Unemployed but Not Disappointed

I received the following email from a friend whose husband has been out of work for months. "I have trusted God all my life, but God has been stretching and challenging me this past week to trust Him when it looks like He might not do anything to change our situation. He is challenging me to trust Him when I see nothing and have nothing except Him. 

"More and more things are being stripped from us. The job prospect that we had hoped for fell through this week because they decided not to hire anyone for that position.  [My husband] has sent out his letters, and done everything humanly possible.

"Now our main car won't start and has 2 flat tires. Our money is due to run out this coming month, so that means house, water, and electric are dependent upon Him. One by one God is stripping us of all but Him, and He is asking, 'Do you trust God?'"

"Now we are at the point where whatever happens will not be because of God and our human effort. It will be God alone. It's a bit like jumping off a cliff without a net, bungee cord or a parachute! But we are learning to trust Him, and I'm finding that when you have to trust God, you find you can trust God. Our future and everything about us is now totally in His control. We don't have any human thing left to offer. It's a bit scary, and at the same time, a comforting and safe place to be. I am leaning hard in His embrace."

She later emailed that God provided for their immediate needs in surprising ways. I saw this friend later, and she said they have another job prospect, but she was at peace.  "It's okay either way. God is in control, and He knows what is best."

Thank you, Jesus, that when we trust You to provide what You see we need, we are not disappointed.

"They put their trust in you and were never disappointed" (Psalm 22:5 NLT).

Better Than a Cup of Coffee

One afternoon during the early '80s when the Women Alive (now known as Come to the Fire) organization was being formed, I had an hour break between a draining planning session and our neighborhood Bible study. One lady invited a visitor, so I felt a special need to be prepared and refreshed. Instead, I felt drained. I think I'll have a cup of coffee and relax a bit, I thought. But then I had another idea. Why not kneel and relax in God's presence?

 I knelt with my open Bible to simply commune with God. That time of communion not only strengthened and totally refreshed me for that day, but words from Scripture that He gave me in those minutes have been words of promise I've claimed again and again.

Be still, and know..." (Psalm 46:10). There comes a deep inner knowing in our spirits when we quiet ourselves in His presence.

In Open Heart, Open Home, Karen Mains writes, "I have come to learn how important it is to sit in silence before my Maker. The time for words and pleas and explanations is over. The Word has been studied and now the pages are shut. Now to listen. Now to keep one's mind fixed on Him. Now to be silent. Often when I leave these times of contemplation I am filled with His Presence."

As we come again and again into God's renewing presence, our sensitivity to the Holy Spirit increases as well as our ability to hear God. What happens in our private prayer determines our ability to hear Him throughout our day.

 "I wait quietly before God, for my victory comes from him" (Psalm 62:1 NLT).

"Come here and listen to me! I'll pour out the spirit of wisdom upon you and make you wise" (Proverbs 1:23 NLT).

Victorious Praying

One of the lessons the Old Testament stories teach us is that we can be certain God will answer our prayer even before we see the answer.

For instance, before Joshua went to fight the five kings that had joined forces against him, God said, "Do not be afraid of them; I have given them into your hand" (Joshua 10:8). The Lord had said, "I have given." In God's mind and in Joshua's mind the battle was already won.

So when the Israelites got to the middle of the battle and needed more time, instead of throwing up their hands in despair, Joshua boldly asked God to make the sun stand still. And God did just that. Joshua had been promised victory, so he believed God would provide all that was necessary for them to be triumphant.

I doubt that Joshua would have had the courage to believe God for the impossible if he had not had God's earlier assurance. The secret of victorious prayer is praying until His Spirit assures our spirits that He has heard and we can say with David, "God has surely listened and has heard my prayer" (Ps 66:19). Then we can be confident God will accomplish His purposes as we continue to trust and obey.
As Hannah Whital Smith said, it would be foolish to think that a person we are talking with can assure us she has heard our request but doubt that God can assure us He has heard.

John implies this ability to know He hears when He says, "This is the confidence we have in approaching God; that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know he hears us-whatever we ask-we know that we have whatever we asked of him" (1 Jn. 5:14, 15). To "know he hears" requires persevering in prayer. In fact, the word "ask" in that verse means to crave or to desire.

Dear Lord, teach me to pray with the sincerity Jacob had when he prayed, "I will not let you go unless you bless me" (Gen. 32:26). Thank You for the assurance that You will answer if I care enough to pray until I know you have heard.

You Carry His Presence

The ark of the covenant was the central piece, the heart of the tabernacle. The ark speaks beautifully of Christ's presence resting in us and tells us that we are carriers of His presence. We can think of the ark as Christ in us, His Spirit being at home within our spirits.

Carrying the ark was the priests' first role mentioned in Deuteronomy 10:8. "The Lord set apart the tribe of Levi to carry the ark of the covenant of the Lord." We, as His priests, are now the carriers of His presence. He "has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father" (Revelation 1:5, 6). We have nothing more important to do than to be a carrier of His presence wherever we go.

When we are with a non-Christian, we are there to bring the presence of Christ to that person. Christ's presence within us is a reality and often makes more of a difference than we realize.  

A friend related that when the nurses spoke of her Christian mother's hospital room, they would say, "Something is different about that room."

A nurse told me that patients have asked her for no reason that she can determine, "You're a Christian, aren't you?" She carries Christ's presence with her.

A group of men would sit around in a store using foul language and telling unwholesome stories--until a certain woman walked in. They couldn't explain it, but as long as that woman was there, their language changed.

Sadhu Sundar Singh observed that salt, when dissolved in water, may disappear, but it does not cease to exist. We can be sure of its presence by tasting the water. Likewise, the indwelling Christ, though unseen, will be made evident to others from the love that He imparts to us.

Dear Lord, I pray my heart will be Your holy dwelling.

     "I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith" (Ephesians 3:16, 17).

Her Father Runs the Trains

Marie Monsen was a Spirit-filled Norwegian missionary to China in the early 1900's. After spending some time with other missionaries, she planned to leave on Saturday to keep another appointment. But "higher orders" came for her to wait until Monday. When the missionary in charge heard this, he immediately responded that it was impossible as there were no trains on Mondays. She wondered if she had made a mistake, so she waited quietly before the Lord, but again she heard the same words: "Leave on Monday."

The leader was told her decision was unchanged, and again answered it was impossible to leave on Monday.
This troubled Marie and again she waited upon the Lord, but the same words came: "Leave on Monday." She could only respond. "Yes, Lord, and Thou wilt see to my catching a train on Monday." The peace that filled her heart after she prayed that prayer assured her all would be well.

On Sunday evening, the Chinese pastor asked to speak with her. He had not found peace and asked how he could be saved. She showed him the way to Jesus, and then she understood why her trip had been postponed.

At breakfast on Monday she asked the missionary if he would be kind enough to drive her to the station. He gave her to understand it was a ridiculous request. It was a long trip and the streets ofthat ancient city were not made for motor traffic. He obviously did not like having to set out on this crazy business.

When they drew up at the station, a freight train was standing there ready to leave. The missionary dashed into the station and soon returned with a ticket. With no time for words, she and her luggage were hurried into a brand new railway coach. She learned that the governor had telegraphed for a new carriage to be sent immediately at express speed to the capital, the very city she had to reach that Monday. Never before had she traveled in such a magnificent carriage.

"My sheep know me...My sheep listen to my voice" (Jn. 10:14, 27).

God Is Listening

Lynn's mother led her into prostitution when she was only 15 years old. She hated her job and used heroine to hide her pain. Major Joy Emmons tells in the Sept. 15, 2012 issue of The War Cry that she invited Lynn to go to a Salvation Army retreat with her, and Lynn agreed to go.
While together they talked about her past and the things of the Spirit. Lynn expressed concern about withdrawal from heroine. Normally the process would mean enduring awful physical symptoms.

The speaker spoke on the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4).  Jesus gave living water to this woman who was an outcast from society. He changed her life by giving her a personal relationship with God.

Lynn clung to every word and 15 years of drugs and prostitution began to melt away. She later told Major Joy, "I was in the bathroom Sunday morning brushing my teeth and felt the wind brush by me, but the windows were closed. Then there was a sound of heavy steel chains falling to the ground. I asked the girls if they heard something, but no one heard the clanging sound."

Major Joy told her, "That was the wind of the Holy Spirit and the noise was your chains of prostitution and drugs falling off."

That day Lynn was freed dramatically from the prison of prostitution and heroin. She became a new creature in Christ, "taking off the old self and putting on the new self" (Col. 3:10).

Ten years later, she is an active church member, doing outreach evangelism in the park. Recently the mayor of her town recognized Lynn for her work with youth.
The chains had indeed fallen off!

Thank You, Jesus, that no one is too chained by sin for You to rescue.

"This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!" (2 Cor. 5:17 NLT).

God Is Listening

In his book How to Pray, R. A. Torrey wrote of our need to come into God's presence before we pray: "There must be a definite and conscious approach to God when we pray; we must have a definite and vivid realization that God is bending over us and listening as we pray. In much of our prayer there is really little thought of God. Our mind is taken up with the thought of what we need and not with the loving Father of whom we are seeking it. We should look to the Holy Spirit to lead us into the presence of God, and should not be hasty in words until He has brought us there."

We can enlarge our concept of God by meditating upon such passages as 1 Chronicles 29:10-13, Revelation 4 and 5, and many of the Psalms.

Thinking on Zephaniah's words can help to draw us into His presence: "The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing" (3:17). Using Strong's concordance to find Hebrew meanings of key words, we get even greater insight into this wonderful aspect of God.

"The Lord your God, in the midst of you is powerful; he will save and deliver you, he will shine forth over you with great glee, he will be silent in his great love for you, he will spin around in violent emotion over you with triumphant shouts of great joy!"

God loves us continually with great emotion!

Dwelling onscriptural truths about God will enable us to approach God with confidence that He, as Torrey said, is "bending over and listening."

I praise You, Father, for every new understanding You give me of Yourself.

"Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth" (Psalm 46:10).

A Key to Revival

A friend reported that the Lord called her to fast one day a week for her church. On Wednesdays she only drinks water, and, amazingly, by the end of her workday, she feels better than on the days she eats. The Lord has given her a picture in her mind of her church with flames coming out of the top of it. She believes God wants to break out in revival in her church. Her hunger to know God's glory in their midst motivates her to fast.

God is giving desires to fast. "[Not in your own strength] for it is God Who is all the while effectually at work in you--energizing and creating in you the power and desire--both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight" (Philippians 2:13 Amplified). Because it is God who gives us the desires we have, we should seek to respond to the desires He gives.

I've been amazed at the wonderful sense of intimacy I've felt with the Holy Spirit after fasting. I have read that one of the benefits of fasting is the increased communion with God that occurs either during or after a fast.

Another benefit is increased direction for ministry. The early church recognized the value of fasting. Twice fasting is mentioned in Acts 13:2-3: "While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, 'Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.' So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off."

This last verse says "they" sent them off. The next verse adds that the two were "sent on their way by the Holy Spirit." The Holy Spirit and the people were moving as one when fasting was combined with prayer.

Dear Lord, guide us into the fasting that will prepare the way for Your Spirit to be outpoured.

"Even now," declares the Lord, "return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning" (Joel 2:12).
 

But That Hurt

When someone said something that hurt me deeply, I resisted the urge to walk out of the room. Instead, I managed to pray a quick, "Please, Lord, give me a verse that will tell me how to respond." He did, and I was helped out of the immediate situation.

But the next morning the hurt lingered. While I prayed, I remembered one lady's revelation. While struggling through a difficult time, God showed her that nothing, not even a cross look, could come to her unless it passed before God and was approved by Him.

I realized that my hurt may have been part of His purpose for me. The knowledge of this brought tears of gratitude. "Thank You, God, for allowing the pain," and with the thanksgiving came healing for my discontented spirit.

As we choose to focus on God and trust Him, He can make us contented by changing our circumstances or by changing us so that our circumstances are no longer burdens. When we trust God to direct every detail of our lives, we can then accept His choices with thanksgiving.

Thank You, Jesus, for grace to receive whatever You allow.

"I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation...I can do everything through him who gives me strength" (Philippians 4:12, 13).

How to Resolve Conflicts

Many years ago, a fellow member of our small church came over one evening and told us that trouble was brewing. At the upcoming annual business meeting, a group was planning to vote on something that we believed would hurt the church. The three of us knelt to pray with heavy hearts. We laid the matter before the Lord.

Nearly an hour later, we arose from prayer with a confident assurance that the battle was not ours but the Lord's. We were as assured of victory as Joshua had been before he went to fight the armies of the five Amorite kings. Joshua had heard God say, "Do not be afraid of them; I have given them into your hand" (Joshua 10:8). At that point, Joshua already had the victory by faith.

The business meeting went so smoothly no one would have guessed the brewing sentiment for upheaval. One suggestion was made, but it fizzled and no one needed to defend the truth. God was fighting for us. A spirit of unity prevailed among all the members after that meeting that had not been there before.

I thank You, Lord, that the Holy Spirit can give us as clear assurance as any person can that He has heard our prayer.

"What is faith? It is the confident assurance that what we hope for is going to happen. It is the evidence of things we cannot yet see" (Hebrews 11:1 NLT).

Never Despair

If we live with regrets because of failure, we discover our God is a God of multiple plans. In Jeremiah 29:11 the word "plans" is plural. "'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'" God has good plans for every possible circumstance.

Past points of disobedience need not make us give up in defeat. God can still cause all things to work together for His glory and our good.

The psalmist assures us of God's constant presence and writes, "You hem me in-behind and before" (Psalm 139:5). God goes behind us, much as a mother goes behind her child, picking up what he drops and trying to cover up his mistakes. Even if the mistake has been the child's fault, the mother is still willing and eager to help.

If our children are older and we fear we've failed them, we can commit them with confidence to God. "Dear Lord, go behind me, bringing my family into Your presence despite my failures," we pray, and God who is "behind us," makes all things, even our failures, work together for good if we trust Him.

A friend once showed artist John Ruskin an expensive handkerchief on which a blot of ink had left an ugly mark.
"Nothing can be done with this now," said the friend, preparing to discard it.

Ruskin asked if he could have the handkerchief. He later returned it to his friend, who was amazed when he saw it. The artist had drawn a unique design with India ink using the ugly blot as the focus for his creation. What had once appeared worthless was now a treasured work of beauty.
Thank You, Lord, that I need never despair. You can turn my mistakes into miracles.

"The Lord has heard my cry for mercy; the Lord accepts my prayer" (Psalm 6:9).

An Amazing Healing

Evelyn Christenson shivered in her hotel room in Australia one winter Sunday evening. Chills from a sore throat, plus sitting all that day in cold buildings, left her miserable. She bit an apple, but her throat hurt too much to swallow it. And starting early the next morning, she was scheduled to speak all day!

She knelt down by her bed to pray. She didn't ask God to prepare a replacement speaker or even to heal her. Rather she just stayed there, kneeling in prayer with feelings of gratitude spontaneously flowing to God for the privilege of once again being absolutely dependent upon Him. She arose from her knees and was surprised to find her throat completely healed.

We are a special joy to God when we give thanks on the basis of His love and faithfulness rather than on our perception of the present situation.

God is looking for worshipers not workers. He is wooing a bride, not hiring a servant.

Thank You, Father, that when faith takes the tangible form of praise, Satan always flees.

"I will praise God's name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving. This will please the Lord more than an ox, more than a bull with its horns and hoofs" (Psalm 69:30, 31).

How to Pray With Confidence

"We really don't deeply desire very many things, do we?" a friend sighed as we thought on Mark 11:24: "What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them" (KJV).

Nothing is more important in prayer than to desire what the Spirit wants to give.

One afternoon I was praying for a missionary nurse in Papua New Guinea. "Help her win someone to You today in the clinic," seemed to be a Spirit-implanted desire. The Spirit helped me pray until I was confident God had heard. I later received a letter from her that I realized was written the day I had prayed. She wrote, "Today two men came to the Lord in the clinic!"

Our goal in prayer is to learn what the Holy Spirit desires to do and then allow the Spirit to express that longing through us.

When we have a listening spirit, God will direct us to pray correctly. If we don't know what to pray, we are to be quiet before God and be sensitive to the Spirit.

The Holy Spirit will teach us how to be specific in our petitioning. Andrew Murray suggests, "Let your prayer be so definite that you can say as you leave the prayer closet, 'I know what I have asked from the Father, and I expect an answer.'"

The greater our intensity for a particular need, the longer we're willing to stay in God's presence until we know exactly what to ask and that He's heard us.

I thank You, Lord, that when the Holy Spirit implants a desire within me, I can pray with faith because You never give a desire to pray for anything You do not plan to answer.

"This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us-whatever we ask--we know that we have what we asked of him" (I John 5:14, 15).

Worship This Moment

 

After a college student played her flute in the Messiah, she told me what had gone through her mind during the performance. I wonder if the singers are worshiping with those words? Maybe this is just another performance for them. But then she realized she should be thinking differently. I can worship. I'm not very good at saying words of praise, but I'll play my best. If You can hear my flute in Heaven, this is for You, God.
 

God seeks those who worship Him "in truth" (John 4:23). To worship in truth means we worship without pretension, without hidden motives. We offer worship which expresses a genuine desire to glorify Him.
 

God accepts as worship our best efforts of the moment. At first our attempts to draw near Him may simply be acts of our wills, such as focusing on His goodness rather than letting our minds wander.
 

The more we're aware of God, the more our spirits long to offer every act--even small ones--as signs that we love Him. "I set this table because I love You," my heart sang one morning as I carefully placed silverware on the table for guests. Each act of housework or every kindness we do for others can be done for Him.
 

We can worship God in spirit anywhere, anytime-with our mind, heart, and our inner being desiring to glorify God. God's eyes are seeking for those who offer silent gratitude, love, a prayer of concern for others.
 

True worship, that draws the attention of our Father, is sincere love expressed with our spirits.
 

Father, I thank You that when I worship You with my spirit, You always notice and are near.
 

"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God" (1 Corinthians 10:31)

That Is Patience

 

When a Salvation Army preacher was struck by a half-drunk man, he fell and struck his head against the curb with such force that everyone thought he was dead. He struggled to his feet, looked at the man who had struck him, and said, "God bless you," and resumed his address.

That is patience! But it is also patience when the children spill their orange juice, the car in front of us stalls, or our boss criticizes our best efforts-and we're still calm.

There are many occasions throughout our day when we choose to either respond with the patience the Holy Spirit provides or we grieve Him by responding out of our own impulsive spirit. As we continually walk in the Spirit, He helps us to remain good-natured.

Satan has inspired the idea that it's best to ventilate our feelings-that if we're angry, suppression will only cause more damage. Like all his inspirations, this is untrue.

An impatient spirit thrives on exercise. Each frown or impatient remark will increase the power of the impatient spirit. Every time we remain patient when severely tempted, we strengthen this grace.

It's important to very carefully guard our thoughts about the one who is a trial to us. If we insist on entertaining ourselves with memories of their unkindness, our impatience will be well-nourished.

If we've lapsed into the habit of over-reacting or of speaking sharply, the Holy Spirit can help us modify our behavior. A minister said when he is tempted to feel great irritation, he looks up and claims the patience and gentleness of Christ.

Thank You, Jesus, that when I look to You, I am enabled to deal with a troublesome situation calmly.

"A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger" (Proverbs 15:1).

Why Did You Quit Praying for Me?

 

"Why did you stop praying for me?" Lois asked her friend.

How did Lois know the friend had pulled her card from her prayer file just a month ago and marked it "obsolete"? She had been praying for Lois for three years with no sign of results. They would occasionally exchange good-humored opinions on whether Lois's church was "Christian" or "Science."

"I'm still praying for you," she would tell Lois as they passed at the grocery story.

"That's okay if it makes you happy," Lois would reply, adding that she'd make it without the prayers.

Now Lois was asking why she had quit. "But how did you know?"

"Remember that long time of recuperating from typhus?  While you were praying, it seemed strong arms carried me along. When you stopped, I began struggling on my own. I went deeper into Christian Science."

What could she say? She reached over to Lois and said, "Here's my promise: From now on I will pray until..."

"Until what?" she mocked. "Until I buy your philosophy?"

"It is no philosophy. It is the Way."

Lois's friend took her card out of "obsolete" and brought her name before God each morning.

Two years passed and encounters were less frequent. One Sunday her praying friend learned Lois was attending church! Had she come to grips with the eternal question?

"Yes, it's true!" Lois exclaimed over the phone.

The next morning, when she came to Lois's dog-eared, smudged card, with joy she marked it "Answered." It had been five years of praying.

Thank You, Jesus, that if we resist Satan in a moment of temptation to doubt, our faith is stronger.

We "ought always to pray, and not to faint" (Luke 18:1).

Even When We've Failed

When God tenderly called, "Adam, where are you?" (Genesis 3:9), I don't think He used the tone of a detective looking for a criminal. A. B. Simpson, in his commentary on Genesis, suggests His call was the cry of a father seeking his lost son.

God's coming to the Garden of Eden is presented so simply--almost as though He was coming to visit with Adam just as He had before the couple sinned. Of course, God was not ignorant of their sin, but His heart seems unwilling to believe evil of them. Perhaps He was hoping they would welcome His communion as before.

This picture of God's desire to have confidence in His people is beautiful. Later, we see God coming down to visit Sodom and Gomorrah to see if what they have done was as bad as the outcry that had reached Him. Then, almost as if He is hoping that the outcry had been wrong, He adds, "If not, I will know" (Genesis 18:21).

Hear the echo of His tender call to Adam and Eve in the story of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-24) and in the shepherd seeking his one lost sheep (Luke 15:4-7). These passages describe a love that seeks to save, not to punish.

Thank You, Father, for so eagerly desiring to show us Your favor after we've failed.

"O Israel, put your hope in the Lord, for with the Lord is unfailing love and with him is full redemption" (Psalm 130:7).

When in Doubt--Love

 

One Sunday I was asked to teach a primary Sunday School class. Knowing my lack of skills in this area, I prayed that the Lord would simply help me to show the children His love. We went through the songs and stories while I focused on communicating love.

Class was dismissed, we went to the worship service, and I wondered if my focus had made any difference. To my amazement, immediately after the worship service about half the class came to where I was sitting and looked up to me as if to say, "Love me some more, teacher."

As we trust Christ to relive His own life in us, He will teach us, step by step, moment by moment, to express His care for others. The Holy Spirit pours out His love into our hearts causing us to be Christ to others as we respond to Him. Doing what love would do, welcomes the Holy Spirit.

We are more eager to express God's love to others when we are aware of His love to us. Jude 21 does not say, "Keep loving God," but, "Keep yourself in God's love." This means we are to keep a constant consciousness and recognition of God's love to us.

You may find it helpful to write several sentences in a notebook that you think God would reply if you asked, "God, do You love me?"

Thank You, Jesus, that you do not leave me to draw upon my own supply of love which is little better than a cistern-exhaustible and leaky at best. Out of Your great love for me and for those around me, You supply the love.

"As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love" (John 15:9, 10).

 

He Taught Them to Pray

 

"If you won't sign for me to get married, then I'll get married as soon as I turn 18," Grace's defiant daughter Carrie shouted. The weight of their daughter's rebellion crushed her parent's hearts.

Carrie and Bill willfully formed wedding plans for just two weeks after her eighteenth birthday. Only God could quiet the parents' hearts as they watched their precious daughter marry into an abusive, alcoholic family. For the first few years, they tearfully begged the Lord for grace to watch the disaster they felt was ahead for their daughter. They prayed negatively, rather than believing God could change the situation.

Then the Lord took them to the school of prayer and their hearts opened to His teaching. "Teach us to pray," became their heart cry. They began to write scriptures into a prayer diary and prayed these verses aloud for the young couple regularly. Their faith grew as they heard their own voices speak God's Word over their children.

"Blessed is Bill who walks not in the counsel of the wicked...Bill's delight is in the law of the Lord, and on His law Bill meditates day and night" (Psalm 1:1, 2).

"All your sons, which include Bill and Carrie, will be taught by the Lord and great will be their peace" (Isaiah 54:13).

"Bill, man of God, pursues righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness" (1 Timothy 6:11).

Speaking the Word stirred their faith. As they prayed scriptures, they believed it as though it had already happened.

First, their daughter's heart tenderly turned back to the Lord. Eventually their son-in-law was healed of his addiction to marijuana, and he, too, became a follower of Jesus. The young couple has gone as missionaries to Poland.

Thank You, Lord, for victory when we go forward with praise and Your Word (the double-edged sword).

"May the praise of God be in their mouths and a double-edged sword in their hands....This is the glory of all his saints" (Ps. 149:6-8).

Allowing the Spirit to Flow

Gwen Shaw had been a missionary in China for fourteen years, but there was a lack of God's anointing on her ministry. One day God sent a man to minister at her church.

Gwen said, "I saw God do more through His anointed servant in fourteen days than I had been able to do in fourteen years."

So she asked the visiting minister, "Brother, what is the secret of God's anointing in your life?"

He responded, "There are two things I have done that many of God's workers never have done. I have given myself to God one hundred percent, and I have fasted."

His answer gave Gwen a desire to fast. During her fast God spoke to her of the importance of giving herself fully to Him. The Lord said, "You think you know consecration, but that which you have consecrated is nothing in comparison to this complete yielding up of all. I want you to die--so you might live an abundant life."

She responded to God's call to die to self-interests and to give herself totally to God to obey His will. As a result, the presence of God came into her ministry like never before.

Thank You, Jesus, that when nothing in us hinders the Holy Spirit, He flows through us with power.
 

"While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, "Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them" (Acts 13:2)