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Devotional Readings for December

*Because many of the writers serve in secure
countries,  their full names are not listed.

December 1

 So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. 1 Corinthians 3:7.

   Sometimes we feel we have to plant, water, and reap all in a half hour of time. I've found it's not usually that way. God has fellow workers. They may be in another church, or another mission group. We are all fellow laborers. We just don't usually know them.

  We're to be content to work together with one another. Some work with children, some with literature. Others hold crusades. We all have our place as a part of God's process.

  One night I was driving back from speaking in a church in the United States. I saw a car parked along the side of the road. A young man and woman were sitting on the embankment.

  "Thank you for stopping, our jack doesn't work," said the man. "No one would stop to help."

  While I used my jack he asked where I was coming from.

  "I just finished speaking at a church," I replied.

  "Oh, you're a man of God."

  "What do you mean?"

  "You're a man of God. I should have known it."

  He told me the young woman he was with had been telling him  about Jesus all evening. He'd been mocking her. Just before I arrived she had prayed that God would send someone to help them.

  "Who should come along but a man of God," he concluded.

  While we finished tightening the lugs on the spare tire, I told him that everything she was telling him was true and that he should listen to her. I drove away wishing I could listen in on their conversation.

  What a thrill to know that we are fellow laborers. God sends others along to help with the process of leading others to Christ.

 Thank You, Father, for making me a part of Your work crew.

 Al, an American, directs YWAM's Slovic Ministries.

December 2

 These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Deuteronomy 6:6-7.

   We need to take time to develop traditions in our families. Traditions give security and continuity. Certain meals, special holidays, and various events become a part of our individual family heritage through the traditions we set. They strengthen our family bonds. I learned how important this is one year at Christmas. I had been away at a conference and returned just a few days before Christmas. Because of the limited time, I suggested that we omit some of our usual things but take a few shortcuts to save time. My children almost left home! They couldn't imagine how I could possibly not decorate the whole house, put all our favorite and special ornaments out, hang up our stockings, and put our ragged-looking angel on top of the tree. These. and many other things) were part of who we were as a family and how we expressed ourselves at that particular festive season. It gave the family security and a sense of continuity.

  We need to share our family heritage with our children. Misha and Matthew love to hear things from when Mom and Dad were kids. We have a unique little book of drawings of escapades from Floyd's childhood that we love to share with guests in our home. Our children also like to hear stories from our early days in Youth With A Mission. Stories of how God "healed" a leaky air mattress, saved a criminal and multiplied our mosquito repellent never grow old!

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 62-63]

December 3

   Ahmad Khusro was the eldest son of a religious leader living in the predominantly Islamic area of Northern India. While on a business trip Ahmad was handed a Gospel tract which he tore up immediately. The next day he was again given a tract, by a group of Christians who convinced him to also take their address.

Ahmad planned to tear up the second tract, but decided to give it a quick reading. His curiosity deepened and he decided to visit the young people who gave it to him.

  During several visits Ahmad was impressed by the love he saw. One night he had a strange experience. Jesus Christ stood in his room saying, "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life."

Ahmad's whole body shook. Though it was early morning, he went immediately to the Christians' house where he readily gave his life to Christ.

  When his family was unable to dissuade him from following Jesus they declared him dead. For the next seven years he had no contact with his family. Ahmad continued to pray for them and trusted that someday God would bring reconciliation.

  During those years Ahmad studied with Youth With A Mission and joined their mission. He planted a church for Muslims. God gave him a wife and son. Ahmad knew God was blessing him, but he longed for his family to know Christ.

  After seven years his family came to visit him. They were reconciled. Later Ahmad and his wife returned to his place of birth. His family gave him a welcoming party attended by over five hundred people. As a result he has enjoyed many opportunities to witness for Christ.

  Ahmad's father recently told him, "You have chosen the right path."

 Steve, an American, is Regional Director for YWAM in South Asia.

December 4

 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there m ay be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pout out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.” Malachi 3:10.

   First, let me explain that I must write this anonymously to preserve the identity of my very cool 12-year-old son. I'll call him Fred. He's had spiritual input from multitudes of sources, but the Lord Himself taught Fred about tithing.

  "Mom," he called one night, "remind me to tithe on my car wash money." He had heard what the pastor said last week.

  This was a test for me. I wanted to shout, "Hallelujah!" I suppressed the urge. I lifted my head to the heavens and cheered--silently.

  Our church members were asked to choose the name of a needy child and buy him a gift for Christmas. Fred chose another 12-year-old.

  The next night Fred asked out of the blue, "How much is ten percent of $500?"

  "Fifty dollars," I casually replied. "Why?"

  "I never did tithe on my savings account. I was thinking of buying that boy a gift out of it."

  I almost bogeyed around the room. Instead, I hurriedly donned my poker-face and said, "Well, that’s a nice idea. I'm sure he'd appreciate it."

  Over the next few days, Fred argued against his plan. I reminded him of the Lord's promises to bless our obedience and our tithes. Since it wasn't my idea, I didn't have to defend it. The decision was clearly his.

  The next day Fred learned his bank balance was $374, not $500. He rounded the tithe to an even $40. He bought the boy a $40 gift certificate at a sporting goods store and signed the card, "from one 12-year-old to another."

  I added a t-shirt so the boy would have a package to open. With the package under the tree, we left the rest to God.

  A week later our church's missions committee chairman delivered Christmas packages for Fred and me. We opened them on Christmas Eve. Mine contained a gift certificate to my favorite store. Both our mouths fell open when he opened his gift. A $40 gift certificate--to a sporting goods store.

  Poker-face? Impossible.

 This YWAM mother remains anonymous for the sake of her son.

December 5

 At my home church during a visit, I talked to my good friend Norma. We were both divorced. My son had once stayed with her family for a few months. We spent many evenings with the Bible between us, introducing her boyfriend to Jesus. Now, she informed me that Jim was moving in with her the next Sunday.

  "Wait a minute." I said half-jokingly. "You're doing this backwards. First you get married, then he moves in."

  "He has to be out of his rental," she explained, "and we planned to get married in a few months anyway. There's just no time for a wedding."

  "I'm not doing anything Saturday," I said flippantly.

  "Saturday! There's no way I could put together a wedding by Saturday."

  "I'll keep it open just in case," I hollered over my shoulder as my son dragged me to the car.

  On Tuesday she called to ask me to be her maid of honor. Saturday. Three o'clock. I asked what to wear. Since she needed to find a dress herself, she said to wear whatever the Lord told me.

  Wear whatever! But we need to plan this. Wedding pictures should be something to be proud of. I still hadn't shaken my eight years in the fashion business. I always match.

  Incredibly, Saturday morning Norma was at the mall, shopping for a dress. I prayed again as I slipped on the pink sequined dress I'd managed to locate among my packed away boxes.

  Norma arrived breathlessly about one o'clock, carrying a garment bag over one arm. Inside was a gorgeous wool suit--in the same shade of pink as my sweater dress. On the left shoulder were sequins. Unbelievable. The wedding pictures are fabulous.

Shirley, an American, is a free-lance writer living in Washington State, USA.

December 6

 Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26 NIV.

   After two weeks of seeing children either dead, sleeping out in the open, fighting, or so drugged they were knocked down by cars as they crossed the road. I wondered, What am I doing here? I want to go home. I thought it was hopeless. The problem was enormous and I saw nothing I could do to change it. I had answered God's calling, left my home, job, family and friends to come to Brazil to share His love with these children living on the streets. But the situation seemed so awful and so huge. Eight million children made the streets their home; they had nowhere else to go.

  Then, one day, I met a beautiful young black man about 18-years-old. He was sweet and kind. He told me he had been a street kid for 14 years. This amazed me because I'd heard that one third of them die before they reach the age of 18! He told me he had become a Christian through the love of some missionaries. For the first time in 14 years he had turned from stealing, fighting and taking drugs. Now he was studying so he could get work. He spent his free time on the streets helping his old friends to know Jesus as well.

  As I looked into his gentle and peaceful eyes, I thought, That's why I'm here. I knew I would stay in Brazil.

 Sarah, from England, works with Street children in Brazil.

December 7

  Our King's Kids team of children and teenagers was ministering in Tonga. The king and queen had invited us to stay at the queen's summer palace. During intercession, as we sang our praise songs in preparation for performing at their main palace, I had a mental picture of the king crying. I hadn't yet even seen the king.

  Part of their culture requires that the king and queen sit behind a wall where they could see us, but we couldn't see them. A talking chief sat with us and did their speaking for them.

  The talking chief said, "The king is crying."  He explained that the chief was impressed that we had given up our Christmas vacation to share Christ with him and his people.

  After our visit to Tonga the king and queen visited YWAM in Kona, Hawaii. Later still the queen had a dream about us. As a result she wanted her own family to get more involved with us. She sent her granddaughter, Ilima, to attend the International Christian School with us in Hawaii. I was able to personally get acquainted when Ilima became a part of our King's Kids team.

  The king invited Youth With A Mission to send experts from the University of the Nations to help develop his nation.

 Kiersten, an American, is finishing her high school education in Norway.

December 8

 If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has not pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. 1 John 3:17-18.

   First no hot water for my shower. Now the staff has joined our class for intercession. What's happening?

  When all had assembled at this unusual hour of 8:00 a.m., one of our base leaders said, "You probably have all noticed there is no hot water this morning. There's no money to pay for the propane to heat the water. We have other unpaid bills as well. Many of us have not paid our staff or student fees. One-by-one various leaders encouraged us to look to God as not only our provider, but also as the One who might ask us to give, even in our time of need.

  According to the instructions anyone owing money to the base should stand with the other "debtors."  How humiliating, I thought.

  Dozens of people hesitantly stood to their feet. Each looked as embarrassed as my husband standing beside me. I was surprised to see highly respected staff people among those standing.

After prayer together I watched in amazement as scores of individuals moved from their places and handed others either money, checks or paper with a written promise of money. Some simply tucked the papers into the pockets of those standing.

  I watched and listened with a sense of awe. There were tears of relief and many warm embraces, even squeals of joy.

  One-by-one those standing sat down as God sent someone to meet their needs. Some of those standing went to others to give money, even before their owns bills were covered. After about 20 minutes there was no one left standing.

Watching this demonstration of God's people loving one another was one of the most tender mornings of my life.

  We later learned that tens of thousands of dollars exchanged hands that day. Enough for fees to be paid. Gas was ordered and other bills were paid.

Beverly, an American, is a Bible teacher and author who leads YWAM Writer's Seminars and lives in California, USA.

December 9

 My children, with whom I am again in labor until Christ is formed in you…. Galations 4:19.

   When we are single we long for the intimacy of marriage-- just to have somebody of "my own." We fantasize about moments of emotional and physical intimacy. Eventually we may get married and face the reality of actually dividing our time, money and space with another person. That's where we discover how much we really need Jesus.

  And then come children. Tiny, poopy, little creatures that demand constant attention. Ah, but what love fills our hearts at first sight of Junior. Our selfish focus on personal rights is swept away the moment those big baby eyes look into ours.

  When a baby is born into a family, the parents virtually become its slaves. We clean them, feed them, warm them, protect them and sometimes we do it all night long.

  During the years of their early childhood, our major concern is for the physical safety of our children. That is often the focus of our prayer life, but then they reach their teens. The day my oldest son entered junior high school, I knew that my prayer life would have to change. Now I can truly identify with Paul's statement in Galations 4:19. God, our Father, uses the experience of parenting to help us to identify with Him.

From Taking Our Cities for God by John Dawson. Copyright 1989 by John Dawson. Published by Creation House. Used by permission. [from pages 206-207]

 December 10

 No one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents...for the...kingdom of God who will fail to receive  many times as much in this age and, in the age to come, eternal life. Luke 18:29-30.

   We minister to street kids in Belo, Horizonte, Brazil. Because each staff member has left home and family in different countries, it is common at

 Christmastime, to think of our families and desire to be with them.

  On top of such thoughts, we think of the people who roam the streets hungry, lonely, tired, afraid, sad, angry and hurt. They don't know about the Christ of Christmas.

  Cicero is typical. He came to the city to look for work, and his first week there was robbed of all his personal papers. Without them, he could not get a job. He started living on the streets, and drinking heavily.

  A Brazilian couple from our team found him sick, hungry and dirty, living under a viaduct. Burns covered one foot. When Eduardo and Sandra examined it, they found signs of gangrene. With loving care, they washed it and prayed over it, in Jesus' name. For two weeks they came everyday, and it miraculously healed!

  Not only was Cicero's foot healed; so was his heart as they shared the Gospel message with him. He eagerly accepted Christ. Now he lives at the Half Way House and is growing in the knowledge of the Lord. Now he knows what Christmas is all about.                                                                                                                         

Jeannette, and her husband, both from the Netherlands, are the leaders of YWAM’s urban ministry base in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

December 11

 And may these words of mine, which I have prayed before the Lord, be near to the Lord our God day and night, that he may uphold the cause of his servant and the cause of his people Israel according to each day's need, so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the Lord is God and that there is no other. I Kings 8:59,60.

  Our 40-day fast was almost over. One morning, as we were praying as a group at our temporary house in Greece, one of the crew members of YWAM’s mercy ship, m/v Anastasis ran in, shouting with enthusiasm. Fish were jumping out of the water onto our beach! I ran outside to see for myself. Sure enough, literally thousands of small fish were jumping out of the sea! Yelling to some of the crewmen, I exclaimed, "Go and get the school children!"

  Scampering to the beach, we began picking up the fish and putting them into large wheelbarrows. As I picked the fish up, my eye caught a short, dark, middle-aged Greek man intently watching from the top of the bank. He looked terrified; his small body shaking, his eyes darting from side to side as he viewed the scene before him.

  Later that day, I found out that the owner of our hotel, who had lived there for 25 years, had never seen such an occurrence before. Not only that, but the fish had jumped out only along the beach in front of our place, no where else.

  God had provided an overabundance of food for us. 8,301 fish were counted, and expectantly we looked to Him for the necessary finances to finish the repairs on the m/v Anastasis.

 Adapted from Anchor in the Storm by Helen Applegate with Renee Taft. Copyright 1988 by Helen Applegate. Published by YWAM Publishing, Seattle, Washington. Used by permission. [from pages 131-132]

December 12

 Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Matthew 6:33.

   In 1964, as a 17-years-old high school graduate, I joined a YWAM group from San Francisco known as The Roving Team. We went to small islands in the Caribbean Sea that are accessible only by boat. We learned much from God about His ways of working in men's lives.

  When we arrived on the island of Andros we wondered what would happen if we really practiced the concept of putting God's kingdom first. Normally we spent time looking for housing, making contacts for our food and various living needs.

  We decided to put God to the test. We wouldn't ask for anything; we wouldn't look for our needs. We would seek only His work, His righteousness. Will He take care of us? we wondered.

  In small groups, we went in different directions to witness. When we gathered at the end of day at a prearranged place, we were a strange-looking group. One guy carried a big watermelon, another held loaves of bread. Someone told us that a lady who lived down the road had a big empty house. "She says we can stay there," he said.

  All of our needs were met because we shared Jesus first.

 Al, an American, is director of Slovic Ministries.

December 13

In the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert. Isaiah 35:6.

   Chuck and I could not leave the country where we were ministering. Our visa renewals were not stamped and we had no money. Without telephone or telegraph service, friends at our destination would have no idea where we were.

  Back at the immigration office in town we received verbal approval to leave, but at the airport it was unacceptable. After retrieving our luggage, we asked the airport manager to refund our airfare. We needed the money for a place to spend the night. He suggested we ask for it at the travel agency in the morning.

  Meanwhile, immigration retained our passports. To be without a passport in a foreign country is like being invisible; you cannot even rent a hotel room. He would only give us a torn envelope with handwritten passport numbers, and stamped with his official seal. A hotel clerk accepted it, reluctantly.

  The next morning was Saturday. Chuck and I asked at local churches where we might stay. We found hospitality from the bishop at the third church. With no safe drinking water, Chuck was dehydrated by Sunday, so we couldn't attend church. The speaker, however, was an American who invited us to his hotel room for "distilled water on ice."

  On Monday, immigration gave us permission to leave, but now we had insufficient funds to fly. We took our only other option, a bus to the border which cost less than flying. There we stayed overnight, walked across the next morning, and took another bus to our destination. God provided food from a new friend along the way.

  For some unknown reason, immigration refused us reentry for three more months. At our new location we were unable to work for wages or to receive money from back home. Yet God supplied our needs through the generosity of Christians unknown to us.

  The extra blessing of these months was our cool surroundings. The area where we had been was experiencing its hottest months of the year.

Peggy, an American, serves on staff in Penang, Malaysia.

December 14

For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him. 2 Chronicles 16:9.

   During the intervention by the United States Army in Grenada I served as a volunteer in the revolutionary People's Militia. On the second day of battle, at 4:00 a.m., we were ordered to flee for our lives. Grateful Grenadians were informing the American soldiers of our whereabouts.

  I found laundry hanging on a line behind a small house. Within two minutes I was clothed in the garb of a country woman--keeping my army boots and rifle as inconspicuous as possible. As I knocked on the door of the house directly across the road, I saw an American soldier perched on a rooftop. Had I been wearing my army apparel, I could have been killed.

  With utter hatred in my heart against the "dirty Yankee Imperialists," I went to the house of an old woman.

  I shouted at her, "I want to die. There is nothing to live for now that the Americans are here."

  "Child," she said, "don't you know you must thank God for saving your life?"

  I did thank Him, and repented of my anger.

  Four years later, in 1988, I accepted Jesus as my Savior. In 1989 I joined YWAM. During my DTS God took me back, spiritually, through the events of that day in 1983 and showed me His purpose for my life, and for saving me from deception and confusion.

  Today I am one in spirit with my American brothers and sisters in Christ. I thank God for equipping me with the weapons of spiritual warfare that are greater than the gun I once held. He is for preparing me to return to Grenada to establish a Christian school to train the coming generation "to know God and to make Him known."

 Rose, from Grenada, is now in training at YWAM’s Christian Heritage School, in Tyler, Texas, USA.

December 15

Show the wonder of your great love, you who save by your right hand those who take refuge in you from their foes. Psalm 17:7.

   A small group of believers in a town called Timisoara, Romania met secretly in homes. The Lord impressed them to come against the spirit of fear and the spirit of terror--these were controlling every aspect of Romanian society. They felt they were to go out in small groups late at night, taking prayer walks around their town. There, in front of various official buildings, the Christians prayed against the principalities and powers--in whispers, lest the secret police hear them.

  They felt foolish, but they kept obeying God. Over the months, things actually got worse. Finally, on October 23, 1989, the word of the Lord came, telling them that a fire would begin in their town which would "blaze across Romania." What a difficult message to believe--especially for a little band of people, whispering their prayers in secret.

  However, the spark began in Timisoara, just as God had said. It began with the house arrest on December 15, 1989, of a Reformed pastor named Lazlo Tokes. What usually followed such an arrest would be the disappearance of the minister, but this time was different. Word spread of Tokes' arrest, and instead of the usual cowed reaction, Christians streamed to the pastor's home, forming a human chain across the entrance. The police threatened them, but they began the first chant of the revolution: "Without fear, without fear! Liberty!"

  The flame had been lit. The army turned around and fought the secret police with the people, and the brutal reign of Ceausescu was over by Christmas of 1989. The newspapers of the country reported, "The band of fear and terror has been broken." Fear and terror--the same spirit powers God had directed a small group to pray against two years before.

  What happened there is proof that such focused praying against principalities and powers breaks their power.

 From Spiritual Warfare for Every Christian by Dean Sherman . Copyright 1990 by Dean Sherman. Published by YWAM Publishing, Seattle, Washington. Used by permission. [page 97-98]

December 16

 Have you ever thought you were ministering to someone and discovered you are the one receiving?

  A group of YWAMers in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, specialize in puppet show evangelism. One evening they were setting up in a slum area where they had not been before. While others setup for the puppet show, others dressed as clowns and walked around talking to the children. One clown felt a tug on his sleeve, and looked down into the plaintive eyes of a young Brazilian.

  "Are you Santa Claus?" the boy asked, "I've waited a long time for him."

   The clown bent down and whispered in the boy's ear. "No, I'm not, but see me after the show, I can tell you something about him."

  He moved on and prayed silently, "Lord, we know this boy is looking for you, but he doesn't know that. May our puppet show help him to understand."

  The clown's painted smile belied his deep inner thoughts as the boy's question brought a searching in his own heart. He prayed again, this time for himself.

  "Lord, forgive me. Like that little boy, sometimes I look for your gifts, and not You. Come and dwell in me, anew.

  “Come, O come Emmanuel." 

  The boy didn't come after the show, so the clown could not share Jesus with him. But the clown learned much that night, and left with a genuine smile on his face.

 Jeanette, and her husband, both from the Netherlands, are the leaders of YWAM’s urban ministry base in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

December 17

 And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19.

  I was born into a middle class Brazilian home. I learned about God's provision from my Christian parents. Because they paid for everything, I never had a chance to see personally God's provision in my own life.

  In 1985, I went to the United States to further my studies in psychology. Two years later I became interested in Youth With A Mission. I prayed, "Lord, if this is Your desire and Your time for me to join YWAM, provide all the money that I will need. I don't want to depend on someone else, but just on You."

  I would need $2000 to attend a DTS. My pastor advised me to send my application and pray. Inclement weather kept many people home that Sunday evening. Before the end of the service the pastor called me to the front and asked me to share my testimony. He closed with an offering for me.

  A month later, I received an acceptance letter from YWAM. Because I'm Brazilian they offered me a scholarship for half of the tuition.

  Immediately I called my pastor to tell him the news. I was dumbfounded to learn the offering that night had come to $2,300. This enabled me to pay the remaining $1,000 tuition and have $1,300 to cover living expenses, outreach and tithe.

  I've been able to see God's provision for 100% on God of my needs.

 Sonja, a Brazilian, works with Street Kids in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

December 18

   My husband and I moved frequently when we first joined Youth With A Mission. This was a challenge for newlyweds, trying to establish a sense of home and family. My first Christmas was a time of learning.

  Traditionally, my mother and I made Christmas cookies and gave them to neighbors we visited during the holiday season. Mow my mother was in West Africa translating the Bible for local villages. Many of my single friends were making plans to visit their families.

  With all the talk of going home for the holidays, I began to wonder, Where is home for me? I knew it was not my father's house where I grew up. It wasn't my college dorm where I'd lived for two years before getting married. My last connection with "home" was with my mother before she left for Africa.

  I was praying about this and began to cry. I felt God's presence around me. Then my husband came and put his arms around me.

  I asked the Lord, "Where is home?"

  "In My arms and sometimes that means your husband's arms, too."

  That brought comfort and encouragement. Soon I felt so much better that I got up and made Christmas cookies. I realized that wherever I am, I'm home.

  I no longer feel the pain when I think of "home," because the reality is that I only have to whisper His name, "Jesus."

 Sandy, an American, teaches at YWAM’s Christian Heritage School in Tyler, Texas, USA.

December 19

 But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. Matthew 23:11 NKJV.

 Although I was the leader of a team of 15 young people who would spend two weeks witnessing in Paris, France. Three days into the outreach, Loren Cunningham, the founder of YWAM, arrived to visit. I expected him to stay at a nearby hotel. It came as quite a shock when he asked me, "Denny where do you want me to sleep?"

  I stammered, embarrassed to have to explain our inadequate facilities. "You're the boss. Don't you sleep wherever you want?"

  I will never forget the patient, gentle look on Loren's face as he replied, "No, Denny you're the leader of this team. While I am here, I am under your leadership. Where do you want me to sleep?"

  I was stunned, but there was no place of "honor" which I could allocate to Loren as his quarters. "Follow me," We single men had set up our quarters on the stage at the front of the theater, and had attempted to wall it off. The area was rather small and each of us had defined our personal "space" by surrounding our sleeping bags with chairs and suitcases.

  I was about to offer my carefully defended spot to Loren when I noticed him eyeing the grand piano. Surely he didn't want us to move it! There was nowhere for it to go. Instead, Loren bent down and examined the space available under the piano. With- out thinking, I blurted out, "You can sleep under the piano, if you like." Loren nodded, smiled graciously and said, "That sounds just fine to me."

  Even though that incident took place 23 years ago, its impact was so great upon me that I still remember every detail. I was deeply impressed and humbled at the same time. Here was the founder of a successful ministry graciously submitting to my immature leadership.

 From Through the Dust...Breaking Leadership Stereotypes by Denny Gunderson. Published by YWAM Publishing, Seattle, Washington. Used by Permission. [from pages 113-114]

December 20

 You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 1 Peter 2:9.

 In Old Testament times, one could be either king or priest, but not both. In Christ, royalty and priesthood are blended together, and we as His followers have the privilege of functioning in both capacities. Each is complementary to the other.

  As royalty, we are called upon to “do” certain things. Being royal carries with it both opportunity and obligation. We are to make God’s laws known. These are His rules and regulations, established for our highest good.

  As members of the priesthood, we are to “be” a certain way. We are to show our love for the Lord through praise, worship, adoration, thanksgiving, and intercessory prayer.

  A godly nation will have national days of celebration and mourning. It will boast unity, peace, loyalty, a flow of communication, exchanges of ideas, freedom of expression, and freedom of movement.

  As citizens of God’s Kingdom, we need to be sure that we ourselves promote unity and act as peacemakers. We need to demonstrate loyalty, not just to our local community or national project, but interdenominationally and internationally. We are responsible for personal witnessing, teaching, and distribution of Christian literature. We are accountable to provide for the needy in practical ways. We are to aid in making possibilities for service open to others by our encouragement and financial support.

  Malachi 3:16 tells us that those who feared the Lord talked with each other, and the Lord listened and heard. Today let Him hear us all proclaiming His Word to a waiting world.

 Rudy, a Swiss, is director of the YWAM base in Einegen, Switzerland.

December 21

 Many times I have not wanted to face up to reality. God would say something which was really the best for me, but I didn't listen to or accept His Word because I wasn't courageous enough to live in accordance with it.

  Now, God is teaching me to live according to the reality of my life and accept the truth, even though it is sometimes difficult or painful.

  This is what God wants for each person.

  When we don't face up to reality, we shut ourselves in with our own fantasies and ideas, which leads to frustration and destruction. It also keeps us from having the life that God intended for us.

  God cannot help us if we exist in a fantasy world. He wants us to be strong and courageous. He asks that we trust in Him and His ways. He asks that we be teachable. And He requires that we live in truth.

 Margarita, a Spaniard, works with children, drama and accounting, in Spain.

December 22

 Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him; for God's temple is sacred, and you are that temple. 1 Corinthians 3:16-17.

   A few years ago, I realized my temple was badly in need of repairs and maintenance. I had gained unwanted weight with each of my two pregnancies. For a long time I had wanted to lose this weight. The problem was that every time I tried, I became ill. One day I was walking up the stairs to our fifth-floor apartment. I was carrying a heavy bag of groceries. Suddenly the thought came to me that I would always have to carry the groceries up, but if I weighed less it would certainly be a lot easier. I determined to find a healthy way to lose the weight I didn't want or need. I realized I wasn't getting any younger and it was harder to lose weight as the years went by. I began to pray and ask the Lord for a healthy weight-loss plan. He gave me one and the end result was that I lost 40 pounds in the next six months. I looked better, I felt better about myself, and I now knew that my temple was in good condition.

  Once I had lost all that weight, I could wear clothes that I had always wanted to wear and couldn't. I could really be me! Each of us is like a different flower in the Lord's garden--all beautiful, but all different. No two are alike, just as no two snowflakes are alike. Suddenly I could be the flower I had always wanted to be, the one God had created me to be.

 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 page 95]

December 23

   Forgiveness is not a feeling. Neither is it simply trying to forget the bad things done to us. It is an act of the will and heart. It is giving a person something they have not earned the right to have--pardon. Forgiveness acknowledges that we have been wronged but it goes beyond that and extends mercy.

  Sometimes forgiveness is a process. If we have been deeply hurt, it takes time for the wound to heal. In this case forgiveness acts as a continual cleansing of the wound so that it can heal properly. As we think about a person who has hurt us or sinned against us, feelings of resentment and emotional pain well up. Then we must reaffirm our commitment to forgive them. It is not that the first act of forgiveness is invalid, but that an ongoing process may be necessary until we are completely healed.

  I was deeply hurt once by a friend. I could not get over the anger and disappointment I felt every time I thought of him. Another friend advised me that I should tell the Lord I forgave the friend each time these feelings surfaced and say, "Lord, I choose to do this with your love, and I will not give up until you put love in my heart for him. I receive that love by faith."

  I prayed that prayer many times a day for months, but nothing seemed to change. Then one day as I prayed, something finally happened--I began to see my friend through new eyes. I saw his wounds and hurts; I saw how he had been hurt by his father, and how he was passing those hurts on to me. The Lord released compassion into my heart for him, something I thought would never happen. The Lord did more than I could ask or think!

 From Father Make Us One by Floyd McClung. Copyright 1989 by Floyd McClung. Published by YWAM Publishing, Seattle, Washington. Used by permission. [from pages 55-56]

December 24

 In a loud voice [Elizabeth] exclaimed, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear." Luke 1:42.

   Elizabeth is a wonderful example of rejoicing in another's calling!  She must have been in a state of awe herself over her own pregnancy in old age and the angel's announcement concerning the child. Now here was Mary, her young relative, with a greater calling--to be the mother of the Messiah Himself.

  Elizabeth easily could have questioned the justice of Mary's calling; or to have been jealous. She and her husband had served God faithfully for many years. Mary was little more than a child.

  We find no record of doubts or jealousy on Elizabeth's part. She knew God's place and calling for her. With joy and awe she accepted her place and humbly and wholeheartedly rejoiced in Mary's calling. She was thus free to participate in what Mary was going through and be an encouragement and support to her.

  Do I joyfully accept God's calling for me?  Am I willing to know fulfillment where He has placed me?  If so, I am freed to support and encourage another in his God-given task.

  Paul wisely cautioned us, "Do not compare yourselves among yourselves." Am I caught up with comparing my ministry to another's, or can I sincerely rejoice, as did Elizabeth, when I see another called by God to a ministry greater than mine? 

 Christine, from New Zealand, serves on YWAM staff in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

December 25

 To Jesus:

 Help me not to keep You in the manger
As a baby, warm and comfortable
Silent and somewhat helpless
Loved and cared for by Your parents
Honored by those who knew of Your birth. 

But, rather, to let You grow up to be the One
Who was a stranger among men
Who had no place to lay His head
Who knew pain and was acquainted with grief
Who spoke with boldness the Truth, and had
The Power of God at His command
Who rarely saw His family
And for all His kindness and compassion
Was rewarded with rejection and was forsaken
By even His closest friends
To die the death of the earth's worst
In someone else's stead.

 Help me not to keep You in the manger of my heart
Where it's warm and cozy and, oh, so easy
But to let You grow up on me, so I will be willing
To walk dirty, noisy streets
To love unloving strangers
To suffer pain and share sorrow
To speak boldly the Truth of You
To be rejected and forsaken
By those for whom I care
To die to myself whenever its needful
To help someone else.

 Help me, Lord, to let You grow up in me
That I may always live for the purpose
For which You lived...
To bring hungry, lonely, helpless people
To the loving Father
Of that Baby in the manger.

 By Sandy, an American, who served with YWAM for 16 years. She now lives in Texas, USA.

December 26

My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. 2 Corinthians 12:9.

   One day my husband and I went to visit a friend. We met his lovely daughter, who was with a young man, his legs totally paralyzed from a football accident. He was in a wheelchair.

  The first thing I noticed were his dark brown eyes. They were so soft. His face was radiant, and although I knew nothing about him and was just introduced to him, I walked right over to him, looked into his eyes intently and said, "I love you. I'll tell you one of the reasons I love you. I don't have to ask you one single thing. I see the wheelchair. I see your legs hanging limp, and I see there's not a particle of resentment in your eyes toward God. I don't need to hear your story to know that you have come to terms with God in total rest."

  I heard the story that proved the truth of what I had said. The Holy Spirit had given me that instantaneous witness through the shining countenance of that young man.

  He told me he had been bitter, he had had questions. But he had come to understand as he had pored over the Word of God, and as he looked into the face of Jesus, that God was "...just in all his ways, and kind in all his doings," just as the Bible says in Psalm 145:17. RSV.

  He shared with enthusiasm some of the dynamic purposes that God had started to reveal for his life since he accepted God's sovereignty and received God's miraculous grace. God had shown him that he was to write a book about his life, and this lovely Christian girlfriend was helping him do it.

  Physical healing? No. Spiritual, mental and emotional healing? Yes. A manifestation of miraculous grace and powerful purpose.

 From Some of the Ways of God in Healing by Joy Dawson. Copyright 1991 by Joy Dawson. Published by YWAM Publishing, Seattle, Washington. Used by permission. [from pages 85-86]

December 27

 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation. 2 Corinthians 5:18.

   One of Loren Cunningham's early visions for YWAM was that of a bridge: they serve to facilitate people's needs; they are easy to get on and off. Many also see YWAM as a bridge in other ways. YWAM bridges denominational barriers by working together to help spread the Gospel. The same could be said of ethnic, cultural and national barriers. What a privilege.

  The Apostle Paul said we've all been given the ministry of reconciliation. The dictionary definition of "reconciliation" is "to make friendly again." 

When we pioneered YWAM in Singapore I was instructed to concentrate on street evangelism. "Don't develop any other ministries," I was told, "just evangelize."  I took that so literally I didn't do what I had always done previously: take time to get to know pastors and other Christian leaders in the community.

  The result was almost fatal to the young ministry. Rumors spread among the Body of Christ in Singapore. I felt like leaving. No doubt the handful of faithful teammates did too.

  We prayed and encouraged others we knew around the world to pray as well. Then I started contacting pastors and other Christian leaders. In small groups and one-on-one, I learned their goals. I answered their questions about me, about YWAM, our goals. We prayed together.

  Meanwhile, our evangelism efforts continued. We served in a variety of situations and developed other ministries.

Gradually the barriers came down. Friendships developed. News of the reconciliation spread throughout Singapore's Christian community. Trust and cooperation developed.

  As a result we had more invitations to minister in the various churches than we had time to accept. We soon averaged 20 services a month in churches, youth groups, and Christian camps.

Evangelism is still the main emphasis in Singapore. But Singaporean young people now attend DTS. Some are serving the Lord in various places around the world. Many are serving God in their local churches.

  Bridges take time to build. There aren't any short cuts. 

 Dave, an American, serves on base council in Kona, Hawaii, and is director of YWAM's radio station, KFSH in Hilo on The Big Island.

December 28

 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 fifteen 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.

 From Taking Our Cities for God by John Dawson. Copyright 1989 by John Dawson. Published by Creation House. Used by permission. [from pages 146-147]

December 29

 You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Matthew 5:14.

  After 13 years of occupation by the Soviet Army and civil war, Afghanistan is a devastated nation, economically, emotionally and spiritually. With a historic tradition of being "closed" to the Gospel for centuries, most of its residents are Muslims.

  Yet in the midst of the agony and suffering of her people, God is revealing Himself to the Afghanis in many ways. Christian ministries are working in such varied ways as eye care and rehabilitation projects. Afghanis who accept Christ face extreme persecution, yet many hold strong to the faith.

  One young man was hired to serve as night watchman for a Christian ministry. Each morning he watched the workers, singly and in groups, as they prayed and sang to their God. The man was amazed at their consistency, their obvious devotion and the joy in their praises.

  Over several months a yearning grew in his heart to learn more about the God these young people served. He questioned them and studied their answers. He also questioned his own Islamic beliefs. After continuing to watch the lives of the Christians and researching both religions the young man made an open confession of faith in Jesus Christ.

  Despite persecution he became a radiant witness and influenced many others.

 Steve, an American, is Director for YWAM in South Asia.

December 30

 You are the light of the world. Matthew 5:14.

   The four-wheel-drive truck trudged along the dirt road of West Africa's Sahel desert. My dad, Loren Cunningham, and I had looked forward to this time alone together. As we drove, Dad shared with me his vision for a torch run. "It will involve young people, teenagers. They'll run the length and breadth of each continent. It's an opportunity for your generation to give of yourselves physically--something tangible toward the Great Commission," Dad said.

  Dad is a visionary, able to see God's plan and motivate others to get involved. It's one of the things I love about him.

He went on, "We'll start at the Mount of Olives, then carry it to Tel Aviv. From there the flame can be carried by airplane to other continents." 

  I rode along visualizing the event. One runner would start out, run a while, then pass the torch off to another runner. On and on, to the edge of the continent. Along the way other young people would tell the local people about Jesus. Christian literature would be given away.

  The heat of the dusty Sahel became oppressive. Dad grew quiet. After awhile I realized he was sick. Raging with fever.

We dragged on, to the YWAM base in the mountains of Togo where Dad was supposed to speak that night. Barely able to speak he said, "Son, here are my notes. Tell them about the torch run."

  "I'm only 16-years-old!  I can't speak."

  "Sure you can. Just tell them what God wants to do; that they can be a part of it."

  I sure was scared. But I couldn't let Dad down. While I was speaking God lit the flame in my heart. During that talk God passed to me the torch of missions from Dad's generation to mine.

 David, an American, is reaching the hidden people group of television and film makers through his production company, working out of the Los Angeles area.

December 31

 You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. Acts 1:8.

   Jesus had spoken those words only a few yards from where I now stood, instructing His followers to take His message to the ends of the world.

  Other sons and daughters of YWAM leaders were there with me: Our generation was putting into action those words of Jesus.

Dad lit the torch, passed it to me and I set off running. I knew as I passed the torch on the flame would be carried to Tel Aviv, put aboard a plane and used to light other flames around the world.

  Now, over a half million young people have carried that flame. Why are we involved in the work of our parents. Why have we embraced the call of God to reach our world--our generation for Christ?

  We're not riding on the coattails of our parents, or simply copying them. God has touched each of our lives individually. God has said to us, "I have my own vision for you. You're a new generation. You're blessed to stand on your parents' shoulders."

I look now at some of the next generation of YWAMers, my generation. We're reaching a new type of mission field; a twenty-first-century mission field. Misha McClung is working in journalism and the media; Chad Hawkins is studying political science; Gretchen Boyd plans to work in international relations; I'm running a film and television production company.

  When our parents began knocking on doors in various countries they were pioneers in their mission field. That is now the norm, but it wasn't then.

  Our parents have laid a strong foundation, they've given us a solid background, a solid missions basis. They've exposed us to new spheres of influence.

  We haven't broken the legacy, only our pulpit has changed.

 David, an American, is reaching the hidden people group of television and film makers through his production company, working out of the Los Angeles area.