AA Allen 1The Lord has done amazing things in my life.  Working with youth for more than 25 years, I came to understand these young men and women were able to grasp the wonder of God’s love in spectacular ways.

One evening while carpooling a group of teenagers home from our weekly meetings, we had to pull over because the flashing lights of an ambulance signaled an emergency in the neighborhood.  “We need to pray,” one of the young men insisted as the ambulance speeded past us.  “Father, touch and heal the person in the ambulance” was the simple prayer.

Later that evening we were told by family members that the man in the ambulance was dead when they passed us.  The young people in the car steadfastly believed, however, that the man had been healed. The next day we heard that the dead-man had miraculously been revived during their trip to the hospital.

I can recount hundreds of such miracles in my life.  There is a divine purpose for miracles.  However, I’ve come to believe that miracles are greatly misunderstood.

AllenMiracles are not and never will be the be-all and end-all of the Christian life.  A. A. Allen who was known to have prayed for and received hundred’s and perhaps thousand’s of miracles died from liver failure caused by acute alcoholism.  Other men who have been hailed as God’s vessel for working miracles have fallen miserably or lived undercover reporbate lives.

This is not recorded to discount miracles but to underscore the fact that while miraclous happenings are valid in the Christian life, they are not the most important aspect of living a godly and holy life in Christ.

Working within the mentally challenged community, I dance comfortable with miracles every day.  Almost every member I face on a weekly basis is a miracle.  Their lives are filled with unaccountable healings and divine interventions.  Many of them have seen God work in ways that would curl toenails.  However, what impresses me more than the miracles is their faithful obedience to His commands.  I believe that is also what impresses God.

courage

Who are the helpers at church?

When we have the opportunity to help anyone, we should do it (Gal 6:10)

In 2006, the entire nation was glued to our TV’s because two boys had been found in Missouri. Ben had been missing for four days and Shawn had been missing for 4 ½ years.  The two boys were kidnapped by a man and the police found them. Everyone is saying that a young teenager named Mitchell is the key to what happened because he was willing to help his friend in identifying a truck. We are all to be helpers for others. Have a member read, Galatians 6:10.

widowsI.  The Bible records the story of the first men who were chosen to be helpers in the church (Acts 6:1-7).

  1. The church would come together, bring their food and eat their meals together. The Jewish men were helping their older family members who were women to have food.
  2. The non-Jewish women did not have a family member to help them so they were not getting food.
  3. They complained and the Apostles decided they could not wait on the table; but they would choose men who could help these women get the food they needed.

II.  This was a severe need.  The Greek women were not being fed.  We all have concerns and problems.  God gave them men who would help the women who were not being given food to eat.

III.  What we must  understand is that God wants us to win every battle and to have the victory every time and in every way.

  1. God gives victory to his children because he loves us.
  2. Last week we had a funeral for my brother-in-law.  It was sad but wonderful because we were able to spend time together and be with the family that does not know Jesus as their Savior and we saw the young people ministering to each other.
  3. Have you ever been involved with a problem and seen God turn that problem around for your good.
  4. I have a person in my life that has tried to hurt me and my family. This person has only made us stronger people.

IV.  I had a person one time who wanted to really hurt me and for a while it seemed to work and then in my hurt, I found SpG and God gave me all you folks to love me and for me to love.

Conclusion: God doesn’t fight fair when it comes to his children. There will be people who will try to hurt you; but they cannot because God is on your side and he always gives us victory

noah's arkThe Villages at Noah’s Landing has been recommended to receive a $14 Million dollar grant in order to begin construction.  Noah’s Landing is an awesome, pedestrian-oriented lifestyle community that will feature unique apartment-styled homes with a clubhouse, daily activities, pool, nature trails, a community park, and an optional dining room. We are working on the mountain of paperwork that is needed to finalize the grant and we have been asked to provide a list of people that may be interested in moving into our community.

So we need your immediate help!  Please log on to the following link and complete the survey:http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/NLInterest

This will only take 10 to 15 minutes to complete but the information is essential to keep our grant funding moving forward.  Even if you have previously completed a similar survey, please complete the survey again, this is very important.

This survey is not an application for The Villages at Noah’s Landing.  However, the people that complete the survey will be among the first to be notified when applications are being accepted. If you have any questions please call our office at (863) 815-0909

Visit our website at:  NoahsArkFlorida.org

Jack Kosik – Executive Director of Noah’s Ark

If you would like to read the recent Lakeland Ledger article on our grant, go to the following link:

http://www.theledger.com/article/20131214/NEWS/131219602/0/SEARCH

Justina-pelletier_2Justina-pelletier_2Perhaps you have heard or read about a young woman named Justina Pelletier.  She is still a teenager. She is not intellectually disabled though the young woman was diagnosed in 2011 with mitochondrial disease.  This is a disease in which the mitochondria (the energy-producing organelle in cells) does not function properly.  The symptoms of the disease include pain, fatigue and gastrointestinal issues.

Through a complicated series of events, Ms. Pelletier became a ward of the State of Massachusetts primarily because of a clause in the Boston Children’s Hospitals Policies and Procedures.

The hospital’s clinical investigations policy states (emphasis added):

Children who are Wards of the state may be included in research that presents greater than minimal risk with no prospect of direct benefit (46.406 (50.53) or 46.407 ( 50.54) only if the [institutional review board] determines and documents that such research is

Related to their status as wards; or

Conducted in schools, camps, hospital, institutions, or similar settings in which the majority of children involved as participant.

Pelletier_1While no charges of neglect have ever been charged against Jennifer’s parents, after she was transferred to Boston Children’s Hospital, she became a ward of the State of Massachusetts.  The parents no longer have any say in her treatment or where she is placed.  The parents do not know if she is part of any research projects.  For a time, they were not given visitation rights.

Jennifer was taken off of her medications.  When the parents saw her decline after being taken off the meds, the parents asked that she be put back on the medications that were helping her.  They reported that they were told that if they put Jennifer back on her medication, they would be charged with child abuse for giving her an excess of drugs.

In a meeting in October of 2013, ministry leaders from all over the country and Canada came for a day to sharing and prayer.  To a person, every leader came with one concern. What is going to happen to the people within the mentally challenged community when financial collapse happens in the US? Our members are financially and professionally tied to the state and federal governments.

I’ve never been  a prophet of despair.  However, this was a warning signal that even I could not ignore.  It may be time to prepare for the future of our friends and members who are intellectually disabled by storing up massive containers of prayer in the deposits of heaven.  The promises of God are that he will help the weak and take care of the wounded.  However, even recent history tells us that this vulnerable population has been a prime target for abuse.

The Lord uses men and women to do his work here on earth.  We are his hands and feet.  We need godly wisdom to know what our part will be in the future; and what our action should be today.

jesus movementRecently, I’ve heard a great deal about the things the Holy Spirit was doing in the 1960′s and 1970′s.  It is interesting to me because those were days through which we lived.  There were times that it seemed that the Lord was tangible enough to reach out and touch.  Even though I was very young–bearly out of my teenage years–I had been a Christian long enough to realize that this kind of mysterious, glorious revelation would not last forever.

It is part of the curse that we live under.  We leak.  There are some things that we need to understand when we are faced with our leaky humanity.  Here are a few that I’ve learned over the years

leaking bucket

  1. Though we leak, God has not moved away from us.
  2. Neither has He removed His love and compassion.
  3. Miracles don’t grow faith.
  4. Day-to-day living grows faith.
  5. Living out the Word of God when you feel nothing makes our faith strong and resilient.
  6. Leaking isn’t a sin.
  7. Leaking is simply a reality and part of our Adamic nature.
  8. Leaking doesn’t mean that we love God less than we did when there was almost a tangible presence of the Holy Spirit.
  9. Abundant faith and abundant faithfulness are different.
  10. Adundant faith is a gift from God.
  11. Abundant faithfulness is our gift to God.

A wonderful Christian Mentor–my mother–often quietly mused, “Will the Lord find a faithful people when He returns?”  It seems like a simple question; but she repeated it so often that I came to understand that Mother was expressing the plaintive cry of God’s heart.  Ministering within the mentally challenged community for many years has helped me to see the fruit of a faithful people.  Most of my members will never write a book, sonnet or poem.  About half of them cannot read.  Some cannot talk.  But they are faithful.  I’ve had several members who did not miss a week in 20 years.

Mighty deeds and amazing miracles are wonderful.  They attract crowds and bring great joy into our lives.  But I’ve become more and more convinced that God is looking for a faithful people who will love Him no matter what the circumstances, delights, hardship, joy or trials.

Read more: http://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/simplelife/2014/02/when-we-leak.html#ixzz2tvJZA8JO

insecureOne of the most important things a person can provide for any person and especially for a man or woman who is developmentally disabled is a safe harbor–a place where they can securely share their thoughts, feelings and emotions.  Because of their intellectual development, many people within the mentally challenged community are also stunted in expressing their deep emotions.

There are only a few vehicles wherein this population would be expected or allowed to share their genuine thoughts.  All of us are heavily invested in teaching this population Scriptural principles.  Nonetheless, unless the precepts become practical applications in their lives, they will never learn them effectively.

Therefore, it is vital to give our members the space wherein they are allowed to share their thoughts.  How we do this is not easy.  Though the answers regarding a “how to” may seem simplistic.

  1. wrting on a boardYou must asked targeted and pointed questions.
  2. You must allow the members to share without interruption.
  3. You must allow the members time to answer.  When a question is asked, the leader of the group will often wait a few seconds and then answer the question themselves.  Waiting is hard but it reaps great dividends.
  4. You must be sure that the answer to your questions are not to complicated or a vehicle to showcase how smart the examiner is. In other words, don’t ask trick questions.
  5. You must give the members many successes with their answers.  If a person gives a totally off-the-rail answer, rephrase either your question or his/her answer until you find the answer with which he or she agrees.
  6. When asking an opinion question, be sure that every answer is given validity.  No opinion is incorrect.  An opinion is owned by the responder–not the asker.
  7. Give the answers extra validity by writing the answers down on a board of some type.
  8. It is most important that the answering party knows without a doubt that the questioner loves him or her.  It takes time and a great deal of patience to truly show that you love your members.

It takes extremely secure people to be able to express their opinions, thoughts and emotions.  We must understand that most people within the disability community are not secure.  Many of them know the full range of their deficiencies better than anyone else.  They must be given a safe harbor to insure that they are able to receive the healing that the Holy Spirit wants to give through your ministry.

Stack of BooksI’ve just had a prayer answered.  I mean immediately my prayer was answered.  Years ago, I learned from reading the wonderful book, Practice of the Presence of the Lord, by Brother Lawrance, the importance of having constant communication with the Lord.

Therefore, much of my thought life has become prayer.  Monday is my day off.  As I sat on my couch about an hour ago, I thought/prayed, “Lord, I’d love to have a book to read.”  I especially love children’s books.

Within a few minutes, I got a text from my daughter.  “Did you get the gift book we sent to you?”  After a few texts, I downloaded my new book on my iPad.  Needless to say, I was thrilled–not only with my new book but also with the Lord’s immediate answer to my prayer.  In fact, He had set the answer into motion even before I had prayed.

formulaI wish there were a “supernatural formula” that I could pass on to you that would make these kinds of wonderful miracles happen every time we pray.  If there is such a formula, I don’t know it.  I believe there are simply times when God’s miraculous grace is poured out into our lives.

I had a discussion with a dear friend yesterday.  I said that all miracles are big because they are supernatural interventions into our lives orchestrated by God.  He laughed and said, “No!  It’s exactly the opposite.  All miracles are small because our God is much more mighty than mere miracles.  They are simply like breathing in and out to God.”

Both explanations could be absolutely true.   From the perspective of humankind, every miracle–no  matter  how small–is enormous because we are able to see the  intervention of God in our lives.  To imagine that God cares enough about us that he will break his own rules is a breath-taking concept.

Yet, viewed from the perspective of God–healing, deliverance, parting the sea, feeding 5,000 people–all miracles are child’s play.

Nevertheless, when I view into the looking-glass of the history of humankind regarding what price was paid by the Lord Jesus to give me total access to a loving and gracious God, I cannot but stand in awe of the salvation Jesus’ sacrifice provided for me.  I sit dumbfounded at the big miracles from an amazing, loving God who will answer a prayer desiring a new book to read.

Small or big miracles?  Small for God.  But a huge act of graciousness that demonstrates to me his love for me.  That’s a big miracle.