DPM Update – 2017 Oct – Israel trip report

29 Oct

Dear Friends

Israel trip report
Our 3 week Israel trip with Dave and Ann Clark was an amazing experience… an exploratory experience… and a Spirit led experience.  It was an amazing honor to travel with them and get to experience a few frontier dynamics with orthodox and ultra-orthodox Jews.  Each of us had been to Israel before and done all the sight-seeing tours.  This time was about relationship.  We have some cool testimonies… and made some new life-long friends during this trip.  It was rather exhilarating to search for and find those who God wanted to join us with… and then sow our hearts, our time, and our finances into ‘ground’ that the Lord identified.

You may remember that we had significant God-signs to establish our mission, but we were dependent upon God to work out the details. (“A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” – Prov 16:9)  This wasn’t our first rodeo of walking by faith, but we definitely went to the next level on this trip. 

Every morning the four of us met in our room to worship and pray and ask the Lord what we should do that day. Then we prophesied over the city and engaged angelic help… and have several crazy cool stories to tell of their ministry.

Each day was fascinating to watch as uncommon ‘doors’ presented themselves to us.  We found ourselves in homes and synagogues and in meetings which surprised us… and surprised others as we later told them of our experiences.  We would sometimes say to each other after an unusual experience, “You just can’t make this stuff up!”  Sort of like trying to mix oil and water, many of these kinds of meetings just don’t happen in the normal course of life; but ‘with God all things are possible’ (Mk 10:27).  We made significant relational inroads into the orthodox Jewish people, the societal norms and with rabbis.

Our agenda was two-fold; 1) to create meaningful relationships with leaders of the Jewish culture such that would create a trusting bond of friendship between ‘us and them’ and 2) add value to people by giving significant and meaningful financial contribution to people who were truly in need and who we could have ongoing relationship.  And it happened! 

1.  We met with at least 3 orthodox rabbis and several families which led to meaningful relationship based on friendship and mutual values.

a) We attended a couple Yom Kippur synagogue(English) / knesset(Hebrew) / shaul(Yiddish) meetings to create some bridges of peace and support.

b) We participated in an extremely rare 2-day conference of orthodox rabbis and Christians which culminated in freedom, much music and dancing, mutual respect and real love.  Several rabbis spoke at this conference (including Prime Minister Netanyahu’s son-in-law).  Both, Christian and orthodox Jewish music bands led the conference, with Debbie and I leading one of the worship sessions.  The overwhelming consensus by all, was that this gathering should happen again and we should build on what the Lord did among us. 

c) We met in the home of Rabbi Joseph Ritchie for a meal with his family and a few friends.  Our exchange was gracious, affirming and welcoming without any sense of pressure or agenda.

d) We met in the homes of 3 different orthodox families for evenings of friendship and a Shabbat meal.  These joy-filled evenings were a highlight!! They were more rewarding than we expected with lasting friendships established over laughter, food, prayer and study of the Torah and Tanakh.

2.  We met with several people who are giving themselves to help orphans and those in poverty.

a) We met twice with an almost legendary lady, Rachel Chalkowsky (nicknamed ‘Bambi’).  She especially touched our hearts.  As a mid-wife, Bambi has personally delivered over 40,000 babies in her lifetime.  She and her husband live very frugally, and she primarily serves those who can’t afford it… which includes serving people from a variety of different religions and ethnicity.  We were impressed with how she serves anywhere the need presents itself… and were delighted to hear her heart and of her value system for determining which couples truly need ongoing financial help.  We felt really good about Bambi’s work because she has no big organizational overhead costs.  Our financial help went directly to the needs.  We gave a substantial gift to this lady and her work… and expect to continue a relationship with her.

b) Rabbi Stern oversees Girls Town Jerusalem girls orphanage that hosts about 500 young ladies of different nationalities and ethnicities.  This benevolent organization is amazing in its commitment to serve the girls for as long as they want to stay.  They provide the basics of food, clothing and housing but also provide special needs services such as medical, dental braces, and even fund their weddings, etc.  Some girls even stay in the orphanage to live and work there after they come of age.  So it’s more of a family situation.  We were able to leave a gift with the orphanage that touches so many lives.

c) We wanted to leave a tangible gift for each gal, so we purchased 500 little coin purses and added 4 shekels to each bag.  Debbie shared with them that God opened a door for the 4 of us to come.  A ‘door’ is the picture that is used to denote the dalet (the 4th letter of the Hebrew aleph bet).  The 4 shekels were like ‘memory stones’ to express how much God loves them, that He would always provide and  that He would open doors for them, too.  Ann and Debbie personally passed out the gifts and loved on the girls.

d) In this same girls orphanage, we met a very special young lady named, Abigail.  After Debbie gave her a few hugs, this early teenage girl quickly warmed up and asked all of us to come to her room. She had been learning guitar, so she proudly played a song for us.  Her face just beamed.  Later we learned that she struggles with depression and moods and sits alone for hours in their courtyard.  Our small gestures of love helped her ‘come alive’.  The staff commented that the smile and joy Abigail had while we were there was not her ‘normal’.  When we visited the orphanage the 2nd time, we gave a gift to be used toward formal guitar lessons… kind of as an on-going gesture of love from us… and as a way of giving her a form of therapy for her heart… (music).  With limited English, Abigail sincerely gushed with appreciation, “I’m very happy, happy, happy!!!”  We will be checking up on Abigail soon to follow-up with our friendship.

Other points of interest
Jerusalem is an enigma.  Competing religions vie for the city and more specifically, for the Temple Mount.  And each one of those religions has many factions (just like ours).  Go figure!  But for the most part, they all work it out in some semblance of peaceful co-existence.  We felt safe traveling at will and almost anywhere we wanted.

Mediterranean food is inviting and quite healthy.  Breakfasts are most unusual with veggies (eggplant, squash, cucumbers, peppers, olives, hummus, etc), cheese, fruit and varieties of fish. The people are very friendly and most speak at least some English.  We learned the dynamics of horn honking from the cabbies… sometimes horns are meant to motivate others… and sometimes they are used just to release stress. 🙂  Looking at novel merchandise is fun, but after you’ve seen the wares of a dozen vendors they all begin to look alike. 

A phenomenon happens every holy day (depending on the religion).  That religious society shuts down, city-wide.  No trains, no cabs, no commerce and no restaurants operate during these times. The only cabs operational are those from the other religions.  But when the official holy day is over (which is determined by when three stars can be seen in the night sky) everything re-starts, the restaurants open, streets come alive with hustle and bustle, recreation and the evening street entertainers… and it continues until after midnight.   Watching the rabbis dance while in their unique clothing, and hearing them sing to EDM (Electronic Digital Music) is a hoot!!  But the crowds easily join in the dancing (girls and guys separate, of course) and it’s fun to observe. 

Our hotel was strategically in the city center.  Local life happened all around us, especially in Zion Square directly in front of our room.  The four of us integrated with local culture as much as we had time for… and cared to.  Most people were friendly… and eager to help when we asked question.  It was a continual adventure to push beyond the ‘known’ each day.

But three weeks came and went quickly… and seemed to end all too suddenly.  With the accomplishments, memories and relationships that we’re bringing back with us, we feel that our mission was more than a success.  We experienced more than what we thought we were going to encounter, so we’re ready to do it again and take it to the next level.  Can’t wait to see how the Lord will lead us to follow-up with our ‘mission’ in Jerusalem.

A blessing
“Lord, we bless the deposits that have gone both ways on our journey.  We bless the seeds of Your Spirit, seeds of friendship, and seeds of money that have been given to others.  May Your Presence cause each of those ‘plantings’ to spring up unto Eternal life in each life.  Amen.”

If you are inspired to help in either of these areas (mid-wife ministry or orphanage), we’d be happy to channel 100% of your gifts along with ours directly to the needs.

Thank you SO much for praying for us and for caring for us.  Our time was grace-filled.  We felt ‘covered’, empowered and clearly ‘led’ throughout our whole trip.  Thanks again!!!

If you care to view pictures of our Israel experiences, click here: Israel trip – Facebook album

Our love and blessings

Mark and Debbie
with Dave & Ann Clark

====================
Dwelling Place Ministries
Hendrickson
11011 Olive St
KC, MO 64131
====================

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DPM Update – 2017 Sept

13 Sep

Dear Friends

Partner with you
As you know, we never ask for money!  So, after informing you of our upcoming Israel mission, it’s been especially fun to receive some spontaneous gifts from you.  We will be making some sizeable and meaningful contributions to poverty-stricken families among the orthodox and ultra-orthodox Jews.  (See the last post for more details)  If this is similarly stirring in your heart, we’d be happy to partner with you in this venture.  We’ll keep you posted.

40th year anniversary
Early this year Debbie said, “This year is our 40th anniversary… and you know… I have never been on a Mediterranean cruise.”  I said, “You know… there are a lot of things we haven’t done!”  🙂  But somehow I just felt like it could possibly happen.  After all, this wonderful lady has stuck with me for most of her life and I’m confident that God thinks she deserves a gold medal… or at least, something really special.  Well, it wasn’t but a few months later that someone said, “We want to send you on a Mediterranean cruise when you go to Israel.”  And there you have it… “God’s will is God’s bill!”  So we settled on a multi-country cruise from Venice, Italy.  Now, guess what?  My lady’s happy!  Yay!

Grands…
Our family is growing.  We now have 7 GRANDchildren… and we LOVE being grandparents!  Markus & Allison had baby #2 this year and live in Nashville, TN area.  John & Cheryl and their 4 children live here in Kansas City, MO, about one block away from us.  Chris & Lydia are in Redding, CA with baby #1.  And just for the record, we’re hoping for at least 7 more!!!

He-Man camping
Sometimes you’ve just got to get away from it all! (even Jesus did)  🙂  So, we went on our 15th annual He-Man Camping trip recently.  3 days/2 nights… so easy… nature all around.  During the day: caving, exploring with the kids, catching crawdads, building a raft, and fishing… and during the night: listening to raccoons, foxes, owls, crickets and tree frogs.  Fun and relaxing.  John & Cheryl and the kids… and Deb & I, all stayed in our big family tent.  Here are a few pics.

Upgraded prayer
You may not know that we began a prayer meeting early in 2016… gathering every Thurs evening.  The goal was to transition our prayer vocabulary from beggar / plaintiff / petition… to confident sons / co-reign-ers with Jesus.  In other words, whatever Jesus would say over our situation, is what we say.  He declared the status and mind of Heaven into the situation.  Some words to describe this type of praying are: declare, prophesy, release, proclaim, loose, bind, etc.  You see, all of these descriptives imply a strong sense of confident knowing of our position and authority in Christ.  Here are a few articles that I’ve written about upgraded prayer in my blog: Beyond the Map.

That prayer meeting objective proved to be more difficult than we thought.  Even though all of the 5 or 6 people who started with us are pastors and had been involved in the prayer movement for decades, none of us realized how hard it would be to ‘unlearn’ old petition-type vocabulary… and begin using confident declarations.  Praying from a completely different position is intensely mentally laborious at first… not to mention trying to pray ‘in the anointing’.  BUT something changed about 3 months ago.  We’ve had some very powerful prayer meetings since then.  I think we’ve ‘turned a corner’.

I firmly believe that God is inviting His people into this kind of prayer… “If any man speak, let him speak as the oracle of God.” – I Peter 4:11  What would happen if all God’s saints began to embrace confident joyful co-rulership with Jesus on this earth!?!??!  WOW!  I think God can hardly wait!!!!  🙂

‘Plying our trade’
Deb and I are still doing our stuff… traveling around, ‘plying our trade’ – being mothers and fathers where ever we go.  Maybe that is part of the Malachi 4:6 verse which says, “And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers…”.  God is raising up men and women to ‘father’ and ‘mother’ an orphaned world.  That’s where we all (you too) come into the picture.

Thought for the day
No matter the difficulty of any circumstance, God is SO much bigger than any ‘oppressor’.  No matter the size, that oppressor is not even in the same league as our awesome God!

Lotsa love
Mark & Debbie

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Dwelling Place Ministries
Hendrickson
11011 Olive St
KC, MO 64131
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DPM Update – 2017 Aug – Israel trip

30 Aug

Dear Friends

The God-adventures continue

In a few weeks, Deb and I will be joining some of our fellow God-adventurers Dave and Ann Clark, to make a trip to Israel for about 3 weeks, starting Sept 26 through Oct 17.  This happens over the dates of the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot).  There will be thousands of Christians and Messianic Jews in Jerusalem at that time.  We have many friends in Jerusalem and no doubt we’ll attend some of the Christian/Messianic Jewish meetings, but that is not the primary reason for our trip.

The Lord has quite unexpectedly put the orthodox and ultra-orthodox Jews on our heart and in our path.  It’s not something that had even been in our thinking.  But through a on-line video series… and then through some rather impressive God signs, we’ve become quite confident in our unusual mission.

We had no idea of the level of poverty and strain some of the Jewish sects experience in the pursuit of the religious endeavors.  Literally, there are hundreds of thousands who seriously struggle for the basic needs of life.  A 5-part video entitled: Haredi: The Ultra-orthodox society in Israel communicates the philosophical ambitions and the practical struggles they face as they wrestle with religion versus the basics of life.  To some, the issue seems easy to solve… (like, husbands should just stop their intensive studying of the Torah and get a job) but to those who are gripped in this philosophical view, their intensely ‘devout’ lifestyle creates huge impositions for their families.

Give value and bless with open-hands

Obviously, our mission will not be to proselytize, but rather to give love and value… and offer an open hand of help to some of the hurting families.  After all, through Abraham, we are ‘brothers’.  And since all humans have amazing worth, we feel compelled to come alongside and support them in whatever ways God opens up to us.  That briefly described objective may seem a little ambiguous, but we’re quite familiar with God-adventures with this type of M.O.  Past testimonies from His invites for us to “come see”… coupled with our current confirmations, has given us much faith that we’re on the right path.

Recently Debbie and I were in Los Angeles and just ‘per chance’ we met Fred & Wendy Wu who are taking a group to Jerusalem at the SAME TIME that we are going.  They have the SAME objectives… in fact, they’ve been cultivating relationships with the orthodox Jews for several years.  This year will be the first year that they are doing some JOINT meetings… and we’re invited to participate publically and in the rabbi’s homes.  This surprise development just happened to ‘pop up’ AFTER our mission and dates were already established.  We expect many more of these divine appointments will happen all along our way.

More recently we met a couple times with orthodox rabbi A.J. Kushner, in Canton, OH, who candidly shared the needs, the hurdles, the impossibilities, and the culture… all issues that we need to be aware of as we put our feet on the ground in Israel.  It was a very productive time of learning how to interact with that religious culture.

Even though we’re quite certain that we’re on a God-appointed mission, we still feel like: “Man plans his way but God orders his steps.” (Prov 16:9)  In other words, we’re confident of some big picture goals, but we still need the leading of the Lord regarding connections, directions, timings, daily schedules, etc.

So we’re inviting you to hold us in prayer and let us know as the Lord gives you impressions or connections… or any other innovative ideas.  For Dave & Ann and Debbie & I, our mission is to impart love and value.  That will undoubtedly involve giving money, practical gifts, acts of service and kindness… eating with them in their homes and identifying with their families, their passions and their struggles.  We also believe we’ll be in some hospitals and orphanages.  In the process, when the impact of genuine love manifests in the form of tears and true friendship, we’re confident that all of our hearts will enlarge as we see the God-love-factor break through boundaries of religion and culture.

St Francis of Assisi said, “Preach always, and if necessary, use words.”  We will be exploring all possible ways to show love, and maybe… quite possibly… love will overcome the barriers.  After all, didn’t Jesus say, “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love one for another.” (Jn 15:35)  

There you have it, a brief overview of our big upcoming adventure.  Thank you for your care and prayer as our foursome team is on this mission to open our hands with love to melt the barriers, paradigms and mindsets in all of us.

With love,

Mark & Debbie

Dave & Ann Clark

====================
Dwelling Place Ministries

Hendrickson

11011 Olive St

KC, MO 64131

====================

DPM home: www.dpmkc.org

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A Meal With Jesus – an intimate worship encounter

26 Jul

If Debbie and I are given lots of liberty, we like to take a regular meeting and create a setting of intimacy.  Thank God for formal gatherings… they have their important place in our Christian experience.  But intimate and informal settings also have their powerful place of importance.  In fact, this kind of setting, is almost always where the deep spiritual encounters happens.

In the Last Supper, Jesus admonished, “as often as you do this, do this in remembrance of Me” – I Cor 11:25.  Jesus is always inviting us to His table to have ‘a meal with Him’ and a special time of intimacy.

So on this special morning there was gentle exhortation, worship and freedom of body ministry in Jesus’ ‘living room’.  And then it all culminated in communion around His table.  The whole morning was a tender encounter with His presence and was accompanied with many tears.

Allow about a hour of your undistracted time to watch and come along with us.  It’s quite likely that you’ll have your own encounter… an intimate encounter, with this most lovely man, Jesus!  Click here to watch ‘A Meal With Jesus – an intimate worship encounter’.

 

For more videos from Dwelling Place Ministries – see our DPM Youtube Channel.

Special thanks to Lloyd & Brenda Rindels-pastors of New Day Church – Kansas City, MO.

— MLH

Progression of the corrections of God

1 Jul

The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is long-suffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. – II Pet 3:9

God is so patient that some think He doesn’t care… or is going way too slow.  But really, He is just taking all the time needed to keep people from “perishing”.

God’s love is always persistent and pursuing us.  He uses the simplest and most subtle ways to get our attention first.  He would love to lead us with His eye (Ps 32:8) or whisper (I Kngs 19:12) or whistle (Zech 10:8).  And if that doesn’t get favorable results, then He resorts to stronger measures.  But we must not mistake the ‘stronger measures’ for God turning His back on us.

“the Lord disciplines the one He loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.” – Heb 12:6

“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful.  Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”
– Heb 12:11

Lest we mistake His more serious attempts to get our attention as being less than loving, we must remember that God is love (I Jn 4:8); the full embodiment of love.  No matter the means He uses, they are motivated out of His goodness and love to get us to have a different mind about whatever needs to be corrected.

“…the goodness of God leads you to repentance” – Rom 2:4

The love of God will go to great lengths to prevent us from ‘falling over the cliff’ of ‘no return’.

“Indeed God speaks once, or twice, yet no one notices it.  In a dream, a vision of the night, when sound sleep falls on men, while they slumber in their beds, then He opens the ears of men, and seals their instruction, that He may turn man aside from his conduct, and keep man from pride; He keeps back his soul from the pit, and his life from passing over into Sheol.…” – Job 33:14-18

Have you ever thought about all the ways God uses to get our attention?  Well, I believe that not only does God use a myriad of ways, but there is a definite progression of intensity in His ‘invasion’ into our lives to get our attention.  The love of God will even allow resistance to bring our hearts into alignment with His.  So I think it goes something like this:

Progression of His ‘voice’ to us

1.  He speaks to our conscience
2.  We hear/see His ‘voice’ in Nature – Roms 1:20
3.  A verse jumps out when we’re reading our Bible
4.  We have a relevant dream – e.g. Nebuchadnezzar
5.  An ‘innocent’ phrase from an unaware person gets our attention 
6.  A person unaware of our issue shares a relevant dream
7.  We hear a sermon on the matter
8.  An aware friend shares loving counsel
9.  An aware friend has a dream about the issue
10.  Invitational prophecy – general / non confrontational
11.  Direct prophecy – specifics / exposure

If we persist, we risk stepping outside of Grace – Romans 1:24, 28; Ps 81:12; Ps 106:15.

12.  Circumstances – hardships / finances – from poor choices, etc
13.  Consequences from the ‘law’ – civil, moral or church take their toll

14.  Physical afflictions – consequences of unhealthy lifestyle, etc

In the New Covenant, I am increasingly convinced that God doesn’t give sickness or calamity, but I think He may allow it if we ‘demand’ it… which may look something like this: As we walk in covenant with Him, His strong hand is around us.  But if we increasingly determine to walk outside of covenant with Him, we effectively ‘dis-invite’ His covering.  We then begin to walk outside of His protection.  Hardships that come our way may be the ones we’ve allowed the enemy to perpetrate upon us because we’ve chosen to walk out from under God’s protection.

“… yield unto God …” Roms 6:13

This hurts our Father’s heart, just like it did the prodigal son’s father.  In the same way, our Father is always reaching out to us and is ready at the first signs of our returning, to receive us with open arms.

It just makes good sense to yield to God early on when His corrections are gentle.  Who wants to be ‘arrested’ by stronger methods?

He’s always there waiting, because His love never stops.

“I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.” – Jer 31:3

nothing can separate us from the love of God….” – Roms 8:38,39

“Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord” – Acts 3:19

Consider this: Wouldn’t it be alarming to not experience the intervention of God when we’re moving in a wrong direction?  That would probably mean that we’re on some ‘prodigal detour’ and will likely have to experience some consequences of our own actions until (like the prodigal son) we’re sufficiently motivated to return and yield to God.  God forbid that we resist this long.

But thanks be to God, we now understand that God’s pursuit of us is motivated by love, which makes our yielding so much easier.

To be reminded about how much your Father loves you, click here to hear the song Everlasting Love, which I wrote and our family recorded on our Heart Songs CD.

— MLH

Testimony: Gold flake changes everything!

25 Jun

One Friday night a few years ago, I was invited to host an ‘encounter God’ evening at a house of prayer in Madison, WI where Dave Gerry was the director.  I was given full liberty to do whatever the Lord inspired me to do.  So I decided to celebrate some of the signs that have occurred in our ministry.  We projected them up onto the large screen and I told each story. 

Between stories, I invited us all to be as sincere and passionate as we could in a time of intimate devotion with Jesus.  We told Him how much we loved Him and how special He is to us. 

The objective was to use the ‘signs’ to inspire and increase our love for Him.  It is our experience that more signs appear as we allow our hearts to become acutely ‘enflamed’ with love for Him. 

Well, we had seen nothing by the end of meeting so we prayed for all those with physical ailments… body ministry style.  There were many pockets of prayer in the room.  And here’s where things get interesting…

Rufina, a 70-year-old widow from the Philippines, asked for prayer.  As she was being prayed for, she opened her hand and found a 1/8” rippled flake of ‘gold’ (I have no idea if it’s real gold or not).  

She showed it to those who were praying for her.  And as you might guess, everyone soon rallied around to view this phenomenon. 

I had never met Rufina before, but I found out 1 1/2 years later that she was a cook at the local YWAM base and always longed to go on a mission’s trip, but had no finances.

Surprisingly and without any announcement from me or anyone, people spontaneously began to throw green cash at her feet… such that for about 5 or 6 feet around, the floor was littered with cash… a total of $485.  But so far we’ve not even come to the best part.

A year and a half later I met her in a conference.  I exclaimed, “Rufina, how are you?  I’ve told your story many times.  Do you still have the gold flake?”  She immediately opened her Bible and I saw that it was taped next to the very verse we had rallied around when she got the flake.  But then she excitedly continued, “You have to hear what has happened since then!” 

Notice the verse that we had rallied around, that night!

“Forget the former things: do not dwell on the past.  I am doing a new thing!  Now it springs up: do you not perceive it?  I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.” – Isa 43:18-19

And that’s exactly what happened for Rufina!!!   Here’s the rest of the story…

After that night, money began to strangely come to her.  So much so, that she had enough to go to Africa and India on her first missions trips.  She preached her first sermon and people got saved.   She went to the next town, preached again and more people gave their hearts to the Lord.

Listen to the transformation that happened to her as she shares in her own words, “Now I just back from South Africa and India.  It just the boldness in my spirit to share the GOSPEL to everyone… which I never did this before.  I got the courage to speak to the Churches and Schools and prayed for the sick and visited hospital & prayed for them.  God’s heart with compassion to the people flows through me so much that I cried with them & begged them to understand that the only HOPE of life is found in JESUS CHRIST alone.”

Is that good… or what!?!

Back home, the money continued to come, so she traveled to the Philippines to see her own family and many of them came to Jesus.  After she returned home, more money came to her and she was planning another trip to minister to her people.

And that is all good, but here’s the important part: She hasn’t asked for money!   (For more on this principle of living within Father’s provision read my book, entitled Supernatural Provision.)

As fun as that little gold flake was, it was not the main event!  Everything changed from that day… the spiritual atmosphere shifted for Rufina.  God truly began a “new thing” in her life. (Isa 43:18-19)  He created “a way in ‘her’ desert” and “streams” began to flood her “wasteland.”   Her dreams began to be realized… at 70 years old!  That gold flake was a sign from God which signaled a radical and change and launched her life in a completely new direction.  

So do I love signs?  You better believe I do!  Do I love Jesus much more than signs?  Absolutely!  And guess what…?  Every time the signs appear, they help me fall more in love with Him.  And always, the signs serve to anchor my heart in more awareness of His loving care! 

Thank you Lord for You… and for Your signs!

— MLH

 

 

SP True Stories: Payback for what the devil stole

22 Jun

(from a friend)

I was ordained into ministry in my early twenties.  During my ordination service, a woman come up and had a zip lock back of coins and a few dollars.  She said the Lord wanted her to anoint me with this small bag of money and said as long as I would serve the Lord He would provide for my financial needs.  She then proceeds to pour the bag of money over my head and prayed over me.  After the prayer time was over I picked up every single coin and dollar bill.  I don’t know how much money I picked up but I would estimate it to be around $25.00.  I keep it in a jar on my desk as a constant reminder of God’s promise of provision over my life.  I was tempted on many occasions to use the money when times were tight but each time I resisted the urge.  Over the past 12 plus years this little jar of money has seen me through many lean times yet His promise always came through.

I currently pastor a church in north central Wisconsin.  My jar of coins sits on my desk as a constant reminder of the everlasting promise of God over my life.  Unfortunately, the church was broken into over the Easter weekend and a small amount of money was stolen.  I came into the office on Monday to find my jar of money had been among the items stolen.  I was thankful the church had not lost much money in the burglary but I was upset that my jar of money was stolen.  I knew it didn’t have any magical powers but that was a tangible item that represented a history of God’s faithfulness in my life.  As I peered into the empty jar I noticed there was one penny stuck to the bottom of the jar.  I just shook my head in disappointment.

Around the same time my coin jar was stolen a friend of mine asked me to write a book endorsement for a book she was working on. I agreed and sat down one day and wrote the endorsement for her.  Several days later I received a thank you note in the mail from her with a check for $2500!  That’s 100 times what was stolen!!!  As I sat in shock reading the thank you note and staring at the check, the Lord whispered to me, “You may have lost your jar of coins but you haven’t lost My promise or favor over your life”

Several weeks later a member of my church brought a large bag of coins from his house for my empty coin jar.  My coin jar continues to sit on my desk full of coins and now contains a lesson that His promises and favor over my life are not something that can be taken from me.

God is Good All the Time!

— RH/WI