Archive for: March, 2014

Release

Mar 31 2014 Published by under Evangelism, Life, Ministry

By Carolyn Hittenberger

Carolyn PR Photo CROPFor you know it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect .  1 Peter 1:18, 19

He was bigger than life.  Some called him a king.  Others thought He was God.  He had to be stopped.  “Crucify Him!”  His enemies thought his death would end His life.

The crown of thorns they pressed upon His brow seeped beads of scarlet, releasing new birth for those dead in sin.  The crown of death became a crown of life!

Nails tore His hands, those healing hands that touched blind eyes and gave them sight, cleansed infected lepers, repaired withered limbs and blessed little children- releasing forgiveness and restoration to every needy man.

Spikes pierced His feet, those calloused feet that walked dusty roads to meet seekers and skeptics, led a ragtag band of followers to secluded places where He taught them Kingdom truths and climbed hills to keep divine appointments with His Father, releasing a blood-stained plan to show us how to walk.

A Roman sword exposed His broken heart, opened a double fountain of healing and cleansing, releasing an endless supply of compassion and paying the price for our rebellion and sin.

The cross, honored by His blood, stood tall to lift up the Lamb of God, the dying Life-Giver, each wound releasing the purchase price of redemption, relationship, freedom and hope.

Yes, they crucified Him, thinking that would be the end.  But the very death-act of crucifixion was part of God’s plan for Life…released to reverse the curse of sin.

Yes, He is bigger than life.   Yes, He is a King…the King of Kings.  Yes, He is God…very God. Jesus could have called off His crucifixion, but He knew without shedding His blood there would be no remission of sin.  He allowed them to crucify Him.  They did not know that every wound they opened up released His life-giving blood for us…for me…for you.

… Jesus Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.  Ephesians 5:2

 Carolyn Hittenberger recently retired from serving at Global University, and is still active in ministry and as an AGWM missionary. She can be reached at rchitt@gmail.com.

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Deep Waters

Mar 24 2014 Published by under Life, Ministry

By Karen Kingsriter

2013 Promo Karen-5x7“When you go through deep waters, I will be with you.  When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown.”  Isaiah 43:2

It all began one ordinary night in Nairobi, Kenya – into our 5th year of missionary service. I’d just gone to bed when – out of the blue – my body started trembling – strongly enough to rattle the bed.  I didn’t feel ill, and had no idea why I was shaking.  But it was to be the start of a very frightening and bewildering time in my life when anxiety and panic would overwhelm me.

The emotional stress of not knowing why this was happening to me began to take its toll.  It left me feeling out of control and totally spent, physically and emotionally.  Some days I stayed in bed because spasms of uncontrollable shaking racked my body – from head to toe.  Never in my life had I experienced anything like this before.

“But you, O LORD, be not far off; O my Strength, come quickly to help me.”  Psalm 22:19

When my parents called long distance from the US, it frightened me that I didn’t have the strength to take their call.  I’d never been so weak and helpless.  Mom told me – much later – how terrible she felt when she couldn’t speak with me.

“We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life.  Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death.  But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.”   2 Cor. 1:8-9

In desperation, I asked several close colleagues to come pray for me. God responded, and a Word was given that this time of suffering was for a purpose; He would see me through safely.  I clung to that like a drowning person thrown a lifeline because I knew that I would be rescued!  This gave me desperately-needed reassurance and hope!

“But those who suffer he delivers in their suffering; he speaks to them in their affliction.”   Job 36:15

I had an appointment with a kind-hearted Seventh Day Adventist physician. After describing what I’d been experiencing, I asked him how long it would take before I felt ‘like myself’ again.  Without blinking an eye, the doctor replied, “About a year and a half.”  (mentally, I did a….”Are you kidding me?”)  I knew, then, that I’d been through the “fire” – and it would take time, patience, and the Lord’s grace to restore my emotional and physical strength.   That wise doctor prescribed the following:  a little medication, adequate rest, and frequent prayer.

“For he has not despised or disdained the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help.”    Psalm 22:24

Sometimes, I still wonder ‘why’? But it’s OK because I know now that God had really important things to teach me, and He needed my undivided attention!   Though this personal summary is simplified, the lessons have been divinely inspired:

–  God is ultimately the only Source for every part of my life – period.

–  Even though I was depleted, depressed, and distraught, I KNEW I was still standing on the Rock of my Salvation.   Despite how I felt, I was secure in Him!

–  Having survived the terrifying experience of unreasonable and uncontrollable anxiety, I have since had many opportunities to reassure like-sufferers.  “You WILL – with the Lord’s help – live through this and be okay! In fact, you’ll be stronger!  Have courage!”

–  My compassion deepened for others who were struggling with something they could not fix.

–  It prepared me for a new phase of ministry: leading a support group for missionary women in Belgium, called “Heart to Heart”…. something I had never done before, nor even imagined.   But God had a plan for those dear women.

–  A new realization of how much we need each other.  I stepped up my “May I pray with you about that?” interaction with friends and family.

–  During my worst moments, reading Scripture, praying, and listening to worship music all brought peace and calmness to my troubled spirit. I learned how to lean on the Lord – in my darkest hours – and He was always there!

“My suffering was good for me, for it taught me to pay attention to your decrees.”   Psalm 119:71

The Lord turned my season of anguish into a heavenly school of learning – for my spiritual growth. (“…suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope…Romans 5:3)

“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you.  But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.”  1 Peter 4:12-13

Are you in deep waters?  Underneath are the Everlasting Arms. You will not drown!

Karen Kingsriter serves as an International Student Services Representative for Global University. She can be reached at kkingsriter@globaluniversity.edu.

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Your Love Is Amazing

Mar 17 2014 Published by under Life

By Rev. Doug Clay

Clay_Douglas_Casual_100Some of you just need to let God love you.

I John 4:16

And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.

Do you rely on God’s love? I’m afraid way too many people are not living with a sense of contentment or spiritual satisfaction, because they don’t let God love them enough.

Here’s how much God loves you.

Ephesians 3:17-18

So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.

1.    It’s wide enough to include everybody.

Psalm 145:17

The Lord is righteous in all his ways and faithful in all he does.

  • The secret to feeling good about yourself is letting God love you. You don’t have to prove your worth to Him.

2.    It’s long enough to last forever.

Jeremiah 31:3

The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.

  • Unfortunately, human love wears out, but God’s love never fades.

3.    It’s high enough to go everywhere.

Romans 8:39

Neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

  • There is absolutely no place on earth that you can escape God’s love.

4.    It’s deep enough to be personal.

Psalm 40:11

Do not withhold your mercy from me, Lord; may your love and faithfulness always protect me.

The movie “The Hiding Place” tells the story of Corrie Ten Boom and her sister Betsy Ten Boom who hid Jews in their home to protect them from the Nazis. When they were discovered, not only were the Jews taken to a concentration camp, but Corrie and Betsy were taken there too. Corrie came out alive; her sister was killed. At one point in the movie, Corrie says to Betsy, “This place is the pit of hell.” Betsy replied, “There is no pit so deep that God’s love is not deeper still.”

I love Brenton Brown’s song, “Your Love is Amazing.” Here are some of the lyrics:

Your love is amazing, steady and unchanging

Your love is a mountain firm beneath my feet

Your love is a mystery, how you gently lift me

When I am surrounded your love carries me

Your love is surprising, I can feel it rising

All the joy that’s growing deep inside of me

Let yourself be really loved by God today and make it a great day!

Rev. Doug Clay serves as the General Treasurer of the Assemblies of God.

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Words, Words, Words!

Mar 10 2014 Published by under Life, Ministry

By Rick Hoover

_MG_3598_Hoover,RickEveryone who has a healthy voice box will use it during any given time to express themselves, complain, bless, curse, whisper and shout. Our vocal cords are an amazing part of our body. Some people’s voices are very unique and well known by countless others. Who can forget the voice of Darth Vader, a.k.a. James Earl Jones?  Or Paul Harvey’s distinguished voice as he shared the daily news and ended with his cheerful “Good Day!”. Or Sandi Patty and Larnelle Harris when they hit those high, high notes as they sang “I’ve Just Seen Jesus”?

Each of us uses words to talk, to communicate ideas and thoughts, to explain or to defend ourselves. If you were born and raised in China, you learned to speak Chinese. If you were born and raised in France, you learned to speak French. And if you were born in Sweden but moved to the Philippines as a young child and raised there, you would able to  speak Tagalog fluently.  Each language has its specific sounds, accents¸ and “lingo”. However, everyone uses their vocal cords to express these words.

Many of us are familiar with the little ditty: “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me”. Not! How many of us can recollect someone’s unkind and harsh words that cut us to the quick? As children, while playing with others on the playground at school, we may have been the brunt of caustic words that deeply hurt us. Words can be used as vicious weapons that cause untold sorrow and grief. We all have been the purveyors or recipients of such vocal poison tipped darts.

Words, however, can also be a blessing and a balm to others. You and I can be the messengers of good news, of kind and encouraging words, and they can be communicated in any language. Our goal, as Christ-centered individuals, ought to always be one of articulating uplifting, soothing, wholesome words. Even when the subject of our conversation revolves around a controversial or touchy issue, our speech should remain tender, pleasant, and gentle.

Scripture is our absolute and sure source of meaning and life. Jesus, the Son of God, the “Logos” made flesh, is the model we learn and are learning to fashion our lives thereafter. His words are our bread and water; they are our sustenance and health. Happy or blessed is he or she that listens eagerly and carefully to His speech and submits him or herself to His lingo. And, blessed are we that share His words with others that have not yet learned His gracious and life liberating language.

So, may the words of my mouth and the thoughts of my heart be pleasing to you, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer (Psalm 19.14 NLT). And, so comfort and encourage each other with these words (2 Thessalonians 4.18 NLT).

Finally, may we all be filled with a very precious and encouraging word and pass it on to others:

Joy is a not a toy to employ when you’re feeling blue and blah.

Joy is not a mood to elude mere sadness and sorrows.

Joy is not a change to rearrange sentiments of woe and weariness.

Joy is a fruit, a spiritual plum, that beckons you to eat and savor its nectar and flavor.

Joy is an attitude of understanding that keeps you sane in an insane world.

Joy is mantle spun from majestic melodies that shields you from ugliness and sin.

Joy is Jesus, personified in you, full of wonder, rapture and tenacious love.

Rick Hoover serves as an Assemblies of God World Missionary on assignment to Global University, and also serves as Global University’s Portuguese Language Liason. He can be reached at rhoover@globaluniversity.edu.

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