The day is long past gone and the night has settled in on us with a cool breeze from the mountains. The heat of the day was a reminder of the warmth of the Son when He is at work all around us. Today the Lord reminded me of His awesome power to transform and restore lives through prayer. All of us who call ourselves Christians say we believe prayer works. We all talk about prayer being the vital link between us and the God of heaven. We all would recount stories, whether ours or others in our circle of friends, of God answering prayer with miraculous results.
Today I became a witness of the real authentic power of the prayer of a righteous man which brought about an awesome response of God! In June of this year, just a short six weeks ago, I stood in Sajcavilla with a precious teacher form sector 3 school who was in need of surgery. Marybelle shared with Pastor Morales, Greg Brown, Jason King and myself her struggles with a pain in her stomach that had been causing pain for quite some time. The doctors had determined she needed surgery to correct a hernia that had developed high in her stomach and was affecting her breathing, and eating. She was struggling with a great deal of pain. She was also worried about the surgery and what would happen afterward. The concerns of whether she could continue to teach or care for her own children was weighing heavy on her heart.
We gathered around Marybelle and lifted her up before the Lord all together. Pastor Jason King from Grace Baptist Church in Oxford, AL was with us on this trip and prayed for Marybelle to be healed and the pain to go away whether through surgery or if the Lord wanted to simply remove it! We all encouraged her and helped clean her classroom after we prayed over her. She thanked us and went on to prepare for her class.
Pastor Morales visited the school last week, middle of July, to check on teachers and make arrangements for an upcoming visit by our team. He saw Marybelle at a distance and spoke a greeting to her and she quickly responded with a warm hello and I'm doing fine and then went on quickly to her class. Today, Marybelle came to Pastor Morales to share with him that she was sorry for not coming to speak with him last week but she had something wonderful to share with him. She shared that following our visit in June she went to the doctor for the surgery and was sent home! The doctor said you have no need for surgery, your hernia is completely gone!
As if this miraculous healing was not enough, Matybelle went on to share with Pastor Morales that today she was reading from James 5 and realized it was the prayer of a righteous pastor in June that had been used by God to bring healing in her body! Amazingly she had been reading from James 5 because in June Pastor Jason King had brought Life Journals he had led his church to have printed in Spanish, which had been given to her by Pastor Morales earlier. This Life Journal had been a resource she had been using to read the Bible and pray since God had healed her. God used the passage for today's reading to show her that it was the power of prayer that He used to heal her!
It is sometimes the faithful acts of obedience that leads to the Lord answering prayers and healing lives in miraculous ways. Yes, miracles still take place! God is still healing people today! Today we saw a healed healthy Marybelle full of life and light from the saving power of Jesus Name! It is through the Name of Jesus that life transforming power impacts the desperate life seeking to trust and have faith. Marybelle is a living example of His power of prayer and victory in His Name! Rejoice with us today for the awesome power of the God of glory and His power over sin and sickness! What an awesome God we serve. God is good...all the time...all the time...God is good!
Years ago I was able to sit and listen to an amazing man of God speak about his life and how difficult it was to learn the simple lessons of faith. I recall thinking how crazy it was to hear him say these things, after all he was a great man of faith and his life was an example of that truth. Many years later I read of his struggles early in his faith journey and I began to really relate. God used those struggles in his life to teach me important lessons about the daily disciplines of life.
Growing up I had an incredible opportunity to me influenced by several older guys in my youth group. For some reason these guys were willing to let me tag along on several events that later would change my life. One of those events was a concert that several of my friends were going to and I went along thinking this would be cool. I knew the artist well and knew it would be an incredible experience. Little did I know how much his life would impact mine.
I will never forget sitting in the upper level of the Atlanta Civic Center and looking down on the stage to see a single piano with no top on it and a mic stand with a monitor. That was it! Nothing else on stage, no band, no big sound system, no special lighting. Then while we all were still talking to one another in the room a man walked out sat down and began to play. After a few minutes the room became hushed and the piano was all we heard. The music coming from that piano was like nothing I had ever heard before. His ability to play was so incredible that many in the room just stood to their feet in awe of the God-given talent we were all witnessing. I will never forget being at that first Keith Green concert and truly experiencing God in the midst of the music.
Years later I read of his struggles with his faith journey and recall specifically his struggle at one point with daily time with the Lord. I know as many of us who seek to follow Him closely find out along the journey it can be rocky at times. Daily time with the Lord can become a difficult thing to remain focused on and keep consistent. I recall Keith Green sharing that struggle with a close friend at one point. It was like his prayers were bouncing off the ceiling, he shared. Any one ever felt that way? I know I have. However, the question from his friend threw me off at first. Keith's friend asked him about making his bed every day. At first it seemed like a very silly question until the friend connected the dots.
The daily disciplines of life are the framework upon which we hang the daily disciplines of our faith journey. These daily disciplines of life will be clear outward indicators of our level of discipline in our faith journey. This truth has rocked my world more than once in the past thirty plus years of this journey. You see, if you and I do not develop good daily habits of daily life, we will more than likely not develop good daily habits in our faith journey either. As I sit here and write these words I am reflecting on the journey and recognizing the times I have struggled and the times I have felt like it was all working well.
Man I am so thankful for the patience of so many people in my life in the past. I reflect on my journey and realize just how stubborn and arrogant I must have come across as I struggled through some of my years of faith journey and even ministry. Throughout the past couple of years the daily disciplines of health and exercise have become much more important to us as a family. Many of you have followed the journey. I have learned through the mental battles to run and eat right, that the disciplines of faith are even more work and of even greater importance than I understood earlier in my journey. In fact the journey of running has greatly helped me understand how much more effort I need to invest in the disciplines of this faith journey.
You see, if I do not make my bed every day, then I begin my day with a lazy, unorganized approach to the day the Lord has granted me. This attitude will affect every other area of my life. This laziness then spills over into the time I devote or do not devote to the Lord and His Word. This lack of being in His Word then affects what I am able to hear from Him and how I am able to understand what He desires for me to do with my time and resources He has gifted me with this day. This then leads to a lack of organization and management of my time throughout the day which causes me to be wasteful and irresponsible. The dominoes just keep falling throughout the day. Eventually it becomes a pattern of behavior that is very hard to break without a swift and strong rebuke from the Lord!
How are your daily disciplines of daily life? How are your daily disciplines of your faith journey? Are you seeing the fruit of the Spirit growing in your daily life? Are you becoming more like Jesus every day? Do the things that weigh heavy on the heart of God seemed to be weighty subjects of your conversation with Him?
I will be the first to admit I struggle with the daily disciplines of life and faith. Yet, God has granted me a helper in this journey and I am so thankful for the passion for discipline that my wife has. I have learned so much from her about the daily journey we are walking together. I long for the day when the daily disciplines of the faith journey are as natural as making my bed and brushing my teeth! Today will you join me in seeking to be disciplined and lets all Make Our Beds!
In His Grip,
Every year I spend a few weeks in the southwestern part of the country among first nation people. This year I was able to serve alongside our partners in Tohatchi, New Mexico for a little over two weeks. I am overwhelmed frequently with many things in this part of the world as the creativity of the Father is seen daily.
As I watched the sunset a few weeks ago I was reminded of how big the sky is in New Mexico. If you've ever been to the southwestern deserts you know what I'm talking about. I could stand in the same spot of the yard of the church and watch the sunrise and the sunset. The horizon is all that hindered my view of the sky.
Psalm 8 speaks of the glory of God being set in the heavens. And Psalm 19 reads, "The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world..."
I realize too many times I limit the power of the Lord in my current situation. My thoughts go directly to the lack of provisions or the things I do not have to accomplish what I think He wants me to do. The whole time he is trying to get me to look up into the sky and see His work of glory and learn once again to trust His heart and lean on His understanding.
So I am writing a blog post now to confess my limited ability to trust in His plan. He reminds me over and over again how faithful He is to His plans and His purposes. I am in need of His wisdom and His understanding in a big way! I see the needs of the people in Sajcavilla, Guatemala and try to figure out how it is going to work. I reflect on the poverty of the Navajo people right here in our own country and try to figure out how to maximize the resources we have for the greatest good. I walk through the rooms at Tabitha House in Guatemala near the dump and look for food and find none. I then begin to plan ways to help provide food on a regular basis for these children and women in such tough situations. Then as if it were the explosion of color that happens at sunrise, the Lord rocks my world with his reminder of His glory and His faithfulness.
God has used many people to provide for the work of One Way Ministries through the thirteen years we have been walking this road. Never once, has He clearly shown us what He wants us to do and not provided. There have been many times I have questioned how or where it would come from. Yet, every time the need was great and the provision was more than we could have anticipated God has reminded me of His purposes and His ways are what really matter!
So in my confession of lack of faith I am also going to put it out there that the Lord is guiding us to deepen our commitments in Guatemala and in New Mexico. This year we still have a big trip to Guatemala we are actively recruiting for in November. The first week in November (Nov. 1-8) we are in need of doctors, dentists, nurses and many other non-medical team members to provide a four day clinic in Sajcavilla. We will be doing many other ministry events during the week as well as several training opportunities for the community. We need you to join us as we pray for the team God desires to be on the ground begins to form now. We hope to put a team on the ground in New Mexico in October to help encourage teachers and administrators in a local school as well as prepare the church for ministry through the winter months. Food is a critical aspect of the weekly ministry of the church in New Mexico. We hope to help them stock their food pantry for the winter as well as prepare for the tough winter with some home repairs and projects around the community. Join us as we pray for this team to form and begin to gather resources to best serve the church and the community on the Navajo Nation.
I know that many people out there are blessed with more than they need. As we read in Psalm 67, the reason we all have been blessed is for the ways of God and His salvation to be made known among all people and all nations. Please join us as we seek to serve the local church and encourage our brothers and sisters in some tough areas of the world to make His ways known. Help us provide for the church through supporting the work in ways that will equip and encourage the church to be the light and salt God has called them to be. Pray with us for long-term partners who will help us support the ministries of the church in Sajcavilla as they reach their own community with the kindness of God that draws people to repentance. Pray about how the Father wants to use you in the harvest field now to help the church bring in the harvest! So, how big is your sky? Is your sky as big as His? Can you see His glory revealed before your eyes as you gaze into the heavens? Is your view of His glory wide enough to be overwhelmed by His greatness and His goodness? Come on look up into the sky and see His work and His glory all around you! Join us as we reach the world and teach the Word!
Being in New Mexico is a completely different experience than any other mission trip I've been on. The previous trips I've been on were in Guatemala and then local missions up in Pennsylvania. The main reason I would say New Mexico was so different was because they spoke English. I know that sounds funny, but the only other far off mission trip I've been on was in Guatemala and they speak Spanish there. The poverty and lack of food that lingers within the small town of Tohatchi will make you believe that you aren't even in the states anymore. The best way I could try and give you a visual for such a sad environment is by telling you about a few of my "snapshots". These snapshots are pictures I've taken with my mind and that lay heavy on my heart. So the first snapshot I am going to share with you is about Jennifer and her family. Jennifer is a woman that comes to Tohatchi Baptist Church and has five children that she raises with her boyfriend/husband. They live in a two room "home", if thats what you want to call it. When you walked into the home, you were in the living room/kitchen/dining room. The second room was the bedroom, where there was a queen size bed and a bunk bed. In the corner of the room there sat a bathtub and toilet. There was no wall around it, and they have no running water, so it was unusable. So you may ask, where did they go to the bathroom? Every time they had to go, they had to walk two houses down and use there neighbors outhouse. Could you imagine? Now you have a visual, but let me add to this visual. They had sheets and blankets hanging up all over the walls, why you ask? To keep the wind out because there were huge holes in the walls. If you know anything about New Mexico, you know its windy and when the wind kicks in the sand flies up. The whole living situation is completely ridiculous. Another reason that made their living situation so hard was the fact that Jennifer's daughter, Moriah, has spinabifida. Moriah can't feel her legs at all, so she lives the rest of her life in a wheelchair. Mariah is only 10. The icing on the cake is that Jennifer and her man don't have jobs. You put it all together and you have a very sad living situation. Seeing that home, you just want to tear it down and start from scratch; give them a brand new home and make Moriah's life a little easier. Unfortunately we can't do that, but our first team that came in from Waco, Texas came into Jennifer's home and gave her a fully functioning bathroom. These living situation seem to be fairly common in the area of Tohatchi.
Heads bowed and eyes wet with the tears from the weight of daily struggles, a room full of women and children echoes with the sound of prayers. The day is full of singing and playing with children whose daily life is, at best, a struggle and for most, a journey of fear and suffering. For a brief moment in their lives, a group of children replace sad looks and frowns with smiles and laughter as our team plays with them and shares the love of Christ. As I watch this experience late in the day, as we are allowed to participate in a time of prayer and encouragement, I am reminded of the Samaritan woman. The people we are sharing with are some of the poorest people in the western hemisphere.
In the middle of this journey we call life, moments in time come that seem to stand still. It is in these times that the Lord clarifies or emphasizes something unique to us in the moment. This happened last week as we shared in a special time of worship and prayer for the women and children of Tabitha House in Guatemala City. I was among a people that even the Guatemalan church has a hard time reaching out to with love and compassion. Time seemed to pause when one of the mothers who had come for the service needed to leave with her child. She politely got up from her seat and grabbed the hand of her child. They began to make their way out of the room through the sea of children and team members holding on to the wandering children in the room.
This young woman was not more than twenty-five years old. She had a small glimmer of her former beauty slipping out from under her hat which was full of her long black hair. The top layer of her clothes was covered in black and grey dirt and grime from the day. Her feet almost as black as the thin rubber shoes she wore. As she walked out of the room my world stood still for a moment and the Lord spoke clearly to me. “This is the reason you are here." In that moment my mind raced through the entire background of the Samaritan woman and her story of encountering Jesus. I quickly processed the similarities that were possible with her life in that environment from my past experiences in the community. And then as it usually is those divine encounters, God spoke a word to me that will drive me forward in my calling and my service to the Kingdom!
John writes of Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman, “Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” - John 4:14. You and I have this living water on tap in our lives welling up inside us. Many of us seem to have forgotten this power that is deep within us. The Father has planned this entire experience in a way that will totally overwhelm us if we allow Him to work in us. Jesus’ words in this passage speak of a continual supply of living water that will transform lives and heal hurts. This living water will bring life and hope and salvation. This living water that wells up must at some point come out as it builds and grows. The purpose of a well is to supply many with the life giving necessity of water. The purpose of your redeemed life is to be that source of living water for those who are thirsty and need a fresh cup of water. It is in those moments of obedience that you and I will see the hand of God miraculously work in the life of the least of these!
Will you today ask the Father to position your life in such a way as to encounter someone today who needs some fresh water from the living water Himself? Will you be His ambassador and share the hope of His living water with those who are searching desperately for it? Will you sit down for a moment and allow the Lord to remind you of this source of LIFE itself that is in you and then ask Him to use you to reach the world and teach His Word to everyone you see?
After several years of walking this road, I have come to realize a very critical truth about the role we play in reaching the world! Following an Easter Sunday with much conversation and discussion about Jesus and His role as Redeemer and Savior, Monday rolls in with a blur of activity and demands on our time. Last Friday we heard the famous words, "Its Friday, but Sunday is coming!" On Easter Sunday we rejoiced with brothers and sisters of faith and shared, "Happy Easter," or "Happy Resurrection Day!" We finished our day with a sigh of relief from the busy day and settled in for a quiet night. However, the whole weekend had an odd sense of expectation looming over it. Did you feel it? Did you sense the weight of the weekend pressing down on you and causing you to try very hard to rejoice and be happy while all the while a sense of panic lingered on the edge of everything you did? Why?
Choices are being made everyday in tough places to "not invest" in certain areas of the world for the sake of investing resources in those most critically in need. Yet, the call to go make disciples is to all of the Body to go into every land! Yes, the plan of God has always been to reach the world through the Body of Christ known in most cultures and lands as the The Church. The opportunity for every person to know the Gospel is actually possible through the active participation of God's people in His plan.
So, now that Monday is here, and the desperation of the world is beginning to sink deep into our minds, let us turn from the ways of the past. Let us rise with the new day and passionately go into all the world and reach the nations for the sake of His great Name! Not just the unengaged or the people with no witness, but every people group in every nation, in every part of the world. Look now for the opportunity to journey into another context with the Gospel. Seek out those around you who are going into all the world regularly and join them. Start today to organize your life around the places and peoples God lays on your heart.
He begins with a short-term experience in another context to open our eyes and heart up to what He is doing around the world. The next step is to actually engage the people in this other context and share the Gospel and show the Gospel. He then will guide you to areas around your home community where this same need exists and type of work can be done. He will then show you where He wants you to engage in your local community. As you obey He will show you more and more of the needs around you. As you surrender and sacrifice for the sake of the Gospel, the Lord will open your world up to the lostness all around you. In your compassion for the hurting and desperate people around your community you will see the ends of the earth in their faces and be driven to continue to go outside of the local context to see more of what God is doing globally. These experiences will spur you on as you are challenged and encouraged by Christ-followers all over the world who are passionately living out the Gospel in every context possible. This will bring a freshness to the US church that will drive us to our knees for the sake of the unreached. Through the obedience to reach the unreached the unengaged will also hear through those we reach with the Gospel going to other contexts that we are totally unaware of with the Hope of Glory in their hearts. They will share the hope of the Gospel with these who have never heard and we will see them respond to the Savior.
So here it is, the moment you all have been waiting for...Jesus said,"Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Teaching them to obey all that I have commanded. And behold, I will be with you always, even to the end of the age!"
Find that short-term trip that will open the door for the Lord to use you in amazing ways in your Jerusalem, your Judea, your Samaria and to the ends of the earth. Today, right now, ask the Lord of the Harvest to send you into the field to work where He is calling you to go. Now, GO Reach the world and Teach His Word!
In His Grip,
NOAH DUCKETT Born April 29, 2014
Please pray for Meghan and Joseph Duckett as they begin this new chapter of this journey as parents of this precious gift from the Lord. Many changes are inevitable as they navigate the road ahead. We will miss them on the field this summer but are very thankful for the blessings God has showered them with over the past several months. Eager to see how the Father uses this little one to shape their future and what the Lord has in store for them as a family in the coming days!