Archive for the ‘Christian Living’ Category

Tattoos, Hookahs, & Dumpster Diving

Monday, November 26th, 2018

tattoos-hookahs-dumpster

This is part 2 of reaching the city of Spokane for Christ, being led by the Spirit to specific locations to minister to all kinds of people that I would normally never associate with.

People who are refreshing and real hang out in dark places, trying to help those who are in misery and addiction. While paying the phone bill of an underprivileged friend who had no way to pay it, I saw the man behind the counter had a tattoo that said, “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.” (Psalm 150:6) The tattoo took up his whole arm! We asked him to pray for us, and his prayer was wonderful!

A few days before, God had guided us to a tattoo parlor with a skull painted on the side of the building. Because I’m a sheltered missionary kid who always tried to do the right thing my whole life, I was scared to go into a store with bad people in it. My judgmentalism was sin, and I had no idea how self-righteous and cold-hearted I had been. I certainly never meant to look down on others. I was blind to the ugliness of my own sin.

My ministry partner and I walked through the door of the small building with a skull, and we saw different designs of tattoos and body piercings crammed all over the walls. A man behind the counter came up to us and asked if he could help us. I gulped, and my ministry partner began some small talk about body piercings. Soon we seemed to be wrapping up the conversation, so I blurted out, “We were wondering if you would like us to pray with you—we like praying for people…”

He said yes, and his face was so sweet and beautiful and he came out from behind the counter to hold hands with us. He told us about himself, and that his name was Jeremiah, and my ministry partner burst out with praise to God saying, “This is all a front for ministry! The prayers you have been praying have been to the true God. All you need to add to the end of your prayers is ‘in Jesus’ name.’” She then asked him to pray for us. As he prayed for us, I was filled with so much joy I thought I would burst.

When we exited the tattoo parlor, I jumped up and down and cried out, “If I had known how easy and fun that would be, I wouldn’t have been scared! O Lord, send us to more dark places, that we might see You shining in those places!” That was my favorite of many places because of the sharp contrast from going in to coming out. I repented of my sin of judgmentalism and asked God to give me a greater love for those who are in dark places.

Less than five minutes later, we were led by the Spirit to a hookah place. I was no longer scared. By the way, this was Halloween night, so we were really bringing Christ as a treat to different places that had candy for trick or treaters. (You must know that I have always hated Halloween and looked down on people who celebrated evil and witchcraft, not asking Jesus what He wanted me to do to redeem the day for His glory rather than look down on people. Once again, I repented of my hardened heart and asked God to change me to become all things to all people that I might win some to Christ.)

Entering the hookah place, we saw a woman with two large dogs behind the counter. My ministry partner loves dogs and was speaking to them. The dogs acted as if my ministry partner was their owner. The lady led one of the dogs out from behind the counter, and the dog lifted his paws and danced with my ministry partner. I was so shocked and exclaimed, “The dog is dancing with you!” She commanded the dog to dance with me, too, and the dog put his paws on my shoulders and danced with me. I’m scared of dogs, so I was in disbelief.

The real owner behind the counter said she had never seen her dogs act this way. Her heart was open to us because of it. (She keeps the dogs behind the counter to protect her.) We talked about Jesus. She said she knew Jesus but she didn’t go to church because she doesn’t like church people. She also judged people who came into her store, and she looked down on them. My ministry partner shared some words straight into her heart that applied to her situation, and told her to tell her clients that Jesus loves them. She said yes, she would. She was still in awe of what her dogs had done and listened to every word we said. When she was convicted by what my ministry partner was saying, I wiped tears from my own eyes. Then we left. We spent the rest of the night ministering at the mall.

On a different night, we were going back-to-back to different places where God led us. My ministry partner asked me, “Where next?” I bowed my head and closed my eyes and asked the Holy Spirit, “Where do You want us to go next?” I saw in my spirit a building that looked like a castle with a tower on either side. I said it looked like it could be a church. By now we had picked up our third ministry partner, and she recognized my description as a church not far from where we were. When we arrived there, I exclaimed that it was exactly what I saw in my spirit. My ministry partner said, “God wants us to park there.” I parked right next to the dumpster according to God’s command, and we saw a man ducking behind the dumpster. We prayed briefly and then got out of the car.

I walked straight behind the dumpster with no fear, telling the man that Jesus sent us. He was dumpster diving, and he had removed some fruit from the dumpster. He said he wanted fruit, and I told him, “I can buy you some fresh fruit from the store. Why don’t you come with us? I can drop you off anywhere you want to go.” He was astounded. We asked if we could pray for him, and he said yes. He had given his life to Christ years ago but had lost his way. After praying with him, he said he was okay and decided not to come with us. “Jesus loves you, and don’t you forget it!” I shouted joyfully while getting back into the car and asking God, “Where next?”

Reaching Spokane for Christ

Saturday, November 24th, 2018

reaching-spokane-for-christ

Before I write about our missions trip to Texas, you need to understand the manner in which we have been reaching the city of Spokane for Christ. God has been leading us to specific people all over the city, guiding us in ways that the book of Acts describes. For example, when Philip was taken by the Spirit of God to the eunuch who was reading from the book of Isaiah and not understanding, the man was ready to be saved but needed someone to explain the gospel to him (Acts 8:26-40). Only God knew where this eunuch was located, so He led Philip to this specific location.

This happens over and over again in the book of Acts. Peter is told to go specifically to the house of Cornelius because he and his household were ready to be saved (Acts 10:1-11:18). I’m giving you examples so you don’t freak out when I tell you that this is exactly how God has been leading me this past month and a half, leading to our missions trip to Texas.

The Spirit of God has been leading us to specific locations (turn right, go to the end of the street, knock on the door at the right and tell the woman who answers the door these specific words). Or “Go to this supermarket located at such and such a place. I will point out who you will speak to about Me.” Those of you who have read Corrie Ten Boom’s testimony know that the Spirit of God led her in the same way. She is a modern example of this, in case you don’t believe that God works this way any more, especially in these last days before Christ’s return.

I have had more joy than I have ever had in my life while proclaiming salvation to the lost and encouragement to His saints who are oppressed. When we prayed with a cashier at a grocery store one day, an older woman who worked at the same store came running up to us as we prayed, wanting to be prayed for, too! People are eager and ready for Jesus, and there are not enough workers. If you are reading this, ask God who you can share Christ with, because the time is short before Jesus comes.

The Spirit of God prompted me to go to a specific pawn store and sell something. I did not want to go in because I’ve been a sheltered self-righteous missionary kid my whole life, and I thought evil people hung out in dark places, and I was too afraid to ever go to dark places with the gospel. I forced myself to walk through the door, and the pawn shop was brighter than I thought and I actually felt safe. I was relieved, since I was by myself this time, having dropped off my ministry partners at a different location to minister to someone at a jail. I asked the Lord to amplify the person He wanted me to speak with. The Lord showed me the man on the left behind the counter. (There were three counters, and God had already prompted me I would be praying for a man in this store, so I needed to make sure it was the right man.)

As the man behind the counter filled in the paperwork, I heard in my spirit, “Daughter needs healing.” I asked the man if he had a daughter, and he said his girlfriend had a daughter. I said, “Does she happen to need healing?” He was shocked and said that the daughter had scoliosis and was going into surgery that month. I asked if he would like me to pray with him, and he said yes and reached his hands over the counter and God took over my mouth with a powerful prayer. He was amazed and thanked me.

Later that same day, having picked up my ministry partners, I took the $60 I was given in the pawn shop, and God led us to a specific supermarket. I walked around the store, asking God to amplify the person that He wanted me to pray with. A clean-cut young man with a pony tail was pointed out to me by God, and He prompted me to give him the $60. The man was shocked because he was minding his own business and wasn’t asking for money or anything. And he burst out with excitement, saying that he needed exactly $60 to pay his rent that month, and he now knew there was a God. I asked if we could pray with him, and he was eager for us to do so.

One of my ministry partners was prompted to go to a friend’s house. When we arrived, the woman said she was finally ready to give her life to Jesus. We prayed the prayer of salvation with her and with her teen son, who both got on their knees and confessed their sins. The daughter had prayed for this day to come for her mom and brother, and finally after years of praying for their souls, they gave their lives to Christ!

There are dozens and dozens of stories like this from this past month and a half. My heart bursts with joy at retelling them, so I will continue to list these praises in future posts. All the glory goes to God because without His prompting, none of this would have been possible. “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.” Romans 8:14

A Great Day to be Alive

Monday, April 16th, 2018

great-day-to-be-alive

When you’re living a life of suffering with no end in sight, it’s hard to feel alive. The suffering sucks the life out of you so that you have to rely on God to get through your daily tasks. Strangely, during the past three years of non-stop suffering, I have accomplished more for God’s kingdom than all the rest of my life combined. Maybe it’s because God’s power is perfected in weakness, and the only way to be filled with His power is to surrender when we have nothing left.

This is one reason why suffering is something to rejoice in the midst of, not for the pain itself, but for the results it brings. Endurance and the power of God are only doled out to those who tenaciously cling to God to the death. Or to the living death, which is worse than death because in heaven at least Christ would wipe away every tear from our eyes and there would be no more suffering.

Job felt that way. He sat in the ashes, wailing in horror and sadness, wondering why God had seemingly abandoned him. Why was he born just to suffer?

“It is one thing to bear a sudden tragedy. It is quite another to suffer its pain for weeks and months and even years afterward.” – John Piper

God is full of endless delights, either as we worship Him through song in the midst of suffering to feel His tangible presence, or in His turning events around suddenly in a single day. With Job, God showed up and not only healed him but gave him back twice as much as he had before. He lived the rest of his life in peace and joy, having experienced God in a way few have.

And God was vindicated. Satan lost. God showed Satan that there are some of us—including me—that love God not for what He can give to us but for who He is. He will make all things right in the end and not a single tear goes unnoticed by God. All of our days are written in a book (Psalm 139:16), and if we suffer well, the book that has our name on it in the library of heaven will forever be a slap in Satan’s face that God was worthy to serve even when circumstances appeared to be dark with no way out.

cupcake-stand

So when my daughter walked across a parking lot the other day, she exclaimed with arms extended in the sunshine, “Look, Mom! It’s a great day to be alive!” I stopped and looked at her.

“I guess it is!” I laughed. I remembered a cupcake stand I saw at the mall that my daughter had never seen. I knew she would love the cupcake display, so I asked her, “Do you want to get a cupcake?”

“Sure, Mom!” she said as she rolled down the windows in the car, her hair flying in all directions. I rolled down my own window and shouted, “It’s great to be alive. Woohoo! We’re really living it up today!”

car-wash

After choosing a cupcake and eating it, we drove to the car wash. My daughter wanted to snap selfies during the car wash and told me what a great day she had when we got home.

I guess my point is that you can still feel alive even in a seemingly hopeless situation. With God all things are possible. Even though we might suffer longer than we would prefer, God is bringing about something beautiful out of our tragedy that will be read by generations to come. Don’t lose hope.

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.” 2 Corinthians 4:16 NIV

How the Money Multiplied

Monday, March 19th, 2018

how-the-money-multiplied

“Why don’t you go home?” my friend from Honduras asked when she saw my eyes drooping as I sat by her bed in the hospital room. I had been by her side for almost a week following her surgery. I decided I needed a nap, and I told her I would be back early the next day to translate the doctor’s instructions before she was released from the hospital.

As I drove away, before getting onto the freeway I saw a bum looking towards the traffic with agony. Normally I feel nothing for bums, but this time I had supernatural compassion from Jesus. I’m not sure how I knew, but I saw that the agony in his soul was real. I couldn’t stop because of the green light and the traffic, so I merged onto the on-ramp to the freeway.

“Why did You give me supernatural compassion for a bum that I couldn’t do anything about?” I asked God, praying for the man, that he would know Christ and that he would once again be a productive member of society. I prayed that God would remove his agony. Then I asked God if I could see him again, and would He tell me what I could do for him.

The next morning while I drove to the hospital, lo and behold, I saw the same bum on the side of the road. I quickly grabbed $20 out of my wallet, rolled the window down, and drew his attention. He came over and received the $20. Then I reached out my hand towards him, and he looked perplexed. He took my hand, and I felt my face shining with Jesus. I cried out, “Jesus loves you!” My heart broke as I smiled at him, and I felt power going out of my hand and into the bum, and he received the love of God coming out of me.

That one moment was frozen in time.

Suddenly he realized the light was going to change and he didn’t want to get run over, so he let go of my hand and hobbled across the street. He was covered in dirt from head to toe, and I could see that he had a lower back problem. I asked God, “Would you please count my laying on of hands for his healing?” I knew that when the power of God went out of me, it felt the same as when I lay hands for healing and deliverance, so something supernatural had already occurred. I had been fasting that day by accident because I didn’t have time to eat before realizing I would miss the doctor’s instructions if I didn’t leave immediately. I determined to go ahead and make it a real fast and dedicated it to the physical healing of the bum.

Entering the hospital room, I told my friend about the bum. The doctor came and gave instructions. The nurse told me we could pick up the medication in the hospital pharmacy. Realizing that there was no one to pay for the medication (my Honduras friend has no money), I went down to my car to get my wallet. I looked inside to see how much cash I had. I despise credit cards, so I buy groceries with cash at a store that only takes cash and has lower-priced foods.

I saw that I had two $20 bills left, and I prayed that it would be enough to pay for her medication. I clearly saw that my wallet was empty except for the two $20 bills that I squeaked in my hands to make sure there was nothing behind them. This is the clearest multiplication miracle I’ve ever seen. My money has multiplied itself before, but I always thought there might have been a rational explanation; that I had counted wrong or whatever.

When I got to the hospital pharmacy to pay for the medication, it was $35. I was overjoyed that I had enough. I opened my wallet, and suddenly there were three $20 bills!

When I got back up to my friend’s hospital room, she was drooping her head because she didn’t want me to have to pay for her medication, after all the time I had spent beside her bed for the past week. I eagerly told her that God paid for her medication by doing a miracle! I jumped up and down while I told her what happened, how the money multiplied itself, and her jaw dropped. And I still had $25 for groceries left over!

We laughed as we marveled at God in awe…

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