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“No Coincidences” by Kathy Brewster.
I spent twenty-five marvelous years as an army chaplain’s wife. Every relocation was an adventure. Not necessarily because it was in a favored destination but because I learned it was never accidentally arranged.

No coincidences with God. No remarkable occurrence of events or circumstances without apparent causal connection.

My husband, the late Wilfred Brewster Jr., became the UPCI’s third army chaplain. There was a certain angst about impending assignments. I must confess that secretly I entertained thoughts that having the Holy Ghost would give me an edge in requesting specific duty stations. My concept was flawed. I vividly remember my petition for exactly what I desired and where I wanted to be stationed. I felt like the Lord was listening. First John 5:14 assured me that If we know the Lord hears us then we know that we have the petitions that we desire of him . . . right?

Deep in my spirit I heard the words of a familiar song:

“Not as I wish to be, nor where I wish to go, for who am I that I should choose my way. The Lord will choose for me, tis better, for I know. So let him bid me go or stay.”

My desire was to stay in a great church close to family and friends. God had other plans.

That experience enlightened me, and I realized that no assignment would be happenstance and with God there could be no coincidences. Each new location and experience was a gift that God had carefully chosen and divinely orchestrated. I carried this comfort throughout our twenty-five-year journey.

Coincidence is a word not found in the Hebrew language. I now know that nothing just happens and that there is always a specific plan.

It was no coincidence that just prior to my husband‘s reentry back into the army we sought help from a fertility clinic while living as UPCI AIMers (Associates in Missions) in Germany. Frustration for my inability to complete that program later led to thankfulness that I was not given those fertility shots. I didn’t realize that I had a brain tumor, and those shots would have caused the tumor to grow rapidly.

No coincidence.

Shortly after my tumor diagnosis my husband was commissioned and assigned to Fort Gordon in Augusta, Georgia. It was no coincidence that the top US brain surgeon lived in Augusta and he performed my surgery.

No coincidence.

Victories, even defeats carve grooves forming a key designed to unlock the door to a closed or desperate heart. We go as missionaries and the government funds all of the expenses!

I went with a willing heart and a positive attitude realizing that my steps were ordered. I would always be in the right place at the right time and there could never be any coincidences.
(FROM: UPCI Ladies Ministries sisters@upci.org)

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” Shaken Up! ” by Kristi Moore.
Early one morning in 1993 my family was yanked from a deep sleep to a roaring noise and the feeling that the house was rattling apart. We met in the dark hallway in our pajamas. I think I yelled, “What’s happening?” A 5.6 earthquake was unthinkable, yet there we were in the middle of one.
Years later, I felt another earthquake that was only a few tiny clinking noises across the room. For years I was jumpy at the smallest sounds, hoping it wasn’t the start of another big one.

I think doubts can be like earthquakes. Some are shattering and we fall on our face before God begging for mercy. Others are more subtle, like the nagging questions we can’t answer, the worries that won’t subside, or the threads of our future we want to control so badly. Although the quieter doubts seem less damaging, they can become a disaster if we don’t stay alert to them.

As we grapple with our circumstances, we might even confess, “God I didn’t want to have to trust you with this.” I imagine Him saying, “Yes, Child, the ground below you is slipping. Yes, the walls around you are shifting and leaning. Yes, everything that’s loose is moving and the noise of it all is terrifying. This is why you need me.”

The world around us seems to be all earthquakes, quicksand, and unstable shorelines. The foolish build their houses there, and like the song says, CRASH! It’s all going to break down. In the shadows of our hearts, we hide our uncertainties and our fears. But God! God is a rock unchanging, our only sure footing, and our only safe, solid, stable place — intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually.

Even when we wrestle with doubt and we feel shaken, God is not shaken. He calls us to trust anyway, to praise anyway, and to keep walking by faith. When we feel shaken, He is ready and waiting to hold us, and to help our unbelief.

FROM: UPCI Ladies Ministries sisters@upci.org

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“Prayer Changes Hearts” by Bre Uzzell.
“Change me, Lord. Change me, Lord. Don’t let me stay the same. I want to be more like You. Take my life. Make my life just what You want it to be. Oh Lord, please change me. Change me, dear Lord.”

The words of this song rang through my head as I was putting together my thoughts for this article. Prayer changes hearts, but sometimes the most important change is within our own heart. In Psalm 51:10 David prayed, “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me” It is particularly important to continue in our prayer and to not give up.

When we were first married, my husband went through a spiritual struggle and backslid for many years. Our sons were very young then. I worried that they would also feel the spiritual battle. During that time, I prayed two scriptures daily, Psalm 23 and II Chronicles 7:14. I remain convinced that my prayers not only helped change my husband’s heart, but also my own. The Lord is my shepherd, and He leads me by the still waters every day. If I hadn’t prayed daily for God to change my husband’s heart, I would have never been able to allow the Lord to soften my heart. Thankfully, my husband listened to the Lord calling to him and humbled himself to return to church. He is not only serving God now, but he has also become a licensed minister who teaches and preaches with anointing. Both of our sons serve God as well; both were bible quizzers and both serve in whatever ministry they are able to help in. I am thankful that God helped me see the blessings in my valley.

Sometimes we can feel as though life is stacked against us. As wives and mothers, we take many extra burdens on our shoulders – we task ourselves with scheduling, keeping order in our house, taking care of our family. When something doesn’t go right, it can seem overwhelming. This year, especially, has been overwhelming for many families. Many of our church families are struggling with job loss or the loss of a paycheck here or there because they’ve had to quarantine. Just like David, we need to pour ourselves in prayer. Prayer can change how we perceive our circumstances. It may be tight this month. Bills may be more difficult to pay, but look at our blessings – the Lord is keeping us safe with a roof over our heads. We have our family around us. Our children are serving the Lord. We are blessed.

Change my heart, O Lord. Help me see the blessings in the struggle.

FROM: UPCI Ladies Ministries sisters@upci.org

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“Prayer from Home” by Darla Brochu.

I remember how excited we were when we realized I was expecting our first child. We could not wait to meet our baby boy – to hold him, to shower him with affection, to take care of him. We were young, inexperienced, and yes, a bit naïve. It didn’t take long before we realized that we were responsible to teach this child everything. As parents, we needed to give our child the skills he would need to survive and to succeed in life.

As parents, it is our responsibility to introduce our children to Jesus and to teach them how to pray. Praying is simply speaking to God. Teaching them begins early, before they even learn to speak. How? By letting them see and hear you praying for them.

As they grow and are able to communicate better, you can begin by having them “repeat” what you say. We did this especially at bedtime. We asked God to bless mommy, bless daddy, bless Bootsie (our cat). As they got older, I let them lead the prayer themselves as I listened. It is important to include your child in the ritual of prayer on a daily basis.

Later, we had times of family prayer. We would put Christian music on quietly to set the mood. They often had a “prayer request.” They were expected to pray with us; no toys or storybooks were allowed. If they grew tired, they could lay down quietly on the floor and go to sleep. They saw us praying, and by including them, we showed them that praying is something important that adults do.

If your children are older, this does not mean it is too late to teach them to pray. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is never too late to begin learning the importance of prayer.

How do I pray – what do I say?? We used the prayer “sandwich” illustration.

Top bun: Praise – give God praise and honor for who He is
Lettuce: Forgiveness – ask him to forgive you for all of your sins
Cheese: Needs – you may hear some cute things on this one – a puppy was a priority with our daughter. (Yes, she got one.)
Meat: God’s Will – God, Your will be done in everything
Bottom bun: Praise – again!

“I call on You, my God, for You will answer me; turn your ear to me and hear my prayer” (Psalm 17: 6).
“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6).

FROM: UPCI Ladies Ministries sisters@upci.org

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“Raising Children to Love God” by Raina Hinton.
I have been raised as a pastor’s kid all my life. I have three siblings, all whom are married with kids, and all are faithful in so many aspects of our church. So, through the years I’ve had people ask me “How are all of you kids so involved in the church? What’s your parent’s secret?”.

I am not writing this article boastfully. We have many faults, and believe me we’ve had our share of conflict; but we have never been separated because of the foundation on Christ that my parents helped us build.

Proverbs 22:6 states, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” So today I would like to share a few guidelines my parents used to keep us on that path.

1. Bring your kids to the church at every opportunity you have. Sunday school, youth class, workdays, outreach, prayer nights, etc. My mom worked full time, on top of being a pastor’s wife it wasn’t easy, but they made church a priority. They were consistent about it. In addition, my parents had a mutual rule that they would NEVER ground their kids from church or church activities. “Well, you’re in trouble so you can’t go to the youth outing.” Church outings are not luxuries, they are necessities! This past year has reinforced just how important time is with the family of God.

2. “Because I said so” was not used when answering questions regarding biblical principles or convictions. Some may feel a child asking a question as to “why?” means they are thinking about backsliding. No, this is a beautiful moment to have a spontaneous Bible study. “Because I said so” is not a foundation to build upon. Show them scriptures where this biblical moral/conviction comes from.

3. Let love and forgiveness be present every day. I never once doubted that my parents loved me. Even if there was an argument ten minutes before, love would always prevail. To teach forgiveness, you need to show that it’s a two-way street. A parent can ask for forgiveness just as a child can.

4. Ask for help. If you need help getting them to church, if you need advice, if you feel like the weight is too heavy this week . . . ask for help. We are the body of Christ.! The Bible states in I Corinthians 12:12 “For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.”

Parents, you make sacrifices for your children every day and this is a reminder that none of them go unnoticed. I stand today giving honor to my parents for the sacrifices they made for me and my siblings. Be encouraged. God has entrusted your children to you; He believes in you.

FROM: UPCI Ladies Ministries sisters@upci.org

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