Resurrection

By Gordon Lindsay

This is very likely the last article written by Gordon Lindsay before the Lord called him home in April 1973, first published in the April 1974 issue of Christ For The Nations magazine.

“‘O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?’ The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:55-57).

Over 4,000 years ago, Job asked the question, “If a man dies, shall he live again?” (Job 14:14). Fortunately, he was able to find the answer, as in Job 19:25-27 he says, “For I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the Earth; and after my skin is destroyed, this I know that in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!”

Of all the religions of the world, only Christianity dares to offer the hope of resurrection.

AT THE EMPTY TOMB

Not long ago, I stood at the empty tomb in Jerusalem. I have never gone there without a feeling of deep emotion, realizing that death that had been defeated. Over the world there are billions of graves, marking the universality of death, but this tomb is empty! Only one Man was able to meet death and make it bow, cause it to flee in terror!

Yet for a short time, death claimed victory even there. Up above that tomb, less than a hundred yards   away, stands Mount Calvary. Jesus took the place of a man and hung on a rugged cross between Earth and Heaven. In my mind, I can envision the events that took place there.

I see Him in His agony while the women and His frightened mother Mary look on, shaken with grief and sorrow. I hear Him say to the thief crucified beside Him, who asked the Lord to remember him in His kingdom, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.” I hear Him say, “It is finished,” completing the plan of salvation.

I see the body of Christ taken from the cross, wrapped in grave clothes and placed in the cold tomb. Soon a great stone is rolled against the tomb, and soldiers who were appointed to watch over it file into the garden. The disciples are bewildered and discouraged. They are now hiding for their lives, fearful that the Sanhedrin will perhaps give them treatment as Jesus received.

THE RESURRECTION

All is still at the tomb as the hours pass. But God’s clock is ticking away. One day, two days, three. In the dead of night, Heaven’s clock suddenly strikes the hour! The lighting of God flashes! An angel comes from heaven, rolls back the stone and sits upon it! Those guarding the tomb witness the quaking and fall to the ground as dead. Recovering, they rise to their feet and flee from that place. The tomb is now empty. The grave clothes lie there as if the person they had enfolded evaporated through them.

Soon, as the day begins to break, the women are drawing near the tomb to complete the act of preparing the body for its long residence. They are conversing one with another in subdued tones, “Who will roll away the stone from the tomb?” As it comes into view, the women simultaneously utter a cry of surprise. “The stone is rolled away!” Then they perceive an angelic being sitting on the stone, who informs them, “He is not here, for He is risen. Come see the place where the Lord lay. Then go quickly and tell His disciples…”

Upon hearing the astounding news, Peter and John rush to the garden to see what has happened. John, who is faster than Peter, arrives first, sees the open tomb, but does not enter. Peter, lumbering on behind, reaches the tomb, but does not pause in his stride until he is inside. They both find the tomb empty.

When the other disciples hear about what has happened, they dare not believe the report, fearing they will be disappointed once more. Meanwhile, the Lord appears to Peter, who remembers too well how he denied his Master. We can only imagine the tears and the heartbroken confession he must make as he falls at the Master’s feet. Gently, the Lord has him stand to his feet as He reassures His penitent disciple.

That night Jesus appears to all the disciples, except for Thomas, who is absent. Then He appears several times at different places. And finally, on the last day, He leads them out to Mount Olivet and gives them the Great Commission as found in Mark 16:15-18: “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will follow those who believe: in My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

The world evangelism that followed that command can only be explained by that one word – RESURRECTION! The apostles have seen Him dead and buried, but now they see Him alive again! Under the inspiration of this great event, they go everywhere, preaching the Word and making disciples.

Today, we too have heard this glorious message. Once again, the cry of Pilate, who gave Christ over to crucifixion, goes forth to every person living on the earth: “What then will you do with Jesus which is called the Christ?” To accept Him means to receive life. He says, “Because I live, you shall live also.” May God grant that everyone who reads these words be ready to meet Him when we see Him face to face on the coming day of the Great Resurrection.

 

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God Still Changes Lives

By Stephen Samuel

Is there a place on Earth that fosters the presence of God? Is there a place where Jesus still appears? Is there a summer camp that can change the heart of a troubled youth? At Christ For The Nations, the answer to all of these questions is a resounding “YES!” In this article, Stephen Samuel shares his testimony of an encounter with Jesus at Youth For The Nations summer camp (YFN), showing the impact of providing a place for God to move and transform lives.

A Family Crisis

My family moved to the USA from South India in the 1980s. My brother and I learned English quickly, but it took us years to adapt to a drastically different culture. That reality hit me sharply while attending public school. I was the poorest, shortest and shyest kid in my class, so I quickly became an object of ridicule, and most of my classmates avoided me as if I had a communicable disease.

At that time, my little sister Peace was born. She suffered from many health problems and fought hard for her life. We enjoyed her laughs, her cute smile and celebrated her victories in many medical battles. However, the doctors’ predictions were not promising, and our only hope was God healing her.

One day, when I was eight years old, my mother ’s piercing scream woke me up early in the morning. I jolted out of my bunk bed, and my brother and I rushed into her room. We found her wailing with grief as Dad hung up the phone. Trembling, we heard the devastating news that our 3-year-old little sister had died a few moments earlier. The four of us knelt around my parents’ bed and did the only thing we knew to do. We prayed. We pleaded. We cried. Then we hurriedly dressed and rushed to the hospital.

When I walked into the hospital room, I saw Peace. I tried to convince myself that she was only asleep. I placed my little fingers on her cold forehead and was struck with the realization that she was gone. I cried all the tears that I had on the two-hour drive back home; the wells of sorrow erupted deep within me. I prayed to the only One Who could save my sister ’s life, but He did not answer.

A week later, I was back in school. I walked up the long stairway toward my class. I didn’t dare lift up my head; it seemed like everybody was staring at me. The teacher met me at the door. She put her hand on my shoulder and said, “I’m so sorry, Stephen.” That simple act of kindness was too much for me. I turned and rushed down the hallway into the boy’s bathroom. Crouched in the corner, I cried bitterly, asking the questions that come with every tragedy: “What kind of God would allow this to happen to me? Wasn’t He supposed to keep us from evil?”

Slowly, time muted the anguish, but my wound grew deeper and evolved from grief to anger. There was a deep rage seething inside of me toward one person — God. I was broken and feared relationships. I was afraid to be hurt again and resolved never to open my heart. My solitude consumed me for years. I dressed in dark colors and spoke very little. I struggled at school; I felt like I didn’t measure up to my classmates.

The harshness of racism in our community only affirmed the pain in my heart. We would often find our front yard littered with trash — beer bottles, fast food remnants, dirty diapers and other filthy things. I had no idea why people would do that to us. Then a neighbor told me, “It’s because ya’ll ain’t white.” I also saw church people do malicious things to my parents, who were pastors. Church splits, betrayals, blatant manipulation . . . time after time these incidents were killing the little hope I had of happiness.

My dad was a hard worker, and from an early age my brother and I were buried in work. From studying to cutting grass, to menial chores around the house or church, I worked hard to keep my mind busy. In my free time, I would find a dark corner in my room and simply sit there pondering the great sorrow within me. Suicide became a common thought. My parents, themselves burdened with the loss of a child and feeling the weight of poverty and the responsibility of running a church, noticed that something was wrong and tried to help me as much as they could. But it wasn’t enough. None of us knew what to do.

The Week That Changed Everything

In 1994, I turned 16. That summer, a small youth group invited me to a camp called Youth For The Nations. There were cute girls in that youth group, and that was the only reason I agreed to join them, never realizing that this one week would transform my life.

After arriving on the campus of Christ For The Nations Institute in Dallas, Texas, the first activity was the evening worship service. The speaker that night was Greg Johnson, a man I had never heard of before, but I was pretty sure he was going to preach one of a thousand sermons that I had already heard. So I proceeded to do what I normally did during church — daydream, count the squares on the tiled ceiling, and ask myself, “Why am I here?”

Then Greg said something that captured my attention: “Listen to me, some of you have been fighting suicide, you have fought God, and you are angry with Him.” He went on to fully describe the depression and anger in my soul. I gazed at him critically, resisting his words. I thought, “He doesn’t know what I have gone through!”

“But God sees you,” Greg replied as if reading my mind. Then he called everyone who wanted to “surrender to Jesus” to come forward. I had heard that call a hundred times before. I didn’t move. Greg extended the call again. Not really understanding what I was doing or why, I slowly made my way to the front. When I reached the platform, I called out for the first time in years, “Jesus, if You really want me, I have nothing to give to You.”

With that confession, I knelt down under a heavy weight of dark oppression. That moment, I felt my heart’s pain intensifying. The loss, the betrayal, the wounds . . . all those negative feelings were overpowering. Then, suddenly, a powerful sensation of heat, like a blanket, fell on my back. The weight of the darkness dissipated under an unfamiliar healing touch, and I slowly lifted my head to find that I was bowing at the feet of Jesus.

“Stephen,” He said, “Before you were formed in your mother ’s womb, I called you and ordained you a prophet to the nation. Follow Me.” In that moment, He dispelled every shadow of fear. My body began to tremble, and tears poured down my face for what seemed like hours. I realized that the Jesus standing in front of me was not the distant, indifferent god that I had so bitterly accused in my thoughts. When I saw Him, I knew that He was everything I’d ever needed. When I rose up from that place of prayer, I felt alive again, as if I had awakened from years of hopelessness. The horrible season of pain and fear ended, and a new journey began as I stepped out of the darkness and into His light.

Where Is He Now?

Stephen has a heart for missions that was planted in him at YFN. In addition to leading numerous mission trips overseas, he serves as a Campus Pastor with Chi Alpha Ministries at Lamar University and is the Missions Director at Cathedral Church in Beaumont, Texas. Over the years, he has brought many teens to YFN to experience the same life-changing presence of God that transformed him.

To  learn more  about CFNI’s summer youth camps, go to youthforthenations.com.

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We’re Responsible For Killing Our Own Giants

By Randy Bozarth

This article was originally published in the July 1998 issue of Christ For The Nations magazine.

There is a popular saying: “Wherever you go … there you are!” It means that wherever you go, you still have to face yourself. There is a subtle disease in the body of Christ today—a victim mentality which says, “I can’t do this because something stands in my way. I can’t do this because this person is in my way. I could do better if this person would help me. I could be more of a conqueror if I could just get over this mountain or get over this situation in my life.” The victim mentality has slipped into the Church. We blame everybody else for our discomfort or our lack of happiness. But we’re responsible for killing our own giants.

When we have faith in God, we have faith for the impossible; no mountain will be too big for us. And faith is not something we can catch; it’s something we have to realize in our own lives. How was it that David became a giant killer? David’s own words were, “The LORD, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine” (1 Samuel 17:37).

There’s a restlessness in the Body of Christ today – a restlessness which is built upon people looking to man. But faith comes through a personal experience and a relationship with God. We have a fast-food mentality in the body of Christ. If someone can’t provide it quickly enough, then we become disappointed. No pastor or Bible teacher can give us faith. We have to wrestle with faith in our own lives. We have to come to grips with what we believe. No three-point message, no tape or book can impart faith either.

When Martha thought that Jesus was late in His attendance to Lazarus, “Jesus said to her, ‘Did I not say to you that if you would believe, you would see the glory of God?’” (John 11:40). Faith will cause you to cheer on others. “Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying.” Man is always working with God. “Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, ‘Father, I thank you’” (verse 41). Jesus was full of thanksgiving. We’ve lost our thankfulness in the body of Christ.

“Now when He had said these things, He cried with a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come forth!”‘ (verse 43). There is authority when we have faith—a belief that when we pray, we will hear from God and see Him respond. There’s an authority when we speak. “And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with grave clothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. And Jesus said to them, ‘Loose him, and let him go”‘ (verse 44). Even though we’re saved and filled with the Spirit, we are not productive until we are loosed! There’s a loosening of our spirit that happens when we begin to embrace faith as a way of life.

Jesus commanded and called Lazarus forward, but when he came forth, he was still bound. There has to be a freeing in our spirits, and only faith can do that. There’s a responsibility on our part. Because we live in a victim culture, we can easily develop a victim mentality. We too often look to others to help us get free. The world gives no hope, but the believer who believes that Jesus is still able to restore and resurrect that which is dead will see the glory of God. “Jesus said…‘If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes’” (Mark 9:23).

It is imperative that you and I believe God to overcome the giants hindering our walk of faith or keeping us from knowing God. There are several giants that rob us of our faith.

CYNICISM

The first giant is cynicism. This is faultfinding or a sneering disbelief in sincerity. Ours is a generation of cynics. People have a doubtful and disrespectful view of things in general. Even Christians are cynical. Listen to what you say, and listen to what others say. We can never walk in faith and do what God has called us to if we have a cynical spirit. It becomes a giant if we allow it to control us. If we are going to step out with boldness and take advantage of the opportunities that are before us, we have to slay the giant of cynicism.

DOUBT

The second giant that we must slay if we’re going to step into a life of victory is doubt. We have to embrace the implanted Word, which is able to save our souls (James 1:21). We have to decide to grow up. Being born again by the Spirit of God is a gift (Ephesians 2:8, 9), but to grow and mature is a choice. Doubt means to waver – to be undecided. The spirit of doubt is birthed in constant criticism of decisions that others make. Doubt is not a one-time event; it’s a stronghold!

SKEPTICISM

The third giant is skepticism. There have been so many hucksters and rip-off artists in the last few years that believers have grown weary of even trying to believe that anything could be good or right or real. The enemy wants to steal our faith through skepticism. But we have to protect our faith. We must guard our hearts, or we’ll become cynical, doubtful or skeptical.

UNCERTAINTY

The fourth giant is uncertainty – the inability to find something secure on which to place our faith. We are easily defeated and find uneasiness when God doesn’t answer prayer. Soon legitimate questions turn to confusion, and we are no longer certain whether God wants to bless or judge us, love or discipline us, help or deal with us. It’s our faith that will carry us into our God-given future.

DISCOURAGEMENT

The fifth giant is discouragement. Discouragement comes when the mountains we are seeking to move won’t budge. We ask the Lord to help us with a difficult habit, but it is still there. Disappointment is real. There will always be people in our lives who disappoint us. That’s not a negative confession; that’s the truth. But faith overcomes disappointment.

Faith is the only thing that God has given us that will help us to be overcomers—the only thing that can deal with discouragement, doubt and cynicism. In 1 Samuel, the Amorites had invaded Ziklag. They burned it and took the women and children captive. David and his men wept until they could weep no more. “Now David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and his daughters. But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God” (1 Samuel 30:6). Faith – something that was already there – rose up on the inside of David, and he strengthened himself in the Lord. There’s a time to allow faith to grow in our lives, where we learn to strengthen ourselves in the Lord. We move beyond our feelings, beyond our situation into faith.

APATHY

The sixth giant is apathy. Believers are often unwilling to get involved. Apathy sets in when we begin to be cynical and skeptical, full of disbelief and doubt. There’s no desire to go out of our way or suffer personal expense to see the Kingdom advanced. That’s what is happening in the Body of Christ today. Christians complain, “I’m not getting fed.” It’s primarily our responsibility to feed ourselves. If we want to be overcomers, we need to get alone with God and build our faith in God! Otherwise, we will go back around the mountain and face the same giant, the same issue, over again.

Begin to slay the giants of cynicism, doubt, skepticism, uncertainty, discouragement and apathy one by one, and watch as Lazarus comes forth. Those things that have been choking and holding us back will begin to be unwrapped. We’ll find the joy we’ve been looking for, and we’ll have a personal revival. Faith is the answer…and it is already inside all of us.

Randy Bozarth, June 17, 1949 – March 11, 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

                       

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BIBLE SMUGGLER + RADICAL FOLLOWER OF JESUS

By Michelle Ofori-Ansah

When we think of a “minister of the Gospel,” we typically think of an apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor or teacher. It’s unlikely we would think of the word smuggler, let alone a Bible smuggler. However, for CFNI alumnus Patrick Klein that is a large part of his calling, and he is anointed for it. For over 20 years, Patrick Klein has helped deliver over 1 million Bibles around the world through some of the tightest security on earth.

But why would a young man, full of vitality and promise, choose such a dangerous career path? Why would he reject his comfortable American life and even risk his life to bring Bibles into closed and dangerous countries? Patrick Klein describes his motivation this way: “When you see pain and suffering up close and personal, how can you walk away from it? How can I live a supposedly normal life, the American dream, knowing girls are being sold into sex trafficking, pastors need Bibles desperately, and there are children living in the sewers? If I really had the Spirit of God in me, things that break God’s heart are going to break my heart.”

By following his heart, Patrick Klein’s clandestine ministry activities have led him to rescue sex trafficking victims over the years in countries most people are afraid to even visit (the names of the specific countries are withheld because of the danger to Patrick and his contacts). For Patrick, darkness is a quest for light, and need is a call to action. He does not shy away from danger when the souls of people are at stake.

Patrick’s passion for the lost and hurting was sparked while on a CFNI summer mission trip. He was a CFNI student, and it was his first time intentionally breaking international law. Patrick had heard about the need in one Asian country for Bibles (there was only one Bible for every 300 Christians in this unfriendly-to-the-Gospel nation), and he and his team were going to do something to help meet that need. Patrick had Bibles hidden in his checked and carry-on luggage, plus the ones he had hidden on his body under his clothes. He didn’t realize it, but his career as a Bible smuggler was about to begin.

81-year-old man receiving a Bible for the first time after decades of praying for one.

Walking through customs, trying not to appear nervous, Patrick experienced almost immediate failure. Customs officials found the Bibles in his carry-on and checked bags, but they didn’t find the ones hidden on his body. They confiscated the discovered Bibles, but cleared Patrick to enter the country. Officially a Bible smuggler, Patrick now had to repack and hide these precious Bibles again. In a rough bathroom with a “squatty potty” (just a hole in the floor), Patrick struggled to keep his bag off the wet floor and his passport from falling into the hole as he transferred the Bibles from his body to the bag. It was an extremely humid 90 degrees, and sweat dripped off his body. His only thought was, “Lord, this is what I am created to do! I love this!”

Years later, Patrick regularly smuggles Bibles into that same country and others, trusting God to bring more and more Bibles through hostile borders. On one occasion, he and his team successfully stayed below the radar of customs inspection while carrying 2 duffel bags, each with 70 pounds of Bibles, through the airport. Ten people with 140 pounds of Bibles each somehow walked right past the customs inspectors.

They weren’t even stopped and questioned. Patrick’s team was invisible! He has seen God’s protection and intervention in similar ways for over two decades. “You know, I hear some people say, ‘I just want to win one person to Jesus in my life.’  Not me, I want to win millions, tens of millions. I want to do all I can to bring Him much glory in this earth.

Tribal believer holding a Bible in her own language.

Patrick doesn’t think this is all that spectacular. He just hears a call for help and moves to answer it. “We do some dangerous stuff in our ministry, but people put their lives on the line for the Gospel all the time. Why are we, as American Christians, exempt from that?”

Patrick tells a story of one of his regular visits to an orphanage in an Asian country that houses children of sex trafficking victims. One little boy contracted HIV from his mother, who has died of AIDS. “When he came up to me, my first thought was, ‘Oh, be careful, he’s got HIV.’ And I thought, ‘Wait a minute, Jesus wasn’t afraid of the lepers, so I don’t need to be afraid of HIV.’  So I scooped him up and spent time with him. I visit as often as I can; I’m like a father figure to him. My faith has got to be bigger than any disease.

Whether he is smuggling Bibles or rescuing women from sex trafficking, Patrick isn’t afraid to wrestle with the moral implications of this radical Christianity. One American pastor refused to have Patrick in his church because Bible smuggling breaks the law. This pastor said, “If God wants the people in closed countries to have a Bible, He will change their governments.” Patrick shares, “I thought, that’s easy for you to say when your office is full of Bibles and study materials. What about the Hebrew midwives who kept the Hebrew baby boys alive when Pharaoh decreed they be killed in Egypt? Or Corrie ten Boom who hid Jews in her house against the laws enacted by the Nazi government during World War II? We’re called to stand up for those who can’t stand up for themselves, the weak and defenseless. I believe if Jesus were walking the Earth today, He’d be rescuing girls out of sex trafficking. If He had to turn over a few tables and brothels, then He might just do it.”

For Patrick Klein, Bible smuggling is an act of worship, obedience to his calling. Patrick lives by a simple creed: “My life is not mine; I was bought with a price, the cross. I can’t just do whatever I want to do. I belong to Jesus now, and my question is, ‘What do You want me to do Jesus?’” Not everyone can or should smuggle Bibles or rescue sex trafficking victims, and Patrick is not advocating breaking international law. But everyone has a role to play in the Kingdom. It may be traditional, unconventional or perhaps even radical, but whatever it is, it’s time to answer that call.

Patrick Klein ministering to children in Southeast Asia.

See Patrick Klein’s video here

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The Promises of Psalm 91

By Gordon Lindsay

“He that dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty” (Psalm 91:1).

There is a glorious land of which few Christians are aware. Job spoke of it when he said, “No bird of prey knows that hidden path; no falcon’s eye has seen it. Proud beasts do not set foot on it, and no lion prowls there” (Job 28:7-8). Job goes on to say that the natural man does not know where this path is, but God reveals it to those that fear Him (verses 13-28).

The 91st Psalm is the wonder chapter of the Bible and is a favorite of Bible lovers. But although millions have read its words and are aware of its glorious promises, most have not seen those promises fulfilled in their lives. What is the reason? The promises are only available to those that dwell in the secret place. The door to the secret place of the Most High, that glorious land, is found in only one approach – the pathway of faith and absolute surrender to the will of God. Not many choose to walk in this pathway, for it appears to be a lonely one. But great are the privileges of those who boldly press into the secret place of the Most High.

A Refuge and a Fortress

First of all, this secret place is one of security. “I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.’” People today are seeking security in the world in which there seems to be none. But he who takes refuge in the fortress of God will find that no enemy can penetrate its defenses. It is a true refuge, a shelter in the time of storm. “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe” (Proverbs 18:10).

Deliverance From Snares

Some years ago, while conducting a series of meetings in a desert town of Arizona, we were invited by a trapper to accompany him while he set his traps. During the time we were with him, we didn’t see a single wild animal except for the omnipresent jackrabbit, even though many animals had their lairs in the desert. These keen-scented beasts of the wilds would catch our scent and be gone long before we were near enough to see them. But the trapper was not troubled. He knew the ways of the desert. With his gun he brought down a scampering jackrabbit. Its fur was worthless, of course, but our guide had another purpose in mind.

Laying his gun aside, he put on his gloves, disemboweled the rabbit, tied a string around it and began a trek down the arroyo, dragging the rabbit behind him. This naturally left a strong scent along the creek bed. At intervals, he would pause and lay down a trap, covering it lightly with leaves. He repeated his performance several times as we continued down the arroyo. Next morning, some of the traps held prey that had been ensnared during the night. The wary animals could not be captured by direct means, but were easily ensnared when the proper methods were used.

Satan also knows just what traps to set for the wary as well as the unwary. But he who lives in the promises of the 91st Psalm has no reason to be afraid. “Surely,” says the psalmist, “He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler.”

He Shall Cover You With His Feathers

“He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge.” One of the most touching illustrations that the Lord used when revealing His love for a people who had rejected Him is found in Luke 13:34: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were not willing!” That tender love, which was thoughtlessly spurned by the inhabitants of Jerusalem, is for all those who dwell in the secret place of the Most High.

The love of such a simple creature as a mother hen is a compelling witness to the fact that the Creator of the universe possesses strong attributes of love. Some years ago, on the great prairies of the West, a fire got out of control, and fanned by the wind, it rolled across the plains with menacing speed. There was only one thing the homesteaders could do and that was to flee before the path of the flames. There was no time to take anything with them. Later, one of the ranchers came back to view the ruins and happened to kick aside a charred hulk. To his utter amazement, several little chicks ran out unharmed, having been protected from the passing fire by the mother hen who herself had perished in the flames. The little creature had seen the fire and fully realized the danger. But a stronger instinct than fear caused the hen to throw her wings over her charges in a desperate effort to save them. The lives of her brood were worth more to her than her own.

Once, a fire passed through the Earth – the fire of sin – the flames of which were so intense that they could easily take the lives of all who dwelt there. However, God, in His great love, took the full force of the holocaust and spread His wings to save all who would take refuge in Him. Having saved them, He now watches over His own day and night, for they are the apple of His eye.

His Truth Shall Be Your Shield and Buckler

The secret of the 91st Psalm lies in the believer’s loving obedience to the laws given by the Lord, for His commandments are not too heavy to bear. But how many Christians are committed to obey the entire Word of God? The truth is that too many obey the commands of the Master only when it appears not to cost them too much, and so, they stop short of entering into that place of safety and security.

However, as one prayerfully commits his way to the Word and will of God, he begins to see things change. The law of the kingdom begins to operate in his favor. “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). Gradually, the terrible complications of life begin to work themselves out. And as one sees God’s power working in his favor, his soul finds rest and peace.

You Shall Not Be Afraid

The world is full of fears. Even many Christians are afflicted with fears of all sorts. There are many church members who have a deadly fear of the devil. Some are afraid that they can succumb to a terminal disease when they have nothing of the kind.

These people live marginal Christian lives. It is only when trouble comes that they frantically look to the Lord to rescue them. And often He does, on an emergency basis, but there is a better way.

No Plague Shall Come Near Your Dwelling

“No evil shall befall you, nor shall any plague come near your dwelling.”

Is it necessary for men to be plagued by accident, misfortune, disaster and pestilence? Not if he dwells within the secret place of the Most High, as implied in the words of this amazing psalm. The enemy who challenged Christ will surely challenge His followers. But these things shall not overcome the believer; rather he shall overcome them. “He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble.” Glorious promise! The Lord will not only send help, but will come Himself and stay until the enemy flees in ignominious rout. “For He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways. In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.”

The psalm tells us another great secret – the fact that angels guard those who dwell in the secret place. Most people who fall into sin do so when they think no one is observing them. They forget that angels are watching. It is quite probable that some Christians go to places where angels are unable to accompany them. When one gets on the devil’s territory, the enemy can take advantage of his vulnerability. Indeed, such people have deliberately exposed themselves to attack.

You Shall Tread Upon the Lion and the Cobra

“You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra, the young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot.”

So far, we have considered the protection offered by God to His children. Now we learn of something even greater. We are granted power to triumph over our foe. Jesus said, “Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you” (Luke 10:19).

Many people have a fear of what the devil may do to them. They are haunted by complexes and feel defeated. How different is God’s plan for His people! Humanity was not created to be weak, cringing creatures, subject to sickness, disease, oppression, depression, evil habits and the deception of the devil. When God created people, He made them in His own image and destined them to have dominion over the Earth. Humanity has lost that dominion through sin, and the image of God has been marred.

All that humanity has lost through the fall, however, is regained in Christ. God’s purpose for His people is that they should regain their lost dominion, to become victorious and triumphant in Christ forever. For those who dwell in the secret place, this great promise is realized. Instead of fearing the devil, they can resist him – and he will run away, not just walk away (James 4:7).

The Psalm concludes with a final note. “With long life I will satisfy him, and show him My salvation.” It is a long life, a godly life, for it is nothing else but life eternal. When his body, this old tenement of clay, finally crumbles to dust, his spirit, youthful, undimmed with age, will receive the glorified body which the Lord will give at His Coming. Happy is the person that has chosen to dwell in the secret place of the Most High. He shall taste of the joys of life eternal to the fullest and shall share in its everlasting delights.

This article is taken from the August 1972 issue of Christ For The Nations magazine.

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His Name Shall Be Called Wonderful

By Gordon Lindsay

(from the book Is Jesus the Son of God?)

When Jesus calmed the storm on the Sea of Galilee, His disciples looked at one another with amazement and said, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey Him!” (Matthew 8:27). Since that day people have still been asking that question, “What kind of man is this?” Regardless of what anyone may think of Christ, he must admit that the impact He made on the world is the greatest of any person who has ever lived.

Jesus came on the scene quietly and almost unannounced. The town He was brought up in, Nazareth, was regarded as most insignificant, a place scarcely mentioned by historians. The words spoken by Nathaniel when he first heard of Jesus, “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?” give some idea of what people thought of the village.

Jesus, in His lifetime, never acquired any property of His own. He was born in a manger borrowed from animals; He preached from a borrowed boat; He slept in a borrowed bed; He rode into Jerusalem on a borrowed beast; He served the Passover in a borrowed room; He was buried in a borrowed tomb. Only the cross was His own.

Despite the indifference of His contemporaries, the message that Jesus brought the world made an impact on the human race as nothing else has ever done – before or since.

His Birth Splits Time Into Before And After Him

Of all the persons who have been born in this world, Christ is the only one who made a sufficient impression upon mankind to have all events dated from His birth. Not only the followers of Christ, but the infidel, the skeptic, the agnostic, the indifferent, the rich man, the poor man, the beggar, the thief, the king, the pauper, the princes of earth, the great statesmen all have one thing in common – they take note of the date of Christ’s birth every time they write look at a calendar. When the historian says that the American Declaration of Independence was signed July 4, 1776, he means that so many days, months, and years have elapsed since the era of Christ!

The Place Of His Birth Was Foretold

The only person in the world to have the city where He was to be born identified centuries before the event took place was Jesus Christ. Micah, the prophet writing 500 years before His birth, tells of One “whose origin is from antiquity, from eternity.” This is clearly a reference to Christ who, as the Son of God, had existence previous to His earthly birth. He was the God-man who was to be born in Bethlehem. “Bethlehem Ephrathah, you are small among the clans of Judah; One will come from you to be ruler over Israel for Me. His origin is from antiquity, from eternity” (Micah 5:2).

Only a few weeks before His birth, Jesus’ mother, Mary, was in the city of Nazareth. She had no plans to travel the many miles south to Bethlehem. However, the Emperor Augustus made a decree that the entire world should be taxed. Mary, to obey the law, was forced even in the advanced stages of pregnancy to make the long trip south with her espoused husband, Joseph, in order to register in the city of their lineage. Yes, the child Jesus was born in the city of Bethlehem where the prophet Micah, five centuries earlier, said He would be born!

He Was to Be Born Of A Virgin

Some eight centuries before Jesus was born, the prophet Isaiah predicted that a virgin should be with child, and His name would be Immanuel (meaning God with us). “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14). And that is exactly what took place.

The angel Gabriel appeared to the Virgin Mary and told her that she would be with child by the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:26-38). Joseph became aware of her condition, and at first, sadly thought to put her away. But the angel appeared in a dream to him saying, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 1:20).

His Birth Was Prophesied Nearly 500 Years Before He Was Born

The most amazing fact about Christ’s birth was that prophecy predicted the very time He was to be born! From the “going forth of the command to restore and to build Jerusalem” there should be “69 weeks.” The full text in Daniel says, “Now listen and understand! Seven sets of seven plus 62 sets of seven will pass from the time the command is given to rebuild Jerusalem until a ruler—the Anointed One—comes. Jerusalem will be rebuilt with streets and strong defenses, despite the perilous times. After this period of 62 sets of seven, the Anointed One will be killed, appearing to have accomplished nothing, and a ruler will arise whose armies will destroy the city and the Temple. The end will come with a flood, and war and its miseries are decreed from that time to the very end” (Daniel 9:25-26).

A “week” of years being seven years, 69 weeks would be 483 years. So the prophet Daniel is saying, 483 years after the commandment went forth to rebuild Jerusalem, the Messiah would appear. Could anything be plainer? When did the 483 years run out? Did the Messiah appear about five centuries later? Well, the only Messiah the world knows anything about did appear at that time – and that   was Jesus Christ! Although the secular calendar may be a little uncertain so that it does not exactly determine the date, it definitely indicates the years as running out at the era of Christ!

Christ’s Death As The Messiah Was Predicted 900 Years Before His Birth

There is another very remarkable thing about the prophecy of Daniel chapter nine. The children of Israel supposed that when the Messiah came He would set up His kingdom on earth. Even the apostles assumed that He would at once sit on His throne (Acts 1:6-7). But the prophecy says instead that the Messiah was to be killed (Dan.  9:26). So rather than setting up a visible kingdom at His first coming, prophecy declared that He was going to die!

Even the kind of death of the Messiah was foretold – His hands and feet were to be pierced – that is by crucifixion. This is what the psalmist David said 900 years before it happened: “Dogs surround me, a pack of villains encircles me; they pierce my hands and my feet” (Psalm 22:16). Only the one that created this world could make these prophecies come to pass in this fashion.

He Proved He Was Christ By His Power Over Death

Many great men have lived and made their mark in the world; but they all died, and their bones still lie in their graves. Go to Les Invalides in Paris, and you may gaze at the sealed tomb of Napoleon. His body is still there. In Westminster Abbey in London, you can see the mausoleum that holds the bodies of many of Britain’s greatest statesmen and kings. Mount Vernon is the last rest­ing place of George Washington, revered as “father of his country.” His body still lies sleeping in the tomb. Only in one place in the world is there an empty tomb: in Jerusalem, at the foot of Calvary where they laid the Lord Jesus. It was there, three days later, that the angel said, “He is not here; He is risen.”

Jesus said that one sign should be given to that generation: “the sign of Jonah the prophet” (Matthew 16:4). “For as Jonah was in the belly of the great fish for three days and three nights, so will the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights” (Matthew 12:40).

It was this sign that gave faith and inspiration to the Early Church. Jesus had solved for all time the age-old problem of death. It was upon this incontestable victory over death that the apostles, with great power, gave “witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 4:33).

Christ Was the Only Sinless Man

Beyond the impact of His miracles, Christ impressed men with His sinlessness. It is an amazing thing, for ours is a fallen race. As Paul says, “For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me” (Romans 7:19-21). All of us are subject to sin. Therefore, to find a man who is perfect and without sin is to find one whose root is not in the human race.

Christ Knew The Sinner’s Thoughts But Still Forgave Him

“But Jesus would not entrust Himself to them, for He knew all people. He did not need any testimony about mankind, for He knew what was in each person” (John 2:24-25). Sinners loved to be near Christ, not because they felt at ease in their sins, for indeed His presence made them painfully aware of their sinfulness, but somehow in Him they saw a cure for their malady.

The woman at the well felt her soul laid bare by the few words of Jesus when He said, “The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true” (John 4:18). She saw hope and forgiveness in the very person had called attention to her sinful past. Her testimony to her neighbors carried such conviction that they also came and believed “that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world” (John 4:42).

Christ Gives A Personal Experience Today

Some may argue against Christianity, but they cannot argue against the experience Christ gives. Christ is able to do what no other religion can – live and dwell within the human heart; and so it has been that through the ages, millions have accepted Christ and found in Him their all in all. Again and again the apostle Paul referred to his own experience when he met Christ on the Damascus Road. He told and retold the story wherever he went. The Christian’s personal experience with Christ is the greatest proof of His reality.

He truly fulfills in our lives the words of the prophet Isaiah: “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given, and the government will be on His shoulder. And He will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).

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God’s Hands And Feet

By Michelle Ofori-Ansah

CFNI students fulfilled the Great Commission this summer as they went out preaching, teaching, feeding the hungry, loving orphans, hosting children’s camps and ministering healing (physical, spiritual and emotional).

One testimony from the United Kingdom team, Awaken UK, was of a disabled man who could hardly walk without running out of breath. He basically lived in his living room, as he couldn’t climb his stairs due to his pain level. After prayer by one CFNI mission team member, he could walk without difficulty, without pain and without his constant walking stick! God healed him through one student’s obedience.

journeyPowerful testimonies came from our Asia teams. During part of one trip, they traveled into the bush and found a people group who had been waiting for three years to hear the Gospel. Only six of them had ever heard the name of Jesus before meeting this team, but all of them were saved due to the students’ ministry! The team’s leader, Connie McKenzie, shared, “We met the people in a cave, and God gave many team members words of knowledge that led to people being healed.”

Another testimony from these Asia trips was of a genuine outpouring of the Holy Spirit in one of the schools where they ministered in Thailand. The students had never heard the Gospel before the CFNI team visited. When the gospel was shared, the presence of the Lord filled the room, causing almost everyone in the room to simultaneously weep and ask for prayer. They saw hundreds come to the Lord that day.

In another part of the world, South Africa, CFNI student Leah Hinkle shared the impact of her mission trip—these trips didn’t just change the people the students met, but the students were changed as well. “As a prospective student in the Global Missions major, this trip really opened my eyes to what my future holds: living boldly and maybe a little uncomfortably, adapting and thriving in a country — not my own — and loving people deeply, exactly where they are.”

mexicoThe Mexico trip’s team leader, Karen Padilla, shared an awe-inspiring experience of being God’s hands and feet. “Our team was evangelizing on the streets in Bahia de Los Angeles. They heard a voice that seemed to come from really far away. As they got near, they realized it was an elderly lady who was completely alone in her house. When they opened her door, she declared, ‘The Lord heard my prayers! I have been alone for two days, and this morning I asked the Lord to send His angels.’ She was 76 years old and was completely paralyzed. She had not eaten anything for two days, and it was very hot in her house. Immediately, some students from the team got her food and water. The rest of the team stayed, talked and prayed with her. We presented the gospel to her; she repented and accepted Christ as her Savior. Then we prayed for healing and the pain in her legs disappeared!”

holywoodCFNI had a team that remained in America for their mission trip. Shannon Johnson, CFNI’s Dean of Women, took her group to minister on the streets of Hollywood. Her most memorable testimony was of a drug dealer that the group encountered three times in two different locations. “At the final encounter, both the young man and his girlfriend gave their lives to Christ, handed over all of their drugs and received the baptism of the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues! Over the weeks we were there, we prayed the prayer of salvation with 69 people, saw 67 healing miracles, had 15 people pray to receive the Holy Spirit, and we prayed for over 965 people!”

These testimonies are just a handful of the powerful and life-changing experiences of the teams all across the
world. We continue to send out students, staff, faculty and alumni Into All The World!

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Passing The Baton

Freeda Tatiana Lindsay Baby Dedication

By Maria Erokhina

On Sept. 20, 2016 CFNI staff and students celebrated an exciting event in the life of the Lindsay family. CFNI’s COO Golan Lindsay and his wife Krissia dedicated their first child to the Lord. The baby girl was named Freeda Tatiana after her grandmother and CFNI’s founder, Freda “Mom” Lindsay.

Freeda is Dr. Dennis and Mrs. Ginger Lindsay’s first grandchild after 46 years of marriage and a fourth generation Lindsay at CFNI. The family prays that she will carry on the CFNI legacy.
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“Legacy” was the central idea of Dennis Lindsay’s message that morning. He spoke about the importance of “passing the baton” to the next generation and told stories of people from the Bible and modern times (such as Joseph, John Wesley, Corrie ten Boom) who walked through major trials to great victories. He encouraged the audience not to give in to despair when they face challenges, but to allow God to shape them through these tests.  “God is making you an arrow capable to hit the mark,” he said. 

After Dennis finished his exhortation, CFNI alumni Pastors Ricardo and Reina Salazar, founders of Cristo A Las Naciones in El Salvador (Krissia Lindsay’s pastors), spoke about the connection between CFNI and their family and the impact the Lindsay family has made on them and thousands of CFNI alumni. Next, the whole family, including Krissia’s parents who traveled from El Salvador for this significant event, went forward to dedicate the baby to the Lord. d77c1832

As Pastor Ricardo was blessing little Freda, he declared that she will love God and the work of God and will be courageous to accomplish all that the Lord has set before her.

At the end of his granddaughter’s dedication, Dr. Dennis Lindsay told CFNI staff and students, “What you see now is a simple example of family, passing the baton of ministry from one generation to another. My father passed it to me, now I’m passing it on to the next generation which also includes you.”

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Switched at Birth

One Family’s Spiritual Battle

By Michelle Ofori-Ansah

In the summer of 2015, CFNI alumni, Richard (Rich) Cushworth and Mercy Casanellas, made headlines when they discovered that their newborn baby was switched at birth at the hospital where she delivered him in El Salvador. The story was carried on most major media outlets, and the couple was interviewed on BBC. After three months of separation, Baby Moses was happily reunited with his family. But there is a supernatural dimension to the story that has never been told to the general public until now.cushworths1

The battle for Moses began in the womb. Mercy recounts having a very complicated pregnancy. She had three falls, and her blood pressure would not cooperate.­ It­ spiked­ and ­fell­ at ­diff­erent points, exposing the baby to enormous risks. At 21 weeks (19 weeks early!), and then again at 24 weeks, she went into labor. Each time her pastors and church stood in the gap with fasting and prayer and turned things around. Mercy made it ­to ­35 ­weeks ­before ­delivery,­ still ­fi­ve weeks early, but a victory nonetheless. However, the worst was not over.

Both the pregnancy and birth were rather­ diffi­­cult­ for ­Mercy.­ One­ of­ the reasons was her husband’s absence from El Salvador due to immigration issues, and with the baby born prematurely, Rich could not make it in time for the delivery. “I felt so alone during the pregnancy and after the birth,” Mercy describes. “I had a C-Section, and­ my­ baby­ was­ having­ diffi­­culty breathing. I only saw my baby for a few moments, kissed him, and thought how wonderful it was that he looked so much like Rich.” Immediately after, she was given a sedative to put her to sleep while the doctor and nurses took him to the nursery for cleaning and tests. Mercy didn’t have her baby returned to her until around noon the next day.

cushworths2That night, while Mercy was waiting for them to bring back her baby, she felt overwhelmed with hurt, sadness, anger and even bitterness. Her much anticipated baby’s birth hadn’t gone as planned . . . she was alone, without her husband and even without the baby! She started to pray, and suddenly, in a vision, she saw an angel standing beside her, speaking in tongues. He put his hand on her head, and immediately she­ felt­ those ­negative ­feelings­ leave — she was delivered. “I believe this was God’s way of preparing me for what was to come. I think that might even be when the switch actually happened,” Mercy shared.

The next morning, she heard the babies being returned to their mothers, but her baby didn’t return. She began to worry about her new son, whom they had named Jacob, fearing that there might be some physical issues they hadn’t told her about. When they ­fi­nally ­brought ­Jacob ­to her, ­she was relieved for a moment, but then something didn’t seem quite right. “I told the nurse, ‘This baby doesn’t look like the one I had last night.’” The nurse insisted he was her baby, but Mercy was not convinced. “I told everybody for the next four days in the hospital, doctors, nurses, friends, everyone who came to the hospital, ‘This doesn’t look like my baby!’” But no one believed her.

Finally, Mercy brought Jacob home and accepted their opinions . . . until he started to grow. “He didn’t look like me; he didn’t look like my husband. I­ was­ always ­trying­ to­ fi­nd ­someone he looked like, but I couldn’t.”

Mercy hid her concerns, even from her husband. As the baby turned two months old, she needed to return to the U.S. to continue her studies at CFNI. “I knew that I couldn’t go to school with this doubt. But getting a DNA test felt as though I was betraying my own baby.”­­She ­fi­nally­ mustered ­the­ courage and went to a private hospital in El Salvador for the DNA test. The results from the DNA test didn’t come through until Mercy and Rich were back in Dallas, Texas three weeks later. A friend picked up the results, and texted them to ­her­ — there ­was­ 0.0 percent­ chance that Jacob was her son! “When I saw the results, ­I ­just ­fell­ on ­the­ fl­oor.­ My ­body couldn’t contain the pain.”

Her immediate thought was, “What am I going to do with this baby? I love him so much. Am I going to lose him?” Then she thought about her own son. “Where’s my baby? Who has him? Is he even alive?” For hours Mercy lay on­ the­ fl­oor­ and­ prayed,­ crying­ outto God. “I need You to speak to me; otherwise, I can’t get through this trial.” Once again she had a vision. “I saw a multitude of people, and there was a fi­nger ­going­ through­ the ­crowd, ­looking for somebody. The multitude started to become smaller and smaller, and by­ the­ end,­ it­ was ­only ­me. ­The ­finger pointed at me, and God said, ‘I chose you for this because you are strong and courageous.’ I felt honored that He had chosen me, but I didn’t understand. I asked Him, ‘How can you call me strong and­ courageous?­ I’m ­on ­this ­fl­oor,­ and­ I can’t even stand up!’ And God said it again, and as He did, I thought of the verse in Joshua 1 that says, ‘Be strong and courageous.’ So I said, ‘OK, please help me; give me the strength.’”

cushworths3Rich walked into the room and Mercy was still crying. She didn’t know how to explain what had happened. Because Rich hadn’t been in El Salvador when their baby was born, he never heard Mercy’s concerns that Jacob might not be theirs. Rich shares, “It­ was ­very ­sad, ­very­ difficult,­ but everything was happening so fast that I didn’t really have time to process ­ anything.­ We­ took­ the­ fi­rst fl­ight ­out,­ midnight ­that ­night,­ to get back to El Salvador.” Once in El Salvador, the police immediately opened an investigation into what had happened.

Rich and Mercy had no idea if their son was even alive, but God gave their pastor a word of hope. Mercy describes the supernatural encounter her pastor had. “God told her that my son was alive, and ­I ­would­ fi­nd ­him.­ And­ then the ­Lord­ showed ­her ­his ­face — he had blue eyes. I remember many times over the next two weeks, in the middle of the night, I would call her and say, ‘I have no strength; I think my baby is dead.’ She would always say, ‘No, he isn’t dead,’ and then describe my missing baby to me.” The encouragement that God knew exactly where her son was and that he was OK, coupled with the spiritual warfare and prayers of the Body of Christ kept the Cushworths strengthened and in faith. Their pastors and church were key to this spiritual battle, supporting and sustaining them as they waited for the authorities to fi­nd­ their­ missing­ son.

HE WILL ALWAYS CAUSE ALL THINGS TO WORK TOGETHER FOR THE GOOD OF HIS CHILDREN.

The police tracked down and administered DNA tests to all the baby boys born on the same day as Mercy’s. After only 12 days, they found Baby Cushworth. “He was given back to us on Sept. 7, 2015— one of the happiest moments in our lives,” recalled Mercy. “We all rejoiced. Everybody knew it was a miracle of God.” They named their recovered son Moses. Mercy shared, “Moses in the Bible was hidden­ for ­the­ fi­rst ­three ­months of his life and so was our Moses.” Mercy­ describes­ that­ fi­rst­ night together. “We were celebrating! Moses was such a happy baby. From ­the ­fi­rst ­day ­he ­was ­laughing, talking and I got to nurse him, too.”

cushworths4On their way to pick up Moses, their attorney told them they had to give Jacob back to his family. “That was shocking,” Mercy said, with tears in her eyes. “We had only two or three hours to say goodbye.” While they were thrilled at getting Moses back, their hearts still ached for the beloved Jacob they nursed and cherished. Rich confesses, “It was a tragedy to have to give Jacob away.” Even though they went through such ­a ­dark­ and­ diffi­­cult ­time, God strengthened Rich and Mercy’s faith by His faithfulness through their entire ordeal. They want to encourage all with the message that  we can always trust God. He answers prayer, there is NOTHING impossible for our God, and He will always cause all things to work together for the good of His children.

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How Will You Respond?

By Michelle Ofori-Ansah

In the first half of Isaiah 60:2, the prophet declares: “See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples . . . ” The message of Isaiah resonates with our reality today. We seem to live in very dark times. People are worried, anxious and afraid. Natural disasters appear to be escalating with Ecuador and Japan being two recent examples of devastating earthquakes. The threat of Islamic terror is growing, but beyond these seemingly uncontrollable dangers, we also feel under attack from our own government. Age-old traditions have been defied, and rules have been upended (men in women’s restrooms? No problem!). So what do we do?
At this time of upheaval and uncertainty, we have two possible responses: Fear or faith. However, there is one thing that needs to be very clear: we may be under attack from everywhere, but not from above. Isaiah continues, “But the LORD rises upon you, and His glory appears over you” (Isaiah 60:2b). God is not attacking us. He is on our side, so we can absolutely respond in faith.

Lou Engle, founder of The Call and organizer of the recent gathering in Los Angeles Azusa Now, said in his blog, “There are times which Scripture describes as ‘full’ — periods of unusual ripeness in which God unleashes His prophetic purpose across the earth. Such days of faith and expectation often come during periods of crisis or widespread uncertainty.” We are in just such a period right now. In the midst of the chaos, God is still actively working.

The Word of God is very clear. “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you” (Isaiah 60:1). Even in dark times, we are to choose faith and not fear. The glory of God that is in us and upon us must shine through us, and challenge the darkness that is outside. This is why the massive gathering in Los Angeles for Azusa Now was so important. According to Will Ford, intercessor, minister and Director of CFNI’s Marketplace Major, there are more national prayer gatherings this year than in any other year. It always comes down to choice, doesn’t it? If there was ever a time we should pray, it is now. Whether in small gatherings or large ones, the effectual, fervent prayers of the saints have power to make a real difference.

I want to challenge you — how are you responding to the fear and confusion all around us? We can’t close our eyes and ignore the reality of what is happening, but we can choose to respond in faith, and take it to God in prayer. I choose to stand on Psalm 62:5-6. “Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from Him. Truly He is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will not be shaken.”

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