|Devotional Book from Abba Ministries
*Because many of the writers serve in secure
countries, their full names are not listed.
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 NIV.
I had always dreamed of being a television producer. My dream had come true, but I wasn’t satisfied. The money and glamorous lifestyle seemed suddenly meaningless. I had a yearning to please the One I love-the One who had given me more love, peace, joy, and forgiveness than anyone I’d every met before-Jesus Christ
He had a plan for my life, a relationship with ME! Finally, I dared to ask: "Lord, what do You want me to do, where do You want me to go?"
Secretly I was hoping to hear "Stay where you are." But I heard clearly, "Brazil, Rio!"
I thought, What? Where? I grabbed the map.
That night I heard Loren Cunningham, founder of the international, interdenominational mission group, Youth With A Mission (YWAM), challenging people to go into missions. Almost reluctantly, I stood with others to indicate my willingness to become a missionary.
After the meeting I wondered how could I leave my job, my apartment, my family, my friends. Yet, six months later I could still think of nothing else. Every time I opened the newspaper or turned on the radio or TV I seemed to hear about Rio!
I prayed often for Brazil. I asked God what I could possibly do for that country. It was as though God had been waiting for me to ask. A picture formed in my mind of the Pied Piper with many children following on the streets dancing and singing.
I had no idea there were children on the streets of Rio de Janeiro. Later I met someone who confirmed, first hand, that there were many children living on the city’s streets, dying of hunger, even being killed.
I couldn't stay in England. I had to obey because it was important to God. I'm so glad I did for I have never known such joy.
Sarah, from England, works with street children in Brazil.
The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded, I Corinthians 3:8 NIV.
The Canary Islands, off the west African coast, served as port of call for Russian vessels to refuel and replenish their provisions. During their shore leaves the sailors had little to do.
We couldn’t evangelize in their home country, but we could reach tehm in this neutral location. So a group of us went to the Canary Islands to share Christ with them. At the zoo in Las Palmas one day, a young Christian asked a sailor, "Can you believe that some people believe we came from these monkeys?"
The sailor answered, "Don't you believe that? What do you believe?" In the next few moments, he heard, for the first time about God's creation and His plan for mankind to serve Him.
We weren't discouraged at the handful of conversions we witnessed. We knew we were tilling the soil and removing rocks in order for others to plant seeds and bring a harvest.
Years later we received a letter from the son of a long-term missionary to the Canaries who had just returned from visiting Russia. Our friend introduced himself to a Russian pastor, and was astounded to hear that he was from the Canary Islands.
"That's amazing. I was a sailor in Las Palmas. A group of young people shared Jesus with me there. They gave me a Bible which I read from cover to cover on the way home from that trip. Once home I found believers who helped me grow in God."
Help me, Father, to remember I only must do my part in sharing Christ with others; that You have others who will water, till, and reap in Your harvest.
Al, an American, leads YWAM's Slovic Ministries.
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance 2 Peter 3:9 NIV.
Youth With A Mission (YWAM) has a strong emphasis on evangelism, but by no means are we all born evangelists. However, each person in the mission is furthering the cause of the Gospel. Some make dinner for drama teams. Others write brochures to encourage people to participate in overseas outreaches. Still others prepare financial records and oversee day-to-day logistical operations. Our mission would be in total disarray if it were not for these people.
The same is true within the context of the local church. Not everyone can or wants to be at the front preaching or leading a Sunday-school class. Yet, all have their parts to play. Perhaps there are children in the neighborhood who would like to attend Sunday school if someone encouraged them and provided rides on Sunday mornings. The pastor cannot personally invited everyone in the area to attend church, but the combined effort of those in the church could mean an influx of potential converts.
Father, help me to understand my place in Your Body, and to function in it.
From Wholehearted...Letting God Shape Your Whole Life by Floyd McClung. Copyright 1990 Floyd McClung. Published by InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove Illinois. Used by permission. [from pages 26-27]
The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit John 3:8 NIV.
How many times was I going to be asked what my future plans were? I didn't know myself. My only answer seemed to be, "I'm waiting for God's direction." I knew He had led me to where I was, and that I'd be moving on when He was ready.
Then during a morning quiet time the Lord brought this verse to my attention. I realized this is normal for a person who chooses to follow God's leading.
I saw a bird coasting on the wind, watched the trees swaying with each gust. I could see how the Spirit is like the wind. I could feel it, but until something, or someone, was moved by it, I couldn't tell in which direction it was going.
When the time was right, God showed me the next step to take. I prayed and talked with my leaders. They confirmed that I had God's direction.
Thank You, God, for using nature to teach me from Your Word.
Sandy, an American, ministers at Christian Heritage School in Texas.
Jesus told us to bind the strong man, and then we could spoil his goods, Matthew 12:29.
In this passage, the strong man is simply the predominating demonic influence in any situation; and we are to eliminate that influence. It can mean the difference between life and death.
Some years ago, Darlene Cunningham, wife of Youth With A Mission's founder Loren Cunningham, had an experience which drove home the importance of this. While living in Youth With A Mission's first center in Switzerland, Darlene was standing on wet concrete in their laundry room, unloading her clothes from the washer to the dryer--both industrial size. In Europe, the current for such machines is 350 volts.
When an article of clothing fell behind the dryer, Darlene reached for it, not knowing that workers had removed its protective panel to repair it earlier. When her hand touched an exposed wire, her whole body convulsed. She found herself pinned, helpless as 350 volts shot through her. "God help me! Jesus help me!" she cried out, but still the surges coursed through her body.
Knowing she was seconds away from death, Darlene prayed again. "Why isn't it working, God?" she cried. "Why aren't You answering me?" Instantly the Lord responded, "Bind the devil, Darlene. The moment she spoke out against Satan, Darlene was hurled off the live wire and slammed against the opposite wall.
It took several days for the rhythm of Darlene's heart to return to normal, but she was okay. Even the inch-wide hole burnt into her palm by the live wire eventually healed without scarring. But Darlene never forgot the lesson of that day in the laundry room.
From Spiritual Warfare for Every Christian by Dean Sherman. Copyright 1990 by Dean Sherman. Published by YWAM Publishing, Seattle Washington. Used by permission. [from page 184]
Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong…so that no one may boast before him,
1 Corinthians 1:26,27,29.
As a leader of a Youth With A Mission (YWAM) school I have opportunity to see many changes in many people's lives. I will never forget an Australian woman in her early twenties who joined our school in Hawaii. "Timid" seems like an understatement to describe her personality. She was terrified to speak in front of even mall group.
This young woman's class was on an outreach to the Philippines. Each day they asked God what ministry He had for them for that day. One day they felt they should go to the local hospital.
In front of the hospital they again prayed and asked God where in the hospital they were to work. All the team members felt they were to go to the children's ward, except the shy Australian student. She felt she was to go to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).
She walked alone to the ICU unit, and stopped at the door to pray again. She believed God wanted her to pray for a man lying on one of the beds. Although she was certain she had heard from God, she was terribly afraid, but was willing to obey.
The man’s family and three doctors surrounded the man’s bed. He had been in an automobile accident three weeks earlier and was still in a coma.
The young woman walked in and got permission to pray for the man. She laid her hands on him and prayed a simple prayer. The man, who knew no English, sat up and said, "I'm healed."
This healing opened doors for the team to return to the hospital and lead other patients to Christ.
Randy, an American, is Discipleship Training School (DTS) Director of King's Mansion, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.
This is a people plundered and looted...they have become plunder, with no one to rescue them, Isaiah 42:22 NIV.
It was this verse the Lord gave me before my eight-day visit to Albania in 1973. The country was totally closed to visitors from the West. We found a country with no unemployment. We saw no handicapped or sick people; they were all cared for. Everything was sterile and clean. On the surface they seemed to have a perfect society. Their leader even boasted that the rest of the world lusted after the good life they had.
But they were cut off from the rest of the world; without God; without even the truth of history--their own or the rest of the world's. They were told that Albanians invented bread; that no one outside Albania was happy. For Albanians, God did not exist. No history, no culture. All was erased by communism.
My partner and I spent our time in Albania praying and hiding evangelistic literature where it could later be found by passers-by.
We were found out and arrested. Police and government officials interrogated us for hours and threatened us with execution for taking Christian literature into Albania. Unexpectedly, at the last moment, we were released and ordered never to return.
I told our story in a book that was translated into four languages. As a result many Christians around the world were stirred to pray for Albania.
In 1990 the Communist government of Albania was toppled. Christians could once again worship God freely, without fear of torture and death.
God hears the prayers of His people. He is ready to answer when we intercede for those without hope.
Remind us, Holy spirit, of those we should be praying for; help us never to abandon people in need of prayer.
Reona, serves in England.
I am the vine, ye are the branches...without me ye can do nothing. John 15:5.
Jesus is to have lordship over all areas of our lives. Nothing is to be withheld. If we do, that which we hold back will not directly achieve anything in fulfilling God's purposes in and through our lives. If we keep our area of work to ourselves, thinking it is not really a spiritual ministry, saying it's not really an area that God wants to reign over, we will be tempted to take the glory for doing the work we have done. We won't thank him and direct praise to Him because we haven't given Him the opportunity to guide us.
James 1:17 says that every good gift comes from God. The gifts we have received to carry out our work come from God. Why then do we act as if we haven't received them? (I Corinthians4:7). Let us acknowledge Him in all that we do for His glory.
Colossians 3:17 says that "whatever we do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of our Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him." There are great rewards for those who are totally obedient. Yet after all that we have done for God's glory, we still remain unprofitable servants. Luke 17:10 says, "so you also, when you have done everything you were told to do should say 'we are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.'"
Lord, I don't want to take away Your glory. Help me always to remember You are the One Who enables me.
Ray, from New Zealand, oversees construction and maintenance for Youth With A Mission's Urban Missions in Amsterdam.
Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus, Philippians 1:6
I was only seven-years-old when I responded to a missionary challenge by kneeling at my seat and telling God I would go wherever He wanted me to. I still don't know how, but when I stood, I knew that one day I would go to China to do missionary work. When I told my mother about it she wisely said, "If you've heard from God, it will happen."
Throughout childhood I anticipated spending my adult life in China. But before I reached my teens the door to do missionary work in China was slammed shut.
After I married we pastored for twenty years, taking trips to do missionary work every few years. On one trip, we’d been ministering in Singapore, Hong Kong and the Philippines. Now had a few weeks to spare, and we were so close to China. But we were told that there had been trouble at the border. No more trips were being allowed.
We persisted in our request, and god came through.
Forty-eight hours later we stepped from a hydrofoil onto the dock in Canton. As a Red Guard watched from a short distance away my son whispered, "Mom, you're in China."
It had been thirty-four years since God had spoken to the heart of a seven-year-old, saying that one day I would travel as a missionary to China.
Several significant things took place during our stay. We know that only eternity will reveal the results of any step of obedience.
Thank You, Father, that You can speak to seven-year-olds. And thank You for bringing to pass what You promised so long ago.
Beverly, an American, is a Bible teacher who leads YWAM's Writer's Seminars. She lives in the United States.
Give to him who asks of you, Matthew 25:31
When I was a young boy in El Centro, California, we lived across the street from the city park. It was hard times, and the park usually had a hundred or so homeless men sleeping there. Often, they came to our back door, standing hat in hand and asking respectfully if we could given them something to eat. I never saw my mother turn one away. We had meager fare ourselves, living off the weekly tithes and offerings of the church folk. But Mom would give them something to eat and perhaps lend a man a quilt to keep warm as he slept in the park.
There are many ways to help people, some of which have a more lasting effect. We should try to enable the poor to become self-supporting. But the most important thing is that we must not harden our hearts, nor rationalize away our responsibility to do something to help.
The Lord has many promises in the Bible for those who give to the poor. The Lord also said that when we stand before Him in judgment, our treatment of the poor will be one of the criteria by which we are judged (Matt. 25:31-34).
Jesus did not tell us to give only to the deserving poor. He did not say, "Give to him who asks of you...unless, of course, he is a welfare cheat or has been unwise in handling his finances." No, He said, "Give to him." Giving is an act of mercy, and mercy is never deserved.
From Daring to Live on the Edge by Loren Cunningham. Copyright 1991 by Loren Cunningham. Published by YWAM Publishing, Seattle, Washington. Used by permission. [from pages 81-82]
What a wonderful God we have – he is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the source of every mercy, and the One who so wonderfully comforts and strengthens us in our hardships and trials. And why does he do this? So that when others are troubled, needing our sympathy and encouragement, we can pass on to them this same help and comfort God has given us, 2 Corinthians 1:3,4.
As I walked down a dark, rainy street of the small Polish town that night, I saw a man lying motionless in the street and ran toward him. He was dead. I placed my coat on him. Upon examining him, the ambulance attendants informed me that he was dead. As I stood there, trying to take this in, I pondered the irony: five years ago to the day my own husband had died.
He and I had been commissioned by our church as missionaries and were waiting to hear where God would send us when my husband was "called home"--to heaven.
I had been a teacher at churches, retreats and conference centers for 25 years, but wondered what God's plan would be now that I was alone. I wrote letters to every missionary organization I'd heard of. Youth With A Mission in Switzerland responded, inviting me to attend their Crossroads Discipleship Training School (CDTS). This is a school like their regular DTS, but for folks over the age of 35 who find themselves at a "crossroads" in life. I was 24 years past 35, and I was certainly at a crossroads!
After three months of training, I was closer to Jesus than ever before. Jesus and I became a missionary team--and I joined a YWAM outreach to France, Czechoslovakia, and Poland.
It had been a long journey to this dark Polish street, but as I wrote a letter of comfort to this man’s widow, I realized the Lord had brought me full circle--from being comforted by Him, to comforting another.
Mary Lee, an American
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for you are with me, Psalm 23:4 NIV.
In early 1984, doctors discovered a tumor growing rapidly in Johan's brain. It was in the speech center and memory bank and pressed on his optic nerve. Johan was only 36-years-old.
Since our marriage eleven years before, we had been involved in Christian ministry as youth pastors and Johan was dean of a Bible school. We often took our students to join Youth With A Mission in Amsterdam. We had three small children and a fruitful ministry, now death was so close. How could God be glorified in his death? I wondered.
Yet God was at work. Johan survived the five-hour operation to remove some of the tumor, but he remained unconscious. He remembers being in the presence of the Lord and being sent back to this life. He developed traumatic epileptic seizures. After 13 days, Johan began to awaken. My joy mingled with despair when I realized he didn't recognize me. Could God ever use us again?
God's grace sustained us during the ensuing months. Johan studied hard to relearn Dutch, English and the Word of God. As an added help, YWAM Amsterdam allowed him to attend, for a second time, a Discipleship Training School. Six months of immersion in God's Word revived him. The neurologist gave us the go-ahead to join YWAM staff.
The Lord has established our family in mercy ministry to addicts and street people in the heart of Amsterdam. We live in a wonderful old home where we offer hospitality to those needing refuge.
So much has been restored. God has given us the grace to persevere. He walked through the valley right beside us.
Lord, help me to take Your hand when I can't take another step on my own.
Carolyn, an American married to a Dutchman, works on staff with Youth With A Mission, Amsterdam, Netherlands.
The words that I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work, John 14:10 NIV.
Bill, from Calgary in Alberta, Canada, had been out seeing the world. Like many other young people at the time, he wanted to discover truth. This search led the 19-year-old to the Far East and to experimentation with various drugs and the occult.
When I met Bill he had just become a Christian and had embarked on a basic discipleship program at Youth With A Mission's Dilaram House in Kathmandu, Nepal.
In the foothills of the mighty Himalayas, Bill was starting his "journey with Jesus." I asked him what had led him to Christ. He responded that his travels had taken him to Tibet, to the very "roof of the world" where he met two other travelers, with a very different agenda than his. They had already discovered the truth.
The two were part of a team of Youth With A Mission leadership, from all over the world. The two Westerners walked along, taking as their motto Deuteronomy 11:24, "Every place on which the sole of your foot shall tread shall be yours."
When they met Bill, he asked them what they were doing. They responded that they were there for the purpose of praying for Nepal. Perhaps for any other person, this would not have made sense, but because Bill understood spiritual warfare from the side of the occult, it was Bill's first step toward salvation. His ventures into the occult and the world of mind-altering drugs had brought him directly into a spirit realm that was in chaos and only brought frustration to his life. The YWAMers were able to point Bill to Jesus, the mighty Spirit, who would set him free and give him life.
Donna, a Canadian, encourages former YWAMers through the ministry of YWAM Associates.
Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!, Psalm 133:1.
Conflict does not make a marriage good or bad--it is how we deal with it that is important. If not dealt with properly, it can destroy even the best of marriages. Learning how to disagree is a vital part of communication.
Ephesians 4:26,27 tells us, "Do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil." We need to be careful that we do not store up our disagreements. When we were newly married, because of my idea of a "perfect" marriage, I would not express any disagreements to Floyd. Instead I bottled them up inside and carried them around with me. After we had been married about six months, that internal bottle exploded because it was so full--at 2 a.m. We talked through the night until we had worked out what had happened and resolved our areas of conflict. It would have been much easier for both of us if had dealt with the problems as they arose "before the sun went down."
Lord, help me in times of anger, to remember that it's usually rooted in my own pride.
From Where Will Find the Time? by Sally McClung. Copyright 1989 by Sally McClung. Published by Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, Oregon. Used by permission. [from pages 46-47]
Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart, Psalm 37:4.
I went to Samoa as a bride of only two weeks. As base leaders, Dave and I cherished our times alone together. About eight months after our wedding we went to the beach near the village of Fagalele. From the shade of a coconut tree I watched Dave snorkel.
After several hours of relaxation we packed up our gear and headed home. When we reached the pickup truck, I noticed Dave's wedding ring wasn't on his finger and asked him about it. Our rings were a matching set, with a tiny cross of diamonds on each one. We knew that finding a lost ring was unlikely in the pounding surf, the coral, shells, and sand. Yet we had to at least look.
After half an hour, we gave up and left with sad hearts. We struggled with the loss of this small, yet precious token of our love for one another. We knew it was only symbolic, that a ring doesn't keep a marriage strong, but...It seemed God wanted to teach us something new about surrender.
Two weeks later we returned to the same beach. I kept thinking, somewhere in that big Pacific Ocean is Dave's ring. Only God knows exactly where. After the guys snorkeled for about an hour, Dave brought me a handful of pretty sea shells. Secretly I wished it were his ring that I was admiring.
Then he brought his other hand forward. In it lay his wedding ring! He said all the guys had looked for the ring for over an hour. At last they gave up. He told me he prayed that if God wanted the ring to be found, to please put it right in front of his eyes.
Just before he got out of the water, Dave saw a pretty shell and reached below the water's surface to pick it up. While putting it in his pocket, his eyes seemed glued to what his mind was having difficulty believing. Just as he had prayed, the ring was right before his eyes-underneath the shell he had just picked up!
It's only Your loving care, Father, that helps us when we're helpless.
Lydia, and her husband are currently living in New Zealand.
Your Father know what you need before you ask him, Matthew 6:8 NIV.
I sold my business and my house to clear my debts and attend a Youth With A Mission training school. After careful calculation and planning, I had $2000 left, just enough to cover my outreach fees to Asia.
A few weeks into the class, David Boyd told of plans to build new section on campus. He suggested we ask the Lord if we should give to that project. To me the Lord's voice usually sounds much like my conscience, just a quiet thought I know is right. This time, a new thought popped into my mind: Give your $2000.
"But Lord," I argued silently, "that's my outreach money! If I give it away, I won't be able to go."
Again, I heard, "Give the $2000." I tried to ignore it, thinking that when I received some money owed me in a couple years, I would be able to help with an offering.
"Trust me," the Lord seemed to whisper. I didn't dare disobey God, so I wrote the check, not mentioning it to anyone.
Our class regularly prayed and planned for the outreach. I was still confident I would be going but had no idea how. My spending money dwindled. Once I pinched 82 cents for nearly two weeks. The day I HAD to wash clothes, a check from my church arrived in the mail. This was a whole new way of life for me.
The calendar inched toward the deadline for paying our outreach fees. Still, there was no clue about where mine would come from. I continued to pray.
Three days before the money was due, I got a surprise call from the man who had bought my house. He said he wanted to pay me off early. Could he send me $20,000?
You bet, Lord!
His check arrived in the mail at 3:00 p.m. the day of the deadline. I handed over my outreach fees an hour later, eager to see what the Lord would do next.
What was I worried about?
Shirley, an American, is doing free lance writing for YWAM. She lives in the United States.
And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should be lost, Matthew 18:13, 14.
Our outreach team had just finished performing a drama at the coffee house in downtown Brussels, when I was asked to witness to the young man sitting in the corner. He obviously lived on the streets. I was happy to have the opportunity to share with him--until I got close enough to smell the foul air that hung about him.
I watched in disbelief as he lowered his face to the cup and lapped up his tea. Just like an animal, I thought. It didn't surprise me to learn that he had grown up on the streets as an orphan and only recently was released from jail. I was surprised, however, when he steered the conversation toward the topic of Christianity then became increasingly antagonistic.
I found myself wanting to end the conversation because he seemed to be intentionally trying to provoke me. I was fully conscious of the foul odor emanating from the man when I prayed, "Lord, I really want to love the man, but I don't have it within me. Please help me to communicate Your love to him."
Suddenly, without warning His eyes got watery. I stared at him in silence, wondering where all the belligerence had gone. The tears became sobs. Finally, slowly, he said, "I want to pray with you to become a Christian."
After the prayer he turned to hug me. I held my breath as he latched onto me; I tried to hide my revulsion.
I knew I should hug him back; that only with God's strength could I demonstrate acceptance, much less love. He was so unlovable.
"Help me, Lord, I prayed." He did.
David, an American, works in the mission field of the film industry in Hollywood, California.
For…I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me…whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me, Matthew 25:35,26,40 NIV.
I'd been ministering in a coffee bar in downtown Brussels where a man who lived on the streets surprised me by asking me to lead him to the Lord. After our prayer, I had difficulty returning his hug because he smelled so bad. By God's strength I was enabled to share God's love with him.
Now I believed God wanted me to show the man our Father's love in a practical way. But how? Then I noticed again the tattered sweater he was wearing. My wardrobe had to last through the end of our outreach, but I decided to give him the sweater I was wearing. It was my favorite.
I pulled the sweater over my head, carefully folded it like new, and presented it as a gift. "I'm giving this to you in the name of Jesus. I want you to know that God loves you and so do I."
His face beamed as he took off his sweater, folded it like new, and presented it to me as a gift. He put my sweater on, and motioned for me to put his on. I thanked him but politely held his smelly, holey sweater on my lap. Another gesture indicated I should put on his sweater. After another silent request for God to grant me love for this man, I put on the sweater.
Nothing needed to be said when we returned to the main room of the coffee bar. Our team had been together every day for many weeks; we all knew every item of each others' clothing. One glance our way and our new brother was soon wrapped in arms of love, welcoming him into God's big family.
As I walked home that night I felt the cold wind slip through the holes of my new, smelly sweater. I was warmed, though, by a new awareness: Whatever the sacrifice, nothing can compare with the joy of serving God. In some strange way, giving this man my sweater sealed his place in God's family. It was as if God was symbolically putting His robe of righteousness on him.
David, an American, works in the mission field of the film industry in Hollywood, California.
My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness, 2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV.
We lived in Australia and wanted to attend a Leadership Training School with Youth With A Mission, in Hawaii, and then move to Finland to work for Christ. The cost of airfare and housing for our family of six. was far beyond our reach. During a time of prayer I sensed in my spirit that God was saying, "Don't give up." It was not easy to resign my job as a carpenter, but I knew others were adding prayers to ours.
A friend gave us the money from the sale of his car. We applied for visas, then drove 1800 miles to say goodbye to my parents. After we sold our car, we put our house on the market. Now we had enough money for everything except our airfare. We continued to pray.
One week before we were scheduled to leave, a neighbor we had met only in passing, knocked on our door. Sheepishly she asked if our house was for sale. Our son had mentioned to her son that we were moving away. Her cousin bought the house.
Thank You, Father, for Your direction in our lives. Help me to trust Your schedule, instead of my own.
Matti, an Australian, works with YWAM-Finland.
Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage…They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion, Psalm 84:5-7 NIV.
This was in one of the deepest valleys I had ever known. Yet, God was reminding me that I needed to pass through the valley, to keep on going and not sit and camp. It seemed that I was at my worst emotionally and deeply wounded, yet God had not allowed me to be crushed. What could I do during this time of deep darkness and disappointment? How could I make this valley into a spring to help me persevere and keep on going?
In the past whenever I was discouraged or defeated, I found that it was the best time to start giving to others. Promptly placing my Bible on the sofa, I began to pace the floor, making a list in my mind of things I could do. Although I had already been praying for missionaries on a regular basis I thought, I can add several more missionaries to my prayer list! And I could begin a prayer group with others. A tinge of inspiration began to edge out the despair I was feeling as I thought, smiling, and everyone loves my cooking!
Over the next few days, I found a transforming relief from my depression. Again I found that as I gave out I ended up receiving more than I gave.
Lord, it is Your nature to give to us. Teach me to have that quality in my life.
From Anchor in the Storm by Helen Applegate with Renee Taft. Copyright 1988 by Helen Applegate Published by Frontline Communications, Seattle, Washington. Used by permission. [from page 106]
The living, the living--they praise you, as I am doing today; fathers tell their children about your faithfulness, Isaiah 38:19 NIV.
It is a joy for parents to share God's faithfulness with their children. Yet, it's an even greater blessing when our children are able to tell their parents of God's faithfulness to them!
Three of us needed $1500 each to get from our home in Sydney, Australia to join Youth With A Mission's m/v Anastasis in Italy. The ship was being refitted to be used for mercy, evangelism, and training. I felt God wanted me to believe for double that amount so that we could go by way of the United States to see our son, Peter. I felt the above verse was God's promise to us.
Little did we realize that God had impressed our son in Los Angeles that He was going to do this very special thing. He even mentioned it in a lecture to the Discipleship Training School he was leading.
The last week before our airfare was due we were visiting the YWAM Base in Goulburn, Australia. The leaders insisted we be included in an offering being taken for those with needs. One of the students heard that we had a need and said that she wanted to give us $1500. However, the next morning the leaders told me they believed she was not mature enough to give such a large amount.
Was I disappointed! Yet I praised God for leaders that cared enough to protect students in such situations. On the third day, a student told me he had felt God tell him to give during the offering, but thought God was merely testing his willingness. He gave us the $1500.
The Lord encouraged me to trust Him further. I bought three one-way tickets to Los Angeles. After we got there God provided the balance of what we needed.
Lord, You're always faithful. Help me to trust You without fear.
Rix, an Australian, works with Hispanics. He lives in the United States.
Jesus went about...healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease, Matthew 4:23.
Here in the Philippines it is not uncommon to experience a "pigsa", or boil because of the humidity and high bacteria count. The first 18 months here I was boil-free. Then I developed not one, but three pigsa under my arms at one time.
After several days of excruciating pain I went to a clinic. Afterward I prayed, "Please don't let me have to go through that again."
One month later I left for a three-month furlough. Then I returned for another two-year commitment to help ex-bar girls learn to walk with God.
One evening some of the girls were in my room. I felt a slight pain and bump under my arm. It really hurt, for the tiny thing it was. It wasn't until one of the Filipinas examined it and confirmed it, that the reality hit--it was another boil!
I cried out to the Lord. I remembered that God told the Israelites that if they listened carefully to Him and did what was right in His eyes He would not inflict any of "these diseases" upon them. Those diseases were the ones inflicted on the Egyptians just a short time before. One of those was boils.
The next morning my pain had subsided some. Each time I felt the slightest pain I remembered the promise of God. I had been listening for His voice and had not turned from Him. I was trying to keep His commands.
By the next morning the pain and the bump were gone. Hallelujah! The Word of God is true, every bit of it. I can stand on it and I can stake my life on it.
The girls also saw the power of God that day.
Let God be praised for His faithfulness to us and His Word for now and evermore.
Pat, an American, is on staff in the Philippines.
How is it that each of us hears them in his own native language? Acts 2:8.
I was with a team in
Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself and so let him seat, I Corinthians 11:27,28 NIV.
While I was teaching at a Youth With A Mission (YWAM) School of Evangelism I told the students they needed to prepare their hearts before the Lord before partaking of Communion.
Time was given for the students to seek God diligently, asking Him to reveal anything in their lives that needed to be put right. If and when they knew they had the peace of God that accompanies a clean heart, they were to feel free to participate.
One young woman came to me privately and shared that she had no release from the Holy Spirit to partake of Communion but had no idea why. She asked me to seek God on her behalf. I did. What followed was very enlightening! God revealed to me by His Spirit that she lacked the fear of God in her relationships with the opposite sex. This was being evidenced through her personality, and by the way she dressed; both were being used to arouse sexual desire in young men. I shared this with her.
There was an immediate witness in her spirit that this was truth, and she quickly acknowledged it. She deeply repented before God, and asked Him to give her a hatred of this sin, which is based in pride.
She told God she would go to several of the male students whom she was particularly aware of having tempted, and ask their forgiveness at the first opportunity. Then she partook of the elements with a clean heart. Her testimony over the ensuing years has been that it was a life-changing experience. I know her well, and the fear of God marks her life.
Father, show me the areas in need of repentance in my life.
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. Used by permission. [from page 71-72]
A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger, Proverbs 15:1 NIV.
Forty of us were running across the United States, carrying a torch, representing the light of the gospel of Christ. Our goal was to run from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean.
One evening, we pitched our tents in a city park. We awoke with a jolt to harsh profanity and threats.
Our co-leader, Tom, muttered a prayer and stepped from his tent. In a sleepy daze he looked for the intruders, but could find no one.
Suddenly from across the park, four huge figures appeared, running boldly toward Tom. One man stared down at him with wild eyes. Blood dripped from a deep gash above his eyebrow.
"Who gives you the right to camp in the middle of our park? Just who do you think you are?" he demanded with slurred speech.
"We're running a torch across the country for Jesus," Tom calmly explained.
Three of the men were visibly shaken. The wounded one was unimpressed.
"You bunch of Jesus freaks!" he screamed. "If it was my park, I wouldn't let you near here."
Tom kept a gentle attitude, and prayed silently. The man lunged toward Tom, but his friends grabbed him by the shoulder. "Leave him alone," one shouted.
Tom watched with amazement as the four mammoth figures turned and walked a short distance away. Then they stopped and came back. As they approached this time, a peaceful attitude was evident. The man of intimidation came close to Tom's face. "I am really, really, sorry for what I did," he whispered. "When you're running with the torch, could you pray for me?"
Four engulfing hugs later, Tom promised to pray for them.
Lord, keep working on the hearts of those who see the light of Your life in our lives. Take the words we've said and use them to draw others to You.
Eric, an American, works as administrative assistant on special projects in Georgia, USA.
Your Father knows what you need before you ask him, Matthew 6:8 NIV.
After two years on board YWAM’s mercy ship, m/v Anastasis, I transferred to Mercy Ships' Support Office in San Pedro, California. After several months in Los Angeles without a car, I wrote on the prayer request sheet of a supporting church that I was praying for car.
Three months later I received the first answer to my prayer--a check for $25.00 from a man I'd never heard of, "to help you with your need for a car." The next day, another man I'd never heard of, called and said, "My wife and I feel the Lord wants us to support you. If that means helping you buy a car, we'd like to do that." He and his wife were interested in Mercy Ships and wanted to learn more about the ministry. They invited me for Sunday dinner and mentioned that his neighbor was selling a little red car for $600.
During dinner, we talked about missions and life on board the m/v Anastasis. Then we looked at his neighbor's 1978 Honda Accord. It had over 130,000 miles on it and a rebuilt engine. The man reduced the price to $500, so Paul put $200 down.
I set out to raise the deposit for the insurance. Paul did some minor repairs on the car and his brother paid the registration fee. Two weeks later Paul handed me the keys, and I drove off with an answer to my prayer. After many faithful miles of service, the car has required minimal repairs and taken me from California to Mercy Ship's Port Office in Texas.
Lucy, an American, works with Mercy Ministries.
Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven, Matthew 5:16 NIV.
An upper-class Hindu named Rajan arrived alone in Calcutta at the age of 17. Rajan settled in to life as a tea seller in a local restaurant. Soon an unusual group of young, new customers aroused his interest. Some were Indians, but most were from various countries. They were talking about Jesus. The group returned to the restaurant several times.
Rajan's years of Catholic education had laid a foundation for an interest in Christianity. At his first opportunity Rajan introduced himself and asked if he could visit the team during his time away from work.
Rajan learned the young people were with YWAM and lived in a nearby house. The group's purpose was to start a base for evangelism and training. Each day after work he walked for ten minutes from the restaurant to the YWAM base to learn more about Jesus.
Rajan's hunger for God was deep. He asked many questions. In fact, the YWAMers began to wonder if he were a spy for the police. However, Rajan's interest was sincere. After several weeks they asked him if he would like to receive Jesus into his life as his personal Lord and Savior. He responded eagerly.
The Lord stirred his heart to be reconciled with his parents. He visited them in South India. Shocked and disappointed to learn he had abandoned his Hindu religion for a new faith, they hired a Hindu priest to convince Rajan to recant his faith in Jesus.
After several interviews the priest told Rajan that he should definitely keep that which he found in Christ. He advised Rajan's parents to follow that way also because, he said, he could see it had brought Rajan such peace.
Following his training school Rahan joined YWAM full-time and continues declaring the greatness of the Lord.
Steve, an American, is Director for the India Sub-Continent.
Agrippa said to Paul, "Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?" Acts 26:28.
Recently, several friends and I decided to have an impromptu time of street evangelism. We gathered for our usual pre-outreach prayer time, and some felt impressed by the Lord not to go out witnessing but to stay back and pray for others on our team.
I was one of those who went out witnessing. After an uneventful hour or so, I approached a young man in the doorway of a bar. Within several minutes of conversation with Cliff, I found he wasn't a Christian but he was open and ready to receive. I felt distinctly impressed by the Lord to "press" him for a decision. I'm usually hesitant to do that because I don't want to talk anyone into something someone else can talk them out of! This time, though, I felt I needed not only to proclaim but also to persuade. After a couple of hours, Cliff was gloriously saved; he is still walking with the Lord.
I did not know it at the time, but back at the prayer meeting, Christopher, one of the leaders, had received a vision of a young man in a green shirt who was ready to receive and needed to be pressed for a commitment to Christ. In direct response to their intercession, I was able to be sensitive to Cliff's need and lead him to salvation. He was wearing a green shirt, too!
Thank You, Father, that You can so direct us that some go and some stay, each following Your guidance.
From Bringin' 'Em Back Alive by Danny Lehmann. Copyright 1987 by Danny Lehmann. Published by Whitaker House, Springdale, Pennsylvania. Used by permission. [from page 59]
Lead me in thy truth and teach me, for thou art the God of my salvation, Psalm 25:5 NASB.
It was Saturday morning and I decided to take a walk through the woods. The sky was full of gray clouds, but the sun was gleaming through in some places.
Waiting--it can be very long and difficult sometimes, I mused. We all wait for something a letter, a visitor, the end of a difficult situation, an answer to prayer.
What am I waiting for? I thought. It had been two months since I had seen my parents and I still had no word from them. Why haven't I heard from them? Do they still love me?
Every day at 10:30 each student rushed to the letter box looking forward to hearing from relatives, friends...those who love them. I always left disappointed having found nothing for me. How many times did I come to my box focusing all my expectations on my parents' letter? I did not know. I did not count.
I walked on, listening to the sound of my footsteps on the narrow country road. The walk offered me rest and refreshment.
Suddenly big drops of rain, mixed with snow, began to fall. I pulled my hood over my head and walked swiftly toward the village. Still thinking about my parents, I prayed for them. Portions of Scripture came to mind: "Wait for the Lord, be strong," "My soul waits for the Lord," and, "In His Word I put my hope."
Then God planted a question in my heart. "Haven't you come here to wait only for me?"
Thank you that there is nothing more worth waiting for in every situation than You.
The Lord is my shepherd, Psalm 23:1.
When I was asked to speak at a leaders meeting God gave me Psalm 23. I was hesitant. Everyone knows that Psalm, I thought, especially pastors and leaders. Yet my mind kept dwelling on the first verse.
David was a shepherd. He knew how to keep sheep and goats. He was later entrusted with the shepherding of a people. Yet he himself acknowledged having a shepherd to watch over him. He was both a shepherd and a sheep.
At our center in France we once had goats. But we decided to do away with them. Have you ever dealt with goats? They always go where you don't want them to go. Rocky places. Thorns, nettles--that's what they like.
Have you dealt with goats, too? I’m referring to people this time. We love them, of course. But they are just like goats. They always know better. They are always striving with you and others. And they wear you out.
What do you do then? You'd better bear with them for a while. You pray for them, and allow Jesus to act through you. There will come a time, though, when the little goat will either change--or leave.
Do we want to lead? We need to have the heart of a sheep. Our Good Shepherd also came as a sheep. In fact, He came as a Lamb.
Lord, I will be a sheep. Then You can lead me to still waters, to quiet meadows. You can give me an overflowing cup.
Daniel, a Frenchman, is leader of Youth With A Mission in France.
Though I cry, "I've been wronged!" I get no response; though I call for help, there is no justice. He has blocked my way so I cannot pass; he has shrouded my paths in darkness. He has stripped me of my honor and removed the crown from my head, Job 19:7-9 NIV.
Some of life's hardest lessons are the most valuable. If you have never experienced what it is to be cast down by God, then you are an immature Christian.
At the beginning of my Christian life, I thought I was capable of doing anything. I thought I had all the answers to life's most serious questions. I was sure that I would succeed in all my endeavors. In my enthusiasm, I confused my wishes with the desires of God.
However, God had much to teach me. He allowed me to make mistakes and fail many times. Now, years later, I can see that by allowing me to be stripped down, He was building me up. He stripped me of my glory in order to make His glory clear. I humbly declare my dependence on Him.
Vincente, Spaniard, works in the areas of music and publishing in Spain.