Our beautiful niece Heather Faith Wagner just 37 years young, has left the bonds and pains of earth to be with her Savior the Lord Jesus Christ! Growing up the only girl surrounded by 5 strong and virulent brothers, she held her own and at times was a second mom to her younger siblings. She was strong in faith, character, perseverance and love. Yes, she was given extra portions of Faith, Perseverance & Love!
She was born just Heather Wagner, since her parents left out the middle names of their children to give them the opportunity to pick their own middle name later in life. Then Heather chose “Faith” which was a most appropriate addition. Because that is what it would take to face the huge hurdles she would eventually face.
Heather was homeschooled by her hard working and talented mother Barbara and she was laden down early in life with the physical malady of Asthma, but she still maintained a normal life and excelled in school, in business and industry, travelling all across the USA giving seminars on healthcare programs to various companies and organizations.
That is until a severe Asthma attack in 2011 brought on by second hand smoke in her workplace left her unconscious. A coworker, Heather had trained on the use of an EpiPen, gave her the injection she needed and she returned to consciousness but only to be transported to the hospital where a long and deep decline of her health would occur. She would never return to the state of her previous life, never go back home the same person, never go back to the office, never be “normal” again.
Through an almost eight year nightmare her health status would traverse up baby steps and then decline like a roller coaster. But Heather never gave up. Her faith was in the God of the Bible and she understood that her Savior was with her every step of the way. So she fought and fought and fought. She even reached the place where she could go back to work, but only from her home office, still writing courses and doing training online and continuing to touch people’s lives.
In spite of her failing health she encouraged SO many people with her never quit attitude and never ending words of appreciation and encouragement for even the smallest things her Mom, Dad, family and friends would do for her. Here’s one example from her facebook page of her gracious and loving appreciation:
September 25, 2019 (after pulling out of one of her low health crisis times)
“I’m out of the woods so to speak, just a lot of rest and recovery to “do”.
There has been a core group of people who have REALLY been there for me, offering to come (or just coming to help me). I’m so afraid I’d miss someone’s name so I’m just going to say you know who you are.
I do want to especially thank my parents John & Barbara and my brother, Ryan and Sister (in Love) Belle who have been constants (daily) through this and I’ve learned so much about the great compassion of my work team-mates, despite SO much going on in their own lives (death, sickness), they rallied together to help me this week so I could focus on getting better. I’m so thankful and humbled to be honest.
There are definitely a few others who deserve my thanks and have just been amazing whether it be rides to drs, tests, meals brought, laundry done…I even had some friends hang some pictures do some organizing (okay, a lot of organizing!). Oh! and they even did a little Fall decorating to cheer me up while I’m laid up…I love Fall. 🍃🍁🍂
Y’all know who you are and you know me, thank you cards will be on their way eventually 😉
This post was far longer than I anticipated, though after being reminded in several ways this past week of how short life really is and can be, I just wanted to update everyone that I’m ok, I’m hanging in there and wanted to express my thankfulness for the love; prayers; encouraging words and practical, daily help. 💜”
That was Heather every day, thankful and appreciative through every crisis and all day long for almost 8 long years! What was her secret? Her “FAITH” which never wavered:
From September 2019
“You’ll never stop me. I’m a warrior. When I fall down, I get stronger. Faith is my shield, His love is the armor. I’m a warrior…”
From October 2019
I don’t have much But what I have is Yours to use So make my whole life Your upper room…
From November 2019 Heather’s last FB post:
“Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet My unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor My covenant of peace be removed.” Isaiah 54:10
Heather Faith Wagner is with the Lord, no more sorrow, no more sickness, no more crying, for the former things are passed away and her crown awaits her. What a beautiful Soul!
(disclaimer: there will be gory hunting descriptions in this story:)
It was a beautiful day in Lebanon County Pennsylvania! My son Dan had bagged a huge 8 point Whitetail deer the night before. I helped him in the field dressing and trip back to his truck dragging “Tiny” (as he called the deer which he had been viewing on his trailcam for weeks, see below picture). He bagged the buck at 6:15 pm which was just 21 minutes before shooting hours closed for the day! The deer only ran about 50 yards before it collapsed as his crossbow arrow had pierced the deers lungs and exited out the other side.
He encouraged me to hunt the next day out of his ladder stand. My enthusiasm wasn’t very high as my bow hunting record was a pretty failed one so far, as I had missed a buck my first year, wounded another one my second year and even missed one earlier this year! Mostly chalking it up to hurried shots and buck fever!
But my wife JoJo insisted that I go out since it was a beautiful day and having me out from under her feet was a sure motivation! So 2pm came around finding me perched in Dan’s bench seat two-man “cadillac” ladder stand. I took my range finder and mentally noted the distances to a number of potential shots within my shooting range and settled back for a comfy and relaxing afternoon!
God must have sprinkled chipmunk and squirrel dust all over this particular section of woods because they were in abundance and making a huge racket which distracted me time and time again thinking a deer was approaching only to find the little rascals running races all over the woods!
Nothing was happening so I pulled out my William Johnstone paperback story of how the frontier was won and read a few chapters, when a flash of gray and white caught my eye off to my right about 70 yards out which was WAY out of bow range but nevertheless it could be a buck, so I dropped the book and reached for my range finder. It would have to do, since I left my binoculars back in my truck!
I was able to make out a deer between patches of trees and brush but not able to see the head at any time and then the deer moseyed off to my right. So much for that, maybe it would return. Back to my frontier book. Thirty minutes later my eyes started to droop and while the warm temps encouraged me to nap, I looked at my pillowy backpack and my brain said, “You could just rest your head on that for a little while!” I shrugged it off when I saw another glimpse of brown, and sure enough that deer had returned! I got a better look at it and it was clearly a momma. O well, where momma deer are in mating season the poppa’s aren’t that far away!
Hours passed and the sun was low on my right just above the horizon and the time was approaching 6 pm. All the while that doe was messing around in front of me. I thought to myself, “Dan shot his buck at 6:15 and there’s still plenty of light”. So I kept watching that doe and she had moved in to around 50 yards away. Then it struck me, “Wait, there’s another deer hanging around her, and I can easily see horns!” It was definitely a legal buck with antlers up above the ears showing a row of points sticking up on each side.
So the race for time was on! The buck wasn’t too interested in the doe and she actually came slowly down the mountain and walked by right in front of my stand never seeing or smelling me. The buck, on the other hand, was just staying out at about the same spot. So I took out my grunt call and gave it a few blasts. That got his attention and he moved my way but he still wasn’t in a big hurry. The buck I missed earlier in the season had responded to my grunt call but I missjudged the distance when he came in range and my arrow just shaved a few hairs off his underbelly!
I looked at my watch and the time was 6:25 and I had just eleven minutes to closing! Then the buck finally started moving down the mountain but ever so slowly. He was coming closer and crossed through a couple of openings but was still pretty far out. As he came closer he was approaching 35 yards away, but earlier in the week, I had been putting my arrows right in the bullseye at that distance in my backyard, so I knew if he would only give me an opening I could take the shot! There was very little light but when I put the crossbow to my shoulder and looked through the scope I could clearly see my crosshairs. I shifted to my right and saw him in my scope coming steadily through narrow gaps in the trees, then I shifted back to my left just beyond a big tree where I figured he would emerge into a larger opening.
Sure enough he stepped into view and then paused! My crosshairs hovered nervously over his shoulder and I pulled the trigger! My arrow had a lighted nock so I saw the flash of red light pierce the dim light and find it’s destination right into the deer’s shoulder area! He took off running to my left and the red lighted arrow bounced along his side as he ran. He crashed through the brush and I could hear him running and then silence. I looked at my watch…. it was 6:34! Just TWO minutes to spare until closing time. Wow!
I knew it was crazy to push him right away so I sat in my stand and called my son Dan, my wife JoJo and my other son Eric who is also an avid bow hunter. My sons agreed enthusiastically to come and help me track the deer in the darkness that had now engulfed the woods. I stayed in my stand for 30 minutes and then descended to try and see any evidence of a blood trail. The woods looked a LOT different on the ground level in the dark and I was very fortunate to find the spot where I had hit the deer and there was a clear blood trail. I figured I’d just follow it for a short distance on the chance the buck may have collapsed nearby, like my son’s deer did the night before.
I came to a little rise following a lot of blood and saw my shining arrow nock in the distance. There he lays I thought! But no, it was just my arrow, but only half of it as the deer had evidently brushed up against a tree to dislodge it from it’s body. I only followed it a short distance and decided to stop until more help arrived, sticking my arrow in the ground, with the red beacon shining, where I left the trail.
My sons and my grandson Braden arrived and we easily picked up the trail finding big puddles of blood along the way. But then there was less, and less, and less blood until we were just finding drips and then after an hour nothing! I kept questioning my shot. If I had hit him in a vital area that deer would have been down by now! Did I pull the shot to the left or was it too high? All kinds of questions rolled through my mind and I literally gave up hope that we would ever find the deer. Just another incident to add to my failed bow hunting record I thought!
My son Dan on the other hand kept encouraging me, “That was a good shot Dad, he’s gotta be in here somewhere!” he said, again and again. But darkness had settled in and with no trail to follow we were resigned to the fact the next day would be a better time to continue the search.
The next morning came and Dan joined me in the search. I was that convinced we wouldn’t find the deer that I told him, how about I just go and sit in his stand while HE searches for my deer! But he would have none of it, and insisted that we join up in the search. Incredibly within 30 minutes Dan found a spot of blood in the hollow where we had left off the search the night before. I still wasn’t convinced and was headed in another direction when he cried out, “Deer, I see your deer!”
I couldn’t believe it! I worked my way over to where he was and he had dragged the buck out of some thick weeds where it had collapsed and it seemed as hard as a rock. This deer was dead a long time and I began thinking it might not be my deer! It was hit behind the left shoulder and the arrow had angled back through the diaphram and into the deer’s belly and entrails were hanging out low on the opposite side. I dutifully filled out my game tag and tagged the deer all the while still thinking this might NOT be my deer.
But in the process of gutting the animal (which was still warm inside) low and behold…. I found the other half of my arrow lodged in the intestines! That’s MY deer I proclaimed! If it wasn’t for the steadfast support and conviction of my son Dan that deer would have been coyotee food! But now it will be bologna for the WolfePack in the coming long cold winter months! Don’t give up! Don’t ever give up!
In my reading through the Bible this year I have been increasingly reminded of 3 amazing things, the Tremendous Love of God, the Mighty Power of His Word and the Amazing Forgiveness He bestows on his fallen creation of men and women.
My brother Larry pictured above in his days of living far from God was a perfect example of a man to whom God applied these 3 incredible principles. God loved him enough to draw him like a magnet out of the debauchery of his lifestyle, covered and showered him with the cleansing flow of the Living Word of God, and then when he TURNED in REPENTANCE granted him complete forgiveness and a NEW LIFE in CHRIST JESUS!
Consider now the below story from the book of Nehemiah of the same process that occurred to the Children of Israel when a new generation of Jews came home from captivity to live in Jerusalem and the surrounding villages.
3 So the priests, the Levites, the gatekeepers, the singers, the Temple servants, and some of the common people settled near Jerusalem. The rest of the people returned to their own towns throughout Israel. Then all the people assembled with a unified purpose at the square just inside the Water Gate. They asked Ezra the priest to bring out the Book of the Law of Moses, which the Lord had given for Israel to obey.
2 So Ezra the priest brought the Book of the Law before the assembly, which included the men and women and all the children old enough to understand. 3 He faced the square from early morning until noon and read aloud to everyone who could understand. All the people listened closely to the Book of the Law.
4 He stood on a high wooden platform that had been made for the occasion. When they saw him open the book, they all rose to their feet.
6 Then Ezra praised the Lord, the great God, and all the people chanted, “Amen! Amen!” as they lifted their hands. Then they bowed down and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground.
7 The Levites—then instructed the people in the Law while everyone remained in their places. 8 They read from the Book of the Law of God and clearly explained the meaning of what was being read, helping the people understand each passage.
9 Then Nehemiah the governor, Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who were interpreting for the people said to them, “Don’t mourn or weep on such a day as this! For today is a sacred day before the Lord your God.” For the people had all been weeping as they listened to the words of the Law.
10 And Nehemiah continued, “Go and celebrate with a feast of rich foods and sweet drinks, and share gifts of food with people who have nothing prepared. This is a sacred day before our Lord. Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength!”
God had graciously, because of His great love, led His people back to the Holy Land and then exposed them to His Word through a wonderful revival service. The Word had it’s way with them as they wept in repentance because of their sins and God forgave and restored them and they experienced the greatest joy of their lives.
I came across the phrase “Awake my glory” while reading the book of Psalms this morning. Like many other times when I read and meditate on the Word of God, the Spirit of God made the words jump right off the page and I noticed them as never before! So I wondered, what would the Psalmist be referring to when he said “My Glory”? In my heart I knew that our Triune Godhead deserves all the glory, so I was struck that the Psalmist would imply that he had glory as well!
Here are the passages to which I refer: Psalm 16:9 “Therefore my heart is glad, and myglory rejoices; My flesh also will rest in hope.” Then we read in Psalm 57:8 “Awake, myglory! Awake, lute and harp! I will awaken the dawn.” Lastly in Psalm 108:1 “O God, my heart is steadfast; I will sing…
Born in poverty in 1930, the 4th child to Clarence and Margaret Anspach, my Uncle Wayne (Snack) Anspach learned very early, that life served him very well when he was a friend to all, and that included his father and mother. He was a loving and supportive child to his mother and a very compliant child to an abusive alcoholic father (who nicknamed him “Dumb Davey”) and he worshipped his big brother John who seemed to succeed in everything when Snack had to work so hard to keep up.
Snack would jump and ask “how high” on the way up, when his father “Pop” threw a command his way. To disobey, was very dangerous to your health and well being! He was also a life saver to his mother “Maggy”, as Pop called her, when she was pregnant with his little sister. Snack became the chief cook and bottle washer as Maggy, late in her pregnancy, could not keep up with her household duties.
Snack even introduced a new dish to Pop which was a very risky move! They were out of potatoes, which Pop demanded to be fried or mashed for him on a daily basis. No matter that he didn’t provide sufficient money for groceries. So Snack cooked up some squash instead and prepared them just like mashed potatoes. Pop knew something was wrong right away, but then he ventured on and took one bite, and another, then a smile came to his face and he said, “Not bad, not bad at all!”
One day, late in his teens, Snack was standing outside with Pop, and a plane flew over. They lived next to a Military Reservation and this was a common occurrence. Snack said to Pop, “If you let me join the Army I’ll be able to learn to fly one of those!” Snack really wanted to stretch his wings in other ways, and get out from under Pop’s iron grip, knowing all the while he would likely never fly a plane. And even though his older siblings had left the nest, and Pop was using him for force labor, he miraculously gave Snack permission to join the Army.
That was his big break, and would lead to a career and open up wide avenues of exploration, education and experience that Snack could in no other way obtain. When he came home from basic training he was helping Pop on one of his projects in his shop, and explained to Pop how “Ohms Law” worked. Pop turned to him with an astonished look on his face and exclaimed, “Why you’re no Dumb Davey anymore, I think you’re the smartest kid I have!” What a great day!
My earliest childhood memory of my Uncle Snack is at Thanksgiving dinner. After many years of treating Thanksgiving as any other day, one year Grandma put her foot down, so to speak, and declared that she had saved up enough money to buy a turkey, and by God’s grace they were going to celebrate Thanksgiving! Pop, not being the religious type in the least, didn’t protest one bit, afterall he loved to eat!
When everyone was seated, and it was time to partake of all the delicious Pennsylvania Dutch food, Grandma, still wearing her trademark apron, made everyone pause and then called on Snack to give the “Blessing”. She of course didn’t call on Pop, nor big brother John. It was her kind, caring and compassionate son Snack, who she called on, since she knew he had a connection with the Almighty.
I wasn’t there for that first Thanksgiving but in later years I experienced the spiritual effect of Uncle Snack’s prayers as he seemed to be taking directly to God as he thanked the Lord for everyone gathered and for all of our blessings. He became to me “My Praying Uncle” and I knew like Grandma did, that he had a special relationship with our Heavenly Father.
So when Snack’s wife Aunt Marion passed away in 2007, I decided to visit my Uncle Snack the first Saturday night of each month, hoping to get to know him more than just on a surface level, and also to learn more about my family heritage. He welcomed me warmly and as time passed we both looked forward to those times together as we’d watch the Phillies (usually lose:), talk about current events, how my family was doing, more about our family history, and of course watch the Lawrence Welk Show!
A phrase I heard him say time and time again was, “I might have told you this story before but….” and then I’d just let him go ahead and tell it again, and again, and sometimes even again. He had an amazing memory! He just couldn’t remember if he was repeating a story he had told you before!
But the story he shared with me that helped me see and understand the secret of this kind, and loving, and compassionate man’s life, was this one. You see, in 1946 when he was just 16 years old, his family attended revival services at their church, Emmanuel United Methodist Church. Their pastor Arthur Miller preached the fiery Gospel, that Christ died on the Cross for Sinners, was buried and rose again the third day, and that anyone who repented of their sins and trusted Christ as their Savior would be born from above, and be given eternal life.
At the end of the message and as they stood to sing the closing song, his big sister Minnie encouraged him to respond to the invitation. Snack’s heart was already throbbing as he gripped the pew in front of him, and he felt as though an unseen force, like a magnet, was pulling him from his pew to go down front to the altar. He obeyed the Spirit’s voice and walked the aisle and knelt at the prayer rail, and accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior, and he became a new creature in Christ. From that day on he wasn’t perfect, but he had Christ and his Bible as his guide, and he endeavored to live a God honoring Christian life.
He demonstrated God’s love by the way he lived his life as he cared for his family, his mother, his extended family, as he served in his church, taught Sunday School, led civic organizations, ministered to residents in retirement homes, on and on it went.
He would often tell me, “I gave a witness today” as he would retell how he had passed on a Word from the Lord to someone in need that came across his path. I’ll close with a Bible passage he shared with me one night when we were talking about Scripture memory. He had memorized these verses from Hebrews chapter one.
God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to our fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high. Hebrews 1:1-3
The Bible says about Believers, that when we are absent from the body, in that very moment, we are present with the Lord. During one of my last visits alone with Uncle Snack by his hospital bed, he squeezed my hand as he was in a deep deep sleep, as he seemed to be worshipping the Lord as he whispered, “Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy, God have mercy, mercy, mercy, mercy. The Lord did have mercy on my Uncle Snack because he is now rejoicing with the redeemed, and reunited with loved ones gone on before. Praise God!
After publishing this story of my Uncle Snack Anspach I attended and participated in his “Celebration of Life” memorial service. His daughter Cindy shared that she followed his strict instructions for the service which he left for her in a container under his office desk. Every part of the service, the Sharing Time for family and friends, the hymns that were sung: “The Church’s One Foundation”, “Wonderful Grace of Jesus”, “It Is Well With My Soul” & “The Doxology”, the Scriptures read: Matthew 6:19-36 (where it says “Seek Ye first the Kingdom of God”), the Benediction given by his long time pastor and lastly, to have a soloist sing the Lord’s Prayer, was all laid out beforehand.
It was clear to me that Snack meant to accomplish two things, One: Give Worship and Praise to his Savior Jesus Christ, Two: Appeal to the family and friends in attendance to trust in his Savior like he had that day back in 1946.
Even the quote from Billy Graham on the back of his Memorial Folder which said “The greatest legacy one can pass on to one’s children and grandchildren is not money or other material things accumulated in one’s life, but rather a legacy of character and faith” pointed to his desire for others to follow in the Faith as he did.
So if you don’t know the Lord Jesus in a personal way will you consider receiving Christ today? That step will guarantee that one day you will be reunited with your loved one and friend which I’m sure you miss so much.
As chiseled in stone there are principles and promises from God which demonstrate His blessings that He showers upon his Faithful Ones.
From the archives of my brother (now in Glory) Evangelist Larry E. Wolfe’s writings:
Do we really trust God’s Word?
Truths About The Believer’s “Hope” Based Upon God’s Unchanging Word
“Hope” Definition: The confident faithful expectation of God fulfilling His Promises
1.Hope in God’s unchanging values
“All Your Words are true; all Your righteous Laws are eternal. … Great peace have they who love Thy Law, and nothing can offend them.” (Psalm 119:160, 165)
2. Hope in God’s unchanging justice
“He is the Rock, His works are perfect, and all His ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is He.” (Deuteronomy 32:4)
3. Hope in God’s unchanging promises
“If we are faithless, He will remain faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.” (2Timothy2:13)
4. Hope in God’s unchanging integrity and righteousness
“Your love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens, Your faithfulness to the skies. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, Your justice like the great deep. O Lord, You preserve both man and beast.” (Psalm 36:5–6)
5. Hope in God’s unchanging wisdom and understanding
“He made the earth by His power; He founded the world by His wisdom and stretched out the heavens by His understanding.” (Jeremiah 51:15)
6. Hope in God’s unchanging purpose for your life
“I will cry out to God Most High, to God, Who fulfills His purpose for me. … For great is Your love, reaching to the heavens; Your faithfulness reaches to the skies.” (Psalm 57:2, 10)
7. Hope in God’s unchanging abilities
“God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” (2 Corinthians 9:8)
8. Hope in God’s unchanging financial provision
“Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, Who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.” (1Timothy 6:17)
9. Hope in God’s unchanging eternal plans for your future
“So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable … it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.”(1 Corinthians 15:42, 44)
10. Hope in God the Son’s Return is called “That Blessed Hope”
“Looking for that Blessed Hope, and the glorious appearing [Rapture] of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13)
“That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, We might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the HOPE set for us: Which HOPE we have as an ANCHOR of the soul” (Hebrews 6:18, 19)
Hundreds of Classic Hymns contain lines, verses, and choruses describing the Lord Jesus as our Anchor, our Hope, our Stay. Such is the Classic Hymn “The Solid Rock”. Read slowly or sing the lines below and take to heart the Truths that will indeed give hope to your heart:
“The Solid Rock”
My hope is built on nothing less,
Than Jesus’ Blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ Name.
When darkness veils His lovely face,
I rest on His unchanging grace.
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.
His oath, His covenant, His Blood,
Support me in the whelming flood.
When all around my soul gives way,
He then is all my hope and stay.
On Christ, the Solid Rock, I stand
All other ground is sinking sand
All other ground is sinking sand.
*Conclusion: Your Anchor Holds in Jesus Christ & Who is The Living Eternal Word of God!
On this Mother’s Day weekend I want to honor the most important person in my life growing up. It was on the 26th day of December 1922 when the best Christmas gift of my future life was born, my wonderful mother Irene Violet Anspach. She was born to Clarence and Margaret (Soliday) Anspach, the first of seven children, five girls and two boys near Indiantown Gap, PA. She was born, if not into poverty, into a very meager home which didn’t have many frills. Her mother Margaret (whose name means Pearl) was the pearl of her life and her mom had a tremendous Christian influence in her life. Being born the day after Christmas, for my mom there were many years her Christmas gift and birthday gifts were one in the same, but I never once heard her complain.
Back Row: My Mom, Wayne, Minnie, John, Dorothy Front Row: Margaret…