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“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1).
One thing our family would do every time we’d ride in our vehicles was to ask God to protect us as we went about in our daily business.
One day, after church, I drove all kids home and had lunch. Then Jessica, my twelve-year-old daughter, asked to pick up some things at the store for school. As usual that day, we prayed for protection as my daughter and I left home. On our way, not far from our home, I saw that prayer answered in a very real way.
As I was about to turn right on a busy street, I pressed the brake but there was no resistance. Our vehicle sped up and our steering wheel becomes loose. Instead of turning right, our van passed straight across two busy lanes and hit a tree. Both airbags inflated and smoke came from somewhere. God must have cleared the way for us because no cars were coming in either direction. Had I turned right on a busy street, I might have collided with other cars. We could have ended up in the hospital, seriously injured others, or even caused a death. Kindhearted bystanders rushed to help us, and my husband came. Paramedics and police came and the lane was closed momentarily. I was so thankful that God had spared my daughter and me from a serious accident.
I had no idea of the danger that would confront us that day, but prayer works. God knew well in advance and protected us in our time of need. What peace there is in knowing that God is always looking after us. If He sees the dangers we are not aware of, then surely He also sees the ones that concern us, and He will help with those too.
Psalm 34:7 tells us that “the angel of the Lord encamps round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.” This verse is a promise that brings rest and assurance to the hearts of God-fearing people. God notices the little sparrow’s fall, and His Word assures us, “Ye are of more value than many sparrows” (Matthew 10:31).
My heart is full of thanksgiving that God’s protection and mercy follow us each day. What a privilege it is to serve a God who looks after us each day and delivers us from unknown dangers. He watches over us each day and delivers us from harm and danger. Trust in His promise and remember to thank Him for the protection we may not always see.
Note: Jane Fortaleza is a pastor’s wife and mother of three children. Her family lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba, where she served as a Ladies President in Central Canadian District. Her great passion is to serve and live for God.
(Information from: UPCI Ladies Prayer International Newsletter)
Each day we live, we write another chapter of who we are for the world to read. At life’s end, these chapters are condensed down to just a few words on stone – or sometimes just two dates with a dash.
Walk the paths of an old cemetery, and the epitaphs written on its tombstones offer a glimpse into the life of someone we may never have met. Some are sentimental or humorous; others reveal the character of the person. For example, a grave in Lemmington, England, is carved with these words: “Here lies a miser who lived for himself, who cared for nothing but gathering wealth. Now where he is and how he fares; nobody knows and nobody cares.”
The marker for Sitting Bull reads only, “Chief of the Hunkpapa Sioux.” We learn nothing of his character, only his position in life. The monument of Marshall Field, who rose from clerk to department store owner, reads “Equity-Integrity.” Even if we knew nothing about him before, we would feel he was an honorable man.
The Bible tells of a man with no grave to mark. No words carved in stone commemorated Enoch’s life for he did not die. Only a few verses in Scripture even mention him. Tracing the generations from Adam we learn he was the great-grandfather of Noah (Genesis 5:21-29). Verse 24 summarizes his life in just a few words: “And Enoch walked with God; and he was not; for God took him.” This leads us to believe that Enoch maintained a deep relationship with God-a consistent, dedicated walk.
The Bible remains silent on many facets of Enoch’s life. We do not know the size of his house, if he held a prestigious job, or his level of education. We don’t know if he belonged to any exclusive clubs or rubbed shoulders with the rich and famous of his day. All of the things by which we judge success today are left out of his story.
While the Bible provides few details of Enoch’s life, we find him listed among those heroes of faith in Hebrews 11. Verse 5 states why. “By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death . . . for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.” What greater words could be spoken of a person?
What kind of testimony will we leave behind? If we, like Enoch, have learned to really walk with God and stay in fellowship with Him, our epitaph may read, “She pleased God.” Can there be any greater accomplishment than this?
(From: PURE Newsletter – UPCI Ladies Ministries)
“Hear my voice, O God, in my prayer: preserve my life from fear of the enemy”. Psalm 64:1
I was blessed to be raised in a home that sought-after God, knowing prayer, faith, and trust. Growing up we saw many things come to pass through the power of prayer.
When I was eight years old, I was in a race with my sisters and the neighbor kids. We ran around the neighborhood seeing who was the fastest. I remember thinking, “Yes, I´m going to win”. It was at that moment that I came crashing to the ground, splitting my knee open to the bone! We were home missionaries and had no insurance, my mom didn’t know anything else to do other than to pray and wrap a large bandage around my knee. Within an hour I was back to running around. My knee was totally healed, except a tiny bruise that I still have as a reminder of God answering prayer.
Many times, we can seem to get busy in life and don’t see spiritual attacks that come against us.A few weeks ago, as I was tucking Alaina, our eight year old into bed, she started acting nervous. I shrugged it off, prayed over her, and put her to bed. The next three nights her daddy and I got frustrated as she seemed to be stalling at bedtime and not wanting to sleep alone. Finally, on the fourth morning while praying the thought came to me that it was a spirit of fear, not just the normal little “scared thing” that kids go through.
I sat Alaina down and asked why she had been dreading bedtime. She broke down crying, telling me how scared she was of being alone, of being in the dark, and having it too quiet around her. I knew then that she was being attacked by a spirit of fear. We began to pray with her and bind fear, bind the lies of Satan, and loose peace over her. We called our pastor who prayed over her mind and together we taught her how to pray the Word of God and use His promises.It took three more nights of praying before it left her completely, but through prayer we were triumphant.
Alaina has now learned personally that she can be triumphant through the power of prayer, because God has given her peace and she sleeps soundly every night. No matter what may come against our families, the answer is found in prayer.
“Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them” (Mark 11:24).
Note: Tanya Harrod is married to missionary Nathan Harrod and blessed to be the mother of Alaina and Lincoln. The Harrods have served in the country of Spain for the past thirteen years and pastor three churches in the Catalonian Region. They are working to start more. She homeschools her two children and tries to be involved in any area needed including music, youth, and teaching.
(From: Ladies Prayer Intl April 2017 Newsletter)
Our desire to be triumphant in prayer is sometimes thwarted because we have difficulty dealing with things that distract us before and during our prayer time. To triumph means to be victorious or successful. We can be victorious over time pressure by setting aside time to pray each day. Then, we can be successful in overcoming distractions by keeping our focus on God during that special time.
Ironically, sometimes the distractions come from the very children we love and for whom we pray. After the birth of each of my three sons, I ached for time alone with God. “O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee” (Psalm 63:1). But it seemed that no matter how early I got up, the baby would awaken while I was praying. What a blessing when my husband offered to block off an hour each day to be with the kids and give me time for private devotions. It was in his best interests to have a praying wife, after all.
Susanna, mother of the famous preachers John and Charles Wesley, had a unique solution to uninterrupted prayer time. Although she was raising ten children and her husband was often absent, Susanna was committed to two hours of prayer each day. She trained her kids that whenever she covered her head with her apron, she was praying and should not be disturbed.
If we really want to triumph in prayer, we will find a way somehow. Nowadays, in addition to children, we have email, text messages, Facebook notifications, and Twitter clamouring to interrupt our prayer time. We can turn off these electronic distractions to focus in prayer, but sometimes it is hard to silence our own distracting thoughts.
In the early years of marriage, I received some great advice from my pastor’s wife about dealing with distractions during prayer. She suggested that we keep a notebook close by to write down any task or information that came to mind while we were praying. II Corinthians 10:5 talks about “bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” By quickly writing a note, we could return to prayer without thinking constantly, “Oh, I need to remember to do this after prayer.”
So, triumph in prayer begins when we conquer the things that hinder us from starting to pray. We continue to triumph when we overcome distractions during our prayer time. Then, we will truly be in a position to be triumphant through prayer. “Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ” (II Corinthians 2:14).
Note: Liane and her husband Scott are career church planters in Montreal, Quebec under the UPCI Metro Missions program. Liane serves as the Quebec Ladies Ministries president and is the founder and overseer of The King’s Translators, a group of volunteers dedicated to providing apostolic resources in French. She is currently doing her doctoral research with this translation group.
(From: Ladies Prayer Intl April 2017 Newsletter)
Being raised in the church from birth, I always believed the Word of God to be true but often leaned on the prayers and faith of my parents to carry me through. There is merit to this blind faith; however there comes a time in everyone’s life that he must seek to find a personalization and ownership of that same faith. Often it takes a time of crisis for us to diligently pursue a very personal relationship with the Lord.
My pursuit of faith became more focused when I became a parent, as I then had responsibility for someone other than myself. The knowledge of accountability for others can be overwhelming, but I knew the perfect source of strength and chose to seek Him for direction. Because of my faithful quest for guidance, I did not expect the curve in the road ahead.
When raising children in the fear of the Lord from day one, we expect nothing less than complete surrender of their lives to Him. When our oldest son began to stray from the Lord, it took us by total shock and grieved our hearts to the fullest. As he began to experiment in things of the world and to veer from the path we had taught him to follow, we wept before the Lord. Surely this couldn’t be happening in our God-fearing home. It was time to put our faith to the test.
I began to focus on the Word of God, applying it in a very personal way to our situation. I John 5:14, 15 promises, “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.” I knew that it was the will of God for our son to serve the Lord, so I began to pray and claim that scripture. I Peter 5:7 has always been a source of strength to me, and I obeyed its command: “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”
Increasing our faith, my husband and I began to pray and plead the blood of Jesus over our son.
I well remember laying on the floor underneath one of the pews in our sanctuary declaring that Satan was not going to have our son. Pleading the blood of Jesus, I claimed him for the Lord and refused to let go of God’s promises. Through much prayer and fasting, we received our answer from the Lord. He turned our son around and made his life new in Him.
This situation took place over seventeen years ago. It thrills me to say that our son is serving the Lord faithfully since that turnaround. God has blessed him with a wife and children who also live for the Lord. We are grateful beyond measure.
You can be triumphant through prayer. Never give up.
Note: Wanda Fielder, founder and editor of the web site and newsletter, Tealightful Inspirations, currently serves as Connections Director for the UPCI Ladies Ministries. She is married to James Fielder, and they have pastored in Portage, IN for the past 37 years. She is the happy mother of two sons, Brent and Bryan, and Nana to Maddi and Lincoln.
(From: Ladies Prayer Intl April 2017 Newsletter)
In all the business of life and ministry, Psalm 27:4 brings us back to the one thing we must never neglect, but rather continually search out, desire, and strive for; that is to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in His Temple.
In a world full of trouble, trials and negativity, it’s vital to take time in prayer to look into the face of Jesus Christ, beholding His beauty and delightfulness. To inquire is a multi-faceted experience, for it means to plough, to break forth, to inspect, admire, care for, consider, and seek out.
In light of this let us pray:
Lord, help us to plough up, break up the fallow ground of our hearts so You can come and rain righteousness upon us.
Let us plough, in the Spirit, the hard soil of the fields in which we labor for the harvest, so that souls will be prepared to receive the saving Word of God.
In Jesus name, let us pray, casting all our burdens on Him who cares for us until we break forth in joy. Let the joy of the Lord be our strength to carry on in His will.
Let us take time in His presence not only to allow Him to inspect us and search us, but also that we admire Him and delight in Him.
Lord Jesus, in your presence let us receive divine love, causing us to care for You and for the things that are important to You.
Help us Lord to consider our ways and to allow You to mold us into Your image as we behold Your beauty.
Local Prayer Coordinator
Apostolic Life Center
(From wnop Newsletter)
“And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou” (Genesis 3:9)?
This is such a poignant question. Obviously, God knew where Adam was. The question was did Adam know where he was?
“Where are you” triggered several ideas in my mind. “Where are you” connotes your location. This could be asking where are you positionally, physically, emotionally, and even on where are you on commitment. It also speaks to where you are on a particular point of view. Where do you stand on that issue? Where are you in relations to your family life? Where are you spiritually? Where are you psychologically?
By this, hopefully, you can see where I am taking this thought process. I’m asking you today to examine yourself and see where are you on God’s agenda? When He comes, what will your response be when He asks, where are you on what I have given you to do? Will your response mirror that of the stewards who were given talents to invest?
Are you a five-talent responder? Are you a two-talent responder? Or are you a one-talent responder (See Mathew 25)?
The Second Adam, in the person of Jesus Christ, at age 12, had to respond to that same question, Jesus, where are you? Jesus had the correct response. He said, I am about my Father’s business (Luke 2:48-49).
So what would your response be when you’re asked, where are you? You are the only one that can honestly answer that question. So let us all take inventory, and make the appropriate adjustments so we to can respond like the second Adam.
Let’s pray these verses as David did in Psalm 139:23-24:
“Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:
see if there be any wicked way in me,
lead me in the way everlasting.”
District Prayer Coordinator
New York Metro District
Author of “The 5 Principles of Powerful Prayer”
(From wnop Newsletter)
The Kindness of His Gentle Rebuke by Cindy Meadows.
While in the prayer room the Lord spoke to me suddenly. I was delighted to hear His voice, though the message was a tad embarrassing. What were they – His specially selected words that day? “Shut up.”
Normally that wouldn’t sound like the Lord nor be tremendously uplifting, and yet after His command I felt a sense of relief in my spirit. A smile actually crossed my face. God had me. I had been arguing my case in my mind (with drama) like Job in his dilemma. I had actually been reading the book of Job right then. My defenses and reasonings seemed valid enough to me, but shut up proved I was off track. My thoughts were full of my highly valued opinions, my wisdom or lack thereof, and a very real sense of frustration. Ever been there – worked up in the flesh, and not tuned in to the Spirit? Honestly I know now that God was little impressed.
I was reading Job 42. It’s that breathtaking passage where Job had exhausted himself with his justifications, when God boldly appeared with some pungent questions of His own. The confrontation became the source of swift arrows to my heart:
“You asked, ‘Who is this muddying the water, second-guessing My purposes?’ I (Job) admit it. I was the one. I babbled on about things far beyond me, made small talk about wonders way over my head. You told me, ‘Listen, and let Me do the talking . . . Let Me ask the questions, you give the answers'” (Job 42: 3-4, The Message).
I was surprised by His voice in my spirit and this was our conversation while I read:
“Who is this muddying the water?” (I felt: “It’s me, worried and frenzied in spirit, like an elephant thrashing the waters.”)
“Second guessing My purposes.” (I felt: “I’m second guessing what’s going on with my confidence and arrogant opinions.”)
“Listen and let Me do the talking.” (I heard: “Shut up.”)
We may agree that God is a gentleman, and be tempted to think He wouldn’t talk that way. Let me assure you He does. And it’s done in kindness. I was thrilled when He broke through my fog, caught my attention, and proceeded to bring laughter to my heart. I saw myself so clearly in those verses – often trying to figure things out on my own and pursuing explanations for things way over my head. I fail to just be still and let Him whisper into my heart the true heart of the matter.
It reminds me of that line in an old song, “When you’ve tried everything and everything has failed, try Jesus.” Why not try Jesus first? Learning to be still and “let God” is a forever lesson for me. Taming my racing heart, slowing my running feet, and hushing my analytical mind seems too hard, so I just attack the problem with my frail reasoning. But the reasoning of the mind is no comparison to the whispers of His Spirit. One’s often empty, the other full of peace.
This incident reminded me of a time years ago when I had received a letter that brought upsetting news. I was hurt and distraught. I ran quickly over to the church and poured my soul out at the altar. While weeping and wailing, the Lord simply whispered, “Be still.” I calmed and settled myself down, abandoning the panic. He was then able to comfort me. He wouldn’t have gotten through if I hadn’t brought that worked-up flesh under control. That was the core of this present encounter too. In times of frustration, quiet down, listen, and trust. Though no small order, He will come through.
I laugh now when I go back to Job 42. The verses are well marked in my Bible and gracefully reveal a lesson learned in the heat of a battle: Listen and let Him do the talking. If I practice the assignment I may well save myself the embarrassment (and kindness) of another gentle rebuke.
(From: PURE Newsletter – UPCI Ladies Ministries)
Change Your Perspective…Choose Joy
By Shannon Trzcinski
My nine-year-old son, Isaiah, loves music. I mean really loves it. We are a very musical family, so he comes by it honestly. He also loves to get on the iPad. One app starts with a song when he turns it on. He loves that song. He will start the app, listen to the song, close it, and open it again – just to listen to that song over and over again.
One day, after listening to that song multiple times, I thought, “Just play the game.” I wasn’t annoyed by it, but I did take notice. Some people, however, would be really annoyed. In a split second, I thought, “Isaiah should be deaf, but he’s not! He hears this music!” You see, Isaiah was a micro preemie, born at twenty-two weeks. We were told as a result of being born so early, he would be deaf. As if that’s not enough, at one point during his hospitalization, he was on a Lasix IV. A side effect of that much Lasix is hearing loss.
So, let’s take another look at Isaiah, with his iPad, playing the same song, over and over and over. Something that could be so annoying, that could drive somebody crazy, now, I think, “Yes! Play that song!” You know why? Because my boy hears! Now, when I hear that song playing, it literally brings a smile to my face, and my heart overflows with thankfulness.
What annoys you? What drives you crazy? A spouse who chews too loudly? A son who walks around dribbling a ball all the time? A coworker drumming his fingers on his desk? Traffic? What if you chose to look at it differently and turned that annoyance into a joy? When you hear your spouse chewing, that’s a reminder he/she is alive and with you. The ball bouncing is a reminder your son is healthy and strong. Your loud coworker shows you have a job. Because you have a car, you have the privilege to drive in that traffic.
When we change how we look at things, change our perspective, that annoyance becomes a source of joy.
Even if we are not typically a positive person, we can choose it. Even if we do not feel it, we can choose it.
The Bible tells us to:
Rejoice in the Lord (Philippians 4:4).
Always be joyful (I Thessalonians 5:16).
Offer sacrifices of joy (Psalm 27:6).
Here’s the amazing thing, when we choose joy, it will change our whole day. When we choose joy, our emotions will follow, and we will begin to feel it. That annoyance, that frustration will become a source of joy, bringing a smile to our face, even when we’ve heard the same song for the hundredth time in one day
Make up your mind today that you will choose joy.
(From: UPCI – Ladies Prayer International Newsletter)
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