Weekly Spiritual Readings

February 5, 2016



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Quick question to ask ourselves: "Are we in love with God or just His stuff?" - Francis Chan

Focus your energies on drawing close to God. Seek the stillness out of which the spiritual signal can be heard. Strive for the conscious awareness of God and then realize that you never have been lost because you are lovingly enfolded in the arms of the Divine Navigator.
~Sandy B.

Bad things happen, but thanks to the promises of God’s Word we never have to live discouraged or in fear. So even when things don’t go as planned, we can still know and trust that God wants us to experience the best life has to offer. The Bible tells us over and over again that God has good things in store for us and that His plan is always for us to succeed when we place our trust in Him. Joyce Meyer

God hears — and responds to — all our prayers. God wants us to feel a sense of closeness, like talking with a good friend who is sitting next to us or by our bedside. When we pray, we can share with God about everyday things, knowing that God is ready to listen. Praying can be like visiting with our best friend.

When we read God's word, believe it, and obey it, we produce fruit and bring glory to God.

By observing Jesus and his interactions with others, we know much about God. Jesus always taught love. He was quick to forgive, and he healed others. He was gentle, kind, and compassionate. He assured us there was nothing to fear. Since he is God’s Son, we know that God has these same characteristics: loving, forgiving, gentle, kind, and compassionate. We know God because we know Jesus. We can reflect our heavenly Father’s love in our words and actions.

The power of God is revealed in surprising ways. God enables us to feel in our hearts that which we cannot even imagine in our minds.

Small kindnesses can show God’s love in a practical way.

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Prodigal Update by Steve Troxel
God is so faithful!
Last week I sent out a four message series on the Prodigal Son from Luke 15. Many of you will know that these messages had their origin years ago as our family struggled through our own prodigal story with our eldest daughter, Stacey. As stated in the messages, the story of the Prodigal Son has many applications for our roll as parents in dealing with children who rebel and seek their way apart from God. However, the story has one significant shortcoming. In the Biblical version, the son rebels, leaves home, wastes his wealth in wild living, longs to eat pig food, repents, returns home, and dad kills the fatted calf. All of this seems to take place in a relatively short period of time. End of story.
The reality of prodigal stories is that this is usually not the end of the story. There may be many, many pig pens; many seasons of repentance...and many times when a parent is left looking a long way off, desperately wanting the child to return. Our prodigal story lasted over fifteen years. Stacey first ran away from home at thirteen in 1996. The details of the next many years are not important here, but they involved more than you can imagine - drugs, theft, jail, rehab, sickness, homelessness - many time of eating with the pigs. But God is faithful. Our journey was long and painful, but the journey is now bringing us all great joy.
I asked Stacey to write an update note for the ministry. She was very happy to share what God has been doing in her life.
Dear Family in Christ, Wow. Has it really been almost 9 years since I've written an update? Time really does go by so fast. Well, needless to say, much has changed. I'll start back in 2010. I met a guy who was a drug addict. Once again, I got hooked. Essentially, you don't "start over" each time you get clean; you pick up where you left off and it gets progressively worse - FAST. I ended up overdosing. I was unconscious when the paramedics arrived, rushed to the ER and brought back to life. That was still not enough to make me turn away from that life. In fact, I went right back to using just a few days after being released from the hospital. At that point in my life, I had served a couple years in prison for drugs, been to numerous rehabs, tried AA/NA and basically died. None of it was enough to make me stop.
Now, for those that don't know my history, this might sound a bit extreme. I'd been struggling with drugs since I was about 12 years old and I'm now 33. Some people might call addiction an incurable "disease". I would agree to an extent. I do believe it's a disease but do not believe it's incurable. I believe God works miracles and can cure ANYTHING. A few months after my near death experience, I found myself homeless. I eventually broke up with that guy and moved in with my best friend who was clean and sober. I quit using drugs and she nursed me back to health. She was involved in an amazing church and told me she believed I was going to meet my soul mate there.
Once again, I made a serious decision to surrender to God. This time felt different though. I wasn't doing it for anyone else but myself. In the past, I felt like each time I'd tried to get clean, I was doing it to please my parents, stay out of jail, was about to lose my job, or lose my place to live, etc. This time, I was truly sick and tired of that life - period. I wanted more and believed God had blessings behind a flood gate waiting for me. Well, it was true. I met my husband at the church my friend took me to and we married in July of 2012. We also had a beautiful, healthy baby girl in June of 2013. That didn't just happen without me doing some MAJOR foot work though. It was hard to get clean and surrender, but it was the best decision I've ever made.
Looking back, I see that my parents tried everything they could to help me. I believe they finally had to let go and just pray that I would turn away from my sinful ways. I don't blame them. I think I would have given up on me a long time ago if I were them. But they never gave up, never lost hope and never stopped loving me. About a year ago, my parents offered to have my family move in with them to help us get a little more financially stable. We stayed for a few months and were able to get a house right down the street from them! It has been so wonderful having them so close and getting to see them so often.
So, here is my current status today. I am completely off probation (first time in all my adult life). I am a full-time college student scheduled to graduate this summer from Kaplan University with my Bachelor's Degree in Nutrition Science My daughter is now two and a half and just the most precious gift from God. She is a constant reminder of God's unconditional love and grace for me. We even named her Grace. My husband is a wonderful, hardworking man who always encourages, supports and believes in me. We are building a life together with Christ as the center and foundation.
I'll be honest, there are still times when I am tempted to go back to my old ways. But the longer I stay away from it, and the more I turn to God each time the devil tries to creep back in, the easier it is to say no. For the first time in my life, I can honestly say that I love myself too much to destroy my life. I love my family, my husband and my daughter too much to hurt them. Most importantly though, I now see the love that Jesus Christ has had for me all along. He died on the cross for my sins so that I can have eternal life in paradise - why would I want to hurt someone who did that for me?
Life can be so incredibly beautiful when you let go of your selfish desires and let God in. I love my life today and I'm excited for my future! I have never been excited for my future because I never thought I had a future. I literally had no hope 5 years ago. I pray that if any of you are struggling in the ways I have, or have a loved one who is struggling, DON'T EVER LOSE HOPE! God is bigger than any of our problems. There are a couple verses I want to leave you with as they have encouraged me over the years.
2 Corinthians 4:17 - "Our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all."
Jeremiah 29:11 - "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
Thanks you to everyone who has prayed for me over the years. Your prayers were heard! Blessings, Stacey Johnson (Troxel)

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SCARY LEAP OF FAITH by Dick Innes
"The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms." (Deuteronomy 33:27a)
Brennan Manning in his book, The Ragamuffin Gospel, tells about a child caught on the second floor of his house when it was on fire. The family members were all running out of the house when the smallest boy panicked and ran back upstairs.
Terrified, he screamed from a smoke-filled window. Below, his father could see him and cried out, "Jump, son, jump! I'll catch you." "But daddy, I can't see you," the boy cried. "I know," the father called, "but I can see you." The father could see the son and that's all that really mattered.
Many a time in our lives we are in difficult situations and we panic and long for God to help us. But not being able to see Him, or sense His presence, we don't know what to do. Let us always remember that God is there regardless of our feelings. He can see us. And when we call to Him and choose to put our trust in Him, He will help us. He is our refuge. Underneath us are His everlasting arms. And He loves us with an everlasting love. "And that may be all we need to know!"
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to commit and trust my life and way to You when darkness surrounds me and I am lost and do not know the way. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
"The eternal God is your refuge,and underneath are the everlasting arms..." (Deuteronomy 33:27a)

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WARMTH ON A WINTER’S DAY by Joseph J. Mazzella
It was the start of a typical Winter’s day here in the mountains of my home. Outside the grass was frosted and the ground crunched under my feet. The sun was rising but it did nothing to ease the cold. I could feel the bitter air seeping into my bones. My own breath froze in my nose while I walked my dogs. Still, I stopped to look at the magnificent pinks and purples in the heavens. It was so glorious. I gave thanks to God for another beautiful if freezing day. After a while even my dogs seemed to feel the chill. They quickly pulled me back towards the house and once inside wolfed down their breakfast and curled up in the sunbeams coming through the windows for their morning nap. I smiled as I watched them and then made a hearty bowl of oatmeal for myself.
After breakfast I pulled on my favorite sweater and slowly sipped a cup of coffee. I heard the gentle thumping noise as the heater kicked on again and warm air started to flow from the floor vents. I laughed too as I saw my youngest son hurry over to stand on one of the vents and warm his feet. In spite of the biting cold on this frozen Winter’s day, I felt a warmth in my soul.
I looked out my window and once more gave thanks to God for the day. I was grateful that while it was Winter outside my window, it was no longer Winter inside my heart. For too many long years it had felt like Winter there. For too many years the world had seemed cold and harsh. For too many years I had foolishly stayed away from the warmth of God’s love.
On this day, however, I felt the fire of His love heating my heart and lighting my soul. On this day I felt a Springtime of joy growing inside of me. I knew that God was with me and within me and that my own love would only grow warmer as well. Don’t let your own heart stay in Winter. Welcome God’s love and light into it today. Then go out and share your Spring with the world.

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Trusting When We Cannot See: Rescue By Vomit from Devotions for the Beach and the Days You Wish You Were There
And [Jonah] said: “I cried out to the Lord because of my affliction, and He answered me.
Out of the belly of Sheol I cried, and You heard my voice...” So the Lord spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land. — Jonah 2:2, Jonah 2:10
When the lifeguard’s whistle blows, an ambulance arrives out of nowhere, beach patrol shouts through a bullhorn, and leisurely tourists become up-right onlookers — something has happened. Someone got caught in the riptide and the situation is life or death. Fatigued, the swimmer does not have the ability to swim back to shore.
Someone must rescue him.
This was Jonah’s predicament. He’d been running from God and realized he couldn’t escape on his own. There he was, in the belly of a fish, certain that this was the end. He could not save himself, for there was no way out. So — and feel free to chuckle here — Jonah was rescued by way of vomit.
Many times the Lord walks through the fires and waves with us, but there are times He simply plucks us out of a situation — perhaps one we are either unwilling or unable to leave ourselves — and rescues us.
And, like Jonah’s rescue (again, feel free to chuckle), it’s not always the most obvious form of rescue. Sometimes our hearts are broken in the process. Sometimes we are asked to leave a job we love — or even a job we don’t, but desperately need. Sometimes we must leave behind all that we’ve ever known. And the longer we cling to what we know — the unknown is so scary, after all — the more painful and more difficult the rescue efforts become. Would you be as stubborn if you were drowning or trapped? Taking a cue from Jonah’s story, we might need to be vomited out of a situation right now. There will be time for questions later.
During these doesn’t-seem-like-a-rescue events in our lives, we may get angry. We may cry. We may bargain with God, but this is not a street market. We may beg God for a different outcome — change the person, have the employer admit the mistake and rehire you — whatever it is. We can ask, and God certainly has the power to do whatever He wishes. But His ways are not ours. His perspective transcends anything we could possibly realize this side of heaven. Our vantage point is very limited, and we can’t see into the future.
We can ask God to show us why He’s doing what He’s doing, and one day He might. But more importantly is the day that we can say with a full heart, “No, I don’t see. But I trust.”
Lord, I have been thinking about _________________________ and how suddenly that situation turned. I don’t understand. I was so much happier back then. But I know in my heart I did all I could do, and Your answer is that it’s done. Help me grow in my trust that You have rescued me from something I may never have to know about or understand.
Your Turn: Have you had that experience before — being plucked out of a situation unexpectedly and sometimes heartbreakingly? Maybe you’re there today wondering why God allowed (or authored) this difficult, scary, frustrating life upending situation? Consider today whether God may be rescuing you from something you cannot comprehend in the middle of your suffering and pain. Can you trust Him that He loves you and that He is in control?
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. — Proverbs 3:5-6

 
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What Is Yet To Come by Iris Ford
John 16:12-15 – I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. (NIV)
At the beginning of anything that is new and unfamiliar, like a new community to live in, or a new job with more responsibility, one can feel sort of scared, wondering about what is to come next. It is helpful to know that Jesus' Spirit can guide us through when things are tough, helping us to cope with what is changing. Do you feel this fear of an unknown future? Be comforted, for in verse 13 of today's reading from John 16, Jesus tells us that the Spirit of truth will guide us into all the truth and disclose what is to come. However, we do need to commit each day into the guidance of Jesus' Spirit.
I find that my day goes much better when I commit it into the Lord's guidance early in the morning when I am praying following the day's devotional. Thus, I start the day with Jesus' Spirit, asking Him to be with me throughout the day, organizing everything that I need to do so that it all comes together with calm expectation. I can feel the Spirit of Jesus leading me through the day.
The Holy Spirit speaks only what He has first heard from the Lord. It is wonderful to have such a close Friend directing us through the day with divine truth. There is a lovely, calm feeling as everything works out: no worrying or fretting! It removes that hurtful feeling of loneliness and fear. We are not alone; Jesus' Spirit is with us. Lord, thank You for such a calming and encouraging input into our day.
Maybe what is yet to come for us is the great love of God filling your life and mine with joy. Come, walk with Him, and all will be well!
Prayer: Dear Lord, we often feel alone and unable to cope. Please fill our emptiness and fear with Your love, and help us to make room in our day to be aware of Your activity. In Jesus' loving Spirit, we pray. Amen.


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The Piece In The Corner by Robin Ross
Last fall, I worked off and on at installing laminate flooring in two bedrooms and the hallway of our small bungalow. This last week, I finished the second phase in our front hall. All the while, I kept thinking that there must be a devotional in such an extensive and complicated process. God is never late.
As I was finishing laying the flooring in the front hall, I was very careful to use up all the useful pieces that were left. When I was gathering up the tools that had been stashed in the hall closet, I remembered, in horror, that I had not laid the last two pieces of flooring there, and I had no pieces left that were long enough to do the job, even though the closet is only two feet wide. I had to piece together smaller chunks, and ended up unsatisfactorily laying one small piece that was unconnected to the two beside it — very unprofessional!
As I was cleaning up, I came across a piece by the garbage can that I had rejected as useless the week before, because its blank ends could not be connected to an adjoining piece. It was a couple of inches longer than the needed two feet, and it became the last piece of my project. In exultation at a good job done, I put it in its designated place in the closet, and thought of this Scripture:
Matthew 21:42 – Then Jesus asked them, "Didn't you ever read this in the Scriptures? 'The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone. This is the Lord's doing, and it is wonderful to see.'" (NLT)
How true it is that so many who are rejected, outcast, and misfits, so many who have made a mess of their lives, once they are introduced to Jesus, become wonderful witnesses to the grace and mercy of our Lord. He is able to take us as we are and use our lives to His glory. He specializes in redeeming and setting people free by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 8:28 – And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. (NLT)
Take heart! There is no one that God cannot use. There is no mistake or blunder that God cannot redeem. And when He does, as Jesus said, "This is the Lord's doing, and it is wonderful to see"!
Prayer: Encourage us today, Lord, and give us the distinct hope that You can use us for Your glory, and redeem even what we have messed up. This we pray, in Jesus' name. Amen.


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Small Straws In A Soft Wind by Marsha Burns
If you are to establish My kingdom in your own life, you must walk in the light--the light of truth, righteousness, justice, and peace. Do not allow the darkness of the kingdoms of the world to overtake you in any way. Stand resolutely in the anointing and glory of My presence, says the Lord. Make the decision to walk in the light of My Spirit in every situation and circumstance. Matthew 5:14-16 You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

I call you to take your proper position in My kingdom. You cannot do this as long as you remain self-focused and interested in looking good and finding acceptance. Your position has to do exclusively with having an honest and vital relationship with Me in the Spirit, says the Lord. It is up to you to awaken yourself spiritually in order to become all that I have destined you to be. John 3:6 "That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit."

You have come a very long way, but you must resist the enemy's attempt to draw you back into old, irrelevant places. More than ever you need to stay present with Me in the here and now. This will be vital in your spiritual progression to the next level of growth and development in My kingdom, says the Lord. Be strong and resolute. Revelation 12:10 Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, "Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down."

What is it that is holding you back so that you are not taking your rightful position in My kingdom? Examine yourself to see what is hindering your progression. This is a time when you can decide to let go of everything that is keeping you from victory, says the Lord. Psalms 25:2 O my God, I trust in You; let me not be ashamed; let not my enemies triumph over me.

Beloved, I want you to consciously exercise your will with purity of purpose. Your decisions will dictate the outcome of your life in the days and weeks ahead. Only the foolish believe that they can get away with unrighteousness without having to pay a price. Stay spiritually and morally focused so that you can have the best possible results, says the Lord. Galatians 6:7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.

For those who have ears to hear, I tell you that I am giving you a chance to be extricated from the bondage of troubling circumstances. Your freedom will eliminate stubborn distractions and afford you the opportunity to dedicate yourself to My kingdom and to serve Me more consistently, says the Lord. Galatians 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.

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The Trumpet by Bill Burns
"Set the trumpet to your mouth!" Hosea 8:1
Come a little higher, says the Lord, for I have called you to be creatures of the heavenlies, no longer bound to the earth. Come, for the glory of My kingdom cannot be fully understood upon the earth. So, I say unto you come up into the light of the glory of this season, for you will not be disappointed by the things I show you, nor will you be powerless as many have perceived. For you are a people who dwell in the power of the kingdom, and the manifestation of My kingdom is about to take place in a greater way than you can even imagine, says the Most Holy. For I shall come and demonstrate Myself in the land. I shall come even in the night time and whistle for your presence. As I call you forth through the sound of My voice then I shall empower you, and impart to you the heavenly gifts that cause you to be more than mere men. You are joint heirs with the Christ, the resurrection power of this age. Come and drink fully of My Spirit for the word of truth shall come forth in power and in greatness.

Rise up my children and become adults within My kingdom. Get over being a child. Let faith abound in your life and lead you. The doors of the kingdom shall open to you if you shall just rise up into the present work that I am doing in this season. I am about to take you on a glorious journey; a journey in which great surprises will come and great blessings will come. Don’t miss what’s going to happen, but prepare yourself and position yourself to be ready to go with Me. Be ready to move on into the fullness of that which I have for you, says the Lord.

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Breathe on me, breath of God,
Fill me with life anew,
That I may love what Thou dost love,
And do what Thou wouldst do.
Breathe on me, breath of God,
Until my heart is pure,
Until with Thee I will one will,
To do and to endure.
Breathe on me, breath of God,
Blend all my soul with Thine,
Until this earthly part of me
Glows with Thy fire divine.
Breathe on me, breath of God,
So shall I never die,
But live with Thee the perfect life
Of Thine eternity.
Edwin Hatch

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Are You Listening? by Virjinja
There's something that I've got to know
It's something I can't tell
God, really, are you listening
Can you hear me well
Enough to understand my plea
Enough to know my cause
My issues and my problems
Do they give You pause
To think You'd like to intervene
Or send an angel here
To lend a hand and be a friend
Stand by or just be near
Really, are you listening
Tell me true, dear God
It seems as though you've tuned me out
I've prayed so long and hard
Asking for your sage advice
Whatever should I do
Have you heard a word I've said
Talking 'til I'm blue
I think I'll give it all a rest
And wait to hear from you
Oh... I see. I get it, Lord.
Now I can hear You, too!

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Heart Prints Author Unknown
Whatever our hands touch...
We leave fingerprints!
On walls, on furniture
On doorknobs, dishes, books.
There’s no escape.
As we touch we leave our identity.
Oh God, wherever I go today
Help me leave heartprints!
Heartprints of compassion
Of understanding and love.
Heartprints of kindness
And genuine concern.
May my heart touch a lonely neighbor
Or a runaway daughter
Or an anxious mother
Or perhaps an aged grandfather.
Lord, send me out today
To leave heartprints.
And if someone should say,
“I felt your touch,”
May that one sense YOUR LOVE
Touching through ME.

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May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer. -- Psalm 19:14

Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength. Isaiah 40:28-29

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled." - Matthew 5: 6

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. — 2 Corinthians 4:18

My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. – John 14:27

For the LORD loves the just and will not forsake his faithful ones. — Psalm 37:28

For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome. Jeremiah 29:11

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A Lesson in Abundant Faith by Michael Fechner, Jr., from Lessons on the Way to Heaven
My father’s past and Velma’s past couldn’t have been more different. His, of course, was an upbringing of privilege, hers an upbringing of pain. His family members employed African-American maids. Her family members were, in essence, those maids.
She was born in 1947, the seventh of eleven children. Her daddy was a sharecropper and died when Velma was young. Her mama did everything she could to help the family survive. They lived in a shack on a white man’s farm and grew their own food.
The white man didn’t allow the African-American kids whose parents grew his crops to attend school. He thought it was too distracting during planting and harvest seasons. Velma’s mama said, “Enough,” and moved her children to Tyler, Texas, where they could get an education. Velma was nine years old before she ever set foot in a schoolhouse.
Like my father, Velma prayed to accept Jesus when she was young. However, when she grew up and moved to Dallas, she began hanging with the wrong crowd. She smoked and drank and did drugs. She married at twenty-one, and a few years later, she and her husband had a son named Romon. Her husband lashed Velma with verbal and physical abuse. One day, she got fed up and told him to leave. He threatened to kill her and chased her, but she escaped with Romon. She went to the police and got a restraining order and, ultimately, a legal separation.
Later, at the funeral for Velma’s nephew — killed in a drive-by shooting — the pastor spoke about the love and forgiveness of Jesus. He invited anyone who was backsliding or not saved to stand.
Velma stood up and surrendered her life to Jesus.
The drug habit ended. Her life underwent a transformation. She had known despair and darkness. Now she delved deeply into the Word of God. Velma began to pray and fast regularly, and she sensed God working strongly in her life.
By the time she met my father in 1989, Velma still had little in the way of money or possessions. She lived in Turner Courts, a public housing project in Bonton. Her neighbor was a drug dealer. A house of prostitution drew a brisk business across the street. Gunfire and police sirens shattered the night. But what Velma lacked in the way of the world’s riches, she made up with faith.
That’s what drew my father to her. My dad had lived an easy life and yet was still a fledgling in his faith. Velma, on the other hand, had lived a horrific life but stuck to God like Velcro.
“I would quickly come to see that Velma had everything I ever truly wanted in life,” my father wrote. “Not money, no. But inner serenity. Abundant hope. Even the respect of the community. I needed to align myself and my family with the God of her faith so that when hard times came, I would not be snapped.”
In November 1989, she and Romon showed up at Prestonwood for a “To Dallas with Love” outreach event at which Jack Graham was speaking. My mother and father also attended the event.
It was winter. It was cold. And nothing against Graham, but at the moment, Velma was more interested in a coat for her son than about any sort of spiritual sustenance. She and Romon were greeted warmly upon arrival. She enjoyed Graham’s message; “there was something special about him,” she later said.
But during the prayer, she had to be honest with God:
Please, Lord, I’m so worried about my boy this winter. If there is any way a coat could be found for him, I would be so grateful. I don’t have the money, but I trust you to provide what I cannot. Amen. Oh, and the school pictures. Twenty dollars that we don’t have. I don’t mean to be a burden, but if that’s possible...
At the time, she had fifteen cents to her name. That night, after returning home, Velma decided there was only one thing to do: fast with the expectation that God would meet her and Romon’s needs.
On the night after the Prestonwood event, she was in prayer at their home when she heard a light knock on the door. Her heart began thumping. Nobody knocked on her door at night. Drug runners after her teenage son? Cops? What? She timidly opened the door. There stood a couple about thirty years old. Well-dressed. Nervous-looking. And white. Her eyes swept the neighborhood, left and right. It wasn’t safe for two white people to be in this neighborhood at night.
“Hello,” said the man — not my father, by the way. “We’re from Prestonwood Baptist. We saw you last night.”
Velma nervously ushered them inside.
“We were praying for the people who came to the event last night,” said the young woman, “and God impressed on our hearts that you needed something for your son.”
She pulled out a coat for Romon. Velma’s jaw dropped. Romon came to the door, saw the coat, and smiled big. He tried on the coat. Perfect fit. Velma turned to hug the woman. At the hug’s end, the visitor pressed something into the woman’s hand — a $20 bill.
As he heard of this act of kindness, my father began to learn that life wasn’t about getting; it was about giving.
Your Turn: Today you may have needs that your current circumstances cannot provide for. What do you need to pray for in abundant faith, fasting in expectation, and trusting God for what only He can do?
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. — Philippians 4:6
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. — Hebrews 11:1


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You Are My Rock
Lord, when illness strikes my life seems to collapse around me. The work routine crumbles away, and everything’s just a heap of ruins. Yet, Lord, in all the sufferings I know you are with me. You are my rock. You are my support, my sure foundation who never gives way, who never lets me down. You are my strength who keeps me going. Lord, what would I do without your help? I thank you. Amen

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Read Through The Bible
Job 42
1 Then Job answered the Lord, and said, 2 I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee. 3 Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge? therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not. 4 Hear, I beseech thee, and I will speak: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me. 5 I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. 6 Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes. 7 And it was so, that after the Lord had spoken these words unto Job, the Lord said to Eliphaz the Temanite, My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends: for ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath. 8 Therefore take unto you now seven bullocks and seven rams, and go to my servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and my servant Job shall pray for you: for him will I accept: lest I deal with you after your folly, in that ye have not spoken of me the thing which is right, like my servant Job. 9 So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went, and did according as the Lord commanded them: the Lord also accepted Job. 10 And the Lord turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before. 11 Then came there unto him all his brethren, and all his sisters, and all they that had been of his acquaintance before, and did eat bread with him in his house: and they bemoaned him, and comforted him over all the evil that the Lord had brought upon him: every man also gave him a piece of money, and every one an earring of gold. 12 So the Lord blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning: for he had fourteen thousand sheep, and six thousand camels, and a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand she asses. 13 He had also seven sons and three daughters. 14 And he called the name of the first, Jemima; and the name of the second, Kezia; and the name of the third, Kerenhappuch. 15 And in all the land were no women found so fair as the daughters of Job: and their father gave them inheritance among their brethren. 16 After this lived Job an hundred and forty years, and saw his sons, and his sons' sons, even four generations. 17 So Job died, being old and full of days.

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The Miracle of Life
When I see flowers fresh in bloom sprung to life in spring thrill after the dark night’s Winter chill, I think of the miracle of life and how nature itself is renewed. I know you can renew me in the same way, Lord. The miracle of life is within me too and the miracle of your love. Lord, put a spring in my step, that I may thrill at life again. Heal not only my body, Lord, but my mind and heart as well, then I will be able to praise you like flowers in abundance. Amen
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