Outward bound…His glories being known…

Balancing the Bible in hand, catching its words by the single glow from the closet light before a soul was awake Wednesday morning, my heart began to soar with these words.

“Give thanks to the Lord, call on his name;

make known among the nations what he has done,

and proclaim that his name is exalted.

Sing to the Lord, for he has done glorious things;

let this be known to all the world.

Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion,

for GREAT is the Holy One of Israel among you.”

Isaiah 12: 4-6

Yes, Lord! Let the nations, let the peoples know of your glory and good deeds!

…a seemingly-almost-dead fire was being blown upon by the Holy Spirit’s wind.

Where had my eyesight gone?  Where had my fire for the peoples to know Jesus been buried?

Oh, thats right…under the mounds of laundry, and pregnancy fatigue, and the ever-messy house, and homeschooling…and as my thoughts are filled with these to-do’s and get-done’s, my eyesight gets

NARROWER,

and NARROWER

and narrower.

until my whole world is just what happens within these four walls, and what I can do to make my life easier, and make my children behave.

Lift my eyes, Lord.

And, yes, this is the season of life God has me in, as Titus 2:5 tells me to be caring for my husband and children and “busy in the home” but I cry out for balance…that while being faithful here in the small things, I might have eyes, and a heart, and a prayer life for the big things as well.

So, here’s my little list of things to help me keep my eyes on the Kingdom and its coming.

1.  I’ve printed out all of Isaiah 12 on my prayer cards to pray over my children’s lives. They are the next generation of Christ followers and vessels of His Spirit on the earth.

2. Operation World is an incredible tool for knowing HOW to specifically pray for many countries I will never set foot in.  We can wage war on our knees. Danny and I prayed through the needs of 16 different countries this past fall (part of his Missions class assignment) and I was so encouraged by a broader sense of the Kingdom coming in the world. We’ve gotten out of the habit, but we can always get back into the habit.

3. A Barnabas Aid subscription sits next to our breakfast table so that the kids and I can read about persecuted Christians in the world, and pray for them at breakfast each morning. If we don’t get these habits tucked into our normal routine then they will never form.

4. “Pray for your neighbors!” is scribbled on a note on my bathroom mirror.  I find that when I’m praying for the souls of others, I find that I am more willing to be moved by the Spirit to seize opportunities to reach out to them.

5. Reading the book of Acts, plus biographies of men like D.L. Moody, Charles Spurgeon, John Wesley, and other great evangelists always keep me challenged to be a Watchman on the Wall. Reading their bio’s to my children, will give them eyes to see a way of life passionate about the Lord.

May small habits, and faith-filled prayers, and the little “arrows” I am sharpening daily

be avenues of God’s glory being known

and my heart being outward bound.

**For those of you who are in the same walk of life as me (aka the mothering/homeschooling whirlwind) a great article on mothering and missions I just found, can be read here.

Before they call, I will answer…

“Before they call, I will answer, while they are still speaking I will hear.” Isaiah 65:24

He’s done it again, and proved Himself so faithful and true to His Word.

While there is still much to wait in expectation for the Lord to do, we have already seen some exciting glimmers of hope in Newark.  Here are just the beginnings of some of God’s workings…

~On Thursday afternoon a teen named Jamil was working with the afterschool program and the Gospel was fully presented to him through the Children’s Catechism.  The fact that he had “a soul that will never die” hit him deeply and he knew he needed a Savior to redeem his soul.  He prayed to receive Christ as his Savior that afternoon.

~Danny’s grandfather, Bill Iverson, who first restarted Trinity Reformed Church 8 years ago, has had a renewed fire and burden to funnel time and resources into the work there. He is the best recruiter of laborers for Christ that I have ever seen.  Having him “on board” again is a huge blessing!

~An, on-on-fire-for-the-Lord couple came to visit (through Pastor Bill’s connection) for the weekend and have committed to at least do supply preaching for the month of March.  Maybe God is raising this couple up to come labor more permanently??

~The dwindling church service of about 10-15 worshipers on Sunday, was up to 45 people this past weekend. Praise God for people showing up!

~ Pastor Bill was able to re-establish connections with a few key people who had previously strayed from the Lord. They were back at church on Sunday!

~A (now) teen girl, who I had worked with since she was 8 years old, came back to church and even made cupcakes on her own initiative to share with everyone after service.

~A teen guy who had lived with us for a while (who is now aspiring to go to Bible college) showed up with his father (who hadn’t been to Trinity for over 6 years now!)  Their relationship is beginning to be healed.

~We had well-over 100 prayer warriors this past weekend, and news keeps trickling in of others who had taken the prayer challenge (some people were even from other continents!!).  May this prayer and fast burden peoples hearts to continue to intercede for these, the fatherless, the widows, the aliens and marginalized of our society and especially in Newark!

Thank you to all who participated! The Lord is working!

As we fast….

As we go into our weekend of fasting for Newark, NJ and the ministry of Safe Haven there, I wanted to include some practical helps and ways we can be approaching the Lord on behalf of this city.

First of all, the fast will be lasting for 48 hours (Friday 7pm-Sunday 7pm)  and we are calling for people to give up something that will trigger their minds and hearts and bodies to remember to pray.  Also, giving up something that takes time, can give way for time spent on one’s knees.  I know many people who are giving up solid food for those 48 hours and can have hunger and normal meal times as reminders and time to pray. I don’t believe the little person growing inside of me would necessarily appreciate no food for the next 2 days, so I will be giving up all drinks besides water, and all products with sugar. Others are giving up all media, or Facebook, or meat, or one meal during each day. We want to be having a continual reminder to be interceding (see Breath Prayers below) and we want concentrated time on our knees praying through the different prayer needs .

2 Chronicles 7:14 says,

If my people, who are called by my name, wil humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

God promises to hear and to forgive and to heal, but our hearts must be humble and we must own up to and repent of the ways we have contributed to the wickedness of the land.  Many people IN Newark are doing this fast, but all Believers have ways which we’ve failed to love the Lord our God with all our heart and soul and mind and strength and love our neighbors (the poor, the widowed, the fatherless, the marginalized of our society) as we love ourselves. We need to repent ourselves, as we pray for repentant hearts in Newark.

Let’s start with confession.

Let’s continue with thanksgiving.

God had done mighty things in and through work at Safe Haven and He continues to do it. Let’s praise Him that He has been working in the hearts of kids and teens for the past 7 years in that place.  Praise Him that He has brought laborers and brought nearly 500 people through that city on mission trips, people whose lives were changed by their interactions with “the least of these”.

Then, let us get to intercession.

My previous blog post outlines many areas we can be interceding for Newark.  I personally am printing it out so that I can have it readily available during the weekend (yes, I know I wrote it but I even forget, too!)

Breath Prayers

As hunger strikes, or the caffeine withdrawl headache sets in, or the temptation to flip the TV on creeps up, it is good to have little “breath prayers” to be praying.  These are short prayers that can be cried out in the midst of still cooking dinner for the family, or pressing through raising small children, or as your mind is continually awakened to what we are doing this weekend.

Pray quick, Scripture-based prayers throughout the days, such as:

Lord, have mercy on Newark (Ps.57:1)

Lord of the harvest, send workers into the harvest field in Newark (Matt. 9:38)

God, meet all their needs (the current laborers, future laborers, and the people of Newark)(Phil. 4:19)

Sanctify them (children, teens, staff, and parents) by the truth, your Word is truth (John 17:17)

Heal their land/city. (2 Chron. 7:14)

Disarm the spiritual powers and authorities (that hold people in bondage) (Col. 2:14)

and we will close with adoration.

Because God is faithful.  And He keeps His Word.  And we wait in expectation for what He will do.

Just a closing quote from Bill Bright, founder of Campus Crusade for Christ (CRU):

“I believe the power of fasting as it relates to prayer is the spiritual atomic bomb that our Lord has given us to destroy the strongholds of evil and usher in a great revival and spiritual harvest around the world.”

**Please feel free to “comment” and share with others things that the Lord impresses upon your heart during this time, or specific Scripture we can all be praying over Newark.  You can also find the Penetrating the Darkness on our Knees-Intercede for Newark event on Facebook. If you aren’t already “attending” please do! And again, THANK YOU, for rising to this challenge!

Penetrating the Darkness on our Knees

An increase in shootings in a two-block radius of the church. One resulting in the murder of one of our “lost boys” of Newark.  One occurring in the early evening when children are still outside playing all around. One resulting the in busted window of one of the church house’s window.

Fights on the street.  One of Safe Haven’s own staff getting arrested. The stabbing of one of our teens.

The church dwindling due to lack of laborers, leadership, and funding.  Losing one of the houses that the church owns because the money has dried up.  The last of our laborers scrambling to find apartments to stay in because they are being evicted.

Things seem dark. The battle rages.

But there is light in the midst of it.

A community garden that won an award from the city of Newark.  Teen staff falling in love with God’s Word and rejoicing in teaching it to the children.  Kids memorizing Scripture, Catachisms, and the Books of the Bible. Teen staff having an opportunity to earn money and invest in others, without resorting to gang involvement and drug dealing. Gifts being developed. Children’s minds being developed. The Kingdom coming in “little” advancements.

But not without the battles.

This post is a call.  A call to prayer and fasting.  A call to penetrate the darkness on our knees.  A call to not ignore God’s admonition to “Stop doing wrong (living in our self-absorbed little world), learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow.”  Isaiah 1:16,17

Many of us can’t go (or can we?!?) but we need to be mindful and prayerful for those who have gone, are going into the stream of the Enemy’s onslaught on this generation of the oppressed, the fatherless, the widow in the inner cities, and in this case, the inner city of Newark, NJ.

So here is the proposal.

The weekend of February 10-12 we are calling for fasting and prayer for the ministry of Safe Haven Urban Redemption as they labor in the midst of a darkness that many people have never had to come face to face with. We will fast from whatever we feel led to fast from: food, sweets, coffee, facebook, or TV, etc. from Friday 7pm until Sunday 7pm.  We will stand in the gap for them, for the street kids, for the confused teens who desperately need father figures in their lives, for the children who, unless intervention happens will just enter the cycle of high school drop out, teen pregnancy, poverty, gang involvement, misery and death.  For the single mamas just trying to hold it all together. For the homeless.  For those bound and oppressed by drug and alcohol addiction.We will lift up the following requests, that God may intervene and that our hearts may be softened to this call to CARE about those that God cares about (Ps. 68:5,6), to uphold a cause which God upholds (Ps.146:7), to spend ourselves on that which God calls us to, not only for their sake but for ours (Is.58:2,6-12-when we spend ourselves on the hungry, needy, and oppressed then we are promised light breaking forth, healing appearing, our calls being answered, guidance, and refreshment)

The Laborers-“The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. GO! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves.” Luke 10:2-3

-pray for Randy and Al’s leadership over Safehaven. Pray for the Board of Directors to be impassioned with the cause of Christ in this place and for their unity and leadership.

-pray for David and Kortlyn, the two directors of SHAC (the after school program) They carry MANY responsibilities and need constant encouragement, energy, and refreshment in the Lord.  That they may delight first in the Lord and then labor with all HIS energy. For their physical provision.

-for MORE laborers.  If you have not already read about Daniel’s death, please do, and listen to the song/call at the end. Ask God if He is sending YOU. Pray for more mentors for the teens, who desperately need discipleship and even “parental” guidance  because they have often lacked it their whole lives. Pray for men and women of Christ to step in and HIS hands and feet to love and care for “the least of these.”

-They need groups to come on week-long mission trips this summer to help run their summer camp and summer outreaches.. They need summer interns to come, a director for the 6 week summer camp, and  year-long interns to come next fall. For more information concerning any of these, please contact me!

The Teens-“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set and example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. (I Timothy 4:12)

-Safe Haven employs teens from the community to help run the after school program. They are not immune to the constant pressures of street life. Pray that they will fall in love with Jesus, that the Holy Spirit would be upon them, and would give them supernatural strength to follow Christ instead of the lure of the world in their community.

-Pray for stability in their homes, and that even their parents would come to know and trust Christ.

-Pray I Timothy 4:12 over these teens.

The children-“Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (Matthew 19:14) May we not hinder them due to our apathy, prayerlessness, and neglect that would prevent them from ever hearing about and experiencing the Gospel.

-Pray that supernatural protection would be over them to protect them from sexual, physical and verbal abuse.

-Pray for PEACE in their homes.

-Pray for an awakening in their hearts to the Lord, and His Word that grows and bears fruit in their lives

-Pray for their giftings and abilities to be nurtured and used for God’s glory in their communities.

-Pray for a supernatural breaking of the generational curses that keep them in “the cycle”.

-Pray for “straight paths, valleys filled in, mountains made low, crooked roads made straight that God’s Salvation may be made known in and through their hearts. That ALL the obstacles to a life of faith, stability, and productivity would be removed.

Funding-“And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:19)

– Pray that all the funding would come in to continue to pay the Executive Director, the staff, the teen employees and to keep the afterschool program running. We need monthly supporters (even $10 a month helps!!) and one-time gifts.  GIVE.

Pray God’s promises over Newark, and the citizens of it:

“As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:10-11

“Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations: you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.” Isaiah 58:12

“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, YOUR KINGDOM COME, YOUR WILL BE DONE ON EARTH (IN NEWARK) AS IT IS IN HEAVEN.” (Matthew 6:9)

If you are willing to participate in this call to fast and pray, please either “Like” or comment on this post, so we can have an idea of how many are participating.  Thanks!