Abba Ministries
Devotional Book from Abba Ministries

Abba Ministries
is a part of
Across International Ministries


Youth With A Mission


Daily Faith Builders
Around the World
Around the World cover

Devotional Readings for July

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

July 1

Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others, Philippians 2:4.

    When I start planning my time, I usually allocate time for everything except for myself - for me, Sally, as a person. I plan for my husband, for my children, for my friends, but somehow time for myself gets overlooked or squeezed out. I have come to realize that I will never be the person God wants me to be if I do this. I need time for me. I need time for personal growth, learning and development. I need time for personal refreshment. I need time for personal meditation and reflection. I need time for life my life! Time spent on myself is not wasted time.
    In trying to find this time for myself, I have found it important to look at what are sometimes called "time bandits  here are a lot of things that drain our time budget, that eat away at the amount of time we have to work with, and that keep us from having time for all the various areas of our lives. In learning to manage our time effectively, it is important to give attention to these time-wasters.
    We should begin by looking at our schedule very carefully. Ask the Lord to show you things that are eating away the budget of your time. Also ask other people to help you see how you waste their time! It could be, for example, in the way we communicate or the way we work in areas that overlap with others. We need to learn from each other in this matter. We should write down the fresh solutions we discover. We could keep a log or a journal. It's important to go over that log from time to time and make sure we are still living up to what God has shown us and what we have learned.

From Where Will I Find the Time? by Sally McClung. Copyright 1989 by Sally McClung. Published by Harvest House Publishers, Eugene Oregon. Used by Permission. [from page 87]

July 2

Call to me and I will answer you and show you great and unsearchable things you do not know, Jeremiah 33:3.

    I was still learning about sharing Christ with strangers in a public setting. One incident stands out as a clear expression of God's love and protection.
    I was on a short term outreach to San Francisco. Three friends and I were witnessing late one night to a slightly intoxicated man. As a young black woman walked by, the man made a racial slur.
    The young woman pulled out a switch blade knife, put it to the man's stomach and shouted. It seemed as though she was encouraging him to say more.
    I was frightened and quietly cried out to the Lord. One of my friends, as calmly as she could, told the woman that we were sharing the love of God with the man.
    To our amazement, the woman pulled the knife away and said to the man, "Go get a cup of coffee. God bless you." Then she walked away.

I want to trust You in every situation, Lord. Forgive me when I fear.

Emily, an American, serves at YWAM-Richardson Springs, California.

July 3

    A number of years ago, when we were in business, one of our stores was broken into in the night. About $1500 was stolen, mostly in cash.
    My wife and I were saddened by the burglary, but decided to pray daily for the person who had broken in. About three weeks later I received a postage due notice in the mail. Thinking it was probably an advertisement, I didn't want to pay the postage. Instead I left it at the post office, unclaimed.
    A week later I got another notice that I owed postage on a letter. Again I ignored it. When I received a third notice, this time stating it was the final notice, I decided to claim it and pay the postage due.
    It was a plain brown envelope with only my store's name and address on the outside. I still didn't open it; I was sure it was an advertisement. I'll open it later," I thought.
    When I finally opened I was astounded to discover $1500 in cash. Somehow the local newspaper picked up the story, then it was printed across the country. The headline given was: The Power of Prayer.

Help me to pray for those who hurt me, Father. Let Your forgiveness flow through me.

Ian, a Canadian, with his wife serve as Mission Builders coordinators, at Richardson Springs, California, USA.

July 4

    It was strictly forbidden to bring Bibles into China, but after delivering my 80 pounds of the precious Scriptures to my contact from the local church I was able to keep the ten copies of the Gospel to distribute myself. We were now on the train leaving China and I still had two copies left. I wondered who God might arrange to receive them.
    Behind me sat two Red Communist Chinese soldiers. "I'd sure like to leave the Gospels with them, Lord," I prayed silently.
    Walkman stereos were new during this trip in the early l980's. Sometimes strangers would stop me, point to the headset and want to examine mine. Will it work again? I wondered.
    I slipped the headphones over my ears and started the music. I sensed the eyes of the soldiers on me. They've probably never seen one of these before, I thought. It didn't take long. The soldiers' heads were moving closer to mine. They were trying to learn what I was doing. Exactly what I wanted. Just wait a little longer, I told myself. Get their curiosity really hyped.
    I turned and offered to let them listen. One of the soldiers slipped on the headphones. The sound of Contemporary Christian rock reached his ears. He smiled. Soon his partner wanted a turn. If only they knew what they're listening to! I thought. "Minister to their spirits, Lord. It's your Word they're hearing."
    When the train reached the border they returned the Walkman and I reached into my Levi pocket and pulled out the dog-eared Gospels. I pointed out the English and Chinese on opposing pages, indicating these books could help them to learn English. Only after I got off the train and across the border would they discover the biblical texts.

Dave, American, works in the mission field of the film industry in Hollywood, USA.

July 5

    In many nations today where significant church growth is occurring, much of the groundwork has already been done by earlier Christian workers who gave the people a heritage factor and rendered them receptive to the Gospel.
    In America, 75 percent of the population claims to believe in God. Most give mental assent, at least, to the notion that Jesus was more than a man. So, having a heritage factor we must go out, build on it, and see many won to the Lord. Studying average evangelical churches and training schools, I found that over 50 percent of those surveyed came from some type of "Christian" upbringing, be it nominally Catholic or Protestant.
    I met John Pipolo one day while street witnessing, and my wife and I soon became good friends with him and his brother Anthony. They were in a sense true twentieth century "God-fearers" from a strong Italian Catholic background. We began visiting them from time to time to share the Gospel, but eventually we lost contact with each other. Other Christians, though, shared the love of Jesus with them through both personal testimony and literature. John and Anthony were encouraged to follow Jesus, and eventually they did - along with John's wife, mother, sister, and older brother. Today the Pipolo family are among some of the most committed Christians I know. Their strong Catholic heritage provided a wonderful foundation on which to build.

Help me, Lord to remember the heritage factor when I meet others; to see lost souls, not labels.

From Bringin' 'Em Back Alive by Danny Lehmann. Copyright 1987 by Danny Lehmann. Published by Whitaker House, Springdale, Pennsylvania. Used by permission. [from pages 41-42]

July 6

    For two years I had enjoyed working full-time at the national YWAM office in Norway traveling with teams, working at the national office and living in a house fellowship in Oslo. I longed to experience the reality of God in a setting outside YWAM. The Lord led me to a teacher training college far up north in Norway. the school would last three years.
    It would be a tough place for a Christian to be, surrounded by political radicals and immorality. In a few months, the school would start with 30 students. I would need money for books, clothes, travel expenses and an apartment.
    It was not difficult to get a loan from the state, but I felt that the Lord said I would miss a blessing if I did. I decided to trust Him as I had while I was with YWAM.
    While waiting for God’s provision, a friend decided to visit for a weekend. I was looking forward to seeing her again, but I had no money. I tried to figure out how to make her visit special. When I still hadn’t received any money by Thursday, I made plans to bake bread for my fried – at least I had the ingredients for that. But I kept praying.
    On Friday, two hours before the shops closed, a letter in the mail with 200 Norwegian Kroner. And I had the assurance that God would provide for my needs.

Lord, thank You for being faithful to Your children, no matter what we are doing.

Ingjerl, of Norway,

July 7

    Authority to preach the Gospel and minister in the name of Jesus Christ in a city or nation is gained not just by being called by God, but by fulfilling the conditions of that call.
    When I came to the city of Amsterdam I spent six months simply walking the streets of every major neighborhood in the city. I rode the trams and metros and buses, getting a feel for the city. I asked God to let me see the city through His eyes. I asked Him to help me understand her culture. I read every book I could get my hands on about Amsterdam. I sat in coffee shop and "brown cafes," listening to the people. I developed a fondness for the openhearted, humor-loving, sea-faring Amsterdamer.
    It was out of those many months of walking her streets that I grew to love the city of Amsterdam. In fact, now I not only love her, I like her!

From Seeing the City with the Eyes of God by Floyd McClung. Copyright 1991 by Floyd McClung. A Chosen Book published by Fleming H. Revell Company, Tarrytown, New York. Used by permission. [from page 113]

July 8

Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you? Psalm 85:6 NIV.

    When my friend Floyd finished preaching and called for repentance, I was the first to my feet. During the message I had seen myself clearly and I was ashamed. I publicly confessed my sin that day and asked the others at the conference for prayer.
    What was my sin? Embezzlement, adultery? No, the Holy Spirit was convicting me of the sin of unbelief. In that stark moment of honesty I realized that I really had low expectations of what God would do in my city.
    What do you expect God to do in your city? Or, to put it another way, who is your God? Is He the God of the Bible? Your God is only as big as what you expect of Him in space and time.         What do you expect Him to do here on earth in this generation? Don't tell me about the God of your theology. It's easy to say that He's all-powerful, but do you expect Him to do powerful things here and now?
    The God of the Bible is the God who sweeps in like a mighty rushing wind. He answers by fire. He is the God of great awakenings and generation-wide revivals.

Show me afresh, Lord, how very small my faith is; and how very large Your plans are to reach the lost around me.

From Taking Our Cities for God by John Dawson. Copyright 1989 by John Dawson. Published by Creation House. Used by permission. [from pages 57-58]

July 9

If two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven, Matthew 18:19.

    Robby staggered out of his bedroom with stuffy nose and noisy chest. His climbed into my lap crying and upset. Robby's body felt limp, his hair clung damp to his head. I was glad the baby-sitters hadn't left yet. It's hard having Daddy away for three weeks. Harder yet when one of our children is sick.
    The baby-sitters joined with me in prayer for Robby while I stroked his fevered brow.
    Quite suddenly Robby's body stiffened. He sat straight up, pointed his finger across the room toward the ceiling. "Look!" he excitedly said. "See? There."
    In only a few seconds he whispered, "Gone now."
    We had all looked, but saw nothing. We turned our attention back to Robby and found a happy, excited two-year-old, vastly improved in just those few moments.
    "What did you see," I asked.
    "Big man, nice man," he answered.
    We were amazed and delighted to see Robby animated and cheerful after being so sick.
    "Was the man shiny?" I asked. He nodded.
    "And smiley?? Again he nodded. Further prodding brought no answer.
    The fever was broken and Robby slept peacefully that night. The next day there was no sign of his illness.
    Whether God sent an angel or came Himself to heal Robby, we don't know. We know He did what was needed in a very special way.
Carolyn, an Australian, serves at YWAM - Richardson Springs, California, USA.

July 10

It is written, He will give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee, Luke 4:10.

    I was trimming some bushes near the edge of a cliff about two hundred feet above an asphalt paved lot below. Characteristically for me, I didn't take appropriate precautions.
    Like a carefree child I proceeded to work, getting ever closer to the edge. Suddenly I tripped and lost my footing. I tumbled toward the ledge, my trimming shears still in my right hand.
    While attempting to regain my footing I realized there was nothing below to place my footing on. I could see the asphalt below. I don't recall feeling fear or panic, only an assurance that I would land safely.
    Instinctively I reached my free hand toward the cliff and grabbed hold of something solid. My next awareness was of standing on the ground beside the bushes I'd been trimming. The shears were still in my right hand.
    I looked around to determine what I'd grabbed hold of. One lone pine tree was growing out of the cliff. It seems that it had caught my weight and sprung me back onto the ledge and saved my life.

Michael, an American, serves at YWAM - Richardson Springs, California, USA

July 11

For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ, 2 Corinthians 4:6.

    It was 7:30 on the morning of July 11th, 1991 on the big island of Hawaii. Darkness reigned for almost five minutes during a total eclipse of the Sun. The entire process took about two hours. It was probably one of the most spectacular natural wonders in our lifetime. The next solar eclipse in totality over this island will not be until the year 2106.
    About 60,000 visitors, astronomers and scientists swarmed to Hawaii. Five thousand new rental vehicles and fifty tour buses were imported to accommodate them. Our YWAM staff and students had a wonderful opportunity to share Christ on the streets and anywhere people waited to see this phenomenon.
    As the silhouette of the moon moved slowly across the face of the sun, the Holy Spirit reminded me of how our sin blocks out the light of God. Sin brought darkness into the world. The good news is that Jesus is the Light of the World and those who follow Him will not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.    
    As servants of the Lord we are called to be light to the world, but when we make sinful choices, we are blocking the light of glory which shines through us. Until we are willing to repent we will not be able to let that light shine in its fullness.

Bernie, an American, leads the AquaCulture Technology School, at the University of the Nations, Kona, Hawaii, USA.

July 12

In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one, Ephesians 6:16 NIV.

    A good soldier never goes into battle unprepared. A man in the midst of strife who has been struck by an arrow does not reach for his shield to remove it. Once the arrow has struck, use of the shield is too late.
    Yet many of us react in this manner regarding our shield of faith. We wait until after the enemy's arrow has pierced our flesh to reinforce our faith. When we find ourselves in this position, we need to enlist the urgent help of those around us to pray and counsel with together.
    The shield of faith must be in position at all times; only then can it truly protect us. By knowing God's Word and trusting in it, we can build our faith in God before we encounter adversity. Then we will hardly be maimed by the enemy's attacks.

Lord, help me to always be ready to face the enemy's attacks. Show me the areas of my life where I need to reinforce my faith before the attack begins.

Paul, from England, works in Outgoing Ministry in Spain.

July 13

    I am thankful for the close, loyal friends I work with in Youth With A Mission. We have been encouraged to be accountable to each other over the years and share our struggles. This helps save us from many pitfalls.
    Some believe that a spiritual person does not experience temptation. This isn't true. The truly mature man or woman of God readily confesses struggles with temptation. On the other hand, the devil love to tell us individually how perverted and different we are. He tells us we are the only person doing what we do. Others have found freedom from sin in Christ, but we are unique and hopeless. We will never be free. These too are lies from the enemy. The temptations we experience are common to Christians throughout the world, and their power over us can be diminished.
    We all need a select group of friends where we can be honest with each other and share our burdens, our difficulties, and our temptations. Often victory comes only after we confess our struggles and our friends prayer for us and accept us in love. This is a humbling experience, but one which allows us to walk free of the powerful drive behind our sin.
    With God's grace, we are able to resist temptation to the point of victory. Jesus taught us to pray regularly: "Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.. s God leads our lives, He can help us escape heavy temptation.

Dean Sherman, an American, is an international Bible teacher, and lives in the USA.

From Spiritual Warfare for Every Christian by Dean Sherman. Copyright 1990 by Dean Sherman. Published by YWAM Publishing, Seattle, Washington. Used by permission. [from pages 144-146]

July 14

    Misha McClung was attending university in Amsterdam, and was praying for several of her friends to come to the Lord. Misha invited each one to her parens' home and witnessed to them. One of these friends was a young Romanian man we'll call Ivan. But the time Misha graduated, none of these friends had given their lives to God. She was deeply disappointed, but continued to pray that God would pursue them with His love.
    A while later I was with three other YWAMers on a train near Budapest, Hungary. A young man joined us in our compartment and we soon started talking wtih him. Before long, we learned he had been in the home of Floyd McClung in Amsterdam several times, but it was clear he didn't know Jesus. His name was Ivan.
    Though my friends were planting seeds of the Gospel in Ivan's heart, I felt an urgency to do more. Before Ivan got off the train, I had shared the entire message of the Gospel with him.
    Several months later, I saw Floyd McClung at a conference, and shared the account of that train ride. Floyd was excited, and shared what had happened years earlier.
    When Misha heard about our meeting with Ivan, she was thrilled to have tangible evidence that God loved her friends enough to keep pursuing them, and that He loved her enough to let her know what He was doing.

Thank You, Lord, that You answer prayer, in Your creative way.

Peter, an American, has an international Bible teaching ministry. He lives in California, USA.

July 15

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18 NIV

   It's easy to confuse brokenness with aloneness. I recently went through a period of time where it seemed that everything around me was crumbling down. It had formerly been my pattern in such times to become deeply depressed and complain to everyone around about my problems. I would become frustrated and discouraged at being unable to understand what was happening to me or why.

  But this time, I decided to apply what I knew as a Christian to my problems. I began to search for the Lord's hand in my situation, and as I did, I could recognize the ways He was working in me. As I gained new insights, I learned to be thankful in all things.

  The worse my circumstances became, the more I leaned on the Lord and felt Him beside me. I still shed tears, but now they were tears of joy. I was secure in the knowledge that the One in control never abandons us.

 Vincente, a Spaniard, works in the areas of music and publishing in Spain.

July 16

    I am thankful for the close, loyal friends I work with in Youth With A Mission. We have been encouraged to be accountable to each other over the years and share our struggles. This helps save us from many pitfalls.
    Some believe that a spiritual person does not experience temptation. This isn't true. The truly mature man or woman of God readily confesses struggles with temptation. On the other hand, the devil love to tell us individually how perverted and different we are. He tells us we are the only person doing what we do. Others have found freedom from sin in Christ, but we are unique and hopeless. We will never be free. These too are lies from the enemy. The temptations we experience are common to Christians throughout the world, and their power over us can be diminished.
    We all need a select group of friends where we can be honest with each other and share our burdens, our difficulties, and our temptations. Often victory comes only after we confess our struggles and our friends prayer for us and accept us in love. This is a humbling experience, but one which allows us to walk free of the powerful drive behind our sin.
    With God's grace, we are able to resist temptation to the point of victory. Jesus taught us to pray regularly: "Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.. s God leads our lives, He can help us escape heavy temptation.

From Spiritual Warfare for Every Christian by Dean Sherman. Copyright 1990 by Dean Sherman. Published by YWAM Publishing, Seattle, Washington. Used by permission. [from pages 144-146]

July 17

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.

    When walking in darkness we cannot see what lies behind us; neither can we see the next step ahead. Our experiences and all that once was important seems far away. We do not know what lies ahead.
    Sometimes I ask, "Lord, why do you allow situations in which I don't see, understand, and  have nothing to which I can point?" When the Father allows me to enter the valley of darkness, I don't always understand why. Could Abraham understand why he should sacrifice Isaac? Could Job grasp why everything was being taken from him? These men knew the right thing to do, they worshiped God. They acknowledged that He was worthy, no matter what happened.
    He doesn't change even when all of my circumstances change. He is with me even if I don't feel His presence. Therefore, I do not need to be afraid.
    I can say, "Father, I do not understand, but I trust You  ometimes I experience this darkness in my life. This helps bring my faith to a higher level. I must trust God, not for what He can do for me, but because my trust is rooted in His character.

Ammemarie, an Austrian, is involved in the leadership of YWAM-Austria.

July 18

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go, Psalm 32:8

We knew our long trip from California to Minnesota would be slowed by our large, new motor home. We also knew it would eliminate the need to pay hotel fees and restaurant bills.
    We were only one state from our destination when the motor home refused to move. We soon discovered we were in the town where the vehicle had been manufactured. After having it towed to the repair garage we registered for the repairs, then settled down to wait.
    A young woman called our name and said quietly, "Pretend I have to show you something and follow me." Once outside she said to us that she had seen our Bible. "I need help, will you meet me in the parking lot at 4:30? We'll have to keep your vehicle overnight anyway we agreed.
    That afternoon in the privacy of our motor home we learned that this young woman had become a Christian only six weeks earlier. Her family members were harassing her. Her husband, an alcoholic, was threatening to harm her.
    Our prayers were interrupted by the shouts and threats of her drunken husband. We hadn't realized it was alredy 8:30 p.m. The gates were locked, but he had convinced the guard on duty to open the gate. After we got him calmed down, we shared Christ with him. In only an hour he received Christ.
    Three years have passed since that unexpected layover. We're still receiving letters from the young couple, letters that tell about happily serving the Lord together.

Help me, Lord, to remember that the delays of life are often Your opportunities.

Phyllis, an American, works as a conference assistant at Richardson Springs, California, USA.

July 19

God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise, I Corinthians 1:27.

    Carrying a large cross down a city street is not a conventional means of doing personal evangelism. My friend and I didn't want to be odd. We were simply obeying our hearts. We knew that, if nothing else, the cross to those who see it, could be a subtle reminder of the way Jesus suffered for others.
    We were about to go home when teenage girls in a pick up truck across the street began yelling and making fun of the cross. We could have kept going, ignoring the mocking girls.
    Instead, we laid the cross down and crossed the street. I asked them what they were doing away from home so late at night.
    "Just cruisin' for fun," one answered sarcastically.
    I prayed a quick silent prayer. Somehow the conversation gradually turned toward Jesus. Before long the girls poured out a tale of sorrow. Their father was in the hospital in a coma, dying with cancer.
    We prayed with the girls that evening and watched their sad countenances change to joy. Then they asked us to visit their father in the hospital. A few days later we did.
    Despite his coma, we felt the Lord could cause him to hear. We shared Christ with him and asked him to squeeze his hand if he wanted to pray to become a Christian. What a joy to lead this man to Jesus just a few days before he entered eternity.

Stephen, an American, works on maintenance staff at Richardson Springs, California, USA.

July 20

    "Lisa" is a vibrant and talented woman who serves with Youth With A Mission. She recently shared with me how when she began serving with the mission, she was a worker in the housekeeping department at one of our large ministry centers overseas. During those early days, she felt lonely and isolated.
    Another American woman, the wife of one of the leaders, supervised the housekeeping department. Lisa tried to reach out to her for friendship and support. Alas, this other woman seemed to have time for nothing but the most cursory of remarks.
    Ten years later, Lisa and the leader's wife met at a large international conference. By that time Lisa had found her niche and had become well known. During one of the sessions at the conference, Lisa was introduced to the gathered crowd. The leader's wife came to her afterward, chuckled nervously and said, "You know, you look so familiar. I can't quite place you. You look like someone I had cleaning for me at one of our centers, but that's ridiculous." She chuckled again.
    Lisa looked into the eye of the person she had wanted as a friend and replied, "No, it's not ridiculous. That's exactly where we met. You were supervisor of the housekeeping department." The woman became flustered and soon excused herself from the conversation.

From Through the Dust by Denny Gunderson. Copyright 1992 by Denny Gunderson. Published by YWAM Publishers, Seattle, Washington. Used by permission. [from pages 63-64]

July 21

Samuel replied: “Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams, 1 Samuel 15:22.

    At a YWAM base in Neah Bay, Washington a group preparing to travel to the western tip of Alaska for a special day of prayer.  I was busy, didn’t have the money to go, and didn’t relish the extreme cold, so I never seriously considered being part of the team.
    The prayer team needed a worship leader, so they asked me to go. I explained why it was impossible for me to be part of the team, but when they asked me to at least pray about it, I grudgingly agreed.
    At 4:30 on the afternoon before the team left, I was kneeling in the bathroom, caulking the floor. I realized that I’d never really prayed about joining the team.
    I lifted up a hurried prayer, “Lord, You know how I feel, but if You want me to go, I want to be willing to go. If I should go, please confirm it by providing the money this afternoon.” I knew I hadn’t given God much time to provide.
    Thirty minutes later, a girl ran up to me and said, “One of the team members had to drop out, but he’s made his ticket available. Has God spoken to you yet?”
    My heart seemed to stop when she said that. I told her about my prayer, but away my tools, and packed my suitcase and guitar.
    The trip wasn’t easy, but as we looked across the Bering Strait into Russia, I realized that sometimes God asks me to do the very thing that is furthest from my mind. He just asks that I be available.

Lord, I want to have no plans of my own. I know you use those who are available to fit into your plans.

Ben, an American, was on staff in Neah Bay, Washington, USA.

July 22

His sheep hear his voice and he calls them by name, John 10:3.

    During my years as a welder my work clothes received many burn holes from splattered metal. One day I half-
seriously told my wife that I intended to throw away my work clothes each day. "God will have to provide new ones to take their place."
    At the end of that week a friend come to my home with a huge bag. "I was driving behind a laundry truck," he said. "This bag rolled off the top, into the street. I stopped to pick it up and follow the truck to return it. But then I couldn't find the truck."
    My friend had tried on the contents, but nothing fit. To my wonder there were five gray pants and five matching shirts, all fit me perfectly,
    "I couldn't help but think of you," my friend said, "since each one is embroidered with your name on it."

Thank You Father, that You know what I need before I ask.

Mark, an American, works at Richardson Springs, California, USA.

July 23

    Our little team had indulged me an afternoon excursion so I could see my favorite animal species, the Panda, in its home country. We wandered the zoo in Canton, enjoying the animals, but the lack of cleanliness appalled us.
    Suddenly cries of alarm rang out. People with fear-filled eyes were running in panic past us.
    Instead of turning and running with them, my husband and son, always looking for adventure, ran in the direction of the commotion. I wasn't about to be left standing alone to face the unknown.
    When we rounded the corner our eyes took in the cause of the alarm.  There was no escaped tiger or savage beast running loose. The zoo keeper had opened a cage and a German Shepherd dog had escaped.
    We laughed with delight as the dog ran with abandon  - the zoo keeper close on his heels trying to catch him. The dog was running and frolicking, enjoying his new-found, though temporary, freedom.
    As we continued our tour of the zoo we wondered why the Chinese feared the dog. Then we realized we had seen no dogs since arriving in Canton. Evidently the people were as unfamiliar with domestic dogs as city-dwellers are of poisonous snakes. They were unaware that a German Shepherd is a harmless creature in the hands of its master.
    Do I react to Satan with unwarranted fear? 

Help me, Father, to remember that you're the Master of every situation and I need not fear.

Beverly, an American, is a Bible teacher. She leads Writer's Seminars and lives in the United States.

July 24

Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed, Proverbs 16:3.

    It is important in establishing priorities to plan in all of our activities. If I'm struggling in having a regular quiet time, I need to plan that into my day so that it doesn't get squeezed out in the busyness of the day. Every day in my agenda I have a "quiet time" written at the top of the list--it is a protection to me so that this very crucial part of my life with the Lord does not get eliminated in all that I'm doing for him. If the Lord is speaking to me about my health and I need to exercise regularly, I put that into my schedule. All activities--large and small--go into the schedule, then I sort them into priorities.
    I was struck once when reading about the life of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. A very well-known woman, she has at times carried a lot of responsibility in her life. She keeps an hourly schedule! Not just a monthly, weekly or daily schedule--but an hourly one. I was very challenged by that. If this woman, who has done many wonderful things in the world at various times in her life (albeit things that aren't perhaps counting for eternity), sees it as being important to keep an hourly schedule, how much more do I as a Christian woman need to accept my responsibility seriously in the use of my time.
    If God has given us a sense of priority, we need to work within that and not go around apologizing all the time for things we can't do. That's hard, I know. It is especially difficult when faced with the needs of people all around us. The point is to establish our priorities and stick to them with the fear of the Lord upon us because he has helped us to establish them.

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 16-17]

July 25

Ah, Sovereign Lord, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you, Jeremiah 32:17.

    It was a normal work day for me. I carefully planned the job: materials ordered, equipment in place. I used the earth-moving machine to remove huge shovels full of dirt for the new building's foundation.
    To add strength to a building, long bars of steel are laid in place before the concrete is poured. Each steel bar must be tied in place. I took pride in doing my job well.
    To my surprise I was lacking a 4.25-inch piece of steel bar. As I glanced at my watch I felt panic. The concrete truck was scheduled to arrive in just minutes. And they're always on time, I thought.
    I gave a desperate prayer for help. "I only need a little piece, Lord.
    My spirit heard a gentle, "It's all right, Dave, I'll fix it."
    At the supplier's I couldn't find any short pieces. In fact, the shortest was twenty feet long! I resigned myself to buying the twenty foot length and reached for my wallet. No wallet! It must be back on the job site.
    I felt sick. My day, my job, seemed to be falling completely apart.
    I apologized to the salesman and turned to leave. "Wait, I'll see what I can do," he offered.
    We went out back to the pile of steel bars. There on the ground was a small piece of steel. I was sure it hadn't been there before. I bent to pick it up and said to the salesman, "Don't laugh, but this is all I need."
    "Take it," he said.
    I made it back to the job site before the cement truck arrived. I was actually afraid to measure the piece for fear it would seem disrespectful to the Lord. I did anyway.
    Laughter sprang from my being. "It's right on, isn't it?" I sensed Him say.

Father, how wonderful it is to know that You care about even the small details of my life.

Dave, an American, works as a campus service director at Richardson Springs, California, USA.

July 26

Enter into his gate with thanksgiving and into his courts with praise," Psalm 100:4.

    I often fill up a section of my prayer diary with both the big and the little things for which I am thankful. If I have difficulty thinking of somewhere to begin, I start by thanking the Lord for my body. "Lord, I thank You for my hair, my mind my eyes, ears, nose, mouth, tongue, lungs, vocal chords, skin, arms, fingers, my neurological system, circulatory system, digestive and reproductive systems, my blood, legs, feet, and toes  ometimes I go on to thank the Lord for my health, my wife, and my two beautiful sons. Other times, I thank God for the incarnation of Christ, the Cross, the Bible, the mission with which I serve, my church, my pastors, and the like. When you think about it, there are hundreds of things that God has done for on on which we can focus and for which we can thank Him. A few moments spent each day recounting our daily blessings helps us look forward to spending time with the "lover of our souls" in the intimacy of our daily Quiet Time.
    Time spent thanking the Lord for all He has done for us is sure to put us in the mood for praising and worshiping Him. From my experience, a time of praising and worshiping God is a time of spontaneity and intimacy. Often during these times, I sing psalms to the Lord.

Today, Lord, I praise You for the ability to sense Your presence, even when I don't take to time to notice.

From Before You Hit the Wall by Danny Lehmann. Copyright 1991. Published by YWAM Publishing, Seattle, Washington. Used by Permission. [from page 42]

July 27

A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control, Proverbs 29:11.

    God can work in our lives in such a way that our capacity to handle pressure grows. I have often prayed for this. The things I face in my life as a matter of course now would have probably put me in the hospital with a nervous breakdown ten years ago. The Lord has helped me to grow in this area of my life, and he's shown me his ways for responding to the increased load.
    I love living in Holland. There are so many things about this land and its culture that fascinate me. One of the things I have particularly been interested in is the lovely old windmills. One of my Dutch friends told me some of the history behind these landmarks. When they were first put into use, people had some problems with them. Sometimes the wind would catch the sails and they would turn so quickly that they would catch on fire and burn up. The people had to work on safety precautions to prevent this from happening. Before they could do this, many windmills were destroyed. The difficulty was not in catching the wind but controlling it.
    We're a bit like those windmills. It's no problem to find lots to do. The problem is maintaining a balance and keeping ourselves from being "burned up" and destroyed.

From Where Will I Find the Time? Making Time Work for You by Sally McClung. Copyright 1989 by Sally McClung. Published by Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, Oregon. Used by permission. [from page 132]

July 28

The steps of a man are established by the Lord, and He delights in his way, Psalm 37: 23 NASB

   Our outreach team was in southern Albania to help start a church. We had no address or telephone number for our friend who was living there. He had assured us that because he was the only foreigner living in town, anyone would be able to tell us where he lived.
     Now we were two days late, and it was after midnight. The streets were deserted except for a few nervous looking policemen. We prayed for someone who spoke English to help us.
    Soon, a young man walked by who understood a few words of English. He motioned for us to follow him. He led us to the post office where two women were at the telephone. We never found out how he knew they were there.
     One of the women wrote a note in Albanian for us listing his name and the name of his village. While some local men unsuccessfully tried to locate him, three policemen approached our van.
     We were relieved to hear that they weren't going to arrest us. They were only nervous about our safety and asked us to move closer to the police station so they could protect us. After reading our Albanian note, the police chief and an officer who spoke a little English drove us to find our friend.
     Awakened out of a sound sleep by two policemen, our friend listened intently to the tale of how God led us to him. Even when we had no idea where we were going, we were never out of His care.

Sandy, an American, works with Slavic Ministries          

July 29

Encourage one another and build each other up, I Thessalonians 5:11 NIV.

    In our marriage I had to learn that I could not act as the Holy Spirit, bringing conviction to Sally when and where I thought necessary. That is God's job. God has charged me to love and cherish my wife and be a living example of His character for her (Ephesians 5:25). I am not called to be her judge. If there are areas of weakness in her life, then I am to pray for her and allow God to bring conviction to her heart--and she must do the same for me.
    It is essential that love takes prime place in our relationships. Where there are differences, we must reach out in love to our brother and allow the Holy Spirit to do His convicting work in both our lives. He, after all, is the only One who is able to do this justly since He knows the thoughts and intents of our heart.
    As a father, I also need to seek unity with my two children. Just because they are my children, Living in my home, does not permit me to dispense with the principles of love and unity. I cannot rant at them belittle their feelings and ideas, or do anything that makes them feel less significant or worthwhile than I. Matthew and Misha may belong to a different generation than mine, but they are my brother and sister in Christ. One day we will stand as equals in Christ's presence. I am expected to live in unity with them as fellow believers. This is not always easy, but I have to release them from my expectations and allow them to be themselves--a principle that holds true for every relationship.

Help me, Lord, to lift up my brothers and sisters with kind words, speaking the truth to them with love.

From Father, Make Us One by Floyd McClung. Copyright by Floyd McClung. Published by Frontline Communications, Seattle, Washington. Used by permission. [from pages 33-34]

July 30

Do not worry beforehand about what to say. Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit, Mark 13:11.

    We were on one of our early trips into Russia in 1973. One of our purposes was to take Bibles to give to believers who couldn't get them otherwise.
    My friend and I arrived at the Russian border for customs check. When it was my turn, the guard pointed at my suitcase.
    "Open it," he ordered.
    My heart sank. How is God going to do this one? I wondered.
    He spat out the sword. "Bibles!" Reaching in, he pulled out one after another. Soon guards surrounded me and took me off to the side. That first guard screamed at me, "We don't need this Christian garbage. We're going to take these Bibles and burn them."
    I stood quietly listening. There was nothing I could say. I could silently pray for God to bring about good.
    After some time I looked into the guards eyes and quietly asked, "Do you have a grandmother?"
    "Of course I have a grandmother," he snapped.
    "Is she a believer?"
    His head dropped. He couldn't look me in eye.
    "Yes, she is," he mumbled.
    Suddenly this Russian guard had changed from a raging lion to a meek lamb.
    "I imagine your grandmother would like one of these more than anything in life," I added. "How can you talk that way about something that is so precious to her?"
    When we were allowed to leave, some of our Bibles were left in our suitcases.
    Gesturing toward those we were leaving behind, I said, "Give one of these to your grandmother."

Oh Lord, You promised to give me words when they're needed. Help me to believe it when I need to.

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

July 31

"I tell you the truth," Jesus said to them, "no one who has left home or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the Kingdom of God will fail to receive many times as much in this age and, in the age to come, eternal life, Luke 18:29, 30.

    My time in the lovely Swiss Alps had come to a close. Today I was leaving Einigen and returning by train to my home country of Czechoslovakia. 
    Here in the valley around Lake Thun we had known lovely fall weather throughout our two weeks in a U of N Writer's Seminar. My aching muscles reminded me of yesterday's hike in Europe's tallest mountains.
    After enjoying breakfast together the remaining classmates went outdoors to take some last minute pictures. What a surprise!  All the mountains were dressed in white garments. The distant mountain peaks seemed closer now, as though reaching out to say goodbye. We walked to the meadow to capture the entire scene.
    My camera zoomed in on the figure of one of our classmates. He was dressed in white, both trousers and shirt. Beside him stood our white house. Beyond was majestic Mount Stockhorn, adorned in a snowy veil.
    As far as the eye could see everything looked peaceful and white. Two days ago Stockhorn and the other mountains were different. Today they looked completely new.
    It all reminded me of the Scripture that says, "However dark or red our sins may be, they can be as white as snow."

Thank you, Lord, for taking my sin away and for making me new.

Anna, Czechoslovakia