forget the invitation hymn that was sung that night: “O Why Not Tonight?” I went forward and made a profession of faith.

It was the beginning of my walk with the Lord. The people at our church were so loving and good to us. It was as if we had fallen into a gold mine of love. Within a month after my baptism, I began the Continuous Witnessing Class. It was a 13-week study of scripture memorization and training about how to share Christ with others. I decided to go through the study twice because I felt like I had just memorized it the first time. The second time I really learned what it meant. After completion, our church had a visitation program. My wife and I participated in the weekly visitation. Once a week we went to different homes in the community to talk with people about Christ. Sometimes we would know the people we were visiting and sometimes the people were strangers to us. We would knock on the door and I would say, “Hi, I am Roger. I am from the Baptist church and I wanted to sit down and talk with you for a few minutes if you’re got the time.” It was very rare for people to say no. Sometimes I could tell people were not receptive and we did not share the gospel, but many times people were open and we would share. The home visitation was fruitful. One year we had over 100 baptisms at our small church and a good part of this was a result of the church-wide participation in visiting. At church, the gospel is shared in general but not in a personal one-on-one way. This one-on-one sharing is what many people need, as it becomes personal. I am a very shy person, and knocking on doors and sharing with people was hard for me, but along the way God changed me. God was always with me and He always preceded me in everything. He gave me more confidence and helped me to share what He had done for me—which is the best testimony of all. God gave me the words; I was just a tool.

One of the ways that God has worked in my life is through my job. I started working as a heavy equipment operator when I was 18 years old. I worked 10–12 hours a day, six days a week and sometimes on Sunday. Several years ago I felt the Lord was calling me to do something different. I didn’t have any time for my family and my body was beginning to ache. It was not a healthy way to live. I started praying, “Where can I get a different job start to support my family?” Out of the blue someone called me and asked if I was interested in beginning a new career. The job would be for the county school system. I was told the staring salary. It was a $2,200 pay cut per month! I accepted the job. My wife is a school teacher (former banker) and she created a budget to make the new salary work. I am now on my 17th year in the school system and we are debt free!

In my job at the school system I take care of all the textbooks (ordering and distribution into the classrooms), and I also drive a school bus. It is 40 hours a week, compared to the 70-plus hours per week I was working before. It has been so refreshing to spend time with my wife and daughters that I never had before. After I changed jobs, I was able to drop my youngest daughter off at school every morning. Now I have a granddaughter that I can enjoy activities with. It has been the best money I have never made in my life! Also, physically and mentally it is so much healthier for me. My body would have been broken by now if I had stayed at my old job. Now I get up at 4 a.m. every morning and walk six miles before I go to work.

The change in jobs also allows me more time for ministry and service for my Lord and Savior. My wife and I are very involved in our church. I have an opportunity to visit people who may be sick and in the hospital. I also have opportunities for ministering at funerals. I also know some of the needs of the children and the families in our church field as a result of driving a school bus. This allows me to better serve them because I see what they really need. My job often requires me to be out in a lot of our schools daily. I have had people ask me to pray for them, and I pray for them right then wherever it may be.

God has saved me and has given me the opportunity to serve Him and grow spiritually. I am so grateful for the opportunity. He didn’t need me but He used me. God has always placed positive people in our lives that have helped us to grow spiritually. My Savior is so loving and forgiving, so full of grace and mercy. I don’t know where I would be without Him. The blessings of God are all around us. All we have to do to receive them is to be obedient.

A Million God Stories is a Christ-centered ministry which offers a platform for Christians from all streams of Christian faith to give praise for how God has worked in their lives. Christ heals in infinitely creative ways and we acknowledge that His way of helping may differ from person to person.

#162 God Like A Safety Belt

Photo by Nicole Tarpoff

Two days before college, I was driving way too fast! I wasn’t under the influence but I was a little anxious to get down the road. I had stolen the car.

In a curve, I’d always crossed the line but this time, I hit another driver. Head-on, 65 miles an hour and my dash board was in my lap and my pelvis, fractured. I didn’t have a safety belt on. I broke my right arm in eight places and my fresh young face hit the windshield.

No one was with me. Thank God but just prior to colliding, someone entered the car.

“Hold my hand.”

What? This was totally foreign. I didn’t have spiritual encounters and I didn’t grow up with people who did. If someone had asked me about the accident, I wouldn’t have mentioned a voice but I put my right hand in the middle of the bench seat and felt a hand take mine.

I have no memory after that. I don’t recall seeing another vehicle, loosing control of the car or skidding 250 feet. I don’t recall impact. I don’t know where I was in the road.

My college plans had been arrested! My doctor said, “You’re on doctors’ orders not to go to university.” I rebutted, “I will go to school if I have to go in a wheelchair!”

Then he gave me a choice, “You can either stay in this bed for ten days or I can put you in a body cast?”

Great! I chose to stay in bed and he scheduled my surgery for the day I was to start classes. Now, I had pins in my arm and I was confined to bed. “Your recovery will be six months,” he stated.

As they wheeled me out of the hospital, my high school drama teacher stopped by. She had retired and was starting a community college in our hometown. “I know the doctor told you, you can’t go to university but you can come to my school.”

There was some hope.

Not long after I was released, I reconnected with Teeny, a widow with no children of her own. We’d connected when I was a girl and became close friends through my high school years. She’d recently moved within walking distance of the new college. I moved in with her.

The first time I walked in, I noticed it. The air in Teeny’s place was thick. It was like liquid air, heavy and loving. I never told her, it felt like liquid love. I don’t know how to describe it except to say I was weighted down in peace and felt like that most of the time.

I never said anything to her about what happened in the car. I wouldn’t have thought to but almost daily she would say, “No one would have lived through that but you. God must have a plan for your life.”

How did she know? How was she so certain God had plans for me? I grew up in a home no one wanted to be in. Everyone of us was ready to leave as soon as anyone could and now my plans to escape had been shattered. How was God on my side?

Once she looked me straight in the face and said, “I’ve been asking God why I’m not dead yet. All my friends are dead but I’m not dead cause you still need a momma.”

Teeney was 91 years old. A frail bird of a woman but her heart was big and strong. I slept in the bedroom on the left side of the hallway. Hers was on the right. At night, she’d take her hearing aids out and I’d overheard her talk. Maybe she couldn’t hear herself but I could. It’s where I learned what God is like. I remember thinking, “Everything is gonna to be just fine because Teeney is talking to God and God lives here cause she’s here.”

After I got my cast off, I quit using the walker and I could do a few things. I made Jello and cornbread or vanilla pudding. We spent days sitting in the sunlit room, watching Jeopardy or Wheel of Fortune. I sat on the floor and typed my papers and her chair sat low to the ground. I’d push my body as close to her as I could get. I wanted to crawl inside of her and feel. What was it like to be her?

When I think about religion, I think about complexities. Certain things you have to know or do but Teeny made things real simple. She’d say, “I talk to God like He is a friend. I talk to Him like I’m talking to you right now.” She told me, “When I wake up I ask God to take my hand and keep me from falling and He does.” I knew God was her friend and I knew she was my friend and I thought, maybe, somehow that makes God, my friend.

In January, I went to university. I was in the wrong crowd in no time. One night, the needle was just two or three people away. “If I put that needle in my arm, my life is over. These so-called friends will let me die.” Just like that, I came to my senses and walked 2-3 miles back to my dorm room.

My roommate and her boyfriend were asleep. I quietly came in and clung to my mattress, knelt on the concrete. Teeny had shown me that coming to God was not a complex matter. I quietly said, “I want to know the God Teeny knows.” In that moment, the air in my room became heavy and loving.

I’d never had a hunger to read the Bible but I began to devour it. Within a few months, I moved to an apartment off-campus with two closets. In one, I put my clothes. In the other, I put my Bible. I covered the walls with Scripture. It became my place to meet with God. This new hunger for God was supernatural. I wasn’t like that before. I didn’t want the same things. I began talking with Him like a friend, like Teeny did.

A few years later, I joined a discipleship team. Now, I was studying the Bible day and night. Two days before our first missions trip, God told me to go home and tell Teeny goodbye. At this time, Teeny was 95 years old and in a nursing home. I peeked into her room and she leaned towards me, “Are you an angel or are you the real thing?” I giggled. “I’m the real thing Teeny!”

Teeny was sharp as a tack till she died! She knew exactly what she was saying! Obviously, she was hosting angels. I don’t have a theology for that. I just know I had to walk over and assure her I was the real thing. There was room in her bed for us both. We just hung out for the weekend and shared such joy I forgot why I’d come. On my way out God reminded me, “I told you to tell her goodbye.” I turned around and forced the words out, “Teeny, I want you to know, if you die now; I’m going to be okay. I love you and good-bye.”

Teeny died two weeks later, the day I left on my first missions trip.

I learned a lot about evangelism on the mission field but I learned about Christ in a two-bedroom apartment on Old Lair Road in Cynthiana, Kentucky with a widow on a walker.

Teeney taught me to have a deep confidence and trust in God’s ability to do what He does best: Redeem His Children. 

A Million God Stories is a Christ-centered ministry which offers a platform for Christians from all streams of Christian faith to give praise for how God has worked in their lives. Christ heals in infinitely creative ways and we acknowledge that His way of helping may differ from person to person

#161 In Awe of the Light

Photo by Brianna Rapp

When I was 21 I did something that I felt I had to do, something that I regretted the moment I did it. Afterward, every aspect of my life was shaken, and not one moment went by that I did not feel the repercussions in my mind, body, spirit, and every relationship of what I had done.

It was not until seven years later that I went to confession. The priest was so kind to me. I felt so liberated after praying the prayers he instructed me to pray and felt encouraged to talk to God. Now the gate was open.

A few months later at work in the hospitality industry, I was walking from the back toward the cafe counter via the seating area, and I saw a tall man of about nearly seven feet in a suit with neck-length, wavy hair talking to another man. I noticed him, not for any particular reason, but as I was walking past them I felt this man look at me—not in the way we normally look at people but as though he were looking at me through his spirit, and I felt him touch my heart.

As I walked to the barista counter, a latte came up with the docket number four. I turned, and there he was, sitting facing my direction with a black number four waving me in. I walked, looking perhaps a little embarrassed because of what I had felt;after all, this was just a man. But as I walked toward him he looked straight at me and said, “I believe you’re looking for me.” As I placed the coffee down on the table, I replied gently,“Yes, and I found you.” Although I did not look up at him, the power in that moment was magnetic; I felt like someone wanted to get to know me, wanted to talk to me, wanted to make me smile.

I walked away, did another round of clearing tables, and came back out. He was not there, but had left a half-finished latte. And as I approached our barista and asked him if he saw the man at table number four, he confidently said, “Nope.”

That day will live with me always. I know there is no physical evidence of who this man was, but it happened for a reason. I knew what he was saying and what the experience was saying to me. I was so inspired by this moment that I started reading true stories and testimonies of encounters with God, stories of miracles that have resonated with my spirit.

One day I lay on my bed, and spoke to God as though I were speaking to my friend—freely, without discipline in my words, and with no restraint, just purely myself. I fell asleep, and during that sleep He let me see something that is now burned into my mind and heart forever. I heard a voice—a deep, kind,trustworthy voice. In that moment, I did not know who it was, but I felt completely at ease. He said my name. I was in awe of the light I saw. It started off as a small circle like the sun and then grew bigger, slightly changing color in each domain,getting brighter and brighter until it filled my eyes. It was stunning. But that was not the best part. It was what I felt. He was pleased. Happy. Elated. I could feel how much He loves me, how much He loves the world—and it was breathtaking. No earthly pleasure could come close. I then woke up.

Now my soul isn’t as heavy and unbearable anymore. All I did was something simple: I reached out my hand, and in return He granted me His Kingdom.

A Million God Stories is a Christ-centered ministry which offers a platform for Christians from all streams of Christian faith to give praise for how God has worked in their lives. Christ heals in infinitely creative ways and we acknowledge that His way of helping may differ from person to person.