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Yearly Archives: 2019

A Sweet Christmas Savor. 1 No ratings yet.

In my recent travels, I was blessed to visit Oman, a beautiful country along the Persian Gulf. One of my favorite memories was visiting a family’s home in a small village and being blessed the Omani way, which included a smoldering pot of frankincense infusing me with an amazing scent.

Here’s that memory: The hostess lifted my long flowing skirt and placed the burning pot of frankincense underneath. Luckily for me, I watched her do the same to my friend first, so I knew what to expect. The dancing ribbons of smoke from the resin disappeared under my clothing.

At first I was a little taken aback. I had never seen or experienced this before. Furthermore, my clothing was made of polyester. I envisioned it going up in flames and having to do “stop, drop, and roll” maneuvers right there on their beautiful Persian rug.

It wasn’t long and I smelled of frankincense. It was sweet like honey and had the freshness of a lemon, along with subtle undertones of a pine woody scent. It’s delightful, really. How I wanted to bottle up this scent to take home with me.

We had officially been welcomed and perfumed the Omani way. I smelled like the Omani customs agent who had welcomed me into his country, and like the lady who passed me in the mall wearing the traditional gown. But sadly, this fresh and earthy scent only clung to my clothing for a day.

After being served cardamom flavored coffee, the traditional Arabic coffee, and fresh dates from their tree, it was time to leave. The hostess sent me home with a gift of frankincense. It was her way to bless me once again.

Just over 2000 years ago, a sweet little babe in Bethlehem received gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. I can now imagine the gift of frankincense smoldering in a pot, not wrapped in a box tied with a beautiful bow. I picture its curly incense climbing up over the manger and toward the heavens above, perfuming and purifying the entire room.

Frankincense resin will make any curious traveler stop and linger for a bit, and so will the presence of Jesus. This Savior of the world is a sweet savor to us, and, as the Scripture goes, we reciprocate by being the “fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing” (II Corinthians 2:15). It’s quite a calling.

May you be surrounded by His peace and presence this holiday season, and may you in turn be the savor of Christ, a gift your family and friends just might need.

(From: A Sweet Christmas Savor by Paula Nilsen – PURE Newsletter – UPCI Ladies Ministries)

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Family Prayer A Must 1 No ratings yet.

As a busy wife, and the mother of four actively involved children, I find myself under the constant constraints of time. It seems that from the time I wake up, I’m on a rapidly moving train that doesn’t stop until I lay down at night. With homework, after-school activities, cooking, cleaning, laundry, church, and church functions, it seems like there are never enough hours in the day. However, in all the hustle and bustle of life, one thing is a must. We must make family prayer an essential part of our day.

Deuteronomy 6:6-7 says, “And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.”

CONTINUES at: https://files.constantcontact.com/aebf4de5001/7c05e6ce-3159-49e0-92d4-a101c4547cf5.pdf

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Reaching for Revival. 1 No ratings yet.

ARC Sunday Service December 15, 2019 with Pastor Edwards…Reaching for Revival. Some of the Scriptures from the preaching came from 1 Kings 17:17-24, Phil 3:10-14, Heb 11:13-16, Heb 11:1, Heb 12:1, and 2 Kings 4:16.

Among many other things, Pastor Edwards preached that Apostolic Revival requires a reaching out and Spiritual stretching of our faith. To rid ourselves from unnecessary waste, we need to stretch our faith. Godliness and Spiritual exercise will profit us much unto Spiritual things of God as pertaining to Matthew 6:19-21.

Pastor Edwards also mentioned that, unlike the world, God will never give his Church a “Disclaimer” because God’s word shall never fail. There is no substance in our fake life but there is substance in our faith as pertaining to Heb 11:1. We need to deny ourselves and stretch ourselves beyond ourselves. We need to get out of the shape of sin and get into the shape from the word of God.

The video URL is: https://www.facebook.com/ARC.Philadelphia/videos/833817523740966/

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Rejoicing in Prayer by Jean Tir. 1 No ratings yet.

As Christian mothers, we often pray to recognize and utilize every opportunity to teach our children about the power of prayer. Our sons and daughters need to learn two basic principles that will change the very fabric of their lives: how to pray; how to rejoice in prayer.

God gave one such teaching moment years ago when our son was about two and one-half years old. Young Stevie was full of unquenchable exuberance and energy. Legs swinging back and forth, he sat at the kitchen table one morning, happily eating Cheerios as I cleaned up the counters while waiting for two banana breads to finish baking. When the breads were almost finished, I decided to check them once again.

At that stage of our lives, my husband and I were AIM workers living on a limited budget in Slovakia. Although we were thankful for the small house we were renting in Kosice, the home did not have updated appliances. In fact, the oven was very old, and one side of the oven door frequently came off its hinge. On this particular day, as I opened the oven door to check the progress of the banana breads, not one, but both sides of the door hinges disconnected. I was left unexpectedly holding the heavy, hot oven door in my mitt-covered hands.

Immediately, I realized the need to pray, as well as the need to encourage Stevie to stay where he was. Out loud, I prayed, “Lord, Jesus, I need Your help right now. Please help me to get this oven door back in place!” Turning my head so that I could look Stevie directly in the eyes, I calmly explained, “Stevie, Mommy really needs your help. Please stay right where you are and pray for Jesus to help me get this oven door back on.”

Miraculously, the normally active and curious Stevie stayed where he was. His little voice raised in pitch and magnitude as he prayed, “Ohhhhhh, Jeeee-suuus, Mommy has a problem! Please help her! She needs Your help right now!”

Then I saw what I needed. Shifting the full weight of the door to my left hand, which was starting to feel hot even through the oven mitt, I stretched my right hand to the counter, extending just far enough to reach the heavy wooden rolling pin. I picked up that improvisational hammer, swinging it as far to my right as possible for momentum, before bringing it back to strike the right side of the oven door. “In Jesus’ name!” Bang! “Thank you, Lord. It worked!” Quickly, I switched my makeshift hammer to the left hand, and with a clunk, hinge two snapped into place. Praise the Lord: son still in his chair praying; oven door back in place; and no burns on my hands.

“Stevie, look at that! The oven is fixed. Thank you for praying. Let’s thank Jesus for answering our prayers.” As the aroma of fresh banana bread filled the room, in prayer!!

In I Thessalonians 5:16, apostle Paul instructed the church to “rejoice evermore.” In the next verse, Paul admonished the believers to “pray without ceasing.” These two verses underscore the concept of a continual lifestyle of God-focus, one infused with prayer and rejoicing. This is the kind of lifestyle our children need to see modeled before them. When we as imperfect mothers daily rely on God’s guidance, we can help our children become victorious by teaching them to rejoice in prayer.
(Information from: Ladies Prayer Intl December 2019 Newsletter – UPCI LM – ladiesprayerintl@aol.com)

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The power and purpose of God…the peace of God. 1 No ratings yet.

ARC Sunday Service December 8, 2019 with Pastor Edwards: The power and purpose of God…the peace of God. And some of the Scriptures from the preaching include: Isa 9:6-7, Jere 29:1-7 and 11, Phil 4:4-7 and others.

As he preached, Pastor Edwards said where ever the government of God is, it’s a safe place because the presence of God reigns there. And the peace of God is prosperity. When God rules and governs in our life, we will have the peace of God.

Pastor Edwards also said we need to be a God-govern Church, not a flesh-govern Church. God will not be a partial governing God. The anointing of God will change our life, not just stir up our flesh. There are things in our life we do not need to pray about but to obey about. Pain in our life is real. But who is on the Throne of our life will decide on what peace will be in our life. The pain in our life may not be gone, but it will not stop us from following after God and his peace.

And as he continued preaching, Pastor Edwards said the lack of peace in the Church and in our life is a sign that maybe God does not govern there. Some people will pray and talk in tongues in the Spirit of God, but they do not want to obey the Spirit of God. Sometimes we need to obey and not just pray.

The video url: https://www.facebook.com/ARC.Philadelphia/videos/901423826919701/

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Desperate by Wanda Chavis 1 No ratings yet.

Desperation is a place of no hope with intolerable circumstances. How we react to despair can honor or dishonor God.

For years, Hannah faced her desperation with weeping, sulking, and sorrow. Remember her? Elkanah’s wife?

“He had two wives: the name of the one was Hannah, and the name of the other Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children” (I Samuel 1:2, NKJV).

There’s no pain like the ache of empty arms. It was always with Hannah – but there were times when the reality of her situation was more than she could bear. When they went to Shiloh to worship and offer their family’s sacrifice, Elkanah would dole out the family portions to celebrate God’s acceptance of their peace offering. She felt so empty and hopeless, even though he gave her the choice cut and tried to honor her. During those times, seeing all of his children and their mother, Peninnah, laughing and eating together was like rubbing salt in her wound.

Year after year she would refuse to eat, as she sat there in humiliation, wiping away unbidden tears. Peninnah reveled in those moments, taunting her with her eyes and sharp comments.

Year after year Hannah’s desperation would drive her out of the celebration, as her tears gave way to sobs. For hours, Elkanah would try to comfort her, frustrated because he didn’t know how to make things better.

However, this particular year, her heart was so desperate, she never made it to the privacy of her tent to weep, but fell on the floor of the temple, crying. Her heart was laid bare before God.

“Now Eli the priest sat upon a seat by a post of the temple of the LORD. And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the LORD, and wept sore. And she vowed a vow, and said, O LORD of hosts, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the LORD all the days of his life” (I Samuel 1:9-11).

Eli saw her desperate prayer and mistakenly thought she was drunk; but after listening, he gave her his blessing and spoke hope into her hopeless heart!

The continuation of this story is intriguing and colorful, but I want to end my thoughts here. What are you doing with your desperation? Weeping? Complaining? Pouting?

I challenge you to cry out to God, commit your future to Him, and make hopeful plans!

Your desperation is God’s opportunity for hope and healing. Don’t give up. Allow the word of God to speak life into your situation. Commit your plans to God. Make a vow. He will give you joy for sorrow. The garment of praise will dissolve the spirit of heaviness. (Read Isaiah 61.)

Wanda Chavis serves the North Carolina District as Ladies Ministries president. She is a women’s health and hydration consultant and a published author.
(Information from: PURE Newsletter – UPCI Ladies Ministries – ladiesconnections@upci.org)

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ARC Sunday Service: Prayer, Healing, Exhortation, Prophesy and Preaching. 1 No ratings yet.

ARC Sunday Service November 24, 2019 Prayer, Healing, Exhortation, Prophesy and Preaching with Pastor Edwards…The Power of Christ. Some of the Scriptures from the preaching include: Rom 8:11-18, 2 Corin 12:1-10, 1 Corin 10:13 and Hebrews Chapter 11.

As he preached, Pastor Edwards gave the Church a word from the Lord to the Church that “if I don’t remove it I will help you get through it.” Pastor Edwards also preached that if the Spirit can cure our death problem, it can cure our life problem as well.

Suffering with Christ is not an option. We will also know him during our enduring through the pain and suffering. It’s a partnership. God will not put more on us than we can bear (1 Corin 10:13). God will use all the pain and pressure in our life to help us make it through. But we get stuff in our life that we are paying the wrong attention to. That can take us away from God.

Overcoming this world does not mean we will not face tribulation. But we can press through. And overcoming is not a temporary thing in our life. But we do not want to be found suffering without Christ.

He also preached that in our complaining, the power of Christ is not resting on us. If we possess resurrection power, we have access to restoration power. We need to be loving on God more than anything else. We need to hear the trumpet sounding now in our life (i.e. the warning signs). God does not know defeat. The cross is not a defeat. It’s victory.

The video url: https://www.facebook.com/ARC.Philadelphia/videos/582089549228999/

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The Lord Directs My Steps by Brianne Buford 1 No ratings yet.

“I’m so sorry, I can’t find a heartbeat.” The room began to spin. I had heard these same devastating words four years prior. Surely this wasn’t happening to us again! We walked to the car, numb, reliving a nightmare we had already experienced. Why, God? We thought this baby was our promise, our rainbow after the storm. Sure, we had two living children to drive home to, but that didn’t change the feelings of loss and grief we found ourselves experiencing for the second time in four years.

Over the next several months, I dealt with the overwhelming desire to have another child. I would dream that I was holding a new baby, then would wake confused and, at times, angry. I experienced feelings of extreme guilt, wondering why I couldn’t just be thankful for the two healthy children I was blessed with instead of longing for another. Then one Sunday night my father-in-law preached. Following his sermon, he told the congregation, “Tell God what you need.” I knelt down that night and prayed a simple prayer; “God, if it’s not Your will for us to have another baby, I need You to take the desire away. If it is Your will, then I need You to make a way.” I immediately felt peace come over me, and God put a verse in my heart that night as I knelt at my pew. “A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps” (Proverbs 16:9).

A few months later we were shocked to discover we were expecting another baby. Fear and worry overcame me. This was not our plan. How could I go through another loss? How could I face people who would surely think we were crazy for not being content with the two children we already had? I felt God gently nudging me back to the verse He gave to me. “A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.” I remember where I was sitting in the doctor’s office when I said the words out loud to God, “God, this is YOUR plan. This is YOUR baby. Whatever happens, I will trust You.”

For the next nine months when fear would overtake me, when I would wait for what felt like hours for the nurse to find a heartbeat, when I would lay awake the night before each doctor visit, trying not to let fear and anxiety overtake me, I would quote my verse. “A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.” Then, on August 11, 2017, our baby was born. The doctor was shocked to find that his umbilical cord was barely connected to the placenta. What should have been another loss for our family was instead a true miracle from God.

I held our baby boy for the first time and wept, repeating the words “God, this is YOUR plan. This is YOUR baby. A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.”

Note: Brianne Buford is wife to Brandon and mom to Zane, Zoe, and Zeke. They live in O’Fallon, Missouri, where Brandon pastors The Lighthouse UPC.

( Information from: Ladies Prayer Intl Newsletter – UPCI LM – ladiesprayerintl@aol.com )

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