|Devotional Book from Abba Ministries
Devotional Readings for FebruaryFebruary 1
*Because many of the writers serve in secure
countries, their full names are not listed.
Every place where you set your foot will be yours, Deuteronomy 11:24.
The torch flared in my hand as I picked up speed. Sweat glistened on the other runners as they passed beneath the street lamps of Century City. "I claim the resources of the west side for You, Lord! May the wealth, talent and influence of this city be used to proclaim Your love."
The tiny cluster of runners moved on into the night, grateful to know the Pacific Ocean was only 28 blocks away but dreading the thought that such a great adventure was coming to an end. Starting their journey at Plymouth Rock they had run from the East Coast to the West Coast as an act of intercessory prayer, claiming America's new generation for Jesus. Along the way they had been joined by thousands of children and teens who ran with flaming torches symbolizing the light of the Gospel.
I passed off the torch to my 13-year-old son, David. Does he really understand what we are doing? I thought. Is he beginning to comprehend the vast love of a heavenly Father who longs to pour healing, justice and mercy into the earth if we simply humble ourselves and ask for it?
A man exited a bar, stood on the sidewalk and stared at the runners in amazement. After all, it was after midnight. "We're running for Jesus," shouted a teenager and an amused smirk crossed the face of the bar patron. I could almost hear him thinking, Those crazy Christians, what do they hope to achieve?
God's people sometimes do crazy things, things that only make sense when seen with the eyes of faith. We are called to be salt and light, transforming the world around us, but the source of our power is invisible. The infinite meets the finite in the simple obedience of a believer's life.
From Taking Our Cities for God by John Dawson. Copyright 1989 by John Dawson. Published by Creation House, Lake Mary, Florida. Used by permission. [from pages 17,18]
How shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? Romans 10:14.
On the Sundays when Mom said, "Set the big table," we knew there would be guests from Who-Knows-Where. It might be the pastor's family. It just might be missionaries who had left families and homeland to take the Gospel across the sea. It might even include nationals from another land.
My two brothers, our sister, and I grew up without the usual misconceptions about missionaries being super-humans. To us they were folks "with skin on," with stories to tell of trekking through soggy underbrush to a remote village; of eating strange food prepared by grateful converts; of praying for rescue from under a capsized canoe after taking the Gospel to outlying islands.
Mom was active in many areas of church life. But no activity produced in her more enthusiasm than missions. Supporting our missionaries meant more than financial support and sharing a meal now and then. She was active in every missions-oriented group.
Should anyone be surprised, then, that all of Mom's children have become missionaries? We never felt Mom holding on to us or her grandchildren as we boarded a plane for distant lands. We knew she'd like us living close by, but she let us go.
Some of Mom's now-grown grandchildren are ministering as well. We gathered recently from Asia, Pacific Islands, Europe and the United States to celebrate Mom's seventieth birthday. Among the great-grandchildren present was one recently born in Belgium.
Others might not consider Mom a missionary. But she planted the seed of missions in us, exposed us to others who watered and nurtured it. I have no doubt that there are laid up for Mom many treasures in heaven.
Lord, You promised to bless the feet of those who preach the Gospel. Pour doubled blessings upon those who release their loved ones to go.
Beverly Caruso is one of the daughters of Dorothy Hall, an American. All four of Dorothy's children, and several grandchildren are missionaries. Many of her 45 descendents are or have done short-term missionary work.
I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent, Luke 15:7 NIV.
I first learned about Mario while working with Info/Action, a Youth With A Mission (YWAM) Montreal ministry designed to encourage Christians' involvement with AIDS victims. I agreed to pray for him but soon realized that prayer was not enough. One afternoon I called him and offered him my friendship.
Soon he was admitted to the hospital with pneumonia. I visited regularly and a close friendship formed. The physical anguish of his disease was heightened by the emotional trauma of isolation and loneliness. He knew he was too weak to care for himself, yet, once he was released from the hospital, he had no where to go.
Here was an obvious need I couldn't ignore. Before I could offer my home, my family would have to agree; already five of us were cramped into a small space. I was more concerned about their reaction to living with someone dying of AIDS. I needn't have worried. We welcomed Mario into our home.
The doctor instructed me in Mario's care. But it wasn't just his body that needed tending; it was his soul. Haunted by thoughts of death, he confessed he'd been pondering the things I'd said about Jesus. The day he moved in he made a commitment to Christ.
The changes in his life weren't always obvious. At times, I doubted his faith. Then, one day Mario asked if I'd read the Bible and pray with him. We continued this practice daily until his death one week later.
His last evening with us he asked me to forgive his impatience and anger and told me he'd asked God to take him home. The following morning I found him comatose on the bathroom floor. Two days later, I was by his side when he slipped into Jesus' arms.
Claudette, told by Pierre LeBel
The same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words, Romans 8:26 NASB.
We had been in France for nearly one year, trying to establish a Youth With A Mission (YWAM) ministry. The work was far more difficult than I could have imagined. I sat with my head down, shoulders sagging. Somber thoughts, as dark as the night surrounded me.
"Lord, why did I ever think I could get this YWAM base going? Where is my support? Where are all the people who said they would pray for me and this work? Lord, is there one person in this whole world who is interceding for me?"
I heard an inner voice in my spirit. "Yes David, Me."
Cares fell away; my shoulders raised along with my spirit and voice.
Thank You, thank You, Lord. I praise You. I worship You. You are my help in weakness. You are my rock, my fortress, the lifter of my head."
How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! Psalm 139:17
In Shatin, Hong Kong, far from family and friends in the U.S., our first child was born. My husband and I had lived communally during most of our marriage; in Shatin we shared a home with three other couples. They had become our family.
We had decided as a group that it would be best for us to live as individual family units. Now, five days after our son was born, we had to move. This was a faith stretcher for us--starting out alone with a new baby. Because we had lived with others, we had little furniture. Now we needed baby items too.
Little by little we saw God provide everything from a washing machine and furniture to dishes and baby clothes.
One day as I looked at my scraggly hair in the mirror, I wished I could have a permanent. I quickly dismissed the thought as frivolous. We still needed a refrigerator.
I talked to my Father about it. "Lord, I'd like to have a permanent."
He said, "I'd like to give you one."
"But how, Lord? How can I justify spending so much, when we have so little? Send it through my Mom, Lord, then I'll know it's okay."
My husband agreed.
The next week, I received a letter from my mother. Out fell a check, with a note attached. "This is specifically for you to get a permanent."
Lord, when I feel most unloved and uncared-for, You have intimate knowledge of me and my needs. How wonderful are Your works.
Terrie, an American, works in discipleship and as ahomemaker in Hong Kong.
The steps of a man are established by the Lord; and he delights in his way, Psalm 37:23 NASB.
In preparation for the Youth With A Mission (YWAM) Torch run in 1988, Maristela Araujo, my wife Rocha, and I and set out from Recife in the center of Brazil for Monte Video, a southern coastal city in Uruguay. We had enough money to reach our first stop in Rio de Janeiro. We went from one YWAM based city to another, and in each shared the story of the torch. We hoped for enough contributions to go on to the next city. Our resources were depleted by the time we reached the border town of Rivera, between Brazil and Uruguay.
Montevideo was some eight hours away. We decided to go to the town square about 9:00 that morning and pray about money to reach Montevideo, and for Uruguayan visas. We all felt at peace as we searched for the government office to apply for visas.
As we left the building, a car pulled up beside us. The driver introduced himself as Mr. Wilson of the Brazilian consulate. He said, "I was praying at 9:00, and the Holy Spirit instructed me to get in my car and drive toward the consulate, where I would meet three young people who need help. Are you the ones?"
We told our story, and praised the Lord together. When Mr. Wilson left, he told us to return to the consulate at 3:00 that afternoon.
When we returned we found three visas, three airline tickets to Montevideo, plus money waiting for us.
We were still awed as we boarded the plane, the first commercial plane trip for my wife and me.
We were able to give a generous thank-offering at the YWAM base in Montevideo and still had enough for our journey back.
Written by Tony.
For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins, Matthew 6:14-15.
If you don't forgive, you shut off God's forgiveness. And it's His forgiveness that is holding the world together. Sin and selfishness are rampant on earth. Unless there is forgiveness, the world will blow apart at the seams.
When Corrie ten Boom got out of the concentration camp in Germany where she was held during World War II, she told God she would go anywhere to work for Him--except Germany! The Lord asked her to go to Germany--not only for her own healing, but for a healing of the German people.
After Corrie spoke in an auditorium there one day, a man came up to the platform. He had been a guard at one of the prison camps. He asked Corrie for her forgiveness. She stood there, praying silently, "God, I can't forgive him! He and the others are responsible for my sister's death!"
The Lord said, "Forgive him for My sake." She extended her hand, and at the moment when their hands clasped, she said a rush of forgiveness flowed through her. The feeling of forgiveness followed the act of her will.
Forgiveness is a choice. It is not optional for Christians: it is a command. God said, "I can't forgive you unless you forgive others." It is necessary for your mental, spiritual, and even physical health. You must forgive.
Lord, help me to make the decision to forgive others, then to trust You to change my feelings to match my decision.
From Winning God's Way by Loren Cunningham with Janice Rogers. Copyright 1988 by Loren Cunningham. Published by YWAM Publishing, Seattle, Washington. Used by permission. [from pages 78-79]
Before they call I will answer; while they are speaking I will hear, Isaiah 65:24.
Work, work, work, became the order of the day at the newly acquired Youth With A Mission (YWAM) base in France. Like the children who once lived there, he old orphanage buildings needed dedicated care and attention.
One by one, the buildings took shape, as workers repaired what could be repaired, and replaced what could not.
Occasionally, an old repaired part gave out. Thus, in the coldest part of winter, the central heating broke down. We dressed in layers, and tried to work in the cold. I sat in my office dressed in my heaviest winter coat, when the phone rang.
I recognized the voice of a friend who asked bluntly, Are you cold?"
Well ah yes, but how did you know?"
My wife had a dream, and she saw you all shivering. Are you out of fuel?"
"No, our central heating is not working," I answered.
"Call in a repairman, and send me the bill," he said.
The repairman was unable to come before I received another call from the same man asking if the repairman had come.
When I told him the workman was delayed, he asked me to get him all the information on the type of burner we had. I did, and he said, he'd take care of it. Not long afterwards, a workman arrived with all the right parts; warm air again began circulating through the building.
Thank You, Father, that You still speak to people today.
Written by Daniel.
And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life, Matthew 19:29.
Moving and making new friends was a regular occurrence for our Air Force family. My brothers and sisters were my only permanent friends. We had our sibling rivalries, but when we were old enough to be on our own we all settled near one another. Our families frequently ate and played together. We even did household projects together.
When God called my husband and me to work with Youth With A Mission (YWAM) in the Philippines I had mixed feelings: excitement and dread. I wondered how I would ever survive apart from my family.
I cried out to God for His grace and peace. How many times had I said I would go wherever He directed, and do whatever He asked? Now I wanted to obey Him, joyfully.
It has been over four years since that original departure day. God has filled to overflowing the hole caused by family left behind. In our very first month in the Philippines we shared a big old house with people from Panama, Brazil, the United States, Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong, England, Holland, Germany, France, and the Philippines! God has made our lives rich in relationships with many precious people.
Although it is still a sacrifice to live apart from family, there is little time or opportunity to feel homesick. The rewards of obedience have far outweighed any sacrifices we've made. His Word is true and He can be trusted.
Bobbie, a Canadian, and her husband are Discipleship Training School (DTS) directors and leaders in Baguio City, Philippines.
It came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took an harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him, I Samuel 16:23.
I was in Roskilde, Denmark, for an outreach at one of Europe's largest outdoor rock festivals. We set up a large tent on the festival grounds where we presented dramas and music. Tables and chairs were provided to encourage one-on-one conversations.
Drugs and alcohol flowed freely; cults offered every form of nirvana. Topless women sold jewelry. Still, there was also opportunity to talk about the Lord.
One evening it was raining. Our tent soon became a shelter for many drunk or stoned young people. The peace that had been so evident earlier was quickly replaced by tension and aggression.
Knowing something had to be done fast, the leader asked me to sing. Without thinking about it I agreed.
What have I done? I soon wondered. They don't want to hear my kind of music! They'll become even more aggressive. God, what shall I do?
Very clearly He spoke to my spirit, "Worship me."
I crept to the piano and quietly played and sang songs that honor Christ. As music filled the tent, His peace and anointing came. The atmosphere changed. Aggression vanished. Several of our team members entered into deep conversations about the Lord with rock-and-rollers.
A huge young man with spiked green hair started toward me. I couldn't take my eyes off the leather and chains he was wearing. Two of our men tried to stop him.
"No, no!" he whispered. "I don't want to hurt her. I like her music."
I praise You, Lord that even in ungodly settings, Your sweet Spirit can bring peace to troubled hearts.
Lori, an American, is part of the leadership of YWAM Poland.
Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation, Mark 16:15.
In the early summer of 1974, I was sitting with hundreds of other young travelers in Amsterdam's Vondel Park. It seemed an unlikely place for someone who had recently been drafted from high school into professional baseball. I was supposed to have life by the tail; now I was searching for its meaning in the hashish-filled air of Amsterdam, Holland. The "hippie trail" began in Amsterdam and wound its way across Europe and the Middle East before ending in the Far East, where gurus and drugs were plentiful. Like many other young travelers, I had been wandering around on the trail for several months.
As I sat in Vondel Park pondering where to go next, a young couple sat down beside me. Although they wore loose Indian-type clothing and had the long hair and earrings typical of so many on the trail, this couple was different from the others I had met along the way. A conversation soon developed, and I found myself enjoying their company. They were happy and relaxed.
As we talked, I asked them what they were doing in Amsterdam. They gave me an unexpected answer. "We live in a Christian community on two houseboats called 'The Ark,' just behind the central train station." They invited me for some tea and dinner at The Ark. I said "yes," thinking that someday when I had nothing else to do, it might be interesting to visit them.
"How about tonight?" they asked excitedly. "In fact, why don't you come with us right now?" Before I knew it, I was on a tram with my backpack, heading for The Ark.
From A Heart for Others by Andrew Jackson. Copyright 1992 by Andrew Jackson. Published by YWAM Publishing, Seattle Washington. Used by permission. [from pages 117-118]
As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts, Isaiah 55:9.
We had been ministering for several weeks in Germany. Our hosts were our in-laws, Ken and Peggy, who pastor U.S. military personnel in Nurnberg, Germany.
I had been praying about what God wanted me to do during the two weeks my wife would be in Switzerland leading a Writer's Seminar but God seemed to be silent. I knew Peggy regularly spends an hour of most nights in prayer. Peg believed God was saying I should minister in Czechoslovakia.
Ken and Peggy's home in Nurnberg is only four hours from Pilzen, Czechoslovakia. They arranged for me to speak the next week-end to the leadership of a church in Pilzen.
After the long drive, my in-laws returned to Nurnberg. How refreshed I was to share with Czech brothers in Christ, so newly freed from communism. Afterward I spoke again, this time to the entire congregation.
I planned to sleep in the church building and ride the train back to Nurnberg the next morning if God didn't open doors for further ministry. God had other plans.
At the end of the evening service a young professor from England offered me his extra bed. He had been in Czechoslovakia only a few weeks, but already was highly respected by his fellow teachers at Pilzen University. He quickly had gained a grasp of the Czech language and his students were speedily learning English.
"We're going to study religious words today," he told his students the first day when he introduced me. In class after class tears freely coursed down faces as the students heard, most everyone for the first time, of Jesus who could forgive their sins. This truly was harvest time for the Lord.
God knew when my wife left for Switzerland what He had planned. He simply waited to unfold it for me, in His time.
Peter, an American, travels often to preach and teach in churches and missions.
Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver, 2 Corinthians, 9:7.
For years I watched my husband give generously. I wasn't a giver. I was the one who asked, "Are you sure we can afford to give this?" Now, at the age of 54 I was a recent widow, on staff with Youth With A Mission (YWAM).
A young man felt God wanted him to give away his guitar and asked the staff to pray with him for a new one.
The Lord spoke to my heart to buy it for him. Thinking it would probably cost about $200, I answered, "I'm open to that, Lord."
I was shocked when the young man told me, "What I need is an acoustical guitar. I will come to about $1,000."
It wasn't that I lacked the money to give, although it was a significant amount to me. I was concerned about being a responsible giver.
I knew a widow should seek confirmation from spiritual leadership in such a matter. I went to Loren Cunningham and asked, "Would it be good stewardship to give a person $1,000 for a guitar?"
Loren knew about acoustical guitars and explained that this young man needed this kind for his ministry. "It will last forever and be a tremendous boost to him and his career as a songwriter and recording artist," he said.
I gave the money for the guitar anonymously.
The young man was thrilled. His response was a confirmation to me that I had heard from God.
The makers of quality guitars were on strike at the time, but agreed to make it up special for him. One of the many uses of that guitar was to make the album, Zion Mountain Folk.
` It wasn't until mid-life that I learned first hand the truth of the Scripture: It truly is more blessed to give than to receive. Now I understood that because God is the greatest giver of all, He loves to share this joy with us. It's a part of His justice system.
Thank you, Lord, for sharing with me the joy of giving. Make me sensitive to other opportunities to bless others through me.
Marcella, an American, is now retired and living in Washington State in the USA.
I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made, Psalm 139:14.
When I was about nine years old, one of my brothers, who was ten-and-a-half years old, told me he had asked my father (an outstanding Christian, evangelist, and Bible teacher) how it was that he could be like my father, and yet have come from inside my mother.
My father had answered my brother in the natural, direct way in which he communicated everything, telling him the facts about conception. My brother, in turn, related them to me in exactly the same way.
A little later, while on my own, walking down a path toward the beach, I was pondering this new thing I'd learned about how life was formed. I was filled with awe, and wonder, and worship, and love to God. I marveled at His power, His knowledge, and His wisdom that He had worked out a plan as Creator in making two bodies that would fit together when they needed to, in order to keep the human race propagated. I gave Him the pure worship that was due to Him. God, sex, naturalness, purity, and worship have always been correlated in my thinking. God has done everything to make those factors correlate in the human race. Satan has done everything to distort and separate them. The purest mind in the universe thought up the whole fantastic idea of sexual relations between men and women. The purer our minds are, the more we'll worship God for this wonderful gift.
God created men and women with a desire for sexual expression, and He has given clear guidelines for that fulfillment within marriage and only within marriage. In His infinite knowledge, wisdom, justice, and love, He knows what is best for us spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically. Humility bows to that, and obeys.
How wonderfully You created us, Lord. Keep me pure in times of temptation.
From Intimate Friendship with God by Joy Dawson. Copyright 1986 by Joy Dawson. Published by Chosen Books, Fleming H. Revell Company, Old Tappan, New Jersey. [from page 84-85]
By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus' name and the faith that comes through him that has given this complete healing, Acts 3:16.
Most people avoided this part of town. But this was where I spent most of my time, taking medicine, food and when possible, clothing to the children living on the streets of Rio, Brazil.
I heard my name. My friend, Rose, a prostitute, came running toward us. At thirty, she looked much older. She had spent most nights on the streets. Frightened, she pleaded with my friend and me to come and help. I started to pray. She led us up a dark alley. Water from the recent rain was still pouring off the roofs of the tin huts on either side of us.
I didn't know what to expect as she opened the door to a small wooden hut. My heart pounded. The smell of dampness and human sweat filled the air. Little light fell on a body of a young boy lying on a small bed.
Anderson's face was covered in blood. He was delirious with pain. An enemy had stuck a knife in his cheek and forehead, sliced half his ear off, and then stuck it in his neck. He wouldn't go to a hospital because of the police. First aid didn't help him much; he was losing blood.
Three of us gathered around him and started to pray. Rose was looking on. Suddenly an incredible sense of the power of God filled the room. Rose started crying.
A few days later I saw Anderson. His deep wounds were nearly healed. There was only a scratch on his ear. He was telling everyone, "Jesus has healed me!"
Thank You, for being a Father to homeless children. Send brothers and sisters to them to become their families.
Sarah, from England, works with street children in Brazil.
The LORD will go before you, Isaiah 52:12.
Nineteen years after my arrest and interrogation in Albania I returned recently for a visit. I had expected to be thrilled. Instead, I was appalled.
Everything was one hundred times worse than before. The country was rampant with plunder and spoil, violence and crime. They had known dictatorship, now freedom had come. But without a solid government, anarchy reigned. Seventy percent of its adults were unemployed.
Crops are still planted and harvested with bare hands; distribution is almost nonexistent. All staple food items must be brought in from Greece under threat of being stolen. Moamar Gadafi has financed the republication of the Koran. The government leader is a devout Muslim. Cults are pouring in missionaries and literature.
Has God truly answered the prayers of Christians through these years?
Indeed, He has!
Some Christians who fled to the mountains forty years ago when Communism took control, have come out of hiding, stronger in their faith. They're so touched when they realize the world did not forget them; that people were praying for them.
Several years ago God began to call missionaries to southern Yugoslavia to work with its large population of Albanians. By the time the nation gained its freedom, 40 missionaries had learned the Albanian language. Most are now working in Albania. Church services in many parts of the country are well attended by believers and seekers.
Workers from around the world have made long-term commitments. They are planting churches, helping the new government write God-based educational materials, operating health clinics, and preparing for the first Albanian Discipleship Training School (DTS).
The goal is to see Albanians so well established that they will plant the churches. The church in Albania must have its own Albanian identity, not one super-imposed upon it from outside.
God, raise up among the nationals of the newly freed lands leaders who will influence their nations toward godliness.
Reona is from England.
We have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father, Romans 8:15.
Sara Larsson, a gentle blonde-haired sister from Sweden shared a room with me in Taiwan. We both desired to be obedient to the calling of God upon our lives. We both joined Youth With A Mission (YWAM) in 1990.
One day our apartment ran out of gas. We knew that if we called the serviceman to bring a new tank of gas, we would have to pay half the cost, our landlord would pay the other. In my Chinese culture, people do not like to lose face, so I did not want to tell Sara I had no money. Instead, I asked God to supply the gas.
Though no fresh supply was delivered, our supply of gas lasted for 40 days more.
Many times, just when my money ran out, God would prompt Sara to put money and a note with encouraging words on my desk. Her obedience to the Lord helped me in my first hesitant attempts to step out in faith to serve God.
Through Sara's example I learned to trust God in situations that seemed impossible. One day we visited a friend whose refrigerator had broken down. The three of us lay our hands on the refrigerator and prayed in one accord for God to resurrect it from the dead. Afterward the refrigerator worked normally again.
For an evangelistic outreach to Spain, I needed a huge sum of money. God provided more than I needed. At the end of the outreach I was able to give away what was left over.
When I returned to Taiwan, God had my living expenses waiting for me.
What wonderful experiences await those who trust in Him.
Give and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again (Luke 6:38).
Darla, a Taiwanese, serves on the Discipleship Training School (DTS) staff in Taiwan.
Ye shall receive power after that the Holy Spirit is come upon you, and ye shall be witnesses unto me…, Acts 1:8.
When I was about six months old in my relationship with the Lord, I worked at a spinach cannery. While I didn't know many Bible verses, I had a story to tell. I was rejected by many as I tried to share the good news with them, but some like Lorraine, listened. She was a street-wise young woman who came to work every day with a switchblade in her pocket. Both Lorraine and her tough boyfriend named Louie rejected the Lord at first, and Louie even threatened to stab me. To make a long story short, I didn't get stabbed Lorraine got saved, and Louie got fired! Today Lorraine sings in an Assembly of God choir.
Norman and I worked together on the cannery assembly line. He argued with me for weeks about the irrelevancy of the Gospel and how he believed all roads led to God. But God got him before spinach season was over, and today he's a fire fighter for Christ!
Eileen worked further along the same assembly line and used to ask me questions about God and the Bible during our ten minute breaks. I couldn't answer many of her questions straight away and often had to do some homework. But Eileen eventually gave her life to Jesus as well.
Pat Brown threw the tract I gave her on the ground in disgust. Later, though, she accepted Jesus as her Lord and is actively involved in a full-gospel church today. At first, Janice covered her emptiness by rejecting my witness, but later I had the privilege of both leading her to Christ and baptizing her. She is now serving the Lord in Minnesota.
Lord, help me to let my light shine wherever I am.
From Bringin' 'Em Back Alive by Danny Lehmann. Copyright 1987 by Danny Lehmann. Published by Whitaker House, Springdale, Pennsylvania. Used by permission. [from pages 88-89]
I was about ten years old during the Los Angeles Olympic Outreach; I was part of a King's Kids performing group. We had been doing several performances a day but were given a day off. We went to a park to celebrate the birthday of one of our youngest team members.
During the festivities a scraggly looking man about 40-years-old emerged from nearby bushes. He was looking through the trashcan for something to eat.
Someone called him over and invited him to join us for birthday cake. I innocently asked him about where he lived. He was homeless. Then I asked if I could pray for him. He seemed pleased by that. Then he asked if I would sing for him. Another girl joined me. I was amazed when he began crying. After several worship songs I asked him why he was crying. He said he had never heard such pure, sweet things before.
Some of our leaders entered the conversation. We learned his name was Kevin, and that he had ruined his life with alcohol and bitterness. His wife divorced him and he hadn't seen his child. Yet, he said, he hadn't cried for 35 years.
He said he was so impressed that I wasn't afraid of him and that my childish softness, my innocence and genuineness touched his spirit.
We were all blessed when he asked, "Can I serve you guys?" He came back to the church where we were staying and helped in the kitchen, cooking our food and washing our dishes.
Kevin didn't come to the Lord right away. But after some time he came back and asked us to pray for him to become a Christian.
Later he attended a Discipleship Training School (DTS) on The Anastasis. I saw him a number of times after that. Each time he told me, "You've turned my life around, you've blessed me." But I reminded him that it was Jesus, not me.
Thank You that every soul is precious in Your sight.
Kiersten, an American, is finishing her high school education in Norway.
May the God of peace...equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ.., Hebrews 13:20,21 NIV.
One of the most blessed and freeing truths the Bible teaches is that God will give us everything we need to do His will and to please Him. Often we find ourselves working harder and harder, serving and ministering, trying to appease Him through our busyness. Instead we need to realize that our well-meant efforts are not what bring joy to His heart.
If you seem to be always striving yet never quite achieving in your human attempts to please the Lord, you have missed an important revelation. The Scripture says He works in us what is pleasing to Him. We are not responsible for doing it alone. If we do not understand this, we will never know joy in our lives; for true joy comes in the assurance that we are pleasing in His sight.
Most of my life I tried too hard. I suffered under the misconception that my praise was never pure enough or my service worthy enough. Many of my prayers began with, "Lord, forgive me," because I was sure I had grieved Him in some way. What freedom came into my life when I began to understand that my obedience, praise, humility, love for my wife, brokenness over sin, and faithfulness in small areas were what really pleased Him. Now I have the peace of knowing that I reflect His glory and that He is proud to call me His child.
Jim, a German, is coordinator of worship and music in Hurlack, Germany.
If you have seen me you have seen the Father, John 1:18.
"What does God look lilke, Daddy?"
I can remember struggling one night several years ago with how to answer the question posed by my then five-year-old daughter, Misha. As I pondered Misha's question, I realized that in her childlike simplicity she had asked a question that many people want answered. Perhaps adults state it differently, but the basic question is still the same. "If there is a God, what is He like?"
The Bible says that God is not a finite being like you and me, but He has made Himself known to us in such a clear, understandable way that we can know what He is like. "No one has ever seen God; the only son...he has made him known", John 1:18.
I told my daughter what God looks like. I told her that He looks like Jesus. In fact, Jesus once said, "If you have seen me you have seen the Father", John 14:9. Jesus is God in human form. We find many examples of how Jesus revealed the Father to us in the Bible. One example of this is found when some Jewish mothers wanted Jesus to bless their children, but His disciples thought He was too busy, too important to be bothered by these mothers. But Jesus scolded His disciples and told them to bring the children to Him. He took the children in His arms and talked to them. He had time for them, He had time to listen to their stories and hear about their games. He didn't mind getting dirty from little kids sitting on his lap, runny noses and all. Through seeing how Jesus had time for the little children, we learn that God has time for people. He cares, even about the little things in life. He is patient. God the Father looks like His Son.
Mold me into Your image, Lord. I want to model before my children a Christ-like spirit.
Taken from Father Heart of God by Floyd McClung. Copyright 1985 Floyd McClung, Jr. Published by Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, Oregon. Used by permission. [from pages 18-19]
At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you, Matthew 10:19--20).
Our open-air worship time in Paris was interrupted by the loud voice of a police officer, "Gather your things and leave the square!"
As I grabbed my backpack to leave, a fellow team member summoned me over to a shabby young man seated on the cool pavement. He introduced himself as Neil and explained that he was an Australian who had saved a great deal of money for this summer trip to Europe.
I noticed a look of total despair in his eyes and was about to share the Good News about Jesus, when the Lord spoke clearly to my heart, "Do not speak to him about Me yet."
Instead I asked how his trip was going. He told about his funds being lost in transit between Melbourne and Rome; of eating only bread and sleeping on the streets. He seemed to have lost all hope.
After listening to his story, I felt free to say, "I know Someone who can help you."
Neil lifted his head enough to jeer, "What, religion?"
"No," I responded, "a relationship."
He listened as I described the love Jesus demonstrated for him on the Cross and how he could experience that love through faith and repentance. As I finished I noticed a flicker of hope appear in his eyes.
As tears streaked down his dirty face, Neil asked Jesus to be his Forever Friend.
I took Neil back to the church where we were staying and he ate supper with us. He wept as he ate, explaining his difficulty at accepting such help. He said he had never experienced love, even from his own parents.
We took a collection for Neil and prayed about his financial situation. After a few days he received his money from Rome.
Lord, help me not to give up when things don't go the way I plan them. Allow me the grace to wait patiently for Your timing.
Scott is an American.
Get thee out...to a land that I will show thee, Genesis 12:1.
From the first day I met Steven I knew he was called of God to Poland. Now, not quite a year after our wedding, we had told all our wonderful friends at Youth With A Mission in Holland goodbye. We sat in our hotel room in Krakow, not knowing what to do next, wondering whether we had indeed heard from God.
The only legal way for foreigners to live in Poland was to establish a business or study in the University. We would become student-missionaries.
While still in Holland we had applied to Jagiellonian University in Krakow, but had heard nothing for months. Eventually, we began calling the Polish Embassy regularly. They kept repeating, "We are sure you will be accepted, but we haven't heard from Warsaw yet."
After more prayer, we felt it was definitely time to go to Poland. On the designated date we still had not heard from the University. With tourist visas in hand we left.
The Registrar at the University was surprised to see us. "But, I don't have your names," she said. "This is a problem." She checked with the Ministry of Education and said we should come back the next day.
We walked quietly through the rainy streets of the old town and back to the hotel. Fear and doubt lingered through the longest day and night of our lives.
The next morning our stomachs felt like knots as we climbed the stairs to ask the registrar for the decision.
"You can stay," she said smiling.
Out hearts leaped with joy as we raced out into the square. "Thank You, God," we shouted, wondering how we ever could have doubted Him.
Only God knew the wondrous changes about to take place in Eastern Europe in the next few months of 1989, and why He wanted us there.
When I'm too busy to remember to call on You, Father, help me to remember You're always ready to answer when I call.
Lori, Americans, is part of the leadership of YWAM Poland.
So neither he who plants nor he who water is anything, but only God, who makes things grow, 1 Corinthians 3:7.
When I first arrived in American Samoa I had the name of only one person. A few days later I met one of those who encouraged me to stay and start a ministry. He was a skinny, young Christian cameraman at the government television studio named Sosene.
As the days and weeks passed a question grew in me: "God, what am I doing here?" I had an effective ministry in Hawaii as director of Teen Challenge on Oahu. The Holy Spirit was drawing young people from drugs and rebellion. It was 1974, the height of the Jesus Movement. Waikiki for me was a cross-cultural mission field.
I learned Samoa had at least one church in every village with over 98% of the population faithfully attending church. Am I really needed here? I wondered.
Soon God answered that question, at least in part. I became aware of the widespread infection of sin: immorality, alcohol abuse, anger, and violence. Everyone knew about God, but few knew God as their personal friend, as their own Savior and Lord. I stayed five years to pioneer YWAM Samoa.
Ministry in Hawaii had been characterized by much observable fruit. Observable fruit in Samoa was rare. More than once I asked the question again, God, what am I doing here? Oh, there was the occasional conversion. Our Christian bookstore, village film ministry, weekly radio broadcasts and other ministries planted seeds and helped build bridges of friendship for future cooperation and ministry.
Sometimes fruit is only observable over long periods of time. That young, skinny Samoan I met when I first arrived has influenced many other Samoans with the Gospel.
Today Sosene serves as director of Island Breeze, and all of South Pacific YWAM. Other Samoans are leading YWAM ministries in at least a dozen countries. Now more than 50 Samoans serve full-time with YWAM around the world.
Davl, an American, serves on base council in Kona, Hawaii, and is director of Youth With A Mission's radio station, KFSH in Hilo.
He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God, Micah 6:8
It says in the Bible that "Abraham walked with God... Noah walked with God...Enoch walked with God." When we walk with someone we can talk to them all the time, even as we're busy with other things. We can talk to the Lord while we are washing dishes, ironing, driving or on the train to work. We often overlook times in our schedule when we can be with the Lord. Time management helps us learn to use all our time well and effectively.
When we walk with someone we can also be silent. In fact, the better we know he person we're walking with, the more relaxed we are in their presence. We often just enjoy being with them. We also listen when we walk with them for whatever they might have to say. As we walk with God through our daily lives we need to be careful not to miss the joy of being with Him and the opportunity of hearing Him speak to us. We do not have to be down on our knees for Him to speak. He loves to converse with us throughout the day.
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 30-31]
Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free, John 8:32 NIV.
Jesus states in the book of John that He came into the world to testify to the truth and that everyone on the side of truth listens to Him. Over and over, He proclaims that He is telling us the truth.
His truths are as meaningful for us today as they were when He first spoke them. The principles stated in the Bible will never change. They remain the same today as they were yesterday and always will be because they come directly from God.
At times, I have let myself be carried along by my feelings or by whatever seemed good to me at the time. In doing so, I became a slave to my own desires and lost the freedom I had found in Christ. In the Kingdom of God, there is no place for slaves.
Whenever I followed my own dictates, I found myself in an even worse condition than I was before. However, whenever I have chosen to follow the truths of the Bible and listened to and obeyed those whom God has put over me for my own good, I've experienced true freedom, victory, and that peace which Paul talked about in his letter to the Philippians, the peace of God which transcends all understanding.
True freedom doesn't come from doing whatever we want, but in choosing to do what is right. Everyone who lives according to the truth is set free.
Pilar, a Spaniard, is working as a bilingual secretary in Spain.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercy and comfort, who consoles and comforts us in every trouble, so that we may also be able to console those who are in trouble or distress... 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 AMP.
A team from Youth With A Mission work with homeless street kids in Belo Horizante, Brazil. During the day, they minister at the House of Refuge. At night they visit kids where they "live" on the streets.
One night, a team of eleven had attracted about 30 kids. A group of policemen ran up and began beating our team members. Mati, a Samoan, was accused of being a gang leader and was hauled off in a police car. The kids scattered. They knew that capture by police meant certain torture, even sometimes death.
The shocked team members quickly returned to the staff house and woke all the others. While several interceded for Mati, others got on the phones to call Brazilian friends who might help. A Christian Lt. Colonel of the military police, set to work immediately. After many anxious hours, through his help and influence, Mati was released.
Badly beaten, and barely conscious, Mati was taken to the hospital. In only one week he was home. In another week he was back on the streets. The children welcomed him as a hero.
Mati now looked at the children with new eyes of love and understanding--a gift born out of his own suffering.
Jeannette and her husband, both from the Netherlands, work with street children in Brazil.
In your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you.., I Peter 3:15 NIV.
Our team from the midlands of England was ministering in Ghana, West Africa. My partner and I were taken to the Ahinsin Methodist Church outside the city of Kumassi. We were to preach and pray for the sick.
We enjoyed the African praise and music. Then we gave a message about trusting God's love.
First a woman was healed of heart problems. This prompted almost the entire congregation to move toward the front for prayer. Others also received healing.
Through an interpreter a pregnant woman explained that her doctor told her the child she was carrying had been dead for two days. He planned to remove it surgically the next day if it didn't come naturally. She didn't seem to believe for a healing; simply that God would extend His love to her through our prayers.
I thought of Peter's words in his first epistle. Am I ready to give a defense or testimony of what God will do? I wondered.
When I prayed for her, nothing seemed to happen. I prayed again. This time I somehow sensed the Holy Spirit's work.
As she was returning to her seat I felt an incredibly intense love for her. I knew it had to be God sharing a part of His love, and hurt, for her with me.
I called her back to the front. I had such a sense of assurance, I was willing to trust my reputation on what would happen next.
With a faith only God could provide I spoke life to the child within her womb.
Her excitement made the results obvious. The child was moving and kicking inside her. Her gratefulness and excitement were a joy for all present.
Within hours the child was born alive and is now healthy and thriving.
I praise You, Lord, that You choose to be involved in our lives.
Stephen, is director of YWAM for South West England.
Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long, Psalm 25:5.
After four years of running a bed and breakfast inn I longed to have a home just for our family. After discussion and prayer, my husband and I decided to sell.
Thus in the early spring of l987, we began house hunting. We looked at both property and houses, trying to decide whether to build or buy. Nothing seemed right.
In May, Youth With A Mission (YWAM)'s Mercy Ship the m/v Anastasis docked in Sacramento. We took our daughters, Kari and Kristen, to tour the ship. I listened to the guide describe the ministry of the ship. I was surprised to feel again a long-buried desire to work in missions.
"I think I could do this," I said excitedly. My husband's eyes grew wide with surprise. He knew how easily I get seasick and that I hate confined space.
His own interest was growing though, despite our first disappointment with
missions. Years before, we had served a short time with YWAM. Family and friends had promised financial support, but it never came. After seven months we left, disillusioned with God and with faith missions.
God's love continued working in us. During the following 12 years we grew in our understanding of Him. He worked on our doubts and hurts. In the process we realized it had been our choice to work in missions, not one made after prayer and seeking God's will. Now, with fresh vision, we sought God's desire.
It took 15 months of prayer and preparation before we decided to enter a school especially for those in mid-life, called Crossroads Discipleship Training School.
As we shared our plans with others, money came effortlessly for school fees and its subsequent cross-cultural outreach! This time, we knew God was leading our family and those who would back us with their prayers and financial support.
Sandi, an American, works as manager of the bookstore at YWAM's University of the Nations campus in Kona, Hawaii, USA.