I pray this can be a testimony to all who read, to not settle spiritually, but to keep DARING to ASK God for MORE!!! I share this testimony not to boast of myself, for I am weak, but only as testimony to His Honor and Glory!!!
First off, since I stopped receiving a monthly paycheck about 6 months ago, God has been taking me on a whole new journey of faith! And He's been providing for me, AMAZINGLY!!!!! I could have gone back to work as a nurse, as I had a very good paying job in the past, but it required too much time, and I knew with all my different ministry obligations, putting on Bible conferences, speaking for prayer conferences and retreats and at churches, and working on writing a book, I didn't have TIME to work as a nurse, but I needed to move forward by faith, trusting God to provide. So that's what I've been doing!
God says in His Word, "Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? …But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." Matt. 6:25,26,30
I decided to take this passage SERIOUSLY! I made a list of all the things I needed to survive each month, and then I said, "Ok God. I'm not going to take thought about these things. You said you will provide. I believe I'm living in your will, and working in ministry according to your will, so I"m trusting you to provide." And I've chosen not to stress about it. And God has been growing my faith. It's funny, but it's actually EASIER to trust Him when you don't have someone else or something else to lean on, financially or otherwise. I just praise the Lord that He's teaching me that HE IS FAITHFUL!
In fact, to further prove God, I told Him when I stopped getting a paycheck, "I want YOU Lord, to take care of me. Not my parents!!!! They are already financially stretched taking care of another family of 8 in need. So I'm not going to tell them that I'm no longer receiving any salary. I won't tell them for at least 6 months to a year. I want you to prove that you can take care of me without their help so they won't stress and worry in the future when God calls me out to make greater sacrifices by faith!" So at this point, it's been six months and even my own parents and family DO NOT know about my financial change of status. (We will see if they happen to read this blog post and find out!) Anyway, isn't that amazing how God is providing??
Of course, it's really NOT about the money!!!! It's about His faithfulness. But He knows we have real needs and we still live in a real world! It's such peace to know that I have a heavenly bank account now, rather than an earthly one. God is good!!!
Writing over a hundred years ago to church leaders in South Africa, Ellen White makes a sobering statement that I believe is worth repeating. “I do hope that you will not look to men, nor trust in men, but look to God and trust in God. We may expect large things, even the deep movings of the Spirit of God, if we have faith in His promises. Our greatest sin is unbelief in God.”
On January 1st of this year, I made a new challenge to God. I don't know if you guys remember the story of Praying Hyde and how as his faith grew, He began to pray that EVERY DAY God would give Him a soul for the Kingdom. The first year he prayed for one soul a day. AND GOD ANSWERED HIS PRAYER!!! The next year he prayed for two souls a day, AND GOD ANSWERED HIS PRAYER! The next year he prayed for four souls a day, AND GOD ANSWERED HIS PRAYER!!!! His testimony has inspired me so much!!!!!!!
I told God this past January (actually it started last September of 2012, but I renewed my request in January of 2013) that I didn't presently have enough faith to start by asking for one soul a day, but I did have enough faith to ask for one answered prayer every day!
So in January, I started keeping a journal and every day I would write down answers to prayer that God would bring! Would you believe that for the last 9 months without fail, I've received ONE ANSWERED PRAYER EVERY DAY!!!!!!!!! In fact, on many days I've received multiple answered prayers. (Sometimes it's 5-7 or more. A couple weeks ago, I had 8 answered prayers in one day, and they were significant answers to prayer, not just little answers!!)
As I look back over my journal, I'm receiving about 2-4 answered prayers every day consistently now. They aren't all HUGE and gigantic, although some of them are, but they are an answered prayer!!!! Let me share a few of them from this past year… all to God's glory!!!
- For example, in providing for my bills, has God been sending me support from unique places! I have a stranger that contacted me, who had been reading my blog one day and felt convicted to start donating to my expenses each month. This was about the time I stopped receiving a monthly income. And I've never blogged about the fact that I'm not on a fixed income anymore until now. (This gal has now become a friend - Thankful for you Tracie and family!!! God is good.)
- I've had FREE GRAVEL delivered to my door step that I had prayed for so I could make a parking lot for my car (my mom said we've never received free gravel before in all the 30+ years we've lived here!) I didn't want to spend precious money on the project so I prayed that God would provide, and after 4 months of praying, He did! We inherited 4 truck loads and 2 trailer loads, plus a tractor load of free gravel from the local community church. They'd just finished paving their parking lot and didn't know what to do with what was left over, so they gave it to us!!!!!! Tell me God doesn't care about details??? (Some people thought I was crazy to pray about GRAVEL! But why not! If we pray specifically, God will answer specifically!)
- I've had other complete strangers write me about how my blog has convicted and impacted their life and helped them just when they needed help. (I'm always praying God will help me be a more effective witness, and praying about what to write, so every time I hear from someone like this, it's another answered prayer! And some of these strangers have now become friends. Love you Roni!)
- I've seen miracles in heart transformations at different places I've spoken this spring. One lady was on brink of divorce and even had restraining order for her husband, and she was weeping and praying that God might yet save their marriage during one LONG Sabbath afternoon prayer session that we had. Well, my brother Daniel and I came home and started fasting and praying passionately for some of the different prayer requests we were getting during weekends when I was doing the prayer seminars at different churches. And would you believe, we've seen answered prayer after answered prayer! The most dramatic being that God brought "the husband" to one of my seminars 3 weeks later as he was convicted by the changes he'd seen in his wife and wanted the same experience she had had. Now they are getting back together and growing!!!!!! (I told Daniel, "If God can heal marriages at ARME, He can do it for us with the people we work for too!! And He's doing it!")
- I've seen people that have been out of the church for a long time, starting to come back, people I've been praying for specifically by name! One girl I've been praying for, a Lesbian for 15 years, has not only come to God and walked away from the Gay lifestyle, but she is now taking training at Amazing Facts and wanting to work in ministry. Miraculous transformations going on in her life.
- We prayed that God would bring just the people that needed to hear a recent prayer seminar that I helped Marian Paron's, prayer coordinator for the AR-LA Conference, lead in Shreveport LA this last month. We prayed that God would not just bring the people that needed to be there, but that they'd be changed, NOT just inspired, by what they heard. That day, not only did a young man come into our seminar that hadn't been in the church in 10 years (hadn't even seen his family in 10 years - they were all sooo shocked to see him), but God brought others and many of them with tears in their eyes (even one Elder) told us how the prayer seminar had CHANGED HIS LIFE! Direct answer to prayer!! (We've heard from the church since, and about how God is continuing to work!)
- Another really special miracle happened with another friend. She called me, desperate to see her unbelieving father saved before he died. (He was on his death bed.) She also wanted to see the unbelieving family members brought into the Kingdom. Initially I thought in my little selfish heart, "I don't have time for this. I'm busy, I'm writing a book. I have too many of my own prayer projects I'm praying over! I don't have time to carry another huge emergency prayer burden!" (I was incidentally writing a chapter on the ministry of Intercession that week, if God doest have a sense of humor!) But it wasn't long and then God convicted me, "Melody, how much do you really care to see lost souls saved? They may not all be people you know, but when I bring a request to you, will you pray for it??? Will you lay aside your selfish agenda and PRAY about my burdens? Do you realize that every soul lost is of infinite value?" I cried as I realized how selfish I was. Sooo…. long story short. We fasted and prayed for 4 days, pleading that God would intervene and He did! Not only did God give us the assurance we were praying for, for her father's salvation before he died, but the next week, one of his sons (her step brother) made the decision to follow Christ!!!!! Now if there are any answered to prayers that make me most excited, this is it!!! I've just been pleading with God the last few months, "PLEASE PLEASE, you say we are to bear MUCH FRUIT! And while I see lots of blessings and lots of good things happening to me, I don't see souls for the kingdom like I desire. I see it happening at ARME, but I want it to happen in my own life personally…for those I'm personally praying for!!!!" (To read more about this story in depth, refer to my previous blog posts, "Prayers for the Unborn continue."
I've been more and more DESPERATE to see God work, and He's doing it. There are still a lot of people I'm praying for that have NOT yet accepted Christ, including close family members and friends, but God knows, and I believe He will work if we only persevere!!! "I will NOT let go until you bless me, Lord!!!!"
- Another answered prayer was ASI allowing me to lead united prayer in the main auditorium between meetings each day at this past ASI. Previously we've been limited to our prayer room. Now the ASI President has talked to me about making prayer more a part of ASI and we are discussing possibilities. Pray for this. Another huge opening of doors!
- More answers to prayer have to do with the church as a whole and the Revival and Reformation that is happening. I know many people are praying ALL around the world for this. But I and friends and prayer team have also been praying for many specific leaders by name, so every time we see God do something special, we claim it as another answered prayer. (I won't share these specific answers here due to the sensitivity of those involved! But I will just say we see God working in a specific and mighty way with many of our world church and leadership!) Hallelujah Jesus is coming soon!
- I also started praying this past January that God would help someone well known (famous) to see the Great Controversy and help promote it. And it was just announced on the Glenn Beck show. I don't watch the show or necessarily support this show, but the fact that millions have been exposed to this powerful and life changing book as a result of the Glenn Beck show is a direct answer to prayer for ME PERSONALLY! Praise the Lord!!! That's another prayer card I can put in my prayer jar! (Actually, I will keep praying that more people will see, read it, and share it!)
- God has continued to provide for me and my house in miraculous ways. I obviously had no money when all this faith journey started (I still don't), but now I have a little cabin, a paradise in the Ozarks. And living near my family has been such a blessing! When my brother had just finished building my kitchen cabinets, we needed appliances but I didn't have the funds so I told God, "You are going to have to provide. I have no money for this!" And that very week, I received a check that was enough to purchase a brand new refrigerator and propane stove, again completely out of the blue from someone that didn't even know my need! (You can read more about this story in the post, "My God shall supply all your needs!"
- One month later, He sent me money towards a wood stove for my fire-place. However, that was just the start. This summer, my community banded together (without my knowing) and raised the money for the rest of the expense. So now I have a nice wood stove and am just waiting for my brothers and their crew to install it. Isn't God good??
- Speaking of the community. Since I've moved back to the community of my childhood, I've really been seeking to get out more and get acquainted and build bridges between everyone as we live in a wonderful community. To help with this, I joined a local women's Bible Study group which has lead to many special friendships with women who knew me as a child, but who I have not known in my adult years. Many of these woman have become dear friends and even came to support me when I gave my Prayer Revival Seminar in our local church. God then opened the door for me to speak and share in their local community church as well. Bridges are building built and I've been so blessed by those I've gotten to know here.
- Also, my dad and brothers are on the local fire department and have been for years, but our family has really had very little spiritual interaction with our community in all the years we've lived here. Since we go to different churches, it seems everyone just keeps to themselves. However, since I've been getting more involved and knocking on doors, now my Dad was invited to join the Men's Bible study and God is really working in this group as well. At first my dad was hesitant as he thought he had too much to do. But now he won't miss it for anything. And we've already seen people that were previously spiritually indifferent in our community coming to take part and getting excited about the Bible and about finding God's truth!!!! I have been praying praying praying for months that God would open doors for myself and my family to be involved in spiritual leadership in this community and to see SPIRITUAL REVIVAL take place here. Of course, I can take no credit for what God is doing…I've been following the model of Ministry of Healing p. 143, but I'm weak, and I'm faulty. But one thing I do have…I'm DESPERATE for REVIVAL and I'm DESPERATE to see Christ work, so I keep praying!!!!!!!! And Christ is working!!! And I know prayer has made a difference!!! Revival isn't just for a specific group or a specific church, it's for ALL!! God is calling His people back to Him because He is coming soon!!
- Also, when my Grandmother died this past Spring, although I didn't really have the time to spare, we put a lot of work into her Memorial service, not just to glorify my Grandma, but to be a witness to the community to get ready for Jesus coming! I spent almost a week making a 12 minute video slide show of her giving love messages to everyone, along with pictures at the end "God's family reunion." Again, we didn't do this for my grandma's glory. It was not about her at all, but to be a witness and inspire people to get ready for Heaven. Most of the community showed up, as they all loved my grandma, and as a result of much work and prayer, we had so many people tell us that THIS was the most inspiring memorial they had EVER attended. Some have even told us since that they are changing their lives and habits of living as they were so inspired by my Grandma's faithfulness. Praise God.…more stars for her crown!!! ;-) God answers prayer!!!! (To see this video, click HERE!)
- This last week I had another huge answer to prayer! I've been praying since January that God would provide travel funds for me to return to Bangladesh. There's a special orphanage over there that I got attached to back in 2008 when I visited it for the first time. (I've been there 3 times already!) Anyway, they've asked me to come teach some Bible and Sanctuary classes there and my little girls over there - Melony and Savanna, that I've kinda adopted - have been begging me to come back! So, this last week, while talking with a friend, at the end of our phone discussion, she asked what was happening in my life and I shared how I'd just talked the day before to my kids in Bangladesh, and I was praying about going and spending Christmas and a few extra weeks in January with them, between ARME camps. She asked, "Do you have money for a ticket yet?" I said, "No, but there's time. I know God will provide if I'm suppose to go!" She then said, "Well, I'd love to go over there and do that, but I can't, but I'd love to buy your ticket for you!" ……….. I was like speechless!!! So… God has now given me my ticket to Bangladesh. It's been 2 years since I've been there, and I've been convicted that I need to go again, soon, before things get worse for our country economically. PTL, He's opened the door!!! Is't that cool???
- And speaking of that NEW CAR that I should have bought back when I had money, but which I instead dedicated to God's work. Well, just this past week, God led us to an ADD on Craig's list for a Honda Odysee (the kind of Van that I've been praying for for months!) It was owned by a wealthy family and taken very good care of. Since They just got a new van, they were trying to get rid of this one. However, they didn't know how to post pictures, so it wasn't selling. By the time we found it on Craig's list, they were offering it for $900! It was basically a steal, as it was in almost mint condition body wise and engine wise. My dad's done a little engine maintenance, but we can't believe the miracle God just gave us! We've looked at Honda Odysee vans that were parked with a bad transmission selling for almost $3,000. So to find one that had a great body and a good engine for $900 is unthinkable. Only God!!!! So now I have a new vehicle for my travels and I told my mom it will be my moving "Prayer Mobile." :-)
- Another answer to prayer is how God is spreading our Praying for Rain prayer booklets. Just found out a couple days ago that China is currently printing another 70,000 in Chinese. Yesterday another friend e-mailed me that they are wanting to send out 10,000 of them with their ministry mailing which is focusing on united prayer. And we keep hearing testimonies of what God is doing with united prayer groups all over the world…from Division leaders (I just got a powerful report from the Russia Division leadership meetings), to lay people and young people. So exciting to see how God is waking up His church, which is a huge answered prayer!
- I prayed for 50 prayer partners for Annual Council this year and I have over twice that many now. 26 prayer teams currently praying for all our leaders by NAME!
- I prayed for opening doors to get more involved in my conference here in AR-LA. Now I've been asked to be on the Conference Prayer Committee, and God has opened the door for us to bring ARME Bible Camp to THIS CONFERENCE next summer July 2-6th, 2014!!!! I've been praying about this for almost 2 years. But God has worked much quicker than I expected, Oh me of little faith. ;-)
- I've also been seeing God answer prayers as we write our book on prayer. It's a task that is so big and much beyond anything that I would have ever thought I could accomplish. But as I've been spending more and more time in prayer, God has literally been bringing thoughts to my mind and directing me to different Bible verses and promises and inspirational passages just when I need them. Later I go back and read what we wrote and I think, "Wow! That's inspiring, where did that come from?" And I know without a shadow of a doubt that it's only GOD! He's literally helping us write this book!!! And as we write Daring to Ask for More He is literally giving us a more powerful testimony in the journey! It's amazing. (Now when the book is finally completed and done, that will be the BIGGEST TESTIMONY of my LIFE!! Please PRAY for this! I've never encountered so many spiritual challenges or obstacles while attempting a ministry project as I have during this writing process.)
- However, what's exciting in these daily answers to prayer is seeing how God is so personal and cares about the DETAILS! When I was having my house-warming earlier this summer, I was praying about finding a cheap punch bowel to use for the party. (Now does this really matter in the realm of eternal things? No! Of course not! But God cares about the details and I think He likes it when we pray specific prayers!) So I prayed that He'd help me find a punch bowl and set at Goodwill when I went to town, something really cheap. Well, what was the first thing that I saw when I walked into Goodwill? It was a punch bowl, complete set! Beautiful! God had answered my prayer!
- Yesterday, September 8, 2013, although I was tired, I was praying He'd wake me up early to have more time with Him. Not only did He wake me up, but I think He used an angel to call my name. I was half asleep, half awake, and I heard my name so distinctly and clearly as if someone was in the room with me. No one was there, but I knew it was God waking me up, and although it was early… like 4:30am, I said "Yes Lord, and I got up and had a most beautiful time with Him!"
- This past week, my good friends Jerry and Janet were speaking in Norway. (I went to Bible School in Norway in earlier years, so have had a real burden for Norway! I'm praying eventually God will send me back there to do prayer ministry.) Anyway, they were there to lead a prayer conference and Jerry lost his voice. The night before he was to speak, he couldn't talk. However, we prayed, as did many others. We also prayed on the all night NAD prayer call. And the next day his voice was miraculously healed! ANOTHER SPECIFIC and DIRECT ANSWER to PRAYER! PTL!
- As some of you know, I did a couple programs last year for HOPE's Program, Ministry in Motion. I have no desire to be on TV or to be seen, but I do have a GREAT DESIRE that God would help spread the message of United Prayer and challenging people to DARE to ASK for MORE in faith when they pray. (Thus the title of our almost completed book!) So I've been praying that God would open up the right doors. Well, I got an invitation at ASI to come with Janet Page (my dear friend and mentor) and film two programs on 3ABN this coming Dec. 12th. One program will be a 2 hour LIVE program. The other will be taped and replayed. Again, another answered prayer as God has opened another door to share. PTL!
- Of course, as I've already shared, the biggest answers to prayer I receive have to see with God changing hearts and lives for eternity. I get to see this regularly at ARME, but I'm also starting to see it more and more in my personal life and ministry. This is my greatest daily prayer, and my most exciting answers to prayer, when I see God changing hearts!!!!
So yes, my life is a testimony that God hears and answers prayer. God keeps answering one prayer after another… day after day! I can't believe it!
Again, I'm NOT sharing any of these things to boast. But I've been seeing more and more that God truly does honor His Word. "Oh Taste and see that the Lord is good!" So it's hard to keep all these amazing answers to prayer and miracles to myself. Sometimes it's almost embarrassing when I walk into a dead church and everyone around seems to be falling asleep, and I'm sooo excited because I have so many testimonies to share. But God has convicted me that I need to share and not keep the blessings for myself. I can't boast about anything except for God's glory and honor! But God tells us to talk faith and to share faith. And I'm literally seeing God answer prayers EVERY DAY! It's overwhelming!!! I want to inspire more people to pray for this. I think if we all kept better record we would be amazed how God is answering so many prayers that we didn't even recognize!!!
Pastor Ratsara shared this passage recently. I never saw this verse before! It says, “Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another: and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon His name.” (Mal. 3:16) I thought this was so powerful, and I was thinking, "I need to speak more of God's blessings with my friends! I need to share MORE what He's doing in my heart and life and not just keep it to myself!" We are told to "Talk faith and we will have more faith." So that's what I'm seeking to do, and there's nothing better than sharing the ways He's leading and providing!
So let's move forward on our knees, DARING to ASK for MORE! (And watch for our upcoming book by that title that is almost finished!) Truly God does above and beyond all that we ask or think!