“But to You I have cried out, O Lord,
and in the morning my prayer comes before You.”
I forgot to mention that Richard Dunn was able to come home until his next treatment. Please continue to pray for Richard, Kathy, and the other family members.
Today at VBS the children will have the plan of salvation presented to them. Pray for Bro. Joey as he talks to the children. Pray for the children. May what they have heard so far have prepared their hearts for the ABC’s of salvation.
OLYMPICS 2008. As the world counts down to the beginning of the Beijing Summer Olympics, many eager volunteers are also counting down to their involvement in Olympic-related ministries. Pray that God will guide and empower all who seek to serve Him through unique opportunities that are present. Pray that many Chinese people will lay hold of something that is even more precious than Olympic gold: salvation through Jesus Christ.
JAPAN. Mrs. K, who lives in a small town in Niigata prefecture, which borders the Japan Sea, is a widow with two children. All three of them are Christians. However, because she is a widow without any specific training, it is very difficult for her to get a job to support herself and her children. She reads her Bible and prays with her children, but there is not a Christian community to encourage her. Her home is surrounded by temples and shrines, fortune-tellers, etc. The people are very superstitious and suspicious of outsiders. They turn deaf ears to her witness and make fun of her. As she and a missionary went prayerwalking around her neighborhood, she indicated that there are no other believers near her home and people shun her because she is a Christian. Pray that Mrs. K will find strength through God’s Word and that she will look to Him daily for grace and provision. Intercede for Him to pour out His Spirit and blessing on her and her family, revealing Himself to be strong and mighty both to her and to those who live in darkness around her. http://www.jgpnetwork.org/
SANTA CATARINA, BRAZIL (sahn-tah cah-tah-REE-nah). Over recent months, you have prayed for a new church plant among the middle/upper class in downtown Florianopolis. Missionaries Jim and Linda Malone are praising God for doors that are opening to reach professionals through weekly lunch meetings to which Brazilians come to practice their English. Pray particularly for the newest outreach that meets in a restaurant three blocks from their home and provides new contacts for the worship times on Saturday evenings in the Malones’ apartment. Also, Jim has been slowly developing relationships with the owner of a health club on the top floor of a nearby shopping mall and also with one of the elite personal trainers there. M, the owner of the gym, has been demonstrating more openness and friendliness week by week. P, the personal trainer, has been more of a challenge since he is not too sure about the “North American.” However, this relationship, too, is now showing more acceptance. Pray specifically that after nine months of “walking across the room” to these men, Jim will now be able to lead them to the place where they may begin a relationship with Jesus, be discipled, and become involved with the new congregation.
NAIROBI, KENYA (ny-ROH-bee). S is a strong Christian leader among the South Asian community of Nairobi, Kenya. For some time now, he has served the Nairobi community faithfully while having a good work opportunity; his family has remained in India. Last year he answered the Lord’s call to East Africa, and now he feels that his family needs to be with him. Pray that the Lord will provide sufficient work in order for his family to join him in Nairobi.
“At the name of Jesus every knee should bow…” (Philippians 2:10).
Mike Benson, Editor
FOR YEARS I wondered why firefighters carried axes to the scenes of fires…
Hadn’t the fire done enough damage without chopping away at the remaining roof or walls? Then I learned that those axes serve a valuable purpose: They uncover smoldering hot spots that might later ignite. It keeps the firemen from having to return.
A famous passage in the Bible regarding fire is found in Jeremiah 20. Jeremiah had to confront strong opposition to the message he preached. And why did he preach that unpopular message? It was what the Lord gave him to speak. In verses 7 and 8 he described those who opposed him: “O Lord, you induced me, and I was persuaded; you are stronger than I, and have prevailed. I am in derision daily; everyone mocks me. For when I spoke, I cried out; I shouted, ‘Violence and plunder!’ Because the word of the Lord was made to me a reproach and a derision daily” (NKJV). The prophet faced hecklers whenever he spoke, and it was getting wearisome.
Jeremiah resolved what any of us likely would have: “Then I said, ‘I will not make mention of him, nor speak anymore in his name'” (v. 9a). But that plan didn’t work for long: “… But his word was in my heart like a burning fire shut up in my bones; I was weary of holding it back, and I could not” (v. 9b).
That kind of motivation to speak up for the Lord is needed in all ages. Jeremiah was not the first to face opposition for preaching the truth, and he wasn’t the last. But where was the “hot spot” in this man that compelled him to speak up for God when others fought him?
He pointed to the source in verse 11: “But the Lord is with me as a mighty, awesome one. Therefore my persecutors will stumble, and will not prevail. They will be greatly ashamed, for they will not prosper. Their everlasting confusion will never be forgotten.” Beyond the daily frustration of fighting the enemies of God, Jeremiah could see the awesome Lord for whom he spoke. That was what kept the fire burning in his heart. That was how he could press on against such great opposition.
When problems come, we can’t help but focus on the problems. When they are especially large, we grow discouraged. But the same formula that worked for Jeremiah will work for us. By shifting our focus from the trials to the almighty God we serve, we’ll find new courage and energy. We’ll soon be able to exult with words like Jeremiah’s: “Sing to the Lord! Praise the Lord! For he has delivered the poor from the hand of the evildoers” (Jeremiah 20:13). (Tim Hall @ http://www.forthright.net/)
Then I said, “I will not make mention of Him, nor speak anymore in His name.” But His word was in my heart like a burning fire shut up in my bones; I was weary of holding it back, and I could not (Jer. 20:9).
What good advice: Don’t focus on the problems. Focus on God!