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For God's Glory

When I was pregnant with my second child, I developed complications and was confined to bed. During that time, while watching a TV special on autism, I thought, Lord, I could never handle anything like that.

Later on, our son John was born. He was apparently healthy, but as he grew something seemed wrong. At 2-1/2 years old, he was diagnosed with infantile autism.

The doctors offered us no hope that John would recover. They said we should institutionalize him. read more

Believing for Protection

Some years ago I was impressed by the Lord to read Psalm 91 several times. I took great comfort in this passage and was moved to tell others about God's promises of safety.

I always utter a prayer when I get into my car, asking God to protect me and everyone on the road. Many times God has heard my prayers and delivered me in times of trouble.

One day, after praying for protection, I had traveled only a few miles when suddenly a deer jumped out of the woods right in my path. A second deer was right behind him.

The first deer cleared the hood of my car. The second one bumped his head on the side of the car and then turned back into the woods. I barely saw the first one, but in my rearview mirror, I distinctly saw the second one shake his head and turn back.

God protected me from disaster. For this I praise Him, and I imagine the deer are grateful too. When I examined my car, I saw there was not even a scratch on it. Praise God, for His mercies endure forever! read more

A Garden of Faith

Throughout my life, God has been merciful to me. I am thankful for the loving Christian home into which I was born 38 years ago.

My mother prayed over everything, and our family attended church each week. It was a wonderful childhood.

But while in college, I was introduced to marijuana and cocaine. I'd nearly finished my nursing program at Georgia State University, but I left school so I could work to support my drug habit. read more

A Passage Through Grief

During an eight-month period, multiple blows of grief battered my family. The first was related to our daughter, Shela.

My husband and I had adopted Shela when she was four months old. For all of her 19 years, she battled a neuromuscular disease that crippled her body and threatened her life.

Shela never weighed more than 55 pounds and was unable to walk, crawl or dress herself. Yet, despite her disability, she was a committed Christian who had graduated from high school with honors and successfully completed her freshman year in college. read more

The Father's Provision

During my daughter's sophomore year in college, we received a bill from a previous semester for $850. At the time, I didn't have the money to pay it.

One day when I was at my office, I asked God what I should do concerning the balance. He told me to call the school and ask to make payment arrangements.

When I contacted the school, a woman in the finance office told me they didn't accept payment arrangements, but she would see what could be done. Then she returned to the phone, bewildered, and said that someone (she didn't know who) had paid the balance! read more

Comfort in Crisis

Times of crisis don't usually evoke cherished memories. However, it is just such a time in my life that calls up my fondest memory.

While I was growing up, my family went to church sporadically and believed in God. I believed that He existed, but other than that I never thought very much about Him.

Then in my late 20s a series of events drove me to a crisis point. My mom died suddenly, and 14 months later, I married and began a new life 900 miles away from family, friends and everything familiar to me. read more

God Can Use You, Too

When I was a little girl, I watched my dad get drunk and physically abuse my mom. One day He went so far as to bring another woman into our home.

At 4 years old, I was molested by a baby-sitter, and at 5, by a family member. The molestation continued until I was 12.

At first, I didn't tell anyone because the abuser said my mom would be angry with me and would not believe me. When I finally spoke up, that is exactly what happened. read more

Born Anew

When I was 13 I had my first abortion. A few months later, I attempted suicide by overdosing on antidepressants.

My parents divorced, and I quit high school, becoming a teen-age mother at 17. A year later, pregnant again by a different man, I had another abortion.

After attempting suicide for the second time, I was committed to a state mental hospital. One of my counselors was a Christian woman whose church prayed for me for more than four years. read more

Miraculous Protection

My 2-year-old granddaughter and I were on our way to my home from her house when it began to snow. The roads became extremely slick, and visibility was poor.

When I attempted to make a left turn, I lost control of the car and went into the other lane. I cried out, "Oh please, Lord Jesus, I need You!"

We spun around and hit a sign, breaking it off and coming to rest in an 8-foot ditch. But we didn't even feel a jolt. God had eased us down into the ditch. read more

Divine Protection

In the past, I had heard teachings on "pleading the blood [of Jesus]" over your loved ones for healing and for God's protection; I'd done that many times. But until I read The Blood and the Glory by Billye Brim, I'd never heard of pleading a "blood line" around your property and possessions as protection from weather-related calamities.

At supper one night, I looked out through a big bay window in our kitchen and noticed that the sky was very dark to the south. My husband checked the weather report on television, and, sure enough, there was a tornado warning for a county just south of us.

Immediately, my husband went outside and got our sons to put any machinery inside for protection. When I looked out the window again, the sky to the south was pure white. Quickly, I turned up the volume on the television and heard that "baseball-sized hail" was swiftly moving in our direction. read more

Stranger with a Message

Some years ago, when I was working as a dancer in a nightclub, two customers summoned me to their table. Two more jerks, I thought, never dreaming that the one drinking a Coke would speak words that would change my life.

One of the gentlemen, Mr. Hobbs, was an architect who designed boats for the Navy. He asked me what abilities I had besides dancing. I told him that I'd been a secretary but could not make enough money to keep my 5-year-old son with me.

Mr. Hobbs told me of some missionaries his family supported in Mexico, and then he said, "They would give anything to have someone like you to help them." read more

Through the Fire

My mother was diagnosed with Huntington's Disease (HD), an incurable, genetic brain disease, in 1995. My siblings and I were told that each of us had a 50 percent chance of also carrying the HD gene and in turn passing it on to our children.

I was terrified. Seeing the changes in my mother was heartbreaking. But I knew God had a plan.

We were told that a test was available that could accurately determine whether we carried this fatal gene. But without a cure, it seemed ludicrous to consider. read more

Finally Free

During the late 1970s I was engulfed in a lifestyle of cocaine, marijuana, liquor and every pill imaginable. At the time, I associated with celebrities from the music industry and "high-class" drug dealers, who supplied me with everything I needed.

I've likened the years I spent in that state to a ride on a carousel. I was going around and around and getting nowhere.

The drugs were plentiful. They helped me to escape the pain of abuse, rejection, hopelessness and guilt. read more

A Servant's Heart

For the last 3-1/2 years since her divorce, our daughter, along with her two daughters, has found it necessary to live with my husband and me. We have committed ourselves to helping them and sacrificing the comfort that normally comes with almost reaching retirement and being "just grandparents."

It has not been easy, but God has confirmed to us that this is what we are supposed to be doing. He often reminds me through my granddaughters what it means to be made more like Jesus.

Recently one of them, who had just turned 5, asked me to get her medicine out of the cabinet for her. Teasingly, I said to her, "Mary Kathryn, what would you do without Grandma to get everything
for you?" read more

$49 Brownie

In 1956, when I was 7 years old, I wanted to become a Brownie (Girl Scout) like my best friend. But money was tight. My dad had to work two jobs, and my mother worked at night.

Having gone without during the Great Depression, my parents didn't want to deny me anything. But when I asked if I could join the Brownie group, my mother said, "You are in too many activities already. Neither one of us can afford one more involvement." Undaunted, I begged, "May I join if I come up with the money myself?"

My mom went over the list of supplies and clothing I would need. She added up the cost of uniforms, blouses, socks, a beret, a sweater, shoes, a coat, a handbook, pins, badges, books and a year of dues. She was hoping I'd be discouraged by the grand total of $49, but I wasn't. read more

Picture Perfect

My husband, Paul, and I went into the portrait studio to pick up pictures of our 12-month-old son, Ezekiel. We waited with excitement until our names were called, and then, as the sales associate placed the pictures in frames for us to look at, we both stood in shocked silence.

This happened every time we went to pick out our son's most recent pictures. As we looked into those perfectly brushed and lighted photos, we were reminded once again of Ezekiel's Down's syndrome. It was like receiving the news of his condition
for the first time.

Finally, we would break the quiet and begin to express our preferences, commenting on how well he smiled in this picture or how blue his little eyes were in that one. Always we would look at each other and smile reassuringly that God had given us this little boy and that in our eyes he was perfect. read more

Overcoming the Odds

In 1997, I married my high school sweetheart, Wesley. Two years later, we were extremely happy when we found out we were expecting our first child.

On January 13, 2000, our son, Blaise Chandler, was born. But we discovered something was wrong; he was not breathing. Despite the circumstances, God's peace came over me.

Blaise was moved to a different facility, where he remained for a week. Doctors concluded that he was born without kidneys, and on January 20, 2000, he went home to be with Jesus. read more

Power of Positive Faith

March 14, 1986 is a day I'll always remember. I had been serving in the United States Air Force for more than 12 years and was stationed in South Korea.

That morning I walked into the living room of my small apartment and found the room filled with a cloud. I wasn't afraid or shocked; rather, I was extremely calm. In the center of the cloud I saw my 11-year-old son's face, and I heard the Lord say, "Go home."

Immediately, I rushed to my workplace to tell my supervisor that I needed to return home to Denver. With his permission, I took the first flight headed to the United States. read more

Jesus' Favorite Coffee

After I started Junior High School, God began breaking my heart for the poor and put the idea of becoming a missionary in my head. Years later, I attended a small Christian college, and less than a month after I graduated in 2000, I boarded a plane headed for the African nation of Mozambique.

God allowed me to minister to the poor and to teenage prostitutes there for six months. I fell in love with the people and the land, and it was difficult to leave. I seriously considered living there as a full-time missionary--until the Lord redirected my life and gave me a passion to instill a missionary heart in the people of Orange County, California, where I live.

I found a way to incorporate God's heart for missions with my work at a popular coffee store. Our location became a venue for live music, much of it played by Christian musicians, who have been given the opportunity to minister in a different way to people outside the four walls of the church. read more

A Simple 'God Bless You!'

Three years ago, before the summer break, our Bible study leader gave the class a challenge: "Do something weird for Jesus this summer, something you've never done before." As I drove home, I accepted the challenge, but I wondered what "weird" thing I could do.

I recalled a minister I knew once who made a regular practice of standing at our sanctuary door and blessing everyone when he shook their hands. I remembered how this filled me with warm feelings, and I started to wonder if I could make others feel that way. Could I be a witness for God in the marketplace? I thought.

One day, after I finished shopping for groceries, when a young man was putting my bags in the back seat of my car, I said to him, "The Lord bless you." read more

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