- Mimi, always so vibrant and full of life, at left, with her mother and older sister.
Because Mimi was born with two spinal cords, her parents came from the countryside to Guatemala City for successive surgeries. First doctors saved her life. Then they helped her to walk. Eventually she gained control of her bladder. She would have been identical twins but the zygote only partially split.
Pastor Ludving leads the church and school heroically, at great personal sacrifice.
Ludving and Nelly wound up attending my church. Ludving was about to buy some alcohol to drown sorrows when he heard the praise music and came in. He didn’t get saved. He had already accepted Jesus. The worship exhilarated and lifted him out of despair. They came to the church.
The Door Church in Guatemala City
When he decided to do something, Ludving never did it half-way. Right decision after right decision led the couple to hosting, then pastoring, a pioneer church. When thugs chased me off, the Holy Spirit pointed to him as the man to take over.
Pastor Ludving with Mario Artiga
To my way of thinking, Mimi should be gloriously and completely healed by now. She is not. On Thursday, she is submitting to her umpteenth surgery, this time to correct kidney failure (she has four kidneys, but only one completely developed and only one works). Urine backflow from her bladder is poisoning her one good kidney.
Faith is not always a snap-of-the-fingers miracle. Faith is grinding out the healing over the long haul. I like the instantaneous variety. But not everything is quick like a fire-cracker. Mimi’s miracles have drawn out inexorably for 16 years, her age. The battle is
raging dragging on, and the faithful keep mustering faith.
Ludving and Nelly
It’s pointless to ask why. Blaming God like an atheist solves nothing (although I suppose he feels high and mightily justified in his bitterness). That’s not what we want. We want final and complete healing for this precious girl.
Mimi is a spunky girl. Despondency affects her parents, her sister, me — but not her. Thanks for helping us pray for her. Let me know how I can help you pray for your needs.
Posted in Financial Talk, prayer
Tagged Christianity, church, Faith, God, Guatemala, Guatemala City, Holy Spirit, how do I pray?, how to pray?, inspriation, Jesus, missionary, missions, pastors
For a change, I’m actually posting a photo I took. This is Santa Monica’s beach. Sorry. I don’t mean to make my friends in the Northern states and Canada jealous.
The motorcycles caught us 5 miles away from the bank. As one of four guys banged the window with a pistol demanding our bags, I had no doubt that it was the bank teller who tipped them off. He had changed our check to cash. Because all our information was in our bags, I figured they’d come back for a kidnapping, so we had to return to America, our 16 years as missionaries in Guatemala at an end.
My 10-year-old son, Hosea, calls this the Leaning Tower of Pizza. I bought these for the Lighthouse Christian Academy’s sports banquet yesterday. Go Saints!
God does an inside job too! Don’t bother to make external changes in yourself — they lead to (false) religiosity. Instead, surrender to His Holy Spirit in prayer daily, and let God transform you from the inside. Once you are saved, you are forgiven, you are new creation, but then God begins a work of perfecting you that will continue for the rest of your life. But it’s on the inside.
Pastor Ludving from Guatemala sent me this T-shirt. Translated: Everyday I wake up handsome, but today I’m off the charts. Thanks for the joke, Pastor Ludving!
In regards to prayer, remember:
- A little bit is better than none, but God wants to work on us daily, so pray daily.
- A little bit more will increment value and power to prayer.
- The best prayers are ones inspired by the Bible or simply taken from the Bible. Jesus dismisses “vain repetitions” — mumbling by rote words penned by another. But there is much to learn and apply from the experts, the Bible heroes.
- The Big D (that’s Devil) constantly bombards you with thoughts that prayer is useless, a waste of time, meaningless, etc. He does this because he knows how effective it is.
- As you pray for others, God also is transforming you — from the inside out.
- Enjoy prayer! Think of it as a romantic date. You are spending time with your Lover, God.
Posted in Financial Talk
Tagged Bible prayers, Christianity, Holy Spirit, how do I pray?, how to pray?, inner work, life, lifestyle, mustard seed faith, pray, prayer, prayers in the Bible
As technology has advanced rapidly, military drones are transitioning from remotely-piloted to almost completely autonomous. The “pilot” now only programs the mission, hits the “takeoff” button and the computer-generated action-sequencing does the rest. By one account, drone-launched missiles killed up to 1000 people in 2006-09, including 20 leaders of al-Qaeda. The burst of drone use is for one obvious reason: you don’t endanger American lives.
Far away from danger, the pilot wages war.
As Christians, we need no more advances in technology to practice remote warfare. The Holy Spirit never errs in His air strikes (but we are talking about giving life, not death, now). We can reach 1000s of miles instantly for healing, salvation, deliverance, finances, whatever.
Have you prayed for outside of your little circle of local friends? Let’s set the range for Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia — and other nations behind the “Iron Veil.” Let’s pray for China that God would continue to stoke revival!
I guess the funny thing is kids playing video games these days are actually training for the Air Force. Praying for souls around the world is no game. We should stop “playing” Christianity and start fulfilling our call to work — at prayer.
Posted in prayer
Tagged 10-40 window, aviation, China, Christianity, drones, God, Holy Spirit, iron veil, Jesus, nations closed to the gospel, pray for salvation, remote warfare, revival in China
Pain is off the charts these days. I believe the multiplication of evil prophesied by Jesus for the last days is to blame. There’s more disintegration of families, more sin abounding, so hearts are hurting everywhere from betrayal. Where love is supposed to be, rejection abounds.
English obviously correlates “cry” and “cry out” in the translation of the Bible. O my God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, and am not silent – Psalm 22:2 NIV. Distress
from The Landy – Out and About
is associated with shouting. Our desperation turns to prayer, our anguish to hope. Prayer, if anything, is pathos.
I asked God for His toughest assignment because I was cocksure of the solution: prayer. Then He allowed me a trial that blindsided me and left me staggering and confused. I had to laugh at myself: I got what I asked for, and then I didn’t know what to do.
Prayer is the outpouring of pain, a solution, not a reveling in hurt. Unlike cutting or pity-partying, it doesn’t celebrate the ouch in an upside-down way; it heals it. Turn not your anguish into alcoholism. You have a God above you who loves you and cares for you.
Posted in prayer
Tagged Bible, Christianity, cutting, depression, Faith, God, Holy Spirit, hope, inspiration, Jesus, love, pain, self-harm, suicide
Why is it so hard to do the easy thing?
Prayer is easy. But there are 57 kabillion distractions that seem more important.
The hard thing is to do your own effort. But we Americans are always gung-ho to roll up the sleeves.
I should know what I’m talking about. I spent more than a decade of missionary work majoring in my own effort. When that didn’t work too well, I “discovered” what I knew all along: God answers prayer.
I started praying more, and the results were spectacular.
Don’t get me wrong. I didn’t become a couch potato Christian. I still worked: I taught, I preached, I evangelized, I visited the brethren. But I cut down somewhat the hectic schedule and dedicated a more significant portion of time to prayer. No longer was prayer perfunctory, get-thru-it-as-quickly-as-possible. It became the focal point of the day.
But you have to clear your schedule, remove distractions, and concentrate on God. That means you turn off your electric devices to be able to turn on your spiritual device! Ha!
Prayer is easy. God works for you. Yet it is hard to pick this option. It is easier for us to try to work ourselves when we want results. That’s our basic human nature. Thus prayer is hard because it’s counterintuitive. Every fiber in our being screams that we are wasting our time.
Posted in prayer
Tagged believe, Bible, Christianity, devotion, Faith, God, Holy Spirit, inspiration, Jesus, missionary, missions, random, thoughts
The world is in your hands. Will you pray?
My seminary emphasized God’s sovereignty. They followed it to its extreme logical conclusion: the intercession group prayed 15 minutes a week.
FIFTEEN MINUTES A WEEK??!?#&?
Their theology was good. Their practice bad. Jesus Himself spent whole nights in prayer. If the Son of the LIVING GOD needed loads of prayer, how much more ourselves?
Sovereignty means nobody, nothing stops God. Everything is part of his total-control. Carried to an extreme, hyper-Calvinism rules out the need for evangelism since God already has destined for salvation those who will get saved. Never mind that Jesus told us to go and evangelize.
My seminary didn’t rule out evangelism, and they didn’t rule out prayer in theory — but they sure did in the practice. While I believe in God’s sovereignty, at the same time I believe my prayers make a difference in the war for the world. I’m constantly reproaching myself for prayerlessness.
We should not discredit the doctrine of God’s sovereignty, but it lives in tension with calls to action in the Bible. (The atheists have a field day with this doctrine!) I’m comfortable with the uncomfortable tension. Stay calm and keep praying.
She showed up mysteriously and asked to be allowed to pray for him. Troubled by poor decisions and an acrimonious divorce, the youth received her warmly enough. Though it seemed strange to him, he let her pray in his room with him there. After the first session, there was another, and then another, and then another. Sometimes he cried, and he didn’t know why.
She was being led by the Holy Spirit. Just barely known to the family, this saint helped the youth carry a burden he didn’t know how to handle. And at the end of the prayer sessions, he was a transformed man. He no longer acted like a rebel. He became a leader for his brothers, in his school. Everyone marveled at the radical change of heart.
God changes people, and He
uses prayer warriors like this lady. They don’t follow an agenda. They have no personal ambition. They feel promptings in their heart and follow them. The uncomprehending regard them as nutcases. But psychologist, no counselor, no life coach can achieve better results.
Circling, circling around their prey, the hungry lions will overpower the man in an instant. The lions’ dungeon is capital punishment in the Persian Empire.
They stride steadily, eyeing the poor Jewish eunuch. At any moment, they will leap crush the helpless man with claw and tooth. Each minute seems like an eternity. And yet each minute passes and give way to another eternity. Strangely not a lion goes for the kill. They menace, gaping hungrily at him. But the entire night passes, and they don’t eat Daniel.
Early in the morning comes the king, who was tricked into throwing his favorite administrator into this hellhole, to see if God delivered him. He calls, and Daniel responds: My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight. Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, O king. – Daniel 6:22 NIV.
Similarly, trials are circling you. At every step, they threaten to sink you. Dont panic. Don’t run away. Don’t quit ministry. You only must remember how God delivered Daniel. Though the lions COULD overpower you, they WON’T. Pray and wait for the morning.
Posted in Christianity
Tagged Daniel, deliverance, God, Holy Spirit, hope, Jesus, lions, ministry, pastors, religion, trials
Granada is the most enchanting place. The Alhambra citadel complex with vast gardens and huge medieval structures graces this Southern city in Spain. It was here that I first met Europe. It was here also that God taught me about prayer.
As a penny-pinching missionary, I never thought I
Part of the Alhambra complex
could visit the Old Continent. By preaching for Bro. Gregorio Ponce, I got housing, transportation, and tour for free. There I saw Carlos V’s palace, a circular structure with an amazing echo when you’re in the exact middle.
There I learned once again how to pray. You see, I was worried. For some reason, I feared that
Part of the Alhambra complex
while I was cavorting in Spain, my church back in Guatemala would go to pot. So I prayed like crazy. When I got back to my church, it was better than ever. Not only had it not crumbled from within, it had blossomed in my absence.
So I didn’t need to be there in person because God was there in person. His Holy Spirit was tending the sheep in my absence. All I did was pray. Prayer is amazing stuff. You can accomplish much more with prayer than you can with your own strength.
Carlos V’s palace
I cherish the memories of Granada — the beauty of the city AND the beauty of prayer.
Posted in Financial Talk, ministerial motivation, prayer
Tagged Alhambra, Christian, Christian success, God, Granada, Guatemala, Holy Spirit, prayer, Spain