“IF JESUS GOES WITH ME…”

Sunday Chronicles #271. 10/24/21

In the early 1900s an outpouring of the Holy Spirit swept around the world. Spontaneous revivals broke out in many places including India, Ireland, England, and here in the U. S. In those days America was largely an agrarian society. After crops were “laid by,” farm work was lighter until harvest began. During that late summer break, camp meetings were often held, usually outdoors in brush arbors or tents. A favorite song was “If Jesus Goes with Me I’ll Go Anywhere,” written in1908 by Charles A. Miles.

The song is an affirmation of the believer’s desire to follow Jesus, no matter where He leads.  Verse 1:

“It may be in the valley, where countless dangers hide;
It may be in the sunshine that I, in peace, abide;
But this one thing I know—if it be dark or fair,
If Jesus is with me, I’ll go anywhere!”

Other verses declare the author’s willingness to carry the words of Jesus across deserts or foaming seas. The chorus sums up the writer’s desire:

If Jesus goes with me, I’ll go anywhere!
’Tis heaven to me, where’er I may be, if He is there!
I count it a privilege here, His cross to bear,
If Jesus goes with me, I’ll go anywhere!

Does He go with us into these years of declining abilities? Being honest, I have to answer that His promise is true, no matter how I feel.

Thinking of this song, I felt sad that I can no longer “go anywhere” for Jesus. How I’d love to stand again before a great congregation and lead songs of praise and worship! My next thought was that since Jesus promised to go with us, “even to the end of the world,” does He go with us into these years of declining abilities when it seems every week another health problem shows up? Being honest, I had to answer that His promise is true, no matter how I feel. So if He goes with us into old age, there are still things we can do to serve Him!

First, we can pray for and encourage those on the front lines of service: pastors, missionaries, Bible school teachers and students, Sunday school workers, and our local and national leaders. “More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of” (Alfred Lord Tennyson).

We can also pray for our families and friends who need God’s care. I am convinced that our prayers bring results even after we are with the Lord. Several of my mother’s prayers for family members have been answered since her death in 1992.

We can also keep the presence of Jesus shining in our lives so that we are pleasant to be around and don’t bore others with our complaints or constant recital of wishes for the “old days.” Yes, our world has changed; our phone calls to most businesses are not answered by a real person, but by a recorded voice telling us to “Press 1” or “Press 2”… etc., followed by an unending list of choices, none of which meet our need. Or they tell us to go “online” to get the information we are asking for.  Some people making those calls may not have access to the internet or may not know how to look for information online.

How do we know when we are old? One of my recent b-day cards spelled it out: “You know you’re getting older when (1) Everything hurts and what doesn’t hurt, doesn’t work.  (2) Your knees buckle, and your belt won’t. (3) You can only burn the midnight oil until 9 p.m. (4) The twinkle in your eyes is the sun hitting your bifocals. (5) Your back goes out more often than you do.“ I qualify on all those points as “old!”

The writer of Psalm 71:9 expressed feelings like those I struggle with: “And now, in my old age, don’t set me aside.  Don’t forsake me now when my strength is failing” (The Living Bible).

God promises that He will still be with us when we are old! In Isa. 46:4, He said, “I will still be carrying you when you are old…. I made you and I will carry you to safety” (Isa. 46:4 Easy-to-Read Version). 

If Jesus goes with me, I can go anywhere…even into old age! Sing it again!

“If Jesus goes with me, I’ll go anywhere!
’Tis heaven to me, where’er I may be, if He is there!
I count it a privilege here, His cross to bear,
If Jesus goes with me, I’ll go anywhere!”

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Personal Notes: Due to predictions of severe weather for this area tonight and tomorrow, and the possible loss of internet service, this week’s Sunday Chronicles are being posted tonight. Additional medical appointments have taken much of my time this week, and I have not been able to send thanks to many of you for your cards, gifts, and good wishes for my birthday. I appreciate all you did so very much.

One hopeful note: an orthopedics doctor put shots in my knees last Tuesday, and the pain is much less. My shoulder joints can be done in about three weeks. Now that my knees are not as painful, I notice the pain in my shoulders and elbows more! Thanks for praying for strength to deal with these issues. God bless you for sending encouraging words, cards, e-mails….Peace,jwb

Is Halloween Evil?

Sunday Chronicles #270.  Monday 10/18/21

The word “Halloween” is a condensed form of “All Hallows’ Eve” which is October 31, since November 1 is designated “All Saints Day.” “Hallow” is an old English word from about the 12th Century which means “holy.” It survives in the KJV Bible in “The Lord’s Prayer” where we say, “Our Father who is in Heaven, Hallowed be thy name.” (Matt. 6:9; Luke 11:2).

To answer my opening question, Halloween, in and of itself, is not evil; but in our world today, judging by the advertisements I see on TV and in the local newspaper for films, music, costumes, entertainment of various kinds, the evil is outweighing the good. Children playing games such as bobbing for apples or going to neighbors, for “trick or treating” can be clean fun. My concern is that much of what is being promoted by the media involves demonic power. And that, my friends, is serious business. It got Lucifer, one of Heaven’s three most powerful angels, kicked out, because he led a rebellion to replace God. Then Lucifer got Adam and Eve banned from the Garden of Eden because he influenced them to disobey God’s stated instructions. And he’s still busy today ruining people’s lives.

Much of what is being promoted about Halloween involves demonic power. And that, my friends, is serious business.

No matter what our media portrays, playing with the devil never leads to anything other than heartache, destruction, and loss of life. During my father’s ministry, then later with my husband, I’ve assisted with counseling and praying with people seeking deliverance from demonic powers. Even after the person is delivered, the devil keeps offering attractive “harmless” sins to get them in his power again. One person I worked with relapsed several times before finally being free. (See Luke 11:24-29).

Devils understand Jesus’ power. They recognized Him as the Son of God (Mark 3:11). Early in Jesus’ ministry, the devil tempted Him, trying to derail God’s plan for our salvation (Luke 4:1-13). But Jesus remained true, even when sentenced to death by crucifixion, the slowest, most painful death ever invented.

Halloween has its roots in an ancient fall festival called “Samhain,” celebrated 2,000 years ago by the Celts in pre-Christian Ireland and Scotland. In addition to gathering crops and preparing for winter, the Celts believed that at this time all the souls who had died the previous year traveled to the next world. They lit bonfires to keep the spirits away and some wore costumes of animal skins to disguise themselves. Later when Christianity came, the church changed this festival to one honoring the Christian dead, but some of the old customs survived. Our forefathers on this continent took stringent steps against any sort of demonic activity.

Mark’s Gospel notes that when Jesus began His ministry in the synagogue at Capernaum, demons caused a man in their power to call out: “What have we to do with you, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are – the Holy One of God!” Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be quiet and come out of him!” And throwing him into convulsions, “the unclean spirit cried out with a loud voice, and came out of him.” (Mark 1:24-26).

Note that the demons acknowledge Jesus’ humanity, calling Him “Jesus of Nazareth”; but also acknowledge His deity: “the Holy One of God.” in the demonic world, unlike our world, there are no atheists!

When Paul (Acts 19:11- 16) was at Ephesus, many miracles took place as he laid hands on people and prayed. Sons of a Jewish priest named Sceva decided to cast out devils in this way. They began by addressing the demons, saying, “We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preaches…, “ and the demon replied, “Jesus I know and Paul I know, but who are you?“ then the demon-possessed man jumped on them and they fled “naked and wounded.” Short lesson: Don’t try an exorcism without the anointing of God’s power.

A Christian girl I knew was invited by friends in her office building to stay after work on a Friday and play a new game that was supposed to tell their future. She thought it would be harmless fun. The game began with the leader appealing to a spirit to move the needle on the game board to answer a question. When the needle began to move, the Christian girl became frightened, and ran down six flights of stairs in high heels to get out of the building! The devil is not a plaything. He comes only to “kill, steal, and destroy” (John10:10).

For Halloween fun, how can we determine what is good? If our actions are God-honoring and uplifting, (I don’t mean just preaching sermons!) and bring joy to us and others, then I believe Jesus is pleased. He said, ”I am come that they might have life and… have it more abundantly.”

Your choice!

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Personal notes: Yesterday was a scrumptious Sunday afternoon in Springfield, MO. In Ozark mountain English dialect, “scrumptious” means something very good! It is bright sun, cool temps, azure sky…the kind of day tourists come here to enjoy.

Maranatha chapel resumed Sunday night services last night. No additional cases of COVID for nearly a month now! Thanks for your prayers and for a “scrumptious” birthday on Friday. Phone calls, cards, e-mails, FB greetings, visitors, sweet treats, all made the day special. May God give each of you great joy! Peace, jwb

God’s Answer to a Baby’s Weak Cry

Sunday Chronicles #269 10/10/2021

It was June 1911 and Lillian Trasher’s wedding was only 10 days away. Then, while listening to a missionary speaker, God spoke clearly to her heart: “I want you to go to Africa.” Her fiancé, a young minister, did not receive the same call, so she broke the engagement and made reservations on a ship scheduled to sail to Egypt. She had no promised support, but she was not entirely unprepared. She had spent six years learning the faith life while assisting Miss Mattie Perry who had a home for boys in the mountains of North Carolina.

Lillian had been in Egypt only three months, living in a home with other missionaries, when a man came to their door late one evening asking for a missionary to come and pray for a dying woman. Here’s Lillian’s account of that night:

“I jumped up and said I would go. Mrs. Van Guisling said she would go with me.
Neither of us knew Arabic, so Mr. Ghali Hanna said he would go to interpret.

“We found a dying woman lying on the floor. I didn’t see any furniture at all in the
room, not even a table. A neighbor was holding a 3-month-old baby trying to feed it from a bottle made of tin! It seemed that the bottle had been in use for some time, perhaps ever since the mother had been too ill to feed the baby, for the milk had become caked and green. Yet, the child was trying to drink. I had never seen such a sight in my life–the darkness of the room, the suffering, the lack of just everything! I had never known there was a home like that in all the world. You see, I had only just arrived from beautiful America; I had no idea of the suffering of others.

“I was soon to learn that and many other things. They gave me the baby when
the mother died. I took her to the mission with me. The ladies all quickly started cutting and making clothes so I could bathe the child. I am quite sure she had never had a bath. It seemed that no one had ever thought the child would need her clothes changed. Instead of having buttons, the clothes were all tightly sewn on. We finally got a pair of scissors and cut the stiff, smelly clothes off the poor little thing. The smell was so awful that it took days before she smelled normal.

“Everyone was delighted until the baby began to cry all night. This went on for several nights, then trouble started. ‘We want to sleep; we came out here as missionaries,’ the others said. ‘How can we work if we are kept awake all night? Take the baby back.’”

“Back where? Yes, God uses the small, weak things in life to do great things. If the baby had not cried for hours and hours at night, she might have grown up as the pet of the mission station. But she cried and cried, and God was in that weak cry.

“There was nothing to do but to take the baby out of the mission; but if the baby
had to go, I was going with her. This was a new development, and no one agreed with me. Who ever heard of a young woman just out from America starting an orphanage against the advice of everyone?

“But still the baby had to go. Where? No one could answer that. My sister, who came to Egypt to see me settled, said if I left she would go with me, but very definitely she
was not opening an orphanage. I said I understood that perfectly. Against the advice of everyone, the weak cry of a little baby caused me to walk out with $60 in my pocket. I rented a house for $12.50 a month and used the rest of the money to furnish it. The Assiout Orphanage opened February 10, 1911.

“My $60 was soon gone, but at last my first offering came in. A little telegraph boy gave me 35 cents. It filled the day’s needs.”
(Adapted from Lillian’s February 10, 1958, letter.)

All through the years, as the number of children increased, God continued to fill each day’s need. When the house in Assiout became too small, land was bought across the river from Assiout, and buildings were put up, one by one. Food and clothing for the children came in, often in miraculous ways. Lillian also took in widows, some of them blind, with no means to support their children. They lived at the orphanage, working as they were able in the kitchen, laundry, gardens, etc. The older girls were taught child care in the nursery; the boys various trades. Every child received an education according to his talents and need. Several became government officials.

I’m not sure if anyone knows how many children Lillian raised in her 50 years in Egypt. At the time of her death in 1961, the orphanage was home to more than 1300 children and several widows. It all began with the weak cry of an orphan baby and a woman who committed her life wholly to God. “My strength is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9.

“But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty.” 1 Corinthians 1:27, KJV

“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” ― Mother Teresa

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Personal Notes: Due to my physical condition, I can only do small things, but I can add the love! Thank God for allowing me to continue to serve Him and His people.

This Sunday in Springfield, MO, is a majestic fall day…sparkling sunshine, not a cloud to be seen, just enough breeze to ripple the leaves and bring a few down on the grass. But weather people are warning us that later tonight a cold front will push in from the west, bringing rain, possibly hail, and a slight tornado risk. I’m already praying for the safety of our community. So many of us are handicapped that getting to a special shelter is next to impossible.

Attendance was up at MV Chapel today as we continue to recover from the impact of COVID.  Sunday evening services are scheduled to resume next Sunday night.  I can only participate by viewing the services on Channel 84 here. As disruptive as this virus has been, communication technological has provided a sustaining force.

Let Jesus’ love reach out through you to those you meet this week. Peace, jwb

WELCOME TO OCTOBER JOY!

Sunday Chronicles # 268. 10/3/21

Come with me on a walk down Memory Lane to a time that was.

Life was much different when I was growing up in the late 1930s in small towns and farming communities in drought-stricken Oklahoma and rural Arkansas. My parents pioneered Assemblies of God churches, at a time when the Assemblies of God was not well-known. Organized in 1914, the A/G was young as church organizations go. Many people considered our Pentecostal style of worship too emotional, one that only “crazy” people enjoyed. When we moved into a new community, we often had to prove ourselves before we were accepted.

In these rural areas where people had no air conditioning, October closed out the heat of summer. No fans were available except those hand-held ones funeral homes supplied as advertising, no electric refrigerators. In fact, in many rural communities, electricity had not yet arrived.

October was looked forward to by my family for several reasons: Church people usually gathered vegetables from their gardens and fruit from orchards, and shared with us. Also, one or both my parents could pick up day work (sometimes paid ”in kind”) and our home menu became more diverse. Mama would help other women gather fruit and can or dry it for winter; Dad was often invited to help butcher, and would be given hog liver or a piece of bacon for his work. Also, Dad could locate bee trees. He and other men would cut down the tree and put honey in wash tubs to be taken home, strained, and put into buckets or jugs. Dad was also a good hand to “cook off” molasses. Sugar cane was brought in on wagons, a fire was built outside with a long pan on top. Pieces of cane were run through a mill and the juice poured into the pan. Dad regulated the wood fire to keep the juice boiling until it was molasses. He tested it by putting a spoonful on a piece of newspaper. It had to be clear enough for him to read the print through the syrup and not runny. (See The “Molasses” Winter posted July 19, 2013)

Another reason October was celebrated in our family was birthdays. Dad had been filled with the Holy Spirit and was called to preach when he was 17. He spent the next few years traveling in Northern Arkansas with older evangelists. This gave him practical experience as well as solid Biblical teaching. Then he and my mother married in 1915, and Dad assumed responsibility for some of the support of his widowed mother who lived with them for a time. So he worked in timber and farmed while also holding home prayer meetings and sometimes preaching revivals. He thought if he quit farming or other work, his family would starve, but in 1934, when I was a year old, God made clear to Dad that he was to stop taking secular jobs and go into fulltime ministry. From that time on, his ministry came first. He would take only jobs that didn’t interfere with his pastoral duties (see blog “When God says NOW!” posted September 30, 2013).

My Dad’s birthday was Oct. 18; my sister Lucille’s Oct. 31, and mine Oct. 15. Since Mama’s was Sept. 22, we often held one celebration for all of us—nothing elaborate, just the best meal Mama could fix. Dad especially liked custard pie, and church people often gave us milk and eggs, so if we had sugar or molasses for sweetening, we could have a pie.

Our days closed with prayer. In the hardest times when our main diet was cornbread and gravy, when Sunday offerings were small change, and Mama couldn’t mail a letter to her sisters because she didn’t have three cents for a stamp, she often began her prayers, “Lord, we thank you that things are no worse than what they are….”

We didn’t have many earthly possessions, but we had better things: faith that God always works in our lives for good; a home where children knew that God is love. My first memory verse was “He careth for you” (see Life At Beckett Mountain, posted July 10, 2013). And He has all these years. This October I’ll be 88 years old. My parents, my sister, my only nephew, and Nelson, my husband of 61 years, are all on the other side….waiting for me just inside the Eastern Gate.

“If you hasten off to glory, linger near the Eastern Gate,
For I’m coming in the morning and you’ll not have long to wait….
I will meet you in the morning, just inside the Eastern Gate.”
(Lyrics by I.G.Martin)

What a day that will be! Hoping to see all of you there. Peace, jwb

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Personal Notes: Sun earlier, but more clouds this afternoon in Springfield, MO.  We’ve had several rain showers this week, and the moisture has kept the grass green. Mild temps have delayed leaf color changes, but a few trees are beginning to show hints of yellow and red.

Birds and lizards continue to visit my patio. Birds are welcomed and enjoyed, but lizards are urged to move on. Sorry, but anything crawling along the ground is too snake-like for my comfort. Arthritis in my joints makes even simple tasks more difficult. I continue to do therapy and exercises each day, even though it’s painful. Your prayers and encouragement help. Thanks for your cards, notes, e-mails…all the things you do to help me cope. May the God of all mercy reward you! Peace, jwb

The Great Deception

Sunday Chronicles # 267. 9/26/21

I think you will agree we live in an age of deception: scam calls, fake credit cards, computer hackers, repair work paid for but never done…..Where did it all start?

You might think it began in the Garden of Eden, when Satan deceived Eve and led her to break God’s commandment. But passages in Ezekiel 28 (see footnote), Isaiah 14:12-18, and Jesus’ words in Luke 10:18 show us that deception began in Heaven! Lucifer was once an archangel, along with Gabriel and Michael. His name means Day Star, Morning Star, Shining Star, or Son of the Dawn. But Lucifer was not content with being one of heaven’s brightest angels; he wanted to be God! He got one-third of the angels to side with him, and he led a rebellion, seeking to take God’s throne (see Isa. 14:13, 14). End result: He and those angels who had joined his rebellion got kicked out of heaven. Luke 10:18 records Jesus’ words: “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.”

Satan used the same wanting-to-be God temptation in talking to Eve in the Garden of Eden: If she would eat fruit from the Tree of Life, she would be “like God” (Gen. 3:5) Eve listened, (mistake #1) doubted God’s Word (mistake #2) ate the fruit and gave some to Adam (mistake #3). The result: they lost their home in the garden where God came down and walked and talked with them. How I envy that kind of face-to-face communion!

Some of the devil’s lies he uses today:

A. You don’t have to be honest in business or with your employer; after all, no one else is.

B. God knows how busy you are and He’ll understand if you skip your Bible reading and praying.

C. The economy is bad and you are having cash flow problems. God won’t mind if you cut back on your tithing and giving.

D. This television program or movie disrespects God and has dirty language, but it’s so funny…I need the laughs.

E. Go along with your friends if they do drugs or drink. God wants you to have friends.

WARNING # 1: Don’t turn into a judgmental Pharisee. They majored on keeping rules, but failed to check the motivation of their heart. God wants us to make friends with those who are not following Him and show them His love, but not join in their sin. He wants a holy people in this sin-polluted world.

Maybe you are thinking, “What does all this have to do with deception?” Just this: When Jesus’ disciples asked Him what the sign of the end of the age and His return would be, the first sentence of His reply was “Watch out that no one deceives you” (Mt 24:4). How do you identify deception? (1) Use common sense. If it sounds too good to be true, it’s probably not.

(2) Search God’s Word for what God says is true. “Your Word is truth” (John 17:17).

(3) Listen to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. As the turmoil of this world increases, our need for the help of the Spirit grows greater. Seek to be filled with the Spirit.

(4) James 1: 26, 27 admonishes us to share with those in need and to keep ourselves “from being polluted by the world.” With the rottenness in our entertainment culture today, keeping ourselves  from being “polluted” takes diligence.

Let’s get down to where we live:

(1) Don’t put anything on FB that you don’t want Jesus to see. He reads your page.

(2) Watch only TV shows or movies that Jesus can sit beside you while you watch.

(3) When you say unkind things about someone, remember Jesus is listening.

(4) If you tell Jesus that you don’t have enough money to give to missions or to help someone in need, but you spend on extra “stuff” for yourself… well, Jesus isn’t dumb!

Remember God makes the rules. Why? Because He’s God; we’re not. It’s His world, His heaven, and He has a place for people who won’t accept His plan. If you goof up and truly repent, He forgives! But He’d really like for you to avoid the mud puddle the next time.

Warning #2: Holiness is like humility. If you think you have it, you probably don’t. If you think you have more than someone else, again it’s a negative. Only God can cleanse your heart and make you truly hungry to please Him. But you have to invite Him. He never intrudes. Ask Him to fill you with His Spirit to keep you clean in a dirty world. Without your saying a word, His presence with you will speak of His holiness. As someone said about witnessing: “If necessary, use words!”

Warning #3: Deception will increase as the end times come closer. Finally, the Antichrist, the greatest deceiver our world has ever known, will come to power and try to displace God. He will bring great suffering on the earth, but his doom is already written in the annals of Heaven!

He got kicked out of Heaven in the ancient past; this time he will be sent to hell forever and ever.

This is no time for a sad, dejected attitude. If you keep yourself clean in a dirty world, your greatest days are ahead! Jesus said so! “When these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” (Luke 21:28)

HALLEUJAH!

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Personal Notes: A near-perfect fall day in Springfield,MO …sunny but cool, with a breeze and cloudless sky.  Such days remind me of one of my mother’s favorite songs: “The Uncloudy Day.” Living in Oklahoma in the late 1930s, dust storms and tornadoes were a fact of life. Mama longed for a place with no storms. I’m not sure such a place exists on earth, and the song is about heaven. Mama has been there for nearly 30 years now, enjoying the land of a “cloudless sky.”

Part of what triggered my blog this week about deception was an episode late Thursday evening. I usually don’t answer phone calls if I don’t recognize the number, but I was expecting a call about a medical device, and the number started with 417, so I answered. A woman’s voice came on, very secretive sounding (a recording, I’m sure) telling me that a charge of several hundred dollars had been made to my Amazon account, and I needed to press one to be told what to do about it. Since I don’t have an Amazon account, I knew immediately it was a scam and hung up.  Because I had answered, they knew it was a live number, and I got 15 additional calls about 10 minutes apart over the next two hours and some voicemails. I deleted them as soon as they came, but they kept coming, each number slightly different. I was not a happy camper!

This type of scam targets older people. Scammers think we are so dumb, we won’t catch on to their tricks. My dream of heaven is a place where scam calls never reach! Hope you join me there!

Peace, jwb

Footnote: The first ten verses of Ezekiel 28 are God’s pronouncement of judgment on the evil King of Tyre, who declared himself to be a god. Beginning with verse 12, the prophet/poet returns to the subject of Satan, the first created being who desired to be God. He mentions Eden and describes Satan’s beauty, and calls him a “created being.” Neither of these descriptions apply to the king of Tyre; the king of Tyre had never been to Eden nor was he a created being.  He was a human who let success go to his head, and thought he could defy God as Satan had.

When Buddha Didn’t Answer

Sunday Chronicles #266 9/19/21

In 1974 while working as a writer in A/G Foreign Missions offices, I sat in on an interview with David Yonggi Cho and Philip Hogan, Executive Director of Foreign Missions. Cho told us his story, and I prepared it for publication. Today’s blog relates how he came to know Jesus and is excerpted from that article, “When Buddha Didn’t Answer.” Cho died this week at age 85, after a long and successful ministry.  He served in many leadership positions, including co-founder of Yoido Full Gospel Church and the World  Assemblies of God Fellowship.

My family lived in North Korea. War broke out, and we lost our home. As refugees, we traveled south to Pusan, South Korea. Money and food were scarce, and I worked hard to eke out an existence on one meal a day and continue my education. One day at work, blood came up and filled my mouth. Soon it was coming from my nose also. and I lapsed into unconsciousness. When I came to, my clothing was soaked in blood. I struggled to my feet and managed to reach home.

All night I was in and out of a coma; my fever rose, and when I coughed, blood gushed out. By morning I was more dead than alive. My parents took me to a hospital and a doctor examined me. He took X rays, then he said, “I am very sorry, but we can do nothing for you. You have less than a month to live.”

“Doctor,” I cried, “are you telling me the truth?”

He showed me the X rays and explained, “Your right lung is completely destroyed by tuberculosis. The upper part has collapsed, and gangrene has set in. Your left lung is also tubercular. Malnutrition and hard work have caused your heart to enlarge, and it cannot circulate the blood properly. There is no medical help for these things, so I have no choice but to tell you the truth.”

 At home my father tried to reassure me. “My son, there is no life and no death, no joy and no sorrow – only in Buddha is there reality. Forget about life and death and have peace.” I said. “My suffering is real. Buddha and your philosophies have not helped me. I reject them all.”

I lay there in the only shelter I had – a shack – covered by a dirty, torn blanket, waiting to die. One day desperation overcame me and I cried out, “Is there any God? If there is anyone called God anywhere in the universe, please come and help me! I want to be made ready to die.”

God answered my prayer, but in a way I least expected! A young girl knocked at my door and entered, carrying a Bible. I was stunned, for in our culture men dislike being taught by women. Arrogantly I ordered her to leave, but she said, “I can see that you are dying. I want to tell you about Christ Jesus my Savior.”

I became angrier and cursed her. I told her that millions of tuberculosis germs were flying around and that she would become infected. She only replied, “My Christ will protect me,” and continued to witness to me. Finally she left, and I said, “Bless Buddha, she is gone!”

The next morning, she was back again. This time she sang songs and read aloud from her Bible. I cursed and called her a Christian dog, but she did nothing against me. All day she talked of Christ.

On the fifth day when she came, I asked why she continued to come and pray for me. “There is Someone who constrains me to come here and pray for you,” she replied.

“Who is it?” I asked.

“My Jesus,” she answered, and tears began to roll down her cheeks. Suddenly my obstinacy was broken, and I too began to cry.

“Your Jesus I want to know,” I said. She gave me a Bible, and I began reading at the place she indicated – the first chapter of Matthew. After a few minutes I exclaimed, “This is like a telephone directory. How can this help me?” She told me to read on and I would find a wonderful story. After praying again, she left.

I read on, expecting to find difficult philosophy such as I had studied in Buddhism. But I found the Bible was about a Man called Jesus Christ, the Son of God! I read about Jesus healing the sick. If only I could come to this Jesus, I thought, He would help me! But I could not come. I had cursed and hated Him! I tried to find a Scripture showing that Christ hated sinners, but I could not find one. Instead I found that He healed the sick and sinful. Slowly the realization came that although I was the poorest of the poor, a great sinner and dying with tuberculosis, Jesus Christ would receive me!

Since the day she had given me her Bible, the girl had not returned. I did not know her name or how to locate her, but I needed someone to tell me how to contact this Jesus. I struggled out on the street and made inquiries. A man told me about a mission where there was an American “priest.”

I was so weak that I could walk only about 10 paces before I had to rest, but I begged the man to take me to the mission. When we arrived, the people were singing. Their faces glowed with happiness. The American “priest” stood up to preach. He had to speak through an interpreter, but the words penetrated my heart. When he invited sinners to come forward, I was the first to reach him. He took me into his office, told me the plan of salvation and asked me to pray the sinner’s prayer.

As I prayed, great peace showered down upon me. Every cell in my body seemed charged with new life. Something began to bubble up inside, and I thought I was going to vomit blood, but I found it was joy! I wanted to sing, but I didn’t know how.

“Is this real? Am I hypnotized?” I asked the man, who was Louis Richards, an Assemblies of God missionary.

He answered, “You are not hypnotized. Jesus, the fountain of life, has come into your heart. This is the witness you feel!” I returned home, and the joy and peace went with me. When I told my family what had happened, my father said that I should leave his home. I took my few belongings and went to my uncle’s house. He met me on his porch and said, “Unholy Christian dog, you are not welcome here. Go away.”

I had nowhere to go, but still the joy and peace were with me. I decided to go out to the mountains and wait for death. Then another thought came to me: I should go pay my last thanks to the American who helped me find Jesus. At his door I said, “Brother Richards, I sincerely appreciate your kindness in leading me to Christ. Since I have accepted Him, my family has disowned me, so I am going to the mountains to die. But I wanted you to know how I thank you.”

Brother Richards drew me inside. He and his wife made a place for me in their home. Sister Richards prepared good food, and we sat down to eat. I cried as I ate. “Brother Richards,” I said, “You are not related to me. How can you love me like this?” He answered, “Because Jesus has saved me, too.” My conscience would not let me stay in their home and expose them to tuberculosis. By the help of God, I rented a small room nearby.

Brother Richards continued to teach me God’s Word. He said, “The Word of God has tremendous creative power. It will heal you.” This news was almost too good to be true, but he showed me many Scriptures. I memorized them, and one day I was ready to test them. I locked the door of my room and began to pray. “Jesus,” I said, “I want to meet You and have a consultation about my future.” I waited, but Christ did not come. Then I shut my eyes, hoping He might come in a vision. But no vision appeared. I prayed all day. By midnight, strength had left my body, and I lay down to rest. Suddenly, the room became bright. Billows of what I thought to be smoke rolled in. Thinking the house was on fire, I tried to call for help, but no sound came. In desperation I looked about, and beside me I saw two feet. I looked up higher and saw a white robe. Then I looked into a face that was like a powerful sun with rays of light going outward. Still

I did not know who He was until I saw the crown of thorns piercing His temples; blood was streaming down. I knew then that He was Jesus Christ. His love seemed to pour over me.

My gods had been gods of fear and curses. Always I had gone into their temples to beg them not to punish me. But Jesus was different. I felt His love, and joy came from my inner being. My tongue and lips began to speak. I tried to stop, but it seemed that another Person was controlling them and forcefully expressing himself. I did not know what was happening, but I realized that the more I spoke, the better it felt, so I spoke and spoke.

When I became aware of my surroundings again, Jesus had gone, but the glory was still in my soul. I forgot about the pain in my heart and lungs and ran to the mission house. I told Brother Richards that I had seen Jesus and had spoken in a strange language. He opened his Bible to Acts 2 and explained that I had been baptized with the Holy Spirit as the early believers were. We cried for joy. This new experience made me want to witness more. I went out on the streets and told people about Jesus.

One day I realized that I no longer suffered from heart pain or shortness of breath. I went to the hospital, and after examinations and X rays the doctor told me that my lungs were well. No tuberculosis! Even my heart was its normal size.

The Assemblies of God missionaries encouraged me to attend Bible school in Seoul, so I went for training. I had no money, and in the cold weather one of the missionaries loaned me a coat to keep me from freezing. But I had God, the Bible and peace. Later I began to preach in a ragged tent on a vacant lot. A handful of poverty-stricken believers met there. I told them what God had done for me and that He would do the same for them. Soon the tent was packed, and people were standing outside. Property was purchased in downtown Seoul for a church, and the revival continued. We moved to a new location and built a larger building.

Yoido Full Gospel Church grew because we preach Jesus Christ “the same yesterday, today and forever.” When I was dying, He saved, healed, and filled me with His Spirit. The world needs more than a philosophy, more than a religion. It needs the presence of Jesus Christ.

“For Such a Time as This….”

Sunday Chronicles #265 9/12/21

“For if you remain silent at this time, liberation and rescue will arise for the Jews from another place, and you and your father’s house will perish [since you did not help when you had the chance]. And who knows whether you have attained royalty for such a time as this [and for this very purpose]?” (Esther 4:14, Amplified Bible)

The Biblical Book of Esther is unusual. It is the only book of the Bible in which God’s name is not mentioned, but His providence is everywhere present. Also, it is one of only two Bible books named for a woman. (Ruth is the other.) Furthermore, most of the events recorded in Esther take place in the king’s palace of the Persian empire, centered in what is now Iran. One of the largest and most powerful empires in the ancient world, it stretched from Europe’s Balkan Peninsula in the West to India’s Indus Valley in the East.

The events related in the Book of Esther take place in the Persian Empire’s capital city Susa (also spelled Shushan) during the years 478 B.C. to 473 B.C. Main characters include Esther, a beautiful young Jewish woman; Mordecai, a cousin who had adopted and raised her; the Persian king, Xerxes; and the king’s prime minister, Haman, the villain of the story.

Haman hates Mordecai, who has the King’s favor.  Apparently the King doesn’t know that Esther and Mordecai are Jews. Haman convinces the king to sign a decree to allow the killing of all Jews throughout the Persian Empire on the 14th of the Jewish month of Adar (12th month on Jewish calendar; 6th month on ours.) When Mordecai learns of this decree, he tells Esther that she must approach the king to speak for the Jewish people.

She is somewhat reluctant, because she can only go into the king’s presence when invited. If she goes in uninvited and the king doesn’t reach out his scepter to her, she can be given the death sentence. Mordecai tells her that perhaps God has brought her to the position of queen “for such a times as this!” (Esther 4:14) Esther requested Mordecai to have all the Jews in Susa to fast and pray for three days, as she and her maids will do, then she will approach the king. “If I perish, I perish.” (4:14) (Mordecai is seen by some Bible students as a type or foreshadowing of the ministry of the Holy Spirit in our lives. I agree with that thought. When the Spirit brings something to our attention, we need to cooperate with Him as Esther did with Mordecai.)

After the days of fasting, Esther arrayed herself in her royal robes and stood in the inner court. She had been queen for five years at this time, but the king still was pleased to see her and held out his scepter.

He asked what her request was and promised he would grant it “up to half his kingdom.” But Esther was wise in Persian etiquette; she invited the king and Haman to a banquet which she would prepare. The king accepted and sent Haman word. Haman was “over the moon,” sure that he was in for a big promotion. Esther did this two more times. On the third occasion, she revealed her request: to write another edict allowing the Jews to defend themselves. This was necessary because a law signed by the king of Persia could not be changed. When the king understood Haman’s role in the matter, he had him hanged on the gallows that Haman had prepared to hang Mordecai. Haman’s attempt to destroy the Jews was a demonic attack to try to kill the Messianic line that would bring forth Jesus.

Esther remained queen mother far into the reign of her stepson Artaxerxes and seems to have had considerable influence in the time of Ezra and Nehemiah in the rebuilding of Jerusalem’s walls and the return of some Jews from captivity.

Take-Aways from the Esther story:

1.God guides people who listen to and follow Him. Wherever you are, He wants to use you to bless others.

2. God is present in dark times when we don’t feel or see Him. Listen for His still small voice.

3. Jesus is the light of the world; as His disciple, are you using your influence and prayers to share God’s love and hope with those around you?

_____________________________________

Personal Notes: A summer-like Sunday afternoon in Springfield, MO, with temps in the low 90’s and filtered sunshine, perhaps coming through smoke from Western wildfires. Fall is at the door, with the sun setting earlier and nights lasting longer. So far the trees here have shown very little fall color. I’ve read a few predictions that winter weather in Southern Missouri will be colder than average. With no prejudice to the forecasters, I hope they have misread the signs.

Thanks for the prayers for my motorized chair to be approved. I have finished all the requirements that I was asked to complete, and now waiting to hear from Bach Medical. Keep praying! Chaplain Oberg announced today that residents in Independent Living (this building and the duplexes and apartments) can start attending chapel services in person next Sunday. I’m not able to go, but it will be nice to see people in the chapel again. I watch on Ch. 84 here.

Thanks for your notes, cards, e-mails, letters,…I’ll take any form of communication! I’m talking to myself more now…too much alone time! Peace, jwb

REFLECTING THE LIGHT

Sunday Chronicles # 264, 9/05/21

While we were at Ridgedale, working to plant a church, we had some discouraging days. One such Sunday, I felt I could not go on. Our crowd was smaller than usual that day, and a couple in the area on business came to visit our morning service. Nelson invited them to sing and testify, and they sang “Thank God for the Lighthouse.” I had never heard that song, but God used it to let me know that He had a purpose for the church there. It was to be a lighthouse to that community. Nelson’s failing health caused us to leave in 2012, with much work still to be done. The present pastor is leading the church in fulfilling that need.

Having lived my young life here in Central U.S., I read about lighthouses but had never seen one until I was invited to various districts for ministry. After visiting a few working lighthouses, I understood how vital their ministry is to guide ships into a safe harbor. With a bright light on the top of its tower, a lighthouse helps warn sailors of dangerous areas and serves as a navigational aid to keep ships and boats safe.

The first “lighthouses” were probably bonfires on the beach. The remains of early lighthouse towers, some over 2000 years old, have been discovered along Egypt’s coast. Archaeologists also found evidence of more than 30 lighthouses built by ancient Romans. The first British colonial lighthouse was built in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1716. All had the same purpose: to guide ships past dangerous areas and into safe water.

The first requirement of a lighthouse is to have a light strong enough for sailors to see on stormy nights. Before electricity was available, the lighthouse keeper climbed hundreds of steps inside the tower, carrying gallons of oil, to keep the lamps burning. It wasn’t a job for weak or inexperienced people. If the keeper failed to have oil in the lamp, the light went out and ships had no warning of danger.

In Jesus’ teaching He made many statements about light.

  • “I am the light of the world. He that follows me shall not walk in darkness” (John 8:12.)
  • “In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:4-5).
  •  “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.” (Matt. 5.14-15)

We are not the origin of the light: Jesus is! We shine brightest as we reflect His presence, often without knowing He is shining through us. If we shine from being with Jesus, we do not need to wear a label telling others that we are His friends.

In my childhood before many homes had electricity, people often had fireplaces with a mantle above, where they sat candles or a kerosene lamp to light the room. If they hung a mirror on the wall above the mantle, it reflected the light from the candles or lamp and dramatically increased the light in the room. To achieve that effect, all the mirror had to do was hang there. It had no light of its own; it only reflected the light. To me, that’s a picture of our role in being the light of the world.

Many of us see our world as becoming darker: Climate change is now producing more powerful hurricanes and forest fires; pandemics spread faster because of modern lifestyle and travel; more civil unrest in our nation is sparked in part by the availability of increased communication technology. But light overcomes darkness! The darker the world becomes, the brighter our reflected light should shine! In a dark room even a tiny night light, plugged in and burning, can give enough light so that you can avoid stumbling and falling..

The Bible sometimes uses oil as a symbol of the Holy Spirit. (See the parable of the wise and foolish virgins, Mt. 25:1-13.) In our churches we used to sing, “Give me oil in my lamp, keep me burning. Give me oil in my lamp, I pray. Give me oil in my lamp, keep me burning. Keep me burning till the break of day.”

As the darkness deepens, may the life of every Christ-follower reflect the light and love of Jesus who said, “I am the Light of the world.”

Please continue to pray for Afghanistan… especially for safety of Christians, women and girls, and those who assisted U.S. troops.

____________________________________

Personal Notes: A near-perfect fall day in Springfield, MO, with sunshine from horizon to horizon, cooler temps, and bright green grass refreshed by recent rains. Many patios are sporting colorful fall flowers.

Thank you for your prayers concerning my motorized chair. It has not totally quit, but does not hold a charge as long as formerly, so I have to plug it in and recharge at least twice a day. I have an appointment this week to get another evaluation done, but I have been told that new chairs may take as long as 2 months to arrive. Pray this one will hold out until I can get past the hurdles.

Health problems related to old age continue. I find comfort in reciting Psalm 23 to help me cope, perhaps because it starts with green pastures and still waters and ends with living in the house of the Lord forever! What could be better than that? Thanks for visits, cards, e-mails …all the thoughtful things so many of you do…to make my life better. In return I pray for our Heavenly Father’s tender care for all of you. Peace, jwb

“ONE MORE TIME”

Sunday Chronicles # 263. August 29, 2021

Greetings from Springfield, MO, on this last Sunday in August. We had a lovely rain shower about noon, but it passed over quickly, and now we are back to hot and humid. One of my projects this week (with help) was to check the hard copy files of my blogs, dating back to 2013. In going through them, I re-read a blog from August 2019, and the Holy Spirit impressed me to repeat its message “one more time.”

The MV chapel speaker that day was Rick DuBose, Assistant General Superintendent of the A/G. He titled his message “One More Thing” and went through several Bible stories where doing “one more thing” made a difference. He mentioned Naaman, who came to the prophet Elisha for healing of leprosy (2 Kings 5:9-14). Elisha’s message to Naaman was to go dip in the Jordan River 7 times. Naaman was offended by the lack of personal attention and went away angry, but one of his servants convinced him to do as the prophet said. If he had only dipped 6 times likely nothing would have happened. But he did it “one more time” and was healed.

Another “one more time” instance was Elijah’s prayer for rain on Mount Carmel (1 Kings 18:42-46). After praying 6 times, not a cloud in the sky! Elijah prayed “one more time” and his servant brought the message of a cloud “the size of a man’s hand”; I probably would have given up then, but Elijah saw in that small cloud the promise of a coming deluge!

Among the examples of doing something “one more time” Bro. DuBose mentioned how God provided manna for the Israelites during their 40 years of wanderings, but they had to gather it daily except on the Sabbath. They could gather enough on Friday to keep overnight. Any other day, a two-day supply rotted! He mentioned the feeding of the 5,000 when Jesus had the disciples break a few pieces of bread and two small fish (a little boy’s lunch!) into pieces and hand out to the crowd. They didn’t have a sack full all at once, but as they broke off pieces, they had enough for “one more person” until all had been fed.

He emphasized that as we give out, even if we have only a small supply, God gives back to us. He referred to the widow’s story recorded in 2 Kings 4:1-7. Her husband, a prophet, had died. She had a debt with no means of paying. Creditors were coming to take her two sons to sell as servants to get their money. She called on Elisha for help; he asked what she had; she replied, “Nothing but a small pot of oil.” He told her to borrow all the vessels she could get, go in and close the door and keep pouring oil into each vessel. She poured until there were no more vessels to fill. She sold the oil and paid the debt. Since oil is a type of the Holy Spirit, I see this as giving out of the little we have, God pours in enough for us to do whatever He has called us to do “one more time.”

My physical handicaps have increased, to the point that even getting myself dressed is difficult. Sometimes in despair over how little I can do, I ask God to let me go on to Heaven. This message from August 2019 spoke to my heart again this week to keep doing what I can “one more time.” August 2021 has not been kind to me; it included more time-consuming visits to medical people, more struggles to keep living alone. Thanks for reading my efforts to write “one more time” and for all your acts of love and kindness. Trust God to pour in the oil of His Spirit as you give out “one more time.”

Prayer Points for “One More Time”

  • Please continue to pray God’s protection for believers in Afghanistan who are in danger. Every time you hear a news story about that nation, pray “one more time” for God to send a mighty move of His Spirit. Pray especially for the protection of Christians, church leaders, and women and girls.
  • Pray for protection of those in the path of the storms coming in on the coasts in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. Even after the storm passes, the clean-up and rebuilding will take months if not years. Pray “one more time.”
  • If you are praying for a loved one to know Jesus, keep praying “one more time” until your prayer is answered. Even if you die before you see the answer, your prayers will still be effective. I witnessed this in my family. My mother prayed for her oldest grandson who had known God as a young person, but then turned back. She died before the answer came, but God continued to reach out to him until He made a new commitment and testified before he died that he was ready to go.
  • Pray that churches of all faiths in our nation will experience another “Great Awakening” and that students on high school and college campuses will be renewed in their faith by an outpouring of the Holy Spirit similar to the one that took place across America in the early 1900s. Don’t give up; keeping praying “one more time.”
  • Chaplin Oberg was again the only person allowed in the chapel today due to positive COVID tests in that building. Please pray “one more time” that we can have two weeks of negative tests so in-person chapel service can resume.
  • On the personal side, the motorized chair that I depend on to get me around for daily living needs to be replaced. It passed the 5-year mark this month and doesn’t hold a charge as long as usual. Medicare is supposed to help pay for a new chair, but they have added more paper work and an “in-person” meeting with a doctor, which I did this week…..now there’s at least one more “hoop” to get through. Please pray that this chair won’t “die” before I can get a new one.

Thank you for reading and for praying. “And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:7). jwb

God Is Not Taken by Surprise

Sunday Chronicles # 262. 8/22/21

A Sunday in Springfield, MO, with bright sun and blue skies dotted with puffy white clouds. Temps are going up, but August is moving on toward September.

This has been a week of heartache as we watched the breakdown of law and order in Afghanistan. News stories and photos are heart-rending, especially for people of faith.

A person with knowledge of the danger Christians there are facing posted a prayer request on Facebook. Someone commented: “No evidence that intercessory prayer has ever changed a situation.” That person needs to do a little research. From the beginning of time, intercessory prayer has changed more situations than we have numbers to count.

Out of the hundreds of answers to intercessory prayer reported by missionaries, one situation stands out in my memory. A missionary to Indonesia, a nation made up of 17,508 islands strung along the equator southeast of Asia, had arrived back in the U. S. to attend special meetings in July 2000. About 6,000 of the islands are inhabited. Some are accessible by air travel, others only by boat. On his first night back in the U.S. the missionary was checking his e-mail. One of the messages was from the Maluku area and described the dangerous situation of Christians on the island of Ambon. Paramilitary forces, attempting to wipe out all Christians, had forced a group of believers to one end of the horseshoe-shaped island, where they were without shelter and sufficient food.

As the missionary read e-mails describing the need, he heard God say, “I’m sending you to Ambon.” He turned around, thinking perhaps his father had come into the room, but no one was there. God didn’t ask him if he wanted to go to Ambon; God said. “I’m sending you…”

When the missionary returned to Indonesia a few weeks later, he wasn’t sure what to do until he got a call from a pastor in Jakarta, who asked, “Do you know anyone in Ambon?” He told the missionary that his church had taken up an offering to help the Christians there, but needed someone to deliver it. Now the missionary knew why he was there, but he needed a contact person in Ambon.

A few days later as he was teaching in the seminary in Malang, he talked with a student. When he asked the student where he was from, the student answered “Ambon!” His parents were pastors there. Now the missionary had a contact and a purpose. A few days later, he was on a Boeing 737 going to Ambon. The flight was almost empty; no one wanted to go to Ambon, but flights out were packed.

The only way to get from the airport to the Christian enclave was by speedboat on the Bay of Ambon. Snipers regularly shot at anything going to or from the Christians’ area, so for his protection, the missionary lay on the bottom of the boat out of sight. Here is what he saw on Ambon: “The magnitude of the need overwhelmed me. …I found several hundred refugees from Assemblies of God churches. Each family had a wooden pallet with a bamboo mat on top for a bed. Cardboard boxes held their few possessions from their burned and destroyed homes. Children whose parents had died were alone. My heart was broken by the many needs.”

The missionary placed the offering he carried at the leaders’ feet. He told them to buy food, clothes, medical supplies… whatever they desperately needed. This gift was the first financial help the refugees had received since the conflict began months earlier. They wrapped their arms around each other and wept. In their excitement they kept repeating, “Do you remember last July?” Finally, the missionary asked “What happened last July?”

“Last July we were about to be overrun. We fasted and prayed for a week, asking God to please send someone to help us. Today our prayers were answered.” At the same moment God had said to the missionary, “I’m sending you to Ambon,” these Christians on Ambon were praying.

Now it’s August, twenty years later, and the need for intense prayer has shifted to the other side of the world. Here is part of a report someone on the ground in Afghanistan posted on Facebook asking for prayer for Christians there:

“The Taliban has a hit list of known Christians they are targeting to pursue and kill. The US Embassy is defunct and there is no longer a safe place for believers to take refuge. All borders to neighboring countries are closed and all flights have been halted, with the exception of private planes. People are fleeing into the mountains looking for asylum. They are fully reliant on God, who is the only One who can and will protect them.

“The Taliban are going door-to-door taking women and children. The people must mark their house with an “X” if they have a girl over 12 years old, so that the Taliban can take them. If they find a young girl and the house was not marked they will execute the entire family. If a married woman 25 years or older is found, the Taliban promptly kill her husband, do whatever they want to her, and then sell her as a sex slave.

“These are our brothers and sisters in Christ—many of whom have been serving as leaders as the Afghanistan church grows at a historic rate. Although people are heading for the hills, many want to stay in the country and continue to advance the Gospel.”

PRAYER REQUESTS

Please pray for the Afghan Church to have strength and endurance. Believers continue to lead Bible studies and prayer meetings, and are proactively evangelizing during the very events you are seeing in the news. Pray for them to be hidden supernaturally by the hand of the Lord just as in John 8:59 when Jesus disappeared into the crowd.

The Afghan Church believes that the best days for the church are ahead, and we will witness the greatest movement of salvation among Afghans from the ashes of this catastrophe.

• Pray for those fleeing to the hills to be protected (Psalm 73, Psalm 91)

• Pray for miraculous protection for women and children being forcibly taken and those that have already been taken for their protection, salvation, and deliverance. (2 Thessalonians 3:1-5)

• Pray that the Afghan Church steps into her identity in Christ and walks in unity with the Holy Spirit. (Ezekiel 37, Romans 15:5-6)

• Ask God to send His angels to protect Christians and pastors. If some suffer imprisonment or death for His name, pray that God’s presence will give them strength to be faithful until the end.

If we are faithful in prayer, perhaps in August 2022 we will be saying, “Remember August 2021? God heard our prayers for Afghanistan.”

_______________________________

Personal Notes: This morning, as I listened to the Maranatha chapel service on TV, a dove lit on the railing just outside my patio door. Doves make me think of my only sister who died in 2019. She was a woman of faith, and she believed that seeing a dove meant God was sending you a message from Him. This has been a week of continued physical difficulties, so I’m hoping the dove is a forerunner of better things ahead. Thanks for your prayers, visits, cards, encouragement…all the kind things you do in Jesus’ name. You will not lose your reward. Peace, jwb