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Grieve Not the Spirit

A few years ago a British couple, Sandy and Bernice, accepted a call from their denomination to be missionaries in Israel. A house was provided for them near Jerusalem.

After they moved in, they noticed that a dove had come to live in the eaves of the house. They considered this to be a confirmation that they were in the right place.

However, Sandy noticed that every time they raised their voices, the dove would flutter off, sometimes not returning for some time. "Have you noticed that every time there is a lot of noise, the dove flies away?" he asked.

"Yes, and it makes me feel sad. I am afraid the dove will fly away and never come back," Bernice replied.

"Well," Sandy said, "Either the dove will adjust his behavior to us, or if we really want to make sure we never lose him, we will have to adjust our behavior to the dove."

Likewise, our heavenly Dove, the Holy Spirit has feelings, and we can hurt His feelings when we grieve Him by the things we do (see Eph. 4:30). I have learned that the Dove will not adjust to me; I must adjust to Him.

What is needed is a sensitivity to the Spirit's ways and an immediate awareness of His absence should He withdraw. In fact, how quickly we recognize His absence is a good test as to how well acquainted we are with Him.

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The Angel And The Honey

One weekend near the end of 1999 I set aside time to be in the presence of the Lord and pray. On Saturday morning I sat up in bed and began to wait on Him.

Suddenly I heard footsteps walking across the kitchen and coming toward the bedroom door. I knew there was no one else in the house. But the next moment, an angel was sitting on the side of my bed.

He had in his hand a teaspoonful of honey. At first I could only smell it, but then my mouth was filled with the flavor of honey.

I looked up a few Scriptures about honey to try to understand the meaning of this visitation, but nothing clicked. So I asked the angel, who was still in the room but no longer visible, "What is this with the honey?"

He replied, "Have you never read about Jonathan? When he ate the honey, his eyes were enlightened."

I found the passage the angel referred to in 1 Samuel 14. Saul had forbidden the people to eat, but Jonathan had not heard his command (see vv. 24,27). So when they came through the wood, Jonathan dipped his rod in a honeycomb and ate some honey (see vv. 26-27). When one of the people rebuked him (see v. 28), he said, "See, I pray you, how mine eyes have been enlightened, because I tasted a little of this honey" (v. 29, KJV).

After I read the passage, the presence of the Lord grew stronger and stronger, and for 2-1/2 hours I saw open visions.

Since I had this experience, I have smelled honey many times when I have been praying for people. The honey represents the enlightenment of the eyes--the revelation of the Spirit.

I share this experience to encourage you to press in for similar revelation. God never does something for one person only; He pours out His Spirit and anointing over the whole body of Christ--to those who will receive. He wants all of us to be able to look into the Spirit realm so that we may see what He sees, including angels. read more

Delivered From Abuse

In October 1995, I was 34 years old and on my third marriage. While I was recovering from a major operation, my husband viciously attacked me. After choking and hitting me, he pushed me into the walls and threw me across the room.

Although I did not want another failed relationship, I was concerned for my son, who was 16, and my 11-year-old daughter. I kept wondering, What am I doing wrong?

We had dated for five years, but we separated after four months of marriage. I decided I couldn't take the arguing, his adulterous relationships and now the physical abuse. read more

God's Grace is Real

When I was 4 years old, my mother was stricken with meningitis. I can recall the night an ambulance careened around the corner and took her away to a hospital.

My father returned in the morning, looking extremely weary. I heard him on the phone telling someone that her fever was 107, and I wondered what that meant. Fear seemed to have wrapped around him as though it were choking him.

I expected everything to return to the way things were before her illness, but when Mom arrived home from the hospital, things were not the same. Meningitis had left her suffering with terrible migraine headaches, seizures and memory loss. read more

I'm More than a Survivor

Ever since I can remember, life has been a struggle for me. Everything in my life was negative, including the image I had of God.

I didn't understand why I felt so unloved and unworthy to be loved. I had received Christ as my Savior when I was 14, but no matter how hard I tried, all my efforts were met with condemnation and ridicule.

It wasn't until I was 28 years old and struggling to find the courage to leave an abusive husband that I stepped into a counselor's office and began my journey into freedom. The memories flooded my mind, and I wept bitterly as I told the counselor of my abusive marriage and the rape and molestation I had endured as a child. read more

A Tribute to Ms. Ann

My mother and I had some pretty rough times while I was growing up. Looking just like her didn't help. Everyone constantly compared us, from our clothing to the way we carried ourselves to our personalities. No wonder we clashed so much.

Years later, my husband and I found out we were pregnant with our first child. I prayed and prayed during the weeks leading up to the ultrasound that I would have a boy. My husband wanted a girl because, as he put it, there was "way too much testosterone in his family."

My desire for a boy was deeply rooted in pain and anguish. We wagered with each other up to the day of the ultrasound. read more

God Has a Plan

When I was a child, severe medical problems cropped up as a result of congenital issues. For three years, my parents and my doctors were hopelessly baffled as I endured horrendous pain.

While facing the taunts of a world that couldn't understand what was happening, I tried to function as a normal child and keep up with school. Unfortunately, the education system wanted to put me in a special needs school. Others thought I was just trying to seek attention.

A month before my 16th birthday, I laid in bed one night in sheer agony. I weighed 68 pounds, and my skin was translucent and grey. Trying hard not to be heard by my family, I cried to God: "Please take me home with You. I don't want to live any more. No one believes me or can help me. Just take me home!" read more

Trusting God With My Life

Learning to trust God can seem impossible during the difficult times in our lives. I know because I have been there.

I have heard many stories of broken marriages being healed and restored by the power of God. My story is different. When my own marriage was in trouble, I hoped and prayed for reconciliation. But that never happened, and the marriage ended in divorce.

For a long time, I was in total despair. I carried feelings of guilt, shame and failure for not being able to save my marriage. Many times the hurt was almost unbearable. My sorrow seemed to drown out any encouraging words from family and friends. read more

Greatly Blessed

I've had to overcome a lot of adversity. I've had to walk through many valleys and climb many mountains.

I was a mother at the age of 16. I gave birth to my son, Dwight (a gift from God), on the last day of 11th grade. I was determined to return for my senior year, and I graduated from Winter Park High School near the top of my class.

That fall I enrolled at the local community college, and for 1-1/2 years, I worked two jobs, went to school and raised my son. Around that time I realized that I had a gift and passion for hairstyling. My Grandmother Ruth owned a salon and she inspired me. She became my mentor and encourager. read more

A Word of Peace

Six years ago, I stood holding my infant son, Nathaniel, trying to sort out what I was hearing. Our family doctor said that the plates in our son's skull did not seem to be closing properly, and he needed to see a pediatric neurosurgeon.

I wondered: A pediatric neurosurgeon? Nathaniel's only 4 months old. I'm just here for a checkup. Will they operate on his brain?

By the time my husband, Art, got home that day, I was remembering that God was in control. I believed we could pray and this situation could turn completely around. Art and I agreed that not only did we need to pray, but we also needed to have a prayer service at our house for Nathaniel. read more

Fear Not

I love being outdoors. I take great pleasure in watering my plants, digging in the soil and pulling weeds. But I live in an area where rattlesnakes exist, even though in 40 years I have never encountered one.

Apparently, a nest had been stirred up in an empty lot recently, and my neighbors were suddenly finding them in their yards. One even appeared in a neighbor's garage.

After the snakes moved in, my pleasure was replaced with fear. Now when I ventured outside, I stood anxiously holding the hose as my eyes darted about, alert to any danger. Every time I went into my garage, it was with fear and trepidation, wondering if a snake was lurking in a dark corner. read more

Emeralds Find Their Way Home

My desire to have an emerald was birthed when my husband, Bob, and I saw a loose, bright green emerald while browsing the Los Angeles Jewelry Mart. It was an eye-catcher!

To my delight, Bob placed an emerald ring on my finger for our 25th wedding anniversary. Little did I know it would become a token of my faith and a test of what I believed.

My husband and I have a fun tradition we look forward to each year. On the Friday after Thanksgiving, we officially begin the Christmas shopping season at a nearby mall. One particular Friday proved to be momentous. read more

Shunned for Believing

After 11 years of serving and worshiping in a denominational church, I found myself an outcast among the congregation because I received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Hurt and dejected, I felt as though a spear had been thrust into my heart. My whole world crumbled.

People I loved turned away and told me to go with my "own kind." The baptism had made me different, and to the church I was unacceptable.

I could have wallowed endlessly in my pain, but the Holy Spirit lifted me and began a work in me that exceeded my understanding. I moved out from beneath the heavy shackles of the bondage I'd been too blind to recognize. read more

Miraculous Provision

From the time I became a Christian in December 1991, I was involved in various types of ministry--youth work, street evangelism, college ministry and worship. But I knew that it was also part of God's plan for me to minister overseas, even if only temporarily.

I had a strong desire to minister in India. I knew it would be a faith-building experience for me. And in June 1999, I was preparing to go there on my first short-term missions trip.

For several months, I had been experiencing severe dental pain because of four impacted wisdom teeth. Also, I had cavities, and I needed braces, which I knew would cost an exorbitant amount of money. I didn't have it, but I knew that my heavenly Father did. read more

Healed by Forgiveness

I was sexually molested by a family member when I was a young girl. At age 18, I was brutally raped and lived in fear of my attacker for years.

Following this last assault, I accepted Christ as my Savior. After having had a career in modeling and acting, I entered Bible college and fell more and more in love with God and ministry.

Today, I am an ordained minister and assistant pastor. Although I went to the family member who had abused me and told him I had forgiven him, bitterness still had a grip on my heart. read more

Thankful for Dad

My father loved telling the story about the day I was born, September 7, 1955. He named me Florence Rose, after his mother, who died when he was a boy.

During my childhood my parents did not get along well for a very long time. Years later I asked my dad why he had stayed around, and he said, "Because no one was gonna get my kids."

Back in the 1960s fathers had few rights, but our dad took care of my siblings and me when our mother moved out. Although she returned after several months, our dad was always there for us. read more

A Living Witness

Health issues have plagued me all my life. Tests administered years ago showed that I was allergic to almost everything.

I've spent many days in and out of hospitals. In 1993, I was hospitalized for more than a month. A portion of that stay was spent in the cardiac care unit (CCU).

I was unable to breathe, so a tube was put in my throat that prevented me from talking. But I asked my husband to bring my Bible and anointing oil to me. When I couldn't talk, these were witnessing tools for God. read more

God Still Heals

I was taken to a hospital, where I spent two weeks in a coma with a multiple skull fracture and a fractured jaw. I spent six weeks in the intensive care unit and another six weeks in rehabilitation, undergoing occupational, physical and speech therapy.

Finally, I was discharged and started putting the past behind me. I know the prayers of my parents, my friends, my teachers and my church helped me to recover. read more

Thankful Survivors

In 1944, I was in my early teens and spending the summer with my sister, Sissy, and her husband, Ted. Sissy, her four children and I were about to leave for a trip in her old station wagon, when Ted surprised her with a brand-new car he'd just bought for her.

This was in the days before seat belts, so I had the privilege of holding the new baby, Linda, on the road. It was Saturday, and there were lots of construction signs but no workers. For miles, the signs warned us of the deep ditch next to the shoulder of the extremely narrow road.

My sister was fumbling with the radio and ran off the highway. She pulled hard on the steering wheel but there was no controlling it. She screamed, "Hold on!" read more

God's Transforming Power

After her divorce, our daughter and her two children moved in with my husband and me. She did not get along with my husband, and there was constant strife in our home. A while later, he told her to leave.

My daughter was angry and left, taking the kids with her. I cried out to God, asking Him to protect my grandchildren and place them where they should be.

Soon the children were back in our home, and my daughter moved in with friends. The children were 6 and 7 years old and very active. At first I was overwhelmed, and I wasn't sure how I was going to hold down a job, lead a women's Bible study and take care of them. read more

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