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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The power of prayer

Matthew 18:20 (NIV)
For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”

Kristi Griffin was on her way to meet her husband, Eric, at the land where they were building their new house. On the way Krist had stopped to pick up her four-year-old daughter Ericka who had been staying with Grandma today. "Ericka was at the age where she liked to 'help' with everything," Kristi says." She had to be watched closely.

Kristi had some other thoughts too. She and Eric, and three other couples, had come together and bought about 100 acres of undeveloped woods, so each family could build their own house with the help of the others. The project had started out in a positive light, but now Kristi wasn't so sure it was a good idea. There had been two brush fires recently, both close to their house. Was God telling them to move?

"As we turned into the gravel driveway I could see Eric and Corey, our eleven-year-old son, were both there," says Kristi. "We had been at the house site almost every day for six months, so we decided to let Corey play with a friend for a while." Eric, Ericka, and Kristi went up to the second floor to do the normal clean-up duties.

"I was about five feet away in the balcony area picking up 2x4 remnants," Kristi recalls. "As I bent over to grab another piece I heard a "ping" echo below us. The shop vac wasn't running, and fear gripped me because the only noise that could've been was a broom handle hitting the concrete slab twelve feet below." Kristi rushed to the end of the balcony and looked down. It wasn't a broom handle lying on the cement. It was Ericka!

Sreaming, Kristi flew down the stairs, but Eric got there first. They tried several attempts to waken Ericka but nothing worked. Finally, she opened her eyes though they were both fixed in an upper left position, and her neck had no control. Head trauma, Kristi thought, panic stricken. She grabbed Ericka as Eric ran for the car.

On the way to the hospital, Eric tried to call on the cell phone for a police escort but it was almost 9 p.m.; and they could not find us. The dispatcher began asking Ericka questions and some she was alert enough to answer. At one point she asked her daddy to sing "Jesus loves me." With tears washing down his face, Eric managed to get through most of the song, but when he broke down, Ericka finished it for him. These were all good signs but by the time they reached the hospital, Ericka was vomiting----another sign of head trauma.

"Immediately they began IV's, X-rays, CT scans, etc., to determine any damage to the right side of her head where she landed onto the concrete," Kristi says. "We contacted family and friends, to begin the prayer chain. During her tests, we saw blood coming from the Ericka's right nostril... causing us to panic again. Minutes seemed like hours, hours like days as they completed one test after another. Kristi continued to pray. Finally the doctor came to them. "I don't know how this happened," he said, shaking his head, "but your daughter has just a minor concussion." No apparent brain damage. Not even a broken bone. "There's a small piece of cartilage on the top of Ericka's right ear that cushioned the blow, and that may have been a part of saving her life."

"Children are very resilient," a nurse added. This is true but Kristi was sure that God Himself had safely carried her baby down twelve feet onto the concrete. "We thanked the Lord for His blessings during this time," she says, "but we did not know the extent of the miracle and the many who had interceded in prayer for Ericka."

For example...at 2:30am the morning after the accident, Kristi phoned her cousin, Eydie, in Louisiana to give her the news. "My dad had called earlier and left a message on the answering machine, but all he knew was that Ericka fell from the second floor," Eydie told Kristi. Upon hearing her dad's message, Eydie had experienced a sharp pain on the right side of her head, but didn't know why. Together she and her husband prayed in intercession for Ericka. Upon saying "Amen" Eydie's pain had stopped. She knew at that moment Ericka would be fine, as she felt the heaviness lift away.

For example.... a man, Tonye, from the Griffins' church, held a prayer service with his friends at work at 2:15 the day following the accident. That turned out to be the exact hour Ericka vomited for the last time (during another MRI scan),

For example....after the accident, Kristi hired a photographer to take pictures of the children. The woman was new to the neighborhood, and told Kristi during the sitting that she was a Christian and considered her photo skills as a gift from God. "I like to think God gives me people not only to photograph but also to pray for," she mentioned in a note to Kristi after the session. Kristi decided to send the photographer a "thank you" note and at the last minute mentioned their "miracle" with Ericka. The next day, an email arrived.

"I'm trying to see through teary eyes," the photographer told Kristi. "You see, I know Tonye too, and I was in my previous office when he came in that day and announced the need for prayer for a little girl who had fallen onto cement. I immediately started praying, and alerted our entire prayer group by email to ask them to pray also. I never dreamed that I would actually get to see this little miracle, much less get to take her picture."

Ericka made a complete recovery, and Kristi and Eric believe that not only did God save her life, those who prayed had a hand in it too.

What a blessing it is that we can pray for  those we don’t even know an God will use our prayers.

Dear Lord, thank You for the power of prayer. Thank You  that we can gather together whether it be in the same room or across the city  or across the world and You will be right there with us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

Monday, March 30, 2015

Plug into the power of prayer

James 5:14-15 (NIV)
14 Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord.  And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven.

While wonderful healings had occurred since the earliest days of the Dani church, they were more frequent during the revival. Although not all healings were clinically confirmed, the healings greatly encouraged the faith of the Dani believers. The Christians took advantage of medical help but knew that ultimately they could depend only on God. In the Karubaga church, a man named Ogogu had not responded to medical treatment. His stomach had become large and distended. In early 1983 he called for Musa, the local pastor, and the elders to pray for him. Immediately he had relief, and over the next few weeks he was completely healed.

A woman by the name of Ninggen in the village of Kowari suddenly became very ill, first foaming at the mouth and then losing consciousness. The people had prepared the wood for her funeral pyre. "She is kanggerak (she has died)," they said. Jan Yikwa, a teacher at the Dani Bible school, was visiting the village. After he and others prayed for Ninggen, Jan advised the woman's relatives to take her to the clinic. On the way, the woman revived. Her father was so happy that he wanted to give Jan a leg of pork. But Jan said, "No, it was not my work, but God's."

Butiman and Laale were two others who had sought all the medical help available but had been given up for dead. Friends had gathered to pay their last respects; the funeral pyre was waiting. Musa was called in as a last resort. As he and the elders prayed, the Lord responded by dramatically healing the two. These were tremendous testimonies to the Lord's power. People realized that God had worked miracles on their behalf through the prayers of the church.

Many children, too, were prayed for when parents had despaired of their lives. In June 1983 little Kina's father broke down and cried, fearing she would die. Medicine had failed. Jan Yikwa, who was visiting the village, urged the man to have faith in God. "I'll get some of the students from the school, and we'll be back to pray for her." He and the students formed a circle around the girl and asked the Lord to raise her up. Soon the little girl sat up, took a drink of water, and then ate. The next day she was in school.

Amberingga had always opposed the gospel. The opposition increased to the point where the Christians wondered whether he was possessed. "Why don't we pray especially for this man?" An elder suggested. After all the elders had joined in prayer for the man, they gathered around him. "O Lord, we ask You by Your power to dispel whatever possesses Amberingga and set him free so he can become one of Your children. We ask this in Jesus' name." As they prayed, "something like a butterfly came out of him," and immediately the man was in his right mind. Quietly he sat down to listen to the gospel. Amberingga testified to all around about what God had done for him. "Now I want to learn God's Word," he told the elders.

The people of Kanggime knew that Ndaganiyapmban Lambe had been a very sick man for many years. Medical workers had sent him to the hospital in Mulia, but there was no improvement until one day when a visitor was reading to him from the Bible.

"Is any sick among you? Let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up."

"Where are you reading, my brother?" The sick man asked.

"From the book of James."

"These words-they are for us, too, are they not?"

"Yes, I believe that."

"Then I would like the elders to pray for me and to anoint me."

The elders came and gathered around the man's bed. With expectation, the sick man and the elders joined their hearts in asking God for healing.

Then there was rejoicing and thanksgiving as Ndaganiyapmban was restored.

What a blessing we each have to be able to go to our Lord in prayer.

Dear Lord, thank You that we can come to You with our hearts desires. Thank You for the healing power that You provide for us. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Palm Sunday a journey to Good Friday

Matthew 21:7 (NIV)
They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on.

What if Palm Sunday happened like this…  Jesus came into Jerusalem riding on a beautiful white stallion that was kicking up a cloud of dust as he rode along. He was looking for trouble. The people that he passed on his way were in awe of such a beautiful animal but they were even more awestruck by the man who was riding it. As Jesus passed by, you could hear the people say, "Who was that masked man?"

There were bad guys on the loose and Jesus had a job to do. As he rode into Jerusalem he quickly sized up the situation and formed a plan to capture the ringleader of the troublemakers. His name was Diablo or Satan. There was a short scuffle and Jesus won handily over Diablo. He hog-tied the devil and threw him in jail.

As a large crowd of people gathered to see what the commotion was all about, Jesus mounted his horse and pulled on the reigns. The stallion stood on its hind legs, neighed loudly, and pawed the air with its front legs. When it stood as tall as it could stand, Jesus leaned forward in the saddle. Holding the reigns with one hand while lifting his white hat in the air with the other.  As Jesus road off into the sunset, you could hear the William Tell Overture in the background. Du du dunt. Du du dunt. Du du dunt dunt dunt.

But that isn’t what happened.  As Jesus came riding into Jerusalem on the first day of Passover week, the crowds are looking for someone to rally around, someone to carry the banner of freedom and liberation for the Jewish people.

But Jesus was not traveling the road to a revolution; He was traveling the road to Calvary.  He did not come to Jerusalem to hear the crowds shout “Hosanna.”  Nor did He come unaware of the opposition to his ministry.  Jesus came to Jerusalem not for the first part of the week, not for Palm Sunday.  Jesus came to Jerusalem for Good Friday.

As we go through this week let’s take the time to remember what our Lord went through for us so that we may be saved.

Dear Lord, thank You that You came to this Earth to face Good Friday so that we may be forgiven for our sins. We pray that we would remember that as we go through this week. Help us share Your love with those around us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Pray believing - Glenn Cunningham

Mark 11:24 (NIV)
Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

A number of years ago in Elkhart, Kansas, two brothers had a job at the local school. Early each morning their job was to start a fire in the potbellied stove in the classroom.

One cold morning, the brothers cleaned out the stove and loaded it with firewood. Grabbing a can of kerosene, one of them doused the wood and lit the fire. The explosion rocked the old building. The fire killed the older brother and badly burned the legs of the other boy. It was later discovered that the kerosene can had accidentally been filled with gasoline.

The doctor attending the injured boy recommended amputating the young boy's legs. The parents were devastated. They had already lost one son, and now their other son was to lose his legs. But they did not lose their faith.

They asked the doctor for a postponement of the amputation. The doctor consented. Each day they asked the doctor for a delay, praying that their son's legs would somehow heal and he would become well again. For two months, the parents and the doctor debated on whether to amputate. They used this time to instill in the boy the belief that he would someday walk again.

They never amputated the boy’s legs, but when the bandages were finally removed, it was discovered that his right leg was almost three inches shorter than the other. The toes on his left foot were almost completely burned off. Yet the boy was fiercely determined. Though in excruciating pain, he forced himself to exercise daily and finally took a few painful steps. Slowly recovering, this young man finally threw away his crutches and began to walk almost normally. Soon he was running.

This determined young man kept running and running and running -- and those legs that came so close to being amputated carried him to a world record in the mile run. His name? Glenn Cunningham, who was known as the "Worlds Fastest Human Being," and was named athlete of the century at Madison Square Garden.

What are you praying to God for today? Do you have the faith that God will do what you ask?

Dear Lord, help us be faithful in our prayers. Let our faith be strong so that when we pray we believe that You will do what is right. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

Friday, March 27, 2015

We belong to the Lord

Romans 14:8 (NIV)
If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.

Tarin, who had already planted a church among the Kimyal people of the eastern highlands, now felt God's call to venture into a new area, far to the south of Sumo in the lowlands, where the Dekai people lived. After taking a furlough among his own people in the Toll Valley, he set out, going first without his family and with another Dani missionary, Nggiwunggen. The men made a potato garden to ensure having food when their families came. After they had stayed a few months attempting to learn the difficult language, they returned in January 1981 for Tarin's wife and three younger children. The oldest three stayed behind to attend school.

Soon after the family's arrival in the lowlands, four-year-old Bayita fell on a slippery log, injuring her head and back on a fallen tree. The following day she died. The heartbroken parents prayed, "Our Father, we have not come to this area for our own good but because You called us here. You must be in control of the situation. We will trust You:" They buried their child right there and worked to open up the difficult area.

Then Tarin's wife Yabok and a son, Wayon, began to have trouble with their feet swelling so badly they could not walk. "It is the dreaded filariases. You will certainly die of this," the people gloomily predicted.

"Tarin, I want to go to the doctor," Yabok pleaded. But they were in an isolated area, and the landing strip was not yet ready.

"My wife, perhaps we should not go immediately to the doctor. Let us first pray to the Lord and ask Him to heal you and our son. Because the people here cannot go to the doctor every time they are sick, we must show them that we have a doctor in the Lord Himself-that He can heal our sicknesses.

"Lord, we have come here to serve You. We have lost one child, and now two of us are sick. We know You can heal and strengthen, and we commit ourselves to You. We believe it is the enemy who is causing this sickness. He does not want us bringing the Word of God to these Dekai people. We take a stand against the enemy. And we ask You to heal the feet of Yabok and Wayon."

In a short time, both were up and walking again. As a result, their faith was strengthened, and they rejoiced that the Lord had called them to this place. "Even though we have lost our daughter, it is a privilege to pioneer this new area for Jesus Christ." They praised God through their tears.

The people had been watching to see how Tarin's family would react to the death of their child. Now as they saw how the Lord healed the feet of Tarin's wife and son, they admitted, "Some of our people have had this same problem, but they died. Your God has healed in answer to your prayers!" They exclaimed.

"Tarin and Yabok, you said you had come to bring us good news, and we can see that it is good news to have a God who is so powerful in the face of the diseases and troubles you have been passing through."

Tarin thought about that. He didn't want them turning to God just to save themselves from trouble. He taught them, "If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord" (Romans 14:8). The people listened intently, knowing that Tarin was talking from his heart out of the depths of his own experience. This made a great impression on them, and many responded. "Tarin, in the past we have thought just of ourselves and not of the Lord. Now you have shown us that we belong to God regardless of what comes into our lives. We want you to stay with us and teach us more words from God."

No matter the situation we find our self in we still belong to the Lord and He is in control.

Dear Lord, thank You that we belong to You. We thank You that You are in control of everything we go through and that You will lead and guide us. Help our faith be strong. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

What is Truth?

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

As we look around we see that lots of people in the church aren't sure of their salvation. They fail to look for the truth.  God tells us in His word to seek and we shall find.

His promise of "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened." (Matt 7:7-8 NIV) As we seek we find that truth is not a concept or a doctrine, but a Person: "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6 NIV)

As we let God's Spirit become real to us, and His Word, the Bible, becomes alive. Peace overcame me, and love from the Most High invaded my life. As we continue to study we can learn some things about truth.

Truth says: No one can reach heaven on his own. (Eph 2:8-9)

Truth says: I am not a concept, but a Person who will help you break free from your bondages (John 8:36).

Truth says: It is God who saved us through His Son Jesus. We had no part in it, except to accept His gracious offer and fall on our knees in total gratitude (John 3:16).

Truth says: We have a reliable guide who will lead us in God's truth. Our only job is to rely on Him (John 16:13).

Truth says: It can only be found in God's Word, the Bible. And the way to unlock that Truth is by letting God's Spirit, the author of this fantastic book, guide you (James 1:22-25).

Do you want to know freedom? Would you like to experience Truth?

Then from the bottom of your heart, ask God: "Lord please guide me to Your Truth."

Dear Lord, thank You for loving us. Thank You for Your word that will show us what truth is. Help us follow the truth so that we can liberated from the bondage we are in. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Pray that God's plan succeeds

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.

Constance Foster tells of an elderly widow whose husband's death had left her almost destitute. No longer able to meet the heavy expense of maintaining her home, Mrs. Horton asked for prayer that she might by some miracle be able to keep it, together with all her cherished possessions. A few months later she wrote: "I prayed, but nothing happened." The house was to be sold at auction the following week. Mrs. Horton was heartbroken.

During the next few days Mrs. Horton went through her house with tear-stained eyes, sorting and discarding the accumulation of long years of living there. In the attic she ran across an old stamp collection that had been in her husband's family for years. She almost threw it in a pile of rubbish, for of what use were a lot of old stamps? But somehow, something made her put it aside to save.

A year went by before she thought of it again. The house had been sold. She was bitter. Her prayer had not been answered. Then one day she happened to see in a large city newspaper a list of the values of certain rare stamps. Mrs. Horton made a special trip to see the dealer, carrying the old collection with her, and when she left his office she was dazed, for in her purse she had his check for nearly $11,000.

The big old house had been much too large anyway for an old woman to care for comfortably. She did not need all that space. Today she realizes it. What she required was smaller living quarters, together with enough money in the bank for her expenses. That's exactly what God gave her in answer to her supposedly unanswered prayer.

Sometimes our plans fail that God's plans for us may succeed.

Dear Lord, thank You that Your plan is perfect. Help us to put our complete trust in You when we pray knowing that You have the best ahead for us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Prayer is your warranty

Matthew 7:7 (NIV) 
Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.

On a drive home from work one night, a guy noticed the light on our car's instrument panel was going dim. The car was still a relatively new model. So he decided to check the date on the warranty.

Reaching into the glove-compartment, he pulled out the paperwork. His eyes searched for the date. His heart sank in disappointment when he read that the warranty had just expired the previous month.

He was unsure of the cost of the repair. So before he took the car in for repair, he said a prayer asking God to keep the cost down.

The next day when he went to the shop to pick up his car, the man explained that the total cost of the repair was $900.00. However, he went on to explain that he was willing to wave the payment for the part and only charge us for the labor. This left us with a balance of only $100.00! Prayer had been his warranty.

Perplexed, confused, and frustrated, oftentimes describes the way we feel about the problems we face in our life. It's during these times we must learn to turn to the power of prayer.

Prayer has spiritual power to it. Through prayer, God can produce things to appear from the realm of the invisible to meet our needs. God can use an effective prayer to draw us closer to Him, or turn it into a catalyst to heal our sick body. A soft word uttered to Him can give us the supernatural strength to keep us from sinning, or the durability to go on, when we feel like giving up on life. An earnest prayer can mend the emotional wounds that pierce through our hearts.

Prayer is the greatest privilege we have as Christians. It is essential in order for us to lead a happy life. God adores hearing our voices lifted up to Him in prayer. Our prayers don't have to be long or fancy, they just have to come from a sincere heart.

Dear Lord, thank You that we can come to You in prayer no matter the reason. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Do You Believe?

1 Peter 3:15  (NIV)
But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.

Mondays in our house is the second day in our weekend. We usually take the day to do tasks around the house, like clean work in the garden or take care of our small zoo of critters. Today I decided it was a great day to go on a date with my bride of almost 30 years.  We went to see the new movie “Do You Believe?” We try to make a point to support the good wholesome movies that are produced.

I don’t want to give away the plot or story line but I found it pretty cool to see the “Six Million Dollar Man” starring in the movie.
Pastor Matt tells his congregation “Jesus' sacrifice on the cross grants forgiveness. But what does it demand of those who embrace it?” Or, as he says, "If you believe ... what are you going to do about it?"

Faith in Christ can sometimes get reduced to an idea that excites us or a feeling that warms us. Do You Believe? Begs believers to remember that faith was never supposed to be just an idea or a feeling, but a conviction that transforms the way we live day to day, a belief that reshapes our values and choices.

At one point when Bobby is confronted of his belief and why he is doing what he is doing he says “I remember hearing one time if I was put on trial for being a Christian would there be enough evidence to convict me?”  As I watched the movie I kept asking myself that.  I want to use the challenge to be more like what God wants me to be, How about you?

As Pastor Matt asked in the movie “If you believe ... what are you going to do about it?”

Dear Lord, we pray that we would not only believe but that we would but action to our beliefs in the things we say and do. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

Sunday, March 22, 2015

What obstacles have been placed in your life that need a miracle today?

Matthew 17:20 (NIV)
He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

Does God do miracles in business? Is He concerned about the mountains we face in our work life? Does He want us to bring the everyday problems we face in the workplace to His attention? The answer to every one of these questions is yes. God wants to be involved in every aspect of our lives.

Gunnar Olson, the Swedish founder of the International Christian Chamber of Commerce, tells a story about God performing a miracle in his own business a few years ago. He owns a plastics company in Sweden. They make huge plastic bags that are used to cover bales of hay in the farmlands across Europe. It was the harvest season and they were getting ready to ship thousands of pallets of these bags to their customers. More than 1,000 pallets were ready to ship when an alarming discovery was made. Every bag on the warehouse floor had sealed shut from top to bottom. Scientists declared the entire stock as worthless trash. Nothing could be done. The company would go out of business.

Gunnar, his wife, and children sought the Lord in prayer about this catastrophe. The Holy Spirit spoke through various family members. The wife said, "If God can turn water into wine, what are plastics?" The daughter said, "I don't believe this is from the Lord. We should stand against it." Gunnar sensed they were to trust God for a miracle in this situation. They began to pray. They took authority over this mountain of a problem based on Matthew 17, which gave them the authority to cast a mountain into the sea if faith only the size of a mustard seed could be exercised. The following Monday they went to the warehouse and laid hands on every pallet asking the Lord to restore the bags to their original condition. It took several hours. Later, the employees began to inspect the bags. As they inspected the bags, they discovered that every single bag had been restored to its original condition! An incredible miracle had taken place.

What obstacles have been placed in your life that need a miracle today?

Could God be setting the stage in your life for you to trust Him at new levels you've never trusted before? God sets the stage to allow His power to be revealed for those willing to exercise the faith of a mustard seed. All things are possible with God.

Dear Lord, we thank You for the obstacles that are in our life. Help us remember that You are there and can work a miracle through them. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Miracles come from faith.

Matthew 17:20 (NIV)
He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

A small congregation in the foothills of the Great Smokies built a new sanctuary on a piece of land willed to them by a church member. Ten days before the new church was to open, the local building inspector informed the pastor that the parking lot was inadequate for the size of the building.

Until the church doubled the size of the parking lot, they would not be able to use the new sanctuary. Unfortunately, the church with its undersized parking lot had used every inch of their land except for the mountain against which it had been built. In order to build more parking spaces, they would have to move the mountain out of the back yard. Undaunted, the pastor announced the next Sunday morning that he would meet that evening with all members who had "mountain moving faith." They would hold a prayer session asking God to remove the mountain from the back yard and to somehow provide enough money to have it paved and painted before the scheduled opening dedication service the following week.

At the appointed time, 24 of the congregation's 300 members assembled for prayer. They prayed for nearly three hours. At ten o'clock the pastor said the final "Amen". "We'll open next Sunday as scheduled," he assured everyone. "God has never let us down before, and I believe He will be faithful this time too." The next morning as he was working in his study there came a loud knock at his door. When he called "come in", a rough looking construction foreman appeared, removing his hard hat as he entered. "Excuse me, Reverend. I'm from Acme Construction Company over in the next county. We're building a huge new shopping mall over there and we need some fill dirt. Would you be willing to sell us a chunk of that mountain behind the church? We'll pay you for the dirt we remove and pave all the exposed area free of charge, if we can have it right away. We can't do anything else until we get the dirt in and allow it to settle properly."

The little church was dedicated the next Sunday as originally planned and there were far more members with "mountain moving faith" on opening Sunday than there had been the previous week!

Would you have shown up for that prayer meeting? Some people say faith comes from miracles. But others know: MIRACLES COME FROM FAITH!

Dear Lord, help our faith move mountains. We thank You that we can count on You for anything. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Our Lord will provide.

Genesis 22:13-14 (NIV)
13 Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram[a] caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 So Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.”

In the late 1980's, David Smallbone felt God leading him to promote Christian concerts in his homeland of Australia. When too few fans filled the seats during one major tour, however, David lost more than $250,000. Then in 1991, creditors repossessed his home, and the father of six looked for work elsewhere and he was offered a job in Nashville, Tennessee. The Smallbones sold their furniture and other possessions and purchased tickets to the United States. A few weeks after they arrived, however, David was informed that his position was "no longer available." He literally could not get out of bed for several days. When he and his wife explained to their children what happened, they all got on their knees and asked God to help them. Interesting things began to happen. God provided bags of groceries, a minivan, and odd jobs. Then in 1994, while living out of the van, David's oldest daughter Rebecca was offered a recording contract with ForeFront Records. She began recording using an old family name, St. James. Today, David promotes Rebecca St. James' concerts and she has become one of the most popular Christian artists in America.

There is no situation so desperate that the Lord cannot provide for you if we would only look to Him as our source of provision. Today in prayer, give your needs to Christ, knowing that the Lord will provide for you.

Dear Lord, thank You that You are in control of everything even when things look the worst. Help us completely trust in You for the things that we need. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

What are you worried about?

Matthew 6:25-26 (NIV)
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?

In 1880, a Christian couple, George and Sarah Clarke, purchased the lease for the Pacific Beer Garden. Promptly dropping the word Beer, the couple added the word Mission, and launched a ministry to homeless alcoholics and downtrodden men and women. Thus was born the Pacific Garden Mission of Chicago-the Old Lighthouse-the second oldest rescue mission in the United States.

Colonel and Mrs. Clarke bore the cost of the mission themselves, but as expenses grew and the ministry expanded, their funds ran low. Eventually the day came when they could not pay the rent. Attempts to secure the needed funds failed, and Colonel Clarke was told he had only 24 hours to make the payment. Otherwise, he would lose his lease, and the Pacific Garden Mission would close.

Throughout the night, Colonel and Mrs. Clarke prayed, asking God to guide and to provide in his own way and time. They reminded the Lord of the souls being saved each night, of the men and women whose lives were being salvaged. They asked him why they should find themselves in such straits while trying to do his work. But, determining to trust and not question, they remained before the throne of grace in simple faith and in earnest pleading until the breaking of dawn.

When they emerged from their Morgan Park house that morning, they gasped. What had happened to their front yard? It was covered with something white, something that instantly reminded them of the manna of the Old Testament. Looking closer, they discovered their lawn was filled with mushrooms of the very best quality, which was quite mysterious because it wasn't the season for mushrooms. Gathering the crop, the Clarkes carted the mushrooms down the street and sold them to the chefs at the Palmer House, the famed hotel just off of Michigan Avenue, for a large price. The receipts were enough to pay the rent, with enough left over to meet other ministry expenses. So, the Pacific Garden Mission carried on, its work undeterred.

What are you worried about? The Lord is in control.

Dear Lord, we give our cares and worries to You. We pray for the faith that we would not worry about the things around us. Help us remember that You are in control of everything.  In Jesus Name, Amen. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Our God is a God of miracles

Psalm 77:14 (NIV) 
You are the God who performs miracles;
    you display your power among the peoples.

Solomon Baski lay on his bed. He was dead. The whole village had gathered in his house. His wife and other women were weeping.

The news reached the surrounding villages. People were streaming in from different places to pay homage to the departed soul.

Solomon Baski hails from Beddia village in Jharkand State, India. He belongs to a tribe called Santhal. In spite of his poverty, he accepted Christ’s Lordship and was leading a witnessing life. Whenever the Church Elder was absent, he used to conduct the church service. His wife too was a strong believer in Christ.

Baski fell ill with Malaria. Also he had the attack of the deadly disease “Kala-zar”, which was caused by sand flies. He went to the doctor a few times. But they were not helpful. Finally, bereft of all strength, he committed himself to God’s care. He grew steadily worse and became bed-ridden.

When he was struggling for his life, his relatives came to his house. They accused his wife saying, “Because you accepted Christ, Baski has become like this. Listen and do what we say. Throw away the Bible and all things relating to it. We will bring a witch doctor. If we perform some religious ceremony through him, he will be alright.”

But the wife did not heed to their advice. She retorted, “Even if my husband dies, I will not allow a witch-doctor to enter my house. Jesus will surely heal my husband. No one else can help us in this matter”.

One week passed and Solomon Baski suffered from breathlessness and soon he breathed his last. It was past 12 Noon. The man who was arranging the funeral was asking whether all had come.

A group of people was coming at a distance. The women were beating their breast and weeping. But the men in the group were angry.

One of them came to Solomon’s wife and was shouting, “You have killed Solomon by not allowing the witch-doctor to come”. Another man shouted, “Kill her also”.

Soon Solomon’s wife found herself surrounded by a hostile crowd. They began to beat her. Some people rushed to her help. She ran into another room and bolted the door inside.

The people outside were knocking at the door while she was praying at the Heaven’s door.

Suddenly, there was pin-drop silence outside. Solomon’s wife opened the door and came out. Her husband got up and was sitting on the cot. Praise God!

She said Jesus is alive today. He is the same, yesterday, today and forever. My husband Solomon Baski stands as a powerful testimony to God’s power to raise the dead to life.

Dear Lord, thank You for the miracles that You preform. Help us have our hearts and eyes open to them. Helps us to pray to You so that those around us can see Your love and power. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Two thoughts on Saint Patrick's Day

Genesis 9:12-14 (NIV)
12 And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: 13 I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14 Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds.

On this Saint Patrick ’s Day let’s look at two things:

First, Irish

St. Patrick’s Day is correctly associated with Ireland, but St. Patrick himself was not Irish, but British. He might not have even been officially declared a saint. Even so, historians believe he was born around 389 AD near Wales and given the name of Maewyn Succat. Like Daniel and Joseph of the Bible, he was captured and sold into slavery when he was only teenager (16 years old). Life was difficult for slaves. Not only was life difficult, but he was dragged from his home and sent into slavery in another country without his family. Tradition says that as a slave in Ireland he was forced to be a shepherd, herding sheep and pigs. His father had been a church deacon, and his grandfather a clergyman, but by his account Maewyn only turned to religion and prayed out to God when he was in captivity. After six years as a slave he escaped by boat to Britain. He traveled the 200 miles to the ocean and according to some stories either stowed away or booked passage. The boat landed not far from where his parents lived, and one would expect a joyful reunion and for him to remain with his parents. But instead of staying with his family, he traveled to France to study and become a priest. While studying for ministry, he received a vision from God to return to Ireland as a missionary. He only took the name Patrick when he later became a Bishop. It was a great act of forgiveness that he returned to the people who enslaved him in order to share with them the love of Christ. Because of his ministry in Ireland he brought not only Christianity to the whole country, but also an end to slavery. In the same way, through God’s forgiveness and sending of Christ to us we also experience his love and are delivered from our slavery to sin.

If you were captured and put into slavery as a teenager, do you think you might feel called to return to those who enslaved you and work for the salvation of their souls? Is forgiveness easy or difficult? Why is forgiveness an important concept to Christians?

Second, A Pot of Gold at the End of a Rainbow

When you see a rainbow associated with St. Patrick’s Day, it is because there is supposed to be a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. According to Irish fairy tales the pot of gold is guarded by a Leprechaun – a short little old man, who lived alone and worked as a shoemaker. You could supposedly find him by the sound of his hammer as he made shoes, and if you managed to catch him you could force him to reveal the location of his treasure of Gold. But leprechauns were clever and if he tricked you to take your eyes off him for even a second he vanished.

The rainbow in the Bible doesn’t lead us to a pot of Gold, but was intended to lead us to God. For the Christian, our “Pot of Gold” lies in heaven, in eternity with God because of Jesus. Earthly treasures are fleeting and incomparable to the joy of knowing Christ. (Ecclesiastes 5:19-20; Matthew 6:19-21) We can find the original significance of the rainbow in Genesis 9:12-14 “And God said, This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations: I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth. And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud: And I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh.”

St. Patrick was quite successful at evangelism and traveled the length of Ireland setting up schools, churches and monasteries. In response, the Celtic druids apparently managed to stir up enough trouble to get him arrested several times. Each time he escaped, and after 30 years he was quite instrumental in converting much of Ireland to Christianity.

Will you let God use you today?

Dear Lord, we thank You for those who served You faithfully even when things looked bleak. Thanks for their courage. We pray for that same courage today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

Monday, March 16, 2015

The power of a praying mom

2 Thessalonians 3:3 (NIV)
But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.

Reba Robinson lay awake night after night, tense and tired in her little room in Starkville, Mississippi.' Her imagination raced out of control as her fingers clung to an old T-shirt that had once belonged to her son and still carried the scent of his cologne. He was confronting death in some exotic locale though she didn't know where, what for, or for how long.

Dillon was a marine assigned to a covert commando unit. His assignments were so secretive that even his mother not be told the time or location of his missions.

But her mother's instincts told her when he was in harm's way, and during those times she fervently prayed for Dillon day and night. She was undoubtedly praying the night he swam ten miles from a submarine to the forbidden coast of a hostile country. She was praying the night he parachuted behind enemy lines from a high-flying aircraft. She was praying the day he jumped from a chopper through a hail of bullets, his eyes blinded with tears, to retrieve the body of his fallen compatriot. She was praying the night a terrorist stuck a gun in his face and pulled the trigger; and perhaps it was her prayers that caused the gun to jam, giving Dillon the split second he needed to "resolve the problem" and escape.

She prayed through nocturnal tears and terrors and torments.

When Dillon finally returned home, he was a hero whose bravery could never be explained, declassified, or honored. He couldn't discuss his exploits or seek help in processing his traumas. He tried making the transition from action hero to typical guy, but life slowed to a snail's pace in his little hometown. He began frequenting the local bars, trying not to remember what he couldn't forget.

Reba prayed on.

At a critical juncture in Dillon's life, a friend invited him to a revival meeting in a nearby church. He went grudgingly, intending to bolt as soon as the service was over. But the message struck home that night, and when the altar call was given, Dillon gripped the back of the pew as if trying to choke it. No terrorist had ever pursued him like the Hound of heaven. He later admitted, "I had faced death without shaking, but that night I was trembling like a leaf."

He staggered to the altar in tears, and that night a muscular, unsung hero fell to his knees and received Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

Praise God for those who pray without ceasing.

Dear Lord, we thank You for our moms, dads, uncles, aunts, grandparents and others that take the time to pray for us faithfully. Help us be a constant prayer warrior also. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Praying without ceasing

Luke 18:1 (NIV)
Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.

George Muller, the great Victorian Christian and social reformer, tells a story of persistent prayer in his diary:

In November 1844, I began to pray for the conversion of five individuals. I prayed every day without a single intermission, whether sick or in health, on the land, on the sea, and whatever the pressure of my engagements might be. Eighteen months elapsed before the first of the five was converted. I thanked God and prayed on for the others. Five years elapsed, and then the second was converted. I thanked God for the second, and prayed on for the other three. Day by day, I continued to pray for them, and six years passed before the third was converted. I thanked God for the three, and went on praying for the other two. These two remained unconverted.'

Thirty-six years later he wrote that the other two, sons of one of Muller's friends, were still not converted. He wrote, "But I hope in God, I pray on, and look for the answer. They are not converted yet, but they will be." In 1897, fifty-two years after he began to pray daily, without interruption, for these two men, they were finally converted­but after he died! Muller understood what Luke meant when he introduced a parable Jesus told about prayer, saying.

Dear Lord. We thank You that we can bring our concerns and needs to You. Help us be faithful and not give up when we pray about something. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Prayer and a dead battery.

Psalm 8:2  (NIV)
Through the praise of children and infants
    you have established a stronghold against your enemies,
    to silence the foe and the avenger.

We will probably never know how many disasters are averted because of the prayers of children. But because their faith is so pure wonderful things can happen.

Nancee Donavan agrees. One morning, her second-grade daughter, Rebecca Lynn, was supposed to bring cookies for the class treat. But Nancee had gotten a late start baking, and the cookies weren't ready to take on the school bus. "I'll finish them, and drop them off at school 'way before lunch," Nancee promised. Rebecca Lynn was not happy about this, but she kissed her mom goodbye, and got on the bus.

In an hour or so, the cookies were ready. Nancee's husband went out to start the car, as Nancee dressed the three-year-old, Jerry Jay. But she didn't hear anything. Looking out, she realized that the car's engine wasn't turning over. After about fifteen minutes, her husband came back. "The car's dead," he said. "I've tried everything but it won't start."

"What are we going to do now?" Nancy wondered aloud. "Rebecca Lynn is going to be so disappointed."

Little Jerry Jay looked up. "We could pray!" He suggested his eyes bright. The adults looked at him. "Well..." Nancee began. But Jerry was already on his knees. "Please, God, make the car start!' He prayed.

Nancee's husband smiled. "I guess I'd better try it again." He went out, turned the ignition keys and the engine sprang to life. Astonished---and before the car could change its mind!---Nancee and Jerry jumped in, and they sped to school. Nancee's husband kept the engine idling, as Nancee and Jerry brought the cookies to a delighted Rebecca Lynn, then ran back to the car.

Next stop, the mechanic. He would be back in a few moments, they were told, so they sat down to wait. Soon the mechanic returned, opened the hood and looked at the car. "Who towed this in?" He asked.

"No one," Nancee's husband replied. "We drove it here."

The mechanic shook his head. "You couldn't have done that. The battery is completely dead. It's ice cold."

The adults looked at each other. What a Father they served, One who cared about every detail of their lives! And what a lesson to remember, that God loves to give His children good things, even the littlest ones. "I have told many people about our miracle,' Nancee says.”The prayers of children are amazing."

Dear Lord, thank You for our children and their faith that is so pure. Help us learn from them today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.