Debbie's journey

on the path of God's leading in pursuit of His glory

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The War in the Heavenlies

Leaving Clairton last night just reminded me of the war zone that we minister in. One of my Tuesday night ladies was at Magee Hospital delivering her 5th baby. A call came in earlier that no one would be able to make it to Bible study because they were shopping for her baby things. This baby came 2 weeks early and they weren't quite ready for her to arrive just yet. I went there anyways to touch base with whom ever would be around, and besides I had promised a visit to another young mother the night before.

It's so important in any ministry to build relationships, to be there when their man runs out on them and pick up the emotional pieces, to answer a question about the Bible that didn't quite make sense, to hug a child who comes running to you with open arms. To hand them 20 bucks because they don't have enough to make it to the next check or to buy groceries to help them until the end of the month when the food stamps come in.  Tonight was no exception.

I was standing outside with 1 of our Go Time staff as we were talking to a mother. She has 4 beautiful girls who go to Brittany's class.  They are adorable and want to learn.  As we were standing there, sirens went off and I think all of Clairton police force headed to the street behind us.  Word came around that there was a break-in and a shooting. That story changed as the evening went on.  We continued to talk to the mother, but it wasn't long before we broke up and headed out.  

I ran another one of my Tuesday night ladies down to the convenient store and back home.  Then I made my rounds checking on all my other ladies to make sure everyone was ok. Amber from Thursday evening Bible study was just coming down her street.  She had offered a friend and her kids to stay at her place till things settled  down. This isn't anything new to Clairton. This kind of thing happens all too often.  I'm just glad our little ones made it home before this broke out.  I was on my way home then decided to go back and check on Brent's group who was still meeting.  He had heard from an officer what had happened, so he drove most of the teens home.

I was praying and pondering the events of the evening as I drove home.  Last night was such a visual of the war that goes on in the heavenlies for the hearts and souls of these people. The Holy Spirit gives me the faith to go into this area boldly and with confidence, but I still come away many times broken by the havoc evil plays on these families, as well as, the strangle-hold that crime and wickedness has on this city.  Many times I've left in tears as I pray for a break through for this community of people called Clairton.  There are so many churches there.  Once it was a thriving community, so much so that on the sign going in it says, "Welcome to Clairton, the City of Prayer".  What happened to that?  Satan got a foothold in there somewhere, divided and conquered.

One of the many goals for this ministry is to try and get as many pastors as possible to come together and pray for their city.  At one time they used to work together to reach their community, but over the years that all changed.  Our prayer, and hopefully you will join us, is to bring a spirit of unity back into Clariton once again. As pastors come together, then maybe revival will sweep this river town.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

I Missed It

While I was in Florida dropping my boys off at college, I couldn't help but notice that practically on every street corner were straggly bearded men standing holding signs asking for food, jobs, or simply asking for help. I really didn't notice them at 1st, because I was busy running around getting my boys the necessary items that we couldn't pack on the flight down. 

Then I began seeing these poor homeless souls more and more, especially the closer I got to the shore.  I'm sure they were hoping to catch the eye of some benevolent tourist.  I wasn't sure what to think at first. For the most part, I was pretty wrapped up in my purpose for being down there.  Then I wondered out loud to my boys, why couldn't they at least get a job at McDonald's or some place like that. I'm sure if they could they would.

It wasn't until I was waiting on flights that I realized that I could have bought them food at the local grocery store, prepared what was necessary and dropped it off with each of them. It frustrated me so much that I was slow on the draw with this.  This is what Jesus was talking about in Matthew 25 when He was talking to those standing at His throne.

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

I surely passed that opportunity up.  But I haven't been able to shake this feeling that that is exactly what He wants me to do, but in my own backyard so to speak. So I am praying for His direction on this. I'm not sure what it's all going to look like but I've got to pursue this. I'll walk until the Lord shuts the door. But so far the Lord has been confirming it all over the place.  

Check this blog out. It belongs to a farmer's wife and God has given her such incredible insight that has convicted me to the core.

Friday, August 17, 2012

This is Only a Journey

The passing of 2 very dear older saints in the Lord just reminded me that our life here on this earth is only a journey.  It is a brief stay even though it seems long for the moment.  My heart realizes that I cannot put roots down here, I can't take up residence in this place because there is a much greater place waiting for me.  A place where there is no pain, no troubles, no sin.  A place where the homeless have a home and can eat at the royal banquet.   A place where the orphan finally have a family and can run and play with other children and not be strapped to a bed wasting away.   A place where the widow and widower no longer need to worry about who will take care of them or where their next meal will come from.  There is sweet peace, joy unspeakable, and unimaginable love.   Even above all that, this the place where the Lover of my soul resides.

As I look down the road to that very sweet place that I call Home, my heart skips a beat knowing that He is there.  We only get a glimpse of the glory of God here in this life.  We can only remain in His Presence for a short time, because we still have work to do before we arrive Home.  Yes, there are times He abides now, but it's nothing compared to what we will experience in Heaven.  In Heaven, we will  be immersed forever in His wonderful Presence!  To be drenched in His light so as to never ever be in darkness again, who would trade that for anything here on earth?

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Again God Teaches Me

Walking with the Lord has it's challenges and it's great rewards. During worship this morning, the realization came once again just how much God loves His children.  His love for us goes beyond what we often realize.  In my ladies' Bible study in Clairton I have a lot of ladies my age, but I also have young mothers.  As time went on the young mothers for various reasons stopped coming, but I kept in touch with them.  I began to realize that God was wanting me to start a separate Bible study to meet their need.  That's when Thursday evening Bible study began.

In starting that study, came 2 new young moms hungry to learn about the things of God.  These ladies challenge me with questions all the time.  I love their insatiable appetite!  Even with the chaos of all the kids they are eager to learn.  These mothers are asking for Bibles for themselves and for their children so that they can read it to their kids.  One mother, when I showed up at her door with a children's Bible, gratefully hugged me with tears!

But even with all this energy towards God, there is such a magnetic pull that wants to drag them back into the old lifestyle.  The struggle to break out of that is so strong for them, but these women really want to push through.  That's why I want to invest in their lives.

One of their requests was to go to church.  I attempted to get them into the churches there in Clairton, but they really desired to go to mine. So my search for a van driver began.  Many were not available and the one guy who had shown interest in getting involved had just broken his collar bone so he couldn't do it for at least 6 weeks. I kept putting these ladies off until I could find someone.  With no one available, that left me as the only option.  

I really did not want that ministry.  I didn't know how to maneuver a long van around some of those narrow streets, plus that would mean getting to church that much earlier and getting home late.  I would also have to give up teaching Sunday school.  But God provided someone to take the class so I reluctantly boarded the van and drove to Clairton.  For the 1st 2 Sundays I only had 1 family or 2 ladies - nothing worth hauling a large van for the job.  So the 3rd Sunday I just told them I would go in my minivan to pick them up.  Well, God had something up His sleeve!  All  the mothers promised  me they would come and they have come each Sunday since! We have a full, and I mean full van each time with carseats and boosters included.

This van ministry that I dreaded has turned into a ministry of opportunity, and I love it!  We talked about all kinds of things, but we always end up talking about the Lord.  Practical questions arise and situations get covered - all on this ride in the van.  And what is neat is that I have "gotten me come skills" in learning to drive the van.  God is so good!

So while I was worshiping the Lord, I realized just how much He loves these women to take someone like me and teach me to teach them and to serve them.  Tears just trickled down my face, He loves them so much and wants to see them succeed!  That is my God!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

He Didn't Run

As I watched The Passion of the Christ on Easter, I saw that during Jesus' prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, how much anguish He was in.   He was facing brutal torture and He knew it.  The whipping, beating, and mocking were so very hard to watch without streams of tears run down my cheeks.  He endured this for me.  I had to turn away many times.   Mel Gibson did a masterful job of using flashbacks in this movie.

And as much as we want the anguish that Jesus was wrestling with in the garden to be about that, most scholars believe that the true wrestling was over 2 things:  the taking on the sin of the whole world from ages past to the end of time upon Himself and become that sacrifice lamb; and then the separation that would have to take place when the Father turned His face away from Jesus as He hung on that cross.  I can't even imagine!

Whatever the reason, (and it may be all 3) Jesus agonized for quite a while, so much so that He asked that the Father, "Take this cup from Me."  Mk 14:36  But when He had struggled through, He relinquish His will to that of the Father's, "Yet not as I will, but as You will." Mt 26:39  He knew the plan.  He knew that He would be the sacrifice.  Then with resolve He stood up to carry out that plan.  

The thing that got me as I studied it Scripture was that when He went over to the disciples to wake them once more, He said, "Arise! Let us go! Here comes My betrayer!" Mk14:42  He wasn't saying, "they're here, let's get out of here!"  No, Jesus headed into the persecution, actually addressing the guards 1st before they had a chance to inquire of Him.  And of course, He never denied who He was.  I don't know about you, but I'm not sure that I wouldn't turn tail and run, especially knowing it all ahead of time.

Seeing that this time was such a comfort to me.  Here was Jesus, in all His humanness, struggling with what He was facing.  He struggled like we do.  And yet when the time came, He manned up to carry out the purpose for His coming.  There was a greater cause for which to die.    It wasn't that He struggled, but that He followed through.  He face death square and went through with the plan.  Lord, may I too be found that faithful!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

A Testimony

Last fall, there was a lady who was referred to me by one of my Bible study ladies.  She had just discovered her husband's unfaithfulness.  My heart went out to her so much!  She was so angry and so hurt, so my 1st time with her I just sat and listened.  

Over the next few weeks I tried to build a relationship with her.  I shared different aspects of God's love for her as much as I could.  This was always met with anger, why would God allow this, and questions.  I did my best to tell her the truth as it was found in Scriptures.  She had the world's view of the Gospel that I worked at combating plus she had her own ideas of what a Christian was.  It took an incredible amount of determination and patience and just being there for her.  But love broke through.

I thought for sure she just wasn't interested in God or anything about Him, she just wanted my company.  One time, after much discussion about the Gospel, I finally just asked her if she wanted to ask Him into her life.  She looked at me and said that if it was something that she should do, then she wanted to do it.  Simple as that!  So I prayed with her to accept Jesus as her Savior.   I left her with the small green book The Romans Road to Salvation and left.

I wasn't able to check back in with her for about a week, but when I called, she told me that she just couldn't stop reading that little green book.  She propped it up everywhere she went and read it.  God is so good!  When I finally got back to her, there was a definite countenance change.  I don't think I had ever seen her so happy.  I wish I could say that it remained, but it didn't.

The next few months became warfare for her soul!  Usually there is a grace period when someone comes into the Kingdom.  Her grace period lasted only a week or 2.  But I prayed, called and visited with her often, giving her hope and encouragement.  She just clicked with one of the young ladies in the Bible study group, she herself had just rededicated her life to the Lord.  These 2 struck up a hard fast relationship, they were a generation apart in age, but that worked for them.  The new convert became grandma to the young one's small children.

During the holidays, she had a time to get away to her daughter's place in Jersey.  She needed it.  While there, they talked of her moving there on a more permanent basis.  It took a couple of months but she finally made the move.  I was worried that if she left, that she would abandon the Lord because life would become easier.  I had given her the New Testament on CDs, and asked her to please take them so that she could stay strong.

Yesterday I got a call from her.  We chatted a bit.  She is so happy being there and has made the decision to stay and not return to her home.  I asked her if she remembered to take the CDs with her.  She had and she listens to them often. Yay!  She was so excited, she said that when the TV show Jeopardy came on and there were opportunities to answer Biblical questions, not only did she know what they saying now, but she also got the questions right! Double Yay!

The Holy Spirit is so wonderful and so good!  His desires is to see men set free and to succeed in their growth in Him.  I am still praying for her and hoping she finds a fellowship close by in which to grow with.  So if you think about her please pray for her.  She still needs the body of Christ to gather around her even if its only in prayer at the moment.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Yada, Yada, Yada

I had just gotten in my minivan after a really neat opening God  gave me to share the Gospel with 2 young ladies who were giving me my perm.  They were talking about sex outside of marriage which opened the door for me to share. When I turned on the radio, Focus on the Family was on.  They had a guest who was talking about the word "yada".  She said that you often hear people flippantly used the phrase, "Yada, yada, yada" when they mean “yakity-yak-yak”- empty words that means nothing.  That couldn’t be further from the truth.  

Then she began to talk about Genesis 4:1, when it says that Adam knew his wife Eve and she became pregnant. The word used in this context is the same word in the Hebrew to mean “to know” or to know intimately.  She said the Hebrew word is actually “ya-da” which simply means to know, to be known, to be respected. This is also the same word used for "Be still and know that I Am God." found in Psalms 46:10.

She went on to say that this word is used in the Bible so much more in terms of getting to know God intimately than it was used to refer to the physical act.  God’s desire is for us to pursuit Him to get to “know” Him.  I thought it’s probably the same word Moses used in Exodus 33:13 when he made a request for God to show him His ways that he may “know” Him.  Moses wanted more than just His ways, but to “know” Him, to know God intimately.  He wanted to get into the heart of God.  I went home, studied that word and found so much more.
When a couple marries, they learn to know their spouses interests, their concerns, their quirks.  Intimacy is more than just physical; it’s getting to know that person.  There are special things that only the 2 of them know.   That is the same with our Lord.   Another definition to the word "ya-da" is to be privy to.   There are certain things that God will reveal to you only in the secret place.   Jeremiah 33:3 says, “Call to Me [pursuit Me], and I will answer you, and tell you [some versions say, ‘show you’] great and unsearchable things you do not know.” 

I found it very interesting that that particular show would be on after the conversation I had with these girls.  Not only is it a lesson for these girls, it's a lesson for us as well.  So make time in that busy schedule to get to know, “ya-da” God.  Shove away from anything that hinders that kind of fellowship with Him.  It’s a price worth paying!