My friend Craig Englert, seen here pouring us coffee, gave a teaching on Acts 12, which starts off at a very bleak time for the disciples in Jerusalem. James has been killed by Herod, and Peter imprisoned, and soon to be executed.
So Peter was kept in the prison, but prayer for him was being made fervently by the church to God. Acts 12:5
God does answer their prayers, and sends an angel to rescue Peter. Chains miraculously fall off, prison doors miraculously open, and Peter finds himself outside the prison walls.
When Peter came to himself, he said, “Now I know for sure that the Lord has sent forth His angel and rescued me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting.”
And when he realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John who was also called Mark, where many were gathered together and were praying. When he knocked at the door of the gate, a servant-girl named Rhoda came to answer. When she recognized Peter’s voice, because of her joy she did not open the gate, but ran in and announced that Peter was standing in front of the gate. They said to her, “You are out of your mind!” But she kept insisting that it was so. They kept saying, “It is his angel. But Peter continued knocking; and when they had opened the door, they saw him and were amazed. Acts 12:11-17
The disciples were praying fervently, but obviously with very little faith. When Peter showed up at the gate, and Rhoda recognized his voice, those faithful men of God told her “We know that we have been praying non-stop for Peter to be released, but girl, you are out of your mind. Stop bothering us with your nonsense, and let us continue to pray.”
Wow! And these are men and women who had lived and traveled with Jesus. Yes they were faithful in their prayers, but they had little faith.
What is the lesson of Acts 12? Craig told us that it is simple: Pray whenever you encounter difficulties or needs, even if you find it hard to believe that God will actually do something. It is the continuous, “energized” prayer that actually impacts the situation. James said it this way:
The effective prayer of a righteous man accomplishes much. James 5:16
This message has been a big help in recent events. A few weeks ago Danilo Cunningham, our director of the school project in Nicaragua, had sudden and acute pains in his lower right abdomen. (Photo-He is having coffee with me in Sawa) He went to the clinic in Waspam, and the doctor did a ultrasound exam, and told him that he had an inflamed appendix in danger of bursting. He did emergency surgery that afternoon to take out Danilo’s appendix. However when he cut him open, he found a large mass attached to his colon, and closed him back up. He told Danilo and the family that he found a “large tumor” and was going to send him to Managua for surgery. When we got the news, we began praying with passion. Losing Danilo after losing his father Truman in August would leave a big hole in our leadership team.
Laura said to me: “I’m praying that this tumor will just disappear.” Right Laura! I’m with you…sort of.
The following week, Danilo flew to Managua and met with our doctor, Jorge Gutierrez, who operated on David Melrose, and once on my daughter Mikaela. He did an extensive ultrasound exam on Danilo, and guess what?!?!
Whatever was there in Waspam was not there in Managua. No tumor, nothing!
Great rejoicing went out that day. I know that many of you were praying with us!
Danilo will return to Managua next week for a colonoscopy, endoscope, and CAT scan. Keep praying please for his health and the expenses for these exams.
This event greatly encouraged us to pray whenever we encountered anyone with any physical problems or other situations. Even for my own aches and pains, I have been releasing them all to my Heavenly Father. It has been a sweet time.
For the past year, we have asked you to pray for more Rio Coco Café team members. Constant prayers have gone forth for months, with no apparent effect. Then while on Maui, we had a marine biologist from Colombia ask us to join our team. A good friend of ours who is a well known photographer and videographer on Maui has also decided to join our team. There is a family on Maui that is hearing God tell them to start a coffee ministry so they can disciple young people. They are asking the Boss if this is the path for them.
Prayer for me is a time to line up with God and what He is doing. I have prayed for many in Danilo’s situation where the tumor did not disappear. My friends David Melrose, Kit Lauer and Jason Spence were men worthy of God’s healing touch, yet God chose to take them all home early. I conclude that there must be something very big going on in the next dimension for all these worthy ministers of God to be taken from us early. I will continue to pray for the best outcome as I see it in any situation. But I will always trust in God’s ultimate decision.
The Bible tells us to pray, and keep praying. I can’t really understand why God would want us involved in what He ultimately does, other that the compassion, empathy, and understanding that comes when you pray for a friend or family member. Maybe there is some dynamic that is happening in the spiritual realm that we don’t understand, that happens when we pray. It is just another mystery of God that comes down to obedience to what He tells us to do, even if we don’t understand. I think when I stand with Him and watch the video replay of my life, these things will become crystal clear as we see the impact that our prayers, words, kindness, and acts of service have on those around us.
Pray for all our teachers on the Rio Coco this month, as well as for their financial needs. We need to give them a raise in their salary. Here are three of our former students who now teaching our classes. We have 1697 students this year in eight villages with 43 teachers– all our former students. They are worthy of our support. MB
Upon arriving back to Vero Beach from Maui early Thursday morning , we were suddenly hit by an array of activities, important events, issues, obligations, people, tasks, celebrations, good news, bad news, AND GOOD FRIDAY AND EASTER RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER etc.
We are all probably familiar with the drill….
Patterns of being in this world dictate both good and evil, negative and positive and joyous and sad all in the same breath. I have often come to a state of confusion as to what air I will breathe in and when…
What FOCUS shall I zone in on?
What intentional PRACTICE will I choose?
What will be my RESPONSE TO THE VARIETY OF WHIRLWINDS THAT ABOUND IN MY LIFE???
I just celebrated two of the biggest events in history for me….Good Friday ….when my Lord sacrificed his life and Easter came back to Life
So last night after I read the text on my phone that my younger brother went into the hospital and got a call thereafter from his dialysis wondering where he was at 5:30…still jet lagging and delirious, I read Acts 2 and it truly encouraged and uplifted my sad and weary heart.
Next morning I got to go to our team Bible Study led my son, and my husband where I got to see not only our precious team, but my other three daughters. The thought of being able to have my whole family a part of my life brings me great comfort, joy and a deep sense of gratitude. It means a lot to have them step into their calling in life and watching them grow and flourish as successful giving human beings. It is gratifying and pleasing to my soul.
The moment helped my FOCUS on gratitude.
As a team we had intentional prayer time and while in the midst of prayer, my brother texted me and said he was okay. I found comfort in the midst of the practice of praying without ceasing. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. I enjoy seeing the results of prayer.
My life is full of needs, wants and desires all of which I turn over to my God who controls my destiny and the entire universe.
We have been asking the Lord for more workers of the harvest. While we were on Maui, we discovered a few people we believe God has been calling forth to be a part of His wonderful plan in our lives…all quality people of the Lord wanting to do God’s will. This is a huge answer to praying without ceasing…We feel so blessed by God for His answers true and tangible. Super encouraging to think about how He is answering our prayers that we have prayed for years.
Sometime fruit takes a long time to ripen and be ready and sweet…
I am fortified to continue to FOCUS on God and His eternal love and blessings He constantly showers upon us.
I am constantly mindful of the PRACTICE of Praying without ceasing with the Hope that God knows it all and cares about it more than I.
I am challenged to be AWARE OF MY RESPONSE to the constant barrage of the whirlwind of Life swirling about trying to push me down and out. It’s a battle, but EASTER reminds me that He is the resurrection and the LIFE….the WINNER AND ULTIMATE VICTOR OVER ALL and He lives inside of me. Laura
What shall I then fear? It is well with my soul.
How Can You Help This Month?
1) Help us give our teachers a raise!
3) Sponsor a Seek The Lamb missionary. We are volunteers.
Please pray that God will:
1) Give Danilo and all of us good health.
2) Direct our travels to Utila and Nicaragua in the next months.
3) Provide more money to give our 43 teachers a pay raise!
We appreciate your prayers. They Change Everything!
Recently Published Books!
Living In The Spiritual World
This is an audio conversation between Dr Randall Smith and Michael recorded in Jerusalem at the Christian Embassy Studio. They meant to record 10 minute introductions for six Christian Life online classs, but instead randomly talked back and forth for 45 minutes, and did that 6 times! It was so rich that Michael transcribed the entire conversation, and then asked Laura to add a portion, and then asked his children to ask the pertinent questions. Living In The Spiritual World has been described as “A Biblical guide to spiritual living”, and covers Angelic Beings (Spiritual Warfare), God’s Favored Creation (mankind), The Living Book (The Bible), First Century Eyes (reading the Bible in its historical & cultural context), Diving Personalities (the Trinity), and the Passion For The Mission (Ministry).
The ease of the conversation bring many significant aspects of our lives as spiritual beings to the table in a very user friendly manner.
The discussions that resulted from the readers of Living In The Spiritual World resulted in an expanded discussion of reading the Bible in its historical, cultural, geographical, political, and textual context. Each of these areas are brought into the discussion, and how they affect the manner in which we understand and apply the principles of the Bible into our lives. In addition, the words themselves sometimes do not translate well into English! Sometimes understanding the Greek and Hebrew words give a richness to the text not found in the English.
You may get both of these books, along with Part 1 of the Trilogy Echoes Into Eternity on Amazon;
Thanks for your time!