Friday, July 29, 2005

Prayer works....

Several events over the past few weeks leave no doubt in my mind how true that is. I've already told you about God providing me with a new car, but today (or last night, rather) something happened that me and several other folks have been praying about for many, many weeks.

Let me back up a minute...

Since sometime in May (I don't remember exactly when) I've been involved with a group of people who go out every Wednesday night to minister to the homeless. It has been an incredible experience!!!! I have learned so much...I don't care who you are, or where you've come from, everyone just wants to be acknowledged and loved. I've never seen that as clearly as I do now. I'm privileged to be able to go out and love on these forgotten people. Regardless of what circumstances have put them on the street, they still long to be accepted and loved, and we try to do that as well as meet their immediate needs with food and clothing. We're beginning to see a real impact in some of our "regulars" lives. Our desire is not just to bring them a sandwich and t-shirt, but to really impact their lives by sharing the love of Christ with them and helping them get off the street if they so desire.

In the past 2 months, our ministry group has grown from 8 people to 22! God is awesome! It is amazing to be in a group of people from all types of backgrounds and churches - God is really doing a work in unifying His body.

Anyway, not only do we minister to those we see on the streets, as we're driving around we also pray over our city - that the leadership would be led by God and that the light of God's truth would shine on any place where evil dwells. One such place we stop at each week is an adult bookstore. We would stop across the street from it and pray that God would shut it down using whatever means necessary, that the owners would come to know Christ and that those bound by lust and pornography would be set free and their lives would be changed. We also would talk to the security guard stationed outside - to give him water and food and to let him know we were praying for God to provide him with another job. So today, we find out that the bookstore has been shut down!!! The police raided it last night, and arrested an employee. Praise God!!!

The bookstore has been in operation for a long time - even after it became illegal to sell sex toys. The police department said in the paper that they've been after the place for years...funny how now, all of a sudden, they're doing something about it. That's what prayer will do - put things into motion and change what needs to be changed. I'm telling you, folks, if God's people really believed that prayer works (like it obviously does) we could turn this world on it's ear!

I'm reminded of a scripture:
"Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and heal their land." 2 Chronicles 7:14

We can make a difference...prayer works!

Monday, July 25, 2005

Why did I ever worry?

Ok, He's done it again. God has proven Himself mighty.....but I knew He would. I don't know why I ever doubt Him.

Right before the trip to Cozumel, the transmission went out on my car. It wasn't really a shocking blow, because I knew there were some issues with my car, but I was praying that God would hold everything off until I could save up some money and get it looked at. Well, it didn't work out that way. The transmission started slipping, so I had to take it in, and it turned out to be the worst case scenario....and it would have cost me anywhere from $1300-$2500 to get it fixed. My poor little car, with a working transmission, wasn't worth that much!

Fortunately, I have a friend who looked into getting me a used transmission, and found one that I could have put in for about $800. The problem was, coming up with $800. Things are rather tight, due to some bad decisions on my part (God is working on me about that), so I was in a real pickle. Buying a car wasn't an option for several reasons, so suffice it to say, things weren't looking too good.

But God began to work things out. First of all, we have a staff car (at my job) that my boss decided to let me use until something worked out. So, I just began praying for God to move and provide me with the money to get my car fixed. I would have been happy just getting it back in good working order, so I could run it into the ground for a second time. [Let me add in here that my car has served me well! I found out the other day that my car was built to really only last 3 years - I got 8 good years out of mine! So I thank the Lord for that!]

Anyway - all this time, I've just been praying about the situation and thinking to myself that I could see no way for things to work out. At the same time, I had an incredible peace that He was going to take care of things. I just had no idea how He was going to do it!

My boss came in on Friday and told me that he had decided to give me the car...yes, I said GIVE...AND...because it would come to me like a bonus - and there would be a tax expense to me - some of our staff have given money to cover that cost. But that's not all...he talked with someone else who is going to help me sell my car for parts, and the money I get from that will go towards having my "new" car checked out and serviced to make sure it is in good working order.

Can you believe that?!?! I am so overwhelmed. I've feel like I haven't sufficiently responded to God and what He has done. I mean, I've been almost speechless about the whole thing. I did, however, share my story at church this morning. Perhaps there will be times over the next few weeks where God will provide an opportunity for me to share what He has done with other people. Who knows? All I know is that I now have a car, and it hasn't cost me a thing. I was hoping for the cash to get my car fixed, but He gave me a new car (new to me!) and, it is a bit of an's a slightly bigger car with power windows, door locks and seats. My other car wasn't that fancy. :)

So if you're reading this, and you think there is no solution to your problem - let me tell you there is. When I was on that cruise to Cozumel, one night I was up on the front deck, looking out into the vast blackness of the ocean with millions of stars twinkling overhead. God spoke to my heart at that moment and reminded me that if He could place each one of those stars in the sky, and know them by name, and if He could form the earth, with it's vast seas and all the creatures in it, and if He could know every detail of every person walking the face of the earth, surely He could handle the problems I was bringing to Him. To think that the Creator of this universe would even care that much about me to be concerned with my travel options is humbling....and awesome. He wants to know me and for me to know Him intimately. It blows my mind and I can hardly believe it.

I only hope I will remember the awe and wonder of this moment the next time I think I need to doubt God's working in my life. Maybe it will take longer to forget how good God is to me. :)

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

My trip to Cozumel

I'm baaack! :)

Even though I'm still suffering from "sea legs", it is good to be back at home. (At times the room still sways!) Everyone should take a cruise at least once!

I must say, I had the best sleep I've had in a LONG time on this cruise! The gentle swaying of the boat and the constant soft drumming of the ship's motor is a perfect recipe for a good night's sleep! The bed was comfortable, too! Of course, the constant activity of the day helped to contribute to sheer exhaustion by the time my head hit the pillow each night! It was great!

The staff on board the ship were outstanding as well. They were very friendly and worked their butts off! I don't envy their jobs! It might be nice to sail around the world, but I don't know that I'd want to work while doing it. Those folks are on that boat, away from their families, for eight to nine months at a time! Yikes! I can't imagine even taking a 14-day cruise, much less living and working on a ship for eight months straight! The people on staff that I had the opportunity to talk with were very nice and interesting.

Anyway, I have pictures from the cruise. You can check them out here.