Sapulpa, Oklahoma 918-471-2447

The Missing Diamonds

Opening my cherry wood musical jewelry box, I searched for the right ring to wear with my new silky blouse and trendy floral skirt.  I smiled hearing the melodic tones of “Love Story.” Love is never having to say you’re sorry, but I laughed as I thought of all the times I had to say I was sorry.  Love was more like a diamond developed in the pressures of life than a feel-good movie that made me cry.

My eyes searched the two rows of rings and fixed on the one Luis had given me for our thirty-sixth anniversary.  Nineteen small diamonds sparkled as I held the gold ring in my slender fingers. Too bad I couldn’t wear it. Two diamonds were missing, leaving a gaping space as noticeable as a missing front tooth. I hadn’t worn the ring in two years, just kept it tucked away in my jewelry box.  Being pastors, our focus was on the church and our money was spent on community and church projects. Carefully, I put the ring back in the jewelry box and closed the lid.  “Love Story” faded in the background, my mind wandered to my past.

I grew up on a small farm in rural Oklahoma and had strong Christian roots.  Even though I was not a part of the drug scene, I witnessed the hippy movement, free love, racial integration, Led Zeppelin, marijuana, and psychotropic drugs.  People were searching for love in all the wrong things.

One night I watched a Billy Graham crusade on our small black and white television and heard Reverend Graham say, “Jesus loves you and wants to forgive all your sins. Ask Him in your heart.”  With tear-filled eyes, my Mother prayed with me and God’s love entered the room changing my life forever.

At sixteen I read “Run Baby Run,” the story of Nicky Cruz.  He was a vicious Puerto Rican knife-fighter and the chief warlord for a brutal Brooklyn gang called the Mau-Mau’s. David Wilkerson, a country preacher from Pennsylvania, came to Nicky with a message of hope and love.  Nicky fell on his knees and confessed Christ.  His life was changed and Teen Challenge was born with thousands being delivered from the evil power of drug addiction.  In 1972 Hollywood made a movie about them. “The Cross and the Switchblade” deeply impacted my life and I knew God was calling me to help hurting people.

My thoughts were interrupted by my husband, who had snuck in the room like a stalking tiger ready to pounce on his prey.  He surprised me with a playful hug from behind and laughed as I jumped and screamed.  He was a bold man with a commanding presence and a Puerto Rican accent. I never knew what he was going to do next to make me laugh.

“One more week,” he said, “and you’ll be a year older.”

“Don’t remind me.”

His face lit up with a big grin. “Give me a hint. What would you really like for your birthday?”

I opened the jewelry box, grabbed the ring and said, “I’d love to have these missing diamonds replaced.”

Luis didn’t say a word. With a mischievous look in his dark brown eyes, he put the ring in his pocket and walked out of the bedroom comically, reminding me that laughter is like medicine.

Luis was a walking miracle. His love for God and his family were a constant reminder of God’s unconditional love. In 1970 he was trapped in a world of drugs, alcohol, street violence, crime and rebellion.  A Teen Challenge minister visited him in a prison cell in Philadelphia and told him the story of Jesus Christ. He accepted Christ and God set him free.  Three months later God called him to preach the gospel.

In 1972 He came to my small church in Fairfax, Oklahoma, and shared his testimony. The Holy Spirit had already prepared me.  Eleven months later we were married and started our ministry together. It still amazes me how God put us together…a New Yorker and an Okie.   God gave me a treasure out of darkness, a diamond and a priceless gem. A master jeweler once told me a diamond is the most indestructible natural formation known to man. The name comes from the Greek word “Adamas” and means unconquerable.

Diamonds are pure carbon and one of the earth’s most common elements, but one of the most expensive. Diamonds are formed and crystallized deep in the earth under the incredible heat of 1200 degrees Celsius and a pressure of five gigapascals.  They grow larger and more beautiful under longer periods of exposure to high pressures and temperatures.

The jeweler showed me a normal round-cut diamond with 58 facets.  “The fire and brilliance of white light that rebounds out of the top of the diamond and makes it sparkle depends on the correct cut and the correct alignment of each facet,” he said. 

I thought about I Corinthians, Chapter thirteen and the many facets of God’s love.   It is patient and kind.  It is not jealous or proud, not rude or self-seeking.  It is the highest level of love.   It believes the best of everyone and does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness.

Agape love drove Jesus to lay down his life for the human race to save mankind from sin and self-destruction.  Talk about pressure! It is a love that loves so profoundly that it knows no limits or boundaries in how far, wide, high, and deep it will go to show that love.  It isn’t looking for what it can get, but for what it can give. This kind of love gave Luis and I purpose and meaning.  It made life worth living.

I heard my husband’s car pull up in the driveway. Luis walked into the house like an excited little boy on Christmas morning. He had something hidden behind his back as he greeted me with a kiss.

“Close your eyes and hold out your hand. I have a surprise for you.”

When I did as he asked, Luis slipped the restored ring on my finger.

“Happy birthday, honey,”

I opened my eyes. Instead of nineteen diamonds, twenty-one diamonds sparkled. I threw my arms around my husband and squealed with joy like a child getting a new toy. I knew this was a sacrifice, but I couldn’t resist asking the question.

“How much did it cost?”  


Impatiently, I said, “Don’t tease me, how much?”


“What? Come on, don’t tease me.”

“I’m not teasing.”

 “The jeweler examined the ring and found the two diamonds weren’t missing after all.  They had dropped low in the setting and were hidden from view. They only appeared to be missing.”  He continued, “The jeweler pulled the diamonds to the surface, tightened the prongs and cleaned the ring with special jewelry cleaner…all at no charge.”

I couldn’t believe it.  It looked like a new ring.  Joy flooded my heart as I thought about the favor and the blessings of God, the master jeweler. We are his gems.  He searches for hidden diamonds, pulls us to the surface, and cleanses us by the blood of Jesus…all at no charge. Many times God’s love is hidden by trials and pressures of life.

I wondered how many missing diamonds needed to release the love of God and sparkle again.

* Image by DWilliams from Pixabay 

Faith Your Fear

The surgery shouldn’t have taken more than eight hours…it had been thirteen. David brought us coffee while we waited. We were grateful to have friends and family that gathered in the large waiting room to support us. We expected the doctor to give us a report soon.

Wearing light blue surgical scrubs and cap, Dr. Saint walked into the waiting room at St. John’s hospital in Tulsa. He pulled the mask from his face and got right to the point.

“I’m sorry. It doesn’t look good. Your son probably won’t live to finish college. It took longer than I thought. My team and I had to remove multiple tumors…some as large as cantaloupes. I’m sure they’re malignant, but we won’t know until the lab results are back.”

Answering our questions, Dr. Saint left us alone to face our fears. It was Friday, August 13, 1997 and the surgery took 13 hours. It seemed Satan was laughing in our faces…trying to get us to focus on the problem instead of our faith in God. My husband, Luis, and I were determined not to allow fear to rule us…instead we would faith our fears.

Mark had been diagnosed with cancer when he was sixteen years old. We went to MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas for treatment. Now, four years later, tumors had spread to his abdomen and chest.

St. John’s Hospital had a chapel and I excused myself to find it. I needed to be alone. I found the chapel and knelt at the altar to pray. I began by asking God a question, “Are you really going to heal him?” After a few moments, I opened my eyes and immediately I saw a very large inscription hanging on the wall. I couldn’t believe I didn’t see it when I entered the chapel. It was painted bright red and said, “Peace, Peace, far and near. I will indeed heal him!”

Quickly, I found a Bible lying on a table and opened it to Isaiah 57:18 and 19. I wanted to read the complete verses. “I have seen his ways and I will heal him: I will lead him also, and restore comforts unto him and to his mourners. I create the fruit of the lips; Peace, peace to him that is far off, and to him that is near, saith the Lord; and I will indeed heal him.” Peace flooded my heart. God spoke to me through his Word and I knew Mark would be healed.

Days later the doctor gave us the good news. “It’s not what I thought,” said Dr. Saint.

“The results of the lab work were non-malignant.”

We were grateful for the doctor’s report, but we knew God gave us a miracle!

Have you ever had to battle fear? Fear has torment and will stop your faith. Instead of turning to faith in God’s Word, many run to drugs, alcohol, wine, and prescription pills…anything to ease the stress, pain and hurt. Alternatives can turn into a maze of false hope causing people to walk around in a fog of confusion and depression. For many, our parents and grandparents taught us about faith. But sometimes a quick fix seems more appealing than having faith and trust in a loving God.

Acting on faith takes discipline and hard work, but it is worth it. The moment we decided to trust God, and release our faith, the Holy Spirit opened the path for healing and deliverance. I love doctors because they have a gift of healing, but no doctor or person can heal a sick body or a broken heart. God alone is the healer. He can heal through medical science, through following the rules of good health, through Christian living, and through prayer, but our faith was our strength.

What is faith? Hebrews has a lot to say about it in chapter 11. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the Word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible. By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death. By faith Sarah received strength to conceive when shewas past the age.”

Hebrews also teaches about the race of faith in Hebrews 12:1 -2. “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

During our son’s battle with cancer, my husband, Luis, and I learned several principles that helped build our faith and defeat our fears. First, God created each of us to be a conqueror. A conqueror is a warrior and is someone who overcomes. We become a conqueror by making Jesus Lord and by loving Him with all our spirit, soul and body.

The name Lord comes from the Hebrew word El Elyon, which is the most majestic name in all of scripture. It means “The Most High God or The Mighty One.” It is so high, so exalted, so holy, and so marvelous that there is no other name or God to compare with it. This name carries great authority on our behalf. It brings healing. Demon spirits of sickness, depression, poverty, strife, anger, deception, selfishness, sin, and all evil must bow to the Lordship of Jesus.

Revelation 19:10 says Jesus was the greatest conqueror of all time and He gave the believer the authority to use His name for any challenges that we would ever have to face.

Becoming a conqueror requires total surrender to Christ of every attitude and every work that is not pleasing to Him. God saw the damage that Satan and sin would produce, so He created a plan to repair fragmented, broken lives. Making Jesus Lord fits like a replacement part into a broken heart or a sick body. When we use the authority of His name and speak the Word, we become a conqueror and we become whole. Life begins to run smoothly again.

Second, we cleared our minds of fear, doubt, worry, unbelief, and anger. We realized these were tormenting spirits that wanted to stop the hand of God from bringing the miracle our son needed. This was a process of meditating and hearing the scripture.

Romans 10:17 says, “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” I meditated on II Corinthians 10: 4-5. “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds; casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.”

Third, we spoke our faith instead of our fears. With the help of the Holy Spirit we aligned our thoughts with God’s Word and spoke it from our mouths regardless of the circumstances. Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the Word of God is quick and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword.” The Greek word for two-edged is “distomos” and is rather peculiar. It means two-mouthed. It refers to the Word of God and to the word of your mouth working together and it is found all over the New Testament!

John received a vision of Jesus on the isle of Patmos in Revelation 1. “And He had in His right hand seven stars and out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword.”Why was the sword in His mouth instead of His hand? The words of Jesus were used as an invisible weapon against darkness and evil.

Ephesians 6:17 calls the Sword of the spirit the Word of God. The Greek for “word” is “rhema” which describes something that is spoken clearly. The idea is that of a quickened word from God’s mouth to you that comes up out of your belly with power. For example, you are praying about something. Suddenly, a Bible verse rises up from inside your heart. At that instant you know God has given you a scripture to stand on and to use as a weapon against your problem as an answer to a situation.

Something happens in the supernatural realm when you begin to speak forth that quickened scripture by faith and agree with God’s Word. It remains a one-edged sword when it comes out of the mouth of God and drops into your heart. The moment it comes out of your mouth a second edge is added to the blade comparing the weapon to a two-edged sword. You and God have come into agreement releasing His mighty power into the situation causing much damage to darkness and evil. Jesus said in Mark 11:24, “Whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.”

Mark had gone through much chemo therapy treatment. He had lost a lot of weight and all of his hair. Each week for months we drove to St. John’s for chemo treatment. The nurses hooked him up to machines and an IV as he lay in the bed receiving chemo. He would get very sick and he couldn’t eat because he lost all of his appetite. His skin turned a yellowish color and by all appearances it didn’t look good. I remember rubbing his feet and praying over him asking God for healing. I wouldn’t allow myself to give in to my emotions. Fear tried to grip my heart.

One day I was wavering in my faith when I felt the Holy Spirit surround me. I began to write the following poem called Faith, Hope and Love:

Wounded, hurt, bleeding and dying

Demons of death drove me to crying

Crouched beneath the cloud of despair

I reached out my hand, but no one was there

Where were the people?

Where were the friends?

Where were the ones to help me defend?

Raising my head now I could see

Servants of Glory coming to me

Hope helped me keep my eyes on the Lord

Shining my armor repairing my sword

Love touched my heart, from fear set me free

People are good, but love is the key

Faith gave me strength and lifted my shield

Demons of darkness now had to yield

Jesus appeared and gave me His hand

Flowing to me was power to stand

Servants of Christ, gifts from above

Suddenly I touched Faith, Hope, and Love.

Charles S. Price wrote a book called The Real Faith. He said “That is how faith comes! Not through the channels of human concepts. Not along the paths of human understandings. Not by the abilities of minds to comprehend, or the power of the intellect to affirm. Reach with fingers such as those for the moon and you will struggle and groan to possess it. But let Jesusspeak, and the soul is lifted. One little word from Jesus is worth all the words in a dictionary of human language.

There is hope for the blind Bartimaeus of the Jericho Road of today, when Jesus of Nazareth is passing this way…and more than hope; for when He hears our cry of helplessness, He will not pass us by…When He speaks, hope is kindled until it becomes a fire that burns away all doubt unbelief, and the warmth of a divine and beautiful faith brings healing to the soul.”

I will never forget the day Dr. Saint gave us the good news…non-malignant! I will also never forget the day the Holy Spirit gave me Isaiah 57:19. “I create the fruit of the lips; Peace, peace to him that is far off, and to him that is near, saith the Lord; and I will indeed heal him.”

If you are facing a crisis in your life I want to encourage you to faith your fears. Don’t receive a victim mentality. Become a mighty conqueror thru Christ by making Jesus Lord of all.

He will also give you faith, hope and love.

*Image by Alexas_Fotos from Pixabay 

How Do I Find My Purpose?

Have you wondered why you were born and what you were created for?  Have you wondered how to discover your purpose and if it would come to pass, or if you’d have to spend the rest of your life in a boring “nine to five” job you hated?  I often wondered why I was born. As a teenager I searched for meaning.  Then in 1972 I heard the call… and met Luis Torres. 

I was born in the little town of Fairfax, OK located in northeastern Oklahoma in the Osage Indian reservation and home to Maria Tallchief, world-famous ballerina.  With a population of 1,200, endless prairie land blanketed the landscape dotted with livestock and wheat farms, reminding me of a beautiful patch work quilt.  My grandmother owned Morris Drive-In-Market, a landmark for 40 years.

I grew up on the family farm, fifteen miles from Fairfax with three sisters, one brother and lots of discipline and hard work.  The 360 acre farm bustled with activity as we planted the family garden, canned vegetables, grew wheat, raised cattle and did chores. On Saturdays we helped my Grandmother, Mama Opal, in the grocery store. She was a wonderful Christian and a business woman.

As children, we were often rewarded with a one-mile walk to Clark’s country general store to buy candy. We walked on the gravel road as my sister, Jean, entertained us.

“What cartoon do you want to see,” said Jean

“Bugs Bunny!” we shouted.

“What’s up doc,” said Jean as she pretended to eat a carrot and turn cartwheels in the middle of the road.  We roared with laughter.  The walk seemed like minutes as our older sister, Marcie, held Kathy and Wayne’s hand and kept us in line. 

Our world was Barbie dolls, a little red wagon sometimes filled with kittens or puppies, golden story books, and our share of fights…but I adored my brother and sisters.  We were a happy close family in spite of Daddy’s drinking.

I was blessed with a wonderful Godly Mother. Music was very important to us. She was a musician and the church pianist. Even though we were a busy family, all work stopped on Sunday.  Mother saw to it that we went to church to honor God.  

As service began, the little church became alive with music and Pastor’s Bible stories. Many times signs, wonders, and miracles flowed in the midst of the congregation.  People rushed to the altar to repent of sins and receive healing. 

Even though Daddy never came with us, I often prayed for him to stop drinking and receive Christ.  Many times Mother poured his liquor down the sink when he was not home.

Because of my Mother’s faith, God blessed us as we depended on Him for daily life. We never had health insurance. One time a brown recluse (fiddle back) spider bit Mother on her leg. The pain was very intense as the ugly infected area grew to baseball size.

“You’ll need plastic surgery to repair the skin around the bite,” said the Doctor. “I’LL schedule it for you.”

With a twinkle in her eye and faith in her heart Mother replied, “I know a greater physician I can go to.” 

Sunday morning the Pastor and church congregation prayed for her. Immediately the pain stopped.  During the night the infected skin peeled off.  Beautiful skin as pink and soft as a new born baby formed with no scar.  Mother never returned to the doctor.

It seems like yesterday I sat on the fifth row of my small church eagerly waiting to hear the testimony of Luis Torres, the Puerto Rican ex-drug addict from New York City. I’d read The Cross and The Switchblade, the story of Nicky Cruz, the vicious New York gang member turned preacher and felt a call to help hurting people. 

A few months earlier Mother and my eighteen-year-old brother, Wayne, heard Luis speak.  During the altar call, Mother prayed with Wayne to receive Christ.  So, I was excited to hear him share his deliverance story.       

It was unusual for someone from a city of ten million people to visit our sleepy little town, so we’d canvased the area with flyers to prepare for the crusade.  The church was packed.  Although Luis and I didn’t speak to each other, sparks exploded between us.

Following the service, as casually as possible, Luis asked Pastor Essary, “Who was the young lady sitting on the fifth row with the long black hair and dark brown eyes?”

With a knowing look and a smile on his face he said, “Gail Morris.  Her grandmother, Opal, owns Morris Drive-In-Market and her parents are Farrel and Juanelle Morris.  Why don’t you buy a coke and introduce yourself?”

“That sounds like a great idea,” said Luis.

My heart pounded as Luis walked in our tiny grocery store.  We casually talked and drank a coke together.

“May I call you?” He asked. 

“Sure,” I replied.  I wrote down my telephone number and gave it to him.  After a few months of phone calls, we became best friends. We both heard the call and had a passionate desire to reach hopeless, hurting people with the good news of Christ. 

Our first date was on Oral Roberts University campus in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  It was a chilly October night.  We sat in a cozy corner of the ORU student center holding hands and drinking hot chocolate. Suddenly, Luis said, “I’m gonna reach as many people as Oral Roberts with the good news!”  His bold statement shocked me.  Our second date Luis proposed.  We were from two different worlds but I knew he was God’s choice.  My answer was yes!

Daddy meant it.  “If you marry him, you can’t come back home!” Tears streamed down my face as I struggled with his words. I was nineteen and in love.  Even though my father was a strong family man and a hard worker, he was a heavy drinker and wasn’t a Christian. He didn’t understand the call on my life.  I loved my family very much, but I had a decision to make…obey God or man.  I chose to obey God and answer the call.

Since Luis couldn’t come to my house, Mama Opal’s house or Pastor Essary’s house was our meeting place.  Together Luis and I prayed for the Holy Spirit to change my father’s heart. 

The tragedy was a turning point in our family.  It was one o’clock in the morning.  Loud banging on the front door awoke us.  Daddy quickly opened the door.

“Do you have a son named Wayne Morris?” asked the highway patrolman.

“Yes. Officer I do.  He lives in Tonkawa and attends college,”

“I’m so sorry. He was in a fatal gun accident.  His body will need to be identified. May I call a minister for you?”

Trying to hold back tears and comprehend what he’d just said, Daddy managed to say, “Yes, please.” 

Reeling with the news, emotion flooded the room as my parents and my sisters embraced each other.  The Holy Spirit gave my Mother peace as she remembered the night she lead Wayne to Christ when the Puerto Rican preacher came to our church.

Our pastor quickly came to our home.  My Father fell to his knees and wept uncontrollably as Pastor Essary led him in the prayer of salvation.  God’s comfort and peace entered the room.  Wayne’s death brought my Father to Christ.   After the tragedy he attended church every Sunday and never drank again, but he still forbid me to see Luis. 

One Sunday morning Luis was the guest minister.  Our church was growing with new families, so Daddy sat with Mother near the front.  He didn’t know Luis was the visiting preacher.  Pastor Essary introduced Luis and asked him to share his testimony.

Luis made eye contact with my father.  He was stoic but listening. Luis’ confident swagger and sense of humor captured Daddy’s attention.

“I was born in Ponce, Puerto Rico, and lived with my grandfather because my parents were divorced.  My father sent for me when I was four-years-old.  I moved from the warm Caribbean sunshine of Ponce to the concrete jungle of the Bronx. At the age of thirteen I became involved with the wrong crowd and started drinking and using drugs. Coming up with a hundred dollars a day to support a habit is difficult for anyone, so I turned to crime and ended up in jail.”

Luis’ voice filled with emotion as he continued, “A tall, skinny preacher came to visit me. I ended up in Teen Challenge, a faith-based program, where I found Christ.  For the first time I felt unconditional love, hope and joy.  I began a new journey with a new purpose and now I am free. You can be free too.” Luis smiled as the church exploded with applause and tears.

The Holy Spirit dealt with my father’s heart about his attitude and immediately after the service approached Luis. 

Warmly shaking Luis’ hand, Daddy said, “Will you join us for lunch.”

“I’d love to,” said Luis.

That was the beginning of a beautiful relationship that developed between Luis and my father.   The Holy Spirit changed his heart as Luis became a son instead of a son-in-law.

September 7, 1973 we were married.  Together we answered the call and have shared the good news of Christ around the world.

As I’ve studied the meaning of my name, the Holy Spirit has reconfirmed my call.  Gail is a short form of the Hebrew name, Abigail, which means “joy of the Father.”  I feel it is a privilege to be his joyful servant. He constantly gives me strength to help others rebuild the broken down places of life.  Isaiah 51:11 says, “Therefore the redeemed of the Lord shall return and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head; they shall obtain gladness and joy and sorrow and mourning shall flee away.”

It’s through Christ that I conquer.  I’ve also discovered my middle name “Louise” means battle maiden or warrior and is a feminine form of Luis.  Torres means “tower “or a tall building of strength. Proverbs 18:10 says, “The name of the Lord is a strong tower, the righteous run into it and they are safe.”

I’ve come to realize my purpose is to joyfully battle for the souls of hurting people through prayer and to help them find safety through the Word of God.

Have you wondered why you were born?  You, too, were created with purpose. In fact, you were created in God’s image.  2020 can be your year! New discoveries and treasures of purpose are coming your way. Ask Him and He’ll reveal His wonderful purpose and plan for you, just as He did for me.  

*Image by David Mark from Pixabay