WHY Pray for the Courts? – Part 2

Daphne was standing in the hall of the local courthouse holding her Bible.  She was wearing her  Pray for the Courts  badge when a man came up.   “Are you here to pray that God will rain down fire from heaven and burn this place to the ground?”

She replied, “Not at all.  This is the best system on the planet.  It may be flawed, and whenever human beings are involved, it will be flawed.  May I explain to you why we pray?”

“Go ahead” he nodded.

She said, “Our judges, attorneys, judicial staff, mediators, case workers, bailiffs, security officers, even the maintenance crews–are  steeped in every kind of brokenness daily.  They are surrounded by evil, wickedness, lies, broken people, broken contracts, broken hearts, broken friendships and broken relationships.  They wonder about it.  They lose sleep over it.  It inhabits their thoughts day and night.  This is where all these workers live every day.

“We can criticize them for becoming a little jaded. But perhaps they could use prayer for protection from the evil they’re surrounded by and have to investigate and outline in their arguments.

“Even the court reporters sitting in courtrooms, must listen to everything said. They have to go back over what they type and edit it.  If it’s something like sexual abuse or child abuse and they have to go back and correct it and re-read it, imagine the impact. Court reporters need prayer to record and process in a healthy way, what they are being exposed to daily.

“Shame on us for calling them to do that job, and never providing prayer support while they are surrounded with the evil we don’t want to deal with.   We need to pray for the jurors and bailiffs.  We need to pray blessings over them, that they have everything they need to accomplish their job:  good, supportive friendships within their departments, integrity, release from the things that some use to help them deal with the ugliness–such as alcohol, sleeplessness, drugs or an affair.

“They need to know someone is coming into their courtroom and not looking to criticize them.  Someone is coming to pray God’s favor over them, so they are fully equipped to do their job with excellence, integrity, with physical health, spiritual health and emotional health.”

His response,  “Thank you.  I’m glad you’re here.”

 

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Pray for the Courts – Part 1

A courthouse can be a place of horrific emotion and stress.

There is an attorney in our community whose staff members pray daily for their firm’s clients.  That attorney began to dream of a company of prayer warriors deployed daily in the courthouse to pray over every aspect of all court proceedings.

Daphne is one of those who comes to pray.  Many people are distraught by their court situation and when she begins to pray,  often tears begin to flow.  Most will experience inner strength and a sense of peace.

She may simply stand in the hall holding her Bible.  One lady asked, “Is that your Bible?  Will you pray for me?”

Another time she was reading her Bible when a man came up and started telling her his problems.

“May I pray with you?”  As she began to pray, the man suddenly broke down in tears.  She has learned to carry a packet of tissues to share.

Daphne wears her “Pray for the Courts” badge and slowly walks up and down the halls with her Bible.  When she sits with her Bible open, she often writes out an encouraging Bible verse or one of the Psalms on the back of her  “Pray for the Courts” cards.

She might have the opportunity to interact with a person and say, “I just wrote out this Psalm from God’s Word.  I’m asking God to put it in the right hands. I want to give you something tangible.”

Sometimes she sits in the courtroom with her Bible open and asks God to show her how to pray for the judge.  She may even write a letter of blessing to a judge–sharing qualities she’s observed that make that judge a blessing to the community.

What about you?  Have you ever considered spending time praying in your local courthouse?  Would you?

 

 

 

 

 

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Come With Me To Bible Study!

I began walking with a new neighbor, Anne-Marie.  On our second walk I invited her to Bible study. She said she’d never been to a Bible study before, but perhaps it might be good for her. Three days later she was sitting next to me in our new study on the life of David.

Typically, the morning begins with worshiping God in song and prayer, followed by a video lecture on our week’s lesson. Then we disperse to our discussion groups of about 15 women each, to discuss our homework. This part is such fun because the Holy Spirit speaks to each of us differently and one woman may share something that blesses another. Every six weeks each small group has a coffee/brunch at someone’s home.  Here we get encouraged and better acquainted as we share highlights of how the study of God’s Word is making a difference in our lives.

Anne-Marie was thoroughly enjoying this new experience and had given her life to Jesus from the very start. One day while walking she said, “It seems that several of the women in our group are involved in different types of ministries.  Some have even been missionaries! Should I be doing a ministry?”

I said, “Anne-Marie, you already have a ministry.”
“I do?”
“Yes. You said your husband is not yet a follower of Jesus.  You have other family members who are not saved.  Your family is your ministry now. You concentrate on praying for them, loving them and little by little sharing with them what God is doing in your life.”

“Oh good—I can do that! I was thinking I needed to plan a mission trip or something.”

“Your mission trip has already started. We let our light shine wherever we are—first with our families and then with others.”

Three weeks later I saw Anne-Marie and her husband in church! Today they are actively serving God. God is faithful.

  •  Jesus said…Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing.     John 14:12a
  •  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.     John 3:17-18
  • SONG: MY FRIENDLyrics by D.J. Higgins, Music by Kathleen

 

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My Cousin’s True Love

Allow me to introduce my cousin Jon and his wife Lauri, whom he laid to rest yesterday.  This couple’s love for Jesus was evident in their lives and in their love for others.

They raised four loving and devoted children, adopting one from Cambodia.  Jon and Lauri’s home had an open door policy. They welcomed visiting missionaries, foreign exchange students and a teenager who needed a home during her four years of high school.  They modeled love for their children who are now grown and living their own lives loving God and serving man.

Lauri was a school teacher. She led a women’s Bible study and also taught the Bible to children.  Although they lived in a distant city,  I once called Lauri to ask if she might visit a friend’s sick relative there. Lauri didn’t know her, but was willing to visit her several times, share the Lord with her and pray with her.

Then Lauri suffered a debilitating stroke affecting her speech and leaving her paralyzed.  She spent a short time in a rehabilitation center, but husband Jon, a medical doctor, saw she was uncomfortable and not getting the care she deserved.

He took an early retirement so he could care for Lauri himself, in their home.  He had tracks installed in the ceiling with pulleys that assisted him in moving her from room to room, and lowering her in and out of the bath.  That was 19 years ago.
That’s right.  I said 19!

Jon and Lauri’s adult children often visited on weekends and Jon would barbecue for everyone. Lauri’s speech improved over time. She told me the one thing she can do is pray. Then added, “I pray for you and your family every day.”

Two precious saints: One has graduated to heaven. The other will soon find new ways to serve God, I’m sure of it.

  • Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word,  and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.    Ephesians 5:25
  •  SONG: AT THE FEET OF JESUSLyrics by Liana Wendy Howarth; Music by Kathleen


     

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It’s BAD!

I was standing near the jewelry counter when a young man called out to his friend, “Hey! Come and look at this watch!  It’s BAD!”

His friend hurried to look. He agreed it was a “bad” watch!

I was curious. What is a bad watch? I stretched my neck to look, but I didn’t see anything bad about it—in fact, it was beautiful!

I said, “Excuse me. May I ask you a question?”
“Sure!”
“When you said the watch looked bad, did you really mean it looked good?”

He chuckled, “Yeah, that’s what I meant.”

I said, “You know it reminds me of something I read in the Bible—about people who call good bad and bad good.”

He said, “Hey! Someone else told me that!  He said it is supposed to happen in the last days.  So do you think we’re in the last days?”

“I don’t know, but it seems the world is getting more and more corrupt.  I don’t believe this world will ever be ruled with perfect goodness until Jesus Christ returns and He rules.

He said, “You could be right.”

I walked away missing an opportunity. Why didn’t I continue the conversation?  Why didn’t I say, “When Jesus returns, will you be ready to meet Him?”  In my purse I was carrying the booklet, Would You Like To Know God Personally?  by Dr. Bill Bright.  Why didn’t I offer it to him?  I started out with boldness.  Why did I suddenly become timid?

“Forgive me, Lord, for missing an opportunity that You had clearly placed before me. Don’t allow me to repeat this mistake.”

  • Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.    Isaiah 5:20
  • Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or turn away from them. Proverbs 4:5
  • You may read the booklet here:   http://www.4laws.com/laws/englishkgp/default.htm
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Mailbox Club? Good News Club? Both!

Every year, over a thousand children hear the story of Jesus at our local county fair. Of those who hear the message, hundreds will choose to follow Him with their lives.

Unfortunately, many of these kids are unchurched—they don’t have an opportunity to attend church or Sunday school. Is there follow-up for them?

YES!  Every child or teenager who enters the Little Red Schoolhouse is given an opportunity to join The Mailbox Club—a ministry of Child Evangelism Fellowship. They simply fill out a form indicating their name, address and age, and a Bible study for their age level will come to them in the mail. The only cost is the price of a postage stamp.

Every time the child completes the Bible study and puts it in the mail, it will be returned, corrected, along with a new lesson to complete.

In addition to the Mailbox Clubs, there are Good News Clubs!  These clubs are also a ministry of C.E.F. in which trained volunteer teachers meet with groups of children in public schools—after school hours, in homes, community centers, churches, apartment complexes, just about anywhere the children can easily and safely meet with their parents’ permission.

Each week the teacher presents an exciting Bible lesson using colorful materials from C.E.F. Press. This action-packed time also includes songs, Scripture memory, a missions story and review games or other activities focused on the lesson’s theme.

As with all C.E.F. ministries, the purpose of the Good News Club is to evangelize boys and girls with the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and then establish (disciple) them in the Word of God and in a local church for Christian living.

Is there a Good News Club in your elementary school or your community? For more information go to: http://www.cefonline.com/index.php?Itemid=100049/&id=13&option=com_content&view=category

 

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Would You Like Something to Read?

Often when I leave the juvenile facility there’ll be a woman sitting in the waiting room alone.  She’s waiting to pick up a son or daughter scheduled to be released. Usually there’s nothing to read and she sits quietly and waits.

I like to be friendly and ask, “Are you waiting to pick someone up?”

The typical answer is “Yes.”

“Would you like something to read while you wait?” I’ll show her my tracts in both English and Spanish and say, “They’re about Jesus.”

She’ll usually pick one or two—no one has refused them yet!

Two weeks ago I had my car serviced and I met a nice man in the waiting room. We chatted for a while and when my car was ready, I asked him if he’d like something to read while he continued to wait.

“Sure! What do you have?”

I pulled out some tracts.

He glanced at them and said, “Do you love Jesus?”

I smiled, “Yes I do!”

He said, “So do I!  I’m a pastor!”

So I stayed a little longer and he told me about his new church. Then I told him that for the next week I’d be training volunteers to work in the Little Red Schoolhouse at the county fair.

I said, “It’s a good opportunity for couples to work together sharing the good news about Jesus. Perhaps some of your church members might like to take part.”

He said, “I know my wife would and so would I.  I know of others as well.”  We exchanged contact information and he asked if I’d do a training session at his church. When I left he said, “I don’t think it was a coincidence that we met like this.”

“I agree. There are no coincidences in God’s family.”

  •  And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.    Romans 8:28
  • 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

 

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How Do I Share Christ?

Many Christians have never led anyone to Christ.  How tragic!

The church where I fellowship has a strong vision for evangelism. We recognize one purpose of the church is “to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.”  Yet many people still do not feel equipped!

Most people who have attended a good Bible believing church for a while, know enough of God’s Word to lead another person to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Yet most are not doing it.  Why?

Fear. Lack of confidence.  Yet a little training and some practice will dispel that fear and build up confidence. Practice and more practice is how we develop our gift.

When I was a new Christian I wanted to share my faith. But every time I’d try, my voice would get shaky and my heart would race. My hands would get clammy—and I would clam up! This happened every time!

I recognized this manifestation was a tool of Satan to discourage me. I would tell Satan to get behind me in the name of Jesus, and that helped.  But the very best help I received was when I volunteered to work in The Little Red Schoolhouse at the County Fair.

I still remember my first day—I was terrified!  I was so unsure of myself that I actually read from the script the first several times I told the story. But after sharing the gospel message with little children several times that first hour, the fear left and has never returned!

This is County Fair Season!  Does your county fair have a C.E.F. Booth?                           Perhaps it has a Little Red Schoolhouse or a Noah’s Ark.
You may still have time to get your training before your fair begins!
To find a Child Evangelism Fellowship near you go to:   http://chapters.cefonline.com

  • …to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ. Ephesians 4:12 ESV
  •  Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me…”     Matthew 6:23a
  • 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

 

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The Little Red Schoolhouse at the Fair

I’ve been volunteering at the county fair for years.  I usually work 2-3 shifts telling Bible stories to the children who come to The Little Red Schoolhouse, a ministry of Child Evangelism Fellowship.

CEF has been an established ministry at county fairs across America for decades. They all have the same purpose—to share the good news of Jesus Christ with youngsters.  Kids are also invited to join the Mailbox Club, so they can be followed up through the year with a free Bible study that comes in the mail for their age level.

One woman came to the LRS with her 10-year-old daughter. “I came to know the Lord Jesus in this little red schoolhouse when I was 10-years-old. I want my daughter to have the same experience.”

Another time a man came in with his 12-year-old son. They wanted to hear the story together.  When I finished my presentation I asked if I could pray with them.

The father quickly stood.  “Actually, we are atheists. I was curious about what you were teaching in here.  I want you to know you did a good job. You’ve given me a lot to think about.  Thank you.”

Years ago our children enjoyed helping me in the LRS.  Later the grandchildren became my helpers. They would stand on the porch and invite children to come inside to hear the story.  They enjoyed handing out Bible tracts or holding up pictures while I told the story,  etc.

Six-year-old Paul had helped for two hours when I decided it was time for a break. “Why don’t we take a walk to see the barnyard animals.”
“No thanks, Grandma.  I just wanna stay here and help.”
“Aren’t you getting bored, listening to the same story over and over?”
“No Grandma, ‘cuz every time you tell the story, it’s a little different.”

Unfortunately for the grandkids, there is now a new rule:  All volunteers must be at least  15 years old.

  • He [Jesus] said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Mark 16:15
  • 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

 

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Teens Watching BAD Movie

Once when our kids were in high school, we attended a party with other families.               Nice people, but I felt we were the only ones there who were followers of Jesus.

About eight teenagers had gone to the far side of the house to watch a movie.  I asked the parent, whose home we were in, what they were watching.  He assured me it was some comedy—he was sure it was fine.

I decided to meander to the other side of the house and take a peek. The room was dark.   I stood and I watched it with them for five minutes.  BAD.
Yes it was a comedy, but it was bad.

I then spoke in a loud, commanding voice, “Matthew and Elizabeth, we don’t watch movies like this!  I want both of you to stand up NOW and walk out of the room with me.”

My kids immediately stood and quietly walked out of the room. Suddenly the lights came on and everyone else quietly followed us out as well.

I found it interesting that our kids were not embarrassed over my action.
In fact, they were relieved.

  • I will not look with approval on anything that is vile. I hate what faithless people do; I will have no part in it.      Psalm 101:3 
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