Category Archives: Prayer

Cambodia – Heather Abernathy

Today’s message summary of July 26, 2015 from Heather Abernathy:

(Note: We recommend that you listen a recording of Ms. Abernathys message available through our Audio page. It provides more detailed information surrounding her mission assignment.)

Every time I share my message about my life in Cambodia when I return home, I ask the Lord what to share, and the Lord told me today to simply share what is on my heart.

I had previously asked the church to pray about how I am to disciple others. God has placed me in my role to reach people who have grown very close to me.

My mission in Cambodia has evolved as I now live in a house with five other Cambodian children (well, one child is in his twenties) and I am their “Mom.” I have searched my role over and over with God in prayer, and He has told me to just love these children, and love them unconditionally. I have worked with all of them very closely as they have shared with me, and it is my prayer that they will always see the love of Christ in my words and actions.

My adopted son, Peter, is going through a very difficult time, and he is not living for the Lord.

Peter had not been honest with me and shared where he was, and he had been abused as a child. Please pray for him that God will bring him back and that he returns back to Jesus Christ. There is freedom in Jesus Christ (John 8:36).

Cambodia is a country where Satan has had a grip on them for quite some time, and it will take God changing the hearts of Cambodians to reach other Cambodians.

In Cambodia, the sex trade is prominent. Young boys and girls are being sold into the sex trade, and we need to remember these children and pray for their escape and deliverance in the name of Jesus Christ.

Of the people who are living in our house with me, some have been abused as children. I pray daily that Jesus will help people to see His love and grow in His presence. Our challenge is to love each and every one of these people unconditionally. They need to see the love of God to overcome the moments of life when they were unloved and left alone. The love of God transforms people to become followers of Jesus.

God still has me in Cambodia. As much as I miss worshiping here in Akron with my family, and even spending time with other children here, there is no doubt in my mind that I am to be in Cambodia with young men and women to share the love of Jesus Christ.

I covet your prayers in order to endure and stand against the enemy on behalf of others as I pray for them.

God doesn’t call everyone to go, but He called me to go, and He calls you to pray.

Ephesians 1:3-6

Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens. For He chose us in Him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love He predestined us to be adopted through Jesus Christ for Himself, according to His favor and will, to the praise of His glorious grace that He favored us with in the Beloved.

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No Ways Tired (God Has Brought Us Through It All)

Rev. James Cleveland

Rev. James Cleveland

Original post August 2, 2009 – Edited for re-post January 19, 2015

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Cw75v2uqts

I Don’t Feel No Ways Tired – Rev. James Cleveland (via YouTube)

I don’t feel no ways tired,
I’ve come too far from where I started from.
Nobody told me that the road would be easy,
I don’t believe He brought me this far to leave me.

(excerpt from I Don’t Feel No Ways Tired – written by Curtis Burrell – sung by Rev. James Cleveland)

 

When your son asks you in the future, ‘What is the meaning of the decrees, statutes, and ordinances, which the Lord our God has commanded you?’ tell him, ‘We were slaves of Pharaoh in Egypt, but the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a strong hand. Before our eyes the Lord inflicted great and devastating signs and wonders on Egypt, on Pharaoh and all his household, but He brought us from there in order to lead us in and give us the land that He swore to our fathers. The Lord commanded us to follow all these statutes and to fear the Lord our God for our prosperity always and for our preservation, as it is today. Righteousness will be ours if we are careful to follow every one of these commands before the Lord our God, as He has commanded us.’ (Deuteronomy 6:20-25)”

When reflecting upon our lives as we remember our victories and learn from our defeats, do we respond with awe as to how God has brought us through it all?

We are (if we choose to be) a living testimony to the true statement that “God is able (Ephesians 3:20).” When we look at our life from where we came from to where we are today, we should be giving thanks to the Lord through Jesus Christ, proclaiming aloud “look where God has brought us from.” It is His grace and mercy that has carried us through. God’s grace has brought us out of generations of servitude and bondage to a new generation of freedom. He has allowed us to realize true freedom, not just in this country, but also in our ability to worship and serve our Lord Jesus Christ. Few today know of the sacrifices of our ancestors and predecessors who gave their lives for the freedom that we can celebrate in today. The times of difficulty experienced by those who lived before us in those days of persecution required a strong measure of faith and trust that God would be the One who would sustain them and deliver them. Their vision was far from short-sighted.

We have a responsibility, however, to acknowledge, who Jesus Christ is in our lives. “Then He said to them all, ‘If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will save it’ (Luke 9:23-24).” God has truly blessed us, in our following Jesus Christ, with a sense of family in our neighborhoods when we were raising not just our own children, but the neighbors’ children, too! Today, that precious family value has been lost to a new generation of single parenthood and a lack of a healthy overall family presence. The world has a powerful effect on today’s youth and family structures that has diminished the impact of the family structure.  Only the love of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit can overcome adversity and move people to reconcile with God and with others.  If you are a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, pray for the Spirit to change lives and more!  He is able to provide many miracles!

Let’s personalize this.  When looking at where God has brought you from, take the time to review and reflect upon where you are today. Looking back at your past helps you to move today in the right direction in order to be in the place where God would have you to be now and in the future. Jesus transforms lives from a lost existence through repentance and His forgiveness of sin.  His grace and mercy from His gift of salvation is ready for anyone who is willing to trust in Him as personal Lord and Savior.  He can, and will, transform you today.  Just ask, and you will receive.  Amen.

If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. (Romans 10:9)

So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” (Acts 16:31)


Our Great God (A Letter from Heather Abernathy)

Here is a recent letter (dated September 1, 2011) from Heather Abernathy, who is serving as an international worker for the Christian & Missionary Alliance in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.  The testimony is an encouragement to all of us to trust in God and His timing in everything:

Dear friends,

So you know that God has challenged me to be more like George Mueller and not necessarily share when there is a financial need.  You know God has challenged me to walk on the water with Him.  You also know I have been struggling in it, just not sure if I could really not share my financial needs.  One day last week, I was going through my tuk tuk expense calendar and adding everything up.  I discovered that while I have budgeted $100, the actual cost has been closer to $150 each month 😦  I was amazed to see the numbers added up and in print, and wondered how I have been able to keep going.  The numbers just don’t add up; it doesn’t make sense, but each month it has worked.  I knew my money was once again getting low, BUT, I knew the 25th was coming.
See, each month, on the 25th, I get my deposit from the CMA, from all those who partner with me, through them.  Usually, it is that deposit that pays my rent, utilities and internet and then have a little left over to apply toward food, tuk tuk, or phone card.  The 25th was Thursday, but did not get to check my account til Friday night.  In that deposit, I was expecting it to be enough to cover those things needed for the first and low and behold, it was a deposit of under $200.  OK, so I know I did not respond well; it sort of knocked the breathe out of me and I broke into tears and cried myself to sleep that night.  It had already been a REALLY HARD week, and then I open my account to see not even enough to pay rent…I had no clue where the money was going to come from. So from the 26th on, I have been stressing about money.  And yes, I know, in my head, that God promises to provide, but I really struggled!  I mean, how in the world was I going to come up with the money to pay for my three “big” bills?!?  I had gone to visit the school, where the preschool position is, and basically, the job is mine for the taking.  But, as I have prayed through this, I have had no peace at all about accepting, so…Sunday, I sent an e-mail to the principal and told him that I had to decline the job.  It terrified me to do so.  I mean, here I am with rent coming due and not enough in my accounts to cover it.  Monday, Tuesday Wednesday…all days in which I wondered how I was going to pay my rent and utilities today…Thursday.  Actually, had to pay interent on Tuesday and wondered, “Do I pay with my credit card, or with the little bit of cash I have?!?!”.  A friend challenged me to pay it with cash and to keep trusting.  I paid with cash…  Another friend reminded me that God ALWAYS comes through, right on time and never a minute sooner 🙂  Wednesday, I knew it was too late for anyone in the States to even send through paypal for me to get in time to pay rent today, the first.  So, as I am still thinking how in the world is this going to happen, I am thinking of all the things I might possibly be able to do, but have no clue…  Then, I come home from school and my crown (on my tooth) falls out 😦  ugh…just one more thing that I don’t have money for 😦  I told my friend, the one who every day comes into school all peppy asking, “So had God provided yet?!”, that I felt like I was drowning and I just couldn’t seem to reach Jesus’ hand as He was reaching out for me.  Oh my goodness, the last couple of weeks have been hard!
BUT THEN…I get home from running errands with her, and before I left for the dentist, I checked my e-mail…you know where I am going, don’t you?!?!  I had an e-mail from someone offering me a lump sum of money (but not an amount) to help cover my greatest need right at the moment.  Oh, my goodness, did the tears roll.  Even as I write, I am awed at our great Provider!  When I actually received the money, it was more than enough to cover the rent, so I got home from school and paid my rent and utilities and have a bit of money left over!  God truly does work above and beyond anything we can ever imagine!!  He has provided in a way that I NEVER would have thought.  This has been huge for me, and actually huge for my one friend, too.  When I told her, she shared that every day she just wanted to hand me money, but kept sensing God telling her “NO”, it was His job to provide for me, not hers…(ok, so not in those exact words, but still…).
OH, and the dentist…yep, I went and got things taken care of.  Thankful to have one friend to come and watch the girls for me and another to actually go with me…hehe 🙂  Glad she was with me, too, since I was $20 short and she was able to cover me.  Today, I have it to pay her back…God is so great!  It has definitely been a test of my faith…  It has been a challenge to trust Him to provide, but He did provide, right on time and not a minute before 🙂  He promised to meet and supply all our needs…maybe next time I will not stress quite so much 🙂
Serving our Provider,

Heather


A New Letter From Heather

Heather Abernathy, our International Worker in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, has sent us another letter (dated 05.13.2011) requesting our intercessory prayers on her behalf.  Please read her appeal on our International Workers page and spread the word.  Thank you.


A Time To Step Up and Speak Up

It is important for parents to communicate with their children about the world we live in, especially in the area of morality and values. Parents need to speak regularly with their children and have frank discussions about matters of right and wrong because there are, unfortunately, ongoing conflicting voices and opinions that are prevalent from media sources, network programming, and even Hollywood and its celebrities. Today, to counter these messages that are in conflict with our values, we must have the courage to speak up for what is truth. We must take a stand for righteousness and be clear in our opposition to sin and deviant behavior. Taking such a declarative stand, of course, has a cost, and we should be prepared for such a cost and fallout for speaking the truth according to God’s Word.

This stance will require courage and strength from the presence of the Holy Spirit. We have to come to a place where we, as a people, have to be prepared to speak up and declare the truth about sin, sexuality outside of God’s intent within marriage, and the gay lifestyle. There are many people who are openly proclaiming that open sexuality and the gay lifestyle is acceptable behavior. Their opposition to any discussion about such behavior is that they should be free to make the choices to live as they do, and that they love everyone, and challenge others to be more open-minded. On the surface, this may be a valid argument until you compare this reasoning with God’s Word, His standards, and its true authority in our lives. The reality is that sin, which is contrary to God’s Word, can have a significant negative impact on your relationship, if any, with God, on your life, and even the lives of others.

For those who believe and trust in God’s Word, are you ashamed of what the Bible teaches? “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is God’s power for salvation to everyone who believes, first to the Jew, and also to the Greek” (Romans 1:16). “But thanks be to God, who always puts us on display in Christ and through us spreads the aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. For to God we are the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To some we are an aroma of death leading to death, but to others, an aroma of life leading to life. And who is competent for this? For we are not like the many who market God’s message for profit. On the contrary, we speak with sincerity in Christ, as from God and before God” (2 Corinthians 2:14-17). When a believer in Jesus Christ goes from place to place, he or she should be presenting a “fragrance” of the knowledge and wisdom of Christ before anyone and everyone in which they make contact. The reality is that there are two different groups of people that you will encounter–those that will have the desire to know Christ, and those who will reject the message of the gospel. Do you realize that your choice to receive salvation is an agreement with God? For those who accept Jesus Christ as their personal Savior, they are in agreement with God about His message of truth. If one does not accept the gospel, then God is in agreement with the choice to reject Him, and He will allow that person to go his or her own way–to be eternally separated from Him. The truth of the gospel is inherent in the message that needs to be communicated in how sin and a sinful lifestyle separates us from God.

There are things that should never occur amongst the people of God. “Now Rehoboam, Solomon’s son, reigned in Judah. Rehoboam was 41 years old when he became king; he reigned 17 years in Jerusalem, the city where Yahweh had chosen from all the tribes of Israel to put His name. Rehoboam’s mother’s name was Naamah the Ammonite. Judah did what was evil in the Lord’s eyes. They provoked Him to jealous anger more than all that their ancestors had done with the sins they committed. They also built for themselves high places, sacred pillars, and Asherah poles on every high hill and under every green tree; there were even male cult prostitutes in the land. They imitated all the detestable practices of the nations the Lord had dispossessed before the Israelites” (1 Kings 14:21-24). What God had driven out previously that was against Him and His instruction was being brought back in. Was this practice much different than what is occurring today? Hardly. As a people, those who profess to follow Christ have become accustomed to outside influences that have compromised God’s Word within the church and within the body of Christ. The minds of those who practice sexuality in the form of prostitution have to be trained to do what they practice. These are willful acts that are contrary to God’s Word. “No Israelite woman is to be a cult prostitute, and no Israelite man is to be a cult prostitute. Do not bring a female prostitute’s wages or a male prostitute’s earnings into the house of the Lord your God to fulfill any vow, because both are detestable to the Lord your God” (Deuteronomy 23:17-18). God’s Word makes it clear that money earned through prostitution should not be shared with the church.

The people of God are the army of God that combats against sin (Judges 20:1-2). There is an urgent need for a counter-response to those who sin and practice sinful behaviors (Judges 19:20-26). How much of an effect can sin have on a multitude of people? In the book of Judges chapters 19 and 20, note that one incident of a sexual act resulted in the death of 100,130 people. A tribe of Israel was destroyed because of what it allowed to occur within their midst. Note that the men who participate in this grievous event were evil and perverted. The thought process of that time was to not necessarily abstain from deviant sexual behavior, but to allow for this type of behavior to be perpetrated against the under a different outlet women, or in this case, a female concubine of the house guest (Judges 19:25-27). The result of this travesty was noted in the verses that followed in Judges 20:5-7.

How does this relate to today? We need to make a decision as a group with one voice that deviant sexual behavior, with its roots in sinful behavior, is morally wrong. Unfortunately, the body of Christ has been deeply divided in its communication of this message to the world, and even amongst its own people. As individuals, we have to make a decision–is it a sin to have sex outside of marriage? Is it sinful to participate in gay sex? Is this behavior right or wrong? In order to even begin to come together as a group, we have to make these decisions as individuals and take a stand for God’s Word and righteousness.

Do you know that, while there is suffering in your decision to speak the truth, God will protect you? “For this gospel I was appointed a herald, apostle, and teacher, and that is why I suffer these things. But I am not ashamed, because I know the One I have believed in and am persuaded that He is able to guard what has been entrusted to me until that day” (2 Timothy 1:11-12).

The body of Christ must come together and be united as one voice for the truth of the gospel and God’s Word…He never intended for the church to be divided. “Knowing their thoughts, He told them: ‘Every kingdom divided against itself is headed for destruction, and no city or house divided against itself will stand‘” (Matthew 12:25). “Now I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause dissensions and obstacles contrary to the doctrine you have learned. Avoid them, for such people do not serve our Lord Christ but their own appetites. They deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting with smooth talk and flattering words” (Romans 16:17). See also Judges 20:11, Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, and 1 Corinthians 12:25.

Who are to be have one voice against? Sometimes the audience is right in front of us–it may be the members of our own families or someone very close to us that is involved in the ongoing practice of sinful behavior (Judges 20:13; Genesis 46:21, 49:27). Yet, it is vital to speak the truth about sin and its ultimate destruction and devastation in the lives of people.

Conquering sin and those who oppose the message of truth will not be swift. While it will not come quickly, victory will eventually come to pass. Until that time, we must continue to encourage each other in the combat and struggle (Judges 20:17-36). When you are taking a stand for truth in the battle against sin, there will ultimately be conflict. We are to encourage, and pray, for one another. Sometimes God has to allow for us to be in a state of brokenness in order to best use us for His glory and His purpose. There are times we need to give of ourselves in fasting, prayer, and sacrifice of ourselves to bring us to a place where we are relying on God’s energy and strength to accomplish His will and purpose (Judges 20:28). When we see God in the way that He wants us to see Him, and we have the proper reverence of Him, He will give you victory (Romans 8:37-39).

In this combat against sin, as we speak to those who need to hear the truth about sin, we need to remember that it starts with an individual decision, and that we work in unity with others for the common goal of proclaiming the gospel. We are to grieve when someone is caught up in sin (Judges 20:6), and we need to not make light of sin and what is occurring in our lives. We are to pray for the Lord’s guidance in addressing these issues in reverence for God and His Word. We need to trust Him that He will give us the victory as we remain obedient to His Word and trust in Him.


Sunday School Today: What Really Matters To God

In the book of Luke in chapter 15, Jesus heard the complaints of the scribes and the Pharisees when He took the time to speak to and fellowship with the known sinners of the town and the tax collectors. “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them! (v. 2)” In response to their comments, Jesus wanted to make it very clear that, unlike the religious leaders of the day, He does not play favorites over those who follow the Lord and those who do not. The three parables of lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost son (the prodigal son) show that it is God’s desire is for everyone–every human being that He created–to have a relationship with God through Jesus Christ (1 Timothy 2:3-4). The three parables go beyond expressing God’s love and concern for the lost (those who do not know the Lord Jesus Christ). God not only pursues the lost, but He also desires a loving relationship with believers that have fallen away from Him even though they know the truth. The parable of the prodigal son reflects a young man who was raised with the knowledge of who God was because, when things turned badly for himself, he immediately asked for God’s forgiveness and mercy (Luke 15:18-19). To ask for forgiveness while declaring yourself to be “no longer worthy to be called your son (v. 19)” implies that there was already a place of standing and fellowship within the family. God graciously forgives us once He sees a change of heart and a spirit of remorse when we ask for forgiveness. God is so loving and gracious that He gives us the peace that we seek almost immediately when our heart and mind turns from sin and focuses on Him. Yes, heaven rejoices for the return of the believer who had fallen away. A changed heart for Jesus means that, once again, God can use that individual for the Kingdom of God! That’s a good reason to celebrate, and it is reassuring to know that God loves us so much that He will seek us out until we finally acknowledge His presence.