Tuesday, July 31, 2012

His Grace Is Sufficient

2 Corinthians 12:9-10: And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Take a minute to look at your weakness….now thank Him for it…thank Him because you believe this promise that He will be glorified in it.

o   Amy Carmichael 25 years confined to her bed

o   Lilas Trotter also many years on a sickbed

o   Both brought light to dark places – one India the other North Africa.

Jesus is a fiercely PROTECTIVE brother who never lets us out of His sight.

No power of hell,
no scheme of man,
can ever pluck me from His hand….
for I am His,
and He is mine;
here in the power of Christ I stand.

John 10:28-30: And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father's hand. I and My Father are one.

ÿ  Geoffery Aren: “To get to her you have to come through me.”

ÿ  William Tong: "I am coming over that wall and I will prove to you that no one is able to protect Vicky." “You can come over this wall but mark our words carefully, you will not go back. She is ours and we will defend her."

Joyce's Story: "He Took Me Away From The Dead"

At the conference this past weekend, we were encouraged by the testimony of Joyce, a young lady who often leads worship for the women’s ministry in Loa.
“What God has done for me is really above all,” she began. “I don’t want to go far back in my thoughts; I just want to thank God for what great things He has done in me.”
Joyce went on to share her story with the ladies from Loa and Jele who had assembled for the conference.
When Joyce’s mother failed to bear him sons, Joyce’s father acquired a second wife. When this second wife bore him a son, he rejected Joyce’s mother and their daughters - including Joyce – and turned them out to fend for themselves.
This second wife was known to be a poisoner, and the community challenged Joyce’s father to put her away or leave the village. He and the second wife complied and left for Uganda, but after a while, they showed up again. In consequence, this past April, the villagers killed him, chopped up his body, and threw the pieces into the latrine.
When Joyce attempted to return to the village, she found that her father was dead and that though she herself was no poisoner, people were speaking against her and threatening to kill her as well. Heartbroken, she went to the church and unburdened herself before the congregation, requesting prayer.
Joyce knew she was innocent of all wrong. “If they kill me, they kill me,” she resolved, and planned to go visit her grandfather. However, the Holy Spirit stopped her. Later she learned that her grandfather and uncles from Uganda were threatening to kill her, claiming that she had accused them before the pastor and prayed for vengeance on them.
In the coming days, Joyce was unable to attend even church gatherings because of all the people who were against her. She became very discouraged, and it even occurred to her to kill herself.
Unexpectedly, several people from the church showed up at her house to encourage her and share the Word of God with her. “I don’t have any brothers,” Joyce explained. “But God added to me brothers and sisters. Today you see me in front of you because of the encouragement those brothers gave me.”
Joyce testified that now her sleep is peaceful and she can forget her troubles. “I am praising God with power because I know He did great things in me,” she said. “He took me away from the dead. I want to lift God up in this church.” She urged the ladies listening to love others as themselves.
Vicky encouraged Joyce that she has a Father in heaven and sisters, brothers, and a home in the church. We prayed together, thanking God for the beauty that He causes to rise from ashes.
Joyce requests prayer for her sisters, since there is no one to provide for them now. She also requests prayer for herself, saying that there is still a wound in her heart that pains her sometimes even after she worships God. She senses that Satan is still near and wants God to show her and her family a way.
Praise God for this testimony! Please keep Joyce and her two small children in your prayers.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Throne of Grace

Hebrews 4:16: Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. 

Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace/Let us draw near: Herein lies our rest, in our proximity to Him, our nearness to Him, our oneness with Him.

The rent veil, the new and living way, His blood…He paid to open this incredible refuge for you and for me….We GET to draw near in full assurance…please do so….

Here is a picture of a broken believer prostrate in prayer before the throne, understanding that the only way to go on is in His strength!

Boldness: free and fearless confidence, cheerful courage, boldness, assurance

V  Hebrews 3:6: …hold fast our boldness…
V  Hebrews 10:19: …boldness enter…
V  Hebrews 10:35: Cast not away therefore your boldness…

That we may obtain mercy: Again, we are looking at His tender mercy. Mercy is not getting the punishment we deserve…let that sink deep into your soul, it’s a sure remedy for discouragement and condemnation! All fear is wiped away by that one phrase.

·         Micah 7:18: ...He delights in mercy

·         Hosea 6:6: For I desire mercy, not sacrifice

·         James 2:13: Because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

V  Would you remember that next time someone wrongs you?

Luke 6:37-38: Do not judge and you will not be judged. Do not condemn and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven. Give and it shall be given t you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

Ladies' Conference In Loa - Day #2 Videos

Enjoy these videos from Day #2 of the ladies' conference!

The ladies singing and dancing to the Lord.

A few of the kids and teachers from the children's ministry singing praises.

Ladies' Conference In Loa - Day #2

Day #2 started out cold and rainy, and it took a while for the ladies to assemble - but assemble they did, to huddle under the thatched roof and listen to the Word of God.
Our time for prayer requests lasted nearly two hours, as more and more ladies kept coming up with heavy burdens and serious needs.
Flo shared that a just few minutes ago, she received word that her mother had died. Susan shared that God had already healed her partially from blindness and paralysis, but that she still suffered from some trouble. Pauline, Mary, Joyce, Vicky, and others brought in feverish children.
One young girl from Jele requested prayer for her sick grandmother and for her own relationship with the Lord. She confessed that though she had accepted Jesus, she sometimes went out to the disco with her sister, where they drank alcohol and behaved badly. The girl sat with her head bowed and would not look at us as she spoke, and Vicky sensed there was a heavier burden weighing on her heart. Finally the girl shared her story. Her father, mother, and her father’s other wife had all died, leaving her alone with her grandmother. Her uncle had refused to keep paying her school fees, saying that she was “only a girl, and would marry soon anyway.” The girl began cutting firewood to pay her own school fees, but when the grandmother fell ill with tuberculosis, she had to start using that money for food. The girl said that she is all alone now and wants to commit suicide.
We prayed together, and Vicky promised to feed her and her grandmother if the girl would promise to stop going out to the disco and keep working to pay her school fees. She told the girl that she could not carry this burden alone and that she needed to choose to give it over to Jesus and seek out fellowship and with the other sisters in Jele.
Another lady from Jele came up and shared how her husband of twelve years had left her and their three children. The troubles that followed were many. Vicky encouraged her to take time every day to sit before the Lord and pour out her heart to Him. “Some days you won’t even be able to speak,” Vicky said. “Some days you’ll only be able to cry and sing a little. But God will speak to you.” Vicky pointed out one of the literate sisters from Jele and encouraged the lady to ask her to read a few verses from the Bible aloud every day.
Before we returned to Nimule, we were able to hand out t-shirts and small gift boxes of toiletries to the ladies, who were glad to receive them.
The conference was a blessing to us, and we hope that it encouraged the ladies as well! Please pray for them, that they would choose to walk continuously in the newness of life and that they would continue in fellowship with each other. Please also pray for our plans to start a weekly Bible study in Jele. Pray that believers there would be established in the faith.

Ladies' Conference In Loa - Day #1 Videos

Enjoy these videos from Day #1 of the ladies' conference!

Ladies from Loa welcoming their new sisters from Jele to the conference.

Ladies celebrating the Lord together before the first session.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Ladies' Conference In Loa - Day #1

Today we joined our sisters in Loa for prayer, worship, fellowship, and the Word. Some of the new believers from Jele were able to join us as well.

The Loa ladies welcomed us with singing and dancing; their joy was contagious, and the celebration went on for about twenty minutes before we could convene for the first session!

About seventy ladies attended, along with dozens of their small children and a few men from the church. Several people prayed to surrender their lives to Christ. We learned about becoming a new creation, walking in the newness of life, and putting off the old and putting on the new.

The ladies asked lots of questions, and we encouraged them to get all their answers from God's Word. They also shared some of their prayer requests, and we prayed together for healing and reconciliation within their families.

Please pray that God would continue to minster to the ladies as they spend the night together and watch the Jesus Film. Pray for the ladies who shared with us today, whose children are sick and whose husbands are abusive, that they would continue to follow Jesus and that He would show Himself faithful in their lives.
Praise God for His joy and for the fellowship we have with one another in Him! We can’t wait to see Him move mightily among us in Loa tomorrow!

Sympathizing with Us

Hebrews 4:15: For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.

Who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses: Jesus was not ashamed to humble Himself to become like us.

He was more than willing.
He wanted to prove that He understood our pain,
knew the door of escape,
and was full of power to deliver.
He understands us perfectly
and is willing to give us all we need!

What are you afraid to bring to Him?
What sin was committed against you that you fear will cause Him to shrink back in repulsion?
V  Man does that…
V  God doesn’t!
What have you done that keeps you from sleeping at night?
V  Regina was frustrated with her daughter’s misbehaving, took her hand and plunged it into the fire.
V  Soldier tore open the belly of a woman pregnant with twins, showed them to her, and shot her.
V  Dear friend of mine fell into sexual sin; the guilt was literally killing her.

Is His arm too short?

V  Isaiah 59:1-2: Behold, the LORD's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; nor His ear heavy, that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear.
V  Genesis 18:14: Is anything too hard for the LORD?
V  Jeremiah 32:17: Ah, Lord GOD! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too hard for You.

The temptation that caused Jesus His greatest suffering was the temptation to take up His own will instead of God’s. If you are here seeking to life a wholly surrendered life for His glory, that should be doubly sweet to you.
V  The pain it costs you to walk away from that relationship
V  He knows what it feels like to be mocked at work
V  He knows the pain for rejection you feel from your unbelieving husband
V  He understands why you cry yourself to sleep at night…in fact He keeps your tears in a bottle…..
V  He was made like us in temptation so we could be made like Him in victory – Hallelujah, what a Savior!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Jesus: Our Great High Priest

Jesus PROMISES help through all our times of need as we go on in this life.

He is a brother who is near,
not willing to leave our side,
always ready to help and support us.

Hebrews 4:14: Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.

We have: Jesus is ours! This is a confirmation of our possession of Christ. We read in Hebrews 3:14 that we are partakers, but I like that this is so much stronger…this is full ownership.

What do you have right now?
V  Husband
V  Children
V  Debilitating pain everyday
V  A great job
V  Painful memories of your childhood
V  Great anticipation for your upcoming wedding
V  Disappointment

Whatever you have is useful to the Lord. He willingly accepts any love gift.

Nothing you have can compare with Christ! Let no rival push Him off the throne in your heart.

You have –oh, the best and most wonderful of all possessions- you have a great High Priest. You own Him; He is yours, your very own, wholly yours. You may use Him with all He is and has. You can trust Him for all you need, know and claim Him as indeed your Great High Priest, to bring you to God. Let your whole walk be proof that you live as one, “having…a Great High Priest.”~ Andrew Murray

Monday, July 23, 2012

Brotherly Redemption

Jesus PURCHASED our freedom by His brotherly love.  
His death gives us life.
If we lose our lives, we find them.
The way up is down.

Romans 8:1-6: There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.  For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 

When I first received Jesus as my Savior, I thought that being legalistic made me a good Christian. I really did!
V  Rose daily at 3:30am to pray and read my Bible plus different devotionals
V  Set up prayer meetings with my new friends every Saturday at 6:00am
V  Shared my testimony to the point of being obnoxious
V  No movies, no shopping at certain stores, no books - my list went on and on
I created a safety zone….or so I thought!
I wore myself out….I became my own enemy!
Because the LAW KILLS!

… How marvelous that we, worms, mortals, sinners, should be the objects of divine love! But it is only “in the beloved.” Some Christians seem to be accepted in their own experience, at least, that is their apprehension. When their spirit is lively, and their hopes bright, they think God accepts them, for they feel so high, so heavenly-minded, so drawn above the earth! But when their souls cleave to the dust, they are the victims of the fear that they are no longer accepted. If they could but see that all their high joys do not exalt them, and all their low despondencies do not really depress them in their Father’s sight, but that they stand accepted in One who never alters, in One who is always the beloved of God, always perfect, always without spot or wrinkle, or any such thing, how much happier they would be, and how much more they would honor the Saviour! Rejoice then, believer, in this: thou art accepted “in the beloved.” Thou lookest within, and thou sayest, “There is nothing acceptable here!” But look at Christ, and see if there is not everything acceptable there. Thy sins trouble thee; but God has cast thy sins behind his back, and thou art accepted in the Righteous One. Thou hast to fight with corruption, and to wrestle with temptation, but thou art already accepted in him who has overcome the powers of evil. The devil tempts thee; be of good cheer, he cannot destroy thee, for thou art accepted in him who has broken Satan’s head. Know by full assurance thy glorious standing. Even glorified souls are not more accepted than thou art. They are only accepted in heaven “in the beloved,” and thou art even now accepted in Christ after the same manner. ~ Spurgeon

Jesus purchased this life for us, my precious sisters!

Colossians 2:9-15: For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power. In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses,  having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

A Brother that Knows

Hebrews 2:17-18: Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.

This heavenly Brother knows you…

As I watch my brothers, I can often tell what they are thinking. I see the slight changes in their eyes that say, “I am weary…
please don’t nag me about this one more time....
does my child love me?
is she proud to have me as a daddy?”
I can see insecurity raising its ugly head because I spent the first 20 years of my life with them.
We are familiar.

Jesus knows you!
V  The beauty is, He not only sees your expression and your eyes,
He can actually look into your soul…
V  He knows what you need and exactly when you need it!
V  Isaiah 65:24: It shall come to pass That before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear.

You see, I can’t always help my brothers… each ne has a wife, a job, a whole life that is removed from mine; we aren’t as close as I would like us to be. I feel powerless when they are hurting. My encouragement has no ability to drown out the stresses of life.

BUT Jesus held forth the words of life and freely gives POWER for real and lasting change:

Colossians 1:15-22: He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.  And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.  And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.  And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight—

He is Mighty to Save - standing at teh ready to get involved with ALL that concerns you!
    He is for you; therefore, who can possibly stand against you?

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Brotherly Love from Heaven's Perspective

Jesus PROVED his brotherly love for us by
leaving the glory of heaven,
taking on the form of a man,
and humbling Himself to the point of death.

Philippians 2:5-11: Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. 

He didn’t have to!
        His scars will forever remain; everything in heaven will be perfect except our Lord.

Revelation 5:6-12: And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne.  And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four [and] twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odors, which are the prayers of saints.  And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou was slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;  And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing. And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto him that sits upon the throne, and unto the Lamb forever and ever.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Jesus: Fiercely Protective Brother

I have three brothers, all younger, with no sisters, so growing up I was outnumbered. We had our fair share of family feuds…but rest assured: if someone raised a hand to me outside our home, my brothers were right there to defend me. They were taught by my Dad to watch over me and care for me, and they still do even to this day.
The brother who follows me, has always been quiet and hardworking. He is the type of man who has a few friends; but those few are friends in the truest sense of the word. He is extremely loyal and those friendships will last a lifetime. My first husband and he were inseparable. They hunted, camped, went dirt bike riding, played pool, you name it, they did it together. I was blessed by their friendship and enjoyed having my brother around the house. When my husband told me he was leaving I did not know how my brother would react.
I will never forget a few days later when my brother stopped by the house, like he always did, but this time he found me crying. I was embarrassed and did not want to make him feel uncomfortable. I did not want to make him feel like he had to choose between my husband and me….I figured that he would always be my little brother, and that somehow I would manage…. He said, “Sister, this is wrong, and when he came and told me what happened and expected us to be friends just like nothing ever happened, I told him he was a loser and our friendship was over!”
Once again, my brother came to my aid….
Jesus demonstrates His love as a Brother too:
Proved: Substantiated, validated, authenticated, demonstrated
Purchased: Acquired, obtained
Promises: Pledges, assures
Protects: Defends, shields, safeguards, shelters, sanctuary

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Our Earmark

Christ’s tender mercies satisfy the desire of every living thing (Psalm 145:16)…. that includes you and me! We need to be inundated with His love in order to dwell continually in a state of what the Scriptures says is joy inexpressible. Therefore, we need to know His love, to accept it, and then the rest will unfold at His divine decree.
As women, we were fashioned to hunger for supreme love. That is why God commands:
Ephesians 5:25-27: Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it;that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word, that He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

Jesus knows that we crave love. He knows we respond only to love; we innately and involuntarily seek after it. And - listen carefully - WE ONLY FIND TRUE LOVE IN JESUS. All other loves are incapable to fulfilling our emptiness.
That is why no matter how hard we push our precious husbands,
they never can quite get it right….
They don’t have what we really need.
Let them off the hook today, my beloved sisters….
Look to Jesus and find what you have always longed for!

Ephesians 1:13-14: In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, Who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory. 

His agape love is the earmark of every Spirit filled believer….Whenever I catch a glimpse of such beauty in the life of a fellow saint I can’t help but wonder if I am looking at the earnest of their redemption. 

Friday, July 13, 2012

Love Vs. Busyness

Sadly, we live in a day and age that is too busy to cultivate the closeness intimacy requires.

Look at your typical day, week, month year....
If your day is anything at all like mine, it’s a challenge to find even an hour to set aside to be alone with God. I find myself praying always out of sheer necessity. I’ve had to become a multi-tasker...
Is that true for you too?
Contrast our modern culture with the lives of saints of old:
·         Paul declared, “I pray in tongues more than all of you.”
·         In spite of the hours it took to travel by foot  and mule, he still found MUCH time with the  Lord.
·         George Mueller, the famous pastor who cared for thousands of orphans, was said to rise long before dawn because he found that without having at least 3 hours alone to pray, he was unable to manage the responsibilities put before him.

I don’t bring up these examples to condemn us or insinuate we are falling short in God’s eyes….Please hear my heart! I am trying to help us to see what the Apostle Paul calls the more excellent way….the way of love.

For you see, love knows nothing of sacrifice,
love isn’t bound by time and circumstance,
love gives with glad abandon,
love willingly relinquishes all for the Beloved,
love finds strength beyond human ability,
and love swallows up every excuse.
We are here to drown in this love (Ezekiel 47:1-5.)
                Drowning means death; But be assured: it’s only death to that which hinders pure joy and
                weakens our bonds with Christ (Hebrews 12:26-29.)

In in losing our lives, we will find His life…