Born Again – and Healed!

I was 27 when I was born again and healed.  My life changed dramatically. It was nothing I forced on myself or worked for.  I was attending my first Bible study and made a decision to take Jesus Christ as my personal Savior!  Just think—my sins would be forever forgiven! I would have a free pass to heaven! Who wouldn’t want that?

But wait!  God also wanted me to make Him my Lord!  That meant He wanted me to put Him FIRST in my life! How could I do that?  After weeks of inner turmoil, I finally made the decision:  I was alone at my kitchen table. I simply talked to God and told him, “I cannot live the Christian life on my own power—I keep failing. I’m ready to surrender my life to You. Please forgive my sins. Send Your Holy Spirit to come and live inside me.  Take control of my life. Make me the person You want me to be.  I’m Yours.”

That was pretty much my prayer.  I immediately I sensed a peace settle over me—a peace with God I had never before known. I knew He was pleased.

Within an hour that peace turned to joy.  I was so happy I’d made this decision! Within another hour there was love. I wanted to show love to people, even people who were difficult to love.

Then God began changing me! Every morning I would awaken and look at my life with new eyes! The worldly pleasures in my life—the books I’d read and some of the TV shows and movies we’d watch suddenly became distasteful and a waste of time.  I’d think, “I can’t believe I watch this silly show every week!” Certain hobbies became frivolous and foolish. PEOPLE became more important than THINGS.  After one week I realized I had changed. I was different. My husband noticed. So did my friends. It was then I realized that Jesus’ words, “You MUST be born again” described my condition.

Shortly before our marriage four years earlier,  I had experienced a perforated appendix. Peritonitis followed. Afterward I was told my reproductive system had suffered irreparable damage and I would never bear children.  A year later I had corrective surgery but the surgery was not successful. Meanwhile, my husband Dan was tested and we learned he was unable to father a child!  Adoption was repeatedly recommended.

The very week I gave my life to Jesus was the week God healed both Dan and me.  I gave birth to a son the next year.  Two years later we had a daughter.  Later I required more abdominal surgery.  The surgeon’s first words after I awoke were, “Where did you get your children? I saw your innards. There is no way anyone with your reproductive system could ever conceive and bear children.”

“I told you they were miracles.”

  •  [Jesus said] You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ John 3:7.
  •  Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from him.     Psalm 127:3
  •  Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.    James 1:17
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Please – No Bible Study, Just Prayer!

A group of incarcerated teens followed me into the classroom.  None wanted to come for Bible study.  Instead, they were only coming so I could pray for them.

Each shared their specific requests: “Pray my grandma will get well. Pray for my girlfriend and my baby.  Pray the judge will go easy on me.  Pray I’ll get released this week.”  They each had requests for what they wanted God to do for them.

I prayed for each request.  Afterward I said, “I just prayed for the things you want God to do for you.  Now tell me something. Do you really think God is up in heaven just waiting to give you whatever you ask?  Do you ever think that perhaps there might be something He wants from you?

“Jesus said, ‘If you love me, keep my commands.’  You guys don’t even want to know what His commands are—so you can obey Him.  I don’t think you love God. God has done so much for you, and He is willing to do more for those who have the right attitude, but you don’t even want to read the Bible.  You don’t want to know what God’s Word is saying to you. You’re not interested.

“Do you think God is stupid?  Do you think God feels hurt when you diss Him? God is not to be mocked!  Do you really think God will honor the prayers of people who don’t respect Him?”

The boys decided to stay for Bible study after all.  I presented the gospel message and at the end of the evening all but two wanted to pray and give their lives to Christ.

  • The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.     Proverbs 9:10
  • If you love me, keep my commands.     John 14:15
  •  Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.         Galatians 6:7
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Taking a Cruise? Lead an Onboard Bible Study!

We were on a cruise vacation when I discovered the ship had no Sunday church service scheduled.

I prayerfully approached the cruise director and asked if I could lead a little Bible study/prayer meeting onboard. He gave permission and assigned me a meeting room.

There were about 25 people that first time. I decided to do an overview of the book of Colossians. It went so well that I challenged the group to share their faith when they went ashore.

I had brought Jesus booklets in the languages of the countries we were visiting. Most in the group had never done anything like this before—the idea was intimidating.  However, a few were willing to accept the challenge. I gave each a supply of tracts. We decided to meet again to share our experiences, after returning to the ship.

That meeting was exciting! Those who were willing to move out of their comfort zone found it surprisingly easy!  They discovered most people welcomed the booklets!  It also opened up opportunities for dialog and made it easier for them to get to know the locals.

I did this on other cruises as well.  Typically, about 20 – 40 people attended. Those who came seemed grateful and especially appreciated the time we spent praying for one another.

I am convinced that opportunities abound to serve the Lord—wherever we are.   How about you?  Have you ever considered leading such a Bible study?  Would you?

“Thank You Lord for giving us favor AS we trust in You.”

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What? A 40-Day Fast?

What a privilege while visiting friends in another city, to attend church with them.  I was impressed with the pastor’s biblical teaching. It was serious, sound and deep. Both the pastor and the worship team were young, yet they led us in singing the precious old hymns.

Then the pastor read some letters that were short testimonies from members who had participated in their recent 40-day fast.  What? Fast forty days?

He explained from Mark 9:29, “Jesus once said, ‘This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.’  Jesus was referring here to calling the demons out of a man. Yet we know demons can influence our lives today. In fact, they are all around us. Many of us sin because we give into the demonic forces of evil. I believe if we are serious about putting to death our sin nature, then prayer and fasting is a good way to show God we’re serious.”

One man wrote that he had tried for years to give up cigarettes. In the past he had traded cigarettes for nicotine gum, and then nicotine patches. But during the 40-day fast he decided to give it all up. God gave him the strength and the power. Now he is praising God that he is free.

He read another letter from a woman who was among several who had fasted from food, only eating one meal a day and drinking water and juice the rest of the day. This they did the entire forty days. The woman wrote that when she became particularly hungry she would spend more time in prayer, praising God for giving her the strength to go on. Since the fast ended, she has discovered her body no longer requires as much food as it did. She feels healthier, looks better and is grateful for having had the experience.

Another woman shared that she had fasted from sugar for forty days. She soon discovered she no longer felt the craving for sugar she once did. The fast became less and less difficult—and then it became easy.  She was happy to discover that her body no longer controlled her. Instead, she controlled her body!

The last letter told about a family’s 40-day fast from TV.  They read books, played board games, played ball in the back yard and had more time for meaningful discussions.

What a blessing to hear these stories. God rewards us when He sees we are serious about honoring Him with our lives. He wants to help us overcome our addictions. When we spend more time in prayer—and also in fasting—He knows we’re serious. He honors that.

  • This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.     Mark 9:29 KJB.
  • You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.     John 15:16
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How to Start a Spiritual Conversation

Larry went to a fast-food restaurant to answer some questions for a new believer he’d recently met.  The guy didn’t show. Larry had brought a helpful book to give him.

He was getting ready to leave when he felt God leading him to offer the book to a young woman eating alone.

He introduced himself and told her his lunch appointment didn’t make it.  He said he would like her to have the book he’d brought for his friend, if she would like it.

When she looked at the book and saw it was about God’s love, she could not hold back her tears.  After composing herself she said she’d been asking God for a sign that showed He cared for her.  Larry spent some time talking and then praying with her.

Watch Larry’s short video on how to start a spiritual conversation without a conflict: http://tinyurl.com/SpiritualVideo

He also has a powerful, one-page gospel tract can be printed for free in 102 languages at http://tinyurl.com/ontract   His team goes to the Orlando International Airport every Saturday morning to distribute their Smiles tract. They have given out over 300,000 copies so far.

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Do Christians Need to be Different?

I was speaking to a group of prisoners, explaining that many people claim to be Christian, but they live and act no differently than anyone else.  If people are truly Christian, they should be different from the rest of the world.

Joe spoke up, “Why is that? Why do we have to be different?”

I said, “It’s not that Christians have to be different, Joe.  Christians are different. True followers of Jesus Christ have the Holy Spirit indwelling them. They have a desire to please God. Once you have Christ living in you then you have all the fruit of the Spirit available to you—you just need to exercise it.

“There are nine fruit of the Spirit and they are found in Galatians 5:22-23: Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  All Christians receive ALL the fruit of the Spirit, not just some of it.”

Joe asked, “What if I don’t feel like exercising self-control? What if I don’t feel like exercising love? There are some mean guys living in this facility—they’re not easy to love.”

I said, “Hey, I understand! But Christians don’t live by feelings, they live by fact! If you have the Holy Spirit you can do it. Colossians 3:14 tells us to ‘put on love.’ It says nothing about feelings. It just says, ‘put on love.’ Next, step out in faith, trusting God and allowing the Holy Spirit to love through you. He will do that. As you begin to show love to another you’ll suddenly notice it’s not so much you putting forth the effort, as it is the Holy Spirit loving through you. It’s almost as if it’s something supernatural—in fact it is.

“It’s the same with self-control. You can pray this way, ‘God, You know I have no self-control in certain areas of my life. Yet, I now have the Holy Spirit living in me. You and I together, Lord, we can do this.’ Then, as you step out in faith praising and thanking God that He is helping you one step at a time—He will.

“It’s important that we trust God to help us exercise His fruit. Trusting God is what the Christian life is all about.”

  •  And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.    Ezekiel 36:27
  •  Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?    2 Corinthians 3:16
  • Therefore, “Come out from them and be separate, says the Lord.                                     2 Corinthians 6:17a
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Missionaries to America?

Two of my favorite people are M & F, a young couple who first approached our Bible table at the beach, five years ago.

They had been married five years and were newly pregnant. They were from a European country and were here to share the Gospel as evangelist missionaries to the U.S.

What? Did I hear correctly? They are in the U.S. as missionaries?

It was true.  They ended up joining our team and working with us weekly. They were a joy to watch…witty, smart and filled with the Holy Spirit.  M would engage people in such a winsome way that even if they disagreed with him, they’d walk away smiling. He was also fearless! Even if people walked away M would ask if he could walk along with them. People absolutely loved his warmth, his charm and his wit.  We all did.

M & F introduced us to Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron’s “Way of the Master,” an excellent evangelism method. They even facilitated  a 6-week course in the Way of the Master method for our team.

Their baby daughter was a month old when their visa was up and they had to return home.  Recently they came for a one-month visit.  What joy to have the beach ministry team for lunch in our home to welcome  M & F and their growing family.  Their daughter is now three and has a baby brother.  M & F are still evangelists and continue to easily share the Lord with anyone anywhere.  Such a joy to know!

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M & F would love to immigrate to the U.S. permanently.  He desires to pursue a Bachelor of Arts in Christian Ministries at the Master’s College.   He wants to become better equipped to serve full-time in a local church as an evangelist—inspiring, equipping and leading Christians in fulfilling the Great Commission.

M is also a computer whiz and does web-design. He would be an asset to any church or company.  You may contact him at:   http://rocapress.com

  • Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.    Matthew 28:19
  •  So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers,  to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.   Ephesians 4:11-12

 

 

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Incarcerated 14-year-old & God

I met Marten at the juvenile facility. He’s 14 and incarcerated for the first time. He came to Bible study because he said he’d “met God” a few days ago and wanted to officially surrender his life to Christ.

Said he used to attend church and youth group, but had chosen not to go for the past year, as God didn’t fit in with his lifestyle of sin.

We talked about the importance of him turning away from sin and turning to God, and then depending on the newly indwelling Holy Spirit to empower him to live the Christian life. Why?  It’s because none of us can live the Christian life on our own power.  Marten agreed and asked if I would pray with him.

Afterward he wanted to tell me his story:  He was booked a week ago and given a very nice private cell in Oakwood 3.  He came in frightened and angry with God.  His fear diminished once he discovered his buddies were in Oakwood 3 with him!  They assured him it’s not a bad place, especially with everyone together.

He said, “I was still angry with God for allowing me to get busted. I began cursing God and then I made a decision to follow Satan. My buddies and I began making plans to do all sorts of evil stuff after our release.

“Suddenly I found himself getting transferred out of Oakwood 3 and into Oakwood 4!  I didn’t know anyone here! These guys are older and meaner.  My room wasn’t clean like the other one—I had to clean it myself!  Why did this happen to me?

“My fear returned worse than before. I began to think that God was punishing me for cursing Him and for giving my life to Satan. I was so scared I started crying like a baby and then I asked God to forgive me. I told him ‘I don’t really want to follow Satan, I want to belong to You, God.’

“Suddenly a peace came over me—a peace like I’d never known. I knew it was God saying that He forgave me. I started thanking Him and crying even more,  but this time I was crying with happiness. Ever since then I have been reading my Bible and praying throughout the day.  I know God is real and I want to live for Him.”

He said, “Can I tell you something personal?”
I said, “go ahead.”
“I know it’s a sin to ‘do it’ with a girl when you’re not married. Right?”
“That’s correct.”
“There’s a girl. She’s older—she’s 17.  She called and asked me to come over Saturday night. We were going to ‘do it.’ It would have been my first time.”
“I got busted on Friday night. I’m so glad now, that I didn’t go over there. I know it’s wrong. I know God is real and I don’t ever want to sin again.”

It was God Himself who revealed His love and truth to Marten.
His story filled me with awe.

 

 

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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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