My wife, Sherry, and I have been adopted by a beautiful family in Africa.To them we are Mummy and Dad, and Grandmother and Grandfather.We also share the proud title of Great-grandparents!
Through the last two years we have tried to bless this dear family with a few gifts of food and by sending Bibles.No matter how much we do for them, God has reversed the blessing every time by showering a Holy Spirit-sized bouquet of grace upon us.Isn’t God a hoot?Each time we try to out give Him He shows us who is really in charge.
Using Skype, we are able to call our African family on a regular basis.I thought I had memorized the time difference, so I placed a call early last evening. It was 2:00 a.m. there!Today we called again and talked for 16 minutes at a cost of $3.81.
Small price for such a huge blessing!
At the end of the call our beautiful daughter led us in prayer.How I wish you could hear this lady pray.Heaven opens and the swooshing of angels fill the room as she speaks her words to the throne.You can tell that she is in a familiar place when she prays, and that she knows the Father intimately.As soon as she began her prayer, Sherry and I were overcome with emotion.I could hear my wife sniffling… and I had my face covered with both hands, weeping as I have not done in quite awhile.What a joy!Praise God from whom all blessings flow!!
I want to encourage you, dear readers, to try giving a blessing to someone else.Are you having tough times right now?Are you drawing unemployment, and you wonder how you will take care of your family?Is there sickness which you cannot deal with because you have no insurance?Or, is there a sin you have been struggling with and you need answers from a source greater than yourself?
If your traditional ways of dealing with crises are not working, why don’t you just quit trying and do something for someone else?I dare you to try to bless someone who is a little worse off than you!There are no guarantees from me, but I know that God has a way of returning those blessings to us.
GospeLines Prayer:Bounteous Father, I love it when You surprise me!Thank you for keeping me humble enough to trust you when I am down and out, and for making me grateful enough to give to others even if I do not have it to give.And I thank you for pregnant blessings which will multiply in ways we do not expect.Amen and amen!
Have you left on a long trip without checking the tire pressure and the fluids in your vehicle? How many times do you leave for your destination with a partially filled tank of gas? How many times have you been on a journey and gotten lost? Have you ever taken a wrong turn? (Where's your map or GPS?)
Many of us go about our harried lives – driving the bus with little regard for the road map that God provided -- the Bible. We have enough struggles in our lives that our souls are thirsting for the Word.
I know I'm guilty of getting in the bus and driving on my merry way. But, life isn't always merry; it's full of pitfalls, missteps, poor choices, and God whispers, "hold on." I'll admit I pick up those keys again and again and keep driving. Occasionally, I'll experience a flat tire [poor choices], a broken water pump [broken relationships], or I'll make a wrong turn [turning away from God when waiting for His answer seems too long...]
After all I've been through trying to get to my destination; I only need to rely on God's direction and to "hold on."
When all the world around me
Seems to be falling apart
I hear the voice of my Savior
Saying be still and know that I am God.
I know that he is with me,
And never leaves me alone
I feel his loving presence
That says to me hold on.
I'll hold to his unchanging hand
Until he calls me home to him
And then I'll be at peace
Throughout eternity knowing
I was always holding on to him.
~ Martha A. Branch
GospeLines Prayer: Father, when I reach for the keys to the bus, remove them from my grasp. May I follow the road map you have provided. May I "hold on" when the road gets bumpy and ask for directions… through your Word.
In many countries it is illegal for Christians to share and practice their faith openly.Algeria is one of those places.A few Catholic churches remain from the French colonial era; but, for the most part, Christianity is pushed aside by the religion of the state, Islam.
In a bold act of defiance, 300 Pentecostal Christians established a temporary place of worship in a town just 60 miles outside of the capital city of Algiers.But on Saturday, January 9, 2010, Islamic extremists looted their church, desecrated their crosses, and burned their Bibles and pulpits in the street as the congregation scattered for shelter.The head of the Algerian Protestant Association said, “Islamist intolerance considers there is no room for Christian religious practices in Algeria.”
During the early years of the Church, Saul and Barnabas were led by the Holy Spirit to Cyprus (Acts 13) where they met up with John.They traveled throughout the island, preaching in the Jewish synagogues and sharing the message of Jesus.When they reached Paphos they were confronted by a sorcerer named Bar-Jesus who was an attendant of the Roman governor, Sergius Paulus.The governor had expressed interest in learning about Christ.
Bar-Jesus tried to stop them from witnessing to the governor, but Saul (also called Paul), looked straight at him and boldly said:
“You are a child of the devil and an enemy of everything
that is right!You are full of all kinds of deceit and trickery.
Will you ever stop perverting the ways of the Lord?”
Beloved, there is a time to be bold and this is that time.
But let me issue a word of wisdom… boldness without peace is seldom an effective witness.I do not issue a call to defiance outside the law, for that could often be self-destructive to our mission.It is time, however, for each one of us to say, “Enough is enough!”In the Name of Jesus we are called to speak out, whether it’s in the marketplace or on the job; in the corridors of government or the hallways of our schools… the call to discipleship has been ignored long enough.
It is easy to be bold from a safe distance.Paul was able to stand up to the sorcerer because he was there.Christianity will prevail in places where faith is not currently practiced because we are there!We MUST get involved in every aspect of society!
Christians, we MUST come out from the shadows and be seen, step out into the open and be heard.The nobility of being a silent majoritydoes not get the job done anymore.Political correctness is a false mandate which does not come from the Word of God.Let’s get involved in 2010, and boldly determine to make a difference!
GospeLines Prayer:Father, open my ears to hear Your mandate; still my heart to make me courageous in battle; overcome my timidity and place me in situations which require YOUR courage.Pour out Your Spirit to indwell me in this dangerous mission unto which I am called.Clothe me with the belt of truth and the breastplate of righteousness; shod my feet with the gospel of peace; place in my hand the shield of faith, and cover my head with the helmet of salvation.Finally, place in my hand the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.Amen and amen!
My daughter asked, "Dad, can you like help me with my homework?"
I laid a calculator on her desk.
"Dad, that won't help," she said.
"But, it's like help," I answered with a smirk
How many of you have had similar conversations...If I hear one more person say, "It's like… ______ (fill in the blank)" I think I'll scream.My standard response is "Is it like (whatever is being described); or, is it the real thing?"
1st Peter 5:8 (NIV) tells us that "the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour." (The KJV says 'as' roaring lion).Is he like a roaring lion; or, is he the real thing?
Jesus told us to "Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, 'I am the Christ, and will deceive many." (Matthew 24:4)
We are told in 2nd Thessalonians 2:9-10 that "The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved."
Satan tries to use your circumstances to get you to accept his lies.But our Lord tells us to give thanks in all circumstances because it is God's will (1st Thessalonians 5:17).
He tries to entice us with all manner of filth, lust and evil.But, we are commanded by our Savior to put to death whatever belongs to our earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed (Colossians 3:5-6).
Satan tries to lead us into carnality (living for the physical - especially sexual - worldly or earthly appetites).Our Lord tells us that to be carnally minded is death; to be spiritually minded is life and peace. (Romans 8:6).
The apostle John speaks of the devil saying, "…When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies." (John 8:44)
Satan is like a roaring lion... but, he is a liar - he has no power over those who love the Lord because we have been redeemed - set free, rescued and ransomed from a state of sinfulness and its consequences and restored to right standing before God our Father (Luke 1:68 and Galatians 3:12-14).
Jesus tells us that anyone who has faith in Him can do what He did (and even greater things) because He went going to the Father and He will do whatever we ask in His name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father (John 14:12-13).So, let's ask for His armor…
GospeLines Prayer:Father, we ask to be empowered through our union with Christ; to draw our strength from Him.Help us put on Your whole armor - the armor of a heavy-armed soldier which You supply - that we may be able to stand against all the deceits of the devil… that we may be able to resist and stand our ground against all evil; and, having done all our every circumstance demands, to stand firmly in Your word.
Help us to hold our ground, having tightened the belt of truth around our loins and having put on the breastplate of integrity and right standing with You.Cover us with the shield of saving faith, with which we can quench all the flaming missiles of the wicked one.Bless us with the helmet of salvation and the sword that the Spirit wields, which is the Word of God.Keep us alert and filled with strong purpose, secure in Your grace - Your undeserved favor - and Your incorruptible love. So let it be in Jesus name.
“…we can face Him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world.”
When we are stumbling in the valley of despair, questions fall from our lips that will shock our friends and families.Through the GospeLines prayer ministry we receive hundreds of requests each week from people like you who are trying to find answers to their problems.Recently, Sherry received a request from a mother who lost two sons and a brother in 2008 in a car wreck.She has been fighting her emptiness for two years.
I am no longer myself anymore. I hate everyone around me. I can’t even stand to be around kids anymore. I don’t get it. Why did God let me have two kids just to take them away from me? What did I do so wrong? I loved _____ and _____ more than life its self. Without them I do not feel alive anymore. I can’t bear going on without them.Is this what God wanted was for me to hurt so much and hate so much?
When people write to firstname.lastname@example.org, they receive answers from prayer warriors who have been with our ministry for three to five years or longer.One response which came for this request will bless your heart.It was written by Larry Gilbert, who began with GospeLines Ministries as a Prayer Warrior in 2004.(When I asked Larry’s permission to use his email, his response was simply, “I am humbled.”)
This is what he wrote to the mother who had many questions:
I am not a brilliant man, just a normal grandpa from Macedonia, Ohio. So what I have to say is not from years of learned study, just from the heart.I think a mom’s outlook at being a parent is much different than a dad’s.
Oh, that's not to say he doesn't love them as much. He does. But it is different. He is more detached from his kids. Perhaps from a natural order of things at being "the provider/protector," and the mom is the "nurturer/teacher".
I know this is over simplified and it has been stretched by moms having to enter into all three roles, especially as time has passed and mom’s role has of necessity enmeshed her into a much larger family leader; and in many cases, she has to be mom and dad. Like I said this is over simplified and there are indeed dads who have to fulfill all aspects of the family units as well.
A long while ago there was an American singer by the name of Ed Ames who sang a song that asked a question of all of us, "Who will answer?" . The song went on to ask, "When the soul is darkened by a fear it cannot name? Or when the rules don't fit the game," who will answer? The song itself doesn't provide a concise, neatly wrapped answer but allows the listener to insert their own "answer".
You probably think I have lost the rest of my marbles and I’m just a ranting old man. Well, maybe so. But I think this allows us to reach beyond our meager mind and touch the face of our Father in heaven. Don't lose my train of thought, my sister, He is there for us to hear our anger with Him and still love us.
Just as in any prayer we utter He already knows what we pray for before we pray it - He knows your feelings and wants to embrace you and absorb them along with you as you scream at Him. As you look to Him with tearless eyes to try and gain your own answers.
I think it is at times like these (no one can say they feel what you have felt) but go with me for a moment. It's now that He wants us to just lean back upon His Mighty chest as we cry, “ WHY? WHY? WHY? You said you'd be with me. Where are you? What did I do? How can I go on?”Feel His hand in your hair as He strokes your head and gathers you in to His loving embrace and allows you to express your sadness and continue to beg for His relief of your terrible pain. I have heard His heartbeat and continued to cry and He tells me I am His own. He assures me I will understand it "all by and by".
Well, my sister, I haven't answered any of your burning questions, and you might still wonder why you bother to come to this location. But, I am hoping you will see that you aren't alone and perhaps He sent me to tell you how much He loves you and your brother and sons that He has gathered to Himself. He promised that we would experience many hardships and would search for answers that maybe we just couldn't understand but further promised that He would stand by us and never leave us.
I pray that He blesses you and pulls you to His heart and gives you a measure of comfort to try and extend you to continue to make a difference for His name sake and your well being.