Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Miracle Truck

Does God work miracles in the lives of believers today? My pastor calls these “God stories”, and he has plenty of them, as do a lot of us. This happened to me this past July.
I walked out my front door and stopped dead in my tracks in amazement. I park my 1992 pickup truck directly in front of my house, and this morning it was gone! Gone. For a minute or so I just couldn't understand what had happened to it, but unbelievably, it had been stolen. It's old and not in the best condition, but it's vital to me. In the mornings I'd been helping a family member who had a brain infection and now through inactivity had deteriorated to the point that she was unable to even get up to the bathroom. Since her husband called me about a month before and told me how bad things had gotten, I'd gone over and spent every weekday morning with her doing exercises. She'd improved greatly, but she would need a lot more help before she'd be able to make it through the day on her own. Then in the afternoons I help Harold and Sue, my former in-laws, with their family business. Harold fixes commercial cooking equipment, and I help Sue with the bookkeeping. I'm glad to help my family in these ways, but without a vehicle it would be impossible. Riding the bus would take too much time to do what I need to do for them effectively.
So immediately I went to my Father in prayer. When I first started to pray, I felt desperate, but as I continued to beseech Him I felt a calm and certain sense of peace fill my heart. And since I know that my Father can do anything He chooses, I began to thank Him and praise Him.
I had absolute faith that he would help me. Either the truck would be found or he would make another way for me.
I called my daughter who had left for work at 6:30 am. “Was my truck in front of the house when you left for work?” I asked her.
“Yeah, of course,” she asked. “Why?”
“It's gone!” I said. “Since you left two and a half hours ago, someone took it.”
So whoever had taken it had taken it in broad daylight. My next step was to notify the police, who took a report over the phone, and then I took off walking to see if maybe it had been dumped near my house, but it hadn't.
I called a friend and we drove around for a bit before he had to go to work, but we didn't find it. When we got back I went to ask Kate, my neighbor across the street, to ask if she'd seen or heard anything. She said she'd heard it start up and go down the street about 8:00, but that she hadn't looked because she thought that it was me, leaving a little bit early. She came and sat with me on my lawn while and we talked about it. We've know each other for some time and she has different beliefs than I, but we talk often about what we believe.
“You seem so calm about it,” she commented.
“At first I was really shook up,” I told her. “But I prayed about it, and felt an overwhelming sense of peace. Either I'll get my truck back, or I'll somehow get access to another. Either way, I felt like God was telling me that it would turn out okay and I won't let the people down who I'm trying to help.”
She looked at me with skepticism, and I couldn't blame her. She doesn't believe in God in the way that I do; she believes there is something out there, but she's not sure who or what. We spent some time talking, and I finally called Sue to see if I could borrow her car to look for mine. I'd have asked earlier, but I had really thought that the police would have located it by now.
They live about thirty minutes away from me on the edge of town. Several miles away the countryside starts, and I thought somewhere out there would be a good spot if someone had taken a joy ride and dumped it. I began my search out there, listening to Christian music and praying hard for guidance. I'd only looked for a few miles when I felt that I was looking in the absolute wrong place. It's not far from home kept running through my mind. So I hopped on the freeway back to my side of town, continuing to pray and worship with the music.
And not a mile from my house, parked in an apartment complex where the parking spots couldn't be seen from the street, THERE IT WAS! My heart hammered in my chest as I parked Sue's car back out on the street and ran back to my truck. Had they stolen parts out of it or would it start? I turned the key on and that beautiful V-8 engine roared to life. I drove home bursting with excitement, praising God all the way. Kate happened to be out front watering her flowers as I pulled up. She came running across the street.
“How'd you get it back?” she asked with a stunned look on her face.
“Found it. I believed all day that God would help me, but I didn't think it would be this fast,” I said. I was stunned myself at the speed at which he'd helped me. I really thought that he'd use the police. But having me find it personally seemed to be such a personal answer.
My daughter had just gotten home from work, so she gave me a ride to pick up Sue's car.
I can only imagine what the thief must have thought! I would have loved to have seen the look on their face when they discovered it gone. Driving it out of there felt like a victory in the wild west!
Even the police were surprised when I called them to tell them I'd recovered my truck. And I made a vow that very day that every time I told the story, I'd give the credit where due: my Father who loves me. My neighbor Kate has said that she's rethinking her opinion.

Matthew 7:7-11 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. Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!

Mark 11:22-24 “Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. “I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and does not doubt in his hear but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
This doesn't mean that God will ultimately give us everything we ask for. Sometimes he has to tell us no. But we can be assured that he loves us as sons and daughters, and in everything, he wants us to draw close to him, and he will draw close to us.
The cowgirl antenna ball lives on!  If only she could talk....

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Let Everything That Hath Breath

One of my favorite memories in Israel was listening to this song on my earphones while on a boat in the Sea of Galilee.  The water was a glassy, blue-green color, the sun was warm on my arms, and a gentle breeze was blowing.  As I took in the sea surrounded by hills, I thought of Jesus walking on this same water.  Would I have enough faith to step out of the boat like Peter did?  You bet.  Every day he's calling us to take steps of faith, and it's he who holds us up above the water.

To God be the Glory

Now to him who is able to do immeasurable more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.-Ephesians:3:20-21

Immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine.  What a promise!  And we don't have to do it ourselves, it is his power working in us.  What a great Father we serve.  Keeping this in mind, we can live with confidence in all our situations.  Recently, one of my closest friends almost died.  Her condition didn't stabilize for some time, and seeing her suffer was awful.  Over these past few weeks I've sent up some desperate prayers.  I learned through this trial that God will give us the strength we need to keep going when we don't feel we have it ourselves.  I thank God that he's chosen to leave her here with us awhile longer, but I also learned that had God  would have taken her home, he would have given me strength to deal with that as well.

The point is: when we are in him, he gives us strength through his power.  And for that, he deserves all the glory!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Russian Mission Group Warns Of Crackdown On Evangelicals; Anti-Putin Protesters Gather

MOSCOW/BUDAPEST (Worthy News)– As protesters demanding more freedom and fair elections prepared to demonstrate in freezing temperatures in Moscow Saturday, February 4, a major Russian mission group warned of more difficulties for evangelical Christians and other, religious, minorities in Russia and other former Soviet Union nations.
"Even as demonstrations increase, protesters’ hold on religion and civil liberties appears to be slipping in the North Caucasus and Central Asia," explained Russian Ministries in a statement to Worthy News.
"The situation in Russia has been building over the last several years, and is as much about religious liberty as it is about political freedom," the group added.
Russian Ministries, which is involved in several aid and education projects and evangelism, told Worthy News that recent reports "document an alarming increase in limiting the freedoms of minority or dissenting religious perspectives across much of the post-Soviet region."
It also said that Siberia, Russia, local courts have attempted to ban the publication of alternate religious books, calling adherents to Hare Krishna “madmen.” The group compared the situation with the Soviet era. "In Soviet times, cults were targeted for persecution, and evangelical Christians were purposefully labeled as followers of a cult."
It comes at a same time when ethnic violence is on the rise, with Russian officials reporting this week the deaths of 13 people in a shootout in the North Caucasus between Islamist militants and Russian servicemen.
Russian Ministries said that with the "ethnic violence rising at the same time as religious liberty is under threat, the need to train next generation Christian leaders has never been higher."
Michael Cherenkov, vice-president for Association for Spiritual Renewal, seemed to agree in remarks distributed by Russian Ministries.
"A campaign [to limit religious freedoms] has been taking place in many regions of the Russian Federation for several years already,” he added.
He said requests from the Orthodox Church, which closely cooperates with the Kremlin, "to local authorities to destroy rental agreements and other forms of partnerships with Protestants have become common practice."
He claimed the church was "concerned about ‘extremism’" and added that "The formation of a common enemy is the best grounds for the mobilization of the ‘Orthodox.’"
Cherenkov said Russian Orthodox leaders "are losing their authority" so they "need to portray Protestants as 'sectarian fanatics.' In comparison, the Orthodox portray themselves as the real, native spiritual leaders, something they never were in reality.”
There was no immediate reaction from the Orthodox Church. Its national televised Christmas service in Moscow is usually attended by prime minister, and soon to be president, Vladimir Putin and other leaders.
Russian Ministries, a U.S. backed group with operations across Russia, said it is cooperating with local Christians to "respond correctly and wisely to the changing political climate across the region."
It said it is "committed to promoting religious liberty for all" in Russia, neighboring Belarus and Central Asia where, it added, "religious restrictions and persecutions are [also] on the rise."
Forum 18, a human rights monitoring service based in Norway, said in its latest report that that in Kyrgyzstan, "No progress has been made in dealing with registration applications from—among others—hundreds of mosques, unregistered Protestant churches, and the Hare Krishna community.”
In the Nagorno-Karabakh region, a Baptist conscientious objector was sentence to a one-year prison term for refusing to serve in the military. "Fines against Baptists and other religious workers in Uzbekistan are on the upswing. Mission Ministries told Worthy News.
"Activities under fire include reading as a group, allowing children to participate in services and any other activity consider as “proselytism” or “missionary activity.” Fines have been levied and repressive laws against religious freedom sign into law in Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan."
Russian Ministries said it has been seen the many "white ribbons, balloons and flags snapping in the wind" recently with anti-Putin demonstrators expected to gather again to hold "anti-fraud banners high" in Moscow on Saturday, February 4.
Putin, who has come also under international pressure over perceived autocratic policies and alleged election fraud by his party in recent elections, is expected to begin a six-year run as president "if the [upcoming presidential] election goes as predicted," Russian Ministries said.

In John 15:18-27 Jesus addressed the issue of persecution:

"If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.  If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own.  As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world.  That is why the world hates you.  Remember the words I spoke to you: 'No servant is greater than his master.'  If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also.  If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.  They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the One who sent me.  If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin.  Now, however, they have no excuse for their sin.  He who hates me hates my Father as well.  If I had not done among them what no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin.  But now they have seen these miracles, and yet they have hated both me and my Father.  But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: 'They hated me without reason.'  When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me.  And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning."

Here in the United States we have been blessed to have a climate of acceptance, though it is changing.  Considering this passage, and that as Jesus said, "No servant is greater than his master" we can expect this reaction from those who are not like us.  But we can take comfort from the fact that he overcame this world, and is within us in the Spirit to give us peace and strength no matter our circumstance.  When the world mocks and condemns us, we remember that he was mocked and condemned.  We have his promise in John 16:33- In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart! I have overcome the world.

I'll leave you with one more verse: Philippians 4:27  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

And a prayer:  Father, please bless and give your peace and strength to your church around the world.  Help us to share our faith in you in our everyday lives.  In Jesus' name, amen.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Persecution Roundup: Convert Beheaded in Somalia and US Tweets for Nadarkhani

By Luiza Oleszczuk , Christian Post Reporter
February 11, 2012|8:45 am

Several reports of persecution against Christians from around the globe have emerged this week, including the Church of England pressuring the U.K. government to aid religious minorities in Nigeria, Iranian authorities reportedly invading another house church, and 35 Ethiopian Christians imprisoned in Saudi Arabia reportedly being pressured to convert to Islam.

Russia - A Russian missionary group issued a warning Saturday, Feb. 4 against a potential forthcoming crackdown on evangelical Christians and other religious minorities in Russia, pointing to an increase in Islamic insurgency in the Caucasus and the increased crackdown on civil liberties exercised by the Russian government, according to BosNewsLife.
Saudi Arabia - A group of 35 Christians from Ethiopia said to be unlawfully imprisoned in Saudi Arabia has been facing increased pressure to convert to Islam, a Christian human rights advocacy group said this week. The Ethiopians who came to the Saudi kingdom to work were arrested during a private prayer meeting before Christmas and are reportedly being held captive without charges, while experiencing severe treatment from authorities.
Indonesia – Two Indonesian political parties lobbied Wednesday for the legislature to ignore a Supreme Court ruling to unseal the embattled GKI Yasmin church in Bogor, in a long battle between the state of this largest Muslim nation and the Christian congregation that has been holding services on the street or in parishioners' homes since 2008, after authorities closed down their church in western Java, reported The Jakarta Globe.
Iran - Iranian security authorities invaded a residential building used as a house church Wednesday and arrested 10 Christian converts gathered there to worship, transferring them to an unknown location, according to Iranian Christian news agency, Mohabat News. The location of the detainees or any infomration regarding their arrest were reportedly still not available.
Nigeria / UK - In an address to the General Synod, the Bishop of Durham the Right Rev. Justin Welby, the fourth most senior cleric in the Church of England, called upon the British governemnt to come to the aid of religious minorities in Nigeria, emphasizing that violence there had become "pervasive," reported Christian Today.
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Somalia - Islamic extremists from the rebel al Shabaab militia in Somalia beheaded a Christian on the outskirts of Mogadishu last month, it emerged this week.
Iran - The "Tweet for Youcef" campaign started by the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) has successfully drawn international attention toward the plight of imprisoned Iranian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, with his story said to reach 297,292 Twitter accounts daily.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Passing it on

And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward.-Matthew 10:42

Remember when it became popular to do random acts of kindness?  It's a wonderful idea.  In fact, my pastor exhorts us to do at least one thing each day for someone as the Spirit prompts us.  Last week, when I had someone in the hospital that I was really worried for, a woman came out of the chapel and stood next to me by the elevator.  I could tell that she'd been crying.  I struggled with myself, because I didn't want to intrude, but I turned to her and asked softly if she was okay.  When she turned her face toward me, I could see a bit of relief; she did want to talk.  She told me that her aunt was dying, and she'd be gone in a few hours at most.  I listened to her story all the way up to her floor, and prayed for her and her aunt to have peace and comfort.  In the end I felt blessed to be able to be there, if only briefly.
My pastor has a lot of ideas of things we can do for people.  One that has really caught on is to pay an extra ten or twenty dollars if you can afford it towards the person behind you in a fast food drive through. This makes it totally anonymous, because you're gone by the time they find out about it.  So many people were doing this there was an article in our local paper!
The Spirit will prompt you.  I challenge you to step out in faith and do those acts of kindness, and don't be afraid to share your faith.  The world is starving for it.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

A Servant's Heart

As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” “Neither this man nor his parent sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.”
Jesus made some mud from his saliva and sent the man to wash in the pool of Siloam. After he washed, his sight was restored.-John 9:3

So many times I've had unbelievers ask me why God would create people who suffer with diseases and serious disabilities. I think this text is one of the best answers; so that the work of God might be displayed in their lives as well as our own. Sometimes God uses people like this man in the story to show His healing power, but when we care for the sick, the blind, and the helpless, the power of God also changes us. When I worked as a nurse, I saw that we learned patience, kindness, and perseverance when we cared for others. In doing these things we develop the heart of a servant, and God is able to work through us, displaying His power in both others and ourselves.
Prayer: Father, bring people into my path that I might help, whether they are sick in body or in spirit. Use me to show your love, and create in me a servant's heart. In Jesus' name, amen.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Blonde Jokes : Alligator Shoes

Blonde Jokes : Alligator Shoes: "Alligator Shoes
A young blonde was on vacation in the depths of Louisiana.

She wanted a pair of genuine alligator shoes in the worst way, but was very reluctant to pay the high prices the local vendors were asking.

After becoming very frustrated with the "no haggle" attitude of one of the shopkeepers, the blonde shouted, "Maybe I'll just go out and catch my own alligator so I can get a pair of shoes at a reasonable price!"

The shopkeeper said, "By all means, be my guest. Maybe you'll luck out and catch yourself a big one!"

Determined, the blonde turned and headed for the swamps, set on catching herself an alligator.

Later in the day, the shopkeeper was driving home, when he spotted the young woman standing waist deep in the water, shotgun in hand.

Just then, he saw a huge 9-foot alligator swimming quickly toward her. She took aim, killed the creature, and with a great deal of effort hauled it on to the swamp bank.

Lying nearby were several more of the dead creatures. The shopkeeper watched in amazement.

Just then the blonde flipped the alligator on its back. Frustrated, she shouts out, "Darn it, this one isn't wearing any shoes either!""

'via Blog this'

I needed a laugh today :)

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

White House's holy war? - Fox News Video - Fox News


Now they have, in fact, violated our religious freedom.  What's next?

White House's holy war? - Fox News Video - Fox News:

'via Blog this'

Christians classified as Terrorists by Obama Administration - YouTube

Christians classified as Terrorists by Obama Administration - YouTube:

'via Blog this'
This video is about two years old, and I think this trend is gaining momentum.  It is insidious; one by one our beliefs are being mocked.
We are being labeled as narrow minded bigots for believing in the teachings of the Bible.
Crosses are being removed from public places.  The ten commandments taken down from courtroom walls.
Evolution is being taught to our children as fact, not theory.   We have "holiday trees" and Nativity
scenes are banned in public places.  Most recently, in New York, churches are not allowed to meet in schools when they are not in session.  Preaching about our beliefs is becoming known as "hate speech."

Anyone who commits a terrorist act is not a Christian, no matter what they refer to themselves as.
In fact, we are called in Romans 12: 14-17 to "Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone."

We are told by Jesus himself that we will be persecuted for our faith.  We have only to read the book of Acts to see the trials the early believers lived through and were often killed for, and we know when the last days begin to approach that the persecution will rise to that level again, as it has in many countries even now.
To convert from Islam is punishable by death.  The persecution of believers in the Middle East and other countries has already risen to that level again.  But believers, take heart; "We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed." 2 Corinthians $:8,9

And we have the advantage in knowing the final outcome of this world.  Revelation 21: 3-4 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be heir God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."  So stand firm in Him, for He will never leave nor forsake us.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Sudanese Christian Teen Abducted by Muslims Prays for Captors

( - A young Sudanese Christian teenager who was kidnapped, sexually assaulted and physically attacked over the course of one year is praying that her former captors, a gang of Muslims who tried to force her to convert to Islam, find mercy.
After escaping last July, she says she is praying that Jesus reveals himself to her assailants, and "forgives them for what they did to me." Hiba Abdelfadil Anglo says she escaped from them with the help of God who did not want her to suffer any more (for more information, go to "I want to thank God who saved me from the hands of the abductors," said Hiba just two months after she escaped. "I also thank God for all believers all over the world for their prayers for me and my family. It was because of your prayers that my situation changed."
Hiba, who missed one year of school due to the abduction, is in school again, but her widowed mother lost her job after taking time to search for her daughter, so the financial burdens are a strain.
Please pray that Hiba's physical and emotional wounds will be healed and that she will succeed in her studies and grow in her faith. Please pray that her captors' knees will bend before Jesus, and that they will turn to the one true God in repentance. Pray that God will strengthen and embolden the Church in Sudan.
To post a prayer of solidarity with Hiba, please visit our Persecuted Church Prayer Wall at To learn more about how Sudanese believers suffer for Christ's sake, go to

What an example of faith and forgiveness!

In Matthew 5:44, Jesus tells us: "But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven."  He goes on to say that even the pagans and tax collectors love those who love them.
There's nothing extraordinary about loving back those who love us.  But it take strength and courage to set aside our justifiable anger towards people who have hurt us, like this young girl did, and love and pray for them.  Where we must draw the line though, is in not putting ourselves in further danger from those who have shown themselves to be dangerous to us.

Father, please bring comfort to this young girl and help her to heal.  I would pray that her captors will be brought to justice and find redemption.  Help me to forgive others as You have forgiven me.

Developing Perseverance Through Trials


Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.  If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.  James 1:2-5

Last night was rough.  But the sun has risen, my faith remains strong, and I thank God that He is helping me right now to grow through these trials. He makes an excellent point; if things were always smooth and easy, then how would we mature?  Not to say that I am, but living faith day by day is not for the faint at heart.
Sometimes I think that the world has this imagine of us as weak people, clinging to a false hope.

Nothing could be further from the truth.  It takes courage to keep on believing, to rejoice in trials, and to continue to share our faith with others.  We have an advantage in this though; it is He who lives within us that gives us this strength, if we only call on Him.  He is a roaring lion, a burning holy fire, all powerful.

Father, today I pray for courage and comfort, for myself and everyone else out there who needs Your strength.
Help us to be warriors for You!  Please guide us, give us the words to say to those who need to hear our message of hope and lead us in the direction you'd have us go.

As usual, I have a song to share: Courageous  It's a great fighting song!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

God's Love


Good news! In my post on 1-31, I shared with you about Sue, who was critically ill.  She is now firmly on the road to recovery and will be out of the hospital in a week or two.  To lose her would have been to lose one whom I love and exemplifies God's love.  Thinking of her this morning brought this scripture to mind.

John 15:12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.

At first glance, this seems like a simple command, but to love others as Jesus loves us is a tall order.
In fact, I don't think we can on our own; I believe it's the Holy Spirit that lives within us that enables this type of love.  In Galatians 5:22 where the fruits of the Spirit are listed, love is first, then joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  In fact, we can use these fruits as a gauge of our spiritual walk.  Being human, we will always have our shortcomings, but His grace covers us when we realize our wrongs and repent of them.

When Jesus walked the earth He showed His love in so many ways.  All who came to Him and asked for healing were healed; He fed those who were hungry both spiritually and physically, and devoted His life to His lost sheep.  He humbled himself as a servant and washed the feet of His disciples.  He calls us to redemption and forgives our sins, just as God the Father forgave the sins of His nation Israel over and over in the Old Testament.

Father, help me love others the way you love me.