Mary woke perspiring as the night pressed down on her. Fear and anxiety bound her chest tightly and gathering her blanket to her chin, she pushed herself upright. Her eyes accustomed to the night and she inhaled sharply.


They were everywhere. Small and soft; loud and aggressive; sweetly singing; crisp and concise … the voices were back.


The leather bound book was within easy reach and Mary grabbed it swiftly. Alone and tired she looked at the people standing before her.


The voices settled.

A muscular figure in an azure cape with sparkling flecks of diamonds stepped to the forefront.


“There are things you need in life and I can get them for you.”


Mary looked down at the book. A warm mist seemed to come up and she heard a gentle word bubble up from inside of her.


“Have no fear. I will teach you.”


The figure in front of her frowned and straightened his shoulders.


“You can’t deny that you have needs in life. Practical needs. And to be a good person there are things you need to do. We are here to guide you.”


And slowly one by one they stepped forward.


The first one wore a suit of shimmering gray embellished with rubies and sapphires. His name was Riches …


“Everyone needs the right amount of resources and stewardship to be successful in life. There are some principles to follow here.”


A chorus spoke up.  


The right wealth.

                  Invest in …

                  If you take this job you can afford …

                  Pay yourself first

                  Only use 25% of your check toward housing

                  10% to savings, 10% to offering, then …


Mary felt the warm mist and opened the book.


                           She gave all that she had … it was a small amount of money …  the truth is that poverty can produce a gift of the heart …  and Jesus was touched. (Luke 21:1-4)



Mary felt relieved. But another figure stepped forward cloaked in black with an air of solemn wisdom. When he spoke his voice was powerful and his words seemed wise.


Soon he was joined by another chorus of voices urging Mary to consider …


         The right government.

                  It is election year and you want to vote properly

                  This is the Christian candidate.

                  NO this guy has a much stronger stance on …


                  Mary scrambled through the pages … there were so many … how could she find …


Be careful when they say here is the Christ or there is the Christ (Matthew 24: 23 and 24)

                           And the government shall rest on His shoulders … the only perfect government. (Isaiah 9:6 and 7)


Mary drew a deep breath and let it out slowly.


The next ones who stepped forward just looked like ordinary people. There were two of them in front, a man and a woman, followed by a group of three identically dressed figures in gray sweatshirts and blue jeans.


Their voices were soft and alluring as they spoke about …


         The right relationship.

                  A man who provides …

                  A woman who is submissive …

                  Be assertive

                  Be forgiving

                  Choose your friends wisely

                  Family is forever


Mary felt a tear trickle down her cheek. Even though she had a family – Mary’s heart was lonely.


And then the mist arose and encircled her with warmth as she read …


                           Love the Lord you God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. (Deuteronomy 6:5)

                           Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord. (Leviticus 19:18)



Mary smiled in the warmth of the love of her Father. She bent her head and let go of the hurts in her heart, forgiving everyone of everything … the room brightened with a golden light.



A woman stepped forward dressed in a business suit with a look of confidence on her face and an assured posture as she waited for Mary’s full attention.


“Stewardship of your time is really important. You need to have a schedule and make sure to put in the appropriate activities.”


Now dozens of voices clamored so that Mary could only discern a few of the many phrases hurled at her …


         The right activities

                  The kids need to be in sports

                  The kids need to have free time

         You need a date night with your husband to keep        marriage strong.

                  Church on Sundays.

                  Extended family dinner once per month.


Mary’s head was swimming as she found the gospels and breathed deeply.


                  The will of your Father is this … to believe in the One He sent. (John 6:29)

                  The real “doing” list … Matthew chapters 5 -7 – perfect!

                  “My yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11: 28-30)



Mary could feel weight lifting as she read of what was really to be done. It was simple and easy and not overwhelming at all.


Interrupted in her thoughts, Mary faced what was now a lone figure. Still in an azure cape - but the sparkle seemed to have dulled and certainly the muscles has disappeared …


“Last but certainly not least … if you are truly going to follow this Jesus … you have to get into …”


         The right church

                  A strong youth group

                  A pastor who has zeal for God’s Word

                  A women’s ministry

                  Not too big

                  Not too small


Mary rolled her eyes.  This one she knew …


         And they all came together and worshipped. They ate together and shared their possessions. The Lord blessed the church.  (Acts 2:42-47)



         And as Mary drew the book to her heart and closed her eyes, the voices were silenced. In the warm night she heard angels’ wings.