Praying With a Muslim

We accompanied our Muslim friends to an afternoon event. When it was 4 PM Ameena said it was time for prayer.  She wanted to excuse herself to another location to pray.

There were some other Muslims attending, so Ameena mentioned to them that it was 4 PM and there would be prayer in the other location.  They were not interested.

She said to me, “I get so disappointed. Sometimes I think I’m the only one here who prays.”                                                                                                                                                         I said, “Ameena, I pray.”                                                                                                                 “But you’re a Christian and it’s not the same.  Well, I suppose I’ll go pray alone.”                    I said, “May I pray with you?”                                                                                                  “What?  You want to pray with me?”                                                                                            “Yes. I’d like to.”                                                                                                                                 She paused then said, “Okay. Come on! Let’s go pray.”

I followed her and watched her do her ceremonial washing. She then began to pray. When she would stand, I’d stand. When she’d kneel, I’d kneel. When she’d bow down, I’d bow down. She prayed aloud in Arabic while I prayed quietly in the Spirit.

A few minutes later she said, “Okay. We’re done. Now we can join the others.”                       I said, “Ameena, would you mind if I sang a song?  It’s a short song, but it’s also a prayer.” “You want to sing a prayer? Sure! Go ahead and sing.”

I sang, “I love You Lord, and I lift my voice to worship You, oh my soul rejoice.
Take joy my King in what You hear. May it be a sweet, sweet sound in Your ear.”

She smiled, “That was nice.”

A few weeks later we saw Ameena and her husband at a barbecue.  She asked if we’d come and sit with them.  She said, “I want to talk to you about your religion.”

  • Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.    Colossians 3:23
  • Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.    Philippians 4:8
  • I Love You, Lord by Petra:    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x1IDrMj9CBQ

 

Posted in DOCTRINE, PEOPLE, PRAYER WORKS | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Earthquake & Samaritan’s Purse

On April 16 a major 7.8 earthquake struck Ecuador.  It claimed 660 lives, injured more than 4,500 people, and leveled thousands of buildings.

Samaritan’s Purse immediately airlifted their new Emergency Field Hospital and dozens of medical professionals to Ecuador to provide life-saving surgery and emergency care for the thousands of injured.  They set up the state-of-the-art 20-bed hospital in a matter of hours.

The field hospital was transported on a DC-8 cargo plane,  recently rescued from a boneyard in New Mexico and refurbished to support their relief work around the world. They put a cross on the tail of this plane, so all will know that help is coming in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ.

That first week, the plane made three round-trip flights to Ecuador, hauling personnel and tons of emergency supplies.  In addition, they have disaster specialists on the ground to provide clean water, food and shelter to the most needy.

Franklin Graham said, “I’ve been to Ecuador several times to preach and hand out shoebox gifts for our Operation Christmas Child project, and I can tell you these are wonderful people whose hearts are open to the Gospel.  Right now, they desperately need our help and our prayers.”

One young doctor we know,  whose specialty is emergency medicine, arrived in Ecuador this week to help Samaritan’s Purse complete their commitment until the end of May.

Here are some extraordinary photos of their hospital and their work in Ecuador:   http://photo.samaritanspurse.org/the-magnitude-of-love/?utm_source=EcuadorEmail4&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=m_YEQD-16E4&utm_content=button

  • Pray for the earthquake survivors who are living in ruins and facing endless hardships. Your gift to help can be directed to  samaritanspurse.org
Posted in HERE & THERE, ILLNESS or HOSPITAL | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Alone With 18 Male Prisoners

When it comes to incarcerated adults, I believe women should mentor women and men should mentor men. One day that changed for me. The chaplain was short of male facilitators and needed me in the men’s unit.

I told him I’d be uncomfortable and would rather not.  He explained the deputies would be right outside and would keep an eye on me through the window in the door.  As long as I sit next to the red emergency button on the wall, I should have no problem.

Breathing a prayer, I fearfully entered the tiny room where 18 men were already seated.  I took the only chair available, in the back of the room.  Once seated I noticed the red emergency button was on the opposite side of the room!

Rather than panic, I decided to act tough and fearless. I lowered my voice and tried to speak with authority. I asked a few questions and as they responded I studied their faces.
Why, they were simply needy men who were seeking God!

It was going well until one man became angry and wanted to argue! The other men were ready to pounce on him to protect me. I felt safe and grateful.  Sure enough, the deputies were watching. Within seconds the door opened and two deputies physically removed the troublemaker. The rest of our time was sweet and precious.

That was the first of many opportunities to minister to men who simply wanted to know God’s love and forgiveness. Once they were willing to turn from their sin and surrender their lives to Jesus, they would experience peace and joy. As I continued to meet with them for weeks—and some for months, I could see the transformation was lasting. What a privilege!

  • The Lord stands at your right hand to protect you.    Psalm 110:5a  NLT
  • This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.    1 Timothy 2:3-4

Addendum:  Our local jail rules have since changed:                                                                   Men may only mentor men. Women may only mentor women.  This is good!

 

 

Posted in DOCTRINE, JAIL & COUNTY JUVENILE FACILITY, PRAYER WORKS | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Teen’s Baptism Experience

As an online missionary with GMO (Global Media Outreach), most of my contacts are from overseas—but not all. “Grace” is a delightful 15-year-old from New Jersey, who has been growing in her faith. Recently she expressed a desire to be baptized. She enjoys writing, so I encouraged her to write about her baptism:

This was quite a moving day. I heard the sermon but didn’t listen closely.  I heard important things that got me through the day: “You are forgiven.” “Jesus loves you.” “He died for you.” I paced down the stairs as people were patting my back, “Go for it!” I knew I was ready.

We stood in a circle. The person next to me was trembling. One of the pastors was on my other side with his caring hand on my shoulder. They told me I would go first. I started getting nervous but my excitement built up.

Before I knew it I was in the warm, reassuring water. All the people I loved and that were with me throughout my life were around me, watching. I was kind of confused on what to do because everyone else had something ready to say but they told me not to do that. I know my face showed what I was feeling and thinking.

All of sudden, “Have you given your life to Jesus?”
“Yes.”
“Do you want to show all these people here that you have decided to follow Him?”
“Yes!”
As they were getting ready to put me under water my heart stopped, and started beating slower again, as I thought it was symbolizing that I was showing everyone I was being born again. I took one last glimpse at my old life, pinched my nose, and fell back. My mind went through my life in an instant: everything I ever did wrong, everything I was disappointed in. Then it was gone. My brain cleared under water in serenity. My past vanished. All I heard was the water whoosh once.

I took his hand as I broke through the water. I felt a new kind of wind kiss my face as I pushed against the old water. I rubbed my eyes, clearing all the blurriness and seeing the people cheer joyfully.

I walked back up the slippery stairs. They prayed for me. I was shaky now. God had come over me but He was too amazing. My brain couldn’t understand and will never be able to understand why He died for me, why He loves me. Tears started rolling down my face. I was scared, but glad I decided to follow Him. Best decision of my life! He is HOLY.

I walked back to the bathroom to dry up. I leaned against the wall in the last stall, closed my eyes as I let all the tears fall for Him. I knew He would catch each storming tear as I prayed thanking Him for every little thing since I came into this new life. I praised Him for everything.  My lips mouthing thank you, thank you, thank you Lord!   YOU are HOLY.

  • I will extol the LORD at all times; his praise will always be on my lips.   Psalm 34:1
  • Learn more about GMO (Global Media Outreach) at www.godlife.com
  • [Looking for SHARE buttons?  You may need to click on the title of this story so the actual blog will open.  The Share buttons will be at the bottom] 

 

 

Posted in GLOBAL MEDIA OUTREACH, PEOPLE | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Forcing Christians to Return to their Former Folk Religions

Satan has inspired rulers to try to force Christians to return to their former folk religions or the pagan gods of their ancestors—all in the name of patriotism or nationalism. Religious nationalism is where a particular territory or culture is staked out exclusively in religious terms.

Leaders say, “Only Hindus are allowed to stay in India.” Or, “You are a true Sri Lankan only if you are a Buddhist.” In such cases where religious nationalism reigns, Christians either must accept second-class citizen status, face daily discrimination or leave.

Research done by Open Doors indicates that to establish a “religious state” the religious nationalists require four elements: a villain, a lie, a mob, and a vacuum. They need a “villain” who can unite the people with a powerful message; a “lie” (Christians are intolerant); a “mob” to create chaos (media support helps); and a “vacuum” (absence of moderates in power to control the nation).

Some in India and Nepal argue that their country is Hindu hence other religions are foreign and imperialistic. State assistance is denied to those who convert to non-Hindu religions.

At one point, the Mongolian State Intelligence Bureau described Christianity as a “foreign religion.” And today, Mongolia’s new laws imply that Christianity is “against Mongolian customs.”

In Mexico, a mayor of a community in the southern state of Chiapas has tried to justify the ongoing persecution of evangelicals with the claim that they “attack…our culture and traditions.” In reality, tens of thousands of Christians have been expelled from their homes for not joining in the syncretistic community spiritual activities.

Christians in an area of Swaziland were told by their chief that each Christian would be fined a cow for not attending the annual cultural ceremonies at the king’s royal cattle kraal. The chief announced that he had compiled a list of all his subjects who deliberately avoided two yearly ceremonies: the umhlanga (reed dance) and the incwala (first fruit). Pastors of churches accused of preaching against Swazi culture are among those fined. Pastors in the area plan to challenge the chief’s fines in a court of law. Christians must avoid the mistake of identifying religion with nation, and nation with religion—even in the West. To do so severely hinders the growth of the Body of Christ where there is “neither Jew nor Greek.”

The above devotional from May 6, 2016 was reprinted with permission from www.opendoorsusa.org

  • Learn more about Open Doors:  https://www.opendoorsusa.org/about-us/?utm_source=ssts&utm_medium=email&utm_content=footer-links&utm_campaign=devotion
  • There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.    Galatians 3:28

Posted in DOCTRINE, HERE & THERE, PEOPLE | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Does Prayer Work?

My friend Crystal sent out an urgent prayer request via email. Her adult son is afflicted with severe tinnitus—ringing in the ears.  He is not a follower of Jesus.

John’s tinnitus began three years ago, but at this time is so loud he can’t concentrate or hear himself talk. It keeps him up at night and is affecting his work. Doctors cannot make it go away. The noise is so loud he has become depressed and said he wanted “to end his life.”

Crystal was so desperate to help him she sent out a plea for prayer. I began praying as did many others.

Four days later Crystal sent out a blanket email to all her praying friends:  Her son John had called.  “Mom, something has happened in the past three days that has left me feeling so much better emotionally… I don’t know what it is…all I can tell you is that I know I can keep on fighting.

“Since there is no cure available, it’s clear I have to live with this for now…but the blackness that was swallowing me is gone. Even my boss observed that I came into work on Tuesday with my head lifted and my eyes clear. The ringing is off the charts, but I have new strength to deal with it. I can’t tell you what happened, Mom, but I am able to breathe again.”

Is prayer powerful? The tinnitus is still there! God didn’t remove it!  Yet John has changed.

  • Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and he brought them out of their distress.    Psalm 107:28
Posted in PEOPLE, PRAYER WORKS | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Talking About Jesus – On a Plane

I was sitting next to a man on a plane—said his name was Bill.  It was a short, one-hour flight. I was a new Christian and wanted to share the Lord with him.  But what would I say?  Whatever I thought to say seemed awkward.

So I prayed, “Lord, it’s hard to enter into a conversation about You. Help me get started and help me say the right thing.  Help me to… JUST DO IT.”

Even after praying I still didn’t have the words, so I opened my small travel Bible and started reading.

To my surprise, Bill started the conversation! “How can you read such fine print?”

I explained, “It amazes me too, that I can read small print without glasses.  I only need my glasses for distance vision.” Then I thought, “Why am I talking about my eyes!  Lord, help me! This is not going well!”

Next I said something really stupid.  “But I just love my little Bible!”
Immediately I thought, “Now I blew it!  He thinks I’m a nut.”

Then Bill said, “What’s the Bible about, anyway?”

I couldn’t believe my ears! “Thank You Lord!”

I said, “I have discovered the most important information about life is in the Bible. I came to know the Lord Jesus Christ from studying the Bible, and knowing Him has changed my life. He has given me peace, joy and love that I never knew was possible.”

He seemed interested, so I offered him a little booklet called Would You Like to Know God Personally? by Bill Bright. He read it and afterward asked if he could take and share it with his wife.

I did not lead Bill to the Lord, but I believe a seed was planted.

My point?  We should not be afraid of saying something stupid, because we often will!  Yet it doesn’t matter. God will still use it!  Step out in faith—and JUST DO IT!

  • For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”    John 6:40
  • http://www.cru.org/how-to-know-god/would-you-like-to-know-god-personally.html
Posted in PEOPLE, TRAVELING | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Dial-A-Story for Kids

Our kids enjoyed talking on the phone when they were small.  Years ago children could Dial-A-Story and listen to a recorded Bible story provided by Child Evangelism Fellowship. The story changed weekly.

I used to have Dial-A-Story and its phone number taped to our phone. The children and their friends would frequently dial and listen.

When the story ended a recording gave an additional phone number kids could call if they had questions. Aunt Hazel would be there to talk with them.

One day I called Aunt Hazel to introduce myself and express my appreciation for what she was doing.

She explained that she was 88-years old and didn’t get out much anymore, but she could still talk on the phone.  She said it was her greatest joy to talk with the youngsters who called. Often her callers were teenagers with questions about life and death issues.

One day our 7-year-old daughter came to me and confessed that she and her friend had secretly called Aunt Hazel. She said she felt guilty because they had pretended they didn’t know anything about Jesus. They allowed her to tell them all about Jesus and pray with them—even though they were already Christians.

I said I was glad she told me what she’d done, but she needs to call and apologize to Aunt Hazel herself. She was too embarrassed and ashamed and begged me to call for her. I finally relented and called while she listened at my side.

Aunt Hazel said she remembered the girls and knew all along that they were playing a game. Of course she forgave them—she enjoyed their call immensely.

Aunt Hazel served the Lord her entire adult life. She said she never wanted to live to be 100.  She died at 99.  The Lord answered her prayer.

  • Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.           Romans 12:11
  • Learn what Child Evangelism Fellowship is doing worldwide:   https://www.cefonline.com/

 

Posted in Child Evangelism Fellowship, DOCTRINE, PEOPLE, RAISING KIDS | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Telephone

The phone rang again.  Another solicitor.  It’s DAILY!   Perhaps the Lord wants me to minister to these callers!  One man asked if I needed a handy man.

“No, I’m sorry, not at this time. But may I ask you a personal question?”

“Sure.”

“If you were to die today, do you know where you’d go?”

It was quiet on the other end.  Then, “What about plumbing. Do you have any plumbing needs?”

I said, “Hey! You didn’t answer my question.”

He became quiet again—and then he hung up.

Next day same thing: “If you were to die today, do you know where you’d go?”

“What is this, a religious thing?”

I said, “No it’s not religious. This is a life issue and an important one.”

He said, “Yes I suppose it is a life issue and it IS important.  Let’s see…I suppose I’d go to heaven because I’ve been a good person.”

I said, “I’m sure you are a good person. But the Bible tells us nobody is good enough. We all need a Savior—and there’s only One.  Have you ever received Jesus as your Savior?”

“As a matter of fact I have, but it was a long time ago.  It’s something I’ve ignored and I’ve sort of wandered away.  Wow!  I suppose I should thank you.”

I took his name and number and told him I’d be sure and contact him the next I need a home repair.

Today it happened again: “If you were to die today, do you know where you’d go?”

“Absolutely! I’d go to heaven! Jesus is my Lord and Savior—He died for my sins and purchased my salvation. He is everything I live for!”

I said, “Hey! I’m happy to hear this. Do you attend a good church that teaches the Bible?”

She told me the name of her church and asked about mine. She told me she teaches the Bible in her church and for years was a missionary. Then she said, “You’re the most delightful person I’ve talked with all day!”

I said, “And I can say the same about you. I’m glad to have met another saint!”

That was fun!  Think I’ll do it again!

  • The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him.  Lamentations 3:25
  • This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.     1 John 4:10
Posted in DOCTRINE, HERE & THERE, PEOPLE | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

I’m Bad – God Doesn’t Want Me

I am still rejoicing over 17-year-old Rosemary, a precious new friend.

She was incarcerated for six weeks and refused to come to Bible study during that time. Why?  She said she had never been to church, was not religious, and didn’t think God wanted her.  Last week the other Christian girls in her unit had all been released. Rosemary decided to come to Bible study.  She came alone.

She was fearful and timid. I asked why she had come.  She said, “I have done so many bad things. God doesn’t want me, but I’m scared of going to hell.”

I said, “Rosemary, you may have done bad things, but the Bible tells us that we have ALL done bad things. Nobody is good enough for heaven. That is why we all need a Savior and there is only One.  You have come to the right place.”

She listened carefully as I presented the good news about what Jesus had already done for her.  Then I told her the wonderful things Jesus wants to do in her future. She asked appropriate questions.

When I went through my Junk List with her—that is, my list of activities that would pull her away from God and back into the world, she was ready to give it all up for Jesus.  She was so eager to make Him Lord! Yet she said she had trouble forgiving the man who had raped her, even though he has since died. I told her that forgiving the man is very important. “I know you want to please God. God will help you forgive him. You will see.”

Rosemary prayed and surrendered her life to Jesus Christ. I asked her how she felt afterward.  She said, “Relieved and happy.”

That was one week ago. Last night I met with several new girls, who also wanted to come to Christ; then Rosemary returned from a meeting and joined us.  She was radiant! I asked her how her first week as a Christian had been.

She smiled as she spoke, “It’s been the best week! I have been reading my Bible and praying every day and thanking God for blessing me. He has given me peace and joy. My mother needs God in her life. I can’t wait to go home and tell her about Jesus!”

 

 

Posted in DOCTRINE, JAIL & COUNTY JUVENILE FACILITY, PEOPLE | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments