|Devotional Book from Abba Ministries
Devotional Readings for August
*Because many of the writers serve in secure
countries, their full names are not listed.
I had been with YWAM Brazil for over a year. Six months earlier, my mother began sending me regular offerings. They weren’t much , but it covered my personal expenses, base fees and tithe. I'd been praying for supporters and, little by little, built relationships. In May, two friends began to send small offerings. This was the beginning of God's response to my prayers.
My mother also became involved with YWAM, and completed a Discipleship Training School in the evenings in Belo Horizonte. She got so excited about the Lord during this school that her outlook on the Christian life and missions changed completely.
At the same time, I was involved in planning an evangelistic crusade in Bolivia. When I mentioned it to Mom, she wanted to participate in the crusade. However, she was directing all her finances to the reformation of the roof of her house before the summer rains arrived. She wouldn't have enough left to cover her costs for the crusade.
We determined that Mom would stop supporting me for those months and go to Bolivia with us. When I returned to Brazil at the end of July I would trust God to provide my needs. I left for Bolivia at the beginning of June to get things ready for the outreach, I not knowing what I'd find in my bank account when I got back.
When we returned to Brazil, I checked my bank account. I was shocked by the total. It contained more money than I normally received. More friends had decided to send support; even my church has begun supporting me.
Mom and I have decided to bless other missionaries because we have learned that it truly is more blessed to give than to receive.
Alberto, a Brazilian, leads YWAM’s work in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger, in fact..., they do not recognize a stranger's voice, John 10:4, 5 NIV.
Much of my work has been with animals. The years spent as a shepherd have proven valuable in helping me understand some of the farming illustrations in the Scriptures.
The above Scripture is very realistic. As the shepherd walks ahead he talks to them a lot. The sheep quickly learn to recognize the voice of the shepherd, and they follow him. He represents security to the. They ignore other voices, responding only to their master. They put the leading and the voice together just as they put together green grass, cool water, and shady spots.
The sheep connect the voice of the shepherd with the contentment of having their needs met. It never seems to occur to them that their shepherd would disappoint them.
It’s the same with us as we follow the Good Shepherd. As we learn to recognize His voice and to walk with Him, He is everything we need. We only need to follow Him closely and to listen to Him carefully.
Gerry, a Hollander, grew up in New Zealand, oversees teams in North Africa.
The King's daughter is all glorious within, her clothing is interwoven with gold. She will be led to the King in embroidered work, Psalm 45:13 NASB.
In this passage, God beautifully describes His bride - you and me - as being prepared for the King. How do we view the preparation? God's dealing in our lives is like embroidered needlework. It takes time and requires a master plan to produce a valuable design. At times, it is uncomfortable for us. But precious gold thread, God's character, is being worked into our lives.
The biblical bride also wears jewels and pearls. Jewels are formed in dark, underground places through the application of great pressure. Pearls are formed when foreign matter enters a mollusk and the irritating material is covered with layers of pearl. God's design is to transform the irritants and pressure in our lives into something precious.
Myrna, a Canadian, serves on the mercy ship, m/v Anastasis.
One of my treasured possessions is an empty sugar sack, a present from Ben, a crewman on the mercy ship, m/v Anastasis. Ben worked in the ship's paint store where there was little ventilation. As a result, Ben's health suffered; but he never complained. He had that storeroom beautifully organized. At sea the paint fumes made him very sick, and we would find him stretched out on deck. He said he was learning to rely on the Lord's grace.
Ben walked in such humility that when he was appointed to Bosun's Mate, he said he'd pray about it first. He didn't think he could do the job, but he was open to permitting God to develop some aspect of his life in that job. God assured him he was capable.
I was having problems with a crewman who ignored instructions. He just looked the other way without answering. I asked Ben to pray with me. We walked out along the pier where Ben unrolled some sugar sacks.
"One for you, one for me," he said. "I always kneel to pray. It reminds me just Who it is I'm praying to." So we knelt.
After a while Ben said, "The man you've had trouble with acts the same way with everybody. Don't think he's got something against you or blame yourself. Three years ago he was a drug addict. It still affects him. Don't judge him by what you see. Compare him now to what he was three years ago. Thank God for the miracle of change that caused him to leave home and go to the ends of the earth out of love for Jesus."
Father, forgive me for reacting in judgment to those who irritate or offend me.
By the way, do you need a sugar sack?
Denys, from England, is the Chief Officer or "Mate" on the mercy ship m/v Anastasis.
For though I am absent from you in body, I am present with you in spirit and delight to see how orderly you are and how firm your faith in Christ is, Colossians 2:5.
The faintest scrawl is mightier than the strongest memory." I like that! Because I am a very organized, detailed person, I am always thinking of new ideas. I can be in the middle of a fabulous time of worship and have a thought flash through my mind about something totally unrelated. I quickly get out my little pad and pen and write it down. Then I don't have to worry about remembering it. I get teased about this quite regularly. Sometimes people come up to me later and ask what I was writing down. This system is freeing to me. Because I wrote the thought I had down, I'm not going to forget it. Many times I have seen that the thought is an inspiration from the Lord. When I quickly jot it down on paper, it doesn't distract me from what I am doing at the present. I am free to give my self fully to the situation at hand--but I do not forget what has come to my mind.
Always have a master list of what you need to do that you can refer to. Don't try to keep everything in your head and remember it--it will be frustrating and tiring, and you will find that you forget a lot. When you write things down, it is the very first step toward seeing them accomplished.
From Where Will I Find the Time? by Sally McClung. Copyright 1989 by Sally McClung. Published by Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, Oregon. Used by permission. [from pages 19-20]
Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you, Hebrews 13:5.
The pounding rhythm of the van's tires worried me. Would the travel trailer hold up for the 3,000 mile trip from the United States? My family and I were on our way to lead a short-term outreach in Guatemala City.
The previous year Rios Montt, then Guatemala's President, had called our YWAM base to request workers, Bibles, and survival supplies for his war-torn country. We responded by sending missionaries, Bibles, food and clothing aboard The Anastasis. During that outreach I had seen many Guatemalans receive Jesus as their Savior. Now we were to host follow-up teams.
A light rain fell as we wound down the narrow highway. Three hours remained of our seven day drive. The van lunged forward. Glancing at the side mirror I saw our trailer--demolished! The truck that hit us was a grotesque twist of metal.
I stepped from the van praying silently, "Jesus, send help!" As I realized there was probably not one person in the gathering crowd who could speak English, the little Spanish I knew vanished from my memory. However, a warmth covered me as words raced through my mind: "Lo, I'll be with you to the end of the age."
In just minutes a truck stopped and an American stepped out. He offered his hand and said, "Let me take care of the talking." Bill was the answer to my prayer. With his help everything was settled in only five days.
Later, Bill told me he had not wanted to get involved in another American's accident. But when he started to pass us, "something" made his steering wheel turn to the side of the road.
Andy, an American, is a leader in Elm Springs, Arkansas, United States.
May my prayer be set before you like incense; may the lifting up of my hand be like the evening sacrifice, Psalm 141:2.
Grandma was a seasoned traveler. She invited me, a 13-year-old, to travel across the United States with her. I tried to keep up with her, but her dawn-to-midnight energy was more than I could match.
My biggest problem was combing through the tangles of my thick waist-length hair. There just wasn't enough time to do a thorough job.
Each day the matted mess got worse. I realized in a few days that I wouldn't be able to untangle it myself. But I was so embarrassed that a "traveling young lady" such as I couldn't keep her hair groomed, I kept smoothing the hair over the growing rat's nest, and kept my secret.
At the end of four weeks the knot of matted hair was the size of my fist. With anguish I submitted to having my hair cut close to the scalp.
How like a life without prayer. When we don't take time to go to God each day with our sins and troubles, our lives become a tangle. Often, then, He must cut something away in order to restore order.
Dear Lord, I want to meet you each day for personal "grooming." Only You can keep my life free of matted tangles.
Carla, an American, is a free-lance writer living in the United States.
Do not give the devil a foothold,Ephesians 4:27.
Whole countries are kept in darkness by satanic lies that have become cornerstones of a particular culture. Take, for example, the struggle with rejection and the fear of authority experienced by many Australians, because their country originated as a penal colony. Entering through these cruel roots of Australian history, Satan has been able to create a general distrust of all authority figures, including the highest of all who is, of course, God Himself.
The truth is that Australia is not a nation founded on rejection and injustice, but a chosen people with as much dignity and potential as any people in history. They are a people greatly loved by a heavenly Father who is calling them to healing and purpose.
In Sydney, in 1979, I witnessed an interdenominational gathering of 15 thousand believers making a covenant with God on behalf of their nation. There was spiritual release when one leader led the crowd to extend forgiveness toward Britain for the injustice suffered by their forefathers in the establishment of Australia as a penal settlement.
Prophetic revelation about the purpose and destiny of the nation has been pouring into Australia through its national church ever since. Australian Christians have begun to discover many indicators of God at work even in the earliest days of their national history, and they are filled with faith concerning the future.
Just like those Australian Christians, we need to put today's battles in their historical context. A study of history can give us clues as to God's purpose for a city, and it can also reveal the point at which evil gained entrance. We are warned about giving a place of entry to the devil.
Lord, how me the areas of my life, and in my city, where the devil has been given areas of entry.
From Taking Our Cities for God by John Dawson. Copyright 1989 by John Dawson. Published by Creation House. Used by permission. [from pages 80-81]
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, John 4:14.
It was a balmy Hawaiian evening. My wife, Patti, and I took a walk through Kailua town to treat ourselves to ice cream. After window shopping and watching the last rays of an exquisite Hawaiian sunset, we headed for the bus stop. We boarded the double-decker, London bus and went to the second level.
Only one other person was there--a young man in his early twenties. Somehow I thought I should sit next to him, so Patti took a seat across the aisle. Within a few minutes I learned that Sione had recently arrived from the Pacific island of Ponopei. He seemed open to the Gospel and in need of Christ. I sensed this must be a divine appointment.
I also realized we would be reaching our destination within 20 minutes. If Sione were to receive Christ is this time, I would need wisdom to communicate the Gospel clearly and bring him to a point of decision quickly.
While Patti prayed, I continued to tell Sione how God loved him and that He would give him a new life. Within minutes our heads were bowed and Sione was inviting Christ into his heart. After prayer I gave him some basic instruction on what to do in order to grow spiritually. I recommended a nearby evangelical church for him to attend.
As Patti and I said goodbye to our new brother in Christ and got off the bus, our hearts were filled with praise. God in His sovereignty had again allowed us the joy of sharing hope and new life with another who "just happened" to pass our way.
Lord, I acknowledge that only You can rightly order our steps.
Don, an American, is an international Bible teacher and evangelist with YWAM.
The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him, and He delivers them, Psalm 34:7.
Our family set out on a 36-hour train trip across India from the southern city of Madras to New Delhi. We were excited at the prospect of an adventure, but we had no idea how eventful our journey would be.
The train to Delhi passes through a jungle area in central India, notorious for bandits who frequently attack small villages and shopkeepers. We approached this area at midnight when we were all fast asleep.
Our eldest daughter, who was seven at the time, awoke and decided to use the bathroom at the end of our coach. As she walked back, two bandits riding in our car grabbed her and headed for the outside of the train. Still groggy, she didn't resist.
I awoke and instinctively and ran toward the door where the bandits were. One man had an arm around my daughter and was perched on the ladder outside the train ready to jump. The other was crouched beside him waiting to follow. I grabbed my daughter and began pulling. The harder I pulled, the harder her captor pulled back.
Finally, with one desperate surge, I yanked her into the car and the man fell backward off the train. The second man was immediately surrounded by a car full of sleepy, angry passengers. He was arrested at the next stop.
Safely back in our compartment, my entire family knelt down to thank God for His deliverance. My daughter, still visibly shaken, asked for forgiveness for the man who had tried to kidnap her. She has had no negative effects from the experience, and today, considers it evidence of God's protection.
Tim, an American, is National Director of YWAM-India.
There is now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, Romans 8:1 NIV.
During our outreach in Hong Kong we had the privilege of staying at Mother's Choice, a maternity home for single women. One 28-year-old became our friend as she practiced English. We soon communicated quite well together.
She was full of shame and guilt, feeling she had disgraced herself and her family through her pregnancy. She felt she could never be forgiven.
What a joy it was to be able to share the love and forgiveness of God with her. Jesus died for our sins so we could be reconciled to God, our Father.
We watched as God forgave her and took away her tears and despair. He put a smile on her face and testimony of forgiveness of sins on her lips. Our God is an awesome God!
Thank You, Jesus, for willingly leaving heaven to die for even me.
Dee, an American, works with her husband as Mission Builder Coodinators in Richardson Springs, California USA.
Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee, Psalm 63:3.
During my Quiet Time, I often sing hymns. I was not raised in an evangelical environment, and became a Christian during the "Jesus Movement" of the early 1970s. I had little exposure to the rich heritage of hymns we have in the Church. One day, however, I purchased several old hymnals and began reading the words to the hymns.
As I read, I was astounded at the depth of understanding and insight about God, His ways and His character that these hymn writers displayed. I often sing those hymns I know to the Lord during my Quiet Time. Even though my singing does not rival Michael W. Smith or Sandi Patti, God is blessed! I read aloud the hymns I don't know to the Lord, lifting up the words of such great hymn writers as Fanny Crosby, Charles Wesley, and Isaac Watts as praise to the Lord.
There are other times when I sing spiritual songs (Col. 3:16). A spiritual song is a song that wells up from deep inside my heart, and I spontaneously make up the melody and words. To someone listening, such a song may sound disjointed and childish. Be that as it may, it remains a glorious way to express worship from the depths of my spirit.
Lord, help me get over the self-consciousness that keeps me from freely entering into fellowship with You during our time alone together.
From Before You Hit the Wall by Danny Lehmann. Copyright 1991. Published by YWAM Publishing, Seattle, Washington. Used by Permission. [from page 43]
The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped, Psalm 28:7 NIV.
"No way will I fight the crowds to get on another bus!" I told my husband. About 125 people had been waiting for the same bus. We were near the door when the bus had come to a stop, and started to board. Somehow, with much pushing and rib jabbing, almost all those waiting boarded. Not us.
Transportation by car in most cities in the world is limited to the elite. Most people travel by bus, subway, or train. This was still new to me when our family was in one Asian city so we'd studied our maps and chose the route we needed to take.
My husband, Pete, said with determination. "We can get on the next one." I backed away in terror.
"Forget it," I said, cringing at the thought of being jostled again.
"Come on, Mom, just hang on to my belt loops and don't let go," said our 15-year-old son, with authority. "Dad will stay right behind you."
With some coaxing and reassurance I agreed to try once more. I tucked my elbows close to my ribs, hung on to Dave's pants and closed my eyes. I felt the pressure of the crowd lift my feet off the ground. Pete gave a good shove up the step and I was in.
Only because I trusted my husband and son could I get on that bus. It's that way with God sometimes. We must get a good grip and let Him carry us forward.
Beverly, an American, is a Bible teacher. She lives in the United States.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise, Psalm 51:17.
This was not David, the freshly anointed shepherd boy writing. This was David, the King. A king established in his kingdom, secure in his anointing. At the time of writing, he was at least halfway into his 40-year reign.
At exactly such a point in our own lives we can become dulled in our hearts. Yes, we can offer any amount of sacrifices in terms of time, strength, money, even of relationships. But the one sacrifice acceptable to God can remain held back from Him--a brokenness, a contriteness in our spirit over our own sin.
The more responsibility God entrusts us with the more God is faithful to lead us into situations where we can be broken. In our maturity, whether in ministry or character, we don't outgrow the need for God's grace. Only with a broken spirit can we lead others as Jesus led.
The writer of Hebrews tells us, "He is able to deal gently with those who are ignorant and are going astray, since He Himself is subject to weakness," Hebrews 5:2 NIV.
God will confront us with our weaknesses. We will have a gentleness in our leadership to the extent we face our weaknesses and are broken by them. This is particularly needed in dealing with those who are immature or in rebellion. Without this brokenness of spirit we will be overbearing and judgmental.
Lord, keep me from trying to offer lesser offerings, unacceptable to You. Keep my heart pure, contrite, knowing its need for Your forgiving grace.
Annette, from New Zealand, lead the DTS in Austria.
Now abideth faith, hope, love, I Corinthians 13:13.
The Lord regards "hope" so important that He included the word with the two most important words in Scripture. What is hope? The dictionary defines it as a state of mind in which one expects or wishes good to come; something desired. The opposite, hopelessness, brings with it a diminished view for success.
Have you ever felt that even hope has gone? It is a paralyzing state. This can happen in many ways. We can have exaggerated expectations in our relationships. We can set standards for ourselves so high we do not leave room for mistakes. Our motivations can be driven by a desire to please others such as mother, father, or friends. Hopelessness can come when we set our hearts on something precious to us with an unwillingness to let God be God.
When our fourth child was five months old, she became very sick. Doctors suggested that we would have to wait and let her die. We had no hope. When she was two years old and still with us, we surrendered her to the Lord.
Our hope for her healing was high. We experienced the reality of Proverbs 13:12, "Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life." Many times we felt our hope was deferred. Though we did not fully understand, our hope was not in Jenny's healing, but in the Lord. Our hearts were broken when Jenny suddenly died. Yet we were able to say, "Yes, Lord, you can have her."
Today we can look back and are encouraged. We found life where only true life can be found. Nine months later to the hour we had another lovely daughter.
Helen, from New Zealand, as the "Captain's Wife" on board the mercy ship m/v Anastasis, serves as Mom to many crew members.
Obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it..., with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord, Colossians 3:22 NIV.
Nothing more clearly reveals the motives of the heart than how we react when asked to serve others. Do we consider some tasks below our dignity? Do we feel we're too mature in the Lord to mow the pastor's lawn or work in the nursery? Are we too busy to help with the lowliest jobs?? A large inner-city convent had a nun who always sang hymns while hanging out the laundry. There was an infectious quality of joy about her. A young novice, after several weeks at the convent, was intrigued by this older nun and asked why she was always so joyful.
The older nun replied, "The Lord called me to serve here many years ago, and I find it a privilege to hang out the laundry for others." The novice was impressed with this attitude, but was even more blessed when she heard the full story. For many years this nun had been the Mother Superior of the convent until she grew too old to carry the load of responsibility.
She had been offered a position with less responsibility in a smaller convent, but felt God had specifically called her to the convent she was in. The only other position at that time was for a laundry person. So she gladly took the position.
Lord, when I'm asked to do lowly tasks, help me to remember that You, the creator of the universe, became a servant and washed Your disciples' feet.
From Wholehearted...Letting God Shape Your Whole Life by Floyd McClung. Copyright 1990 Floyd McClung. Published by InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove Illinois. Used by permission. [from page 146]
These three remain, faith, hope, and love, 1 Corinthains 13:13.
Thousands of crippled survivors of the guerilla war along the Thai-Cambodian border have little hope for the future. Bun Nath was a captain in the non-Communist Cambodian army. When his truck was overturned he was paralyzed from the neck down.
With no social welfare for Cambodia's war victims, Bun Nath, his wife and three children had no means of income. Bun Nath didn't want to be a burden to his family. He asked his young son to buy poison and put it in his tea.
When he awoke in a hospital and realized his suicide attempt had been intercepted he drank battery acid, then tried a gun. Each time he failed. Fellow army officers tried to encourage Bun Nath, but each time he turn them away with anger.
I worked in one of the refugee camps on the Thai-Cambodian border. learned of Bun Nath's plight from Barnabus, a Cambodian pastor working at Site II Refugee Camp. We prayed for Bun Nath and went to visit him.
As we entered his small bamboo hut we were astounded by his warm greeting. It was as though we were long lost friends. At once I realized God had heard our prayers and prepared Bun Nath's heart.
I told him about a refugee I knew who also was paralyzed from the neck down; that he had accepted Christ Jesus and now looked forward to the future with joy and hope. I related a dream the man had where a snake came to kill him. But Jesus entered the room and the snake fled. Then Jesus took him to heaven and showed him the glory of His Kingdom and the wonderful home Jesus had prepared for him.
Bun Nath's heart opened that day to the love of Jesus. Though he and his family still live at Site II Refugee Camp on the Thai-Cambodian border, they have God's love, a hope for the future, and the joy of sharing the love of Christ with other refugees.
Help me, Holy Spirit, to be Your instrument of hope to a world without hope.
Mark, an American, worked with Cambodian refugees in Thailand and now lives in Finland.
If you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, Matthew 6:14.
Five of us were visiting the infamous Manila dump where thousands of squatters eke out a meager existence from the garbage of the city's eight million residents.
Marty, an American medical worker was showing us where he labored as the sole "doctor" for the people of the dump. Suddenly, he stopped his explanation mid-sentence and turned to look at a procession of four men carrying an elderly man, heading our way.
"That's Lorenzo," Marty explained. "Last week he was stabbed six times."
Marty explained that the knifing was revenge for a knifing Lorenzo had done years before in rage. Lorenzo knew that someday, according to custom, the man would seek revenge. Ironically, shortly before he was knifed, Lorenzo and his entire family had become Christians.
After the attack, Lorenzi vowed that as soon as he was able to leave the hospital, he would go to the jail to assure the man that he had forgiven him. He also wanted to share Christ's forgiveness with him.
Now Lorenzo was returning from the jail where his assailant was being held. As the procession came nearer I could see ugly red scars with large suture marks crisscrossing Lorenzo's chest. He was drawing deep, laborious breaths, but smiled and motioned for us to follow him.
We fell in line behind the others, trudging over the trash and grime that had been pounded down by hundreds of bare feet between the makeshift dwellings.
People were clustered in Lorenzo's doorway to hear once more the now familiar story that had spread throughout the dump. I leaned back and watched with joy as his audience listened enraptured by the strong clear message of this living sermon.
Stacy, an American, is a nonresidential missionary living in Singapore and working to reach a tribal group in India.
If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, 2 Corinthians 5:17.
For several years I've worked in Mexico, in an orphanage sponsored by the Richardson Springs, California, YWAM base. My main responsibility was to develop and lead a King's Kids group. We combine singing and choreography for Christian and secular music. Between songs, and afterwards, the children and teenagers talk one-on-one with their audience about God's love.
When I learned we would be taking nine children from our King's Kids group to the Barcelona Olympic Outreach I was overjoyed. But how would I choose only nine children from our group of over 40 people?
After prayer I felt God gave me certain guidelines concerning the selection. At least I felt confident until I came to the name of Marcos. Marcos was a rebellious 14-year-old. Yet his name kept coming to my mind when I prayed.
Against my rational judgment I chose Marcos as part of the team. When I shared this fact with other leaders I received such reactions as, "Are you sure? He's not even a Christian. How can you send him on an evangelistic outreach?" Their doubts and questions caused me to reevaluate. Yet I felt I'd made the right decision.
Our group joined others in California for a time of training. Throughout the training, Marcos remained rebellious and disruptive. Extra exercises, extra work details and other disciplinary activities didn't help. There was even discussion of sending Marcos home to Mexico.
At the dress rehearsal there was a sense that God's Spirit was present in a special way. Afterwards I could not find Marcos. After an extensive search I found him back stage, crying. I sat down on the floor beside him. After we talked together Marcos surrendered his life to Jesus Christ.
It was a changed Marcos who traveled with us to Barcelona. We had many fun and satisfying experiences. Yet I consider Marcos' commitment to Christ as the greatest event I witnessed the summer of '92.
Help me, Lord, not to doubt in the dark what You give me in the light.
Keith, an American, works with King's Kids in an orphanage in Mexico.
Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies... She shall rejoice in time to come, Proverbs 31:10, 25.
It was a nice spring day in Monterey, Mexico. I was part of the staff leading a DTS outreach. We were working with a local church congregation going door-to-door, distributing Bibles and clothing, and sharing about Jesus.
I had heard about visitors to the area experiencing intestinal problems from eating locally prepared food. I was glad the housing for our team included a kitchen where we prepared our own meals.
One day the ladies of the church invited us to be their guests for the evening meal. I felt like Old Testament Job, "The thing I feared has come upon me."
My fears grew as I waited for the meal to be prepared. I could hear other team members outside playing games, enjoying themselves. How can they be so unconcerned? I wondered. I was worried about not only my own health, but my husband's and our two children's, as well.
Then I remembered talking earlier with another staff woman about the virtuous woman of the book of Proverbs. I longed to become such a woman so I asked the Lord to make me more like her. I decided that I too would laugh at the unknown future.
When I joined the others in the food line I laughed. My husband looked puzzled, but I intentionally laughed again. At the table I entered into the conversation and fellowship with the others. I even enjoyed the food.
None of us got sick from that meal. More important, I learned that God can work a change in my inner self, in my perspective, when I choose to trust Him. I was learning to become like the virtuous woman.
I choose to trust You, Lord, because I know You love me.
Kim, an American, serves on staff of the Crossroads Discipleship Training School and with the Living Alternative Crisis Pregnancy Center in Tyler, Texas, USA.
The angel of the Lord encaps around those who fear him, and he delivers them, Psalm 34:7.
It was winter 1978. a friend and I were traveling around Norway with Christian literature. We filled our car with books and drove from north to south, conducted services, and distributed literature. We taught young people to use the books in evangelism, and trained them in witnessing from door-to-door.
In the far north of the country, our 7,000 kilo van was full of books. It was cold and the roads were very slippery from ice.
Suddenly, as we were driving along the sea, we lost control of the car. To the right was a steep hillside ending in a rugged beach with big rocks. We both saw what was about to happen, and cried out to the Lord, "Jesus!"
The car went over a roadmarking stick, and we could hear the stones scratching under the car. It passed a curve, and as a miracle it landed on the road again. When the van stopped, we walked to the place where we could see the wheel tracks. The tracks showed that, according to the law of gravity, the car should have rolled down the hillside and been smashed against the rocks.
We drove on, thanking God for our lives.
Thank You, God, that You created the law of gravity, and You're able to cancel its power when You choose.
Sigurd, a Norwegian, is a YWAM base director in Norway.
We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us, Romans 8:26 NIV.
The classroom was full of students, mostly Chinese Singaporeans. We were in the midst of a three-month School of Intercession, Worship and Spiritual Warfare in Singapore.
One of the major emphases in the course is the need to seek God for His topic and methods for prayer. On this particular day we were impressed to make a large map of the Soviet Union. We took time to do this, taking care to include all the individual republics making up that huge nation.
We returned to prayer with the map on the floor before us. We weren't in a hurry. Often we waited some time to discern what God wanted us to pray for, and what He wanted us to do.
Over the course of several hours we prayed earnestly for each republic by name. During periodic silent times together specific needs came to someone's mind. We then prayed together about them, one-by-one. Each time, after a republic had been covered in prayer, we felt we were to tear its portion of the map from the whole: Uzbekistan, Estonia, etc. As we prayed, we each experienced a deep concern for the land we were praying for.
When we sensed a release of the prayer burden we realized that every republic had been removed from the map. Only Russia itself remained in place.
This took place on the first day of the coup which resulted in the dismantling of the Soviet Union. The next day the coup was over. We had no way of knowing the following months would see those republics separate from Russia.
Father, help me to listen to your instructions when I pray. Help me to be one of Your instruments to bring about Your will on this earth.
Paul, an American, teaches on intercession, worship and spiritual warfare.
I earned money for my first vehicle when I was in high school by doing construction work by day and waiting tables in the evenings. Later, I sold that car, trading it for a 1986 Toyota 4 x 4, with extra cab, sun roof, and double/single role bars. That car became more than just a vehicle to me; it was like my special baby. I waxed it weekly and used most of the money I earned just to keep it going.
This was while I was going through a time where I was challenging everything around me. I was trying to come out of the shadow of my folks; trying to learn who I was besides simply Loren Cunningham's son.
I'd always been honest and open with my parents, even through my doubts and questions.
One day I decided to ditch school to go to the other side of the island (of Hawaii) with a buddy. We chose to take the shortest route, Saddleback Road. It was much rougher then than it is now. We wanted to see if we could break our record for our shortest time.
That morning Mom asked, "What time do you have to be at school?"
I ducked the question, answering, "School starts at 8:15."
About 14 miles out of Hilo we came to an "S" shaped curve where we had to drive in the middle of the road. We were sailing right along, much faster than we should, when another car came along, traveling just as fast. I pulled over to pass, but my back tire got caught on the edge of the road and we rolled over three times.
I heard the crunching of glass and metal until we came to a stop. The roll bars had protected us. I suddenly realized I could have killed my friend by ditching school, deceiving Mom and foolishly driving too fast.
Thank Your, Father, that even when Satan has access to us because of direct disobedience, You are still in control.
David, an American, runs a film and television production company in California, USA.
A man's pride brings him low, bu a man of lowly spirit gains honor, Proverbs 29:23.
A teachable spirit and a willingness to learn quickly from others is the greatest protection there is from the consequences of other people's sins against us. As strange as it may seem, the greatest release from hurt, rejection and emotional damage other people force upon us is to walk in humility. It protects us from problems that we otherwise have no control over.
Many times in my life I have had to rely on others for help in recognizing my own pride. If you pray for God to reveal pride to you, don't be surprised if others start exhorting you about weaknesses in your life. When confronted, it is not always easy to admit we are wrong. But, if we are to enjoy the blessing of humility, it is imperative.
My wife, Sally, and I have sometimes disagreed about how we should discipline our children. When disagreements arose, we would immediately take sides and argue. Attitudes would harden, and before long all sorts of other issues were dragged into the disagreement. When this happened, my objective shifted from what was best for the children to proving, at any cost that I was right. After one such encounter, Sally told me she felt I was allowing this to make me judgmental and proud. My focus was no longer on what was best for the family, but on getting my own way. It was hard to admit at first, but she was right.
God's intention in revealing pride in our lives is always for our benefit. He longs for us to be freed of it by taking the crucial step of asking him to reveal the pride lurking in our hearts.
Father, help me to want to hear correction from my brothers and sisters.
From Wholehearted...Letting God Shape Your Whole Life by Floyd McClung. Copyright 1990 Floyd McClung. Published by InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove Illinois. Used by permission. [from pages 114-115]
Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it," Isaiah 30:21
We were in China traveling from city to city praying and sharing one-on-one about Christ. We had prayed specifically that we would contact people ready to make a commitment to Christ.
After I settled into the hotel I was reading my Bible. God said, "Go ride the Number Two bus."
I thought, No I'm reading my Bible.
As I read more I was impressed, "Go ride the Number Two bus." I didn't even know whether there was a Number Two bus.
When I went outside there was a Number Two bus about a block away from the hotel. I got on and rode it through the city. I asked again and again, "When should I get off?" I reached the last stop, paid the fare again and asked the Lord, "Where do I get off?"
In the center of the city I felt it was time. I stepped off and asked, "Now where?" I walked across the street and in to a store. As I stood in the lobby a Chinese man approached me and asked if he could help me.
I told him that the One True God had told me to come to this building to tell him about Jesus Christ. He looked interested and we made an appointment for an hour later--after he finished teaching an English class.
At the end of our discussion the man told me he wanted to believe in Jesus.
You know those hungering and thirsting for righteousness, Lord. Lead You servants to them.
Joe, an American, is a member of a Far East Evangelism Team in Hong Kong.
You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, Genesis 50:20.
During our teen years Mom felt God was saying she shouldn't be away from my sister Karen and me more than 12 days out of each six weeks. She was careful to keep within those limits.
The week before I ditched school and rolled my car, Mom and Dad were both in Europe and had a free weekend they could spend together. But this was Mom's twelfth day away. She came home on Thursday.
The next morning I left for Hilo with my friend.
Unknown to any of us, Dad was just then on a train in Europe with a strong impression from the Lord that the enemy would try to take his son's life. He began interceding for me.
After the accident I wanted to postpone having to admit to Mom that I not only ditched school, but also had lied to her, I had the police officer call YWAM's radio station in Hilo instead of Mom. I didn't know the staff called Mom immediately. She learned only that I had been in an accident, that it happened on Saddleback Road, and that I was not injured.
At that same time in Germany, we learned later, Dad got off at a train station intending to call home. He put his hand on the phone, then stopped. Turning around he jumped back on the train. He would call later. This gave Mom much-needed time to sort out the facts, to settle her own spirit, and to be ready to tell Dad what happened.
God used this experience as a turning point for me in my commitment to Him. I learned two lessons: the importance of walking consistently with the Lord; and that the enemy tries to take advantage when we're not walking with Christ.
Father, in the traumas of life, help me to remember Your loving care covers all.
David, an American, runs a film and television production company in California, USA.
My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness, 2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV.
Paul is known for the wonders and guidance of God in his life. Through Paul we see the richness of God's goodness, His power and wisdom. Paul learned that absolutely nothing is impossible for Him.
Although Paul was a great man he did not rely on his own natural abilities. Instead he emphasized the importance and necessity of his unconditional dependence on God. He had a secure and trusting relationship with God.
God is not in any way limited by our incapabilities. Sometimes fear and pride hold us back from giving God free reign to do what He wants in us. When we admit our weaknesses to God we are demonstrating complete submission of self God in the situations and circumstance He allows. When we are honest with ourselves about our insufficiencies God can reveal Himself in us and through us. He wants to work with us to fulfill His plan for the whole body of Christ.
I don't want to hold back any longer, Lord. Teach me how to relinquish myself completely; to let You take my weaknesses and use them for Your purposes.
Roswitha, a German, serves as secretary at YWAM Germany.
Thus I have beheld Thee in the sanctuary, To see Thy power and Thy glory..." Psalm 63:2 NASB.
I have found that it helps me greatly to have a physical place (closet, desk, room, etc.) that I can call "my" sanctuary--the place where God and I meet together. I have fixed up a closet in my apartment with a bookshelf, pillow, prayer reminders, and maps on the wall. However, since nearly a third of my time is spent traveling, I have learned to make do with airports, planes, trains, buses, and cars as my sanctuary.
Even so, when I get to the place where I will be staying, I find a sanctuary where I can spend time with the Lord. Sometimes it's on a rooftop, or under a tree, other times it's the corner of a library or a chair on a balcony. Occasionally I take a prayer walk, but mostly, I like a physical place where I can go and commune with the Lord.
Other Quiet Time accessories I like to have on hand in my sanctuary are a hymnal, a Bible dictionary, and a concordance, as well as several different translations of the Bible. I also like to have a few standard devotional books on hand. These are helpful, but I would add one caution: don't let revelation from someone else's Quiet Time be a substitute for what you can get directly from the Lord.
A regular Quiet Time is one of the greatest joys we as Christians can enter into with the Lord. However, it takes time and determination to develop. Our natural inclination at 6:00 a.m., when it is dark and cold, is to reach over and switch the alarm off and go back to sleep. It takes a deliberate act to crawl out of bed and spend time with the Lord.
Father, I long to know You, but my natural inclinations keep me from You. Help me to press beyond them and come into Your presence frequently.
From Before You Hit the Wall by Danny Lehmann. Copyright 1991. Published by YWAM Publishing, Seattle, Washington. Used by Permission. [from pages 49-50]
During that long period...God heard their groaning and he remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob. So God looked on the Israelites and was concerned about them, Exodus 2:23-25 NIV.
As we began a new thrust amongst Polish refugees, my daily Scripture reading led me to these verses. It was like I was being provided a wide-angle shot after a long series of telephoto shots. From this, I gained a new perspective of God's calling to individuals. Often we distort our vision by focusing on a fixed point in time and location we see only a person receiving a "calling." By the time we are finished, the reason for the call is lost and the means has become an end.
These verses show us a God who, over a long period of time, heard the groaning of His people. He looked on them and was concerned. He was not removed from the situation. When God later called Moses from the burning bush we can see the work of the calling. It was an act of God in history, based on His heart of love.
So, too, our calling needs to be seen from this larger
perspective. It is a God-initiated response of concern to the human dilemma. We are significant but not indispensable. We are then able to humbly accept our limitations and allow God to carry what only He can carry. On the other hand, we must be awed by the privilege of the call in order to be constantly obedient.
John, an American, leads work among Polish refugees in Austria.
Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! Romans 11:33 NIV.
"What do you mean, you're going to pray?" The question was asked by a young man who had come to me for counsel. "What are you going to pray for?" he asked.
I carefully explained that I didn't feel I had the wisdom or experience to advise him in his situation. However, I explained, God would know, and He had promised to give us answers to anything if only we ask. I suggested that he submit his concerns to God in prayer.
Later in the afternoon, a cry could be heard coming from our workshop. "Wisdom!" was the plaintive cry. And I knew he had taken my advice and was seeking for God's wisdom.
I had no fear that he would be denied, for I knew that "if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him," James 1:5 NIV.
What wisdom and experience God has! He has a wealth of knowledge and expertise on every conceivable situation and subject. He is willing to share that wisdom with us if we will only ask. And then, of course, we must be careful to listen for His answers.
Paul, from England, works in Outgoing Ministry in Spain.
We are told to be persistent, forceful and specific in prayer. In Mark 10:46-52, we have the story of blind Bartimaeus. Jesus was heading out of Jericho when blind Bartimaeus heard He was coming. Bartimaeus yelled out at the top of his voice, "Jesus Son of David, have mercy on me!" Everyone around him tried to hush him. He was disturbing the dignity of the occasion. But Bartimaeus "began crying out all the more." Not only did he not quiet down, he yelled louder and more often, "Son of David, have mercy on me!" Jesus finally walked over to this man and asked him, "What do you want Me to do for you?"
Jesus loves it when we are persistent and refuse to let Him go, even when we don't receive an immediate answer. He wants us to press in and keep praying. And He wants us to be specific. Jesus is still asking us today, "What do you want me to do for you?" We need to pray specifically, in detail--not vague, religious prayers that don't really tell God what we want. We must be specific in order for God to bring about specific answers. We don't always know details, but we should pray as specifically as we can.
Every Christian should pray with boldness, expecting God's response to every prayer. We need to give God no rest until our prayers have been answered. If we become totally convinced that God moves in the affairs of men, then we will pray like this. And when we pray, we will see the hand of God move. Prayer will become one of the most exciting parts of our life. We will begin to shake our world. We will become effective prayer warriors.
Dean, an American, is an international Bible teacher, and lives in the USA.
From Spiritual Warfare for Every Christian by Dean Sherman. Copyright 1990 by Dean Sherman. Published by YWAM Publishing, Seattle, Washington. Used by permission. [from page 166-167]
Whatever you did for the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me, Matthew 25:40.
In a leper colony on an island in the tiny country of Macau, my earlier commitment to do whatever God asked of me was fully tested.
Most of the 40 lepers had lived there for decades. The Chinese believe leprosy is caused by evil spirits, so they don't visit their loved ones. Despite the difficulties, these joyous people created their own family among the patients.
The clinic where I worked had almost a party atmosphere. Patients came early and stayed long after I scrubbed and bandaged their open sores. One tiny man, Lei Ming, with a toothless grin, chattered constantly in Chinese, answering questions we must have asked with our eyes. By our last day, Lei Ming was constantly at my side.
I was swabbing disinfectant on what remained of someone's foot. Lei Ming rattled off something in Chinese and the patients around the room erupted in giggles and guffaws. The nurse laughed, too, as she translated, "He wants to adopt you as his goddaughter."
What a perfect godfather, I thought. I knew he spent two hours praying in the Catholic church building each morning. I could use a few extra prayers.
The room silenced when the nurse translated my, "I'd be delighted." Lei Ming's chest puffed up. He tilted his chin proudly and showed off his charming gums.
As a memento I gave him a ring, but it wouldn't slip onto his gnarled fingers. His family went into action. One fetched a tool to hang it on his neck chain. Lei Ming's tears ran all the way to his grin. Suddenly his eyes lit up and he reached for his wallet, then handed me the prized Japanese coin a visitor had given him after the war. Soon a woman shuffled over and handed me a banana. Another came with an orange. Another a pear. Soon someone brought a basket to hold my arm load of fruit.
I had given them only a few weeks. These wonderful people had nothing, yet they gave me all they had.
Shirley, an American, is a freelance writer for YWAM, living in Washington State, USA.