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"Therefore I have hope", a new book interview



Good day to all my readers! Hope all is well with your soul, and if you are heavy burdened in any way we all know who to turn to for guidance and deliverance. May all of us have His knowledge given to us that reveals our soul only rest in Him.
 
Today I am interviewing a new Christian writer name John R.Haeffele. He has an amazing testimony our Heavenly Father has given Him to proclaim. Our Heavenly Father went beyond giving Him the words to tell, He gave Him the gift of writing, and John’s testimony has become his first book, a memoir called, Therefore I have hope. 

John also has a Facebook site, The prodigal one, and blog website called www.prodigalone.com. That is full of God's messages He has given to John that may lead you to the Cross.

 
John, can you give us a summary of your journey that lead you to our Heavenly Father.
 
I had been a Christian most of my life. Trouble started when I began living half in the world and the other half in the Word. The half in the world was an open invitation for the devil to come in. Sin has consequences. My sin led to a prison sentence. It was sitting in a 6 X 10 cell when I decided to fully devote my life to God.
 
Vicki’s response: That truly is a place where one can find Him, when they are alone, all is lost to them, they have no power to change the situation, and His voice is the only one they want, and needs to be heard desperately. Your book reveals how desperate you had become, and I think that is a very important part of the story. He still will save you no matter how low one may think they are. At the same time, I hope many realize one does not need to become that desperate to be desperate enough to call out to Him or hear His voice.
 
What made you aware that your writing was a gift from God to be used for His purpose, and not a gift to use for your own purpose?
 
I was a “D” student in English. I never enjoyed reading or writing. The only book I ever read was the Bible. Now I love reading and writing my weekly blog, and messages for speaking engagements. John 3:21 Jesus says, “But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God." Anyone who knew me in my prior life would agree the only way I have accomplished what I have accomplished is by the hand of God. Whatever I do, I do all for the glory of God.
 
Vicki’s response: Amen, John. I totally understand what you mean being transformed into a workman, or student approved by God, verses, what you were before you knew Him. A person not having any comprehension of what they were reading or any desire to learn about writing, then comprehend everything they read, and a huge desire to learn all there is about writing. They learn it all from the only one that can give it to them personally or through another for His purpose and plan. That is when a person realizes all they have been given is given by Him, and all they have belongs to Him to use for His purpose.
 
Why do you believe God desires this book, Therefore I have Hope, to be written?
 
I believe God desired this story to be written to glorify Him, and give the readers a message of hope. For many, prison can be a hopeless situation. Along with their hope many lose their families. My family, and I were separated for 25 months. I hurt them tremendously, but they stayed by my side. It would have been easy for them to walk away. My family, and my God proved that love never fails. I have a story to tell the world about who God is and what He has done in our lives.
 
Do you believe it was your families love, and hope they had for you, or was it God’s love, and His hope pouring out of them for you?
 
I believe it was God's love, and His hope pouring out of them for me. God is love. It is so easy to turn your back on someone when they fail. God's love flowing through us is the only thing that has gotten us this far. The only thing that has kept us together.
 
Vicki’s response: I also know through your story it was His judgement, and truth you accepted that kept your family together. Your wife did not ignore your wrong choices, you both faced them together, and took what came together, and both were not afraid to pay the price to get through this problem you had created. This also will prove to all people God is a God of love and judgement and we all live through all of Him and share what He gives each of us through one another and forgive and begin again.
 
Do you believe one of the reasons a lot of his children may become worldly is they are taught wrong from the very beginning, and are being deceived?
 
I believe some churches have watered down Christianity. If the clergy is not teaching the Word of God, then those in the congregation are being deceived. There is a spiritual war being waged between good and evil. People need to be made aware of what is right and what is wrong according to scripture, and if the church is not teaching it then the members need to find a new church.
 
Do you believe all God’s children can be pulled away from the Lord by the cares of this world, and that is a normal response for all His children, or does it depend on who each of them are, and how they relate to Him?
 
I believe God intends all of us to live a life according to His will. I also believe God gave us freewill and everyone is susceptible to sin. How deep one falls, depends on the individual. I have found if a person gives into one sin, an inch, it will take a mile, and soon the person will be drowning in it. From my own personal experience the devil used a chink in my Spiritual armor to work his way into my life. The Apostle Paul tells us, "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." I still may sin but I immediately turn away from it and turn to God.
 
Vicki’s response: Amen, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”, but He did not sin and He does not fall short, that is why He could only die for us, so through Him we will not either if we walk in the light as He is in the Light, and if we do sin He intercedes for us by our repentance. We never should live in it any longer if we are walking in and through His light.
 
Do you think the devil as the power to lay the ground work for our circumstances, or do you think God has power over the devil?
 
God is the creator of all things and has power over all things. If we look at the story of Job the devil needed permission from God to attack Job.
God gives us the right to choose. To sin or not to sin. Prior to my incarceration, I was not walking the path God had intended for me. I chose sin. I chose death. Now, I choose life.
 
Vicki response: Job is a wonderful message from God that reveals His power over Satan, and God was the one that told Satan about testing Job’s faith, and righteousness, not the other way around.
 
If God gives each person the right to choose sin or not to sin then why do we need the Cross? 
 
We all sin we all need a Savior. In my case I chose to continue sinning instead of sincerely repenting and asking for forgiveness.
 
Vicki’s response: I think your key word is “continue”, and many continue without sincerely repenting. I believe your story will awaken many sleeping “repenters” to an awakening to what true repentance means.
 
Do you believe it is the choices we make with our own power, or more of a choice to give our will to Him making those choices for us through His power?
 
I believe when we are walking in the way we are in sync with the Holy Spirit. I do not make any choices until I take it to God in prayer. No longer do I make any hasty decisions, I wait for the Spirit to lead. 
 
Do you believe a child or an adult can fully give up all and be completely devoted to Him all their lives?
 
I believe one can be completely devoted to God, but that they will still be in a constant battle with sin. The more we walk in the way the less likely we will fall off the path God has laid out for us. When we devote our lives to God, our tools for battling sin become stronger. We become spiritually stronger through a steady diet of prayer and God's Holy Word.

Do you believe God convicts us through His Spirit every time we sin or some time? 
 
I believe God convicts us through the Holy Spirit every time we sin. Once again it depends on how in tune we are to the Spirit. When I was a living a sinful life the voice of conviction was faint. The darkness of this world was making me blind to see the poor choices I was making. Just like when Jesus gave sight to the blind he has opened my eyes to the truth. When I sin I sense it immediately, I sincerely repent, and turn to God.
 
Do you believe we ignore Him, and choose not to listen to him more than He ignores us, and listens to us?
 
God does not ignore His children. I believe what happens is the more we live in the world the less we can hear God when He calls. Now that I have devoted my life to working for the King when He calls I hear him loud and clear.
 
Do you believe we can serve the world, ourselves, others, and God at the same time?
 
I have been determined to live by the motto God first, family second and everything else a distant third. I do not begin my day before prayer, reading, and meditating on the Bible. This is not a guarantee that I will have a care free day, but it helps prepare me for what lies ahead and keeps me focused on the cross. We can serve the world, ourselves and others but we always need to serve and seek God first.
 
Vicki’s response – I believe God gives us that determination and will to do what pleases Him from all He gives us of himself through His Spirit. Our Lord was very determined to please His Father and through that same Spirit when we receive Him we receive that same determination.
 
Do you think God picks us up through our faith in Him giving us all we need to lift ourselves up, or we pick ourselves up by our own faith, power, and grace when we fall?
 
God picks us up through our faith. Our faith grows as we draw closer to God and as we become more dependent on God. I lacked faith in God and tried to become independent and do things on my own. Dependence on God is all He ever wanted from me.
 
Do you think it is our faith, or His faith given to us through His Spirit?

It is not our faith but it is His faith given through His Spirit. The faith I have is because of Christ in me. 
 
Your last statement in your book, “No matter how many times the devil knocks me down,” doesn’t that imply that you think he can knock you down?
 
The Apostle Paul often referred to our walk with Christ as an athletic event.  I finished the first edition of the book in 2014 after I was released from prison. The devil was coming at me in all different directions and yes sometimes he would knock me down, but by the grace of God I would get up before the 10 count.  I have trained in the way of the Lord and my faith has gotten stronger. It has been a long time since the devil knocked me down.  He may knock me back a step, but never down again.
 
Vicki’s response: I know if I keep walking in the light as He is in the light the devil has no power to knock me back or down. If God is for us through His Son, who has the power in hell or earth to make us step back, trip, or fall ever again? No other spirit, including our human spirit, can stand up to our Heavenly Father through His Son. If we are willing to give ourselves to Him wholeheartedly, because He is willing to give us all we need to walk in the light as He was, is, and always will be for eternity in His light.
 
John, thank you so much for joining me, and my readers on my blog! It was a wonderful adventure reading your book, and learning about you personally! God’s work in you, through your life story, and His gifts, this book, Therefore I have Hope, reveals another proof He is real, and can transform anyone who is willing to give all of themselves to Him. Your life, His gifts, and your book revealed to me He never gives up on a soul no matter how hopeless it may seem there is always hope in Him taking His reborn children beyond themselves in ways they can't imagine! May He continue to increase, while you decrease, so all people who read or hear His testimony of who He is in your life, any way He gives you, may be drawn to Him. I know I was drawn to Him all the way through it! We both give Him all the glory and the praise for the work He has given both of us to share!





"Heaven Waits, hearing the voice of God"





Today on my blog we are going on a new adventure, and I pray all who go on this new adventure with me are as excited about it as I am. I pray we will all gain more knowledge of Him by going!!
 
We are adding a new category to my blog today “interview.” For those who do not know what interviews are on a blog, it is inviting someone as a guest, asking questions for them to answer in a blog setting. I feel the need to give my guest some refreshments, but on a blog interview there is no need. This is a strange and exciting experience for me, and I hope everyone of my readers enjoy it as much as I will listening, understanding, and writing it. There will be pictures of the person I am interviewing, their ministry, book or any gift they are proclaiming to share for the building up of His Kingdom.
 
My first guest I have invited on my blog is Maria Schaefer, a Christian writer, painter, card designer, and speaker who shares her love for Him through all the gifts He has given her. Today we are discussing her latest book adventure she has written called, Heaven Waits, hearing the voice of God.You may have read her first published book, Healing Grace, which has been translated into Swahili for Africa, as well as Bengali for India. You can get more information about Maria and the many gifts God has given her through her ministry websites, https://www.createspace.com/6172156, www.fiyministries.com, www.psalm139maria.com, www.abstractartandme.com,  www.worshipandart.com, and www.fiyprayerforyou.com.
 
 
 
 
Maria Schaefer
 
 


Maria, thank you for joining me, and my readers on this great new adventure!  We are excited to hear your voice through the words God has given you in telling us how you became a Christian, and how you realized how to use all these amazing gifts He has given you to share with others.
 
I have read your book, Heaven Waits, Hearing the Voice of God, and through my questions you will be answering what you, and your book is all about.  Many of her answers I found in Maria’s book, and they lead me into wanting to read more, and I am sure they will lead others to want to read it repeatedly.
 
  “What made you aware that your writing was a gift from God to use for His purpose, and not a gift of your own to use for your own purpose?"
 
Maria: “My first book, Healing Grace, was written in 1994, when I needed God’s healing desperately!  I had two different diseases that went haywire.  The doctors did not know what to do with me / to help my physical condition.  Although I knew God, I was in a place of desperately needing to know His thoughts on what was taking place in my body?  I felt physically like I was having constant heart attacks -from a disease known as Mitral Valve Prolapse; as well as my thyroid disease going totally off the charts.  Medication was not helping. 
 
The instructions I got from the Lord were to stop watching all TV, and not to listen to anything that was not Christian on the radio.  As I entered the truth of God’s Word; and understood He wanted me healed, He spoke to me at this point in a way He had not before.  It was not audible, but as strong as an audible voice.  It felt as though it came from a different part of my brain.  He said, “I am the Lord who heals you, and I will heal you of your disease.” 
 
From that moment on, each morning when I awoke, I received a poem from the Holy Spirit.  I put them in a journal, and asked a Professor friend of mine to help me edit the poems.  The Lord spoke to me about publishing them.  The purpose was for the book to set the captives free! After receiving these words in prayer, my friend spoke the confirmation.   He said, ‘You should publish a book;’ (my friend received a healing while reading the poems).  I recognized God was giving me confirmation to move ahead.  God’s voice was very clear speaking through my friend, and making His plan known for me to move forward in writing my first book, Healing Grace.
 
The first-place Healing Grace went - was a ministry that went into prisons.  Afterwards, I discovered that the Lord meant Healing Grace for any person who believed they were imprisoned. 
 I was totally healed of both diseases after many years of suffering with them.  I have not been on any medication for either disease since 1996.  I was healed by God’s amazing grace!"
 
 Vicki's response: “I understand all of what you have said, Maria. I too hear the same voice, and he never goes beyond what He speaks to us through His Word. Getting away from the world and only listening to Him is one of His first instructions to prepare each of His children to hear Him clearly, so we can know Him above all else.”

 “How did God speak to you about writing this particular book?”
 
Maria - “My second book, Heaven Waits, hearing the voice of God, started forming in 2014.  When in prayer, I began to receive thoughts that I was to take my journals (words I received from the Lord for over 25 years) and write another book.
 
I have so many journals that the task seemed huge!  But, as I began looking through them; asking the Holy Spirit for His help, the thoughts He had given me began to have a theme.  The theme seemed to be an understanding on how to hear God through scripture, and a personal word He speaks to His people confirming scripture.  It appeared to me that He wanted a detailed description on how this could take place – this included someone saved for years, as well as a new Believer.  This word made it a little more difficult, for seasoned Christians and new Believers are at different levels.   
 
By using my journals, and the Holy Spirit’s leading, I realized I could bring Heaven Waits together through the Lord directing each step.  For some time before that prayer, I thought the book would be called Heaven Waits, and waits, and Waits! The formatting seemed to go slower than I expected - until recognition came in how to format it.
 
I had contacted three different people to help me look it over (that I trusted for advice) on how to move ahead?  One was a professional editor.  Each time they took the manuscript, they had trouble formatting it.   I realized then that I must be missing something?  As I went into more prayer, a word was given to me by the Lord.  He said, “I will help you to format Heaven Waits.”  He gave me His instructions on what to do, and I began putting it into a format that makes it easy for the reader to understand who is speaking.  For I added explanations on how I knew it was God speaking to me, which were not included in my original manuscript.”
 
Vicki’s response: “Amen Maria, I too as a writer hear his voice in what to write, and then one day He tells me to gather all I have written, learned from Him, and form it into a book to share with others so they can learn what He has taught me to share with them. I have several projects in the making, get over whelmed, and He always claims me down.  

Again, His Spirit teaches, guides, and calms us, and always reveals in us what His word proclaims! He also has led me to others that can help me through the gifts they have been given, as He helps them through the gifts He has given me. It is a win, win for all. He has proven this once again by bringing us together to help one another get his message out!”
 
  “In your relationship with Him, have you found the more you surrender to His obedience through His Spirit and God’s Word / the clearer his voice is?
 
Maria - “Surrender is always the key in relationship with God.  And, yes Vicki, the more we surrender our own will for His, the more He enters and reveals to us more of His kingdom.
 
What I needed to learn was to follow the first instructions Jesus gave me, and not run before Him at my own speed.   My problem once was to hurry to the end of the road of the assignment, and skip what He wanted to teach me about Him and myself along the way. He wanted me to walk at a steady pace so I could soak up all of Him in what He wanted to teach me about Him, and myself along the way.  

The learning process (of who He is) takes place in the journey every true Christian has.  I don’t believe assignments (God asks us to do) are about quickly getting them done; but more about watching what He does, having faith in Him through each step showing us He is in total control - when we surrender our need or problem to Him.”
 
Vicki’s response – “Amen to that answer! My problem was not so much as going before him but lagging to far behind. I was afraid I would go too fast. You are so right when He gives you the correct balance how truly free and restful a person’s soul is when they are moving at His pace. When He gives a person the correct balance they will not be going too slow, or too fast, but just right! 

I also found a higher level of peace saying no to some suggestions from others in the direction I should go in. He always would tell me what direction He wanted me to go in. He told me to go the traditional publishing route, and I too feel like changing the title to “God’s timing is not the same as ours!”  It is amazing how different we are, and how different He may use us, but still the same in so many ways through His given Spirit.”

“What makes your book more relevant to God than any other Christian book out there today?”
 
  Maria - "The reason I believe God has a Christian write a book has to do with leading another person to Him.  We are Life and Light in His kingdom work.  If we follow His instructions in what He is giving us, it will always be relevant to Him first, and then He will bring in the people who are supposed to read it.   The only book relevant to God is the one He leads someone to write, in my opinion."
 
 “Why do you think God waits?”
 
Maria - “I believe God waits for us to understand His nature. He is so gentle, and kind, that He understands we are only man. He knows we can only receive His wisdom in what the Holy Spirit reveals. For wisdom is not practiced, but instead supernaturally received.  He also understands that our flesh (self-life) gets in the way of our spirit. 
The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.  His heart is always reaching out to us, because we are so deeply loved by Him.  He waits until we understand, no matter what, He is our Daddy!”
 
Vicki’s response -  "Amen to that answer!! He truly is proving we are very like-minded, which He loves to prove with His children!! I too know He is waiting for all His sons and daughters to be put into place for the building up of His Kingdom; those He calls His very own."
 
 “Do you think God is not only waiting on His children that are His very own through His Son to be put into place, but also those who do not follow His Son and are not His very own?”
 
Maria - God loves everyone, but each person must come to the reality that they cannot live this life without Him.  Our true joy comes from having a relationship with Him, and knowing Him.
 
Vicki’s response– "Amen, I totally agree our Father loves everyone, but it is us that love Him differently. When a person or soul does not love, or accept Him it keeps their souls from being renewed by His presence that He desperately wants to give each of us. He loved us enough to die for us so we could receive His son and be saved through Him."
 
 What do you want your readers to receive most from God in taking this journey through Heaven Waits with you?”
 
Maria -   “I’ve heard from people who have read Heaven Waits that God has spoken to them  while reading it.   Some have received Words from Him, as well as visions.  One person said that it made them cry.  Tears come in healing. 
I would like more people to experience the love and healing power of God / while reading Heaven Waits.”
 
Vicki’s response - "It is an amazing answer to prayer, and blessing when God reveals the work He has done in you and through you in bearing fruit for His purpose, and through the ways He has revealed to you through other people!! I rejoice with you, and praise His Holy name alongside you through this amazing book He has given you! What I received from your confirmed all He has given me, and there is nothing like knowing another person receives the same voice, from the same Spirit through His Word. That proves His unity is real and true, and that kind of book I love to read!"
 
Maria- "Thank you Vicki, for the opportunity to share my book, blessings!"  
 
 "Thank you Maria, for joining me and my readers on my blog today, may God continue to bless you with His gifts, and all He gives you to do through them for the building up of His Kingdom. I know I have gained more insight into hearing His voice, and in surrendering more of myself to Him so I can hear Him more clearly through reading His message through this book, “Heaven Waits, hearing the voice of God!”
 

Until Next time everyone, may His peace always guard your hearts.



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