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Devotional Readings for November

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

November 1

Do not worry about tomorrow. Matthew 6:34

  When my wife and I joined the Alberta, Canada, YWAM staff we believed God would provide for our family. I was surprised by an unexpected provision.

  The office was empty that morning as I worried about our financial struggles. As "home missionaries," working in our own country we relied on the gifts of a small but faithful support team, yet we were falling behind on our rent and bills were piling up.

  All was quiet as I knelt and cried out to the Lord. "Father, what should I do?" I asked. A peculiar thought popped into my mind: call the minibus company.

  For some reason, I hadn't considered that God might want me to take a part-time job in the community. I was supposed to be in full-time Christian service. But I had noticed the minibus driving around town, usually full of either boisterous kids or seniors.

  With rising hope I phoned the minibus company. "Will you be hiring any part-time drivers in the near future?" I asked.

  "Yes," the man answered. "We'll be placing a 'help wanted' ad in the newspaper in a few days."

  After hearing about my five-year background of professional driving experience, he encouraged me to apply for the job. I talked the idea over with my base director, and applied. Two days later, before the want ad was published, I was driving the minibus.

  The job was ideal, giving me the flexibility to work on alternating weekends and fill in when regular drivers were ill or on vacations. The income eased our financial pressures, and I was able to meet many people in the community.

  God's provision came in an unexpected way, but he was faithful to meet our needs as He'd promised.

 Doug, a Canadian, is director of Corporate Communications at the University of the Nations in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, USA.

November 2

Taking the five loaves and the two fish...he gave thanks... They all ate and were satisfied. Matthew 14:19,20.

   The YWAM base in Samoa already had 13 regulars for meals. To feed that many I had doubled the meatball recipe, the rice and the vegetables. Tonight, there was enough dessert for everyone.

  We were just ready to serve dinner when a car pulled up outside. I went downstairs to greet the five friends who had come to see our bookstore. It was then I learned my husband, the base leader had invited all five visitors to join us for dinner.

  After sending everyone upstairs to eat I returned to the bookstore. I wanted to talk to my heavenly Father about the food and ask Him to multiply it to cover all the extra mouths.

  After about 30 minutes I went upstairs. To my amazement, though I shouldn't have been amazed, there was plenty of food left. I learned that some had even taken second helpings.

  After everyone else left for either a church service or other responsibilities I enjoyed my meal and then washed up the dishes. I savored the quiet kitchen. My heart was full of praise and thanks to the Lord. I still don't know whether He increased the food or decreased everyone's appetite. However He wants to feed His children is up to Him.

 Lord Jesus, thank you that You're still able to multiply food.

 Lydia, a Hollander, leads Women's Ministries in Kona, Hawaii, USA.

November 3

Be very careful, then, how you live--not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Ephesians 5:16.

   I have found it helpful to use a portion of my morning Quiet Time for committing new Scriptures tomemory. For instance, I had to drop my two boys off at school this morning. After dropping them off, it takes me about 15-20 minutes in traffic to get home, so I used this time for review. On the drive home, I was able to go over in my mind and recite out loud six chapters from the book of Romans. Not only was I spiritually edified by redeeming the time in this way, but I kept myself from the temptation to complain about the traffic, listen to people pool their ignorance on radio talk shows, or just daydream the time away.

  Since I run alone a lot to keep in shape for the marathon, I find this a good time for reviewing Scripture. I'll often play games with myself to make it fun. For example, on an identical five-mile run, I might recite six chapters on Tuesday, then on Wednesday I'll set out to break my record by trying to recite seven or eight chapters.

  You could do the same when driving long distances, or when walking between appointments or errands. Occasionally, when I am tempted to get angry and "pop off" at someone or something, I recite a chapter to myself.

 Remind me, Lord, when I'm wasting time that could be spent learning Your Word.

Danny Lehmann, an American, direct the YWAM base in Honolulu, Hawaii, USA, and travels extensively in a teaching ministry.

 From Before You Hit the Wall by Danny Lehmann. Copyright 1991. Published by YWAM Publishing, Seattle, Washington. Used by Permission. [from page 75]

November 4

 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? Romans 8:35

  A pastor had been put into prison for preaching the Gospel. When he arrived, he decided God had given him this prison as a mission field. He began to look around for the worst criminal he could find in that institution. (Soviet prisons combine political and religious offenders with common thieves and others.) The man he settled on with his prayer and witnessing efforts was a murderer, a man who was so vicious that even the prison guards feared him.

  In the prison, everyone was required to work for twelve hours a day, but the Christian decided this murderer would only be reached if he fasted and prayed for him. So he gave up the meager prison food, even though he continued his hard labor. When others sank into exhausted sleep, the pastor climbed out of his bunk onto the bare wooden floor to pray for the man's salvation.

  One night while he was on his knees praying and shedding tears, he sensed someone behind him. He turned.

  The murderer was staring him in the face. "What are you doing, man?"

  "I'm praying," he replied.

  "What are you praying for?" he asked gruffly.

  "I'm prying for you," the pastor answered, wiping away his tears.

  Soon that man gave his heart to the Lord. The change in him was so drastic that news of what had happened spread through the prison. after sometime a real change took place in the overall atmosphere of the prison. This so impressed the prison boss that he transferred the pastor to the worst prison in Russia, with the promise that if he could bring a change there, they would give him an early release.

  A move of God started at the second prison, leading the pastor to write his wife a painful letter. He begged for her  to understand his decision. He was turning down his parole in order to continue his ministry in that prison.

Loren Cuynningham, an American, is founder and president of YWAM. He lives in Hawaii, USA.

 From Winning God's Way by Loren Cunningham. Copyright 1988 by Loren Cunningham. Published by YWAM Publishing, Seattle, Washington. Used by permission. [from pages 70-71]

November 5

He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he. Deuteronomy 32:4.        

   There was a time when that verse in Deuteronomy took on a new meaning in my life. I began to wonder if God knew what was going on in my life or cared. I wondered if He were in control. I wondered if He were truly just.

  At one point, I even questioned God's love and righteousness.  I knew that it would be impossible for me to be obedient to the Lord without knowing Him and His character. I prayed to know who Jesus really was. I disciplined myself to read the Word every day, and as I did, a clear picture of Christ began to emerge. I needed to confess that the Lord was the One I placed my trust in and that He was still as faithful to me as He had always been.

  The Lord can help us in every situation. He walks beside us every day. He knows us and what is best for us. If you have given your life to God in the past, renew your commitment today. Make Him Lord over your future. Give thanks to the Lord. The only true happiness is in knowing Him.

 Oh, Lord, I long to truly know You.

 Anja, of Finland, is base interpreter and works with leaders of small groups, in Finland.

November 6

And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others. 2 Timothy 2:2

  As Christians we need to constantly examine ourselves. Are we living in such a relationship with our Lord and our fellow men that we can challenge others to follow our example?

  There were "many witnesses" to Paul's and Timothy's committed relationship who saw the quality and depth of exchange in their lives. Sharing and openness of this nature requires an investment of time to work through problems to share joys and to discover the ways of God together. All of us are in need of this type of relationship.

  We need a "Paul" in our lives who loves us enough to encourage and exhort us and to speak the truth in love. But, we also need to be humble enough to accept that strong kind of love gratefully.

  How much time and how many mistakes could be spared us if we only were open to receive help in this manner? As we receive we can grow in the knowledge of God and His ways. We can learn to trust these things to others and challenge them to a life of holiness before the Lord.

  We need the type of relationship Paul and Timothy had, then to trust that those who witness and learn from us will pass it on to other "faithful men."

 Lord, help us to press in to know You so that others might follow on to know You that Your kingdom may be enlarged and you may be glorified."

 Written by an American working in Asia.

November  7

For the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being snared. Proverbs 3:26

   Some time ago I visited an old army friend whom I hadn't seen for ten years. We greeted one another warmly and began to share stories of the past and the routes our lives had taken over the years. He commented on a mutual friend who had received a commission and was rising rapidly in military rank. I quickly responded by explaining my administrative roll in the organization dropping comments about "lawyers" and "bankers" along the way.

  As I drove away from his house that afternoon, I was smitten with guilt and disgust. I thought I had overcome the feeling that everyone seemed to have it so much more together than I did. My intent that day was to impress my friend. God used this to reveal deep insecurities in my life.

  Prevously I had tried to deal with insecurity by reminding myself that the other person probably didn't have it together either. What a totally false concept this is. I can only overcome my problem by recognizing God's call upon my life and walking before Him with a whole and pure heart.

  Insecurity is a lack of trust in God's ability to use my life. Yet those of us that struggle in this area are in good company. Great pillars of faith like Job, David, and Paul each found out that the way to deal with these insecurities was by acknowledging God's ability to use them.

  The prophet Isaiah says, "In repentance and rest is your salvation. In quietness and trust is your strength." (Isaiah 30:15-18 NIV).

 Forgive me for looking to others for my sense of self-worth. Remind me, Lord, when I strive to impress anyone but You.

 David, from New Zealand, serves as purser and elder on the Mercy Ship, Anastasis.

November 8

Whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. Mark 11:24

My wife, Marcia, and I arrived in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, to attend a YWAM Bible school in the latter part of 1988. Marcia was about six months pregnant, and like many pregnant women, often craved certain foods.

  One night about 10:20, Marcia developed a craving for peperoni pizza. I tried to be patient and understanding, but knew there was no way on earth we could get pizza at that time of night. We were an hour away from the bity by bus, and had to be up the next morning for classes.

  We had been taught that God can satisfy our desires, so we called out to Him. I encouraged Marcia that God could satisfy the craving, even though she couldn't have the pizza.

  Ten minutes later, there was a knock on our door. Sueli de Souza, the base secretary, had three pieces of pizza for us! We started crying - God did satisfy Marcia's craving.

Written by Paulo

November 9

Let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I...have done all these things at your command. 1 Kings 18:36

  It was a travesty - the TV documentary I was watching. Before me was secular man's interpretation of how we should bring up our children. I have taught and written from a biblical perspective on this subject, and felt that the distortion presented could not go unchallenged. After all, it wasn't spanking that was evil; it was spanking in anger that was wrong.

  I was on sabbatical in my native New Zealand at the time. The next day I typed out a Christian response and addressed it to the biggest newspaper in the country - something I had never done before.

  Two weeks later I had given up believing it would ever be printed. But one Saturday (the day the paper has the greatest circulation), there it was. The editor had made it distinct from other letters and assigned to it a four-column heading!

  Several days later while alone with God, I felt a clear impression to do something I would never have thought up myself. I was to send that letter to other newspapers all over New Zealand. I knew that newspapers don't usually like to reprint what has already appeared in other papers. But if this was the Lord - well, then good would come of it.

  To my amazement, of the sixteen largest papers I sent that letter to, fourteen of them published it, some under big headlines (like one which was six columns wide in the nation's capital).

Ross, a New Zealander, serves at large on the staff of the College of Christian Ministries of University of the Nations, Kona, Hawaii, USA.

November 10

May your ways be known on earth, your salvation among all nations. Psalm 67:2

  "Who, me? A grandmother go to Russia?" That was my response when I first heard about the trip for Christian educators. The invitation had come from, the Russian Education Ministry wanting us to share materials on morals and ethics with Russia's public school teachers. I wanted to be in on what God was doing there. After much prayer, I flew with a group to Yaroslavl.

  I was amazed by the words of Mickoliovitch, the Deputy Head of the Regional Administration, "We are only too glad to turn our backs on the dogmas that have permeated our society."

  The Minister of Education in Yaroslavl, Olga, said, "It is time to examine the monument of the Bible as we study our past and future. We welcome the blending of minds from an atheist background of 70 years to the examination of a way of life based on historical Christianity."

  I didn't see any Russian smile during the first day of our visit. I was told that they didn't understand why we had come such a long way to help them. We told them that the best guidelines for government, education, and the home are found in the Bible. We assured them that we wanted them to know from us personally the meaningful things of our lives. This meant personal sharing.

  My 21-year-old translator is a good example of the changes we saw. At first she was frightened, but after a few days she absorbed love like a dry sponge.

  On the last day she told me, "I've never known anyone who believed there is a God...not my mother or father...friends or relatives. I now believe He is real, and I want to know Him."

Frances, an American, is a freelance writer who lives in Austin, Texas, USA.

November 11

I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. Philippians 4:11

  My circumstances were getting the best of me. My husband, Kip, and I were in Belize, Central America, on a YWAM outreach. While Kip shared in a Bible school, I did what I could to bring order to our living conditions.

  Our three children were young and energetic, and it was almost a full-time job just taking care of them. I had to prepare all our meals from scratch, with no "convenience" foods. In the tropical climate, our many insct bites wouldn't heal, and ants were always in the food. I didn't need anyone to spur me to prayer!

  I prayed and cried out to God to remove these uncomfortable situations. But things got worse! Two of our children got sick, a dog chewed up our few disposable diapers, and animals came into our kitchen and ate our food. But God performed a miracle.

  No, the circumstances didn't change - I did. God showed me that my hope and trust had to be in Him. I couldn't just serve Him and be happy when everything was going right. I had to trust that He would give me grace in the midst of chaos.

Diana and her husband, both Americans, lead YWAM training programs in Tyler, Texas, USA.

November 12

See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. Revelation 3:8

  I was one of fourteen YWAMers from seven nations traveling overland to Calcutta, India. We divided into two groups of seven. The first group would start the trip about a week before the other. I was in the second group.

  Stephanie, a young woman from South Africa, was in the First group. We had been told that she would not be allowed into the Communist countries the team would travel through. In fact, officials in the American consulate told us that she would never be allowed into Afghanistan.

  After much prayer, and despite the warnings, we felt God wanted Stephanie to remain in the group, and they started the journey. We prayed each day for Stephanie, and received a phone call from Bulgaria: Staehanie had been allowed in! We dontinued praying as we started traveling, though we heard nothing further for another three weeks.

  During an intercession time one Friday evening, we felt God leading us to pray for the first team's entry to Afghanistan. This didn't seem to make sense, because the schedule said that the team should already be in the country by then. But we went ahead and prayed.

  Two weeks later, when our two teams were reunited, we asked the others, "Where were you two Fridays nights ago?"

  "We had been delayed, so we had only gotten to Tehran, Iran," they responded. The morning after we had prayed for them, God impressed the team leader to take Stephanie to apply for her Afghan visa. She asked for a ten-day transit visa, but within ten minutes, they came back - with a one-month tourist visa.

  Stephanie was given several visa extensions in Afghanistan, doing medical relief work with the Afghan people.

As told to Paul Hawkins by Stephanie, a South African who now works in Colombia.

November 13

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men. Colossians 3:23

  A pastor friend of mine once told me,  "I believe one prospers as a result of what he does with the opportunities God gives him."

  For the better part of three years, while I was in Seattle directing a ministry called Gleanings for the Needy, that's exactly what God had given me: plenty of opportunities. Those opportunities involved use of the mental and physical gifts that He had already given me.

  The ministry's expenses were mostly for fuel and maintenance to keep our old van running six days a week on its daily assigned route. We collected two to three tons of food a week which would othersise have been thrown away. The discarded food was still nutritious, but had passed its prime. We then delivered that food to groups which fed hungry people or redistributed it to needy people who could prepare it themselves. We had no regular financial donors, but the opportunities to apply entrepreneurial gifts were plentiful.

  For thirty months, many volunteers from various churches were faithful to keep their appointed days to drive our old unheated van, even on days of freezing cold. At one point, the ministry had three vehicles and a bank account large enough to keep the ministry financed for several months. The ministry was finally turned over to a local church in the area and is still in operation today.

  Opportunities are like miracles. They often appear, but if you are not looking for them, you'll miss them. To see an opportunity and to act upon it may determine your prosperity and success.

  To keep our focus, we must remember that we are called to faithfulness, not success. Success must never become the God-given opportunities which are placed in our path.

 Cleon, an American, is the director of Love, Inc., a ministry of World Vision.

November 14

A man...called his servants and entrusted his property to them...each according to his ability. Matthew 25:14-15

  I sat on the porch swing watching yet another magnificant East Texas sunset. The sky semed afire with reds, oranges, pinks, and purples. The puffy clouds reflected the colors, casting shadows onto themselves and causing new hues to merge with the others.

  "God," I said, "I wish I could paint like You."
  But I have created you to paint with words, came the words in my mind, quick and unbidden in the way I had come to recognize God's quiet voice.

  I though on this for a while. I thought of the YWAM school of Illustration in session just a few hundred yards from where I sat, and of the incredibly talented artists whose work we "oohed" and "aahed" over. How many of us, I wondered, secretly wished for their talents?

  I thought of Richard, our chef, a man who had given up a successful career in the restaurant business to feed Jesus' "sheep" at our base. We were certainly blessed, and part of me wished I could cook like that man.

  But God has created me to paint with words. I may not be Tom Clancy (my writing hereo, but what is important is that I do the best with what God has given me. If I am a good sterward of the talents He has given me, I will receive His reward when my work is done.

  It would not matter if I was a painter, a plumber, a chef, or a mechanic. My resonsibility is to be the painter, plumber, chef, mechanic, or writer that God has created me to be.

  Nothing else matters.

Trevor, an Australian, works in the art and editorial departments at Last Days Ministries in Lindale, Texas, USA.

November 15

We are labourers together with God. 1 Corinthians 3:9 KJV

  After our song and drama presentation at the Jeun Nam University in Korea, I asked a young man named Jeom Sik and a young woman named Hee Yun if they understood our message. "I want to know this God you talked about," Hee Yun replied.

 This is too easy, I thought, certainly she doesn't understand what I mean.

  I explained more fully the plan of salvation and the cost of discipleship, stressing that she would need to let Jesus become Lord over all areas of her life.

  "I want to know  God personally," she affirmed.

  Just then, a young Korean Christian joined our conversation. He translatred as I led Hee Yun in prayer for forgiveness of sins.

  I turned to Jeom Sik, who had silently stood by. "What are you going to do?" I asked him.

  Using a writing pad and drawings he answered, "I believe in God, but I want to be in the middle." I used God's Word to show him that there is no middle ground where God is concerned. He grimaced outwardly as he thought it over. There seemed to be an inward struggle taking place.

  Again, at just the right moment, another Korean Christian joined us. "I've been praying for Jeom Sik for a long time," he said. This seemed to deepen Jeom Sik's inward struggle.

  But then he declared, "Okay, I'm going to do it!" This seemed to bring him release, and he confessed his sins and made a commitment to live his life for God.

Gail, an Australian, is director of the Small World christian Kindergarten in Hong Kong.

November 16

Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. John 4:6

  Hong Kong - where East meets West. Because of Hong Kong's location and political status, the people are more religiously diverse than perhaps any other Asian nation. And yet many residents have never heard of Jesus Christ. For years we were aware of the prayer and intercession of many Christians for this crowded island nation. We came to Hong Kong to share Jesus with as many people as we could, and we had asked God to lead us to those who were ready to listen.

  One unusual opportunity came at a housing complex. The young people were uninterested in the beginning, so we asked them to join us for a game of basketball. They agreed.

  After this act of friendship, they were eager to hear what we had to say about Jesus, and several opened their hearts to Him.

  We were invited several times to return to play basketball with them. While some of us played, others stayed on the sidelines and talked with the spectators about Christ. There were a whole range of responses, from indifference to curiosity, from hardened rejection to open-hearted acceptance.

  This type of friendship evangelism remends me of the time when Jesus sat by Jacob's well in Samaria. In that natural setting He shared with a village woman the good news of eternal life. In the same way, we can share Jesus' love in a natural way with those around us.

Allana, a New Zealander, is the South Pacific Regional Coordinator for the University of the Nations College of Communications. She lives in Canberra, Australia.

November 17

But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. Philippians 3:7-8

  Jesus taught us to seek His kingdom first, and that includes submitting to Him the choice of who we marry. Christians must make the choice of a marriage partner while keeping their ministry and calling in mind. Otherwise, they could be robbing God of what is His due.

  What if no suitable person is around? I heard of one young lady who trained at a missionary-sending base. "I'd like to get married," she said, "but I'm called to Pakistan. I'm going there even if I don't get married."

  Later she went off to Pakistan to serve the Lord in obediencce. Once there, she met the son of a mssionary who had been raised in that country. They are happily married and serving God in Pakistan. Her story has a fairy-tale ending, but that cannot always be guaranteed.

  I have to agree with the sentiments of a young lady who also said, "If the right man doesn't come along, I'd rather stay single than to marry the wong guy." The last I heard, she was in Vietnam and still hadn't married.

  God wants the very best for us, and we can trust in His wisdom - He knows just the right person to bring to us as a life partner.

Ross Tooley, a New Zealander, serves at large on the staff of the College of Christian Ministries of University of the Nations, Kona, Hawaii, USA.

Adapted from We Cannot But Tell, by Ross Tooley, revised edition. Copyright 1993 by Ross Tooley, Published by YWAM Publishing, Seattle, Washington, Used by permission [from page 147}.

November  18

"Because your heart was tender and you hunbled yourself before the Lord...I truly have heard you," declares the Lord. 2 Kings 22:19 NASB

  I wanted to be a good soldier for Christ. But my concept of warfare came from history, comic books, and movies. I thought a soldier was a tough, hardened man who kept his emotions in check.

  I worked with YWAM in El Salvador, doing evangelism and ministering to the refugees. Everywhere we went, I saw hurting people - children with burns, people with missing limbs, babies dehydrated and dying from diarrhea.

  My co-workers comforted the wounded and embraced the dying, But I couldn't. I saw the hurts and couldn't cope, so I withdrew. I wanted to cry, but was afriad that I'd never stop. So I got angry at the injustice man's sin caused, and hardened my heart against the pain.

  Over the years, my heart grew harder. I knew it wasn't right, but I seemed helpless to change. I wanted the tender heart I once had.

  Then one Easter, I understood. I saw the hands of God - and they were wounded. I looked in His side and saw where His heart was pierced. Jesus sweat blood in His agony over the sins of the world, while I ran and hid. Solders of God have tender hearts.

Jim, an American, is the editor of YWAM's Persona Prayer Diary, and is an editor with YWAM Publishing in Lindale, Texas, USA.

November 19

I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life.... Deauteronomy 30:19-20

  There she stood, all 45 pounds dug in for the siege. Once again we squared off. What my six-year-old daughter wanted wasn't best for her, but with set jaw and taut muscles, she wanted it anyway.

  "Lord, why is it so hard for her to be obedient? What do I say to get through?"

  As my daugheer and I faced each other in silence, she waited to see what I would do and I waited to know what to do.
  Finally I asked, "Honey, do you know who is the only one who can make you mind me?"

  She thought a moment. "You?"

  "No, I can't make you mind." Her muscles started to loosen as she thought about my questions.

  "God?" she asked.

  "No," I replied, "He won't make you mind."

  Thoroughly caught up with solving this riddle, my daughter suddenly looked up with the light of discovery in her eyes.


  "Yes, you. You're the only one who can make you mind."

  Slowly a huge smile lit up her face, revealing two dimples. With a deep breath, she relaxed her stiff little shoulders and started swinging her arms back and forth. She would obey. The standoff had ended - by her choice.

  As she skipped down the hall to her room, I stood amazed at the transformation. One right decision and she was free.

  And so it is with us and our heavenly Father. By giving us the ability to choose, God gives us the power to create turning points in our lives.

Martha, an American, serves as secretary to the pastor of Tyler Christian Fellowship, Tyler, Texas, USA.

November 20

Your path led through the sea, your way through the mighty waters, though your footprints were not seen. Psalm 77:19

  Winter that year touched more than the landscape around me. Before the last leaves had fallen, I felt its icy fingers drive deep into my heart. I'd experienced spiritual "winters" before, but never one like this.

  Only months earlier, my time in a Discipleship Training School had been so full of life and change. After much prayer, I'd decided to stay and work with the ministry center. Slowly, however, winter snows had fallen over my excitemet, and my energy dropped to survival level. Spiritual warfare ground me down even further.

  God was a patient teacher during those dark months, and my intimacy with Him deepened. I realized that the new lessons and perspectives had been worth the difficulty, and sensed that my long winder might be ending soon.

  As February turned into March, announcements about an upcoming prophetic conference punctuated ministry gatherings. Would God speak to me there? My hopes were high, so it stung when I had to work during almost every session and was somehow overlooked by others when I sought out prayer.

  During quiet time after the conference, I sensed God asking me to pray out Psalm 86:17, "Give me a sign of your goodness, that my enemies may see it and be put to shame, for you, O Lord, have helped me and comforted me."

  Four hours later, I met a girl who'd stopped by the ministry for a break during a trip of several thousand miles. "I feel like I'm supposed to pray for you," she said. Intrigued, I eagerly complied.

  The ice began to melt as her words spilled out, many of them echoing promises God had given me earlier or prayers I'd cried out to Him - one just that morning.

  Though spring hadn't arrived, I knew it couldn't be far away.

Marguerite, an American, works in the editorial department of Last Days Ministries in Lindale, Texas, USA.

November 21

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

  It was my first trip into what seemed like hell on earth. The foul stench of rotting garbage and human waste was inescapable.

  This landscape of death was home to some 10,000 men, women, and children living a squalid existence in Manila's garbage dump - the place where our team worked.

  We stood outside the shack of a grieving family that had no means to pay for a burial. I wondered how our regular team could face these conditions day after day.
  A small, naked boy stood smiling at me. He thrust his filthy hand toward me in friendship. I dodged the threat of his approaching hand and looked away in shame.
  My mind searched frantically for solace from my screaming conscience, but found none. Cold steel penetrated my heart. What would Jesus do? I wondered. But I knew.

  I forced my eyes back to the little boy, and stretched out a tentative hand. He took it much as a hungry dog would snatch a scrap of meat. As I lay my other hand on his dirty, scabbed head, I prayed a short prayer of blessing. God filled my heart with love and compassion.

  Then it hit me. This little boy cared more about love than about his surroundings. As I grasped this truth, I understood the key to my co-workers' ability to cope day after day. They walked with the Father and He provided all the grace they needed.

Rick, an American, is a writer and lecturer and serves as ssistant to the Dean of the College of Humanities and International Studies at the University of the Nations in Kona, Hawaii, USA.

November 22

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.

  When I am speaking to a group and challenge them from this Bible verse in Jeremiah 32, the response is revealing. It usually goes like this: I will say, "Is there anything too hard for God?"

  People from the audience resond with a hearty chorus - "No!"
  Then I ask a second question. "Is there anything too hard for God to do...through you?"

  Silence. A few grin, ducking their heads.

  That is the way it is for all of us, isn't it? As long as we keep the principles of God's Word at a nice, comfortable, theoretical distance, we can believe it all. It's only when it comes to putting it into practice that we become disbelieving. Somehow, God gets smaller as we get involved.

  God is a great God, and He want to be great through you.

Loren Cunningham, an American, is founder and president of YWAM. He lives in Hawaii, USA.

From Winning God's Way by Loren Cunningham with Janice rogers. Copyright 1988 by Loren Cunningham. Published by YWAM Publishing, Seattle, Washington. Use by permission [from page 113].

November 23

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. Ezekiel 36:26.

  I didn't know I had a heart of stone until my counselor showed me the chipped-off pieces: impatience, anger, and jealousy because my plans for my life weren't working. I saw that when my demands of God and others went unsatisfied, I submerged my feelings in the deep freeze of depression, and my heart became stone cold. And its chips became chunks too heavy to bear.

  "Wounded hearts" - that's what they call those of us who have been sexually abused as children. My counselor took me back through my pain of betrayal and abandonment, through my helplessness as a victim, and through my rage for revenge.
  And while my reopened wounds were bleeding, I saw that I had new choices before me: forgiveness instead of bitterness, repentance instead of penance, and Christ's responses instead of my reponses.

  As I moved toward forgiving those who had wounded me, and left behind my sinful responses to those wounds, God gave me a heart of flesh.

  My heart of flesh is still wounded (the final healing will come in heaven), but it is alive and warm. My new heart knows the longings of a daughter for her father and the desires of the beloved for her Lover.

  My new spirit sees that God has always loved me. That's why He sent His Son, Jesus, to take care of my wounds. The betrayal and helplessness were taken care of at the Cross. He has given me a new heart for Him

Teresa, an American, is a homemaker, college English teacher, and freelance writer who lives in Morenci, Arizona, USA.

November 24

You who call on the Lord, give yourselves no rest, and give him no rest till he establishes Jerusalem. Isaiah 62:6-7.

  Years ago I was part of a team who went to the southern Philippines to work with a church and share Christ.

  My wife, Margaret, was impressed with today's Scripture. Inspired by that verse, our team began to maintain an around-the-clock prayer vigil. At the same time we continued to witness, and soon things began to happen.

  One day a young college student who was totally committed to the philosophy of communism questioned me. As we talked, I felt an inspiration and asked, "If we were to take all the wealth of the Philippines and heap it here on the street, and then divide it equally, would that solve all the woes of this nation caused by corruption?"

  I was to learn later that he want home to wrestle with that question until 2:00 a.m. Finally, he concluded that only Christ could solve the nation's troubles, so he gave his life to the Lord. Today he pastors the very church outside of which we talked 21 years ago!

  There are others who came to Christ as a result of that around-the-clock praying we did over a two-month period (and all the witnessing that went along with it), who are going on well today. As I look back on what took place all those years ago, I learn a valuable lesson: concerted effort in prayer can lead to remarkable conversions.

November 25

 "Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you," declares the Lord. Jeremiah 1:8.

      Many of us respond just like Jeremiah when God gives us a hard task or one that will go unnoticed by man. Jeremiah was a very young man when God appointed him as a prophet to the nations. He panicked when he first heard God's plan for him. But God reassured him of His deliverance and protection. "'And they will fight against you, but they will not overcome you,' declares the Lord,". Jeremiah 1:19.

     God promised Jeremiah He would be along side him and personally deliver him. This promise holds true to all of God's sons and daughters He appoints to a specific task. "I am with you always, even to the end of the age," he said in Matthew 26:20.

     When the prophet first heard of God's plan he was reluctant to accept the responsibility. He answered, "Behold, I do not know how to speak." It was only natural for Jeremiah to consider himself too weak. It is also natural for God to choose a weak man to do His task. It's often through the weak the name of God is glorified.

     When God sends us, we are not to look at ourselves and feel inadequate. He promised to protect us and help us accomplish what He intends.

     God knows us personally and will never command us to do something without Him enabling us. All He requires is obedience and trust.

 Make me Your vessel for Your honor, Lord. I want to be sanctified and useful for Your purposes, prepared for every good work You give me to do.

 Judy, an American, lives in Austria.

November 26

 For the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being snared. Proverbs 3:26.

   Some time ago I visited an old army friend whom I hadn't seen for ten years. We greeted one another warmly and began to share stories of the past and the routes our lives had taken over the years. He commented on a mutual friend who had received a commission and was rising rapidly in military rank. I quickly responded by explaining my administrative roll in the organization dropping comments about "lawyers" and "bankers" along the way.

  As I drove away from his house that afternoon, I was smitten with guilt and disgust. I thought I had overcome the feeling that everyone seemed to have it so much more together than I did. My intent that day was to impress my friend. God used this to reveal deep insecurities in my life.

  Previously I had tried to deal with insecurity by reminding myself that the other person probably didn't have it together either. What a totally false concept this is. I can only overcome my problem by recognizing God's call upon my life and walking before Him with a whole and pure heart.

  Insecurity is a lack of trust in God's ability to use my life. Yet those of us that struggle in this area are in good company. Great pillars of faith like Job, David, and Paul each found out that the way to deal with these insecurities was by acknowledging God's ability to use them.

  The prophet Isaiah says, "In repentance and rest is your salvation. In quietness and trust is your strength..” Isaiah 30:15-18 NIV.

 Forgive me for looking to others for my sense of self-worth. Remind me, Lord, when I strive to impress anyone but You.

 David, from New Zealand, serves as director of YWAM’s Mercy Ship, m/v Pacific Ruby.

November 27

   As the daughter of missionaries, I've missed some of the usual things American children do. But God has blessed me with many experiences most children don't have.

  I've seen many countries of the world. I have friends all over the world and from most countries of the world.

  When David and I were small, Mom took our sleeping bags everywhere we went for meetings. The bags were our home-away-from-home. While our parents were occupied with the meeting we rolled out our bags and felt the security of home. We often went to sleep to the sounds of worship, preaching, or a Bible study.

  Now, as an adult, I sometimes find it hard to leave family and friends to go to the mission field myself. God has been faithful to fill the gap. Because we frequently travel separately, our family seldom has planned vacations together. Before I attended a Bible school in South Africa, God arranged for us to come from our various locations for a short time together in Sweden.

  Meeting for such times together is one way God compensates for the long stretches of time when we are apart from one another. It's an extra blessing God gives us to experience time with our family members. I see this, as not only a personal blessing, but also as an expression of God's over-all concern for family units.

Karen, an American, teaches at Small World Christian Kindergarten in Hong Kong.

November 28

A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak. Ecclesiastes 3:7.

   "Never plan for an hour's work to be done in an hour." Have you heard that one before? How many times do we get frustrated because we can't accomplish a task in the time we have allotted for it. We over schedule. We need to leave room for the unexpected--the interruptions that come along. We should learn to be flexible. True, we must establish priorities. We must find the Lord's perspective on our schedule and then endeavor to stick to it. But that should always be balanced with being flexible and open. It's a tricky tightrope at times. But our schedule should never be a bondage, it should always be a tool.

There will always be the unexpected. Indeed, the unexpected is often part of God's plan. One pastor calls this the "theology of interrupting." We must keep a concrete awareness that even when there are many interruptions, the Lord gives grace to carry us through and keep things in balance and in line with our priorities. He may even be bringing a blessing our way. And we wouldn't want to miss anything God has for us. James 1:2 says. in J.B. Phillips' rendering): "When all kinds of trials and temptations crowd into your lives, my brothers, don't resent them as intruders, but welcome them as friends!" In maintaining this kind of flexibility our schedule may have to be totally ignored. The two aspects of scheduling and flexibility must always be held in balance. The key link between the two is discernment and sensitivity to the voice of the Spirit to guide us in each situation.

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 pages 71-72]

November 29

For I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat...I was stranger, and you invited me in...Truly, to the extent that you did it to one of these...even the least of them, you did it to
me. Matthew 25:35,40 NASB.

   My first night in Hong Kong I followed the team leader in and out of Kowloon's alleys. One moment we passed fancy bars and restaurants, the next moment we entered alleys of human misery where pieces of cardboard made up someone's home. I was accompanying the Street Sleeper Team as they delivered meals to those living in the alleys. We carried Styrofoam rice boxes: simple meals of rice and meat for each person.  

  Our leader, a former drug addict, was now leading others to rescue those in distress. He knew every bag lady, cripple, and needy person on the route, and gave attentive care to each. The team members sat and visited, in Chinese, with those they fed. 

  The memory of one old granny we visited is emblazoned on my mind forever. She was clothed in layers of dirty rags. Tears stung my eyes as I thought of my own grandmother, so well cared for. Here was someone's grandmother, alone in such a filthy place.

  Our leader greeted her with a warm smile, and handed her the box. When she opened it her eyes lit up like a child with a new toy. Her toothless grin radiated appreciation. My heart was touched by her delight over a simple meal given with care. I realized I was the needy one.

  "Oh God," I cried, "Forgive me. Forgive me for my arrogant pride and ingratitude."

  Now, years later I sometimes complain. Then I remember her eyes and that toothless grin, and thank the Lord for the reminder.

  I saw Jesus that night in the giver--a reclaimed drug addict, and two receivers--a toothless old woman, and one humbled American.

 David, an American, served with YWAM in Hawaii, USA.

November 30

  Our weeks in Kona, Hawaii, during our Crossroads DTS had provided only positive experiences so far. Why was I feeling low?  It wasn't the new environment, nor the YWAM lifestyle. What could it be?

  As I watched a young mother in the swimming pool playing with her children I suddenly knew. My grandchildren!  We were so far from them and I yearned to see them. Three months is a long time to be away.

  "I have a grandchild about the age of your little girl," I said.        

  "I know. Her name is Katie," she responded with a puzzling grin.

  "How did you know?" I asked incredulously.

  "You told me about her last week while we were hanging clothes on the line. You also told me about her brother and sister." I was embarrassed and apologized. Her smile told me she understood.

  Am I as eager to share Jesus with others as I am to talk about my grandchildren? Is He on my mind as much as they are?

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