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In the Secret Place by Beth

“When you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place…”
Matthew 6:6

Do you have a secret place where you daily meet with Jesus? A place where you put all aside and simply listen, talk, and commune with Jesus? This has been such a vital part of my walk with the Lord. It has changed my prayer life.

God does not hear us because we pray earnestly or in secret. He hears us solely on the basis of redemption. Prayer is not simply getting things from God – prayer is coming into perfect fellowship and oneness with God. For me personally, it is in the secret place. It is a place that it’s just me and Jesus. Psalm 139:3-4 assures me that God is already intimately acquainted with me and all of my ways. Even before there is a word on my tongue He KNOWS it! Wow! He knows my every thought. He knows the deepest longings of my heart and my deepest fears. He knows, and cares.

Oswald chambers writes, “Having a secret stillness before God means deliberately shutting the door on our emotions and remembering Him.” God is in secret, and He sees us from “the secret place”. He does not see us as other people do or as we see ourselves. This secret place is where I weep before the Lord and know that as I weep and plead with my Father, Jesus is at His right hand interceding for me. It is in this place He reminds me I am a child of the Most High King–the One whose very breath is in my lungs. It is here He reminds me I am His. It is here He reminds me Jesus is interceding for me and those who are in Him. All the while Satan (whose name is the “accuser”) is accusing us, pointing out our sins and frailties before God. But the accusations fall upon deaf ears in heaven, because ‘Jesus work on the cross paid for our sin debt in full; therefore, God always sees His children in the perfect righteousness of Jesus. Amen!

When we enter into “the secret place,” we will find that God was right in the middle of our everyday circumstances all the time. I can remember specifically entering into this secret place with Jesus when I was on my first mission to Maisome Island, Tanzania. The Lord knew my fear of the unknown. I had said “yes” to Jesus way before I knew the details of this particular trip. Fear began to creep in. Let me say here, because I had been dwelling in the secret places with Jesus–sometimes multiple times a day–I knew exactly what to do when fear began to plant itself in my mind. I cried out to the Lord and He heard me! Jesus began to overwhelm me with thoughts of Him doing battle for me. He reminded me that I live from a place of victory already won. He reminded me, “I have not given you a spirit of fear, but of power, of love, and of a sound mind” 2 Timothy 1:7. I praise Him!

Do you have a secret place that you daily meet with Jesus? Let me encourage you to find this place. It does not necessarily have to be a physical place. A secret place can simply mean being still before the Lord. Deliberately shutting the door on our emotions and remembering Him. Cry out to Him; call on His name with the assurance that He hears the prayers of those who seek Him and seek Him with all their heart. (Jeremiah 29:13).

A Broken, Useful Vessel by Laura

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us” (II Corinthians 4:7).

You are useful to your Master Potter because of
His presence within you!

1. YOU HAVE PURPOSE AS A BROKEN VESSEL

As jars of clay, designed by the Master Potter, cracked in many ways, but mended by the grace of Christ, we are indwelt by the precious treasure of the light of the gospel of Christ in the person of the Holy Spirit, for the purpose of showing that our power belongs to God and not to us.

What a purpose!! To be a vessel for His honor… A jar of clay for His glory… A cracked pot for His garden. Bringing God glory is our purpose and that never changes! God said, “I have made them for my glory. It was I who created them” (Isaiah 43:7).

You not only have purpose but you are useful

2. YOU ARE USEFUL AS A BROKEN VESSEL

God has good works for you. Uses for you. Just you. In your uniqueness as He has designed you. Paul writes in Ephesians 2:10, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”

So, as we listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit through His Word, He speaks, He guides, He enables us to discern the specific works, uses (ministries) He has prepared for us to walk in. These will change and look different in every season of your life.

At my house, I have a pitcher (vessel) used only for sweet tea. It has a specific use. I don’t use it for anything else. When it’s empty…it’s of NO use. But on a hot summer day, when I pour out that sweet tea over some ice in a glass with fresh squeezed lemon juice…there’s nothing more refreshing!

You will be a useful vessel only as you are emptied of self
and filled with the Spirit.

One of God’s specific uses for you is right where you find yourself today! In the specific role He has called you to fulfill. You are in His plan for your life. But there is a decision to be made. A question to be asked each and every day!

“Will I choose to be emptied of self and filled with the sweet Holy Spirit who will refresh me and in turn refresh others through ME?”

You are useful to your Master Potter because of His presence within you!

Take some time to pray and think about your head, heart and hands.

Your perspective (what you think in your head) will affect your attitude
(how you feel in your heart) which will determine your actions
(what you do with your hands).

Head – Your goal is to think Biblically! So, in the context of your everyday life, I want you to know that you are commissioned by Christ and empowered by the Spirit. 2 Cor. 5:20 says, “We are ambassadors for Christ.”

Heart – Your goal is to let Christ rule your heart (rule over your emotions).
Col. 3:15 says, “let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts… and be thankful.”
I want you to feel thankful for the blessing of being useful to Christ.

Hands – Your goal is to serve Christ. I Cor. 10:31 “…whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”  I want you to do whatever Jesus tells you. John 2:5, “His mother said to the servants, ‘Do whatever he tells you.'”

You are useful to your Master Potter because of
His presence within you!

Wilderness Wanderings – A Devotion by Miriam

“Because of your great compassion you did not abandon them in the wilderness. By day the pillar of cloud did not fail to guide them on their path, nor the pillar of fire by night to shine on the way they were to take. You gave your good Spirit to instruct them. You did not withhold your manna from their mouths, and you gave them water for their thirst. For forty years you sustained them in the wilderness; they lacked nothing, their clothes did not wear out nor did their feet become swollen.” Nehemiah 9:19-21

Do you ever feel like you are in the wilderness?  Maybe it is because of relationships, finances, your spiritual life, or some other reason. There have been times in my life when I have felt like I was wandering in the wilderness and was wondering when the Lord would choose to bring me out.

Sometimes the Lord leads us into the wilderness to test us (Deuteronomy 8:2). Other times you may be in the wilderness because of your own doing. Whatever the reason you are in the wilderness, if you trust the Lord and make the decision to follow and obey Him, He will continue to guide you while you are in the wilderness.

In my time with the Lord recently, I was reading in Nehemiah 9, and the words in these verses just seemed to jump off the page of my Bible. Our family has had some financial struggles lately and I’ve felt a bit like we’ve been in the wilderness. The Lord is so gracious to use His word to remind me He hasn’t abandoned me, He is always providing for me, and we truly lack nothing we need.

Are you in the wilderness right now or have you just come out of the wilderness?  If you are in the wilderness, won’t you trust Him to see you through?  If you have just come out, why don’t you encourage someone in your life who may be in the wilderness.

Remind Yourself – A Devotion by Beth

You know, sometimes you just get in a funk. You can be in the middle of doing something you love, with people you love and be blah. You really can’t put your finger on it. It’s just a blah-ness. I get it.

I love Jesus. I love life. I love people. I am passionate about so many things. Then why do I sometimes feel a sadness come over me? A feeling of disparity thinking, “Nothing is going to change. I’m forever going to be stuck in this feeling!”

Listen to me friend; yes, there are days our feelings can get the best of us. Feelings are so fickle. Remind yourself of your position in Christ, “God has raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6). Remind yourself that as His children He has “blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 1:3). Remind yourself that you are loved with an everlasting love. Remind yourself that your relationship with Jesus is not based on how you feel. It is based on the Person of Jesus Christ. Period.

Often we can hide behind our social media profiles and everything seems all good all the time.  It’s not so.  Joy is a daily choice. Let’s just keep pressing into Jesus. Let’s let Him do our worrying and heavy lifting today. Remind yourself, He’s a good, good Father!

Dependent Prayer – A Devotion by Laura

“The eyes of the LORD are toward the righteous and his ears toward their cry.”
(Psalm 34:15).

For many years, I have been amazed by prayer. How about you? Has the mystery of prayer ever sent you searching to God’s Word? It is a mystery to me that God is sovereign over all, yet He tells me to call on Him in prayer, to pour out my heart to Him. Prayer is communication with our Father! It begins with His prompting by the sweet Holy Spirit. We cry out to Him and He hears. He responds to our requests and gives loving guidance as we pray for others. It’s as if prayer is the conduit between heaven and earth and we are the vessels He uses for this connection. Prayer is most surely a dialogue. I have pondered two extremes concerning prayer. One extreme is, ”I’m going to pray and it all depends on me. If I don’t pray then nothing will happen.” This is fearful praying, many times with selfish motives and in reality, filled with pride. The other extreme I have pondered is, ”God, I believe You are sovereign and You know my heart so there’s no need to pray… have Your will! It all depends on You.” This is ignoring the command to pray, mentioned many times in scripture and seems indifferent. Extremes are dangerous.

God has done His decisive work…yes, He is sovereign; yes, He will accomplish His will; yes, He will receive glory and yes, He is in the heavens and does as He pleases (Psalm 115:3). But I have dependent work to do…I trust Him, love Him, surrender to Him, walk by faith and not by sight, totally depend on Him. One of these dependent works is prayer. Apart from Christ, I cannot pray! His blood shed on the cross gives me entrance to the throne of grace as the writer of Hebrews says, “that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). I am dependent on Christ in prayer.

The Old Testament priest spoke to God on behalf of the people while the Old Testament prophet spoke to the people on behalf of God. This dialogue describes prayer! The people were dependent on the priests and prophets to engage in this dialogue. Today, Jesus is the Great High Priest and God’s Prophet all in one and we depend on Him as we pray.

Have you been thinking that prayer depends on you? It only depends on Jesus!! Take time to pray today in whatever posture you choose, remembering that the most important posture is that of your heart; your dependent heart!

Be an Imitator – A Devotion by Miriam

Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.
Ephesians 5:1-2 (NLT)

If you have been around children for any time at all, you know they are big imitators of the life going on around them. We have had many laughs over the things our granddaughters say which they have heard one of us say. Thankfully, nothing too terrible. It does remind us to be careful. It also makes us realize we need to be sure we are imitating the Lord so they will see Him in us, and therefore, imitate Him, too.

As a believer, you and I should be aware that our actions and our words are being imitated, or at the very least, watched by those around us. Therefore, we need to be careful to imitate Christ in everything we do. The scripture above says, “Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ.” Christ loved us so much He died for us. Do we live sacrificially as we go throughout our days? Do we think of overs and their needs, before our own needs? That is definitely one way to imitate Christ.

Another way to imitate Christ is by spending time with the Lord. Mark 1:35 says, “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” When we spend time with the Lord each day — reading His word and praying — we will be able to imitate Christ in a more sincere way. As we read His word, asking the Lord to apply it to our lives, we will begin to look more like Christ each day, and that’s our goal as believers, to grow more and more like Christ. One day when I was taking care of our twin granddaughters, I was spending time with Jesus and they walked in the room and wanted to know what I was doing. I told them I was reading God’s word — the Bible — and talking to Jesus. They immediately wanted a Bible so they could read it and talk to Jesus.

Whether you are a parent, grandparent, teacher, neighbor, student, or friend, someone is watching you today. Will you imitate the Lord? Do your actions point others to Christ? Are you putting the needs of others above yours? Ask the Lord to help you do this and He will.

“Jesus” – A Devotion by Beth

“Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, there’s just something about that name.
Master, Savior, Jesus, like the fragrance after the rain.
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, let all heaven and earth proclaim.
Kings and Kingdoms may all pass away,
But there’s something about that name.”
(Words by Bill and Gloria Gaither)

I just love the words of this song.  Jesus!  Just the name, Jesus, is powerful to me.  There are days that I only have the energy to speak his name. His name brings healing to my soul.

“Love has a name; Jesus! Grace has a name; Jesus! Strength has a name; Jesus! Hope has a name; Jesus! Forgiveness has a name; Jesus! Power has a name; Jesus! Wisdom has a name; Jesus! Patience has a name; Jesus! Peace has a name; Jesus! Comfort has a name; Jesus!” (Jarrid Wilson)

Jesus!  Do you know Him?  Jesus, the Name above all names.  Jesus, the One Who has no equal!  Jesus, the One Who has no rival.  Jesus, whose name is powerful.  Jesus, whose name is beautiful.  Jesus, whose name is wonderful.

Jesus!  Do you know Him?  He desires a relationship with you.  John 15:16 says, “He chose you. You did not choose him.”  The Bible also say in Romans 10:13, “Everyone who calls on the name of Jesus will be saved.”

Jesus!  My prayer for you friend, as you read this today, is that you would come to know Jesus, the lover of your soul.  Jesus, the One who bled and died for you so that you might have life and have it abundantly.
Jesus!

A Legacy of Sincere Faith by Laura

“I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well” (II Timothy 1:5).

Paul writes from prison to his son in the faith, Timothy, to encourage him in his ministry. He is reminded of Timothy’s sincere faith that was exemplified not only by his mother, but his grandmother as well. This legacy of faith is indeed a gift! Paul also poured into Timothy’s life and reminds him to fan into flame the gift of God in him by faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. “By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you” (II Timothy 1:14). This good deposit was made in Timothy at an early age. Nurtured by his grandmother, mother and the Apostle Paul, Timothy, is growing up in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Having recently had a wonderfully long visit with our oldest daughter and first grandson, this verse resounds loudly in my heart. When my husband read the stories of Jesus to our grandson, he listened intently with amazement in his eyes. It was beautiful to see his delight in his Bible and his smile at the picture of Jesus on the cover. I was reminded of this verse and pray for the day when he will trust Christ for forgiveness. My prayer is that a legacy of sincere faith is being deposited into his life, not only by his family but that in God’s timing there might be others who love Jesus that will invest in this little man. When he hears God’s voice calling him to spiritual life, may he answer with a resounding “speak, Lord, your servant is listening,” as Samuel did, and grow up in the grace and knowledge of the Lord, leaving a legacy of sincere faith himself.

Think back over your life. Is there a legacy of faith? Did members of your family or friends fan into flame God’s gifts in you? I trust this describes your experience. Remember the good deposits that have been made in you and give thanks. Find ways to nurture those around you with the same sincere faith. If this was not your situation growing up, make a willful decision that by God’s grace, you will begin a legacy of sincere faith TODAY that will affect generations to come!

Ponder this:
“Faith is…
Believing that what the Lord has said to us will be accomplished.
Being fully persuaded that God has the power to do what He has promised.
Believing that things will happen just as He has told us.
Considering Him faithful who has given us promises.”
Robert Morgan – Red Sea Rules

Eleven Words – A Devotion from Miriam

“…Noah…consistently followed God’s will and enjoyed a close relationship with him.”

Genesis 6:9

I have been journaling in my time with the Lord for many years.  I love to go back and see how the Lord answered certain prayers or see how I’ve grown in my love for Him. In the fall of 2017 I   was struggling to be at peace because of some difficulties we were going through with regard to our finances and just a busy life. Our grandson, Audie, had decided to come five weeks early (on August 4th rather than September 9th), which happened to be three weeks before our youngest son’s wedding on August 26th. Life was a bit hectic and out of control (of my control, anyway).

As I look back in my journal I see many entries where I praised the Lord for being my peace. I know it was as much a reminder to myself that He is indeed my Peace.  It also seemed like everywhere I turned, I was either reading about God’s peace in His word, hearing a sermon on God’s peace, or visiting with friends and they would “happen” to share about God giving them peace through a difficult circumstance.

In fact, when One Purpose was in Moldova, God chose to speak to this American through a New Zealand pastor who was the guest at Doxa Deo Church while we were there.  The sermon was on experiencing God’s peace in difficult circumstances.  The pastor took us to Isaiah 26:3, which says, “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, whose thoughts are fixed on you!”.  When I turned in my Bible to that passage, I had written in the margin, “Matthew 14:29-30 – Focus on Jesus”.  The Matthew passage is when Jesus told Peter to come to Him on the water. Peter was doing fine until he got his eyes off of Jesus and on the waves instead.

That seems to be my problem — getting my eyes off of Jesus and putting them on my circumstances.  Maybe you can relate. So, as I began 2018, it was with a desire to keep my eyes on Jesus and let His peace permeate my being no matter what is going on around me. I decided that I would read through the Bible this year and am doing so in The One Year Chronological Bible (NLT).  On day two I came to the story of “Noah and the Flood.” in Genesis 6:8-9 it says, “But Noah found favor with the Lord. This is the history of Noah and his family. Noah was a righteous man, the only blameless man living on earth at the time. He consistently followed God’s will and enjoyed a close relationship with him.”

At that moment everything came together for me.  All the months of focusing on God’s peace and seeking to keep my eyes on Jesus — it all came together in 11 words in Genesis 6:9. I can keep my eyes on Jesus and experience His peace when I consistently follow God’s will and enjoy a close relationship with Him…when I make it a priority to spend time daily with Him.

So, my challenge for you as you look at the remaining ten months of 2018, is to spend time with Jesus consistently and choose to follow His will for your life. It doesn’t mean your life will be perfect and without difficulties. What it means is in the midst of life — the good and the bad — He will be your peace, joy, strength, comfort, and so much more.

2017 Moldova Mission Update

We wanted to share about our trip to Moldova last fall. It was our intention to update before now, but since we are wives and mommas (and now grandmommas) first, that just didn’t happen.

Celebrating 10 Years of the Moldova Ladies Conference with our Moldovan sisters at the conference on November 4th. Pictured, Miriam, Laura, Maria, Claudia, Galina, Beth, and Susan. Maria and Galina are our Moldovan sisters who first asked Claudia to come and bring a team to teach their women.

The 10th Moldova Mission was amazing! We experienced a sweet outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the cities and villages as well as in the capital city of Chisinau.  We shared from scripture about The Power of a Woman’s Words.  As the Lord is faithful to do, He spoke to each of our hearts as we taught.

Laura said that as the women shared what the Lord had spoken to them, He reminded her that His Word always accomplishes the purposes He has and that He is always at work and never limited to a time or location.  Our prayer is that the seed that was sown will go down deep into fertile hearts and bear much fruit that remains and will impact eternity!!  God’s kingdom work is so rewarding and there is such satisfaction knowing that He is the faithful One.  We are vessels and ambassadors for the gospel.

In addition to teaching, we had the blessing of singing in each of the cities/villages as well as in the worship service at Doxa Deo Church!  Doxa Deo is the church we partner with for the mission trip and is a growing church seeking to impact their city with the gospel and to reach the next generation for Christ. We recently heard that the women’s leadership team is doing regular follow-up with all the women who attended the conference. They are coming together at the church for discussion meetings, covering other topics related to what we taught. Would you pray for the country of Moldova and specifically for the generations to come as they embrace Jesus and share His love with others?